charitable gifting…a holiday twist

The Food Bank in our community recently held a holiday event for parents unable to provide gifts for their children.

Rather than having donors make the selections for family members, we were invited to bring our unwrapped donations to a specified venue on December 8th and 9th. The Food Bank’s website provided the age categories and a list of possible suggestions of gifts for both boys and girls. Donors were asked to indicate, if possible, what items we were planning to bring. Most likely it was to have an indication of what and how much to expect.

Parents wanting to participate in the shopping spree which occurred on December 10th and 11th, were asked to register online. Again, it was probably to ensure that there would be a sufficient inventory from which they could make their selections.

A friend and I had fun shopping for items to donate. With no child of his own, he relished purchasing a couple of things to make someone else’s child happy. It brought me joy as well knowing that the toys and clothes I bought would bring great pleasure to the parents who would, in turn, give them to their children.

What a wonderful way to give during the holidays. Letting parents shop from among the donated items, allowing them to have the same experience as we who have the means to buy gifts for our own children.

…anonymity for the donor…dignity for the parent who can give…

………hugmamma.

nurturing thursdays: sins of the father…

…are visited upon the son. And the daughter, I would add.

Much of what seems to be occurring in the world these days, whether it be religious fanaticism or racial prejudice or sexual/physical/mental abuse seems to have its roots in the past…our past, individually and collectively.

How does a child learn to discern what’s acceptable and what’s not? First and foremost from their parents, and then from other adults who serve as role models. Whether the results be good or bad, prior generations set the example for those who come next.

Wouldn’t it be great if the slate could be wiped clean of the dumb stuff with the birth of new generations?

Perhaps not.

It might be that our immorality reinforces the need for our morality. If everything were flawless, would we even care…about anything? Would life bore us to tears?

With struggle and failure comes passion and desire to achieve…the unattainable. Our lives have purpose and meaning.

We are here to be, as our beloved Lincoln put it so hopefully in his first inaugural address to the nation on the eve of the Civil War…

I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature

My hope for everyone this holiday season, that we be…

…better angels of our nature.

………hugmamma.

Other inspirational offerings can be enjoyed at…

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/12/18/nurturing-thurs-peace-2/

just because we can…

…doesn’t mean we should.

Americans tend to assume that our right to freedom of speech is God-given and encompasses everything and anything our brains can imagine. No matter that some of us have brains made of silly putty. Which, in my opinion, is the case with Messrs. Rogen and Goldberg of The Interview fame.

I may be old-school believing that some thoughts should remain just that…thoughts. However capitalism being what it is…“show me the money!”…as exclaimed by Cuba Gooding’s character in the film Jerry Maguire…even hair-brained schemes can see the light of day.

As moms the world over will agree…sometimes the only way a child learns his lesson is the hard way. And it looks like corporate mogul Sony who backed the low budget $40 million dollar fiasco hoping to reap $30 million in the first weekend alone, got punked and pranked up the wahzoo!

Back-pedaling is something we’ve grown accustomed to seeing in the media these days. Politicians do it all the time, as do celebrities. And lately, even mega rich sports figures have had to defend their questionable habits.

Thankfully the majority of us still know how to filter what it is we would like to do, and what it is we should and shouldn’t do.

It’s no secret that the rest of the world views America as the land where the spoiled children live. And yet, many still make their way here hoping for a little of what most of us luxuriate in every day.

Fortunately there’s more that’s good about America than the few crazies who make the headlines…

………hugmamma.

 

Co-dependent families and the roles we play in them

hugmamma:

Written a few months ago, however it seemed appropriate to the holiday season when families can be a bit more sensitive to one another.

We all need to set aside our anxieties and…

…celebrate our true selves.

………hugmamma.

Originally posted on Streams of Consciousness:

I’m not a therapist, so I’m not going to pretend to be an expert on the topic of family roles. All I know about the subject is from my  personal experience, in learning about, and working on, healing my addiction to the role I have played.

According to many family therapists, there are four dominant roles that children play in dysfunctional families. I believe everyone knows what a dysfunctional family is, but if you’re wondering and not sure, I’ll give you a textbook definition.  I remember, when I began my healing  journey, hearing John Bradshaw say that 98% of families have some form of dysfunction. 

