Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Year in Retrospect

Well here we are....the day after Christmas 2012. I know I always say this...but it seems like it was just yesterday that it was summer and we were out by the pool, yet here we are...almost ready to bid 2012 a fond farewell and welcome in a new year in this still relatively new millennium. Where does the time go?

This time of year is always for of retrospect...looking back over the past months and acknowledging both the good and bad. From today's position....the last week or so has kind of clouded both my view and my memory as I have been sick beyond words. When there are literally days you don't remember and you had to remove all medicine from your own reach for fear you would overdose yourself because you couldn't remember when, what and how much you previously know you are pretty sick. It wasn't all bad though. According to my late husband and mother and myself had some pretty entertaining conversations. Wish I had been coherent enough to remember them. Then again though....had I been coherent....they likely would not have happened. Nine days later I am still trying to regain my energy and fighting to keep this full on cough which has just developed, from going into my chest. The biggest blessing though is....although David had something that kept him down a few one else in the house has gotten what I have! Perhaps it is because they quarantined me and followed me around with the most fowl smelling can of Lysol that they could find. All in all though....Christmas turned out fine and I once again seem to have my memory in tact.

That being said...looking back over has been an interesting, exciting, frustrating and all in all wonderful year and to be quite honest....I feel very blessed.

January set the stage for this year as we began it on a pathway that would change life for us all. We made our first trip to Shriners Hospital in St. Louis, MO. It was definitely a God everything from work to the weather worked in our favor. As I recall in January the weather was darned near perfect (50's and 60's) and my boss gave me whatever time we needed as we had no idea what Shriners was about at that time. It was at this time that we found that David not only needed surgery....but if he didn't have could forever effect the quality of his life. It was  a lot of information to process all at once...but the answer was an easy....YES!

February brought on a bag of mixed blessings. Shriners called with a surgery date of April for David....and on the very same day......I found that I was to be laid off from my job in just two weeks. Again...the weather was amazing and God marched right along with me as I barely had time to worry about saying goodbye to my job. There was simply too much to do planning for a surgery I knew almost nothing about, a recovery I knew almost nothing about and a future I really knew nothing about. It was this month too that I had the idea of Cheesecakes for David and I began selling the special cheesecakes in order to pay for any unexpected expenseswhich might incur for David. And trust me.....they did!

March was an amazing month. It flew by as I baked and delivered cheesecakes almost daily. The weather stayed in the 60's and 70's and I prepared as best I could....for the unknown that was about to be thrust upon us. It was this month too that I was reminded again and again how wonderful friends, family and even complete strangers can be. Much generosity was shown my family in many different ways at this time and the out pouring of prayer was amazing. I as a person and we as a family were humbled beyond any measure.

April was the true beginning of David's journey to walk. It was a strange time as we had  had 90 degree weather in Kansas and we had put our air conditioning on twice already. This was a month of first experiences for all of us. Because of David's condition after surgery....he would have to be flown back to KS, so to simplify life...they flew us out there too. This was my first time in a small (5 seater) plane. I learned that little affects David and that I never hope to have to fly in such a contraption again. Bless those that flew us to and from but God help me....I hope those rides were the last I ever have to take in such a small plane. This was also the first time I left Z home by himself for any period of time and it was the first time I got to experience the wonderful hospital part of Shriners. In a matter of 48 hours....I almost had a heart attack flying to MO, David had a life changing surgery..... and after surgery....David got asperative pneumonia and we almost lost him. I learned that people who truly love you will drive hundreds of miles just to hold your hand and be there "just in case," and that good friends have your back even when you are hundreds of miles away. I also learned that Z has an eye for color and can paint. This was also the beginning of my education on the breaking down of health insurance, sleeping on a futon, David's new found flexibility, bed sores and being afraid to shut an eye. Again though....I experienced the generosity of people who were willing to help watch David, bring us food and calm me when I hyperventilated myself silly over the fear of not knowing.

May was the month that I realized yet again...the resiliency of David as he DID go back to school way ahead of schedule. I learned that I had mastered (if one can truly master such a thing) the road to St. Louis.....and best of was out!!!!

June was the month I began to start breathing again. It was the month that I remembered the joy and peace of hanging clothes on the line, the month that we headed outside for the season and the month that I came to some realizations about family, friends and myself. It was a month of learning and getting to know Z a little better. Nothing says mother/son outing like going to a Nugent/Styx/REO concert together!

July was the month of the prodigal son. Manchild came home again. This time....the child part had done some growing. He went from Manchild to "The Older Boy!" David spent his days in the pool and other than a couple of scary moments....his recovery was amazing. It was not lost on me how blessed we were and how happy I was starting to feel.

August brought a new school year and a yearly event where old friends get together and celebrate both our town and our friendships. Life was finally back on track. Everyone was back to their own rooms and normal (at least what passes for normal around here) routines. It was also in August that we welcomed our newest family member....Vic our baby pit. Okay....he is The Older Boys....but Vic and I did bond.

September taught me that maybe you can't go home....but you can definitely at least visit the past. We celebrated our 30th class reunion and saw some we hadn't seen in 30 years. There was laughter, stories and the knowledge that we all had a connection that no one could take away from us. It was also another big and life changing month for he had his VNS (vagal nerve stimulator) put in, to lessen if not totally control his seizures and help to ween him off his seizure meds.

October made me realize one of two things. Either I am simply oblivious to the world around me and completely gullible or my family and friends can REALLY keep a secret. I was honored with a surprise birthday party for a landmark birthday. Yes folks....I turned 50. As intimidating as AARP tried to make it for me....I did come to terms with the fact that I was darn lucky to have made it to such an age in as good of condition as I am in. I had no complaints.

November seemed to bring out a different side of me this year. Was it that I had hit a stage in my life where I didn't care what people thought of me or was it that I just felt that the whole stinkin' world had gone crazy and I was beyond baffled at how it had happened? I think we will just chalk it up to the elections and my ever growing disdain for elected officials and their closed door cover ups, lies, deceits and an obvious head long run for socialism and destruction of the Constitution. Yeah....I snapped somewhere during this month and my mouth nor my typing fingers seemed to have any kind of filter. The upside.....if there was one...was that it appeared that I irritated people on both sides of the at least I was an equal opportunity irritater....and at least people were reading. Oh and let us not forget that this was the month that I discovered Duck Dynasty. It made me Happy! Happy! Happy!

Which brings us to December. December was a "best laid plans" month. I planned to do much more than I actually accomplished. I did do baking I hadn't done in several years and I did find that I "can" do most all of my Christmas shopping in one day if I am with Chris and I start at 6 a.m. and don't plan on making it home until 7:30 p.m. I also found out that the Mayans were I was glad I didn't put any Christmas purchases on credit card!!!! What I really found out though.....yet again is: when the chips are down and I need him....Z always steps in and takes over helping to complete the tasks I leave uncompleted and basically this year.....saving Christmas for us all.

Yeah...2012 was quite a year. It marked a decade since I lost my mom and somehow this year there was greater peace than ever before. My family took some tough hits with my sister in laws illness, my dads fall, the unexpected loss of my cousin and the loss of my oldest living (I believe) uncle. My town took some hits too. Cancer ran rampant and we lost a father of two after a years long battle with brain cancer. We also lost a town matriarch and a little girl who taught us all that life is a gift and that there is grace in dying as well as living.

On the personal side of things...I have gotten to witness strengths in each of my children that has showed me....maybe I didn't do it all wrong after all. While this year has given me pause and given me at times more questions than has also given me a great deal of peace, some self awareness and a happiness that had been missing for many years. In so many ways....much has been right with my world and that which has not.....I have somehow manage to at least gain perspective on it.

