If You Stick Around (A Letter To Suicidal Teens)

Too many parents are losing their children to a world that they don’t understand and that doesn’t understand them. Keep them around, keep them in the game and always offer hope.

john pavlovitz

StickAround

Dear Hurting Teenager,

I know you want to leave.

I know the horrible, endless walks through the hallways that you endure every morning, near vomiting.
I know the afternoon bus rides to Hell where you sit frozen with fear, praying to just become invisible.
I know the locker room beat-downs and the lunch room stares and the wounding words behind your back and the hateful taunts in your face.
I know how it takes every bit of strength you have just to paint on a smile and pretend you’re OK and to hide how much it hurts and to act “normal”.

I know that all of this has left you exhausted; that you’ve drugged yourself and cut yourself and starved yourself and sold yourself, in the hope that their voices will become silent, and their fists will be lifted, and you can finally breathe again.

I know that right now, you’d…

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On the Day I Die

I must share this insight. My sister died a few months ago.  It was a sudden loss, a void that she filled is felt in our family.  I can relate to all of this, can you?

john pavlovitz

flowers copyOn the die I day a lot will happen.

A lot will change.

The world will be busy.

On the day I die, all the important appointments I made will be left unattended.

The many plans I had yet to complete will remain forever undone.

The calendar that ruled so many of my days will now be irrelevant to me.

All the material things I so chased and guarded and treasured will be left in the hands of others to care for or to discard.

The words of my critics which so burdened me will cease to sting or capture anymore. They will be unable to touch me.

The arguments I believed I’d won here will not serve me or bring me any satisfaction or solace.   

All my noisy incoming notifications and texts and calls will go unanswered. Their great urgency will be quieted.

My many nagging regrets will all be resigned to the past, where they should have always…

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Liberals as Pro-life advocates historically


http://www.breakpoint.org/features-columns/articles/entry/12/28703

Here’s an excerpt from the book “Defenders of the Unborn” The Pro-Life Movement before Roe v Wade by Daniel K Williams.  “What if I told you there was a time in American history when many Republicans supported liberalizing abortion laws, while liberal Democrats protested that fetuses had constitutionally protected rights? That liberals like Ted Kennedy, Jesse Jackson, Al Gore, and Dick Gephart took pro-life positions while Republican governors Ronald Reagan and Nelson Rockefeller signed legislation expanding access to abortion? Would you believe it?”
–end excerpt–

Isn’t that a great lead in to a good read?  Feel free to read the book, I have left the link above that tells more about the history of the pro-life movement which was championed by the Catholics.

As a young Catholic girl in the 60’s-70’s I supported the right of the unborn child. As a liberal woman I often wondered how pro-life groups defending the unborn were in a party that seemed to care less about humanity and human rights and family values over making sure government stayed out of their lives and business, pulling support of programs that help families and children eat and get help to succeed.  A party that uses the pro-life supporters as a platform to maintain human credibility and steal votes from good men and women that have taken up the gauntlet of protectors of the unborn child.  A Godly mission.

They stop short of really supporting their cause instead use them as a front to legitimize their platforms. They could care less about a child’s life, if they did, there would be more adoption alternatives, mental health and wellness for mothers and their children, rape and incest help and counseling, and educational opportunities supported and maintained that not only saves the child’s life but ensures it has all the opportunities for positive outcomes.  Republicans would not fund or support these types of programs but will support that we just protest outside clinics in a meaningless show of outrage at women that have few alternatives.

I propose this type of program could be maintained by liberals and conservatives alike, how about just calling us “those in support of the unborn child and mother.”  Meeting together apart from parties that use us. Take this fight outside of the political parties. It is wrong to think that all Liberals are pro-choice or against the life of a child. The same rhetoric that says Republican Pro-Lifers do not care for the mother.  That’s the lie the Republicans use to keep the pro-lifers in their pocket.

In my own circumstance, I was a young girl pregnant and unmarried. The father and I were under age. Everyone thought that because of our sin, the decision to keep my child would ruin my life and ensure that I had no future. Some in my family and friends were suggesting that I have an abortion because it was legal and would ensure that I would have a normal life, fulfill my dreams of college, marriage, a career that being a mother to the child would certainly destroy.

My mother and I prayed that God would take care of us and He did.  He gave me a life that was more than I could imagine. He made sure I was offered opportunities that I can only attribute to His intervention.  I have children, grandchildren and a loving husband, family, church family and I even went to college, and have a good career.  All because I chose to keep the small life growing inside me instead of aborting.  Was it easy? Heck no, it was hard, and just another mountain that we are called upon to climb with the help of God. Because if you climb that mountain, accept the life, you will be rewarded. It takes more than faith, it takes courage to accept your responsibility, no matter what. To attribute that life to the only giver of life, God.

