I was mocked today....

for my excessive thankfulness. And somehow I don't find that to be all that shameful.

A few of my contributions to the thankful bowl included:

  • I am thankful for a husband who lives to make me happy, and succeeds.
  • I am thankful for embarrassingly awesome kids who are talented and beautiful but more importantly, kind and good.
  • I am thankful for sweet friends who know how to party and are kind enough to invite us over to join them.
  • And on a more shallow note, I am thankful for my rockin' Goodwill wardrobe.
If you are reading and I know you, I am pretty certain there is something (or many things) that I am thankful to you for.

If you are reading and I don't know you. I am thankful that you would spend your time reading my ramblings.

If I met you through this blog I am thankful for that. My mind and consciousness have been so expanded through the people I have met through this blog. I love reading your blogs in turn. How did we survive before the internet? It is practically beyond comprehension.

I am thankful to have the love and care of such wonderful people and to have so many wonderful people to love in return. I am thankful to have all my needs met and exceeded.

I am thankful to know that I am a daughter of a Heavenly Father and to feel His love and the love of Jesus Christ every day.

I am thankful for the chance to take a whole day off from regular life to feel thankful.

Thanksgiving really is one of the biggest perks of living in U.S I have come to appreciate it so much.

“… you should render all the thanks and praise which your whole soul has power to possess, to that God who has created you, and has kept and preserved you, and has caused that ye should rejoice, and has granted that ye should live in peace one with another. …” (Mosiah 2:19–20.)

Sneaking in just before the next major Holiday: Scenes from..

Starting at Hogwarts. Harry and his professor.

Red gets ready..
for the parade:
The bat looking batty
The Count looks pensiveFinny assists with the Back Up Cupcakes

The sad impatiens stalks are traditionally stomped on Halloween when they finally give up the ghost.

Now let's go Trick or Treating!

Hail, hail, the gang's all here!Go! Go! Go!

Bat swoops by
The Count sweeps dramatically by...
Red approaches cautiously
Harry and the Sorting Hat

A tired Harry catches a ride.and we walk off into the sunset...
And a few scenes from Trunk or Treat a few days earlier
Harry and the Penguin

Red and Cleo
A slightly more friendly witch..and that's all folks!

Let me explain this to you in a way you can understand....

So I was just sitting here, Finny on my lap. I was playing a highly entertaining game by gripping his little wrists in my hands and causing them to flail around wildly, hitting my face. I was exclaiming in mock indignation, "why are you hitting me?! How can you be so disrespectful? I am your mother, I do everything for you and you hit me?" (Never miss out on guilt inducing teaching opportunity. It is in my Italian heritage.)

He was half apoplectic with laughter (which of course, just encouraged me to continue) and half horrified. It was clear that a part of him suspected that perhaps I really did think he was hitting me willfully. He kept gasping between hysterical laughter, "mommy, I am not doing it to you! You are making me do it, I don't want to hit you!"

Eventually I stopped so we could both regain our breath. I continued with the charade. "Finny, why did you hit me? I'm so sad!" He said, very earnestly, "Mommy, I didn't! I wasn't trying to!"

Seeing that I wasn't buying it (because I have a warped sense of humour which makes me take this type of joke too far), and with a face reflecting grave concern, he grabbed my wrists in his hands and sharply slapped himself across the face with them, exclaiming, "why would you do that to a kid?!" Then dropped my hands and said earnestly, "See?!"

I conceded that indeed I did, and then went on to eat him. He was delicious.

Taken at another time when he was experiencing an endearing mix of hilarity and concern as he tried not to drop his pumpkin on the (last!! Sniff!) preschool pumpkin patch trip.

Which is why, maybe it is better that we don't even try...

This is one of the many, many attempts at a decent family portrait the other night. Our long suffering friend Amy, moved a couch, removed a picture from the wall of her home, and snapped, snapped and snapped some more.

We did not get one perfect shot.
And by perfect I mean, everyone was looking in one direction NOT SIX. Follow the eyes above. Seriously, 6 different directions! No two people were looking at the same thing. Awesome.

In fairness, I see that I am the major problem in this picture, however for the most part it was someone else ruining it with looking in the wrong direction. I tended to ruin it by looking drunk or frozen. My boys have issues with keeping their eyes open. Benj has issues with looking at the camera, period. Aaron has issues with smiling like he means it. Gracie is probably the most photogenic amongst us and the most cooperative of all the kids, but after a while, her radiant smile becomes frozen and a little bit disconcerting too. Kind of like the smile of someone who is about to snap. Which I don't blame her for one bit. Her psychotic smile speaks for us all.

