I really didn’t think I would weigh in at all about the inauguration, etc. But I find I actually do have something to say. I’m embarrassed. Horrified, actually. I’ve been reading posts on Facebook for the past couple of years by people who say they are embarrassed by their local/state/federal government because some vote or other didn’t go the way they wanted. And so, as is apparently mandatory now, they had to go on Facebook and tell the world how upset they were by it. I was raised to behave with dignity, class and grace. If something in politics is upsetting to me, I try to be reasonable about it. If everyone else voted for something I didn’t want, well, I have to accept that. However, losing with grace is, apparently, a lost art.

So, today. Donald Trump is now the President of the United States of America. Today was inauguration day. And folks are rioting in the streets of our nation’s capital. These are the same ones, I have no doubt, who have been expressing their embarrassment of everything on Facebook and Twitter. Well, I am embarrassed by those people. Not by the protestors, because I support their right to peaceably assemble and protest. I am ashamed of the rioters who are making unequivocal asses of themselves, and they are damaging property that does not belong to them. They have no self-control, let along dignity or class. They are animals, and I cringe to think what countries around the world think of us when they see this garbage on their news. They look stupid. Like this woman. I mean, really? Get hold of yourself, for goodness sake!

And destroying property? Some of the “protestors” (read: rioters) proved their own ignorance by attacking a Starbucks! Starbucks stands for everything they believe in, but apparently they didn’t get that memo. I do hope they get the bill! I can’t help but think about how the poor people inside those places must have felt!! I bet they didn’t vote for Trump, yet they were terrorized. . and FOR WHAT? This just makes me so angry!!!

I understand not liking the results of an election. I’m not thrilled with the results of this election, either. I absolutely understand not liking the government, or the president. But I was raised to respect the office, no matter who sits in it. Obama has made that particularly difficult for me. I felt physically ill when he was elected the first time, and even more so the second time. But I managed to maintain some level of civility with friends and family who liked him. I didn’t throw a single temper tantrum, and I never even considered breaking the law by smashing in the windows of the local coffee house.

Get a grip, people! Get over yourselves!! So, you lost. So what? If those of us who opposed Obama had acted like this when he was elected, we would have been labeled as racists and all sorts of other horrid things. But, that is how bullies operate. They intimidate others into agreeing with them, or at the very least, not saying how they really feel, and then, if their aggression and name calling didn’t do the trick, and they don’t get what they want (i.e. Trump won) then they throw public temper tantrums in the street. Yeah. . . that will make people listen to you and respect you. ūüôĄ

I am not crazy about Trump. But I sure do hope he does a good job, and that he turns out to be a terrific leader. Stranger things have happened. I find a lot of what he says and does a bit embarrassing, as well. But nowhere near on the level of the embarrassment I feel by the actions of an entire generation of spoiled brats who are showing their asses on the streets today.

Dirty_LaundryThere is a disturbing trend in our nation (and possibly globally) to air our dirty laundry publicly. We use the internet as a sort of “Cyber Clothesline”, where we hang out information about ourselves that we’d never even consider displaying in real life.¬† I have long suspected that the “Com Box” is going to be the downfall of our civilization. People will say all sorts of mean things in comment boxes that they would never have the courage to say to someone’s face. Ever. I have seen some of the most irrelevant, yet hateful speech in these comment boxes. Don’t believe me? Just check out the Weather Channel. I promise you, no matter what major weather event is happening, someone will mention politics, which will offend someone else, and it will go straight downhill from there. And without fail, it will get UGLY.

And lately I’ve noticed that this trend of “honesty” is bleeding out into other areas of people’s lives. One of the new things that absolutely makes me crazy is “GoFundMe”, and other like sites. Let me explain. I remember, as a child, when a family in our community had a big need but little means, we would see jars all over town with a photograph of perhaps a child who had a serious illness, with a little blurb asking for donations to help defray medical costs, or some such. The community would rally around and raise money to help the needy family. And, when used appropriately, I think sites like “GoFundMe” serve a great purpose. But so often, they are not used appropriately.

