July 9, 2014

love, people.

**climbs up soapbox**

I see so many young, educated, kind people in my Facebook newsfeed with such astounding beliefs that they support with their religious affiliations; e.g. "Abortion should be illegal because I'm a Christian and Christians believe that abortion is a sin," or "I can't believe a Muslim man has a position of power in our government because we were founded by Christians and our country should be based on Christian beliefs."

Let me say here: I DO NOT UNDERSTAND THIS. We are not a Christian nation (governmentally) any more than we are a Jewish, Hindu, or Islamic nation. (aside: this is true regardless of my religious affiliations or beliefs)

This is not complicated.

If you believe that abortion is a sin, don't get one. Taking it further: Don't patronize a physician who offers abortions to their patients. But for crying out loud, don't publicly shame a woman with different beliefs than you or commit an act of violence against that physician.

If you believe that the Islamic religion is heresy, don't practice Islam. Don't assume that every Muslim is "out to get you" or vandalize their sacred house of worship because you disagree.

If you disagree with gay marriage because it contradicts what you believe to be true, then don't support gay marriage. This does not automatically mean that you have the right to live in a country that outlaws gay marriage. Not everyone here believes what you believe. WE DON'T MAKE LAWS TO KEEP INDIVIDUALS HAPPY. We don't do this because it's impossible. Because everyone's happy is different.

If you want to be able to go to your church and worship without someone arresting you, shaming you, or physically attacking you, then accept the fact that you must, in a free society, be willing to allow others those same freedoms. Just get over it. Not everyone practices the same religion. Not everyone believes the same things. IT'S OKAY. The world is not going to end just because there's someone living in your neighborhood that believes different things. We probably all love our children the same, love our partners the same, and want to be happy the same.

I am tired of seeing my beautiful, intelligent, and full-of-brilliant-ideas friends acting like ignorant bigots. I am tired of wondering what kinds of conversations I am going to have to have with my son on the way home from a barbecue at your house after he has heard hateful, intolerant things come out of your mouths. I am tired of being sad at how my peer group views our country and the world.

I don't have to agree with you to love you, have a beer with you on the porch in the summer, or enjoy some time in the pool with you and our kids. If we agree, awesome. We can toast to being on the same page. If we don't agree, even better. Talk to me about it. Tell me what you believe and why and I'll tell you the same. Maybe we raise our voices or get frustrated because we're passionate. Maybe one of us changes our minds, maybe not. Maybe, if nothing else, we know each other a little better and are a little less likely to judge someone of the same ilk the next time we cross their path. Or we go home and we Google what we were talking about and we read and learn and we become better, more educated, more tolerant and more understanding people. And then we can start that cycle all over again the next time we find something that we disagree on. We show our children that we can be different and still be friends. We show them that we can raise our voices and be passionate without it being the end of a relationship. That we can love people who think differently or worship differently. And that we can do all of this without the world coming crashing down at our feet. That different is NOT SCARY.

Or, alternatively, we decide to stop hanging out. Even this isn't the end of the world. Here we teach our children that it's okay to walk away from influences that they don't feel are healthy, inspiring, or enjoyable. I can think of a lot of worse things that we could be teaching them.

I respect your right to whatever opinions you have. But I do not respect those opinions existing in a void. I don't respect someone who hates others simply because it's easy to hate. If you disagree, then spend all the time in the world disagreeing. But don't hate. Don't spread your negativity into my world. And learn! Learn about why you disagree. Learn enough so that you can explain to me, in human and kind words, why you believe what you believe. I will respect you even more for giving me the opportunity to understand someone else a little better, even if I walk away firm in my opposing beliefs.

As long as your beliefs aren't endangering the health, well-being, or safety of those around you, we're cool.

Because, here's the thing...

Everybody thinks that their belief is the right belief. Christians wouldn't be Christians if they didn't believe in God as their supreme being. But, Muslims wouldn't be Muslims if they didn't believe in their prophet Muhammad. Your beliefs are heresy to everyone else but you and those like you. THAT'S OKAY. It's okay for you to find your path in one place and another to find theirs elsewhere. You wouldn't stop hanging out with someone just because they hate the color green and it happens to be your favorite, would you?

My son is a wonderful, bright, kind person full of promise, curiosity, and love. I am doing everything in my power to make sure that his love and promise and curiosity isn't overshadowed by the negativity, hate, and intolerance in our world. It would be wonderful if you would help.

**climb down soapbox. hugs anyone who stayed to listen.**


July 3, 2014

VoxBox: TLC

I received the following products complimentary from Imfluenster for testing purposes. All opinions are my own. 

I was so excited to get my TLC VoxBox from Influenster and see what kind of goodies were waiting! This VoxBox was full of products made for Moms who need a little TLC of their own.

So many great products in this one!

A quick rundown of all the fun stuff I got to try:

Neo to Go by Neosporin
I love these little sprays by Neosporin! I've always kept one around and I even took one on our trip to Europe way back in 2008. Good thing because I ended up cutting my hand open while lugging my suitcase across Venice before sunrise to catch a train & managed to get myself all doctored up while sitting on a curb in the dark :) And now I'm loving having them around again, especially with a toddler in the house. Toddlerhood means lots of little bumps and scrapes and the Neo to Go is the perfect size for the diaper bag or my purse!

Breyer's Gelato Indulgences
Oh my! This stuff is delicious. Nick and I were pretty happy to see the coupon waiting for us and we were not disappointed. We got the Tiramisu flavor and spent a happy night watching Game of Thrones and munching on yummy gelato. We did not finish it in one sitting, I would like to add, but we certainly could have! We keep drooling over the Raspberry Cheesecake flavor and can't wait to try it on one of these hot summer nights.

yep. we ate it right out of the carton :) 
Ivory Bar Soap
I used to use Ivory soap when I was a kid because it was the only soap that didn't irritate my skin. Somewhere along the way I stopped using it and now that I've started using it again I can't imagine why! It worked out that my bar of soap was just about gone when the VoxBox arrived so I could start using the Ivory bar right away. I love it! It keeps my skin soft but makes me feel so clean. I'm really picky about feeling like I'm actually cleaning my skin and not just smearing oily goop around (like most body washes end up feeling like). I have very sensitive skin and the Ivory works wonders. I have definitely found my forever soap!

AVON Anew Reversalist Express Wrinkle Smoother
I'm new to the aging skin product world but have recently felt the pull to dip my toes into the pool of the wrinkle improvers out there. In a few short months I will be turning 30 and I'm definitely seeing the evidence of those years around my eyes and mouth. Needless to say, I was excited to see this product in the box. It's a translucent balm with a cream-to-powder finish that helps to blur the look of wrinkles around the eyes and on your forehead. It actually works! I can tell a difference when I'm wearing it and even though it's not like you just had plastic surgery, it does minimize the look of wrinkles and helps your makeup smooth out your skin even more. You can get 15% off an order of $50 or more on AVON.com with the code ANEW15. Go get prettier skin, ladies!

Puffs to Go
These tissues are with me at all moments. With allergy season is full swing and a toddler smearing peanut butter and jelly all over me at any time, tissues in my bag are a must!

Shell Fuel Rewards Network Card
The Shell Fuel Rewards Network just makes sense. We all (well, most of us) buy gasoline so why not save some money in the process? Joining this reward network lets you accrue points with every eligible purchase (not just gasoline!) and then use those points to save on gas purchases. For a limited time, you can even save 25 cents per gallon on your second fill up after joining the program. If you've gotta buy it, save some dough while you're at it :)

Can't wait for my next VoxBox!