Monday, November 21, 2011

A New Experience

Saturday I had a new experience: worked as a Commissioner for an election. Last month when I was working at the soup kitchen, several other volunteers were talking about working as a commissioner. I asked a few questions, but didn't really peruse it any further.

After a few weeks of being unable to go to the soup kitchen due to subbing, I stopped by the soup kitchen to check in and see if I could help out for an hour or so.  One of the ladies told me that they really needed more commissioners and if I was interested I should call. She was serious enough that she gave me the name and phone number of the lady whom I needed to call.

I ended up calling last Monday and making an appointment to take the class. It was really simple - I watched a thirty minute video and then took an open book test. All the information was simple to understand.

But then came the hard part: Be at the election poll at 5:30  - that would be a.m.  Yikes! Good thing I'm a horrible sleeper and a morning person!

It was a long day - I worked until 8:30 p.m. But all-in-all it was a good day.  I worked with some very nice people  (several of which turned out to be relatives of a friend of mine) and I got to see a lot of my neighbors. I am definitely interested in working another election - and will make it apart of our new life here.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Life in America

On the cable channel, TLC, it seems that one of their goals is to give us a peek into the homes of different types of Americans. We have seen shows on large families, little people, parents of multiples, new parents, brides, and last year we were introduced into the world of polygamy.  This year they are introducing us into another ladle-ful of this melting pot: the American Muslim family.

In the first episode we meet several Muslim families - some being more devout that others -meaning some of the ladies wear the head covering - the hijab, while others do not. One lady said her faith was "in her heart" and did not feel the need to wear the hijab. The main focus of this show was the marriage of one Muslim lady to a non-Muslim.  While it is permitted in their religion for a man to marry a non-Muslim, it is NOT permitted for a Muslim women to marry a non-Muslim.  This couple knew that and so, the groom who is of Irish-Catholic descent decided to convert.

What I found puzzling, was what seem to be the lack of thought into what this groom was doing. The father of the bride, who was walking the groom through the converting ceremony, talked about how he was accepting something new not denouncing anything.  But  yet, the groom was.

When you no longer call yourself a Christian, but now a Muslim, it seems to me that you are announcing to the world what you believe - and also, what you don't believe.

The trailer's for next week's episodes gave  the impression that several family members as well as the groom begin to realize that he convert solely to be able to marry - not for any true belief he had.

Another interesting point I found in the show was that  it seemed that most of the cast were first generation to be born in America.  As I look through history, it seems to be that first generations do in fact keep many of their traditions that they learned from their parents. But as each generation comes along, many traditions lose ground - and their meanings lose ground.

It'll be interested to see a study on Muslims who are past this first generation. How devout are they? What traditions do they hold on to and what do they let go?

Friday, November 11, 2011


Several weeks ago I joined an evening group of ladies to work through a book called "5 Conversations  You Must Have with  Your Daughter." (I've been unable to continue to attend due to William's soccer games.)  During the opening, the teacher asked us to introduce ourselves, state our children's ages, and what is our proudest parenting moment.

I just looked at my friend - I think we both were totally blank.  I wrote about it here.  But since then, a few things have made me think more about this.

Thursday during my morning Bible study one lady talked about how her father told her once how "honored" he felt when she spent her Spring Break on a missions trip. And how deeply that effected her.  If that "honored" her father, she wanted to do more of those kinds of things.

Then there was today. I was a sub for an eight grade class. For the most of  day, I had great classes. After a few minutes of talking, the students would settle down and do their work.

Then there was fifth hour.

Oh, my.  It's amazing how a handful of kids can ruin a  good day.

I lost count the times I told them to be quiet and get back to work.  To quit passing notes. To quit throwing paper wads. To quit eating in class.  Finally, I had enough. I called the office and requested for the vice principal (who is over discipline) or school police officer to come to my class.  The principal ended up coming and removing five students.

The room was so much better after they left.

