President Barack Obama Facts

Since January of 2009, President Obama has led the United States through wars, severe depression, economic instability and increasing unemployment only to be faced with an ongoing onslaught of continued gridlock, dysfunction and impending issues within Washing, D.C. President Obama’s first term has been a challenge and he has come through with tenacity.

Obama’s second term hopes hinges on his ability to lower unemployment and sooth Americans’ worries over the state of the nation’s finances. On his watch, Americans witnessed the first ever credit downgrade of U.S. government bonds in early August. That followed a month-long battle between Democrats and Republicans over the U.S. budget, where the White House failed to win its proposed “grand-bargain” of budget cuts and revenue raising.¹

To date, however, his second term has been plagued with a barrage of controversies and criticisms from the President Barack Obama State of The Union - 2012public, within his own party and the Republicans. Scandals, IRS classified leaks, Benghazi and the unresolved problems of the Affordable Healthcare Website have paralyzed our government. The President’s ratings have been spiraling downward and his leadership has been ineffective to date. Perhaps trends will change and President Obama will be able to lead and move forward with his second-term agenda.

Despite his setbacks, the former community activist and one-term Illinois senator has already ushered in change in a variety of ways: through his race as the nation’s first African-American president and through potentially revolutionary political tactics that involved reaching out to average citizens through the internet and unprecedented ways.²

Facts You May Not Know About President Barack Obama

  • His favourite meal is wife Michelle’s shrimp linguine.
  • He won a Grammy in 2006 for the audio version of his memoir, Dreams From My Father.
  • He is left-handed — the sixth post-war president to be left-handed.
  • He has read every Harry Potter Book.
  • He worked in a Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop as a teenager and now can’t stand ice cream.
  • He was known as Barry until university when he asked to be addressed by his full name.
  • He carries a tiny Madonna and child statue and a bracelet belonging to a soldier in Iraq for
    good luck.
  • His favourite music includes Miles Davis, Bob Dylan, Bach and the Fugees.
  • He enjoys playing Scrabble and poker.
  • He doesn’t drink coffee and rarely drinks alcohol.
  • He repaid his student loan only four years ago after signing his book deal.
  • He uses an Apple Mac laptop.
  • He wears $1,500 Hart Schaffner Max suits.
  • He has his hair cut once a week by a Chicago barber, Zariff, who charges $21.
  • He keeps on his desk a carving of a wooden hand holding an egg, a Kenyan symbol of the
    fragility of life.³

More Facts About President Obama

  • Obama is distantly related to Vice President Dick Cheney.
  • Obama was the first black president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990.
  • He graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991.
  • While at Punachou Academy, Barack befriended Frank Marshall Davis (1905-1987), a journalist,
    poet, and supposed communist whom he looked to as a role model.
  • Obama is a Christian and a former member of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. He
    has never been a Muslim.
  • After Reverend Wright continued to make inflammatory remarks during Obama’s campaign, Obama
    denounced him and formally quit the congregation of the Trinity United Church of Christ.
  • Obama’s youthful appeal, his social networking on the Internet, and even his texting both promoted
    awareness of his campaign and created a loyal following. His historic use of the Internet will likely
    act as a template for future presidential elections.4

To ensure proper credit is acknowledged concerning the picture, click on President Barack Obama to visit the website source.

Links of Interest
Official Obama Website
Obama on Twitter
Obama Pro &
Obama on the Issues
Barack Obama Biography

¹The Washington Post – Politics; Barack Obama – Why He Matters; View website Washington
²Reuters – Politics; Barack Obama – Election 2012; View website
³The Telegraph News; “Barack Obama – Facts You May Not Know”, By Jon Swaine, 07 Nov 2008; View website.
4 Random Facts – Random Facts and Interesting Trivia for the Curious Mind; “Interesting Facts about Barack Obama”, View website.

Remember your leaders, those who spoke to you the word of God.
Consider the outcome of their way of life, and imitate their faith.  ~Hebrews 13:7

The Eucharist

In receiving the Eucharist, we are given the gifts of grace and the Real presence of Jesus Christ. The Eucharist is a form of nourishment in which we are graced with the interior renewal of body, mind and soul. I believe the Eucharist is God’s gift to mankind with the institution of the Last Supper through his only begotten Son. This reenactment of the Last Supper at each mass allows us to experience the Real presence of Jesus Christ.

Though I lack in knowledge and ability to fully grasp or explain the Last Supper, I do have faith. I accept as truth that the Eucharist was instituted at the Last Supper by Jesus Christ. I also have confidence in the teachings of the Bible, the Blessed Trinity, miracles (Fatima, Medjugorje), the Blessed Virgin Mary, Saints and the Sacraments of the church. And being aware the Bible is subject to interpretation, I pray for guidance when reading the Word of God.

INSTITUTION OF THE HOLY EUCHARISTThe Eucharist - Body & Blood of Jesus Christ
The establishment of the Holy Eucharist became so at the Last Supper with Jesus and his disciples and repeated by them on his instructions as so stated in the Bible: For the tradition I (Paul) received from the Lord and also handed on to you is that on the night he was betrayed, the Lord Jesus took some bread, and after he had given thanks, he broke it, and he said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” And in the same way, with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Whenever you drink it, do this as a memorial of me. Whenever you eat this bread, then, and drink this cup, you are proclaiming the Lord’s death until he comes. Therefore anyone who eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily is answerable for the body and blood of the Lord.”  ~Cor. 1:23-27

The New Covenant — Is the sacrifice of Christ where he gave his life so our sins might be forgiven. His death was redemptive, our sins forgiven and by receiving Christ we also accept God and can find new life through this. At the Last Supper, the Eucharist was instituted and the covenant established through the blood of Jesus. By reenacting the Last Supper at each mass, we can experience the Real presence of Jesus Christ (God-man). God gave us his only son and through his birth, death and resurrection we are saved. Jesus Christ is truly our Savior!

Through Reconciliation (Confession/Penance) we prepare ourselves to receive the Eucharist. Being human, we will never be perfect and the Sacrament of Reconciliation allows us to confess our sins, repent and ensure we are cleansed and ready to receive the Eucharist.

Upon confessing, the priest, acting as the instrument of God, forgives sins committed. During confession, it is important to be honest, humble, and sincerely make penance for the sins committed.

Our divine Savior said the first mass at which time the Eucharist was instituted. The mass is the renewal of the new covenant. Through the reenactment at mass, the miracle of the Eucharist takes place. We are honored with the Real (actual) divine Presence of Christ.

Mass is a time we can give glory to God the Father and thank him for so freely giving us his Son for the forgiveness of our sins. It is a time for renewal, to repent and ask for graces.

The Eucharist... the Real presence of Jesus Christ!DEFINITIONS
Incarnate – Christ became man in the flesh.

Consubstantial  – Of the same substance or essence (i.e. – the three persons of the Blessed Trinity in Christian theology).

The Seven Sacraments – The seven Catholic Sacraments are rituals that direct us to what is sacred, noteworthy and important for Christians. They are special occasions for experiencing God’s saving presence and graces. They are as follows: The Sacraments of Baptism, Eucharist, Reconciliation (Penance of), Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders and Anointing of the Sick.

Miracle – A sensibly perceptible effect, surpassing at least the powers of visible nature, produced by God to witness to some truth or testify to someone’s sanctity.¹

The “Word of God” – God was expressed, explained, defined, and made real to man through the Lord Jesus Christ. The man Jesus Christ was God’s Word, God’s speaking —as the Word of God— not only through words but also through his works.²

Usually when we hear someone speak of the Word of God, we consider only the Bible. However, Cardinal Ratzinger points that the Word of God is Jesus Christ himself who is present in the Eucharist.³

No, I don’t have to go to church or attend Mass to talk to or be with Christ. And yes, I believe Christ (God) is everywhere at any given point in time. I talk with Jesus, pray to Jesus and accept that Jesus is with me at home, while walking or at work and play. However, attending Mass is the ultimate expression of my affection for Christ and his for me; it’s my safe place to spend quite time with my Savior, Jesus Christ.

Just as people make time to attend various functions and activities (graduations, weddings, NASCAR races, concerts, hiking and camping) to honor, respect or appreciate being a part of an experience, so it is with me when attending mass. Making time demonstrates the desire, intent and participation in not only mass, but receiving the Eucharist. I attend mass to embrace and receive the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Resource Links:
Miracles of the Eucharist
The Catholic Bible 101
The Real Presence
The Purpose of Mass
The Catholic Mass
Holy Communion

¹John A. Hardon, S.J., “A Modern Catholic Dictionary” (1999)
²A God-Man In Christ – Christ as the incarnate Word of God fully explained God, defined God, and expressed God!; 05-17-2011.
³Catholicism for Everyone – Ratzinger on the meaning of the Word of God. Holy Mother Church Blog; 05-07-2011.

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,
which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.  ~Ephesians 2:10

Why Do Leaves Change Color?

Have you ever wondered why do leaves change color? If you happen to be in the New England area during the fall foliage, you will experience some of the most astounding colors of fall. The best time to view this autumn wonder is from mid- to late September through to October, depending on where you are located at the time in beautiful New England.

People oftentimes believe the change in the coloring of leaves are attributed to the drop in temperature; not so. So why do leaves change color? It seems that the change in the coloring of leaves has more to do with the sunshine and length of day rather than changes in temperature. This change in the color of leaves is called photosynthesis.

Think of photosynthesis as being a process in which specific steps occur inside the cells of the green plants Beautiful Fall Colors in Maine!which help to create the food plants need to grow and reproduce. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants are nourished and able to thrive. In order for this process to take place, plants require a certain amount of sunlight, water and carbon dioxide which in turn produces glucose (a type of sugar). Glucose is used by plants as food for energy and growth.

So to review, the way plants and trees turn water and carbon dioxide into sugar is called photosynthesis. The chemical called chlorophyll (found in the cells of green plants) helps to make photosynthesis happen and is what gives plants their green color.

Not all deciduous trees that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season turn vivid colors. Maple, aspen, oak and gum provide us with the most spectacular display of colors in the fall season. As the days grow shorter, there is less light. The lack of daylight triggers chemical changes within the plants causing them to shed their leaves.

The chemical changes which take place in the fall literally choke the leaves from receiving necessary nutrients to sustain life or from eliminating. Once the leaves are unable to sustain themselves, the stage is set for the leaves to turn from their green to the more stunning and intense colors of orange, yellow, red and brown.

The above explanation as to why leaves change colors is simplified; however, it does provide good insight and information.

Useful Links:
Storm Fax
Why Do Leaves Change Color in the Fall?
Why Leaves Change Color

In teaching others we teach ourselves.  ~Proverb

Why Do People Lie?

Yes, why do people lie? The reasons why people lie are never-ending. Generally do so out of fear of consequences, to protect self, being uncomfortable or awkward. Basically we lie out of self-interest and to maintain control.

People lie to benefit or protect themselves in some way or to impress others in a social situation. For example, individuals may lie to get a promotion by overstating their achievements for a job or to impress others to gain friends. Public officials seeking office may lie about their goals and objectives in order to obtain votes. Children, teens and young adults might possibly lie to avoid punishment, to receive praise or in hopes of getting a reward.

Lies are oftentimes expressed when people feel uncomfortable with personal or embarrassing questions. Fear of consequences may provoke the individual into being evasive by stating the question is intrusive or offensive. Many find it easier to lie than tell the truth.Why Do People Lie?

Sometimes people will lie to avoid hurting the feelings of others. The lie hurts no one whereas the truth could be considered rude or hurtful. Not all lies are spiteful, mean or done purely for self-interest.

A study published in the Journal for Basic and Applied Psychology found that the people surveyed, 60 percent had lied at least once during a 10-minute conversation, with an average of 2.92 lies per person.¹

According to Feldman, extroverts lie more than introverts, men lie no more than women, and virtually everyone lies at work.²

How to Tell if Someone is Lying
Saltz said that there’s no foolproof way to tell if someone is lying, but there are some behaviors to watch for:

  • Avoiding eye contact. Is the person looking down or away?
  • Change in voice tone. Is the person speaking in a higher or lower pitch than usual or
    speaking faster?
  • Body language. Is the person turning away, covering the mouth or face, or fidgeting?
  • Contradicting what was said earlier. Is the person saying something when he or she
    said something different earlier?³

Everyone is guilty of lying at one time or another to a lesser or greater degree. Personally I can live with the lesser degree of lying but would rather not invest my time in a relationship where lying affects the level of trust. As with all things… the degree of and motive is the key.

Resource Links:
How to Detect Lies
Why People Lie – Telltale Signs
The Truth About Lying
Why Do People Lie?
When Do You Lie?
Psychology – Why We Lie

¹Source: Psychology @ Suite 101, Why Do People Lie? The Truth About Motivation for Lying
²Same as footnote #1.
³Same as footnote#1.

 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is
good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace to the hearers.  ~Ephesians 4:29

Interesting Links

I enjoy finding new and interesting resources while searching the web. Below are an assortment of resource links found and thought I would share them with you.

Adopt A Pet — Cat adoption, dog adoption and more; see photos. Find a humane society, animal shelter or SPCA. Adoptions save pets! Consider adoption before buying a pet from a breeder or pet store.

Cat — Offers articles, checklist and advice on feeding, training, health care and news about your cat.

Pet MD — Learn about your pets breed, latest news, ask a vet, symptom checker, health library and more.

Gas Buddy — Find the cheapest gas in your area (USA and Canada). The Gas Buddy website lets you search for gas prices by city, state, zip code; updated in real time.

Windows — Everything Microsoft forgot to mention.

Quixey— Search engine for apps.

Everything — An unofficial Microsoft site with the latest news, rumors, tips and tutorials.

