America’s Great Decline

Today we live in a new America. We are seeing things in the news that we’ve never seen before. We are seeing armies marching our streets and armed men kidnapping people under the orders of Trump. While all of this is going on, our communities are being lit on fire by COVID-19.

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Nothing seems innocent anymore. We no longer trust each other, I fear for the future. In some instances many of us seem to be on edge due to a feeling of unrest, which seems to get more uncomfortable as the days go by. A few days ago my daughter and I went walking in our park. I noticed a van parked under a tree and a feeling that I haven’t felt in ages crept up once again. I felt fear for my safety and my daughter’s safety because the person sitting on the ground happened to be a white woman with a dog.

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I immediately grabbed onto my daughter and pulled her away from the area. After I made it home, I processed my feelings and started thinking about another time those kind of feelings showed up. It was right after 9/11 when a row full of Middle Eastern men started filling into the seats next to me. I went into a near panic mode and tried to friend the men to death! By the time the flight was over people thought I was married to the man next to me. I vowed to never again let that type of irrational fear dictate my actions.

Sadly, in the park, I repeated that process. However, this time I didn’t even try to go up and spark a conversation, I simply raced off with my child before words could be spoken. Maybe I will see the lady again at the park minus her dog and then I can say hello. I will be eagerly awaiting another chance to be the person I want to be.

Fear is the fuel for prejudice, so we must fight against letting fear overtake our hearts. Good Night.

Seeing My Life Through A COVID-19 Lens

It’s almost 5 AM on this Monday morning. Normally, I would be trying to grab at least one more hour until the alarm clock buzzed me out of bed. The house is silent and the kids are fast asleep. They used the weekend to complete homework assignments due to them not having anything else to do. In two hours my husband will get up and log into his computer for the start of his work day. It is the new normal that so many of us are seeing right now.

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I’m wondering if I should make eggs for breakfast today, but I now have less than a dozen. The health professionals are telling us to watch our trips to the grocery stores because we are playing an alternate version of duck duck goose every time we walk out the door. So, the idea of eggs for today’s breakfast is slowly starting to fade away. Rice or oatmeal will be the winner for today’s breakfast which will more than likely be the winner for days to come.

Putting food rationing aside for a moment, I noticed something new about my husband. Perhaps it wasn’t new, it was just forgotten. Our cat had a kitten and we named her Penny. My husband is so gentle with Penny and loving. I forgot that side of him. He has a nurturing side that’s so alluring and comforting. When the girls were little, he was the same way with them. I love to see their interactions. He’s able to relate to them and laugh with them in ways that I cannot. I fear I lack a sense of humor, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to crack a joke.

I’ve noticed that my girls are turning into young women. They are doing their homework and trying to be brave. There are days that they miss their friends terribly, but they keep in touch with them over social networking platforms. While I am scared just like many of you are, I am also thankful.

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Two years ago when I gave up my job to spend more time with my girls, I struggled with the decision. I couldn’t help but think back to the dying toddler that required my final permission after the parents gave theirs to be taken off life support. I couldn’t help but think about how they hunkered down in her room praying for a miracle. They moved all her favorite blankets and laid them upon her tiny little body perhaps thinking that in some small way, it would make her come back to them.

There was a lesson to be learned that night. The lesson was how we look at time and spending it with those we love. So many of us have been guilty of feeling prideful over items that can be replaced at any given point. I had this walnut European piece of furniture that I used to love. It was for a long time my pride and joy until one day a group of movers lost all the required pieces to place it back together.

This is a painting of the wall unit I lost many years ago. Yes, I actually painted a picture of it.

I remember feeling so sad after I had to trash the pieces of wood and say goodbye to those memories. However, it wasn’t the end of the world. There would be other pieces of furniture. As I started to process the death of the child, I often thought about the European piece of furniture. It was here today and gone tomorrow. It was nothing more than a cold, solid, storage space taking up room in my house. However, my children were warm, sweet, caring, living, loving, and deserving of so much more than the material junk I was trying to bring home to add value to our lives.