Perhaps we will try again next week. 'Cos I'm a masochist/sadist like that.

PS: And what am I grateful for in these trying circumstances? That we don't have to do this more often. :) That, and the outtakes (ie: every picture) are always good for a laugh.

Being Rudolph

Finny has a newfound obsession. This being the plight, fate, life and times of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

These are just a few of the questions posed to me with accompanying furrowed brow, anxious eyes and pursed lips which make copious kissing mid earnest-questioning utterly irresistible.

  • "Why do the other Reindeer tease Rudolph just because he has a red nose?"
  • "Can't Rudolph just walk away and go into the barn to ignore them when they are teasing him?"
  • "How do the other reindeer concentrate when they are flying if they are busy teasing him?"
  • " Why does he have to go in front?""
  • "Why does Rudolph have to be different anyway?"
  • "Why can't all the reindeer have red noses so they can be teased together?"
  • "Why can't Rudolph just have a black nose?"
  • "Who is the judge? I think the judge is Cupid. So why can't Cupid just tell them to stop and let Rudolph join in the reindeer games?"
Followed by this sometimes slightly more awkward line of questioning:

  • "Can I have a reindeer and put it in the toy-box that we kept Thumper in before we got the cage for Thumper? Cos I really want to see Rudolph the red nosed reindeer."
  • "Do reindeer eat grass? Maybe our reindeer could just eat our grass?"
  • Where does Santa keep the reindeer when they are up North? Do they get cold?
  • If they are out in a barn, is that why Santa does not notice that Rudolph is being teased and make them stop?

Which led to the articulation of this most fervent yearning:

"I really, REALLY want to see a picture of Rudolph Mommy. Could you please find me a picture of him on your 'puter?"

When this one failed to satisfy:

An exhaustive google search was embarked upon for "Photo of Real Rudolph the Red nosed Reindeer". After much searching, triumphant gasps, and many a meaningful glare at the more cynical, photo-shop savvy older siblings and their friends, we found these magnificent artifacts which filled my sweet four year old with much wide- eyed wonder and joy. Behold! Lo!

The infant Rudolph! The nose as we all know, gets redder with age.

Rudolph, presumably taken whilst being excluded from Any Reindeer Games!

Rudolph in a lighter mood!

And the mother-lode! Picture of Rudolph captured, we imagine, by excited kids in their car, on their way to the North Pole!

Also at this juncture I must add that when he sings the song he pronounces it as such,

"and if you ever sawl him...."

The day he drops the "l" will be a sad one indeed.

He also ends the song with panache:

"Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history. Like Obama!"

Man, but I love that kid.

I think I am going to adopt this bill paying approach....

although rather then spiders, I draw flowers quite well, so I might go that way..

I am fairly certain you will find this quite funny.

Hey fellow bloggers....

This is groovy. Check it out. Thanks, Sara!

What does your blog say about you?

An Attitude of Gratitude

Align Right

So in keeping with the season, I have been busily coming up with ways to help my kids and the young women I lead to have an attitude of gratitude. Today after shopping for a function designed to help increase the sense of gratitude of our Young Women, I found myself in the most windswept tundra of them all, the grocery store parking lot. Is there anything more cold, windy or desolate then a grocery store parking lot?

As I pushed my laden trolley (shopping cart- I am feeling a pull back to my mother tongue), across the lot towards my car my inner monologue went something like this.
reallyreallysuckswhy didInotmovebeforethiswinter?
ItisnotfairthatitiswinteralreadybecauseitissupposedtobeFall.It issouglyanddepressingouthereIcan'tevenbelieveit.Ihateheinousuglyfreakingwinter.
Areyoukiddingmewithhowfreakingcold itis.ImeanareyouFORREAL?????I JUST BIT MY LIP FROM SHIVERING SO HARD. GAAAAAH!!!!!!! (
or g-g-g-g-g-g-g-GAAAAAAAH)

Then it moved onto:
"Great, now I have to move all these bags into the house by myself in the freezing cold and they will most probably split open all over the street, because I forgot my canvas ones and got paper ones so at least the bunny could use them but the paper ones are useless and look that one is already breaking. Well of course it is. Because the world hates me when it is winter. In fact I think winter is a conspiracy against me...."

Then a man walked by me. I am not sure what it was about him that caught my eye. Maybe he walked with a limp, or there was a stoop in his shoulders. I noticed he had no groceries. There was something about him which looked downtrodden.

