Last days of January…how are those resolutions? Hehehe – yea, same here.Actually I didn’t really make any resolutions because I have a horrible track record with them. However, I am trying something different, something I’ve never done before.I don’t remember where I read about it or heard about it, but it seemed easy after watching this, I thought I would give it a try.These are alfalfa and
Archive for January, 2012
If You Want To Know What’s in the Heart of a Presidential Candidate, See What He Does When No One is Looking
There is a video out there that tries to make a case for hating religion while at the same time loving Jesus. There is nothing necessarily new in that message, just the way it is presented is captivating and many people probably like it.
However, the message is wrong, because to say that we hate religion does not produce good will among men, and complete lack of religion never created a happy society.
Moreover, the author of the video does not understand that Jesus in fact established a church when he lived on this earth, and Jesus does not hate religion. If it is true that in the name of religion many atrocities have been committed, it is also true that many great things have been done because of religion. So, the problem is not “religion” but what we do in its name, and I think that the good things done in its name still outweigh the wrong one (but they are usually less glamorous).
The following video is a Mormon or LDS reply to that video, Why I Hate Religion But Love Jesus. I prefer this one
Religious Freedom Under Attack
David French, Julea Ward and Jeremy Tedesco celebrate new Sixth Circuit court victories. We applaud their tenacity and ability to present to a knowing judge the high stakes of the Michigan University case. Essentially, the team set out to reverse a trial-court ruling that essentially allowed Eastern Michigan University to erect a “no Christians allowed” sign outside its graduate counseling program. As French aptly remarks, “Had the university prevailed, students would truly have been at the mercy of ad hoc ideological demands reformulated as “curricular requirements.” We’re seeing this kind of reverse discrimination and depletion of religious freedoms coming at us from all directions, as more and more groups see themselves as constructs and laws unto themselves.
Another Win for Religious Freedom
Another recent 2012 key victory for religious freedom occurred a few weeks ago the Supreme Court unanimously ruled that religious organizations have a First Amendment right to choose their ministers — even in the face of federal nondiscrimination policies. This is a huge win–though the fact that it’s an issue contested shows where we’ve come in our understanding of freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, and religious exemptions.
In Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the court reversed the Sixth Circuit and ruled, even unanimously ruled, in fact, that the First Amendment’s Free Exercise and Establishment clauses bar suits brought by ministers against their churches for violations of nondiscrimination laws. This case “re-affirmed the exception as fundamental to religious liberty.”
At the ACLJ David French and others filed an amicus brief (along with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) in support of Hosanna-Tabor, which he states “was vital in maintaining a firewall against active government attempts to encroach into a church’s most sacred and vital religious decisions — the decision as to who ministers to the faithful”.
Learn more about religious freedom at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
Religious freedom is essential for a healthy society.
Attend a local meetinghouse.
Probably 99% of every military wife that reads that title, knows exactly what this post is going to be about. Why? Because probably every single one of us has either seen this game being played, been a victim of it, and maybe, just maybe been a willing or unwilling participant.
For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, instead of explaining it, let me give you a little example of how the game is played:
Woman who just send her husband off to basic training, posts this on her Facebook Wall:
My hubby just left two days ago, and I miss him already!! I am going to die for the next 9 weeks!!
Other Army Wife whose husband is deployed answers with this classic:
Well, just count your blessings that he is JUST in Basic… at least he isn’t deployed like mine!
And there you go! I like to call it the “Who has it Worst Game”. And these days there are so many playing it, that it is really hard to say anything about missing a husband for even a few days without someone piping up that basically, they have no sympathy at all for your situation and you should suck it up (like they do, apparently).
Now, I really don’t understand this game. I am not sure if it makes people feel better if they toss that one at another wife, or maybe sometimes they feel they are doing the person a favor by helping them get some perspective? I don’t know.
What I do know, is that that game is not fun, totally noneffective, and just plain rude. What I have found, is that it doesn’t matter if you husband is gone only for his weekend drill, or off to basic, or gone a month or even a year — the absence of a loved one, no matter the amount of time, is hard. It is just hard! And sometimes, the shorter times are a lot harder than the longer ones.
