Monday, December 26, 2011

The Missing McStays

Scene: me, in a post-holiday coma in dark bedroom watching ID TV whilst the kids play their new Wii games down the hall.

The show spotlights the disappearance in SoCal of an entire family.  Poof!  Gone.

Dad, mom and two toddlers vanish in the night.  The last anyone sees of them is Feb 4, 2010, nearly 2 yrs ago.  Their white Isuzu 
Trooper is seen leaving their house at night, and the truck is discovered 4 days later abandoned 80 miles from their home in a US strip mall near the Mexican border.


Feb 15, 2010 they are declared missing.  That's 11 days from the time they are seen last.

According to the show, and reading online, there are many theories surrounding their vanishing.  Perhaps mom had dad killed and fled the country with the kids and a beau, or the family was abducted or forced to leave, or they simply "dropped out" of society, etc.  
Any one theory is plausible, and with the scant evidence a case can be made for any number of viable scenarios.

The thing that sticks with me is how can they be gone for 11 days before they are reported missing?

Sure, they live a carefree lifestyle and he owns his own biz and works from home, and I know those types.  They're on their own schedule and live life according to different rules.  But 11 days?  That's a long time for most anyone to be completely missing, especially a couple with a thriving business, two small children, and family living nearby.

If my hubby, our kids and I went missing, I wonder how long it would be before someone noticed?  How about you?  How long would it take?

I would say probably 2 or 3 days.  But different from the McStays, my hubby has a job and his boss would be concerned.  He would start making calls, or have someone come by.  The neighbors would just think we were out of town, so I doubt they'd notice we were unduly absent.  If I would fail to show up for a meeting with a friend, that would send up a red flag.  My absence on my social networks would be noticed.  We home school, so the kids wouldn't be absent from school.  I'm just thinking out loud here...

On further thought, maybe it would be more than a few days, maybe a week.  I'd say about 7 days.

This is interesting to ponder.  How long would it take for a person to be absent from life before anyone noticed?  Before anyone came by the house or called the police...?

Here's the link to the tv site:

Here the link to a blogger who is also interested in the McStays:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

John Steinbeck

Thanks to my sister-in-law I have Sirius XM in my car.  I happened upon a reading on the Book Channel of John Steinbeck's Sweet Thursday, his sequel to Cannery Row.  Here is a taste for you:

"Doc walked on the beach beyond the lighthouse.  The waves splashed white beside him and sometimes basted his ankles.  The sandpipers ran ahead of him as though on little wheels.  The golden afternoon moved on toward China, and on the horizon's edge a lumber schooner balanced."

What a delightful morsel.  I want more.  I want to read this--not listen to it--so I can savor the turns of phrase and re-read the little gems over and again.

This writing excites me.  It envelopes me into the story like folding sugar into egg whites of divinity.  It's an Edward Hopper painting set to words.

So, I'm endeavoring to read those Steinbeck novels that didn't make it into English class.  I wasn't sure where to start, and hubby said, start at the beginning.  Logical minds will do that.  I'm not sure I'm that logical.  Which will win out, my OCD or my right brain freeform?  

Something about Sweet Thursday is speaking to me now, so even though I have yet to read Cannery Row, I just may do that.  Or, doing so might nip annoyingly at my need for order.

More likely my library's book availability will determine the reading sequence.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fantasy Family

Do you ever feel as if you are the outside looking in?

I have felt that way my whole life.  Near Christmastime, I would drive along the narrow streets of Highland Park, TX looking into the cozy, candlelit windows of warmth in those beautiful brick homes and want nothing more than to be inside so I could also bake cookies in my kitchen while the kids and hubby played Scrabble by the fire.  As I drove along, I'd stare up at the dimly lit trees splattered with mistletoe admonishing God up there somewhere, and then, nearly hitting a parked car, I'd have to pull over and let the angry tears burn my face.

My parents divorced when I was young, and Christmas was never the same.  It was always a battle of who got me when, and where and when we'd open presents, have dinner or go to church.  No matter how fair I tried to make it, it would never please anyone.  Maybe no one could be pleased regardless, I don't know.  It wasn't something full of magical anticipation.  No holidays were.

I wanted what I finally have now, nearly 20 years later.  And, I thank God for this beautiful life every single day.  

Kitten and Hubby came back with a Christmas Tree today that she picked out.  It's a lovely tree, and fits perfectly in our small living room.  Maybe I'll bake some cookies tomorrow.  Maybe Hubby and the kids will play a game.  It won't be a fantasy: there will be bickering, and shouts of "no fair!" and Hubby will finally yell, "enough!" and the kids will probably walk off in a huff.  But, we'll get back together again on the couch to snuggle and watch a Christmas movie with popcorn.  

Rarely things in life will meet or exceed our fantasies, but that's because fantasies are rather unrealistic.  

When you're looking in through the window, you merely get a small detail of the entire painting.  The fantasy is perfect because the vision is only a fragment.  It's also not fulfilling.  Real life is much more expansive and enriching because you get the entire picture.  It's also sweeter, not for lack of, but rather because of the vinegar.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Rocket Man VW Passat

So, the new VW Passat commercial uses the song Rocket Man with "average people" singing what they think the words say.  It's funny, to be sure.

I had a friend who worked in the music industry in the 70s with people like Manfred Mann and Elton John.  While doing backup for "Blinded By the Light" he said that they asked the singers to purposefully mumble the lyrics.  They were supposed to make the words unrecognizable because the industry had found that they sold more "records" when people didn't know what was being said.  It added to the longevity of the song.  

In those days, only top 40 songs were played on the radio.  You couldn't find older songs played, they were "outdated."  So, we listened to the same songs over and over and over again.  It wasn't until the 80s that they started having specialty stations in the larger markets.

The VW Passat commercial hits on that bit of history.  To the Elton John words "burning out his fuse up here alone," (which, really, I have a hard time understanding the red head chick in the ad and had to look it up online) average peeps say things like, "burning out this useless telephone," and "burning up the room with cheap cologne."  Hilarious, especially for those of us who lived through it.

