39 is Far Too Many

The first thing I read in the news the other morning was about ANOTHER mass shooting. Another in California. California’s THIRD in as many days.

But this isn’t about California. It isn’t about all the recent mass shootings at Walmart. 

It isn’t about school shootings.

It’s about our country’s refusal to realize that something has to be done to stop this madness. 

And that doesn’t mean we need to license more people for concealed or open carry.

It doesn’t mean we need to arm our teachers in their classrooms. They’re there to teach, not stop a gunman from shooting their students. Or a student shooting other students.

We need to make changes in our gun laws. And we need to change our attitudes about guns, as well as our attitudes about mental health.

Yes. Mental health. Because these people who are committing these horrendous acts of cowardly terrorism are most definitely in need of intervention. 

In the aftermath of these horrific incidents it’s very often discovered that a majority of the perpetrators have exhibited signs of serious and disturbing emotional and psychological problems. Which unfortunately are very often being largely ignored by friends, family, or coworkers.

Could some of these massacres have been prevented if people had spoken up instead of turning away and ignoring what they saw? Possibly. But we’ll never know, will we? Because so many people just don’t want to get involved.

But maybe at least some more massacres could be prevented if people took more careful note of others around them doing or saying things, posting things, that possibly could be an indication of a problem, and letting someone know. But then again, too many people like to ignore such things, afraid of retaliation or retribution from others. So they stay silent, and when something happens, that’s when they speak up. 

After it’s too late.

But this does not negate the need for stricter gun laws. AND the need to enforce those laws rather than oftentimes look the other way when someone wants to purchase a firearm who doesn’t meet the criteria under the law.

And by all means, we need to pass a ban on assault weapons. No one needs them for hunting. They are weapons for war, for quick kills. Why does Joe Public need one? And don’t tell me it’s to defend his family, because there are other ways. Yes, the Constitution allows us to keep and bear arms, but laws are designed to regulate how that is done.

And yes, I understand that there will always be an element of society that will find ways to acquire weapons no matter what. And in that case, when they’re caught, we need the laws to be strictly enforced, with no plea bargains. And all rights to gun ownership resulting in a lifetime ban on future gun ownership or possession with harsher penalties for violation. 

And what about educating gun owners on the proper and safe methods of securing their firearms? Perhaps even requiring those who legally own a firearm being required to take a safety course every so often in order to keep that license to own a gun? Don’t we have to have our drivers licenses renewed on a regular basis? What’s the difference?

By now I’m sure many of you will have tuned out and think I’m crazy to suggest any such limitations in gun ownership. After all, it’s their right!

Well let me close by asking this question? How would you feel if your loved one was killed or hurt in a mass shooting? What if there were a shooting at your child’s school? Would you still think there’s no need for stronger gun control laws? Picture yourself getting that phone call or seeing it on the news.

My friends, it’s time to make our voices heard and come up with a solution to these problems. Before there are more mass murders. 

Even one more is too many. 

Overcoming the Victim Mentality

He did this to me.”

“She said that about me.”

“I was being bullied because someone said something that I don’t agree with and I didn’t like it. They’re making me feel like they hate me.”

“He told me I’m fat and ugly and don’t deserve to have anything nice.”

“Everyone picks on me. No one understands what I’m going through. They don’t get it. I’m always being picked on.”

“He/she deserted me for someone else and now nothing’s going right. It’s not fair.”

“Whatever I do or say, someone always tells me I don’t know what I’m talking about and makes me feel bad about myself. They’re always picking on me.”

Do these statements sound familiar? 

Does someone you know say such things all the time? Or do you find yourself saying them?

What do these statements all have in common?

They’re what you use to make yourself the victim in everything that goes wrong in your life. Because it’s easier to blame someone else for everything than looking at yourself and asking why all this seems to be happening.

Maybe you’re the type of person who just can’t be happy unless there’s something to complain about.

Maybe it’s easier to explain away all your unhappiness because it’s someone else’s fault. 

But when you keep repeating the same reasons over and over in every unhappy situation there’s a problem.

It’s your victim mentality. Because it’s easier to blame someone else rather than look inside yourself and try to figure out why this same situation happens time after time.

Maybe you don’t know any other way to be. And maybe keeping that victim mentality in its strange way makes you happy. Because it’s easier to keep complaining than move out of your comfort zone. 

There’s always an excuse. But what you don’t realize is, you’re the excuse, because you’re always playing the victim.

And if you don’t stop, you’ll never be the conqueror.

And isn’t it time for you to be a conqueror rather than a victim?

Remembering The Price of Freedom 2022

This post was originally published six years ago today, and updated last year as well. But it’s still very relevant today. So once again I’ve updated it to reflect Veterans Day, 2022.

The price of freedom cannot be measured monetarily. It is measured by the sacrifice of the lives of the men and women who defend it.

Today is Veterans Day. The day we thank all of those who have served and are currently serving in our military. Their bravery and dedication to duty is not appreciated nearly enough. They have a unique understanding of the ways of the world that we who have not served cannot begin to understand. And so do their families, who go for long stretches of time without seeing their loved ones.