Kim Komando – Official home page of the radio show about computers, technology and the internet. Includes download program of the day, video of the day, tips, links, free downloads and more. — empowers users to share, listen and download sound clips that have been uploaded to its site. Remember, we are not a .com… we are a .ps!

The Bible in 100 Days — Read the entire Bible in 100 days; easy to do and a challenge worth taking.

Religious — This religious website aims to be the largest single source of news about religion, spirituality and ideas.

U B Libraries — The UB Libraries offer a variety of teaching and support services to increase undergraduate and graduate students’ ability to locate appropriate library materials and reference services.

The — The Bump gives first-time parents the lowdown of fertility, pregnancy, birth and babies with stage-by-stage advice, stylish ideas, local resources and interactive tools – all in one savvy online community.

Brain — This website is considered an authoritative source of information about the brain and nervous system for the public.

Made In USA — Products and services mad in USA. Help support our economy, create and keep more jobs at home while supporting USA!

Free Make Music Box — Search for free online music and listen to millions of online songs. Easily organize your music in one place.

Past — The news homepage archives.

Frrole — The newspaper for the next generation. Discover your city, your country and the whole wide world in a new way. A place where you get news and buzz right from the source, without any bias and in real time! — Read less and learn more! The most thought-provoking and entertaining stories are selected from hundreds of U.S and international sources and reduce them to a headline, picture and two paragraphs; and we do it 24/7.

OPINION – SOCIAL PLATFORM — The social action platform that empowers anyone, anywhere to start, join and win campaigns to change the world.

SHOPPING — When you shop here, you shop everywhere. We search all the top stores so you don’t have to. — No product hype, just reviews. A place to read reviews, get advice and share with others.

Coupon — Here you will find promotional coupons you can redeem when shopping online at thousands of different retailers.

Room Key — Direct access to a broad network of hotels around the globe. An easy and simple way to find and book the perfect hotel.

Come back often and review this page. We will be adding new websites. Feel free to submit your favorite links to us… we may it within our listing.

“People need loving the most when they
deserve it the least.”  ~John Harrison

What’s In A Word?

You may ask yourself, What’s in a word? Simply stated… allot! Words are powerful and can promote or destroy one’s emotional state causing long-term issues. To ensure articles and comments are acceptable, content will be monitored by editor. Abusive and hurtful remarks will not be tolerated.

Name calling, bullying, stating or repeating half-truths and lies seem to be the accepted norm today. Standards in reporting are at an all-time low. Statements can be made anonymously today without providing Honesty, integrity and truth will prevail!proof and the truth is not a requirement anymore. By the time lies are proven false, the damage has been done; mission accomplished, especially in the political arena.

Words are powerful and once spoken cannot be taken back. It is common place today to see articles filled with hateful and malicious attitudes and, unfortunately are the accepted norm. Years back when inaccurate or harmful statements were made, individuals were held accountable and responsible for their content. Inaccurate or harmful statements and articles were subjected to lawsuits on grounds of defamation of character. There were consequences for reporting false and inaccurate information.

So, what’s in a word? You tell me. I have chosen and listed an assortment of words below. What thoughts come to mind when reading the words? Do some stand out more than others? Do you feel warm and fuzzy, disgusted, happy or experiencing shame? What words seem to have impacted you the most?

       Hurtful & Caring Words
Worthless Loved
Idiot Smart
Malicious Kind
Unwanted Loved
Ugly Beautiful
Repulsive Worthy
Fat Attractive
Useless Wanted
Stupid Intelligent
Useless Loving
Atheist Christian
Divorce Parents
Gay Straight
Distrusting Hopeful

The press seems to have a free pass today running rampant with innuendos and half-truths and it’s accepted without refute. Even an apology cannot take back the damage done to an individual or family. It’s time those reporting the news or making inaccurate statements be held accountable for their lack of reporting the truth!

Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth;
unite my heart to fear your name.  ~Psalm 86:11

Where Does God Belong?

Where does God belong in our world today? I believe God belongs wherever he chooses to belong and he doesn’t need my permission to “belong” anywhere. In the grand scheme of things, I’m here on borrowed time, a visitor while spending my time here on earth. Ultimately, when visit here ends my spiritual journey will bring me to my next step… to God.

U.S. laws may legally ban Christian symbols, images and speaking God’s name within groups, clubs, organizations and at various public functions, but God can accompany us from within our thoughts and actions no matter where we go or what we do. As individuals, we have the right, freedom and privilege to attend Christian functions and schools. Being a power of example is the best way present God to alThe Western Wall considered by both Jews and Muslims as a significant holy site.l!

Life’s lessons taught me that when relying on my own resources, the end results left me feeling empty and lost. Accepting God has added quality, direction, purpose and peace within my life. I’m no longer alone nor feel empty or lost. If you were to ask me where does God belong, other than within me… wherever he chooses to be!

My faith is not based on fear or shame. When attending mass, it’s because I want to… not because I should or have to. At times I go to our Church to visit God, to honor him without distractions. It just seems more special in Church and something I choose to do. The God I believe in is kind, forgiving and accepts me no matter what. He loves me unconditionally.

I don’t need to be at church to spend time with God. There are no set rules with how one chooses to have a relationship with him; attending mass does not work for everyone. The freedom of choice concerning if and how one chooses to honor God (Supreme Being, Creator) is personal, as it should be.

During my brief lifetime, I do hope I’ve made some small difference somewhere. I may not have control over world events or the ability to change people’s actions or behaviors, but I can pray. I have personally seen the power of prayer change lives, including mine. I have read stories in which miracles have occurred through the practice and power of faith and prayer. It’s helpful for me to be aware that prayer is never wasted.

For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them.  ~Matthew 18:20

God is and always will be. He is constant and omnipotent. Even though mankind may abandon God, destroy themselves and the world, God will prevail. For the non-believer, it is your choice and I acknowledge your decision. However, don’t be offended if I wish to pray for non-believers; as a Christian, it is my responsibility and privilege to do so.

I have included views on the topics of religion, spirituality and atheism. The descriptions below are infoChristianity, faith, God & Jesusrmative and interesting. Being fully aware not everyone believes in God, it’s important other views are presented allowing a place where we can learn from one another.

Religion is spiritual and spirituality is religious. One tends to be more personal and private while the other tends to incorporate public rituals and organized doctrines. The lines between on and the other are not clear and distinct — they are all points on the spectrum of belief systems known as religion. Neither religion nor spirituality is better or worse than the other; people who try to pretend that such a difference does not exist are only fooling themselves.¹

One may be a spiritual person, living in communion with God, nature and one’s fellow beings, without the structures and formulae of organized religion. On the other hand, organized religion is not the ogre some freethinkers would have us believe. Many of the most sublime outpourings of love and faith have occurred within the sanctuary and teachings of Church, mosque, zendo and ashram. Where spirit is concerned, the forms cherished by the many may, but do not necessarily have to, lead to a life of spiritual fulfillment. — Linda Brown Holt from blog, June 21, 2006²

Atheism is, in a broad sense, the rejection of belief in the existence of deities.* In a narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities. Most inclusively, atheism is simply the absence of belief that any deities exist. Atheism is contrasted with theism, which in its most general form is the belief that at least one deity exists.³

A deity is a recognized pre-natural or supernatural immortal being, who may be thought of as holy, divine or sacred, held in high regard, and respected by believers.
¹Religion vs. Spirituality – Distinguishing Between Religion and Spirituality; By Austin Cline, About.comGuid.
²Exploring Common Themes in World Religions and the Role of Nature in the Spiritual Quest; Copyright © 2011, Linda Brown Holt; All rights reserved.
³Atheism defined, dictionary reference (

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this:
While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  ~Romans 5:8


Faith is believing in something without requiring proof (i.e. – faith is the way of holding onto what we hope for, being certain of what we cannot see — Hebrews 11:1). One can have faith in:

  • Faith in God
  • Faith in people (such as skills or abilities)
  • Faith in things (personal causes or nature)

Faith is believing in something without needing proofConcerning people, it is easier for me to base my faith on trusting in the abilities and skills of others vs. personal relationships. It helps to keep expectations in perspective knowing no one is perfect. We all make mistakes; as a result I find it difficult to place my faith in individuals. My faith in God is based more of need knowing God loves me unconditionally. God accepts me as I am, no matter what and my journey with him is personal and private, as it should be.

Regardless of my faith of origin, how I believe in God is of my own conviction. My faith is intertwined with my religious beliefs and yet remains independent of my religion. Being exposed to various faiths, I realized that there is no one religion that I would agree with all teachings. And rather jump around seeking the perfect religion, I returned to my faith of origin which embraces my core beliefs: Believe in the Blessed Trinity (Father, Son & Holy Spirit), the Blessed Sacraments, the Blessed Virgin Mary, saints and miracles.

My belief or faith in God involves more than a mental conviction; it also includes action (i.e. – praying, attending mass, reading and discussing the Bible, asking God to help me change, seeking to be a power of example). I learned that by acting as if, everything else will fall into place. This has worked for me and helped define my faith.

In order for my faith to thrive, it needs to be developed through change; it is an ongoing process that helps me to avoid complacency to grab hold. The best thing about faith… it is free and available to all humanity through free will!

Which Faith Will You Receive?
Which one will you receive?
Human Faith is blind.
God’s faith sees.
Human faith comes from the human.
God’s faith comes from God.
Human faith believes without evidence.
God’s faith is the evidence of things not seen.
Human faith speaks lies.
God’s faith speaks the Truth.
Human faith works with human hope, human, “I hope so” hope.
God’s faith works with God’s hope, eternal, abiding, sure hope.
Human faith works with human love, selfish, self-exalting love.
God’s faith works with God’s love, self-sacrificing, giving of hope.
Human faith believes what it wants to be true.Reading the Bible is a good thing to do
God’s faith believes what God shows to be true.
Human faith believes in such things as:
-global warming,
-safe immortality,
-changing the laws of God,
-human ways, human methods.
God’s faith believes in such things as:
-Forgiveness, healing and righteousness through Christ
-Christ’s sure coming,
-God’s unfailing judgements,
-God’s unchanging righteousness,
-God’s ways, God’s methods.
Human faith opens the door to a relationship with the human mind.
God’s faith opens the door to a relationship with God.
Will you choose the human faith, or will you choose the faith of God.
Which one will you receive?¹

Christ invites you to join himQuotations about Faith²

  • Fear knocked at the door. Faith answered. And lo, no one was there.  ~Author Unknown
  • Faith is putting all your eggs in God’s basket, then counting your blessings before they hatch.
    ~Ramona C. Carroll
  • Faith makes things possible, not easy.  ~Author Unknown
  • Of course I doubt. I do not practice a certainty. I practice a faith.  ~Robert Brault
  • As your faith is strengthened you will find that there is no longer the need to have a sense
    of control, that things will flow as they will, and that you will flow with them, to your great delight and benefit.  ~Emmanuel
  • A little faith will bring your soul to heaven, but a lot of faith will bring heaven to your soul. ~Author Unknown
  • Faith is believing that the outcome will be what it should be, no matter what it is.
    ~Colette Baron-Reid
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase.
    ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your Personal Journey
Perhaps your views on faith differ from what has been discussed. That’s the wonderful thing about free will. Each of us can choose to live our lives as we wish. I hope that when my time comes to pass on, I’ll have lived a life that is full of hope and that I have affected at least one person’s life along the way.

Links of Interest:
Faith Facts
Catholics United for Faith (CUF)
Changing Minds
World Council of Churches
Religion Fact-Religion Chart
¹Source: Copyright Bob and Kathy Stenson, Freeware; use it freely.
²Source: The Quote Garden, Quotations About Faith. The Quote Garden

For by Grace you are saved through faith; and that
not of yourselves: it is the gift of God.  ~Ephesians 2:8


Christmas is about Christianity, Santa Claus and the gift of giving. There was a time when Christmas was viewed more as an acknowledgement on the birth of Jesus Christ and not solely one of gift giving. It was a holiday embraced by Christians and a time of giving and receiving without offending non-believers.

Don’t misunderstand me, Christmas was a time of bearing gifts when I was young, but we also went to mass and celebrated the birth of baby Jesus. We read bible stories on the birth of Jesus, of the Three Wise Men and King Merry Christmas - Protect the Christmas TreeHerod’s fear of Christ’s birth. Going to church was a tradition as well as opening gifts on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning. And as a child, I believed in the birth of Christ and Santa Claus.

Gifts were not being displayed as intensely after Halloween as is the case today. Thanksgiving was given full attention prior Christmas. And I had the freedom to openly discuss my belief and faith without my job being threatened or rudely told to shut up and not discuss Christmas or my faith because it was offensive and illegal to do so.

Where did we go from a Nation of honoring Christ and embracing the word Christmas to one of wanting to strip away the word Christmas from stores, within community displays and public places? Happy Holidays is now touted so people won’t be offended vs. Merry Christmas. What about Christians being offended and disregarded as to our reason for the season? Christmas is a part of my faith and is my holiday. If someone is offended, they can go elsewhere to shop, change the TV or radio station.

We are a nation of whiners who are afraid to speak our minds so we won’t have to bear the wrath of minority groups threatening our freedom of free speech. Political correctness outweighs spontaneity and the ability to speak our minds without checking with a lawyer first.

Sensitivity has been taken to a new level. We are so cautious of offending minority rights that we have given up our own freedom in the process. If I were to speak my thoughts openly on various topics, I’d be considered small-minded, phobic, biased, judgmental, prejudice or insensitive. And then there is the retaliation from minority groups when one does not agree with their freedom of speech or beliefs.

It would be great if people would allow others the same freedom of speech and beliefs as they so insist be given to them. I may not agree with a particular lifestyle or behavior, but that doesn’t mean I don’t like or respect that individual. It simply means I think Christian Christmas Nativity - The Birth of Jesusdifferently and as an American, it is my God given right to have an opinion. I may not agree with one’s political affiliation or religious belief but that doesn’t mean I wish them harm or will treat them with less respect for their views.