Definition of a dysfunction family: A term used to describe a family where  conflict, misbehavior, and abuse of varying degrees and types continually takes place. Dysfunctional families are continuously out of balance and often teeter on the edge of crisis, or they may be in continual crisis.  The family…

View original 959 more words

an act of kindness…warms our family’s heart

My hormones were raging today, the downside of hormone replacement therapy treatment…Wiley Protocol in my case.

How do I know? My tear ducts were working overtime today. 

I think it began with An Affair to Remember with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr. No matter how often I see this tear jerker, I always weep in all the same places. 

When Grant returns to his grandmother’s home after she’s died, remembering when he was last there, Kerr at his side. In the background, the haunting melody is playing which starts my tears. And then, of course, when Grant learns Kerr had been in a car accident and was, therefore, unable to meet him at the top of the Empire State Building. That’s when the flood gates burst, and I was a blithering idiot.

After gathering my wits about me, I went about my day.

In the evening I paused intermittently to listen to a couple of the singers on The Voice. When each of the 5 remaining contestants returned to their home towns to thunderous applause, again I choked up. How proud to be recognized by one’s own community, and to represent it on the national stage. How proud, indeed!

Then my daughter phoned. She has a way of making me sentimental mush. No, I didn’t cry…not then.

After filling me in on all she’s been up to since we last talked, she told me a story which had me choking back my tears once again.

An elderly gentleman stopped at a Discount Tire store to have a tire repaired. Upon looking it over, the young salesman informed the customer that, in fact, all of the tires on the old truck needed replacing. The man explained he only had enough money to make repairs, that he was doing it for his daughter. He paid the bill, indicating that she would return the next day to pick up her truck.

When the 17-year-old returned with her boyfriend, the salesman told her what he’d said to her father the day before. Again she reiterated that she had no money to buy new tires. She went on to say she had been accepted into veterinary school which took all the money her family had to spare.

The Discount Tire rep happened to be the Senior Assistant to the store manager. Making an executive decision, he authorized his technicians to replace all the tires with new ones. Noticing what they were doing through one of the store windows, the young woman was understandably upset and asked what they were doing. The young man, a 25-year-old, assured her that his concern was for her safety. He was probably also thinking about the safety of others she might encounter on the road, driving alongside her. She cried as he wished her a happy holiday season, inviting her father to make whatever payments he could…whenever he could…if he was so inclined. 

A Good Samaritan story for which I was not prepared. I cried when my daughter told it, and again when I retold it to my husband. It brought tears to his eyes as well.

The personal blessing for our family? The Good Samaritan is…

…our daughter’s boyfriend.

………hugmamma.

 

tugging at our hearts…

Making the case for a new dog after the loss of our beloved Mocha is a real brain twister.

So far I’ve been able to resist.

Not that we wouldn’t love the companionship of another faithful, loving pet. However caring for more than one furry, family member gets a tad more difficult with age. And I’ve still got two, little felines following me about for food and attention.

Meanwhile, I’ll get my fix for another pooch by watching these irresistible critters online…

 

…heavenly blooms…

I came across a beautiful message while perusing the blogs of fellow contributors to nurturing thursdays. Credit for bringing these wonderful words to light goes to crowing crone joss at
http://crowingcrone.com.

“The earth recognizes people in whom God flowers. There is a sensuousness, a centeredness, a grace to their movement. There is a relaxed gentility of power flowing quietly within and beneath their action. There is a humble assuredness about them, a reverence, a sense of humor and a sense of the sacred entwined. They are the magical people, for whom the earth has longed. ” -Ken Carey

Perhaps you know of someone “in whom God flowers.”

Someone I know comes immediately to mind.

…my husband.

………hugmamma. 

...the most serene person i know...like the "eye of the storm"...

…the most serene person i know…like the “eye of the storm”…

nurturing thursdays: beating the odds and opting for life

Our instinct to survive motivates us to do whatever it takes.

As we all know, humans aren’t the only ones wired for survival. What we might learn from other species, however, is…to never give up…no matter what.

