Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

This is one of those odd Holiday's, like Memorial Day to put the word "Happy" in front of it doesn't make sense. It should be perhaps - Thank You Veteran's Day! or even, somewhat lighter, "Hug a Vet Today" or "Kiss a Vet Today" or on the serious side "Salute a Vet Today"

I did something unusual the other day, some of the vets were handing out those poppy flowers at the local grocery store (it was a fund raiser as well). I didn't take one though, because in that brief moment the poppy reminded me of heroin and heroin reminded me of Afghanistan and that led me to think about those men and women still serving over there. I felt awkward. I mean, one, how could my brain process something that fast and secondly, I felt I was being dishonorable not taking the flower. I'm a vet for Pete's sake!

As I walked through the store, I started thinking about my action, even justifying my strangeness and not making an outward sign of honoring veteran's. I wanted those service members safe. I know they are serving us, I know too well, but I wanted them home. I walked through the grocery store ashamed of my action and frustrated with my lack of ability to effect change; to find solutions for these difficult situations we face as a country.

Each person has their own reason for joining the military. It could have been the dream of travel, tropical places, adventure and seeing the wonders of the world. Even so, the basic ingredient, I believe, is service and the willingness to protect a way of life. I, even though I should know better, take our way of life in the US for granted.

I know the US is messy right now (really when hasn't it been) and you may have your own personal struggles, but I hope you think about our service men and women today and our veteran's who have served us. Say a prayer, send a care package, perhaps you know someone who served, give a word of thanks. I'm proud to say I served my country, even more so, proud to serve you.


Thursday, April 1, 2010


Yesterday I had to put my beloved dog, Chase, to sleep. He had gotten very sick, very fast and there wasn't much of a choice. But my heart is aching over this loss.

My Grandmother used to give all of us $100 for every birthday and my Uncle had also given me $100 for 25th birthday and with that I bought Chase. I had originally wanted a lab, but a friend at work had a friend that had just bred her two Aussies and had a litter of 9 puppies. Well, my Dad has always loved Aussies and so he, my sister and I drove out to Elizabeth to a farm to see these 4 week old puppies.

In a stinky barn there were 9 little furballs all different colors (as is typical with Australians) and the three of us walked all around the barn and looked at those 9 sweet faces. My Dad found a beautiful merle with two different colored eyes and wanted me to get him, but as I was walking towards him I looked down and this little puppy was sitting on my feet staring right up at me. So I moved him and picked up other puppies and cuddled them, but everytime I stopped, there was that little body sitting on my feet. So that was that- this dog had picked me! He was the only tri-color in the group and had very distinct markings, he was beautiful.

I had to wait 4 more weeks before I could pick him up and take him home. In the meanwhile I had to think of a name. I had never had a male dog before, so my original pick wouldn't work. And I had been going through a lot of trials personally and had some difficult things happen to me, which I luckily survived. I remember watching an episode of 'ER' where Carter's cousin had overdosed and basically wound up a vegetable and his name was Chase. That might sound strange that I choose his name based on that situation. But for me it was a giant reminder of how blessed I was and how I should never forget it.

So on August 1, 1998- my 25th birthday, my best friend and I drove out to Elizabeth and brought home Chase. He had been living in a barn for the last week, so he really needed a bath, but he was beautiful. I have so many memories of his puppyhood and his life flooding my head right now, but what sticks with me the most is the times when I felt so lonely and would just hold his head in my hands and cry.

I know some people who are not dog or even animal lovers would say- it's a just a dog Melinda, it's not like one of your children died. But for me, Chase was one of my children- he was my first child. And even though right now I am in incredible pain over his death, I wouldn't trade the 11 1/2 years I had with that beautiful, stubborn, playful character. He loved me with no judgement and expected very little in return- just wanted to be with me.

I know someday we will get another dog, but I know it will be quite a while before that happens. Chase was one of a kind and you can't destroy that memory with trying to fill the hole he's left.

As the vet was giving him the meds that would end his life and I looked into those huge brown eyes, all I could do was cry and thank him for being in my life and choosing me.

Thank you Chasey, I will miss you terribly! I have heard that Jesus loves to play ball....

Love, Mommy

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Some good friends and I met for some margaritas and social justice last week- I know odd combination, isn't it? It was a fun and interesting night and I have been pondering over what we discussed and am praying for the adventure we have before us.

We have decided to begin with a book study on "Half the Sky" by Nicolas Kirstoff and Sheryl WuDunn. It is a difficult subject matter, it about horrific situations that girls and woman face in the developing world. And I have begun to read some articles about situations happening in our own country. We really are putting all of ourselves into this "idea" without any clue where it is headed.

