Welcome to my blog. Thanks for coming! One day I hope my little piece of internet real estate will be home to lots of family photos, pictures of my scrapbook and card art, with some random thoughts and memories posted on a somewhat regular basis. Mostly my world is very predictable, but occasionally some excitement will find me, so visit often. Who knows what useful (or useless) information you may find here.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Number, please!

I'm not a numbers person.  I hate math.  Give me big long words to spell over a math problem any day.  If I have to do anything beyond basic addition, subtraction or multiplication, there had better be a calculator nearby.  Otherwise my eyes will glaze over and my neck begins to twitch.  I really wish it would come easier for me, but sometime shortly after my last math exam , it seems everything I learned about math theories and algebraic formulas just disappeared - poof - out of my brain.  

If you assume, then, that I also suck at economics, you would be correct.  Normally I'm not bothered by this fact.  I usually don't blog about financial issues.  

Today finds me somewhat regretting my lack of attention in Mr. Summerour's 11th grade economics class.  Perhaps the current crisis facing our nation would be a bit easier to understand if I had listened more closely.  Tonight I find myself with my eyes glazed over and my neck beginning to twitch.  This national debt crisis thing is pretty big stuff, and I'm irritated at myself for not understanding things.  Oh, I get the basic concept:  We're in debt.  More going out than coming in.  That's not so hard to understand.  

I watched the President's speech, and the Speaker's response.  I hope you're sitting down when you read this, because I'm about to say something you won't often hear me say.  I agree with President Obama.  However- I realize that I say that as one who hates anything to do with numbers, and with only a barely-passing grade in economics.  I surely must have misunderstood something he said tonight. 

I know there are those who are blaming the Republicans for stonewalling and refusing to pass a bill that the Democrats want.  While I don't really like either party at this point, given the choice of only these two, I pretty much am NOT a Democrat.  

But could someone tell me what is wrong with the plan that the Democrats have proposed?  Yeah, I know it's all probably based on cheating, lying, and covering their own butts.  It's the stuff that I don't hear that frightens me.  

Absolutely, spending should be cut.  Fraud should be identified and eradicated.  But what I really like is that the rich people and huge corporations should not be privy to all the tax cuts and loopholes, while the little folks carry the financial burden by paying higher taxes.  IMO, he was very effective when he asked (loosely paraphrased) would we rather the budget issues be solved by expecting an elderly person to forfeit Medicare benefits before asking a corporate jet owner or oil tycoon to give up a tax break.  That sounds perfectly reasonable to me.

Maybe we need to look closer at the Fair Tax proposals that some have suggested. 

In the meantime, I'd really love to hear from both sides.  What do you think?

(On the flip side, if you enjoy irony, check out this article that shows how then-Senator Obama reacted when President Bush wanted to raise the debt limit...)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Monday, Monday!

My goodness.  Mondays sure seem to come around quickly these days.  Steve has been working seven days a week since we returned from the beach, and the heat has been brutal.  I'm right in the middle of an eleven-day work week myself.  We both could use some serious down time.  Yet we are thankful for work, and I am especially thankful for an indoor job.  We're counting the days until we return to our favorite spot on the beach, The Treadwell Hilton.  That excursion is a mere 11 weeks away, and with time whizzing by at warp speed, it will be here before we know it.  We're looking forward to my parents traveling with us this time.  Our friends DJ & David, BJ & Chris will be over there as well, so it is shaping up to be another perfect birthday at the beach!!!  I do love the beach in autumn, and it's so nice to have something to look forward to.  Our vacation/honeymoon was absolutely perfect.  It has been so crazy busy since our return that I still haven't posted photos.  And speaking of honeymoons... I highly recommend the "delayed" honeymoon thing.  You may remember that our original wedding date was June 22, with the beach trip immediately following.  We may be old geezers, but when it came to getting married, we were like kids waiting for Christmas, and decided to jump in and just do the thing, but decided to keep the honeymoon as originally scheduled in June.  I'm so glad we did it that way.  No wedding stress/exhaustion to worry with.  I moved my stuff in on Saturday after the wedding, hooked up my computer, and was back to work on Monday.  I did take off Easter Sunday, to enjoy a nice long weekend with the new hubby.  By the time our honeymoon rolled around, we were already accustomed to living together, already knew that we liked being together all the time (haha), and had a couple of months to look forward to and plan for our trip.  Yes.  I highly recommend the delayed honeymoon thing.  Now we can't wait to go back, and look forward to spending time with my parents and the best friends ever. Only eleven more Mondays to go....

