5-ish Things About Whole30

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The end is near.  If you’re tired of Whole30 posts, not to worry.  The end is at hand.  A week remains.  But I’m feeling a bit retrospective this morning at the whole Whole30 thing.  So let’s take a walk through my last 23 days of Whole30.

  1. Whole30 is not hard.  It is a change & change can be difficult.  But it’s not hard.  It’s not like your moving around the world-hard or fighting for your life-hard.  It’s taking the time to look at what you’re eating & drinking and making shifts to fuel your body better in order to maximize your health.  There are days, especially early on, when my body hated me for this.  I was bloated & gassy & irritable & cranky & sluggish & frankly ready to throw in the towel. {ask my hubby & lil’ weeds – I was ugly to live with}  But I learned some tricks {chamomile tea} & stuck to it because I knew it had to get better. They did promise me tiger blood after all.
  2. That being said Whole30 is a taker of time.  If you’re used to buzzing through the drive thru or grabbing a little something-something at the convenience store or the pantry, Whole30 will require more time than you’re used to devoting to food.  It will require some planning & shopping {with label reading} & preparation.  I found getting the shopping & prepping all done in one day {Sunday for me} made it completely doable to live the weekdays without as much thought to food.  But it still took time.
  3. Whole30 is an eye-opener as to what is going in.  I do not have much of a sweet tooth.  I’d prefer to belly up to a huge mountain of fried onion rings with a side of tartar sauce rather than a chocolate bar any day.  But now I’ve come to realized that I was eating a TON of added sugar {maybe not literally a ton…but…}  My morning coffee alone had at least 10 grams of it!  And I’d usually have 2 cups of coffee.  TWENTY grams before 8 am!!!!  Since the American Heart Association recommends no more than 25 grams of added sugar daily for women…all I can say is YIKES!!
  4. And since we’re talking about ingredients we’re eating, Whole30 unveils all kinds of questionable ingredients.    Let’s head back to my coffee creamer for a minute. Because Whole30 makes you an expert label reader, let’s take a gander at the ingredients in my beloved {& now despised!] coffee creamer.  Ingredients:: water, sugar, vegetable oil (soybean or canola), sodium caseinate {a sneaky name for MSG!}, natural & artificial flavors, mono and diglycerides, dipotassium phosphate, cellulose gel, cellulose gum & carrageenan.  That’s a heck of a list. Looks like my old cup of Joe came complete with inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, mucus membrane irritation, flatulence, diarrhea, cramping and a whole host of other awfulness.  Double Yikes!
  5. Whole30 will definitely change how you look & feel.  I do not have adequate words to describe how good I feel after twenty-three days of clean eating.  It is simply amazing.  Truly!  And to be honest, I didn’t know I wasn’t feeling great until I started feeling great…if that makes any sense.  I wasn’t suffering from any adverse effects to my food.  Or so I thought.  Now that I have cleaned it all out, I can see what it was really doing to me.  And I can see the effects in my skin as well.  My face has never been so blemish free & hydrated.  And my normally awful winter dry skin is not as dry and itchy.  While I chalked it up to coincidence for a while, I have to think that Whole30 has something {if not everything} to do with it.  The Whole30 no scale rule {which I loathe} has not allowed me to determine if I was able to shed those pesky few pounds I gained after I turned 40, but I can definitely see more muscle than before, so I’m thinking it’s helped at least make my workouts more beneficial.  My brain seems clearer, I’m well rested & more energetic. {which may or may not equate to getting more chores done…}

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Whole 30 :: Tiger Blood

Day 22

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Eight days remain.  According to the Whole30 folks, I have entered the Tiger Blood phase.

Tiger Blood

Goodbye cravings, hello Tiger Blood! This must be what everyone is talking about! You’ve hit the downhill slope of your Whole30 and life is beautiful. Your energy is through the roof, you’ve kicked the cravings, you’re experimenting with new, delicious food, and you’ve finally got the time to notice that your clothes fit better, your workouts are stronger, and you are generally more awesome. There’s not much more to say about this phase – go and enjoy it!

