Thursday, September 11, 2008

Monday, June 09, 2008

Another Mixed Bag Monday!

Some personal family issues have kept me from blogging lately. I'm sure glad to be back!

Here are some things that caught my eye around the web today....

  • With the US in an obvious recession (contrary to what politicians are saying), are any of these 12 things a necessity in your life?

  • Brokeback Mountain.......the Opera????

  • I absolutely love Stephen Colbert!!!

  • What in the world was this man trying to do???

  • Having marital problems?? Don't go to counseling.....just have an affair! (insert sarcasm here)

  • Christianity and bookburning should NOT go well together.

  • This is just sick................

  • Raising a baby on a Vegan diet may not be a good idea.....

  • This man decided to test the validity of the "best by" dates on much good food is being thrown away everyday????

Have a blessed day everyone!!!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Animal Lovers - Please Beware of Cocoa Mulch!

If you own animals, especially a dog, or you care about animals, please beware of using cocoa mulch for landscaping or gardening. It could be harmful, or potentially fatal for an animal to ingest. The smell - while divine - can attract dogs especially.

Please read this to get important information, and if you have bags you haven't used yet, return them to the store and tell the clerk exactly why you are returning the mulch.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Michelle Duggar Is Pregnant With Baby #18......

Click to see the interview on the Today Show where they announced the pregnancy to the other children.

Michelle is supposedly only 6 weeks along and is due on New Year's Day. That's fairly early, in my opinion, to announce a pregnancy - especially a high-risk one. And it seemed a little tacky to make the announcement on national television.

I don't have much else to say about it right now. I imagine I'll be updating this particular post frequently, as I think of something else disturbing.

Thank goodness I'm back up!

Thankfully the blog is back up. I am so thrilled! It's been out of sorts all week long, and I still have no clue what happened, nor do I really understand what I did, if anything, to fix it.

I've missed posting! Can't wait to get back to it.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Thoughts About Children and Censorship

Grand Theft Auto IV has been released. I've been watching the reviews with some interest over the last few weeks. Throughout the fray seems to be a lot of concern about keeping this game away from children.

Our son is 12. He enjoys video games, books, and action figures. There's a little girl at his school that he likes. Recently he excitedly told me that they held hands for a few minutes during recess, and he carries her books for her once in awhile. Sometimes he can be mouthy, and doesn't like to clean his room or brush his teeth when he should.

He is extremely kind-hearted towards our pets and all other animals that he meets. He's concerned when his Dad or I are not feeling well. He always asks if he can help with what we are doing. He takes the garbage out and feeds our pets faithfully without being reminded. He apologizes when he's spoken unkindly to us. He calls to let us know if he's going to be late coming home from school so we don't worry. He is concerned about kids he sees at his school who have developmental delays or are treated poorly by other students.

Don't misunderstand me - he's not a complete angel. But when I compare him to many of the children I've worked with, he is extraordinary. And I am grateful.

So. How are we raising a child who is showing such promise towards being a good and kind man in the future? Based on much of the popular research and opinion that I read - he should be heading quickly down the path of juvenile deliquency.

My husband and I have always been of one mind when it comes to censorship. We dislike it. We attempt to keep it out of our home and lives as much as we can. In our home we don't censor music, movies, books, magazines, subjects, language, appearance, or thoughts - and we never have. We've never sheltered our son from life or from society. This is not to say that we haven't run into some issues. Right now our son is pro-life. His Dad and I are pro-choice. I can't say that we're not hopeful that his opinion might change one day, but we are also very pleased that he can argue his position with some reasonably sound ideas. I also remember him at 8 years old innocently telling a conservative Christian friend of ours about the civil union ceremony he'd attended with us the past weekend.

One of my proudest parenting moments to date was when I received a phone call from his elementary school principal earlier this year. She was concerned because our son had won a prize for good behavior at school. The prize? One of those dreadful censored CD's where most of the original lyrics are either replaced or bleeped out. Her concern? Our son had refused to accept the prize, explaining to his teacher that it was a censored CD and he doesn't listen to censored music. She wanted to make sure that we knew what happened so that we could talk to him about appropriate and inappropriate music. I thanked her profusely and explained how proud I was to know that he was listening to us and taking what we were teaching him at home so seriously. She was chagrined, to say the least. When our son got home from school that day, I took him out for dinner and shopping, and I bought him the same CD, minus the bleeps and altered lyrics.

Our son thoroughly enjoys the Grand Theft Auto video game series. He's been playing the game since the first one. Once #4 goes on sale, we will be getting that one as well.

I wonder again - how has our child developed such a good character amidst all these seemingly terrible and destructive influences? Could it be that he hears us talk openly about our faith? Could it be that he's watched us being kind to each other and loving our pets? Could it be that he's heard us arguing -sometimes loudly- and then apologizing later for being mean, and coming to a compromise that made us both happy? Could it be that he's seen his parents doing random acts of kindness for strangers? Could it be that he's heard us discussing our differing opinions on various things, and disagreeing completely, yet respecting each other's thoughts? Could it be that he feels comfortable discussing his own thoughts with us and knowing we will respect them, whether we agree with them or not? Could it be that he can respectfully speak his mind in our home without reprisal? Could it be that we've never hidden the "seedier" sides of life, so that he never has to hear about them from his friends at school or search them out on his own, alone, without us knowing and being able to discuss them openly with him or explain what he doesn't understand?

I don't know why we've been blessed with a child of good character. I'd like to think that his Dad and I did our best to raise him with a conscience and an empathetic nature, and it worked the way it's supposed to work. I'd like to think that someday he will be grateful that he had parents who taught him that it is unacceptable for someone else to decide what he should see. hear, read, or think.

I refuse to believe that he is an anomaly. I also cannot believe that we would have ended up with a better child had we been far more restrictive with him.

Were we just lucky then? I doubt it. I think the parental example a child sees is of far more impact than any video game they will ever play.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Hannah Montana Is Certainly Trying To Grow Up!

I've not ever seen an episode of Hannah Montana. I'm certainly aware of who the character is though. You can hardly walk into any store these days without seeing merchandise with that name on it.

I am a great admirer of Annie Leibovitz. She's taken some truly amazing photographs in her time. This particular photography of Miley Cyrus is certainly no exception. It's a beautiful photograph.

I just wish the subject was a few years older. I honestly can't believe I'm actually saying this. Knowing she's 15 just gives a whole different spin on the photo to me. It makes me shiver.

That being said - it almost seems to me like the publicity over these Vanity Fair photos is being carefully calculated by Ms. Cyrus' people/posse/management/whoever. This gal wasn't alone in the studio being taken advantage of by some low-life pornographer. I highly doubt that she gets much time alone at all. Her managers saw all the photos long before they were released, and obviously didn't have an issue with them.

So what changed? The photos? Did they suddenly become worse overnight? No. But somebody obviously recognized an opportunity to create even more publicity for this young lady.

Was it worth it?

Monday, April 28, 2008

Mixed Bag Monday Once Again!

Here's some things that caught my eye around the Internet today.

  • This 7 year old took his grandmother's car for a joyride. You should pay attention to the interview with the child, and hope your own children don't have the same attitude.

  • You may want to check out the next DVD you buy first before showing it to your child.

  • Bruce Springsteen wrote a beautiful eulogy for his bandmate, Danny Federici.

  • When I read horrific stories like this, it's hard to remember that the Muslim religion is actually based on peace and tolerance.

  • God has his own website..... (Warning: I don't consider it child-friendly)

Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 25, 2008

A Child Of The 80's......

I was thinking today about how much difference a few years can really make. My husband was born in 1965 (graduated HS in 1983), and I was born in 1971 (graduated HS in 1989). It's only six years between us, but sometimes the generation gap is really evident!

I love to tease him about the photo he once showed me (much to his regret) - it's of him in what is actually a powder-blue 70's tux, but it looks exactly like a powder-blue leisure suit complete with huge collar. And he was a gorgeous child and even more gorgeous teenager (and happily still a gorgeous man in middle age), but the old photos of him in the polyester, white belts, and PLAID, egads!