So again I ask… what about Christmas? Christmas is the beginning, the birth of Christ leading us into the Easter season when he dies and rises from the dead. It is through his resurrection I am saved giving me everlasting life upon leaving this world.

Christmas is a time when I celebrate life, hope and faith in Jesus. It is filled with memories of leaving milk and cookies for Santa, singing Christian songs to celebrate the birth of baby Jesus and decorating the Christmas tree with family. We didn’t have much which made Christmas that much more special.

The prelude to Christmas is an important time in leading up to Christmas day. The Christmas spirit is felt amongst the crowds and people take great joy in the spirit of giving. It is a time when many visit with family and friends. People’s spirits are light and moods are lifted to a new level of joy and sharing without expectations or conditions. There is more tolerance and love. With all the joy filled spirits and happiness being spread, you would think people would embrace this holiday and join in the celebration.

Christmas should not be a time of divisiveness but one of acceptance, love and tolerance. After all, Christ was born to save us, it’s only fitting we help continue to spread the glad tidings. On that note, I offer glad tidings to all and to all a good night! Ho, Ho, Ho and a very Merry Christmas to all… and God bless.

Resource Links
Christmas Campaign
Catholic History & Tradition
Christmas-Religious Facts
Christmas Traditions Around the World
Interesting Facts About Christmas

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign, Behold, the virgin shall
conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.  ~Isaiah 7:14

U.S. Presidential Trivia

Trivia, especially U.S. Presidential Trivia can be fun to read and learn from. There are times when pure enjoyment and fun are a requirement if one is to maintain sanity and keep their humor intact.

Let’s have fun while learning about our U.S. Presidents. For readers that can’t seem to get enough of trivia, I have added links at the bottom of this page.

Presidential Firsts

  • President John Adams was the first President to live in the White House
  • Thomas Jefferson was the first President to be inaugurated in Washington, D.C.
  • James Garfield was the first left-handed President
  • The first President to resign from office was Richard Milhous Nixon
  • President Herbert Hoover was the first President to have a phone in his officeU.S. Presidential Trivia and Firsts
  • Andrew Jackson was the first President to ride on a train
  • President Theodore Roosevelt was the first President to be awarded the Nobel Peace Price (1906)
  • Bill Clinton was the first President to be Rhodes Scholar
  • John Adams was the first President to have a pet in the White House
  • Jimmy Carter was the first President born in a hospital
  • George Washington was the first President to be on a postage stamp
  • The first President to be assassinated was President Lincoln on April 14th, 1865
  • Ronald Reagan was the first President to have been divorced and the first to wear contact lenses
  • Benjamin Harrison was the first President to have a Christmas Tree in the White House
  • John F. Kennedy was the first Catholic President. He was also the first President who was a Boy Scout

U.S. Presidential Trivia

  • After serving his term as President, President William Howard Taft later served on the Supreme Court as the Chief Justice of the United States
  • Eight Presidents never attended college:  George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Milard Filmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson and Grover Cleveland.
  • At age 42, President Theodore Roosevelt was the youngest President. He succeeded to the office upon the assassination of President William McKinley
  • Rather than face impeachment over the Watergate scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned his Presidency
  • Eight Presidents died in office:  William Henry Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Abraham Lincoln, James Garfield, William McKinley, Warren Harding, Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy.

I do hope that the trivia about our U.S. Presidents has provided you with some amusement and information that you were not aware of.

Links of Interest
Facts and Firsts
List of U.S. Presidents
Who Knew? U.S. Presidents Trivia
U.S. Presidential Trivia
Presidential Info

Top Health Concerns

The top health concerns facing the U.S. today include: Heart disease, cancer, respiratory, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease are leading the list of top health concerns and challenges facing us today. They are pressing issues for all genders and nationalities. I have also added obesity amongst children, teens and adults followed by lack of physical activity to include in this list as well.

Regardless of your nationality, gender or age, health issues either are or will be of concern to most of us during our lifetime. And with the soaring health costs showing no relief in the near future, it is distressing to think about. Even with the Affordable Care Act, there are allot of unknowns to be seen.  There will still be families that will be unable to afford or have access to health care. Then there is the mandatory fee to be imposed on individuals that do not choose to sign up to the government plan.

Presented below are health concerns pertaining to general health. The list is not complete but does touch upon major health problems we face today.

It is estimated that heart disease, for both men and women, kills the largest number of AHeart disease kills!mericans each year. Many forms of heart disease can be prevented or treated with healthy lifestyle choices.

Healthy choices include:

  • Quit smoking
  • Eat a low-fat and low-sodium diet
  • Exercise consistently
  • Regular checkups
  • Remember, moderation is the key

Heart disease (cardiovascular disease) related issues associated with the heart include: heart attacks, stroke, atherosclerosis (plaque buildup), arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat), hypertension and blood pressure.

Resource Links:
American Heart Association
Web MD
Mayo Clinic

Cancer is a terrible disease that ravages the body and it does not discriminate and shows no mercy. Regardless if you are male or female, young or old, rich or poor, cancer does not care… we are susceptible to cancer and it plays no favorites.

Cancer does not discriminate!Top cancers in the U.S. include:

  • Lung cancer
  • Skin Cancer
  • Breast Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Colorectal Cancer

There are preventative measures we can take to reduce cancers: Avoid smoking, eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, use sunscreen, limit time in the sun and schedule regular cancer screenings are some suggestions.

Support from family, friends and groups can help families deal with the issues that arise when someone we love has cancer. It’s important to spend quality time with your loved ones while you can.

If you would like to learn more about cancer, reliable resource links with good information is listed below. Cancer research has made enormous strides in better understanding the various types of cancers and continued advancement in this field will continue offering hope to future generations.

Resource Links
Cancer Ribbon Color Card
American Cancer Society
National Cancer Institute
Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Respiratory diseases, such as chronic asthmatic bronchitis and emphysema belong to a class of diseases called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD. Damage caused by COPD eventually interferes with normal breathing. COPD is a leading cause of death and illness in the U.S. and abroad. The damage caused to your lungs cannot be reversed and treatment is focused on lessening and controlling symptoms from causing further damage.

Top respiratory diseases in the U.S.

  • Bronchitis
  • Asthma
  • COPD
  • Emphysema
  • Lung Cancer
  • Tuberculosis
  • Influenza
  • Pneumonia

Tobacco (including second-hand smoke) and indoor/outdoor air quality are important risk factors associated with Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabeteschronic respiratory diseases.

If you are currently a smoker, you may want to consider the direct impact on how the smoke affects your lungs, your family and friends. In addition, smokers increase their risk of developing lung cancer, COPD and asthma which can lead to a shorter lifespan.

Should you want to stop smoking, contact your doctor and develop a support system. Take time to attend support groups and search online for reliable support sources. Be kind to yourself, you’re the only “you” there is!

Resource Links
American Lung Association
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. Over time and left unchecked diabetes is associated with kidney damage, damage to the nerves and cause heart disease and blindness.

You have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes if you are older, obese, have a family history of diabetes, or do not exercise. The symptoms of type 2 diabetes appear slowly. Some people do not notice symptoms at all. Symptoms can include:

  • Being very thirsty (more than usual)
  • Frequent urination
  • Increase of appetite (increased hunger)
  • Weight loss (without trying)
  • Fatigue (tired and irritable)
  • Having sores that heal slowly or frequent infections
  • Having blurry eyesight (affects your ability to focus clearly)

Preventative measures include the loss of extra weight, regular exercise and a healthy diet. Regular doctor visits and help from a dietician can be invaluable when choosing to make important lifestyle changes.

Resource Links
Diabetes Self-Management
American Diabetes Association
National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease of mental deterioration causing severe memory problems and confusion. Over the past decade, there has been substantial progress in understanding genetic, potential environmental and other risk factors and how Alzheimer’s Disease affects the regions of the brain.

Alzheimer's is a progressive diseaseUnfortunately, there still is no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, there are effective treatment options that help to slow the progression. It is important to note that drugs currently being used treat the symptoms and not the cause of the conditions and does not cure it.

Families and Caregivers — Those caring for a person with Alzheimer’s can impact the caregivers physically, emotionally and financially. The difficulties of day-to-day care and making tough decisions concerning long-term care can weigh heavily on the caregivers.

Become informed; get involved in programs that offer information on the various stages and long-term strategies in dealing with Alzheimer’s. Direction and strategies can help relieve stress and provide hope.

Some caregivers find relief and hopefulness within support groups, they feel heard and understood; they are no longer alone. Support groups are a great place to find comfort and information on various topics and services from people who care and have been where you are. As the Alzheimer’s disease progresses, caregivers will have a place to openly discuss and receive support when the time comes to make difficult decisions. Indeed, it is a sad and frustrating disease that you don’t have to go through alone.

Resource Links:
Alzheimer’s Association
Bright Focus Foundation
Alzheimer’s Foundation of America

Upon researching top health issues facing the U.S. today, a common theme addressed were child obesity and lack of exercise. It was repeatedly listed as one of the top concerns facing kids’ health. Unless the problem is curved, it will continue to hold top lace as one of the most urgent health problem(s) in our country.

There is no magic bullet in reversing the growing trend of child and adult obesity. It is important to remember that children learn through example. If parents, family and friends choose a healthy lifestyle, the children may very well copy what they see.

For most children, being overweight is the result of unhealthy eating habits (too many calories) and not enough physical activity. Since these habits are established in early childhood, efforts to prevent obesity should begin early. Ways to encourage child activity:

  • Help children develop healthy eating habits
  • Provide healthy meals and snacks
  • Promote regular physical exercise through family participation
  • Reduce inactivity (limit computer and TV time)
  • Encourage children to participate in school and outdoor activities
  • Parents – Be a power of example, become involved

Childhood obesity can have immediate and damaging long-term effects on their health and overall well-being. If children are not helped to change their sedentary lifestyle, they can face heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other life-threatening health issues as they become adults.

Resource Links:
Choose My Plate
Let’s Move
We Can Movement
Obesity Action Coalition
Shape Up America

Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may
be in good health, as it goes well with your soul.  ~3 John 1:2


Tolerance – Pros and cons
Are there times when lack of tolerance is acceptable? Is tolerance over emphasized today? As a society, should we be tolerant at all times, always accepting and understanding no matter what?

We are a nation of many freedoms and rights. Freedom of speech is a right and privilege to be used with caution and respect, particularly when expressing differing viewpoints or concerns. It should not be used as a means to manipulate and incite but rather to inform and discuss.

Pro — Tolerance

  • Tolerance allows for acceptance within our society;
  • It provides the ability to express one’s opinions as well as listen to others and learn from each other;
  • Offers the opportunity to discuss differences without ramifications;
  • Tolerance promotes compromise and change.

Con — Tolerance

  • Tolerance is understandable to a point, but there does come a time when enough is enough;
  • I’ll tolerate your behavior, if you tolerate mine;
  • Tolerance is sometimes abused, i.e. – using the race card to instill distrust or confusion in manipulating facts, the truth or preventing expression of opinions;
  • I don’t like the sexual behaviors of gays but accept them as individuals; does this mean I’m not tolerant?

Toleration — ToleratingTolerance - Pros & Cons
Defined as, “The practice of deliberately allowing or permitting a thing of which one disapproves.” Tolerance may signify “no more than forbearance and the permission given by the adherents of a dominant religion for other religions to exist, even though the latter are looked on with disapproval as inferior, mistaken or harmful”. One can meaningfully speak of tolerance, i.e. of allowing or permitting, only if one is in a position to disallow.” It has also been defined as, “to bear or endure” or “to nourish, sustain or preserve”.¹

Tolerate — Tolerant — Tolerance — Toleration
There is only one verb ‘to tolerate’ and one adjective ‘tolerant’, but the two nouns ‘tolerance’ and ‘toleration’ have evolved slightly different meanings. Tolerance is an attitude of mind that implies non-judgmental acceptance of different lifestyles or beliefs, whereas toleration implies putting up with something that one disapproves of.²

Not enduring; not able to endure. Not tolerating difference of opinion or sentiment, especially in religious matters; refusing to allow others the enjoyment of their opinions, rights or worships; unjustly impatient of the opinion of those that disagree with us; not tolerant; bigoted.³

In a world where diversity is ever present in so many areas of our lives, it’s important to be allowed to safely and freely express opinions and concerns, both pro and con. The day we become stifled and complacent as a society is the day we begin to lose our heritage, values and freedoms.

¹Perez Zagorin, How the Idea of Religious Tolerance Came to the West (Princeton; Princeton University Press 2003) ISBN 0691092702, pp. 5-6, quoting D.D. Raphael et al. From Wikipedia.
²Toleration – Article from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article may contain original research. Please improve it by verifying the claims made and adding references. Statements consisting only of original research may be removed. More details may be available on the talk page.
³Source: Definition from Word Solver website.

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him
who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”  ~John 8:7

Thanksgiving Trivia and Facts

Entertaining Thanksgiving Trivia and Facts contained in this article… In 1621 the Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest feast that is acknowledged today as one of the first Thanksgiving celebration in the colonies. For more than two centuries, days of thanksgiving were celebrated by individual colonies and states.

Truly we have much to be thankful for. It is a privilege to be a citizen of the United States of America. Our forefathers have given us much, and so let us do the same for future generations to come by ensuring they inherit a great Nation that was so freely passed onto us.

I have included interesting tidbits to help peak reader interest in regards to the Thanksgiving Holiday which by the way, is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November.