Those who are entrusted with a life should accept it because no life is without a purpose.  We are given choices and just because there is an abortion clinic on every block, the choice is still yours.  No one political party will really protect your right to choose life but do it anyway.

 

 

Halloween Popcorn Balls are in the house!

My sister Caroline has been asking me for popcorn balls for at least the last 10 years. I used to make them every Halloween when my children were young.  Today I finally made some.  

My friend Ramona offered to help as we thought this would be a good treat to make for our grandkids for Halloween.  I only have 4 grandchildren in town, and the other 5 are a plane ride away so basically the rest of mine went to my husband, kids and sister. We had quite a few.  But there’s never enough.

We doubled the recipe below twice.  This made about 30 good sized balls.  (For comparison, they were bigger than a baseball and smaller than a softball)

popcorn balls
Popcorn Balls

Popcorn
1 cup popcorn
2 tbsp. canola oil
Salt
2 tbsp. butter (melted for popcorn)

Softened butter or Parkay for hands
Pop the popcorn in canola oil according to package directions.  I don’t use the microwave stuff because there are so many added ingredients that sometimes leave a nasty after taste.

Use the old heavy skillet, the one with a tight fitting lid.  The skillet we used was the original one I used to make popcorn when I was a kid.  It’s moms skillet and looks pretty old but we hold it in high honor in this house.

Add the canola, heat it up then pour in the cup of popcorn shake the pan a bit and let it do its thing.  When its finished popping, quickly pour it out into the biggest bowl you can find.  It needs to be big enough to mix the popcorn and syrup.

Salt and butter the popcorn, it will get sealed in under all that sweet syrup.  No really, its the secret of keeping the popcorn fresh and tasty under that gooey mixture.
usmakingpcballs22
Set popcorn aside and make your syrup.


Syrup for popcorn

4 tbsp. butter
½ tsp. Vanilla
¾ Cup Light Corn Syrup
1 cup marshmallows
1 cup granulated sugar
Orange food coloring (Optional)

In a heavy bottomed saucepan on med-low heat, melt butter, vanilla, corn syrup, marshmallows, sugar, and vanilla.

Boil the marshmallow mixture for approximately 3 minutes, being careful not to scorch.  Pour over popcorn and stir to coat all the popcorn with the syrup.  Keep pulling it up from the bottom of the bowl.  It needs to be cool enough to handle but warm enough to form balls.

Grease hands with butter or Parkay.  We used plastic gloves to keep from burning our hands.  We also used the Parkay to butter our hands or else the syrup will stick to your hands and you won’t be able to form the balls.

Place them on a cookie sheet to cool before you place them in the plastic bags.

Seal them up with a tie or ribbon.  This will keep them fresher and chewy longer.  

Tip! If after time they harden too much to bite, simply place them in the microwave and heat no more than 4 or 5 seconds to loosen up again.

Time to sit back and watch the World Series! GO ROYALS!!

Refinance Hell

My babe is up on the roof of our rental house making some repairs today.  We were harassed by an insurance agent to make some changes and he held our home owners coverage over our head in ransom.  This is the reason we left our comfy chairs and spent a weekend scraping, repairing and painting the house.  The whole horrible experience started as we tried to refinance the rental house.  We were trying to get a reduced rate and pay it off in less time.  In theory it was a good plan.
Instead, we ended up paying about 1400.00 in appraisals, repairs and painting and when we were almost to the end of the transactIMG_0928ion they asked for about 3000 to secure the rate because the appraisal wasn’t over a certain amount.  The rate they would be able to adjust it to after we paid the 3k was only 50.00 less than what we were paying.  Of course we declined their offer and were tormented by Quicken Loans for months afterward.  That’s not the worst part of my story.  In the meantime we were asked to stop paying the mortgage to await the new payment plan. Well when we declined the offer we forgot to re-activate the automatic payments. That almost caused us to default on our existing mortgage loan.
When we finally found out the auto payments weren’t happening we had to hire a lawyer to get us out of the mess, add $650.00 attorney fee to the amount above.
So much for my rant about how attempting to refinance our rental house.  If you are asked to refinance, get ready for paper work, and more paperwork, faxing, copying, and more paperwork.  Practically as painful as buying the house.  If we would have just put this extra amount on the principle of the house we would be in a much better place.  End of woe story.

 

I love Elephants

wanda

My love and heart for elephants began early in my life. I can remember attending a circus in Arkansas City, Ks, my hometown,  close to the airport maybe around the mid or late 60’s.

It was a small circus but I remember an elephant that was there. I saw a man hit an elephant that seemed to be doing all the man was asking. The elephants eyes met mine, I mean I literally felt we connected. I fell in love with this elephant. I seemed to feel her pleading, and her pain. After that, I could not laugh and have fun like the rest of the kids, I could only sit and watch my friend turn and march and the beautiful eyes that seemed to see me. How could that be?

