Wednesday, December 23, 2009

One More 'Tween Year for Katie!


Today is Katie's 12th birthday and what a year it's been! We've gone from elementary school head of the class to middle school low woman on the totem pole. While it's been a year of challenges, Katie has learned to look outside of herself and make opportunities. This has not been easy - for her or her family! But we all know God has placed her in a middle school with 6 other kids that she knows for a purpose, and that purpose is for good.

Aside from only wanting three things in life - a laptop, cell phone and a Facebook account - Katie has chosen for this birthday to serve others. Her BFF threw her a surprise party earlier this month and asked the guests to bring non-perishable items for the Salvation Army food kitchen. How many 12 year olds have friends who know their hearts? It was only days later, not knowing what her friends were scheming, that Katie came to us and wanted to host a Charity Water birthday party. Even though that has not happened, she was pleased with the final outcome! Tonight, for her birthday dinner, she will be dining with a friend of ours in DC with National Community Church who organized Wednesday evening meals and Bible study for the homeless. She is very excited to serve in this way!

Each year, I am amazed by the way God uses and develops Katie into someone He can use. It has been a privilege to watch, painful at times but extrememly rewarding. She thrives in our church's middle school program, hosts the sixth grade girls at our house every Tuesday night, has reached out to those who need a friend in a middle school where she doesn't feel like she has any friends and is constantly using her gifts and talents to serve others. Happy Birthday, to my daughter who is even more beautiful inside than she is outside. May God bless your days and may they be many! Love, Mommy.



Saturday, August 29, 2009

Dell: Consumer Advocates??

So... T bought me this Dell laptop last year, and I like it, but the buttons on the touchpad are a bit sketch. So sketch that, at less than a year old, the left button (the one you need to use all the time!) is busted. It still works, but it's permanently depressed. I imagine it won't be long before it's non-functional.

I decided to poke around the web to see if anyone else is experiencing a similar problem, and of course, there are a few. Some of these folks had a Dell "Consumer Advocate" reply to their posts and offer to send someone out to fix it. I decided to email one of these advocates with my issue and the response I got was an email reply with the email I sent... no message at all. It's a bit bizarre, but I'll just assume there's no such thing as a Dell Consumer Advocate and be on my merry way. I guess I'll see if Best Buy can help me.?

I also have the noisiest fan ever... I wonder what I should do about that??

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Facebook

It's addictive - I'll admit it! Found this article this morning - it's hilarious... but they left out one. The Consummate FB Gamer! That's me!=)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Disclaimer

This is my blog and I will say what I want to,

Say what I want to,

Say what I want to,

You may not agree but it's all up to me!

Sorry!

Health Care and America

I've spent a good amount of time working my way through H.R. 3200, enough of my time to know that whatever else I find in there is trumped by what I've already read. It's scary to me - it's not the kind of health care I'm interested in, and honestly, I'm surprised anyone would be.

Sadly, the idiots in Washington have allowed the passing of this bill to be dominated NOT by careful scrutiny of the facts, but instead have incited name-calling among every faction of Americans, taking the focus off of reform and onto.... well, anything they can to make Americans do less analytical decision making using their own brains!! Basically it's come down to:

1) You're a selfish, conservative, rich money-mongering Republican who doesn't care to provide entitlement to the poor.

OR

2) You're a liberal socialist who wants to rob from the rich and have the government provide for you everything that you need.

Seriously, in my opposition to this bill, I've had people tell me that I'm against health care for poor people (not true), that I am just a Sarah Palin fanatic (not true at all), that I don't think my tax dollars are worthy of being used to help those in need (couldn't be farther from the truth!) and that I don't understand government run health care (you got THAT one right, at least!).

First of all, I'd love reform in the health care industry - in fact, we need some regulation, especially of discriminatory practices, such as "pre-existing conditions" clauses. We should be putting limits on malpractice suits that make medical practitioners in turn pass along their medical malpractice insurance costs onto us. We should be issuing federal guidelines on controlling costs and profits on pharmaceutical companies, not enough to stifle innovation of new and useful drugs, but enough so that we can afford medications necessary for life. We should be assisting those in need with our federal tax dollars. We should be overhauling the already existing, imploding and poorly administered government run medical programs already in existance. If this bill addressed these (and I'm sure there are more) issues, I'd be sending nice letters to my congressman.

The fact is that this bill does little, if anything at all, to address most of the issues that we should be addressing, and instead creates a "Health Choices Commission" that scares the pants off me!! Under the guise of creating a public health "option", this commission, the head of which and over half it's members, are "appointed" by whoever is the sitting president, will include ONE doctor and will have control over every tiny detail and aspect of health care for those who "choose" to participate. Not only that, IT will create and administer the government option AND decide who can compete with it. If your private insurance chooses to abide by all it's rules, you can choose that option... with all the new, guaranteed lower prices outlined by the commission. You may not have dual coverage, you cannot have insurance AND government assistance and if you choose not to have medical insurance, you will have to pay a penalty.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to understand that this government option is not your typical medical "insurance" company. It's not for profit because all it's expenses will be paid for by your tax money - whatever it chooses to pay it's commissioners, it's medical suppliers, it's own pharmaceutical company.... no competition, just own it all and charge a price (in a tax that they will not call a tax... that's what it says, anyway!) that you will pay. What is that price? Well.... nobody has bothered to tell us yet!! And those who want this option have maintained that it's worth "any price"..... really?? Well, if you haven't already guessed where I'm going with this, if you allow yourself to think beyond the end of this year, when this bill may pass and be put into practice, it won't be long before the competition can no longer compete, when Americans and the private companies they work for will no longer be able to afford paying for the private insurance coverage of our choice AND for the government run option tax that is not a tax.... and the private insurance industry will collapse. Along with it, millions of jobs will vanish over night. I don't really consider myself an alarmist, but I'm going to sound the alarm here. This is serious... and there's no turning back.

Once we have this "single-payer" system with no competition, then what?? That's what Americans who are "organized mobs" are asking, and the response they are getting is, "I don't answer to a mob." In fact, is anyone in Congress or the White House ever going to be expected to explain exactly what is in this bill???? or is each and every American going to have to actually read it and try to understand it on their own???? I don't hear anyone explaining it, only trying to discredit the critics. We've all been so busy accusing each other of being the unthoughtful crazy ones that we aren't asking real questions and expecting real answers.

I want reform. I don't want it this way. There has to be a better way and we need to let Washington know that we're tired of their temper tantrums when they don't get their way... we want reform and we want an American alternative... not something that we know from history isn't going to work. Along with being the "richest" nation in the world comes the understanding that we didn't get there by letting the government run everything for us - in fact, quite the opposite. We did it by being given the freedom to be creative, to be innovative, to be on the edge... I would hate to see us give up our freedom, creativity and innovation because our elected officials were busy acting like toddlers. For me... this is just infuriating. But I guess you already know that! and this is all I will say on the matter.

Looks like someone else has this on their mind today... sort of.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Half Way There!

I'm just about half way to 40 and remembering my list in January of things I wanted to do in this year. I figure I might as well see how that's going, even though I'm feeling right now like there are many things on there that will remain in a dream state. For a very long time!

1. Go on a cruise. This is looking more and more likely that it'll be without T. I gave him 15 years to try it..

Yeah... this one is most likely not going to happen. Forget about going with T.

2. Take at least one graduate class. I've been dragging my feet on this one - I just don't know yet what I want to be when I grow up!

I'm all signed up for this one... now I just have to survive it!

3. Fly somewhere on whim. Is this even possible when you're married with kids? Can you just wake up and say, "I want to go to Australia!" and get up and go?? I'm not sure, but I'm putting it on my list.

