Life, random stuff

Is Your Best Good Enough?

perfection

1 On one hand, we expect our kids to do their absolute best.

But at the same time, they need to learn their limitations.

But in teaching them their limitations, are we inadvertently teaching them to give up too soon?

But when we push them too hard, are we telling them that we expect them to be perfect?

And through all of this, what if we are sending out the message that if they aren’t perfect, that must mean they are failures.

And if they fail at one thing, does this mean they fail at everything?

AARGH. This parenting gig is HARD.

Dude and Kevin had a minor blow out this weekend. For once, I wasn’t involved. This must be a new record.

Wait. Scratch that. I did inadvertently start it.

*SIGH* Figures.

Every weekend, the boys get out to help Kevin mow the grass. Jazz drives the riding mower, Dude is in charge of trimming with the push mower.

One of the biggest reasons we assigned the boys these particular duties was because Jazz was simply too small and too weak to push the mower.

But he’s grown. And I thought it would be a good chance for him to build up the muscles in his arms and chest (he has a rather prominent breast bone that sticks out, WAY out, [he gets that from Kevin] and I’m constantly nagging suggesting that he do push ups or something to build up his chest and even that bone out).

So, I told Kevin that we should shake things up this weekend and ask Dude to mow with the riding mower and Jazz with the push mower.

Things were fine. Until the end.

The boys finished up and came into the house to take showers. Only, Kevin found a few spots that Dude missed and instead of fixing them himself, (which he would have done at any other time), I told him that Dude needed to learn that he can’t do a half-ass job on something – he needed to not only finish the job, but finish the job correctly.

Kevin asked him to go back out and mow the spots he missed.

And Dude threw an absolute FIT. As in a full-blown 16-year, UGLY, wild, and totally uncalled for temper tantrum. In fact, it was so bad, that it made Kevin mad and he grounded his butt, for a solid week. (I got him to reduce the sentence because I felt like some of the attitude was our fault. Read on …)

The kid was really, really upset.

I talked Dude back off the ledge and he finally tells me what is really bothering him.

He doesn’t feel like he ever does anything right. He feels like he fails at everything. Nothing he does is ever QUITE good enough for us.

When tempers cooled and everyone has had enough time to calm down and eat something (because you’d be surprised how mellow men are when their stomachs are full), we talked.

Well, I talked to both Kevin and Dude, separately.

I shouldn’t expect perfection.

I tell him I don’t expect him to be perfect, and yet, don’t I? I expect him to do his best. I expect him to try his hardest. I expect him to conquer his battles.

But what if his best isn’t good enough? What if he has reached his limitations and I’m putting unnecessary pressure on him? The boy can’t succeed at everything – it’s impossible. But he’s so afraid of failing that he doesn’t even try.

That’s why he buries himself in his videos games – because he’s GOOD at them. He feels powerful. He feels in control.

He doesn’t feel those things in real life.

Some of this fear of failure is due to his perfectionist “must win at all costs” personality. He’s INSANELY competitive, always has been. In fact, that’s the biggest reason he would never try out for sports – he knew he just couldn’t handle the thought of losing. And he couldn’t handle disappointing himself, his team mates, or us.

But part of his fear stems from our expectations. It’s so much easier to just not go there than to try and fail. It doesn’t help that Jazz is our “golden” child. Everything that kid does, he does well. And we praise him for it. And we brag to others about him. And we try not to do that too much in front of Dude because we don’t want him to be jealous of his brother, but I KNOW it’s hard for him.

Dude just hasn’t found his “groove” yet. He will. I’m confident. But in the meantime, he’s stuck in limbo. He wants to do well. He wants to please us. But he’s scared to try.

And at the same time, we’re pushing him. We EXPECT him to do his best. Actually, we don’t expect him, we demand it. But at the same time, I don’t want to put too much pressure on him. Everyone cracks from too much stress at some point.

The problem is – how much is too much? If we keep excusing his reluctance to TRY, aren’t we hurting him in the long run? But if we push him too hard now, aren’t we hurting him at this moment?

