Friday, July 22, 2016

THE "TRUE" SILENT MAJORITY

From My Own Little Corner I am watching the news about the shooting in Munich, and once again, I am heartbroken at all the senseless violence...the attack on passengers on the train between Ochsenfurt and Wurzburg, the truck slaughter in Nice, France, the bombing at the Ankara, Turkey airport, the ambush slaughtering of the public servants who have vowed to protect us, by several people who may have had mental issues, and the killing of citizens for what appears to be no reason, by a very few of those who are expected to protect and serve.  I feel old and I don't understand this violence.

We lived in Germany when I was a child...as a matter of fact, we lived in Ochsenfurt. My sister and I went to elementary school in Wurzburg.  We traveled all over each summer when dad had his annual 30 days off. We went to as many countries as we could.  We had friends that only spoke Deutsch and we only spoke English...we were friends and we found ways to communicate. When we first arrived, we didn't live in military housing, we lived in an apartment amongst the residents of Ochensfurt.  My first "boyfriend", Grundig, was a young German boy.  When we left to go to Ludwigsburg, he gave me an Indian head penny...I still have it.

We also lived in Turkey.  I was too young to remember, but I never heard my mom or dad say they felt unsafe.  We were a military family, and we went where the Air Force sent us.  We were part of the family of men and women that inhabit this planet, and we (for the most part) had each other's backs. Our reasons for being there weren't to take over or to try to force our ideals on the people who lived there, we were there to protect their interests and ours.

My niece, nephew, and a friend, as well as my aunt and her great nephews, just returned from separately timed trips to Italy, and while I was excited for their opportunities to see the amazing architecture, art, food, and lifestyle, I would be lying if I said I didn't worry every time I heard that there was another terror attack on foreign soil. I can remember being with my aunt when she and my uncle came to visit us when we lived in Germany, and the sights we saw are some of my fondest memories. I have friends that have spent the last week in Nicaragua, doing mission work, and I have been praying for the safety of all of them, not just while in Italy and Nicaragua, but also while on the flights to and from these places.

I just can't understand the kind of hatred people have for another to be able to do these kind of things. I simply don't... I turn on the news and see Donald Trump and the things he says are stirring a hatred that I thought we, as a nation, had made amazing progress against. But we haven't! There are people in THIS country, that are BORN here, RAISED here, who claim to love this country and ALL that it stands for, that have so much bigotry, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and Islamophobia buried so deeply within their hearts that I don't know if they even realized it, until Donald Trump came along, and by words and actions, told them it was okay to discriminate against anyone who doesn't look, talk, walk, act, or think like they do. Many of these people claim to be Christians.  If they are true followers of Christ, then, guess what?  It is time for them to get on their knees and ask God to forgive them for the hatred in their heart, their minds, and coming out of their mouths.  We are not better than these people.  "Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall."  Proverbs 16:18  I pray that they come to realize that they are doing towards their fellow man exactly what Donald Trump claims he is going to protect us from.

We would all do well to remember (or if any have never read it, read now) what is stated on the Statue of Liberty, which by the way, was a gift from France, one of our NATO allies...

     The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand,
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon hand
Glows world wide welcome; her mild eyes command
the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
     Emma Lazarus

Notice especially this part of what is written:
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"


Of course, there are those who say close the borders to keep the immigrants and refugees out, look what is happening in Germany, France, and Turkey, and yes, there are concerns.  However, those countries have had 100's of 1000's of Syrian refugees come into their countries.  The United States has much stricter rules regarding immigration and refugees, especially those from Syria.  For them to get into our country, they must undergo a rigorous vetting process, one that takes 2 years, according to Congressman Adam Schiff, member of the House Permanent Committee on Intelligence, which oversees, among other things, homeland security, and only then are they allowed to enter.  What they should worry most about is the ones that are born, raised, and taught here, in this country, toward their fellow Americans.  If you think that isn't a problem, take a look at this...

"There is a conventional wisdom that terrorism in the US is the province of foreigners and is seen as a problem of infiltration," says David Sterman, a senior program associate with the international security program at the New America Foundation. "And while there is certainly a reason for that perception, as the September 11 attacks were conducted by people who came in from abroad, in the 330 cases we’ve examined since September 11, we found 80 percent are US citizens."
September 11, 2001, marked the worst international terrorist attack on American soil, killing more than 3,000 people and wounding countless others. But 9/11 is an outlier. In the 14 years since, not one domestic terrorist attack has been committed by a foreign terrorist organization, including the latest mass shooting in Orlando, Florida. Omar Mateen was an American citizen.
In the same time frame, however, there have been 26 deadly domestic terrorist attacks perpetrated by homegrown terrorists. Homegrown terrorism commonly refers to terrorist acts committed by a government's own citizens. While sometimes used to describe an Islamic extremist threat, homegrown terrorism isn't tied to any one ideological background.  (1)
Donald Trump followers may say they are the "silent majority" and if that is true, then the country that I grew up in, that my dad defended and served for over 20 years, that my father-in-law defended in the Pacific theatre, that my uncles, nephews, nieces, cousins, and friends fought for, doesn't exist anymore. We are better than Mr. Trump's hate rhetoric, we are the UNITED STATES of AMERICA.
As a Christian, I am called to love my enemies, I am called to love my fellow man, as Christ has loved me. There are no conditions. There are no "excepts". There are no excuses. We CANNOT survive hate by returning it in kind. As Dr. Martin Luther King said "Darkness cannot drive out darkness: Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that.", but he also told us this, "There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe nor politic nor popular, but he must take it because his conscience tells him it is right."

Now it is time for the real silent majority to stand up to the hate and fear...now is the time to love and love, loudly!


Please pray for peace and enlightenment. May God bless, and keep, you and yours.


source:
1.http://www.vox.com/2015/11/23/9765718/domestic-terrorism-american-citizens-omar-mateen

Saturday, July 09, 2016

THE HATE MUST STOP...BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

From My Own Little Corner  My heart is hurting, I just can't believe how much violence I see. I truly believe that until we learn to love one another, all of us, that we will not be able to move forward as a nation. Jesus told us, in John 13:34 - 35 "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” I am seeing very little love these days, and that includes coming from those who proclaim that they are Christians. We are not called to hate those that don't agree with us, we are not called to turn our backs on them, we are not called to walk away from them, and we most certainly are NOT called to KILL them. If we resort to the same tactics of extremists, then we are no better than they are. If we continue to label people based on skin color, where they were born, how they "look", the clothes they wear, or what someone on a website or social media calls them (by this I mean those that say if you don't agree with what they say, you must be a "mooslum". I have been called that on numerous occasions for saying exactly what I am saying today), then we will never accomplish the Great Commission. If you are one of those fanning the flames of discord by repeating and reposting these inflammatory memes and hateful statements, and you say you are a Christ follower, then I suggest that you re-read the 10 commandments, especially number 9..."Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor". I FACT CHECK every single thing I read or post before doing so, because I truly believe that disobeying this commandment is the greatest cause of the divisiveness and violence that we see today. My husband always says, "There is no defense against a liar." and that is exactly why commandment number 9 is so important. We can't be so cavalier with "facts", and expect that people will not react in a negative way. Please, please, for the love of all that you hold dear, and for the love of our Father, think before you fan the flames. I am a follower of Christ. I believe that there is good in every person. I support our police, I support the rights of people to PEACEFULLY protest when they feel like they are treated unfairly as well, regardless of race, as do the majority of the people that I know, including the police. If they didn't, they wouldn't be there protecting them. There are always those few, though, that will take advantage of any situation.
All this being said, I believe that love is the greatest healer and it is the answer, not violence against the children that God has made in His image. Every time I see ANYONE killed, I feel God cry in my heart. God loves all of His children, and I am positive that as He looks down, He is heartbroken over the way that we treat each other. It is time to love like we have never loved before, it is time to forgive as we have been forgiven, and it is time to stop the hate rhetoric that has become so prevalent in today's society. It is time for prayer and peace to replace hate speech and blood shed.
I am praying for peace and I hope you will all join me. The hate must stop, now, before it's too late.


