Monday, February 21, 2011

5 Reasons People "Unfriend" You on Facebook

This is good for a laugh, but has at least a smidgen of truth in it, too, I believe. What do you think?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Tell Me Thursday: Here's a Tissue

This was taken at our favorite Hibachi Grill Restaurant. We were standing in front of the aquarium & Hannah says "Hey mom, look- that dragon needs a tissue. His nose is running"


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Should Parents of 'Sexting' Teens Be Punished?

A new law introduced by State Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin, Texas), would make "sexting" a Class C misdemeanor requiring a court appearance for the teenaged violator, and would allow a judge to 'sentence' his or her parent to participate in an education program on sexting's long-term harmful consequences.

Right now, teens caught sexting in Texas can be charged with possessing or trafficking in child pornography. There are similar laws in Florida, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Utah that I know about. Secularly speaking, I find that interesting considering teens, in my opinion, are still children themselves to be charged with "child" pornography charges. If children looking at children, is considered "illegal porn", then why isn't the act of adults looking at adults "illegal porn", as well? (Hmmm...) This offense carries the potential of decades of prison time, plus the requirement that the teen register for the rest of his or her life as a sex offense pervert. Yet, it is perfectly ok for adults to commit the same crime, and its legal. Why is it that children 17 and under are worth "protecting" from the dangers of porn, but people over 17 do not have the same protection, resulting in porn addictions and sometimes broken marriages? What about the cash strapped women who result to stripping in bars, are they not worth protection from the danger of strangers 'oogling' their bodies, and the emotional scars of humiliation and the potential ruin of their reputation in the future?

Lust is lust, correct? If we're ignoring moral absolutes, and not taking a stance that sex before marriage is wrong, then why is sexting a problem? Kids are taught about sex in middle school, and are offered condoms at school. Parents are fighting for legislation that requires their notification and consent for their underage child (=teen) to have an abortion, which means if a kid can make it to an abortion clinic, our society has said it is ok for them to make a life and death decision to have an abortion without their parents even knowing what is going on.

However, it is NOT ok for them to LOOK at pictures, of something they have seen already, in most cases, in person? Underage children having pictures of other underage children, is really how different than adults having pictures of other adults, if we're not, as a society, saying that sex should be off limits until marriage?

In a survey by the Pew Internet & American Life Project, 15 percent of cell-phone-owning teens ages 12 to 17 had received nude or nearly nude photos by phone. Four percent of the teens said they had sent out sexually explicit photos or videos of themselves. In a different survey by, 15% of the teens (defined as 13-19 years old) who have sent or posted nude/seminude images of themselves, say they have done so to someone they only knew online. (THAT is a statistic that needs to cause worry in all parents hearts!) 2009 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that 46% of all high school students reported ever having had sex—46%of girls and 46% of boys. In a January 2010 study by the Guttmacher Institute, in 2006, the pregnancy rate was 71.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19, the abortion rate was 19.3 abortions per 1,000 in the same age range. So for every 71 pregnancies, 19 ended in abortion. That's about 27%, correct? Yet, excuse my simplicity here, but these states are more concerned with ... naked pictures? Can we all agree that the emotional complications of teen sex in general, and the scars that come from pregnancies ended in abortion, and the challenges of being teen parents (especially mothers) are far harder to overcome than the potential "dangers" of sexting?

Then you have this introduced legislation that holds parents accountable for what their kids are doing. Society doesn't want parents to be involved if their daughters are pregnant and wanting abortions, something that will scar them emotionally for the rest of their life- but they want parents involved in the receipt of pictures over cell phones? Can we say "misplaced priorities"? Why should parents have to assume responsibility for something that their child, knowing it is wrong, made a conscious choice to do anyway?

