Friday, May 29, 2009

A Comedy Of Errors

This morning was one of THOSE mornings. You know what I'm talking about.
First of all 5 a.m comes early. I don't mind getting up early to get my walking/exercise in for the day, but I hate it when I wake up at like twenty minutes until 5. I would have liked those last twenty minutes to snooze. Instead I am wide awake. How annoying. The alarm goes off at 5, which since I was already awake you'd think I'd just easily turn off, right? Well, I got tangled in the blanket and almost took a header into the night stand. Yea.
Then when I go to take my medicine this morning...the pill falls, hits the floor and rolls away. At this point I am on my hands and knees searching for it...but it was a lost cause. Arrggh!
Finally, it is still dark outside and I was trying to leave the house quietly, so as not to disturb the rest of the world. I did not notice the mud pit next to my car. I stepped right in it with my right foot. So that shoe was completely covered in thick mud. How attractive. I slurp my way over to the car door, trying to rub off some mud on the driveway gravel. Not a smooth move--now I also had gravel stuck to the mud that was stuck to my shoe.
I probably have mud all over my car floor board too. Ugh.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Country At Heart

I grew up in a rural area of north central Maryland. My family and I lived down a gravel road, about a half mile off the main route. Excellent for long bike runs--sometimes if I could get the right speed I could even go airborne...for one brief moment I was flying like the General Lee from the Dukes of Hazzard. We had soybean and corn fields around us. The neighbors cows would sometimes escape and later be found munching on our yard,their hoof prints leaving evidence that they had indeed been there. Our neighbors had several fresh water ponds that we went swimming in. As a child it didn't matter to me that I was swimming with snapping turtles, fish, and an occasional water snake....or that when I went to get out of my bathing suit I had about a pound of silt that I had to dump out of it. Aaahhh.....the pleasures of the country life. The summer I was 12 my cousin, Russ, spent time at my house with my family because his mom and dad worked and so during the day he and I hung out. I have a memory of the two of us (12 and 13 respectively) sitting cross legged on top of the backyard picnic table. We were discussing the neighbor's big farm wouldn't it be cool if we could buy the house and both our families could live there and we'd have all that land and it would be fun? Planning our futures made us hungry so then we'd go inside and eat some Chef BoyRDee Raviolis. (I know it's not great cuisine, but I have to admit, I still like them!) I also remember tramping through the woods and my sister and I and our next door neighbor friend making "forts" outside. We would play outside for hours. It was great being a kid!
After I graduated from college my first job was as a teacher in a rural, mountain area of Tennessee. Small town life....where everybody knew your name. Literally. There was a real sense of community and I enjoyed it. One of my favorite memories was a local talent show at the school I taught at. The whole community turned out and it was such fun!
After a 17 year sabbatical in the city, I am ready to be back in the country again. I feel like I've come full circle....and I have to say I'm glad.
The past couple of evenings I've enjoyed sitting out on the front porch watching the deer in the field, the ground hog scamper across the road. I watched the sun set and the sky darken as I listened to the birds singing in the grass and heard dogs barking in the distance. We don't live very far from a rail road track and I heard the train as it went by too.
Sometimes folks who have lived in the country their whole life, take some of the "country living" beauty for granted...which is understandable...when you are in it everyday it might not seem all that special--it's just life....But for this girl who longed to be back in the country....I don't think it will ever get old. The people, the beauty, the peace and quiet. Aahhh.....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This Is So Stupid

What is the deal with this? Now, I don't have any vendetta against squirrels....but let's face it, they are pretty much rats with fluffy tails. After reading this news article now I'm scared. Will my family and I have to go to court because we caught the field mice in our garage on glue traps? We live in an insane world.

Friday, May 15, 2009


WARNING: This blog may contain some material that readers will find difficult to read or might find offensive. Some may choose to believe this doesn't really happen....but it does and if you are touched by these stories you can be a part of making a positive, life altering change in the lives of thousands of women. ONE WOMAN AT A TIME.

Last Saturday my daughter and I had opportunity to hear about W.A.R ministry. (Women At Risk) The mission organized a few years ago to help women around the world that were captured in the horrors of sex trafficking. Many people will read this and think, "That is someone else's daughter, or sister, or friend. I don't have anything to do with that. Sex trafficking is such a dirty, perverse life....well....I just don't want to even think about it." I beg you to reconsider. There are women that are crying out--but they have no voice. Children and young girls are sold into a life too heinous for us to comprehend. I want you to read the story I am about to tell.

