Monday, June 29, 2015

A Teacher Who Made A Difference

I cried over this lady at church yesterday. I was thinking about ditching church. I think I knew it would be difficult and if I just didn't show up I wouldn't have to say goodbye wrong. Even though J wasn't going he made me go. I said my goodbyes to everyone and honestly I was doing fine until I had to say goodbye to Peaches' teacher Sister R. The back story on this is that when Peach first moved out of nursery to sunbeams it was a nightmare. She had a best friend Skylie and they were a handful. They wouldn't sit in chairs, they were always climbing under the table in class, they didn't listen. I knew about this because people were always telling me how terrible they were. Then sister R got called to be their teacher. She was a God send. She would get under the table with them, she would play horse with them and let them ride on her back, she would play twirl skirts, she would tell them stories of her dogs with pictures, she would bring activities related to the lesson, a big snack with water ever week, and on holidays she'd go all out. It should come as no surprise those girls loves sister R and sister R loved those two terrors along with the other two girls in the class. She was always telling me how much she loved them and what a blessing they were to her. Now all my friends love Peach. I can't tell you how many friends I've had say, "of all your kids Peach is my favorite," and it isn't hard to understand why they say it. She is quick to smile and fun, she thinks of everyone as a friend, she is polite, she is exceptional nice, but at that time when everyone just saw her as extra work Sister R's love insulated my heart from their comments and warmed my soul.

When it came time to switch teachers at the end of the year I was exceptionally sad and then they moved Sister R up with her girls! It has been so great. Just a few weeks ago she took all the girls out to Chick-fil-a, to the nail salon to get their nails done by her nail tech so she could meet "her girls", and then to her house to play with her puppies. She was showing me the pictures as I picked Peach up and I thought, " Oh how I love this woman," but I managed to get through the conversation without crying. Then I walked down to the clerks office to have our records send to our new ward. (Ward is the congregation you go to decided by geographical boundaries...records are kept on all the members of the church, they have contact info and the dates of all your blessing, baptism date, temple endowment date, marriage date). Sister R's husband was in there. He was trying me how much she was going to miss us and skylie who moved last week and I tried to tell him how much I loved her and what she meant to me and I just lost it. Big ugly sobs, I had to cough three times just to get my breathe enough to apologize. I love sister R so much. I hope she understands how much her simple service of love will always mean to me!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

My Favorite Literary Character From My Son's Perspective

We had a TV growing up but most of my life it wasn't hooked up to anything.  My mom did let us watch movies though, mostly musicals and PBS and books that had been made into movies.  One of my all time favorites was the Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea the 1985 and 1987 versions.  I watched those movies a lot.  I also read some of the books although oddly not all of them (I think I should revise that) and when my kids were younger I read them the first book Anne of Green Gables (I probably should read more of series to them as well).  I just barely introduced the family to the Anne of Green Gables 1985 movie though.  I was so excited to share it with them.  Anne is such a spunky character.  I knew the kids were going to love her, and for the most part I was right, the kids did love her.  All my kids except one.

 Image result for Anne of Green Gables

It isn't surprising that I loved Anne as a kid.  Anne was an orphan but she was so positive.  She was smart and eager to learn.  She was competitive and could beat all the boys.  She was adventurous.  She was mouthy.  She always seemed to be getting herself into trouble.   She was cursed with bright red hair that while she felt insecure about it, added to her charm.  She also had the perfect beau, Gilbert Blythe, her long suffering admirer really goes through the ringer for Anne and what girl doesn't want to be loved like that, unconditionally.

Image result for Anne of Green Gables

So I was excited to share this with my kids.  But while we were watching we got to the point where a certain Gilbert Blythe mentions Anne's red hair.

This scene is critical to the rest of the movie because it is the seed of Anne's grudge against Gilbert, which keeps his love unrequited for years.  This never bothered me as a kid.  The thing about woman is they don't seem to mind tortured relationships but when my son saw this and then all the slights that Anne does toward Gilbert as a result of it he turns to the whole family and says, "Anne is a jerk!" "No she's not," I instantly responded.  My husband happened to be walking through the room at the moment, "Yes she is."  "You guys are crazy!"  But then I started to think about it, and you know what, Anne sort of is a jerk.  She holds a grudge on this for so long even though Gilbert is one, obviously just trying to get her attention and two, from this moment on makes it clear he is apologetic, very interested in her, and continues to make huge sacrifices to improve Anne's life.  Funny how it took having a son to look at this story from Gilbert's side and darn it, the kid is right.  I've decided to hold off introducing the kids to Anne of Avonlea.  Don't want the kid ruining that one for me :)