But today it just seems that anyone who thinks they’d like a few more bucks can set up a website begging for money! I’ve seen all sorts of stuff that just makes me want to scream! I understand that families need money. I’ve sold off so many of our belongings over the years just to buy groceries. Years ago, our family even made use of WIC. But we never broadcast that sort of stuff. It was private, and even shameful. If you couldn’t afford something when I was growing up, well, you just didn’t get it. Period.

A couple of months ago, I saw a Facebook post by a woman who’d set up an online account and was begging complete strangers to give her money so she could go take a Neonatal Resuscitation Course! She is apparently a student midwife (like me) and we are all required to take an approved NRP course. But this woman wanted to take one of the more expensive courses, and felt like we should all chip in to help her out! Really? If you can’t afford it, perhaps it’s not yet time to go to school. Just a thought. I saved my money and paid my own way. It’s how I was raised.

I also have seen various folks get on Facebook and start whining about how much money they don’t have, and how desperate they are. I’m not talking about a single prayer request, but an ongoing theme of poor-mouthing. Here’s a tip: if you are self-employed, offering some sort of service, folks don’t want to give their business to someone who’s always carrying on about needing more money. People start to feel like you’re not really interested in them, or even in the service you’re providing. It’s all about you, you, you, and the money, money, money. And, since there’s never enough of it, we, the consumers, can only conclude that you are a poor manager of your resources. I, personally, will not do business with someone like that. I want to support people who seem to know what they’re doing and exude some sort of confidence and success. I tend to believe they are better able to provide the services they’re offering than someone who’s so caught up in their own desperation that they can’t see past the end of their own bank account.

My Daddy always said you don’t go airing your dirty laundry. Maybe that’s a Southern thing. Maybe it’s the sin of pride. All I know is that it’s ridiculous how people will prostitute themselves online for practically anything, and call it a worthy “cause”. But then I guess it’s just the logical, modern extension of those ‘beggars’ under the overpasses all over Austin. Dignity is becoming a lost art.

i-want-to-believeIf you know me at all, you know I love the X-Files. Some of the episodes are super corny (“Jersey Devil” comes to mind. . .) some are pretty “Spooky” (if you’re a fan, you’ll get that pun!) but almost all of them are just plain fun to watch. I’ve seen most of them at least twice, and am really looking forward to the new episodes that are coming out soon. While I’m afraid it might be a little bit like seeing an aging rock band go back on tour, I’m still hopeful that the magic will still be there. And part of that magic is the little hidden gems of wisdom that one can sometimes glean from the dialogue.

For example,¬†in an episode entitled “III”, after witnessing a scripture verse written on the wall in blood,¬†√° la Manson, Mulder observes “These people have the same feeble literal interpretation of scripture as those big-haired preachers.”¬† For those of you who know my journey as a Christian, you will understand why that one caught my ear.¬† For those of you who don’t, let me just explain that I have had my fill of folks translating the Bible “literally” to suit their own purposes, and those “big-haired preachers” are classic examples of this sort of abuse.

Another quote came from an episode (I forget the name) where Mulder and Scully are investigating what appears to be a serial killer in a town down in Florida inhabited almost exclusively by Freak Show and Carnival people.¬† You know, the Bearded Lady, Alligator Man, etc.¬† One of the “artists”, who was always doing something bizarre and disturbing, like shoving nails up his nose, or timing himself to see how long it took him to get out of a straight jacket while hanging upside down over a barrel of water, made the comment that “If people understood the true cost of spirituality, there would be a lot more atheists.”¬† Wow. Ain’t that the truth?

And last, but far from least, there was a rather long voice-over at the beginning of an episode called “The Blessing Way” that aired September 22 1995.¬† The voice is that of an American Indian character¬†named Albert Hosteen (played by Floyd Red Crow Westerman).¬† I will leave you with this quote, which I found amazingly profound, and eerily en¬†pointe to what is happening in today’s political theater concerning the Confederate Flag and a host of other “issues”. We are in dangerous territory here, folks, and the X-Files prophesied it quite succinctly.

