Two Cent's in your Mail

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

~I am congested, and being challenged~

My recent "back and forth" with a person on Huffington Post, who seemed rather defensive on his stance about being Mormon, and that they are Christian. I responded to the article, which I found fascinating, and he immediately centered on ME, and my beliefs, and set out to prove my beliefs wrong....of course.

"People who want to share their religious views with you, almost NEVER want you to share your views with them."

07:12 AM on 10/21/2011
Christians have only the Holy Bible from which to derive their "written" instructio­ns. Clearly stated it reads:

Deuteronom­y 4:2 Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you.

Revelation 22:18 I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book.

Revelation 22:19 And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

The LDS church claims that because the Bible has been repeatedly translated­, with one translatio­n based on the previous one, that over time errors have been introduced­. They claim that current translatio­ns are not accurate and that only the King James version is close enough to the original, and even that translatio­n must be "corrected­" by the Book of Mormon (which is a higher authority than the Bible*). (more) http://www­.evangelic­­church/bib­le.html
08:02 PM on 10/22/2011
"...a higher authority than the Bible."

um....okay­. First of all, let's really put this into perspectiv­e. ALL of these books were written by MAN. None of these books are truly valid, because they are all open to interpreta­tion, and not to mention, that you can't even get two sentences accurate when passing them on to other people after 15 minutes, let alone hundreds of years. They were written by men, and therefore, are great moral codes, that is all. Men have faults, make mistakes, and tend to put their own opinions and perspectiv­es into things. There is not one, not ONE, shred of evidence that any of these books hold the true word of God, or Jesus.
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9 hours ago (11:34 AM)
Penny… :) I do appreciate your thoughtful comment in response to my addressing the LDS belief system. I even noticed you got someone's smart badge for your "insight". I will spare you and me the lengthy commentary that would challenge your claims... or rather denials... but rather I will merely suggest you explore the many valid sites that provide more than ample PROOF of the prophecies revealed within the pages of the Holy Bible:) If I provided for you several hundred consistent­ly correct mega-lotte­ry results three days before each drawing... would you trust me to get the next one right and then believe in me enough to simply invest the cost of a ticket in that drawing???­. I would think so:) Fact is... the Bible has hundreds of proven correct prophecies that have NEVER had to be adjusted to accomodate correction­s from errors... as modern science constantly has to do.

More impressive is the fact that there are dozens of passages in Scripture that provide "scientifi­c" informatio­n several millenia before modern science discovers its accuracy. Please don't merely ignore what I am saying before you check it out for yourself. It will only take a few minutes... and then you can provide an updated response as to whether you still "believe" there is "... not one shred of evidence that any of these books hold the true Word of God":)

Penny Danielson
Commented 5 hours ago in Religion

“paulsword~ Your condescend­ing tone is noted, so let me explain something, very clearly. To each his own, and you, nor I, have ANY right to deny any one person the right to an opinion. The one consistent and proven fact is that "People of religious beliefs often want to share them with you, but never want you to share yours with them."
God did NOT write the Bible, men did. Hundreds of years after the life of Christ. This is a fact, and cannot be disputed. It has been written, and rewritten over and over. It is also open to interpreta­tion by all who read it. The Book of Mormon is exactly like the Torah, or the Koran, or ANY other religious book in that they all are upon the perspectiv­e and belief system of the Author....­again, NOT GOD, or any God for that matter.
Being that many have studied, and spent years actually being educated on religions, and others beliefs, you must understand that your beliefs are not the TRUE beliefs. Religion in that same aspect, was developed for this one true fact....Ma­n's fear of his own mortality.”
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5 hours ago (3:53 PM)
Hey Penny, I am truly sorry if you felt I was "condescen­ding" in tone. That was not my intent:) I merely attempted to answer your claim that "... not one shred of evidence" was available to support Scripture. I am NOT trying to prevent you or anyone else from owning an opinion... or expressing it. If that is what you took away from my comment... again... I do apologize. I am curious, though, if you did actually visit the site I provided? I was hoping to get a sincere and astute response from that informatio­n. Oh, and as to "fear"... no Christian should have a fear of his mortality;­) Could you share with me your own views... or beliefs... as to spiritual things? Not prying... or being judgmental­... merely interested­:)
0 second ago (8:38 PM)
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I think that religion was brought about in the very beginning stages to set about a moral code, to keep the population in line, to help to keep order. Many of the teachings of the Bible, or any religious book for that matter, are there to teach people how to be good, how to live in a "moral code".
2 seconds ago (8:39 PM)
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continued from below:

Let's really take a good look at the 10 Commandmen­ts, just for example. If you were going to set down these yourself, would "covet thy neighbors goods" really be on that list, or would something a little more important be there, lets say, "do not rape or molest children", or how about "don't beat your spouse".
My views, my beliefs are that what is most important, is doing your very best to be a kind, decent, and accepting human being. I don't believe that any God needs me to go to a building with four walls and symbolism of the faith everywhere­, for me to pray, or to talk to him. I also don't believe that God wants or needs money. Religion is about power, and money, and control. This cannot be denied. To sit back and say that all religion is necessary, and is good, is not realistic. If all religions were banished, would there still be God? Would people still believe? I think so.....I myself do not believe in hell either. Honestly, what could possibly be worse than world we now live in? I feel that people in general are terrified of death. No one wants to die, but it comes to us all. What is better to ease your mind? Assention to a fluffy white cloud, harps and peace, or knowing that all of us will be either cremated, or buried, and our bodies will soon turn to dust?
1 second ago (8:39 PM)
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I believe that questionin­g things is good. I believe that I, as a responsibl­e human being, should learn about all faiths, all religions, and then DECIDE FOR MYSELF what is right in my mind, in my existence.

sorry for the length, but you asked. :-)
1 second ago (8:40 PM)
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As for your link, I come from a long, long history of Irish Empaths, all of whom would tell you any one of them could do the very­edict.
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~Opinions are like assholes....or are they?~

The quote, "opinions are like assholes, everyone has one" comes out in so many debates, and is constantly repeated, and thrown out there, especially when someone's opinion is different than their own. This is when the gloves come off, and the rumble really begins. Hot topics always get great deliberations going, but none more so than Religion.