Suddenly my mind was filled with the image of a man I had seen at the post-office last week. He was very old and toothless. He was tiny and hunched over. He did not seem capable of speech. He was holding a package by the door and he was looking at people as they approached in a desperate way, cocking his head. He had the exact mannerisms of a little dog or a cat, waiting to be let in or out of the house. I got to the door and opened it, standing back for him, and without looking up at me, he scurried inside. I realized then that he could not hold the package and open the door, even though the package was very small. Perhaps he could not open the door at all. After my package was safely on its way, I saw him standing at the door again, I held it open and asked him if he needed help out. He looked at me blankly. I repeated myself. A woman behind me said, "I think he wants to stay inside where it is warm". The whole experience was incredibly humbling for me. As I sat in my car in the post office parking lot, I realized how much I take for granted as I rush through life. I can open a door, I can drive a vehicle. I can run around painlessly all day with no thought for how my body is doing it. I don't have to rely on other people to help me in out of the cold. I have a mind that not only functions well enough for me to be independent, but one that can reason, remember, be inspired, entertained and creative. I have a family and friends who will never allow me to be left in the cold literally, or figuratively.

I am reminded of an experience I had a couple of years ago around this time, as I stood behind an elderly mother and her adult son checking out at the grocery store. It was a bleak day and it was Aldi's so it was bleak inside too. I remember them having very few items. One of them was a brick of cheese. I remember hearing them discussing Christmas, about decorating, sounding excited. I remember his torn, dirty coat, her careworn face. You could tell life had not been easy for either one of them, but it was the holidays and they seemed pretty upbeat as they made their modest plans.

As I was loading my groceries on the belt I realized progress ahead of me had stopped. The cashier was explaining, not unkindly, that they were short of money. They looked helpless and started to sort through their meager groceries, putting some things back. Time stood still, people shifted behind me impatiently. I suddenly snapped out of my trance and told the cashier to add their purchases to my tab. They were embarrassingly grateful, I was probably too upset to be very gracious, and they eventually moved on.

I stared hard at the contents of my cart and faked a cough to hide the fact that I was crying. I felt such a sense of hopelessness for them. I felt bad that they'd been publicly humiliated,I felt an almost painful empathy for them. I had not been in that situation, but I easily could have been at many different stages of my life. I felt frustrated at the world. I took no satisfaction in the fact that I had been in the position to help. I sat in the parking lot at Aldis feeling crushed and desperate, knowing I was surrounded in my own small town by desperate need that seemingly nobody saw. Feeling as though my life was wasted if I did not fix everything for everyone. And helpless knowing that I could not.

I spiraled in a depression for weeks after, focusing on the unbelievable amount of need in the world which no-one was addressing. No holiday event was complete without me calculating how many people could have been fed in Africa with the money that was spent on that hot chocolate. How many pairs of shoes or bricks of cheese could have been provided to a destitute family just over the tracks, in our own town, instead of that lavish cookie spread at a community event. Yeah, I was the life of the party alright. People were loving being around me.

One day I announced to my husband that we needed to pack up everyone and go to work for the Peace Corp in Africa. My husband gently pointed out that in our current state of life we would only be adding to the problem. He suggested that I focus on raising my family to be compassionate, intelligent, capable and focused on helping others. I slowly understood the truth and logic to what he was saying. In that state of mind, I was neglecting the very people I had been charged to care for and nurture at this time. The very people who I was sent to help. I was neglecting my personal mission of service. I was creating poverty in spirit at home.

Ingratitude wears many disguises. The first scenario I described is one of the more obvious-I was focused on myself and my own discomfort. The second is less obvious but just as damning. I was focused on all that was wrong and lacking for so many less fortunate then me. In both cases I was so focused on what was missing, what was out of place, that there was no space to see what was right, what was good, what was whole and beautiful and blessed.

At times like these, when the world seems more troubled then ever, it can almost seem insensitive to be too upbeat. These are hard times for many people and we may feel as though we should keep our good cheer in check. Perhaps we feel as though we are not serious minded enough if we are not focused on the bad news, discussing the dire situation in the economy, the lack of ethics, morality and kindness in the world. The horrible weather.

But does it serve anyone really to add to the gloom? Is the world not looking for a little chink of light wherever it can be found? I'm pretty confident the answer to that question is yes. Optimists, happy, grateful people are a balm to my soul. We are all drawn to them like moths to flame. And really, there is nothing stopping any of us from being one of those people. Grateful people are happy regardless of their circumstances. Indeed the worse things get, the more sunny they seem sometimes. For some individuals it comes more naturally. Perhaps they did some practising in the pre-existence. But optimism and gratitude can also be a learned behaviour, acquired through diligent practise.