A young, 14 year old girl, the daughter of missionaries in Bangladesh saw with her own eyes the treatment of females in southeast Asia. Her parents worked at a missionary hospital. One day she was there with her parents when another 14 year old girl was left in front of the hospital like no more then a sack of garbage. The girl had been raped by male members of her family. She cried out and resisted their attacks, to no avail......but because she had resisted and screamed she had to be silenced. They poured acid down her throat so she could no longer cry out. Her throat was badly damaged and she could not eat...she was dying. I suppose they didn't want to deal with her dying so they threw her in front of this hospital. The staff of the hospital showed her love and acceptance. God healed her throat through the skilled hands of the doctors at this missionary hospital. She was able to eat again and to have good health again.....but she never uttered another word. She could not talk. Her words were gone.
This young missionary daughter remembered this and years later started W.A.R to help give voice to the silenced cries of women of the world. This mission outreach creates circles of protection in the name of Christ. They provide safe havens for women who have never known safety, or have never known what it is to feel worthy in the eyes of others. Safe houses are used to rescue women, women's centers teach job skills and offer medical support, sponsorships for women and orphans, empowerment, humanitarian missions, and research. They also have emergency rescues.....this is the story of one such rescue.
A 2 week old Thai baby was sold to sex traffickers for $200. Her mother already had 4 children and could not afford another. She made the choice to sell her infant daughter to sex traffickers who would raise her in that culture-- "breeding her" for the life of a prostitute. When the Women At Risk women heard about this they got the baby back. She was redeemed. Eighteen months later she is now processed for adoption into a loving home.
Baby trafficking is on the rise. Most sane people don't like to think about that. It turns the stomach. It hurts me to think about innocent children being used for such vile purposes. The woman at the meeting on Saturday informed us that there is a village in Cambodia that is known for being completely used for pedophilia. Men that are interested in that lifestyle know about this village and evidently it is a popular vacation spot for those who are the depraved among us.
These women and children who have never known worth are exposed to the love of their Heavenly Father.....many for the very first time. They are told and shown that they ARE worthy and that they ARE fearfully and wonderfully made. That God loves THEM. That He SEES them....and that He HEARS them even when they are forced to be silent.

You too can make a difference. You can host or attend a WAR chest party at home, work, or church etc. High end products made by disadvantaged women rescued from traffickers and employed with dignity. You can also pray, creating circles of protection for these women and those helping them.

Please visit for more information.

*800,000 people are illegally trafficked against their will every year. 50% are children. 70% of the women are sold into sexual slavery.--US State Dept.
*The new slavery...human trafficking, is the fastest growing segment of organized crime. 100,000 are trafficked INSIDE America.---FBI
* Virginity is sold by traffickers to the highest bidder and children forced to perform sexual favors.
* 2 Million girls a year are brutally circumcised, one every 15 seconds--Secretary General
* 5,000 honor killings reported a year. --Christian Science Monitor
* Every 14 seconds, a child is orphaned by AIDS. 19 million women live with HIV/AIDS.--United Nations
* Routine Physicals are death traps, when organs are stolen for sale on the black market.--Sudanese Human Rights Lawyer
* 114-200 MILLIONwomen are "demographically missing" due to infanticide, dowry deaths, domestic violence and all manner of risk. --UN Secretary General


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Forever, Erma

My husband gave me some of Erma Bombeck's books for Mother's Day. I think that is the perfect gift for the occasion. I have been a fan of her's since I was a little girl. She has always cracked me up. She took the mundane tasks of life and turned them into something to smile about...or to just plain laugh out loud over. The book Forever, Erma is a compilation of her newspaper articles from January 1965 when she started her first column to April 1996, the month she died. She had a long run...and a good run. She made people laugh at the ordinary things of life. I believe that if she was alive today she would say that life really can be funny. That it is okay to laugh at ourselves....and that time is indeed precious so make sure to enjoy it.

Some favorite quotes from my favorite funny woman:

*My theory on housework is, if the item doesn't multiply, smell, catch fire, or block the refrigerator door, let it be. No one else cares. Why should you?

*Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time.

*Thanks to my mother, not a single cardboard box has found its way back into society. We receive gifts in boxes from stores that went out of business twenty years ago.

*When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, "I used everything you gave me".

Erma Bombeck

Sunday, May 10, 2009


What's next? This is a school assignment?!

Friday, May 8, 2009

If Mama Ain't Happy...

We all know that home is home because of mom. Now, don't get me wrong Dads are important and they play a crucial role, but let's face it...."if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy."

Here is my salute to mothers everywhere on this, their very special day. By the way, whoever came up with Mother's Day was one smart kid. (Doesn't matter if they were an adult when they came up with it....still someone's little boy or girl.)