Thanksgiving Trivia and FactsThanksgiving Facts and Trivia

  • Since Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving holiday in 1863, Thanksgiving has been observed annually.
  • The first Thanksgiving was not a feast, but rather a time when Native Americans helped Pilgrims by bringing them food and helping them build off the land.
  • Corn is one of the popular symbols of Thanksgiving. It came in many varieties and colors – red, white, yellow and blue. Some Americans considered blue and white corn sacred.
  • Americans eat roughly 535 million pounds of turkey on Thanksgiving day.
  • It is estimated that fifty percent of Americans put the stuffing inside the turkey.
  • Turkeys were one of the first animals in the Americas to be domesticated.
  • In 2007, George W. Bush granted a pardon to two turkeys named May and Flower. The tradition of pardoning Thanksgiving turkeys began in 1947, although Lincoln is said to have informally started the practice when he pardoned his son’s pet turkey.
  • The Plymouth Pilgrims dined with the Wampanoag Indians for the first Thanksgiving.
  • In 1827, Sarah Josepha Hale, magazine editor, campaigned and succeeded in making Thanksgiving a National Holiday.
  • President Lincoln declared the last Thursday in November as a national day of thanksgiving, and in 1941 Congress established the fourth Thursday in November as the celebrated national holiday.
  • Established in 1924, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade ties for second as the oldest Thanksgiving parade. The Snoopy balloon has appeared in the parade more than any other character. It is noted that 44 million people watch the parade on TV each year and another 3 million attend the parade in person.
  • 91% of Americans eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day.
  • In 2001, the U.S. Postal Service issued a Thanksgiving stamp to honor the tradition of “being thankful” for the abundance of goods we enjoy in the United States of America.
  • Thanksgiving can occur as early as November 22nd and as late as November 28th.
  • The Friday after Thanksgiving is called Black Friday mostly because stores hope the busy shopping day will take them out of the red and into the plus for profits. Black Friday has been a tradition since the 1930’s.

Thanksgiving Quotes

  • God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used on to say ‘thank you?’  ~William A. Ward
  • Here I am, 5 o’clock in the morning stuffing bread crumbs up a dead bird’s butt.  ~Roseanne Barr
  • True thanksgiving means that we need to thank God for what He has done for us, and not to tell Him what we have done for him.  ~George R. Hendrick
  • You can tell you ate too much for Thanksgiving when you have to let your bathrobe out.  ~Jay Leno
  • You will speed the day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing. Free at last, free at last. Thank God Almighty, I’m free at last.  ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year and then discover a year is way too often.  ~Johnny Carson
  • If the only prayer you ever say in your whole life is “thank you”, that would suffice.  ~Meister Eckhart
  • As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.  ~John F. Kennedy

Proclamation of ThanksgivingGiving Thanks to God With Family & Friends
President Abraham Lincoln served as the 16th President of the United States serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led the country through its greatest constitutional, military and moral crises —the American Civil War— preserving the Union while ending slavery and promoting economic and financial modernization.

Some presidents proclaimed Thanksgiving while others did not. It wasn’t until 1863, in the midst of the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national Thanksgiving Day to be held each November.

Below is the Proclamation of Thanksgiving which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving by President Abraham Lincoln.

Proclamation of Thanksgiving – Washington, D.C. – October 3rd, 1863
The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3rd, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

By the President of the United States of America A Proclamation
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well as iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the Whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in the foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverance’s and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.¹

By the President:  Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

¹Proclamation of Thanksgiving by the United States of America, Abraham Lincoln. Source:  Proclamation of Thanksgiving.

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the
Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  ~Ephesians 5:20

Power of Prayer

Power of prayer… it’s real and potent. Praying is something we can all do alone or with others. Prayer can consist of a single word or a phrase, “help” or “God, please help me”. To put it simply, prayer is a form of personal communication with God (talking and listening). When I pray today, it is with less expectation and more about acceptance of the outcome. I seek the ability to seek his will, not mine and believe all will be well no matter what. Sometimes I struggle more with the process but come out stronger in the end.

If you do not believe in prayer or God, I suggest you not continue reading this article as you may find it offensive. You have every right to leave and I respect your convictions in doing so.Power of Prayer - The Bible

Daily distractions and life-problems can be overwhelming creating a state of fear and paralysis, hopelessness and depression. Available choices may seem limited and desperation takes hold of the soul. What helps me the most is to take action and make time to talk with God seeking answers from within. Spending time with God helps me to become balanced while lifting the veil of negativity and futility. Taking positive action is self-empowering and instills the motivation necessary to move forward towards change.

Beginning the morning with prayer direct my focus and thoughts towards God at the onset of the day. Spending ‘quiet’ time with God is important to establish a friendship knowing it’s not always about asking, but also listening.


  • Your day can begin at anytime — day or night;
  • Set aside a specific time each day to spend time with God;
  • Invite God into your life not only to be of help, but to enjoy time with your daily routines;
  • When negative thought-reruns takes hold, ask God to help redirect your thoughts or say a prayer;
  • Place notes with a word or symbol in selected areas of your environment as a reminder to connect with God throughout the day or evening.

Spirituality is a personal journey; it is important you find creative ways that works for you. There is no right or wrong way to develop a relationship with God. I find my time is the most valuable gift I have to offer anyone… and the most difficult to give. And with my time being such a difficult thing to give, it makes it that more meaningful when I put time aside for him.

I certainly don’t have the answers or road map as to how prayer works. It does provide inner-peace and comfort when seeking direction or relief. Over the years with much practice, I have had success in letting go and place my faith in God vs. making things happen. I’ve found through prayer and taking action, the journey becomes easier and more meaningful. Prayer is my gift to God and me!

Each chapter of my life has been filled with lessons and opportunities to grow and deepen my trust and faith in God. No matter the situation, I always take something positive that I have learned. Each challenge validates my trust in the process… and in God.


  • During difficult times, payer can help one discern his will for you when seeking guidance;
  • It is pleasing to God when you pray, meditate or spend time with him;
  • Prayer can help to increase your faith by making God the center of your life;
  • Praying can help you change, build trust and acceptance for his will for you;
  • Praying for others helps one to become more “God” centered and compassionate;
  • Asking for forgiveness in prayer can be healing for all parties;
  • When I have difficulties forgiving someone, I pray for them.

Praying with others is powerful!ON ACCEPTANCE
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous contains much wisdom and truth. It discusses acceptance and contains a verse which I often refer to when agitated or off-center. The verse is powerful and helps to nudge me towards the direction of personal accountability and solutions.

“And acceptance is the answer to all my problems today. When I am disturbed, it is because
I find some person, place, thing or situation — some fact of my life — unacceptable to me,
and I can find no serenity until I accept that person, place, thing, or situation as being exactly
the way it is suppose to be at this moment.

Nothing, absolutely nothing happens in God’s world by mistake… Unless I accept life
completely on life’s terms, I cannot be happy.

I need to concentrate not so much on what needs to be changed in the world as on what
needs to be changed in me and in my attitudes.”  ~The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

“Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make
your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will
guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”  ~Philippians 4:6-7

“Watch and pray that you may not undergo the test. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is
weak.”  ~Matthew 26:41

“In the same way, the Spirit too comes to the aid of our weakness; for we do not know
how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit itself intercedes with the inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts knows that is the intention of the Spirit, because it
intercedes for the holy ones according to God’s will.”  ~Romans 8:26-27

“But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in
secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you. In praying, do not babble
like the pagans, who think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do
not be like them. Your father knows what you need before you ask him.”  ~Matthew 6:6-16

“Be still, and know that I am God!”  ~Psalm 46:11

THE LORD’S PRAYERMake time for family prayer
Our Father, Who art in heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil. For thine is the Kingdom,
the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen¹

Lord, make me a channel of thy peace,
that where there is hatred, I may bring love;
that where there is wrong,
I may bring the spirit of forgiveness;
that where there is discord, I may bring harmony;
that where there is error, I may bring truth;
that where there is despair, I may bring hope;
that where there are shadows, I may bring light;
that where there is sadness, I may bring joy,
Lord, grant that I may seek rather to
comfort than to be comforted;
to understand, than to be understood;
to love, than to be loved.
For it is by self-forgetting that one finds.
It is by forgiving that one is forgiven.
It is by dying that one awakens to Eternal Life.²

Learning to commune with God is a life-long journey. I do hope that the information provided will inspire you to begin or continue your walk in seeking God’s will for you.

The fewer the words, the better the prayer.
~Martin Luther


¹²EWTN Global Catholic Network

Political Issues

The political atmosphere is stifling, unhealthy and corrupt. From the economy and immigration to contentious issues on abortion and immigration reform, our government is failing us in moving forward with solutions to these real and hot-button issues.

I have compiled a few issues concerning Americans today. Regardless if this is an election year or not, the problems within our great nation are not going away and need to be addressed by our politicians in Washington. Let us take a look at some of political issues affecting the U.S. and abroad.

American’s rankings are on a continued down-slide in regards to math and science scores. Students need to be encouraged to be innovative. They need to become proactive with initiating ideas and patents in these areas. It’s time teachers begin teaching the basics again… reading, writing and math. Technology is useless without basic social and education skills.

Political Issues Affecting AmericaHealth Care
The current health care system is not work and in need of an overhaul. As health care costs continue to rise, people have fewer choices and worry as to how long they will be able to keep their plans or afford health care coverage. The Obama-care health care plan expands governments’ control and authority which could jeopardize the private coverage Americans have today by limiting their choices and increasing costs. It’s not to say that Obama-care is all bad, but it was pushed through Congress (over 2,000 pages) without proper review or with overwhelming support of Congress or the American people. It would be beneficial to all concerned if the insurance mandate could be terminated or placed on hold and properly introduced from scratch.

American citizens as well as our congressional leaders should have input on such an important issue that affects a vast majority of Americans. Also, all government officials and employees should be required to obtain the same health care plan as the rest of the American people.

Tax Reform
The current U.S. tax code is complex, full of loop-holes for the rich and corporations and wasteful; it needs to be simplified. Several plans have been proposed suggesting a flat tax of 17% — 18% apply on all income.

Gay Rights
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) related laws vary greatly throughout the United States. The art of compromise, acceptance and respect of one’s views involving gay rights would help bridge the gap amongst individuals.

Immigration Reform
Illegal immigration is the unlawful crossing of people across national borders in such a way that violates the immigration laws of the destination country (i.e. – the United States). Illegal immigrants put a strain on our economy, social welfare, education, health care, voting rights, public services and our legal system. And did I mention violation of immigration laws is illegal.

Immigrants currently residing in the U.S. illegally should have the opportunity to become U.S. citizens. This process could be implemented in a timely manner; if they decline such an offer, the illegal immigrants would be deported. Children of illegal immigrants born in the United States should also be required to become U.S. citizens. All illegal immigrants wishing to become U.S. citizens should also be required to speak our English language.

Abortion is the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo, resulting in or caused by its’ death. An abortion can also occur spontaneously due to complications during pregnancy or can be induced.Political Issues - Compromise Needed

Abortion is a hot-button issue with the United States and has been debated for many a generation. The act of abortion incites contentious public controversy over ethical and legal issues. Both pro and anti-abortion groups passionately believe in their cause, which at times, includes hostile reactions including of protesters on either side. As with any heated issue, compromise and respect from all concerned and pave the way for acceptance and resolution.

Gun Control
The recent tragedies have focused the nation’s attention on this issue. Let us hope that Congress, the president, NRA and citizens be willing to openly discuss ways to prevent ongoing killings without giving up individual gun rights.

Oil Prices
The United States need to develop a viable and alternate means for energy. There is no acceptable excuse for the U.S. to be lagging in technological progress in finding and developing alternate means to sustain our energy needs in the U.S. I do understand why politicians, the rich and oil companies would be a deterrent to such advancement, particularly when they are personally invested. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I thought solar energy is a viable option? What about electric cars?

Political Corruption
Of late, political corruption is the norm rather than the exception today within our U.S. government and politics in general. There is a preoccupation with money which the Washington culture promotes through their arrogance and greed. Washington politician’s idea of service is to make it a career rather than serving limited terms. There should be concern how they promote their own raises and perks. Regulating term-limits could help resolve some of these long-standing issues.

Government Intrusion
Leaked information about the intrusive surveillance operations of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has reignited the debate about the balance between civil liberties and national security. Recent revelations about the invasive actions of the NSA’s surveillance efforts and governments over-reaching efforts to hunt down whistle-blowers do raise serious questions as to the governments respect for U.S. citizen’s rights to privacy. As citizens, this ought to be a concern and an area to be watched.

Social Security
Established in 1935, Social Security in the United States currently refers to the federal Old-Age, Survivors, and disability Insurance (OASDI) program. Over the years, we have been enlightened by Washington many times how Social Security is running low on funding. As with most existing issues in Washington, discussion on change is mentioned, but never is action been an option. I’m sure if the government officials drew their retirement solely from this fund, a fix would have been implemented years ago.

The above mentioned issues are but a few areas that are threatening the credibility and sustainability of our great nation. The question is not if the U.S. is going to implode, but when?

Resource Links:
Judicial Watch
Political Issues & Debates
Project Vote Smart
Bipartisan Policy Center
Political Websites

But Peter and the apostles answered,
“We must obey God rather than men.”  ~Acts 5:29

Political Fact Check

Political Fact Check contains a listing of reliable web sites to help readers seek out political facts. Through research I found several reputable web sites most viewed and best-acknowledged on the internet. The information provided will serve the interest of conservatives, liberals and nonpartisans alike.

On a personal note: I am interested in seeking out the truth and facts vs. listening to opinions based on emotions, half-truths and lacking in substance. I choose not to be manipulated by the news media and stay informed by digging a little deeper for the truth. It is my responsibility to be an informed American citizen when casting my ballot to vote on Federal, State or community levels. It is a privilege that not all people have in other nations abroad.

Fact Check.orgPolitical Facts Check
A nonpartisan, nonprofit “consumer advocate” for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. They monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Their goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.