Nope. It's a pipe dream.

4. Do one of each of these things daily: devotions, exercise, love on my family and learn something new. Not sure it's possible, but I think I need to try.

Not sure about this one, but it does run through my head.

5. Read more than one book this year - last year was pitiful. I need to read more!

LOTS of reading this year. I've enjoyed it.

6. Visit the mouse. I haven't been anywhere near Disney anything in almost 2 years. It's a little sad because it is truly one of my favorite places.

Nope. There were talks of this happening, but I'm not holding my breath.

7. Become more fiscally conscious. When we got married, I begrudgingly gave up control of any money because T really wanted the reins. I'm at a point now where, if anything happened to him I'd be lost! I need to be a little more involved. I might even use my ATM card... if I can find it!

I've asked for an ATM card, but my request has been denied.

8. Make all those doctor's appointments I dread and actually go to them. Trust me - I go enough, so the thought of adding any more is just dreadful, but I need to.

Still on my list. Happily, the ones I've had have gone well!

9. Scrapbooking - I'm so far behind, it's just overwhelming. I need a plan, I need printed pictures and I need to get this done!!

Still not happening. I think it's a mental block at this point.

10. I want to visit at least 5 new places (preferably warm beaches!) this year. That shouldn't be too hard, except that sometimes I feel marooned on this island. Get me out of here!!!

I'm pretty sure I have not visited one new place this year, even on our trip to the Grand Canyon. And no beaches. I think I'm the only one in this family who likes the beach. I'm in escape mode more than ever right now. Everyone else is hunkered down. It's a little frustrating.

It's almost 90 degrees outside, and I have a bunch of plants out back waiting to be put around the perimeter of our new patio. There are things going on here that never made it on my list - the patio being one of them!! This is why a few things will remain in a dream state until the budget recovers. The other is our basement, which is nearly finished. I can't complain! Sorry, Mickey!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Invisible

I like this article, because most of the time these days I feel invisible, or like people think I'm blind, deaf and mute. Or maybe they just wish I was! I'm pretty overwhelmed these days with school starting, job starting, grad. school starting... finishing up the basement, landscaping the patio, trying to entertain my children.... most of the time, I just feel like I need help. It's kind of lonely. So... I do relate to this article, in many, many ways!

Hope everyone had a great summer!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Fresh Chicken

My friend, Bonnie, is raising some chickens on her land. Read more about this adventure here!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

The Choice

If I had one, I'd choose the Irishman who loves Americanism over the world leader who thinks everything in America needs to change any day of the week. Bono, you rock!

Friday, May 08, 2009

Lipitor

Well, I have only one more thing to say about this drug - it works for me! My total cholesterol went from 235 to 145 in three months. Liver enzymes are also now normal. I think this was the right move for a woman whose grandmother died of a massive heart attack at the age of 46. I'm glad I didn't wait any longer!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Mr. President....

I don't watch the press propaganda conferences on TV, nor have I ever been one to watch speeches. It has little to do with how I feel about a president, seeing as I never watched Bush, Clinton, Bush or Obama - they just aren't my thing. I would much rather read about them when they are all over!

This week, the news was all about the "enchanted" White House question, so I did see that little blurb, and I must say, that was just a dumb question!! And it started me thinking... what would I ask if I had a turn? I'm not a press corp person, not a reporter, not even a White House official. I'm just your average part-time worker, stay-at-home mom who seriously thinks we are heading in the wrong direction on many issues. What would I ask?

1. Mr. President, do you think there is a way to improve our education system without just adding days to the year? or paying teachers based on their student's test scores? I'm not sure those two agenda items will cover the deficit you say we have.

2. Mr. President, at what point will you own the decisions you've made instead of blaming all your problems on Bush and the country you begged us to let you run?

3. Mr. President, can you please explain how we are going to gather intelligence in your future, where you see no War on Terror, or terror at all, for that matter? And how will we train our soldiers (and civilians) to endure the tactics that will be used on them, regardless of your decision to never again use anything but the Army Field Guide to gather "useful" information?

4. Mr. President, will you promise to prosecute ALL those responsible, including Nancy Pelosi, for signing off on our torturous intelligence gathering techniques, including waterboarding, cups of water in the face and caterpillars?

5. Mr. President, when will you and Mrs. Clinton stop apologizing for the "behavior" of the United States of America? And does this bad behavior include the billions of dollars in relief we have given to countries in Africa and Asia?

6. Mr. President, do you really and truly believe that marriage is between a man and a woman, just the same as Miss California? or are you scared of Perez Hilton?

7. Mr. President, how long will you continue your Wednesday night social gatherings that are costing taxpayers millions of dollars while people continue to lose their jobs daily?

8. Mr. President, is there any other solution to your proposed socialist model of health care, seeing as it's a system that will not only bankrupt our nation, but provide only nominal care? You know that's what will happen - just admit it!

9. Mr. President, what do you really think about the United States of America? I understand that nobody has ever asked you how you really feel, and I'm starting to think you don't like anything about it!

10. Mr. President, when you took our money to bail out car companies so that they would not go bankrupt, did you think that it would be OK if they really did go bankrupt?

11. Mr. President, how do you suppose my children will pay off your debt?

12. Mr. President, why have you spent $800,000 trying to thwart off questions about your "natural born citizen" status instead of just allowing the release of your official Hawaii birth certificate, complete with the hospital name, doctor who delivered you and the time of your birth? You could not even get a Maryland driver's license with the thing on your website!

13. Mr. President, please tell us... where is the transparency you promised us? and why do you have a tax cheat taking our tax money?

14. Mr. President, are you enchanted by the press corp who go so soft on you that we are thinking they are more out of touch with Main Street, USA than you are?

I'm pretty sure he wouldn't get past question #1, so no point in continuing. If only the press conferences were for real people!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Stupid Flyover

For anyone who thinks that, years later, the 9/11 scars for New Yorkers are healed, think again! As with any traumatic event, the scars are not so toughened over. Especially for those who have chosen to continue living and working on the outskirts of 9/11. I am appalled that the Obama Administration is insensitive enough to think that just because they choose to forget, that others have as well. While they continue to ignore the very real possibility that another 9/11 is possible, there are millions in the New York area who will never be able to erase the horrific events of that day. For an administration that would love to make 9/11 go away, they certainly have a unique way of going about that!

Last summer, we met a family while visiting my mom who had a house in Fairfield that was their summer country beach home. They were New Yorkers with a beautiful place just blocks from the World Trade Center. They were there that morning and would only tell us that it was unbelievable. They were quick to tell us that they never talk about it because the memory is too fresh, too unbearable to speak about. In the short time that we sat with them, I got the sense that these were people who intentionally chose New York as a home for the realistic view it gave their children of the world we live in, a couple who would, in a heartbeat, move back if they felt their family could trust that place again. She a Norwegian former model, he a record producer, not unfamiliar with working hard to accomplish life's goals. Clearly, 9/11's impact on their family will not soon be forgotten.

We should be careful not to shrug off the wounds that were opened by yesterday's stunt. It's a haunting reminder that we live in an unpredictable world during an unpredictable time when the most unexpected things, like your own government scaring the heebie jeebie's out of you, can happen. Way to go, O!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Vampires and Souls

Never in my wildest dreams would I have guessed a vampire saga could engross me the way the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer did this past week. I literally could not put the books down... it too me one week to read the 4.5 gargantuan books. While they are not exactly for the faint of heart, they present an overwhelming number of themes, wonderful character development, spiritual undertones and a great storyline to boot! I was completely drawn in, and agree that the movie did not do the book justice. Some interesting things I've been pondering/processing while reading them....

