America

What are you hungry for?

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

Have you heard about the Hunger Games?

Unless you have been deep-sea diving with James Cameron you can’t escape the phenomenon that is the Hunger Games. Tweens, teens and adults have made it one of the largest gross movies openings of all times.
I read and enjoyed all three books in the series and have been amazed/amused at the controversy it has caused.
Do I think they are too violent for young children… absolutely.
Do I think they should not be required reading in middle school… of course.

But they are fiction and present an imaginary life in a well thought out story. They are written for young adult, high school aged teens and older. Does society really believe that the fiction Panem is worse than the reality television teenagers are watching? Again, they are fiction…and should be read as such.

With that expressed…

As I was reading them, I was hearing Katniss’s struggle to survive and her struggle to see her sister again.
You could see that she hungered for her father in her life again.
She hungered to not be in the situation she was placed in.
She hungered for a community that did not have to be ruled by the elite of the Capital.
She hungered to be able to trust the others around her (especially Rue and Peeta).
She hungered for an end to the games she hated, having been forced to watch them each year.

Isn’t our lives similar?
Don’t we hunger to spend more time with family?
Don’t we hunger to have relationships of trust?
Don’t we hunger to live in a society that values each and every person?
Don’t we hunger for a society to end poverty, loneliness, homelessness?

We can create a critical, negative atmosphere or we can see the good in society around us. I choose GOOD!

I choose to work for PEACE, JUSTICE and EQUALITY.

Complain all you want about the Hunger Games, it was a good read and thought-provoking on how a powerful society can become if you don’t have a voice.

THANK GOODNESS, we have a voice! But how many people don’t…do you see them…do you speak for them?

Bloggers have the freedom to express ourselves and to share our thoughts.

Look deep inside yourself…what are you hungry for?
What will you be the “girl of fire” for? Lend your voice…

The hunger I crave is for FREEDOM, ACCEPTANCE and LOVE!

Categories: America, Balance, Movies | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Occupy Who?

Reclaim your home! Reclaim your family! Reclaim your independence!

I get what the “Occupys” are screaming for…I totally get that we all need to have freedom of speech…and I totally get that they have the right to be heard. I understand how we all have to be passionate about something…take up the mantle, fight for a cause…
But I want to ask…

What about your family? Camping out in Central Park for a week affects more than just yourself, it affects all those around you.
Be passionate about occupying your kitchen table – make it a priority to gather together for dinner as a family.
Be passionate about occupying time at your children’s sports game – make them feel as if they are the most important person in the world to you.
Be passionate about reclaiming your independence, share that as a mentor to someone in need.
Be passionate about reclaiming time – pause and look at the leaves as they sweep past you on the sidewalk as you rush to your important task.

Be intentional, be thoughtful, be kind…Occupy your self-worth and armed with the power within you can change lives all around you without ever leaving your neighborhood.

Occupy your hometown and your home to get back to the roots that we planted in the community!

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Tourist in my home town

It was an amazing  day in Chicago today.

We love to spend Father’s Day in the city and today was no exception. Our family of four become tourists in a place we have been visiting for twenty years. Last year we hopped on the double decker bus for an hour tour around the city. Even though I can’t imagine how many time we have gone into Chicago for museums, shows, dinners and parks, we discovered places and history we did not know. So this year we did the same, we were tourist again today and had a lot of laughs.

Today was a Segway day. We have never been on these two wheeled personal transportation systems, but we figured that balancing and edging for years skiing may be to our advantage. And is was! After a short intro, we were off and moving. Traveling from Navy Pier to the Museum Campus, we saw the sites and snapped some pics. The Yacht Club, Buckingham Fountain, the Skyline, all the city has to offer. It was a beautiful day.

Then after dinner at Navy Pier, we were walking back to our car we saw Vietnam Veterans under a small tent answering questions and selling t-shirts. Then we realized that behind where they stood was the “Moving Wall”. The replica of the Vietnam Memorial in DC that travels the country bringing awareness and honor to those that have served, are serving and will serve. It was a great way to end a perfect day…Remembering all the fathers, brothers, and sons, honoring their memories.
Right in our backyard…and we would have never seen it if we were not tourists for the day.