Taken down by two peregrine falcons, this owl coolly swam back from the brink.

… i’d better practice my swimstrokes…

………hugmamma.

For more inspirational thoughts, visit…

https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/12/04/nurt-thurs-no-accidents/

thanks!…usher

You read it right.

I’m thanking Usher for bringing together…young and old…black, white and all colors in between…hip and not-so-hip…religious and aetheist…liberal and conservative…and of course, women and men…in celebration of our better angels.

In song and dance, we found common ground to set our differences aside for an evening. Squeezed into seats like those on an airplane, we were shoulder to shoulder with whomever it was that purchased the neighboring seat. We had no say in the matter. Ticket Master played Russian Roulette with our hard-earned cash.

Funny thing. No one turns up his nose at a much sought after ticket. Ask any football fan or tourist at a Broadway show.

When I bought the tickets during the summer I’d no idea what to expect.

Usher was one of my favorite coaches on TV’s The Voice. I admired his sincerity when handling those contestants he’d chosen to join his team. I was also mesmerized by his singing and accompanying dance moves. So I didn’t think twice about seeing him in concert.

Fortunately for me my husband is always game to see and do whatever catches my fancy. Our daughter agrees that it keeps her father youthful. He does too.

Needless to say we were surrounded by hoards of fans, mostly our daughter’s age. Yet no one looked askance at two old fogies looking like they’d mistaken Usher’s concert for some oldie but goodie like Neil Diamond. The man who checked handbags smilingly commented that we were somebody’s parents. We laughed along with him, although I assured him that we weren’t the parents of the couple who filed in ahead of us.

Were my daughter still living with us she would have been my concert companion. Instead, she’ll have to content herself with the video I text her. That is once I figure out how to do it.

As for the concert, the two acts hired to warm up the crowd for an hour or so were fine. I’d not heard of either, although that’s not saying a lot since I’ve no clue who the young folk are listening to these days.

What I do know is that using the colorful, four-letter word preceded by “mother” did not endear me to the second artist. Although I will say he had a splendid voice. The dancers accompanying him were amazing movers. However my husband and I agreed we were glad our daughter doesn’t do…that kind of dancing. A little too suggestive for our taste, what with all the bumping and grinding. Not to mention the skimpy costumes. What were they thinking? Actually it’s pretty obvious they’re not thinking.

Usher did not disappoint. His performance, as well as those of his dancers and musicians, was explosive. So was the production with its lights and smoke and technical wizardry. The staging platforms undulated upward and downward, forward and backward, even reconfiguring before our very eyes. How the female performers kept their footing on stiletto heels…and the male dancers bounced back into standing position from somersaults and floor splits…was mind blowing. It was like watching a three-ring circus. My eyes kept darting back and forth trying to catch every magical twist and turn before it faded from sight.

Nearing the end, the women seated beside me were up on their feet swaying and singing along with Usher. It was beautiful to see the entire arena of devoted fans on their feet joining him in song. Together it was as though the love between artist and fans was enough to change the world outside.

Audience applause brought Usher back for an encore. Before singing he asked for a moment of silence to remember the parents of Michael Brown, the shooting victim in a recent confrontation with a policeman in St. Louis, Missouri. As he sang a song of hope for brotherhood among humankind, tears welled up in my eyes.

Why don’t we invest more of ourselves in the arts where our spirits are allowed to engage with one another, rather than subjecting our better angels to grovel in the dust while our prehistoric instincts to kill or be killed be given full reign? What is our long-held fascination with gladiator-like activities…hunting for sport…or annihilation of those unlike ourselves?

Maybe we wouldn’t have to die in order to see Heaven, if only we would allow Heaven to exist…right here on earth. Something to think about when we give thanks on Thanksgiving Day.

Thanks, Usher. For making my Thanksgiving…

…one for the ages…

………hugmamma.

 

 

giving thanks…for what is…

A recent conversation with a close friend reminded me how impossible sibling dynamics can be. Sometimes it’s like walking on eggshells. Tread lightly or there’ll be a ruckus or, at the very least, hard feelings simmering just below the surface.