Senator Watson says "This bill's legal provisions ensure that minors are punished for their improper behavior, but do not face life altering criminal charges,"; "This bill ensures that prosecutors, and, frankly, parents, will have a new, appropriate tool to address this issue," "It helps Texas laws keep up with technology and our teenagers.". Really? I'm glad to see that he is able to recognize the extremity of the existing laws, but if my child was caught shoplifting at the mall, when I went to the police station to pick him/her up, and asked them if they knew what they were doing was wrong, yet chose to do it anyway- you bet your bottom dollar I would not have an issue with them receiving the punishment required by law. Should I receive a punishment because my child shoplifted knowing it was wrong? I think not. There is no difference between this and sexting. If a child is old enough to know the difference between right and wrong, then they are old enough to accept the consequences of their actions.

If a child never experiences the cause and effect of this world, they will never learn. How many habitual felons are there out there whose parents took the blame for them when they were young? I believe if we as a society, say that parents must be punished for a child's actions, then that child should not be allowed to behave as an adult until the parents are no longer accountable for said child's actions. They should not drive, or vote. Then again, I'm still trying to figure out why sexting is illegal, but teenage sex ... isn't.

What are your thoughts? Should sexting even be illegal? Should parents be punished for a child's actions?

GratiTuesday: February 7th

Yesterday I had a special situation come up that I wasn't prepared for. Dad has been working at my "aunts" house an extra day for the past few weeks. So where normally I take him over there on Tuesdays, I've been taking him on Mondays, as well. Add to this morning's trip to my aunt's, mom had a Doctor appointment, too. (I'm their designatured "runner".) I leave the kids at school, make the 15 mile trip from school to their house, then off to breakfast we go. On the way to my aunt's from breakfast, Jackson's teacher calls. She was concerned because his eyes were really pink, and his sinuses were very swollen. He didn't have a headache, but said his allergies were bothering him. I know if it's bad enough for a call, then it must be bad. However, I couldn't do anything because I'm in the next county, going the opposite direction, taking dad to my aunt's then mom to her appointment!

So I start calling and texting. No one is available to run any Benedryl up to the school. We get to the Doctor appointment, and I get on my notebook and post on Facebook asking for help, explaining what's going on. Within two minutes someone had said they would take it. Within 20 minutes, the medicine had arrived. I was about thirty miles away, and the Lord used Facebook to make it happen. And the friend that stepped up. Homeschooling mom of four. If there was anyone who could have said no, they were too tied up in their own day, it could have been her. But no, she didn't hesitate!

God is so good. He is able to meet us where we are at. He knew that was going to happen yesterday, and had it all under control. Praise Him.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Rachael Ray Picks Local Hot Dog as 'Best in South'

This is very, very cool. I can't eat regular hot dogs unless I'm ready to weather a migraine because of the msg / nitrates. However, that was not always the case. I grew up right down the road from Pulliams BBQ, where they are known for their famous hot dogs more than the BBQ if you do a poll among us locals. I, personally, love the BBQ just as much as the hot dogs, myself. So to see that Rachael Ray has deemed Pulliam's hot dogs 'Best in South', and among the top four in the NATION, awesome!

Pulliams is getting some great press recently. Just yesterday I found a local blog, Carpe Salem, that posted their Pulliams "experience". As I said, I grew up close by Pulliams. I probably started going up there in third or fourth grade. I remember thinking I was big stuff having my own money to get my own hot dog, and riding my bike up there all by myself to get it. You see, all they cook is the hot dogs and BBQ- you can get a drink, chips, or a pie to go with them, though. The hot dogs were wrapped in napkins, then bagged in a small brown paper bag that fit just right in the basket of my pink banana seat bike. My kids now devour the hot dogs and it wasn't very long ago dad and I were having a conversation about Pulliams celebrating one hundred years of business. I remember being so thankful to be able to pass such a simple, but special experience down to my children.

Now that I can't have hot dogs, I love the BBQ even more. Although, there are times I do get a craving...and when I do, I'll go to Pulliams and make that migraine count!

So, what is your relationship with hot dogs? Love them? Hate them? What's your favorite brand?
Last fall I found Oscar Myer's "MSG/Nitrate/Nitrite Free" line, and was very happy. I don't overdo it, though. It's nice to know when we're attending a hamburger / hot dog event, I can bring my own, affordable hot dogs.

What about you?

