Monday, April 22, 2013

we the people

a little over a year ago, as we were being bombarded with politics and elections and candidates, i wrote a blog post about my beliefs.  since then, so much has happened that i decided i need to expand my political creed and include things that i have come to believe over the last year.

i believe i live in the greatest country on earth, with more freedoms than citizens of other countries.  with greater freedom, however, comes greater responsibility - the responsibility to respect not only my freedoms, but the freedoms of others.  we all share the same freedoms and no one person's should override any other person's.  therefore, my freedoms end where yours begin and where they overlap, we should all practice manners and common sense courtesy.

i believe one of the greatest responsibilities i have is to exercise my right to vote and to vote responsibly.  it is through voting that i can make my voice heard and speak for those who have no voice.  when i vote responsibly, i vote for the person, not the party because it is the person who will be representing me, not the party.  for that reason, i believe politicians do not belong in politics because they are more interested in representing the party than in representing me and they have all lost sight of what our government is supposed to be - by the people, for the people.   

i believe that we the people actually means we the people.  and i believe that we the people are all responsible for changing our government into what it should be - by the people, for the people.  we the people hired the politicians and we have the right to fire them when they no longer understand that.  when the politicians we hired listen more to special interest groups than to we the people, we the people not only have the right to fire them, but we have the responsibility to do so.  the government exists to serve we the people and has the responsibility to act according to what we the people want.  when it can no longer do that because of commitments to special interest groups and super pacs, it is time for a change.  our government was founded on principles that do not change based on political whims.  truth is truth and it does not change simply because a different party is in power.  nor are morality and ethics situational.  we the people are responsible for making sure our government understands and remembers this. 

i believe compromise is not win/lose, but give/give and when there is no compromise everyone loses.  when the government is so divided by politics that it cannot compromise, it is time for we the people to elect an entirely new government.  and we should continue to elect a new government until the government understands that it must listen to the voice of we the people.     

 i believe that we all have the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and that our country was founded in order that all men could enjoy those rights and pass them down to future generations.  in order to secure those rights for future generations, however, we must first secure their safety.  if we the people must sacrifice a measure of freedom in order to secure the safety of our children, then so be it.  our rights and freedoms cannot come at the cost of another's life. 

i believe we the people have been silent long enough and that it is time for us to raise our voices and be heard. 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

who am i?

one of my favorite, if not my number one favorite, musicals is les miserables.  it has everything one could possibly want - action, adventure, romance, tragedy, comedy.  It has it all.  i guess it's hard to go wrong when one starts with a story as well written as les miserables.  although there have been some adaptations of fabulous stories that i could have done without.  but i digress...

because i love the music and i love singing in the car, i keep the cd of les miserables in the car.  whenever i listen to it, i turn it way way up and then sing at the top of my lungs to all the songs.  i sometimes even sing all the parts.  and when i'm stopped at a stop light, i flail my arms around and direct myself, the orchestra and all the other singers.  it's quite the sight, i'm sure!  so this morning, on my way to work, i was singing and flailing to this song that jean valjean sings called "who am i."  the policeman, javert, has seen a man he believes to be jean valjean and valjean realizes that he could finally be free from his past if this man is assumed to be him.  but, he also knows that he wouldn't be able to live with himself if he let this innocent man take his place.  and so, since it is, after all a musical, valjean sings (this is an abridged version)...

who am i?
can i condemn this man to slavery
pretend i do not feel his agony
this innocent who bears my face
who goes to judgement in my place
who am i?
can i conceal myself for evermore?
pretend i'm not the man i was before?
and must my name until i die
be no more than an alibi?
must i lie?
how can i ever face my fellow men?
how can i ever face myself again?
my soul belongs to god, i know
i made that bargain long ago
he gave me hope when hope was gone
he gave me strength to journey on
who am i? who am i?
i am jean valjean!
i love this song!!!!!  i love that valjean keeps asking himself "who am i?"  i love that he struggles to figure out what his identity is in the face of this huge, life-changing decision he must make.  he knows that his answer to this question of who he is will determine not just his earthly fate, but quite possibly his eternal fate as well.  jean valjean ends up choosing to do the right thing.  his answer to the question ends up to be quite simple, really.  he is god's.  and so the choice is made.  