I can't say I will miss 2012....for missing always comes later on down the road when I am alone with my thoughts waxing nostalgic over the wind blowing through a line of clothes or an early morning breakfast with friends at the fire pit. No...I don't think there will be tears as 2012 slips away....because 2013 holds so much promise. It will be 2013 where Davids progress will come to fruition, where I make decisions that will change my life and my path......and where I will get to continue to see my children turn into the people they are suppose to be. It is really rather exciting if you think about it.

I guess in retrospect....2012 had a little bit of everything and I have no doubt it gave us all what we need to continue on to 2013. So for all of you, my family, friends and readers....I hope that your Christmas was happy and blessed, full of family and love....and that 2013 brings you joy....happiness.....and is your best year yet! Happy New Year to you all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

A Tragedy in Connecticut

Praying! Tears! My heart is breaking. I know I am not alone. I know America is in agony today. As parents we do everything we can to protect our kids. We make them wear seat belts, teach them to not play with matches or electrical outlets and do our best to help them avoid dangerous situations whenever possible. It simply does not occur to us that school could be a dangerous situation. Perhaps the last decade or so should have taught us better with incidents such as Jonesboro and Columbine, but the mind shuts those things out. When such horrific things happen we tend to go into great sorrow for those affected but in our reality....this could never happen to us.

As I heard about Sandy Hook Elementary in Connecticut today....I thought about the ages of those "elementary" kids. They are just babies. They were little ones counting the days until Christmas, going about their day as usual and feeling protected amongst each other and the adults who guide their daily activities. How horrifying this must have been for them....kindergarten to fourth graders. Could they even understand or process what was happening? God knows they couldn't possibly know the reason why their normal day was suddenly turned inside out with gun fire and friends and teachers being killed before their very eyes.

I immediately thought of my own kids. What if this were to happen at David's school? Would David even begin to understand what was happening to him and those around him? Would his excited response to loud shots and other kids screams make him a target? As a mother I can't even imagine the fear knowing that someone was killing children in your child's school and being powerless to do anything but wait....not knowing whether the child you kissed good bye this morning would ever come out of that school alive. Just the thought as I am writing this brings on almost uncontrollable sobs.  Some parents in that small town will have the amazing fortune to see their little ones walk out of that school....scared, shaken and crying....but alive. Other parents though....will not be so lucky. They will wait to see their child...hoping and praying...only to find that they are gone. And WHY?

I was listening to different news casts and they were trying to pick a type that does this kind of thing. Sometimes they are bullied....sometimes not. Sometimes they are quiet and withdrawn.....and sometimes they have friends. Sometimes they have a mental illness....and sometimes they don't. The only two common things I heard were that they are almost always male and they are usually under 25 years of age. So why would someone be so angry that they would openly and willingly kill innocent children? I am sure in the days and weeks that follow....the story will unfold. I am sure we will get to know the shooter intimately.....although he too is dead. I am afraid a parent, I don't care one fig about this shooter. I don't care if he was spanked as a child, someone made fun of him as a teenager or if he was on drugs and "not responsible" for his actions. I don't care about his story. His story became unsympathetic and completely over as far as I am concerned....the moment he took his first shot inside that school. The only stories I care about now are the ones of the kids and their families who were forced to live through and some die because of the hell this shooter chose to put them through.

If I sound angry....I am. I am angry that these adults and children died so senselessly. I am distraught for the parents who are having to live their worst nightmares. My heart is breaking for the survivors who will undoubtedly be scared to ever step foot in that school again. I am livid that one young man made the choice to walk into an elementary school and destroy a town forever. I am also angry that this story will become the flag in which supporters of destroying our 2nd Amendment rights will ride into battle with....claiming all guns are evil and that they should be made illegal. blood is boiling today.

Today showed us that none of us are exempt from tragedy. In the blink of an eye....what we wake with may not be what we go to bed with. I have said many times of parent should have to outlive their child and especially no parent should have to lose a child in such a horrendous way. All I keep thinking is...There but for the grace of God, go I. My heart aches for all those whose lives where changed today and for parents who will never be consoled. You can't fix the I pray. When my children walk through the door tonight....I will hug them and let them know that they are loved and I will thank God for another day with them...knowing that tonight....I am one of the lucky ones. RIP Sandy Hook victims and may God's perpetual light shine upon you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

When in Doubt....Pray!

FACT: I really don't have time to blog today! FACT: I really couldn't help myself. HOPE: This blog doesn't take me too long to say what I need to say!

The first thing I opened my eyes to this morning was a text update from our local news station. It reported that right here in our little town...there had been a shooting. No details were available except for the fact that one had been Life Watched to a Wichita hospital in critical condition. My first thoughts...."the holidays!" With all the joy and happiness many of us feel this time of year.....others feel just as much pain and despair......sometimes resulting in a very bad outcome.

Trying to put the report out of my head and getting the kids ready for school...I glanced at facebook to find that my cousin had put up a newspaper story about a man in a little town not far from where she lives, who was arrested for public intoxication. Apparently he was sitting on the street corner repeating that no one loved him. Some might snicker at this or even find it down right funny....but I find it tragic. Again....I couldn't help but wonder if it were the holidays spurring this on?

This morning put my mind into overdrive. Yes....I am writing this as a Christian and reaching out to other Christians. The Christmas season...if you take away all the presents, shopping, decorations...glitter and glitz all comes down to one thing. The birth of Our Lord. This is the time of year that Christians should be remembering that God gave the world a gift that we can never hope to deserve. He gave us His son...the Savior He had promised. He didn't give Him to us in great wealth but in poverty so that we could see that how much money you have, how big a tree or how many presents simply don't matter. It is what is inside us and how we welcome this tiny King in our hearts that really matters.

A year ago today I lost a dear friend....Sunny. She was young....way to young to die, but in her short life, she taught me more about being a Christian and the true meaning of Christmas than anyone I have ever known. Her faith was astronomical and her kindness and generosity where unmatched by most. Many was the time she showed me that no matter who you were talking to, their beliefs and yes....even their political persuasions....that they should always be handled with love and kindness. Once she told me...."When in doubt...pray!" Those words have always stuck with me.

So where am I going with all of this? This is the Christmas season! While most of us will shop, buy gifts, give gifts and enjoy the lights, the parties and the decorations....let us not forget that the Reason for the Season is Jesus. Perhaps if we remember this then we will see those we pass with different eyes and remember that not everyone will be with family this season. Not everyone's family will be whole, not everyone's health will be good, not everyone will have a home and not everyone will have someone to share the holiday with. It is an easy time of year for some to lose hope in themselves and those around them. So maybe... if while we are out doing our Christmas shopping or just simply out running errands....we smile at those around us a little more, we use patience in those long lines and we keep our words kind and our actions helpful who knows....maybe we will turn someones day around and give hope to someone who has all but lost it.

And for all those we know who are hurting and struggling this time of year and we don't know what to do for them. In the words of my dear friend Sunny....."When in doubt...pray!"

Friday, December 7, 2012

The High Cost of Free

A story: If you read my blogs then you have heard me more than once speak of my friend Thiry. Well Thiry is married to Kelly and Kelly has an amazing talent for wood working, cabinetry and doing custom interior carpentry. For years Kelly used his skills and abilities working for others, but a few years ago...he decided to go out on his own. This act is the true meaning of the word entrepreneurship. He started with only his talent and a small amount of money and grew his business to the point where he could take care of his family. Of course they are not rich as his is mostly a one man enterprise....but word of his talent got around and he was more than able to make ends meet. Kelly, like many small business people in this country did his best to help grow not only his business but other small businesses. He tried to buy local and purchase inventory and goods from other small businesses. Somehow....even in the down turn of the economy of the last few years, Kelly has been able to hold on with the hope that soon the economy would take an upswing and he and his fellow small business people might once again be on stable and even prosperous ground. Of late though....the possibility of Kelly being able to maintain his small business along with the life expectancy of the small businesses he does business looking very grim.