Our future in laws

The Lord always has a rhyme and a reason for everything He says in His Word. We might not understand His ways initially, but if we stay our course, it's amazing at how God reveals Himself in our lives. Our kids are still elementary aged right now, but it is already apparent how important it is for them to consider who that "special person" will be, the one that they spend their lives with. When they were in public school, we had examples upon examples of how important it is to recognize godliness in their friends. Jackson with his fourth grade confidence, was the social leader in his class. Hannah, being in first grade, needed a little more guidance, but done just fine. As they've gotten older, it's led to more interesting conversations. I actually think it might be harder as they are older because it's not necessarily black and white and they have to make more of a conscious choice to fight their flesh. It's during this time, that they need to understand that through the friends they choose, their mate will come.

God is specific about marriage. As the Jews in the Old Testament, we are to be yolked to each other, other Christians. Those who believe the same way we do. Otherwise, there will be conflict, and we do not need to put ourselves in a position where we must compromise a conviction or biblical principle, for the sake of our spouses. The same with friendships. Can they have friends who are not Christian? Of course. How else will their lights shine? Should their closest friends, the ones they go to for wisdom and advice, be non- Christians? NO. Because:

"Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son. For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly."
Deuteronomy 7:3-4

Do you pray for your children's friends?
How about their future husband or wife?

(Maybe now is a good time to start?)

Around the Web 2/3/11

Interesting posts and blogs I've stumbled across this week:

Beki rocking the duct tape. (@TheRustedChain) I was so tickled to see someone so open about their relationship with duct tape as I. A couple of years ago I discovered the new colors and patterns the duct tape people were putting out. I bought some bright, hot pink duct tape for my three year old class at church. The carpet is a darker blue, so it really "pops". We have anywhere from 12-18 kids each week, so getting them all to the bathroom can be a challenge. Part of our "system" is, three big, bright pick duct tape Xs on the floor next to the exit gate. As our "bathroom runner" has three in the bathroom, about the time they're to return to the room, I'll have three more standing on the "pink spots". That way when the other three come back, the next three will be ready to go!

I liked Joanne's (@JoanneKraft) post "Name Dropper or Networker?", advice for new writers especially, but I do believe it can apply to anyone. It made me think of my returning "grief" over us not winning our State Senate race this past November (district was gerrymandered against us, but I had high hopes!) I told Hannah when we won, and her class made their 3rd grade field trip to Raleigh (our state capital) this Spring, she'd get to point to a State Senator in the legislative building and say "I know him!". We didn't win, but we're still going to Raleigh. Only mommy will be the only one who knows people.

Sherra's (@bakingupchaos) little boy Case is turning six! Happy Birthday Case! I remember when we "met" when he was just a little tyke before either of us ever thought about blogging. She would create the prettiest graphic signatures with pictures taken of him. That was six years ago. She now has FOUR boys! My what time does to us :) Be sure to check out her photography blog. If you live near College Station, Texas, she's offering discounts for Spring weddings, go check it out!

Kim's little man Isaiah is having his surgery next Tuesday (2/8/11), please pray for him. She posted the nicest devotional the other day about ancient boundary stone (Proverbs 23:10) but the cutest post had to be about forgiveness, at 1am.

The greatest surprise I found on the web this week? Amanda's back! This is going to be awesome. I've missed her pictures of the girls, especially Emma's antics.

What have you seen on the web that's worth sharing? How about your "Around the Web" post?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Chick Fil A Controversy

I've been tweeting for over a month about the rage against Chick Fil A in Pennsylvania and the calls for boycotting the chain because they disagree with the company providing food to "some of the most ferocious anti-gay groups around". At first I thought wow, that's quite a charge, what are these groups doing? Participating in lynchings? Contracting hits on gay people? I mean, what actually defines "ferocious"?
Merriam Webster says:
"1: exhibiting or given to extreme fierceness and unrestrained violence and brutality
2: extremely intense "

The group in question was the Pennsylvania Family Institute. In Particular, Chick Fil A is providing lunch for thier marriage seminar "The heart of marriage: getting to the heart of God's design for marriage".
View the promotional trailer:

From their Mission and Values page:
"The Mission of the Pennsylvania Family Institute is to strengthen families by restoring to public life the traditional, foundational principles and values essential for the well-being of society. We are a research and education organization devoted to restoring these values to our state and nation. We produce policy reports, promote responsible citizenship and work to promote unity among pro-family groups."
and their About page:
The Need for Strong Families Has Never Been Greater
In the last three decades, the number of out of wedlock births in Pennsylvania increase an astounding 400%, more than doubling for age 19 and younger.
In 1960, less than 1 out of 5 marriages in Pennsylvania ended in divorce. Today, statistically half of all marriages taking place this year will end in divorce.
In 1992-93, Pennsylvania ranked 4th nationally in total public school spending, yet the state has a high illiteracy rate, with SAT scores and high school graduation rates consistently below the national average.
Young people are becoming more violent. From 1987 to 1992, juvenile aggravated assault increased in Pennsylvania by 59% and juvenile drug offenses rose 96%.
Hard-core pornography has proliferated breaking down barriers of decency and offering its patrons a distorted view of morals and sexuality.
Each day 33,000 people contract a sexually-transmitted disease. That equates to over 12 million cases per year, up from 4 million in 1980.
Sobering as they may be, these numbers are still cold and faceless. At Pennsylvania Family Institute they come alive, representing real people who are experiencing the results of a culture that is turning its back on the family.
So where is the ferociousness?

Oh. The group supports a state constitutional amendment to define marriage as man and woman. To watch the trailer for the event, one would be hard pressed to think the event was focused around gay marriage, as a matter of fact, no where in the event information is the definition of marriage even mentioned, contrary to what is saying:
"The February event co-sponsored by Chick-fil-A is called "The Art of Marriage," and it's intended to be a launching point for Pennsylvania to return to "the biblical definition of marriage." Given the work of the Pennsylvania Family Institute, it's hard not to see where this event is going to go -- straight for the jugular of anyone who supports marriage equality for same-sex couples."
Man, talk about violent rhetoric! "Straight for the jugular"? Are they trying to imply that this group is conspiring in some way to kill gay people? Contrary to what this group believes, when I attend faith based meetings that talk about topics pertaining to my marriage, gay marriage is the least thing on my mind. My marriage, and my life, is on my mind. The comment that I found most dramatic was:
"And if you're spending money on Chick-fil-A sandwiches, you're helping the Pennsylvania Family Institute deliver this message." (message being, supporting traditional marriage through a citizen vote instead of judicial activism)
The above comments then lead up to the call for a boycott of Chick Fil A because of the donation of sandwiches to a marriage seminar. That leaves several thoughts. I'm not a "boycotter" myself. I'm a firm believer that, if you do not like what a business is doing, you have the right to not spend your money at that establishment. I do believe, however, that over-inflated calls for boycotts are too dramatic for my tastes. The call by for people to boycott Chick Fil A, I believe, is as equally dramatic as the calls for boycotts by the American Family Association. You do not need a dramatic diatribe to convince people to do something. Let people make the choice themselves. "Did you know Chick Fil A was donating food to a marriage seminar event promoted by a group that supports a state constitutional amendment defining marriage as man and woman?"

The defense of Chick Fil A has been interesting. The other day, I heard the quote on the radio AND read it online myself, the current President of Chick Fil A, Dan Cathey (son of the founder):

From the Atlanta Journal Constitution:
Cathy says Chick-fil-A operates its business on Biblical principles but "is not a Christian company."
But to watch this video, it seems Mr. Cathy might be spinning a little:

Dan Cathy Statement from Chick-fil-A on Vimeo.

To insist that Chick Fil A is anything BUT a Christian company, strikes a nerve with a great many conservatives. While not questioning the company's founding principles, I question, however, just how committed Dan Cathy is to his father's vision. The evidence is clear, for me, to feel comfortable in doing so. There is no doubt that the company values Christianity, you can hear that through the music played in the dining rooms of the restaurants; but WHY did he say the company was NOT Christian? Is he comfortable enough in his statement that providing food is not the same as endorsing a group, that the chain would donate food to anti-marriage (poke poke, that is MY buzz word) groups that are vehemently FOR marriages having to be validated by the state to begin with? In other words, those groups who are pushing sooo hard for homosexual marriages to be legislated the same as heterosexual marriages?