I had a dream long after that day where I was the elephant. I was in a circus and I had a friend very much like the one I saw that day. I felt great love for the elephant in the dream and I know I was an elephant. Maybe I was an elephant in another life? I know its not something we truly believe as Christians but I had this bond to that soul that I have never forgotten.

I sit here with tears in my eyes, over my keyboard because I just watched a documentary on HBO called ed “Apology to Elephants.” So sad, these large beautiful creatures made my God are so tortured by humans, and exploited. They said that 36000 elephants a year are killed for their ivory. Why? There is a real concern that elephants are going to be extinct at some point. I hope I never see that type of future.

Elephants are part of our world that we share, they are not apart from us, all animals share this world. They are no less entitled to their happiness and joy of living. Free to love and walk without out fear.

That was really hard to watch. I can’t stop crying. Some may say I am a pansy, a tree hugger, but we should all be concerned about the animals in captivity. They are without representation, we have to watch over those that can’t take care of themselves. They have no voice and didn’t choose the life they were captured into. That connection, all those years ago, was my connection. She touched my heart and I must speak out.

In the years since, a friend of mine posted a wonderful story of how the elephant he worked with for many years was retired to an elephant paradise in California.  The story of Wanda is below.  Watch out for these beautiful giants, look in their eyes and catch a glimpse of their soul.

That was my sob post. I will try not to do that again for awhile but if I do, you better listen. May God Bless your day.

Read more on Wanda from the Detroit Zoo:
http://detroitzoo.org/press-release/former-detroit-zoo-elephant-wanda-dies/ 

http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2015/02/12/wanda-detroit-zoo-elephant-dies/23308367/

http://www.all-creatures.org/stories/a-wanda-dies.html

Adios

I hope this is an April Fools joke.

Here it is April 1, 2015 and this sounds like a suicide note (The note entitled “Adios” from Alisa Valdez was removed from her blog) left by an amazing woman and novelist.  A woman that is beautiful and talented to the max.  She has dabbled in spirituality, was or is an atheist, and has traveled most other avenues of answers she could follow.

If she could only stop and let God hold her and take all her troubles, she would find the calm, the way, the love, the answers that she has been looking for all her life.

I have been following her story.  Alisa is the author of the “Dirty Girls Social Club” and other popular chart topping titles. I was fortunate to meet this lovely lady in June of 2011 as she was the keynote speaker for our Latina organizations 20th anniversary celebration here in Kansas City.  But the beautiful Alisa Valdez is tenderly broken at this time. Broken like the clay pots that are cracked and shattered that represent our lives, souls, bodies, hearts that are so different yet are cracked in unique ways.

Like clay pots, we are all different in size and the ways we are used and made, colors, shapes all completely different.  My cracks are different than yours.  We may look similar but our paths, decisions, experiences and history have made us as unique as a snowflake falling among millions that flood the sky on a snowy night.

As I read her story and all that she states as reasons to end her life are only bits and pieces of a beautiful life that has failed to give her what everyone wants, love, acceptance, trust, and hope.  This woman has many gifts, so many.  God gave her a son, brought all types of people into her life to teach her what she needs to grow and start living.  He gave her wonderful gifts, insight, tenderness when needed, and a great mind.  He also gave her a heart that despite longing to be filled with love, it is also well guarded.  A heart that is caged, locked into a space it can barely breathe because being exposed opens her up to breaks and cracks that are seemingly unbearable.

Its hard to tell a person that may not truly believe in God that He is her answer.   He is the Great Comforter.  Once a true connection is made with God, He can begin to heal and mend the cracks in our hearts and soul.

Alisa doesn’t realize He is just waiting on her to call out to Him.  If she has called to Him already, He has probably tried to answer her, tried to love her, but she may not be prepared to hear yet.

He is the only one that can calm her anger that flames the fire inside.  Satan loves when we doubt ourselves.  The mistrust, jealously, selfishness, doubting, insecurities, that we feel is satan pulling us downward and as we allow our minds to consume this negativity is when hopelessness can easily capture us and drown our sensibilities to overcome and trust in one thing that can never fail us. God.

As I read her words of welcoming death, I can hear a child that needs Him now.  I pray that He can reach her before she really steps off the ridge and welcomes death ending the beautiful life that she has, the beauty that she is, the woman that she can become. Because the real gift He gave her are the words, the most compelling and thought provoking words that she shares in the pages of her books that draw us to read to the end, the words that will someday advocate the story of her life that leads to Him.  This gift of writing will someday honor Him and provide a testimony that will save others and bring them to Jesus.  Someday.  Please live to fulfill this great destiny  dear Alisa!

It’s God that wants her and is offering her the most incredible love she could never get from any man, critic, fan, employer, parent, husband, son, or family.  Alisa, listen to God talk to your heart.

I will keep praying for you dear child of God.