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Let The Mud Fly!

It’s time to gear up for a new Presidential campaign season. Let the melee begin!! It’s old news to anyone who reads my blog that I’m not a fan of President Obama. Never have been, and it’s pretty safe to say I never will be. Digging a little deeper, I have to say that I’m not a fan of our political system at all. I’ll be the first to admit that what I don’t know about politics could fill all the oceans of the earth, while what I do know could, comparatively, maybe fill my coffee cup. I do try to stay somewhat on top of hot-button issues, and whenever possible listen to the broadcast news, both liberal mainstream and conservative cable networks. As I’ve said before, I think the truth lies somewhere in between the two, though IMO leaning more to the right than the left.

I suppose now it’s time for the mud-slinging to begin in earnest. I listened Monday night to ABC’s storyline on Michelle Bachmann, and how her counseling clinic wants to “pray away the gay”. In my humblest, and admitted-not-so-political-savvy mind, I consider this a smear tactic.  It may be the way their clinic operates, but ... read further ...

At the outset, let me say that I am not a gay basher. I have quite a few gay friends, and I love them no differently than my straight friends. I think I shocked my pastor one Sunday morning in Bible Study when I said that I think there are more serious issues that threaten our nation than the fight over same-sex marriage. I read and hear where some believe gay marriage is going to be the demise of our nation. While that’s another post for another time, I beg to differ- the threat and demise of our nation, IMO, is plain and simple: Greed. But I’ll blog about that later. I’m just saying here that, while some of my Christian friends may disagree with me and consider me “less Christian” because of my views, that’s just the way I see it.

But back to Michelle Bachman. I have not examined her platform very closely at all, (does she even have one yet?) but I do know that she is a Tea Party favorite. Which, in my humble opinion, might serve to hurt rather than help her. The Tea Party [again another post for another time] could have had great potential, but I am sad to see that some of their statements and behaviors have somewhat taken away a bit of the integrity and validity of what could have been a potential positive political force for conservatives. So, to many liberals, the Tea Party association is already one mark against her. However, I do think they see her as a threat, and it appears that she is now feeling the force of the liberal political machine as they are aiming their big guns at her.

Last week there was the report of their counseling clinic’s participation in the Medicaid program. I guess that wasn’t volatile enough.

Monday night was the first I heard of the “pray away the gay” scandal that is now in the news. If you didn’t hear about it, Bachmann and her husband operate a Christian counseling service. In a nutshell, they are coming under fire for offering counsel to gay people that God can change them into a straight person. This, of course, is offensive to gays, and I can understand that.

Let’s think about this, though. I do not subscribe to the Christian Science faith, and find some of their beliefs to be odd, at the least. So, let’s say that I’m pregnant, and looking to take a childbirth class. Would I go to a childbirth class taught by this church? Ummm… no, I don’t think so. I’m all about screaming and drugs when it comes to birthing babies… if that’s what it takes to get the job done. Would I expect to find instructions for baking my Christmas crown roast at a Vegan website or market? No. Would I try to buy a battery for my car at a dentist’s office? Then, why, if I were not a Christian who really felt that it was a sin to be gay, and want to be “delivered from my gayness”, would I seek out a Christian counseling service?