As the rest of the day went on (with another great class that did their work), I couldn't help but think about these five students.  I'm sure a few have a home-life that is horrible.  One is probably over-indulged. But none honored their parents today. Whether it's a sub or the regular teacher, when an adult ask student to be quite and do their work, then they should.

Tonight at dinner I talked to my kids about this idea of how they honor Drew and I. Every time they do what they are supposed to do especially when we are not around- then they are honoring us.

And I'm proud. Not of any parenting that I have done, but proud to be their parent.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thoughts About Penn State

The more I learn about what happened at Penn State, the more my stomach turns. Those who had the most power used it to save their program and reputation instead of protecting the weakest and youngest among them. It's beyond tragic. It's heartbreaking....disturbing....disgusting.

For those that don't pay attention, back in 2002 a then grad student went into the locker room to put some shoes away only to find the lights and showers on and seeing a grown naked man - a former assistance coach - sexually abusing what looked like a ten year old boy.  The grad student then told his father and together they reported what he seen to his boss, the head football coach -  THE NEXT DAY!!  Then the football coach told his boss.  The information moved up the chain of command, but no one called the police or tried to find this little boy. They did forbid the former assistance coach from  bring any more children into the football locker room - which was in no way enforceable.

But here's the kicker: who was looking after the little boy? Why in the name of all things good, did that grad student not step in and STOP the assault? What's even more disturbing to me, is the grand jury indictment says two years before this a janitor saw a very similar event. He told his supervisor, but apparently no one called the police then.

As a teacher I was trained in dealing with child abuse suspensions. If a teacher suspects abuse - bruises, comments made by the child -  they are to inform their principal who then calls law enforcement. That is NOT this situation.  This grad student SAW THE ACT!!! He is a witness of a crime! Why, oh, why did he not step in and stop it!? And why does he still have a job? As of now, this grad student-now assistance coach will be on sidelines Saturday coaching.

It not only beyond sadden me that a man who was to be a mentor took advantage of boys so younger and helpless.  But it also saddens and appalls me that men are more concerned about the reputation of a football program more than a child.

If you don't see college football being treated as a god and this completely idol worship, then please, open your eyes.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Our Week in Review So Far

Sunday: Answers in Genesis spoke during the Sunday school hour as well as during the morning service in addition to two lessons in the evening.  Fascinating stuff!! Several things I had heard before, but maybe the repetition will make it stick in my head.  His first lesson was all about dinosaurs. And yes, there's dinos in the Bible - Job 40:15-18; 41:19. So, yeah. Dinos were on the Ark - at least baby dinos anyway. 

One thing he explained that I had not heard before was about early Bible people marrying a sibling.  God did not outlaw that until He gave Moses the law. By then so many generations had passed and with each one more and more mutations in DNA. But for the first generations, this was not a problem so that is how Cain, Seth, and many others had a wife.

Like I said: fascinating stuff. If you ever get to hear them, DO!  You will learn so much as well as learn how to explain why evolution is based on faulty assumptions instead of real science.

Monday daytime: I cleaned out the house.   In Melissa's room I found four bottles of deodorant - just in her bedroom. More in the bathroom.  Makes me wonder if she has a concern she needs to talk to me about.....  They were all over the place. On a shelf in the closet. Several in tote bags she uses for cross country.

Monday evening: I dropped William and his friend, Harley, off at the soccer field at 4:45 to get ready for their first scrimmage at six.  I took advantage of the time WITHOUT children to Christmas shop. Of the fun!!  I had a few ideas of what to get the kids for Christmas, but wanted to look around some.  Bought a few things....wrote down a few ideas to reach...all-in-all - it was FUN!!!

Monday night: After running through Arby's (which I will NEVER do again - not so good at all!), I arrived at William's game.  I was pleasantly surprised to see William starting! Very happy about that.  Not so happy when I realized that he was limping....badly. He only stayed on the field for about five minutes before he asked to be pulled off. Drew talked to him at half-time. It seems during warm-ups William and the goalie went after the ball at the same time, but the goalie slide feet first instead of hands first. Landing on William's ankle. Of course, the goalie was about double William's size.