Aargh. It’s so hard to know how much to push and when to pull back.

We (I) explained all of this to Dude; he’s a smart kid and I think he gets it, but he’s unsure, timid, uncomfortable — in short, he’s a hormonal teenager.

Though this was another learning experience for me, I have walked away from the issue just as clueless as I was when I walked into it. There are no answers. All I can do is try to do the best I can do for him.

Let’s hope I’m good enough for HIM.

2 Claire McCaskill was in Springfield for a town hall meeting today. I didn’t go, but watched it live via ustream.

I couldn’t hear half of what was going on, but I did hear how passionate people were. There were several moments where the theater just exploded with enthusiasm and other moments the walls reverberated from the boos.

Here’s what I don’t understand about these town hall meetings. They are set up so that people can ask questions about issues, right? And when those questions are asked, the politicians do what they do best – they hedge around and never truly answer the question. I “get” why they can’t simply say yes or no, they have to protect their political careers after all, but OMG, it’s frustrating to not ever get a straight answer out of these pinheads.

And then, on top of the run around, politicians stand up there and scoff and turn up their noses at their opposition claiming that what they’re hearing is bogus and totally ridiculous and yet they never bother to disprove the claims.

Ever.

Why couldn’t town hall meetings be set up like this:

Citizens copy the portions of the proposed bill they have questions about. It comes STRAIGHT from the bill – no second hand, diluted, “edited” versions.

They then give those excerpts to the government official and ask their questions – is what is in this bill true or false? For this is what I understand it to mean. Am I wrong? If so, please tell me what it really means.

For example:

“Senator, here are three sections of the bill that I’m most concerned about:”

Pg 59 lines 21-24- Govt will have direct access to your bank accounts for electronic funds transfer

“WHY does the government need direct access to my finances and an electronic funds transfer to … where?”

Pg 239 Line 14-24-Govt will reduce physician services for Medicaid. Seniors, low income, poor will be affected. Expendable.

“So the people who need health care the most will be denied services? Why does the government think it has the power to decide who is expendable and who is not?”

Pg 430 Lines 11-15- The Govt will decide what level of treatment you will have at end of life.

“So, my life has been reduced to a dollar amount? And correct me if I’m wrong, but WHY exactly does the government feel the need to play God with my life?”

And then make the damn official stand up there, with a copy of the bill in hand, and DISPROVE the fears, the questions, the concerns. Only THEN will people get the answers they need.

It may not be what we want to hear, but at least we’ll know where we stand so we can make the plan better. People interpret the bill to mean one thing, and yet, the officials claim that’s not what it means and refuse to offer an alternate explanation. If it doesn’t mean what we think it means, then what the hell DOES it mean??

I can’t tell you the number of questions that McCaskill dodged today by simply saying, “that’s simply not true. That is incorrect. You don’t have your information right.”

And then leave it at that!! She didn’t even bother proving us wrong! How is this helpful!? How does this reassure people that things are under control? That our concerns are being addressed?

The short answer? It doesn’t!

If we TRULY want answers from our elected officials, we need to pin them to a board, shove the actual bill in their faces and wait for them to squirm their way out of the explanation because from where I’m sitting? The TEXT in this asinine bill is literally black and white.

It’s called cold, hard facts. And nothing will get done in this country until we stop with the “he said / she said” mentality and start talking about what the bill actually SAYS instead of what people PERCEIVE what the bill says.

We need to make our government ACCOUNTABLE for it’s actions.

(By the way, here’s a copy of the bill if you haven’t looked at it).

Oh, and I just found the entire town hall meeting here.

3 And while I’m on a ranting roll here …

I’m a writer. So, I naturally pay attention to how people write. I pay attention to how they say it and I especially pay attention to syntax – I honestly can’t help myself. It’s just an ingrained habit.