The idea of losing one's soul is a common thread throughout each of the books. Obviously, in the world of vampires and werewolves this is already a bizarre theme, but it still brings up questions about the journey of the soul in alignment with the conscious choices between good and evil in respect to your "lot in life", so to speak. Intriguing!

T called me from Catalyst West to share a few thought provoking ideas, such as the suggestion by Deb and Alan Hirsch that the nuclear family is the idol of ... the Western World? (I actually can't remember if it was the western world or the evangelical church???) Anyway, I was curious about that idea and am looking forward to reading more about it in their new book... but that idea combined with this vampire stuff got me thinking.... is "human nature" also an idol for Christians? Can we not fathom life beyond earth, or eternal life, enough not to covet our life on earth? Just a thought. It's a theme that is integral to the entire series I read, as Bella appears to be the first "mortal" who will willingly choose to become "immortal"... and for love.

Also, I had to chuckle throughout the books at the amazingly adept character and group mentality development this author wove throughout the saga. I was already seeing the potential for T to be personality typing each character, guessing their strengths and analyzing how well they worked as a team. A bit of fun for those types out there!

Finally, there is a bit of a redemptive theme as well involving the character patriarch of the "good" vampires, Carlisle. The son of a minister, who hunted down evil vampires until he was struck down by and transformed into one... (Paul...?) He then spends hundreds of years perfecting the very compassionate practice of being a "vegetarian" vampire, feasting only on animals, not humans. He is by far the most compassionate and gentle of the family, always erring on the moral high road in all vampiric affairs (LOL).

There are so many other subplots and themes throughout this book, it would be impossible to share each of them. I can only say that for me, it was well worth the read. While I would love for there to be more to the story (given their immortality, ingeniously this saga could continue forever!), I'm not sure my feeble little mind can absorb much more for now. I would highly recommend this whole series for anyone who has a week where they can devote hours of time to reading. =) Such as, a week where your husbands decides to go to LA for a conference! (perfect timing!) Enjoy!

Monday, April 20, 2009

I Confess!

I am in every kind of rut imaginable! You name it, I'm stuck in it. It's quite sad. I'm in a blogging rut, I'm in a bit of a spiritual rut, I'm in a parenting rut - or so it seems, I'm in a life rut. I don't remember having one this long before, but it's just really, really annoying. I was hoping Spring Break would be a great encourager of getting out of all these ruts, but it was no help at all. I'm actually tracing it all the way back to when I started taking Lipitor, so maybe it's my anti-cholesterol rut. Maybe some of us just need our cholesterol! LOL

Fortunately, I'm not in a professional rut - I like my job and I still like to go to work! =) That is a great thing, because the people I work with are about to become my advocates. It would appear that my years of feeling like Em has some kind of learning disability/processing disorder are finally translating into something that is hopefully productive. We've had a drastic turn of events for this poor child that have brought to light the possibility that we're dealing with more than a little girl who can't draw and has terrible handwriting. I can see it will be a long journey, and it's painful getting to this spot - where we had to fail something simple to get anyone's attention - but I'm praying it will pay off in the end. At some point this year, we will have an "IEP 1" meeting, or internal review, to see if we can't convince someone that she needs some kind of intervention and testing. Finally!=)

Maybe this will put me back on track... and some sunshine, maybe?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Rejuvenation

UPDATE: Madi made it through surgery like a champ and everything went "picture perfectly"! She should be home by Wednesday with lots of tubes everywhere!! It's a very long recovery process, so everyone appreciates more prayer. Thanks!!

I actually think that's a better word for this season of Spring - at least in my life. It's so refreshing to go for a walk when cherry blossoms are falling, birds are chirping, the sun is glistening off the remnants of yesterdays downpour. It inspired me get my act together!

I have a million things on my mind, going on in my life, but today only one thing really takes precedence over it all: I am asking for intercessory prayer for Em's friend and our neighbor, Madi. She is leaving shortly to head over to Hopkins for some more major surgery tomorrow. This is to hopefully fix some issues she's been having since her last major surgery three years ago for a condition she was born with, bladder exstrophy. Your prayers for her and her family would be very much cherished, and hopefully in a week or so she will be home, but begin a 6-8 week recovery. As you can imagine, this will not be easy with spring upon us, all her friends out bike-riding and swimming and going to school. We are very hopeful this will be the culmination of years of preparation!

Pray for:

- Madi - that she can endure this as bravely and courageously as she has everything in her life.

- her family - that logistics, their two younger daughters and family would be supported and that everything would go smoothly

- insurance - for that past year, this has been an issue. So far, so good, but please pray that each aspect of their visit, hospital stay and after care will be covered by their insurance.

- doctors - Madi is "fortunate" to live here, as the premier doctor for this condition is at Johns Hopkins. We pray that each person who comes in contact with Madi and her family are as excellent and encouraging as they have been in the past.

- recovery - we pray for a speedy recovery and for a successful procedure!

Thanks for thinking of them!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Sound of Music

This movie is a family favorite, as my parents were engaged just after going to see it. Every time it was on TV, we all watched it! My best childhood friend and I also used to Doe a Deer over and over. I don't think I could ever get tired of listening to it or singing it- such a classic!! Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Barrabas

Great post by Mark Batterson.

8 year olds!

Em came in this morning from riding her bike. Her best friend lives across the cul-de-sac, so I asked her if her friend was out. She said, "No. They have a note on their door not to ring the doorbell, that the girls will be out later. I knocked on the door a few times but they didn't come." Why is everything SO LITERAL?? We had a little talk about this one! ;-)

Spring Break




We have had a fun Spring Break so far! We started off with a quick night in DC for the Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade. I imagine that would have been more impressive, if not for the wind storm that eliminated the large balloons. We were also sorely disappointed (and stayed until the very end!!) when the headline Mama Mia stars failed to make an appearance. That was truly a bummer! The Tidal Basin also was overcrowded - note to selves: go on a weekday next year!

After our little DC trip, we went up to Connecticut for a few days. Lots of fun, relaxing, hanging out with family and meeting up with some old friends made for a great trip. We also fit in a [freezing!] day at Mystic Aquarium. Em was really in need of some animal time and she chose that over visiting the American Girl store in NYC. We'll try that some other time! Because I forgot my camera, we had to take pictures the old fashioned way - I'm not sure when I'll be posting any of those!

We are now home, doing laundry for my family - extended family, that is. My mom's washing machine broke and she is heading down to Savannah tomorrow from here. I'm getting some clothes ready for her to take on her trip. Then we will have Uncle D here for Easter - the girls are VERY excited!!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Who Told You You Were Naked?

My friend, Megan, posted this post and it's amazing. If you think you've ever believed a lie, this one's for you!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Bikers


Now that Em has joined the ranks of bikers, I can't get her to do anything else. These girls just ride around and around the island in our cul-de-sac, and she spent about 10 minutes tonight explaining how tempo in music is like speed on bikes. The girls has two wheels on the brain!! I love how she thinks she's teaching the youngest in our crew how to ride faster - the one who has been riding about a year longer than her! LOL We do thank God each night for bikes. =)

Red Sea

I'm not sure how I missed this, but it's a Red Sea of tree buds around here! Spring! =) I think I need to fit a walk into my nice, quiet day today.

March Madness

I'm not talking about basketball, mostly because I just don't follow that at all! First up, the GE Bailout fiasco that you won't hear about in the news. Second, a commentary on CNN - finally, people coming back to reality on what's going on.