To all of those who have served or are still serving, we owe you a huge THANK YOU for the time and sacrifice you, and your families, have given, and are still giving, to this great nation. You leave home and family behind far too often to serve your country because that’s your duty and your chosen profession. You and your families are invaluable to this country, although sometimes we do not show it enough.

Those of us who only read about our service men and women who are in-country, with “boots on the ground” honestly do not comprehend what these brave men and women face on a daily basis. We cannot begin to understand with they go through, how they feel, how lonesome it can be for them being away from everything that is “home” for them. We cannot understand what it is like for the wives, husbands, children, and other family member who are apart from them so long, only being able to share events through email, text messaging, and hopefully FaceTime or Zoom calls.

My father served in the Army during World War II, however, because of a bad knee that he had originally injured playing football in college, he was sent home with an honorable discharge and a knee brace.

My uncle also served, however, he did not get home until the war ended. He was quite fortunate. Although I do not know his entire story, I will relate what I know of it, because in my eyes, he was one of the heroes.

My uncle also served in the Army as a young man barely 18 years old. He was trained as a crewman on the fighter planes, and consequently sent to Germany, where he flew in several successful missions with his crew.WW2 Plane

The morning of the day he flew his final mission was most likely just another day. Clear skies; light wind; a perfect day for flying. I can imagine the crew loading the plane, going through their pre-flight checklist, making sure their parachutes were ready, and most likely cracking jokes and talking about what they’d do when they came back from their mission.

Flying over enemy territory was never safe. Most of us have probably seen movies of the allied war planes heading out for missions over Germany. What the movies don’t adequately show is the danger our men faced during each of these missions.

They didn’t have all of the sophisticated equipment in 1945 that our armed forces have now. There were no computers, no GPS; only a navigator with paper maps showing where they were supposed to be flying. There were gunners who fired their weapons without fancy electronics to assist them. They had to judge where to aim, and when to pull the trigger, based on what knowledge the officers and ground troops had been able to discern. It was much different than today. But they had courage, and a sense of duty. They had volunteered to serve, and knew the risks involved.

I’m not sure exactly what happened, but my uncle’s plane took a hit from a German warplane. Fortunately they were all able to parachute out, and landed in a wooded area somewhere behind enemy lines. They had only a few supplies, and had no idea where they were. And no idea whether anyone else had any idea where they were, or even if they were alive.

Shortly afterwards they were captured by German soldiers and marched to one of the POW concentration camps. Capture was certainly better than being shot, which I’m sure they were all afraid, would happen. As brave as these men were, just remember, they were all in their early 20’s, the beginning of their lives. They all wondered if they’d ever see home and family again. Over 93,000 men were held as prisoners in the German POW camps in World War II. They were held in drafty wooden buildings, with uncomfortable cots, and only a thin blanket for warmth. They were fed one or two meals a day, usually some type of thin soup and stale bread. Their only utensils were a tin spoon, and a tin cup for water. One day they were given a treat…candy bars which they quickly bit into. And then saw the worms inside.

My Uncle Fowler and his crew spent six months in that camp, guarded by armed soldiers and German shepherds. They never knew when or if the guards would come for some of them to question them, torture them, or kill them.

There are some experiences that are just too terrible to discuss because they bring back too many nightmares. My uncle would never discuss any of what happened, other than what I have written here; not with his parents, his wife, or his two sons. After his return, and until the day he died, he was scared of German shepherds because he had seen them tear hands and arms off of prisoners who were trying to escape.

Conditions were bad back then. Conditions in foreign countries today can be bad as well. Our servicemen and women go on patrol, not knowing if there are IED’s, car bombs, or snipers waiting to take them out. Seemingly safe and quiet areas can suddenly become battlegrounds and killing fields. Many of these brave men and women come back seriously wounded, disfigured, or with severe cases of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which can require years of therapy to overcome. And there are still too many times when these brave men and women come back home in a flag-draped casket that arrives at Dover Air Force Base.

Recently a football player compared his being away from his family for games that were out of town, away from their home stadium. The comment drew many, many cries of outrage, and rightly so, and he later had to apologize. He spoke without thinking. Because he has no clue about what our military families go through, or what their loved ones go through who are away from them in foreign lands. And that’s a sad commentary on our thought processes today.

So today, let’s stop and thank a veteran for all of our freedoms that we hold so dear (or that we don’t even stop and think about at all because they’ve always been there). They give up a lot on a daily basis, and so do their families. Without them, our lives would not be what they are today.

To all veterans and to those who are still serving, and their families, Happy Veteran’s Day. Thank you for your service. May God bless you all, and keep you safe.veterans_day_thank_you-1940983

Why Vote?

Today is Election Day. Mid term elections as they’re called, since the presidency isn’t at stake this time.

What is at stake, however is the future of how this nation will look in the years to come.

We are voting for each and every member of the House of Representatives. And there are 34 Senate seats to be decided; that’s 1/3 of that side of Congress.

Why should we vote? And why should we care?

Because if we don’t make our voices heard, others will. And those others can decide how the next two or more years of our nation will be run. You think it isn’t important?

It is, because our freedoms are at stake more than any time in recent years. There are people running who are promising to try and dismantle some of those freedoms because they don’t agree with them. But if you disagree with those running and don’t make your voice heard, or those who are already in office and trying to get re-elected, then don’t complain about how things happen.