So now we enter the arena that scares most people- sitting back, praying and having faith that this is where you are being called to go. But what struck me the most as I was sitting there and watching these 3 beautiful, articulate, intelligent and amazing women talk about our plans was that right at that moment I was sitting in the middle of a prayer that was being answered.

I have always been a social creature, always had lots of friends in different areas. But 10 years ago, when I began my "official" journey with bipolar, married Bill, had Connor and entered Mommyhood- I realized my pool of friends had dwindled to almost zero. And it wasn't until Connor started preschool that I realized how lonely I was! That was 5 years ago... And I prayed and prayed for some friends, ones similar to those I had in high school and college. The kind that always have your back. Who value you based on you and not what you have or look like. But I also realized that I needed some who would challenged me spiritually and be on the same walk with Christ that I am.

And I have met many people and been reconnected with many people, but not like this. It's like I don't even have to say what I am thinking and they just get it. They just get me.

So as I looked up from my notes in the midst of a margarita haze and the laughter and smiles from Erin, Rory and Paula- I realized that God had brought these people into my life and my faith has gotten stronger and stronger.

As we begin our new adventure together and hope to gather more people who would also like to walk with us, I will have that faith that God is leading us to where we are needed the most and where we can make that difference needed.

Thank you my sisters. You have no idea what a huge blessing you have been to my soul. I pray that I can be that for you as well!

Love, Mel

Thursday, March 18, 2010


I have a friend from college that told me once that I am so open minded that I am almost close minded. Probably because it drives me crazy when people don't follow the Beatles advice and just "Let It Be"! I have a hard time with a rush to judgement over things and I don't enjoy FOX or MSNBC for that matter- could we just have some journalism without a slant? And it seems the more I come to know about the world's situation and more importantly my place in it. By that I mean, my place in the cause of the world's suffering. I am trying to become conscience of how I effect others. By what I say, do and simply how I live. Too many times I sit filled with regret over something I did or didn't do- I suppose that is good that things bother me. If they didn't I'd probably be in trouble morally!

Everyone should be familiar with my Christian belief system- I don't care who or if you call anyone God, nor do I care what color your skin is, who you sleep with every night or who you choose to love. I believe in Christ and I also believe in people and their ability to do good things no matter how or what belief structure that comes through.

So here is what is bothering me right now. This Sunday my church is voting on whether or not to become a reconciling ministry- which means they will have a welcoming statement inviting believers of all kinds- including homosexuals, transgender, etc. Like I said before- I don't care who you choose to love, in fact for me it's a non-issue. But when I read what the welcoming statement is going to be, it shocked me and that bothers me very deeply. Why would I be shocked? I don't disagree with it and I plan to vote for our church to become a reconciling church, but WHY does it bother me to see it in black and white?

I have read many books over the past year on racism, global and domestic poverty, etc and practically every one says right there in the beginning- you know nothing of this topic so check your ego at the door. So I do and stand back and try to look at something with new eyes and accept what I am being taught. So in all honesty I am checking my ego at the door in this subject and looking at this with Christ's eyes filled with love for all.

So again- why is this bothering me?


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wait- how many candles are there???

Today's topic could or could not be more lighthearted than yesterday's.....aging. You choose. I have a good friend who is turning 40 in May and she refers to it as "D-Day" and it took a couple of highly potent margaritas for her to realize why she referred to it as D-Day. Isn't tequila grand?

I will be 37 in August and for some reason that number seems very scary. I don't think it has been as scary as 30 for me... I am not sure why, I never really had an "age-goal" or anything like that. Maybe it's because I feel eternally like a 12 year old! When I was in high school I used to ask my Mom if she minded getting older and she said no, she wouldn't mind having her 20 year old body back, but would never trade what she has learned. I suppose she would feel the same way about turning 63 this year.

I would never give up the experiences I have had that have calmed me down A LOT and given me a level of compassion I didn't have before. I have also gained something else very important, a filter! I remember when I was younger thinking it was ok to share my opinion with anyone and everyone, sometimes just for shock value! Then my wise Mother taught me another valuable age-related lesson- not everyone wants to hear your opinion all of the time. Hmmm..... I think there are many people who could use that little kernel of knowledge.

So is age simply a number or is a state of mind? What? At 37 should I begin to look at my mortality? I hope not, considering 4 days prior my daughter will turn 2! So what about you- do you mind getting older? Does it make you feel older to see that number? Do you think you are aging gracefully? Or are you ready for botox?

As for me I still feel like a rock star, which is why I will now go and watch Sesame with Punky....


Wednesday, March 10, 2010

My Wednesday...

Wednesdays are always days of deep thought and introspection for me, especially since September. I have been taking a class on social justice at our church called JustFaith. It has really been an incredible journey and I have read, watched and been exposed to many things that are asking me "what are you going to do to change this"? And it SO much exposure that at times you kind of want to shrink inside and block it out, but therein lies the problem- too many of us are blocking it out.