In the last week, Kelly has been getting notices from the small businesses he deals with letting him know that as of the first of the year....they will be charging significantly more for their products and services. Why? Because they as small businesses are going to have to start paying out health care benefits to their employees or risk high penalty costs. What does this mean for Kelly? It means that he is going to have to pass this increase onto his customers which means that rather than going with a small business man who does beautiful custom work....many of his customers will be forced financially to go with the big companies who do cheaper cookie cutter work. It also means that if God willing his business where to get busy again....he would not be able to hire extra help to get him through the busy times because he would not be able to afford to cover them in healthcare.

What is the probable outcome? Kelly's business and many of the small businesses he currently works with will no longer be around in 12 to 24 months. The trickle down effect will be that these small businesses who do employ people will either have to cut their employees hours so they won't have full time status....or the employees will likely be unemployed as these businesses close. The days of being able to start and build a business will be gone due to the high cost of healthcare put on businesses.

Now I know many of you are sitting there thinking...."But businesses should supply healthcare!" Why? Why are we guaranteed healthcare just because we have a job? I have worked for years at jobs that did not supply healthcare. I supplied my own. Was it easy? No! But I never once felt owed healthcare and I was thankful for a job. Bottom one owes me anything! If I want it....I will work for it and if I can't work...then I will do without. My healthcare is not the responsibility of the taxpayers or the government. It is mine.

FREE! It is an enticing word and one that will make even the most jaded person do a double take. Free is what everyone wants and sadly what everyone suddenly feels entitled to. The word free really started getting bandied about a great deal when talk of President Obama's healthcare reform started. We all knew there was an issue with healthcare in this country especially where the very poor and the elderly were concerned and we all knew that something needed to be done....but when the word "free" was spoken.....people suddenly lost all good and rational sense and jumped on the Obamacare bandwagon. Rather than start with drug companies and work to lower drug costs and work on getting healthcare affordable.....we went from astronomical cost to "free!" Really???? 

Perhaps it is my partial college education or more likely my age and the life lessons I have learned....but one thing I know for sure is.....NOTHING is free. When a product or service are offered as free...someone...somewhere always ends up paying! An example: I can offer someone a free cheesecake and to them it maybe free but I paid for it. I paid for the ingredients and I put in the labor so that they might have a "free" cheesecake. I might be able to offer a free product on a rare occasion....but if I did that for everyone all the time, I would go broke and I would no longer be able to supply anyone with cheesecake. It is the same with Obamacare. Someone is going to have to pay for this so-called free entitlement that people seem to think is owed them. Here is how it will work.

We as a country are not healthy. Daily......people die of cancer, lupus, AIDS, heart disease and the list goes on and on. We are an obese people and the obesity spurs many of these diseases on. We also have a large population of people with disabilities as well as a huge population of people 65+ years of age. What do all of these people have in common? Ninety percent will or currently do need some kind of chronic or intense healthcare. This means anything from specialty doctors to hospitalization, lab/pathology, radiology, therapies, surgeries, pharmaceuticals and even hospice care. Behind each of these needs are high tech equipment which costs thousands to millions of dollars, specialized professionals who require a paycheck that matches both their education and expertise and products and services required to educate, create and produce all of it. Healthcare is an amazing field with life saving advances made all the time....but it is anything but free. Without the advances and the specialists, the therapies, the care and the pharmaceuticals......many would die...and yet make no mistake, healthcare is a business. To tell Americans that all of this is somehow an entitlement and will soon be theirs for free is at the very least a bold face lie....but that lie was perpetuated into swaying a majority of Americans into not only buying into the lie but also helping to make it the law of the land. It is not a will soon be mandatory for all except those who are exempt like congress and the President. Do you see something funny going on here?

Tell me with any common sense at we can possibly supply everyone with free healthcare? Usually you get what you pay for and folks.....soon we will get just that. There will be no new advances in medicine because that takes money and if no one is paying for their healthcare....then no one is helping to fund advancements. And yes...there are those with disposable incomes that give to funding and advancements...but how many disposable incomes will there be when they are taxed to the hilt to pay for the "free" healthcare? Without medical study and advancements, diseases such as cancer will continue to go unchecked and millions more will die. And advances in heart disease, lupus and Parkinsons will never come to fruition. Then there are the machines that help to find and diagnose illness and disease. The new and upgraded models will never be produced without money, the current models will become dinosaurs because no one can afford to use them and the old ones will become obsolete. People will not be able to afford the education to even become a general practitioner, let alone a specialist and so those who have the education and expertise to work miracles such as organ transplants and neurosurgery.....will become non-existant. Life saving drugs from anti-biotics to cancer drugs will be black market only because no one can afford to make them or take them.

So what will free healthcare look like? It will look like long lines waiting in understaffed clinics to be seen. It will look like only basic care given because clinics and hospitals will not be able to afford the staff or the equipment to take care of the critical or chronic. It will look like an end to therapies such as physical, occupational and speech, and nursing staff will be responsible for the majority of patients seen, as doctors are going to become scarce. There will be a recurrence of contagious diseases and many with cancer, heart disease, etc will go undiagnosed. Mortality rates will increase and old age will get much younger. Yes...this is what free healthcare will look like because "free" does not afford you the top notch healthcare that many are expecting. Don't believe me? Do your own research. This has been the norm anywhere socialized medicine has taken hold.

It is pretty obvious that the word "free" bought this country a faulty bill of goods. By 2014 when Obamacare has done its damage, it will be like an implosion on this country. It will all but wipe out small business which will further damage the country. Big businesses who have to supply "free" healthcare to all full time employees will either cut back hours on full time employees or layoff to make up for the "free" healthcare that they must provide to the rest of their staff. Again....unemployment rates will rise which means the middle class will be gone and the number of the poor will rise. Businesses that do stay functioning will have to raise product and service cost astronomically in order to continue doing business and no one (especially those without jobs) will be able to live. Government will no longer be able to help the poor because it will be broke and people will be dying like flies because we have "free" healthcare. This country will be unrecognizable and the only one we will have to blame is ourselves. needed to be reformed. Insurance companies needed to stop covering elective surgeries like face lifts and lipo-suction. Perhaps there should be a ceiling in place for services and pharmaceutical companies needed to be brought into check so that they aren't making 300% on each pill they make. There are many things that could be done to lower healthcare costs and make it affordable for the majority of working Americans. And there are free clinics with good doctors and nurses who choose to volunteer their time and resources to those in need. The system might not be perfect but there are things to be done that would not bankrupt the healthcare system, the economy or the country as a whole......but instead....we chose free and felt entitled to do so.

My mother always said that you reap what you sew. This country is about to reap a whole lot of nothing because that is what free will get you. And as for small businesses like Kelly' the rate we are going.....they will soon just be a fun fact in our history books about what used to be possible in this country.....back before everything was "free!"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Church, State and Sliding Sideways

Remember the other day when I said that since the election...I had buried my head deep in the sand on a self imposed media blackout? Yeah well....I goofed up and happened to catch the headlines of the news the other night as I was getting ready for bed. I found myself standing there with my mouth opened....completely speechless as I listened to the opening story. Before I go there though.....let us take a walk down memory lane.

Let us go back to late 1960 something. It was the dawning of the age of Aquarius. Tye dye, mini skirts and floppy hats were the fashions of the day. Civil rights were still part of the headlines as was the Vietnam war. Draft cards were burned and people were taking a stand against a war they didn't agree with. Peace was a word that was said with conviction and the hippie movement was well under way. The United States had enjoyed a period of post war rebuilding and peace time after World War II and even though we were gradually changing and moving away from our Ozzie and Harriett image.....we were still the greatest country in the world. There was no denying the change though as we could turn on the evening news and not just hear about what was going on in Southeast Asia....but we could watch it as if we were there thanks to journalist who were camping out on the front lines. With this up close view of the fighting on another at home....the reaction was just as visible. Sit in's, school riots and peace demonstrations were fighting right along side the war for media attention. It was a time in our country when the world seemed to be spinning sideways and the generations were colliding. The generation who had lived through WWII saw the Vietnam war as a stand the US had to take. The younger generation though, saw it differently. They wanted a peaceful solution to what they viewed as an unwinnable war....and words such as "tolerance" and "acceptance" along with "peace" and "love" became the buzz words of the era. And in a strange way....they meant something.