After seeing that man pass by in the parking lot today with his accompanying memory triggers, I decided to play a little game right there as I stood on that windswept tundra.

I am grateful I am c-c-cold because:
It means I am healthy enough to be out shopping for my family.
It makes me aware of my body and the blessing of being alive and able to feel.
It makes my old warm van seem incredibly luxurious
I am grateful to be dragging all the breaking bags around in the cold because:
It means I am blessed to have the means to buy what is is bursting those bags
It means that I am blessed to have people in my life to share meals with
It means that I have a cute bunny at home who will enjoy those paper bags.
I am grateful for my grubby house because
I have shelter from the cold. Nothing like winter to take your breath away with gratitude for shelter from the cold.
It is filled with healthy, active children to make it grubby
It is grubby because my life is full of fun activities which keep me from doing nothing but cleaning all day.
Cleaning is an easy way to feel like you have accomplished something.

And a bonus: when the sun doesn't shine, the dirt is far less noticeable.

I am committed to playing this game, 'til the end of the month at least. Perhaps it will become habit by then. The moment I started playing it today my mood improved infinitely. I may have even felt a fraction warmer. It was so much fun that I started looking for more irritating things to be grateful for. It was so much more pleasant then the negative domino effect that generally starts after any tundra freezing experience and ends with an hysterical call to my husband about why do we still live in this hole?.

"A grateful heart is a beginning of greatness. It is an expression of humility. It is a foundation for the development of such virtues as prayer, faith, courage, contentment, happiness, love, and well-being. But there is a truism associated with all types of human strength: “Use it or lose it.” When not used, muscles weaken, skills deteriorate, and faith disappears".-Elder James E. Faust

Gratitude, it's what works for me!

Words to live by..

Although I do wish it did not stop on that particular slide, it does not really represent the message. Anyway go ahead and watch. It is not as it seems ;)

Thanks Jen Lynn :)

Time to lighten things up a bit around here...

And reveal what I fear may become an unhealthy obsession if left unchecked.

Gracie and I spent a little time this afternoon playing here, doing some virtual window shopping and building various "looks". All I need now is a sugar daddy, endless time to shop and a lifestyle that requires a lot of trench-coat and beret wearing.

According to these layouts, I see myself as some sort of modern Jackie O with legs about three times longer then they are (see the skinny jeans). Also, I tend to get stuck in a colour palette. Hey grey! That may be a euphemism for saying that I am boring. Very fun. Very revealing. (The exercise not the clothing, I went to great lengths (pun totally not intended) to keep it modest, you should SEE what is going on under some of those coats! GASP!) Sometime soon, I will put together a pretend wardrobe more conducive to my lifestyle. And then go on wearing my existing wardrobe from Bonne Volonte. (That's French for Goodwill)

* You can click on any layout and individual item if you want to see how insanely expensive/surprisingly cheap it is and where it is being sold. Cool.

Black and grey and red all over by KirstyS

Don't you love the little grey rose I added to the cropped jacket? That was ALL me baby. I should totally be a designer.

Black and grey mix and match by KirstyS

Paris by KirstyS

Pretty in pink by KirstyS

3 Nail Crises NAILED.

Long gone are the days when I had time to worry about the tragedy of a broken nail in my quest for 10 perfectly manicured ones. Now so long as they are clean and relatively well groomed I consider myself ahead of the game. The only time I really worry about my nails is when something happens to them that will cause me pain or aggravation.
I have been finding solutions to these nail problems though.
1. The painful hang-nail. Sometimes you have a hangnail and it is killer, sometimes you can't even see it but oh! the Paaaaiiinnnnnnnnnn. Even if you can't see, you can tell when this has happened when the finger on the side of your nail bed is sore and or swollen. This means something around there has gone awry and become infected and as well as being super sore it can also quickly become a problem worthy of big horse pill antibiotics and none of us want that. Sometimes, if you are doing a lot of housework you can also get a crack in the skin just to the edge of the nail bed and it gets infected. For something so tiny it is incredibly painful.

So this is my fool-proof solution. At the first sign of a hang nail, soften it by putting your hand in warm water for a few minutes (never cut it when it is hard, it will make it tear more!) then clip it with sterile clippers- short enough so that it does not get pulled and stuck in things (eeuw), THEN: slather the area with Neosporin + Pain relief.

Really, really massage it into the area in liberal amounts and often. It will hurt to massage it in thoroughly, but the cream needs to get into all those little invisible cracks and crannies so rub all around the area and do so often. Cover it with a band-aid. This has healed my most throbbingly painful hangnail situations in as fast as just a few hours. The pain relief component of the Neosporin gives you instant relief and instant is always awesome when it comes to pain.

