An Invitation to Join Me on My New Journey

Karen Simpson Delegate 31B Headshot 04 2018Hello Blog Friends,

It has been awhile since I had an opportunity to post anything to my Sisters of Christ blog.

My life got a bit crazy when I realized I needed to run for State Delegate in my Maryland district.

I have NEVER run for political office before. But I have worked in State government and Annapolis for a very long time.  I have marched for women, children and other vulnerable citizens in our community.

I don’t have a lot of money or rich powerful friends. But I know plenty of the opposite who need a voice in government.

I am running because the things that impact my family and community have not been a priority for our current representatives.

I am running because I am a survivor. I survived being raped when I was in college and I survived domestic violence at the hands of my first husband.  I am running to be a #MeToo champion for women and children in Maryland – and the vast majority of men who respect the rights and bodies of women and children.

It isn’t easy but most things worthwhile are difficult.

I’m running because I’m tired of politicians tearing us apart. We are neighbors. I like my neighbors. We agree about much more than the few things we disagree about.

I want to focus on bringing us back together as friends, family and neighbors who as a community can solve issues that affect us all.

Our children and families deserve freedom from the opioid and heroin epidemic. It will not go away without our intervention.

Our drug epidemic is a mental health and substance abuse issue. People burdened by addiction and their families need services. Our mental health and substance abuse communities must be given the resources to lead us to recovery.

My core goal is to provide opportunity, equality and fairness to everyone in the community.

As State Delegate, I will work to assure effective treatment is available for our friends and family caught in the addictions snare.  We will stop frustrating our judicial system with an epidemic they are not qualified to rehabilitate.

We are neighbors. I  hope to bring our community together because we have more in common than things that divide us.

I miss my blog family. You are my core. You keep me grounded and focused.  I need you and your support to make it to the finish line.

When you help me get this message out with a contribution or by sharing a post or liking my Karen4Maryland.com page, you are saying that the people who represent us should reflect our community.

I’m Karen Simpson. I’m a wife, a mom, and a hard worker. You know my stories. I’ve shared them with you. We have wept together. We laughed together and perhaps even growled together.  Please join me on my new journey. We are neighbors and I need you.

Thank you for joining me on this new journey. I appreciate your support.

Website: Karen4Maryland.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Karen4Maryland/

Twitter: @Karen4Maryland

Donations accepted online: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/karen4maryland

Or mail checks to:

Friends of Karen Simpson
8245 Jumpers Hole Road
Millersville, MD 21108

Authorized by Friends of Karen Simpson
Donna Flaharty, Treasurer

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Please Blink for Children

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. Matthew 7:12 

When his child is hungry

Does Jesus give him something to eat, or

Starve his family so there are less poor people? (Tax cuts for the rich)

 

When his child is thirsty

Does Jesus give her something to drink, or

Pollute her water supply? (Keystone)

When his child is an immigrant (DACA)

Does Jesus invite him in, or

Deport him to land he doesn’t know?

 

When his child needs clothes

Does Jesus buy her clothes, or

Leave her naked in the street? (#MeToo)

 

When his child is sick

Does Jesus make sure he gets proper healthcare (CHIP and ACA)

Or leave him to die?

 

When his child is in prison

Does Jesus come to visit her, or

Forget his child? (criminal injustice)

Matthew 25:31-46

Parenting, #MeToo and Family Values

“Boys will be boys”

This statement explains why boys sexualize girls and blame women for being assaulted.

How did your parents or caregivers prepare you for the #MeToo reality?

Every day another sexual predator struts into the news and the public debate begins whether they are innocent, guilty, framed or simply ignorant.

Even when the abuser admits their horrendous behavior, their family, friends, high school teachers and selected co-workers rush to their defense by loudly blaming the victim, minimizing the allegations and questioning the victim’s attire, motivations and timing.

As a #MeToo survivor, I am grateful for the new wave of supporters who believe the victims because they understand there is absolutely no benefit in lying about being harassed, assaulted or raped.

However, the risks of being ignored, shamed, blamed or called a liar are real.

It takes courage.