And so I sit here in my warm, safe, large and comfortable home, while my daughter sleeps soundly in her crib. At the same time my son, who has autism, is safe at school, getting a good education and has been allowed to grow and learn as much as possible and will thrive in his life. Later I will look in my cabinets and refrigerator that are full of food and decide what we will eat for dinner. After some family time, our kids will get bathed in clean water and go to sleep in safe, warm beds. But as we all know that is not the case for most of the world.

Most of the world lives on less than $2.00 a day- think about that when you buy your Starbucks every morning. Most of the world does not have clean water, daily food to eat, access to good healthcare. In many countries, my daughter and I would not be allowed to be as educated as my husband and my son. Regan and I would be under-valued only because of our gender. We may be forced into marriage, raped, abducted and forced in human trafficking. My husband has a frustrating and stressful job, but he has a good and steady job. He does not have to leave us behind while risking his life traveling through the deserts of Arizona to come and look for work. I do not have to fear death at this age because of AIDS or worry that my children will be orphaned. And at this moment we are not fearing for our lives because we choose to follow Christ.

And don't hear me saying that I don't participate in this society, because I do. I have a brand new Mac and just got a new blackberry and last weekend got my hair highlighted and cut. This afternoon I stopped by and picked up my daily green tea at Starbucks and this weekend my husband and I are going to pay to go to a movie and dinner. I am very much a part of this society, but I hope that I am beginning to take the steps to educate myself about the world in which I live. Because the world my family and I live in, isn't just this little bubble we call Highlands Ranch, Colorado, USA- it's global.

The decisions I make to purchase items for my family- food, clothing, electronics, health items- everything has a ripple effect. We live in a global world and we must acknowledge that we are bigger than just what physically touches us. As a Christian I know it is my obligation to reach out and help my fellow woman, but it shouldn't fall only to faith-based organizations. I don't care who you call God or if you never speak that name, you live in and amongst humanity. Help and reach out because you are human.

Think about it, educate and inform yourself and then choose how you will act.


Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Day two...

Wow, I actually managed to accomplish blogging on day 2! Well, I haven't actually hit "publish" yet, so we'll see.

So the topic for today is my weakness as a parent for one child over the other. I am hoping I am not the only one who has this issue, because it makes me feel more guilty than my usual guilt, which runs quite deep. I would have to admit that I tend to feel more emotionally about Connor than I do Regan. That is not to say that I love him more than her, I just feel more deeply connected to him. Maybe it's because he is easier personality-wise or maybe it's because he and I spent SO many years going from therapy to therapy and we had to work SO hard to get him to where he is now. Not sure.

The strange thing to all of this is that everything is hindsight. I had only been married for about 5 mins when I got pregnant with Connor and he was born 11 months to the day after we were married. And Regan took 4 years and medical science to have! And I REALLY wanted a daughter, both times! So why is it that I feel more of a weakness when it comes to Connor? For instance he has been a little off the two days- headache, tired, not sleeping well- so I have let him stay home from school. WHY? I suppose I could have pushed him and made him go, but I didn't. I guess the amount of work one has to take to have said child has nothing to do with how you feel about that child...

I was watching "House" last night and it was about a woman who was a professional blogger of sorts, although I am not sure how one gets to be a "professional" blogger. Anyway, she wrote about anything and everything that happened in her life. Not sure if that is a good or bad idea? So writing about my weakness for one child over the other may come back to bite me. But I figure I have to give my kids something to tell their shrinks later on in life, right?

See ya on day 3,

Monday, March 8, 2010

The death of a blog...

So if video killed the radio star, does that mean facebook killed the blogger? In this case, probably yes. But why? My lack of time certainly, but when I look at my posts on FB, I try to fit little blurbs about life into the 300+ characters they allow you- which for me and my constant stream of conscienceness thinking doesn't work very well. And I haven't posted anything to the blog since June of last year! So that is a bit sad...

But me starting back to blogging might be similar to my love/hate relationship with a journal. I start and write for a few months and then it sits next to my bed gathering dust. And I have heard of this 365 project, post a blog or picture once a day- I could try that so, but would I just inevitably fail and embarrass myself? And why do I become embarrassed so easily anyway? I would think after 36 years I would have stopped worrying about what others think.... Not quite so.

So I will try to post something each day- I promise it won't be something boring, like the annoying FB posts that drive me to hide people- there will be no update about my location, what I ate for dinner, how many diapers I have changed or what color my socks are. Really people we don't need to know, nor do we care! And since it is my blog, I can really put any type of political statement on it, which I DON'T do on FB, learned my lesson there when I got sucked into a stupid argument about a "friend's" satirical post of sorts. See all the things we learn while on our journey here in cyber-space?