2.The nail that breaks half way down the nail bed.
Oh man. That sinking feeling when you notice that a nail has cracked and broken half way down your nail bed. What are you supposed to do? The crack is going to keeping getting bigger and snag on everything all the time (shudder). Covering it when a bandaid doesn't help much. And you can't clip it. It is going to take weeks for the nail to grow long enough to clip without problems and the band aid is just going to keep sliding off and making your finger and your nail all white and mushy.

Your friend here is SUPER GLUE. Have you ever stopped a run in your hose with a little dollop of nail polish? Same concept. Get the super glue out, preferably with the help of a trusted friend. It needs to be placed carefully and judiciously. You can't be getting all willy nilly with super glue or you will have a whole different issue on your hands (no pun intended). Stick a dollop of glue from the side of the nail right up to where the tear ends and let it dry, try to push your nail together from from the tip downwards as it dries to "knit" the nail back together. Problem solved. The nail will then feel as good as new, no snagging, no pain and because the nail is stabilized, the tear will stop where is. I'm sure there is a nail glue designed for just this purpose but the super glue has held up very well through all sorts of gloveless housework, and it's something I had on hand. Again, with the puns not intended. Super glue! Don't use Crazy Glue, I did not find it worked for long.

3. And this one my mom will have to forgive me for sharing with you all. Years ago, she was dealing with that icky toenail fungus thing that makes your toenail get all thick and ugly. The Dr- prescribed cream for such a condition costs a fortune and has some super scary side effects listed so she decided to find a natural way.

Every day she soaked her toesies in vinegar and voila. Problem solved. The fungus was eliminated and her toenails returned to their former glory as they grew out. Vinegar my friends, is a marvelous thing. Incidentally, my mom would rinse our hair every time she washed it with diluted apple cider vinegar to make it shine. And we had famously shiny hair. She also believes it is why none of us ever got lice.


Fall is fading fast here. Last week was breathtaking. It was perfect. It was sublime. It was made for the occasion.

This week is the let-down. It is cold, it is bleak, it is gray and with every last leaf that falls I am reminded of the grim promise of what lies ahead. For about the next 6 months. It was as I was miserably pondering this after dropping Finny off at preschool today that I found myself listening to a lovely rendition of this song I learned in Primary. (Shona, it reminds me of you.)

Whenever I hear the song of a bird Or look at the blue, blue sky Whenever I feel the rain on my face Or the wind as it rushes by Whenever I touch a velvet rose or walk by a lilac tree
I'm glad that I live in this beautiful world,
Heavenly Father created for me

It was just as those words were sung that I looked up and saw this scene. I made a special trip back out to the spot I was in later, stood in the middle of the road and snapped away..

To me, these photos look as though they are black and whites which have been altered with little
pops of colour, you know that effect that is so popular, which I have no idea how to do? In fact these are straight out of my camera. Aaron thinks they look like paintings.

I must concede that without the starkness of the bare trees, the colours would not have been so striking. The juxtaposition between bare and vibrant is what makes the scene so beautiful.

It is the same with the seasons of course. The brutal (by some standards) Winter makes the Spring glorious, the Summer joyful and the Autumn sublime. Winter has its moments, you can't beat a thick fresh snowfall for pure serenity, but mostly we have to give it props for making all the other seasons look so good.

And once again, I am glad that I live in this beautiful world with people who invent this kind of thing. Its never too early to get one for yourself you know.

The other side of the story

So I have me some thoughts and feelings regarding Prop 8. This post is not about them.

Over the past several days I have o
bserved the protests directed at the Mormon church, (some more vitriolic then others):

and as a Mormon I feel compelled to point out that

1.) Not every Mormon voted for Prop 8. In fact the vast, vast, vast majority of them had absolutely nothing to do with it, so sending them all to hell doesn't seem altogether fair (and is a tad hypocritical no?). And you know what else? Sending those to hell who did vote for it is just silly. Freedom of religion, speech and the democratic process. Hmmm...as far as I see no Mormon violated any of these things. But thanks for all the excuses to type hell. Damn it feels good.

2.) Well...he says it better:

Catholic Bishop Decries Religious Bigotry Against Mormons

SACRAMENTO - 7 November 2008 - (This news release was issued by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento) The following statement was released today by Bishop William Weigand, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento and former Bishop of Salt Lake City, in response to attacks on (The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) for supporting California’s Proposition 8, defending the traditional definition of marriage:

“Catholics stand in solidarity with our Mormon brothers and sisters in support of traditional marriage — the union of one man and one woman — that has been the major building block of Western Civilization for millennia.