Sunday, November 04, 2012

WILL ROE v. WADE EVER BE OVERTURNED?

From My Own Little Corner  For decades now, a large part of the Republican party platform has been it's stance on overturning Roe v. Wade.  Of course, there are other issues, but a large part of it's basic platform is it's pro-life stance.  I am a pro-life, pro-choice Democrat, and before anyone says that I can't possibly be both, please understand this, abortion is not something I would choose for myself, however I don't feel that I have the Constitutional right to force my personal decision on another woman, with no understanding of the circumstances they may find themselves in.  My views on this were altered radically when I was faced with a situation that could have required the termination of my last pregnancy, at 5 1/2 months, in 1987.  I had a difficult pregnancy, and there was a real concern that my youngest had no bladder or kidneys and so could never have survived outside the womb.  Dealing at the time with my daughter's illness and impending death, the thought of having to watch another of my children die, knowing there was no hope, changed my views.  I had a long week of waiting, crying, and praying while traveling to Cardinal Glennon every day to be with my severely damaged daughter.  Thank God, I wasn't forced to make that decision, but it changed the way I viewed the legality of Roe v. Wade.

Knowing how I feel, and having been confronted recently with the opinion from others that if I am pro choice, I cannot possibly also be a Christian (which by the way I am...I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour, and have been baptized as an outward symbol of that decision), I decided to do some real research on Roe v. Wade.  I found a lot of interesting information about the original ruling and subsequent revisits by the Supreme Court of the United States.  I would like to share this with you, and then share MY thoughts on why after all these years, with all the drama, hand wringing, bombings, disagreements, political posturing, and promises to overturn it,  it is still the law of the land, other than the constitutionality of it.  Please understand I am in no way attempting to change anyone's mind, nor am I telling you that your belief on this subject is the wrong one.  I am simply presenting what I have found and my hypothesis as to why it will never be overturned.

First, a little history on Roe v. Wade.

Although opponents to Roe V. Wade would like to believe that this ruling was the first time that abortion was legal in this country, that is simply not true.  In the 1700's and early 1800's the term abortion only applied to termination of pregnancies after "quickening", or the first feelings of movement.  There were pills readily available to women, called "Female Monthly Pills", that were taken when women wanted to end unwanted pregnancies.

In 1827, Illinois passed a law that taking these pills was illegal and punishable by up to 3 years in prison.  Many states soon followed suit, but the pills were still widely available until the middle of the 19th century.  Abortion did not become a serious offense until between 1860 and 1880, and contrary to popular belief it was not based on any moral outrage, but rather pursued by doctors that felt that the practitioners of abortion were competition and were taking business away from them.  Until that point in time, even the Catholic church had accepted the ending of unwanted pregnancies up until the time of quickening, but soon joined forces with the doctors.

By the turn of the century all states had laws that banned abortion, but these were rarely enforced, and if the woman had enough money, abortion was still available to her.  By the late 1930's the laws were being strictly enforced.  Soon the crackdown led to a reform movement whereby abortion bans were lifted in California and New York, even before the supreme court ruled on Roe v. Wade.  (1)

On January 22, 1973, the SCOTUS issued it's ruling on Roe v. Wade.  This suit had been brought by Jane Roe, an alias for Norma McCorvey.  It was originally brought on her behalf against the state of Texas, alleging that the abortion law there violated her constitutional rights and the rights of other women.  The defendant was the District Attorney of Dallas County, Texas, Henry B. Wade.  Sarah Weddington and Linda Coffee were counsel for the plaintiffs and John Tolle, Jay Flowers, and Jay Floyd argued for the defense. A lower court's decision striking down the abortion law was based on the 9th Amendment, part of the Bill of Rights,  which states "the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." and protected a person's right to privacy.  The Supreme Court of the United States, chose to base it's ruling on the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution, and was decided primarily on the due process clause. A criminal statue that did not take into account the stage of the pregnancy or other issues, such as the life of the mother,  was a ruled to be a violation of due process. As a result the courts upheld the lower courts decision and issued these guidelines.

1. In the first trimester, the state(that is, ANY government), could treat abortion only as a medical decision, leaving medical judgement to the woman's physician.

2. In the second trimester (before viability), the state's interest was seen as legitimate when it was protecting life of the mother.

3. After viability of the fetus (the ability of the fetus to survive outside and separated from the uterus), the potential of human life could be considered as a legitimate state interest, and the state could "choose to regulate, or even proscribe abortion" as long as the life and health of the mother was protected.

All state laws prohibiting the access to abortion during the first trimester were invalidated by Roe v. Wade.  State laws restricting access during the second trimester were upheld only when the restrictions were for the purpose of protecting the health of the pregnant woman. (2)

In other words, Roe v. Wade held that a woman, with her doctor, could choose abortion in the earlier months of pregnancy without restriction, and with certain restrictions in later months, based on the Constitutional right to privacy.

Sitting on this court were the following:

Harry Blackmun, William J. Brennan, Chief Justice Warren Burger, William O. Douglas, Thurgood Marshall, Lewis Powell, Potter Stewart, the majority, and William Rehnquist and Byron White, the dissenters.  The majority opinion was written by Harry Blackmun, with concurring opinions by Potter Stewart, Warren Burger, and William O. Douglas.  Both Justice Rehnquist and Justice White wrote dissenting opinions.  The interesting thing is the make up of the political appointments of these judges. People often think the justices were all liberal judges appointed by Democratic presidents, when in actuality the opposite is true.  Blackmun, Powell, and Burgher, as well as Rehnquist, were all appointed by President Richard M. Nixon, Brennan and Stewart by President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  Douglas was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Marshall by President Lyndon B. Johnson, with White being appointed by President John F. Kennedy.  So, of the 7 judges who upheld Roe v. Wade, 5 were appointed by Republican presidents, 2 by Democratic presidents, and of the 2 dissenting judges, one was appointed by a Republican and one by a Democratic president. (3)

This ruling has been revisited through the years, and in 1992 in Casey v Planned Parenthood, the decision was upheld again.  In releasing the much anticipated decision, the SCOTUS first declared that "a woman's decision to get an abortion implicates important "liberty interests" and "privacy issues" that the Constitution's Due Process clause protects against state interference.  Together these interests form a "substantive right to privacy" that is protected from state interference "in marriage, procreation, contraception, family relation ships, child rearing, and education."  This right also protects the abortion decision, the court again argued, because it implicates equally intimate questions of a woman's personal autonomy, personal sacrifices, emotional and mental health, and fundamental right to define her life." (4)  Roe v Wade was upheld by a slim 5-4 margin, although there were high hopes that since the make up of the court had changed, it would be overturned.  The court now consisted of Harry Blackmun, Anthony Kennedy, Sandra Day O'Connor, David Souter, John Paul Stevens (Justices for the court) and William Rehnquist, Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, and Byron White (dissenting Justices). Of these Justices, 8 were appointed by Republican presidents, 5 of those by President Reagan and President Bush, both well known for their opposition to Roe v. Wade. (5)

Now, with this history in mind, I have to wonder why so many continue to believe that the SCOTUS will overturn Roe v. Wade if it is brought before the court in the future.  In upholding it, the justices have stated that it is unconstitutional to limit a woman's access to abortion services on more than one occasion.

I have thought about this a lot, especially recently when my Christianity has been called into question, and this is what I think. In my opinion,  no matter how vociferously the republican candidates declare otherwise, Roe v. Wade will never be overturned.  It is a rallying cry for the base of the Republican party.  When all else is going wrong, when the candidate that they have is weak and the support of the base is lackluster, the candidate will always go back to the pro-life stance and the promise of overturning Roe v. Wade to shore up support.  If they were to overturn Roe v. Wade and outlaw abortion (which, as history has shown us, will never happen, even when the majority of the Supreme Court justices are republican appointees) they lose a very powerful way to motivate their base.  If the republican party was truly serious about outlawing abortion and overturning Roe v. Wade, they had the perfect opportunity, between January 2001 and January 2007, when the Republican president, George W. Bush, had a super majority.