Because if you don’t make your voice heard, your apathy doesn’t give you the right to complain. Yes, it’s only one vote, but if thousands thought like that and decided their vote didn’t count, think about the difference that makes. Apathy elects candidates as well.

Elections have consequences, and it’s more important than ever to go out and vote today and make your voice heard. I may not vote for the same candidate you do, but you have just as much right to vote for your candidate of choice as I do. And you need to do that.

You wouldn’t want to let someone else decide where you’re going to live, or where you’re going to work, or where you’re allowed to go?

Then why would you let someone else decide how your country is run, and who makes the laws that affect your everyday life and the lives of your children and grandchildren?

Our forefathers fought and gave their lives to give us the right to exercise our rights to have a say in our government by voting. In many other countries there is no such right, or if there is, it’s a sham, controlled by the government so that the people have no choice of candidates. Some countries have even killed those who had the nerve to go vote.

I remember the first time I voted, and how excited I was to finally be able to actually have a say in our nation’s government. And I have missed very few elections in those 50+ years. I believe it’s a right and a privilege too important to miss.

So please, sometime today, go cast your vote. No matter what the election deniers would have you believe, your vote does count. It’s valuable. And it’s important.

I’m voting. Are you?

Remembering – in 2022

This post was originally published six years ago, on the fifteenth anniversary of the day the world stood still. The day America was attacked on its own soil by terrorists from a foreign nation. But it’s still etched indelibly in our minds, and our hearts. So I have updated it for today.

It’s hard to believe it’s been 21 years, Just think of all the children and young adults today who have no memory of this atrocity because they weren’t even born yet, or were far too young to even know about it, except from history classes at school.

So many of us say “we’ll never forget!” But I daresay a lot of people have, or tend to push it out of their minds, not wanting to remember, because by remembering, it makes us think about our own mortality, our vulnerability, and we just don’t want to think about it.

So here is what I wrote 6 years ago on this day. I think it’s still very much relevant for today:

“I still remember so much about that day. The day all of our lives were changed, at least for a while. Some have already forgotten. Some remembered for a few years, and then as America rebuilt, their memories faded. Some even foolishly decided that it was all a publicity stunt and that it never happened. There are still others who claim our own government did this, and what’s more frightening, there are a lot more people out there now that believe it.

Why? Because i today’s age it’s so much easier to blame our government for everything that goes wrong in our lives. And to actually believe that our government could have been behind something so heinous, so devastating, something that resulted in the deaths of almost 3,000 people is just too ludicrous and ridiculous to even imagine.

But many will never forget. They can’t. They were there. Or loved ones were. They lost friends and family. Their lives will never be the same again.

I remember where I was when it all happened. How I found out. How I felt.

I remember that morning so clearly. Like many of us, I had just gotten to work, had just settled in with my coffee. Then I heard all the voices, the far-from-normal raised voices that are so atypical of offices on a Tuesday morning.

Like millions of others I stood in our break room, coffee in hand as it got cold, as I watched the events unfolding before our eyes. We didn’t know at that time what really had happened. It was all speculation. But we knew it was horrible.

Terrorism wasn’t a common word fifteen years ago. But one thing I remember clearly as we watched on that television screen was one of our employees coming in the kitchen, as the announcers spoke of a second plane hitting the other building, and hinted at the possibility the attack had been planned.

That employee spoke a name, in disgust. Bin Laden. We didn’t realize how right he was at the time, but in my heart, I knew as soon as he said it.

One man, so filled with hate. One man had set out to destroy our country.

He didn’t destroy our country. But he destroyed lives that can never be rebuilt. And that is what I choose to remember today. Those that gave their lives not because they were serving their country, but because they were carrying out their activities of a normal work day, and most likely already thinking about what they were going to do when that work day ended. They had left home that morning, kissing their loved ones…husbands, wives, children…good bye and never knew it was their last morning.

People also boarded four planes that morning. Going on business trips. Visiting families and friends. Going on vacations or honeymoons. They had no idea what was coming. Until they were in the air and their planes were all hijacked. They knew then what was coming, and except for one plane, there was nothing they could do. Except to call loved ones on their cell phones and say a frightened and tearful goodbye. Pray. And wonder what a sure, fiery death would feel like.

And what eternity would be.

For many workers in the towers that morning, their workday started normally and ended abruptly, and they never knew what happened until they walked through the gates of heaven. They were the fortunate ones. They didn’t even know they were burned into oblivion in an instant.

They had no time to be afraid. Terrified. No time to cry out to anyone, including the Lord. They were incinerated.

Imagine the sheer terror, frozen fear, and feelings of total panic which must have been going through the minds of those still alive in the buildings. Put yourselves in their places. How would you have felt?

Racing to stairwells that were already filling with smoke, filling with other terrified people, running for their very lives and not knowing if they’d make it. Not knowing if they’d ever see their loved ones again.

Jumping out of windows, knowing they were only escaping one kind of death for another.