I’d agree with them on this phase.  I feel exactly like this…Tiger Blood.

I’m not sure what pumps through a tiger, but if they feel like this, they have it figured out. Sluggishness – gone.  Tired – gone.  Insides feeling slightly icky all the time – gone.  I feel great.

So what’s been the hardest part of getting to tiger blood?  Well, for me I thought  it would be the lack of grains or dairy.  Or perhaps giving up my occasional glass of red wine.  But I think the roughest was the coffee issue.  I knew it would be tough.  I mean I have always had the stand that I love coffee so long as it doesn’t taste like coffee.  Giving up the wonderful sugary concoction that made my coffee taste less like coffee, I knew was going to be rough.  And it was…but it quickly morphed into something completely unexpected.  After I got rid of the non-dairy, sugar laden, artificially flavored addition and turned to coconut milk, I could taste the actual coffee.  It wasn’t great.  But something happened.  I began to like it.  I purchased a better quality coffee bean {goodbye Folgers, hello Starbucks} and I began loving every single sip.  I even would crave it after lunch.  As  a matter of fact, I am sitting here right this very second with a delicious cup of Pike Place…black {gasp!}  and i’m loving it!  Who knew?

The two conclusions I’ve drawn about this coffee phenomenon are either (1) Whole30 has taught me to enjoy the flavors of foods without a bunch of sugary-sweetness or (2) I’m getting older and old people like their coffee black.  I will believe it’s #1 and promise I’m not ready to order a cup of coffee with my 4:00 dinner at Denny’s.

So, the million dollar question, do I keep eating like this?  I think I will partially keep this up.  I mean, hello, Tiger’s Blood.  Why would I go back to Sloth Blood?  I want to slowly go back to “normal” eating and figure out what makes my sloth blood return & eliminate those things.  But I plan to enjoy a really great cheeseburger with fries again very, very soon!  {even though I’m sure it will make me feel less tiger more sloth}  But I see it’s juicy patty on a buttered bun with real honest to goodness mayonnaise & ketchup in my very near future.  But for now…

Here’s to eight more days!  Raising my black Pike Place filled mug of wonder to a great last few days of Whole30!  Hooray!

Sweet Mama, You’re Doing Great!

sweet mama

Hey there sweet mama.

I saw you today.  From afar.  You were in the cereal aisle.  You had your hands full, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t notice me watching.  It’s hard to focus on anything when you have one child attempting a cart escape to gather as many sugar-laden boxes of artificially colored wonder as little hands can carry while another insists on yelling about Pop-Tarts and potties while poking the baby in the eyes causing her to scream.  Honestly, it was hard not to watch.  But as I say that, it sounds a bit creepy.  I wasn’t watching-watching you in a stalker kind of way.  Or in a “i’d like to kidnap those kids” way {let’s be honest, there was a lot of noise to consider that}.  I was just observing your life’s chaos with a warm-fuzzy of remembrance.  Because you see, sweet mama, I was once you.

I too once stood in the cereal aisle with 3 littles under 5.  Trying to wrangle them in.  Keep them contained.  Not lose my mind.  I was exhausted and irritated.  I wondered if I was doing this right.  I agonized about each parenting decision.  I worried I was messing them all up forever.  Even from afar I could see in your very tired & annoyed eyes the tinge of motherhood anxiety.  So let me be the first to tell you “You’re Doing An Amazing Job!”

I realize that you don’t believe me.  You see the FaceBook posts and Instagram photos and the Tweets and the Pinterest Boards that scream at you “You’re not doing enough!” and “You could do more!”  But  believing me.  You are doing a perfectly wonderful & shut up job!!  There is absolutely nothing easy about motherhood in these early years.  Or in any years, I’m learning.  Oh, yes, there are many blessings & wonderful moments, hugs and kisses and snuggles and firsts.  But easy?  No.  It’s sleepless nights and feeding schedules and separation anxiety and temper tantrums and general loudness and snotty noses and ear infections and potty training and pacifier removal and sibling squabbling and smelly, moldy sippy cups rolling out from under the seats in your mini van {you’re rocking the MV by the way!}.  And then throw in there the rest of your life – your hubby and work and friends and moving and bills and commitments.  Oh,  and don’t forget not to lose you.  This is all hard! Very hard!  But you’re doing great!