These are my questions:
If providing food is not the same as an endorsement- will Chick Fil A, as an olive branch to those who are so angry with them now (to shut them up?)- donate food to groups that do not live to glorify Jehovah God in all that they do?

Is it possible, to live one's life morally, in line with biblical principles, and NOT be Christian?

What are your thoughts?

I look forward to reading your responses below. For now, I'm headed up the road to Chick Fil A for lunch- because I appreciate the people who work there and wish to see their jobs secured through my money.

Tell Me Thursday: Groundhog Day 2011

Welcome to this week's edition of "Tell Me Thursday" (about) "Wordless Wednesday". When I got my new camera last year (Sony Cybershot) I went crazy at the soccer games taking pictures. I love getting the "action shots". I was flipping through an album from last year's Spring season, deleting a ton of them because we'll never see those kids again. (At the same time I'm making space on my hard drive, of course!) I ran across this picture and thought what an interesting moment to capture.

The girl on the left is standing literally at an angle, and the boy on the right's foot is literally at waist level. Then you have your girl in the middle, standing there just looking at the ball!


Things that make you go "hmmm".

I recently noticed that the operators of the Tell me Thursday website have not ran their linky in a month, and have not updated their Twitter account longer than that. I still plan on doing Tell Me Thursday because it works for me. It's not really a "Wordless Wednesday" if there are words present, correct? :)

Share your Wordless Wednesday and Tell me Thursday links today so I can see what you shared this week!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

“Mommy, what’s an abortion?”

Talking to Girls about Abortion
I had a conversation recently I was definitely not ready, or prepared to have. One evening my nine year old daughter, Hannah, and I were sitting in my bed about to watch a movie. I was just finishing up writing something on the laptop and had Twitter open.  I saw a tweet from a pro life activist and without thinking clicked the link in the tweet, thinking it was going to an article. Oops. If I had looked closer, I would have seen it was a picture link. The tweet said something along the lines of “know the truth about abortion”. I thought that was a curious way of putting things, don’t you? Well, the truth was there, right under my nose! I quickly clicked away having Hannah right there beside me, but she saw it. It was a picture of a baby aborted … late term.  It was one of an entire album of pictures of aborted babies of varying points during a pregnancy.  She insisted I click back to the picture- “Mama, what was THAT?”.
The conversation went something along the lines:
“It’s a picture of a baby that has been aborted.”
“Mommy, what’s an abortion? Is that baby dead?”
“Yes, that baby is dead. A doctor took it out of its mommy’s belly before it was ready to be born, and it was not able to live.”
“Why did the doctor take it out?”
“Because (long pause) the mommy didn’t want to have a baby.”
“Did the mommy know the baby would die?”
(long pause)

“Why did the mommy want the baby to die?”
“Some women get pregnant but do not want to have a baby, so they get abortions”
“Why do they get pregnant if they don’t want to have a baby?”
(My mind is racing at this point, sitting in utter disbelief we’re having this conversation at all)

“They don’t mean to get pregnant on purpose, but sometimes they just do. Maw maw and paw paw did not get pregnant with mommy on purpose, I was a surprise to them.”
“…and they did not get an abortion so you were born.”
“Isn’t aborting a baby, killing it?”
“What do you think?”
“Do you think aborting babies makes God happy?”
She saw the preview for the “next” and “last” pictures and said “click mama, click!”. So we clicked through the entire album. Bloody pictures, an arm, a leg,  tiny feet ... little tiny bodies. She sat there staring at one picture for a minute and her voice cracked a little, and she said “turn it mommy. That’s making me so sad. I’m never going to have an abortion. I’m going to have my baby!” I give her a hug and say “I know that makes God happy. Just remember you have to be married before you start thinking about babies”
She answers me with “Isn’t that the only way you can have a baby?”
“Why yes, sweetie, it is. Let’s go get a snack.” “Okay!”
Hey, she’s nine. I’m keeping it simple!