My thoughts for today: Today is International Women's Day, which I think is huge. The atrocities we inflict on fellow human beings makes me sick. And always leaves me questioning- not why, but how? How did I hit the economic lottery and manage to be born a white girl in white suburbia and was allowed a very good education, good health care, well educated parents who love me dearly? And how is that my children get the same? And how is it that other girls born in this world are not afforded the same opportunity?

My Mother used to read me the book "Girls Can Do Anything" as a child and would lecture my sister and I on the anti-feminist rhetoric in 'Cinderella' or 'Snow White'. She is a bit of a feminist wrapped in a Mom type outfit. My Mom never planned to do it all, but somehow she still managed to. She got a bachelors, married her sweetheart, had 4 children, went back to work, earned her master's degree and has a had a wonderful career as a special ed teacher. I wonder if she ever looks back and says how?

How is most certainly my question. But how has the same answer as why- there isn't one. The only thing we can do is take those questions, put them in our pockets and move to change the world so we won't need to ask those questions.

That's it for now. Happy Monday.

See ya, Melinda

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Favorite Memories 101

The time was my brother Jim's and his new bride Judy's wedding reception. It was many years ago and there are few that may remember this one part of the reception. The whole day was memorable, don't get me wrong, but there was a moment after dinner, after the cake and the other wedding traditions that four men got up to sing. It was my dad (Dick Howard), Pat McKenna, Jim Daly and another man, that my dad knew when he was a Chicago cop. There they were, one held a microphone and the other bent over to get their voices in. They sang a song called "Heart of my Hearts", I think that was the title (now I will have to search the song title to make sure). At any rate, they were quite good and everyone was having a blast. I was somewhat amazed as I never saw my dad sing. The gist of the song was harmony and man, they harmonized.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Taking care of others...

To my fellow Americans: I was sitting on the throne today, just thinking, when a thought popped into my head about the Health Care issue. An issue, may I honestly state, too overwhelming for the two brain cells that I have left floating around in the gray matter in my skull to totally comprehend. I have a theory ideas are floating around our world, they pop in and out of brains, floating, landing, perhaps holding on to one brain, where the person runs with the idea, perhaps they will succeed, maybe even fail, but they run with the idea. It takes courage nonetheless, to act on a idea.

Part of my thinking has to do with the sermon in church today, though the topic has been brewing for some time now. Although, I don't totally agree with the Pastor's exegesis of the passage, I do believe we should look out for the interests of others, not only are own (Philippians 2). I think the passage is speaking directly to the church (brothers and sisters) and not necessarily the world at large. Even so, the Good Samaritan is an example of loving your neighbor, so I took hold of that idea as more on line about taking care of others.

So, here is my proposal, for those that do have health insurance, if we were somehow, able to share our coverage with another family or individual for one year? This would give enough time until the powers that be, have more discussions/fights/confrontations to figure this mess out and not be so concerned about getting something passed before they take a break or whatever it is they have to do? It would fulfil the moral/spiritual obligation pressed upon me, if would not upset the tax payers (taking from their pocket), but it would be volunteerism at its finest, because we are the land of givers. Yes, I said it, the people of the US, we are a giving country. Of course, we would have to convince the insurance companies to go along with this (somehow), but it would be something to provide the basic coverage. I would then ask the IRS to give us volunteers a tax break of the equivalent of the one year premium that we pay. Let's say you pay for your insurance coverage $6,000 a year, your work may pay the equivalent or more, that doesn't count your out of pocket expenses (co pay), but you and your workplace would get a break, somehow on the additional health care costs, whether it be up front or on the back end. As I think about this through though, perhaps I'm upsetting the tax payers, since I'm asking about a tax break. That isn't my point though, my point is getting care to the millions that can't afford it right now, adults and children! We'll discuss the tax issues later, as we always do as Americans. Let me add if we can fund for wars, we should be able to fund for health care in our own country.

I, admittedly, am an idealist, a foolish heart and a product of my environment. All you need is love, was the rallying cry when I grew up. Dang, what an idiot I was in believing it. Well, I still do. People helping people. It wouldn't be for a life time, but time enough to give the lawmakers and the President to really get around the issue, from tort reform to costs. Perhaps even time for that fellow American to afford their own insurance.

I don't want more government control. I lived through it the last few months. The rules change, you get shackled and are afraid to do business. Don't get me wrong, government is good, but too much can be derailing (if you are wondering which side of the fence I'm on, I think like a Republican sometimes, I'm a registered Democrat, so you can say I'm mixed up or a centrist). I'm for what works.

So, perhaps this idea was floating around for awhile, from brain to brain, people waived it away thinking it absurd. Obviously, I don't have it well developed, but there has to be someway to find a solution right now and work on a long range plan without selling ourselves to the devil and regretting it in years to come.