“The ProtectMarriage coalition, which led the successful campaign to pass Proposition 8, was an historic alliance of people from every faith and ethnicity. LDS were included — but so were Catholics and Jews, Evangelicals and Orthodox, African-Americans and Latinos, Asians and Anglos.

“Bigoted attacks on Mormons for the part they played in our coalition are shameful and ignore the reality that Mormon voters were only a small part of the groundswell that supported Proposition 8.

“As the former bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, I can attest to the fact that followers of the Mormon faith are a good and generous people with a long history of commitment to family and giving to community causes.

“I personally decry the bigotry recently exhibited towards the members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — coming from the opponents of Proposition 8, who ironically, have called those of us supporting traditional marriage intolerant.

“I call upon the supporters of same-sex marriage to live by their own words — and to refrain from discrimination against religion and to exercise tolerance for those who differ from them. I call upon them to accept the will of the people of California in the passage of Proposition 8.”

SOURCE: Roman Catholic Diocese of Sacramento


Me again:

When all is said and done, members of the Mormon church, (not the Church itself) donated a great deal of money towards Prop 8 and were encouraged by church leaders to support the passage of the proposition. In the end only a very tiny percentage of them got to vote, not all of them voted yes, and none of them as far as I am aware, stood with a gun to the head of anyone in a voting booth to make them vote "yes". While there will no doubt always be disappointing exceptions in every group of people, I have no doubt that the vast majority of Mormons were respectful in their campaigning. The process was a democratic one and whether we like it or not, the people have spoken. Most of those people were not Mormon. I would also like to point out the following from a statement given by the Mormon church:

It is disturbing that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is being singled out for speaking up as part of its democratic right in a free election.

Members of the Church in California and millions of others from every faith, ethnicity and political affiliation who voted for Proposition 8 exercised the most sacrosanct and individual rights in the United States — that of free expression and voting.

While those who disagree with our position on Proposition 8 have the right to make their feelings known, it is wrong to target the Church and its sacred places of worship for being part of the democratic process.

Once again, we call on those involved in the debate over same-sex marriage to act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility towards each other. No one on either side of the question should be vilified, harassed or subject to erroneous information.

The church also said this as part of this statement when Proposition 8 passed (my emphasis added)

Such an emotionally charged issue concerning the most personal and cherished aspects of life — family, identity, intimacy and equality — stirs fervent and deep feelings.

Most likely, the election results for these constitutional amendments will not mean an end to the debate over same-sex marriage in this country.

We hope that now and in the future all parties involved in this issue will be well informed and act in a spirit of mutual respect and civility toward those with a different position. No one on any side of the question should be vilified, intimidated, harassed or subject to erroneous information.....

......Allegations of bigotry or persecution made against the Church were and are simply wrong. The Church’s opposition to same-sex marriage neither constitutes nor condones any kind of hostility toward gays and lesbians. Even more, the Church does not object to rights for same-sex couples regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the traditional family or the constitutional rights of churches.

Yo, I'm back:

So we all have the rights to our (sometimes super strong) feelings on this matter. But let's remember that this is America. And if there's one thing American's pride themselves on, it is the right and privilege to vote their conscience. Californians did so. And hatred? Does not solve anything. Ever.

Thank you.

This just in

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Oh Happy Day!

Still with the crying. This morning Finny said, "hey guys do you know why mommy is crying". Then he looked at me and smiled and said, "I don't know". Although he can't articulate it and he can't possibly realize to what extent a true miracle has occurred, I think he senses why. Something unbelievably special has happened, and mommy is very very happy. Not much more then one hundred years ago, the man we now call the President elect could have been a slave. Just 45 years ago Martin Luther King gave a speech about a dream he had.

No matter what your political leanings, I cannot think how anyone could look upon the scene last night in Grant Park, that scene of love, unity, respect, understanding and tolerance, a scene where people of all races stood shoulder to shoulder and embraced each other with faces glowing with the joy of knowing where we have come from and where we are now, and the hope of what that means for the future. I cannot see how anyone can look on a scene like that and not imagine a loving God smiling down on it.

and for anyone who missed it

I have now been a part of two truly historic elections, elections based on almost unimaginable hope for the fruition of an event that few could truly imagine even a generation ago, even a year ago..even yesterday. I could not be more proud of the outcomes. And to quote a line from the classic Notting Hill. It's surreal, but nice. Oh so very nice.
Oh Happy Day!

Congratulations President Obama!!....