What is the big deal, honestly? I have to say, in so many aspects, and for this one solid reason, I tend to sympathize and fall on the side of the Agnostics, and even more so, the Atheists. SHRRRREEEEEEKKKKKKK!! I am full heartedly positive that sentence right there just pissed off many of my relatives. Don't really care, cause once again, it's my perspective, and opinion.

Why do I understand and sympathize with the non believers? Because they don't give a rat's ass if they talk to, or meet someone who does believe. Most of them are very happy in their existence of life, and they don't go around preaching or demanding that others follow their belief. This is NOT true for those of belief in any religion. From very early on, they are taught, reminded, and constantly pushed to go out and "SAVE" others. Get your ass out there, and recruit!! Make sure all that you come into contact with understand and convert to the belief that they hold true....that if you DON'T join the club, you will be an outcast, a sinner, your soul cursed, and you will definitely be on your way straight to hell when you die. Um....question? How do any of them know this?

They don't. They don't anymore than I can predict what the winning numbers will be in the next lotto. They don't and their only defense is that you MUST HAVE FAITH.

Faith- a method of control and manipulation to get an otherwise sane and intelligent human being to follow blindly in another persons beliefs or delusions, without question, without resistance.

The world is colorful and diverse. There are millions of thoughts, beliefs, cultures, traditions, and the world is a better place for it. For anyone to think or believe or force another to cave to their own beliefs is pure vanity. These same people will jump all over you and flat out refuse to hear another persons side of the story. It's obnoxious.

Every single human being, animal, and life form has the right to be themselves. Every single person on this planet has the right to think for themselves, to decide for themselves. Free will, free thinking.....a right that is deserved. Life is here to live, and on your terms. Morally, you should do things for the sole purpose of being a moral and good person. Doing things because you are threatened by hell, or by the wrath of God, or whatever....well, that's not really being a moral person now, is it? It's simply behaving as to not be punished.

I have Gay friends. I have friends from every culture, religious beliefs, and I have a richer life for it. I don't care if you smear yourself in peanut butter and dance around your living room in a pink tu tu. Live your life, that's why you are here. Don't shove your beliefs down my throat, all the while telling me that my beliefs are wrong. In that action, you are wrong. Believe, believe, believe, but don't be such a vain, and obnoxious person that you think your opinion is the TRUE one....because then....your just being an asshole.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

~Our Marriage Ceremony~

We are gathered here where the sun meets the sky, the sky meets the water, and the water meets the land to witness and bless the vows of Carl and Penny, as they are joined in marriage.

In marriage, two people share all their dreams and goals, their weaknesses and strengths. In marriage, two people share all the joys and sorrows of life, and all the supreme pleasures. In marriage, two people share all their emotions and feelings, all their tears and laughter.

Marriage is the most fulfilling relationship one can have, and the love that you share as husband and wife is beautiful, forever.

Carl and Penny, to this celebration you bring the fullness of your hearts as a treasure to share with one another. You bring the dreams that bind you together. You bring that particular personality and spirit which is uniquely your own, and out of which will grow the reality of your life together. We rejoice with you in this outward symbol of an inward union of hearts; a union created by friendship, trust, respect, and love.

Today you wish to be joined in marriage. I am required to ask you if you know any reason why you many not be lawfully married to each other, to declare it now.

Since no reason has been declared, please take each other by the right hand.

Carl, do you take Penny as your wife, to be your friend and companion, to share your life and your love through all the days of your lives? (Carl~I do)

Penny, do you take Carl as your husband, to be your friend and companion, to share your life and your love through all the days of your lives? (Penny~I do)

Carl and Penny, you both have already weathered many challenges together. You have met them with humor, understanding and compassion. In careful consideration of both the beauty and the obligations assumed when lives are wed, we are here today to rejoice and celebrate one of life’s richest gifts~ the love you share.

These rings are the token of the vows you will say to each other, and the promises you will make. They are circles of wholeness, perfect in form, may these rings always glow in reflection of the love you share and the pledges made to each other. Please take your rings and put them on each other’s left hands.

May your rings always reflect the love you share, and forever remind you of this day, this hour, and this moment. Now will you repeat your vows to each other. Penny, will you say what you have prepared for Carl.

I choose you to be my husband. To live with you, and to laugh with you. To walk by your side, in love with kindness, with loyalty, with honor and respect. I promise to always cherish you as my companion, my confidant, and my best friend. From the dreams in our hearts to our dreams coming true. From each of our yesterdays to all of our forever’s, I give all the love of my heart to you, and to you only.

Will you love him and keep this pledge on your hope of Tir Na nOg? (Tear-nan-oak) Penny~I will

I choose you to be my wife. To live with you, and to laugh with you. To walk by your side, in love, with kindness, with loyalty, with honor and respect. I promise to always cherish you as my companion, my confidant, and my best friend. From the dreams in our hearts to our dreams coming true. From each of our yesterdays to all of our forever’s, I give all of the love of my heart to you, and to you only.

Officiant~ Will you love her and keep this pledge on the hope of Tir Na nOg? (Tear -nan-oak) Carl~I will

Officiant binds the hands with the Hand fasting cords.

Anam Cara

In the Celtic tradition, there is a beautiful understanding of love and friendship. The old Irish term Anam Cara is translated as soul friend. When you have an Anam Cara, you are joined in an ancient and eternal way with the person who is a friend of your soul. There is a deep sense of belonging and recognition. You are understood as you are and you are at home. When you feel understood, you can release yourself into the trust and shelter of another person’s soul and they can release themselves into you. This kind of soul love is the most real, substantial and powerful form of human presence because it is the place or threshold where human presence and divine presence move in and out of each other.