I am obviously not happy about the ridiculous amount of government spending and control, and I feel like Americans are part of the problem. It seems as though there are two views on the budget proposal: either you think it's horrendous or you just love Obama and you'll do anything he says. What's missing? The "I love Obama but this budget is terrible. Do over!" It's like Americans who supported this president are scared to admit this is going to be bad for us, and ask can you give us a more reasonable option.

I will also admit that I've had a horrible attitude about this presidency. When I step back and look at the past couple of months, it is difficult for me to find anything substantial that has been positive about it. It would appear the only world leader who thinks we are heading in the right direction economically (not foreign policy) is Hugo Chavez - that is just so telling, don't you think?

As for education, let me just say this. There are certainly things that our government can do to improve education, but can we find one positive thing to say?? We live in a country where every child is entitled to a "free" education, where that free education is provided by our tax dollars and we have a say in what happens! (local board of education - check it out!) and where the individual child, their gifts and talents, are shaped and molded by this idea of freedom. Of course it's not perfect, but we value creativity and innovation in this country. At least we always have. Instead of striving to be like some other country's overly strenuous, academically driven system, let's figure out how to make our own unique, American and top notch by our own definition. I don't want my kids in school all year from sun up until sun down - there are people from foreign countries (living in my cul-de-sac!) who have chosen to raise their children here, in American schools, where they have a life outside of academia. It's not a terrible thing! Our children deserve better than educational daycare. Period!

I guess in the end, I don't feel proud to be an American when I'm listening to this president, or his Secretary of State or his treasury secretary. I feel like an uneducated, selfish world bully, unfit to exist in this global culture of superior bullies. I'm thinking this is going to get old fast, because I don't think I'm at all alone in this feeling. That is becoming more and more clear!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Imagine

Debt

I just cannot believe anyone would vote "yea" on Obama's budget. On so many levels, that's just wrong.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Parents, your kids are not special!

I will admit, I'm not a huge fan of Cafferty on CNN, but on this one, he hit it right on the nose!! I was just chatting with a colleague of mine about parents who seem immune to their child's bad manners, almost like they are powerless to *teach* any to them!! The word is "no" and your children use it frequently, so why not you?? It's not OK that your children are rude, disrespectful, lacking in ordinary manners, mean or bossy. Anyone who is a parent knows that at some point, even good kids resort to any of the listed behaviors above, and as a parent it's your job to address that. Kids *learn* manners, they are not innate. Do yourselves and your children and the rest of the world a favor - give your children the tools to live peaceably with their neighbors!

Annie, Jr.

This past week/weekend was dominated by Annie, Jr. Kt has been involved in an elementary school production, something I would have been way too scared to do!! I was really surprised she wanted to give it a try, but so glad she did. She has always wanted to sing, act and be on stage, but everyone who has ever heard her before would agree - her singing "skills" leave much to be desired! At least until Annie, Jr!!



T and I were, of course, completely taken by surprise. We couldn't be prouder and are just so excited that Kt has finally realized a dream of hers. It speaks volumes for not discouraging your children when you fear they might embarrass you - LOL! More importantly, embarrass themselves. That is really the motivating fear for me. I tucked that away in the back of my mind because Kt is the kind of child who loves to experience and I didn't want to take that away from her, especially not in the safe confines of her last few months of elementary school. On top of it all, she had an amazing time and was so regretful that her friends missed her performance. Like good parents, we video taped it - thankfully. She's come a long way from "My Favorite Color is Rainbow" she recorded with her uncle in first grade. (We're still waiting for Uncle D to do the same with Em! =()

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pastor's Wives

If you are one, have one, know one, love one... you should check out this on Beth Moore's LPM Blog. I really wish as a church that we invested more in the lives of our pastors, their wives and their families, to ensure that they know they are loved. We need to take way better care of them!

Bush Legacy

Here's an interesting article on the Bush legacy by Bill Frist posted on CNN.

"Future historians will also note what today's pundits ignore: total US government development aid to Africa quadrupled from $1.3 billion in 2001 to more than $5 billion in 2008. What's more, the Bush administration doubled foreign aid worldwide over the past eight years. You have to go back to the Truman years to match that."

I think the vilification of George W. Bush is one of the most disrespectful, unbecoming things in America today. I cringe every single time I read about this current administration "undoing Bush-era policy" without even the slightest hint at the good policy he enacted. Even our current president will have his own trail and good along with bad - much of that a matter of opinion. I feel like it's time to bury the hatchet and move forward (as Obama claimed he wanted to) and stop invoking past grievances. A time is coming, and sooner than later, that those claims will be hollow and he will have to justify his own actions with something more solid than trying to undo some perceived wrong.

Favorite Things

Some of my favorite things are things I cannot acquire but that happen on their own. Yesterday, Em came home bouncing, smiling, very proud of herself. She quickly pulled out her homework assignment sheet and showed me a note her math teacher had written on the bottom of the page, "Emily was a Math Superstar today! =)" She was SOOOO excited about this! I asked her if this is something everyone gets, and she replied nobody had ever gotten it before. I asked if this came with some kind of reward or prize, and she said no. I have to admit, I was a bit puzzled by the lack of luster I perceived in this "amazing event" that had her squealing with delight. So, I just asked her how she pulled off this one time performance, and she said, "By working carefully, quietly and paying attention." Wow! She then told me that her teacher had come up to her at the end of the day, while all the students were lined up, pulled out her folder and homework sheet, wrote on it and congratulated her. Everyone wanted to know what the teacher wrote, and after she read it to them, one of her friends congratulated her.

It seemed so unimportant of a thing, but what a difference this made for her. It was a great reminder to me as a teacher, and more importantly as a parent, that praising our kids alone is great, praising them in front of others is a boost and just praising them, without any kind of physical reward, is sometimes more meaningful than getting a pencil or a sticker or a treat. This child was on cloud 9, and that is really one of my favorite things.

This morning at the bus stop, the girls were talking about the play Kt is in Thursday and Friday. It's our very first play and a very big deal. Kt first asked if she could be in it with her friends and told me she was hoping they would just choose her to play a tree!! In other words, she had no interest in acting or the play itself, she just wanted to participate in this with her friends. We had a little chat about her responsibility to her cast, following through on a commitment and understanding that while it may not be important to her to do well, it would be important to others that she do well. She has done amazingly well, memorized all her lines and is even singing two solos!! She just told me that today, and when I asked her to sing them for me, she said she wanted them to be a surprise tomorrow night. Now my interest is really sparked!! I love it when my kids are proud of their accomplishments.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood.

O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

O that day when freed from sinning,
I shall see Thy lovely face;
Clothed then in blood washed linen
How I’ll sing Thy sovereign grace;
Come, my Lord, no longer tarry,
Take my ransomed soul away;
Send thine angels now to carry
Me to realms of endless day.

I love this hymn. The first three stanza are by Robert Robinson. I don't know about the last. From the 1700's. I love words, sentiments that are timeless.

"Prone to wander" is the part of this hymn I relate to most. I've been wandering around for the past few months, here and there and everywhere. I surely feel the tug of the Spirit on my heart. I feel like I'm finding my way a bit better.

We just spent a really nice weekend up in Connecticut, Em and I. T took Kt to NYC for the weekend on a missions type thing. They loved it. I tried to spoil Em, although she was more interested in a weekend in DC and a stay at a hotel. Someday! She had some fun times with my mom, even told my mom's good friend that she is "good at farting" - where do kids come up with these things?? She has never mentioned this "gifting" to us before, so nice of her to share it with one of my mother's friends! Oh, and she got to sleep with my mom and then proceeded to throw up all over her rug. Spoiling Em has it's negatives!!