So, when a Republican candidate says he will strike down Roe v. Wade, I have serious reservations about his intention to truly do so, and those who are voting for him with this hope in mind, are very likely to be disappointed.





1.  http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/roe-v-wade

2.  http://womenshistory.about.com/od/abortionuslegal/p/roe_v_wade.htm

3.  http://vox-nova.com/2008/05/21/are-liberal-judges-to-blame-for-roe-v-wade/

4.  http://www.pbs.org/wnet/supremecourt/rights/landmark_casey.html

5.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_Parenthood_v._Casey

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

IGNORANCE IS...BLISS???

From My Own Little Corner  On Sunday morning, as I was preparing to leave for church, I was watching the Jaco report on FOX 2, something I do every Sunday.  Charles Jaco's guest was Todd Akin, the republican nominee and contender, for the Senate seat that is now held by Claire McCaskill.  As I was listening to this interview, I learned a lot about Mr. Akin's personal and political views and much has been made (rightly so) of his views on abortion and "legitimate rape".  I will get to that in a bit, but first,  let me see if I can try to understand some of his "less controversial" ideas.

He is against student loans, they are the "3rd stage cancer of socialism".  Really?   I have many relatives and friends that have college degrees because these loans were available to them, including a sister that works for a large company.  She has worked for this company her whole career (one that spans over 20 years), and her success would not have been possible if not for the student loans that helped her pay for her degree in mechanical engineering, and then let her pay it back after she got her job.  From what I gleaned from Mr. Akin he thinks that the student loan program should be run by private lenders and they should be the ones that control this program.  Oh, I see, then privately run, money making entities, the ones that are so upstanding, and "whose assets now exceed half the size of the US economy" (1), would be the ones that decide who gets the funds to go to college and who doesn't.  Oh yes, that is so much better than the federal government ensuring that ALL people have access to college funds.  Lets ask the general public and middle class, just how well  that has worked for them in other lending arenas, especially the minorities that wanted the funds to build a home.  I suspect that they might have a different opinion about how effectively  private banking entities would run the student loan program.

Mr. Akin is also not a fan of the federal school lunch program.  Here again, he thinks that the states should run this program, because the states are so much better at "sorts of things" than the federal government is.  My question would be where exactly the funds for this program would come from?  Would they come from federal grants or would there be a need to raise state taxes?  Or perhaps your real estate taxes will go up to cover these costs?  Would it be like the idea of "privatizing" social security or vouchers for medicare for those who are over 65 or are disabled?  Let me see...these vouchers could be used to buy insurance from any vendor (read private insurance company) you would like.  Wow...what a great idea, then the government wouldn't be in the insurance business, there would be be an open market, which would drive down insurance rates,  which in turn would reduce the federal deficit...or you could just stay in the medicare program.  What?   How exactly do they figure that would change anything?  The government would be giving the recipient of Social Security a voucher to pay for health insurance through private entities, and if the voucher amount wasn't enough for the insurance coverage you wanted, you would pay out of pocket.  If the voucher is for more than the insurance costs, you get the keep the extra. Wonder how many times the latter would happen? We have an open market system now, and we are experiencing just how well that works at keeping premiums down!  I suspect that if this proposal gains ground and is the future of medicare, you are going to see a lot of seniors that will have even less money in their pockets to pay for those annoying extras like groceries, utilities, and medicine.

As for his idea about how to fix the economy...well, duh!  Cut taxes for those businesses that are paying so much. If we do that, then the companies can hire more people, and those people that are hired will pay more taxes.  Huh?  Let's examine some of these companies that are paying so much in taxes that they have no money left over to hire more workers.



Poverty is rampant. Hunger is widespread. But don't worry about America's largest corporations -- they're doing just fine.


Fortune released its annual list of the country's 500 biggest companies this week, and it turns out to have been a good year for corporate America. In 2011, the Fortune 500 generated a combined $824.5 billion in earnings -- an all-time record, and a 16 percent jump from the previous year.


The report echos others indicating corporate America is experiencing boom times.U.S. corporate profits returned to pre-recession levels, according to the International Institute for Labour Studies released Friday, hitting 15 percent of gross domestic product.


The larger economic picture hasn't been so rosy of course. Twelve and a half million people are still out of work. Many of the new jobs that have been created lately arelow-paying food service gigs. A record 46 million Americans are in poverty, and millions more are only just clinging onto financial stability -- one emergency is all it would take to tip them into disaster.


But much like the too-big-to-fail banks -- whose assets now exceed half the size of the U.S. economy, and which have made more profits since the financial crisis than they did in the eight years prior -- corporations don't seem bothered by the bleak weather on Main Street. They just keep growing.


In fact, many have benefitted on the backs of workers that in some cases are underpaid or at risk of losing their jobs. Among the largest companies on Fortune's list is Walmart, at number two, which was recently hit with a $4.8 million fine from the government for allegedly failing to pay its workers overtime; General Electric, at number six, which may have paid an average federal tax rate of just 2.3 percent over the past decade, according to the group Citizens for Tax Justice; and General Motors, at number five, which amassed $9.1 billion in profits last year and recently froze pay for its work staff of 26,000.
Further down the list are Lockheed Martin, which recorded $2.6 billion in profits last year and offered buyout plans to more than 6,000 employees; and Pfizer, which took in $10 billion in profits and announced plans to lay off more than 16,000 workers.(1)


Let me get this straight...these companies need more tax breaks, so they can make more profits, so they can lay off more people??? GE paid a tax rate of just 2.3% over the last 10 years and they need bigger tax breaks, because their exorbitant tax rates are keeping them from hiring more workers. The CEO's of the insurance industry (you know, the industry that Paul Ryan and Todd Akin want us to use vouchers to buy health care coverage from, because it would be more fiscally sound) make an average of $4 million dollars a year, with the highest paid being Aetna's CEO, Ronald A Williams, at $38.125 million a year.(2) Interesting that there are those that think the middle class would get a fair shake from these guys.

Now, let's get to the part of the interview that really grabbed the nation's attention...the "legitimate rape" comments.


Charles Jaco:

“On abortion, you’ve been pro-life your entire career.”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.):

“Yeah.”

Charles Jaco:

“You’ve been very staunchly pro-life. Are there any circumstances in your mind in which abortion should be legal?”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.):

“Well, I think that sometimes people talk about life of the mother as a situation, Charles. And in my sense, one of the foundational things America is built on is a respect for life. So I would say you optimize life.

“So, for instance, a woman has a tubal pregnancy or something. Well, technically by my understanding life begins at conception, so you technically had conception. But the child doesn’t have a chance and will soon kill a mother, okay? So I would say in those kinds of situations, you try to optimize life.

“But, you know, my case in this, Charles, has been even if you sort of separate a little the whole abortion question out, one of the things I love about this country is the fact that Americans do consider life really important.

“And it’s not because of some theoretical thing – you’re on a talk show and somebody asks you about it – but you have Sept. 11 and you’ve got these guys that are running into a building that’s about to collapse. They find somebody in a wheelchair. They never checked their ID or anything like that or whether they’re important. They grab them and get them to safety, and they run back and get another one.

“Same kind of thing that we saw – Ollie North has some footage. You know, he’s been right there in the front with cameras taking footage. This is over in Iraq. And there’s a Marine – a big guy, and he’s got this guy who’s wounded over his shoulder and he’s running. The bullets are flying around. And there is a cameraman in a safe position saying, ‘Hey, that guy’ – and the guy’s fatigues are just up and you can see that this is an Iraqi citizen. This isn’t the U.S. soldier. Says, ‘Hey, that’s an Iraqi citizen. Why are you risking your life there?’ This Marine turns around and he looks straight into that guy’s camera and he said, ‘Because that’s what we do.’

