Thursday, December 3, 2015

16 years

In late April of 1999, I was very very overdue pregnant with my first child. About a week before she was born, I sat in my living room and became captivated with the news showing me the terror that the students of Columbine High School were going through. I think the nation was just as appalled as I was...Columbine was on the news for weeks. I remember that night holding my giant belly and crying. How could I bring a child in THIS? How could anyone expect me to send her to school after THIS?

It's more than 16 years later. It's an unacceptable number of school shootings later. And we have a new "standard" of school shootings now that Sand Hook has happened.

I grew up learning about earthquake warnings. I don't remember one mass shooting in my childhood, although I'd bet there were a few in the world. But I didn't go to school learning how to handle "active shooter" situations. But every single one of my children has. They've never lived in a "mass shooting free" country.

I grew up in a very conservative home. I was raised hearing "If they take away our guns, then only bad guys will have guns!".  I've heard that for almost 40 years. And today, in the wake of another mass shooting that is barely registering on the national radar, I'm hearing it again. "If they take away our guns, only bad guys will have guns!".  For 40 years, maybe more, gun rights advocates and the NRA have been saying this over and over and over and over. The NRA hasn't changed their argument........and more and more people are dying. Gun owners haven't figured out any  better argument........and so we have legal gun owners blowing away their families nearly daily.

Recently, I read a letter to the editor in my local paper in which a gun rights advocate wrote "They always say if there are more guns, there will be blood in the street, but that's not happening!"

Except it is.

They say "If they take away our guns only bad guys will have guns" except every day it's a law abiding gun owner that turns into a murderer. Every single day.

I said this thing a decade ago, in a discussion with a friend....I said that we have proven that, as a nation, we cannot handle the responsibility that comes along with gun ownership. And every year my words are proven to be more true.


Gun rights advocates and the NRA do not live in reality. They think there isn't blood running in the streets. I saw a post on Instagram this morning blaming all these mass shootings on criminals. Gun rights folks completely ignore the fact that these shootings are being carried out by law abiding gun owners who share their views.

And we as a culture ignore that the NRA supporters threaten us EVERY DAY. They are the ones with the signs on their homes and cars that say things about how if we step on their property they will shoot us and how if we try to take their guns they will shoot us. They are domestic terrorists that we've allowed to infiltrate our society. People who think I should be DEAD if I dare attempt to take a piece of metal out of their home should NOT be owning guns. People who believe they are so much above the law that they should get to decide if a burgler lives or dies SHOULD NOT own a gun. NRA supporters and "Gun Nuts" as they are called should NOT be allowed to have guns.

The people screaming out about their "2nd amendment rights" are exactly the people who should be banned from owning guns.

I've lost friends over this issue. I know that at times I make my husband uncomfortable with my outspokenness on this issue. And somehow I'm the crazy one? And the dude screaming that he'll kill me if I take his gun is normal?

I don't believe now is the time to remain neutral on this. Remaining neutral means more deaths. Neutrality is tacit permission for the next mass shooting.

Once, I lost a friend because I said "What are you going to do when it happens at your kids school". And she was livid that I dared to say that. But it's true. We're all living in deep denial if we think we aren't ripe for being the victims in the next shooting. Because there are no rules. Once we accepted a classroom full of kindergartners being slaughtered, we accepted that this can, and will, happen to anyone, anywhere.

And there absolutely WILL be another. As I write this I can safely predict that in 2016 we will see another devastating school shooting. Probably another mass shooting in a happy public space like a mall or movie theater.  And next year there will be at least a dozen moms or dads who turn their gun on their spouse and children before killing themselves. Law abiding gun owners turning into criminals every single day.

Yes, we need mental health reform but that argument has just been perverted by the NRA supporters to avoid doing anything immediately. Yes, we need that......but we all know how long it will take to make meaningful, lasting change in how we deal with mental health. And we certainly aren't going to get ANYWHERE with that issue with a gang of people running around thinking their gun in more valuable than someone elses life.

We can IMMEDIATELY remove the threat of murder from thousands of homes by removing guns. And then maybe we'll get to work on the deeper issues that cause these shootings.


I'm mad. I'm so angry that the NRA has brainwashed half of America and I'm so angry they bully us into tolerating murder.