Who hasn't sung the wrong words to a song?  We all have.  I wish I could remember some of the lyrics I used to sing.  Really funny!

The only thing that strikes me in the commercial is that not one person in the commercial is old enough to remember Rocket Man, or care about the lyrics.  Still, it's cute.  Here's a link to the ad if you want to see it...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Welfare Affects Us All

I've known two people from upper middle class families who were open about being on welfare and receiving aid.  They both eventually got off it by going to school, one becoming a therapist and the other a nurse's aid, but the amount of money they received to help them through school by having the state slash their tuition rates to practically nothing, pay for housing and give them EBT cards makes me a bit uncomfortable considering how many people I know today who are in huge debt for student loans.  Especially considering their families had means. 

Read this blog post.  It will make you think.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Oyster Stew

One of my favorite holiday food traditions is our Christmas Eve oyster stew.  My father used to prod us to eat the oysters in mom's buttery broth by wondering aloud which oyster would have the pearl.  We all wanted to find a pearl, so we greedily filled our bowls with oysters.  Sitting around the festive table glowing with candles and our expectant faces hoping for a pearl was the best part of Christmas.  I believe that oyster stew sums up life perfectly: it's the hunt, not the prize that matters most.

Monday, November 28, 2011

OWS vs. Tea Party Part 2: Cohesion?

I was debating my liberal friend and we found out that we agree.  I'm a conservative so this was a shock.  She claimed that OWS (Occupy Wall Street) wants the money out of politics, banks reformed, and political monetary perks obliterated.  I agree.  But, is that what OWS really wants?

I'm a curious person, so I like to do research sometimes before I start sputtering at the mouth.  A friend of mine posted an article about OWS from the Guardian (yikes!) on fb and I decided to read it.  I went in with much trepidation.

Here's an excerpt from what the writer Naomi Wolf found OWS to be protesting:

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.
No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors.

I heartily agree with every point as written.  I'm a conservative, nearly Libertarian, Tea Partier who is now convinced there are stronger wills at work in our government and our media.

I've been screaming about a biased media for years now along with many loud Conservative voices.  Those on the Left have poo-pooed it.  But, alas, now the shoe is on the other foot.  The bias is against OWS.  And, I didn't think so until recently.

The media rushed in at first to gush and love up on the OWS protesters.  They were hailed as the Left's very own Tea Party.  But, the tides have recently turned.  The media outlets have been reporting that OWS doesn't have a cohesive message or vision.  News reports now shine light on the rapes, illegal drug use and filthy conditions, not to mention the "tax payer cost" of OWS.  Hmmmm.  I thought they LOVED the OWS crowd.

What happened?

When I read accounts of what OWS supposedly wants I find myself in agreement.  OWS is a Left movement.  Tea Party is a Right movement.  Yet, there is much that unites the two.  

Now, here I'm going to go a little crazy, and you'll just have to go with it.  Seriously, this is going to sound bizarre.

I believe that both the politicians and the media work in tandem to keep the Liberals and Conservatives mad-hot at each other.  They keep us at each other's throats for their personal gain.

Now, what would that be?

For the media, it's money and viewership.  MSNBC and Fox News can garner precious ad dollars by vehemently fighting the other side.  Plus, politicians have wooed the media the way the USC (Univ. So. Cal.) football program woos ESPN.  And, if there is Left bias, it's that the Left has done a better job of media manipulation.  I wouldn't call the media a State run institution, not yet, but the Right is catching up and when they do, then we'll all be in trouble.  What may be a win now for Liberals will soon be a lose for all Americans.

For the politicians, it's distraction.  If they keep the Left and the Right in war with each other then we can't see what they're doing.  What they're really doing.  We can't see the sweet backroom dealings, monies exchanging hands, their profiting from insider information, and all the other ways politicians increase their networths by utilizing public service for personal gain.  They keep us busy bickering over our differences while they've just made another cool million.

Here's the deal.  Yes, I'm prone to conspiracy theories, but I firmly believe that when you travel the money trail it will lead you to a culprit.  The lust of money is the root of all evil.  Follow the money and you will discover truth.

Please don't take my word for it.  Please don't jump to your own pre-recorded conclusions about what you know of the Left or the Right.  Please stop identifying yourself as a Conservative or Liberal for a few precious moments and do research on your own.  Stay balanced, stay neutral and see what you unearth.

You are more than a tag line for a political party.  You are more than a drone in a sea of people fighting for their chosen brand of justice.  You have an amazing mind that can move beyond the hype and the (pardon me) crap you've been spoon fed.  Step out of that box for a little bit and see what you can find.

Invest in yourself, your family and friends, and your country.  Partake of neutral, truth-seeking research.  Read both sides--no matter how painful.  Gather facts.  Look at data.  See what's really going on in this country.  It will probably rock your world.

Here's the link to the Guardian article:

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NBA: National Billionaire Argument

Let me be clear, I'm not a basketball fan.  I feel any game is only worth watching for the final 3 minutes, and then only if it's close.  My ire rises each March as my favorite news radio shows are shelved in favor of the sound of squeaking rubber shoes and bouncing balls on a wooden floor.  

So, I go into the NBA lockout debacle with at the least a disinterested demeanor.

I just finished reading an article stating that Americans are ticked off at the Billionaires squabbling with Millionaires over dinero.  Really?  In this economy, who would've thunk it?  (That's called sarcasm.)

The jobs lost, the paychecks diminished and the businesses affected by this money showdown display just how self-centered these princesses can be.  I'm personally disgusted that a vendor who relies on NBA games to earn his or her living has to now rely on foodstamps to get through the winter.

The players and owners only thought of themselves.  They never once thought about that man or woman who would suffer great financial setbacks due to the lockout.  They never once thought about that person making single digit percentages of what they make.  They never once thought of anyone but themselves and increasing their own bank accounts.

Ego runs our world.  Ego ruins our world.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Seek First To Understand

Thanks, Dr. Covey, that's a good habit.  Seek first to understand.

We need to understand, clearly and correctly, before we start bellowing into our own bullhorns.