“There is an ancient Indian saying that something lives only as long as the last person who remembers it.¬† My people have come to trust memory over history.¬† Memory, like fire, is radiant and immutable, while history serves only those who seek to control it, those who would douse the flame of memory in order to put out the dangerous fire of truth.¬† Beware these men, for they are dangerous themselves, and unwise.¬† Their false¬† history is written in the blood of those who might remember, and of those who seek the truth.”

trustnoone

I’m in San Antonio for my first workshop/exam with the Association of Texas Midwives Midwifery Training Program. (My goodness, that’s a mouthful!). I’m nervous about a great many things this morning, not the least of which is getting home tomorrow afternoon! First, I’m nervous about meeting my fellow students and whether or not they’ll like me. I generally assume I will not be well-liked, but thankfully, most people seem to tolerate me pretty well. ūüôā And, of course, I’m worried about doing well in the workshop and on the exam. My brain ain’t what it used to be, and I’m just praying I’ll be able to extract the information I need,¬†when I need it! Some days, that just doesn’t happen in a timely manner!!

I’m frustrated because the coffee in the hotel I’m staying in SUCKS. So, I’m going to have to leave a bit earlier than I’d planned and try to find some good coffee that I can drink before the workshop starts. Which I didn’t want to do, but coffee is non-negotiable!! They also do not have a Paleo-friendly breakfast. I mean, they do have scrambled eggs and some very dry looking sausage, but I don’t much care for sausage, and the eggs looked a bit powdery. Considering the fact that I’m already on the nervous side this morning, I opted on the side of not risking it.

But those things are actually not at the top of my list of concerns. There is rain in the forecast. Here in Texas, that is usually a cause for rejoicing, especially the past few years, because we’ve been in a state of extreme drought. However,¬†we had so much rain over the past month that I’m honestly afraid if anyone pours their iced tea out the window, the whole state will flood! And they are predicting more rain tomorrow. I-35 was flooded after the storm on Monday, so there’s no reason to believe it won’t flood again and make it very challenging for me to get home. Never mind all the folks who are in danger of losing their homes and/or businesses, or those who already have. And they still haven’t found everyone. . .

The elections are coming, the elections are coming! (Redcoats, elections, it’s starting to seem the same to me. . .) Yes, I’m a values voter, and yes, I’m very concerned about things like abortion. And religious freedom. The following ad sums it up pretty well for me:

Bogart Wedding

My grandmother and I used to stay up late and watch old movies on cable when I was a teenager. We especially loved Humphrey Bogart movies, and that was how I was first introduced to Lauren Bacall. I think I fell in love with her as quickly as Bogey did! And now, for the past almost-thirty years, I have watched those old movies over and over, each time feeling my grandmother’s presence and remembering how she always knew little tidbits about each actor, and could recognize them all. (Yet somehow, she never remembered the end of any movie, except, maybe, Casablanca!)

So I was sad to glance down at my Facebook page late last night and learn that Lauren Bacall, one of the last icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age, had passed away. It¬†was a bittersweet feeling; I’m sad she’s gone, but happy that she lived such a long, full life. I loved her. I loved her not only for her immense talent as an actress, but also for her exquisite beauty, her famously arched eyebrows and her sultry, smoldering eyes. And that slight, enigmatic smile! I bet even the Mona Lisa envied her smile!

I¬†loved the roles she played, too. My favorite was Mrs. Vivian Rutledge, widowed daughter of Colonel Sternwood, who wooed the BigSleepMovie Posterever hard-boiled Detective Phillip Marlowe into falling helplessly in love with her. Anyone else see “The Big Sleep”? It’s my favorite Bogart Movie! A fast-moving movie with some of the best lines in cinematic history. Those were the days! When even strong, fiercely independent women needed to be rescued by even stronger, more independent men.¬†And the men always came to the rescue, no matter the personal cost. They were heroes, icons. I know every age has its problems, but oh! how I’d love to go back to that Golden Era!

Bacall’s¬†hero was also my hero: Humphrey Bogart. From the side, he looked like my grandfather (the most wonderful man who ever lived, in case any of you were in any doubt about that!) I still think Bogey and Bacall¬†were one of the sexiest, most perfect couples of all time, and considering that they were a Hollywood Couple, it’s even more wonderful to me that their love was so apparent and strong off-screen.

So, it is with deep respect that I write to say RIP, Betty Bacall! You taught me that women could be graceful, elegant and soft, while remaining fiercely independent and sexy. And, in “To Have and Have Not”, you taught us all how to whistle “. . . just put your lips together, and . . . blow.” You were the whole package: you could act and sing, and you never lost your nerve or your dignity. I pray that you are back in Bogey’s arms, sailing away on The Santana into Eternity.