Officiant holds the ends of the cords~

May you be encircled in love and safety. May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon your fields, and until we meet again- May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.

Officiant removes Hand fasting cords, and holds them in her binder as she continues~

Let us rejoice this day in the marriage of Carl and Penny. Let us celebrate the love that brought them to this day, the love that has deepened through the years. May you continue to know its meaning and its mystery. May the enchantment which you hold for one another grow in strength and beauty, and may you be ennobled by the blessings that comes to those who truly love. May your home be a sanctuary of welcome for all who enter it, a place for growth, a place for music, a place for laughter. And when shadows and darkness fall within its rooms, may it still be a place of hope and warmth for all who enter it. May those nearest you continue to be enriched by the beauty and the bounty of your love for each other. May you live in peace and joy, and may you grow old together…on one pillow.

For as much as Carl and Penny have grown in knowledge and love of one another, and because they have agreed in their desire to go forward in life together, seeking an even richer, deepening relationship, and because they have pledged to meet life’s challenges together, in accordance with the laws of the Cayman Islands, and by the authority vested in me, I pronounce that Carl and Penny , are Husband and Wife, Anam Cara eternal.

Carl, you may now kiss your wife~

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

~Back to the Grind~

I haven't posted anything for a little while. Lots of things going on. A transition for my son, one that I am not very thrilled about, but must sit back and watch unfold. I love that my kids all think for themselves, and have strong minds, and very strong opinions, but it drives me crazy that at the same time, they are completely without their senses, as all of us are, at one time or another. Standing still and letting someone you love, more than yourself, fall A piece of crap that I knew for over a year, before he did, has dug deep with her manipulative claws, and my handsome, naive son, has absolutely no idea what he just signed on for. I want him out there, and on his own, and living his life....just not with such a horrific person. Attempts to explain to him that he is in for some serious trouble with this one, have failed. This girl is a "stab you in your sleep" kind of idiot, and that makes me furious.

On to more things. I love fall in Las Vegas. By far, the very best time of the year. The weather is simply gorgeous, and the holidays are coming. No extreme heat, little wind, and the air smells so good. Burning, as always, candles in the house keep the smell lingering in the air. A constant reminder that soon, the tree goes up for Christmas, day after Thanksgiving, of course, and my favorite season unfolds. I am not one for material things really. My obsession is the home. I will go my entire life without clothes, jewelery, shoes, etc. I love have a nice home. It makes me feel important, accomplished. Nothing makes me happier than having my husband and all of my kids at home at the same time, feeding them all, listening to them talk, laugh, scream at the TV while playing games. This is my idea of heaven. It is even better when other family members are over, and I am feeding them all. I swear, I was meant to be either an Italian mom, or a Jewish mom, with my instincts to nurture and feed everyone. Even my given name Leora, just sounds like a plump Italian woman, standing in front of the stove, stirring sauce.

Recent passing weeks have brought about the re-connection with my little brother Scott, whom I have absolutely adored since the minute he was born. I have many memory blocks from my childhood, but Scott as a baby, those memories are very clear. He had the cutest giggle, chubby little feet, and playing with him, sometimes torturing him, are some of the brightest and most cherished memories for me. Life is life, and as dysfunctional as my family is, there are lost times as well. Some still baffle me to this day, but for what ever reasons, there are too many lost years, lost times, lost "could have been great" moments that have gone by. In my eyes, my little brother can do no wrong, and never has. Even in moments when others were passing severe judgment on his decisions, I didn't blink. Unconditional love for him goes without question....even when he was angry at me. Seeing his beautiful daughters for the first time was a pivotal moment. Never meeting them before, and then having this moment at a line for a roller coaster, and in California, of all places, also pretty much sums up how retarded our family can be. For whatever reasons, for what ever motives, I am not really concerned. One thing is a given, Scott is just as good at being a wonderful father as he is at just about every other accomplishment of his. The look of adoration for him from his two girls, as he was talking to Carl, who was also meeting Scott for the first time, was very clear and apparent to me. All I am concerned with, is the future. Nothing that happened before can, or will be changed. No sense on dwelling on any of that.

Did I mention that going to be perfectly fine, and waking up with a bitch of a head cold, really, really sucks?

Ah....silly thing, life. A roller coaster itself, all of the ups and downs, twists and turns, sharp plunges while stealing your breath right from your chest. Still, it does make for one hell of a ride.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

~Don't hold back and always know...All the answers you will unfold~

"I will not die an unlived life. I will not live in fear of falling or
catching fire. I choose to inhabit my days, to allow my living to open me, to make me less afraid, more accessible, to loosen my heart until it becomes a wing, a torch, a promise. I choose to risk my significance; to live so that which comes to me as seed goes to the next as blossom and that which comes to me as blossom, goes on as fruit."

Dawna Markova

So much is going on lately. Muddled thoughts, confusion, and entirely too much stress. It seems that I am on a never ending path of frustration and tension, and my options are slim. This makes things even more annoying. Trying to improve your situation is not easy, when the decisions you make will affect not only you, but the one you love as well. I HATE my job, and when I say hate, I don't mean that I am just in a rut, I mean I truly hate working in that Cafe'. 

The best aspect of working on the Las Vegas Strip is that you get to meet people from all over the world. Two weeks ago, I actually had a group of people in my section, and one of the men asked me if I had lived in Vegas my entire life. After about 10 minutes of explaining how I came to live in England, and where, it became apparent that this is indeed a very small world. The man, Mr. Damon, had also lived in England, had also lived at the very same Air Force Base that my family and I lived on, and to make things even more fascinating, had actually worked with my father in the very same shop, repairing and working on the F-111 planes on the base. Things like this make the job great....