I posted this excerpt from my last post on FB:

Sometimes it's easier just to use the old standbys.  We all have them.  An issue arises, say the death penalty, gay marriage, abortion, taxes, social programs, you name it, and we simply play the recorder in our heads.  We are firm on the issue and we speak our written script, dismissing the ideas of others and blockading our own ability to reassess.  

This can be good and it can be bad.  

It can be good because when we've made a decision on a particular issue, we don't waffle based on the latest or loudest argument.  We can stay firm in our most core beliefs. 

However, it can be bad because what if we need to hear a new thought on the subject?  What if we made up our minds on that subject in youth or before we had all the information we have today?  We are continually learning, growing, maturing, regardless of our age.  I keep telling my kids that learning is not just at school and it never ends; it's a lifelong process. 

People thought this was akin to inviting them to get up on their own soapboxes and tell me either publicly or in a private message exactly why they are "against" or "for" gay marriage, death penalty, abortion, etc. you name it.

Let me be blunt: I don't care.  My point was not to give my peeps an outlet for their preconceived ideas.  My point was exactly the OPPOSITE!  It was to make them THINK about the other side of the argument to which they so steadfastly adhere.

And, maybe, with a little THOUGHT and a lot less sputtering, we can all quietly examine our beliefs, core or otherwise.  And maybe that will make our beliefs stronger.  Or maybe that will open a door for us to join the other side that we've demonized for so long.  Or maybe it will only (but importantly) give us an opportunity to think a bit, to examine clearly and carefully our beliefs and why we hold them dear.

I had a friend who was adamantly for a woman's right to choose.  And, I was helping him become a Christian.  And, I didn't fight him over it, but I asked him to think about it because I believe that you cannot be FOR abortion and FOR the death penalty when God was pretty clear about the 6th Commandment: "You shall not murder."

My friend thought about it and came to the realization that it was his mother's core belief, not his own.  She believed in a woman's right to choose for very concrete reasons.  He understood that he was carrying HER belief, not his own, as a flag of honor.  In grasping that concept he was able to disown the belief and research his own views on the subject.  He came up with his OWN belief.  

I won't tell you what it is because it doesn't matter what side he chose, the important part is that he made up his own mind.  He spent time talking to his mentor and others that he respected and looked into what information was available on both sides of the issues.  Then, he came up with his own viewpoint.

And that's not to say that it won't change.  Or it should.  But it might.  And, is that bad if we're continually growing, learning and developing as we should?

The 24/7 news channels and explosive talk shows don't allow for examination of our beliefs, changes in thought, or adapting to new information.  The one who screams loudest wins!  The one who gets the audience on their side wins!  The one who has the most camera time wins!

We need less winners and more philosophers.

And, what we DESPERATELY need more of is quiet.  We can't listen when our mouths are open and a dozen people are trying to shout us down.  We need time to think, closed mouths to hear, and prayerful introspection of our core values to understand why we hold them.

Seek first to understand.  Gather.  Research.  Listen.  THEN, tell me exactly what you believe and why.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Sometimes it's easier just to use the old standbys.  We all have them.  An issue arises, say the death penalty, gay marriage, abortion, taxes, social programs, you name it, and we simply play the recorder in our heads.  We are firm on the issue and we speak our written script, dismissing the ideas of others and blockading our own ability to reassess.

This can be good and it can be bad.

It can be good because when we've made a decision on a particular issue, we don't waffle based on the latest or loudest argument.  We can stay firm in our most core beliefs.  

However, it can be bad because what if we need to hear a new thought on the subject?  What if we made up our minds on that subject in youth or before we had all the information we have today?  We are continually learning, growing, maturing, regardless of our age.  I keep telling my kids that learning is not just at school and it never ends; it's a lifelong process.

So, again this morning I was confronted with an issue of mine I normally dismiss.  I am against missionaries.  I know, I'm a heathen.  But, here's my reasoning.  I believe so much in "teaching a man to fish" that I believe that we should have missionaries teaching natives in-country to proselytize.  Not interlopers moving in and leading the band, but residents spearheading the process.  To me, missionaries should engage in only temporary, end-in-sight duties.

I have this fringe friend who is a missionary in Haiti.  Awesome barely begins to describe her and her family.  They are amazingly cool people with such strength and faith that it makes me melt.  And, they live in Haiti.  And they've adopted Haitian kids.  And they plan to stay there.  Haiti is home.

A few weeks ago they were robbed.  At gun point.  In the middle of the night.  Scary doesn't quite describe the terror they went through. I was like, get out!  Get out!  Get out!  And, they stayed.

Recently it's gotten worse there, and finally they made the agonizing decision to break up the family.  She left with the little ones, and he stayed behind with the kids who lacked travel papers.  They are separated, and to them it will be temporary, until things calm down in Haiti.  And, I'm thinking, yeah, things will never be calm in Haiti...

So, I struggle with thinking that they need to be out of Haiti, that they shouldn't live there, that they are foolish to put their children's lives and their own at risk, and yet simultaneously knowing they are making a concrete difference in God's children's lives.  I struggle with wondering how much of their own ego is tied up in what they do, how much is tied into selfishness of elevated status in church circles, yet I know they live in a hell hole there compared to here, that their lives are sickeningly tough and most of us would fail.

I struggle with at once holding two thoughts in my head: they are fools and they are saints.  

I do have to state clearly and emphatically that I do NOT struggle with praying for them, loving on them, giving them my good thoughts and highest hopes for safety and success.  I do all that willingly and with an open heart because I can rise above my issues to love on people.  We are all God's children. 

I struggle with my own conceptions, whether correct or false, regarding missionaries and their divine calling.  It comes to light with every crisis this family goes through.  I wrestle with my own thoughts on the subject.  And, please don't tell me to read a book about a missionary's account, because my problem with missionaries is not the people themselves.  Or the people whose lives they touch.  Or the wonderful work they do.  Or the sharing of Christ.  It's not the good they do, trust me, I can see the good works.