He laffs and laffs and laffs at photos of my poofy hair, raccoon eyeliner, and acid washed jeans, although - when I remind him that he used to DATE those same girls (and believe me, he dated a lot and dated well), he hushes a bit.

He can happily listen to Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd all the live long day, while I'm much happier singing along with Duran Duran's greatest hits. We can find common ground on The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller's Day Off, but forget St. Elmo's Fire or Sixteen Candles. Although he does like Pretty In Pink, and I do not.

I'm just old enough that I will always have an immense appreciation for how truly astounding the Internet really is, and how wonderful cellular phones are. My son has never known an Internet or cell phone free world and will never understand my delight, and that's sad in a way.

Anyway - how many of these things do you recognize?

Feathered Hair - Pumps with Jeans - Rave, Stiff Stuff - Stick-up bangs Multicolored - Shoulder Pads - Crimped Hair - Side Ponytails - Stirrup Pants - Ultra-Teased - Platinum Blonde - Glitter - Friendship Pins - Swatches - Hoop Earrings - Slouch Socks - High Tops - Rubber Bracelets - Jellies - Off Shoulder Shirts - Thick Belts over shirts - Neon - Sweaters Around Your Waist - Neon - Legwarmers - Ripped Hose - Granny Boots - Blue Eyeshadow - Heavy Mascara - Cover Girl Eyeliner in Black - Aqua Net - Light Pink Lipstick - Trapper Keepers

Ah the nostalgia.....

Have a blessed day!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

"Bleeding The Beast" - Otherwise Known As "Welfare Fraud"

"Bleeding the Beast". Have you ever heard that term before? Before I started doing some serious research into the FLDS cult/community, I hadn't come across it either. I had, however, heard of the concept. I just hadn't known what the FLDS members called it.

Within the FLDS cult/community, a man is legally married to only one woman. His other wives, however many they may be, are considered "spiritual wives", thus married in the eyes of their God, but not in the eyes of the state and federal government. So you effectively have hundreds of "single" women, with large numbers of children who apply for, and receive, untold thousands of dollars of tax money for food stamps, medicaid, welfare payments, child-care payments, WIC, housing assistance, etc...etc...

Now, granted, since the Welfare Reform Act was passed, the lifetime limitation for welfare benefits for any one person is supposed to be 5 years maximum. I don't know if there are loopholes which can be used to get benefits past that time limit or not. But even if 5 years is set in stone.....hundreds or thousands of women getting as much public welfare as possible for the maximum amount of time = how many millions..... Who knows exactly? The general public never will. Government regulations generally keep this kind of information a secret.

Welfare fraud is certainly prevalent in many other corners of society as well. I recognize this fact well, as I have seen it first hand over the years both on a professional and personal level. It certainly is not limited to the FLDS cult/community. I am just not used to seeing it mandated by an alleged "prophet" or "prophets" and suggested as the "Lord's way of using the system to take care of his chosen people."

The more research that I do, and believe me, I read, listen, and watch closely. I look at everything - both pro-FLDS and con-FLDS. I watch the body language of FLDS members, young and old. Everyone "keeping sweet". How can it not be seen for what it really is - a very, very powerful and formidable cult.

The more research that I do....the more disturbing it all becomes to me.....

The problems that are plaguing the FLDS cult/community....the trouble they keep getting themselves into....Warren Jeffs....Tom Green....the removal of the children from the ranch in Texas.....

This has nothing to do with freedom of religion or religious persecution. In this country there are certain values....certain ideals...and I just don't see many of those values or ideals practiced within the FLDS cult/communities. In fact, I very much see to the contrary. Even the most recent flood of media interviews of the FLDS members themselves - all women - so many women. Where are the men? Are the women supposed to be a more sympathetic visual aid?

Click on the title of this post and start researching these things for yourself.

Be blessed.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The FLDS Cult Keeps Getting Creepier.

There is an extremely rare genetic disorder called Fumarase Deficiency. Until about 18 years ago, there were only 13 known cases world-wide, but it is steadily becoming prevalent within the FLDS communities - due to the inbreeding that is common there.

According to the most recent article I could locate about it:

The birth defect — an enzyme deficiency — causes severe mental retardation, epilepsy and disfigurement of features. "The retardation is in the severe range — an IQ around 25," Dr. Tarby says. Afflicted children are missing portions of their brain, often cannot sit or stand, and suffer grand mal seizures and encephalitis. Language skills are nonexistent or minimal.

Please click here if you would like to learn more about this genetic disease and the ever growing number of cases within the FLDS community.

We are not just talking about the very real (and documented) physical and sexual abuse of children and women in the FLDS cult/community here people. We are also talking about people reproducing and damming their children to a probable 1 in 4 chance of suffering a tragic and terrible disease.

I also came across something even more disturbing during my research. I'll be discussing that on my blog tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Mixed Bag Monday.....Sort Of.....

Today's mixed bag Monday is a little different. In checking out the latest news and views, there just wasn't a whole lot that I felt like posting links to: whole bunch of people killed in Chicago over the weekend....the 416 children from the FLDS ranch are staying in state custody for now, thank God.....mostly stuff like that - just too boring.

Sooooo.....I thought I'd post up links to some of my very favorite television programs. Ones that I watch (or at least TIVO) regularly, and thoroughly enjoy.

  • The Abundant Life. This is a long running show on the EWTN network, hosted by Johnnette Benkovic. Half the time I watch it, I shout at the screen, and want to throw things at it, especially when the "experts" they use refer to "research" that is painfully non-objective, and not done in an ethical manner. Still, many of the shows do have some merit, and can be very interesting.

  • Doctor Who. I'm a Doctor Who fiend. I loved the program as a kid, and love it even more as a adult. The US schedule is about a season behind the UK. It's really a lot of fun to watch.

  • Let's Make A Deal. It's retro. It's kitchy. The prizes include some really ugly cars, 8-track players, "modern" color televisions, and a $299 "message machine" that lets you retrieve messages from anywhere in the world! The fashions and hair-dos are really disturbing, but it's just so much fun to watch. My DH and I are addicted.

  • Barefoot Contessa. I love the Food Network, and Ina Garten's show is my favorite. Her recipes are easy, and surprisingly recreatable - even for a non-gourmet cook.

  • Semi-Homemade Cooking with Sandra Lee. Another Food Network show. I admit that I watch this show for the hilarious factor of it, though, rather than the cooking "expertise". Although I'm sure that Sandra is a nice lady - the meals that she throws together are say the least. Add in the chronic alcohol use, and those tablescapes.... The shows are a laugh a minute. Whoot!

  • The Soup. It's a weekly show on the E! channel that recaps pop-culture and reality shows for the past 7 days. It's a lot of fun to watch.

  • And finally....the Law and Order franchise. I've been a fan since the beginning.

Mind you, these are only my favorite shows. My husband's would include Lost, The Riches, and anything on the NFL network!

Have a blessed day!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Maybe I Was Wrong About Pope Benedict XVI....

I loved Pope John Paul II. Absolutely adored everything about that man. I grieved bitterly when he died in 2005. And I honestly didn't care much for Cardinal Ratzinger when he was elected the new Pope. He wasn't JP II - which is completely unfair to hold against him, I know! But I just didn't see anything about him that reminded me of the much beloved Pope who had just passed away. He just seemed like a grumpy old guy.

But I may have been wrong. In fact, I know now that I was quite wrong.

I've been watching his visit to the US with great interest. Along with so many other Catholics, I was wondering if he would discuss the terrible sexual abuse scandal that so rocked us here in America, and gave our beautiful faith such a black eye. Honestly, I had thought that he might mention it briefly in passing - how could he not? But it would be a quick, brief mention, and then a move on to other issues at hand.