The thing is, no one really knows what they’re doing.  No one! Some will pretend they do or, maybe even more dangerously, will think they do. You’ll be tempted to compare and measure up.  But listen to me, sweet mama, we are all flying by the seat of our pants here on a wish and a prayer that we don’t totally screw up this enormous responsibility called motherhood. In the end we’re all just hoping that at our funerals the kids proclaim us to have been a “good mom”.

Well, mama friend {can I call you that now?} I’m here to tell you before your funeral, you are a good mom.  A great mom in fact.  You see, contrary to what you might have thought, great moms aren’t built on what they dress their littles in.  It’s not determined by where your littles sleep or how well their sleep routine is set.  It has nothing to do with the laundry detergent you buy or the cleaning products you use.  Being a good mom isn’t about organic, non-GMO foods filling your pantry or home cooked meals three times a day.  Motherhood success is not built on vacations or family game nights or birthday parties or Instagram-worthy, FixerUpper houses or playdates or how well you avoid the drive-thru.  You are not a great mom because your life is put together neatly and the children fit in like a perfectly photoshopped portrait.  You are a great mom because you are the mom that God chose to raise those little, loud, always-moving, constantly-touching, often messy, amazing, perfectly-created for Him babies of yours.  Whether they grew in your womb or someone else’s, you were handpicked to be their mom.  They only get one.  And God picked you because He knew the fit would be perfect.  So if you’re seeking Him & following His Word, you are doing the job He asked you to do very well.  Everything else is a decision.  Everything else is simply how you & your family prioritize life.  And priorities vary as much as there are families.  No one way is right and no one way is wrong.  And what you chose isn’t going to make or break you as a “good mom”.  Because, my friend, you are already a good mom.

Are you going to mess this motherhood thing up?  Heck yes!!  If you’ve decided successful motherhood is based on your perfection in mothering, you’d best lower that bar, mama, and do some rethinking.  You are going to make mistakes.  Little ones & huge ones.  After all, you’re human.  Remember?  No SuperMoms with super powers of perfection here.  Not one.  We are all human.  So take time to look to Him, the one who assigned you to these littles, ask Him to help, follow His guidance, get in His Word and use it.  Every mistake made, He can redeem.  Every single one.  And HE WILL!

And find some true, human mamas to CHEER YOU ON!  This world is full-to-the-brim with critiquers.  We are not in a competition here, sweet mama.  Motherhood is not some sport that someone will finish as a winner.  And someone will be a loser.  We are all on the same team!  So get with those who will cheer more than compete and be a cheerer for other mamas you know.  Encouragement and love win!  Every time.  Get to cheering & be cheered for.

I know, sweet mama friend, you didn’t ask for any of this.  You were just trying to get some food in that cart so you could get home and hope to high heaven that all three of those littles took a nap at the same exact time.  But I couldn’t help but remind you that you are AWESOME!  Those kids of yours, beautiful in their mismatched socks and tutu with cowgirl boots ways think the world of you!  You are doing such a great job.  A really great job.  Remember that.  And pass it along to another sweet mama you know.  CHEER ON!

 

Welcome to the New Nanny

It was an epic battle.  One for the record books…or the blog, whichever.  It was complete with door slamming, some under-breath comments & some heavy-footed stair walking.  Sound familiar?  If not, you likely don’t have a single teen in your home.  Just wait.  promise.

Luckily it didn’t last too long & when it was all over – I won!  Important point-if you’re battling with your little {or your not-so-little-anymore} & you’ve committed to the battle {meaning you know that what you’re battling for is important & even necessary for their health & well-being}, under no circumstances should you lose.  Ever. EVER!!  After all, losing could put their very life at stake.  Really.!.