Media Matters for America is a Web-based, not-for-profit progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media.

NewsBusters, a project of the Media Research Center (MRC), the leader in documenting, exposing and neutralizing liberal media bias. The NewsBusters blog provides immediate exposure of liberal media bias, insightful analysis, constructive criticism and timely corrections to news media reporting.

On the
Their mission is to provide non-partisan information for voters in the Presidential election contenders, so that votes can be based on issues rather than on personalities and popularity.

Known as the nation’s premier website tracking the influence of money on U.S. politics, and how that money affects policy and citizens’ lives.

Fact Check
A project of the Tampa Bay Times and its partners to help you find the truth in politics. They examine statements by members of Congress, state legislators, governors, mayors, the president, cabinet secretaries, lobbyists, people who testify before Congress and anyone else who speaks up in American Politics. Statements are researched and then rated for accuracy on their Truth-O-Meter.

Source Watch
The Center for Media Democracy publishes SourceWatch, this collaborative resource for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries, and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion.

The Washington Post
They have taken a different approach, creating a fact-checking site that is one journalists’ column/blog. Established by Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania and the St. Petersburg Times.

Annenberg Classroom
Whether you’re interested in civics news, discussion, outstanding multimedia on the Constitution — or the engaging connection among all three, you are welcome!

Helping Us to Help You
We rely on our readers to submit reputable political facts check websites as well as suggestions or report on erroneous claims made by websites listed above. If you think we have reported errors, please let us know. We have the best interest of our readers and want to maintain accurate and factual information.

Political Facts Check Disclaimer
Please not is in no way affiliated with any web sites listed within this article. Web sites provided are done so solely for informative purposes and with no specific or hidden agenda.

But he answered, “It is written that Man shall not live by bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
  ~Matthew 4:4

How to Refocus

How to refocus ones thoughts can be a day to day struggle for many. However, moving forward is the most important and positive. The amount of time spent playing “reruns”…”I should have said this or done that” or  “Wait until the next time, I’ll be ready for them” can and will fester into full blown resentments or downright spitefulness with a strong desire to pay back.

Generally, the above scenarios are common occurrences in life and people oftentimes move on without staying stuck in the destructive “reruns of mind-thoughts”. The problem arises when the negative thought patterns begin to take over and control behaviors and actions, affect moods and ones state of mind. This continued onslaught of negative thinking can affect quality of life, health and relationships.

Perhaps the most disturbing result of negative thinking is being stuck and continued repetitive destructive cycle with no desire or knowledge to change. And such change can only come from within.

Below are suggestions to help break negative mind-thought cycle (order may vary):

  • Awareness through being open to changeHow to Refocus through Change and Faith
  • Acknowledge the problem
  • Accept the problem
  • Take action (self-talk, discernment from within or guidance from without)

The above process sounds easy, but when negative thinking has been the norm and reinforced over a period of time, reversing the process can be difficult, frustrating, humbling and even painful. Acknowledging that perfection is not the goal but a path to feeling better may help one to move forward. Change isn’t mean to be a punishment; change should offer hope, increase self-worth, bring peace of mind and happiness. Today, I consider change one of many of God’s gifts I’ve received over the years.

The saying, “Change your thoughts, change your life” is a powerful statement. I have a mug with that quote given as a gift. It brings hope and a smile to my face when I use it.

Acceptance and peace of mind!Remember… changing unwanted mind-thought is a process and will be refined through practice. Eventually when confronted with various trigger situations and thoughts, applying the learned skills will become second nature. The end result will be worth the work.

Personally, I find being responsible through taking action is more important today than the end result. Action reinforces that I’m worthy, I deserve to be happy and I care enough about myself to change. The by-product of being responsible for self is peace of mind and acceptance.

Of course, speaking for myself, knowledge and awareness are useless without a desire to change. Reliance of self has never worked for me; however, a reliance on God has served me well. I am aware that each person needs to find their own way and walk their own path. The issue isn’t whether you are an atheist, Christian or non-Christian, but rather… “am I willing to change?” I believe anyone can change if they truly desire to do so.

All that has been shared in this article was freely given to me. Over the years I have been blessed to have been introduced to a 12 Step Recovery Program which not only save my life, but taught me how to change my life. So I give credit accordingly… to a wonderful support system and my relationship with God.

Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother?
For we shall all stand before the judgement seat of God.  ~Romans 14:10

Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ… who is he exactly? What I know of Jesus I have learned reading the Bible, attending mass and talking with friends. In the Catholic school, I was taught about Jesus Christ and the Blessed trinity, I was exposed to a belief in something greater than myself.

Throughout this article I’ll be using both Jesus and God with acknowledging the Holy Spirit in the context and wish to note, according to my belief, they are one and the same.

The opinions express are not to condemn, point fingers, judge or preach. The content consists of my personal thoughts, views and biblical verses. We are all entitled to our own opinion and all content is relative which can mean different things to different people.

About Jesus ChristJesus the Christ, our Lord and Savior - Maine
What is there to know about Jesus? As much that has been written about him, there is still a great deal of mystery surrounding his birth, death and resurrection. Jesus is viewed as many things to many people. By not placing Jesus in a predefined box, it allows each of us to form our own belief and personal relationship with him. Ultimately, Jesus (God) belongs to everyone. I think it is safe to say that Jesus promoted love, salvation and hope as well as much controversy.

To the non-believer, I wish you many blessings on your journey and to self-discovery. It is through respect of one another’s views that we can live amongst each other in accord and acceptance.

Whether one chooses to believe in God or not, the pathway we take is personal. Free will allows each of us with the opportunity to travel our path while on earth. Choose wisely and may you travel in peace.

The Many Names of Jesus Christ — According to the Bible
The Bible has countless names describing Jesus Christ (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Below is a partial list describing how Jesus is defined within the Bible:

  • Redeemer — 1 Co 1:30
  • Merciful — He 2:17
  • Redeemer — Job 19:25
  • Comforter — Jn 14:16-8
  • Eternal Life — Jn 1:2
  • Gift of God — Jn 4:10
  • Good Shepard — Jn 10:11
  • I AM — Jn 18:6
  • Lamb of God — Jn 1:28 | Rev 17:14
  • Light of the World — Jn 8:12
  • Living Bread — Jn 6:51
  • Son of Man — Jn 1:51
  • Truth — Jn 14:6
  • Emmanuel — Mt 1:23
  • Jesus — Mt 1:23
  • Lord and Savior — 2 P 1:11
  • All Knowing — Ps 139:1-6
  • Shelter — Ps 61:3
  • Equal with God — Phil 2:6
  • Alpha and Omega — Rev 1:8
  • Beginning and the End — Rev 1:8
  • Tabernacle of God — Rev 21:3
  • Creator — Ro 1:25 | Is 40:28
  • Anointed One — 1 S 2:35

Jesus has also been called by man: Savior, a good man, possibly a legend, an angel, teacher, God, all powerful, all knowing, compassionate healer and prophet. The list is certainly not complete, but it does provide you with how respected he has been throughout the ages.

Favorite Scripture Passages
I have compiled some of my favorite Bible quotes. They have helped to instill faith and awareness towards guidance during difficult times. I hope you enjoy them and able to apply them in your life as well. (Reference: Douay-Rheims and King James Version of the Bible)

  •  “For God so lived the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting. ~John 3:16Jesus Christ died for our sins!
  • “And I say to thee: That thou are Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” ~Matthew 16:18
  • “And whilst they were eating, Jesus took bread; and blessing, broke, and gave to them, and said: Take ye. This is my body. And having taken the chalice, giving thanks, he gave it to them. And they all drank of it. And he said to them: This is my blood of the New Testament, which shall be shed for many.” ~Mark 14:22-24
  • “I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.” ~John 10:11
  • “And now there remain faith, hope and charity, these three: but the greatest of these is charity.” ~Corinthians 13:13
  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” ~Proverbs 3:5-6
  • “For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” ~Romans 8:38-39
  • “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” ~Romans 8:18
  • “Lay not up yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” ~Matthew 6:1921
  • “If the world hates you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.” ~John 15:18

In a time with so much conflict occurring throughout the world, I feel solace in talking about hope and faith. I’ve watched the U.S. go from working together for the common good towards conflict and chaos. The government and society place much emphasis trying to be all things to all people while negating the common good of all. It’s no longer, “one for all and all for one” but rather, “all for me and all for me, myself and I”. Inner peace is now filled with inner conflict and hate. There is no longer looking within for peace and solace but rather seeking from without for instant gratification, greed and power.

For readers that have an interest in religious facts, the big religion chart offers a quick reference comparison chart of religions and belief systems.

I do hope this article has instilled curiosity, compassion, understanding and open-mindedness. Peace, prayers and blessings to all!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all
your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Healthy Kid Recipes and Snacks

Healthy kid recipes and snacks can be easy to make and great tasting as well! One of the most troublesome health issues we are dealing with today in the U.S. is obesity. Obesity amongst children and adults has been consistently on the rise over the past several decades. This article will offer suggestions and a selection of healthy recipes and snacks. I’ve also added links to wholesome meals and reliable resources to help make healthier lifestyle choices and suggestions on how to do so. Let us combat obesity one pound at a time!

Sometimes all we need is a little nudge, encouragement or suggestions as to where to look for fresh ideas and dependable information. I do hope you make the time to check out the information provided below.

Healthy Recipe IdeasHealthy Kid Recipes and Snacks - Maine
Chic’ Penne
Weld School District in Greeley, Colorado, created Chic’ Penne, a dish full of cheesy, chicken-y goodness. Whole wheat pasta and broccoli pump up the nutrition and black pepper gives it a little kick.¹

Porcupine Sliders
No, porcupine isn’t one of the ingredients in Porcupine Sliders! These are actually turkey burgers with brown rice, celery and wheat roll. The turkey is packed with protein and brown rice and wheat roll and whole grains. The recipe is created by the South Education Center Alternative School in Richfield, Minnesota.¹

Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wrap
Mount Lebanon Elementary School in Pendleton, South Caroline, created a crunchy-spicy-sweet recipe with Hawaiian flair. Try their Crunchy Hawaiian Chicken Wraps! Contains whole wheat tortillas, broccoli slaw, chopped spinach leaves, diced chicken and much more.¹

Tasty Tots
Mover over tater tots, here come Tasty Tots. A team from Bellingham, Massachusetts, came up with this recipe, which was a hit with students. Would you believe the secret ingredient is chick peas?¹

Stir-Fry Fajita Chicken
Kayenta United School District in Arizona combined Southwest flavors with an Asian technique — stir frying. A fajita usually comes with a tortilla, but this recipe for Stir-Fry-Fajita Chicken serves it over rice, which you should prepare before starting this dish.¹

Chicken-noodle Soup
Chicken-noodle soup is a perfect meal for a cold or rainy day and a classic for kids and adults alike. Nothing beats homemade or soup from a can that contains chicken, noodles, carrots, celery and onions. You can add whole wheat rolls with a glass of milk, soy milk or water to help quench their thirst.

Banana Breakfast Smoothie
The Power Granola contains flax-seed which is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, and are essential for both the brain development and heart health of your child. Serve in a bowl of milk, as a topping with yogurt or oatmeal, as a snack by itself.²

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich with Mango Chutney
The Ham and Cheese Breakfast Sandwich is loaded with protein from egg, calcium from cheese, and fiber with B vitamins from the whole-wheat muffin. For a touch of sweetness, spread your favorite jelly or jam over the bottom half of each sandwich.²

Healthy Family Recipes - Maine Niche.comFlaky Buttermilk Biscuits
These tender, old fashioned Flaky Buttermilk Biscuits are much lower in fat and sodium than fast-food biscuits and are just as tasty.²

Banana-Cinnamon Waffles
Crown these lightly spiced Banana-Cinnamon Waffles with cinnamon sugar, sliced bananas, and/or a drizzle of maple syrup.²

Quick Breakfast Burritos
This quick and healthy Breakfast Burritos is a great way to get kids to eat breakfast, even if they are dashing toward the bus stop.

Turkey Sloppy Joe’s
Our Turkey Sloppy Joe version has as much flavor with less saturated fat. Roll up your sleeves for this neat, nourishing rendition of a meat-and-tomatoes favorite. Use ground turkey as a smart stand-in for ground chuck in a range of recipes; it provides plenty of meaty flavor, with less saturated fat.³

Spanish Chicken and Rice
This Spanish Chicken and Rice recipe gets a Spanish twist. You can freeze this meal and give your family a comfy favorite on even the busiest weeknight.³

BLT Burgers
An American Classic! Try this crispy BLT Burger with bacon and melted cheese on burger. You can substitute beef with ground turkey or chicken for a change and healthier selection.³

Pizza Roll-Ups
Delicious and healthy Pizza Roll-Ups. Place tortilla on a plate and spread pizza sauce over it. Top with an even layer of spinach and sprinkle cheese on top. Microwave on high until the cheese is just melted, about 45 seconds. Carefully roll the tortilla up; let cool for 10 minutes before slicing into pieces, if desired.³

8 Simple Do-It-Yourself Snacks for Kids and Anyone!
Making your own snacks to have at home or take with you is usually your best, most budget-friendly choice. Try making these:

  • Prepare low-fat popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.Healthy Family meals and snacks - Maine
  • Trail mix ingredients: ¼ cup each… dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, raisins, dried pineapple, granola of your choice, whole-grain cereal and your favorite chopped nuts.
  • Try a low-fat ice cream or yogurt and top with your favorite fresh fruit.
  • Whole-grain crackers and cheese make for a nice snack.
  • Snack on cooked or raw vegetables with a low-fat dressing; adding a hard-boiled egg is great for protein.
  • Bowl of whole wheat cereal with soy milk or low-fat milk.
  • Hummus with whole wheat pita bread or whole wheat pita chips.
  • Try a whole wheat English muffin with a hard-boiled egg.

