30 October, 2006


It has been awhile since I watched any of the news expose shows. I got a little bit turned off by whichever show was doing the constant expose on child predators. I think it was almost 6 weeks in a row that they filmed men trying to meet up with kids and then having them arrested. Not only that but after doing it in 5 locations they felt the need to milk a recap episode...anyways, I happened to flip on an episode the other night while I was waiting for my sweetie to get home.

It was about two 16 year old kids who killed another 16 year old girl in a lover's quarrel. Essentially, they beat her to death (apparently not knowing they killed her) and then tried to dispose of the body. Being cold, they could not bury it, so they brought in another 16 year old to do some dispicable things to the body to essentially disguise the identity.

Anyways, the parents of the boy in the situation offered a really interesting presence to the show. Not only did they come on national television to talk about it, but they did not condone or excuse their son's behavior. When the son told his father, he reached for the phone and called the police. When Stone Phillips asked about how difficult that call was to make the father responded, "I wasn't thinking about that. It was the right thing to do."

Both parents expressed great sadness and confusion over the boy's choice, but they both said that he needed to be accountable for what he had done. He committed the crime. They don't know why, but justice needed to be done. The truth needed to be told.

I wanted to jump for joy. Not because of the terrible situation under which it occured, but because they highlighted a set of parents that wouldn't excuse their son's behavior. Sure, they didn't understand it. They could have come up with a half dozen possible excuses, as many parents do, for their son's delinquent behavior. They didn't. They held him accountable and by extension themselves. It broke my heart to watch these parents grieve their son, but it brought me great hope to hear the way they held him accountable.

That is true parenting. The father was deeply emotional as he told the host that he was 49 and would never see his son other than behind bars again. That is a true definition of tough love. A love that puts one's own needs after the needs of the one they love.

Pray for them. Pray for the son and pray for his parents. Pray that they might find healing and hope. Pray that other parents may follow in the example of their honesty and accountability, hopefully under much less horrifying circumstances.

25 October, 2006

Childhood Obesity

Have fast food and restaurant advertisements all but taken over the television commercial breaks?

I mean, maybe I am just more sensitive to it due to my unemployment. Maybe I am craving the food and so the ads attract more of my attention, but I was disgusted when I started counting how many advertisements in a break were for gross fatty foods.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love my gross, fatty foods. They are a nice treat and they taste heavenly. That said, how often do you want me to eat it? Every meal? Are you kidding me?

As for childhood obesity, have we ever thought that the ads aren't actually targetting the youth, but their parents? The parents are the ones making the decisions after all. I don't remember the ads affecting me until I had buying power...when my parents had the buying power, I had no sway over the decision, so the ads just blew right by me. Maybe parents just need to get some courage and put their feet down.

When I was a little girl, we didn't have a lot of money. McDonalds was a big treat!!! It wasn't a convenience or a craving, it was a treat. We got it for completing our job charts for a month or for being fully potty trained. It ranked up there with a trip to the zoo!!!

I was watching the TODAY show this morning...I know, feel however you like about that...but they did a segment on little changes you can make to reduce the fat content in your fridge on basic things like milk, bread and juice. What fascinated me was that my mother has been doing these things for years. My mom is a registered nurse who has stayed home with my 2 sisters and me for the last 19 years or so. She has always been very conscious about nutrition and balance. Still, I was truly astonished when I realized that she had been feeding us skim milk (believe it or not, there is actually more calcium in skim milk than 1% or 2%, whole wheat bread (although if your kids are set on white bread textures, Sara Lee makes a great whole wheat with the look and texture of white), and 100% juice for years and that this is new to so many people.

Get this, use plain yogurt and add fresh fruit instead of getting the stuff with fruit. Not only is it cheaper, but the sugar content is soooo much lower.

Come on parents, take responsibility. It is not the fast food companies, schools or ad agencies contributing to your child's weight. We are a capitalist society, they are trying to make money. You are the only one responsible for setting good nutrition habits in your household. Teach your children and yourself about healthy, tasty and satisfying food combinations. Get yourself and your kids off the couch and get outside. Stay active. Not busy, but active. Re-establish the idea of "treat". Expand the category. Treats are to celebrate or reward, not simply to indulge.