When Ben was gone for those 9 months, the first 6 flew by! I was mentally prepared for it. I knew he was going to miss all the major holidays (except Christmas) and I knew that I was going to be just fine. Then he came home for Christmas for 2 weeks and it was bliss! But when he had to go back for only 10 more weeks, I thought I was going to die! Those 10 weeks were WAY longer than the previous 6 months. Funny how those things work.
I usually have no issues when Ben leaves. Actually, I hate to admit this, but the boys and I make plans for when he leaves and we look forward to those one weekend a months that he is gone. Not because we WANT him to leave, but we prepare ourselves by planning fun things to do to keep us busy and have some bonding time. Even his 3 week summer drills fly by for us. Then this summer he is probably going to be gone for 9 weeks… we are totally on that one planning for some mommy-kid road trips to visit family.
I have even excepted the fact that he WILL be deployed in another 2 years or so…. and it will be hard, but I know we will be okay.
But once in a while, it’s just hard. And we military wives should be able to express that loneliness every now and then without being snapped at by another “well meaning” military wife.
The same holds for non-military wives whose husband’s have to travel for work. It makes my stomach turn when a wife and mother explains she misses her hubby who is on some work trip for a few days, and some military wife feels it’s her responsibly to put her straight: Well, at least he isn’t gone for a year and in mortal danger of getting blown up!! At least you will get to see him in a few days!!!
Then what gets me, is that they then run over to their military spouse support site and go off about how “civilians just don’t get it!”….
I think the problem is really with those type of people. Maybe they just can’t handle their situation well or aren’t getting enough “Oh you are so strong and amazing for doing everything without your husband” comments from friends. Truth is, as nice as it is to be complimented on something like that, I get a little embarrassed just the same. I do what I have to do, and I do it with the best attitude that I can. End of story.
So I am on a crusade to be a more understanding person — to break that stereo-type mold. To NEVER get sucked up in the “I have it worse than you game.” Instead of doing that, how about just trying to be supportive? It’s not as hard as you may think. I know sometimes it can be difficult when your husband is deployed and someone is ranting about how hard their life is because hubby is gone hunting for a week (or whatever), you feel that maybe they are being insensitive. Truth is, they aren’t TRYING to be rude. What is hard for some may not be for others. We as military wives have to get used to it (as used to it as we can really get, anyway), but lots of women don’t. We all have different trials, and if we want to really be happy, instead of sitting around feeling bitter towards people, we need to understand that it is different for everyone. We all have different life “callus’”, parts of us that are built up stronger.
To the wife of the man in Basic:
“Basic training stinks! It IS super hard, and was a hard time for us too. The no phone call thing makes it even worse! But you are doing FANTASTIC and you’re a strong woman! But if you ever need a shoulder to cry on, you know where to find me!“
(don’t say it will be over before you know it, because that is not true! Basic seems to last FOREVER!)
To the wife whose husband is on a business trip:
“Every night spend without the hubby is hard! We should have a movie night with the kids… that would be fun! I will bring the pizza!“
And to someone like me, that missed my husband on my birthday (even though he surprised me by coming home early):
“I hate it when my husband misses my birthday! It stinks! But don’t let it stop you from having fun!! Take the boys out to lunch or catch a movie or go shopping! You deserve it!“
Wouldn’t it be nice to kick this game to the curb, and be supportive, understanding, and loving instead? Do you ever realize that these people KNOW you have it worse sometimes? Do you know that they probably look up to you? That you may be their example of strength? Then keep being that example by being all those GOOD things I mentioned above, and don’t lower yourself for one second by playing “the game”… take the higher road.
