On Why I Care SO Much About Climate Change

Moms Clean Air Force director, Dominique Browning, opened the press conference, surrounded by 500 passionate moms, fathers, children, nurses, reporters all hoping to communicate our goal clearly and effectively!

A week ago, I woke up in a hotel room in Washington D.C. I was there to participate in the Moms Clean Air Force Play-in for Climate Change. I had left my home and gotten on a plane… two, in fact… to participate in this event. I haven’t flown in nine years due to an extreme fear and the lucky excuse of having small children who don’t travel well. Yet, there I was, miles away from home because the issue of Climate Change is very important to me.

I suppose I’m a bit of an anomaly. I’m Baptist. I’m Republican. I’m Ohioan. On paper, those three details do not make an environmentalist. But not shown on said paper is my background as a biologist. What does not show are the months/years I spent following around my ecology professor asking endless questions, reading studies and soaking in lectures. What you cannot see are the weekends I spent as a college student doing lake monitoring, cleaning up creek beds in Tulsa or recording data about the wetlands. And before, you don’t see the teenager pestering her Biology teacher to explain how micro-evolution works when species are exposed to chemicals in their environment.

Four years ago, I was introduced to Moms Clean Air Force. I had an infant and a toddler. I was terrified of driving in traffic. I was afraid of navigating Columbus to attend group meetings. But what I was not afraid of was calling up to the Ohio Senate and talking to staffers for my congressmen. I was not afraid to educate them, ask questions about their standing on coal fired power plants. And when the opportunity came to go and speak to these politicians in person came, I got in my car and drove downtown… during morning rush hour. As the years have passed, I’ve gotten to be involved in ways that my biology degree did not prepare me for… I blew my senior presentation despite having two semesters of oral communication classes as preparation. {Apparently, I talk at mach speeds when I’m nervous and have yet to really conquer that.} I’ve discovered how much I actually enjoy speaking in front of people. Especially when I get to talk about science.

That’s the thing. Climate Change is actually science. It’s not an excuse. It’s not emotional {although sometimes I get choked up talking about the effects of climate change on our children}. It’s not a hoax. And it most certainly is not something that is politically one-sided. We are all impacted whether we “believe” it or not. As I type, a series of strong storms are headed my way. Did you know that as the temperature on earth increases, it adds moisture to the air? The moisture in the air joins our water cycle {a favorite topic of mine, so if you have questions, I love to talk!} increasing the intensity of our storms. That being said, the next time a nasty storm heads your way, or the forecast shows snow for days, stop whining. Call your senators and ask them to consider their position on pollution. In addition to making our air nasty, pollution creates what could be described as a fuzzy blanket around the earth, trapping the heat and moisture.

It doesn’t matter if you in New York or Amish Country, Ohio. We are all impacted by the pollution in our air. Some to a greater degree than others {I’m looking at you China}, but it is incredibly foolish to think that just because we may not live in an area with poor air quality, we are not effected. Those particles are in the air and the air moves. And fyi: state boundaries mean nothing to particulates traveling on the breeze. So it’s time to stop pointing fingers and stand up. If you live in an area of good air quality, consider yourself lucky, but don’t forget about the children suffering from asthma who aren’t as fortunate you. Aren’t quite sure what all the fuss is about? Check out this page for plenty of info on health, climate change, pollution and extreme weather. Read up and educate yourself. Gather your friends and take a stand. And call me. I’ll stand with you!

Dear Future Daughter-in-Law

Yesterday was  Liam’s 6th birthday. SIXTH! I feel that I should launch a complaint against Father Time for being so sneaky with the whole slipping-calendar-years-past-me-without-notice bit. Due to some scheduling craziness, I didn’t see him until right before his party last night and while looking at one of those “on this day” type apps for my Facebook account, I was reminded of this article. I wrote it for our church’s women’s ministry newsletter several years ago and it seemed the appropriate time to share it here.

I tweaked this letter a bit from the original because in the passing years, my thoughts on the topic of marriage have changed. It’s less black and white than I once believed it to be… we are humans, each with different personalities and what works for my marriage may not work for someone else’s. But the main point I hope to get across that although there are differences, they should be cause for celebration, not comparison.

To my future daughter-in-law

Though I do not yet know you, I know that God does. I know that He is right now shaping you into the woman you will be for my son. Right now, he is my sweet, precious little baby but someday, he will be your husband. I am doing my best to raise him to be a godly young man for you; to train him to be the best he can be. 

I pray for you as you grow up. I pray that you have a deep love for God and for people. I pray you love my son more than life itself. I pray that some one somewhere teaches you how to be a godly, feminine woman. 

I want you to know that being a godly wife and mother isn’t about your personality; it’s about your heart. I have spent years struggling with my feelings on how to go about being a godly woman since I have such a strong, independent personality. I honestly believe that God uses a spirit like mine if I am willing to let Him. Just because I am independent doesn’t mean that I have to be in charge. If you are like this submitting to your husband will be the greatest challenge in your marriage, but also the most rewarding one. 

We live in a world where the successes in marriage and family are not applauded as much as being a “strong, independent, conquering” woman. You don’t have to be a feminist to be an individual woman, but you also don’t have to be a wimp to be feminine. Don’t ever allow someone to tell you that you are wasting your life by wanting to stay at home with your children. If you chose to work outside the home, then cherish those moments you have with your husband and your children, and don’t allow someone to say you aren’t enough. Don’t spend your free time being busy just because everyone else says you have to be.

In Proverbs 31, King Lemuel outlines what an excellent wife looks like. She’s tender, not weak. She knows how to manage her home, but she isn’t bossy or overbearing. The woman being described is one who has learned to balance the management of a household and family gracefully. Her children know that she disciplines out of love, not control. She has learned to be a supportive wife and a caring mother. Did you catch that? She has learned. She didn’t walk up the wedding aisle and was instantly perfect and a role model. It takes time to learn how to be “excellent”, but it’s not out of reach.