In all the midst of all the craziness and change during that time....I went to public school. Each day was started with the Pledge of Allegiance in which the words "One nation under God," were said just as easily as we took our next breath. Following the Pledge we always bowed our heads and prayed. In kindergarten I think we were taught a basic prayer where we asked God to bless our day and bless our class. In higher grades we just bowed our heads and said a silent prayer. It never once occurred to me that my head being bowed and my silent inner prayer might be offensive to someone.

The first time I ever ran into someone being offended by prayer in school...funny enough happened in of all places, a Catholic school. I was in the third grade and living in New Mexico. I had just moved there half way through the year and I was still trying to learn the ropes. My teacher was an older nun that I was immediately NOT fond of. She told me that my handwriting was horrible and when my mother sent a note to school one day about an appointment I had, Sister looked at me and said..."Now I understand where you get your horrid handwriting." In Sisters class we always said morning prayers as school started, grace before lunch, a prayer after lunch and a prayer at the end of the day. They were mostly traditional Catholic prayers such as The Morning Offering, The Angel of God, etc. One day though....a young boy in my class refused to bless himself or pray. In fact he acted out making faces and dropping books while the rest of us prayed. He was kind of an ornery kid anyway and Sister went and stood by him while we prayed. When we concluded she asked him why he acted that way, and he said his family didn't believe in God and so he wasn't going to pray. If this was true or not....I don't know and I am not sure why he would be going to a Catholic school when there was a public school just down the street if as he said his family didn't believe in God. The next day before school started this boy and his parents were talking with Sister as we came into class. When the morning prayers began....Sister said that this boy would not be praying with us. He would step outside the class room while we prayed and then would come back in. Apparently he was happy, his parents were happy and other than Sister telling us that he would be stepping outside....nothing more was ever said about it. Strange for a Catholic school? I guess...but I had no idea at the time, how this would be setting the stage for the future.

When I came back to Kansas things were starting to change. When I went back to public school, we still had our morning prayer, sort of....but it was either called our moments of silence or our moments of meditation. God/prayer really was not mentioned. my opinion it was an okay compromise. I could silently say my Morning Offering that I had grown to love and anyone who didn't want to pray could just think about their dog, the assignment they didn't do.....or nothing at all. I was not forcing my love of God on anyone and no one was forcing their beliefs or lack of beliefs on me. In a perfect world where people really were tolerant and accepting....this should have worked. However, we are not living in a perfect world.

It was about this time that the late Madalyn Murray O'Hair was preaching her atheistic views far and wide. In O'Hair's world.....Christians were expected to be sensitive and respectful of the beliefs (or lack thereof) of their atheistic brethren but Atheists felt no desire to return that sensitivity or respect. Quite to the contrary. O'Hair made it her mission to take all prayer/meditation/moments of silence, out of the schools and any place else she could. For  the most part....she was fighting and winning this battle. Prayer in school and God in many public places was quickly becoming unconstitutional. Children could be reprimanded or even put in detention for openly praying in school, especially if it "offended" someone and a teacher could be fired for speaking of religion outside historical text. During this time the term "Separation of Church and State" was thrown about a great deal. I remember asking my mother about it as I did not fully grasp what was going on. I remember her explaining to me that the Separation of Church and State was originally meant to give people of this country more religious freedom. After all those who had left England to come here had left because the church and state were one...thus depriving people of their choice in religion. The separation keeps any one religion or the beliefs of a few from dictating laws and rules that go against the beliefs of the many. In other was never intended that we kick God out of our country, schools, etc it was intended so that we had the freedom to worship as we chose. O'Hair though twisted this into something that ultimately tried to rob those who did believe in God of their right to openly pray. Tolerance and acceptance became a one way street.

Through the years....O'Hair's presence has been felt often as there have been efforts to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance, out of traditionally patriotic songs and off of public buildings where His name has stood for many years. In other atheist can be offended by Christianity and the Christian can lose his rights but if a Christian is offended by an atheist....then the Christian is intolerant and unaccepting. And we continue to slip sideways. 

So now we come to the headlines on the news the other night. A small town (Buhler) in my home state of Kansas, has to change their long standing city seal...because a group in Wisconsin called the Freedom From Religion Foundation threw a fit calling their seal unconstitutional. guessed it, the city seal had a cross on it. The town could have fought this as the majority in the town were outraged over the issue, but the town council realized that to keep their seal, it would result in a legal battle that they simply didn't have the financial resources to fight. The few won and tolerance and acceptance never once even had a horse in the race.

And so the outrage. I am a Christian. I believe in God, the Ten Commandments and yes...the bible. I believe everyone has the right to believe as they choose, but I also believe that no one has the right to have their beliefs over rule mine. More and more Christians are being victimized simply for their belief in God. The tolerance and acceptance that atheists, pagans,  muslims, etc feel is owed them for their beliefs, is in no way reciprocated by these groups as a whole. As Christians we can no longer take a stand for our beliefs because it might offend someone. Privately owned Christian hospitals and universities can no longer stick to their core religious teachings and beliefs because the government is now dictating how they practice their beliefs. We have gone from a country who separated church from government so that there could be more religious a country who is letting government dictate to religions thus squashing freedoms and working with desperate speed to make us not a country of freedoms but a Godless country run by Godless people hellbent on stripping us of our wealth, our ambition, our freedoms.....and our God.

So with all of this being is what this Christian is going to do. This season...if I see you...I will wish you a Merry Christmas. I will proudly display a Nativity scene in my home as a quiet reminder of the reason for the season. I will say God bless you when you sneeze and Thank God when a prayer is answered. My house will have a crucifix above my front door and I will always have a rosary in my pocket or my purse. And finally.....I will always take a stand for my faith and my God for as the saying goes...."I would rather live my life as if there is a God and die to find out there isn't, than live my life as if there isn't and die to find out there is."



Monday, November 26, 2012

Blog Boil Over and Thankfulness

For days I have wanted to blog. There has been so much building up inside of me....and believe it or not...none of it is political!!!! Shocked? I know...right? Yeah, I am an ostrich once again with my head buried firmly in the sand and not a news channel will you see me watching. Yep...that is just how far in denial I am!

Actually....I am focusing all my attention on the holidays and with the holidays I mean cheesecakes!!! Thanksgiving was just a practice run. I hope to do much more business during the Christmas, Hanuka, Kwanza holidays. Without a job this year...THAT will be Christmas for the kids.

As I mentioned much has been building up inside of me. Mostly for some reason I have been thinking about those close to me who are no longer here. I am not really sad...just contemplative. It seems that each year or two I add on to family and friends who are no longer with us. This year family and friends have taken a major hit. I am grateful for the memories and what each brought to my life...but there is still the feeling of loss and never more so than when we sit down to a holiday family meal or when we are decorating for Christmas.

It has dawned on me of late how no matter how well we think we know people....we never truly do. My mom especially comes to mind. Growing up...I really thought I knew all there was to know about her. It turns out that at whatever age I was....I knew what I needed to know about her...but never all there was to know about her. Looking back I realize that my mother was far from an open book. She was truly an onion with many many layers and my time with her just barely pealed back the surface. In some ways I am realizing how much my mother and I were alike (something I think she spent many years fighting against....wanting more for me than what she had) but in just as many ways....we were polar opposites. I guess that is a mother/daughter thing. Many times...especially of late...I will be thinking about my mom and realize how little I really knew the woman. There are so many unanswered questions and she is not here to answer them and chances are if she were here....she still would not be very forthcoming with answers. It makes me sad to have the knowledge that I really didn't know the woman who was my mother for 40+ years of my life. And the lesson here is.....I have no idea. My mother let me know what she wanted me to know about her and kept the rest to herself. That is simply who she was!