Sometimes we become so busy in our lives we forget all the wonders we have around us.
What wonders are in your neighborhood?
When was the last time you spent a day discovering them?
Families spend time in front of screens all day.
Our televisions, our computers, our laptops in front of the televisions…our smartphones, our tablets, our ereaders…

Discover the wonders just outside your door.
Drive into the city, explore the normal, and find new discoveries in familiar places.

We love to stop into a restaurant off the beaten path. A mom and pop diner with delicious food.
A farmer’s market with delicious fresh fruit. An art show on the streets and alleys.
Maybe even music in the park.
What can you discover in the ordinary places you know.

So get up…get out of your comfort zone…and be a tourist in your home town!

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Pride for an American Hero

Pride in our family, our nation, our heroes was seen throughout the southwest suburbs today.

At the funeral of my cousin’s son who was killed in Iraq, emotions ran deep.
As I stood in the back of the funeral home listening to the stories about this young man with a huge heart I was moved to tears. An honorable man who loved everyone he met, loved playing the guitar and loved making a difference in the lives of others by serving in the army. He was an American Hero.

He was an American Hero as a soldier
His wife, mother, father, sisters, brother, grandfather and grandmothers now wear the Gold Star for their sacrifice. I will be eternally grateful to all the men and women who have given their lives so that we may be free. The service was distinguished and honorable, with Patriot Guard Riders standing in respect throughout the visitation and funeral. The room hushed as they came forward to say their final goodbyes, especially the final Patriot Guard; a World War Two veteran that saluted Mike’s casket. The image of the Patriot Guard Riders standing with the US flags, then riding with the motorcade to Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery for his final resting place is imbedded in my memory.

Never have I been so proud to be an American.

He was an American Hero as a brother, son and husband.
As we drove through Homer Glen, Lockport, New Lenox, Joliet and Elwood the streets were lined with hundreds of people. Young and old, walkers and strollers, boy scouts and soccer players to honor a fallen hero. Businesses stopped and employees stood at the street under their company signs that were changed to read “In memory” or “We miss you”. People on the streets held handmade signs with “Thank you for your sacrifice”, “God bless Mike”, “Our hero” and just miles and miles of American flags. It was so touching to see so many people, some that may not have even know Mike, taking time out of their day to stand on the streets in respect. Then we would pass fields with no one and suddenly at the end of a farm-house driveway would be a single person standing and saluting the 200 cars, or a woman, dog at her side, right hand on her heart and left hand holding a flag, alone but honoring another. Then, there was a mother and her two sons, in their Boy Scout uniforms with flags in Homer Glen, then they appeared again in New Lenox – they must have got in their car and traveled on back streets to get in front of the procession to honor Mike twice. A mother teaching her sons about committment, dedication and honor…a message they will never forget. Nothing is more important than honoring our heroes and paying our respects. I have known that my whole life, but I felt it deep in my heart today.

At the cemetery, six soldiers carried Mike’s casket to his final resting place, as everyone encircled the family with love. The 21 gun salute, the folding and presenting of the American flag and the bugle rendering Taps, brought everyone to a somber reality of this final goodbye. As I wiped my eyes, I saw something moving from the corner of my eye and I looked up. Past the lines of the uniformed headstones there was a grove of trees and beautifully soaring in a circle above the trees were three hawks. Then a fourth hawk flew towards the group and they flew off together. I believe this was the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, soaring to bring Mikey home. And off he went with the Trinity to his true home. Faith and Life in the ultimate image.

I know how touched I was by the outpouring of honor, respect and love – I can only imagine what Mike’s wife, parents and siblings felt.

Today I was so proud to be an Olivieri and more importantly humbled and proud to be an American! May the faith of Mike’s family and the prayers of a community comfort them in their grief.

On behalf of a grateful nation…God bless you Mike!!

Categories: America, Balance, Family, Gratefulness | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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