“You – you alone will have the stars as no one else has them … In one of the stars I shall be living. In one of them I shall be laughing. And so it will be as if all the stars were laughing, when you look at the sky at night … You – only you – will have stars that can laugh” ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, is my favorite book. Ever.¬†The entire book has so much depth and meaning and passion. It has, for as many years as I can remember, been my working definition of friendship and unconditional love. And I cannot think of a more perfect quote for¬†anyone to use regarding¬†Robin Williams’ untimely and tragic death.

But especially coming from his daughter, Zelda Rae. According to ABC News, she tweeted that quote for her dad at 11:12 pm last night. Below it she simply stated “I love you. I miss you. I’ll try to keep looking up. Z” And so I started crying again. She clearly inherited her father’s genius. She reached right into my soul and ripped my heart out with that quote. God bless her, and all of the Williams family! My heart goes out to them.

Obviously, I never met Robin Williams, or even saw him perform live. But like everyone in my generation and those that followed, I Robin Williamsgrew up with him. He was Mork from Ork, after all! (Maybe that’s why I have this thing for aliens!!) I raised my children watching his movies, like Flubber, Jumanji, Aladdin, and more. We all quote him from time to time.

Yes, I knew he had drug and alcohol issues. I do happen to know a lot about that, unfortunately. And, I know more than I ever wanted to about depression, and how devastating it can be. Depression is a real thing, a powerful and all-consuming force. Drugs and alcohol are just symptoms, tips of the iceberg. They are not the cause. And apparently it can seduce one of the most gifted, amazing, funny people to ever live into taking his own life. Dear God.

I couldn’t stop crying after my son texted me and gave me the news. I’ve been grieving collectively with the whole world, best I can tell on the Internet. Everyone loved him. We are all in shock. All of us feel like we’ve lost a beloved family member. Hell, even the statement released by the White House made me cry:

“Robin Williams was an airman, a doctor, a genie, a nanny, a president, a professor, a bangarang Peter Pan, and everything in between.¬† But he was one of a kind.¬† He arrived in our lives as an alien ‚Äď but he ended up touching every element of the human spirit.¬† He made us laugh.¬† He made us cry.¬† He gave his immeasurable talent freely and generously to those who needed it most ‚Äď from our troops stationed abroad to the marginalized on our own streets.¬† The Obama family offers our condolences to Robin‚Äôs family, his friends, and everyone who found their voice and their verse thanks to Robin Williams.”

As did the tweet by the Academy of Motion Pictures:

“Genie, you’re free.”

I understand that suicide is not a good choice. It is never a choice made by anyone who feels that that have other options. And I while I understand those who are in disagreement with the idea of¬†suicide granting freedom, I choose to accept the Academy’s tweet in the spirit it was intended. They’re not encouraging suicide! They’re merely acknowledging that Robin’s demons cannot torment him here anymore.

I offered up my rosary intentions for Robin and his family last night. And yes, I know that it’s commonly taught (and therefore believed) that the Catholic Church regards suicide as¬†a mortal sin. So I really want to address this. Because the Church does not claim to know the heart of the person at the time of death. Only God can know that for certain. Here is exactly what the Catechism of the Church teaches, specifically, about suicide:

2282 . . . Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.

So, yes. I offered up my Rosary for Robin. And I will continue to offer my love and prayers for him and his family, as¬†I know manyRobinWilliams of us are doing. Please don’t judge. Let us remember Robin in the way that I think he would have wanted us to remember him: funny, loving, genuine. My son and I are planning on doing a Robin Williams movie marathon. We are going to wrap ourselves in the comforting and lasting legacy that he left to each of us on film.

Thank you, Robin, for the memories! Thank you for being our Laughing Star. We love you!!!!

Hobby-Lobby-store-us US Supreme CourtToday, the Supreme Court of the United States of America voted against Obamacare! They voted to uphold the rights of Americans to follow their religious beliefs. Or, in other words: Hobby Lobby won! Woot!!!