Be Creative in Choosing Healthy Meals and Snacks

  • You can substitute hamburg with ground chicken or turkey when preparing a variety of meals (i.e.-Spanish Rice, Sloppy Joe or meatloaf).
  • As parents, you can help your children make better food choices by being the power of example (all things in moderation and choose low-fat or single snack packs).
  • Have healthy snacks available to eat at any time during the day to help avoid eating junk food.
  • By planning your meals ahead with use of a menu, it will help to keep everyone on track.
  • When preparing meals, make enough to freeze. Then when you don’t have time to prepare a home-made meal, you can always choose from your freezer.
  • Sometimes snacking mid-morning and mid-afternoon can help to eat balanced meals throughout the day.
  • At times, purchasing snacks that are prepackaged by portions can be helpful in limiting calories.
  • Ask your friends for suggestions on healthy meals and snacks; swap recipes. Adding new additions to your meals can keep things fresh and exciting.

Feel free to contribute your ideas or suggestions with us. I’ve also added several links below with good recipes and useful information for the entire family.

Resource Links:
All Recipes
The Food Network
Meal Makeover Moms
¹Kids from Nemours — Dependable information for parents, kids, teens and educators;
²Cooking — Contains assorted recipes, nutritional news, healthy living and more;

³ — This website offers delicious recipes, menus and a variety of healthy information;
Child with Salad — Image credit: ilona75 / 123RF Stock Photo
Oatmeal with Apples — Image credit: timolina / 123RF Stock Photo
Healthy Family Meal — Image credit: stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo

And God said: “Behold I have given you every seed-bearing
plant upon the earth, and all the trees that have in themselves
the ability to sow their own kind, to be food for you…”  ~Genesis 1:29

Generation Insights

Generation Insights transform from one generation to another and involve change. Each generation wants to do more and be more. Work ethics, family structure, values and environmental concerns have changed dramatically over the 100 plus years. When you think of generations from the horse and buggy age of seclusion to where technology rules to the point of intruding in all areas of our lives, it is a bit overwhelming to grasp.

Personally I enjoy the use of internet and check my email daily. As with anything, I’m aware technology can be a good thing provided it is applied with moderation. Today the techno generation has their gadgets in hand from the break of dawn to nights end. The more techno time spent with gadgets, the less time we spend with “real” people and having “eye to eye conversations. Thus balance and moderation come into play. Perhaps at some point I’ll learn to master both… spending time with people and enjoying technology, separately.Three Generation Family members

Time changes family and social dynamics from one generation to another. It doesn’t mean one generation was/is better than the other. Each generation has its good and not so good points. Sometimes less is better (i.e. — the horse and buggy days, more time with family) and the same applies to more can be better (24/7 global media and social interaction via internet).

I provided information below displaying comparisons of generations over the years. Click on generational chart to view differences that have taken place over the past 100 years.

Generational Breakdown:¹

Traditionalists – Also known as Veterans, Silent, Moral Authority, Radio Babies and The Forgotten Generation

  • Approximate Birth Years — 1900-1945
  • Ages 63-86

Baby Boomers – Described as the “Me” Generation and Moral Authority

  • Approximate Birth Years — 1946-1964
  • Ages 44-62

Generation X – Called Gen X, Xers, The Doer, Post Boomers and 13th Generation

  • Approximate Birth Years — 1965-1980
  • Ages 28-43

 Millennials – Generation Y, Gen Y, Generation Next, Echo Boomers, Chief Friendship Officers and 24/7’s

  • Approximate Birth Years — 1981-2000
  • Ages 8-27

Generation Z – New Silent Generation or Generation Z; Realistic, resilient while understanding and confronting problems.²

  • Approximate Birth Years — 2001-Current
  • Ages 1-13

Topics for Discussion:

  • History tends to repeat itself. Do you see any repetitive generation trends overlapping from precious into your generation?
  • What tradition would you like to see return to the current generation?
  • In your opinion, what generation do you see as the most influential?

While researching information in regards to the generations over the years, I learned much and better appreciate how each generation faces individual challenges. I would like to think that each generation has brought something forward into the next!
¹ – Generational Charts
² – Names of Generations

One generation shall commend your works to another
and shall declare your mighty acts.  ~Psalm 145:4

Gun Control – Pro and Con

Gun control is a very contentious issue. I will be presenting gun control – pro and con opinions, facts on including links to reputable websites that also contain facts and statistics. In preparing this article, I came to the realization that both sides have rights with valid concerns and beliefs. Each side needs to be heard. We do have a right and freedom to express ourselves, but with it comes the responsibility to listen and respect each other’s views.

Perhaps through compromise, there can be amicable resolutions that will help us make a difference through change. When done in good faith and not fear, our freedom can remain intact and lives saved. I would say that’s a win-win for both sides.

Perhaps a broader focus can provide a better understanding as to concerns and answers surrounding gun violence and the need to implement fair and effective laws. I believe guns are but a symptom of a deeper underlying problem existing within our society today. We could discuss reasons and possibilities as to why mass shootings and/or violence seem to be increasing while placing blame on this person or that group. However, if focus can be directed on the why, what, when and how through discussions, we may be able to move beyond the blame and seek fair and equitable solutions.

Gun Control — ProGun Control - Pro and Con

  • Most violent crimes are committed with guns. It would stand to reason then, that restricting gun ownership would likely reduce the number of such crimes.
  • Individuals with mental illness, kids bullied at school, a person that feels dejected, and other disgruntled persons can inflict mass casualties with guns that otherwise would not be possible.
  • Through legalized gun ownership, guns have a greater chance of falling into the hands of kids that could lead to deadly accidents.
  • Lax gun laws can lead to a higher rate of gun-related violence and death.
  • The second amendment does not specify individual gun rights.
  • Regulating registration of ownership of all firearms will ensure less violent crimes and deaths.
  • Preventing gun owners from purchasing arms (assault rifles) is not unconstitutional.
  • There are too many senseless accidents involving children and guns due to the carelessness of the adult(s).
  • Background checks and a mandatory waiting period would help to deter criminals and possible tragedies.
  • Semi-automatic weapons should be banned from public use. They are meant for the use by police or military personnel, not civilians.

Our Constitutional Right to Bare Arms!Gun Control — Con

  • It’s a known fact that criminals will always find a way to get their guns and thus leaving the law-abiding citizens without weapons and defenseless. Knowledge of gun possessions can help prevent crimes.
  • Totally banning guns will create the opportunity of a black market helping with the criminal having more access to guns than the law-abiding citizen. Organized crime will flourish.
  • The government placing a ban on guns is yet another infringement on our liberty. As it stands today, we are heading towards socialism and the loss of our individual rights.
  • Since guns don’t kill people, society will not become safer by restricting gun ownership.
  • The second amendment guarantees the right to bear arms. The government has no right to change the amendment.
  • Tighter gun control will not deter the criminals from committing crimes.
  • By placing restrictions on gun ownership, citizens will feel less safe and more vulnerable.
  • Less focus should be placed on guns and more on the commonality of individuals committing the crime, such as individuals with mental illness.
  • If our current gun laws were to be enforced, there would be no need for additional laws.

Are Guns the Problem?
“Many customs, traditions and moral values have been discarded without an appreciation for the role they played in creating a civilized society, and now we’re paying the price. What’s worse is that instead of a return to what worked, people want to replace what works with what sounds good, such as zero-tolerance policies in which bringing a water pistol, drawing a picture of a pistol, or pointing a finger and shouting ‘bang-bang’ produces a school suspension or arrest. Seeing as we’ve decided that we should rely on gun laws to control behavior, what should be done to regulate clubs and hammers? After all, FBI crime statistics show that more people are murdered by clubs and hammers than rifles and shotguns.”¹

The above statement by Mr. Williams shows incredible insight while so eloquently stating his concerns. To read the complete article, click on Walter E. Williams.

A Guide to Mass Shootings In AmericaAre Guns the Problem?
I have included one more information tidbit relating to gun control. Click on to read the full article. The paragraph below is an excerpt from the article.

“The news on Friday was horrific. A man shot and killed 27 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut. Of the 12 deadliest shootings in U.S. history, six have taken place in 2007. (The Newton school shooting will likely rank second on that list.) Mass shootings appear to be on the upswing — even as other types of homicides and violent crimes are becoming less frequent. But that number spiked in 1980, and kept rising thereafter. In the United States, there have now been at least 62 mass shootings in the past three decades, with 24 in the last seven years alone, according to a recent Mother Jones survey. This has happened even as the nation’s overall violent crime and homicide rates have been dropping.”²

Thank you for taking time to read this article. Please feel free to submit your remarks below. You may also want to take action by visiting the government website, “We the People — Your voice in our government” to view current petitions that are open to view and vote on or create your own petition. Give yourself a voice, become involved and participate. You CAN make a difference!

Resource Links:
The Facts about Mass Shootings
United States Crime Rates 1960 — 2011
Federal Bureau of Investigation (latest crime stats & more)
Gun Crime States: Latest Data
Gun Violence in America: 13 Key Questions & Answers
U.S. Is #1 in Gun Violence… or is it?
Almanac of Policy Issues

¹Are guns the problem? Article written by Walter E. Williams, columnist.; 04.12.13.
²A Guide to Mass Shootings In America; By Mark Follman, Gavin Aronsen, and Deanna Plan.; 02.27.13.

Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and
evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. ~ Ephesians 4:31

Embrace Today, It’s a Gift

Yes… embrace today, it’s a gift indeed! This is a new day… it’s your day so live it to its’ fullest. Positive quotes can help guide you to a fresh start each morning or whenever your day starts. The quotes below are filled with wisdom and I find to be quite inspiring. May these quotes provide you with motivation, drive and increase your faith helping you enjoy your next 24 hours.

  • We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them. ~Albert Einstein
  • For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. ~John 3:16
  • Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to the change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. ~Rumi
  • Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies. ~Mother Teresa
  • A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t want to go, but ought to be. ~Rosalyn Carter
  • “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” ~Matthew 11:28
  • Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish them. ~Unknown
  • God doesn’t require us to succeed; he only requires that you try. ~Mother Teresa
  • Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind, don’t matter and those that matter, don’t mind. ~Dr. Seuss
  • Now faith is being sure to what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. ~Hebrew 11:1
  • I do not pray for success, I ask for faithfulness. ~Mother Teresa
  • Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future. ~Oscar Wilde
  • Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty. ~Mother Teresa
  • “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” ~Milton Berle
  • It is a kindly act to assist the fallen. ~Mother Teresa
  • “An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.” ~M.K. Gandhi
  • Let us always meet each other with a smile, for the smile is the beginning of love. ~Mother Teresa
  • “It is the mark of an educational mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” ~Aristotle
  • Love begins by taking care of the closest ones, the ones at home. ~Mother Teresa
  • “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” ~Will Rogers
  • “Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” ~Rumi

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God
in Christ Jesus concerning you. ~1 Thessalonians 5:18

 Inspirational quotes on being Thankful


Children Learn What They Live

I became aware of this poem many years ago at a time that was exactly what I needed to see and read. Oftentimes, upon reflecting on my past and how far I have come, I’ll read this poem to remind me there are many less fortunate than myself. It reinforces my gratefulness for another day and the gift to be responsible and accountable for who I am and what I do… or don’t do.

May this poem help to motivate, remind, teach and inspire you as it has done with me. It contains truth, hope and defines what we can do to be a positive influence on children within our families and those around us.

Children Learn What They Live
by Dorothy Law Nolte, Ph.D.

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive.
If children live with pity, they learn to feel sorry for themselves.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to feel shy.
If children live with jealousy, they learn to feel envy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with tolerance, they learn patience.
If children live with praise, they learn appreciation.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to love.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.
If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.
If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with kindness and consideration, they learn respect.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith in themselves and in those about them.
If children live with friendliness, they learn the world is a nice place in which to live.

Copyright © 1972 by Dorothy Law Nolte

Do not turn your back on those who weep, but share
the grief of the grief-stricken.  ~Ecclesiasticus/Sirac 7:34

Where Do We Go From Here?

That’s a question we would all like an answer to, “Where do we go from here as a nation?” Our Government has lost its’ purpose as stated within the United States Constitution, “by the people and for the people”. Government officials are more interested in protecting their political careers rather than doing their jobs in serving the people of the United States. America has lost respect from abroad. We go it alone invading countries, we are no longer considered the “military power” of the world or as an economic “super power” while losing respect with our “cowboy” mentality.

The dysfunction within our country has become systemic and not only paralyzing our Government but our society as well. We got here due to our lack of caring. “Let the Government do what they want.” “If it doesn’t affect me Washington dysfunction at all time high!directly, I don’t care.” Then there are many that just don’t know where to turn or what to do.

As individuals, we are now directly affected financially and spiritually, we suddenly care and blame the Government for the state of our nation’s affairs rather than accept responsibility for our lack of involvement. The minorities have special and unnecessary laws implemented while our individual rights have slowly eroded. The majority no longer sets the law and our freedom has been compromised. We have lost our basic right on which our great nation was founded on “In God We Trust.”

The progression of erosion within our nation has taken place over several decades; we are now at an impasse. There is no immediate solution or fix, but there is hope and we can change direction. If we work together, we can reverse or slow down this destructive cycle we are caught up in. I don’t have the answers but have comprised suggestions from various sources listed below. The ideas are simple and could be slowly implemented with positive results. As we move forward, we can focus on the more pressing issues we are facing: Restructuring of Social Security, Medicare and the Tax Code and review Obamacare’s 2,000 plus pages of rules and regulations. Such hot button issues need to be addressed by Congress and the American people together.

