Thursday, October 25, 2012

Two Sides of a Thin Coin

Freedom of speech.
Political correctness.

Two phrases we all have heard.  Maybe they are two phrases we love to hate... or hate to love.  We use these phrases like we have a right to pass judgement on anyone who speaks their mind, like we have any right to.  What do these phrases really mean?  I tend to believe they are opposites.  But not really.  There is actually a very fine line that separate the two.  Let me delve into my perception of definition of these "words of wisdom".

Freedom of Speech:

Wikipedia defines Freedom of Speech as:  the political right to communicate one's opinions and ideas. The term freedom of expression is sometimes used synonymously, but includes any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.
The right to freedom of expression is recognized as a human right under Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and recognized in international human rights law in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). Article 19 of the ICCPR states that "[e]veryone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference" and "everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice". Article 19 goes on to say that the exercise of these rights carries "special duties and responsibilities" and may "therefore be subject to certain restrictions" when necessary "[f]or respect of the rights or reputation of others" or "[f]or the protection of national security or of public order (order public), or of public health or morals".

We have all heard (and repeated) "What happened to Freedom of Speech?"

Now, let's take a look at the Wiki Definition of Political Correctness...

Political Correctness:  a term which denotes language, ideas, policies, and behavior seen as seeking to minimize social and institutional offense in occupational, gender, racial, cultural, sexual orientation, certain other religions, beliefs or ideologies, disability, and age-related contexts, and, as purported by the term, doing so to an excessive extent. In current usage, the term is primarily pejorative,while the term politically incorrect has been used as an implicitly positive self-description. Examples of the latter include the conservative The Politically Incorrect Guide published by Regnery Publishing and the television talk showPolitically Incorrect. In these cases, the term politically incorrect connotes language, ideas, and behavior unconstrained by a perceived orthodoxy or by concerns about offending or expressing bias regarding various groups of people.

So.... my question begins with how can one speak their mind and then be driven into solace with accusatory statements regarding political correctness?  If one speaks their mind... voices their opinion, and someone (anyone) takes offense to it, who's fault is that?  Is it the speaker, themselves, who is to blame for someone else being overly sensitive to a remark that wasn't directed towards a particular individual?  

We have an OPINION page in our local newspaper, in USA today, in my own beloved Leaven...  how can one person who isn't nearly as influencial as the writers for those columns be beaten down because of them voicing THEIR opinion?  Again, who are WE to judge anyone?  My faith tells me, in my heart, that WE must learn NOT to judge.

My friend, someone who has been very important to my growth as a human being and a faithful follower of Christ, has many obstacles surrounding her that she must defend on nearly a daily basis.  This is simply because she was called to serve our greater power.  She has defended her children MANY times, she has been a significant cog in a wheel of change for, not only our community, but our country.  She has suffered loss, a loss that a mother must crawl out of the depths of the quicksands of dispair to carry on.  She has grown, as we all hope we would, into a light for our world.  An inspiration to make the world a better place. However, in this journey, her strength she has found as a voice for some who choose not to speak, because it may ruffle feathers.  She has been called upon to be that voice and make a change for things that aren't right.  But, when this dear friend gets admonished for her thoughts, for her written words.... it makes me sad.  She has never once named names, or spoken in defamatory ways.  She simply questions the way somethings are done.  She has been an advocate for her children, and been torn down for it.  The minute someone tears me down for being an advocate for MY children will be a day that I hope they never forget.  