“And that spirit of America, I think, is so important for us to protect that idea of the importance of all of us.”

Charles Jaco:
“Okay, so if an abortion can be considered in the case of, say, tubal pregnancy or something like that, what about in the case of rape? Should it be legal or not?”

Rep. Todd Akin (R-Mo.):
“Well, you know, uh, people always want to try to make that as one of those things, ‘Well, how do you – how do you slice this particularly tough sort of ethical question.’

“It seems to me, first of all, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare. If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

“But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something. You know, I think there should be some punishment but the punishment ought to be on the rapist and not attacking the child.”
(3)




So, he thought that it might be okay to "optimize life" by allowing the mother to have a tubal pregnancy terminated. Well, it is my understanding (to borrow a phrase from Mr. Akin) that kind of pregnancy is going to terminate, whether it's okay by him or not, and in most cases will result in the loss of the fallopian tube where the embryo has embedded itself, which is outside the uterus. If the tube ruptures before the pregnancy is discovered, there is a real chance that the mother's life could be in jeopardy. But the most shocking part of this interview was his assertion that if a woman is a victim of "legitimate rape" she won't get pregnant, because "the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down." Wow...so if the woman gets pregnant, then it wasn't really rape, she must have consented in some way.  Maybe she didn't fight hard enough or she had on lipstick that was too red?  Perhaps she forgot to lock her bedroom window or front door? Or maybe that 13 year old girl looked like she was 21 and was dressed inappropriately?  Who knows? The truth is that 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Medical estimates of a 5% pregnancy rate are for one time, unprotected sexual intercourse (4) is the same percentage of pregnancy that occur each year through this despicable act.


In my opinion, Mr. Akin is an ill-informed misogynist and there is no way he should ever have any kind of power to make decisions for the female population of this country, let alone sit on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. His views on rape and pregnancy are right in line with 13th century England, which held the legal position that pregnancy disproved a claim of rape, according to medical historian Vanessa Heggie. Hmmmm, that couldn't possibly have been because if  a woman accused a man of rape, he could deny it, except when a pregnancy resulted from that forcible act of violence. Pregnancy was proof,  so if you take away the ability to get pregnant when raped,  then there couldn't possibly have been a rape.  This is, of course, tied to the age old fable that you can't get pregnant unless you have an orgasm, and if that happens then you must have enjoyed it, hence, pregnant...NO RAPE!  Brilliant!  With advocates like Todd Akin, women don't need enemies.


I am sure that there are those who would disagree, and that is your right. This is what makes this country so great...we have rights, and that includes the right to choose who represents us. But more importantly, it gives us the right to choose what we do with our bodies. No one else has the right to tell us what to do with our bodies, but us and that goes for both women and men! That doesn't mean I am pro-abortion, it means that I don't feel I have the right to tell anyone else, male or female, that they have to agree with me, and live by my code of conduct.


May God bless each and every one of you!
1.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/07/fortune-500-company-earnings_n_1497593.html

2.http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/sep/16/health-care-america-now/health-care-advocacy-group-blasts-insurers-ceo-pay/

3.http://www.whatthefolly.com/2012/08/20/transcript-missouri-gop-senate-candidate-todd-akin-on-whether-abortion-should-be-allowed-in-cases-of-legitimate-rape/

4.http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-victims

Saturday, August 11, 2012

ONCE AGAIN IT SNEAKED UP ON ME...

From My Own Little Corner

August 11 always sneaks up on me.  I try desperately not to think about it, but I suppose it is ingrained into my psyche, and so makes itself known even when I attempt to ignore it's coming.  Today is the anniversary of the day that I gave birth to my first child, my only daughter, my sweet Jessica.  It is the day that my life changed forever, the day that I lost a large part of my innocence.   She was so beautiful.  Dark hair, violet eyes, a tiny little thing at 5 pounds 7 ounces.  Her birth was the most anticipated event of our lives.  My brother used to come over and practice being an uncle, wheeling stuffed animals around and around, through the hall, into the living room, through the bedroom and back again, in  the stroller.  From there the little stuffed animal would go into the swing, to be swung until it wound down.  We were so ready for this little child. All the hope, joy, and planning...months of it!  We went to the hospital on August 10th, full of excitement and anticipation.  It was finally time!!!  After hours of labor, my water broke and it was dark green and thick.  Not good.  Then the baby's heart rate started falling and then stopping.  After 5 hours of watching that monitor, the doctors finally decided that a C-section was necessary.  I got an epidural, and after another delay of about an hour and a half, we were off to the delivery room.  I can remember all of it with such clarity.  The doctors, the nurses, my dear hubby standing at my head on the right side, then the sound of horror in the doctor's voice at the amount of meconium, them handing our daughter to the pediatrician, asking "How long?" with the response "5".  The OB yelling at the nurses to hold me shut, and going to the warming tray, telling the pediatrician she had her own patient to deal with she couldn't be doing his job too, and them finally getting Jessica intubated.  I remember them telling the nurse to get Dan out of there, he looked like he might pass out.   I can still recall the smell of the cauterization as the doctor closed my incision.  But, what I remember the most about that day is the love I felt for that tiny little girl.  The fierce feeling that I was going to do everything I could to take care of her, no matter what, and that is exactly what we all did.   Her birth severely damaged her fragile brain...she would never grow up, she would never do any of the things that we dreamed of while I was carrying her.  She was a fighter, and she stayed with us for 4 1//2 years and while she was here, the lives she touched were changed forever .  Being her mother is one of my greatest joys!  Thank you God for sharing such an amazing gift with us!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESSICA...mom and dad love you!

~Stef~

Thursday, August 09, 2012

CAR SEATS AND CRITTERS DO NOT MIX

From My Own Little Corner

Well, yesterday started out with a bang!  I got up with a migraine, took some medicine and had my coffee while watching the news.  There was a great story on Channel 2 about the black bears that are making a comeback in this area, and the cameras that they are using to see what they do.  One of the bears lost his camera, walked about 100 feet, stopped, thought about it, turned around, went back to the camera, and attacked it.  I got dressed and, at about 8:30, headed out to take mom to the doctor.  As I walked up to open my car door, this is what greeted me:








This WAS the rear seat of "Baby", my 1994 Cutlass Supreme.  It would appear that a critter, and a pretty strong one at that, decided to climb through the window and completely decimate the seating area of the bucket seat on the driver's side.  We have been leaving the windows down, since it has been so blazing hot, and the heat isn't good for the leather.   Obviously, neither are the wild things that live in the country!









I am not sure what exactly did this, but it was strong and it was ticked off.  The metal frame on the seat was twisted into an "U" shape and the leather ripped to shreds.  There was stuffing strewn about the rear floorboards, but oddly enough there were no claw marks or teeth marks on any of the rest of the car.














At least it was the back seat and I was still able to drive to mom's, but I was terribly upset that Baby had been so severely ravaged!

After I got back home yesterday, I started checking for replacements and the cost was unbelievable.  For new cloth ones, it was $375.  I signed up for a service that will help track down parts for my car, since they no longer make Oldsmobile and my car IS nearly 20 years old (although she only has 90,000 original miles on her), so parts are hard to come by, even used.  Seems that most salvage yards don't keep cars that are this old when they come in, they go immediately to the crusher!  How sad is that???   Anyway, this service, http://www.SeekAutoParts.com, cost me a mere $6.99, they do all the leg work, and send me emails so that I can follow up and find what I need.  I had notifications in my inbox within minutes.  Unfortunately, some were too costly ($500) and others did not have the seat that I needed.  However, this morning, I had more and was able to find a replacement seat for my car for $40 plus S&H, and the salvage yard is a mere 2 hours from here.  The seat is maroon, and will need a cover or re-upholstering, but hey, at least I have a seat back there, it didn't cost me an arm and a leg, and it should be here by the beginning of next week!  How about that???