  • Federal, state and public officials/employees can purchase their own retirement and participate in the same health care plans as their constituents and the common folks must do;
  • Set term-limits on members of Congress;
  • Congress participates in Social Security. All funds in Congregational retirement fund move to Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system and Congress to participate with the American people. Social Security funds may not be used for any other purpose.
  • Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay to rise according to the standards applicable to Social Security increases;
  • Submit a bill requiring our Government to operate within a balanced budget with exceptions during times of extraordinary circumstances.
  • Review and revise the Obama Health-Care requiring public input. Congress needs to review the entire 2,000+ pages in its entirety and openly and calmly discuss their concerns prior voting on the bill;
  • Government waste and abuse needs to be addressed by a common-folk committee;
  • Decrease Government payroll and streamline departments starting with the top first;
  • Scrutinize our domestic spending policies, we need to care for our own first;
  • Enforce our current immigration laws and stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the U.S. Set-up a timeline for illegal immigrants to begin the process of becoming a U.S. citizen and learn English as their primary language. Illegal immigrants witIn God We Trust - America the Beautiful!h a criminal background would be deported immediately.

The above suggestions are not set in stone but serves as an excellent point of reference. With your input and participation, goals could be established. Individuals with skills and areas of expertise could volunteer a few hours each week or month for a specific cause. Imagine the resources that we could pull together if we work as a team with direction and purpose.

By pulling our resources together and focus on one specific issue at a time, we could make a difference. As a united group, we can draft and forward bills to our elected officials on State or Federal levels. Such bills could be submitted accordingly on our behalf. Make an effort… today!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.  ~Proverbs 3:5-6

Bullying Facts, Help and Resources

This article is full of bullying facts, help and resources for those with concerns and seeking guidance on addressing the issue of bullying. Verbal bullying, physical bullying, Social and Cyber-bullying, racial and sexual harassment are topics most of us can relate with in one form or another.

Verbal and physical bullying, laughing at and treating others in a demeaning, shameful manner, being hateful and hurtful does leave its’ mark on an individual. Children and teens alike are exposed to not only physical abuse and verbal expressions, but also deal with cyber-bullying. It’s important that the person being bullied is made aware that there are people who care and they are NOT alone.

Included in this article is information on:

  • Questions and Answers pertaining to bullying
  • Facts and statistics on bullying
  • What you can do if bullied or you want to help
  • General information on bullying
  • Hot lines and Resource links provided

There is no immediate resolution to bullying, but doing nothing is not the answer. It’s important to provide information and resources for individuals experiencing bullying as well as to those that would like to reach out and help. As a parent or someone concerned, it’s important to be a power of example.Bullying Is Not Acceptable - Bullying Facts, Help & Resources

Children are susceptible and watch how people act or react in their lives. When teens look towards their parents, family members or peers for answers, it’s important they have support and can feel safe to talk.

Different Forms of Bullying

  • Verbal bullying — This can include name calling, teasing, instilling fear and shame
  • Social bullying — Starting or spreading lies and false rumors, breaking up friends and intentionally excluding others from activities
  • Physical bullying — This form of bullying can involve hitting, punching, shoving, being forced to do things and other acts that can lead to intentional harm to others
  • Racial harassment — Occurs when behaviors are associated to skin color, race and cultural background
  • Sexual harassment — Involves unwanted behaviors linked to gender or sexual orientation
  • Cyber-bullying — The use of digital technology involving the Internet, texting, by email and other technological means to cause harm to others

Does Bullying Cause Harm to Others?
Of course bullying causes harm to others! Bullying is abusive and can cause lasting damage to the victim. Being consistently targeted damages one’s self worth, they may view themselves as undesirable and unworthy. This can lead to depression, isolation, self-hate and yes, ultimately to suicide.

Those who are bullied may be afraid to go to school or to the bathroom alone, play on the playground or ride the school bus. They may also lose interest in school, have trouble concentrating and perform poorly educationally. Being bullied can be upsetting and stressful, and it can affect your life in many different ways, including health, self-esteem, relationships, work and education. The effects can be long-lasting into and throughout adulthood.

What Happens to Kids Exposed to Bullying?
When kids see bullying, they may feel anxious for not knowing what to do, say or how to act. Some may join in or stay silent for fear of consequences from the bully. Over time, students who frequently observe bullying may feel less empathy for the individuals being bullied.

What Are Possible Signs of Someone Being Bullied?

  • Comes home with unexplained injuries or with damaged or missing clothing or other items
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Makes excuses for not going to school
  • May have trouble sleeping
  • Displays or expresses feelings of helplessness
  • Change in character
  • Blaming themselves for their problems
  • Talks about suicide or feelings of hopelessness
  • Feels helpless
  • Avoids going to certain places or playing outside alone
  • They don’t like themselves and feel they are not good enough

Statistics on Bullying
It’s appalling to see the degree of bullying that exists today. With the introduction of digital technology, cyber-bullying has added another dimension to the already explosive issue. The statistics mentioned are disturbing to me and should be for you, the reader, aStatistics and Facts on Bullyings well.

  • An alarming 56% of students have personally felt some sort of bullying at school. Between grades 4 and 9 in particular, 90% of students are victims of bullying.
  • The most common reason mentioned for being harassed is a student’s appearance or body size. Two out of 5 teens feel that they are bullied because of appearance.
  • Nine out of 10 LGBT youth have reported being verbally harassed at school in the past year due to their sexual orientation.
  • It is reported that 1 in 4 teachers see nothing wrong with bullying and will only intervene 4% of the time.
  • A victim of bullying is twice as likely to take their own life compared to someone who is not a victim.
  • An estimated 40% — 75% of bullying in schools takes place during breaks, such as recess, at lunchtime, in hallways or in the restrooms.
  • Every day, 160,000 students skip school because they are afraid they will be bullied.
  • An alarming 1 out of 10 students drops out of school because they are bullied.
  • The average bullying episode lasts only 37 seconds. Teachers notice or intervene in only one in 25 incidents.
  • It is said to think that 57% of students who experience harassment in school never report the incident to the school because they do not believe that teachers or staff can do anything.

Facts on Bullying
The facts on bullying reveal it is a growing problem among teens and children. There are several different types of bullying including cyber-bullying, bullying in schools as well as other forms of harassment. Below are some disturbing facts:

  • Girls bully in groups more than boys do.
  • Girls tend to bully according to social status, such as popular vs. non-popular.
  • Boys tend to bully according to group, such as athlete vs. non-athlete.
  • Children who are obese are more likely to be bullied. Also, overweight and obese girls are more likely to be physically bullied.
  • Research indicates that children as young as age 5 who continually observes bullying that goes unchecked or ignored by adults are at a greater risk of becoming bullies themselves.
  • There is a connection between bullying and being exposed to violence. Unfortunately, by the time an average child enters kindergarten, he will have witnessed 8,000 or more murders on television.
  • Researchers note that bullying escalates in the later years of elementary school, peaks in the middle school, and then lessens by high school. They also noted that the 6th grade is the worst year for bullying.

What Can You Do When Being Bullied?
Have you ever experienced being bullied? Have you seen someone being bullied? In either case, the victim or observer can be experiencing feelings of fear, shame, extreme discomfort, possibly mentally shutting down or Help Stop Bullying - Get Involvedruns away. These are things that you can feel or act upon if involved in such situations. Some ideas on what you can do if you find yourself being bullied are:

  • Look at the kid bullying you and calmly ask them to please stop. You may also try to laugh it off; it could help to lessen the intensity of the situation while calming the bully’s behavior.
  • If speaking up doesn’t work for you, then walking away may be the best approach. Not fighting back is nothing to be ashamed of, it takes courage.
  • Tell an adult, they may be able to help end the bullying.
  • It’s important for you to remember that it’s not your fault. No one deserves to be treated this way. If you’re being bullied, find an adult or someone you trust to talk with.
  • Get involved with activities and hang around with other people. Being with a group may help you feel safer.

How Can One Protect Themselves from Cyber-bullying?
Cyber-bullying happens online or through the use of other digital technology such as text messages or emails. There are things you can do to protect yourself.

  • Always think about what you post, especially with the potential of postings, pictures and video going viral in an instant. Do not share anything that could hurt or embarrass anyone, you don’t have control as to where your information will end up once sent to your friends or contacts.
  • Protect your password and be cautious as to who you share it with. It would be wise to let your parents have your password.
  • Think about who sees what you post online. With the use of privacy settings, you can control who views your postings to friends and/or family.
  • Keep your parents involved. It’s important they are aware of what you do online and with whom. It’s also important you listen to what they may say about their concerns. Remember, they care about you and want you to be safe.
  • Talk to an adult you trust about any messages you get or things you see online that are upsetting or make you feel uncomfortable. If you experience cyber-bullying, report it.

How Can I Stand Up forBullying Hotlines and Resources Others or Get Involved?
When you see bullying, there are safe things you can do and ways to safely stand up for others and get involved. Help by being part of the solution and not the problem; take action.

  • Talk to a parent, teacher or another adult you trust. Adults need to know when bad things happen so they can help.
  • Be kind to the kids being bullied. Show them you care by trying to include them. Sit with them at lunch or on the bus, talk with them at school, or invite them to do something with you. This will them feel they are not alone.
  • Get involved, be a leader through preventing bullying in your community.
  • Adults and concerned individuals can help by finding out more about where and when bullying occurs within the schools and your community.
  • Write a blog, letter to the editor or your local newspaper, or tweet about bullying.

Not saying anything could make it worse for everyone. The kid who is bullying will think it is OK to keep treating others this way. That is not an option, become involved or talk with someone for help.

Focus on Undoing the Damage
Taking steps to repair the loss of identity and self-esteem is an integral part of the process for people to heal from past bullying experiences. It’s the unseen damage within them that needs to be mended. Learning how to feel safe in the world is a start to regaining control of their lives and shed the victim role. Finding safe people and groups can help one to accept the support and move forward… slow and steady.

National Crime and Prevention Council
The National Crime Prevention Council’s mission (NCPC) is the nation’s leader in helping people keep themselves, their families and their communities safe from crime. To achieve this, NCPC produces tools that communities can use to learn prevention and strategies, engage community members and coordinate with local agencies.

National Bullying Prevention Center
Founded in 2006, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center unites, engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying through creative, relevant and interactive resources. PACER’s bullying prevention resources are designed to benefit students, including students with disabilities.

Anti-Bullying Resources
Through research-based intervention, GLSEN provides resources and support for schools to implement effective and age-appropriator anti-bullying programs to improve school climate for all students.

National Suicide Hotline/Hopeline
Call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week; we are here to help. Support from across the country assists KBHC achieve its mission to prevent suicide and educate people about depressive disorders.

The Trevor Lifeline (U.S. Only)
Call anytime day or night, 24/7. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youths.

Resource Links:
A Parent’s Guide to Child Safety
Bullying Statistics
Violence Prevention Works
Interesting Facts About Bullying

Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgive one
another, as God in Christ forgave you.  ~Ephesians 4:32

Branches of the Government

The Branches of the Government was set in place by the founding Fathers. Over the past several years, I’m one among many that have become frustrated with government gridlock. Upon re-acquainting myself with the U.S. Constitution and becoming more informed as to how our Government works, I have a greater appreciation for our forefathers and our great nation, The United States of America. If only our Government could act “united”, now that would a most welcome change!

The political climate over the past several elections has displayed actions or in-actions and behaviors described as nothing short of disgusting. The political climate is poisonous, political ads are filled with lies and half-truths with millions spent to promote the lies, while the rich buy their way into the government offices. I don’t believe this is what our forefathers had in mind for our nation. Government spending and expansion of, is out of control. Government officials are less than accountable for their actions or in-actions yet manage to agree on increasing their wages, benefits and perks. Our nation is losing respect and credibility throughout the world and we are heading in the wrong direction. Where do we go from here? What is the right direction? I don’t have the answers, but do know our current course has not been productive.

The founding Fathers were very careful when developing the Constitution to insure the branches function together to provide a system based on checks and balances of powers to ensure that no individual or body of the government ever becomes too powerful. Our Government is made up of three branches: The Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch. For a more in-depth explanation, resource links are provided at the bottom of this page.Abraham Lincoln - One of our greatest Presidents

The Executive Branch

  • Head of the Executive Branch:  The President plays a key role in the lawmaking process and is responsible to ensure that our laws are enforced accordingly. The President cannot write bills, however, he can propose a bill but a member of Congress must submit it for him.
  • Head of State:  He meets with various leaders of other countries and able to make treaties with them. Before the treaty becomes official, it must be approved by the Senate. The President also has the power to appoint ambassadors to other countries, Supreme Court Justices, federal judges and any official as provided for by the Congress with the Senate’s approval.
  • Commander in Chief of the military:  As the official head of the U.S. military, the President can authorize the use of troops overseas without declaring war. In order to officially declare war, he must get the approval of Congress.
  • Chief of Government:  Technically speaking, the President is the boss of every government worker.

Due to the size and complexity of the executive branch, the President receives assistant from the Vice President, department heads (Cabinet members) and the heads of independent agencies.

The Legislative Branch
The legislative branch of government has the authority to make laws for the nation and is made up of Congress and government agencies such as the Government of Accountability Office (GAO) and Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

Congress is made up of two changers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. This system was created by the Founding Fathers to ensure checks and balances within the legislative branch. Also, members of Congress are elected by a direct vote of the people of the state they represent.

The Constitution grants Congress “all legislative powers” in the national government. Article l, Section 8, of the Constitution lists a wide range of congressional powers, including:

  • To provide and maintain a Navy;
  • Declaring war on other countries;
  • The power to amend the Constitution (involves a lengthy process);
  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • The power to coin money, assessing and collecting taxes;
  • Regulating interstate and foreign commerce;
  • Make all laws which shall be necessary and proper;
  • The authority to investigate and oversee the executive branch and its’ agencies;
  • Holds hearings on matters of general public concern identifying problems that may create a need for new laws or hold hearings to raise public awareness on a particular issue.

