One small positive thought in the morning can change your whole day

Friday, November 25, 2016

Dividing Lines? Doesn't have to be!

As we reflect on Thanksgiving, we can honestly say that we are so thankful for the gift of relationship. Taking care of people and relationships are among the greatest of treasures here on earth. I’m not sure if there has been a time, since the Civil War, that America has been more divided. It’s heartbreaking to see people hurting so much and displaying such anger toward each other. This is not like watching something on the news that you may or may not be able to relate to. This is in our own backyards; at our workplaces; and in our own families. It’s so easy to have political conversations with people who agree with you, but what if there are people you love that don’t agree with you? Should that change the way you feel about them? These conversations are hard and without the ability to see other people’s perspectives, it will be impossible to move forward in a positive way. This post is fairly easy to be “In the Moment” because it doesn’t matter what side of the election you are on, we are all processing how to move forward at this point. Here at In the Moment, we are divided in our beliefs, but we are united in our hearts. We have always stood on different sides of this line, but it has never been a factor in our relationship. Not even in the past couple of weeks. When the election results were in, we both knew that we had to talk about it so that we could find our common ground in order to be united in our hearts. We have honestly agreed, that we feel for each other and hope and pray that neither of us are being hurt by what’s going on in the world. We will not pretend to have all the wisdom to bring this country together once and for all, but we thought we would take a stab at sharing how we not only coexist with different political points of view, but truly believe we are stronger because of it. The following questions are designed to get a perspective from each side, not a debate on why we voted one way or another, but rather to answer questions through the lens of each side of the coin.

What is one important thing to be learned from this election?

Voted for Clinton: Our media outlets are incredibly divisive and unconcerned about truth. Many people use social media as their primary news source. I didn't realize, honestly I'd never thought of it, that my Facebook feed would look very different from someone who voted for Trump, that social media would push stories to me that would create more division. Neither liberal nor conservative media outlets are focused on absolute truth, report absolute truth, ensure that their clients are hearing/reading absolute truth; they are concerned with ratings. Outrageous, divisive stories increase ratings. We need to be more discerning with our news.

Voted for Trump: There will always be a winner and a loser. I saw so many people be equally upset when Obama won both of his terms and I am looking now, wondering if they remember what it felt like to be on the losing side of the election. I also wonder if those who are so distraught now, realize that when they were so happy that Obama won, there were people feeling just as upset as they do now with Trump. If there will always be a winner and a loser, it’s imperative that Americans learn how to do both with grace.

How is someone supposed to support a president that they don’t trust?

Voted for Clinton: I'll admit, this is hard for me. I don't support him yet. All I can say is the position of the president commands respect. As a patriot, I strongly believe this. I don't trust Donald Trump but I trust democracy, I trust "we the people".

Voted for Trump: I would have to say that propaganda is really a thing, on both sides, so just make sure that what you are reading is full truth, again, on BOTH sides. Also, it’s fair to say that
we have had former presidents who didn’t meet our moral expectations either. After that, I think it really has to be a decision to respect and support the position of President of the United States. If we are no longer debating the candidates, we did that already, then look to what this President can do that will be positive for our country.

How can Freedom of Speech be expressed without dividing the people even more?

Voted for Clinton: It is so important that we listen to hear, as opposed to listen to respond. . Go outside, go talk to your neighbor, hug your kids, and turn off the television and social media. For those whose side lost, find where you can make a real difference, get involved in positive change. For those whose side won, try to understand, people want to feel heard. As Martin Luther King, Jr said "a riot is the language of the unheard".

Voted for Trump: My best answer to this is to put everything you post or say through the filter of “what do I hope to gain from this?” If your answer is to be right, you might reconsider posting or saying it. Freedom of speech is a precious thing, but to me, the real question here is at what cost? If being right is more important than keeping relationships, then I don’t agree with that. I also believe that Freedom of Speech has to be equal on both sides. If you’re going to put your thoughts out on a public forum, then people responding to it need to have the same freedom, even if they are disagreeing with you. I will be honest and say that I have not felt like I have had the same freedoms to share my political points of view without being accused of things that are simply false about me.

What if I think that the people who voted differently than me are evil and stand for things I don’t stand for?

Voted for Clinton: I know some people who voted differently do believe in evil things; some people who voted the same as me also believe in evil things. We need to take time and recognize our friends, loved ones, other people who fight for justice, speak for those who can't speak for themselves, hurting people, wounded people, marginalized people voted differently than we did. We must be willing to listen, to find some common ground. I am committed to the #safetypin project. I am safe if you are LGBT, Muslim, Black, Hispanic, disabled, female, male, afraid, marginalized, abused or voted for the opposition! Let me know what I can do to make you feel heard and empowered.