That said, I am really craving Taco Bell...and Arbys...

So long...

...since I posted.

The last week has been interesting. I have a lot to talk about now though.

I was laid off last Tuesday. After 17 months of exemplary service for a mismanaged company they laid me off. Lovely, I know. As one attorney I talked to said, "As far as I am aware, we haven't outlawed stupidity." Basically.

So, I am taking this time to re-evaluate my direction in life. After being in a job where I never had the opportunity to do what I was originally hired to do, I am wary of the job market. In the initial stages of the layoff I talked with my dad and he basically reminded me that there were three key pieces to my employment anywhere and that in the end, 2 of the 3 had been violated.

#1 Follow you passion. (What I was hired to do could have been my passion, but I wasn't given the opportunity to do it and I settled for something much less...)

#2 Never compromise your ethics. Integrity is who you are when nobody is looking. (This one is the one I suceeded in.)

#3 Never work for someone you don't respect. (I had long had concerns about the management and practices of my former company.)

All of that said, it still hurts. I am an "all or nothing" kind of girl. I believe in work as a vocation, not simply a job or a career. I gave a lot of my heart to the job I did. I gave a lot of attention and talent to the positions I held. And not only was I laid off for it, but I was betrayed by the people who led my team.

That said, I refuse to take up a jaded view of my next position. I will go in with all of my heart and give them everything I have to give. I don't live to work, I work to live, but Catholic teaching is clear about the subjective nature of work. It doesn't say treat others the way they treat you. It doesn't say take what you can and run. It says to treat others as you would like to be treated. Sure, ideally, the subjectivity of work is intended to be a developing relationship which is a joint effort between employer and employee. Many employers don't live up to these intentions, but that shouldn't discourage me from trying to live up to them.

I REFUSE to let one mismanaged, misguided, company destroy my view or ascription to Catholic Social Teaching. Catholic Social Teaching is the practical applications of Catholic scripture and doctrine. It may be hard to come by, and my hopeful belief in it may be seen by some as naive and impractical. I believe the phrase "golden girl" has been thrown in my direction a time or two. I don't care. I will always believe that it can exist. I will always hold it up as the only standard I strive towards. Anything less is an insult to the dignity of the human person and the body that is the Church.

Moreover, my last job taught me many things, but more importantly, it brought me many wonderful relationships. I am so glad that I never let an opportunity pass to share fellowship with a co-worker. I walked away with my head held high and several invaluable relationships. The girl in the picture is one of my greatest blessings from my time at the company. She is a talented woman and strong witness to the power of faith. (And she makes me laugh...a lot!)

Sure, I am scared. I feel somewhat helpless. The bills have to be paid. The cats have to be fed. That said, God will provide. He always has. I am so much better for what He has given me in the past 17 months than I ever could have dreamed. No company will ever change that.

Not to mention that if I hadn't taken my former position, I wouldn't have met my fiance...take that former company.

11 October, 2006

Let it SNOW???!!!

We might actually get measurable snow fall tomorrow night!!!

Does it count? It is not actually winter and it probably won't stay. Does it count as the first snow? There are great benefits to the first snow. For example, I get to use my snowman spoons on the first snow. So I really need your thoughts!!!

Let me also say that I am a huge fan of snow, but I don't like the cold. I am perpetually cold. Part of that is simply that I am a woman. Now, don't go getting all freaked out on me. Women's bodies simply work different than men's. Women's bodies send most of the blood to the core of the body where all of the reproductive organs are and presumably, at some point, a baby. That means there is less blood to the appendages such as hands and feet.

That said, I think I am still just naturally cold. Admission: I have to wear leggings or long underwear under most items during the winter. Layers are my only salvation. And I keep a blanket near my desk year round.

That said, the first snow is something mystical. I used to think the correct word was magical, but it isn't. Mystical means "real" and it is often on the first snow of the season that life feels the most real. It is the most powerful, the most whimsical, the most real. It seems as though the first snow sweeps through your body, mind and soul and cleans it out. Snow makes me feel much the same way I feel after I go to confession: clean, refreshed, and content with simply taking my next step.

