Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Pollyanna or Raging Anarchist?

 Everyday I read the newspaper out loud to one of my clients who is visually impaired. We start off by saying, "Let's see whats going on in the world today!" And as we read and discuss current events....and I avoid any articles that are overtly political or violent.....we end by saying, "What a crazy world we live in!"

 Today I read an article about some Georgia school teachers who are going to prison for cheating on their students standardized tests. First of all, prison seems a little much for this crime. Second, why is it mandated that kids have to take standardized tests? Why are money and jobs tied to these scores? Can you imagine the pressure that the children AND the teachers feel? It has become a convoluted venture in rules, control, money, and educrats making decisions that really have nothing to do with kids at all.

Currently in Ca. there is legislation that is pushing its way through, making vaccinations mandatory IF you want your child to be allowed to participate in any sort of public education system. Amber Weiss who is a Physicians Assistant for a Wholistic Family Dr in Santa Cruz, wrote a thought provoking Facebook post about SB 277. (I will copy and paste it at the bottom of this post in case anyone is interested.)

Let me say here that I DO believe in vaccinations. I did thoughtfully vaccinate my own children. I DO believe they have eradicated many deadly diseases through out history. What I DON'T believe in is having our right to choose taken away from us.

We also read about the Meitiv Family of Maryland. You may know them as the "free-range parents" who allowed their children to roam, together, unsupervised by an adult. Gasp. I bet each of my readers have stories about their free roaming childhoods. Recently on my "neighborhood page," someone commented about some kids playing outside in the street. "Who lets their kids play outside in the street" said the irate poster. I live in a rural area.....who DOESN'T let their kids play outside in the streets?

Uhhhh, I spent my childhood staying out until it got dark, playing kickball in the street, or tag, or hide and seek through each others yards. At 9 years old I could walk the couple miles to the train station, get on it and take it 3 towns away to my mom's job, walk several city blocks to her job, and then we would have dinner together in the city and ride the train home together. During the summer if I left early enough, I could stop at the Oakland Art museum and meander my way through looking at everything. There is something to be said for allowing children freedom to be independent and do things that are unstructured. Times are different today, and we do need to be wise and safety minded in the care of our children. But we don't need to be crazy.

The conclusion my client and I came up with was that we are all too smart for our own good. We have complicated everything until its a mess. "Just because we can, doesn't mean we should." What happened to a child being interested in something so we let them explore and learn about it until their questions are answered? Until they have run their course with that topic? Why must we rob them of their joy of learning by *making* them regurgitate the information back to us? Why must we test them? It stops the flow of their natural interest. The pressure shuts them down.

What has happened to reading about and choosing which age appropriate immunizations to allow your baby to have, and then being able to postpone any that you find questionable until they are older and more able to handle the side effects? Why does vaccinating children need to become a law?

If I want to allow my child to walk home from the park with her sibling, is it right that CPS steps in and begins to monitor my parenting? The Maryland police/CPS created the very situation they were fearful of, by picking those kids up off the street and holding them for hours without contacting their parents.

When I think about life in my perfect world that exists only in my head, I think about this Utopian place that I want to live in. Where people are diligent and make good decisions for themselves and their communities. They consider the impact their actions will have on others. Where they think through what their children truly need to flourish and thrive, and then they implement it with as minimal as possible an impact on others. Where neighbors are respectful of each others choices and we view each other as partners, team mates, in this huge venture of living that we all carry out each day. I think of parents of children who have specific challenges being able to rely on the kindness of teachers, friends, family members, neighbors, strangers even.....to help meet those needs. Not criticize and judge and gossip. I think of our government officials coming down off of their pedestals and joining us in all of our everyday lives, working along side us. Think of what could be done with all of those incomes!!! All of those government structures and positions being torn down and we all  just co-habitate and get along and help one another.....just because its the right thing to do. If I see my brother stumble, I reach out and help him up. Not wonder if thats my job.