So, this battle of ours.  It should have occurred many, many, many moons ago.  You see, we have the internet at our house.  {Gasping in complete shock would help me out right here.}  I’ll say it again – we have internet in our house.  The outside world gets pumped into our home at a fast rate {well, actually a slow rate, we have Frontier after all}.  But the outside world with all its wonders comes right on in.  And along with its wonders it brings along its nastiness.  And up until yesterday, we rolled out the doormat & said “welcome to our home.  come on in.”  Thus the battle.

We should really know better.  We should.  But a little “i think we’re ok with the systems we have in place” and a dash of “i think our rules are good deterrents” and a bit of “we’re talking with the kids about the dangers of all this stuff” left us complacent and unguarded.  Drats!

Until yesterday.

Not that anything in particular had happened.  Not that anything had been viewed, downloaded, googled, gawked at. But the fact that it could. And our lack of actual monitoring & blocking could allow it to waltz right on in undetected.  No more.

Welcome Net Nanny.

NetNannyLogo-1200px1Net Nanny is a very highly rated monitoring and web blocking software available for all devices that your family might have – PCs, Macs, Androids and Apple hand-held.  You download it to each device, set up users with specific blockers in place and viola! a gate keeper at the internet’s door.  Net Nanny records the information about different users searches and online viewing.  I can see if anyone’s trying to welcome in something I don’t think should be here.  Not only does she block it, she alerts me to it.  This gives me the information to have conversation as necessary about the risks of different things online.

Back to the battle.  Said child wasn’t upset that I had put any stop on his inappropriate internet browsing.  I don’t think that even crossed his pretty little ginger-haired mind.  From my history search, it’s clear his internet browsing consists mostly of gaming how to’s…boring.  He was over the moon mad because Net Nanny might “slow down his  gaming”.  That’s the word on the street anyway.  That blockers and monitors slow the internet down to a crawl.  Eee-gads.  Who knew that the mere mention of a blocker/monitor could send a hormonal teen into a raging madman?  Oh, wait.  Hormonal teen…raging madman – it is my life with a teen.  Should have guessed.

But after all the loud walking and the one slammed door and the under breath words I couldn’t understand {and frankly don’t really want to understand} and several attempts to get me to remove his device from the watchful eyes of Net Nanny- he’s now fine.  He tested out his machine with the unistallable Net Nanny {yes, he tried uninstalling it himself too} and it gamed at the same rapid rate as always {again…Frontier…} and he’s ok.

We do so much to protect our littles.  So very, very much.  But we had left the gate wide open to every and all kinds of awfulness to come in and join us.  That makes no sense.  And the older they get, the more awfulness they will gladly seek out.  Sad, but oh so true.  We must not fall asleep on them!  We must stay watchful.  I see that my new friend, Net Nanny will do just that.

Nothing New Month :: Recap

February 1.  That means that Nothing New Month is a wrap.  Commence whimsical shopping!!  just kidding…maybe…maybe not…

nothing new month

It’s hard to believe, but I actually accomplished what I set out to do. I kind of thought at some point I’d cave & go hog-wild in Target, or worse yet Nordstroms!  But I didn’t.   I bought absolutely NOTHING that wasn’t a need during the entire 31 days of the month of January.  Nothing. Not a single item of clothing.  Not a single piece of home decor.  Not a lick of makeup which I already own & am just kind of tired of.  Not a crafting item, an office supply item, a cute pair of shoes.  Nada.

So how did I do it?  Well, it was a lot of purposeful temptation avoidance and intentional planning.  First purposeful temptation avoidance:

  1. No Window Shopping – I learned very early on that window shopping was likely a bad plan.  Strolling the shops is really hard {and kind of pointless} if I’m trying not to buy anything.  All those cute, well-thought out displays just scream “buy me!”.  It’s hard to say no sometimes.
  2. Throw Out Those Catalogs – I get a bazillion {not kidding, bazillion} catalogs in the mail every week.  I suppose that means my online shopping is a bit extreme. {but with ebates, seriously how can it not be?}  But with all those catalogs comes lots of “i’m really sure I need this thing I’ve never seen before but is shiny and wonderful”. And when the answer for a whole month to that is always “no”, it’s not as much fun to look.  {at least not for me}
  3. Do Not Open That Promotion Email – “Can’t Miss It!”, “Last Day Only!!”,  “Prices Never Like This Again!”, “Best Selection Today!”  You get them too.  Flooding your email.  They scream out to me to shop, shop, shop.  And they all make it seem like if I don’t click & spend, I’m pretty much a loser missing out on the best things ever.  But I won’t fall for their wicked games.  They will have another sale next week & the week after & the week after.  Breathe deeply & don’t even open the temptation.
  4. Get in / Get Out – When I had to quick grab something from Target {vaseline for the chicken combs…don’t ask} I realized that if I dilly dallied in the land of red & white, it would suck me in with its pretty things & take all my cash.  I planned ahead.  No really.  I sat in the parking lot & visualized myself going in, going to the vaseline aisle, grabbing the smallest container {chickens don’t require much} and proceeding directly to the checkout.  And that’s exactly what I did.  Except I couldn’t find the vaseline & had to ask a team member {such a cute little name for employee in red & khaki} & got ushered down all kinds of temptation aisles {fingernail polish never looked so good}.  But I got in & got out and spent a whopping $3.24.  Success.

Now for Intentional Planning:

  1. Start a List – About day 5, when I was convinced that I really really really needed to be at the Nordstrom Semi-Annual Sale, I decided to figure out what I might want there. { Although I was still kind-of in the need camp at that point.}  I scoured their website & found the sweaters & boots & shirts that I had loved from afar for so long. Most were not even on sale – of course.  But I wrote them all down on a piece of paper.  It may have been color coded…but never you mind that.  Then I went to the closet & found that nearly every one of the things I wrote down, I owned something similar, in still good condition.  Ugh.  Not a need really if I have it {and clearly don’t wear it enough since I couldn’t remember I owned it…so sad} I crossed those items off the list.  Then throughout the course of the month, every time I thought I “needed” something I’d add it to the list.  Somethings remain on the list, some things got scratched off as time went by.  The list is now my “What I’d Like” list.  I add everything and anything that I think I might like & I give myself some time to think carefully about each thing before I’ll buy it.  Most things, I’ve learned won’t make the cut.  It’s a good way for me to determine what it is I really want & what I don’t.

Here’s my take of the month & NNM overall.  It’s fantastic!  I’ll take away many things from this month…and more than just more crap for my house.

  1. Money $$ –  Seriously though!  It’s shocking how little money I spent this month.  Shocking.  All those little trips to Target & mindless spending at a department store really, really add up.  Really.
  2. Time – I had time this month.  Time to craft {with supplies I had in totes in the basement…friends, I made an entire carseat quilt with stuff I had on hand}  Time to have lunch with a friend.  Time to read.  Time to clean…properly.  Time!
  3. Generosity – Might seem a silly item, but I discovered when I’m not spending all my extra cash on me & the fam, I can spend it on people who really do need it.  I can be generous.  And generosity is good.
  4. Content – Mindless shopping can signal a discontented attitude.  I often want something new because I want to fit it, I want to have the latest thing, I want to be noticed for my cute outfit, adorable shoes, latest gadget & gizmo.  Although not necessarily conscience, I am often saying “I’m not content with what I have today & I need to upgrade to be happy”.  But it’s a lie.  A lie.  That new sweater will not bring about the happiness.  That new car will not make it all alright in my soul.  That new nail polish will not suddenly bring accolades.  And removing the ability to receive validation from “new” makes it easy to find it in genuine ways.  I promise.

So that’s my recap.  I’m actually not going shopping today.  My list of things I want is pretty empty really… so no reason to window shop for contentment.  *smile*  I encourage you to try a month of nothing new.  It’s a fantastic exercise & I promise you’ll end up with more money in the bank!!  Promise!

Nothing New Month – Update #2

Well, well, well.  Here we are with only 7 sleeps until February.  That is a hard one to believe!  Where did January go?

With the dawn of February right on the horizon, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel of Nothing New Month {NNM}.  I’ll recap my thoughts about the month & my take-aways later, but for today I’m hitting on one thing in particular that shocked me about NNM.

Food.