I struggle with trusting the ability of foreigners to make radical changes in countries where locals cannot or will not.  I struggle with the process and definition.  I struggle with thinking that missionaries are delusional in believing they can create a utopia in hell.  I struggle with the parental directive to ensure the safety of one's own children.  I struggle with Kum-ba-yah sung around a campfire and missionaries in Jehova Witness' skirts taking care of the "little black babies."  I struggle with a lot of my own prejudice against rigid church standards and freakish adherence to literal Biblical verse.

I struggle with loving people and not understanding what they do, and thinking they could be doing harm but since everyone supports them, then how can they be doing harm, and if any action saves just one person is it worth it, even if you lose everything else?


I struggle.  And, I pray.  And, I try to rethink my "solid" beliefs.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Movement vs. Tea Party Events

The Mainstream Media is simply going Lady GaGa over Occupy Wall Street (OWS).  FINALLY, they have their own Tea Party-ish movement to blather on about and gush overtly over!  Talk about hormone-crazed teenagers running amok with few facts and misplaced bubbling excitement--oh, I'm talking about the press here, not OWS.

The title of this post is a conundrum, you can't really categorize OWS as an organized movement like the Tea Party.  

Really, the Tea Party is a group of people coming together with a united goal of smaller government intervention.  It's many people with a central idea using organized public events to make a point.  

While, OWS is an organization, specifically an offshoot of ACORN, gathering a group of people to do their bidding.  In other words, it's a few people with some central themes corralling the useful masses to their own end.  

Tea Partiers have events, OWS'ers sleep on the street.

I can see where the Mainstream Media are so confused.  They don't understand that Tea Party Events END.  They have start and finish times.  They have a central theme.  They have organized speakers with stages and microphones.  The audience leaves no trash.

OWS goes on and on.  It has no end.  There is no central theme, no focus.  The only organization are buses provided (by an ACORN offshoot) to take them to another site when necessary.  There is no stage, only the loudest bullhorn of the moment.  The OWS'ers wallow in their own trash.

Yes, that is very confusing to the press that would prefer the two be equal, just different sides of the issue.  

The Tea Party and OWS are not equal.  They cannot be correlated.  One is a political movement, and the other a media circus.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Herman Cain Sexual Harassment Scandal

If you were an adult in the business world 20+ years ago, then you remember the insanity of "Sexual Harassment."  It was crazy.  If you were a man you remember the fear.  If you were a woman, you remember prickling at every whisper, picture and joke.

I remember what it was like all those years ago in the heady days of sexual harassment allegations against every deep pocket in America.  

We trained staff, we held seminars, we assumed guilt before innocence, and so many top heads, eager to get their names out of the newspaper or off the water cooler radar paid off their "victims" replete with non-disclosure contracts rather than fight their innocence.  All a man had to do was sneeze and a woman desiring a little more spending money could sue and earn her way to a better car, a nicer home or a new wardrobe.  

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate that the girly calendars and off-color humor were eradicated from the workplace.  However, I also personally know of numerous bogus cases that did damage and resulted in ill-gotten gains.

Herman Cain's "scandal" isn't so much a scandal as it is a time capsule.  How can we continually judge people in the past based on current knowledge?  

Herman Cain may be guilty or may not be guilty of something.  It doesn't matter.  The debate was settled decades ago to everyone's satisfaction, and unless THERE IS A CLEAR PATTERN of bad behavior since, then we need to put this issue to bed.  Um, but not in THAT know.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Scam

So, you're mad at the bank that loaned you the money to overspend on education loans to get a worthless degree?


Let's remember who's at fault.  There are two bodies at which to be mad, but neither is a Big Bank or Financial Institution.

#1 YOU!  You signed the documents.  You initiated the loan.  You assumed the debt.  You are to blame.

#2 UNIVERSITIES!  They came up with worthless degrees that do not correspond with actual workplace jobs.  If your degree comprises the studying of social issues then your chances for working at a competitive wage are not only diminished but may be non-existent.  Companies want real degrees with real purpose.  They want laser beam focus of curriculum related to job duties.  Universities hand out pieces of graduation paper but do not give direction for acquiring post-degree employment.

Let's put the blame where it firmly belongs, with the people doing the most damage: Students taking on enormous debt without thought to how they will pay it off, and Universities designing curriculum with little regard to the actual needs of employers.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Back After Summer Break, and Scared for the USA!

Well, here I am back after a lovely summer break...

And, I'm scared.

I'm scared for our country.  I see the protests in Greece and the rioting in London and I wonder when we'll sink to that level.  We're on our way there, you know.  

Here's the problem: government cannot support people, only people can support people.  Programs can't be the answer, people have to be the answer.  

We have trained a generation of workers here, and for a longer time in more Socialized Europe, that you don't need to strive, or work hard or worry about falling through the cracks because the government will support you.  They will "come along side" you and offer a hand up.  Only problem is that "hand up" turns into a "hand out" and pretty soon a temporary safety net turns into a permanent benefit.  And that permanent benefit morphs into a "right" and then, near the end of it all, when people feel their "rights" are being taken away from them, they fight back.

That's what's going on in Europe.  That's what's going to happen here.

There is no way to prepare for it.  Our politicians are useless.  Both sides of the aisle proved that when they threw the needs the United States as a whole into the trash bin and got us a AA+ credit rating, the first time in history the USA hasn't been a AAA+.

The Dow is falling.  Again.  Any gains yesterday were lost today.  Minutes to the bell and it's down 500 pts.  Your IRA and 401K and stocks are worth less and may soon be worthless.

I have friends hoarding food.  I have friends burying ammunition on their property.  I have other friends screaming for union rights and socialized medicine.  I think the grocery stashers and arsenal diggers may be more sane than my Liberal friends who can't seem to see reality no matter how clearly it's spelled out for them.  I am ceasing to feel sorry for my Liberal friends, whom I truly love, I really do (!!) but they are beyond misguided...they are blind.

Even an agenda-pushing press can't sugarcoat what's happening.  Liberal Socialist policies cannot work.  People have to work!