Wow...not sure where all that came from. See what happens when you have too many thoughts boiling up and you don't take the time to blog?!'s not always pretty!

Thanksgiving for 2012 has come and gone. If you are a facebook person then you know one of the popular things this time of year is the 30 Days of Thankfulness which starts on Nov. 1st and runs through Nov. 30th. The idea behind it is to post everyday one thing you are thankful for. Some scoff at the idea saying that they are thankful everyday so they are not playing. However...others post a piece of thankfulness daily. I myself find it a great emotional tool. Yes....we should be thankful daily, but most of us mere mortals sometimes find ourselves more often in asking mode than we do thankful mode. To do an exercise in 30 days of Thankfulness can be a much needed reminder of just what we do have and just how grateful/thankful we should be. All this being said....I think I made it to day 20 before I got completely side tracked with cheesecakes, sick kids, kids out of school and three Thanksgiving dinners (don't ask!), so instead of going back and writing a multitude of thankfulness on fb....I think I will finish it all out right here.

I am thankful for my kids. Each brings something wonderfully special to my life and even on our worst days...I am blessed. I am thankful for my extended family and for my friends whom I consider family. DNA does not make a family....however love does. I am thankful for all my friends near and far who always have my back when life throws me curve balls, who listen to me whine, laugh at my stupid jokes and most of all....pray me through the times when life seems insurmountable. I am thankful for my struggles for they make me stronger and my tears for they wash away my pain and help me to see the world more clearly.  I am thankful for those I have lost. I was never guaranteed any of you for a long time....but what time we had was amazing. I am thankful for my freedoms, my rights and most of all for the men and women who fight daily so that my freedoms and rights stay in tact. I am thankful for my small town, my church and my faith. I am thankful for my past which has made me who I am today and I am thankful for this minute and the knowledge that we only have the here and now so we must make it count. I am thankful for life lessons and for making it to 50! And finally.....I am thankful for this blog, my readers; my critics and fans alike. For without all of you....I would be just talking to myself!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Humor Me One More Day

 Okay folks....something new for me. Today I have a guest blogger whom I am highlighting. This gentleman is Manny Laureano. He is the principal trumpet for the Minnesota Orchestra, a very talented and accomplished musician along with being a long time conservative friend of mine. Manny and I met some years back on a conservative web site. I always liked Manny's style because it was very similar to mine....he only stated the facts and left the bickering about rumor's and media hype to others. There was no hate, no animosity....just plain and simple facts. That kind of posting often wins you many friends and really tends to tick off those not of the same mind.

Through this whole election process, of all my conservative friends.....Manny has seemed to be the quietest. He occasionally would post an article or info but it was always straight fact from reputable news sources. Other than that....he has sat back and watched. 

Now I know that EVERYONE is getting sick of thinking about, hearing about and dealing with this whole election. Most want to put it behind them (good or bad) and move forward with what we have (good or bad)! Truthfully....I feel the same. Please though....humor me one more day. Give me this last day of election week to give you food for thought one more time. Then I promise blogs will be back to being all about ME and my oh so entertaining life. 

The piece you are about to read is what Manny wrote about his general analysis of the 2012 election. I guarantee you that it is based in facts and even though you might not agree with is definitely worth the read. I am honored that he allowed me to put this in my blog and I think you will all understand why. So ladies and gentlemen.....conservatives, liberals and middle of the is some post election food for thought!

A post-election analysis for grieving conservatives:

In reading and listening to the post postmortems from various sources the new mantra is, “Well, looks like we’ll have to do some soul searching….” Rubbish. We lost this election for all the wrong reasons, the primary one being that despite the best efforts of talk radio we lost the

battle of the media. The left believes that FOX, with the high ratings for cable news, is able to compete with CBS, ABC, and NBC which are available free of charge.

Consider: the Benghazi scandal alone should have been enough all by itself to scuttle a re-election bid by a sitting president regardless of party. The major free media outlets sat on the story until Hurricane Sandy did its damage. It was at that point that the majority of the free outlets began to report. But who cared by that point? We, as a nation, rallied around the suffering because we’re Americans and that’s what we do. We’re the most generous people in the world (true, not hyperbole). The details of the incompetence of an administration’s handling of that situation were far from anyone who isn’t a current events wonk.

Consider: No president has ever been re-elected with a high unemployment rate that was unchanged from the start of his first term with the exception, possibly, of FDR but that depends on how you look at it. The unemployment rate among black Americans has been moving steadily in double digits yet they voted spiritedly for the incumbent. Under the previous Bush administration, the rate hovered between the middle 5% and low 6% but it was rare that it was looked at (by itself) as praiseworthy. People were focused on the Middle East. To the media the low unemployment rate was hardly ever a topic of discussion. I was rather amazed, back then, how little it was discussed. Last month, the rate ticked downward (before it ticked back up) to 7.8% and the tumult in the free media and press seemed a cause for worldwide celebration.

Consider: National debt magically became something that no one worried about somewhere in 2010. We became $16,000,000,000,000 in debt and that number became so abstract that no one seemed to understand the implications of being that far in debt and the potential consequences of continuing to spend with no end in sight. The media, with glee, continued a narrative that included a variety of “facts” and figures that somehow indicated that the president was less of a spender. Again, the wonks fought back citing numerous numbers to indicate that just wasn’t so. But, as Paul Ryan learned, people don’t care about the process of math nearly as much as they care about the total. The media love final numbers but they are woefully short on analysis.

Media come in all forms and the right had better swallow the following hard: the left is better organized at getting its message out because it has the media on its side. When it came to social issues like same-sex marriage or simply voting for a president of mixed race the message was clear and incessant: if you are not in favor of these issues you don’t just disagree. You are a hater, homophobe, bigot, and racist. The left won that narrative by creating an issue called “The War on Women”. Once again, it took the ill-advised, offhanded remarks of a popular radio host and turned it into a defining issue. If you are on the right, it doesn’t matter the number of female appointments and strong, opinionated politicians you may have. If you’re on the right, you want women pregnant and chained to a stove. The left was magnificent at burning that image indelibly on the foreheads of the middle and it worked. You can’t deny them doing a good job at putting up signs and using social media to get their message out. Had it been the other way around with our side winning by using the available media, we’d be patting ourselves on the back.

So, the right has a choice and that choice is not to “do some soul searching”, as has been suggested. Rubbish. It’s to get not just good at convincing Middle America about the validity of its message. It’s to be the best at getting its message out.

When you hear that a teacher is teaching bias instead of critical thinking, get in his face and complain. When you’re unjustly accused of racism, sexism, or the “ism” of the day, fight back and rally others to have your back. Others: have your fellow righty’s back. Learn to distill whatever message you have to a simple statement. Layers of argument, while valid, don’t win elections. The left is excellent at this. Learn from them. Stop whispering your opinion because you’re afraid of being sued or labeled. God knows the left is unafraid of offending you. Just make sure you always speak the truth. Don’t spread garbage. Spread truth and do it succinctly. Do not allow fear to override the freedoms afforded to you by living in the greatest, most generous, most free society on this planet. If you are on the right it’s because you have a set of principles that guide you and your thinking. Have confidence in those principles. Do not speak in low tones out of fear. Speak the truth and speak your mind. Act and act with conviction. You have every bit as much right to speak your opinion as anyone else.
Manny Laureano 2012

Thursday, November 8, 2012

And So We Greet November

WOW! Yeah...all these thoughts running through my head and the only word that seems appropriate is..."WOW!" And so we greet November. People are busily posting on facebook all the things they are thankful for. one has mentioned that they are thankful for the media! Wonder why? Okay...back to my current thought. We are almost to the end of 2012 and amazingly more people are not focused on whether the world will end in December as the Mayans predicted or not. Well....I take that back....there were a lot of people mentioning the end of the world and hoping that the Mayans prediction would come true on election night. I am sure for most it was tongue and cheek...but I know there were those that were on their knees praying that we are in our last month on earth. Myself....I sincerely doubt God is going to let any of us out that easy!