Maybe I've read Thoreau's Walden too many times! I am brought back to the thought that I only have control over my own life. Its too overwhelming if you look at it all, but I really really wish that wasn't so.

Always praying for all of us....and hoping like there is no tomorrow that we can all find a way to keep it simple!
Annette

 Amber Weiss
VULNERABLE POST: Until now, I have stayed out of the vaccine conversation. I have read the comments that some of you have posted and I have hesitated to engage in conversation about this divisive topic. But with legislation for state-mandated vaccination moving forward in California (SB 277), I am no longer willing to remain silent on this issue, which I see as a serious violation of freedom of personal choice and my right as a health care practitioner to provide informed consent. When I was at Stanford Medical School, I learned a lot about a lot of things, including the importance of informed consent. This means explaining to a patient the risks and benefits of any medication or procedure before administering it, especially when the risks include serious injury or death. As a physician assistant (PA), I consider it my role to educate my patients on the risks and benefits of every medication before I prescribe it - whether that medication is an antihypertensive (for high blood pressure), an antidepressant, an antibiotic, or a vaccine. Every medication has inherent risks and anyone with a smart phone can quickly look up a list of 20-30 common and/or serious potential reactions to any vaccine. There are also, of course, risks with any illness and I consider it my job to also educate people about those as well. So we discuss the risks of high blood pressure, depression, sinus infections, or measles. Then I help my patient figure out which risks they are more comfortable with and I support them with the choice that is least frightening for them. Some parents feel quite comfortable and competent in taking care of an acutely ill child; some parents bring their children to the doctor for every earache or fever. As as PA, I consider it my role to educate my patients and support them on their path to health. How we medicate ourselves or our children should be a personal choice, not a political one.
The current proposed legislation SB 277 would mandate that every parent vaccinate their child according to the full vaccine schedule, without the option to defer or delay any of them. In 1970, there were 23 doses of 7 vaccines. There are currently 69 doses of 14 vaccines by age 18 (36 of which are given in the first 18 months). THERE ARE CURRENTLY OVER 200 VACCINES IN THE PIPELINE. By saying yes to this legislation, we are agreeing to not only the current schedule, but agreeing to force children to take any future vaccines that are introduced to the schedule WITHOUT GIVING PARENTS OR DOCTORS THE OPTION TO CHOOSE.
I am PRO-SCIENCE, PRO-THINKING, and PRO-CHOICE. Regardless of your feelings about vaccination or the current vaccine schedule, ARE YOU READY TO GIVE UP YOUR POWER to say no to any of the upcoming 10, 20 or more vaccines that pharmaceutical companies come up with? The fact remains that the current vaccine schedule has never been tested for long-term safety in humans. Perhaps vaccination is the best thing to ever happen to the health of civilization. If so, then where are the studies comparing the health of fully vaccinated vs unvaccinated children? Keep in mind that in the past 5 years, pharmaceutical companies have paid over $13 BILLION dollars in criminal fraud claims (including failure to report safety data). Yet to question anything about vaccines or their safety is equivalent to heresy.
I believe that every parent should have the right to decide which medications to give their child. I don't believe that parents should give their freedom of choice to the extreme pressures of the pharmaceutical industry or the government. Would I vaccinate Skyler to ebola or any of the other 200 diseases for which vaccines are in the pipeline? I don't know, maybe. But that should be my choice, not the choice of the government or the pharmaceutical industry. If you think that you have the right to decide what goes in your body or your child's body, I encourage you to contact your representatives and voice your opinion against mandatory state-enforced vaccination. Are we going to live in a country where the government gets to decide what goes into your body or your child's body - or where you and your doctor get to decide? When we give in to fear, we often stop thinking rationally and we frequently give up personal freedoms.
I share the public health goals of wanting our kids to be safe and healthy, but I believe SB 277 is an extreme infringement on personal medical choice and should be scrapped while the current law (AB 2109), enacted in 2012, does its work. Currently, California law requires that parents discuss vaccination with their physician (or PA) if they intend to get their children exempted from vaccination. This law reduced personal belief exemptions 20% in the past year.
I wish I could show parents multiple studies comparing health outcomes for vaccinated vs unvaccinated kids and offer proof that vaccines are every bit as safe as we'd like to believe. But having heard from multiple parents, "My child was developing fine until we did their x month vaccinations," it's hard to ignore that maybe some kids really are more susceptible to vaccine reactions. Unfortunately, we don't currently have adequate medical tools to predict beforehand which children are more likely to suffer negative consequences of vaccination. Anytime there is a risk of serious injury or death, the principle of informed consent dictates that there should be a choice.
I realize that it is the medical equivalent of blasphemy to question anything about vaccines or the vaccine schedule. I realize that some people reading this will be shocked, some angry, some may "unfriend" me, and some may say hateful things behind my back. But for me, despite the social and professional risks, I am choosing to take a stand. I am not some crazy, uneducated, liberal parent (okay, the liberal part is true). I have two degrees from Stanford, including one from their medical school. I am a thoughtful citizen, a concerned parent, and a well-educated health care provider who understands that mandating the forceful use of a pharmaceutical product that carries even a small risk of serious injury or death violates the principle of informed consent.
I SUPPORT A PARENT'S RIGHT TO CHOOSE. If you agree, please share and have the courage to post a comment.
For those of you who want more info on this bill and how to stop it, check out www.sb277.org