jean valjean asks himself who he is when confronted with a major decision.  but i think it's a question that is just as applicable to the little things as well.  how much would my attitude each day change if, before i got annoyed at that person who cut me off in traffic, i stopped and asked, "who am i?"  how much would my marriage change if, before i got frustrated at my husband for something stupid, i stopped and asked, "who am i?"  how much better would the world be if we all took the time to ask that one simple question before we acted - "who am i?" 

who am i?  i am a wife, a pet mom, a friend, a librarian, a crafter...but most importantly, i am myra hall richards and i am god's.  and that is the answer that should color every choice i make. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


not too long ago, our youngest dog, lucy, found a little kitten in our backyard.  when i called the dogs back in, she came up with this thing in her mouth.  since it had been raining for a couple of days, i assumed she had found a dead mole and was bringing it to me.  i kept telling her to drop it, but she stood there, stubbornly holding on to whatever it was in her mouth.  i finally put my hand out and told her to drop again and she very gently dropped this emaciated, dehydrated, alien looking kitten in my hand.  and when i say alien looking, i mean she had this huge head and this tiny little body that made her look exactly like roger from american dad.  anyway, since it was right around 4th of july, we named her betsy, in honor of betsy ross.  neither ed nor i thought betsy would make it.  she was only around 3 weeks old and so so tiny.  but betsy proved us wrong and has grown into a beautiful kitty.

not long after lucy found betsy, i let the dogs out and immediately they started barking away near our side fence.  they had been barking over on that side of the yard for a couple of days so i figured our neighbors has been doing stuff in their yard, but it was storming and i was fairly certain the neighbors weren't working in the yard in a storm.  i called all the dogs back in, but lucy wouldn't come.  she kept on barking.  so i went outside and there was a cat, back arched, hair standing straight up, tail puffed out as far as it could puff, hissing and charging at lucy.  poor lucy didn't know what to do!  she had never had a cat do that to her before and she was completely bewildered.  i finally got her in the house and went back outside to see about the kitty.  when i walked up to her, i saw three itty bitty newborn kittens.  and all of her posturing with lucy made complete sense.  i went back in the house, made a bed in the guest bath bathtub and went back out to gather everybody up.  sadly, there were a couple of babies who hadn't made it, but there were still the three that had survived.  i settled mommy and babies into the bathtub and hoped for the best.  well, mommy kitty was an excellent mommy and all three kittens survived.  one of them, elbie, was much littler than her siblings so ed and i used what we had learned with betsy and supplemented her nursing with kitten formula.  when they were old enough to be weaned, elbie was still a good bit smaller than the other two so we decided to hold on to her and take mommy and the two bigger kittens to be adopted out.  just like betsy, elbie proved to be a little fighter and she too is growing into a stunning kitty. 

i wanted to tell their stories for a couple of reasons.  one, they are pretty cool stories.  but more than that, betsy and elbie have taught me about perseverance.  they were both so little - betsy, at three weeks, weighed the same as elbie's siblings did at 3 days and elbie was always 3-4 ounces behind her brothers.  but, in spite of being the runts, they tenaciously clung to life and doggedly sought to get their needs met.  betsy would make sure we knew whenever she was hungry by letting out the loudest, most pitiful cry ever.  and she would persist in crying until someone gave her a bottle.  elbie would push her way in between her brothers and refused to let them keep her from nursing.  both she and betsy refused to give up on themselves and refused to let us give up on them either. 

as i said, i learned a lot about perseverance by watching them grow up.  i learned that i need to be persistent in prayer - i need to keep crying until someone answers.  i need to be tenacious in seeking out nourishment and not give up until i am full.  i need to refuse to let others keep me from growing into the person god wants me to be.  i need to persevere even when others think i don't have a chance.  i think the most important thing, i learned, however, is that i need to not give up on myself.  because even when i am at my worst, when i am the scrawniest one in the litter and all the odds are stacked against me, the one who matters the most refuses to give up on me.  and if he refuses to give up and instead insists on persevering with me, who am i to say he is wrong?