Making what they knew were final phone calls to loved ones and trying to express their feelings in a short thirty second message. Facing their final minutes of life on this earth, wondering what was next? What kind of pain? Wondering if they’d be mourned or forgotten? Knowing they’d never see their children grown and married, never see their unborn baby’s smile or hear its cry? Knowing they’d never have a chance to do all the things they’d planned for their future?

There were also many unknown heroes that day. Those who helped carry wheelchair bound coworkers down stairs when they could have left them behind and saved themselves. Those who helped coworkers down the stairs who just couldn’t walk anymore; who were too exhausted and scared. First responders who never hesitated to run into burning buildings, knowing the risks involved, but knowing they had to try. If they could only save one person…. Many of them perished as well. But they knew the risks and elected to do what they knew they had to do. Others came days later to volunteer to help the survivors, and many of them died years later from breathing the air that was filled with the ashes of the dead as well as the ashes from the burned buildings.

We’ve all heard the story about the heroic passengers on that plane which crashed in the field in Pennsylvania. They knew they were going to die as well, but chose to spend their last moments trying to prevent even more catastrophe by causing the plane to plunge into a field instead of a building. They sacrificed their lives, which were going to be ended anyway, and chose to do what they could to save others by preventing that plane from killing so many more.

As we remember what happened 15 [now 21] years ago we must remember not only what happened to our country, but more importantly what happened to almost 3,000 individuals that day. And to their families. The lost husbands, wives, children, mothers, fathers, and friends. The weddings that never took place; babies that were never born; marriage proposals never made; books never written.

For those families not a day goes by that they do not feel their loss; that they do not remember the price innocent lives paid for another person’s hate.

On this anniversary of September 11, please remember not only what changed our country, but the families who will forever be hurting from that unprovoked attack. Our prayers can never take away your pain.”

Please remember them. Today, tomorrow, next month, next year. Because their friends and families still remember every day.

My Mind is Made Up

Don’t try to confuse me with the facts.

My uncle used to say that all the time. Jokingly, of course, when people said really outrageous things that rational thinking persons would never believe.

Isn’t this what we have going on right now?

We want to believe something that we’ve heard because the person saying it is a hero figure of ours. No matter what we’re told, no matter what facts were given, we KNOW for a FACT that our hero figure is 100% correct. 

It doesn’t matter that the so-called facts have been certified time after time to be untrue.

Truth obviously doesn’t matter to so many people these days because they want what they believe to be true. No matter what. And they’ll keep searching so-called news reporters until they find someone who agrees with them. It doesn’t matter whether they quote facts or not; it only matters that their views are confirmed by others whose ideas are the same as theirs.

“My mind is made up. Don’t try to confuse me with the facts!”

Conspiracy theories are rampant. It doesn’t matter that they’ve been shot down by the courts; that there’s no credible evidence whatsoever to back up their ideas. As long as there are one or two other people out there spouting these unproven theories, people are always ready to believe them, because they just refuse to believe the truth.

One day, they say. One day everyone will see the truth (as they believe it).

What has happened to critical thinking? To reasoning? To looking at all viewpoints and all of the credible evidence and making an informed decision based on facts rather than theory and conjecture?

I guess it’s easier to believe what we want to believe rather than look at the evidence and make a decision based on facts rather than theories and ideas presented by people with a set agenda rather than with a desire for truth.

Open minds lead to educated discussions and truth. Closed minds only bring dissension and chaos. 

Which are you a part of?

Looking Back to 1776

It’s the 4th of July. Known also to most of us in this country as Independence Day. 

And no, I’m not talking about the 1996 movie in which aliens invaded the earth to destroy it. Although sometimes I do wonder if we have some aliens here already masquerading as politicians, but that’s a debate for another time.

Today for most people in our country is a day off. A day we use to celebrate with cook outs, beach or pool or other backyard parties, flying the American flag if we have one, and then ending the day either setting off fireworks or crowding into parks and other areas to watch firework displays put on by whichever city or town we live in.

Sometimes we even remember why we celebrate this day. 

But I don’t think enough of us, and I’ll include myself, really stop to think why we recognize this day as being important in the history of our nation. Because we’ve known nothing but freedom in this country for our entire lives. We don’t stop to think about how hard fought that freedom really was.

Our nation was founded on a concept of freedom from tyranny, from another country that wanted to make those who came to these shores to begin a new life continue to live their lives under that country’s rule. 

And after a while, the colonists decided they’d had enough, and it was time to separate and form a new country. And they did. They risked their lives to start this country, to set in motion their dreams for a better life for their families and future generations. And they succeeded.

Now here we are today, some 246 long and challenging years later. 

And I wonder what the men who started that revolution, who dared to defy a then-mighty country who controlled those 13 little colonies…I wonder just what they’d have to say about our country today.

I dare say they wouldn’t begin to recognize what we’ve become. A nation united now becoming strongly divided between two political parties. Between two sets of ideas for what this country should be, each side with basically no respect for the other.

In the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”

Most likely they’d say our government has become too powerful; too over-reaching into our daily lives, and trying to control too much of what we do and how we do it. There are too many laws, both federal and state, which attempt to restrict the freedoms they fought so hard for.

And definitely too many politicians running the governments who are only out for themselves instead of the people who voted them into office. Too many egos saying what people want to hear, getting into elected office, and then going along with whoever can help them make the most money and get re-elcted.