I was so happy to see him talk about it at length - to admit to the shame and suffering of the victims, and the shame that it brought on the Church. And I was thrilled that he met with some of the victims. One of the ladies who was able to meet with him especially touched me. Her name was Faith and she talked about how, when her turn came to be in front of the Pope, that all she could do was cry.....

I remember that my Mom and I went to visit Ground Zero a month after Sept 11, and we visited some of the local firehouses. At that time, many of the firehouses were still kept open for the hundreds of visitors who came every day to pay homage, and say thank you. One firehouse in particular that we went to had lost, I believe, 6 firefighters. We signed their little guestbook, and I was able to hug one of the firefighters who was there that night, and I could only cry. My reaction surprised me very much - I am not typically someone who becomes overwrought with emotion, but that entire day had been incredibly emotional for me, and it all seemed to come to a head that night. And thankfully the firefighter seemed to understand what I wanted to say and could not.

I was reminded of that emotional night of mine when reading Faith's story of how she could not speak to the Pope, but only cry. And I got the impression that he understood. Sometimes tears can speak to another person's heart in a million more ways than a word ever could.

There are many who would say too little too late, and that may be so, but even a small something is better than nothing at all. Considering that this is the first visit by a Holy Father here since the abuse scandal became public in 2002, I'm impressed so far by how he has handled this sensitive issue, and thrilled that he did not just sweep it under the carpet.

I doubt Pope Benedict will ever be as beloved as Pope John Paul was, but it's nice to see him finally showing the world how kind he really can be. I hope it continues.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Mixed Bag Monday!

Just realized it's Monday again! Here are a few things that caught my eye around the web today.

  • A VERY interesting website/blog with a unique way of looking at a whole lot of stuff: (WARNING: please note that it is not kid-friendly, nor does it minimize words, thoughts, or language. If you are an easily offended person, this site isn't for you.)

  • Child rape may become punishable by death. How slippery of a slope could this become?

  • It's tax season! Time to discriminate against our GLBT citizens again.

  • A push-up bra for little girls? Note that this is the same company that tried to sell a "pole-dancing" kit for kids back in 2006.

  • Yet another school decides to show the country how tyrannical, ridiculous, and shamefully unpatriotic it can be. What? Your Dad's serving our country in Iraq? Sorry, kid, we just don't give a damn....that is until the media gets involved.....

  • A Mom has won the right to send their son to a Catholic high school, against the wishes of his Dad, who is an Atheist.......(please note the three links which all lead to different parts of the story along a time frame...)

Have a blessed day!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Just When I Thought I'd Seen It All.......

I've seen a lot in my career, and I consider myself a fairly savvy individual, but I came across this small article this morning, and I just had to post it for the sake of posterity, if nothing else. Over the years, I've counseled a lot of youngsters and adults both about things they should discuss prior to the birth of a child. I can honestly say that, in all those years, gang affiliation has never been one of those things recommended for discussion......

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- A couple fighting about which gang their 4-year-old toddler should join caused a public disturbance that resulted in the father's arrest, Commerce City police said Thursday.

On Saturday, Joseph Manzanares stormed into the Hollywood Video store where his girlfriend worked, threatened to kill her and knocked over several video displays and even a computer,
Commerce City police Sgt. Joe Sandoval said.

After he ran out of the store, police were called and the 19-year-old was arrested at his home. His girlfriend told police that they had been arguing about the upbringing of their son and which gang he should belong to. The teen mother, who is black, is a member of the Crips. Manzanares is Hispanic and belongs to the Westside Ballers gang, the woman said.

"They have different ideas on how the baby should be raised. Basically, she said they cannot agree on which gang the baby would 'claim,'" Sandoval said.

Manzanares was charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, and domestic violence. He was transported to the Adams County Detention Facility. On Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was sentenced to a year of probation. The misdemeanor harassment charge was dropped.

I am speechless.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

More Reason to Not Eat Genetically Modified Foods

Have you ever heard of “Morgellon’s Disease”? If you haven't, I encourage you to click on the link and learn something about it.

For quite a long time, I've made a concerted effort to keep genetically modified foods off of my family's dinner table and out of our mouths. It's not easy, believe me, and I admit that we do eat some processed foods, but I try my best to keep our food as natural as possible. It just never seemed like a sensible thing to me to eat a lot of food that has been so damaged as to be barely recognizable anymore.

Morgellon's Disease (or syndrome) is pretty scary stuff - if it's real. As with a lot of medical research, there are a lot of people with a lot of opinions on both sides of the coin. There are doctors who absolutely believe it exists, and is somehow linked to genetically modified food. There are doctors who believe it is nonsense. I'm not a doctor, and I can see good points on both sides. I also remember the days when Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Fibromyalgia were both thought to be faked, or mind created, illnesses. And I've read about the days when Doctors told their female patients that Pre-Menstrual Syndrome and other monthly issues were "all in their heads".

Do your homework. And, for goodness' sake, think carefully about the food you and your family eat, and the chemicals you and your family use on your skin and hair, spray in the air and on the fabrics around your home, use to clean your kitchens and bathrooms, and use to wash laundry.

To paraphrase (very badly) a famous quote from Joshua: As for me and my house, we will not eat genetically modified food.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Mixed Bag Monday

Some things that have caught my eye around the web today...........

  • A man decided to stand on top of his mini-van.......

  • Once again, a group of ultra-conservative christians decides to show the country how sadly narrow-minded they can be..........

Saturday, April 05, 2008

The Situation At The Polygamist Ranch Continues.....

This is the latest as of 9 minutes ago: The number of people removed from a West Texas ranch that is home to followers of imprisoned polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs grew to 183, including 137 children, authorities said Saturday. Please click the title above for the entire article.

I spoke with a social worker friend of mine this morning who lives in that area, and she says that the situation is quite dire, as there are not enough foster homes close by to house all the children who have been taken into state custody, and more who may still be put in state custody, and they are going to have to start moving them to homes outside of the area.

I have faith that God will provide what is needed for these children and families caught up in this whirlwind.

52 Children Removed from a Polygamist Ranch in Texas

Apparently sometime late Thursday night/early Friday morning, child welfare authorities and police armed with search warrants converged on a 1,900 acre ranch outside Eldorado, TX, which is home to as many as 400 followers of Warren Jeffs, who is currently serving 10 years on two counts of being an accomplice to rape, charges related to a marriage he performed in 2001. He faces trial in Arizona on eight charges of sexual conduct with a minor, incest and conspiracy.

They removed approximately 52 children, ranging in ages from 6 months to 17 years old, and currently 18 of those children have been placed under the temporary custody of the state. A few articles I've found have stated that a number of the female children are pregnant.

The compound was built by the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The congregation, known as FLDS and led by the reclusive Jeffs since his father's death in 2002, is one of several groups that split from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints based in Salt Lake City decades after it renounced polygamy in 1890.

I've studied Polygamy and the FLDS cult on my own for a number of years. The lifestyle is both fascinating from a cultural standpoint, and appalling to me as an individual, at the same time. I do not even begin to propose that I have any understanding of how it can be either an appealing, or a workable, lifestyle. However. If an adult sincerely feels it is a lifestyle that is correct for them, ok. I can certainly appreciate an adult's decision.

I do, though, have a problem with what seems to be rampant misogyny, sexual and physical abuse of both women and children, inappropriate financial dealings, and general secretiveness of the FLDS cult. I also recognize that this cult is a non-official Mormon offshoot, and that the majority of good Mormons are as appalled as I am by these people.

Too many times in the past, authorities have turned a blind eye to the activities going on in some of these compounds, to the detriment of thousands of children who never had a choice.

I have to applaud the Texas authorities for stepping in. I hope the increasing media spotlight - between the Warren Jeffs controversy, and more events like this raid - will help to shed some much needed light on a very disturbing, and extremely hidden, situation in our country.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

The Most DELICIOUS Macaroni and Cheese!