So, I'm scared and waiting.  Waiting to see where it hits here first. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Free Speech is Dead on College Campuses!

Click Here: Banning Conservative Speech, But Not "Free Speech!" Harumph!

Check out this link above.  You will amazed at the double standard on our college campuses!  The kids and profs rally to sign a petition banning conservative talk show hosts while proclaiming they support Free Speech.

Many of us have been saying this for a long time, that this is what students are being taught: Free Speech is only acceptable when it's "approved" speech.  Differing points of view are simply not recognized as Free Speech.

Liberal points of view are the only acceptable Free Speech allowed, and anything that goes against Liberal thinking is not only wrong, but should be banned.

We are headed down a very sad road.  I'm sorry to say that the Thought Police have grown generations of intolerant Liberals.

Conservatives have a simple view: build up their fellow man.  Liberals have a simple view: prop up their fellow man.

Now, why must we ban Conservatives who wish to promote self-worth in our fellow man through hard work and ability to succeed?  

I wish more people understood the "teach a man to fish vs. give a man a fish" proverb.  We really would make this country great if we lived by this.  And in doing so, we would have ample resources to share with the world, and then build them up as well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mucking Things Up!

Economists Timothy Conley and Bill Dupor are out with a study on the impact of Obama's $800B Stimulus Package.

Results in a nutshell: The pkg created or saved 450,000 government jobs, and forestalled or destroyed 1,000,000 private sector jobs.

Have you read Ayn Rand lately?

We are headed down a path of destruction for this country if we continue to hire people in the public arena and don't foster job growth in private industry.  

The Department of Labor noted that 244,000 jobs were created in March 2011.  The Meeedia (and I use that term with much sarcasm) called it "surprising strong" and "better than expected."  HA!  Robert Reich the noted economist has said that the US needs to add 300,000 jobs every month for five years (that's 5 yrs!) just to get unemployment under 6%.

The problem is that Americans need to look at facts not talking points.  We need to look at numbers not politician's smiling faces.  We need to look at statistics and real data not simply tow our political lines.

I am disgusted with BOTH parties right now, Republican and Democrat because the politicians' focus is on their mirrors not on us average Americans!

We need MORE than a Tea Party movement.  We need a Bi-Partisan Movement Enacting Term Limits to get these career politicians out of their plush arrangements and get some real workers in there to do what's best for ALL of us!

Unfortunately, they keep us at war with one another to distract us into thinking we need to WIN!  We have to beat the other side.  Our side is best!  Our side rules!  We won the election!  We're on the winning team!

But, it's just distraction.  So, we don't see what their left hands are doing.

Friday, May 6, 2011


Anna's class for our homeschool co-op was to be on stage to sing a song.

Anna: I have stage fright, I'm not going to do it.
Me: Oh, mommy and daddy will be disappointed not to be proud of you on stage. (Yes, parental manipulation!)
Anna: Well, maybe I could close my eyes.
Me: That sounds like a good idea.  You do it if you want to.  (If I manipulate them into something, I always offer an out.)

So, she was up on stage last night singing her song.  And, we were proud parents.  Who forgot the camera, but took pictures in our minds.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Purging can be freeing and wildly difficult. 

I'm getting rid of stuff that's become clutter but it's hard.  With many items I have to break the emotional bond I've created with the piece in order to sell it, give it away or simply toss it.  If you're like me, you understand, you have a connection with a coffee cup or a desk or a figurine, and it's real and tangible like a relationship.

With some things they're easy to keep, the desk my grandpa made in the 1920's, or my grandma's chocolate set.  Things I really can't find a place for in my home, but, man, to get rid of them would be pure sacrilege.

Other stuff I just like.  The great lines on a piece of furniture that takes up valuable square footage in my smallish house.  And, some things to which I've just grown accustomed.  They've always been around, and so they will continue to be around.

But, I need to make some major changes.  The liklihood of us moving are dimmer and dimmer.  So, I need to really make this place my home, not just my 5 year house where I store my stuff until we move.  (Which is how I've been living for 8 years now.)

I'm purging.  And, fretting about purging.  And, trying to figure out how to get rid of this stuff that I've accumulated and no longer need or use.  It starts with cutting the emotional bonds I've made with the things.  I need to set them free so I can be free.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beach House 2006-2011

They grew up here...

The kids at my parent's Beach House, April 2007.

Our last trip to my parent's Beach House, April 2011.

A lifetime of memories.

I think it's interesting that the first pic was taken in the early morning, and the last pic was taken in the evening, just before dinner.  In one, the Beach House was new to us, full of hope for many fun vacations and special times there visiting Grampa and Gramma in the upcoming the years.  You can see the early pink sky and pale light cast on the pond while the kids, wearing their pj's, watch the sea birds come to eat their breakfast fish.  In the other, you can sense the day ending.  See how the kids are drawn together, touching at the shoulders, leaning into one another, expressing a closeness to each other and their surroundings.  Long shadows dominate the scene as the sun makes it's way westward mimicking our goodbye. 

And, the bright sunny days on the beach fade off into the sunset.

Thank you, Grampa and Gramma for many wonderful years and a lifetime of memories!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Biker Dudes and Rich Old Broads

I've always had the ability to befriend just about anyone.  I don't mean that in an egotistical way, I mean I just don't "have a problem" with too many people.  I could be friends with nearly everyone. 

Of course, "nearly everyone" doesn't necessarily want to be friends with me. 

I used to be offended by that, but then I realized that most people have standards.  I don't have many standards when it comes to other people.  I'm fascinated by the differences in all of us.  However, mostly people want to hang out with those who are like them.  They like similarities not differences.

To each his own.  But, I also feel sorry for those people.  I mean, what fun is it to hang out with carbon copies of themselves?  I wouldn't want to spend time with a clone of me.  I'm not that interesting.  Maybe that's why "nearly everyone" doesn't want to be my friend--ha!  And, I'm okay with that, but give me a rich old broad, a biker dude, an uptight accountant and a pitcher of Margs and I'll show you the best night of your life.  