I think the founding fathers would be appalled. And I wonder if they wouldn’t try to maybe start another revolution of some sort to get us back on the right track?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. It’s not perfect, but it’s so much better than most of the others. 

We’re allowed to speak our minds when we don’t like what’s happening; many other countries don’t have that luxury. But we don’t have the right to riot, burn businesses, and use guns to kill those who disagree. Which is now happening far too often.

What would the founding fathers think of us now? They didn’t envision career politicians running this great land. They wanted everyday people to make those decisions. That’s not happening now.

Today let’s take a bit of time to reflect on what this day means, and what we can help do to get back to some of the basic ideas this country was founded on. 

I don’t know exactly how, but if all of us actually start to take the time to think about it, maybe we can accomplish something…at least for our children and grandchildren and all of the other future generations.

Thank about it. And have a safe and happy Independence Day!

50 Years is a Long Time

Last Friday the Supreme Court overturned a ruling made in 1973 that made it legal for women to have the right to an abortion. I remember when that original decision was handed down. With a lot of protests from both sides of the issue, just as we’re seeing now.

During the years preceding the original Roe decision there were countless protests in the country for the same reasons we are having them now. Two very different and angry sides on this opinion that now, after another set of judges interpreting the same document, have decided that this medical procedure is not protected under the Constitution. 

Can someone please explain how fifty years ago the justices decided the law one way, and how suddenly those other justices were wrong and THIS is the way it’s supposed to be? And will another set of justices change it again in another fifty years? Do we have to wait that long?

Now the individual states are again free to enact any laws they wish restricting this medical procedure, up to the point of criminal charges against both the woman and her doctor for performing an abortion.

Some are even suggesting the death penalty being a possibility for being found guilty. You say that couldn’t happen? There will most likely be instances in which it is tried. Which will take us back to the Supreme Court once again, and who knows how they would rule now?!

Now don’t get me wrong with what I am about to say. Although I’m sure many people will. I do not like abortion except in certain instances such as rape or incest, where the life of the mother is at stake, or where the fetus is not viable.

But…and this is where it gets sticky, I do NOT believe that the government has a right to enact laws which prevent a woman making a decision about her own body and how she deals with this situation. This should be a decision made between the woman, her doctor, and her faith/beliefs. And we cannot legislate those beliefs. We cannot legislate morality, or should I say our version of morality.

It should not be the governments’ authority to decide what a woman can do, or not do, with her own body.

I’ve heard all of the cheers of joy from the religious community, about how no one can kill innocent babies any more, etc. But this opens a bigger can of worms. 

What about the women forced to carry a pregnancy which for their very personal and private reasons they just don’t feel they can do? Are they now relegated to being citizens with limited rights as opposed to men? What if these women have no health insurance? Who takes care of their prenatal care? The actual delivery? What if they cannot afford that baby, or the care it requires? What if they just aren’t a woman who wants to become a mother, but contraception failed, and here they are….

Adoption, they say. That’s the answer! More babies to adopt! That’s not as easy as it sounds, however, and adoption laws are also tightly regulated by the states. Years ago after my husband and I failed to be able to have a second child we tried to adopt a baby, and were turned down every step of the way. We’d each been divorced previously; we already had a natural child. We were too old. We both worked full time. The list went on and on. And the costs? They were crazy.

So…if there are so many laws restricting adoption, why do some of the states feel they have the right to force a woman to bear a child when she may not fit the criteria of adopting one?

I personally know at least one woman who had an abortion. She said it was one of the most difficult decisions of her life. And yes, she still thinks about it and wonders…but she also knows it was the right decision for her at the time. Yes, she’s a friend of mine, and I support the decision she made because it was her personal decision. 

And it should be a personal decision for every woman, whether I agree with them or not. It’s not my place to judge someone.

It is also not up to the government to make laws that are based on religious principles and Christian faith, because not everyone in this country believes the same way. And I find it difficult to believe that the judges’ personal beliefs did not enter into this ruling in any way. How could it not?

I believe that we should have the right over our own bodies to do what we believe is right for us. 

And yes, I am a Christian. But many of you reading this will probably say I cannot be a believer because I don’t think the right way. Which is judging me.

Yes, you are entitled to your opinion. And so am I. But you are not entitled to tell me what mine should be and berate me for not agreeing with you. Nor can I berate you for your opinion.

Now before you tell me I’m in support of murdering babies, let’s stop right here. As I said, this is a sticky situation. Yes, I believe life begins at conception. I also know it’s almost impossible for a woman to know immediately when she conceives. Sometimes she doesn’t know for several weeks. And some of the potential laws I’m hearing rumors about go as far as making it a crime for a woman to endanger her pregnancy even before she actually knows she’s pregnant. 

Pregnancy is also not an easy condition to go through. For every beautiful picture you see of a woman with that “pregnant glow” and growing belly, there’s a pregnant woman who is sick as she can be from that pregnancy. My daughter is one of those; she has the same problem with each pregnancy that Kate Middleton had, which is hyperemesis gravidarum, which causes severe vomiting during the entire pregnancy, often resulting in dehydration and sometimes hospital stays. It’s certainly not fun, and not easy to go through. But she chose these pregnancies, and we are thrilled that she did!