Yes the election! We cannot forget that every four years on the first Tuesday in November...if you are at least 18 and legal to be in this country with no felony can vote for our countries president. I have been around for a few of these elections in my life time and I have watched a lot of men come and go from that office. Some did nothing, some did a lot and others used it as their own private brothel. Some brought our country together and some have caused division. Some came in during peace time and had only matters of our country to deal with, while others had to deal with wars, death and terrorism which trumped all other matters. It is a thankless job and yet a job that Americans fight for. They fight to the point of spending millions of dollars on campaigning and ads and often aren't above lying to be top dog...errrrrr...candidate. Why? It certainly isn't for the paycheck. Granted there is money involved but there isn't enough money printed that would be worth having the weight of the country on my shoulders. And anymore it is not for the people either. More and more especially over the last few elections....I have come to the conclusion that the reason people want the job is for the POWER! When men become power hungry...then all bets are off.

Today a good day and a half after the election....peoples emotions are still running high. In the past we have had two separate but equal sides (the Democrats and the Republicans). In school we were taught that both sides wanted the same end game....they just had different ways of achieving that goal. The Democrats were traditionally low to middle class America and their goals were less military and more social programs viewed as vehicles to take care of those who couldn't or in some cases wouldn't take care of themselves. On the other hand Republicans were traditionally middle class to upper class America who wanted military spending, and wanted big money in big business. They supported capitalism to the fullest and felt that each should take care of his own. Of course both parties represented more than just that but according to the media....that was their essence. On election or lose...we knew what we were getting for the next four years and people quickly got back to daily life. Families and friendships remained in tact and life went on. Jump ahead to now though...and never in my life have I seen the emotional tilt a whirl that I have seen because of this election. Before the election, tensions were high and people were losing friends and family because the country was picking sides. Now...a day and half later and nothing has changed. People are still angry. The democrats (many not all) take pot shots daily about Obama's win, while many Republicans are heart sick over the  loss that they feel will ultimately destroy this country. There is no common ground to be had and there is no getting back to normal because we lost our normal on 9/11.

I have been watching fb postings and since I have a mix of friends and family (still.... believe it or not) on both sides of the has been interesting to watch. I have many conservative friends pounding their heads against a wall wondering why black and white seems to slip into shades of gray for so many. I will say that for the most part...those of my friends and family who I know voted for Obama have been fairly respectful (yes I pick my friends well) if not somewhat baffled that conservatives are still so upset. I think they were expecting that once their candidate was elected that life would go back to normal and all the political stuff would be old news. I have no doubt though....had the shoe been on the other foot...they too might still be feeling the sting of the loss. This was a high stakes election after all.

I understand how my conservative friends feel. And make no mistake....I feel every bit as strongly as they do that this election will come back to bite all who voted for this man in the hind quarters, but now is not the time to fall apart. It is also not the time to quit speaking out. I simply choose to do it in my blog (and sometimes on fb) with facts. You can never go wrong with facts. We also need to can feed a horse facts....but you can't make him use them if he is in denial!

Since the election I have done a great deal of thinking about what this all means to us as a country. So far I have come up with nothing good but I have come to the conclusion that we all might need to be schooled a bit in terminology to fully understand our current administration and what could be in store for us in the future. So I thought I might start right here! Here are a couple of terms that once had one meaning but now have a completely new and different meaning since our current administration took office.

George W. Bush: Old meaning: The 43rd President of the United States (not to be confused with father George H W Bush who was the 41st POTUS). GWB who is also known to many as simply just (Bush), had the misfortune of being elected just prior to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and sent our military to war in Iraq. GWB spent the better part of both terms with our soldiers abroad. He began the huge federal spending (much of it on the military and the war) and also the bailouts in which he racked up almost 5 trillion in federal debt in 8 years.

New meaning: George W. Bush in the last 4 years has become the whipping boy for ALL things wrong in the country. He has been blamed for everything from the 6 trillion dollar debt that was incurred in Obama's first term along with the job market that fell and never ressurected in Obama's first term and the astronomically high cost of gas during Obama's first term (see a pattern?) to natural disasters and world wide plagues. Yes is true. Not only was Bush a president...but since leaving office his powers of magic and mayhem have given Obama an out for every mistake "he" has made. Apparently George W. Bush in current terminology is far more powerful and has far more control than any of us ever knew!

Benghazi: Old meaning: Benghazi is the second largest city in Libya. Of late it has been the site of many violent protests where the people were going up against the military as well as mercinaries.

New meaning: As of September 11, 2012 it was the site where a terrorist attack was launched on the U.S. Consulate there killing four Americans. Our President and Hillary Clinton knew what was happening and yet CIA operators were denied requests for help. This tragedy was then blamed on an American youtube video as Obama and Clinton refused to call it an act of terrorism and as the POTUS apologized to the very terrorists who attacked the consulate. Since then...there has been a complete media and administrative blackout on this subject. No one speaks of Benghazi and it is as if it never happened.....well except for the families of those killed....oh and the millions of people who watched it all happen and refuse to let those Americans killed die in vain.

Yes...I have only hit upon a couple but trust me...the list goes on and on. I simply don't have the time right now to cover them all. But fear not....I will be back. And just a note: I do not hate my country. I love it, but even good things can go bad if not respected and taken care of. I do not hate anyone who voted differently than I. I may not understand how or why you could vote that way and I, like many may be confused how black and white to me could possibly be so gray to you but in the end...we are still a democracy and everyone has the right to vote their morals, their beliefs and their conscience. Don't expect me to call you names, tell you how stupid I think you are or scream insults at you for seeing things differently than I do. However....DO expect me to continue to use my 1st Amendment right to speak out on things I feel are wrong and things that I feel will damage this country as a whole. We are currently a nation divided because we do not have a leader that makes it his job to unite us. As long as we are is our power to make real change. Until the day we find at least a middle ground....We the People will no longer be the power in this country and government will step in and strip us of our rights, our freedom and our country....and you better bet....our current administration is counting on that!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

I Will Not Be One of Them

My mother used to tell me that knowing something isn't right and not doing something about it....makes you just as guilty as if you did the act itself. That has been going through my head alot recently. The other thing that has gone through my head is the quote "evil takes hold when good men do nothing." I feel as if I have been doing nothing.

For much of this election year I have remained quiet with only the rogue post or blog here and there. Much of the reason has been because I have been very frustrated seeing the negativity and down right hatefulness that has come out of the election. Normally nice people are attacking others...... and friendships and relationships have died over this election. Some people I know have steered clear away from politics while others who have never used their political voice...have suddenly gotten quite vocal. Someone said all of this was because people care so much. I have a different idea....I think it is because people are scared. Fear can make people react in ways they wouldn't normally act. It can help them find their voice. Then I realized....I am scared too. I am scared for this country and as an American is my job to speak up and speak out....while I still can.

I have taken to speaking out more of late and I know that my stance...though always respectful has ruffled more than a few feathers. Yesterday I posted a rather conservative opinion on facebook about the upcoming election and one of my dear liberal friends respectfully disagreed...which I totally expected. I answered back....and then magically my post was gone. This was not my first post to disappear and funny enough all disappearing posts have been political. Not hateful, not rude....but conservatively political. Perhaps I have a right to be afraid. A social website that millions of people use and I am being censored. Yes I find this very disconcerting. It was this latest incident that is the catalyst for this blog in fact. I decided then and there...under the United States Constitution...I still have the right to free speech and here and now I will use it. Even if no one least I know I used my voice! And some of what I am about to say I have said before....but I think it merits being said a 2nd, 3rd and even 23rd time if eventually it gets people to really pay attention and think about what is actually happening in our country right before our very eyes.