Thursday, June 18, 2015

American Sniper Review

So who has anxiously been awaiting this review or maybe what I should ask is does anyone even read this blog any more?  Dr. J was teasing me yesterday that I pretty much just write this blog now to vent.  Yikes, is that true?  Maybe...if so forgive me while I vent a little about American Sniper.  This weekend we had a chance to finally see the movie American Sniper.  It was OK.  I remember when it came out there were people that were outraged by it and then on the other hand there were people who were outraged it didn't win any major awards.   I wasn't on either side of that.  I mean let me clarify this by saying, EVERYONE was robbed by that terrible movie Bird Man winning everything.  That thing should have been called Bird Poop, but while American Sniper was fine, it was no Saving Private Ryan.  The thing that makes American Sniper is actually Chris Kyle, any emotion I felt for the movie or the story was actually just emotion I felt for Chris Kyle and his wife.  Bradley Cooper was not bad as Chris Kyle but I really felt like Clint Eastwood kind of missed it.  All the material was there but somehow when he was putting the movie together I felt like Chris Kyle's humanity was lost a little.  If I had to pick between the two I'd stick to the book and not bother with the movie.  J who didn't read the book thought the movie was good.

Let me take you back to when I first picked up the book American Sniper. I had read half way down the first page and I turned to J and said, "I am going to have a problem with this guy."  I had just read the line where he calls Middle Easterners "savages" and it just bothered me.  When people paint an entire group of people with a broad stroke it makes me extremely uncomfortable, especially because I know a lot of Middle Easterns, I even spent a summer in the Middle East and while I'd say that for the most part people in the Middle East are terrible at standing in lines, most Middle Easterners who I've met and extremely generous and kind.  I put the book down for a second and I read some reviews and then I picked the book up again totally prepared to hate Chris Kyle but something happened and by the end of the book my opinion had almost about faced, and honestly almost a love for the man and for his wife and kids had grown, and just deep appreciation for the sacrifices that they went through.  There is never a moment in American Sniper where Christ Kyle doesn't admit to feeling like he is doing right.  There is never a moment where he admits to feeling bad about any of his kills or wishing that he couldn't have killed more people.  There is never really even a moment when he can come to grips with the fact that what he was doing was having seriously bad consequences for himself and his family.  It is crazy and yet that is where I found my most sympathy for Chris Kyle.

I read some places in the media where he was called a psychopath.  I honestly disagree.  The medical definition of a psychopath goes as follows: A person with an antisocial personality disorder, especially one manifested in perverted, criminal, or amoral behavior.

It is true that Chris tells us that he feels no guilt and he has certainly picked a violent profession, but his body tells something else.  It is pretty obvious 2/3 of the way through the book that Kyle was suffering some pretty severe PTSD.  The part in the movie where he refuses to take the shot of the boy holding the rocket launcher really did happen.  Regardless of what he say and the narrative he wants us to believe and probably the narrative he is trying to convince himself of it is pretty obvious that his actions were a taking a toll on him and on his family.

Also part of what makes a psychopath is the desire to engage in amoral behavior and Chris Kyle doesn't see what he is doing as amoral.  In fact the exact opposite is true.  He is burdened with this unrealistic feeling of obligation that if he doesn't stop the enemy that he is responsible for the deaths of the US marines and Seals around him.  He is like the living embodiment of a comic book super hero.  I don't say that in any way to glorify him or what he did, rather I mention it because I think in our Superhero movie and cartoon loving way we often kind of brush over the emotions that would be involved with taking on this sort of task.  People have to feel this obligation to a greater "good" or cause.  They feel that is is there responsibility alone.  They have to justify their own actions to themselves because what is being asked of them is often terrible.  There is a reason Bat Man is called the "Dark" Knight and it isn't because he wears all black and hangs out in a cave.  I do not like the things that Chris Kyle did but I have an understanding of the fact that when our country or any country chooses to go to war that there are people who are actually going to have to kill people.  It is why I don't like war.  It is why I wrote a bunch of letters to senators before we went to Iraq begging, pleading, asking them to reconsider.  But once we went we were there and people were going to die and suddenly people like Chris Kyle become a necessity to us even at the sacrifice of themselves.  I should probably mention at this moment that my father was actually in Iraq Two.  He belonged to a group of army reserve guys who drove big huge rocket launching guns.  We don't really talk about that time very much but I know that while he didn't see the Iraq people as his enemy that he also felt an obligation to the men and woman that he served with and to the country who had asked him to relocate himself into a desert war zone.  "War is hell."  Is difficult for those of us sitting in our air conditioned homes watching wars and conflicts on TV to understand the morality of war or the cost asked to be born on the souls of those sent to fight out the will of Presidents, Kings, Generals, and Majors.  The choices seem so easy or the reactions so harsh and yet we are insulated from the realities.  A lot of people have mentioned on this blog post they had no intention of every reading American Sniper and I guess I can see why, but I have to say if you has a desire to look into the mind of someone being asked to live out sort of our modern war time this a really interesting book.  It might not be for everyone.


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