There is way too much responsibility and blame placed on victims who are primarily female. Blaming the victim gives predators a pass to continue to assault other victims. And this is terribly true in the church.

The church and their families have very different expectations of men and women in their ability to uphold traditional family moral and ethical principles of honesty, loyalty, purity, and faith.

The burden of family values fall heavily on women. While boys are raised to simply police and test girls’ ability to uphold these virtues.

Girls can’t protect themselves if boys are given a pass for self-control.

This culture has existed since the dawn of time so one post isn’t going to change all that but let’s talk about something very basic and teachable yet missing whenever someone is assaulted or raped.

Consent

It is never too early or too late to talk about consent.

Consent may seem like a new concept but it’s not. Parents expect children to ask permission (consent) for a snack, to go outside, stay overnight at a friend’s house or borrow the car. And if they don’t ask for permission, there are consequences.

We also teach consent in school when we expect children to ask permission to get out of their seat to throw something away, ask a question or go to the bathroom.

Consent is power and control that can be abused.

Children are easily preyed upon by adults because almost all children are taught to respect all adults.

Assault at its core is about boundaries.

Consent is as simple as “yes” or “no.” Some make it more complicated than it needs to be.
Teaching consent begins by giving children control over their own bodies and teaching children the proper words for their body parts.

At fifteen months, children become naturally fearful of strangers. Children should be taught to trust their feelings and that they have control over their body by allowing them to choose who holds them or kisses them.  This lays the foundation for learning to check with their parents for assurance and not to getting into cars or walking off with strangers.

By age two, children have heard “No” so much they say it all the time. We teach consent by respecting their choices about their bodies and belongings.

As noted earlier, children learn consent in relationships when we teach them appropriate boundaries such as asking for a toy instead of grabbing it out of someone’s hand. They learn consequences when they have a time out for hitting someone.

It is also important to teach boys and girls that it is never too late to change their mind and to respect their friend’s choices.

As children grow, parents use teachable moments to begin teaching children the value of their bodies, respect and compassion for others, responsibility for their actions, accountability, and admitting hurt, and seeking help.

Some loving parents teach their daughter’s self-defense to help boys respect their choices.

 

I admire parents who teach their daughter’s self-defense and brag about how their daughters can surprise any would-be villains by swinging into action like the tough super hero they’ve been trained to be.

I cheer for those girls. I applaud their parents and their instructors.

It is very important to teach children to say “No” and have their choices respected. We teach this by respecting their choices when they are young. Children must be given permission and tips to defend themselves.

All of these lessons lay the foundation for deeper discussions about relationships with the opposite sex which should begin before children begin middle school. The key is to keep communication open.

Their interactions with other children, adults, and authority figures provide lots of opportunities to discuss power and control, bullies, and consent.

Having this type of dialogue with children when they are very young keeps the discussion open for them to discuss relationships, things they saw on television, heard or saw their friends do, or even things they said or did.

These discussions help children develop empathy and the value of others.

Their lives offer many teachable moments to talk about sex, love, assault, rape. Teach them how to de-escalate situations, as well as the importance of intervention if a situation wasn’t safe or someone was in danger of hurting themselves or others.

All children mess up sometimes and fail to respect someone. When they mess up, they should expect consequences for their behavior and understand the importance of apologizing to the satisfaction of the harmed. They should seek forgiveness, but can’t force forgiveness.

Unfortunately, no matter how well we train our children, they may still encounter bullies and predators.

We hope they are successful in defending themselves.

And if they are successful, we need to be available with open arms to wrap them in comfort after they stood up to the beast.  We also need to support and encourage them to share their experience to protect others.

I wish self-defense was the answer to prevent being bullied, assaulted or raped.

Unfortunately it didn’t work for me. I tried to fight. I didn’t win. I was outnumbered. I was drugged. And I was raped.

Therefore, parents must also be prepared to wrap our daughter’s in the courage to know that even if she encounters a bigger, stronger offense trained villain, she is not at fault if she is wounded or outnumbered by the beast(s).

It is NEVER the victim’s responsibility to prevent rape or any other assault.