I said from the get-go that food was a “need” and therefore was one of only a handful of items that were allowed to be purchased during NNM.  And I would still agree that food is a need.  And I would also agree that it is something that should be purchased during NNM.  But I was forced to look this month at the way I purchase food.  Here is what hit me square in the face:

A PLAN IS A NECESSITY!

A plan.  For me that means meal planning & a list.  Otherwise, I’m wasteful.  I’m willy-nilly. I’m overstocking a pantry and refrigerator with foods I don’t need.  And buying what I don’t need is really the entire point of NNM.  *sigh*

I have been using an online meal planning site for a long time now.  Plan to Eat.  I’m a BIG fan.  It’s easy to use, easy to add recipes, easy to plan meals for a day or a week or a month & it generates a great shopping list that is printable.  Makes the task of grocery shopping with purpose so much more pleasurable.  I highly recommend it!
Simple Meal Planning - Plan to Eat

You can share recipes & menus & meal plans with others who also use Plan to Eat.  I get lots of ideas and recipes from others in the community.  Makes meal planning a bit more adventurous.  Give it a try.  I know you’ll love it & use it too.

 

Better Together by Jill Savage!

 

I’m SO very excited!  One of my absolute favorite authors, Jill Savage, just wrote a new book, Better Together.  She collaborated with her daughter Anne McClane for this book on friendship.  Now here’s the really exciting part :: commence drum roll ::  I am on the launch team for this book! 81BbguGt4uL

What does being on a launch team mean? Nope, I’m not on the cover…maybe another book.   But I am absolutely thrilled that I’ll get to read the book before it’s available at book stores or online!  I’ll get to be a part of some online discussion with others on the launch team & {get excited now} I’ll be posting right here each week with little sweet somethings about the book.  So. Much. Fun.  You will not want to miss it.

And, it gets even better.  You have the opportunity to get in on some great extras if you pre-order Jill’s book.  Quantities of the “extras” are limited so you’ll want to jump on this opportunity quickly!  Order your own copy straight away! Here’s the link.

I downloaded my early copy this afternoon & I’m anxiously awaiting this house to get quiet so I can get onto reading.

Jill is real.  She is authentic.  She is just like you and me. {And I know she appreciates a good mustard yellow cardigan as much as I do ;)}   I am 100% sure that this book on friendship and our need for friends throughout this life will be amazing, inspirational, encouraging and real. I cannot wait.  Go to bed, children!

I wish for a candidate…

Do I dare speak of this topic?  It’s heated.  It’s rough.  It’s a taboo subject.  But I’m exhausted from listening.  To the yelling.  To the name calling.  To the down right disrespectful behaviour & language & tone.  Why does it have to be this way?

Let’s go.  Let’s just jump into this mess.  So whether you lean left or you lean right.  Whether you stand in the middle or are clearly footed on one end of the spectrum.  Whether you’re the bluest blue that has ever been or the reddest red that ever will be.  {have I covered everyone?} Let’s all co-mingle here in the middle of the road for a minute and be just a bit purple, just for a few moments.

As I gaze at my television, I just can’t help but think that this is not what politics should look like.  What I see from my living room looks like a whole lot of power-hungry individuals who want to do something great to further their name, their legacy, their agenda.  I realize that it takes a whole lot of self-confidence to run for the highest office in this country, but I refuse to buy into the notion that self-confidence is the same as ego.  I believe there are self-confident people who walk amongst us everyday with humility in their character.  I just can’t find that in any debate, on any side, with any candidate.  I see a whole bus load of “I will be right at all costs.  Even if it’s not really what’s best for this nation.  I am right & I will prove it!”  Since when did that get anyone anywhere good?

wish for a candidate

I wish for a candidate who could look at the entire picture of this nation & see what’s right & see what’s desperately in need of help.  And then, with genuineness ask for all sides to come together with their best ideas to fix the situation.  Not fix it in a way that ensures that their campaign contributors will be happy.  Not fix it in a way that makes sure that the companies that pay them to speak will continue to do so.  Not in a way that benefits some agriculture or bank or consumer agency.  But in a way that benefits the guy sitting at the bus stop waiting to get to work so he can feed his family and pay his cell phone bill each month.  Fix it for that guy.  Fix it the way that every family in America has to fix their problems, with brainstorming & cause and effect & genuine concern for the outcome of those decisions on everyone else living with them.