Now to catch whatever critter did this to my poor baby, and as one of my FB friends said, dig a pit and roast the sucker!  


Remember, keep those windows rolled up, especially if you live in the country...you never know what might decide to climb in and have a little fun!


God bless!


~Stef~  

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

ENOUGH...I HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

From My Own Little Corner

Well, here goes. I am sure that some reading this will have differing opinions, but I simply can't remain silent any longer, scared of the reaction of others.

I have been watching the coverage of the the shootings at the Gurdwara in Wisconsin and I am just devastated. I cannot believe that in this day and age, there are still people that think it is okay to go into a place of worship and open fire on a group of unarmed people. Why would that ever be acceptable? When did it become acceptable to just kill those that we disagree with about religion, or anything else for that matter? When did it become acceptable to go to a political event and start shooting the people there? Who decided that it is okay to burn down another's place of worship because it isn't the same as our Christian religion, as happened to a Mosque in Joplin yesterday. I know that there are people out there that are mentally ill, but I have to wonder why no one ever stands up and says, "Hey, wait a minute. Your hate, the hate that you speak, the hate that you tattoo all over your body, the hate that you sing about, simply isn't right!"? Obviously, we all have the freedom of speech in this country, and it is a right that I have always fiercely defended and that I cherish.  But when it gets to the point that the words we are speaking are so filled with vitriol, hate, nastiness, lies, and hurt, that they infringe on the rights of others to pursue their God given rights of life, liberty, freedom, and happiness, isn't it our responsibility as citizens of this country, and of  the world, to speak up? We simply cannot continue to hide behind that age old excuse that we all have the right to speak our mind, when there are people that are abusing that right and using it as an excuse to spout evil and hate!!! We have churches that are spreading messages of hate and intolerance, burning the holy books of other religions, picketing the funerals of soldier that are coming home in caskets, holding up signs that are filled with nasty, hurtful words. I doubt very seriously that when our bill of rights was written, our forefathers had hate speech in mind. They could never have foreseen how nasty a segment of this great country would someday become.

The same can be said for gun rights. Our preamble states, and I quote, "We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." Notice that phrase, "common defence" (sic)? I think they are referring to protecting our country from those that would invade, not those who live here and have a different opinion, religion, or political leaning! I am all for people having guns for hunting and even for protecting your family should the REAL NEED arise. But semi-automatic assault rifles which can be made fully automatic with a minimal amount of effort? Seriously? Yes, I know that making those semi-automatic weapons into fully automatic rifles is against the law, but so is going into a theater or Gurdwara or public political event and opening fire on a group of unsuspecting people. When the second amendment ("A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.") was written, the most dangerous gun that anyone had was a musket! This amendment was meant to ensure that IF the time came when it was necessary to protect our country on it's own soil against foreign invaders, we would be able to do so. It's kind of hard to go on a killing spree when you have to stop and manually open a powder horn, pour gunpowder down the barrel of a rifle, place a ball with wadding around it in the same barrel, and then tamp it down with a ramrod, then aim, then shoot, the stop to reload. By the time that was done, any person who was bent on killing a large group of people would have been tackled, taken down, and hog-tied! The easy availability of guns and the advancement from single shot tools, for hunting and defending this country, into the instruments of mass destruction that we now have, is surely not the right that our forefathers were speaking of when they wrote that second amendment.

I have guns. I have a husband that is blind after being shot in the face, while with a group of teenagers that were not careful with their guns. I understand that accidents happen with guns, it is inevitable. However, the mass killings that are happening in today's world are not accidents. They are not due to lack of care. They are the result of a society that is growing less and less tolerant of those who are different, those who have different opinions, different lifestyle choices, different political leanings. A society that thinks that civility is a word best relegated to our not so distant past. A society that is afraid to stand up to those that are abusing their "God given rights" and in not standing up,  are helping to breed a level of hate and intolerance that is rapidly approaching that of third world countries. You know the ones I mean...where they stone women for daring to show their face in public or for leaving the "safety" of their prisons...er, homes, without the accompaniment of a male...a male that must be a relative. Oh, and when that same male "protector" rapes that woman and she reports it, she is the one that is punished. Those countries where they poison the female children because they want to go to school. The places where those with differing religious and political ideologies are punished, most often by death. The places where civil rights are NOT given to the citizens and where anyone who dares to speak up against the atrocities they witness are most likely signing their own death warrant. Yes, those third world countries. If the intolerance and hate mongering in this country continues unabated, we WILL become one of those countries, the ones that we all sit around and shake our heads at, while clucking our tongues and asking "How could those people allow that to happen?". The question then becomes, how could we allow this to happen...here?  In this great country, where we have a constitution that ensures the freedoms of all it's citizens?  How can we allow the civil rights of some our citizens to be trampled upon? How can we sit by and say nothing? Isn't it our responsibility to say "enough" when things start getting out of hand? The discourse in this country is reaching a boiling point. Soon the violence and hate will begin to take over, and much like an aggressive cancer, the time to excise it will have passed, and it will become lethal. It is time for common sense to come back into style, rather than all the extremism that we are seeing in our public officials and our private sector. It is time for those that want a country where people are nice, where there can be civil discourse and we can disagree without being nasty,  where we can have our opinions and not be afraid that voicing them will lead to someone walking up and screaming, hitting, or shooting us!

The New Colossus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand,
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightening, and her name
Mother of Exiles.  From her beacon hand
Glows world wide welcome; her mild eyes command
the air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips.  "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Emma Lazarus



These are the words emblazoned on the Statue of Liberty...notice that word LIBERTY.  What happened?  We live in a country of diverse peoples. There are people from all countries, all religions, all economic classes, all heritages...we are all different, and the diversity of our populace is what helped make this country great! It's time to stand up and say "This hate that has become the new normal, is no longer acceptable." Thomas Jefferson said it best..." We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." I can only imagine how appalled he would be to see how so many have twisted the constitution and used it as an excuse to hate. So, I say, "ENOUGH! I have had enough!"

Well, that's my rant...if I have offended anyone, I am truly sorry. No offence and no finger pointing are meant here. The words that I write come from the heart and are not written in anger, but in sadness. My heart hurts with the pain of seeing so many angry, intolerant, and hate filled people. I pray that God will bring them peace. May God bless each and every one of you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

REFURBISHING THOSE GRISWOLDS!!

From My Own Little Corner

Last fall I rejuvenated some nasty cast iron skillets that needed to be redone. I didn't get any pictures before I started, but I did get some after I got done incinerating the gunk, after scouring, and after the first seasoning. They are beautiful!!! This is something that I have long wanted to do, but never really knew how. I have had these skillets languishing in the back room for several years now, after picking them up at a garage sale. So I googled it! LOL Oh, how I love Google!!! Here is what I did to get my skillets back to where they were when they were used by their original owners! I found that the first thing I needed to do was put them in the oven, with the shelf on the lowest position, and then turn the oven to self clean. That done, I went about my merry way, taking care of Kerwin, my little bunny. While doing this, hubby came to the door and asked me "Uh, how long is this going to take? It is getting a bit smokey in here.". Thank goodness I had opened the windows, turned on the hood fan, and the attic fan, before I went outside, because when I came back in the house, smoke was roiling out of the back of the oven, Baby Kitty was caterwauling, the smoke detectors were beeping, and the house looked like a scene right out of the movie THE FOG!! Oh, my word! Talk about smoke....whew, and stink!!! So I walked outside and called my mom...she told me Grammy used to build a big fire in the yard and put her's in the fire to burn them off. I said, "now you tell me!" She thought it was hilarious!!! lol In about 40 minutes the smoke died down, the house cleared out, and shortly thereafter, we were able to shut off the attic fan. Did I mention it was only 50 degrees outside??? After 3 hours in the self clean cycle, then another hour cooling down, this is what they looked like:
Now most of this is just dust, and easily wiped off, but then you need to scour them with steel wool. After a thorough cleaning, this is how they looked:
The next step is to thoroughly dry by placing on the stove top on medium heat until they are heated through. Let the skillet cool, then coat with a very thin layer of Crisco, oil, or lard. Lard works best, and is what was traditionally used. Part of my errand run yesterday was to restock my lard supply:
Then wipe them down until they look dry...they will have plenty of lard left on them and return them to the oven at 450* for an hour for the first cycle of seasoning. This is how they turned out:
They then went into the oven for their second seasoning. After they cooled, I did it one more time, and now have a wonderful set of cast iron to cook in...all natural, no coatings, and non-stick! These skillets will last several generations, and the more they are used, the more seasoned they will become. The large skillet with the hammered finish is anywhere from 80-100 years old, the #8 Griswold is about the same...the small skillet I have no idea and may have been made more recently. I also did a new covered stew pot with bail. It only took one treatment. Hope that this will help those that are thinking about going back to old style, non-stick cooking, get started! Good luck and enjoy those Griswolds! ~Stef~ Lodge Logic 3-Quart Fry Pan - Lodge Logic