Maybe I--and others like me--are not the abnormal ones.  Maybe if more "nearly everyones" just eased out of their comfort zones and befriended someone totally different than themselves, they'd discover that we're really not so different.

My husband quoted Shakespeare last night (yes, gasp! in and of itself), but I noted that the line he spoke was written over 400 years ago, in English, and it's still true today.  Human experience is universal.  Sure, our packages, our expressions, and our demeanors are different, but we still love, laugh, grieve and seethe.  

Humans are the same wherever they may be, and no one is better than another.  We are on an equal playing field, and if some of our species wants to pretend that they have something that lifts them above others, whether it be race, religion, talents, money, position, power, or whatnot, then they are just lying to themselves. 

We are more alike than we are different.  Go ahead, I'd say to those people, stretch yourself, reach out to others, not to serve them (as in I'm serving the poor), not to experiement with them (as in I'll regard them but not interact with them), but to really see them.


Friday, April 1, 2011

Dysfunctional Friendship

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

Current Address: Funeral Home

I am quite troubled that it is easier to find an obituary of a long lost friend than it is to find a current address. 

Here's what happened.  Some old high school chums and I have reconnected on Facebook.  It's been a blast, and we're all about the same except for the wrinkles and a few extra pounds.  One chum, Vicky, kept asking where Becky was, and did anyone know what happened to her.  Search after search revealed nothing.

Then, just recently Vicky Googled/White-Paged/you-name-it Becky's name again and found her obituary.  I mean, WTF, right?  We tried and tried to get a hold of her while she was alive, then whamo! she dies and suddenly we can find her quite easily.  

The worst part of the whole horrific experience for me was that while reading her obit I found out that her brother, my friend, had preceded her in death.  Talk about a sucker punch!

Let's just say Tuesday night was not the best night of my week/month/year.

You think you're gonna have fun on fb, you think you're gonna meet up with old chums, you think you're gonna connect.  But, you aren't prepared for the other side of the coin.  You don't think about death with fb.  You don't worry about finding an obit.  And, I blame memory.

Memories of our friends remain static.  They remain today as they were then.  They were our chums, young and fresh, and we laughed and cried and went through puberty together.  We told secrets and knew that our friendships would never die.  We thought we would grow up and live next door to each other, and our children would play together and we'd have BBQ's in the backyard and it would be a freakin' 60's sitcom.  

But, life is different than a teenager can imagine it.  Teenagers lack the experience and realities of life to project what future will appear for them.  That's why Teenagers have such trouble.  They look like adults.  They act like adults.  They think they ARE adults.  But, they aren't.  Not even close.  They are still children, and they have unrealistic expectations of what life will provide.

In some ways, connecting with my high school chums has led me to think like a teenager while interacting on fb.  I've been cavalier.  I've been profound.  I've been angry.  I've had unrealistic expectations of others and our friendships.  And, I've thought that everyone just continued as they were in high school, as they were as children.

But that isn't true.  We all grow up.  We become adults.  We have lives and our lives take twists and turns, and we find joy and heartbreak in unexpected places.  And, we love life, and it's totally different than the life we imagined when we were young and fit into the smaller sizes.  But it's our life, and we make the best of it, wherever we are in this world. 

But then, some of us die.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Islam Means Fear

First, let me say that I respect other cultures and religions and I am following my Lord's lead in loving thy neighbor as thyself.  Jesus told us to do two things: Love God and Love People.  Simple, direct and not-so-easy to follow.

Okay, so that's my disclaimer.  I have disclaimed.

Now, let's get to it.  Here's my problem with Muslims.  It's not that they practice their religion.  I'm glad they are free to do so!  It's not that they worship Mohammed (though, I feel that's quite misguided given what we know about him).  I'm glad they are free to do so!  It's not that they want to remain in an enclave.  I'm glad they are free to do so! 

Nope, it's not any of those things.

Here's my problem: It's that they want to IMPOSE their religious views on me, and you, and everyone else on the planet.

But, say the Liberal minded, they're just like Christians.

No, no they aren't.

Christians proselytize, we mission, we share our religion with others and we speak out in a legal manner when we feel the need to exercise our freedom of speech. 

HOWEVER, we don't kill for Christ.  No one kills for Christ today, in modern society.  However, Muslims kill for Mohammed today, in modern society.  Muslims kill for not following their religious edicts properly.  Muslims kill for not adhering to Sharia Law.  Muslims kill non-believers.

But, say the Liberal minded, not ALL Muslims, just radical ones, like radical Christians.

Okay, let's break that down into two pieces.  First of all, quite FEWER Muslims are speaking out against the radicals than the number of radicals who are committing atrocities.  Very few Muslims will say that Sharia Law is wrong here in the US.  Very few Muslims will go against what is being preached to them in their Mosques.  They may or may not believe the radical teachings, but they stay silent while horrible crimes against humanity are committed.  We see it in the news everyday.  It's happening here in the US, and it's explosive in the Middle East, Asia and other parts of the world.  

Christians speak out against fellow Christians doing wrong.  It's part of our our religion to do so.  We must, according to our religion, keep our brothers and sisters on the correct path.  It's our directive.  BUT, and here's where some Christians get off base: it's only for fellow Christians

Second, radical Muslims are not like radical Christians.  One or two nut jobs killing one or two abortion doctors cannot possibly be akin--FOR ANY REASONABLE MIND--to the vast multitudes slain by radical Muslims. 

Question, you will be put in a locked room filled with all sorts of weapons. Your hands and feet will be tied, but not those of your companion.  You can choose one of two mates: a "radical" Christian desiring to convert you, or a "radical" Muslim who knows you don't believe in Mohammed.  Choose.

How could anyone think that "radical" Christians are JUST LIKE "radical" Muslims?

When I see the pig farmer in Texas harrassed by the Islamic group who knowingly bought property next to him, but now claim that the pig farm is offensive to their Islamic religion, I fear for our society.  Because I know that the press will sympathize with the Muslims, and that will impact people's perceptions in a negative way against the pig farmer.  (Who has had a pig farm on that property for generations!)