PS Don’t forget to check out a few of my giveaways going on:
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Marriage and Family:
Meet the Marriage Killer
It’s More Common Than Adultery and Potentially As Toxic, So Why Is It So Hard to Stop Nagging? Nagging–the interaction in which one person repeatedly makes a request, the other person repeatedly ignores it and both become increasingly annoyed–is an issue every couple will grapple with at some point. While the word itself can provoke chuckles and eye-rolling, the dynamic can potentially be as dangerous to a marriage as adultery or bad finances. Experts say it is exactly the type of toxic communication that can eventually sink a relationship. Read more …
Adolescents From Unstable Families Lose Ground in Rigorous High Schools
Research continues to support a connection between instability in the home and school performance in adolescents, but a new study in the January issue of Sociology of Education takes the research a step further by exploring how the relationship between family structure change and adolescent academic careers is also affected by the kinds of schools they attend. According to study co-author Shannon Cavanagh, a professor in The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Sociology, schools vary considerably in terms of socio-demographic composition and “academic press,” measured by whether the school is defined by academic, achievement-oriented values, goals, and norms and by specific standards of achievement. Read more …
The New American Divide
America is coming apart. For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world–for whites, anyway. “The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people,” wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s. “On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day.” Americans love to see themselves this way. But there’s a problem: It’s not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s. Read more…
Learn more about the critical nature of families to society at the official site of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (inadvertently called by friends of other faiths as the “Mormon Church”).
Families are the fundamental unit in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Request a free Book of Mormon today.
I’ve watched the Republican primary battles with great interest. I follow presidential politics closely each cycle, and have been doubly intrigued to have prominent LDS candidates in the hunt. It has been interesting, of course, to see how the press and other candidates deal with Romney’s LDS faith.
This article which appeared in today’s Detroit Free Press (my local paper) caught my attention:
Mitt Romney’s run for president spurs interest in Mormon faith
It’s a pretty favorable story – as most stories on the church are in the Free Press. There’s a sidebar in the paper that also comments on Romney’s father’s faith and its role in his political career:
Mormon faith helped George Romney decide to run for governor of Michigan
It’s inevitable that the church will turn up in conversations about Romney. I think at the face-to-face level with friends, most church members are happy to help clarify issues of facts around the church’s beliefs, as the Free Press article illustrates.
Personally, most of the non-member associates I have don’t make a big deal (to me, anyway) of Romney’s religion. Many of them see Romney the way the media portrays him — as the defacto nominee who will win that nomination because of his business background and his superior campaign organization. The relative lack of concern about his faith may be a result of his father’s already having had a high-profile political career here, but I think it’s more likely that most people around here just don’t care.
Much thought has been given over to some recent events that have transpired. Within this process of pondering, due to my own personal spirit being grieved and the anger that needed to be contained, this time of contemplation brought forth … Continue reading
There comes a time when every child needs to get ready to enter the school system. It can be a daunting and emotional experience for many parents since their child will always be thought of as being ‘their baby’. Remember, though, that going away to school will be an equally frightening experience for them, too. Here, we will look at some tips to nurture your little one into being school ready.
Skills Your Child Will Need
Kindergarten has changed a lot since parents were in school. Back then, days were shorter (a maximum of 3 hours) and there was a stronger emphasis on developing social skills. Nowadays, parents can expect a full day’s worth of activities (up to 6 hours) including writing, reading and seat work designed to improve concentration, attention and other skills. These changes mean there are a lot more skills your child needs before starting school. These include:
- Motor skills such as throwing a ball, cutting, walking in a straight line and coloring.
- Being emotionally and socially ready — kids need to be able to work in groups and accept the teacher as an authority figure.
- Being intellectually and cognitively ready — your child needs to understand numbers, shapes, colors, understand similarities and opposites, and answer simple questions about his/her environment.
- Curiosity — your child needs to be eager to learn and investigate the world. They need to think independently and ask questions.
How Parents Can Improve these Skills
- It is important to make sure that the preschool or day care center is ideal for your child. Make sure you choose an environment which builds the skills needed for school, encourages curiosity and teaches learning in a fun and supportive way.
- Ensure the preschool is fully licensed, has a low child-to-teacher ratio so they receive a lot of attention, is open to visits from parents, and has experienced and educated teachers.
- Cut down on TV and video games. Take an interest in sports with your child and encourage them to be active. This will improve their motor skills and make them healthier, too.
- Create family nights and include activities such as playing board or puzzle games to develop team-building skills and nurture cognitive skills.