A lot of times, if I see someone has used the wrong word for something or has made a simple there/their/they’re mistake, it’s no big deal. We’re all human. Heck, MY prose is certainly not perfect. I make mistakes. And a lot of times, if I write ya’ll or ain’t it’s because that’s how I talk and given this venue, it’s appropriate and even appreciated.

It keeps it real.

But I judge. If I’m reading someone and they consistently make mistakes, their grammar is consistently bad, then I lose interest. I sit back, cross my arms, shake my head and assume that the person who is writing the nonsense is actually an idiot.

Or worse, a lazy idiot.

Because if you think people don’t judge you by your writing, then you’re naive.

Again, I have a lot of patience with people’s writing because it’s a “thing” with me. I’m overly sensitive, I guess. I went to school and studied language – it’s just part of who I am. And I’ve had people tell me that they were afraid, or intimidated, to write me because of my “writer” status.

And I feel bad about that. I don’t want to make people uncomfortable and AGAIN, I’m okay with about 98% of what I read from other people. I look past the syntax and concentrate on the message behind the prose.

But there ARE a few things that drive me absolutely bat sh*t crazy (excuse my language).

And one of those things?

COMMONLY misusing LOSE and LOOSE.

Capture2

I don’t know WHAT is going on, but people, seriously, when you LOSE something, it’s not spelled LOOSE.

I’m seeing this more and more across the internet board. It’s becoming ACCEPTABLE, it appears, to use LOOSE in place of LOSE.

I can not hold my tongue anymore. I solemnly swear that if I see a blogger consistently using the wrong LOSE/LOOSE combination, I’m going to call them out.

I have to. We must stop this trend. It seems silly, I know. But if we don’t start sticking up for our language, there’s no telling how low it will go before we’re *back to talking like cavemen.

In fact, if you follow me on Twitter, you KNOW this is a constant thorn in my side.

Capture1

So, this is fair warning. Misuse the LOSE/LOOSE combination and **I will make fun of you.

You’ve been warned.

*I don’t believe in evolution so the whole referring back to the caveman days was said because it sounded good, not because I believe that nonsense.

**I just wanted to make sure that ya’ll knew that this whole rant? Is supposed to be taken with a grain of salt. I’m serious, yet I’m not. I wouldn’t REALLY make fun of you.

Or would I? 😉

Abundant Life

Teaching: Making the Dead Alive

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

The Bible teaches that when a person dies he is dead in every way. His body is dead, and his soul and spirit die also. He is not alive in any form, in heaven or elsewhere. The human body cannot live without a soul, and the soul and spirit cannot live apart from a body. A “person” is an integrated whole. God has designed us so that our parts work in a totally integrated way, and not by themselves. This is one reason why the majority of the uses of “soul” in the Bible do not mean “soul” in the sense of the life force of the body, but rather the entire person. Thus, when Acts 2:43 (KJV) says that “…fear came upon every soul…,” it means fear came upon every person. Once a person dies, he remains dead until he is raised from the dead by the Lord.

It is not our purpose in this short article to go over the clear verses that show that a dead person is dead in every way, or to explain the difficult verses on the subject of what happens when we die, because we do that in our book, Is There Death After Life and our free online seminar, Death & Resurrection to Life. Rather, we will focus on understanding a major reason why there was so much confusion at the time of Christ about what happened to people when they died. This confusion shows up vividly in the division between the Pharisees and the Sadducees. The Pharisees asserted that after death the soul lived apart from the body and went to a place of either torture or bliss, while the Sadducees thought that death was the end of life totally, and even denied the resurrection.

In order to understand the confusion existing at the time of Christ concerning the state of the dead, we must understand what the Greeks believed about what happened when people died. An important part of the Greek religion and philosophy was the belief that each person has a soul that is immortal. In fact, the modern Christian concept of the “immortal soul” does not come from the Bible, but from Greek philosophy.

We must be careful when we generalize about what the Greeks believed, because they were like modern Christians—there is much we agree about, but there are also very distinct differences in what we believe. In general, Greeks believed the soul was immortal, and some believed that humans, animals, and even plants have an immortal soul. To give us an idea of some of the different beliefs about the soul, let us look at four that were held among the Greeks.