There are also other serious pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, pre-eclampsia, and placenta prévia, all of which are potentially life threatening to both mother and child. The daughter of a friend of ours has all three of these conditions with her pregnancy, as she did with three others, and is on permanent bed rest until the baby can be safely delivered. However, these girls made a choice to have their babies knowing the risks of such complications. Does the government have the authority to force a woman to endure all of that if her pregnancy is that difficult? Could that be construed as a form of cruel and unusual punishment?

There’s also been talk about looking at new regulations regarding contraception; as it relates to women, of course, since men can’t conceive and have children. Wonder how that would work if men could conceive!

Where is all of this going to end?

I have no good answers. But I am deeply concerned about what has just happened in our country. I am far beyond the age of being able to get pregnant, as are the majority of my friends, but I worry for our daughters and granddaughters, as to their reproductive futures, as well as what other restrictive laws may be enacted that will restrict our individual rights even further.

More thoughts on that at a later date. This is enough to handle for now.

A Memorial Day for the Fallen

Today is Memorial Day. A day set aside to honor those who have given their lives for this country. In countless wars and overseas conflicts. Brave men and women who gave their all.

They gave their lives to protect our freedoms. They went where our country sent them, and did what they needed to do. 

Did they question their reasons for going? I’m sure many did. But they went. Some returned and some didn’t. Today we honor those that didn’t return.

But I cannot help but ask us all to add another couple of categories of our citizens to remember and pay our respects to on this Memorial Day. Citizens who left home one day as usual and never returned.

Let’s remember the hundreds of first responders, police and firefighters as well as EMT’s who have also given their lives to save others. Oh, I know right now the police are under attack again for not doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s become a o popular sport in this country, unfortunately. And there will always be those officers who are in the wrong, but the majority are good people, who’ve dedicated themselves to such service, and those of them who’ve given their lives in the line of duty should be honored as well. It’s a job I wouldn’t want to do, and I am thankful for each and every one of them that have chosen to do it.

But I want us to also remember another group of people…innocent people who’ve been senselessly murdered by cowardly people with guns, out to spread their hatred and violence for whatever twisted and deranged parts of their minds that were urging them forward.

Innocent children. Worshippers in their chosen houses of God. Innocent shoppers in malls and grocery stores. Innocent concert goers who were enjoying a night of music. 

They unwillingly gave their lives because someone they didn’t even know decided they didn’t deserve to live.

And we continue on with our lives, thankful it wasn’t us.  

But such violence touches all of us in some way. It forever changes a part of us, and sometimes we don’t even realize it.

The awfulness of the last few days in this country will eventually be forgotten by the majority of the country, but never by the families and communities which have been devastated by the tragedy. Just like the families of our servicemen and women who were lost in combat, they will NEVER forget. Not a day will go by without a memory sneaking into their mind, and those memories are all they have left.

Today as most of us gather together with friends and family for picnics and parties, or go out to grab up the best Memorial Day sales, let’s take the time to remember those families who are grieving over their loved ones who will never attend such events again.

Remember the fallen, because they deserve never, ever to be forgotten. And remember the families who will also never forget.

Parents, Hold Your Children Close

Yesterday morning our 6 year old granddaughter had her kindergarten graduation ceremony. Proud parents and grandparents, along with various other family members and friends filled the auditorium as six kindergarten classes filed onto the stage for their big morning. Some 70 children total.

And then the emotions hit me, along with a lot of others in that auditorium. We had all driven to the elementary school, driven past those flags at half mast at so many locations. We knew what had happened the day before, and we were still reeling from it all. 

And then we saw our kids, grandkids, excited children getting ready to move up to first grade…the new class of 2034, as the principal later said.

And then the emotions came, as the ceremony started with a moment of silence for those young lives lost so tragically in Texas the day before, along with two of their teachers.

I looked at those precious children, my oldest granddaughter and her little friends, many of whom I knew as well. And the enormity of what had happened some mere 24 hours earlier hit me like a ton of bricks.

Each of those young lives had once sat on a stage very much like this, with their families in attendance, cheering them on after their first year in school…kindergartners graduating to first grade. Their lives and bright futures ahead of them.

But no one knew what would happen in the next several years. No one suspected or even imagined what would take place, forever wiping out the smiles of these children, forever destroying their families. Their parents, grandparents, brothers and sisters losing a part of themselves.

The loss is incomprehensible. The grief unimaginable. And I found myself near tears as I silently prayed protection over these precious children in front of me.

I cannot begin to understand, or to even imagine how those families feel. I cannot imagine how they themselves will survive the next few days, weeks, months, and yes, even years, as they try to cope with such senseless and devastating loss. 

And yes, we were all proud of our little graduates today, and cheering on their achievements. Wondering what their futures hold for them as future scientists, doctors, astronauts, musicians, teachers…and what great things they will accomplish.

At the same time we mourn the loss of those other future scientists, doctors, etc. who will never see those goals accomplished. And the world is a darker place because of it.

These senseless and selfish acts of violence perpetrated by a hatred so unimaginable must stop, and it must stop now. Before other precious lives are lost. 