Of late...the general consensus seems to be that if you do not vote for Obama in this election you are either racist, a right wing fringe fanatic or anti-woman. To that I say....I will not vote for Barrack Obama. I am not racist. Race plays no part in how someone does a job. I am not a right wing fanatic. I am a middle class single mom who believes in the Constitution and does not want my children and the generations to follow being stuck with the astronomical debt which this president continues to add to. And I am not anti-woman. I feel that abortion should be decided by the states...not the federal government. And abortions should not be forced upon Catholic or other hospitals or clinics who find it religiously unacceptable nor should the cost of said abortions be forced upon taxpayers. You don't want me messing with your reproductive rights...then don't be sticking your hand in my pocket to pay for them.  No...I am not voting for Obama because I find him to be dangerous to this country and to all of our freedoms.

In 2009, Obama promised that his presidency would be one of transparency. His exact words: "I will also hold myself as president to a new standard of openness .... Let me say it as simply as I can: Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency." This means he will be open about everything and hold fast to the law. He has failed at both. He has kept secrets from sealing his personal records to what exactly was in the Obama Healthcare package. Remember Nancy Pelosi telling the country that we would know what was in the healthcare plan AFTER it was voted in? That's NOT transparency! And holding fast to the law? No...he has tried to circumvent congress, the law and the Constitution time and again when things were not going his way. What is worse....United States citizens have not only accepted this...but continue to support him after the fact.

When congress couldn't get together and decide on a budget because spending was out of hand and there just wasn't enough money to go around, Obama didn't suggest a cut in congressional he threatened the salaries of our military. He threatened the livelihood of the people who were putting their lives on the line to protect this country. I was outraged at such a threat....and yet many didn't even flinch. Still they support him.

Since taking office, unemployment has been astronomical, along with gas prices and federal spending. He has spent in one term twice what Bush spent in two terms, got our credit rating lowered.....and all the while blamed the Bush administration for our debt...never once taking responsibility for his part in any of it. In fact the only thing he has taken responsibility for during his presidency was the killing of Bin Laden. THAT he took responsibility for! Forget that the search for Bin Laden started under the Bush administration and that the Navy Seals actually did the work. And still...people support him.

And what about Benghazi? A terrorist attack on American citizens and rather than call it what it act of terrorism.....Obama blamed a youtube video. In a cover up to rival Watergate....Obama blamed those who made the video for the terrorist attack and seemed to side more with the sensibilities of the terrorists than with those who were killed. It was American lives lost on his watch and instead of immediate action to get to the bottom of things....there was just more deception and more blaming....and rather than be outraged....people still support him.

Then there was the whole gay marriage thing. First he came out saying that he believed marriage to be defined as between a man and a woman. The gay community was not pleased. an election year....he comes out for gay marriage. No one found this the least bit suspicious? No one thought that maybe he was going after the gay vote any way he could get it? And still....people support him.

I have watched. I have listened. I have kept my eyes open and what I see is a man who has
lied to this country. He has disrespected our country, our Constitution, our soldiers and our citizens. He has taken responsibility for something he had little to do with....and pushed all responsibility for the things he has actually done off on the previous administration and even the American citizens. He has flip flopped on issues in order to serve his own re-election and the worst thing of all....he has perpetuated a divide amongst the people he is suppose to be trying to bring together. He has never once tried to unite this country but instead has actively worked toward giving us "an us against them" mentality. He has mocked Christians, tea partiers and anyone who challenges him. He has refused to call terrorists what they are....terrorists and he has bashed capitalism and pushed for socialism since the moment he set foot in office.  And still.....people support him.

While I am not a genius...I am not stupid either. I have done my homework and as I said before...I have watched. Obama is trying to insinuate government into all facets of our lives all the while trying to "rule" outside the confines of the Constitution. He wants the people to be controlled by the government instead of the government being controlled by the people.... as it was originally intended. He continues to refuse full disclosure of his past and people are not alarmed by this? Common sense should tell us that anyone (especially someone high profile or the elected leader of a country) who refuses full disclosure is likely hiding something that could be very important or even dangerous....... and yet people still support him. I am simply baffled.

We are just days away from this election and I still see people rabidly supporting this man. They deny his wrong doings and claim he has done a fine job. him have begun blaming rather than admitting where the fault truly lies. It is as if he says it....and they believe it....regardless of the facts that are presented to them. And these are not stupid people. Again...I am baffled. Especially since we all know that if a conservative/Republican candidate had this track record....the opposition would have him tarred and feathered in the street awaiting impeachment. So I ask....what is going on????

In a day and age where information is readily available....everyone should be doing their research before this election, but many aren't. So here it is. I am spelling it out for all who care to read and addressing grave concerns we should all be having right now about the current administration. I know there will be many who will not like what I am saying. Even faced with the facts....many will go into those voting booths with a huge case of denial. Why? I have no idea. All of this being is my prediction if Obama is re-elected....our country will slip away from us in the next four years. He will find a way to totally disregard the Constitution which will mean many if not all of our rights will become nonexistent and he will by pass congress making into law things that are both unconstitutional and in the best interest of government and not the people being governed. He will do his best to make it so that POTUS term limits will be a thing of the him free reign for years to come. Government will play a roll in everything we do and we will be left open for terrorist attacks far beyond anything we have seen up til now. We will be a joke to other countries and we will lose the allies we do currently have. And sadly, there will be those....that still support him. BUT, I guarantee you...I will not be one of them!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Rules, Faith, Small Towns and Taylor Heersche

Today's blog is about rules, small towns and faith and the common denominator of all of these is a young girl named Taylor Heersche.

First the rules. There are two rules that should stand fast always. Rule parent should outlive their child. Rule #2....cancer (or any other life debilitating/taking disease) should never come in contact with a child. As we all know though....rules are broken and these particular rules are broken all too often. Just in the last few years I have seen too many families suffer and mourn because mans rules and God's will don't always mesh.

Small towns. If you have never lived in one then you are missing out. Sure everyone usually knows your business and you usually know everyone...if not personally then at least by site. As a kid growing up in a small town, you can't wait to leave...but funny enough, many come back....for nowhere else can you feel such a presence of community and belonging. There is no place like a small town. Many of us talk of faith...our belief that our Higher Power (God) has a plan for us. A belief that through good and bad that God is always by our side and in the end we will die in His grace and go to spend eternity in the home that He Himself has chosen for us. On paper it sounds perfect....but walking in faith through the good and bad and remembering that God gives us nothing we can't handle is not always as easy as it sounds. Accepting the peaks and valley's that are in our path often make us falter and facing our own mortality or that of our children is sometimes where we drop the ball with our faith. Still though....there are those that never lose faith, never question and in some cases even restore the faith of others through their own. When this faith comes in the form of a is both amazing and humbling.

And this brings us to Taylor Heersche. Taylor was a little girl from a family that had been in Mulvane long before my time. Heersche was just one of those names you knew. I do not know her parents Dan and DeAnne personally....but I could pick them out in a crowd and know all about them. It is a small town thing. Dan and DeAnne have two daughters, Taylor and Connor. Taylor is a year behind Z so he has known her since she started school. Everyone knows Taylor on sight.. and as a child she had the most gorgeous curly brown hair and she is the absolute sweetest little girl.

When Taylor was about 10...she was diagnosed with leukemia. In a small town such as ours....that kind of news travels fast. At that time in my life...David was having his own health issues, but when I could I would keep up with Taylor through friends of friends and information Z would bring home from school. Eventually her leukemia went into remission and for a little went back to normal. Then...sometime around last Christmas the unthinkable happened and they found out that Taylor's leukemia was back. Z who goes to school with her and hangs out with her and many of her friends would come home and give me updates. Taylor spent a great deal of time in and out of the hospital. When she was out...often you would see her in town with her mask on...protecting her from the germy world outside. At some point....not sure when...... Taylor lost all of her hair. I remember seeing her and thinking that even though she no longer had all of those gorgeous brown curls that she was still such a beautiful girl.