* Some believed that once a person died his soul went to “Hades,” the Underworld, for a period of purification, then entered a new body, a cycle that was repeated for eons until that soul was in a completely virtuous person, at which point the transmigration ended and the soul could enter a blessed place, sometimes known as the Blest Isles or Elysian Fields. (It is important that we realize that for most Greeks, Hades was not a place of torture, but a gloomy place where the immortal souls of the dead dwelled).
* Some believed that when a person died his soul went to Hades and faced judgment. If it was found guilty it was punished, which lasted, like the soul itself, forever (this belief most naturally lent itself to the development of the orthodox Christian doctrine of burning in “hell” forever). If the soul was not found guilty, it might wander in Hades, the Underworld, also called the Land of Shades, or it might return in another person.
* Some believed that if the dead body was not taken care of properly when the person died, the immortal soul would wander the earth, possibly even as a ghost, revenging itself upon mankind.
* Some believed what Homer wrote, that the soul of an especially heinous person suffered punishment in Hades, while the souls of the rest of humanity simply suffered the gloomy fate of wandering endlessly in the dark underworld. [1]

In Greek mythology, Hades was the god of the Underworld, who oversaw the souls of the dead that resided there. Eventually, the name of the god Hades was given to the Underworld itself, so that it was then also called Hades. Greek writers wrote about the Underworld, Hades, but most of the writing was not meant to be a doctrinal presentation. Rather, it was stories and legends of gods and heroes who went there for various reasons, and there are many differences in their stories about what Hades is like. There is, however, one very important similarity: the disembodied souls there were all alive. No immortal soul in Hades was dead. In fact, because the standard Greek belief was that the soul was immortal, no one in Greek mythology ever died. Bodies died, but the “person” lived on in the form of a disembodied soul.

Knowing what the Greeks believed about life after death is very important, because, in 332 BC Alexander the Great conquered Israel, and for more than 150 years the Greeks controlled Jerusalem and Israel. Through the years, Greek thought and religion deeply influenced Jewish culture. By 250 BC there were so many Jews who spoke Greek and not Hebrew that the Old Testament was translated into Greek, in a version we now call the Septuagint. The Greek vocabulary in the Septuagint drove Greek thought even more deeply into the Jewish culture.

One area of Jewish thought and culture that was greatly influenced by the Greeks was the state of the dead. The Hebrew Bible made it clear that the dead were dead in every way. That was the reason the Sadducees believed that when a person died he or she was dead in every sense of the word, and not alive in any form. The real problem with their belief was that it did not take into account the Old Testament teachings of the resurrection from the dead. [2] Thus, the Sadducees had a dismal and gloomy belief system that had no future joyous hope, but they were right about what happened to people when they died—they are not alive in any form.

Please read the rest of the article here.

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page, their YouTube Channel, or follow them on Twitter.

You can read more about this subject here:

Is There Death After Life?

Free Online Seminar: Death & Resurrection to Life

Thanks for reading.

(Comments have been turned off. The information is here, it’s up to you to accept, or deny, it).

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Saturday Stuff

Maybe Iz Can Help?

cat-i-help

Okay Internet. Enough about me. Let’s hear what’s on your mind. It’s time to get that thing off your chest.

Tell Aunt Karen what’s bothering you. 🙂

(Please feel free to remain anonymous. The only person who will see your email is me and trust me, it ain’t going anywhere.)

So, spill it. What’s bothering you?

Caption Four, Friday Fun

C4: Through a Child’s Eyes

I just noticed that “In Three Words” is defunct … and I miss it. I miss trying to caption a picture in just three words. It’s a great exercise in being concise.

So … I thought I’d take the original idea and expand it a bit. I hope the owner doesn’t mind too much. Wanna play? 🙂

Give this picture a caption in four words.

photo by Liarsenic
photo by Liarsenic

4-words

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Photo Story Friday

Photo Story Friday: Feeling Faint

I’m nearly unconscious in this picture.