The road to being a godly wife and mother can be long. It takes experience and discipline to reach your goal. It’s a challenge worth taking everyday. I pray that as you read this letter you know how much I love you and welcome you into my family.

Faithfulness on Friday

On this Friday morning, I’m sitting outside while the breeze blows my devotional off the table repeatedly and the kids play. It’s going to be another hot one today and I have to laugh at the times I thought that for sure I’d be able to survive without the air on until July. Ha. The best laid plans, right?image

I ordered the Study on the book of Hosea from Kristen and so far have really enjoyed it. When I’m done with that, I’ll start the one from She Reads Truth on Hosea. What can I say? When I find something I’m interested in, I tend to soak up every word on the topic.

This morning as I put laundry in the washer, I was thinking about my life in the last 10 years. I’ve had to repeatedly filled out health history forms recently and so I’ve had plenty of time to review decisions and choices and simple products of time. And as we have nailed now causes for why my body is on a suicide mission, I’ve considered how we often ignore other ways we destroy ourselves.

Sure. There disease is everywhere we look. It’s in bodies as the result of irresponsiblity and the result of genetics. It comes because we cannot prevent every possible interaction of bacteria or viruses. Disease is just a part of living. But we so often forget the diseases of our souls.

This morning, I couldn’t help but think back over the last 10 years and realize that while my body has not improved, the diseases of comparison and inferiority and insecurity and bitterness have been treated and healed in my life. And while my physical symptoms have lately caused me to spend more days than I care to admit laying on the couch, exhausted and ill, bitterness has not reared it’s ugly head.

Perhaps, it’s because I’ve learned more about the sovereignty of God. Perhaps, I’ve accepted that I live in a fallen world and sometimes, that nature just does it’s own thing. Perhaps, I’ve finally realized how loved we are and that if we can just accept the love offered, we can spend our time celebrating the 1,000+ blessings in our life inspite of the hardships.

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; GREAT is Your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

Maybe you already know this. Maybe accepting that you are loved and even when things are horrid, He is still good, is not a challenge… or one you can easily usurp. Perhaps, I’m just slow in this realization. Regardless, as I thought over my life and where I am right now, I couldn’t help but feel so grateful. Grateful that in spite of how I feel, I know He. Is. Good.

The quiet of Tuesday

On Tuesdays, I am alone. Matt works late and I purposely choose to keep my Tuesdays empty. I rarely answer my phone and the kids and I hunker down in the quiet. Tuesdays call for quiet in my opinion.

For our family, Wednesday is typically the busiest day of the week, with Thursday following shortly behind. Tuesday has become my fortress. We read and create and play. I skip the laundry and don’t cook. Tuesday is for me.

I rearranged the dining room this afternoon. It’s summer and I want to face the yard while I sew. There are baby quilts to be made and Christmas gifts to begin. I know. It’s June. But when the Fall comes and I start school up again in full force, I won’t have the time to sit and sew for hours. I learned that lesson last year as I frantically scrambled to finish those last few stitches. 

This morning, I overheard Liam telling Matt that on Tuesday, we do nothing. Maybe nothing compared to other families, but our nothing today involved hours of imaginative play, the creation of a 3-d art project for my grandmother, Liam choosing books all on his own to read to us at bedtime, and my trimming the tree out front so I can see the wren box from my desk.

Tuesday is my ordinary day. As Emily Freeman says, “Tuesday gives me permission to be unremarkable.” I appreciate the ordinary. I appreciate this permission to just exist and celebrate that simple fact. For in this world where I feel the constant pressure to improve and achieve and do more, Tuesday brings comfort in the settled quiet.

Wednesday has enough for three days of activity, but for tonight, I shall curl up on my couch, watching Anne of Avonlea and sewing. Tuesdays are ordinary and Tuesdays are for me.

Graduation

My youngest brother graduated from high school on Sunday. And that morning I just couldn’t grasp the passage of time. He’s been a part of our lives for almost 17 years and yet it seems like yesterday he toddled in through our door for the very first time.

Because I’m so much older than him and having the advantage of being the sibling and not the parent, I’ve gotten to cherish his life for him and not experience the hardships like one responsible for the outcome of his development. Toddlers are hard. Elementary aged children are begging for balance between still wanting to curl up with their lovey and keep up with their peers. Preteens are dramatic. Teenagers are moody and hormonal. And if you can only focus on these hallmarks of development, it becomes difficult to cherish the moments.

Of all the advice I got prior to having children, I wish that had more prominent. I wish more people had been willing to acknowledge how difficult life is and yet how much beauty can be found in the midst of the hard. Instead, I was given endless commentaries on diapers and feeding and discipline, but no one really told me that I’d never get any of those moments back.

Watching him walk across the stage and get that diploma was one of the most special moments of my life. I wished I could have frozen that moment for a while and just soaked it up. I’m not sad the moment is over, I’m just realizing even more so how quickly life passes by.

I’m so grateful for the moments I get to experience… and my thoughts turned to his birth mother. I wished I could have shared this with her. I wish I could have told her how wonderfully he turned out. How handsome he is. I wished she could have seen his soccer accomplishments. Of course I wish these moments for the mother he and I share, but she got to see so much in the years she was alive. Birth mama only got him for 8 days. And I wonder if in those 8 days, she was able to soak up enough of him?

I came home and hugged my own babies a little tighter. The moments will pass quickly between now and the day when each one walks across the graduation stage. Until then, I plan to soak in as much as I can of not only my babies, but my brother. I can’t wait to watch their lives unfold!