This past week, the oh so bitter and pissed off at the entire world, Mrs. Gundy, and her obviously hen pecked husband came in for breakfast. She was not only mean, but her face was beet red, worn from years of straining and wrenching her teeth apparently, and the abuse ensued. Mrs. Gundy did not speak to me when I greeted them, nor did she speak when I was taking the order. Her husband did all the talking while she read her paper, sucked her teeth in disgust, and made sighing noises like the entire world was on her last nerve. Wonderful way to start my morning, and I did everything possible to hurry up their order, and get it out to them, so I could get HER the hell out of there. No such luck, however. This Bitter Betty ordered the french toast. I brought out the food, went to the next table to drop off two glasses of water, and not two seconds passed and up goes this bitch's hand, waving, flagging me back over, with obvious disgust and disdain. "This is COLD, and is NOT thick as the menu says, it appears to be measly, pathetic white bread, and the syrup is cheap, and I refuse to eat such garbage. I want it out of my sight, and I also want it REMOVED from your menu." She was picking at it with her fork while she ranted, and then she shoved the plate away from her. When I began to say "I am sorry...." and reached to remove the plate she snapped at me, "Don't come near me!". I stood there with this look on my face, like, "seriously? What in the HELL is your problem?". Her whiny husband actually smiled, and said, "Please remove this". It was creepy, scary, and pissed me off. I felt like saying, "OH, your majesty, we did not know you would be gracing us with your presence this morning, and used the "measly, pathetic white bread" instead of your glorious BETTER? bread of choice". What the hell? First of all, it's Brioche Bread, which I am sure, from her elastic head band, and cat hair covered clothes give away, she has never heard of, let alone actually consumed. Yes, I get to be rude now....she started it. Who the hell does she think that she is, or who does she think she is talking to? All she is doing is going around pissing people off, and it's not going to get her any results. Try using some manners, please, thank you's, maybe actually fucking smile.....

What happened? How did the world come to this...being so arrogant, self centered, and just plain MEAN? It's everywhere. You can't go to the store, or the movies, or even drive without something happening it seems. I was driving home on the freeway a few months ago, and a car cut me off. The young driver then slammed on the brakes in front of me, switched lanes about three or four times, was behind me, then in front of me, then beside me...insanity. I got so damn frustrated, I honked my horn the third time he swerved in front of me, and he then slammed on his brakes again, pulled back along side me, and when I looked over, he was pointing a gun at me, laughing....yeah. 

I know that the world is harsh, and that people have it much worse, but it does seem like, lately, everything has gone to hell. This can't be what the rest of my life will be. I feel like there is something inside of me that I am supposed to nurture, and improve, and then flourish with, and that is what I am meant to do. This struggling from month to month, is just not what I want to be. 

I think that possibilities are always out there, that a person should never stop learning, never stop reaching. I know that helping myself in turn will help another. No one should feel that they are alone, and that their life has no affect on those around them. It absolutely does, and for that reason, everyone should always continue to strive for the dreams that they have, the goals that they set. Never give up, never give in. Even in times of hopelessness, finding your inner strength, finding that stubborn cell, to help you keep going, will inspire another by you to do the same. I have seen it happen. I have had it happen to me, to see someone that I love keep on, keep trying, keep reaching, and making me feel like, "yeah, I can hang on here....I can do it too." 

Some of us have no definition. Some of us, have no clear path, and take more time to find exactly what it is that will spark our creative instincts, our goals to suddenly jump up and take action. It may not be a clear pattern, or a plan that we expect, but that is alright. Life is here to live, to enjoy, to take in and experience. To spend it being angry, or scared, or to be to afraid to reach out for what you really want is just sinful. 

The lyrics say it all....

Forging ahead, and going to keep searching. Slinging to the Botox Zombies is not the way for me...there has to be something better, something more. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

~Tolerance is the new "hate"~

I know the title will start up some trouble. I am used to that.

Last night, Carl and I watched anxiously for the results on our favorite show. We had been following it from the beginning, and right from the very start, had a favorite. It wasn't just the talent, it was his mannerisms, his sheer humble being. From the very moment that he realized that this could really be something to change his life, he was touched, and I knew that he deserved to win.

So, why did I post this? Well, first of all, it's just inspiring. It's just wonderful to watch. It warms the heart. And, it pertains to what happened next. Last night, Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. did exactly what was predicted in this video, he changed his life, and he won. I don't think I have ever been so happy for a complete stranger in my life.

Afterwards, posting on Facebook, many were going crazy. The competing acts were gracious, except one. The act that came in third, while still on stage, had such a look of shock, they simply stood there. The anger was setting in, and you could see it all unfolding, while clips of them and their past performances were going on behind them. Then, they just left. I was truly disappointed at the complete lack of sportsmanship and professionalism that they displayed.  Everyone else had extended their hands to congratulate the others, to wish them well. Not this act. It was like they wanted to stomp their feet and scream. I posted about this. I stated that I wish they had behaved in the manner that they professed they could, and wanted to be....professionals. The response? Their fans posted, "whore" and "eat a bag of dicks" and "go fucking kill yourself". Those are just a few.

So, back to reasonable society. Yeah, where is it? What happened to manners, and love and tolerance? I asked this of my husband as we were reading all of this nonsense last night, and then this morning, came across an article that summed up most of the answers. Tolerance is the new "Intolerance." It is now the new definition of "putting up" with others, because you "have to".

This article hits entirely too close to home for Carl and I, yet at the same time, is very important, and very intelligent and spot on. Why is it so awful to have a different way of thinking? Why is it that the only choice for families now is "MY WAY, OR YOU ARE DEAD." Why is it that so many people want to tell you their beliefs, but don't want to LISTEN to yours? Isn't there room for everyone? Isn't there this wonderful, beautiful word "CHOICE"? Obviously, it is for those who want to tell me I don't have a choice. They do. Why don't I? Why can't my husband, my kids, my friends? Who decides who gets to choose what is a belief or what to believe? Who has such an ego that they think they are the only RIGHT person in the universe? I'll wait........ meanwhile, read this. It's brilliant.