I do not pretend to have a solution. This person who committed this heinous crime bought the weapons legally. Gun laws didn’t stop him. I have to believe he was severely mentally disturbed. Why did no one see that? And where were the security guards at the school? Would metal detectors have helped? I think they would have. 

Hindsight is 20-20, as we know. We can unfortunately not change the past. But we MUST change the future somehow and determine how to protect these precious children that have been entrusted to us. This cannot continue.

Parents, hold these precious ones close. Tell them you love them every chance you get. And when you’re upset with them, and at your wit’s end, remember that these little ones are a precious gift that needs to be appreciated and loved every day. 

Because in this world, we just don’t know….

May God bless all of these families whose lives will never be the same. And please, let’s all stop the finger pointing and work together to find a solution to this madness. 

Our futures are at stake…and our most precious gift, which are our children.

A Plea for Help

I watched President Zelensky’s impassioned speech to Congress Wednesday morning and I must say I was most definitely moved to tears. Yes, I was actually crying. His message was powerful and truly from the heart. Then came the video. And again, many more tears. I do not have an answer to what we should do. But I will say this. We and the rest of the world must do something to help these people who are being injured and killed on a daily basis because of where they live. This is wrong on so many levels.

When Zelensky spoke about the planes dropping bombs on Pearl Habor that Sunday norming in December and comparing it to what’s going on now in Ukraine I was trying to imagine what that must have been like. And I just couldn’t.  And I don’t want to know. My mind went back to those air raid drills we had in elementary school. Sitting out in the hall with our heads down and covered by our little arms. As if that would’ve helped. Or hiding under our desks. How strange that feels to remember. It was a lifetime ago.

We can’t even begin to imagine what these people are going through. And how we would feel if it were happening to us. Would other countries come to our defense? Or would they stay silent, afraid it would come to us?

We all know the saying, there but for the grace of God… And it’s true.

The photos online are horrifying because they show the truth. Teenagers going to fight with their skateboard pads as part of their defense. A young girl with a lollipop in her mouth and a rifle in her hand. Childhoods forever lost. Apartments destroyed and homes and belongings totally lost. Families separated and not knowing when or if they’ll see each other again.

I’ve read a lot of stories about how the Ukrainian people are doing their parts to help. Families are learning to make Molotov cocktails from the internet so they can defend their homes or give them to the Ukrainian soldiers to help in the fight.

A retired seamstress who used to make evening wear and designer suits for Gucci is now sewing flak jackets in her home for the Ukrainian soldiers, using fabric and pieces of metal welded together while her adult son makes blue and yellow arm bands for the freedom fighters to wear to identify themselves from the enemy.

Men in their 40’s and 50’s are being summoned to fight and gladly going out to defend their country and families, taking their own weapons with them, even though they haven’t served in the armed forces in 10-20 years.

Hundreds of people were hiding in the basement of a theatre in hopes of surviving Russian bombings. Some did. Some didn’t. Even though the word “children” was clearly written on the grounds, the bombs and the soldiers who released them didn’t care.

Bombs also hit a maternity hospital, killing and severely injuring women about to give birth as well as newborn babies, killing the babies who never had a chance to live. Can you imagine being an expectant mother in this environment, not knowing if you and/or your child will survive?

Food distribution centers are being bombed so that a soon to be starving population will have nothing to eat. And they certainly can’t call for takeout or delivery.

These are the realities of war in a 21st century world. In a modern country whose citizens only several months ago were living lives like you and me. Celebrating holidays, engagements, weddings, birthdays, and births of new babies. Going to school. Buying homes. Enjoying nights out for dinner or movies. Going shopping just for fun. Not needing to look up into the sky to see anything but sun and clouds.

But now there is a new reality. Their daily lives have been turned upside down, never to be the same again.

I have no idea what the answers are. None at all. I only know something needs to be done to stop the insanity before the. country of Ukraine is destroyed. And before another country, possibly Poland, is invaded because this Russian dictator wants to control Europe and then the rest of the world.  Where does it stop? When will it stop?

What will be left?

My heart is breaking for these people. All I can do is pray, and I do. Every single day.

May the decisions made in the coming days by our world leaders be good ones, based not only on intelligence but also on the need to save innocent lives, and may these decisions begin a road to peace in this world, and not the beginning of World War Three. Because none of us could recover from that.

May God bless Ukraine. And the rest of the free world.

It’s Not About You

I know as Americans we’re used to having what we want, when we want it. At least a lot of you are.

We have the freedom to speak out about things that bother us; things that we don’t think are fair. You have that right just as I do, and we also have the freedom to disagree with each other.

And most likely, there will be a lot of people who will disagree with what I’ve written here. But that’s ok, too, because that’s your right. If you don’t like what I have to say you don’t have to read it.

What’s bothering me so much? It’s a lot of the viewpoints some of you are voicing about this disaster in Ukraine. Sure, I think most of you are concerned about what’s going on, but I wonder if it’s true concern, or if it’s just another opportunity to complain about gas prices being so high, or how this is all the fault of the Democrats again.

Yes, gas prices are rising. I’m not happy about it either, but in the scheme of things, it’s not nearly as big a deal as what’s happening in Ukraine.