Thursday, April 9, 2015

So this is what happened....

My ugly cry post was about a falling out between Molly and I. Im not going into all of the details because family fights just shouldn't be blasted all over the internet, but I am going to share what this particular family fight taught me about myself.

First of all, this fight came out of nowhere. She and I have always been very close and we have never had disagreements that lasted more than a few hours. So this freaked me out and I acted accordingly. In my opinion she was jumping into something without thinking it through, without cautiously looking at all of the angles and waiting to let things unfold and open up before her....instead she was blasting ahead with no care or concern for anything but what was in front of her.

My response was old behavior:
  • talk and tell my every thought about the choices she was making (I called it honest communication)
  • sarcasm
  • fear
  • keep talking even when no one wants to hear it
  • crying buckets
  • deep sadness and feeling like the world was ending
I said my part, we met and tried to work things out a few times which ended with more hard feelings. We went round and round in this circle. We weren't hearing each other. Our usual connection was broken.

I read my daily readers and kept getting the message to let go. The dad gently (for the most part) kept reiterating that I needed to step back and let go....it was all very concerning, but my demands for change and acknowledgement were only pushing her further away. My sponsor said it was time to let go and let God be in charge. My best friend said, "Ok its time be silent now." WTF?! Isn't anyone on my side?!

What I realized from this whole situation was that I have "letting go" down to a science with "my girl" but not with other areas of my life. I can trust God, I can see her nestled in the palms of His hands, but only her. I still held claim to most other areas of my life.

What came out was that I was quite angry that I was constantly being asked to "let go" of people that I love, of anything that mattered to me, really.

Of everything.

I was so mad! Why are we given things that are so precious to us and then we are expected to hold them with open hands?! What the hell is up with that? The ultimate God joke.

As I have focused on my own self and stopped focusing on Molly and all of her stupid decisions (wink) I realized that living a life of surrender is just that. Its a life filled with surrender of EVERYTHING. We don't get to pick and choose the things we will relinquish control over. If we are going to trust God to be in charge, we hand Him our life and say, "Here you go, do what you will with it."

I will say that He gracefully takes us through a process and this Molly ordeal was just another layer being peeled back in me to show what was really there and what else I needed to trust Him with.