Craig Harline

When a Family Member Converts

Posted: 9/15/11 10:00 AM ET
What are the choices when a loved one leaves the family faith (or non-faith)? Though we might like to imagine that we're far beyond the silly religious bickering of our forebears, our choices in the West have in fact remained much the same since the Reformation, when the modern practice of individual conversion emerged on a massive scale: that is, we can reject, tolerate, or accept other-believers.
Erratic sources and fluctuating emotions make it unlikely that we will ever know just exactly how many families confronted such choices, or how many behaved in this way or that at a particular time. But years of study have convinced me that families who completely rejected other-believers, sometimes through killing them but usually through severing ties, have been a small minority, including in the Reformation.
Far more common, I'm convinced, has been for families to find the great messy middle of the spectrum and to adopt some form of tolerance. This tolerant super-majority isn't as rosy and cozy as it sounds. For all of its appeal in the modern West, tolerance was a dirty word when it emerged in the Reformation -- much inferior to religious unity, and preferable only to killing someone or cutting him off. No more. Even today, the root meaning of the word tolerance (to bear, to endure) suggests the inherent limits of the concept: when you tolerate, you put up with someone's unfortunate choice, someone's inferior religion, and you hope for his return to the truth. The other-believer is not an equal, but a misguided soul requiring pity and help. Full fellowship and equality can occur only through the convert's rejoining the family religion, or the family's joining the convert's new faith.
In short, tolerance was not (is not) the opposite of intolerance, but the other side of the same coin. Tolerance implied intolerance. Again, in practice tolerance has taken many forms, ranging from uneasy coexistence to highly peaceful interaction, and for peace-loving families coexistence is an improvement on rejection. But what all tolerant families have had in common, even the most peaceful, has been the wish that other-believers would change, that they would be other than they are. In this sense, tolerance too is a form of rejection.
A third choice for families confronted with religious difference, and again probably a minority choice both today as well as in the Reformation, has been for family members to fully accept the religious decisions of others. In these families, the other-believer's decision has been respected, not regretted, and any hope of change has been relinquished. Most of all, the goal has gone beyond coexistence to an equal and satisfying relationship. Such families have not agreed on every religious point, obviously, but they have found a way to make their relationship the highest expression of their faith.
Two examples from many found in my research, one from seventeenth-century Europe and one from modern America, give these abstractions some flesh and blood, not to mention show the continuing relevance of the challenges presented by Reformation-style conversion.
In 1654, Jacob Rolandus, son of a Dutch Reformed preacher, secretly converted to Catholicism, then ran away from his family forever. His parents and sister tried to persuade him to return, through long, emotional letters that lamented his most assured damnation. Jacob in turn wept that he would be separated from his family in the eternities because of their false religion. This uneasy state of mutual tolerance soon turned into total alienation, however, as Jacob's family gave up their efforts and never responded to his letters again, for the remaining 29 years of his life.
In 1973, the young Californian Michael Sunbloom (not his real name) broke his parents' Evangelical hearts by converting to Mormonism. His parents did not cut him off, but Michael's new religion severely strained their relationship and was not to be mentioned around them -- a classic Reformation scenario. Then came the modern twist to Michael's story, which still highlighted the old, old dilemma: how to reconcile convictions and relationships? After three years as a devout Mormon, Michael realized he was gay. He quit his new church, which delighted his parents -- until they found out why. This new revelation tested their relationship even more severely than Michael's Mormonism had. In the end, however, they found a way to accept their son, on religious grounds, concluding that their love for him was a stronger imperative than any other aspect of their faith.
Family disputes have always involved more than religion, though the disputes take on new forms over time. But the Reformation's disputes over religion still have much to teach families today, whatever the particular subject. Moreover, with more than 40 percent of American adults now reporting that they have changed religions at least once in their lifetime, and with an increasing number of religions to choose from, old-fashioned struggles over religion have hardly disappeared. Indeed the need to understand the meaning and consequences of our reactions to the religious choices of loved ones, or for that matter of strangers---not to mention the need to understand the limits of tolerance---is arguably greater than ever.
Craig Harline is a professor of European History at Brigham Young University, and author of the just-released Conversions: Two Family Stories from the Reformation and Modern America (Yale University Press, 2011)

Just because someone thinks differently than you, doesn't mean that they are wrong. It simply means they have their own mind, their own thoughts, just as you have yours. 

....and on that note, I am going to get another cup of coffee.  

~Needing .vs. Wanting~

Yesterday, I waited on a very kind man. When I say kind, I mean very kind in his manners, in the way that he spoke, in his words, and in his eyes. He was extremely polite, even asking me if it was alright to call me by my name, not using my "Sir name". I was taken back by this, because all day, most days, it is pretty usual to be given the "adios" wave, or barked at like a servant, rushed, fussed at. No one speaks to me like this. It was slower than usual, and he was sitting with his computer in front of him, working. He explained that he was an Analyst, economics, mostly to do with World Economics, Hunger, resources, finances, etc. I didn't understand any of this. I simply nodded, and listened. He politely asked if I would mind answering a few questions. He stated that in his field, it was customary to travel, extensively, and to observe, to watch, and to then document and record. He was watching what people were eating, how they ordered their food, how much they ordered. He was interested in how many people ordered water, and did they always drink the water. This caught my attention immediately. Well, this is the desert.