This is me, on my honeymoon and on the romantic and beautiful island of Cozumel Mexico. We had stopped to take a break and I had to sit down because I was feeling faint and quite nauseous.

Notice what I’m wearing. A heavy-cotton button-up blouse, snug jean shorts and shoes and socks.

In 90 degree weather.

On a tropical island.

Where the humidity was so thick it was hard to catch your breath.

Hence the reason I nearly passed out. I had a serious case of heat stroke.

I overdressed for our tropical trip. I had no idea, no freaking idea, that it would be that hot.

But I was naive and inexperienced. I had never been out of Missouri, let alone the country, so I honestly had no clue what to pack – obviously.

I was miserable the entire time we were there. Simply because I was too stupid to pack the right clothes.

Heck, I’d have been better off running around naked.

Kevin would have liked that.

I might have caused blindness in the natives, though.

When we went back to visit Cozumel this past June, I was prepared. I wore light-weight stretchy shorts (notice the jean shorts I’m wearing in this picture AREN’T the stretchy kind? Stupid girl), spaghetti-strap shirts and flip flops.

I didn’t look as “put together”, but I didn’t care. I could breathe. And I kept cool.

I’m older now, being comfortable trumps being cute. 🙂

Life

Buckle Up, Idiot

Warning: Rant ahead. Proceed with caution.

This public service announcement is brought to you by loved ones everywhere.

More than a million people globally are estimated to have survived a car accident thanks to a 50-year-old invention designed by Volvo – the three-point safety belt.

This statement kept playing over and over in my head when I went to pick up my boys from school yesterday.

Over one million people have been snatched back from the jaws of death simply because they buckled up.

And Volvo, who designed this life-saving apparatus, was so convinced that it WOULD save lives, that they sacrificed their personal financial gain to make this technology available to ALL car manufacturers.

They put public safety in front of personal gain.

I think they deserve a big THANK YOU and a huge round of applause for that one. (Applause)

Buckle_Up And yet, so few people actually WEAR them.

I was sitting at an intersection yesterday, about 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon, watching a long line of cars turning in front of me and I made a point of looking at each driver as they drove past. Most of the drivers were students leaving high school, some of the drivers were parents who had just picked their students up from high school.

I’d guess the student to adult ratio was about 80% student, 20% parent.

And I was shocked, flabbergasted, to note that most of the drivers were not wearing their seat belts. In fact, most of the drivers were on their cell phones AND not wearing their seat belts.

And we wonder why we’re a nation of clueless morons.

After observing so many people blatantly disregarding safety issues, I became more sensitive to those around me so that I too became one of those distracted drivers, but not because I was on my cell phone, adjusting my radio or sipping a latte, but because I was busy eyeballing each and every driver that I passed to see if they were wearing their seat belts.

I won’t even tell you what I saw, you can guess.

I find it totally, and completely, UNBELIEVABLE that after ALL the public awareness, after all the PREACHING, NAGGING and REMINDERS, after passing LAWS (because yes, we have a seat belt law in Missouri), that people STILL don’t wear their seat belts.

And then some people still have the audacity to pawn their ignorance off on, “We need more education! We need more public awareness!”

Bullsh*t – we need more responsible people in this world. THAT’S what we need.

seatbelt_jpgDon’t give me lame excuses. Just don’t. There are NO EXCUSES. It’s a fundamental, and elementary action: get in the car, buckle up, turn on the ignition, check mirrors … etc.

Schools DRUM the importance of wearing our seat belts by showing gruesome examples of what can happen to you if you don’t wear them.

Police officers are instructed to actively look for people who aren’t wearing their seat belts and you can bet you’ll get a ticket if you’re in an accident and you weren’t wearing your seat belt.

Warnings to BUCKLE UP are all over the media, they are staring at us in bold-face type and capital letters on billboards.

And yet, there are still so many people who don’t buckle up.

I don’t get it. I honestly don’t understand people’s unwillingness to protect themselves.

