The Small Percentage That Matters to Me

I wrote this yesterday for my personal facebook page, but it got such an unexpected response, I thought I’d share it here. Post any thoughts in the comments.


Let’s talk masks, guns, and freedom. Notice I used the oxford comma—and I’m probably one of a very small group of authors to loathe that ostentatious little wiggle—to make sure there’s no confusion here.

Freedom is a beautiful word that’s been hijacked, much like the words educated, hate, and love.

Although my worldview is largely conservative, I don’t like using that word anymore because people have made it an uncrossable line. I believe immigrants should be shown compassion. Some of them just want to do what our ancestors did and make a better life. I wholeheartedly believe in women’s rights, but I also believe in the rights of the unborn. There are some people who should not. ever. have. a. gun, but I also have the experience of growing up in rattle snake country where shooting them was the quickest way for my dad (the Gunsmith) to keep his three young children safe. Seriously, they often hid underneath the pallets outside the back door, or within the woodpile in which we dipped our arms and feet in quite frequently.

When I run I don’t wear a mask. Can’t. I have allergies that mimic asthma. When we first moved to the Prescott area I had an inhaler for a short time. I want to laugh at people I pass who pull their hats over their faces, or pretend to see something the opposite of where I am so they don’t catch my heavy running breaths. In reality, passing a runner outside is not a good way to get sick.

But I do wear one when I go shopping. We have an immunosuppressed child, and although he’s doing better than he ever has, we wear our masks for him, but not just him. We have other family members at higher risk, not to mention the fact that my husband and I work at a retirement place. We’re surrounded by those with weakened immune systems.
Masks don’t protect the wearer unless they’re of the N95 variety, but they do protect those around us. How many of us think that matters anymore? Masks will protect others. My son is an other. Our parents and people we care for at work are others. If you are pro-life consider thinking of Others as those who need our help to survive.

Do I think our freedoms are being whittled away? Yes, as a person of faith I see this every day. Do I think there are corrupt politicians? Of course. Where you have power, there will be those who give in to the temptations that come with that. Do I think the media has been irresponsible? Absolutely. But not all politicians and media are the bad guys, and you have to wonder how much harder their jobs are because of those who are. The truth is, we don’t know all the facts, and probably won’t. Ever.

That’s where discernment and thoughtfulness come in. Just like I have to decide whether or not a politician cares for women’s (and minorities) rights or just wants to use us to get our votes, I have to consider my mask and make decisions.
Do we have the right not to wear them? Yes.
Are there circumstances where someone may not be able to wear one? Yes.
But for most of us, does it do more harm or good to others when wearing them in public?

Can we make this thing, this ONE thing about something other than our political leanings? Can we recognize that COVID-19 is the snake underneath the pallet, threatening our loved ones? Can we consider others’ welfare even when we don’t know them?

That’s what freedom is, pushing the might-be intentions of corrupt people aside to be a united people again. Can we start with the mask?

BTW, if my dad the Gunsmith, Cowboy, Soldier, Guy-who-actually-drove-cattle-across-Arizona can, one day, decide that hunting is not for him anymore because he loves animals THAT much and crosses “the line” then so can we.

The Road to Greekdom, and Other Good Things

Since sugar has been named the super villain ingredient of all diets, my family has decided to cut down. It’s hard with kids, especially on our Harkins Summer Movie Fun Days. I let my two have a drink and a small bag of candy, which is still too much, but it keeps my son focused on the movie instead of turning the theater into his personal gymnasium. We’re working on an alternative.

But when they see the full popcorn/drink/candy/villain pack that many of the parents buy their kids, they think I’m denying them one of life’s greatest pleasures.

And the words cavities, illness, and tummy ache from planet Naseum don’t do much to placate them.

So we started with yogurt. I thought it was healthy—my son eats bucketsful of the 20150604_124252stuff—but when I actually read the sugar content, I nearly lost my Yoplait all over the kitchen. You could make sugar sculptures of superheroes eating the villains with the amount of sugar in one cup. So we’ve gone Greek.

It was a bit of a tough sell at first—I had to hunt down lemon meringue, Boston cream pie and pie flavors of all kinds to get them to eat it. But what motivated me to stick with it was my cousin. Recently diagnosed with leukemia, he cleaned the sugar and other “junk” from his diet, successfully lowering his white blood cell count. Motivated by this change, we’re taking one healthy step at a time.

After about two weeks of whining, they gave in and embraced the greek.

Then we took off for Disneyland, the land of regular sugar and more expensive sugar. Our hotel served a great breakfast, but they only had one kind of yogurt. That’s right; it was a giant bowl full of strawberry, sugar-dumped, disease-causing yogurt. But since we were on a rare vacation, I dug in, filled my bowl, and sat at our table with a view of Cars Land. Spoon to hungry mouth.

It. Was. Disgusting. I could finally taste the amount of sugar we had consumed day in and day out for years. It was like the time I switched from milk chocolate to dark chocolate, never being able to go back because the extra sugar in the m.c. makes me feel sick.

Should we do this with everything? I started thinking about the excess we surround ourselves with: dust covered stuff over all the shelves at home, over processed appearances (although we’re pretty good at keeping that to a minimum), food just as equally processed. I believe we’re consuming more hazards than actual sustenance.

This is the land of plenty, for sure. A great country, no doubt, but we’re all drowning in the additives.

I think good health is in shedding much of what we think we need.

My new goal, in between raising a family and working, is too take a good long look at our life, and really see what’s immediately good versus what’s everlasting good.

What about you? Have you stopped to reevaluate about the way you take care of your health? Tell us in the comments.