My point is this: If Michelle and Marcus Bachmann are out on the street corners, or going into gay bars bashing patrons, condemning them to hell, and telling them that God can change them, that’s one thing. If, on the other hand, they are running a Christian counseling service, and someone comes to them, of their own free will, for counseling, why is it wrong for them to try to “help” the person? Whether or not being gay is determined at conception, or is a chosen lifestyle will probably be debated until the end of time. Are the Bachmanns wrong to counsel people that they can pray away the gay? I don’t know the answer to that. But wouldn’t you expect that to be their take on it at a Christian counseling service?

During particularly tough times in my life, I have utilized professional counseling myself. One was a Christian counseling service, and one non-Christian. I have no idea if the non-Christian counselor was indeed a Christian in his personal life or not… but his counseling service was not marketed as “Christian”. I cannot make assumptions about his personal life. Just as there are Christian entertainers, and entertainers who are Christians, there are Christian counselors, and counselors who are Christian. Looking back on these counseling sessions, were the counselors “right”? Would another counselor have taken a different approach? Over the years, I have also sought informal counseling from different pastors at different churches I have attended. In doing so, I totally understood, and expected, that their counsel would be from a Christian point of view, with involvement of prayer and Scripture. Duh??  I don’t know if the Bachmanns are “right” in their teaching or not. But does it matter, politically speaking?

As I said, I have quite a few friends who are gay. Without exception, in the lives of these folks, there has been a defined moment in time when they “came out”. This leads me to believe, and most will probably tell you, that there was an internal struggle, perhaps religious, perhaps social. Maybe some did seek counseling, maybe not. If their parents brought them up in church, and they had a relationship with God, then perhaps the struggle was more difficult, and they sought Christian counseling. If such was not the case, I think that would lessen the chances of seeking Christian counseling over non-Christian counseling.

All that to say this. What difference does it make what they teach in their clinic? The Bible is clear in its teaching. I would expect a Christian counseling service to glean it’s teaching from the Bible. Just like I would expect the Christian Science childbirth class to base its teachings on whatever book it is that contains their rules. Or the Vegan website to teach a Vegan style of eating, based on their research and reference materials. So, if a gay person is having trouble with their identity, or their sexuality, and they do not place any credence in the Bible, then don’t go to a Christian counselor! The video that was shot and being played on the news appears to be a setup. It is a politically-motivated act to rile up a large, powerful group of people to rally against a candidate.

Religious affiliation and denominations are for the most part a bunch of legalistic entities that point fingers at other people whose beliefs differ from their own (alas, yet another post for another time..haha..) I belong to a church of the Southern Baptist denomination. More so out of convenience, in that it’s where my family goes, where my friends go, and it’s in my hometown, the church I grew up in, etc. The legalistic stuff of any religion bores me and saddens me. I’m not so sure that some of it doesn’t sadden God as well.

It’s even worse in politics, regardless of party affiliation. Pointing fingers, judging the acts and beliefs of others, cheating, misrepresenting facts, etc. And people of faith are some of their favorite targets. The story isn’t complete yet, and I’m sure there is more to be uncovered in this situation. But you can bet the mainstream media spin will do its best to paint Michelle Bachman in the worst possible light. Is she the best choice for Republican candidate? I wouldn’t even venture a guess at this point. Even if she is the worst possible choice, she doesn’t deserve the media spin. The gay community has thousands of supporters who are not themselves gay. This is not a group of people that you want campaigning against you. The left knows this, and will use it. I suspect other potential candidates will be faced with similar accusations, but this particular “scandal” must surely have caused some serious mouth-foaming over on the left.

Some may consider not voting for her based on this. I remember when Mitt Romney announced his candidacy last time around, there was concern with his being Mormon. I also have quit a few friends who are Mormon. The scrapbook industry (which I support heavily), is made up largely by Mormon vendors and business men and women. Because a part of their faith lends them to an interest in genealogy, besides being fun, scrapbooking provides a way of preserving memories and family records. Even my Mormon friends will tell you that their beliefs, while similar in some respects, are quite different from mainstream protestant or catholic religions. Because Romney has beliefs that are different from mine, does that preclude him from being President, even if he is the best candidate? Of course not. Likewise, If Michelle Bachmann’s religious viewpoints differ from mine or yours, if she is the best candidate, should that make a difference? I’m not sure Superman himself could pull our nation out of the tailspin we’re in, and for certain I haven’t decided who will get my vote at this point. I just wish that for all the people who cry “separation of church and state” (church and government, period!), that the decision to choose a candidate wouldn’t be based on religion.