When I see Canadian and US judges allowing the use of Sharia Law in their courts, I shudder.  This is insane!  To the US judges I say, have you NOT heard about separation of church and state?!

If rational minds do not prevail in these issues, then we are doomed.  I'm not saying we need to disallow peoples' right to practice their religion.  They are free to be Muslims in the US.  They are free to be Muslim.  They are free to practice Islam.  I'm merely saying we need to be careful.  Islam teaches to "convert and overtake, or kill and destroy," and that should scare the living pants off of any rational thinker in our society. 

Unfortunately, in the name of PC and Liberalism, it's usually the Christians who are demonized.

They say Islam means peace.  However, I say Islam means fear. 

They control with fear.  (If you don't agree with them, they'll threaten you, your children, your family.)  They overtake with fear.  (They move in and destroy good societies with threats, coercion and domination.)  They silence the rational minds in their own religion with fear.  (If you speak out you're not a true Muslim, and you're a non-believer subject to the punishment of Sharia Law.)  They keep the Liberals on their side with fear.  (Fear of not being "accepting" or PC enough, fear of being biased, and fear of being aligned with the most hideous of creatures known to a Liberal: "Christian white guys.")

Islam doesn't mean peace.  Islam means fear.  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

What's Your Right Hand Doing?

It's so easy for us in the States to get wrapped up in "helping Haiti (or insert desperate country here)" mode of donating, and then somehow the cause becomes about Stateside communion with our friends during projects to raise money or distribute goods. Noble, necessary and beneficial, yes of course, but detached and luxurious in ego-satisfying congratulations.

And then Haiti (or other places where horror is met with hope from God and brave people working for Him), becomes a nebulous blob of undefined suffering, and is not spotlighted by an individual terror that cannot be imagined by people who fret about too much to eat and have too much time to pour into electronics instead of people.

It says in Matthew 6:2-4: “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."

I hate to sound a bit cynical (well, actually I love sounding cynical), but when all these groups get together to do their "giving" are they more concerned WITH whom they're serving than FOR whom they're serving?

Monday, March 21, 2011

Pig Farms...Again.

So, the notion of us owning a pig farm came up again.  It's simultaneously the absolute silliest and most sane thing I can think of!


We are blessed with a great life, but one of the hardest things is deciding what to do when we grow up.  

I'm tired of the corporate games and the mazes my husband has to navigate to bring home a paycheck.  It's really outlandish, and I serioiusly think that Middle Schoolers are more mature than most people in Corporate America. 

I have found this to be true at many jobs I've had through my various careers.  Your work experience will be singularly dictated by the Emotional IQ of your manger and fellow workers.  Sure, HR can help you out and there are legal boundaries in which everyone must remain.  Still, the psychological level of your boss and coworkers will almost solely determine the quality of your work week.

Ever worked for a boss who has a chip on her shoulder?  Ever worked with anyone who would throw you under a bus to save their own skin?  

Similarly, the good exists, yes, the people who make our lives better and we're proud and happy to call them our managers, our colleagues and our friends.  They make work fun. 

But, people don't stay in one place very long.  They move up, they move on.  As my husband says upon losing such great synchronicity: "It was a fair time."  And, yes indeed it was.  But it's over, and we have to meet new fellow employees.

So, the subject of pig farms came up again yesterday.  It's just a thought.


Writing for the Creator

Sometimes I really feel God reaching through me when I write. Sometimes the Holy Spirit directs my fingers on the keyboard or pops a phrase into my head. Sometimes it feels as if it's coming from outside me, like God is directing me as if I were onstage.

I haven't really thought about that much. I just take for granted that's what happens.  Maybe I need to think about it more.

Where does my writing come from?

Me, in anger?  Righteous anger, or belittled anger?  Envious and greedy, or loving and caring?

I think I need to think more carefully about why I write, and what I write.

When I was younger and the Internet was new and fresh, I found I could spew all sorts of nonsense out there.  There are no filters in emails or posts or chat groups.  And, before the Internet I could write letters, because that's even more detached.  It was just my keyboard and me, and I could say whatever I wanted based on my feelings and emotion at the time.

Sometimes the angry feelings would fade and I would be left with my barbed words on a page, in a document on my computer, or forever out there.

Sometimes the lovely feelings would come, and my heart would nearly burst with joy, and my words couldn't come out quickly enough to fill the pages that needed filling.  And I would search and search for perfect words, often finding them or a good substitute.  Then, more than a few times, I would be frustrated by lack of stating my emotion perfectly.

My thought now is that I really need to pray before I write.  To ask for guidance from God.  To ask for the Holy Spirit to move me in a way that is pleasing and doing His will.

That doesn't mean that my writing will mamby pamby.  Jesus showed us how to behave, and despite the stereotype he was no wimp.  He was strong and righteous and didn't back down.  People misuse "turn the other cheek" as it didn't mean what we think it means (I'll discuss that another time, and I probably already have earlier in this blog).  Jesus was powerful.

I will pray that God leads my written words, as well as my spoken words and actions. 

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Unions Are Irrelevant

Dear Wisconsin Teachers' Union,

I would get on bended knee and thank God for the deal at which you all scoff! My husband is a contract worker, which means we get ZERO benefits. No vacation days. No health insurance. No pension or 401K matching. Zip.

Unions are irrelevant for white collar workers. In the old days they protected coal miners' and factory workers' lives. Today, they protect middle class pocketbooks.

Makes me sick when I write my $900.00 check each month for health insurance for my family.

Oh, and my husband's Great Uncle John L. Lewis was a national union figure and I can tell you that his goal was saving lives and improving coal miners' working conditions. Unions were noble then--it wasn't about padded pensions and luxury insurance plans.

Sincerely, Cat Lewis

Friday, February 18, 2011

New Chapter

I'm tired.  I've been tired for weeks.  First, I got sick.  Then, my dad got sick.  Now, all the stuff with my dad is sinking in.