I wish I'd taken a photo, but I forgot before we all started digging into it, so I'll just have to describe it as best I can.

It reminds me of the mac and cheese my Grandmother used to make when I was a little girl, and I just could never recreate the recipe no matter how hard I've tried over the years. This comes as close as I've ever had.

My recipe is actually an adaptation of a Paula Deen recipe, so I give her all the credit for the original. I made hers exactly to recipe before, and we just didn't like it so much - it was a little bland, and a few other things were just not to our liking. So I took the recipe, made a few adjustments, and created a dish that is so delicious. They aren't drastic changes, but seemed to make a world of difference.

Here is my/her adjusted recipe for Macaroni and Cheese:

  • 4 cups cooked elbow macaroni
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese (I used mild cheddar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter - cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I use Kosher salt)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup and a splash of milk (trust me!)
Cook and drain the macaroni and place in a large bowl. Immediately add the cheese and mix together. In another bowl, beat the eggs thoroughly, then add the other ingredients and mix together. It is very important that you do NOT combine the egg mixture with the macaroni/cheese mixture until the mac/cheese mixture has cooled to just warm, otherwise you may curdle/scramble your egg mixture, and it will ruin the dish. Once it is cooled, mix everything together and pour into a casserole dish (I use a 9x13 size). Top with some additional cheese, if you like. Then the very last thing to do is sprinkle some seasoned salt over the top.

Bake at 350 degrees for 35 - 40 minutes. My oven runs a little hot, so mine is always done right at 35 minutes. Delicious!!

I think I might try slicing some tomatoes next time and adding them to the top - a la Ina Garten.

This recipe is just so good and so old-fashioned!

Monday, March 31, 2008

Mixed Bag Monday

Here are a few things that caught my eye:

  • Sister Barbara Markey, a Roman Catholic nun, pled guilty to theft from the Oklahoma archdiocese.......she was largely responsible for developing the FOCCUS pre-marital therapy program which is widely used throughout the country.

  • A community is dealing with some very disturbing vandalism of a Jewish synagogue.....

  • A fellow blogger personally, albeit unintentionally, discovers how easy it still is to get a weapon on to a plane......

  • A student is suing a school for strip searching her while looking for.....ibuprofen....

  • Televangelists who preach prosperity gospel and fly around in Lear jets are still being examined by the Senate.....

  • Married couples serving in Iraq are finally allowed to share living quarters....

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Old fashioned views, good or bad?

I was reading a parenting website this morning and came across a Mom of 2 boys and 2 girls, who was discussing how she is teaching her children "old fashioned values". Specifically, she and her husband are teaching their boys that a man's place is head of the household and should have the final say in matters, and teaching their girls that women (wives) should be submissive to their husbands. There is more to it, but that is the jist of what she was saying. Ironically, she also mentioned that there are problems from time to time with the boys trying to take things away from the girls and using the reasoning that "I'm a boy so you have to give it to me".


I, too, long for the perennial "good old days" that you read about in Laura Ingalls Wilder books, or see in Andy Hardy films, but I also recognize that our modern society is simply not able to intergrate some of things people consider to be old time values. Some values are timeless: honesty, integrity, dignity, respect - among many others, and they hold up at any time, in any society, and certainly improve it.

However. Given our modern society, it is really the right thing to teach boys that they need to be in charge, that it is a birthright to have dominion over their wives and women, in general? That they should always have the last word? And is it really a smart thing to teach little girls that they should be submissive to males?

These things are not as concerning to me if the children are attending a regular school where they are able to interact with different children from different types of households, and see that not all men are in charge, and not all women are submissive. My concern is with the children who may not have as many opportunities for these types of interactions, and may end up with a skewed view of gender roles in the bigger society thus getting some pretty hard slaps of reality at some point.

My DH is a pretty old fashioned fella, and in a lot of ways, I'm old fashioned too. We have a good working marriage built on a lot of compromise. I've been known to give him the last word on a lot of issues: sometimes because he really does know better, sometimes simply so he will shut up, and sometimes to spare his feelings. But he doesn't always know best, and I don't keep my mouth shut just because he is male. My Mom did that with my Dad- much to her detriment many times over the years.

Hopefully our son sees a healthy marriage with two people who know how to compromise with each other. Hopefully our son does not see a woman as someone who is inferior to him.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Everyday websites.

I was thinking this morning that my blog has been sort of a downer of late. Between the grumpy posts, and just plain sad posts, it's not very fun! I thought I might try to get completely away from that today. So what to post about?


I did some editing of my bookmark list this morning, and noticed how many I have. I am a chronic bookmarker - if I come across something interesting, or something I think might be even marginally useful at some point in the future, I will bookmark it. I also keep the bookmarks meticulously organized into specific folders - I have 37 separate folders and 353 bookmarked sites as of this morning. Maybe from time to time, I'll list what bookmarks I have in a specific folder.

Today's folder is: Daily Folder. It's the folder where I keep the sites that I check every single morning when I turn on the computer (or at least they get checked some time during the day.)

  • CNN It gives me an update of what's happened overnight.
  • The Animal Rescue Site This site is a partner with Petfinder. You can click a button everyday and sponsors of the site will give a certain amount of food to a rescued animal. There are also buttons to click daily for Rainforest, Literacy, Child Health, Breast Cancer, and Hunger. Your one click included with thousands of other clicks adds up to a lot of help. It is a small way to do something good each day.
  • The Times-Leader A local newspaper from where I used to live. I like to keep up on the goings-on there as much as I am able.
  • The Citizens Voice Another local newspaper from where I used to live.
  • The Press Enterprise Yet another local newspaper from where I used to live!
  • The Rockford Register Star The local newspaper from where I currently live.
  • Television Without Pity This site is a little hard to explain until you look at it. Basically it's a place where tons of people discuss nearly every show currently on, or that has ever been on, television. I get a lot of interesting viewpoints here.
  • POGO I am a huge Pogo fanatic!! This site is an excellent source of stress relief for me.
  • Cindy's Blog She's local to me and always interesting.
  • Our Daily Bread In my busy life, this is a great spot to remind me to take care of my spiritual self.
  • TMZ I won't lie. I'm a sucker for gossip. This site is usually one of the first with updates about what's going on in the seedy underbelly of Hollywood. Be warned that this site doesn't censor itself in any way.
  • FARK This website has the best listing of "odd" stories from around the world. Again - not a place for kids to go.

Well, there it is. For better or worse, these places are all a part of my daily schedule. Hope you enjoy them!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Domestic violence of the worst kind**

**Before you read further, please be aware that this post will contain descriptions and discussion of violence and torture. If you are troubled by things of this nature, or if you have your young child reading with you, please enjoy some of my other postings or come back to visit another day.**

**If you are interested in reading the entire article from where I am taking my quotes, please click on the title of this post - it will take you directly to the article.**

Over my career, I've seen some pretty horrendous things: rape, sadistic treatment, broken bones, awful bruises, fractured skulls, name only a few. This is not to say that I've haven't also seen wonderful things as well, but let's be frank, most of the time there is far more bad than good. That's just life. It's sad to say, but because I've seen so much, I've become very immune to a lot of things that should be appalling to any humane person.

So when I come across something that stirs those feelings of wretched disgust, and brings tears, I'm almost grateful because I know I haven't completely lost that part of my humanity.

This lady's name was Dorothy Dixon. I say "was", because she is no longer on earth. She's in heaven, I'm positive of that. God knows when a sparrow falls, and he surely didn't forget this lady.

She was 29 years old, and six months pregnant. She had a one year old little boy. She was also developmentally disabled. She slept on a concrete floor in the basement on a thin rug and dirty mattress. She ate whatever she could sneak from the refrigerator. She was used as target practice for BB guns, had boiling water poured on her, was burned with glue guns, and beaten with an aluminum bat. Her clothes had all been burned, so she spent her time naked. The money from her social security check was stolen every month.