Monday late-night: William and Drew got to spend most of the night at the ER.  Just as we thought and thankfully, it's not broken - just a bad sprain.  He's on crutches.

Tuesday: Ben, Melissa and I went to the dentist while the other two family members slept trying to recover their two a.m. ER fun. Ben and I are in the no cavity club.  Melissa?  Yeah. Poor thing.  Just not fair!  She probably brushes her teeth double the amount that Ben does, but she's the one that gets the cavities.  Darn that DNA!  William did stay home the whole day from school - and used the time wisely by finishing his science fair project. So, glad the day wasn't a total waste!!

Tuesday night: Soccer fund-raiser at Pie Works...where William got an apology from the goalie. Too bad the aplogy won't heal the ankle. But we did get lots of rain!!  This area so needed it!  Now, if we could get rain like that every week or so, the drought would end.

Wednesday: William went back to school - had a hard day on crutches, but made it through.  The ankle is still some-what swollen and bruise.  Just gonna take a while for it to heal.   I worked at the soup kitchen for a little while - but they really didn't need me. This week due to the dinning room floor being re-done, they are just handing out sandwiches.  Afterwards, I went to the BX and commissary.  Bought the turkey for Thanksgiving. I haven't cook a Thanksgiving meal in FIVE years, but will this year with my family. Should be lots of fun (and yes - I really do mean that!)

I was planning on lunch at the BX, but all the lines were long so I went ahead to the commissary. The deli sells pre-made sandwiches and has one table so I ate there.  End of meeting two veterans - both fought in WWII.  Very nice to talk to the them and listen to them talk. Nice guys! (Both were just sitting a spell while their wives grocery shopped.)

Tonight we have piano and church.....normal busy Wednesday....but a good busy.  The rest of the week is just as busy - but once again - a good normal busy - Good thing I love my life!

Monday, November 7, 2011


The other day I wrote about rephrasing my thinking - being more positive - being able to do things. Another book has hit me on my attitude as well. It's from  the Resolution Revolution by Priscilla Shirer. This is a book from the Courageous movie. There are 13 resolutions in all, but in the book the first one she writes of is about contentment.  One thing she says is that if we don't have something, then it's because God has deemed it not needed in our lives - whatever the "it" is.

While this is not new thinking to me. I have heard this throughout the years. But this time I applied it to the situation with our rent house. It's been available for rent since the first of September and while we have had several, several people tour the house, no one has signed a lease yet.

Apparently, God has not deemed a renter not needed in our life right now. I'm resting in that.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

A Change of Thinking

Most of those that know me best, know that I love to study the Bible.  I love to dig in and see what the Almighty has to say to us. It always thrills me.  But sometimes it just blows me away.  Two weeks ago the ladies study group I'm apart of from my church finished up "Brave" by Angela Thomas.  This study was based on a book she wrote, "Do You Know Who I Am?"  (If you have the choice - read the book and skip the study.) While most of the study was "good" or "just okay", one quote totally blow me away.

It was actually from Lisa Terkeurst. "She talked about the dailiness of our lives and how we forget the goodness of God. She said she's re-framing her life with gratefulness and instead of moaning, learning to rejoice with this kind of attitude: Instead of saying, "I have to unload the dishwasher," grateful says, "I am able to unload the dishwasher."

Wow. Blew me away.  So simple. Just a change in attitude really. But in the last few weeks I have tried to phrase my thinking this way...I AM ABLE to do the laundry...I AM ABLE to drive my kids to soccer....or to piano or where-ever they need (want at times) to go. 

I am able.

So many are not. Not just that others can't afford to have their children in after-school activities or afford to have a nice house to clean or a washer/dryer inside the house, but so many are not able due to health reasons.  A friend here is fighting lupus....the next six months will be trying to say the least as she goes through chemo. I know without a doubt there will be some days she would give anything to be able to say "I am able"...

I have no reason to complain. No reason at all.