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I just had to share this quote because, well, I think it needs to be read.  And reread.  Sarah Bessey is one of the few reasons I haven’t completely given up on reading blogs.  Some days there’s too much anger and misunderstood words on the internet, and she is a peace to me in the storm.  I love her writing, so let me share what she wrote about the Shikh Temple shooting.

Hard conversations are coming, perhaps legislation, around gun control, about hatred, racism, religion, about our culture’s glorification of violence, our nationalism, and the divisions between us, yes, those conversations need to happen, but not just now: now is the time for grieving, now is the time for loving, for burying, for mourning with those who mourn, for gathering humanity together, and for compassion.

I believe that it is precisely because of my Christian faith that I am sitting my heart down, mourning with those that mourn, grieving and honouring, loving and praying. Love casts out fear, and may the mouths of the faithful be filled with words of Love and hope and peace, never fear.

Thank you, Sarah, for your beautiful words.

(Source)

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For those of you who don’t follow the news (and these days I don’t blame you) it has been a rough week for those involved in Public Safety. 

  • Senior Police Officer Jaime Padron from Austin Police Department. Shot and killed after responding to a drunk at Walmart. End of watch April 6, 2012.
  • Deputy Sheriff Ryan Tvelia from Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office. Motorcycle accident. End of watch April 10, 2012.
  • Deputy Sheriff Robert Paris from Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department. Shot while serving an eviction. End of watch April 12, 2012.
  • Police Chief Michael Maloney from Greenland Police Department. Shot while serving a drug related search warrant. End of watch April 12, 2012.

I don’t have words to express the heartbreak I feel for the the people in these agencies.  For those in the public safety sector these names – whether or not we know them personally – represent brothers and sisters.  These are people united in a cause of justice and community service.  I have grieved a similar loss.

It’s easy to forget that cops are usually people just like you and I that want to go home to their family at the end of the shift.  They post pictures of their kids on Facebook.  They’re not always crooked or bad or focused on putting people in jail.  They like to go to concerts.  They want a safe place to live and raise their families, they want to see justice done, they want to help society catch bad guys.  They dress up for Halloween.  They like mexican food and sushi and drinking beer.  They love football.  Sometimes they drink.  They go to church.  They have husbands and wives and parents.

They serve, but they still cherish life.  And when someone takes that from them… it’s difficult.  I’m not a police officer, but I work side by side them every single day.  I go to church with them, I talk to their wives, I smile when their kids succeed.  I pray when they struggle.  They’re humans.  Now, granted, they’re humans who carry guns, but generally that’s only 40-50 hours a week.  The other 120ish hours they’re sons and daughters and mothers and fathers.  They’re friends.  They’re usually good people (I say usually: I know some cops are bad, but they’re few and far between and not the focus of this writing). 

Please, when you get the chance, when you see that patrol car flying code somewhere or driving behind you, please take a second to think about their job. The risk they take putting that vest on every day.  If you see a police officer eating lunch, don’t ask them about the parking ticket you got last week – just thank them for trying to protect you.  Nod and smile.  Don’t break the law.  Don’t shoot them and take their life. Is that so much to ask?

I wanted to write something about how this week is National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week – the week that dispatcher’s are recognized for their support of Police, Fire and Ems responders.  But I can’t because my heart is heavy and broken and I wish there was more I could do.

Rest in peace, gentlemen.

I don’t really even know how to start this. 

Ska music is, and always will be, a part of who I am as a person.  Growing up my parents didn’t like any “new” music, but ska music forced its way into my soul.  It was cheerful and bouncy and never fails to make me happy when listening to it.  Ska music was the catalyst that introduced me to my best friend Amy.  I am forever indebted to ska music for the friendship I have with her.  I’ll never forget the apprehension and excitedness and how hard it was for me to reach out to the pretty girl that sat behind me in class (or was it in front of me? I can’t remember now…) and tell her that I liked her backpack, I liked the FIF patch, and OHMYGOODNESSSOMEONEELSEKNOWSWHATSKAMUSICIS!!  And she liked my hair clip and the rest is history.