But I'm also profoundly sad and scared.

On my drive into work today, I put it on the Christmas music station. And then I cried those heavy, ugly tears for the families who just had their holidays ripped from them. For the presents that will not get opened. For the kids and spouses who will forever associate Christmas with death. For the mothers who will have to do the unspeakable....bury their child. Too many mothers are burying too many of their children. This is insane.

I cry every time  I hear about these. Sometimes I feel like I'm the only one.

I don't know what to do except try to convince everyone in my family to move away from this country of heartlessness and insanity.

I donate to anti gun campaigns. I try to be involved in my community. And then I just see the news headlines that it happened again.

I feel hopeless.

I pray. I pray selfishly that my children are never involved in this kind of thing. I pray selfishly that no one in my family will be involved. I pray for God to fix this mess, but I have so much doubt because so many people with guns don't have God in their heart.

I just don't know what to do.

Monday, August 3, 2015

I'm just going to put this right here.

Police by the numbers:

Thursday, February 26, 2015

a bitter pill

I think so many people reject the notion that "happiness is a choice" because accepting that truth means accepting that you've chosen to have crappy life experiences at times. It means owning that some or most or all of your awful periods in your life were of your own making.

And I guess it takes an unusual amount of personal responsibility and bravery to face that and truly accept it. An amount of responsibility and bravery that is not instilled in most people these days and is not the social norm.

Monday, January 12, 2015

hard things going on lately

These days, when horrible things happen in the world, we also get to see the horrible things that go on inside the minds of others, thanks to social media and the modern convention of hyper-oversharing. 

I’ve taken several steps back from social media in the past few years for that very reason. I've lost friends over gun control debates that were fueled on Facebook. With the recent news about race issues and the events that have occurred as a result of Mike Brown’s death and Tamir Rice’s death and Eric Garner’s death, I saw more and more ugly things from people who I otherwise like very much. The hardest part for me has been seeing that ugliness come from people who, like me, call themselves Christian.


This isn’t something new, we all know that people who call themselves Christian are often guilty of some of the ugliest, most un-Christlike behavior. It’s human.  But lately….it’s been killing me inside that I have to be identified with them. It kills me inside that no Christians stand up and say “Hey, this is wrong!” It’s killed me inside seeing the complete and utter lack of compassion and empathy that has been poured out into the world. It makes me depressed and angry and scared to admit that I am a follower of Jesus.

I admit it’s gotten to me a lot, maybe too much. I’ve avoided church. I’ve quit Facebook. I’ve isolated myself more and more because it’s too much, it’s too ugly, it’s too overwhelming.  All I can do is look at those pictures of those boys and think about them laying in the street for hours like a spectacle and their mothers……….oh my God, what their mothers must be going through. To know their baby just got murdered like an animal in the street and was treated with about that much respect? Those mothers.  I just can’t even imagine.  My heart breaks every day for these mamas, and I know my pain is a minute fraction of the pain they feel.

Anyways……… I went for my walk at lunch and as I tend to do, I hooked myself up to the newest sermon from the Village Church. The title is Racial Reconciliation, you can find it on their website.

I braced myself when I opened my podcast list and saw that title. Matt Chandler sometimes says very very conservative (albeit Biblicaly sound) things that often make me bristle. I braced myself for his white-man take on the events of late.

What I came away with was a wave of relief so big that I found myself with tears running down my face walking around the perimeter of the State capital at lunch hour. I’m sure some of the people who saw me thought I was crazy.

I think EVERYONE should listen to this message….believer or not. But in case you don’t, let me give you the biggest take away I got from it:


As believers in the Gospel, we are bound to mourn with those who mourn. That is the way God made us.  That is how God meant for us to behave with others. Period.

If you’re inclination is to throw out facts, to run from the empathy that God created within you…… are sinning.

It is a sin to condemn the mourning.

And I’m going to take this a step further than Matt Chandler did. Here is my interpretation of the Word;

When you post #SupportOfficerWilson or links to “Blue Lives Matter” rallies or talk about how “Well, Mike Brown shouldn’t have stolen those cigarettes” you are sinning. You are acting against the Gospel.


Maybe you aren’t a believer, so that is meaningless to you. But...if you are a believer…….take a minute next time this comes up. Take a minute next time you want to post some inflammatory hashtag or link or an article…..who’s message are you furthering? What example of God’s grace and mercy are you showing?