Voted for Trump: I guess my answer to this is, it depends on how you respond. Evil is among us everywhere and we are never going to agree on everything, but the tone of this question tends to make me think of those unable to carry on relationships with people who disagreed with you.
I believe that this question might be asked from the basis of political social issues that we faced in this election. I think we should always continue to strive for social equality, regardless of what party is in office. My view on this comes from a belief system that people, fundamentally, have one of two views of America.
#1. Our founding fathers, although flawed, have passed down great values and philosophies to be carried out. That we can change as we grow in knowledge, but foundationally, we are a strong and great nation.
#2. America is an unfair place to live where being different brings about hatred. Our founding fathers were bigots and racist and foundationally we are flawed.
I happen to fall into the believe system of #1 where I believe in America. I also think the majority of Americans, on both sides, fall into believe system #1. I think that we have many opportunities to grow and change, but I believe in America to its core. It is the greatest place to live and I think that those who don’t believe in America, really should find a place to live that they like better. I don’t say that to be offensive, I really believe it. This is where riots and burning the flag becomes very offensive to people in category #1. That being said, I will reiterate that we should always continue to strive for social equality.

These questions were answered without the knowledge of the other. We hope that our views of the election, our world, and our friendship can help someone who might be feeling lost in it all.

We hope that you had a fabulous Thanksgiving and we want to encourage everyone to be mindful of loving others well!

Chrissie and Lori

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Why you need your girlfriend.

I’m a late bloomer. I knew I wanted to teach since I was in 6th grade but didn’t finish my degree until I was 29. I started teaching as an emergency substitute placement in January 2001. I taught and loved almost every minute of it until our first child came home through adoption. I took time to be with her then we moved overseas. When we returned, I had a case management certification and became a social worker. While it’s a hard job, I enjoyed the “wins” in social work. Though it was a good season, I always missed teaching.
I decided a couple of years ago that I wanted to get back into the schools. I spoke with my girlfriend about my idea of becoming a school counselor. She knew that required an advanced degree I didn’t have. It would mean going back to school while working part-time and raising four kids. She suggested I start back to teaching then decide if I wanted to be a counselor.
Boy, I was nervous about it. I had to take five tests to get my qualifications in my state! I was so afraid of failing that I didn’t want to do it. What if I failed the tests? What if I didn’t get hired? What about the new technology, the new standards?
I boldly shared my dream with some other girlfriends, who also encouraged me and reminded me of the importance of a caring teacher. I began substitute teaching and passed all of my tests! This school year, I am in a long-term sub assignment for the first three months of school. We will see where this leads but let me tell you, I am loving the kids, the teaching team, the administration, every single part of it! I am in the exact school where I want to teach! I am living my dream!
What I just realized, while walking past the school counselors’ offices this morning, is that I don’t want to be a school counselor. While she was gentle in her approach, I think my friend knew the classroom is where I belong, she just wanted me to realize it myself. That is what a friend does, she doesn’t let you miss out on your heart’s desire because of fear, she encourages you to pursue and realize your dream!
Much love,

Monday, September 26, 2016

What's Your Hammer?