Hopefully, we will be given the facts with regard to her qualifications for president. From what I see, she seems to lack sufficient experience, but, the same argument wasn’t enough to keep President Obama from being elected…

Now, having said all that, allow me to add: Not for one minute do I think that the GLBT community, nor their supporters, would ever consider voting for Bachmann. Her stand on same-sex marriage, and pro-life is widely known. If that’s your beef with her, then by all means, don’t vote for her. All I’m saying is that it really ticks me off how the media wants to spin the way they practice counseling as an issue. For pro-life folks, and those opposed to same-sex marriage, they already know what she stands for as well. We need to vote for her or not vote for her based on her platform and her experience (or lack thereof….)

Can I just say at this point I’m pretty much dreading all the hoopla (and TV commercials) that go along with an election season. The mudslinging by both parties makes me sick. It makes me tired, and it means I have to start doing my homework in order to make the best decision before casting my vote. And if 2008 is any indication, it also means lots of politically-oriented blog posts. My apologies in advance.  :-)

Monday, July 4, 2011


Time has slipped away from me today, and I didn't get my Independence Day blog post written. I'm going to hijack my post from this date in 2008. The message never grows old, and I simply can't let this day go by without recognizing its significance.


Independence! (Originally posted to CathyB 07-04-08)

October 11, 2001. The one-month anniversary of one of the darkest days in American history found me boarding a plane, heading to the very airport from which those ill-fated planes originated. I was traveling as a chaperone with a group of 10th grade AP US History students to Boston. Though plans had been made far in advance, because of the uncertainty of air travel, we were not sure we would get to make the trip. Fortunately, we were allowed to fly, and so began one of my favorite trips ever.

Now each year when July 4th comes around, I have a new understanding and appreciation for the holiday. It's way more than fireworks, picnics, and a day off work. So much more. While I expected the trip to Boston to be a nice adventure, I had no idea what was in store for me, and how it would forever change my view of independence. Our tour guide (a descendant of John Pitcairn) was a fascinating man with a passion for Revolutionary War history, and he made it come alive. I am humbled to have walked the very ground where it all happened. It made it real. I went inside the church where Robert Newman hung the two lanterns that signaled to Paul Revere that the British were coming. I saw the window where he escaped arrest, the window that has been blackened out to commemorate his heroic act. One late afternoon I sat in a grassy field in Lexington and listened to our guide describe the small, but significant exchange of gunshots that happened on the very ground where I was sitting. In Concord, I walked across the Old North Bridge, site of "The Shot Heard Round The World". I touched the monuments that give tribute to the men who died there. Though I didn't climb its 294 steps, I visited the monument at Bunker Hill, the site of the bloodiest battle of the war. The American soldiers were short on ammunition, and the British soldiers so many, that General Prescott ordered his men- "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes!" in order to make sure that every bullet counted. I visited the graves of many brave men who were instrumental in our early history- Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, Peter Faneuil, and John Hancock. I saw the building from which the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public. Wow.

The trip was fascinating, and I asked more questions than the students. Admittedly, history was a subject that I loathed while in school, and I remember very little of what I dutifully memorized in order to pass a test. Here in Boston it came alive to me, and much to my embarrassment, several times I found myself overcome with emotion at the enormity of the sacrifice that our forefathers (and mothers) endured to secure our independence. I have often seen and heard the remark that freedom is not free. It never has been. It never will be.

Happy Birthday, America! Thank you, soldiers of the Revolutionary War. Thank you, men and women throughout the history of our country who see to it that our Star-Spangled Banner Yet Waves, Ore The Land Of The Free And The Home Of The Brave!