- Take advantage of municipal libraries. They have a great selection of books you can borrow. Make reading fun and ask your child questions to build their self-esteem and curiousity. Ask ‘What is that?’ and ‘What do they do?’.
- Be a good role model. If you are shy, for instance, pluck up the courage to talk to other kids’ at the park or preschool. Show your child that it’s okay to be friendly towards other people and how easy it is to make new friends.
- Talk to your child. Nothing will encourage their language skills more than actually talking to them.
- Ask relatives to buy fun and creative presents for birthdays and holidays.
- Eat healthily. A good diet is essential for growing kids. Keep junk food to a minimum and ensure there are plenty of fruits, vegetables and proteins at mealtimes.
What to Avoid
It is crucial to remember that every child is different. Everyone learns at different rates and are stronger in some areas than in others. Not every child will be good at sports, for example. Be patient and encourage them. Don’t shout or talk down to them.
This guest post was written by Claire Hodge, a mom of two and writer for AuPair.org.
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Lily is busy right now being fed for bed, so I am taking this opportunity to write in my journal. Being with Lily all day is the best. We went to church together and read stories together, went on a walk together and played and played. Oh, by the way, Cassandra and Emerson came along, too. It was great. Yesterday after they picked me up, Cassandra, Emerson, and Lily took me to a sea food restaurant for my birthday. We ordered the beach party plate which was full of crab, shrimp, sausage, potatoes, and corn on the cob. It was delicious! Lily sat in a high chair and gummed unopened packs of crackers. She had a great time. Eating scrumptious food while watching Lily be cute and jabbery was definitely a wonderful birthday gift. Everyone seems to be surviving at home which is good although Brian said his mom wasn’t doing so well today. I think he and the kids are going back there tonight to say hi to her before bed. Well, it’s almost time for bedtime. It’s been wonderful day, and the best part??? I have five more days with Lily to go!!!
One of the most critical aspects of writing is the ability to create interesting characters that develop and evolve within the story. I love creating characters. They become vivid and real in my mind, and I come to care about them deeply. Even the bad ones. They always have some backstory that led them to the place and circumstances the reader finds them in, and because I know their fictional “history,” I empathize with them even as I figure out how they will meet their date with eternal justice.
Where do great characters come from? Many of their physical and emotional characteristics are driven by the storyline–I make them fit the role I’m casting them into. But the small incidentals that make them rich and vivid often come from life–from people watching.
I love noticing small each uniqueness about people. I do look for interesting physical attributes, like stand-out hairstyles and “speak” to the world. But it’s the idiosyncrasies that flesh out a character and bring them from flat to three-dimensional in the reader’s mind. Things like curious speech patterns, make up application, a quirky walk or stance or habit like repetitive blinking or an interesting voice.
And I find true gems in the most ordinary places, for instance, today I was watching a gentleman conduct music. He was a burly man who I pegged as an aging athlete–probably a football player. He had tough guy written all over him, but there he was, beating out a four/four pattern, and I do mean “beating.”
His arm was tight and stiff, requiring the assistance of his entire shoulder to articulate the appendage into proper position. And when it swung it achieved more of a swoop, almost appearing as if a sword should have been in his hand, coming down upon a enemy’s head, or a large melon.
What I found most endearing about this sweet and willing chorister was the way he ended a musical phrase–not with a gentle circle, and not with the closing of a thumb and forefinger, but with an animated closing of his fist, as if he were clamping down upon a fly in mid-flight. You definitely got the message that it was time to stop singing and breathe in preparation for the next entrance.
His expression was one of pure joy. He loves directing the music! And he was very effective and easy to follow despite his stiff appearance. As I watched him I thought how he would make a perfect model for the saying, “Grow where you are planted.” Someone planted him in what appeared to have once been an uncomfortable post, and yet he rose to the challenge and learned to love it.
So today’s entry in my physical character list will be a stiff-armed ex-jock/chorister. And in the personality section I’ll describe a tough guy who was given an uncharacteristic assignment, who rose to the challenge and came off conqueror. Sounds like a noble character, doesn’t it?