Being the youngest of 9, I can only speak from my vantage point. I haven’t a clue as to what the others think. I can only surmise.

My husband’s the oldest of 12 so I can weigh in with my opinion, especially since I know him better than anyone else having been married to the man for more than four decades.

I think parents formulate the framework in which sibling interaction plays out. Great parents…better than average shot at the kids all getting along fairly well. Dysfunctional parenting…more than likely begets…sibling rivalry of some sort.

It’s really hard to see beyond the end of my own nose, so I can’t imagine what my siblings thought of one another, including me. I can only guess from our interactions that they might have felt I was spoiled being the last child. Perhaps I got away with things they didn’t. Perhaps I got a few more material things than they did. I say a few because being poor doesn’t go far no matter how hard we prayed for better days.

As the youngest I was in awe of my elder siblings. Except for the brother right above me in age, I really had no clue as to what the others were like. They were so much older. Besides which most of them were out of the house and living on their own before I was even in middle school. What I knew of them was through hearsay, mostly from my mother.

Growing older one tends to remember the “good old days” growing up as kids with one’s siblings. Not so for me. Aside from a few years with my brother and sister closest to me in age, I remember very little of my two oldest sisters and four oldest brothers.

No surprise then that even now at 65 I can only regard my siblings with distant regard and respect. Loving them is a given. As for liking them, I can only go as far as my memory serves me. And since we’ve lived at some distance from one another the past 37 years, my recollection of our times together are rather murky, to say the least.

What was interesting in talking with my girlfriend is my immediate ability to identify with how she felt when she said “I don’t encourage conversation because I don’t want to be told what to do.” Who can blame her? Now in her 50s, why should she have to do as her elder siblings bid? I’m sure they don’t see it that way. However that’s the problem.

Siblings don’t see things the same way. Each has his or her own “take” on what is happening. And as is usually the case, it’s very difficult to see another sibling’s point of view. I’d even go further to say that the youngest is the least likely to be taken seriously.

Another girlfriend, the youngest of seven, has the guts I will never have. She actually bosses her older siblings around. Her bossiness even extends to her in-laws, all older than her as well. My friend’s take-charge attitude seems to keep the families from getting mired in feuds and ruts. How she can withstand the disdain directed at her from some of them is unfathomable to me. She certainly has a strong back bone for which I have often commended her.

God bless the youngest sibling who can fight back and have no regrets about it. Although my girlfriend does grumble about the situation and her siblings and in-laws…a lot.

Because I rarely, if ever, see or speak with my siblings I have no complaints. I think they’re great with their families, from the little I’ve heard. And I only wish them the best always.

Life doesn’t always pan out the way we’d like, especially with familial relationships. Fretting and regretting doesn’t really serve any purpose. Stressing about what might have been is debilitating.

Being thankful for what is…and what I have…works for me.

I hope your family holiday celebrations are happy gatherings……with hugs all around.

…Happiest of Thanksgivings!!!

………hugmamma.

 

 

nurturing thursdays: loving is…living

You might wonder why my limited writings of late have been as entries on blogger Becca Given’sNurturing Thursdays.

Two reasons.

Thursdays suit me well. Having run errands and done chores earlier in the week, I reward myself with a short stint at my laptop doing what I do for sheer pleasure…writing.

More importantly, however, is Becca’s invitation to share words that help us feel good about ourselves. God bless her for giving contributors a platform which encourages us to have compassion for ourselves and others.

While other writers contribute more regularly, I’m grateful that my entries are accepted when I am able to snatch a few moments here and there. Perhaps if I limited myself to a few inspirational words, I’d do better. And yet, I can only think to share a little slice of my own life. If it inspires then I am blest. Mostly though, it’s just me trying to figure out…life.

The passing of my beloved Mocha recently coincided with my husband’s casual announcement that he was retiring sooner than expected. Instead of 2016, his last workday will be January…2015!

After the dust settled in my brain, gone musty as an empty-nester these last 12 years, I listened as hubby revealed the whys, hows, and wherefores of what had transpired. Suffice it to say, he’s come out on top. Although retired, he’ll continue as a consultant for another year.