It has always made me giggle when a doctor takes that little hammer and finds just the right spot to make our bodies react with a swift kick. How does that happen? Even when we’re telling ourselves to not react, we still do. Although I find myself being amused by this at the doctor, I am far from amused when other ‘hammers’ in my life cause me to react when I don’t want to. There are certain things that cause a knee jerk reaction in me that drives me crazy, but can also debilitate me from my normal day-to-day routine. There are so many hammers, but here are a few.
Made to feel:
-never chosen
-unlov (ed) (able)
-left out
My mornings are crazy busy, getting 5 kids out the door while I’m also trying to get to work on time. (I’m still not used to saying 5 kids since my 6th has moved on to college). Although seldom easy, some mornings definitely go more smoothly than others. This morning I found myself yelling at each kid for different reasons at different times and really none of it had to be hashed out before 8am, but I couldn’t stop myself. Of course, I have enough maturity to realize that I am the only one who has control of myself and no one can make me behave a certain way, but why do I do that if it’s really not my heart to act that way? My best answer to this question is that I got hammered by someone first thing this morning who made me feel unimportant. My body reacted in a way that negatively impacted everyone else around me, but it also had a debilitating effect on me. It hurt. It literally took the breath from me and made me not care about the rest of my day. At the time, I wasn’t even aware that the ‘hammer’ had been dropped. I knew that it made me angry, but I had no idea that the blow was so deep that I would continue to react to it for the rest of the morning. I thought it was just something that happened and then I moved on, but from that point forward, I viewed everything that happened through the lens of “everyone views me as unimportant and this is how they show it”. Sometimes a “knee jerk” reaction to this feeling might be to go eat an entire chocolate cake; or to skip working out and drown ourselves in social media; or just yell at everyone around us. None of which really makes us feel better, but I’ve been guilty of each one at different times. I have specific thoughts about how to take our swords and fight that beast that comes against us, but for today, I think it's enough to say that the first thing we have to do when we are reacting in ways that we don’t want to, it to look closely at what our hammers are. The hammer is not usually the person or situation, it’s the feeling within us that is drawn out and then causes us to react. We have to have an awareness about what makes us vulnerable to behave in ways that we don’t like and then to make a decision. We have to decide whether we believe it or not. Am I really unimportant? I know my answer so I think I will go about the rest of my day and forgive myself for our rough start. I will probably hug and kiss my husband and kids when they get home and I think I’ll skip the chocolate cake.
Many Blessings,

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Meet Lori Pyle

There are not a lot of things more uncomfortable than having to write or speak about yourself, but I fully believe in the charge that Chrissie and I have been given to share our lives in a completely spontaneous way. I’m not exactly sure what that is going to look like, but I know that it could be difficult at times, mostly fun, and possibly entertaining. Whatever it is, we felt like our readers and listeners need to have a better understanding of who we are, ya know for street cred! That right there should say something about me.

So for the very basic information, my name is Lori Pyle. I’ve been married for almost 23 years and we have 6 children. That’s it! I’m done! With those two pieces of information alone, I could talk for days. My husband and I have lived in 6 different states and are both originally from Missouri, which we moved away from and then back to 3 different times. We have moved so many times people used to ask us if we were in the military. Nope, we just moved because we could. We currently live in Kentucky and generally speaking, I would say we are a Midwest family. My husband has mountain in his blood, which he has passed down to several of our children, but we definitely operate like a Midwest family. I mean, our 17-year-old son just assumes that everybody owns a gig pole, and for me the idea of life on the lake it almost heaven. By the way, if you don’t know what a gig pole is then I will assume you are not a Midwesterner, hence my point. Luckily, we have lived in other states and traveled abroad several times so our experiences in life have been wonderful and very diverse at times. Chrissie and I lived in Missouri and Colorado together and that’s where it all started.

As mentioned, my husband and I have 6 children, 3 of whom are biological and 3 of whom were adopted a little more than 3 years ago from Sierra Leone, Africa. We have 4 sons and 2 daughters. One is in college, 2 are in high school, 2 are in middle school, and one is in elementary. All of our kids are very active in sports as both my husband and I were as well. I am a football, basketball, track, Lacrosse, field hockey, cheer, and soccer mom. I love it all and even when it’s hard to manage our crazy schedule, we know our children will cherish these years of having parents who supported everything they did. I’m sure my husband would agree, but our glory days in sports were some of the best memories ever.

So, yes, it might make sense that a mom of six very active children would be a stay-at-home mom, but that would not be true. I am a Speech-Language Pathologist and I work in the middle school, because clearly, I don’t get enough teenager-ness at home. Again, this is something I dearly love. My work in the school is abundantly satisfying to my soul.

I also consider myself to be an adoption advocate. I believe with my entire being that every child deserves the love of a family and there are way too many orphans in the world to stay quiet about the children who do not have a voice in the matter. That being said, I had my world rocked a few years ago and this ride that I’m on has me questioning everything about my life, constantly! I believe we were placed on this earth for a purpose and I believe in the God of the universe, of whom I will serve into eternity. I cannot understand everything that has happened in my life, but my faith will not be shaken. However, authenticity will demand truth and that truth says that there have been seasons in my life, even as a Christian, that I have wondered “what the hell is going on?” “Who am I?” “Where is God?” and “Can I just quit?” Those questions will quite possibly come up often if we truly stay in the moment with you. I am absolutely humbled at the thought that even one person might stop by our blog and read what we have to say or that anyone would tune in to our podcasts to hear our world of crazy, but to whomever you are, thank you for joining us. This should really be a good time.