I guess some people already know this, but I did not: OC Supertones is making a new album! If they can get funded, that is.  They are one of the classic Christian ska bands from the 90s/2000s, and my personal favorite.  I’m going to be donating to their Kickstarter project, and I ask you very nicely to please do the same?  We have 18 days to come up with another $10,061 and if I had that much money I could give it to them in a heartbeat.  For just a glimpse of what this band means to me, read one of my blog posts where I wrote them a letter.  This was the first ska band I heard, and I can’t even describe how excited I am to know I’m going to get new music from them.

Seriously.

Excited. 

So, go to the Kickstarter page, listen to their new song (here’s a link to some lyrics), and give them 100 bucks. Or $50. Or $25. Or $5. Or a dollar. Just help them, please, a tiny bit, for me, and for the world.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Last year I decided that from now on I will wear purple every day of October to honor my Mom, who was killed by my Dad in the most permanent kind of domestic violence.

It didn’t have to end that way.

But life is complicated and sometimes people don’t get the help they need. Sometimes it’s because they have their own demons they’re fighting, sometimes it’s because they don’t think they’re worth it, and sometimes it’s because they don’t realize how badly they need it.

People are broken.

It’s the way of life on earth. We live in a fallen, broken, sin-stained world.

But there is hope.

My faith has sustained me through many periods of grieving. God has been gracious and has helped me to love instead of hate. He has helped me to grieve for what I lost instead of get angry at what was stolen from me. I wouldn’t be the woman I am now without Him.

So in the month of October I will wear purple every day. I will wear it and think of my Mom, whose smile is fiercely missed. I will wear purple and I will think of the women and men who are in abusive relationships and for whatever reason see no escape. I will wear purple and I will pray for broken souls to find healing. I will wear purple and share my story. I will wear purple because some can’t.

I will wear purple so that the silent will have a voice.

Depart, O Christian soul, out of this world;
In the Name of God the Father Almighty who created you;
In the Name of Jesus Christ who redeemed you;
In the Name of the Holy Spirit who sanctifies you.
May your rest be this day in peace,
and your dwelling place in the Paradise of God.

Michael Spencer, AKA Internet Monk, passed away today. My heart is broken for his family and I grieve – for this man I never met – for his family I do not know – and I look to heaven knowing that one day I will be able to hug his neck and thank him for his service to such a great cause.

Michael, you will be missed.

Michael Spencer (aka the Internet Monk) has been working on a book that’s finally (!!) up for pre-order. Michael has been an amazing resource to me spiritually (as well as mentally) over the last several years, and I’ve been eagerly anticipating his book.

My heart goes out to Michael as he struggles through his recent cancer diagnosis and is currently on hiatus from his website (although the people he has running his site in the interim, including Chaplain Mike, have done a great job in his stead). I want to encourage all Christian readers and friends to get his book. Michael has a very real, very honest approach to loving Jesus in today’s culture and I can’t recommend him enough. It’s only a few dollars and not only will you be helping support him as he loses his insurance and faces expensive hospital bills, but you’ll also gain what I believe will be an excellent book.

You can pre-order on Amazon here: http://bit.ly/dts0gV
You can pre-order with the publisher here: http://bit.ly/bydFgz
You can visit Internet Monk’s website here: http://www.internetmonk.com/

Thanks guys!

I’m pregnant!

Most of my readers already know that (do you follow me on twitter? No? You should!) but this is the first time I’m writing about it online in more than 140 characters.

I’m. So. Excited! And terrified, which I hear is pretty common.

I spent the first few weeks absolutely convinced that God wasn’t going to let me have a baby.  I know that’s not right of me, and I’ve had to talk to God pretty honestly and brutally about that.  How can he blame me for being afraid? I’ve lost so much this year that is dear to me, wouldn’t it just be icing on the cake to take this from me too?  But I’m sure he doesn’t blame me.  I’m sure he’s up there shaking his head, wondering when I’m going to get it.

Probably never… but I’m going to keep trying.

So I apologized to God and tried to stay hopeful.  It helped immensely to have the first ultrasound.  I didn’t cry, it wasn’t life changing… I almost think I cheated myself out of the “OHMYGOSHITSABABY!” experience because I was so convinced that it wasn’t real – my response was more just an acceptance that it actually was real.