Taylor had many close calls over the last year....but both Taylor and her family along with many doctors and nurses fought for their ultimate goal. It was to get Taylor healthy enough for a bone marrow transplant that would give her a chance at a long and healthy life. Her little sister Connor agreed to donate her bone marrow for her sister. When I heard this I cried. This family had not just one brave daughter...but two. What a wonderful job Dan and DeAnne had done raising these strong and caring daughters and neither were even old enough to drive.

Finally in July of this year Taylor went to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. It was here that they hoped to get Taylor well enough to receive the transplant and the Heersche's were ready to stay however long it took. In the months that followed, the doctors worked to get Taylor's body healthy, to get her body to make it's own white blood cells and to get the leukemia down so that the transplant would be possible. DeAnne would keep everyone up on Taylor's condition through her Caring Bridge journal. There were times of great optimism where it seemed like Taylor had climbed the hill and it would be smooth sailing....but there were just as many times where you could read the fear in DeAnne's words. My heart would break for her knowing that but for the grace of God....there go I. There go any of us. Through all of this....Taylor had a steady stream of family and friends making the 3 hour drive back and forth quite often to visit Taylor. She looked forward to these visits as did her friends.

At some point....not sure when, her uncle began a facebook page called Taylor's Gang. Here he gave us updates and offered items such as t-shirts and bracelets to help the Heersche's fend off some of the medical expenses incurring. Periodically there were those that took up collections for gift cards and food cards so that Dan and DeAnne could step out of the hospital from time to time and have some "real" food. The community was pulling together for this family and through it all....we had hope.

Right here let me say that Dan and DeAnne are amazing parents. Since Taylor has been at Children's Mercy one or both of them has remained by her side. They usually switch off so that one is with Connor too. Trying to hold down jobs and take care of everyone is no easy task...but they seemed to make it work. They are phenomenal.

In the last month or looked as if Taylor might just get the bone marrow transplant. All seemed to be working in that direction although she had some set backs. I would watch carefully for the updates and smile and thank God when the news was good and shed some tears and pray harder when it wasn't.

Last Wednesday evening Z came into my room looking ashen saying he had gotten a text that Taylor was not expected to make it through the night. I was stunned because the last posts had been so positive. I got on fb to find that indeed....Taylor's respiratory system was shutting down and they did not expect her to be here come morning. Taylor's body was simply no longer strong enough to fight.  She knew though and she was not afraid. She told her parents she was ready. How can a child have such faith? I was amazed. Prayer chains were popping up everywhere....not just in our little town but all across the country. I could not sleep that night and every time my phone went off with messages....I was terrified that it would say she was gone.

Amazingly.....Thursday morning came and she was still with us. She was alert and kept her parents both entertained and updated on what she wanted when she was gone. I had to leave to take David to St. Louis that afternoon and I said a silent selfish prayer that Taylor would hold on at least until I got back. I didn't want Z to have to deal with such a loss on his own. That night the MHS football team dedicated the game to Taylor. There was orange everywhere (orange is the color of leukemia awareness) and they won (39-0) I believe. There were tears and prayers and it was all for Taylor.

Friday...Taylor was still here. A group of her closest friends went to KC to say good-bye. Taylor visited as long as she could and I imagine the room was full of both laughter and tears. I know it was a bitter sweet moment for all involved.

The weekend came and went and still she held on. I remember thinking how amazing this was. Her mother put out a request that people NOT pray for her recovery...for they knew that was not to be, but she asked that we pray that Taylor make a peaceful transition from this world into God's loving hands. Again I was amazed as DeAnne's journal would tell of Taylor waking up morning after morning thinking she would be with God...only to find out sadly that she was still here. What amazing faith this child has and how tired her little body must be. More and more thoughts were going to her parents. How hard this all must be for them. I couldn't even imagine being in their shoes. Many times in this last week I have cried thinking of how difficult it must be for them to let go of this precious child. Their faith must be tremendous.

At some point DeAnne wrote that Taylor had basically planned her own funeral. She had picked her music, the place and she was leaving specific instructions on what she wanted from those in attendance. There would be no dress clothes. She wanted everyone in either orange or Taylor's Gang t-shirts and jeans. She wants this to be a celebration of her life and not mourning of her passing. Wow! Fifteen and knowing all of this. Being able to plan all of this. Again I use the word amazing because there is just no other word fitting enough.

Sunday night DeAnne posted that on Monday the doctors would be in to re-evaluate Taylor. She had already lived days longer than they expected and although she had kind of drifted in and out from time to time and seemed to be seeing people that others could not see...she had stayed alert and carried on many conversations with family and friends. People began to speculate hopefully that maybe this wasn't the end. Perhaps there was a miracle in the making. My thoughts were that God's will would be done...but not until Taylor had accomplished all that she had to do on this earth.

Monday we got the word that Taylor was coming home! After the doctors met....they still felt that Taylor was not to survive this particular journey and that soon she would succumb to respiratory failure, but for whatever reason she was still here and she wanted to come home. It was decided that they would bring her home to be with family and friends today. This town was excited. When news got out that Taylor was coming home....fb was alive with activity. There were plans of lining 2nd street with orange ribbons, signs and the entire town wearing orange ready to greet her. Tonight's football game would also be dedicated to Taylor and it was expected that there would be a sea of orange in the stands. Word even got out to the rival team and many of them too pledged to wear orange for Taylor. As I saw all the excitement of Taylors return flooding fb and the many plans being made....I felt my heart drop. Without thinking I turned to Z and told him that I didn't think she would make it back. I don't know was just a horrible feeling I got.

This morning as I was trying to function in spite of a major headache....I got on fb to see that plans were still being put together for Taylor's homecoming. As definite time had been given but things were to the point that they were ready as soon as the word was given. My cell phone rang and I almost didn't answer it because I didn't recognize the number. However when I did...I wished I hadn't. A friend of mine was on the other end telling me that word had come down that Taylor had passed this morning. I felt a stabbing feeling in my stomach. Since no official word had come out to fb about it...I sat silently and watched as the happy homecoming plans continued to be made. I hoped in the back of my mind that maybe this was just misinformation...but I knew in my heart it wasn't. When official word came out...the tears flowed. Taylor had slept peacefully through the night, started having breathing issues early this morning....and passed without every waking up. This morning....Taylor got her wish....she woke up in heaven.

Z was at school when the announcement was made over the intercom. He texted me and told me that the whole school was devastated. There were tears flowing from teachers, administration and students. The school was broken hearted. They/we had lost our Taylor!

As I have tried to wrap my mind around all of this, my thoughts have been all over the place. DeAnne has posted another post on Caring Bridge reminding everyone that Taylor wanted her funeral to be a celebration. What strength this woman has to continue carrying out her daughters wishes even after the unthinkable has happened. They are three hours away from family, friends and home (although I know they have some family and the support of the hospital staff who also knew and loved Taylor)...but now they must come home to bury their child. My heart breaks for them. But Taylor would not have wanted the tears. Taylor was so much more than her leukemia and in thinking about it....the leukemia was the way Taylor touched so many lives.

If you read through the messages from others on Caring Bridge and Taylor's realize that Taylor touched so many far beyond our little community. Taylor's bravery and strength taught family, friends, those who cared for her and even those who never met her but followed her journey.....about faith and living without fear of dying. To many Taylor was a hero! Seldom in life do we get to know someone that fights such a horrendous battle and continues to stay positive and faith filled. When you find this in someone as young as Taylor then you know you have come in contact with someone very special. This young girl single handedly brought together a community. She taught us all about faith beyond what we can see, feel and touch, and she showed us true grace in both life and death. Yes....Taylor you are amazing and I can safely say....your life was a miracle and in the hearts of everyone in our community and far will never be forgotten.