Thursday, March 10, 2016

Politics - They Aren't Like They Used To Be

I can't believe what the world of politics has become. Absolute SAVAGE CHAOS! And guess what? I'm not even talking about the politicians! I'm talking about the general population. That might even mean you...

Only a few years ago, and most definitely when I was a kid, politics were a much kinder world. You could actually voice who you liked, and that was that. There wasn't any hate associated with the opinions, and it didn't matter if your friend liked one candidate and you liked another. It was that plain and simple. I can remember in college talking about the election one year, and one of my classmates asked who I was voting for, so I told him, and he said, quite cheekily and with a smile, "Well, I'm voting for this guy, so my vote cancels yours out and yours cancels mine." We laughed and went on, even though we both did care about who we were casting our vote for. But we didn't care to the extent that we hurt each other. We didn't hash it out to the bitter end and trade insults.

Something happened this morning that made me start thinking about how hateful politics have become, and why do people feel like they can degrade other people for their choices? I'm not even referring to the actual politicians. I am referring to We The People, believe it or not. Us. You and I. The basic, general population. Ironic that we live in America, land of the free, and yet people are shamed if they don't like the same candidate as someone else, isn't it? And do you know why people are being so hateful? This is just my opinion, of course, but it is the very thing you are reading this post on - THE INTERNET! Or, as I like to call it, THE DEVIL.

I think social media, although it can be a very fun thing, has caused some folks to forget their manners and they are posting things they wouldn't say to someone's face if they had to look them in the eye. Social media is creating monsters. More bullies are born every day, and I think it partially stems from the internet and lack of actual eye to eye contact.

Frankly, this presidential election has been the most interesting of my lifetime. I've never cared as much as I do about who wins. But guess what? You certainly won't see me posting about it on Facebook or anywhere else, for that matter. You know why? Two reasons. One, I am scared! I don't want the repercussions from people who disagree. If I share my opinion, someone will be sure to tell me they don't agree and how stupid I am for thinking what I do, and I don't need that kind of negativity and stress. Two, because I respect other people's opinions. I don't need to share my opinion with the world - you are free to believe what you want, and I am free to believe what I want. Right? Long gone are the days when sharing was a safe thing to do.

This morning, I read a post that said, "I can't believe some of my so-called friends are supporting so-and-so." I am being vague on who the so-and so was on purpose, of course. Why buy in to the hate and negativity? And that is what it all boils down to, for me. Hate, negativity and disrespect. I wanted to reply, "Just because your friends don't support your candidate, you feel like it is okay to belittle them on social media? Would you do that to their face? My guess is, probably not." But again, I didn't want to get in an argument on the internet. I don't have time for that - who does? Seriously, if you do have time for that, reassess your life. Arguing online is a waste of valuable time that could be spent actually living your life and interacting with real, live people.

In any case, I really don't know why people feel compelled to be so negative and hurtful with regard to politics and their opinion. It does absolutely no good, and it doesn't change even a single person's mind. It just creates hate and hurt.

This election has even affected my B's. Brailey has been learning about it one of her classes and has become very interested. Our family as a whole is interested and spends a lot of time talking about some of the issues. Brailey has had a ton of questions, of course. Britt was actually bullied at school by a boy who assumed he was for a certain candidate and then told the entire class, as if it was wrong to support this particular candidate. Britt never even said it out loud, mind you! We even warned our kids to be careful with sharing their opinions, because even though we live in America, there are definitely repercussions for certain beliefs. This kid bullied Britt all day long and the next day, too, including mocking him, hitting him in the back of the head with a drawstring bag and telling him that "he sucked!" All over an election they can't even vote in. (Trust me when I say Big Mama took care of this matter.)

Back to the issue at hand, though, isn't it sad that we live in fear of sharing our opinions? I don't share our political beliefs on social media, because the absolute last thing I want to do on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter is argue with someone. I just want to see positive and fun things, and that is what I try to share, for the most part. I save my ranting for this blog, and even then I try to be respectful. And guess what? I don't really care what your political opinion is. We can all think what we want to think. It's okay! We can all have different opinions, and we don't need to shame one another if our way of thinking doesn't line up with someone else's.