When someone finds their strength, through an outlet such as a blog, or facebook even... and then that strength is stripped away because someone felt it wasn't "politically correct", how is that fair?  Maybe this person hasn't ever known the strength to speak their mind before.  Myabe, through technology, it's made this strength possible.  I know I always speak better through the written word than the spoken word, so possibly this is the strength this person needs to move on from the hurt or the anger or the confusion.  Those of us who enjoy her written word applaud her voice, we celebrate her hunger for understanding of this PC world.  I, for one, share her appreciation for our PC world, but not at the expense of freedom of speech.  When you live a life that is not shared by others, you DO see the terms that hurt.  Those phrases, that others let spill from their mouths before they actually think about what they are saying or who they are saying them too.  But I have learned to not be overly sensitive, because I do believe that the majority of the human race IS good natured.  I believe that most of us DO care if we hurt others by our words.  I believe that some of us stay awake at night going through the days events in our heads, wondering if we could have said something different, wondered if that look on that person's face reflected our specific actions or words, wondered if we could have done anything different to make the day or that specific interaction different.  My goals at the end of the day are two things:  1)  Make sure my children and my husband know I love them more than anything in the world.  2)  Hope I made a difference in someone's life.  

We are all put here for a purpose.  I sincerely believe we all put here to experience diversity and learn from it, and counsel others through it.  We learn from our experiences, we all bear our crosses... we have all been given the strength to endure and prosper.  It's up to us to accept that gift.  It's up to us to recognize our deficiencies as humans, and learn from them.  It's our duty to share our gift with others.

My friend, you have taught me so much.  I am distraught at the thought that you lost your mojo.  I hope that I can be one of many who rekindle that flame.  Do NOT be ashamed of who you are or what you say.  Keep writing, you said it yourself you have been partner to change because of your voice.  Being a strong woman does not mean you are a bitch, it's setting an example for those of us who strive to find that strength.  

Ending thought:

Being Politically Correct should not interfere with our Freedom of Speech.  Obviously, there is a line that can be crossed and then I feel fully entiled to judge.  (I'll confess about that later)  Some people just don't have a filter and maybe they actually intend to hurt feelings, but I strive to surround myself with those who do care and who do try to be sensitive... without being fake.

Monday, August 13, 2012

God Keeps Taking Care of US

You know, when I was younger (much younger), I didn't really see God in everyday life.  Maybe, possibly, I didn't choose to.  Or maybe, possibly, I just overlooked it and saw something else.  Honestly, it wasn't until nearly 4 1/2 years ago, that I really REALLY saw his works.  Sometimes, you just need a smack upside the head for you to accept that it truly is a greater power that answers your prayers.

This glorious smack has happened more than a few times since Nate was born and since the tragic day he got sick.  No matter how horrible that time was, how incredibly unfair it was for our perfectly healthy baby boy could be ripped from our lives and replaced by a baby I had no idea how to care for or even know to love, I can look back now and see that we were given a path that is NOT paved, NOT easy, NOT visible from the main road....

I would NEVER choose another path.

Nate was delivered to us, in a way that seems so harsh, but has been so amazing at every turn.  We are blessed with the most perfect Nathan Matthew that could be.  He's a happy boy, you can tell he knows how very much he is loved by his family.  He lights up at just the right moments to make your day better.  He's funny in his little way, that is typically narrated by us to tell a story.  He's so strong, without even having to try.  The little milestones that seem so small for a regular kiddo, are HUGE moments that make me cry.  To see the moment when he looks right at me and I know he knows I'm his biggest fan.  He is a shining light that we are so lucky to share with the world, and I couldn't be prouder that God chose us to be Nate's mommy and daddy.

Let's get back to this "smack" I started talking about.

I had a new client call me last week to set up an appointment, I scheduled her for a trim today.  When she arrived, she graciously informed me that she was NOT there for a haircut.  This woman told me that she had bacterial meningitis 5 years ago, and lost both of her legs due to the sickness.  She could not afford the prosthetic legs, so her wonderful friends and family held a fundraiser in the form of a 1 mile or 5K walk called "Maggi's Walk".  They raised enough money to get her legs, but have kept up the non-profit organization to raise awareness of meningitis and support the victims.  She told me she saw our story in the Her Life magazine from January and knew she wanted to help us.  So, here she stood in front of me offering any financial help she could for us because of the "pay it forward" opportunity she saw in her own circumstances.  We just purchased a "Kid Walk" for Nate and the out of pocket expense was not something we could afford without making payments for a while.  This woman told us she would love to take care of it.

BAM!!!!  THAT is the smack.... smack DOWN!