Dad was rushed to hospital on Super Bowl Sunday, and was in there for days.  I seriously thought we were going to lose him.  The reality washed over me at the time that he will die.  Maybe not today or tomorrow or next year, but in the coming years he will.

You always know your parents will go before you, God willing.  That's the natural state of things.  As a parent myself, I know that there is no greater pain on this planet than losing a child, it's not the natural order of things.  Parents go first.  They continue to lead the way for us, even in death.

And even as well all know this, we don't really accept it.  He's always been there for me, raising me when my mother couldn't, he was my father and mother combined.  He's there for me still to this day--with me being over 40 and he being over 80--to ask advice and lean on.  He's the ever-present rock in my life.

And, now that rock is crumbling.

When my parents got the FL house 6 yrs ago, it was magical.  We'd just moved to NC and so trotting down to FL to see them was easy.  Fill the SUV with our stuff, barrel 8 hours down I-95 and boom, we're there, we're beaching and we're reveling in grandparents.

But, now with my dad's illness, they have to sell the place because he can't travel and stepmom won't travel.  So, in the next month or two, they'll sell the FL place and head back up to IA one last time.  

And then, when we want to see them we have to buy 4 plane tickets...and travel all day in airports...and get up at the crack of dawn...and go through TSA checkpoints...and travel during slow times of the year because I don't do crowds...and...well, it's just a nightmare to think of how difficult it will be to see them.

And, I grieve the life we've come to know with them for the last 6 yrs.  I grieve being able to see them so easily.  I grieve the fun times we've shared at their place in FL.  I grieve the times we've been allowed to use the place, to have our own family vacations there.  I grieve the fact that my dad won't be playing golf, or walking on the beach, or zooming around town making business deals.

And, yet, I'm grateful.  I'm grateful we get to have him longer.  I'm grateful his mind is sharp and he's still interested in debating politics, religion and current events.  I'm grateful we can board a two flights and head up to IA to see him.  I'm grateful he'll have more time with his sweetheart, my stepmom.  I'm grateful that my kids know grampa and gramma and they are excited for our last trip down to FL this Spring.

I'm grateful.  And, I grieve.

The last chapter ended, it's time to start a new one.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

God's Will and Pig Farms

While we're dreaming about our life, things keep popping up.  Like owning a business (we did enjoy it before), moving, having hubby work in another industry, and starting a pig farm.

People who know me had to read that sentence twice.  WHAT?!?  Pig farm????

Yes, we're also attracted to organic farming.  I envision a multi-layered farm of organic meats, fish and vegetables. 

I know, we're city folk.  I know, we like to fine dine.  I know, we like to dress up.  I know, hubby owns a nice ride.  I know, we aren't really "get up at the crack of dawn and milk the cows" type of folk. 

But we could be.

We could be anything.  You see, that's how it is with God.  When He is behind you, you can do literally anything, any crazy, hair-brained idea that comes to mind, but with His blessing it makes sense.  It falls into place.  The pieces fit, and while everyone around you is scratching their heads, you just plow straight forward into God's plan.  That's why I don't mind dreaming large.

When I say large, I don't mean grandiose.  I mean endless possibilites with God in the driver seat.  With Him all things are possible. 

When He determined that I would leave my family and home in California and move to North Carolina with my hubby and 18-month-old daughter while I was 6 months pregnant and we had no home in NC, had not sold our home in CA, and I hadn't been in NC in well over a decade I said, "SURE!"  Because that's how it is with God.  When it's God's will, it works regardless of the circumstance.  There is peace and confidence in the decision. 

However, God also placed on our hearts to open a biz, which we could more easily do in NC than in CA.  We used our heads, we had prospects in NC for a biz.  You see, I never once questioned moving across a continent while 6 months pregnant, never once had regret or thought "we shouldn't do this!"  I just went with no looking back.  God's will is always clear, it won't be fuzzy or changeable.

God doesn't want us taking unneccessary risk.  God gave us brains and we need to use them.  Here's the caveat: God doesn't bless us JUST BECAUSE what we're doing is SO noble, SO generous and SO "Christian."  His will cannot be predetermined by our desires to be a good or godly person.  No matter how wonderful and giving our endeavor, we can't MAKE God bless it.  (Even if we think He should.)

We must be discerning in an earthly way to honor God's will for us. If He wants me to own a pig farm and run a pig farm, I know that my business savvy hubby will crunch numbers and if the numbers indicate that we can survive doing it, we can do it.  I know that we will learn the skills necessary to do it.  I know that we already bring things to the table to help us do it.  I know that God will bless our endeavors to do it IF it's His will.

Regardless of the venture, if we--or you, or anyone--can't make money and survive doing it, then it's NOT God's will to support your family, no matter how badly we want to believe it.  While God can make all things happen, He can also communicate His will to us through road blocks.  Not all road blocks are sent by the enemy!  Sometimes God is saying, "yes, child, this is a great thing and you will help many people, but this is not what I want for you."

In the mix of discerning God's will and using our brains, we also must adhere to our own natures and inclinations.  Those are desires He has placed on our hearts. 

Buying a Subway franchise might seem like a good idea, but do you ever wonder why nearly every Subway franchise owner is behind the counter making sandwiches?  If you like making sandwiches, that could be a perfect fit.  But, if you want a business that you can run, and hire people to work the shop, and you don't want to stand behind the counter putting pickles on a sub, then Subway probably isn't the franchise to buy.  

Do I want to slop pigs?  Maybe.  I grew up in Iowa where there are more pigs than people.  Do I want to make Subway sandwiches?  No.  No, I do not.  Do I want to open a prayer house?  Yes, yes I do.  Can I feed my family with my prayer house?  No, no I cannot. 

Unfortunately, at this point in time hubby and I have to expend our energies on endeavors that will put food on our table and a roof over our head.  Maybe down the line I can think of ways to give back like with my prayer house, but for right now we need to eat, sleep and wear clothing.

So, when looking at future endeavors, we need to determine God's will.  We need to figure out what inclinations God has placed on our hearts.  We need to think outside the box, but use our heads.  Then, regardless of circumstance, moving across a continent is an easy thing to do.