YOUNG MOTHERS A.K.A Newbies----Phase 1
* I never knew I could get this big and not pop.
* My back hurts, my ankles are swelling and I have to either throw up or pee ALL THE TIME.
* My husband tells me I look beautiful...and that I have a glow about me....he BETTER say that or I might hurt him.
* The baby comes and the red faced, crying wrinkled package they place in my arms is the most beautiful baby I've ever seen. My heart grows two sizes that day.
* I learn how to nurse and not choke the baby in the process, I get the whole burping thing down pat, I can change a poopy diaper in 60 seconds flat, and rocking has become one of my favorite past times.
* I've also learned that God blesses moms with supersonic bat-like hearing. We can pick up even the slightest noises of distress, even waking up out of a sound sleep to help our children. This sense gets even more honed as the years progress.

Toddler/Preschooler Moms A.K.A To Fast To Furious --Phase 2
* Toddler moms are fast. They have to be. They are constantly catching their kiddos BEFORE they get into something.
* I learned to answer lots of questions about EVERYTHING. I learned why the grass is green. What God looks like, and why eating hard boiled (Easter eggs) with the shell ON is not a good idea.
* This is the stage of sticky fingers, big smiles, sloppy kisses, and lots of I love you's. Good stuff.
* Keep every picture drawn, every hand print traced, every painting or doodle. This is the stuff that I look back at and wonder where the time went???

The School Years A.K.A The Taxi Cab ----Phase 3
* Between sports, church, social activities mom becomes the queen of the GPS. She knows all the short cuts to get to soccer practice on time, volunteers in her child's Sunday School class, and buys "extra" birthday presents while they are on sale so she'll have some in her stash for all the birthday parties that will be attended in a 3 month period.
* I learned to be the scheduling queen. Any mom worth her weight knows her way around a date book, kitchen calendar, PDA, or Google calendar. Keeping everyone and everything on track is a full time job in itself.
* Moms are the biggest cheerleaders and can yell just as loudly as any man when cheering for their child from the sidelines.
* I learned how to use a video camera so well, that it would have even put the best TV news crew to shame.
* I got very comfortable with saying, "Did you brush?", "No, you can't drink caffeine at night", and the all time favorite, " I'm not so and so's mom, I'm YOUR mom. I don't care what everyone else is doing."

THE TEEN YEARS A.K.A Puberty Monsters ---Phase 4
* These are the years of confusion. I wondered where my "real" child went and who is this crazy teenager that was dropped in his place?
* My sons are much taller than I am.
* All three kids started smelling rank. Hormones begin running amok.
* Teenagers think they know everything and are at the age they like to tell you this. This is the time when mom's get told they don't "get it", or "maybe that is how they did things back in the day." Hang tough! Teenagers think they are grown up...but they are not. They still need you.
* I learned how to stand firm even when it would be easier to give in.
* I have been known to have the demeanor of a drill Sargent and yet still act as goofy as they are.
* Real life questions are asked and sometimes I'm forced to admit I don't know all the answers.
* Having teens makes me think about how I was as a teenager. I try to be empathetic.
* It's okay to say NO.
* It's okay to have fun.

* My kids aren't in the grown up years yet, so I can only speak from my own experience as a grown up.
* Your parents become very smart when you have kids of your own.
* Grown up kids can appreciate all their parents did for them.
* It's good to remind your parents how much you love them. It doesn't matter how old a mom gets...or how old her kids get. They are still her kids and "I love you" NEVER gets old.

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there! Whether you are a birth mother, adoptive mother, step mother, or a special aunt, or friend....regardless of whether you have children of your own or just have a mom's heart you are appreciated and loved.

Proverbs 31:28 "Her children rise up and call her blessed....."

Monday, May 4, 2009

ADHD or The Energizer Bunnies Among Us....

There are people out there that believe ADD/ADHD (attention deficit disorder or with hyperactivity) doesn't exist. I've heard all the arguements/excuses on various forums, and I've had actual conversations with people about this very subject. So today I am going to blog about ADD/ADHD. I have some things to get off my chest....and Lord knows if I have something to say then I like to just get it out there.
First of all before I get started let me fill you in on my background for those of you who don't know...
1. I worked as a public school special education teacher for 17 years professionally. I had MANY students in my classroom over the years with the ADHD diagnosis. Both boys and girls. I have seen mild cases to the most severe imaginable.
2. I have researched ADD/ADHD over the years. I've read medical journals and textbooks,more books then I can even count, been in discussion groups and participated in seminars.
3. I married a man who has a mild case of ADD without the hyperactivity. He is a wonderful source of information about ADD because he is a very insightful person and is able to explain to me firsthand about his difficulties focusing. He is able to talk about the strategies that he has learned over the years to help him compensate.Talking with him gives me good perspective. My oldest son is a textbook case of ADHD, and let me just add...unless you live with someone who is truly ADHD please don't tell me it doesn't really exist because, and I mean no disrespect, you don't know what you're talking about. Book knowledge is a great thing---but personal daily experience with ADD/ADHD is a true learning experience.
4. I have listened to more then one doctor discuss ADHD as we discuss medication options for my oldest. Yes, he is on medication.