The irony is that as I began to shut up and let go, Molly began to come back around. She began to seek me out. Things aren't the same and may never be, but I am ok with that. I think what we will be left with will be a healthier relationship, close, but open and autonomous for the both of us. I think that all of this holy hell we just went through will produce good things for us.... if I can stay out of the way and let things unfold and open up before me. Just like I want her to be able to do in her life. (She did learn her "forcing solutions" skills from the best.)

At one point in our "trying to work it out" conversation she said, "Wellll we are so damned much alike... we are both stuck being right!"

Yep.....until one cried "uncle" and stepped down and surrendered, because really letting go is the only way to really get what we want, in its purest and most authentic form. Which is peace and assurance that a power greater than us has it all under His watchful eye.

Always praying for us all......
Annette


Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ugly

You know when you are going through a process and it gets ugly inside and outside of yourself? My response has been ugly at times, I have felt intense pain, I have ugly cried so many times this past month my eyes are constantly puffy, I am often confused at what is actually even happening, I question my emotional and mental health.....and I definitely question others emotional and mental health. I am afraid and I react in fear sometimes, by trying to control the uncontrollable.

I have worked so hard and for so long to let go of my girl, to accept her as she is....and I am seeing that I have compartmentalized those skills just for her. I am not as capable when it comes to other people in my life. I still think I know best for other people. (Because clearly I do!)  I want to fast forward through the lessons of life and just have those I love arrive at the end result, nice and tidy, looking beautiful with nothing out of place. If I could only have my way, just once! Why are we asked to constantly let go? To live a life with open hands? Why can't we control and fix just once and hurry through and put it all together and be done with it?!

I have worked my own program long enough that I know the answers to those questions. That doesn't mean that it doesn't frustrate the holy heck out of me though. I am SO frustrated!!!

This week will be the beginning of me having Thursdays off. I need to go in and train my replacement for a couple hours that morning....but then my plan is to go straight to Adoration at the Catholic church to sit quietly with God and pour out my heart and listen for His voice. I miss Him. I have been so busy I haven't been reading, hardly praying except for the occasional "Lord have mercy!"

I began reading my daily readers a couple days ago:
Jesus Calling
Courage To Change
And today I added, The Language of Letting Go.

It felt so good. The words comforted me, encouraged me to keep moving forward....even if I can't pull it all off perfectly, keep moving.

I think it is safe to say that we are a work in progress until we are dead. I will never have all of the answers. Ever. And there are days that that pisses me off...but I will live.

Lord have mercy! Please!
Annette

Friday, March 13, 2015

The quiet of the night

I am on an overnight job tonight. I had to take the dog out and after a whirlwind of a week, I stepped outside to this beautiful spring evening with this sweet old dog on his leash, the scent of the lilacs all around, the night sounds chirping, the moon overhead....and I immediately felt myself come down off the edge. It was like a cold drink of water after being lost in the desert. We walked a ways for him to potty, and all I could think of was the time my son told me that nature and the mountains were like drugs to him. Yes! I miss hiking. I miss that feeling of peace and solitude up in the mountains. I miss being still.

I think, and I hope I don't jinx it by saying this....but I think we may have found a girl to take one of my days each week. I need a break, I need time to do my own life. I used to be able to do this crazy schedule...but all I can think of these days is that I want to be home with Little One. I have so many people who need help though. Its so hard to say no sometimes. Most of the time. Add in that I love to be needed....and you have the perfect recipe for a crazy woman!

Peace will come. I will seek it out. I can't live a life of chaos any more. I am getting too old and too tired. I have to be more gentle and take better care of myself. No matter what is going on with anyone else or how much they need my help.

Annette
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Friday, March 6, 2015

HOA from hell

Currently our HOA is fighting like they all hate each other over what started as some proposed road changes to make our heavily forested neighborhood more fire safe. There is one road in and one road out....I am the last house at the end of that road.