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESSICA

From My Own Little CornerToday is a bittersweet day. 27 years ago today, at 7:07 am, my first child, and only daughter was born. She weighed 5 lbs 7 oz and was 19 inches long. She had a head full of dark hair, and the darkest violet eyes I have ever seen. She was perfect in every way. I had to have an emergency c-section, as she was in distress, and had been for hours before she was born. Unforunately, it caused severe brain damage. As the unfeeling pediatric neurologist told me when she was 2 days old, "You have a very beautiful baby, and that's all she'll ever be." He was right about her beauty, and she never did develop past the infant stage, but in the short 4 1/2 years that we were privileged to be her caretakers, before she went home to her real Father, she touched more lives, and taught more people life lessons, than any other person I have ever met. She never learned to talk, to crawl, to physically touch, to look at anyone, to kiss, to hug, and she was such a tiny little thing, but her heart was the biggest that any one person could ever have. She was brave, she was a fighter, and she was fiercely loved by many.

So HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESSIE!! Mommy misses you, and loves you more today than ever!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

SUMMETIME, SUMMERTIME, HEY LOLLY, LOLLY, LOLLY

From My Own Little Corner Well, it is getting hot here in the mid-west, or for those who didn’t know, Missouri, not too far from St. Louis and the Mississippi, Missouri, and Cuivre Rivers. So not only is the temperature rising, it is getting HUMID!! Or, as Anne Ramsey says in “THROW MOMMA FROM THE TRAIN”, it is getting “sultry”. And with the heat and humidity on the rise, getting the outside chores done has become an early morning, late afternoon endeavor.

The tiller is still in pieces in the garage, and appears destined to stay that way. Such a shame, but I refuse to throw it out, as you just never know when that part may fall into my lap, like manna from Heaven. So for now, it will lay on the garage floor, like an old toy that has been forgotten by it’s owner. The neighbor has managed to borrow a tiller from an uncle, so when it cools off this afternoon, we will till and weed the vegetable garden. The plants are growing nicely, but so are the weeds, and they always grow faster than the crops.

We have several other projects in the works. We are going to paint the shed to look like a barn, but we need to clear the forest that has grown around it before that will be possible. Of course, we need the chain saw for that. So, naturally, it spent 15 out of the last 21 days in the shop, over a span of 5 trips. ARGHHHH!!! Every piece of power equipment I touch this year has decided that it doesn’t like the idea of manual labor, and has crapped out on me. I did get it to work long enough to finish the rebuilding of the retaining wall around my flower bed under the bedroom windows. In pulling the weeds last week, I discovered it was rotting and needed to be replaced. So, intrepid homeowner that I am, I decided that we would tackle the job ourselves. For those who don’t know me personally, I am very stubborn when it comes to these types of thing, and once I decide that I can do it, I will not admit defeat. It took 3 days and the help of the hubby and the son, but it is DONE!!!!!!! We pulled the 6×6x8 timbers out from another bed that we decided we didn’t want enclosed anymore, and recycled them into a new wall. I used the chain saw to cut the timbers, and yes, I did do part of them. Jacob (the son) did one, I did the rest. When we were almost done, with the exception of drilling the last 4 pilot holes for the 12″ spikes that tie the timbers together, the drill died. So I drove those last 4 spikes with the sledge hammer! So the hubby, the son, and I built that wall all by ourselves. Granted it is not a very big wall and it is not perfect, but none the less, we did it! I told the hubby that by the end of summer, if we keep this up, I will be a buff, tanned, 50 year old, short person, and he will be a buff, tanned, 57 year old, tall person.

Well, I need to get the inside chores done, so that I can get to the outside ones that are scheduled for today. Hope all of you have a great Memorial Day weekend, and for those who serve, both active and veterans, THANK YOU !!!!! Don’t forget to thank our service men and women, and to remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice in defending our freedoms.

For those who read both of my blogs, I realize that this post is redundant, and as soon as I have more time, the two blogs will not be the same, but for now, this is my solution to the time crunch. LOL In otherwords, I am cheating!!

And as always, please pray for peace and enlightenment. My your God bless, and keep, you and yours.

Monday, May 18, 2009

The Tiller Saga Continues And Various Other Tidbits

From My Own Little Corner Thought I had found the parts for my tiller, but they have been discontinued. The tiller is only 8 years old (found the date on the tiller) and they have already decided to stop making the individual parts for the transmission, but they will sell me the whole thing. I spent most of yesterday searching for a used part, finally found it, the fella was going to sell me the gears that I needed for about $25 each, i was going to come home and put it back together myself. Then I made the mistake of telling him the reason I needed to buy it from him, he called the supplier, found out that it was truly no longer available, and decided he could not sell me just the parts, but now I had to buy the whole darned used transmission. And he would so generously lower the price from $300 to $200 and throw in a 30 day warranty.

The whole time he was trying to sell me this “new” transmission, which had grass wrapped around both the wheel and tine axles, he was complaining about how we are a throw away society. I explained to him that I did not have $200 to spend on the tiller, and that I really wanted to just buy the pinion and the gear assembly. No go. He got dollar signs in his eyes. I then told him that there was no way those transmissions (he had 2) were new, that they were rusted, pointng out that there was grass wrapped around the axles, and the paint was peeling off. He then informed me that was because the fellow that owned them, used to work for Sears, and that he did repair work in his off time, and the building had flooded, so that was why they looked so used. I then asked him if they were new, why were they in his repair shop. He replied that he suspected that the man had stolen them. That was my cue to leave, but not before informing him, “I will be sure to tell everyone I know how helpful you were to me.”

I then went to Wally World (anyone who read my previous blog, knows how I feel about them, but they are the only store around with halfway decent prices) for some wasp spray. I noticed some bald faced hornets on the back porch, and they are mean, so if and when I find the nest I will spray it and kill them. But I digress. While in Wal-Mart, I noticed a small tiller, just the size for me, I thought. I asked the price and the associate told me $99. That is a deal. I went back out to the van, told the hubby, and went home to make us a late lunch, and discuss it. When I got home I got on the Internet and looked for the parts for the old tiller. Absolutely no luck at all. So we talked about it, and decided that for $100 it was worth it so that I don’t have to hoe the 10,000 square foot garden. So off we went to Wal-Mart again. We looked at the tiller, they offered an extended warranty, we discussed it and decided to buy both the tiller and the extended warranty, as that would give us a total of 4 years coverage. And we asked, once again, what the price was and were told $99. We took it to the register, rang it up and the total was $237. BACK THE TRUCK UP!!!! $99 plus $19.97 and tax is NOT $237. She said it must be a mistake, deleted the item and re-rang it. Nope, she was the one who made the mistake. It was $199 not $99, so we left, once again, empty handed. Guess there is a reason that I am having such a hard time with these tillers, and though I don’t know what it may be, for now I am giving up the ghost.