I wish for a candidate who could look at ALL people in this nation & see value.  We are all valuable.  Regardless of what color our skin is or what religion we practice during the week or whether we have oddles of cash in the back or not a dollar to our name.  We each are valuable.  And decisions made at even the highest level in America should always take into account the value of the individuals that make up this nation.  We will not always agree with one another.  But I’m absolutely certain that we can respect one another, listen to one another, try to understand one another and be kind to one another.  But we must first believe that everyone is valuable and stands on equal footing.  Everyone.  The view looks so different when everyone stands together.

I wish for a candidate who would lead us together rather than tear us apart.  Great leaders have the ability to create oneness out of many.  A feeling of “we’re all on the same team fighting for the same goal” is always a better rally cry than “come if you want but only if you’re on my side and agree with me”.  Where is our rallying cry?  Where is the unity?  Who is going to step into the middle?  We are One Nation.  One. Singular!  We may have all different opinions on  every topic under the big blue sky. But I will not believe that there is no common ground whatsoever that we can set out boots on & work together.  But we need a leader.  A leader who will bring us all onto the middle ground.  And it would be helpful if that leader was standing there first.

I wish for a candidate who just said what they actually believed.  {and this doesn’t include speech that is polarizing or devalues anyone}  I just wish that if a candidate is asked a question about a topic, that they could answer with all honesty.  Not with a sound bite or a concern for who’s paying their bills.  If a candidate thinks something, they should say it & just let the chips fall where they may.  How refreshing that would be to just know…to feel like you could vote based on exactly what the candidates thought about different topics.

I wish for a candidate that didn’t try too hard.  I’m tired of seeing them on late night television. I’m tired of them being on every morning show.  I’m tired of them tweeting stupid tweets.  I get it.  You need to win an election.  You have a short amount of time to convince Americans that you deserve the job.  I get it.  Air time is persuade time.  But I don’t know how much of that time is actually useful in making up American voters’ minds about which candidate would do the best job.  How about we run an election the way  we do job interviews.  Put out your resume in print…bullet points are nice about your experience, education, etc.  And then we {Americans not the media} ask you real questions that are important to us & you answer how you would handle situations and problems and get the job done.  Enough of the mockery.  Enough of the theatrics.  Enough of the hype & hollywood of it all.  What if every candidate was required to have the same amount of air time {I know a country that does this!}  If you have one candidate on your station for an hour, every other candidate also receives an hour on your station.  Equal time for all.  ALL.  I think this would change the way we look at elections.

I wish for a candidate who was honest and trustworthy.  Maybe the candidates I see standing at their podiums for debate nights are these things.  I’m sure if I talked to their spouses and children and grandchildren, I’d find that they are great people with big hearts.  But seeing them and hearing them, I just have trouble getting to that place where I believe they’re honest and trustworthy.  Maybe the fame overshadows it.  Maybe the noise makes it hard to find.  Maybe the ugliness of our election process makes finding the true character of each candidate difficult.  But I wish it could be more visible.  I wish I could trust the person I’ll vote for to put in charge of this country I call home.  I wish I could trust the candidate that will make decisions that will effect me, my family and my children’s future.

Maybe I’m too cynical.  Maybe I can’t see what I want to see because I don’t want to find it.  I hate what I see from all side at this stage.  It’s ugly.  Is it supposed to be?  Are we supposed to assassinate each other’s character in the name of winning.  Is this how this goes?  This is not what I’m hoping to teach my children about winning, about life.  I want them to grow up not putting others down in the name of making themselves greater.  I want them to risk “losing” sometimes if it means being kind and honest and humble.  I want them to see themselves as wonderful yet on level ground with those around them.  Valuing everyone regardless of opinions or color or cash.  I know this isn’t the way elections go.  I know it might be too dreamy…a wishful unicorn and rainbow idea.  But I wish for a candidate who maybe believes a little bit of this too.