Matt Chandler talks about how we had a chance when all this happened…..and we blew it, big time. And I agree. America will surely be shown to be on the wrong side of history once again when our great grandchildren look back on this embarrassing chapter in history. What’s honestly so upsetting to me is how many people who  claim to love Jesus will be on the wrong side of history.  I don’t understand how someone can read the Bible and want to follow it…….and treat other humans so horribly. I know, I know…it happens all the time. I maybe will never understand it.

As hippy/new agey as it sounds…..we are ALL created in His image. So let’s treat each other like it.


If you are a Christian and if this strikes a chord with you, pray for God to soften your heart. And pray for God to heal the hearts of those families who have lost someone unjustly.  And ask God to heal our country, because I really believe that only He is capable of fixing this mess.

Monday, August 25, 2014

living the dream

About once a day, I have the realization that I'm living the dream life I wanted and envied in others when I first moved to this town 15 years ago.

When I moved here, I was a single mom, on welfare, struggling to finish college, working a part time job in a restaurant. I lived in this utter shit hole 1 bedroom apartment, and my car had blown up on the freeway on the move here. I didn't have any friends here. 

Going to campus, I would drive through the "fancy" neighborhood and see these put together moms out jogging in cute work out clothes, pushing their kids in cute strollers, and I'd look at their nice cars and huge houses and I really wanted that life. 

And now I live in that neighborhood I would drive through, and I have a big huge SUV and a big family and a wonderful husband and I am that mom sitting at soccer practice and running around the neighborhood on the weekends. 

It's just.......really surreal sometimes. 

I'm so so appreciative of my life and all that God's grace has given me.

Maybe it's life or getting older or achieving a "dream", but it also has made me realize that it's stupid to envy other people. Because I still have problems. Sure I live in this neighborhood, but it costs me a bajillion dollars and I'm almost always broke. And, yeah, I drive a giant SUV  but...I kind of have to. Four kids and all. Living here doesn't make life wonderful, it doesn't magically change anything like I thought it would 15 years ago.

I'm  not complaining. I'm also grateful for the insight, I'm grateful to know that my happiness doesn't depend on my car or neighborhood or work out clothes. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


My high school buddy, Jeremy, died last night.

We used to be close, but haven't been as much in the last few years. Through no reason other than life and getting old.

He was truly such a good heart. When I got pregnant in college and when I moved to this city when I was a new mom, he went out of his way to always tell me "You can do this". He used to take me out to bagels most Saturdays because I was too broke to take myself. He would always say some variation of "You got this, Lopez. You're gonna be a great mom."

Like........just a million percent supportive.

And now he's gone, which weird that he's not in the world anymore. I mean, really? He's just gone?

My brain is just in a fog. I feel...........gross and indecisive. I arrived at work and had a moment where I contemplated just going to a bar and drinking till I passed out. I get that feeling now. Nothing can fix this, so maybe I could blur it out for a while?

But of course, a much bigger part of my brain flashed big red flags and reminded me what a horrible, horrible idea that is.

So I'm writing a blog instead. Still kind of in a fog, with my brain not really wrapping itself around the idea that Jeremy just isn't here anymore.

Friday, July 18, 2014

wonderful kids

Our family has a weekend breakfast tradition. On Saturdays, I make pancakes and on Sundays we go out for donuts. It's a lot of carbs in our house on the weekends.

A few weeks ago, I found a recipe for whole wheat pancakes with oats. I drug my laptop into the kitchen to look at the recipe, whipped em up, and served them to the kids. They gobbled their food  down and I proudly re-pinned the recipe with a smug little comment about how I got my kids to eat whole wheat pancakes and they didn't complain or even seem to notice the deviation from the standard Bisquick pancakes I normally make.

The following weekend, I went to make pancakes again. As I was pulling out ingredients and going to the living room to fetch the laptop to get the whole wheat recipe again, my 6 year old stops me and says:

"Mama, I want you to make the pancakes you know how to make. Don't make the ones you don't know how to make."

And now each Saturday, I hear "Mama, you're going to make the pancakes you KNOW how to make, right?"

But don't tell him I generally sneak in oats anyways.