Don't let the internet turn you into a bully. Don't let the internet give you a false sense of security. And if you wouldn't look someone in the eye and say it, for pity's sake, don't post it online. And if you would say something hateful to someone's face? Then you should stop. Seriously. It isn't okay. In the words of Jesus, "Peace. Peace I leave with you, peace I give to you." And maybe that is the best way of all to think about it - if you wouldn't say it to Jesus, then don't say it to anyone. Online or offline. Just don't say it. Keep your opinion to yourself and spread love and throw kindness around like confetti. That will go a lot farther than your political opinion. At least, that's my opinion.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Swimming, Dance, Basketball - A Continuous Loop of Activity

Another whirlwind week has come and gone, and here we are, a week and a half out from Spring Break. This year is flying by! On Wednesday of last week, Brailey and one of her middle school dance teams got to perform at a Sheldon basketball game. It was so convenient and perfect, because Britt had swim practice right next door! And his practice ended right when Brailey was supposed to peform. The buildings were within walking distance of each other, so it was truly ideal. It seems like forever since I have attempted to take a picture of Britt swimming. Although his swimming career has taken a back seat to basketball, he still attends practice as often as he can. If he isn't at basketball practice, then he is at swim practice. When he was so sick with pneumonia, he was unable to do anything for nearly three weeks, and that took a toll on his lungs. But he is back into good shape, now, and has been swimming well and looking strong. 
We left his practice a few minutes early, and unbelievably, made it just in time to see Brailey perform. It was a miracle we made it in time! We should have left swim practice sooner. But make it we did, and this hip hop dance is so cute! They usually have shirts tied around their waists, but the shirts were in an area they couldn't get to, so they weren't able to wear them. It didn't matter - they did amazing and looked super cute! 
And then, Friday evening we transitioned into basketball. Britt's team was in an End of the Season Tournament. This was a super fun game, and although it was very close, they won! Britt played the best he has ever played, and we were super proud of him.
He loves this team so much. They are just the sweetest boys! They have a lot of fun together and have come a long, long way from the beginning of the season. They have a long way to go, too, but to see them having fun and trying so hard is such a joy. Happiness is contagious!
One of Britt's teammates was giving him courage before the tip off. I love seeing supportive gestures like this!
I called Britt and the kid in the red the "Twin Towers," because they are both tall. The boy in the red broke his arm in PE, so he was unable to play in the last two weeks of the season, but he still came to support his team. I thought this was the sweetest thing ever! His parents are so kind and really good people, and that is the best part about these sports - the people you meet. You meet some real doozies, too, but overall, there are some really great people out there, and it is fun to get to know them. We were so impressed that Aiden came and supported his team, even though he couldn't play.
They were super excited about their win! They were doing some kind of celebration. Wins were so rare for the, it was definitely celebration worthy. And that brings us to Saturday. Below, a few of the dance teams. On this day, we had to split up - Brailey and I went to her dance competition while Brady took Britt to his basketball game. Sadly, they lost the game by two points. It was a tough loss. If they had won, they would have played for the championship, but they ended up playing for third. Britt had to miss the game for third place on Sunday, due to scheduling conflicts, but his team won it in overtime by two points, so it was exciting, and they did a cheer, "In the words of Britt," which made Britt feel a little better about missing the game. If they had won that second game, they would have played at 6 in the evening on Sunday, and we could have made it. That's the way the cookie crumbles, sometimes. Back to dance, though, I got some fun shots of Brailey. She is getting better and better with each dance. They changed the ending, and a couple of girls (not Bray!) forgot, but it is going to look perfect on Friday, I can feel it. And then they will be competing in April at the Junior State Championships, so by then, they will be spot on, I'm sure.
I do love this dance! It is so beautiful and fun. I just wish they lasted longer. I am always left wanting for more... I could watch them over and over.  

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Basketball - Winning!

I love this picture so much! I think it is the most adorable shot ever, pun intended! Britt and The Stitts. They are twins on his team and also in his class at school. They have become great friends over the course of the basketball season. Watching them interact is truly a joy! I asked them to strike a fun pose for me, and this is what they did, all on their own! They are three happy boys who play their hearts out. 
Britt's face is so fun to watch during games. He is happy, happy, happy. He was extra happy this game, because he beat his record of one basket and made two! And his team won, which was Britt's first win ever! He was sick with pneumonia when they won their other game. The rest have all been losses. He was so excited and proud of this game. He had two "swats," or checks as we called them back in my day. And he also had several rebounds. He is slowly but surely figuring things out. He gives 110% effort, and that is all that matters. He is making good decisions, for the most part. We will miss this little team of his. They are super sweet boys and have been fun to watch progress week by week. This is our last week with them - after this weekend, the Kidsports season will be over.
He got to play a lot this game, and his little face is so red! He needed this break.
I know the picture below is blurry, but look at that face! He tries so hard, and those big eyes of his are so intense. He is a fun kid to watch. We are trying to keep him humble. Humble and kind - that's my motto for our family. (I love every single word of that Tim McGraw song - my new favorite!) 

April - Here and Gone in the Blink of an Eye

It seems crazy to think Easter Sunday was on April Fool's Day this year, but it totally was. We started our Easter at mass with our fa...