This week is incredibly busy, and it's making me feel more like myself. This is my first breather of the day. I had work, then a run to the Salvation Army thrift store for a costume for Kt, then off to the grocery store, then unload from grocery store, then off to school to deliver said costume, back home to get Em off the bus and get her ready for piano, which is happening right now. This is a day I'm more used to, and the rest of this week is shaping up to be much of the same. Kt will be in her first play this Thursday night, my mom is coming to enjoy that. We have activites every day and night, not a moment to breathe. Just like old times!

Come, thou fount of every single blessing....

Monday, March 09, 2009

Your Federal Tax Dollars

In the thousands of pages of federal spending bills recently passed through Congress, signed by our new president, there are bound to be many things I'd prefer not to pay for. Chances are, I won't even know what most of those things are. At the same time, there's a good chance I will benefit in some small way as well, and not even realize it. I mean, there's money in there for parks, water fountains, roads, textbooks... you name it, it's in there. Confusing, not so controversial. There are things, however, in there or in executive orders, that I don't care to spend my tax money on, and they are extremely controversial. Things like abortion, embryonic stem cell research funding and abortion in nations other than our own. Why? Because I cannot bring myself to agree that unborn children don't deserve our utmost attention, a voice in the world and that God is begging us to defend those who cannot defend themselves. While I realize it is the plight of millions who have disabled or disease-ridden loved ones to do anything, at any cost, to find a cure, I just think we are called to be ethical and reasonable in our response - and also loving. If we asked for federal tax dollars to print the word God on a building, we'd probably be taken to court. If we ask for federal tax dollars to enact "population control" in developing countries through abortion, we're awarded. There's just something wrong with that.

Realistic view on embryonic stem cell research, which has never been banned - only the funding of creating new embryonic stem cell lines was banned.

The door is now open to the business of embryonic stem cell research... and the implications thereof. It's a sad day indeed.

Growing Up

Today is a bittersweet day. Yesterday, Em FINALLY really learned to ride her bike. T taught her last summer, but she has been extremely reluctant to continue riding, instead choosing to woefully watch all her friends ride around the circle outside or try to keep up on her scooter. Through tears and tantrums, T forced her to learn yesterday. On the way to the bus stop this morning, she turned to me and said, "I really would rather ride my bike than go to school today!" So much can change with a little confidence!

Today also marks the end to our outdoor swingset. My mom bought it for our girls when we moved in here. It was the largest set we could fit in our minuscule backyard and provided hours of entertainment for a long time. It had a fort for caterpillar races, a sandbox that the girls only used when they were preschool age, swings that the boys next door nearly tipped the entire fort swinging on and swings the girls loved to swing on. The reality, though, was that it took up our entire yard and they weren't using it much anymore. We have a park we can walk to, bikes to ride in the cul-de-sac, pools we now go to in the summertime and we are all antsy about having a patio with a table to eat off, barbeque for our steaks and zucchini and a nice chair swing to swing on. I guess we're growing up.

I was thinking earlier that Em would miss the swingset the most, but I really think it's me. I have grown attached to the thing, to being able to send my kids out back to a safe place and to actually having kids who love to swing! It's almost like the beginning of having to say goodbye to childhood in this house. Kt is off to middle school next year, Em is entering the world of the tween and there are no little tikes left here. So sad! I attempted to pass that swingset along to my neighbor, just so I could see it every once in a while, but she refused. =( Fortunately, we found a sweet widow with two adopted children from Guatamala who happily took it off our hands. It's at least nice to know that it will be put to good use by two little kids who have a lot of child left in them. Now it's time for me to grow up!

Friday, March 06, 2009

The Hamlet Administration

This is an interesting take on the current administration of our country. If you like Shakespeare, you will appreciate at least the attempt at the comparison!

Restore Respect at School Act

Recently, I signed up to receive a newsletter from a Maryland Senator and I'm finding it very interesting!! He's not actually my senator - mine are both Democrats, and while I've signed up on their sites, I guess they don't offer any type of news about what they are doing. This guy is a Republican who sends out this weekly agenda of what they covered legislatively. I don't know why the others don't do this, but in the past week I've learned that there are new death penalty standards being voted on in MD, new education initiatives, and a plethora of other information. Including this:

Restore Respect at School Act
Student conduct, homework completion, and classroom
attendance receive attention in the Restore Respect at
School Act (HB 630). According to the bill, a parent or
guardian who is eligible to claim either the State tax
credit or subtraction modification under the State income
tax for household and dependent care expenses for any
dependent might be denied these tax benefits should a
student under their care:
· be unlawfully absent for more than 20% or more of
their school term;
· not complete the minimum amount of homework
required; or
· earn more than one expulsion or suspension for
disrespect, insubordination, or classroom disruption.
The bill allows for parents to regain the tax credit should
they attend a parent conference at the school prior to a
dependent's readmission and provide evidence that the
child has completed a community resource program. An
individual with a federally adjusted gross income of
$41,001 or less will not be denied the tax credit.



I have to say, I was all for this initiative, until I got to that last sentence. On average, I think any educator in any city in Maryland would tell you that a majority of students that fall into the above category come from low income families. This fact, of course, almost negates the effectiveness of this type of legislation. Then it makes me wonder if the approach is all wrong. I think there's a huge gap here between the way a legislator's mind works and the way the rest of the general public operates. Maybe they ought to ask some teachers how to to solve this problem!!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Because I Am...

"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
Isaiah 41:10

"... before I was born the LORD called me; from my birth, He has made mention of my name...
See, I have engraved you on the palm of my hand."
Isaiah 49:1, 16

Only God can orchestrate these circumstances. Who would have thought? or known?? Today is the day I remember losing someone who was so important to me to something so wrong: cancer. I've rejoiced when others, friends included, have overcome the odds to which my father succumbed. But still, today is my day to remember and to mourn.

Last Friday, Kt lamented to T and I about what a creeper her new bus driver is, solely based on the fact that he knows and calls her by name. I didn't think it too creepy, but she was totally creeped out, which led me to question just how creepy this guy really was!! It also caused me to lament on how much I missed Mr. Zach, the former Navy Seal bus driver, who we haven't seen since before Christmas. Our new bus driver explained that Mr. Zach has stomach cancer and likely would not return this year. In a very small way, this was devastating to me. I didn't cry or get all emotional or anything (I mean, I'm an INTJ, for heaven't sake!), but it was grievous for me.

This morning I waited in subfreezing temps with the kids up at the bus stop. As the bus rolled up, I was waving to our friends who were already on the bus and was pleasantly surprised by Mr. Zach's smiling face! I was actually shocked, and so, so happy!! I knew instantly that this was a gift to me from God. Some might write it off as a complete coincidence, but I honestly have no idea why I even bothered to go out to the bus stop on this coldest morning of the year, considering I haven't waited out there since sometime in December. This was way more of a coincidence for me - it was a true God moment for me.

I am thankful today that He remembers me, that he hears my cry (albeit, a soft one) and that my heart is not forgotten. He reminds me that my name is engraved on his palm. And so is yours!

Miss you, Daddy!


This past year has been full of deep places for me. I have posts that I haven't dared posting, places I wish I'd never been, depths I never want to return to and loneliness unlike I've ever experienced before. It's all so ironic, because this was our year off! Lately I keep hearing the last thing my father said to me, "Keep busy!", and I am wondering if there was some wisdom in those words. Recently, this song has kept me on my feet, reminded me that the only One I can count on is Jesus. He's better than.... and someday, in His time, I'll be with him, too.
'Til then, miss you, Daddy!


