November 2008

Monthly Archive

Thanks

Posted by on 27 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: food, friends, Gardens and Life, good things, holidays, Uncategorized

Today is Thanksgiving Day in the United States.

I have not made so many goals in the last six months. I didn’t work in my garden much, I didn’t manage to get all the research done for my final project (that I had hoped for anyway), I am not walking comfortably the way I had hoped. And I won’t come even close to the 50,000 word novel I typed last November… actually won’t get 5,000 words written this year.

But that’s okay. I HAVE gone back to school full-time. I HAVE been volunteering in my local community. I HAVE been able to get through several weeks’ worth of pain and low mobility. And I HAVE started to seek medical attention to correct whatever is wrong with the hip.

I have a loving, wonderful family — a strong, supportive spouse and intelligent, generally well-behaved children. I have a dog who adores me (of course!). I have parents who are alive and healthy. I have a brother, friends, and extended family … our home is comfortable enough, we have reasonably reliable (if not fashionable) transportation, and enough to eat.

Life is good. Thanks to those who make it so!

A winner?

Posted by on 26 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: children, education, fun, Making a Difference, poetry, Uncategorized, writing

Well, turns out I was lucky respondent number eleven…

I won the gift card in the WITS blog contest yesterday.

Color me surprised!

(And go visit this blog, the poems are excellent!)

Supporting our Youth

Posted by on 25 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: celebrations, children, education, Giving, good things, Interesting Websites, Making a Difference, reading, school, social justice, Uncategorized, writing

I LOVE the way WITS (Writers in the Schools), based in Houston, Texas, supports and promotes literacy and writing. I periodically visit this blog that has a poem written by a child each day. There is so much talent, so much sharing that goes on! It makes my mama/teacher/writer/human heart glad.

Today only (Nov 25) there is a contest for people that will give an Amazon.com gift certificate to a random reader who mentions a poem they have enjoyed reading on the WITS blog.

WITS – A Poem a Day

Finding one’s voice is a major goal of growing up. WITS provides children with an opportunity to learn from published authors and participate in activities that help them develop their voice.

Want to get involved but don’t live near a WITS program? This is an idea that might encourage you: find a local school — or a library — with a need for adults to read with children, a need for people to listen to children read. Half an hour a week… or every other week. Take some time. Make a Difference.

Women, Rights, World Peace

Posted by on 25 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: caring, citizenship, education, hope, Making a Difference, Peace Making, Politics and War, poverty, social justice, Uncategorized

So often, we focus on the wars (which are mostly the result of men acting violently) and gang violence (again, mostly men). But there are other types of violence and abuse that affect the way the world works, and perhaps the most insidious and pervasive is the way women are treated as second-class citizens (or worse) in many places.

The United Nations has a Division for the Advancement of Women which highlights the work that is being done to establish the right of women to the same safety, opportunities and legal recourses as men.

Throughout history, women have been the standard-bearers for cultures, the ones who care for children, the teachers, the field workers, the nurses… occupations that are poorly paid and low-status. Throughout history, women have had to ask men’s permission to receive an education, to travel, to own property, to vote. In the United States, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote in federal elections (some states had done this decades earlier), was passed only in 1920… a mere 88 years ago. In many countries, women still do not have the right to vote.

Women who don’t have the right to earn a decent living, to participate in their governments, to challenge men who trample on their rights are more likely to live in poverty, to be abused, to be killed.

Along the lines of recent posts, I urge you to consider how you treat women. Yes, even if you are yourself a woman! Do you prefer to consult with a man “out of habit?” Do you assume that a man will be more capable of doing repairs on the house or car, or more likely to know the full details? Do you assume that women only can nurture young children? Do you assume that men can’t take care of a household — or that a man who does is somehow not truly “manly?”

On the other hand, if you are a woman who loves to stay home with the children, don’t think you MUST go out and become a mechanic! If you are a man who really doesn’t enjoy baking, don’t decide to provide the treats for your kindergartener’s class party (unless you buy them from a bakery).

The best way to honor women — and men — is to support their abilitities and interests, without the overlay of “shoulds” that come with cultural indoctrination. Without the limits of second-class status. With the full legal backing of rights that are explicitly written in to the laws and constitutions of nations.

Yes, we can make a difference. We can raise people up. We can establish equity. For everyone.

Debt Relief

Posted by on 24 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Uncategorized

This is a big topic for many people.

Tom and I have climbed out from under debt a couple times, and with family needs always manage to get back in again. It’s not as much as many people carry, but still it rankles. It’s partly the reason I am back in school, working toward getting a job I would enjoy long enough to pay off the debt I am incurring to be in school (and the extra we carry)!

For us, it’s hopeful: we are young enough, our kids are old enough, we have the education and the good fortune to be interested in fields that are pretty steady, if not the most lucrative. And of course, our debt is not as high as it could be. For others… it’s much more daunting. With the economy — of the world, not just the United States — in such turmoil, it’s even more critical that people be aware of both their current patterns and careful in the way they work to eliminate existing debt.