It is very important to teach our children to stand up for themselves and recognize times to fight.  It is equally important to learn when to run if able or when to remain still and quiet to survive to tell your story even if you wished to die. All equally noble and wise choices (opportunities).

Victims can’t prevent what someone else does because being a victim is being stripped of choices.

It is important to continue to discuss teachable #MeToo moments as they pop up in the news.  Talk about how to process who to believe, rape myths about drinking, the good guy who is well liked, whose life was messed up and how to determine if it was consensual. 

And whether we are in a position to judge the truth.

Keep Your Honk to Yourself

Honk. Honk! HONK! HONNNNNKK! Commuting to the city is noisy.

I imagine every tenth car has a shredded horn while mine is rarely ever used.

Why does someone ten cars back feel the need to put all their weight into their horn until their wheels finally start moving?

Either their wrists really hurt by the time they get to work or their cars are automatically wired to honk whenever they stop moving.

Please exercise your road rage in therapy or at the gym because your horn isn’t getting you anywhere.

Have a nice day! Honk. Honk.

 If I HONK without love, I am just plain noisy!

1 Corinthians 13:1

All Saints Mystery of Christ

All saints reconciled by the glorious mystery of Christ which dwells in us.

Abba,

Gracias!  Your Son is the image of you.

Christ, the firstborn from the dead, springs up hope for our departed love.

We pray for the saints taken from us by violence in New York, Charleston, Las Vegas, the Pulse, Sandy Hook at schools, workplaces, mosques, synagogues, churches, and within our communities.

Heal your saints’ broken heart. Wipe our tears. Embrace us in your grace.

We pray for our saints who died. We miss them.

Heal your saints’ broken heart. Wipe our tears. Embrace us in your grace.

Your saints plant your word. We hope it bears your fruit.

Fill your saints with your knowledge, your wisdom and your understanding.

Give your saints the courage and endurance to speak up for our vulnerable least and lost neighbors.

Give your saints the bravery to invite into our homes, up to our tables and into our family your saints who have been left of our society.

Inspire your saints to extend that love to your saints of Abraham’s Ishmael.

No saint should be alone.

No saint should be rejected.

No saint should be bullied.

No saint should feel disconnected.

Your saints are connected by your love freely given by our loving God.

Strengthened your saints with your power.

Strengthened your saints to be kind to all of your children.

No saint  bullies!

Strengthened your saints to share our inheritance with all people in the kingdom of your light.

 Your saints saved by grace alone. 

Your saints proclaim your word. 

Your saints wrap up in your faith.

Your saints celebrate hope for our departed love.

Gracias Allah Akbar!

Amen

chldren

A Grateful Reformation Heart

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who protested? 

Isaiah 53:8

Christ dwell with us as we teach and disciple each other with all the wisdom of the psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude  in our Reformed hearts. 

Colossians 3:16

Great Reformer, 

Thank you for your WORD, your FAITH and your GRACE.

We pray for continued understanding of WORD alone, FAITH alone and GRACE alone as we embrace and love our Muslim siblings, siblings of color, LGBTQ siblings and other marginalized siblings. 

We lift up and pray for our siblings that struggle with embracing your children who may look, pray or love differently. Continue your Reformation in us to end Bullying.

AMEN

#500Reformation

My Millennial Daughter’s Refreshing View of Trump Presidency

A Millennial’s View: The Unexpected Pastor’s Daughter on the Election

11760138_10207280306031984_6362984565707607752_n-1My 19-year old daughter posted on Facebook last evening a reflection that struck me with its clarity of thought, honesty, and charity . . . more charitable, if I’m honest, than I feel like being right now (although I’m working on it). But sometimes children set the example for their parents. I asked her if I could share her post on my blog, and she said “Yes.” So here it is, unedited by her proud dad . . . 