Monday, March 02, 2009

C.R.A.P.

In Like a Lion


It's the first day (now the second) of March, and it appears it's in like a lion! Our first "real" snowstorm of the season since our last was ice. The girls are quite excited, but still went to bed unsure if we're really going to end up with a snow day. We're on the fringe. I'll let you know tomorrow if it's' real!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Peanut Allergies

Just before we hopped on our last flight home from Florida, I quickly stopped in a news stand and bought my mom and myself a pack of Resees Peanut Butter Cups. I had originally intended for us to eat them before we got on the plane, but thought better of having to buy them for my girls and saved them. Once on the plane, I had this nagging thought that it likely was not the best place to open up peanut butter! Having friends who have children with this particular allergy, I've listened to hours of them lamenting about restaurants, school cafeterias and one of the scariest places to deal with any medical emergency - thousands of feet in the air in the confined space called an airplane! So... we held off on our little treat until we were safely home!

Tonight, I read this super article on food allergies and the "hysteria" that they have created. I have such mixed feelings about this topic, but I really appreciated the information in this article. It did not go overboard, portraying parents as crazed fanatics, nor did it belittle them for their fear. It presented where we are now with these allergies and some experimental treatment that seems to be working in some cases on making some children allergy tolerant. Very interesting! And for real, it's a small sacrifice to make, keeping airplanes peanut free. =)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Honk

I saw this on FB tonight and couldn't resist putting it up here. The Tennessee Republican Party is selling these bumper stickers in response to the astronomical spending that is going on in Washington. I cannot fathom how any of it will really help and worry about how this will impact the quality of life for my children and grandchildren. Our country needs a massive amount of prayer.

On an even more grim note, I was reading a blog about the CPAConference going on in DC and a roundtable discussion on abortion. Did you know that, since the inception of the ultrasound, which can indicate the sex of a child, over 100million girls have been aborted in China? Just let that sink in. Heartbreaking. I've always said that if T and I ever adopted, we'd try for a boy, but in the past year or so I've had a heart change with a bent towards girls. Why so undervalued?

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lockdown Drill

I just got this little eschoolnewsletter a few minutes ago:

This afternoon we had our second lockdown drill of the school year. During a lockdown drill the students sit quietly on the floor of their classroom with all the lights off. Mrs. McN and I went around and checked on all the classes and the students did a wonderful job during the drill. At the end of the drill I got on the PA system and complimented the students for doing such a great job. I also told them that it was a drill and there was no emergency. I know that lockdown drills can be scary to some students, but we do them to make sure everyone is prepared if an incident that required an actual lockdown ever took place. If you have any questions, please feel free to call me at school or email me at
I can't wait to hear what the girls have to say this time! I always hear the funniest stories after days like this. The kids have NO IDEA why they are doing these. Of course, the absence of doors on the classrooms might lend itself to some funny answers if they really knew!! Thank goodness they will be fixing that security issue this summer with the final renovations. Next year, these drills might actually have more of a purpose. Now, I'm just thankful they are only drills.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birthdays and Beaches




Just got back from a short birthday trip to Daytona Beach. It was cold but fun, hurried but relaxing, short but significant. Sort of like the birthdays. Mine was Friday, my dad's was yesterday... of course, we don't celebrate his anymore, although we did have a little fun remembering him on our trip! While I was a bit chilly, I enjoyed a walk on the beach, the heated pool, hot tub, time with my family, seeing St. Augustine again and visiting with old friends and new. I can't think of a better way to spend a birthday - other than on an island somewhere hot!!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Fun in the Sun

I am pretty much packed and ready to head down to Florida for a couple days. While it's not expected to be the best weather or even hot, it's snowing here. Need I say more? And we'll be right on the beach. I've loved beaches all my life, every season of the year. I'm so excited to get away for a bit - a much needed escape. And my mom is coming along - yay!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Clarity

Today's sermon was the conclusion of Jonah. Great series, love the lessons, insight. On the conclusion of this book, Chapter 4 of Jonah, probably one of the "lamest" endings to a book ever. It begs so many questions, but today we saw it from the perspective of clarity - comparing God's concern over Jonah's (or ours) concerns. Some good, thought provoking clarity.

Of course, I've been following the process of this "bail-out" and am entirely underimpressed with the process, the misrepresentations and the conclusion of this economic event. It was flawed from the start, but I don't need to get into any of that because every political pundit has beat me to it!! Instead, I decided to meander through the bacon of the bill to see if there is anything for me in it. I found one item that caught my attention: tax rebate for energy efficient windows or insulation. Intriguing, since we are just about to collect on our refi of this house, taking some money out to make some home improvements. I decided to research the qualifications of such a tax break, so I googled "energy efficient window tax breaks" which sent me to this site.

Imagine my surprise at finding a list of MANY energy efficient items you, too, can receive a tax break on. Of course, they don't have anything to do with the bail-out, as they were signed into effect by Bush back in October. Naturally, this begs the question.... why is it in the bail-out bill??? Or does it. I mean, I think we understand now that most of that bail-out bill was thrown together with nary a thought for anyone but a lobbyist! It will be signed by Obama, who will claim to have made all these wonderful improvements... or did he?? Wow. Politics.

Again this afternoon I read the headline, "Obama to End the Ban on Stem Cell Research", once again, very misleading. You see, there is currently, nor has there ever been, a ban on any kind of stem cell research here in the US. That's right - you are reading this correctly. If you want to, you can go out tomorrow and collect as many embryonic stem cells as you wish and go ahead and start researching them and you are well within the laws of the land. What you cannot do, however, is ask for federal tax payer dollars to do this. Some states, like Maryland!, will you give you money and any private institutions who would like to support you may do so. The only thing you cannot do is use tax payer money. So... is Obama going end the ban on stem cell research? Nope. He IS going to use MORE and MORE of the taxpayer's money to fund something controversial. Because, I mean, he's working with a surplus! At least until Tuesday!

Clarity is something I have a real issue with, so like Jonah, I think I need to step back and ask myself what I think God's concern is in these cases. I'm thinking God probably doesn't care so much if Obama or Bush gets the credit for giving us back some tax money for improvements on our home. I think He probably has more at stake with the possibility of spending money to create/take away life for research. Of course, He cares about the heart of those making important decisions, and He commands me, and you, to pray and support those making them. So.... pray. For the many who hold the power to make changes that concern the heart of God.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Facebook Fun

I've been having the best time on Facebook, hence my blog absence! My college friends, who are scattered about the US, are hysterical and it's so wonderful catching up with everyone. It's great to laugh at ourselves and remember all the sillyness that was college, roomies, really bad food, boys, MONET, '80's.... just pure fun!

This past week, my sister has finally joined the fun that is Facebook. She has resisted the movement for over a year, but she finally caved!! Tonight I chatted with her for the first time, and I was crying I was laughing so hard. I can't wait until we're all older and sit back and laugh at the things that irritate us now. It will be like looking back at college. Here's a sample of our chat:

De

katie just came up here to ask if she could watch the movie "House Bunny"

Stef

never heard of it

7:33pmDe

it's a movie about an ex-Playboy bunny!

she's all mad that Tony said no, because we're the most uncool parents EVER!!

Stef

OH NO!!

Does she know that's what it's about?

7:34pmDe

no, she doesn't

she only cares that we said no

we are now "stupid, dumb" parents who make her go to bed too early, don't give her enough money and never let her watch anything!

remember when our parents were exactly the same thing?

Stef

well tell her it's not appropriate

hmmm... I can't see Katie thinking that - SWEET SMART KATIE???