She finally died after one final beating with some hard object. Her pregnant body just could not take anymore. Her little boy weighed just 15 pounds when social services came to pick him up to take him to a foster home.

Her autopsy results showed that "X-rays revealed roughly 30 BBs lodged in her. Deep-tissue burns covered about one-third of her body -- her face, her chest, her arms and feet -- and left her severely dehydrated. Her face and body showed signs of prolonged abuse. Many of her wounds were infected."

The people who did this? The other people in the house were a 43 year old woman, a 35 year old woman, an 18 year old boy, a 16 year old boy, a 15 year old girl, and a 12 year old boy. According to all reports, the 35 year old woman "befriended" Dorothy when she worked at a regional help center where Dorothy was a client and brought her to live with them so she could gain access to Dorothy's social security money. The abuse and torture was just part of the fun.

This all happened in Alton, IL. Alton is a fairly small place, and this home was located in a residential part of town. Didn't the neighbors notice anything? Or hear any screams or cries? Or hear the sounds of a BB gun being discharged?

"Riley considered Dixon her slave, making her rub Riley's feet until Riley fell asleep and forcing her to run naked around the house when she got in trouble, the neighbors said."

Apparently the neighbors did notice something was wrong. Apparently at least somebody had been in that house, or had spoken to someone living in the house to know about the feet rubbing, and know that Dorothy was being treated like a slave. But nobody did anything. Nobody could take two minutes of their time to call......anybody. Police, social services, a domestic violence center, a local pastor...nobody got called. What a small act that could have possibly saved a life.....

I have no idea how delayed Dorothy was or if she even had the mental capacity to try to find help or let another person know what was happening to her. Chances are that, even if she did, she was so terrified, and so sick from her treatment, that she could not help herself.

But somebody knew what was happening to Dorothy, and that somebody did nothing. Nothing.

It wasn't "their business." They "didn't want to get involved." I've heard these platitudes from so many so-called neighbors, friends, and family members over the years when asked what they knew about an abuse situation that happened on their block, next door, and sometimes even right under their own roof.

A violent situation becomes ten-fold when people who know about it do nothing and allow it to continue.

When someone becomes aware of an abusive situation, no matter if it involves an adult, a child, an animal, the environment.....anything.......turning a blind eye or a deaf ear to that situation must break God's heart. Of that I am sure.

We are to be good stewards of what God has blessed us with, but we are also to be good stewards of each other. And that means open your eyes, open your ears, open your MOUTH! Speak out for the animals, the children, and the adults who cannot speak for themselves.

Her name was Dorothy Dixon and I will never forget her.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Please don't put words in God's mouth!!

Unless you're a true modern day prophet who can have two way conversations with him and actually HEAR (meaning you are hearing him saying words that you understand in your ear, not some "feeling" you are getting or some other nonsense) things he is saying directly to you, please don't put words in his mouth.

If I have to read one more article, or see one more interview with someone who has given birth to a litter of babies courtesy of fertility drugs, and have to once again hear them say something to the effect of "oh it was God's will for us to have all these babies", I'm gonna start throwing things.

Let's look at this for a minute here.

Fertility drugs are certainly widely available these days, and a lot of people take advantage of them. I don't particularly care for them - my opinion is that you are really playing God, but that's a post for another day. The fact is that they are available, and they appear to work well. So a couple wants a baby, and can't conceive for whatever reason, and maybe adoption isn't an option, or it's an option they aren't interested in. So they go the fertility drug route and get pregnant. Fine. Sometimes they end up pregnant with a whole bunch of babies. Fine. I don't necessarily have a problem with any of this.

But what galls me is when I see these same people interviewed in the newspaper or on the television or in a magazine, and they are spouting off about how it was God's will that this happened. Really? It was? So God sat you down and told you it's his will for you to spend thousands of dollars and go through tons of invasive medical procedures. Or better yet, God himself flew down and injected you with these drugs that made you get pregnant with all these babies.

Because, as I see it, God doesn't need a whole lot of help. In fact, he doesn't need any help. He's God. Get it? If it's truly his will for somebody to get pregnant, they will get pregnant, regardless of anything else. If you read your Bible, you will see that he's proven himself in this regard many times. And miracles still happen around the world every day.

Now don't get me wrong - there is no shame in using everything at your disposal to get pregnant, if a baby is what you want or need to make your life complete. But at least be honest about it. If you can't be honest and admit that it was your choice, your decision, and your own will to use fertility drugs, then shut up. Don't smile serenely and speak so piously about God's will. He had nothing to do with it. It's called "free will", ladies.

And I stand by what I said - if it was truly God's will - I don't think you would have needed those drugs to get pregnant.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What's in your marriage contract?

The divorce between ex-NJ Govenor Jim McGreevey and his former wife, Dina Matos McGreevey just keeps getting nastier. You can read more about the latest allegations here. I'm not going to specify them, as they are fairly torrid, to say the least, so you can read about them on your own if you wish.

One statement really caught my eye though. This is regarding Mr. McGreevey: "He claims he provided companionship and a child, thus fulfilling his part of the marriage contract."

I did a little research on marriage contracts, and there is a lot of information out there - way to much to discuss here. Type "marriage contract" into google and you'll see what I mean. Some of it is interesting, some is downright disgusting, but there is a lot of food for thought.

But, boy, that statement just irks me. Maybe I'm an oddball, but marriage means a lot more to me than "companionship and a child". It should certainly go without saying that I don't expect DH to be sleeping with men, or anybody else for that matter! I mean, isn't one of the fundamental assumptions when you marry that you won't be sleeping with anyone other than your spouse? That's certainly part of our marriage contract.

My heart aches for both of these people involved in this terrible divorce. I can't even begin to imagine actually being in this situation, much less having it reported on in the media. Having to face my family and my friends. And I feel worst of all for their little girl. She's six, so she can't possibly understand what's really going on, but she can feel the stress, she can feel the anger. And someday she'll be able to log on to the Internet, and read all the horrid details and accusations for herself.

I can't venture a guess as to whether these two are religious people or not, but, based only on what I've read, it doesn't appear that God was ever a part of their "marriage contract" and that was likely their first, and maybe biggest, mistake.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where does morality fit in?

Research studies interest me in general, especially anything to do with human behaviour. When I see a synopsis of a new study published, I read through it carefully to see if the researchers have discovered anything new that hasn't been around since the beginning of time.

I came across an article last night which looked at infidelity. The question of the study appeared to be "Why do people in stable relationships so often pass up the chance for a little sexual gratification on the side, even if they can get away with it?"

And apparently the study found that those who feel a romantic love and attraction to their partner seem to find other people less attractive. Well, I could have told them that! Hopefully the research will have found out other things as well, but the complete study has not been published yet.

My question is so simple: were these study volunteers asked about their moral objections to infidelity? The reasons for infidelity can be as simple or as complicated as you wish to make them, and castigate me if you will, but I don't believe that Christian couples are any less vulnerable to infidelity if they don't have their relationship on the right path. Or if they don't have a clear understanding of right and wrong.

Over my career, I've seen many couples, both Christian and non-Christian, who have run into this problem. And I can honestly say that the one thing that every one of them had in common was having let other things (children, work responsiblities, health issues, etc....) overshadow the relationship. When you start to take your good relationship for granted, of course you are going to have problems. The very best relationships still have problems. But it's how you react to those problems that is the key.

A good moral compass is vital. Vital. And don't just think you have one, don't just say you have one, KNOW that you have one. And know where your lines in the sand are drawn.

I may think a male coworker is a super guy, we may have lots in common, and I may enjoy talking to him. And there's nothing wrong with having lunch with him. Or any other male friend. But..... If I am asked to spend time with a man in a one on one situation, like lunch, DH always gets a call. It's not a permission thing. He's not my boss. And to be frank, DH could not care less. He has told me umpteen times that he trusts me, and does not need to be informed of what I am doing and with whom.

