I woke up Sunday morning to a CNN News Alert that the worst mass shooting in U.S. history had taken place in Orlando and I immediately got up to figure out what the heck was going on. I walked downstairs and I was greeted by my 2 year old niece throwing her arms out, shouting my name, with a Cheshire grin on her face, running over to me and giving me a big 'ol (Quinn)Bear hug. I think of all the Aunts (and Uncles, Fathers, Mothers) who woke up on Sunday to find out they'd never again get a greeting like that from their own Niece or Nephew and it shakes me to the core. We MUST do more, we MUST do better, we MUST help each other and we MUST learn to love without conditions.
On another Sunday just a few weeks ago I got the news that my mother's close friend and former assistant, Jose, had been assaulted at a Walgreen's. It was 8am and while standing in line to purchase medication a man came up to him and accused him of cutting in line. Jose immediately apologized, explained he had not seen the man and allowed him to take his place in front of him. He found himself confronted by this man as he walked to his car minutes later. He was spit on, he was punched, he had this side mirror crushed and he was inundated with homophobic and racist slurs. All because this man perceived that Jose had cut in line and while doing so he just happened to be Hispanic and just happened to be wearing a shirt for our local Equality Center. I was stunned, I couldn't believe what I was hearing. In Tulsa? To our friend? In 2016? Yes, yes and yes. What happened in Orlando is happening all over this country, all over this world. That Sunday it was a friend being attacked at a Walgreen's, this Sunday it was close to 50 people being murdered at a night club. If you see something, say something, if someone falls help them back up. Be an advocate, be an ally, just be a good person.
(If you have a minute please click this link to view photos taken of Jose's attacker and if you recognize this person PLEASE contact law enforcement.)
While my family and I visited the happiest place on Earth several times over the years we've also gotten to know Orlando the city. My sister moved to Orlando in 2000 to attend the University of Central Florida (Go Knights!) and my parents quickly bought/built a house in Saint Lucie West in order to have a "base" for all of us Okies to have a "home away from home" a few hours outside Orlando. My Aunt and Uncle chose to purchase their retirement home in the same area and now live there full time. The gunman who committed these atrocities apparently was working security in our/their literal backyard. I can't quite wrap my head around that just yet but my heart goes out to all of you who live in those areas and have found your safety rocked. Both places have played important roles in the lives of my family and it is unfathomable to think that someone could cause such horror and do such harm to where we felt so at home for so long. While our family and friends are safe I know that so many others are not as fortunate and my heart truly breaks them/you.
Now we're going to shift over to far more lighthearted fare if it's alright with y'all. I don't know about you but I feel like the most appropriate reaction to such hate, bigotry and violence is to put love, love, love out into the world. Thus my next collection "Love is Love" was created.
I'll be releasing the entire collection over the next few days but you can find the first patterns pack now in the shop + I have a coordinating freebie for everyone in today's post.
I've also been working on "My Own Beat" which you can also find the first paper pack for now in the shop.
I have lots and lots and lots of Summer kits available in the shop as well!
Thanks for looking through today's post! Here are your "Love is Love" freebie papers part one and two.
Have an amazing weekend a very Happy Father's Day to all of you dads out there!