All I’ve ever wanted of my marriage since day one…was my husband.

IMG_4079I’ve waited 44 years to spend more than a few hours a week with my best friend in the whole, wide world. I’ve only had a taste of what his coworkers have always shared with me when we’ve met at office functions.

Among the many compliments were my husband’s fairness…his calm in the midst of turmoil…his patience…his generosity in sharing the limelight…his integrity…his humility…his willingness to mentor others…his loyalty and dedication…his work ethic…his tireless efforts in always seeking the truth…and his willingness to go the extra mile on behalf of others.

Yes. My husband’s a saint. I called him that once when we were first married. His retort was that it was an unkind remark. Only my husband would take offense at being held up on a pedestal.

My husband loved our little Mocha as much as I did. He wasn’t as demonstrative toward her as I was, not given to hugging and smooshing ad nauseum like me. Nonetheless, Mocha always knew she could depend upon him for a walk anytime of the day or night. With me, there could be resistance depending upon the weather and what hour of the night it was. My arthritis doesn’t do well in the wet and cold, and I’m deathly afraid of encountering a bear or cougar in the dark.

IMG_2145When Mocha left us I couldn’t help but feel she did so knowing my husband and I would have more time for one another…one less family member who needed our care and attention. Especially with all she required the last months of her life. Feline siblings, Sitka and Juneau, are now happy to get more cuddle time with me. Although I think they miss their little pal as well.IMG_4810

In reflecting upon Mocha’s life and my husband’s retirement, I couldn’t help but think that those we love the most live on through us who remain. We are their legacy. We continue to tell their story long after their physical presence is gone. We attest to their having been here.

Sad then, those who die unloved.

Who will speak of them? Who will testify to what they did…their dreams…their passions…their accomplishments…their failures? Who will say “We played softball together on the weekends.” Or “She loved doing things with her children.”

Perhaps when we care for others we, in some small way, acknowledge their reality. They live because we think about them…even if only for a moment. All those with whom we engage as we go about our daily lives…the waiter…the supermarket cashier…the dry cleaning clerk…the pet groomer…the landscape worker…our furry family members.

We matter to others. Probably more than we know.

Mocha’s still with me as I go about my day. Reminding me that as long as we’re here, she’ll be with hubby and me…

…enjoying our retirement years.

………hugmamma. 

(Enjoy other inspirational writers at  https://beccagivens.wordpress.com/2014/11/20/nurturing-thurs-next-time/                                                                                                                                            

 

Imported Photos 00137

nurturing thursdays: …the end.

Misc July 2010 00057

…eyes that spoke volumes…

Watching our dear, furry companion of 13 years disintegrate before my very eyes these last several weeks has made me sensitive to those who are unable to make sense of their suffering. Whether my mom who suffered from Alzheimer’s the last decade of her life, or the young woman in Oregon who decided how and when to die rather than be ruled by incurable cancer, or Robin Williams who chose to get ahead of the demons that evidently haunted him.

“Pulling the plug” was very difficult for me. I wanted someone else…my husband, the vet, or Mocha herself…to decide. I could not wrap my brain around the idea of ending a life, even a pet’s. Yes, I’d done it before with 2 cats but in this situation, experience doesn’t soften the blow.

Fibromyalgia and arthritis are with me daily. I do whatever I can to ensure that I have more good days than bad. Of course I’m human, so I fail, probably as often as I succeed. Diet and exercise being my personal demons.

The upside is that I’m at the controls, at least for as long as I still have my wits about me. As my time draws near I’m pretty sure I won’t be calling all the shots. That’s just how it is.

What is it like when the sun gradually sets on one’s horizon? Only the one going through it knows for sure. She alone is living through every nuance of every moment. No one can step inside another’s body and experience the physical, mental, and spiritual deterioration. Not even the closest of loved ones.

Each of us is consumed with our own lives. Taking on someone else’s life, especially one fraught with emotional turmoil or mental and physical decline, is nearly impossible. Short term responsibility might be doable; going the long haul can decimate the caregiver’s life in the process.