Meet Chrissie Woodruff

Wow, where do I start to tell you about me?

Lori and I have been friends for 20 years now! I met her when my husband and I were dating. We lived in a small town in Missouri, where we went to high school together, along with Lori’s husband. During our 19 years of marriage, we moved to three different states and one foreign country before settling in Washington.

My husband is a huge supporter of my dreams and always encourages me. After we married, I went back to finish my Bachelor’s degree and became a teacher. Teaching had been my dream since 6th grade and I loved teaching middle schoolers! I took a break from teaching when we adopted our first child. I was not able to get pregnant. We discussed options including IVF but we felt that adoption was how we were to grow our family. Our first baby girl came home from foster care when she was seven months old. She was such a blessing to our family! We thought we would adopt all of our children but God had other plans.

We had the opportunity to move to Australia. Our little girl would ask for a baby brother or sister. My answer was always “talk to Jesus” as we weren’t able to adopt living outside the US. Well, she did and He heard! We miraculously had another baby girl!

When we moved back, we landed in Texas. I started a job as a CPS investigator. Incredibly, I got pregnant again, without even trying! Did I say incredible?? We had our youngest, our sweet baby boy.

We had another work opportunity, this time to the Pacific Northwest. We live in Washington, just outside of Portland, Oregon. Before our move here, Lori had shared her story of adopting her children from Sierra Leone and told me she needed me to travel and be part of this with her. She needed my support and I couldn’t fully give it if I didn’t experience where part of her heart and part of her family lived. A few weeks after we arrived in Washington, I was on a plane for my first trip to Sierra Leone.

Can I be honest here and say I was miserable? I wanted to come home early and never go back! The crazy part is that I went back, several times! We fell in love with a boy we sponsored who became our oldest child. He came home two years ago at the age of 13. He made our family complete. God had put on my heart, when I only had one child, when I was unable to conceive, that I would be the mom of four kids. God is funny that way! Things that look truly impossible are possible!

After working several years in foster care adoption, preparing children and families for adoption, this week, I returned to teaching middle school fulltime. The same week my kids have started as a freshman, 8th grader, 3rd grader and 1st grader. It has been a mind-boggling week! Living my dream of teaching, living my dream of having four children! Whew, it’s a lot, it’s wonderful and hard and encouraging and exhausting! I am so thankful for each of you reading, listening and living in the moment with us!

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Fearfully Brave

For close to a year, In the Moment has been devoted to providing positive, encouraging words to girls needing to be filled up with love and acceptance of who they are. It has been so much fun to read the comments and watch new followers come on board each day. Although In the Moment has been fully visible for the past year, it has been in the making for much longer. We believe that today it is important to introduce the people behind In the Moment because as this next year unfolds, we are super excited to share the new things coming our way.
In the Moment is a direct result of the lives of two women who have truly lived. Truly living does not mean that we have lived these incredibly, perfect lives and we desire to tell you exactly how to do that too. It mostly means that we have lived and continue to live beautifully messy lives. We have been best friends for 17 years, but only lived in the same state for about 2 of those years. That hasn’t always been easy, but the road we have traveled is worth sharing with other girls who want to feel connected through relationships. We are both happily married, to men who are, ironically, also best friends. Strangely (not really) though, their relationship is nothing like ours. They knew each other long before we did and if you ask them, they would say they are close, but they don’t “talk”; or solve any of the world’s problems over the phone; or beat any kind of dead horse together. Talk about beating dead horses, if we see any sign of movement on a topic that we feel passionate about, you can bet there is a wine Skype in our very near future. Truth be told, our husbands are very thankful for our friendship because if they had to listen to us talk about the same issues as often as we do, we would NOT be happily married. To us, it’s just the way we do things. We are Christian women who constantly challenge righteousness to its core. We believe that grace and mercy are the only ways that we get through a day. We both took an unspoken vow several years ago to be our most authentic selves to each other as well as to the people who watch us every day. We fail at this often, because many times our authentic selves are not very pretty, but we are committed to keep trying. We are both moms of bunches of kids with bunches of things to talk about surrounding our kids. We each have biological children as well as adopted children with both situations having its own blessings and challenges because at the end of the day, that is what we call family. And lastly (for now) as if having a bunch of kids of our own, mostly teenagers, is not enough, we also both teach in middle school.
Our next two posts will be dedicated to revealing more about Chrissie Woodruff and Lori Pyle as we seek to truly be In the Moment with each of you. Thanks for reading!