Monday, November 16, 2015

What About Them - What About Us?

In my life I've experienced the gift and absolute privilege of travel.
Not as much as others and certainly not as much as I would like.
But I've been around enough to know that when you leave  your comfortable spot on this earth and venture elsewhere, you start to realize a few things...

First...our world is small.
It really is.
It may not be small in square miles or hours spent on an airplane, but it is tiny in our connection with the people with whom we intersect.
They are like us and we are like them.
(We all want that picture of the Mona Lisa!)
Second...and so very important...we all want the same things.
Whether we are Christian, Muslim, Jewish, Hindu or Buddhist...
Whether we are black, white or brown...
We want happiness.
We want love...peace...a warm place when its cold and food in our bellies when we are hungry.
Most of all, we want a safe place to live our lives and raise our babies.
This is universal.
This is an absolute.

I won't begin to try and understand the motive of the people who are filled with hate and want to destroy the world we live in.
I'm not a historian or a politician.
But, I do believe that desperation breeds desperate behaviors.
If I were a mom or dad running from war...I would be desperate.
If I found no safe haven...I would become even more so.
My family - my children...they are ME.
What else is there when it comes down to it?
What option are we giving people/families/humans when we say we won't help?
Refugee camps?
This is a picture of a Syrian refugee camp from the US State Department.
Does it look like a place you would want to raise your family?
Refugee camps are fertile soil for terrorists and extremism.
They will not make the problem go away.

I understand the fears for our nation.
I really really do.
I live here and I love my life.
I am the same as anyone - wanting safety and happiness for those I love.
But, our safety as a nation is not as simple as arming ourselves with weapons and closing our borders.
I have walked along the history of the bad things that can happen when we start to really hate...

I don't know what that answer is, but I believe it starts with an open heart for those who are truly desperate and in need.

It has been said that fear and compassion cannot live together.
But courage and compassion can thrive...

"There but for the grace of God go I"

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Cross County

Ivan's season in XC ended last week.
He had a final race and ended his year with a PR (personal record) of 19:16 for a 3 mile course.
He's come a long way.
We were laughing about how in the past few years he used to go for a jog in our consisted of about a mile around in his Vans.
At the beginning of the summer, he started running with the Ike XC team in preparation for his freshman year.
During the time trials, he was running about an 8 minute mile.
His hard work and dedication paid off - along with an amazing team and coaching staff - and today he's shaved almost 2 minutes off that time!

Here's a few pictures from the big XC meet in early October that is hosted by Ike...the Sunfair Invitational.
Ivan is #536...on the left side of the picture.
 Ivan placed 41st out of a race with 149 kids!!
Now that the season's over he'll get back an average of 20 hours each week to himself.
No more morning or afternoon practices.
But the running will continue so he stays in shape and ready for track season in the spring and XC again next year.

Jenelle, who hung out with Donald and I all afternoon while we volunteered at the meet, got bored.
She decided to get creative with some fading rose bushes at the park.
Always good at entertaining herself...and us too!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The State Fair!

Another year in the books for the Baumbach trio at the fair!
Donald declined.
Hannah would be coming later in the evening with friends.
The three of us managed to wait until the last day...but it was as good a day as any!!
We started with the Ag Barn which you might be surprised to know - is actually one of their favorite things!
 A great use of a very strange gourd!
Next we went upstairs to see the student art.  
Both kids had art in the display this year!

This is art using Jenelle's name...
This is called "Junk Art"...
And this is a sculpture Ivan made of Matt Smith.  
You'll know who that is if you're a Dr. Who fan...
Next we went to the carnival rides.
Jenelle was excited about the new roller coaster they had.
She went solo but that didn't stop her from having fun!!
She rode a few more...and Ivan rode a few.  
What cracks me up as I go over the pictures is how my kids act like "no big deal" on the rides!
I swear - they told me they had fun!!
We took the gondola to the other end of the park...
We stopped at the petting zoo and this was probably my favorites spot this year.
The animals were just soooo sweet and gentle!
This guy was really a favorite.
Could be the funniest animal picture I've ever taken.
I can think of a thousand captions for this one.
 Soon after this precious moment, Ivan lost his food AND cup!
 PLEASE let me have one!!
A cute little girl working at the fair.
(I'm telling you this specifically so you understand those are NOT Jenelle's fingernails!)
(Although they have looked like that before!)
 Killing me with the eyes!!!
But later I found the cutest animals of all!!
And of course there was food...
The boy would have spent his entire day in front of these if he'd been able!
We had different treats throughout the day.
I mean, it IS fair food!
They each got to choose another fun activity.
Jenelle chose the bungee jump...
And Ivan chose to jump on to a giant pillow??
The years are flying by and these types of days are slipping through my fingers rapidly.
I'm grateful for them all.