Parents, you say you love your children. Okay, prove it. Start by buckling up. And don’t forget to buckle your children up. (You still wouldn’t believe the number of children I see NOT buckled up. And I’ve been noticing that for years because it INFURIATES me).

WHY would anyone willingly play Russian roulette with their lives? Why?! We, as parents, have a moral obligation to take care of ourselves for our children. Our children need us, they count on us to be there, to guide them, to protect them, to help them reach adulthood. How irresponsible of us to NOT do everything we can to make sure we’re around for them.

I’m sorry to be ranting like this, but I’m pissed off. I’ve had it. My boys will soon be out in the middle of this concrete jungle and it makes me SO ANGRY when I see drivers being careless.

And while we’re on the driving rant, let’s take this a step further, shall we?

We’re in a CAR, we’re not in a protective BUBBLE. Cars are dangerous weapons, if not handled correctly. We owe it to ourselves, and to our children, to freaking pay attention to the road when we’re driving.

hangup This means, get off your damn cell phone. Life-will-not-end if you don’t answer right away. It’s called voice mail, use it. If it’s an honest to God emergency, pull over. It’s called a shoulder, use it.

Stop fiddling with the radio.

Wait to eat that Big Mac.

You won’t die of thirst before you hit the next stop light.

Wake up an extra ten minutes early and put your makeup on at home.

Don’t threaten to pull over and discipline your children if they’re acting up and distracting you, PULL OVER and deal with them, don’t deal with them while you’re driving.

Your hair looks fine, stop fixing it.

And if you’re texting while driving? Well, I’m sorry, but you’re an idiot. There’s really nothing more I can say that will sugar coat that one.

Oh my gosh, I’m so sick of people not taking responsibility for their driving actions. (Or any actions, quite frankly).

There are no excuses for endangering your life. There are no excuses for endangering the lives of other drivers.

Because one of those “other” drivers. Might possibly be my son.

For the love of God, buckle up, hang up, put down that french fry and pay attention.

For all of us.

(Update:) I just heard that Missouri passed a state law that prohibits anyone under the age of 21 to text while driving. ARE YOU PEOPLE STUPID?! What does age have to do with anything? No one should be texting and driving. Just because the idiot is older doesn’t make it better!!

Criminy! I can’t believe this is real life. Seriously


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Life

Empty Promises, Beautiful Prose

This was published on my self-hosted blog, January 2006.


I love my country. I am thankful there are men and women out there who devote their lives to maintain our freedom. I appreciate the opportunities our country offers us. But I have to say, politicians are a bunch of over-grown three-year-olds who love throwing temper tantrums because they know it’ll get them on the five o’clock news.

In a nutshell, it’s pathetic.

I’ll just say right now, I’m a Republican. And yet, I feel strange saying that out loud. True, I agree with about 60% of what Republicans stand for: less government power, less taxes, more citizen responsibility, blahblahblah, but I don’t agree with everything.

I’ll even admit to agreeing with a FEW of the Democratic issues though again, I must stress the word “few.”

Overall, I would say I’m an independent. I just want what’s fair for everyone. I realize this is an idealistic view but there you have it.

What prompted this sudden show of patriotism? The President’s State of the Union Address last night.

Normally, I wouldn’t watch the actual address, I would watch snippets of it played back on various news stations, but Dude’s social studies teacher gave the kids an optional extra credit assignment if they would watch it, list three points of interest and then write a paragraph about those issues.

So, we ended up watching the president, all four of us. (Jazz spent the time coloring a science project but occasionally he would pause and I could tell he was listening).

This family gathering warmed my heart. Our kids are taking an interest in our country! They are weighing the issues and forming their own opinions! That’s all I’ve wanted for our kids, to grow up independent and capable of thinking for themselves and not allowing them to be swept up into the majority because let’s face it, that’s not always the best course of action.

Kevin stopped the program several times so we could explain what some of the issues were to the kids. They really didn’t understand social security because c’mon, they’re kids and the thought of growing old and actually needing government help is eons away from their comprehension.