It's moments like these that I can't help but giggle at how obvious God is in our lives!  Unfortunately, there are a LOT of people who never get to see it.  But he did it!  He answered our question about how we were going to pay for this kid walk.  He did it back in December when we were willing and ready to go into debt to make our house handicapped accessible for our little Nate who was only getting bigger, then BAM!!! Our dilemma was taken care of by my beautiful friends at Double Take with the charity they did to benefit US!  Even our very first fundraiser, he led the way for our family and friends to organize Nate Day at the Race Track!  I have no idea where we would be without all the incredible support we are so blessed to have in our lives!  Everything we have done, we would have done regardless of if we could afford it or not, but God helped us out.

I honestly believe everything happens for a reason, for Maggi, her tragic story has a happy ending... she gets to help out those who need it just like she did.  I hope that we are led to a place where we get to help as well, and for once NOT be the one's who need the help.  I am conscious of that, and I make sure that anytime I feel strongly to contribute to a cause in any way, I do SOMETHING. Even if it's not much, every little bit makes a difference and maybe the difference isn't noticed by others.  Maybe you are the only one who sees it, but it's there.

My advice is to see those moments when you are being lifted up, as not just luck.  Not just circumstance.  But it is SOMEONE taking care of you.

For more info on "Maggi's Walk" go to

The Walk this year is Sept 8 in Prairie Village, KS.  I will be there with my lovely family and I invite everyone I've ever known to come and participate too for a cause that is very close to my heart!!!

Love, Carolyn

Friday, July 6, 2012

Pay it forward

I believe that human beings by nature are meant to do great things.  It is by choice that some choose otherwise, but it's proven that we are meant for good by our children.  They don't ask, they just love.  Pure, unconditional, hypnotizing love.

One of the greatest moments I have ever witnessed this fact, was when my lil Nater Tot got sick 4 years ago.  The out pouring of generosity we were in the middle of was overwhelming, and awe inspiring and felt completely undeserved.  People came and gave us their time, their prayers, donated flowers and dinners... I still can't believe people thought so much of us to do all that.  Then, my beautiful sister in law made some home made T-shirts with a simple paw print and stenciled "TEAM NATE DOG" on them.  Suddenly, everyone who saw them wanted one.  Our loved ones saw this as an opportunity to help us with our medical expenses, our financial burdens due to loss of work... our future with our new Nate.

Since then, I still have witnessed this fact in the amazing charity my salon organized to help make our home handicap accessible for Nate.  Again, I was shocked and wondrous at the love of giving that helped us in our time of need.

Because of our life situation and the constant support given to our family by loved ones, acquaintances, and even strangers, I've known that "paying it forward" is the ONLY way to be when it comes to helping others.

My friend Carolyn Macan has a little boy who has struggled since birth.  Bo and his sister, Brooklyn, were born 10 weeks early.  They spent quite some time in the NICU.  Bo is meant for great things, but the little guy has had issue after issue medically.  In December of 2011, Bo's family finally received a diagnosis for him of  IPEX. A rare genentic disorder that causes diabetes, growth hormone deficiency, thyroid problems, IGA deficiency, chronic diarrhea ( click on reviews then search IPEX). NOW, Bo needs a bone marrow transplant and of course, the surgery would be far from home in Cincinnati.

My dear friend is just like you or me, and like most people isn't rolling in the dough... so this trip and surgery will be financially back breaking.  BUT, just like you or me, that won't stop her from taking care of her baby.  However, there's the beginning of the fundraising efforts to help pay for the trip.  And I couldn't be happier to help do my part in sharing these efforts!  We all do what we can, which may not be a lot, but ANY little bit helps.

And also, starting today, there are TSHIRTS!!!!  I feel so nostalgic and I want to burst with happiness to get the word out about all this!

All sizes are available for $20 a piece!  I can't wait to get mine and outfit my whole family to show support!  Please, please, please, even if you don't know my friend.... know her story, relate it to your own and help!


Follow their journey, and fall in love...