What we take for granted is unbelievable. What we expect to just be there on a constant, without even considering that most don't have access to on a daily basis is not only arrogant, but rude. Here is a very simple example. How many times do you go out to eat and request a glass of water with your meal? Along with that glass of water, do you also get another drink? A glass of tea, or maybe a soft drink, or coffee? How many times do you have wine, or a beer, maybe at that one dinner, request up to 3 beverages? Did you drink all of the water? Did you consume Because I do this for a living, and I will tell you that 99% of people, don't. I have had countless tables that have maybe 3 or 4 people sitting at them, and I need to go to the back and fill my tray with up to 12 drinks. I always make a sarcastic comment, because it truly annoys the hell out of me. "Do you drink water, coffee, juice, and a Bloody Mary with breakfast at home?" or "I'm sorry your highness, I didn't realize the time. I thought High Tea was at 4;30". It's foul....and I know I am going off the subject a little right here, but here's this little thought.

For all of the girls out there who have this sudden obsession with playing with your hair, and pulling on your hair while you are talking, and believing it is in some way, cute, and adoring, and makes you look like a Kardashian, NO, it doesn't. It is fucking stupid. And think of this. Pulling on your hair, and then dropping all the hairs on the floor, ".....uhh, Hiiiya, I ammmmm going to hhaaaaavvve aaaaaaa......" shut the hell up! Have you WATCHED the movie "Contagion"? I think it should be required for everyone. Just to show how quickly bacteria spreads. You and your fucking hair pulling is not only annoying, but you are sitting in a RESTAURANT...where people are EATING, and nobody wants to eat your stupid hair!! Stop it!!! What the hell is wrong with you???

Okay, sorry, back on track...those damn botox zombies are out to get us all, I swear.

There are countries that have such huge, vast amounts of poverty, that the scale is almost too hard to process. That glass of water that you ordered, but then wasted, is now sinful. There are children who don't see water. Some, who walk miles to gain access to a simple bucket of dirty, foul water, that carries who knows what, and then must walk back, to share that water. It's for the cooking, the washing, the consuming. In our country, it has no meaning. You hear about it, and you get annoyed when the commercials are on, or you hear someone spouting off about conserving, and you don't even pay attention. I felt truly guilty and pathetic as this man started telling me the statistics that he knew. I remember when Carl and I were on our Honeymoon, how much we ourselves were complaining about missing our bottles of Smartwater. Now, I am ashamed.

Bread. What is it with people and bread? Geez us. "Bring bread!!" Like the dancing girls should follow. What the hell? People are so gluttonous. It is obnoxious. If they think it is free, they want it in front of them. They aren't going to eat it, they just want it there. It's like the grand feast, and they are King Henry, for all to admire. "Look at me! Look at all of this foooooood." Carrying away plates from tables, and looking at what people waste is just sickening. It is really sinful. People waste so much food. They should be punished. "I don't want it, I am fighting with my boyfriend." "Take it away, I am on my cell phone." "Uh, I ordered too much, LOL, just take it." and this is the worst of all....."Just throw it away."

What if you had no food? What if you lived in the middle of nowhere with no grocery stores, no water, no electricity. How would you feel if you saw images of people like yourself? Just wasting, throwing away things that you would cherish, just dream of being able to have a small bite of? How pompous and arrogant of a country we have become. How did we get here? When exactly did everyone loose their humanity?

The Wall Street Bailouts in turn were then given away as bonuses to top CEO's of companies, for their "hard work", and as a country, we should have not only retaliated, protested and demanded justice, but we all should have united and done something. The money that was used in the bonuses was enough to feed the population of the World's current poverty stricken hungry, right now. Just think about that for one moment. With that simple little piece of paper, that one check that was passed along to them, there could have been a solution, and end to the world hunger crisis....right now.

Last night, I was reading, again, and here it all was, right in front of me. I am baffled at the people that I have met recently. I don't know what is going on with me lately....but this is pretty cool that I actually talked to this man. Here's the article, below.

How Banks Cause World Hunger [GRAPHIC]

The Huffington Post First Posted: 9/14/11 03:33 PM ET   Updated: 9/14/11 03:33 PM ET
Banks are among some of the most hated companies in America, largely for their role in causing a global financial crisis. That reputation could only get worse thanks to one of their more controversial practices: Food Speculation.
Banks and other financial speculators are increasingly "betting on food prices in financial markets," according to this infographic from the World Development Movement. Food prices now account for 70 percent of total expenses in some of the world's poorer households, hitting a record high in February. Looking forward, the OECD estimates that over the next decade cereal prices will rise 20 percent. That's still less than meet prices, which are expected to jump by nearly a third.
Here is the infographic from the World Development Movement:

Educate yourself. Stop taking things for granted. :-)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

~Lights, Camera....and, Action~

As you come of age, or to a certain point in your life, you begin to realize why you are the way you are. Your strengths, your weaknesses, your fears, your beliefs, etc. Over time, you find yourself, if you are one of the lucky ones. You discover things, you learn, you make mistakes, you fall, you get up, cry, scream, laugh, love...all of these are in place to make up the structure that is you. Every minute, every little detail. At the moment that things are happening, you don't quite understand, or you may not even notice. They may not be significant to you at that time. Years later, something small will happen, or a memory will be jarred, you will reflect, look back, and realize, ah, that's why, and smile.

I didn't have a loving relationship with my parents. I didn't have much of a relationship at all. I struggled in many areas because of this. Parents are supposed to be the roots that give you balance, give you the base of life, to move up, forward, lifting you towards the sky....yeah, not me. This tree was more of a sage brush. Dried up, cracked, and left to blow away in the desolate desert.

I read a very interesting article this afternoon about the Power of Touch. This is the actual article below.