They didn’t understand why we were making such a big deal about oil and we had to explain to them that it wasn’t really about the efficiency of oil, though it’s past time we develop an alternative form of energy, but that we have grown dependent on countries who like to toy with our lives for kicks in their spare time.

America bows to no one, unless they have oil. *grimace*

I soon glazed over from all of the promises because let’s be honest, it all sounds good but we all know that very little, if any, of the “dreams” for a better running society will ever happen and certainly not overnight.

The citizen part of me tuned out and the writer in me tuned in. I started paying attention to semantics and the near poetic sing-song verbiage. The speech writers really did an excellent job. Here are some of my favorite excerpts from the president’s speech:

America is a great force for freedom and prosperity. Yet our greatness is not measured in power or luxuries, but by who we are and how we treat one another. So we strive to be a compassionate, decent, hopeful society.

In recent years, America has become a more hopeful nation. Violent crime rates have fallen to their lowest levels since the 1970s. Welfare cases have dropped by more than half over the past decade. Drug use among youth is down 19 percent since 2001. There are fewer abortions in America than at any point in the last three decades, and the number of children born to teenage mothers has been falling for a dozen years in a row.

These gains are evidence of a quiet transformation — a revolution of conscience, in which a rising generation is finding that a life of personal responsibility is a life of fulfillment. Government has played a role. Wise policies, such as welfare reform and drug education and support for abstinence and adoption have made a difference in the character of our country. And everyone here tonight, Democrat and Republican, has a right to be proud of this record.

Yet many Americans, especially parents, still have deep concerns about the direction of our culture, and the health of our most basic institutions. They’re concerned about unethical conduct by public officials, and discouraged by activist courts that try to redefine marriage. They worry about children in our society who need direction and love, and about fellow citizens still displaced by natural disaster, and about suffering caused by treatable diseases.

As we look at these challenges, we must never give in to the belief that America is in decline, or that our culture is doomed to unravel. The American people know better than that. We have proven the pessimists wrong before — and we will do it again.

Fellow citizens, we’ve been called to leadership in a period of consequence. We’ve entered a great ideological conflict we did nothing to invite. We see great changes in science and commerce that will influence all our lives. Sometimes it can seem that history is turning in a wide arc, toward an unknown shore.

Yet the destination of history is determined by human action, and every great movement of history comes to a point of choosing. Lincoln could have accepted peace at the cost of disunity and continued slavery. Martin Luther King could have stopped at Birmingham or at Selma and achieved only half a victory over segregation. The United States could have accepted the permanent division of Europe and been complicit in the oppression of others. Today, having come far in our own historical journey, we must decide will we turn back or finish well?

Before history is written down in books, it is written in courage. Like Americans before us, we will show that courage and we will finish well. We will lead freedom’s advance. We will compete and excel in the global economy. We will renew the defining moral commitments of this land. And so we move forward—optimistic about our country, faithful to its cause and confident of victories to come.

May God bless America.

Just reading over this passage makes me feel strong and proud to be an American. We have flaws, we have differences, but it all boils down to our attempts to work together and to provide a strong, successful nation to pass on to our children.

I’m a realist. I WANT to believe politicians and the promises they make us but really, doesn’t it all boil down to appreciating beautiful, smart prose?

Life

Fighting the Battle to Sleep (The Results)

You know, you don’t REALLY appreciate how messed up our health care system is until you have to deal with it.

And though it’s messed up, and we have to jump through hoops in order to get things done, it’s STILL better than if we turned it over to the government to completely muck up. It’s flawed, but at least it works — sort of.

*holds up hands in surrender gesture* I’m just saying.

(If you need to catch up, you can read this post about his sleeping problems and this post about his sleep clinic experience [it’s worth a click over just to see him all hooked up with wires. It’s crazy, man]).

We finally got Kevin’s sleep study results back.

Actually, I need to be fair to the clinic. We got his results back after about a week.

His scores were off the chart.

Which, I knew they would be.