But I am deeply disturbed by the opening statement on ABC News’¬†website:

“In a deeply divisive case pitting advocates of religious liberty against women‚Äôs right‚Äôs groups. . . “

I know that this is how pro-abortion groups want the world to see this. They want women to believe that their rights are being taken from them. And sadly, millions of women are completely blinded and deceived by groups that hate women, like Planned Parenthood.

So, this begs the question: what, exactly, are Women’s Rights? Our US Constitution defines our inalienable rights as “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness”. ¬†Those three inalienable rights have been horribly distorted and abused over the past several decades. Which amazes me, because the first one on the list, “Life” seems pretty basic to me.

Science has proved, again and again and again, that life really does begin at conception! We now have the technology to actually get a “womb with a view”, and see that those tiny cells really are dividing and multiplying,¬†taking in nutrients from their environment and excreting waste products. Every biology book in the world would define those events, unanimously, as LIFE. Which means, by default, that to put a stop to it is to END LIFE. (Those of us who still insist on rational thinking prefer to call this “Murder”).

What about Liberty? Well, that one has really taken a beating! Most of us would agree that we have an inalienable right to liberty, as long as it doesn’t infringe on someone else’s inalienable rights. So, it seems pretty clear to me that killing a pre-born child is totally infringing on the inalienable right of that child to his or her first inalienable right: LIFE.

Pursuit of Happiness? Now this is where it gets pretty subjective. Our society seems hellbent on defining “happiness” as “sex”. Any kind of sex, with anyone/thing, for any reason. So let me start by telling you that, believe-it-or-not, I do not believe that sex is an inalienable right! I know, I know, hard to imagine. But nobody is guaranteed the right to have sex. And, best I can tell, sex does not make everyone happy. And having sex with multiple partners certainly doesn’t do the trick. I mean, seriously, if having sex made us happy, then we would be happy with the the first sexual partner, and we wouldn’t have to keep on searching for the next one to make us happy. And what about all those folks who are having lots of sex but aren’t happy at all?

But wait! What if the purpose of sex is not to provide happiness, but to procreate? I mean, if  you look at the natural function of things, then the point of sex is to make babies. Happiness is a byproduct, which certainly does help encourage us to propagate the human race.

My point? You don’t have a right to sex. And you darn sure do not have the right to end the life of an innocent pre-born baby, just because you insisted on having sex without considering the consequences, and don’t want to be responsible for your baby¬†when he or she is¬†born. That would be infringing on that tiny human being’s right to life.

Basically, the “inalienable rights” are pretty basic. And they’re not license to do whatever you want, with whomever you want, however you want. I know that really offends a lot of people, but sometimes, things just are what they are, and all the¬†political rallies and liberal news editorials in the world simply don’t change the facts. If you have an abortion, you are taking away someone else’s right to life. You are committing murder.

So for the government to step in and say that any business¬†has to provide their employees with the means to murder someone else is extremely chilling, on every conceivable level.¬†If a woman is determined to have an abortion, she’s certainly going to be able to do it in our society without her health insurance paying for it. All sorts of insurance plans exclude all sorts of things, like plastic surgery, dental work, vision care. Those are run-of-the-mill sorts of things, that don’t infringe on anybody else at all. So why is so imperative to cover murder? How does that make sense? It simply does not.

So, while it has always been blindingly obvious to me that no business should be forced to provide coverage for¬†a full range of contraceptives at no cost to their employees pursuant to the Affordable Care Act, I’m thrilled beyond words that the Supreme Court agreed. It blows my mind that it has even come to this, that we have to go all the way to the SCOTUS to affirm what should be hardwired into our consciousness: murder is bad. Don’t force others to be an accessory to it!

Back to “Women’s Rights”. Women have a right to the TRUTH. And the truth is this: we do not have a right to have sex, and we do not have a right to kill our pre-born children. We DO have a right to choose who we have sex with, and when, and where, and so forth. And if we enter into that decision with our eyes wide open, then we should be prepared to deal with the natural consequence of that act: conception, pregnancy and children.

Nobody is trampling on our rights by forcing us to be adults, and to not just run around screwing everybody willy-nilly.  We  have a RIGHT to our children, and a RIGHT to know that abortion is murder.

(Don’t even get me started on Religious Freedom. . . .) ūüėČ

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