I think the first snow also brings you home. I don't know too many people who don't experience the first snowfall and not say something to the affect of, "I wish I were at home, curled up in a blanket with a good book (movie, cup of coffee, etc.)." There is something warm and welcoming about the ice cold delicacies we call snowflakes.

Whether you agree or not, let this be an opportunity for us to step back, take a deep breath, clean up, and head back home. There is a warm blanket waiting...

In the meantime, I'll see if I can track down a picture of my snowman spoons.

Soap Box...

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "soap box" came frome? I have and today I did the research...I like research. I know, I'm strange.

Apparently it comes from a time in history (traditionally British) where orators or public speakers would give impromptu speeches standing on soap boxes. They were wooden crates filled with bars of soap.

So, let me get on mine (well, since I have several, let me get on one of mine).

Okay, so I walked away for a few hours to do some work-related tasks and now I can't remember what I was all fired up about. Guess it couldn't have been that important, hmmm??

Fitfull Sleep


Wow...sleeping was interesting last night. I spent the first half of the night trying to plan my wedding in my sleep. Well, seeing as it was sleep and dreaming, it was rather unproductive and I woke halfway through the night to frustration.

What is this? Is this a symptom of our crazed society? Is this my body and mind telling me that I don't have enough time during the day that I need to seek more time in my sleep? Well, I won't give in to that.

The above article highlights only a few of the necessary benefits of a full night's sleep. Here are a couple more interesting facts.

- Women who get enough sleep in complete darkness have more predictable menstrual patterns. In fact, with enough dark sleep, many women's cycles will pattern themselves with the lunar pattern.

- Studies have shown that today's individual gets significantly less sleep than those individuals 100 years ago, but there is no evidence that shows we need less.

God gaves us bodies that require rest and require it at pretty regular intervals. Now, he also gave us the ability to chose our sleep patterns and adjust when necessary. Just because we have the opportunity to choose, doesn't mean that it is good for us to choose less.

If you have a hard time sleeping, try a few of these tips.

- Pick a regular bedtime and stick to it even if you aren't tired.

- Create a bedtime routine or activity for yourself. After a period of adjustment this will trigger your mind to the idea of sleep. Consider a cup of tea, a chapter of a book, or a decade of the Rosary.

- When you find yourself tossing and turning, don't. Sit up, take a few deep breaths, stretch your muscles and lay back down. If you are still restless, get up and sit at the kitchen table with a cup of tea until you find yourself relaxed again. Tossing and turning tends to add to frustration and sleeplessness.

- Keep a notepad by the bed. Often times our anxieties come from a fear of forgetting something. Wake up, write it down and release your mind back to sleep.

I'm not going to tell you how much sleep your body needs. Only you can know that. Mine has two sleep levels: 5 hours and 8+ hours. Anything less than 5, or more than 5 or less than 8, makes me tired. You'll have to discover that level for yourself. Then try to stick with that length of sleep as much as possible. You'll be much happier for it.

All this talk of sleep has actually woken me up! Consider these suggestions for combating the tyranny that has become our days (and nights...).

10 October, 2006

"Rent" and other assorted thoughts...

So, I spent the weekend with my 19-year-old sister.

Different...I am definitely glad I am no longer a college student.

That said, we had a GREAT time!!! We drank a ton of coffee and talked about all the things that sisters talk about. My wedding, our beaus, our family, love, loss and everything in between. We went to an interpretive dance recital and the musical "Rent". Which brings me to my first point...

Seriously, have you seen "Rent"? I can't understand how people can walk out of "Rent" and be so psyched out. Sure, great music, great talent, but did you understand the premise? Did you understand the message? If they did it would seem a much more sobering experience. Alida and I got back to the dorm, rescued my blistered feet, cracked open a couple of cream sodas and tried to combat the onset of extreme depression. This is exactly how apathy begins. It is the perfect example of the shallowness of our culture. They hear the music and the voices. They experience the excitement of the Broadway experience. It becomes about the presentation and not the message. People are dying...of AIDS...and it is not just hypothetical. This is real! This is an opportunity for us to reflect on the plight of millions around the world and all we can do is walk around singing "Seasons of Love"??? I mean, if that were the catalyst to a conversation about AIDS and finding a cure and a solution, great, but I believe that constitutes a minimal percentage.