But this is my line in the sand. My respect for that trust he has placed in me leads me to want him to know what I am doing and with whom. And that phone call, as small as it might be, also reminds me of my moral compass. Because I do know that. the first time I do not want to make that call, I am definitely headed for trouble. Or there are problems in my relationship that I am not acknowledging. And I'd better start praying real quick.

And you need to have a clear view of your own understanding of infidelity, and you need to share this view with your partner, and also understand their view of it. I've known some who think one phone call or one email constitutes cheating. I've known others who only consider it to be cheating if some sort of sex has happened. These are two extremes, yes, but otherwise extremely compatible couples may indeed not understand infidelity in the same way, and that can lead to a lot of misunderstanding, and a whole lot of problems and jealousies.

The key to fidelity is not just being in love with your partner. That's much too simple. You also need a basic belief in loyalty, in respect, in knowing that cheating in a relationship is never the right thing to do. You need a moral compass, and you need to know not only your lines in the sand, but your partner's lines in the sand.

Infidelity is not an accident. It isn't an oops. Faithfulness and loyalty is a glass of milk in your hand. Once you spill it, it makes a huge mess, and you can clean it up with the right tools, but you can never put it back into that glass. Maybe you can get another glass of milk, but it will never be the same one that you spilled.

If someone outside of your relationship starts becoming appealing to you, there is no question of a problem inside your relationship. Don't ignore it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lessons I learn from my cats...

After doing social work for awhile, you find yourself starting to observe life through a unique pair of glasses. I'm sure it's no different for an engineer, a medical professional, or anyone who works in a fairly specific, or narrow, type of field. For me, I tend to see things from a sociological point of view.

We live with five kitties. As any cat person will agree, every cat has a unique personality. Amber is nervous and neurotic; Hannah is stylish and refined; Precious is solitary and opinionated; Camille is a practical joker and a ringleader; and Tigger is the elder-statesman and the peacemaker in the pack.

I see so many things in them, and in the way they interact with each other, that I try to apply to my own life, because the concepts are so simple, yet so brilliant at the same time.

  • Simple acts of kindness: So often I see one of the cats asleep, or simply relaxing somewhere, and another one will walk by and give them a few quick licks on the head or the face. My lessons: When was the last time I did something nice for someone? When was the last time I smiled at a stranger? When was the last time I was kind? When was the last time I gave someone dear to me a hug for no reason?

  • Sharing and taking turns: All of the cats have their own favorite spots in the house. Some of these spots overlap. The cats all seem to share these spots on some kind of a schedule they've worked out amongst themselves. Of course they already share all the food and water bowls, and all the litter boxes in the house, and this is done without any spats whatsoever. My lessons: When was the last time I shared something that I consider to belong to me? When was the last time I got out of the comfy chair so someone else could sit in it? When was the last time I let someone else use the computer before I was done with it? When was the last time I let someone else go first?

  • Having fun: All of the cats, from the eldest to the youngest, play with one or more of the others at least a little bit every day. Whether it's racing the Kitty 500 throughout the house; playing hide and seek in a box, under a chair, or behind the couch; playing find the paw stuck under the bathroom door; or just wrestling around on the bed: the cats seem to instinctively realize how important simple play is for stress release and socialization. My lessons: When was the last time I stopped taking everything in life so seriously and had some fun? When was the last time I laughed at myself? When was the last time I looked at my DH or son as a playmate?

  • Being satisfied: Our youngest cat, Camille, is a bundle of energy whether she's playing by herself or with others. Her absolute favorite toys are the plastic rings off of milk jugs. She could care less about expensive toys that came from the pet store. An old tennis ball, or a sock, is just as much fun as anything. My lessons: When was the last time I was satisfied with the tons of things I already own? When was the last time I refused to spend money on yet another bag or a pair of shoes I don't need and will barely use? When was the last time I was just happy with my own good life, and not envious of others?

  • Forgiveness: Our cats get into little squabbles sometimes. Sometimes it actually about something. Sometimes it's just somebody in a bad mood who doesn't want to be bothered. I can't tell you how many times I've seen an argument occur, and then just a few minutes later, the same cats are grooming each other - argument happily forgotten. My lessons: When was the last time I forgave someone immediately and completely whether they asked me to or not? When was the last time I asked for forgiveness after I hurt someone? When was the last time I truly forgave and forgot?

  • The need for attention and affection: Not one of our cats is at all shy about coming to one of us when they want some love or attention. They'll insist on you moving your lap full of paperwork so they can sit there. Sit smack down on your keyboard until you pet them. Follow along behind you and meow until you come and pet them while they eat. Sometimes they only want a few minutes, sometimes a lot more. But they sure know what they want and aren't shy about asking. My lessons: When was the last time I actually asked my husband to spend some time with me, instead of expecting him to read my mind, and then pout because he didn't figure it out? When was the last time I was more aggressive in our bedroom instead of always waiting for DH to make the first move? When was the last time I told DH out loud that I need some attention from him? When was the last time I stopped doing something "important" and accepted some love and attention, or gave it to someone else?

I'm sure there are many others, but those are the ones that come to mind right now. Animals are so often thought to be simple or stupid - a lower form of life. I disagree. Yes, many of the things they do are based on instinct, but how much smarter do they live their lives?

And oh how much do I have to learn.....

Friday, March 14, 2008

Last day of the 2008 Blog Party :(

This was my first year participating, and oh how much fun I had! It was really great to get to see so many new blogs, and thank you so much to the Sisters and to Happy Panda, and everybody else who put work into putting this together, donating prizes, and all the other stuff that went into making this such a success.

With a busy life, I wasn't able to visit as many as I wanted to this week, but I will be continuing to travel down the list, one by one as I have time, to see everybody's blog. I did get to see several so far, and I love getting to see a slice of someone else's life and find inspiration.

Many Blessings.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Follow up to yesterday's school post.

Well, well, well.....Seems that the unfair treatment of this boy was rescinded after a "meeting between the Superintendent, the Principal, the boy and his parents", and the school oh so kindly decided to clear the boy's record and restore him to his student council post, as well as expunge his suspension. I have a good feeling that the negative press coverage this story recieved had something to do with it as well.

Here is what the principal, Eleanor Turner, had to say: "I am sorry this has happened, my hope is that we can get back to the normal school routine, especially since we are in the middle of taking the Connecticut mastery test."

Shame on you. I fully expect you are more sorry that this story got picked up by the Associated Press than you are by what happened to this boy.

Yet another classic example of how badly power can corrupt, especially when someone is convinced they are acting in the best interest of a child and are not using any common sense. Over my career, I've seen countless actions so similar to this in other schools.

I'm quite convinced that, had this not been publicized, that the punitive actions originally taken would have remained in place. In my extensive experience, schools do not like to admit to mistakes.

This nonsense helped no one whatsoever. All it did was make the school system a laughing stock across the country, and outside of it as well, to a degree. Friends of mine from England informed me that this was reported in their local papers as well. Yet another reason to wonder after those "stupid Americans".

Shame on the superintendent, shame on Eleanor Turner, shame on the school system.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Our public education system at work....

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut (AP) -- Contraband candy has led to big trouble for an eighth-grade honors student in Connecticut.
Michael Sheridan was stripped of his title as class vice president, barred from attending an honors student dinner and suspended for a day after buying a bag of Skittles from a classmate.
School spokeswoman Catherine Sullivan-DeCarlo says the New Haven school system banned candy sales in 2003 as part of a districtwide school wellness policy.
Michael's suspension has been reduced from three days to one, but he has not been reinstated as class vice president.
He says he didn't realize his candy purchase was against the rules -- although he did notice the student selling the Skittles on February 26 was being secretive.

The only words I can come up with to truly convey my disgust with the New Haven school system would only be fit for sailor's ears, so I won't write them here.

If that happened to our son....oh boy....I shudder to even think about it.

Does anybody know how to say "tyrant"?

Shame on the New Haven school system.