*deep breath* Okay. Hi friends. I haven’t really posted any of my own thoughts on the election besides videos and posts that I’ve shared, so here goes…

I’m going to start off by saying that to anyone reading this who voted for Trump…it’s okay. I still love and respect you, and an election is not going to change that. I am not going to sit here and call you a racist, or a sexist, or homophobic, or Islamophobic. I’m not going to classify you as a deplorable. And I’m also not going to threaten to unfriend you. I refuse to do any of these things because for one, these actions, to me, would be giving in to the very hatred and divisiveness that I was so against and afraid of happening with this election in the first place; and two, because I simply know that this isn’t true about so many of you. A lot of you happen to be some of my closest friends, who I know very well to be some of the most caring, loving, and accepting people I know. I refuse to let any of that go because of our political choice. Sure, I disagree with you, but first and foremost, I will not stop loving and respecting you as a person.

And here’s the thing, guys. (Yes, I’m talking to everyone now.) Donald J. Trump has been elected to be the 45th president of the United States. Donald J. Trump IS, as much as it pains me to say it, going to be our 45th president of the United States. And I know, I hate it. The man who, as a kid, I just thought of as “the big, mean man who fires people on TV,” is now going to rule our country. And you know what else? I’m absolutely terrified. So many people in our country right now are terrified, and with very good reason. The LGBTQIA community is terrified that their basic human rights are at stake. Our vice president-elect believes in shock therapy, for gods sake. I have several friends who are terrified of being separated from their families, due to our president-elect’s stance on immigration. I have black friends who are terrified of leaving their homes because of the fear and hatred that this election has instilled in people. Muslim women are afraid to wear their hijab in public. Parents are terrified of what it is they’re supposed to tell their children. They’re terrified of sending them to school, where bullying and racism has spiked. Me, I’m terrified of what happens when Obamacare is done away with completely. I’m terrified, what with my “pre-existing condition,” of the prospect of not being able to receive health insurance, and knowing full well that I won’t be able to afford the $30,000 treatments that I need to receive every six weeks, not even including any of my other medications. Our country is absolutely terrified.

But again, like it or not, Donald J. Trump is going to be president. Unless by some miracle the electoral college votes otherwise, it’s going to happen. And I think that, for right now, what our country truly needs is unity. I’ve seen so much hatred and fighting being spread in these past fifteen months due to this election. I’ve watched close friends become enemies, and people from both parties say some really nasty, hurtful things. But the election is over now. The votes have been cast, and the winner has been decided. Like it or not, we need to begin the path to acceptance. I think Hilary Clinton said it well in her concession speech on Wednesday:

“Donald Trump is going to be our president. We owe him an open mind and the chance to lead. Our constitutional democracy enshrines the peaceful transfer of power and we don’t just respect that, we cherish it … I count my blessings every single day that I am an American. And I still believe as deeply as I ever have that if we stand together with respect for our differences, strength in our convictions and love for this nation, our best days are still ahead of us.”

I’m holding on to the belief that the majority of people who voted for Trump are not the hateful, racist, bigoted people that have been described in the media. In fact, I think a lot of the people who voted for him would be just as scared as we are right now if Hilary was elected. (Mind you, I am not making any kind of statement on whether that fear would be justified or not.) I think that our country is snowballing so quickly into hatred on both sides, and I think that we all owe it to ourselves to take a deep breath. Nothing is going to be fixed if we stay divided. Donald Trump is not going to succeed if we don’t show him any ounce of respect or support. I believe it is time right now to come together and begin loving our neighbors, no matter what side we were on in the election. As President Obama said after meeting with our new president-elect, “I believe that it is important for all of us, regardless of party and regardless of political preferences, to now come together, work together, to deal with the many challenges that we face.” And to Trump he went on to say, “Most of all, I want to emphasize to you, Mr. President-elect, that we now are going to want to do everything we can to help you succeed — because if you succeed, then the country succeeds.”

I am not saying that we need to stop speaking up and fighting for what is right. I am not saying that it’s time to give up. I am saying that it is time to accept what cannot be undone, and to work with what we have, and that is each other. The fight is not over, but the hatred needs to end. We need to love our neighbors, and work together to achieve a better America.

I respect Donald Trump and his supporters, and I pray that he makes good decisions, and that he really will, as he claims he will do, work for the American people. (And by the American people, I mean everyone, no matter race, religion, sexual orientation, gender, or otherwise.)

And if anyone needs someone to talk to, or someone who will just listen, I am here for you. I’m scared too, and I love you, and I support you. ❤️