So, Alida and I were depressed. Seriously. We both attacked the phone as soon as we could to reconnect with the loves of our lives. There was a need for a sense of security and "right"ness. A safe place to work through the thoughts coursing through our brains.

I must say the show was good art. Good art makes you think. Good art makes you wonder, question, and feel out of place.

The issue at hand is not letting the execution of the art overshadow the message. It is also about educating the viewer to embrace and engage the art.

What else can I say?

Truth Sleep...

So I have discovered something interesting about my sleeping moments. Well, actually, I should say my fiance has discovered some interesting things about my sleeping times.

I talk in my sleep.

Not unusual, true, but the things that are said are what are interesting.

It seems I am at my most honest and my most clear when I am sleeping. One afternoon I was quoted to have said, "We need to start keeping receipts," in relation to our wedding budget. Yesterday I remember saying, "Just relax, if you relax you'll be able to sleep better."

This is an interesting experience. Not only am I at my most honest, but I am also at my most vulnerable. I am so grateful to have a very open and honest relationship with just about everyone in my life because if I didn't, who knows what trauma could be caused by my sleep comas.

I believe this is what people mean by living a life of integrity. Now, I am not saying that I always operate with the most integrity, but it is about who you are when nobody is looking. That way, when people do look, especially in your most vulnerable of moments, they see the true, the good and the honest which isn't any different than the way you operate on a daily basis.

So, I am not afraid of what I am going to say when I sleep. Certainly, there are some funny moments...some embarrassing moments...and some sad moments, but there are no painful or hurtful moments. That gives me great hope for my eternal soul and for my example in the world.

That said, it is journey and we must perservere to maintain this level of integrity. We must work at it. We must take part in the graces of the Eurcharist and the sacrament of reconcilliation. We must keep ourselves in the state of grace, for ourselves and for those who walk with us and around us.

Funny though how it took a moment of vulnerability and another person entering into that vulnerability for me to recognize and process this experience of integrity. Speaks a bit to the concept of community and our beautiful communion of saints.

So much theology in one sleep cycle...I think I need a nap...

02 October, 2006

Oh yes, here I go...

So here I sit, at my desk, in the home stretch of my workday. It has been painfully long as I await the return of my sweetheart from six days in Las Vegas. An old boss of mine used to call it "Lost Wages", but hey, that's another post.

As I sat here I heard a voice say, "If only she weren't a Democrat, I could love that woman." I can only assume it was in response to some image that flashed across the TV monitor in the radio studio just steps from my office.

So people can't be good people if they aren't Republican? or Democrat? (depending on your persuassion...) It is reminiscent of a comment my sister made to me in hushed tones during one of my recent trips home. I had metioned that she had grown up so much and really come into her own when it came to her opinions. She looked around and under her breath whispered, "I think I might be a Democrat."

Now, why should that be an admission worthy of hushed tones? The answer is it shouldn't. If I remember correctly, when I first asked my parents about political affiliations they were Democrats. Today I would imagine they would side with the Republican persuassion, but I think they are much more likely to vote issue by issue and candidate by candidate, but she should not feel that she has to keep her affiliation under her breath like a dirty swear word.

Here's my take: Democrat, Republican, whatever. I am progressive. I want to see movement forward. I don't want to sit around and argue about the same old issues at the expense of action. Let's move forward here people! Put the time, energy, and money into acting upon the issues instead of yakking them to death. Now don't get me wrong, I am the queen of yakking, but yakking can occur while we work. Pick up a baby, serve a meal, counsel a teen mom...not only are you serving and moving forward with action, but you can yak in the process if you like.

Seriously, we need to stop getting caught up in labels. Soon as you know it, we will be saying, "Oh yes, he is the pro-life democrat who drinks a double espresso each night at 7." Who cares what they or anyone else says! Who cares what they are called! What do they actually do???

Shakespeare seems to have had it right, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." It is not the name that creates the sweet smell, it is the plant. Look around you, what do the "plants" around you smell like? Then you can decide on their names.