New debates about lowering the drinking age

I've been following this story off and on. I don't drink much alcohol. In fact, I drink so little that it's become a funny joke between DH and I because I can remember exactly when and how much I last had. The last time I drank anything alcoholic was in mid-December, at a Christmas party. DH ordered me a drink, and I drank about 1/3 of it, then happily drank pop the rest of the night. Before that I drank an orange wine cooler at a picnic in June.

Alcohol just doesn't hold any interest for me. I don't much like the taste of it, and I've never been fancy enough to learn to enjoy wine with my dinner. To be honest, I drank far, far more alcohol before I turned 21 than I ever did afterwards - the "cool" factor of it just wasn't there anymore... I consider it a great blessing from God that alcohol isn't an addiction for me.

I do understand the problems that it can bring. DH will be sober 6 years in May, and I am still incredibly proud of him. It was a long road before he quit drinking, and he hit rock bottom very, very hard before finally admitting his problem, and going to AA.

And our son is 12. So in one home we've got: a person with no interest in alcohol, a person who has a lifelong problem with alcohol, and a person who hasn't yet had to make a choice about alcohol, but eventually will. I would imagine my home is incredibly similar to a lot of households.

So this debate about lowering the drinking age is interesting to me, and I'm honestly not sure exactly how I feel about it. The whole thing is so complicated. And this certainly isn't that new of a debate, by any means, but it does seem to be picking up some steam all of a sudden.

Essentially, our current laws state that, until you are 21, you lack the judgment and maturity to drink. Never mind that scientific research has proven that the human brain does not stop growing, maturing, and developing until age 25, but fine.

As much as the following reasons have been used and reused, they are still true: the same nation that says you are not mature enough to drink until age 21 also says that you can vote, you can sit on a jury, you can sign a legally binding contract, you can get married, you can put your life on the line in combat, and do a myriad of other things, largely because these things are beneficial to the nation. It doesn't seem to matter whether they are beneficial to an individual person or not. You can also buy a gun at 18. But you can't buy a beer.

I just find that whole premise to be incredibly condescending and illogical.

Movements are under way in five states so far to examine the drinking-age issue.

  • In Vermont, the state Legislature has formed a task force to study the question.
  • In South Dakota, a petition is circulating that would ask the state to allow 19- and 20-year-olds to legally buy beer no stronger than 3.2 percent alcohol.
  • In Missouri, a group is attempting to collect the 100,000 signatures needed to get a measure on the November ballot to lower the state's drinking age to 18.
  • In South Carolina and Wisconsin, lawmakers have proposed that active-duty military personnel younger than 21 be allowed to buy alcohol.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A new list of deadly sins.

I'm not Roman Catholic. Although I worshipped in a Roman Catholic parish for many years, I never officially converted because I just could not, and still do not, agree with some basic Church Dogma, and I wasn't willing to lie to join a faith. (I'll have to blog sometime about what my disagreements are, but I digress.) I am however, Anglican Catholic, better known as Episcopalian. The Episcopal religion has been a blessing to me, because I'm still able to worship in the same fashion, with many of the same rituals that I love, while not having to compromise some very deep rooted beliefs that I have. I also love that the Episcopal faith is welcoming to believers of all types. (Again, a subject for another blog!)

Pope Gregory the Great listed the originally 7 deadly sins in the sixth century: Pride, Envy, Gluttony, Lust, Anger, Greed and Sloth. It was announced today that Pope Benedict and the Vatican have updated this list to include 7 more: Polluting, Genetic Engineering, Obscene Wealth, Drug Dealing, Abortion, Pedophilia and causing Social Injustice.

For the non-Roman Catholics out there, Deadly Sins are mortal sins. The Church teaches that, if you commit a deadly sin, and die without having received absolution or forgiveness, it results in an automatic separation from God and your soul is dammed. A mortal sin is done deliberately. A venial sin can also be a non-deliberate mortal sin, or a deliberate lesser sin, and you can die without having gotten absolution for a venial sin and your soul will not be dammed. Confusing - I know!

This rigamarole is one of the things that I disagree with in the RC Church. The Anglican Catholic Church does not teach this. Jesus died once. Once. For all the sins of the human race: past, present, and future. He doesn't fly down and get back up on the Cross every time you lose patience and honk your horn at another driver, or you are less than honest with DH about how much that cute new pair of shoes really cost. You are already forgiven. Now, this certainly doesn't give anyone license to run amuck and live a completely sinful life. You'd not have a very happy life for sure, and definitely wouldn't have many friends.

Oh I've gotten off track again! I suppose the point of this post was that I was just interested to see what was considered important enough to be a mortal sin now, in the 21st Century, as opposed to the 6th Century.

Is divorce really that funny?

I'm sitting here this morning checking my email and reading my news sites, and I've got The Jefferson's on in the background. I heard a commercial go by that caught my attention enough that I rewound it to watch it more carefully. TIVO is such a wonderful thing! Anyway, the commercial was for some new show starting called "High School Reunion". An attractive blond woman with the words "popular girl" below her was on the screen blithely talking about how she'd married thus and so, then divorced him, then married someone else and divorced him, and on and on. 4 marriages. 4 divorces. Then she said "I wouldn't be opposed to getting married again." And she was giggling the whole time she was talking.

Whoa! Back up the truck. When did divorce become funny? I mean, I know it's used as a plot device on comedy shows sometimes, but this was what appeared to be a real lady. Giggling. About being divorced four times. Now I absolutely believe that there are many valid reasons for a divorce. No one deserves to be in an abusive marriage. Serious addiction issues that just can't be overcome. If a spouse has an affair and wants a divorce, nothing much you can do about that. I can even accept that sometimes a person truly does marry the wrong person, and I absolutely don't think that getting married just because of a pregnancy is always the best thing to do.

But four marriages and four divorces? It would seem like either this lady keeps making very poor choices in men, or she's a poor wife who can't keep a spouse or is maybe not willing to put the hard work into making a good marriage. Or maybe she just has really really really bad luck. Whatever the reasons - and I certainly can't discern the reasons from a 30 second commercial - it was still disturbing to me to see the whole thing treated like a joke. She could also be one of those people who giggle when they are nervous, but it didn't look like that. Her body language was saying she was pretty comfy on camera.

I just don't find anything funny about divorce! I've never been divorced (knock VERY loudly on wood!!) but I've seen countless friends and clients go through one, and I've never seen any laughter. Sometimes relief. A lot of anger. Always some type of sadness. But never laughter. One would hope that this gal and any future potential spouse #5 would participate in some good pre-marital counseling.

Maybe I'm just missing something here. I feel like a crabby old lady! "Well, in my day........."

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Can't sleep tonight.........

Just no rest for the weary. Although, I admit, the six(ish...) cups of coffee I drank throughout the day may have a bit to do with it as well. I bought a package of Dunkin Donuts coffee at Valli Produce (oooooo I love that store!!! It's been such a blessing to have after giving up my beloved Wegmans market when I moved out here.) While rummaging the other day, I came across DH's old Kelley Market insulated mega-jug. This thing holds 64 ounces! And keeps things hot or cold pretty well. It's been handy to fill with cold water, and then just carry it around with me in the house, or take along in the car in case I get thirsty. Well, I made a pot of Dunkin's coffee this morning and went to grab a mug, then my eagle eye traveled from the pot of 8 cups of coffee to my mega-jug, and though I am math-illiterate, I could remember that 8x8 = 64. Hmmmmmm........ Yes, I did it. Dumped the whole pot into the mega jug, threw in some sugar and milk, and went to town! I didn't quite finish the whole thing, I think I dumped maybe a cup and a half in the sink before bed, but that was still a lot of coffee for a gal! So I suppose I shouldn't be cranking because I can't sleep.