Justin and I weren’t going out of our way to have kids.  We knew that it would happen in God’s timing.  I wonder sometimes about God’s timing!  They tell me I’m not supposed to make any major life changes the year after losing someone you love, and I’ve lost 3.  It’s only been 9 months.  Am I ready?  Who knows.  Probably not!  No one is ever ready for parenting, right? That’s what they say, anyways.

We’re excited.  Justin is being adorable and patient and putting up with a lot, especially since pretty much all my favorite foods now taste absolutely gross to me.  I miss steak so much!  I haven’t been throwing up, but I have had every other pregnancy symptom you can imagine.  I’ve slept through the night about 5 times since I found out.  Who knew you’d have to pee so much when the baby is the size of a bean?

Oh, yes! I’m 12 weeks today.  So it’s actually the size of a plum.  Or a peach.

I’ll try to post more as the weeks roll by, but I’ll keep it brief for now.  Yay, baby!

I almost, almost forgot to mention: I’ve been published!

I’ll save you the exciting story of how it happened, but needless to say it was a really awesome moment for me to see my name on their website as the author of an article.  Dan (@takingcharge) and the people over at CreditCards.com are amazing, I’ve loved their website for a while now so to contribute to their cause is pretty amazing.  Go check it out.

This week is National Public Safety Telecommunications Week throughout the nation.  Cities everywhere are recognizing the work of the 911 dispatcher.  My city that I work for is no different.  This week, I was honored to be at the City Council meeting when our Mayor read the proclimation about the cities recognition of our hard work.

Often, we are not in this job because of the money or the benefits, but because it is our calling.  I have known for some time that I would never love another job in quite the same way I love my current job.  911 is the best way for me to help my community – by being a “silent hero” as they call us, but really by being there for citizens in need.  By protecting my officers and firefighters from harm.  It’s an honor to have the job, and an honor to have stood up with so many great people at the City Council meeting.  So without further ado, I wanted to share a picture taken there that was also on the front page of the cities website (you can click on it for a bigger picture).

Me and important people at the City Council meeting
(L-R) Fire Chief, Dispatch Supervisor, Mayor, Communications Manager, Me (Jennet!), Police Chief, and our Support Services Captain.

Like I said, it was an honor to be up there.  They even let me hold the proclimation! Woo!

About 3 weeks after my parents died, I commented to my husband that it felt like I’d already moved on in so many ways.  I mean, don’t get me wrong – realistically speaking I’m still going to be coping with this for a long time, and I know that there is still a lot of grieving to do (which is hard when my house is full of their “stuff”).  But by and large I did not experience the full week of mourning that some cultures observe, I did not cease to function at most given moments, and I handled it pretty decently all things considered.

One of the things that Justin said was that part of the reason was because we live in a culture rich with instant information – we are CONSTANTLY processing information way more rapidly than ever before.

For example: It’s 8:36AM and I’ve been awake for almost a full hour. I’ve had 2 cups of coffee, read a devotional, said a prayer, read some of a camera manual, checked my twitter, email, daily comics and started in on the news.  It’s been 50 minutes.  Seriously?  Yes.

On any given day I have access to thousands of news articles at my fingertips, most of which are sad and depressing.  If I took any time to really seriously think about the situation the people in the news article are dealing with, I’d be a wreck.  I absorb the information and move on.  We do that while surfing the web because it’s become habit, but more and more we do it in real life because it’s convenient.  I’m not saying that you’re not hurt by something your spouse does, or an offhand remark at work doesn’t have a bitter sting.  I’m just saying that we (as a worldwide society) are getting pretty darn comfortable not dealing with our emotions.

This article from the Telegraph confirms part of what I’m saying, and reading it brought forth the memory of my husband and I’s conversation.

I’m not wise enough to give anyone advice on this situation, but I am observant enough to see it going on. I can’t tell you how to fix this, but I can suggest sitting down for a few minutes to make sure you’re not flying through this world at the speed of information.  Make sure you’re giving yourself enough time to feel.  Even when it hurts, it will bring you to a better place.