The Ukrainian people have done nothing to deserve what has happened to them; what is continuing to happen to them. I would say the price of gasoline isn’t the biggest problem they have right now.

Staying alive is their biggest problem, I would think. Along with caring for their families and trying to keep them safe. And wondering what will happen tonight while they sleep; what will happen tomorrow and the next day.

We go about our daily lives complaining about minor inconveniences like high gas prices, being asked to wear a mask to protect ourselves and others from a pandemic (“No one has the right to tell me what to do!”) I bet the Ukrainians would be happy to wear face masks if it would stop the invasion and the terror of war.

Think about these things for a few minutes:

There are couples who were planning weddings; joyous celebrations of one of the happiest days of their lives. Now they are just trying to survive, and praying they will live through this to have a chance to marry. Their dreams have been smashed, and their lives turned upside down. They wonder if they will even have a chance to have the life they were dreaming of.

There are pregnant women, ready to welcome a precious new life. Some are having their first child and the excitement has been hard to contain. Now they’re wondering if they’ll even live long enough to have the baby, and if it will survive; if they’ll have access to medical care during that time and what will happen if they don’t. What will happen if they can’t care for that baby, afford food and clothing for it. If they will even have a home to bring it to. And what kind of future it will have.

There are parents trying to figure out how to care for their children; how to explain what is happening to them. They’re afraid to send their kids to school because they don’t know if they’ll be safe, let alone learn anything. They worry about their mental health as well as their physical health.  And they wonder if they should try to flee their country, and if they do, what will happen to them then.

There are the very sick, patients who need daily medicines to survive, patients that may not be able to get those life-saving medications. They wonder how long they have to live and what their death will be like. There are parents with terminally ill children who must be beside themselves trying to figure out what to do to give those children as much quality of life as they can before they lose them.

There are people who go to bed at night in fear, not knowing if their homes will be bombed during the night. How many Ukrainians have already been killed? How many more will be? How many more senseless deaths? We’re talking people who’ve had no say in these unconscionable decisions. Women. Children. The elderly. The sick and disabled. As well as those who are able to fight and are doing so with no training except their sheer will and courage to stand against evil. Would we do that in the face of such invasion or would we simply protest about how unfair it was that we’re being inconvenienced and say it’s our own government’s fault?

There are people who aren’t sure they will even have food and water to get through the next few days or weeks. 1-3 million people are already facing food and supply shortages, and it gets worse every day.

There are people who are trying to leave the only country they’ve ever known, a country they love, and wondering where they will go and how they will survive in a new country where they can’t even speak the language. Over 1.7 million refugees to date are trying to leave and are facing massive lines at train stations and borders. And the number increases daily. Many are women and children torn away from husbands, fathers, and brothers, with no way to contact them and no way to know if they are safe left behind. How long before Russian troops prevent them from leaving altogether? And what effect will the refugee crisis have in the rest of Euripe? Where will these people go, and how will they live?

And where is Putin’s wife and family? Reports tell us she and their children are in a luxurious underground bunker somewhere in Siberia. A bunker with all the comforts, and designed to withstand nuclear war.

And how long before young Ukrainian men are taken by the Russians and forced to fight for them against their countrymen, or else be killed?

Shall I go on?

And we’re complaining about the price of gasoline?

And we’re listening to some people in the news who are praising Putin for his “genius” in this attack, and who are openly saying that other countries will probably do the same. That is unconscionable, and an open invitation to “come get us!”

We have commentators in the news media, as well as some of our elected officials, openly hinting about taking Putin out. That’s an invitation to murder, and will most likely cause the other side to declare the same for us.

We also have some 16,000 retired former members of our United States military who are going over to Ukraine to help the people fight for their freedom. They are NOT being paid or funded by our government, but by private donations. If you don’t believe this, check the news stories on line. They are some of the heroes in this mess.

And we’re complaining about the cost of gasoline? And criticizing our government for not doing anything about it? And by the way. That pipeline? The extension of the existing pipeline which IS working? It was only 8% completed w if it ever was. Read about it for yourselves. When it was finally stopped once and for all, work had been halted on it off and on for over ten years because of environmental concerns. Starting it up again wouldn’t bring an immediate onslaught of more oil because it would still take years to complete, if it ever was. It’s a not a spigot of oil we turn on and off.

What do we do? I don’t have a magic crystal ball to give me that answer, but it seems there are quite a few people out there who do. Those who condemn our own government for not taking care of us in our time of need because gas prices are too high.

Personally, I have no idea what I would do if I were in charge. But I’m glad I’m not, because I don’t want the weight of that on my shoulders. But there are certainly plenty of people out there who are quick to say what should be done; what they would do. It must be nice to be so much smarter than the people who are in charge. And the President is NOT the only one who makes these decisions by himself; he has advisors, and I believe he listens to them. Whether I agree on what we are doing in this mess or not, it is not my place to say whether we’re handling it right or wrong, because I just don’t know.

It is my place to pray for Ukraine and its people. It is my place to continue to pray for an end to all of this. If I could do something for them I would, but I don’t know what it would be.

It is not my place to complain about a few hardships we’re experiencing here, because they are NOTHING compared to what the Ukrainian people are going through.