Speaking of cranking, DH was awful grumpy today! Really reminded me of a bout of PMS, except that I have seen evidence of the fact that he is, indeed, a male. First I was talking too much when he was watching the television...then the show I put on was "boring".....just stupid little things like that. I was wont to throw the remote at his head, but I took a breath and just held my tongue. It takes two people to make a fight, and I hate fighting. Especially on a Sunday. And I realize that he's just exhausted, poor guy. He works way too hard, and really doesn't eat or sleep like he should, so I don't take this kind of stuff personally. Plus it doesn't happen much, thankfully.

But, honestly, it still would have felt good to throw that remote!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Been having some fun!

I've been visiting random blogs from Mr. Linky at the blog party, and it's been fun! I've got a bunch more bookmarked to keep an eye on. One blog in particular really got me to thinking. Secret Mom Thoughts admitted that her blog is a secret blog - her secret place to go and post about whatever. This blog is the same thing for me. I haven't told one person that I know in real life about it - not even my husband. Hubby doesn't care about this stuff anyway, so it's not like I'm keeping some big secret from him, and I would never post something horrible about him anyway. I don't put my name on the blog either, just because I like the privacy, such as it is. And with the kind of job that I do, privacy is a sad commodity. The last thing I would want is a client googling my name and finding this spot!

For now, I can just relax here and post about what's on my mind, even if I'm the only one reading, and that's a good feeling.

Friday, March 07, 2008

The Ultimate Blog Party Post!

Welcome to my blog! It's not been around that long, but I'm having fun with it. Sometimes I just post about what's on my mind, sometimes I see or read something that makes me think. Today I'm posting about my life.

Here's my dear husband sitting on one of our 11 Kawasaki Triple motorcycles. The half a child you can see on the right is our son. Currently I have a motorcycle frame, an engine, and other assorted parts scattered about my living room, bedroom, and kitchen. I've been asked before about how I can put with it? Well, as I see it, I can have him at home, with me, tinkering with the parts in the living room and being happy, or.... I can complain bitterly, put the parts out the door, and stay home alone while he's out at the local bar, the strip club, or his buddy's house, and wonder when he'll be back. My very wise Grandmother once told me "If you don't take an interest in your husband's hobbies, there's always another woman who will be happy to." Given a choice, I am very happy to have the parts scattered around my home! What choice would you make?

This is Tigger, our Maine Coon. My husband drove 1400 miles round trip to rescue him from being sent to his death at the pound. He's so laid back and so much fun! He is the peacemaker in the home if the girls get to squabbling. If there's a box or drawer to be found, he'll be in it!

Here is our Precious. Two years ago my husband was working out in the garage and heard somebody mewing, and there was this absolutely filthy, horribly emaciated grey kitty peering out from behind our garbage can. He called her over and she came right to him. I swear she ate a whole can of tuna in 10 seconds flat! Within only a few days, she turned into the most beautiful fluffy kitty, and is such a joy. She is Tigger's special buddy.

Here is Zoe the Lab, and Amber kitty. Zoe came from a local breeder. I know it's not good to buy animals from a breeder, but our breeder is very ethical and reputable. He talked to us for half an hour, asking all sorts of questions, before he would even start discussing allowing us to come and see the pups. Zoe is such a marvelous family member. We adopted Amber kitty from a local kitty rescue. She's very loving, as you can tell!

This is Camille. Several months ago, while my husband and I were out of town, a small kitten came to live in a rusty metal shack behind where my husband works. The other fellas at his job fed her and took care of her for a few days until he came back, hoping he would take her home. When he got back, and met her, of course she came home with him. She loves to snuggle and play with the other kitties. Her favorite toys are the plastic rings off of milk jugs - no store bought toys for her! As you can tell - she considers her own comfort to be of the utmost importance.

We also have Hannah - better known as Panda (because she's black and white). She was adopted from the same kitty rescue as Amber. Panda tries to appear very refined and stylish, but is known to run a mean Kitty 500 throughout the house, and loves to meow loudly in Zoe's ear when Zoe is sleeping. She and Amber are the best of friends!

Well, there you go. A few photos of the most important things in my life. Hope you enjoyed meeting them and may you have a blessed day.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

There, but for the grace of God....

Have you even been frustrated? I mean, really blindingly frustrated? Just outside of all sanity, wanting to throw shoes through windows, wanting to punch someone in the nose, screaming and yelling bloody murder frustrated? If you are, or have been, any of the following things: a child, a parent, a boyfriend or girlfriend, a close friend, a spouse, or a human being, I know you have been frustrated like this at least once in your life. If you're anything like me, it's been far more than just once. God blessed me with a pretty calm temperment, but I'll admit there have been days when I've not kept that temper so well.

As a parent, there have been a handful of times when my patience has been sorely tested by a rude, tantrum-throwing child. There have been shameful times when I've shouted to high heaven at a little face half my size, and 24 years younger than I, but ohhhh soooo SKILLED at pushing every button I've got. There have been times when, thankfully, I have simply walked away, and gotten my own emotions and reactions under control. But, believe me, at those times walking away was not my first thought. I won't post what those first thoughts were, because they are horrid and unforgivable, but they were what they were. I didn't want to think them, they just happened. Thanks be to God that I simply walked away.

This story caught my attention:

ORANGE COUNTY -- Orange County deputies said the mother caught on a surveillance tape powerwashing her 2-year-old child at a car wash turned herself into authorities Thursday afternoon.
Authorities have not released the woman's name.
Deputies said the woman, who is 5-months pregnant, used the pressure washer to calm the child down after the she had a temper tantrum.
"She did indicate to us this was the first time this ever happened. That, she typically uses time-outs. She has used a spray bottle in the past to calm the child," said Sgt. John Allen from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Child Abuse Unit.
The child is being evaluated by a doctor, but does not appear to be injured.
So far, no charges have been filed. However, deputies said they will make decisions based on the doctor's analysis.

If you google this story, you can see the videotape of her powerwashing the little girl at the car wash. Apparently the little girl threw a temper tantrum in the car that so frustrated Mom that she drove to the car wash, stripped the little girl, and sprayed her with a very high pressure stream of water. In the videotape, you can hear Mom telling the child "I am your mother. You don't treat me like that." or something to that effect.

There is no question that this was a completely wrong thing to do to anybody, much less a small child. Whether the Mom will be charged with abuse or not, I really don't know. There are many, many considerations that go into a decision to legally charge a person with child abuse. More often than not, a person does not get charged, despite having done something that is pretty horrendous. I do know for a fact, however, that this case will be investigated by local child welfare services, and I fully expect that a case will be opened, and Mom will be required to undergo parenting education, and anger management therapy - at a minimum.

This mom got frustrated and reacted in the wrong way to her frustration, and got caught. I can only imagine how ashamed and embarrassed she is. And how ashamed and embarrassed her family and friends are. I can only hope that she'll be able to get the help that she so obviously needs.

I've been at that point. No, I've never done something like what she did, but the potential was surely there, as I would imagine it is for a lot of otherwise sane and sensible people. Frustration can lead a person to do many things that they wouldn't imagine themselves capable of.

There, but for the grace of God, go I.

A Duggar Book is being published.

Michelle Duggar and Jim Bob Duggar (with SueAnn Jones)'s THE DUGGAR FAMILY: 20 and Counting!, positive parenting and organization tips from America's favorite family -- as seen on The Learning Channel and Discovery Health, to Philis Boultinghouse at Howard, for publication in Spring 2009, by Leslie Nunn at Reed
Nunn Communications (World).

That opening paragraph is a blockquote directly from a message board that I frequent. I'm almost surprised that one wasn't published sooner. Are they really "America's favorite family"? I'll be so interested to see the final product. I'd be even more interested to see an advance copy of the book - prior to the final edits for public release. I'd also like to know how much money Jim Bob and Michelle were paid for these positive parenting and organization tips......

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Come join the ultimate blog party!

I first read about this on Cindy's blog, and thought it sounded like a lot of fun. It's hosted by the ladies over at 5 Minutes for Mom . Come and see what lots of different people are talking about!

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