I am so proud of you America. Thank you! This is hugely, hugely significant, it gives me hope for humanity and I am touched beyond words.

And boy would I love to attend one of those parties in Kenya!

Sniff...gulp..THANK YOU.


I love you Ohio, thank you so much, I am proud of you. ALL THAT HARD WORK PAID OFF> YEAAAAAAAAAAAAH.
Just a tad thrilled here
LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE YOU (and Pennsylvania you too..kisses)

Stacey's Story

was published on at iLashGirls.com today. iLashGirls is co-founded by a friend of mine, Leigh Anne Wilkes. I stumbled accidentally on her site several months ago and I found it so inspiring. But I forgot to bookmark it. I was so sad and every so often I would try to back-track trying to figure out where to find her again. One day a list of hundreds of websites was listed. I randomly clicked on one of them-it was her! I have been a firm fan of her site ever since and am enjoying her new venture at iLashGirls.com too. I secretly think Leigh-Anne is some sort of alien or genetically modified bionic woman, because the amount she does, and does well is nothing short of miraculous. I often wish I was a fly on her wall to see how she gets it all done-and continues to look so serene as she does.

Here is Stacey's story
. Because I am so verbose, and even more so at 3am when I wrote this, some of my piece had to be edited for space. One line that did not make the cut in its entirety, which I would really love people to take away with them is this:

She was all about grabbing the moment, even if the moment was in every way inappropriate and inconvenient for the plans she had for it. She did not have the luxury of perfect timing to do the things she wanted to do, she had to take the time she had. She lived the way we all should. As though each day was her last, with gusto.

Twas the night before election. A stream of consciousness poem fueled by 100% sugar (and good intention)

'Twas the night before Election and all through the house
Not a tv was silent nor computer nor its mouse

The signs had been placed on the front lawn with care
In the hopes that Obama soon would win there

The pumpkins were carved
The buttons were pinned
We yearn and we hope and we pray for a win

A Socialist? Obama? We know it's not true
He just wants more money for me, and for you

And just how will he find all that money to give?
Why, he will end a war soon, and more people will live!

No Child Left Behind would get some much needed reform
Kids would stop filling in bubble sheets, being forced to perform
To some arbitrary standard which did not fill their head
With much more then wishing they’d just stayed in bed
Now teachers? Wouldn’t that be a hoot?
To actually get to teach, less time jumping through hoops?

Want to send your kid to college? Barack has a plan!
Help the community out and you’ll score a cool 4 grand
to put towards college, and community college is free!
Now tell me my friends, how cool would that be?

Moving on to health care reform
Help is on its way
And not the type that McCain offers where more taxes you will pay
Insurance the average "Joe" can afford
You’ve got to be sick in the head if you don’t get on board!
Most of us will save two thousand five hundred
and with no McCain healthcare tax will we be lumbered
Preventive care? Obama has it covered
There are plenty of diseases which don’t need to be suffered

And have I mentioned?
Obama-he’s green! Well not literally
But you know what I mean
Barack is really most keen
On keeping our air and our water clear and clean

Barack Obama represents hope
And if you can’t see what that means, then I guess you’re a dope
Hope is something we’re most short of right now
It’s also why the rest of the world has been having a cow
They think we are morons they think we are dolts
Let’s do something to give that notion a jolt.
They want him to win as badly as we do
With his help our messed up rep would get a big re-do

So many reasons
So little time
So make very sure that you get yourself in line
Early tomorrow .
Go ahead and vote
Get off of your couch put down that remote

Vote for Obama
Do it for your mama
Heck do it for your grandma
Your grandpa too
Do it for your kids
Do it for YOU

You won’t regret it
You’ll feel real proud
If Obama wins
We’ll be one happy crowd.

Guest Blogger: Nathan Richardson

Nathan is the big brother I never had. He teases me mercilessly, is often quite insensitive to my fragile ego, and has never given me a compliment without a caveat. He drives me insane quite a bit of the time. I have hit him more then once. But one thing I (or anyone) could never accuse him of would be being passive or ill-informed. Nathan is nothing if not a deep thinker. He's Dr. Nathan in fact, a professor at BGSU. He has lived abroad with his family and has established a global perspective because of that. He is incredibly interested in people, their point of view and how they came to it. He had a Libertarian over to dinner last night. The only thing he is closed minded to is the fact that it is possible that I am not a completely rubbish runner just because I listen to an iPod whilst running and do not run 6 min miles as he does.