Issues with her sciatic nerve compromised Mocha’s mobility. Her front paws did not always work. Sometimes they carried her through a brisk trot; oftentimes, she would spill forward onto her knees. Being part-terrier, part-beagle served her well for she would stubbornly pick herself up, and carry on as though nothing was amiss.

Neither pouring rain nor plummeting temperatures could deter our little pal from being about her doggy business. Mocha loved encountering the outdoors…its sights and smells. With her I bore witness to Mother Nature’s immense beauty time and again. Left to my own devices, I would choose hibernation.

Helping to stave off the inevitable, Mocha was downing meds for an underlying heart murmur as well as her debilitating sciatica. As her primary caregiver I monitored her intake of pills, deciding whether or not they were doing the job for which they were prescribed.

Were the pain meds working or were they making her condition worse? Were they causing grogginess, adding to Mocha’s inability to walk without flailing?  Were they causing digestive issues? Did they make her nauseous and not want to eat?

I could only rely upon what I saw and the symptoms Mocha exhibited, as to whether or not she was making progress, plateauing, or regressing. Perhaps if she spoke my language, we could have discussed what was really going on with her body.

And yet being able to speak doesn’t always resolve matters. There are those who aren’t up to the task…aging parents, overwhelmed or dysfunctional individuals, the mentally ill, the impoverished, and folks battling incurable diseases.

Walking that last mile is a solitary hike. Climbing the next precipice, big and small, is helped or hindered by one’s own capabilities…physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. No two individuals are alike in that regard. Similar maybe, but never exact.

Perhaps the only props we have as we near the end are our instincts to survive and our fear of the unknown. Coming to terms with both is an individual endeavor. No one else can determine how we manage that.

In Mocha’s case, I think she just kept on going with every ounce of passion for life she had left. Only her failing body forced my decision to halt her suffering.

Surrounded by the loving veterinary staff who had catered to Mocha’s medical needs since she was a pup, I maintained eye contact with her as she succumbed to the first injection of anesthetic that lessened the impact of the second injection that ended her life.

Finally, my little friend relaxed and lengthened into peaceful composure. The pain which had racked her body since early spring had abated. Peace. And in peace relief. Maybe even a sliver of happiness.

I’m not making the case for human euthanasia or even legalized suicide. I believe in God and the sanctity of life, all life.

Compassion is just as important to me however. I can’t sit in judgment of another’s life. Only he knows the potholes he’s facing as he…

…rounds the final bend.

...sprinkling fairy dust for hugmamma...

…sprinkling fairy dust for hugmamma…

………hugmamma.

 

 

 

got your lottery ticket?

If the pundits have it right the Tea Party will run Congress after tomorrow’s election. Maybe not the day after, but soon enough. And if that’s the politics of the majority of voters, it’s almost certain there’ll be a Tea Party president in the White House in 2016.

My reaction? Congratulations!!! They finally did it.

While other Americans sit around twiddling their thumbs and moaning about the state of affairs, Tea Partiers and their billionaire backers, have accomplished what they set out to do.

The federal government will be disemboweled and states will have to go it alone in trying to figure out how to serve their own constituents. Some will fare better than others. It depends upon the talent and intelligence of their politicians, the benevolence of their wealthy citizens, and whether or not Lady Luck is on their side.

Seattle will definitely do better than some.

We’ve got Bill and Melinda Gates, billionaires with heart.

Headquartered here are Starbucks, Costco, Boeing, Amazon and Microsoft. Other tech companies have begun moving into town and more startups are on the verge. Wine tasting is becoming a favorite past time, with wine bars popping up all over the place.

I recently read somewhere that Seattle’s Eastside has the best track record for cardiac rehabilitation in the nation.

Ours is one of the few states to recognize gay marriages.

Marijuana is legal for those 21 and older.

A $15 minimum wage might become reality. 

A couple of suburbs have led the nationwide list of “most desirable small towns” in which to reside.

And signing up for affordable health insurance has been comparatively stress-free.

Of course we have our issues…over-aggressive police…theft…homelessness…dui…sex offenders…gun control. Yes, we have school shootings too.

It’s probably obvious from what I’ve said that Washington is pretty much a liberal state. Thanks to that, its citizens will do better than most when the Federal Government of the Tea Party, run by the Koch brothers assumes power.