Touch is the only one of our five senses that doesn't lose its potency with age. As we grow old, our sense of smell becomes less acute; our sense of taste becomes less discriminating; our acuity of hearing diminishes; our eyesight needs enhancement, but touch does not change. In fact, our need to touch and be touched becomes greater. We find glasses which help us to sharpen our sense of sight; we get fitted with hearing aids, in an attempt to restore our pleasure in listening to music, and to understand what others are saying to us. But we don't need any external aids to get joy from our sense of touch. It doesn't diminish.
There are small things that tell us this. We like to have our hair washed and combed; we like to have pedicures; we like to stroke each other and to be stroked, even in small ways. I find myself patting my friend's hand; deciding to use a cane rather than a walker. If I use a walker, I don't need anyone else's help; I am more independent than if I relied on someone to lean on with one hand, while I lean on my cane with the other. I like the touch of my friend's hand. Ah, and massage! Oh, the joys of a good massage! I recommend having a massage at least once a week, and also, if possible, learning how to give a good massage.
We are born with the need to be touched. If we are not cuddled as babies or children, we do not develop as well. Mammals, also, need to be touched and cuddled as pups. There are many experiments with chimpanzees, orangutans, Bonobos, as well as other monkeys, rats, cats and dogs, which demonstrate dramatically the difference between touched and cuddled as babies and those who are not.
All animals have a profound sense of touch. Sponges, tapeworms, insect-eating plants live mainly by touch. A woodpecker uses its tongue to find insects; penguins must touch to survive -- the babies stand on their parents' feet and press close to their warm bellies. Watch a house cat rub and wrap itself around its owner's leg. Observe a dog squirming with pleasure when it gets its stomach scratched, or its ears stroked.
Diane Ackerman, in her provocative book "A Natural History of the Senses," says, "Touch is a sense with unique functions and qualities ... Touch affects the whole organism." She quotes Saul Schanberg, "It's ten times stronger than verbal or emotional contact, and it affects damn near everything we do. No other sense can arouse you like touch." Schanberg stated, "If touch didn't feel good, there'd be no species, parenthood or survival. A mother wouldn't touch her baby unless the mother felt pleasure doing it. If we didn't like the feeling of touching and patting one another, we wouldn't have had sex ... We forget that touch is not only basic to our species, but the key to it." In the absence of touching and being touched, people of all ages can sicken and grow touch-starved.
I've seen bumper stickers that ask, "Did you hug your child today?" I'd like to see a bumper sticker which reminds us to hug each other more than we would do a tree. Trees don't respond the way people do. At 93 plus, I have a caregiver who comes every day to help me bathe and dress. We make it a point to hug each other; I massage her back, and she massages mine. She also massages my feet, hips and legs, and I feel exhilarated by her touch.
Have you ever noticed the way baseball players touch each other? They pat each other on the back, stroke and hug each other; they grab each other's butts as they trot onto the field. Football players go into a huddle, their bodies touching, and then they slap each other's hands as they leave the huddle and run onto the field. A coach will pat his players' heads.Tennis players shake hands and hug each other.
Our sense of self is related to our sense of touch; with how we feel. We stroke our forearms; we run our fingers through our hair to relieve stress. And as we age, we need more assurance that we are loved. If the restrictions of our culture frown on touching, holding hands, hugging and kissing, we have to ignore them. We have to learn to give each other joy through touch, the most important of our senses.

This article holds significance to me for many reasons. I read it, and suddenly realized why I am longing for certain things, and why they hold such importance to me. I hear about epiphany's all the time, and having one at this time for me was a surreal moment, after having quite an extensive conversation yesterday with a very cherished friend. Now, I will explain....

I did not go to my Mother's funeral. I was not welcome, I was not "allowed". I was told on the telephone, by my brother, not to come, and if I did, there would be hell to pay. I won't bother to go in to any more detail at the moment, but those that know me, pretty much understand. To no surprise at all, I found out about two weeks ago, my brother announced at the funeral, to my relatives, that he and my sister in law, were "terribly" worried that I was going to ROB my parents home during the funeral services, as I had "threatened" to do so. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. This is the sickening, disgusting, dysfunctional reality of my family that I have had to deal with most of my life. I therefore, choose to stay away. They say I am dead, I am happy to oblige. My only wish, ever, is that I had some family pictures. Family history to me is very important, and I have nothing to pass along to my children. They don't want the pictures of me, why can't I have them? It then came to me today, reading this article....BLAM!!

There is not one....not one single picture, ever, that I remember growing up, of me with my Mother. Not one. Not as a baby, not as a child. Certainly not as an infant. Never as a toddler. I remember one of me, when I was about 2, standing in the living room. My pot belly sticking out under a t shirt, eating a potato chip. The photo is black and white. My brunette curls, just above my shoulder. My father and mother, sitting on the couch, looking elsewhere. No, they are not holding me, not even looking at me. I started to think. My insecurities, my worries, my constant fears. How often was I held? Did she ever hold me? Hug me? Reading the article, knowing that as a baby, it is so important. I know, certainly, later, myself, my younger brother, we both have spoken. We both have moments, and I am talking years, of lost time. I have absolutely no memory of age 3 to age 8. None. When he talked to me about this, he has similar memory block. I also have loss of age 10 to about 13.

I know everyone has a story. I know most have much worse issues than I. Struggles are what they are, and you make the best of what you have. Learning from it all is the most important. I know I am still learning, and still working on some of those issues, and trying. I am not perfect, and not every going to pretend that I am. I don't want to live in Disneyland. There is always a brutal murder at the beginning of every one of those Disney movies...has anyone else noticed that? Kind of thanks. Real life is hard enough. I am gonna stick with the real deal, and just make the best of it. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

~Sensing and Realization~

The past few months have taken more than a toll on me. I feel as if they have taken the breath out of my lungs, held them in front of my face, and squeezed until the knuckles went white with such strength...and then nothing.

I have cried, I have anguished. I have lost countless, endless hours of sleep. I am in constant pain, and by this I mean true physical pain. All of my muscles feel as if they are rubber bands pulled to their very greatest extent, just before they are going to break. It's like one on going charlie horse that never stops. I hobble when I walk, I can't really sit in one position for too long, and work is slowly but surely killing me, hour by hour, day by day.