I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t worry about replaceable things. Value those lives that can never be replaced and focus on loving your loved ones harder than ever before. Hug longer, kiss harder, and let this be your defining moment. Months ago we were planning on finding our perfect eco-friendly house, and now we are just trying to stay safe and healthy. Life lessons keep coming. Have a great day.

Is Texas Doing Too Little With Their Shelter-In-Place Policy?

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Each state has the right to make their own policies while dealing with this virus to some degree. However, some policies seem to do better than others. Here in Texas, the counties are able to come up with their own plans which right now echos the govern’s policy, to some degree.

The problem is our shelter-in-place policy is too vague. It names almost all businesses as essential and even includes churches which could serve as a breeding ground for sickness right now. Governor Abbot doesn’t want to take a stricter tone while dealing with the outbreak, so he is inadvertently leaving large holes in a protection bubble that should be placed around the state.

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Here in my county, we are still seeing new cases every single day. While our numbers aren’t like Dallas, Houston, or other major cities, we are still dealing with potential dangers to our small infrastructures. All it takes is the right case, right organization, and chaos would hit the entire town. If Texas doesn’t do more to define the definition of essential, I fear we will have a major outbreak on our hands.

At this point, our government is trying to maintain an imaginary line of neutrality between health and finance, in my opinion. By not closing more organizations they are risking more exposure. I guess my question is , what does shelter-in-place really mean? Why are there so many updates, and why are we seeing things added to list that were once taken away? We need to all be on the same sheet of music.

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Note of the day: Do not open food before you get home. Make sure you get home first and wash your hands.

Relocation Programs For Getting Our Families Out Of High Crime Areas

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I read in the news this week that Trump has started working on a plan to help get homeless people off the streets in California. I would love to see our government work towards launching a relocation program to relocate families from high crime areas such as Chicago. We do not talk enough about how the children growing up in Chicago and cities like it deserve so much more than what we are giving them. Some of these children are living in constant fear, right inside America. There’s no asylum process for them, they are just stuck and have been stuck for generations.

This morning a child arrived late to his or her first class in Chicago and many other cities like it because they had to take a safe route to school. That route added another 20 minutes to their trip, but they didn’t care. They were trying to get to their safe place away from danger. The truth is, we have some neighborhoods so dangerous in America that even cops refuse to patrol them, unless they have backup.

When I worked in Dallas, I worked an investigation that led me to a neighborhood so infested by drugs and violence that cops wouldn’t even assist. Infested is an ugly word, but what would you call it? The apartment above had drug problems, the apartment across had drug problems, most of the children from the complex were removed and many of the remaining children had ongoing CPS cases. On the day I arrived, another investigator was headed to another unit in the same complex across from us.

On the day in question, I was headed to a household for a removal. The police were supposed to meet me, but I ended up having to call in another investigator to assist me, due to the mother bringing a weapon the last time I arrived. We waited nearly two hours for the cops to show up and they never did, so I said freak it, let’s go in. Upon entering the door, a cloud of smoke escaped. After I took the child and placed her somewhere safe about another hour or so went by. Finally, after I made it home a cop called and asked if I still needed assistance. I calmly said no and informed them that they missed the chance at a drug bust and hung up.

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Now those families did not start out jaded. They were placed into an environment that held very little regard for doing the right thing. I ran into a female around the same time with her lease coming to a close. She was working as a security guard and trying to do the right thing. At this point she didn’t have anything negative going against her, but her obstacle was her address. I informed her that she needed to start looking for a new place to stay because her current crowd was not compatible with her goals in life.

In her case and many other women like her, moving away from the tainted areas have been pivotal of their successes. A relocation allows people to start over, get better opportunities, and find safer housing. When my husband was in the Army, relocation was always a gift. It allowed us to search for a new area, and remove our family from dangerous situations in some cases. It is important that we find a better solution for helping people who want to get out of dangerous areas.

I find it sad that we have areas inside our country that mirror third world war zones. It is even sadder that people seem to close their ears to the violence. How can we have a system that lets generations of anguish duplicate their circumstances and hinderances over and over? These people are more than a study, more than a statistic, and worth more than a few minutes on our minds. They are our children, our friends, our neighbors, our fellow citizens, and people deserving of the same protection we aim to give others outside of America.

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