It might be that our country is headed for the Great Depression that President Obama tried to head off when he took office. The faction of right-wing conservatives who were never going to submit to the leadership of a black liberal have convinced the majority of their political brethren to go back to the likes of George W. Bush.

This time though it will be more than just another economic collapse and another war. The earth as we know it will finally succumb to the oil barons. And the entire world will revert back to the days of the Wild, Wild West with the have-nots going after the haves with a vengeance.

I feel for folks who live in Ohio and similar states marching to the drumbeat of ultra right wing conservatives. A recent article in Rolling Stone Magazine highlighted a couple of towns suffering under the ideologies of Tea Party politicians.

Most of the young middle-and working-class women I meet in Lima had children very young, many before they were 18; Allen county has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Ohio. And yet, Ohio has been at the forefront of recent attacks on reproductive rights. The state has some of the most restrictive abortion laws in the country, and its most recent budget placed $1.4 million in funding for Planned Parenthood at risk, while allocating money to Christian-based “crisis pregnancy centers.” Lima’s one family-planning clinic offering limited abortion services recently closed down; today, a search for abortion clinics in Lima will turn up a pro-life organization called Heartbeat of Lima. Though the county health department offers free birth control, a woman wanting an abortion must travel more than an hour to Toledo, to a clinic that, thanks to restrictions that have closed almost half of Ohio’s abortion clinics in the past year, may soon be forced to shut its doors. “People don’t talk about abortion in Lima.” says Carissa.

Carissa split with the father of her son when she was 23. She waitressed while putting herself through college. When her hours were cut back she had to go on public assistance. ” ‘It wasn’t something that I talked about…I wasn’t taking advantage of anything. I had to have insurance for my son. I had to feed my son. My only other option was to drop out of school.’ “

“The problem is that if you grow up in, say, a lower-income family, your options are extremely limited,” says Carissa. It doesn’t matter what kind of grades you get in high school, she notes, as college is now a luxury for most people. And even with a college degree, then what? “It used to be you go to college, get married, have children–you did the right things, and then you’d be guaranteed some kind of future,” she says. “But the whole pull-yourself-up-by-the-bootstraps American-dream thingy…that’s kind of mythology at this point. To me, it’s like a winning lottery ticket.”

When the Tea Party overtakes Capitol Hill and the White House, it’s my fervent hope that you’ll be living in a state where you feel like you’ve…

…hit the lottery!

…hugmamma.

 

 

 

 

friday fictioneers: one artist’s rendering…

Remodeling spaces is a form of art.

Could it be that Picasso dabbled in fixer-uppers before painting anatomically grotesque women?

An artist begins with a blank canvas. So it is when I behold the before…imagining in my mind’s eye what will come after.

While I do not strike the carpenter’s hammer or turn the plumber’s screwdriver, mine is the creative vision.

The inspiration. The design. The materials. The textures. The colors.

My aesthetics power the coalescence of the parts.

And when it comes to details…I’m the devil.

Never for symmetry, instead by gut instinct.

If it feels rightIT’S MAGIC!

IMG_4191

…master bedroom…this artist’s vision come true…

IMG_5184

…daughter’s bedroom…also this artist’s rendering…

 

(Visit http://rochellewisofffields.wordpress.com/2014/10/15/17-october-2014/
for more great 100 word stories on the photo prompt.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Habit of Highly Effective People

This young man is on to something pretty simple…go to bed between 9 and 10 p.m. and wake up at 6 a.m….and you’ll solve your sleep deprivation problems.

I think he’s a genius, unfortunately I don’t know many geniuses…only dummies like myself who can’t seem to get this 9 to 6 and 6 to 9 routine down pat. Maybe he should author…SLEEPING FOR DUMMIES.

However he’s definitely right about the light thing. For awhile I used an eye mask. Lately I’ve found it a bit bothersome. Like eating healthy, I know what to do. I just can’t seem to make it a habit.

Still, I keep tryinggoing to bed early…and eating more veggies and less boxed or packaged goodies.

…maybe one of these nights…
………hugmamma.