First of all, ADHD is a true medical condition. Research been done on the brains of ADD/ADHD people and it has been found that their brain (the actual gray matter) is different from the "typical" brain. The parts of the brain that control impulsivity and reaction don't look the same. Also the dopamine/serotonin levels in the brain of an ADHD person are lower then normal. So, medical research has shown that there are indeed differences. Differences don't mean bad or wrong....they just mean different.
Having a child with ADHD is in some ways is more difficult then say having a physically handicapped least from a societal point of view. Physical handicaps can be seen. Most people understand that a child who has to wear leg braces is going to have difficulty running in gym class. Accommodations can be made, but a child with ADHD who has great difficulty paying attention/focusing for more then a few minutes at a time, is expected to sit in a classroom and stay in his seat for a full 50 minute class period and then have a 5 minute break and do it all over again for most of the school day. They are square pegs in a round peg world.
I have had discussions with people about medicating children with ADHD. Now, let me just say this: each parent has to soul search and decide for themselves and their own children about medication. Severity of the condition also should be taken into account. My husband and I believe that medication is best for our son. He is a teenager and he is able to see for himself how the medication helps him. The medication he takes is a stimulant. It seems sort of odd that a drug that stimulates has the opposite affect on a child who is already overstimulated. This goes back to when I was talking about decreased levels of dopamine. Dopamine calms/and soothes us. If you don't have enough your body is "wired". The stimulant meds bring the dopamine up to a normal level so the person can function. A person who truly is ADHD cannot become dependent or addicted to the stimulant drugs because these drugs are not giving them "a high" like they would in a non-ADHD person. They are just making his chemical levels normal.
To people who are adamantly against medication for ADHD, why is that? (like I said it is a personal decision, but I've come across people who are very vocal about their non-meds opinion and believe it is THE ONLY WAY to go.) If your child had poor vision would you not get them glasses? Or would you tell them to just hold the book closer to see it or sit closer to the TV? Would you allow them to drive a car without glasses?
If your child was diabetic would you deny them their needed insulin--believing that their blood sugar levels would all balance out in the long run? NO. Well, I feel no different about my son and his medication.
Sure we can break things down to a more manageable level for him. We can have him make lists for himself of things he needs to complete. He uses watches and alarm clocks to try and stay on time. We have discussed how he will need to come up with life long strategies that will work for him and allow him to function in a productive manner. Medication is just one way we choose to help our child...and there is nothing wrong with that.

Being in the public school system for years I was privy to lots of different cases of children with various disabilities. Do I think that some teachers/parents wanted kids on meds because they thought the child would be easier to deal with? Yes. I know that to be true. Do I believe that some children are much more physically active then the typical child? Yes. BUT I have seen many TRUE cases of ADHD....children that without meds could not focus, could not sit still, could not keep from blurting out, could not keep their hands to themselves and off of others, their impulsivity got them in trouble and many times they didn't "think first" nor understand the consequences of their behavior. They just were unable to see it or just didn't realize.
Sadly, many times these children would become the pariahs of their classrooms because they got on their classmates nerves. High energy children can be tiring to all those around them.

Having said this, I want to also let it be known that ADHD is not all negative. For all the difficulties and problems that this particular diagnosis can bring there are also many positives. As parents it is our responsibility to show our children that they have gifts too. Many times ADHD children think outside of the box. Many times it is WAY OUTSIDE of the box. They look at things differently. They come up with solutions that we might have never even considered. They open our eyes to different possibilities.
These children have a tendency to be "happy go lucky" and are able to remain optimistic even when the game of life has them in the bottom of the ninth inning with two runs behind and no one on base. They rarely hold grudges and seemingly forget what they were upset about even 5 minutes ago. (a positive of that short attention span:) There are times when I wish I had even a quarter of the energy of my eldest son, not to mention his metabolism. He can eat like a pig...and not gain an ounce. Whatever calories he eats his body burns up within minutes. High energy, that is an understatement. More energy...more stuff to is always busy.

I recently saw Howie Mandel on a talk show. He was discussing his adult ADHD. He told stories of his years in school, going undiagnosed, not knowing why he felt "different". He was the class clown, got in trouble in school, didn't do well on his school work, had difficulty listening during conversations and he didn't understand why. He has a very interesting story and I would encourage everyone to take a look at his site, ADHDisreal.

So, yes I know ADHD does exist. The very nature of ADHD makes it a sometimes funny, sometimes crazy, sometimes infuriating, sometimes frustrating diagnosis. For everything I've said today there are exceptions to the rule. Grouping ADHD individuals is about as easy as herding a group of cats.