7:35pmDe

someday she'll thank us! LOL

Stef

Not MY niece!!

7:36pmDe

oh, you should hear her!!

Stef

Remind her that she's been to Europe TWICE!

7:36pmDe

her best friend called here at 10:15 the night of the Super Bowl - we let her talk to her and after about 5 minutes, we told her she needed to get off and go to bed

she yelled into the phone, "My stupid parents are making me go to bed, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT!"

she got in pretty big trouble for that one!

Stef

WOW!

I dont' believe it

But I see Skyler in her - in the not too distant future

7:38pmDe

well, when she came home, as she does most days, to tell me, "Guess what so and so gets..." I said, "Well, so-and-so also does a lot of chores around the house... How about I call and find out what they have to do and we'll make it really even!"

yup... you're in for it! trust me!

Stef

I already am

7:38pmDe

yeah, she's a smart one!

Stef

Mine quit Tai Kwon Do b/c of the outfit. Where did she get her fashion sense?

I'll have to post that on my "status bar"

7:39pmDe

I'm totally laughing, as is Tony

that's hysterical

they wouldn't let her do it in her ballet clothes?

Stef

We dressed her all up in her outfit which WAS a bit big, but I took karate - it's so they can MOVE in it and do their kicks and such

Well, no, no, no... we got to the dojo and I wrapped her belt (the proper way) and just before we walked in, she burst out in tears

she said, "It's too big!" Plus, she doesn't like shirts that go below her waist and this one, of course, goes below her butt

7:41pmDe

i'm crying i'm laughing so hard!

Stef

I said, "They won't get you do it if you don't wear this." Last week, she got a few free classes and for simply trying out, got to wear her sweats and favorite shirt

So standing outside the dojo, watching all the other moms walking in with their little Pre-Kers wearing their outfits, I pointed out to her that everyone's were too big

That didn't do. So I told her if we left, we would never come back. I couldn't even pull her inside so we turned around and drove home.

She cried all the way home. She wanted to somehow shrink it. I said that wouldn't work. Well, she saved me from paying for 6 months of it at $800 (which I was going to do that night!)

7:43pmDe

wow - that's a lot of dough

Stef

I had to talk to the owner, who called me last night after not seeing her and had to explain that she simply didn't like the outfit and that we'd return it and try again next year. He said he understood as he also has a 5 year old who he said has clothing issues, too.

No kidding. I was hesitant about it - it's a HUGE commitment from the parents at 2 nights per week, but she just LOVED the classes she took last week and I thought it would be great for her confidence

7:45pmDe

awww... it's too bad they make them wear that - but still, mucho buckeroos!

My neice - she's a funny one!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

4 in 10

That's it? You'd think with all the hoopla over the necessity of teaching the theory of evolution that more people would have a stake in it! This article is interesting, worth reading. Still shocking that only 39% of Americans even believe in this theory that is widely taught as truth.

Per Kathryn's comment, here is another very interesting article about how non-religious groups and atheists have "hijacked" Darwin's ideas and theories. Interesting.

Blog Slacker

That's what I am. Lately, I haven't thought of much to write here besides what is going on in the world of politics, so I've been keeping my mouth shut! I also enjoyed a bit of beautiful weather here yesterday - 70 degrees! =) A global warming event I actually enjoyed.

I've spent a few days taking care of the travel details for our trip next week to Daytona Beach. The weather could pose a problem here - snow! Down there, only in the 60's, but no snow!! Especially not on my birthday. Last year, T and I got stuck out in the snow on my birthday, so I'm happy we're not having a repeat of that event. Maybe I'll get stuck in the sand.

As for the mess our country is in right now, I have so many opinions, but it's really all summed up by this guy... on CNN, of all places. While I think we're on the edge of making a mistake that our children and their children will pay dearly for, it is comforting to know that God is so much bigger than this. He is in control and right now, I'm His audience. And every once in a while, he sends some nice weather my way to take my mind of this mess. ;-)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Australia

It's heartbreaking, the news out of Australia these days. Fires in the south, flooding... we met a couple this summer, Deb and Alan Hirsch, who are from Australia. Deb posted this site on Facebook yesterday - devastating. I also have a friend from high school youth group who moved his family to pastor a church in Australia last year, Kevin Butterfield. Some of his church body have lost their homes in these fires. I'm joining them and many other who are lifting up that country in prayer - for safety, for comfort and for an end to the horror. I can't even imagine.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Good Laugh

I watched this on Facebook tonight and seriously - I was crying I was laughing so hard.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Hopeless

I think we've all felt desperate or hopeless at times, but the feeling I'm thinking of can't possibly be what those who have taken their own lives have felt. We had such an occurrence this past week and it's heartbreaking. If we can't offer hope as a body of believers, we're completely missing the point.



I love this organization, To Write Love on Her Arms, and the many links they offer. I just wish it was enough - but we need to be Christ in the world - we can't leave that up to a website! And pray... for hope and peace.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

First Child Syndrome

I think I've always suffered from First Child Syndrome, or at least various forms of it. I can remember being so overly compliant as a child that I was in shock when my sister dared to do anything rebellious, such as not do her homework (intently!), stay out later than her curfew and not really care what my parents thought or her being able to hide a tattoo for weeks and months without my parents ever finding out. My brother was even better at deception, which I'm sure began in his early years, but I wouldn't really know because I was too busy obeying to even notice! Call it naivety or just plain goodie-two-shoesness, I am just completely stunned when I find out people get away with things that I was sure I'd be punished for - lock me up and throw that key far away.

Thus it has been for me this past week. Do people really get away with not paying thousands upon thousands of dollars in taxes?? Can they really break the law and not be penalized?? On top of that, will they then, after being publicly lashed with a wet spaghetti noodle, still receive the job of making sure all us little folks pay our taxes?? For sure, I do not understand politics or the economy... but I recognize a criminal when I see one!!

Thankfully, God is much more merciful with me than I am with other. As another side effect of First Child Syndrome, I have this insatiable need to practice mercy and grace with others instead of my knee-jerk reaction, which is justice and revenge! God is patiently teaching me to leave those things to Him, and to practice those virtues which I lack as was portioned to me by my birth order.... confounded by my need to always be right. Someday, attitude and all, each of us will have to account for our actions and reactions. We will all want grace where we are concerned. As for the others, I plead the 5th!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Super Bowl

There's going to be a Super Bowl party at the White House. Let's crash it! I'll admit - this is new and different. I don't believe there's ever been a president who used a Super Bowl to host a fun get together in the White House while trying avert the most catastrophic economic crisis of our lifetime... two wars with scores of our men in danger... and thousands of Americans out of work, unable to afford a Super Bowl party of their own. Wow. What a cool guy... I'm starting to believe in this. It might just work. Now, if he can just get them all to sit down and do their tax returns while watching the game, we might actually get something accomplished!

Did You Know?



What does this mean for our kids?

Transparency

I am really struggling these days with the hypocrisy of the Obama administration. Oh, how I wish I lived far away from Washington, D.C., where national news is my local news... get me out of here!! I see nothing new happening in Washington, just the same old corrupt politicians being given more and more control over my life, bad decisions being made on a the whim of trying to look "new" and a general reluctance to accept any constructive criticism.