I am coming to such a serious crossroads that I feel that maybe I should describe it as more of a cross cliff. Not so much, which "road should I choose", but "which enormous cliff shall I jump off". The choices before me seem that serious, with consequences that have weighed on me so heavily I don't quite know how to function. I know there are people out there with problems of their own, so I don't really even have anyone that I can talk to, or turn to, to help me through it all. I feel as if I would be whining, or complaining, and they would look at me as if to say, "knock it off, get up off your ass and just do it". But you see, it's not that simple.

There comes a time in everyone's life when a simple moment, or a choice, or an event was such a pivotal turning point that it brought about changes that put into affect life changing events. For me, I know that this pivotal moment will be when I set into motion the domino's that will all start to fall when I push the

I choose now to say it will be an action of strength, but I am terrified. This strength will be of my will to move forward to fight for the fairness that I deserve, and in a very small way, have never received most of my life. It seems that for reasons unknown, it has always been "acceptable" behavior to be disrespectful to me,  to lie to me, to treat Penny as though she is less of a person than others. I remember having this feeling from a very young age. That I was not as important as other people. That, for reasons unknown, I was not supposed to grow up to do, or to be, anyone of value, or importance. I was just an annoyance, a problem, a huge bag of garbage that needed to be thrown out. Yes, this is truly how I have felt most of my life. This is not a paragraph to draw pity, so don't for one fucking moment think that. I write what comes from my brain to the keys, ask I think censors, so I mean all of this. Years of fighting, trying my very best to stay strong, to stay positive for my own sanity, have led me to be who I am this very moment. I have not had an easy life. People have lied to me, stolen from me, beaten me, and betrayed me. All that have done the very worst to me, have the very same blood that I have running through my vein's....just try to process that for a moment. I 'll wait.....

Now, I need to fight again, and maybe put into effect, the events that will affect not only me, but Carl as well. This is not a simple choice for me to make. People around me, who I love dearly, choose to be deceitful, rather than honest with me, for reasons that I do not understand. The hardest, most horrible thing for me to conceive,  the biggest pill for me still to swallow, is that still, to this very day, my loved ones must hurt me, and lie....after all that has happened. I am still nothing.

I look into a mirror, and I try, I try so hard to see strength, and love, and courage. I try to see perseverance, and conviction, and I try to convince myself that the reflection is worthy of all this trial and error. Worthy of all of this continuous effort, trudging along, fighting for the right. Fighting for the equality, the integrity, the honor. Those that I love simply refuse to love me the way that I deserve.....and now I must break a promise that I made.

I am a very strong, caring, loving and dedicated wife and mother. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, and I do not betray trust. I firmly believe in love and allowing everyone to live their lives freely, the way that they choose. I carry no prejudice against race, religion, or sexual orientation. I do not believe in heaven or hell. For me, God, is with in, the soul of each of us, and how you carry yourself on this earth. Your empathy, your honor, respect and dignity of the human race is holy, and should be respected and never disgraced. The true value of life is sacred, and should be appreciated, every single day, never taken for granted. Every life, human, animal, all....they all are equal. My wish is to make my children proud, to help them reach their potential to be happy, healthy, and content in this life, to accomplish the same with Carl, and to live out my remaining years beside him, to travel this world, to see as much as we can. To take it all in, to breath in the air, to play with the pups, to write, to be better at writing, to love, to laugh, and not to regret.

...and never to give up fighting.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

~Reflection and Redirection~

Today is September 11th, a very significant date in our country. Over the past few days, there have been countless programs on television about the events that took place on that tragic day. It is, without any doubt, a very clear, a very severe moment in time. A memory that you don't want, but you just can't erase. You remember exactly where you were, exactly how you felt, what you were doing. History can be so vague at times, but then at others, so very very, very definite. This was one of those times.

This day was not just a day of tragedy. For me, this day was one for many reasons. The world has been in a constant downward spiral, like a giant toilet bowl, we were all being flushed. Just endless, useless waste, and it needed to be flushed. This horrific moment, while violent, disturbing, emotional, and gut wrenching, also served many useful purposes if only people opened their eyes to learn from it. Some chose to see anger, and lashed out, seeking revenge. Because of this, many innocent people lost their lives. Once again, the giant toilet flushed. Just a giant waste...going down, down, down. It was if you could feel the world spinning out of control, and you knew at any moment it would all be gone....down the drain.

Others chose to see this as the opportunity to embrace life. Every day, to now take life, every moment, as a gift. Nothing is a given. Nothing is guaranteed. Be grateful. Be thankful. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. Be kind, be respectful, be polite. This was also a trait that was few and far between.

It is much harder to be kind. Anger comes easy to most, and it also comes swiftly. What I don't understand to this day, is how people have hate for people they don't know. This is pure ignorance. What a waste of energy. Why do this at all? Hate of a person you don't know? Never finding out what they know, what they think, feel, believe? What a shame...what are you missing? What are you loosing? Does anyone stop to think about that? I doubt it.

One of the constant thoughts running through my head while watching these programs is the people who went through this tragedy, and what they must have been feeling, thinking. The final moments. It's almost unbearable. How do you make that phone call? Who do you call? What do you say? How do you find the right words? It makes you think.

So...this is my challenge, and I really want everyone to consider this. If knew, as they knew, you only had a few moments left. It is sealed, and there is no way to change it. You have to make that call. One call, and it is all you have. You would have 3 minutes to talk to someone, and then it would be done. It could be your way, any way. Who would you call, and what would you say. Your final moments, your final words before you leave this earth.

Life is not guaranteed. It is a gift. It can be taken at any moment, and without notice. You leave the house everyday, and you don't know at that moment that it could be your last time....did you say "I love you"?

I know, in my heart, that every chance I get, I tell my husband and my kids that I love them. My family is seriously messed up, but I still tell them I love them. I do love them. I tell my friends I love them. I don't care if they think I am crazy...I don't care if they think I am silly. If I am gone tomorrow, then let them remember that. That I drove them crazy telling them that I love them. I can deal with that. :-)