When I got home, I got out the power washer, and cleaned the large patio out by the pool. At least that worked. When we turned on the pool, the pump wasn’t working, but after calling the pool guy, (and informing him that he left part of the stoppers in the pool lines out, that the pool was green as grass because he didn’t put enough chemicals in it, and that this has never happened in the 20 years we have had the pool) he told me how to fix the pump motor, rather than coming out and charging me $75 for the trip, then $75 an hour, with a 1 hour minimum. I was very nice to him, as I always am. I don’t generally get upset, as it doesn’t accomplish anything and generally makes things worse. The person you are talking to gets defensive, and then doesn’t want to do anything to help you, even if they can. So maybe he picked up on the tension ion my voice, as I had really had it with things breaking down by this point. At any rate, he told me to take the back off the pump motor, spray the shaft with WD-40, then use a pair of pliers to move the shaft. Put the cover back on, and turn on the pump. Well, after about 5 tries it finally worked.

Hopefully, that was the last major breakdown (although the spa still needs an electrician), and now I can get back to my yard and get the rest of the spring work done. I have 2 more flower beds to clean out, the rest of the concrete to power wash, the screened porch, garage and shed to clean out, and the rest of the railroad ties along the driveway to take out. So we are getting there, slowly but surely, and by the end of summer, we probably will be done and ready to hunker down for winter. AHHH the life of the homeowner. LOL!!!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Last Week Was One Of Those Weeks!!

From My Own Little Corner Have you ever had one of those days? You know the kind that I mean. Everything that you try to do, or touch, just seems to fall apart. I know that everyone knows what I am talking about, and you’re probably all sitting there nodding your heads in agreement.

Well, I just had one of those weeks! It has been just awful. It started Sunday before last. I am in charge of the coffee at church. Our church services are held in the common room of a local elementary school. I arrive about 1 hour early to set up the tables to put the coffee on, another one for information, and 2 for people to sit at and visit before church starts. The pastor’s father always brings about 4 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts and I bring about 5 or 6 dozen homemade cookies. I also bring fresh flowers from my gardens, if they’re blooming, to put on the table with the coffee, donuts, and cookies. I arrived at the regular time on Sunday, to find that the trailer with the coffeemakers, the tables, the information booklets, cups, napkins, creamer, sugar, etc. wasn’t there and neither were the donuts. Normally this wouldn’t be a big deal, but unbeknownst to me, we had special guests. The St. Charles County Youth Choir was performing. The choir members and their parents, numbering about 75 total, arrived before I did. I hadn’t made any extra cookies, brought any extra cups, and we hadn’t printed any extra programs. Fortunately, I always try to have extra coffee, and try to keep extra creamer and sugar on hand. But we didn’t have nearly enough cups. After frantically searching for someone to run to the store (and finding no one), the pastor’s wife happened to find some extra cups in with the Sunday school supplies. In the end everything turned out fine, but I think the guests were a bit shell shocked when they discovered that the guy with the jeans and t-shirt was the pastor, and no, he wasn’t going to change his clothes.

I noticed last Saturday that the rabbits had been in the vegetable garden and we had lost 2 cabbages and 1 banana pepper plant. So I headed out to the local Co-op to find something organic to use to keep the little critters out. When I got home from church, I needed to put it on the plants, and replace the plants that had been chewed off at the ground by the rabbits. So my sister, Montecat, and I planted more cabbages, some broccoli, more peppers, and some herbs. Then we mixed up the spray to keep the rabbits and deer out. Success, it works, but good golly lolly, does it stink and now, instead of rabbits and deer, we are attacked by flies everytime we enter the garden!!

On Monday, I decided that the lawn needed mowing. Our house sits on 3 acres. About 1 acre is woods, the rest is lawn and flower gardens. There are shrubs, a pool, decks, sidewalks, pump house, shed, trees, and did I mention flower gardens???? I decided that before I mowed, we needed to clean out the flower beds (actually the hubby does this for me as my Mother’s Day gift), and my son was planning to move the arbor arch and plant some clematis for me as my Mother’s Day gift from him. This is a tradition. Every year, since they were old enough to do so, my sons have planted a new garden for me for Mother’s Day. Hence, all the flower gardens. But before we started, we headed to the local Wal Mart, to run in and out, for the clematis. Now I am not sure what your Wal Mart is like, but when I say run in and out, I am speaking optimistically. I called ahead of time, was told, by the sales associate, ”Yes, we have clematis”, after the young lady went outside to make sure. I arrived at Wal Mart, parked right next to lawn and garden, and hurried in. I asked where the clematis was and was told, “I don’t know if we have any.” I assured the assistant manager that I had called, they had checked, and yes they did have clematis. WRONG!!!! The sales associate couldn’t find any when I called, so she just made it up. LOVELY! I called the local Orscheln’s and they had them. I went and picked them up, a quick in and out, and headed home.



CLEMATIS



(This was taken from my front walk, and is one of the plants, in one of my gardens)



After we got the arch moved, the clematis planted, the flower beds cleaned out, and all the debris toted to the burn pile, the day was over, so I decided to mow Tuesday.

I know it appears that I am rambling, but, trust me, it gets better (or worse depending on your point of view).

I got the lawn mower (a rider) out Tuesday morning, and started mowing. I had changed the oil and filter, the gas filter, cleaned out the gas tank and fuel line, and cleaned the air filters on Sunday, so she was ready to go. After about 30 minutes, she died. I waited a bit, opened the hood, and checked the oil and fuel. All good, so I started her up again. I noticed that my brother-in-law, who lives across the street, was attempting to cut up some trees that were taken down last summer, using a hand saw. I went over to give him a hard time about not borrowing the chain saw, and the mower died again. I finally got it going, and headed home, and it died again, and again, and yet again. I finally had to get the hubby to help push it home. After consulting with the lawn mower repair man, it became apparent that we were going to need a new mower. We ended up buying a nice little rider, but we had to dip into the emergency fund. I did get to try it out for about 30 minutes before it got dark, though. Very nice.

I got up Wednesday, climbed on the new mower and away I went. Meanwhile, my son was going to cut up some pines that were dead. He got out the chain saw, and it wouldn’t run, so I had to stop mowing and take it to the shop. I went to the local chainsaw repair shop, and was told he doesn’t work on the brand I have, but he would be glad to sell me a new one. Otherwise, I would need to go to the repair shop about 15 miles away. One more unexpected trip and an $18 deposit just for them to look at it. When I got home, I got out my weedeater, a walk behind, and started the weed whacking. About 3/4 of the way through, it suddenly got very, very loud. I looked down and the dad gummed muffler was burning it’s way through the plastic shield. I just kept going. By the time I was done, it was like my ears were packed full of cotton. I fixed the weed eater myself.

While I was mowing and weed eating, the hubby decided to open and fill the spa. I thought, “Ahh, after I am done, I can soak my aching bones.” MEEEEEEP. I got called back to the deck as the spa seemed to have a leak. Boy, howdy, I’ll say. Water was running out the air control valve, because the maufacturer had glued the pvc pipe into the threaded control valve. Luckily, the local hardware store had everything I need to fix it, picked it all up yesterday, and will do the repair tomorrow.

Yesterday, Thursday, was fairly uneventful. I finished up what I hadn’t done the previous days, and nothing broke!! Did the 5 hour oil change on the new mower, and it went just like it was supposed to. No surprises!!!