Closing Gitmo?? Why?? The only reason I've seen come up over and over for closing Gitmo is because it's a "blemish" on America. Really? Who says? Human rights groups (who say that about any prison), terrorist groups (who would love to embarrass America if it means we go easy on them AND they get their key players back) and Americans who don't believe in war (but don't want another 9/11.... by negotiating, not fighting, with terrorists). My question: if you are embarrassed by the Bush Administration and feel like what happened in the White House for the last 8 years is a blemish on our country, should we shut down the White House??? Move it to, say, Chicago? Duh. Don't close Gitmo - it's absolutely strategic for us to keep these high profile terrorist enemy combatants off our shores. Change the way it's run - YES!! But why close it?? I'm not understanding the necessity here.... As for giving up our land on Cuba.... no way. Too strategic, but Obama certainly has opened up a can of worms with this executive order!

Fund Abortion Internationally for Population Control?? Even Bill Gates knows this is no solution. Not to mention, this is NO change... it's Clinton regurgitated. No thought, no ethic involved in this one.

Waivers for Lobbyists? Don't make an executive order and then turn around and abuse your power with it. No waivers... just follow your own rules. It's that simple. You can find someone who is better suited and not look hypocritical while doing so. I have zero tolerance for inconsistent, unapologetic arrogance.

Meanwhile, we're cutting defense spending once again... because we're not involved in two wars and weapons proliferation or anything. I mean, if we want to keep America safe, by all means cut the spending where defense is concerned. No red flag there! Just a big old white one!

I need a vacation. A long vacation!

Friday, January 30, 2009

School Days

Last night, Em and I finished up her Frindle project, which turned out really cute. She had a great vision for this project (once I steered her away from the song she wanted to sing... which consisted of one line!) and really did a super job. I just hope she's as happy with it when she comes home today.

Kt is in a spelling bee today. This was supposed to be on Tuesday, but with all the snow delays and ice, they rescheduled it for today. I'm a bit uncomfortable about this one because I really didn't help her at all with this, and I feel really guilty about it!! Kt is an overachiever, who is always busy doing something. She rarely asks us for help, organizes all her own work and only occasionally "messes up", or forgets something. Our last big mess up was when she missed a deadline to submit an essay for a scholarship - and you would have thought it was the end of the world!! I assured her that, as a fifth grader, there would be many, many more opportunities to do these extra projects.... Anyway, she and another classmate won the class spelling bee, so today is the spelling bee to send a student on to the county wide spelling bee. If she wins today, I promise to be a better mom and actually help her. If she wins today, she will officially be the most over committed fifth grader I've ever met!

As for me, I'm really enjoying my job, although for the past two weeks, I've only worked one day weeks! Last week, I had MLK birthday off and inauguration day off. This week, I went in on Monday, then had two snow days. Of course, that gave me time to do my midyear student reviews, which took quite a lot longer than I'd anticipated!! Next week, my first graders will be on a field trip one day.... I'm actually looking forward to an uninterrupted Feb and March! I need some consistency with these kids!

Ledbetter Law

Obama signed a law today for equal pay for women who do equal work for me. He added his little caveat about how fitting it was that his first law signed into action was based on a premise he ran his campaign on, that we are all created equal. In the back of my mind, I kept remembering an article I read during the campaign about the way Obama paid his staff while in the Senate... and it's not exactly congruent with his words today. In case you want to read that as well, I found it... he may need a waiver so he can continue his payroll practices after signing his first bill today!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rice

This is not my favorite food, but for many in the world, it's a staple of life. This article today demonstrates an amazing persistence to help feed the world in a way that was sustaining, rewarding and specialized. We need more people like this:

"I feel a great sense of gratitude that I was able to contribute in this way," she (Pamela Ronald) said. "But the farmers have asked us, 'Can you develop varieties that are drought tolerant, salt tolerant? Can you develop varieties that are insect resistant?' There are always more things to work on."


It's a great read... hopefully inspiring to those who have talent, vision and a heart for the world. There are always more possibilities.... limitless!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Is Obama Really Black?

Sounds really racist, huh?? Well, it's a question I've heard of late with the silly explanation that, because Obama's mother was white, he was raised by his mother and his mother's parents that he's more white than black.... and I think the whole idea is absurd!! What I find even more offensive is that people tell me this not really taking into consideration that, while my children are not black, they are half Asian. I haven't been brazen enough to say this, mostly because these conversations take place in public, but if given the opportunity to say this in private, without embarrassing them, I will ask... then what are my children?

I have always told my girls they are Chinese and American, and we don't really give that a percentage. In truth, I'm 1/4 Scottish, 1/4 British, 1/4 Austrian and 1/4 Swedish.... and my mother always said, "You're American!!" My favorite was when Kt, at the age of 5, told her kindergarten class that she was half Chinese, half Connecticut! The truth is, they can choose what they would like to be listed as on their silly standardized tests, but they are free to choose how they identify their "nationality". If they want to say they are part Asian and they are American, that's fine. If they want to say they are part Scottish and American, that's fine as well. Who cares?? But to say they aren't Chinese.... would be absurd.

I don't know if I find the reasoning offensive, however, as much as I find the hatred infused in the wording of this claim. When I see the first family, I have no doubt in my mind that I see and African American family, no matter what they wear or who their parents are. To try to convince me otherwise would be a difficult thing to do. What will stand out to me about the first family and my own is that we are Americans, and our heritage is something we should be proud of, we should strive to educate our children to be proud of it and we should not be using it offensively. I'm sensitive here because for me, it's my kids you're talking about, too!

Snow!

It has finally arrived - lots of snow! Well, a humble amount measuring around 3-4 inches. Unfortunately, there is more on the way that will switch to sleet, then freezing rain and then rain tomorrow as the temperature supposedly goes up to 40 degrees.

I've enjoyed the day inside! =) Em has been out with her friends, shoveled half the driveway and is now goofing off with the other hibernating creature in our house - Kt! The older I get, the less excited I get about weather events, cold, wool, fleece and hot chocolate. Crazy, I know. I've got my eye set on white sand beaches, pina coladas and sun, sun, sun!!!

Still, every time I've driven by a half frozen pond, fond memories of ice skating as a kid at our local park and sledding down the big church hill we lived on pop up in my old head. It was kind of fun as a kid being able to do all that so close to home. I also recall that my parents did not join us!! Well, maybe for ice skating, but not for long. So I don't feel guilty about not running around, making tiny snowmen or sledding. Just not my thing. They'll have to wait until their dad is home! =)

Looks like round two has begun, ahead of schedule. More snow and sleet on the way. Stay warm, everyone!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Belly Buttons

Who knew?




You Are Puzzled Over



You are quirky, complicated, and brilliant. You tend to feel a bit misunderstood by everyone, and that troubles you.



It's likely that you will have four or more children... whether you use birth control or not!



You are easily effected by the world around you. You are emotional and even a bit moody.



You are a bit lazy. You sometimes don't shower or brush your teeth all day.



You are quite conservative. You are neither a flirter or a flaunter.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Carbon Footprint

I thought this blog post was kind of interesting....

Funding Abortion Internationally

Obviously, I'm against this. I have many reasons that I won't get into, but I really think my biggest reason is that abortion in African countries is not a solution... or anywhere for that matter. There is an epidemic, HIV/AIDS, malaria, civil wars, extremist government takeovers.... killing off newer generations, sometimes we actually call that genocide, will not keep Africans from having more children. Why? Because 1) Africans covet children. Children are their life-blood. We can learn from them. 2) The reason they have so many.... is because only a few will survive. They are not interested in killing them before they are born. That's a crazy Western mentality. Doesn't work there.... but you'd have to actually want to solve a real problem to understand that. Let's put our money, our hard earned tax dollars, on things that matter in international countries instead of once again trying to impose "our" beliefs, that HIV/AIDS babies are better off dead (not my personal belief!), on them!