Nathan also feels pretty strongly about his duty to improve his community and the world around him. He has taken on re-organizing our local soccer club, despite the fact that it rocked the boat in our community considerably. It was not always fun for him, but he believed in the cause and he believed he had a duty to see it through in order to make our community better and serve the little soccer players within it as best he could.
All this to say, Nathan does not talk the talk at the expense of walking the walk. He talks a lot. He also walks a lot (he has spent the last two full days canvassing door to door in a neighbouring community, talking to people and really, honestly seeking to understand them.) He has a lot of faith in the goodness of humanity. He regrets most right now that so many people are so afraid. He does not think elections should be decided on the basis of unfounded, irrational fear. Neither do I.

Ladies and Gentleman, I give you Nathan Richardson.

“Bad poetry is always sincere.” –Oscar Wilde

How many of you in the past month have received a terribly earnest e-mail warning you of the horrors that are to come if one Barack Hussein Obama is elected president?

Me? Plenty. Always from my most well-meaning aunts and fellow congregates at the local chapel. They love me. They wish to save us all from the evils that are to come. I thank them. And I quickly read, delete, and make no reply. They mean well and there´s rarely any point in getting into it with them.

But. . . three days before the general election I have alas decided that enough is enough. To quote some amigos of mine: ¡Basta!


Basta, because a touching testimonial from an Iraq veteran does not a war explain, nor an international political dynamic address.

Basta, because an expletive-filled warning from Lee Iacoca about the state of our country´s politics and the threat of a socialist president doesn´t form a single coherent argument. Heck, it isn´t even from Lee Iacoca.

Basta, because Obama is not a Muslim.

Basta, because Obama is not a terrorist.

Basta, because William Ayers is and has been for the last two decades an elementary school education specialist and a distinguished one at that, and the fact that he is appointed in a completely transparent manner by a democratically elected mayor to serve on an advisory board with someone who will someday run for president of the United States does not make that someone a terrorist.

Basta, because the very attempt to stretch that association into a question of who´s-hanging-out-with-whom is absolutely absurd, and probably unethical and immoral.

Basta, because even if Obama were a Muslim, who cares?

Basta, because even if I were a Mormon would I want to marry both your daughters? Or slaughter you the next time you vacationed in Mountain Meadows, Utah.

Basta, because this is America.

Basta, because who cares if his name is Hussein?

Basta, because it´s like fearing an Iraqi whose long-lost American dad happened to name him Bob.

Basta, because your flag and a country music soundtrack in the background may bring tears to my eyes and a flutter to my heart, but it DOESN´T EXPLAIN A THING ABOUT THE COMPLEX ISSUES FACING THIS NATION AND THIS WORLD.

Basta, because Obama isn´t a socialist.

Basta, because McCain himself confessed on national television that Obama is not a socialist.

Basta, because if what George W. Bush did with our country´s banking system last month isn´t as “socialist” as this country has gotten in our lifetime, I don´t know what is.

Basta, because most of us don´t even know what socialism is.

Basta, because if we did, most of us wouldn´t really mind.

Basta, because you too know someone creepy with views that are even repugnant.

Basta, because if the Clinton campaign, the McCain campaign, the RNC, and the world´s media haven´t found out yet just what Obama is hiding, it means that he´s hiding nothing.

Basta, because a vote for Obama is not a vote to slaughter the unborn.

Basta, because that issue, as with a whole host of others, is complex and politically manipulated by both sides.

Basta, because politics is what politics is and it requires compromise and deals, and money, and friends, and if that bothers you then maybe you´d be better off living in a monarchy or a dictatorship, because democracies or democratic Republics (whatever) require POLITICS.

And finally, basta, basta, y basta, because forwarding on fear-mongering e-mails does a terrible disservice to the democratic process. Indeed, dare I say that spreading such silliness as if it were somehow important is downright unpatriotic? Well, if patriotism is actually a productive attitude and activity towards the current and future well-being of one´s country (as opposed to some emotional nostalgia for flags, songs, and heroes past), then I do dare.

So, this election season, how about we base our vote in reality. How about we open our eyes, ears, mind, and heart to what the candidates actually have to say? How about we let them speak for themselves and judge accordingly? How about we judge the candidates on the content of their character and ideas, and not on the color of their skin, the strangeness of their name, or the rumors that others spread about them?

Wouldn´t that be true, honest patriotism? Wouldn´t that be a real love of country?

For the next three days, can´t we all just make a little effort to lift ourselves from the internet e-mail gutter? Can´t we?

But enough with the rhetorical questions. Basta. No more inquiries. Just commands.

So here goes: In the next three days, whatever your political preferences, let´s spread knowledge, not rumor.

Pass it on (e-mail anyone?)