Woke up this morning to storms and torrential rain. Yay!!! I had gotten all my outside chores done yesterday, so the only thing I needed to do was clean the house. But (there is always a but), we were out of CLR and the shower needed to be cleaned with it, so off to town we went. We also needed salad stuff and cat food, so I got to go to Wally World again. YAY!!! Can you tell I’m ecstatic?? While on the way, the lawn mower repair guy called, and said he finally got the tiller taken apart (he has had it for almost 3 weeks) and the news is not good. They do not make the individual gears needed, so I will need to buy the whole assembly. ” Hmm, sounds expensive,” I think. “Probably going to cost me $150-$200 to get the darned tiller fixed.” THINK AGAIN, STEF! Parts, $600, yep, you saw right, $600. So I tell him to put it back together and I’ll come get it. He gets almost apoplectic, and informs me it will take him a full day just to put it back together. After telling him, “Sorry, I cannot afford to put $800 more into a machine that only cost $649 to begin with”, he tells me he will put it outside and I can come to pick it up when I have time. He also informs me that he already has a $45 charge for pick up and $100, maybe more for the labor to tear it apart, just so he can tell me it is going to be too expensive to fix it. About 5 minutes later he calles me back and tells me if I will come and get it “right now” he will only charge me $75. It is now in the back of my van, in about 15 pieces.

The day wasn’t quite done with me yet. Right after leaving the mower repair shop, with my now disassembled tiller in the rear of my conversion van, I got out my new reading glasses (got them last week) and looked up a phone number on my phone, dialed it, took my glasses off, went to fold them up and put them away, and THE EAR PIECE BROKE OFF at the lens. They literally FELL APART!!!!! Back to Wally World! LOL !!! They got them fixed in 5 minutes and it was…… FREE!!!!!!!!

And how was your week??????????

May your God bless, and keep, you and yours.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Do You Have A House Or A Home?

From My Own Little Corner My home is my refuge from an increasingly crazy world. It is where I go when I need to feel the warmth that only family can give. It is my husband standing at the kitchen stove, the smells of his latest culinary creation filling the house and spilling over into the ourside air. It is the smell of homebaked cookies. It is the smiling faces of my two sons, glad to be safe within the walls that have housed them all their lives. It is the sound of 3 smiling dogs barking, as they run to greet any who come to visit. It is the feeling of soft, silky fur against my ankles and legs, as one or more of the 5 cats, purr their affection. It is the sound of the mockingbird, that has been here for years, singing his song for me, while I sip coffee in the early morning light. It is the gardens that my boys have lovingly planted for me every Mother's Day, until they surround my home, bursting into bloom every year, and filling the air with a fragrance only God can make. It is where friends come to visit and leave as family. It is the place where I want all the people that I love to be, my husband, my children, my parents, my siblings and their families, and my friends. It is in my heart always. It is where every good memory I have has been, and continues to be, born.
My home is the one place, where I can go, that is filled with sunshine even on the cloudiest day.

Is your house a home?

May your God bless, and keep, you and yours. Pray for peace and enlightenment.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

WAR IS NEVER THE ANSWER

From My Own Little Corner Lord, have mercy on all their souls. It is time to stop the fighting. It has gone on for decades and it has solved nothing. I am neither Arab nor Jewish, neither Israeli nor Palestinian, but I am human, and it is killing my heart to see the children of these countries maimed and killed. This fighting has been going on for years, and has solved nothing and the only thing that has come out of it is pain, heartbreak, destruction, and death. Why are we still shedding blood in the name of God? Do we really think that is what He wants? He wants us to kill and maim each other over a piece of land that is called THE HOLY LAND? What kind of sense does that make? This is not the Middle Ages, this is the 21st century. We have the ability to send a man to the moon, to live in space, to travel around the world in a matter of days. And the only solution we can come up with to settle a land dispute is to kill each other? Does anyone else see the complete idiocy of this? Can no one else understand that war and killing is never the solution? If you kill in the name of God and the other side kills in the name of God, how can the killing stop? You can't both be killing in the name of God. God says killing is a sin, so in my humble estimation, both sides are wrong. They are doing what the Lord Jehovah told us not to do, and they are doing it in His name. Talk about the ultimate sin. I would venture to say that war is it.

This is only my humble opinion. I just want the bloodshed and horror that we call war to stop. It is time to come up with a better solution. And I know we can, but it will take a lot more effort than simply pushing buttons and trying to destroy the people that you disagree with. I will take the willingness of both sides to decide that peace is a better way than war, and it will take a lot of give and some take by both parties.

In the meantime please continue to pray for peace and enlightenment. May your God bless, and keep, you and yours.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Memories-Old And New









From My Own Little Corner Well, it has been several weeks since I last posted a blog entry. In that time we have celebrated Thanksgiving and this year there is truly much to be thankful for. My mom is doing extremely well, my dad is a healthy 81 years old, my oldest son, Nathan, got married to a wonderful young woman named Nicole, my youngest son, Jacob, continues to do fantastic at college and will graduate in May, my husband and I are fat and happy, my brother and sisters and their families are all healthy and happy. We have a home, with a dry bed and food in our bellies, which is so much more than a lot of people have, and for that, we give thanks. I have friends that have lost their jobs, their homes and are in worse shape than they have ever been, but they haven't lost their faith and continue to remain thankful. It looks like Trina and her gang may move into the house across the street and I'm not sure who is more excited, she or I. Randy's "Misfits For Jesus" ministry is booming, which can be looked at in two different ways. Hallelujah, he is touching the lives of so many people. At the same time it is sad that there are so many that are homeless and in need of his services. Check out what he is doing at http://www.misfitsforjesus.com/. My sister, Sabrina, generously opened her house for all of us again this year for the Thanksgiving meal and it was scrumptious. Thanks, Bebe for all of your hard work. I will leave it to Trina to post pictures of that family gathering.

All in all, God has been VERY, VERY good to us this year and I am enormously thankful.

At this time of year I tend to get a little melancholy. One more year is past and it is time that I cannot get back. When I look at the pictures of my little boys, I can't help but be a little sad that those days are gone. The days of Santa Clause, of the excitement as they wrote their letters to the guy in red, the look on their faces when they got up on Christmas morning and saw the little elf footprints, that I had so painstakingly made from cornstarch, that led from the fireplace to the tree, the wonder in their faces as they watched the Christmas lights on all the houses as we drove home from Memaw and Pepaw's house on Christmas eve, the way saying "Santa Claus is watching you" was able to stop whatever naughty thing they were doing. I really miss those days and almost feel jealous of my friends that still have those little guys to enjoy the holidays with. But the memories are always there and now that they are grown, we have the opportunity to make new ones. A new daughter-in-law, new traditions to celebrate, and the excitement of waiting for them to come home are all new for me. I suppose that I will eventually get used to the new traditions, but for now, I miss the old days. I miss having my son right here with me. I miss the two little guys that are wearing those pilot's caps. I miss my daughter.

For those of you with little ones, cherish every moment. They will grow up fast enough and then you will look back and wonder where the time went. I know I do.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A New Understanding Of An Old Pledge



From My Own Little Corner Sorry for the three new posts in one day, but I had a lot to say. :) This was left in the comments sections on one of my Veteran's Day ireports thanking my dad and my father-in-law. It gives a whole new meaning to our Pledge of Allegiance.


"ONE NATION UNDER GOD"
I PLEDGE ALLEGIANCE

This is my right
Each day of my life
To honor my Country
In dawns early light

TO THE FLAG OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

The place of my people
Who walked on these shores
Who fought and died for
The colors she bore

AND TO THE REPUBLIC FOR WHICH IT STANDS

For a nation of many
Who came to be free
Oppressed and all broken
Who sought liberty

ONE NATION UNDER GOD

For power and glory
His name shall remain
We shall not relinquish
His light is our flame

INDIVISIBLE

Each state born together
In power shall reign
With God's hands upon us
Our power remains

WITH LIBERTY

For it is our right
And we shall be strong
To always remember
Where Glory belongs

AND JUSTICE

No panel of judges
Can choose what we say
Our Nation's allegiance
Will not change today

FOR ALL

We watch as these people
Who brought so much pain
Now given the same rights
This Nation ordained

We will not abandon
The rights we all share
God and our Nation
The glory we wear

So wave sacred colors
Of red, white and blue
Stand in allegiance
With God next to you