I'm not even involved, but this has been so discouraging to me. Of all the things to push me to the edge...but this has been so disheartening. These board members and neighbors are professional, adult, grown ups, far more skilled in the world than I could ever hope to be. Some of them have lived here for 30+ years...but they are being so mean to each other. I think if this is how people who chose to move out of the city and leave all of its busy-ness for a simpler, slower, more peaceful life in the country handle their conflict....what the hell is the rest of the world like? It makes me want to hunker down in my house, isolate and avoid and pretend its not happening. I also want to scream...."I have REAL things to worry about!"

Whew.....ok, I got that out.

God bless the idiots.....me included.
Annette



Sunday, March 1, 2015

Its all a matter of perspective....

Its been a hard week. One girl is choosing a relationship that is alienating her from the family. We are letting go, stepping back bathed in all sorts of love and care, and hoping it all works out. It feels like she is choosing him over us and my feelings have been desperately hurt all week.... what that says about me God only knows!

My girl continues to forge her path to some semblance of occasional sobriety. Recently she had an upset and I jumped into fix it mode, but only in my head. My mouth said, "I don't know what to say or do for you honey. Let me think for a minute." Then I called my sponsor and my voice shook, I ran between crying and being mad at once again being in the position of feeling like her life was in my hands....and then as we talked it through, a plan began to develop in my mind. I ran it by her and she agreed it was a good plan, a good middle road that honored my feelings and what I was able to reasonably offer without robbing my girl of the opportunity to figure out her own solutions. We agreed I would "wait for the question." I wouldn't offer my assistance unless asked.

Wouldn't you know that within an hour or two all had settled down and all of my problem solving skills weren't needed after all. It made me SO grateful that I hadn't acted, hadn't jumped into throwing out ideas and trying to force solutions to a problem that wasn't even mine, that I had stood still and quiet for a minute and let things play out.

Little One turned 14 years old today. She wanted her nose pierced for her birthday. A couple mom friends  said, "And you're letting her?!" I almost laughed....if they only knew the things that really concern me. Nose piercing and tattoos and hair color are so far down on my list.

My schedule is still crazy....until the end of May in case you didn't get that the last several times I said it!  Last night after work I went into town to buy last minute birthday supplies...I didn't get home until 10:30. I was so tired I hurt.

In the middle of these daily stresses.....I think of ISIS and their poor victims and I think, "I'm fine! I am absolutely fine." And God only knows what THAT says about me too.

God be with each of us as we walk the path you have laid before us.
Annette

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mothering

I have lots of young mom friends. Girls who I have known since they were little. One of them began a FB page on natural parenting and asked me to be a part of it. Yesterday "the girls" were discussing little girls dressing up like princesses and the "need" to begin instilling in these littles that they don't "need" a man or anyone for that matter. They want to foster independence and strength in their daughters.

I *had* to comment that human beings were not created to forge their way through life in isolation. People need other people. It was a good discussion that led into lots of topics like feminism, need vs. want, reliance vs. independence.

So FFWD to this morning. First the background story...I'm so tired. I set out to work 3 days a week beginning in January and it didn't work out, as you all have heard repeatedly. I am leaving the house at 7:30am and not getting home until 9ish at night 5 days a week. My weekends are being used for my overflow of clients that I can't fit into my regular week anymore. It looks like this is how it will be for me through May. 

So back to this morning... I am getting my very elderly client ready for her shower and I have long sleeves on. She stops the whole process as she sits naked on her shower chair and asks for my hands. She proceeded to ever so gently push my sleeves up for me and then rubbed my arms for a second and then said, "there." I got a lump in my throat I tell you! It was such a simple act of kindness and care. She mothered me for a minute and I can't tell you how long it's been since anyone has mothered me or taken care of me. It really was a living example of how, yes, people need other people. We need to give and receive love and care. We need to be touched and acknowledged. We can be a feminist (I'm not really....I'm just me) we can be strong and independent and so so capable of everything we want to do....but we still need one another. We all need to be taken care of every once in awhile. And that's a beautiful thing when it happens. 
Annette