My friend Mark has put together a website that has both his own work and links to other people’s writing. I like the research he is doing to find ways to improve one’s financial status. You might want to check out his ideas: Debt Relief How-To.com

Civil Rights belong to Everyone

Posted by on 17 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: editorial, Making a Difference, Peace Making, Politics and War, social justice, Uncategorized

I have also been following the “what does marriage mean” conversation.

I believe that churches should be able to define the rites and rituals they perform.

I do not believe that churches should be able to limit legal agreements, though they certainly have every right to be allowed to restrict membership to those who follow their beliefs!

When competent, adult citizens are allowed to form legal partnerships based on their interests and needs, then civil rights are intact. When such partnerships are restricted based on the religious hang-ups of (some) churches, then civil rights are not intact.

A simple work-around is for governments to stop recognizing marriages performed by any religious entity, and to reserve legal processes to itself.

And that, in a nutshell, is where we stand.

Here is a cute t-shirt/bumpersticker/button image from cafepress

What being an American means…

Posted by on 15 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: citizenship, editorial, Peace Making, social justice, Uncategorized

or doesn’t mean.

I have been following this case intently: CNN article on Klan trial

To those who believe they are justified in acting against a person based on their looks or behaviors, speech or clothes, take note: The United States was founded on the principle that ALL men are created equal, and deserve equal protection under the law.

It is distinctly un-American, even anti-American, to take action against (or threaten or harass) a person whom you assume to somehow be in violation of, or outside the protection of, “the law.”

To assume that a person is an illegal immigrant (in this case), and then to attack that person, is contrary to all the protections and rights set forth in the United States Constitution and Bill of Rights. Absent the prevention of immediate physical harm (i.e., self defense), individuals do NOT have the right to take the law into their own hands… and they never have the right to harass, intimidate or attack another person.

I note that the defendants in the case took full advantage of their rights under the law… but cared little for the rights of their victim.

As a mother and a person who works with children and youth, I am angry that anyone would attack a child or teen. They are lucky that I am not in charge of setting the penalty for this case! These men in particular, and people who do things like this in general, are not just acting illegally, they are cowards…

A true “American” is neither a coward nor a vigilante. The rule of law is essential for the maintenance of a strong democratic republic. And respect for human life is essential for the maintenance of a safe, productive society.

Testing, 1-2-3

Posted by on 15 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: education, teaching, Uncategorized

Today I took the first three of many tests I need to pass for entrance to the Master’s program next year. They seemed easy… I took two hours instead of the allotted five to finish.

We’ll see. Unofficial results should be available online this evening. Official results will be sent later.

I hope I did well. I want to be so impressive that the school really wants me to be involved!

As a side note, I found some of the questions un-necessarily obscure, and others poorly worded. The actual test flowed in much the same way the WASL tests are structured, and in this I think it was nice — new teachers (those who have taken or will take these tests) have some personal experience with how these assessment tools ‘feel’ and work.

Fingers crossed!

addendum, 5:00 15 November:

ARRRRGH! Unofficial scores are not available for TWO WEEKS! (Should I be worried that I missed this detail earlier?)

Veteran’s Day

Posted by on 11 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: citizenship, Uncategorized

Here’s to the veterans! They have stood ready — in peacetime or in war, whether cook, soldier or office worker — to protect their homelands and their loved ones.

Thank you.

In my family: My father, my brother, my mother’s father, my brother-in-law, my uncle, my Great-Uncle Bob, my Great-Great-Uncle Jack and his wife Great-Great-Aunt Louise, my great-great grandfather who enlisted to fight in the Spanish-American war (but never fought), my ancestors who fought in the American Civil War and those who fought in the American Revolution. Many of these people are now gone… but to those who remain, I say again: THANK YOU.

And to all of the world, I urge you to WORK FOR PEACE, that the new generations being born will not know the fear and loss that war brings.

President-Elect Obama

Posted by on 10 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: citizenship, editorial, politics, Politics and War, Uncategorized, website review

There is now an official website for the president-elect.

CHANGE.GOV

Blog, info, and more. It looks like it will be a good resource for people interested in what is planned, and what is happening.

Many people are worried that the incoming administration will be too liberal… that taxes will go up, that jobs will decline, that government will intrude on our lives. I ask them to consider: where else will the money come from, to pay for the wars the current administration started? Our economy is already in a major recession, as a result of the failed oversight and policies of the current administration. How much more intrusive and McCarthy-like could we be than the so-called PATRIOT act?

Our nation has an opportunity to move forward, to dig itself out of the hole it has gradually dug over the last 30 years, to re-establish itself as a nation of hard-working, innovative people. It has NEVER been easy to pull through economic hard times, to extricate ourselves from wars, to mend political rifts and to trust. But that doesn’t mean it’s not worth trying.

I am ready. Are you?

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