Only, his results weren’t all that typical. Yes, he has sleep apnea, but it only kicks in when he reaches REM sleep. He’s fine until he reaches that stage and then he simply stops breathing, wakes himself up, can’t make himself go right back to sleep and *BEEP BEEP BEEP* his alarm is going off and it’s time to start the day.

The sleep clinic people were supposed to wake him up and put him on a cpap machine whenever his apnea kicked in, but they never did. And we’re thinking they never had time, because by the time his apnea kicked in, he was in REM and he woke himself up too fast for them to jump in and help him.

Okay, so now what? His doctor prescribed a cpap machine to see if that would help him sleep through the night. So, we put in a request for a machine through the medical supply store and we waited to hear back from them.

And we waited.

And we waited.

Finally, Kevin had to start round one of about 100 to get the ball rolling on obtaining a cpap machine.

After playing musical phone calls, (ya’ll know what I’m talking about – the frustrating stage where they tell you they can’t help you, direct you to another person who also can’t help you and then it’s ultimately back to the doctor because did he actually PRESCRIBE the machine? And yes he did and then we’re being transferred back to the original person who now has a question on whether our insurance will cover it or not. So Kevin has to call and confirm with the insurance company TWICE that yes indeed-y they will cover it and can we have our damn machine now?), we finally get an appointment for him to come in and learn how to use the machine.

GRR. See? Utter chaos. Our health care system is messed up. It really DOES need a complete overhaul, (relax restrictions, allow interstate policies, encourage competition so we can get these insane prices down, etc.) without the government sticking it’s greedy, incompetent hands in the middle of it, thank you very much.

Sorry. Sore subject with me.

Anyway, Kevin gets an appointment and he shows up to learn how to use the machine they are going to assign him. He said there were about two or three other guys there getting their own machines, but he was the only one who had a different machine.

Naturally.

Since his apnea only kicks in when he’s in REM sleep, they needed a machine that would sense that and … do whatever it is that it needs to do to help him regulate his breathing.

He came home and tried it.

Again, he was such a good sport – he allowed me to take his picture when he got all hooked up.

Sleep Mask
(Love you sweetie!)

It looks terribly uncomfortable, but he insists that it’s actually not too bad.

In essence, it’s a mask-like contraption that goes into each nostril and pumps moisturized air (from distilled water) into his lungs. The machine is supposed to sense, and adjust, to his breathing whenever he goes into apnea.

The first night he tried it, it fell off and he woke up at 3:00, as usual. The next night, it stayed on, but he still woke up at 3:00 (WTH?), but he said he went right back to sleep (as opposed to just lying there for an hour or so). So, he’s thinking he woke up from habit and not from his apnea.

He says it’s really weird, there is so much air being pumped into his lungs that it’s hard for him to exhale, so we’re thinking the setting is too high (we can’t adjust the setting, it has to be done by the medical supply people).

In fact, he can open his mouth and feel the air coming out. Instead of snoring, he now makes this little baby-like raspberry sound. (It’s actually pretty funny!)

He hasn’t been too impressed with it at this point, but it’s still early and he’s still getting used to it, so we’ll see. He did try to loosen it a bit the other night and he said that seemed to help him to not feel quite so overwhelmed, but overall, it doesn’t seem to be helping him that much.

He’s still waking up. But he’s waking up with clear sinus passages and he says he can actually smell things again.

In fact, the thing that seems to help him the most is taking Tylenol PM. And I’m assuming that’s because it has pseudoephedrine in it and forces his sinuses to open up so he can breathe.

I don’t know. The machine is supposed to be keeping track of his progress, so when he goes back in a few weeks, they can either adjust the settings or suggest something else.

It’s disappointing, to say the least. We really had high hopes that this machine would be the answer to his sleep problems. And though it’s certainly helped and it’s nice to know, for sure, what the problem is, it’s still maddening that he’s still not getting a decent night’s sleep.

Poor guy. He’s so tired (pun intended) of being a walking zombie all the time.

The sleep battles aren’t quite over yet.