In addition to the above powers, there are congressional powers that are rarely used, such as the ability to impeach an official and amending the Constitution.

The Judicial Branch
The Judicial Branch of government is made up of a court system where laws are interpreted and determined if the laws are constitutional. There are three different kinds of courts found in the federal court system. The lowest level is the district courts followed by the court of appeals and top level being the Supreme Court.

Some Major Duties Include:

  • In charge of the court system;
  • Has the right to overturn state laws and laws passed by Congress;
  • Interpreting federal laws;
  • Interpreting the U.S. Constitution;
  • Resolving legal disputes;
  • Trying criminal and civil cases;
  • Determining guilt or innocence, degree of responsibility, fault, etc.;
  • Imposing sentences and other legal punishment;
  • Protecting individual constitutional rights;
  • Managing the docket and judicial caseload;
  • Checking the power of the Legislative and Executive branches.

The Judiciary explains and applies the laws. This branch does this by hearing and eventually making decisions on various legal cases.

The Preamble to the United States Constitution states, “We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United StatLady Justice - Checks and Balance of our US Governmentes of America.”

The history of how our government came about with much care through the experience and hindsight of our founding forefathers. The established balance and separation of powers to ensure no branch of our government would ever become so powerful that it rules the People rather than serves the People.

Our government is of the People, by the People and for the People. Today, it is clear our Government has lost focus and purpose. The Government appears to be about “self-serving” than serving the “People”. Government officials are more concerned about their careers, benefits, wages and retirement than serving their constituents. They vote their own raises and have the Cadillac of insurance coverage at our expense. As a nation blessed with so many freedoms, it is time we Americans give back credibility to our United States of America. Let us not forget why America was formed… to protect us from the very situations that are occurring today.

Become involved; share your concerns with your Congressional leaders from your State. Hold members of Congress accountable for their actions and learn more about how lawmakers in your State are voting. To obtain your 9-digit zip code, go to Melissa Data for assistance.

Government Resource Links:
Open Congress
U.S. Senate
U.S. House of Representatives
U.S. Government for Kids
Branches of Government

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one
and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise
the other. You cannot serve God and money.”  ~Matthew 6:24

Apathy vs. Participation

What about apathy vs. participation? Some people aren’t interested, others don’t care and there are those that don’t have time to participate. And that is their choice. Personally, I’m happiest when learning, engaging in areas of interest or involved with stimulating conversations where both parties share and respect each other’s thoughts or opinions. I’m also interested and concerned as to the overall direction of our nation and the world in general. I choose to be a part of life and sincerely believe one person can make a difference and a group of “many” can do more.Caring can help to stifle apathy - Apathy vs. Participation

Complacency in itself isn’t a bad place to be; however, it can promote idleness which in turn feeds the apathetic attitudes. Engaging in topics, issues or areas of concerns can help to keep idleness at bay and promote interests and self-worth through participation.And for individuals that are comfortable with apathy… again, that is your choice and is respected here.

Apathy can be stifling leading to indifference and lack of interest and concern. It can be considered a form of self-contentedness. There is more regard today for immediate self-gratification that is oftentimes driven by greed and selfishness. Today’s motto could read, “if it doesn’t affect me, I don’t care”. For whatever reason, we have become a society of tolerance and accepting all behaviors and actions without questions. Being apathetic creates a world of idleness and, “I don’t care.” Not a very productive place to be. Or is it? I suppose it depends on one’s beliefs.

What motivates you? Perhaps writing articles, joining volunteer groups or getting involved in areas that are of concern to you is a start.

What do you care about today?

  • Family and friends
  • Family pets
  • Relationships
  • Financial security
  • Purchasing affordable health insurance
  • State of our world
  • The actions or inaction’s of our government?
  • Maintaining friendships
  • Future debt of our nation
  • Planning for retirement
  • Finding employment
  • Wanting to help others

So what do you care about… or do you? There is no right or wrong answer here. We all make choices and have a right to our perspectives on various issues or topics. The question I ask myself is am I happy with where I’m at in my life… do I like me?

“Son of man, you live in the midst of the rebellious house, who
have eyes to see but do not see, ears to hear but do not hear;
for they are a rebellious house.”  ~Ezekiel 12:2

Blessed Virgin Mary

The Blessed Virgin Mary gave birth to Jesus while remaining a virgin as mentioned in the birth narratives of Matthew 1:18-23 and Luke 1:26-35. Mary is also oftentimes referred to as the Mother of Jesus and Mother of God. God’s own Son was conceived in her womb by the Holy spirit, her spouse. Jesus became her Son, and she became his Mother making her the Mother of God.

As taught in Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy, Mary was a virgin before she gave birth to Jesus, she also remained a virgin her entire life. Mary was and is graced, she is pure and most blessed above all women.

Matthew and Luke help to provide more information about the Blessed Virgin and the Birth of Jesus Christ.

Matthew 1:18-23 – Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit; 19and her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. 20But as he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not Blessed Virgin Maryfear to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit; 21she will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.” 22All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet. 23“Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel!” (which means God with us).

Luke 1:26-35 – In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, 27to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, you who enjoy God’s favour! The Lord is with you.’ 29She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, 30but the angel said to her, ‘Mary do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. 31Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. 32He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; 33he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ 34Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?’ 35The angel answered, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God.’

Mary is not Worshiped but Held in High Esteem
Because of her humility, faithfulness and role as the mother of the Savior of humanity, Mary has been accorded great respect by Christians. In Catholic and Orthodox Churches, Mary is the greatest and first saint.

It would be in error for people to worship Mary or place her before God. Officially acknowledged, Roman Catholics worship only God – the Father, the Son incarnate (made flesh), and the Holy Spirit. The Church, however, does encourage veneration of the saints, with the Virgin Mary foremost among them.

Interesting Facts about Mary

  • The formal study of Mary and everything Marian is called “Mariology”
  • Like Joseph her husband, Mary is a direct descendant of King David belonging to the Tribe of Judah
  • Mary’s fathers name is St. Joaquim from the tribe of Judah, her mother St. Anne is from the tribe of Levi
  • Mary is the Immaculate Conception, she was conceived without original sin.
  • Mary is Virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus the Christ
  • She was the first disciple
  • Mary assumed into Heaven after she died (body and soul)
  • She has been declared the Saint of Saints
  • She was and continues to appear throughout the world
  • Mary prays to her Son for the world
  • She is our Mother (not biologically, but spiritually)
  • When Mary appears to her seers, she speaks in their native language or dialect of the visionary
  • Mary is “directly” and “explicitly” foretold in four Old Testament Books: Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 7:1-17, Mica 5:2-3, and Jeremiah 31:22
  • Mary’s first Marian Apparition according to tradition was Zaragosa, Spain to St. James the Apostle (the Greater) in 40 AD
  • To date, only 10 Marian Apparitions have been officially proclaimed and acknowledged by the Vatican as “supernatural in origin” and “worthy of belief”, one of which was recently approved in 2008 and the first Marian Apparition to get the Vatican’s approval in the 21st Century. The Apparations listed by date of occurrences: Guadalupe (1531), Laus (1665), Miraculous Medal (1830), LaSalette (1846), Lourdes (1858), Pontmain (1871), Fatima (1917), Beauraing (1932), Banneux (1935), and Akita (1973)

The Immaculate Conception
Since original sin (the sin of Adam) is passed down through the womb from one generation to the next, God made Mary free from original sin so that Jesus would also be free from it. This Catholic dogma is called the Immaculate Conception of Mary.Mother Mary holding the body of Her Son - Michaelangelo Pieta Sculpture Vatican Rome Italy

“The most Holy Virgin Mary was, in the first moment of her conception, by a unique gift of grace and privilege of Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Redeemer of mankind, preserved free from all stain of original sin.” (Pope Pius IX, Ineffabilis Deus, 1854)

May we take this time to honor the Holy Family – Jesus, Mary and Joseph, let us pray:

In Honor of the Holy Family
O God, Heavenly Father, it was part of Your eternal decree that Your only-begotten Son, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, should form a holy family with Mary, His blessed mother, and His foster father, Saint Joseph. In Nazareth, home life was sanctified, and a perfect example was given to every Christian family. Grant, we beseech You that we may fully comprehend and faithfully imitate the virtues of the Holy Family so that we may be united with them one day in their heavenly glory. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen

Personal Note:
Mary serves as the perfect example of motherhood for our world today. When we think of Mary, we are called to her son, Jesus the Christ. Truly, Mary is a powerful example for us all.

“If you ever feel distressed during your day — call upon our Lady — just say this simple prayer: “Mary, Mother of Jesus, please be a mother to me now.’ I must admit — this prayer has never failed me.”  ~Blessed Mother Teresa

Let me emphasize that in no way does Mary take the place of God nor do I place her above God. She does, however, fill me with awareness and gently guides me as only a mother’s love can to Him, her Son and my Lord and my Savior.

Links of Interest:
Catholic Doors Ministry
Mary Pages
Learning About Mary
Mary Our Mother

“The Mother of Christ, who stands at the very center of this mystery…
is given as mother to every single individual and all mankind.”
~Pope John Paul ll — 1987 A.D.

Accountability and Personal Involvement

Accountability and personal involvement by means of looking out for one another, as well as ourselves is not a new idea… just a forgotten one.

Our society has become desensitized to violent behavior while promoting avoidance when observing or being exposed to uncomfortable situations. Ignore it and it will go away; or, it’s not my business to get involved. And so we oftentimes move on while looking the other way.

It’s of my belief and opinion that one person CAN make a difference. With the use of the Internet, becoming involved can be easy! The problem arises as to where and how to find reliable resources and support when looking to become involved. Perhaps the information I have researched and provided below will be of some help.

The resources shown below are not complete but do offer a good point of reference. I hope this article can instill a spark which eventually turns into a blazing flame of hope!

INDIVIDUAL – PERSONALAccountability and Personal Involvment - You Can  Make A Difference
Online Petitions

It only takes one person to start change. You can begin with an online petition to get your message heard. a free and easy way to start a petition and make your voice heard by government and business leaders all over the world.

We the People
This website provides a means for all Americans to engage their government on the issues that matter to them through the development of a new platform. This platform gives all Americans a way to create and sign petitions on a wide-range of issues affecting our nation.
Causes was built to create change. If you have ever thought about organizing a boycott, creating a petition, or raising money for a good cause, you’ve found a good source. is a free online platform that provides easy-to-use tools for creating change.

We look to strengthen communities by making it easier for good people and good causes to connect. The organization offers a variety of online services to support a community of nonprofit, volunteer and business leaders committed to civic engagement.

Get Involved
Get Involved is a national campaign encouraging the nation’s 77 million baby boomers to “Get Involved” in their communities through volunteer service.

Fraudulent activities should always be reported to your local law enforcement office. Included is information on specific types of fraud complaints and how to report them.

OIG — Identity Theft & Abuse
OIG came about as a result of the Watergate scandal as a means of ensuring integrity and accountability in the Executive Branch (including SSA) as an effective means to report identity theft, fraud, waste and abuse.

Seek Solutions - Accountability and Personal InvolvementPUBLIC/PRIVATE
Consumer Watchdog

Expose rip-offs and injustices. Confront the industries and politicians responsible. Change the world by taking action now! At Consumer Watchdog, we investigate, advocate, mobilize and litigate.

Start an awareness campaign about your cause. Do is the country’s largest nonprofit for young people and social change. Campaigns include:  Bullying, homelessness, cancer and the lists goes on.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) is the voice for animals. Get involved through online activism, report animal abuse and checkout their advocacy center.

USO – Get Involved
Get involved; make a difference to troops and their families. Their Mission:  The USO lifts the spirits of America’s troops and their families with help from individuals such as yourself.

Neighborhood Watch Program
USAonWatch® empowers citizens to become active in community efforts through participation in Neighborhood Watch groups. The goal of this website is to provide information, technical support and resources to local law enforcement agencies and citizens.

Since 2003, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has closely monitored government ethics, bringing egregious conduct to light and holding public officials accountable for their misconduct.

Amnesty International
Whether you have 5 minutes or more time to spare, we’ve got a way for you to make your mark in this world! Our strength lies in collective action. We help individuals around the world whose human rights are being violated.

Government Accountability Project (GAP)
The Government Accountability Project’s mission is to promote corporate and government accountability by protecting whistleblowers, advancing occupational free speech, and empowering citizen activists.

Federal Whistleblower Protection Program
The Whistleblower Protection Program was established to ensure that employees and applicants who disclose allegations of serious wrongdoing or gross mismanagement are free from fear of reprisal for their disclosures.

National Whistleblower Center (NWC)
The National Whistleblowers Center is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to protecting  employees’ lawful disclosure of waste, fraud and abuse.

GOVERNMENT, INDUSTRY & ORGANIZATONSHelp prevent govenment and corporate fraud - Become involved!
Activism – Government: Watchdog Organizations
Connecting like-minded people to resource links while helping to promote participation and accountability
The Center for Media and Democracy publishes SourceWatch for citizens and journalists looking for documented information about the corporations, industries and people trying to influence public policy and public opinion.

Watchdog Central
This website was created to help facilitate research by concerned citizens working toward taking back our country. This can be accomplished by joining together to root out and expose those who seek to corrupt our government and control our lives.

Common Cause
The Common Cause website is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to restoring the core values of American democracy and empowering ordinary people to make their voices heard in the political arena.
Report fraud and abuse here. Medicare fraud happens when Medicare is billed for services or supplies you have never received. Medicare fraud costs Medicare a lot of money each year… your money!

Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill
the law of Christ. ~Galatians 6:2

25 Dumb and Silly U.S. Laws

Dumb and silly U.S. Laws are plentiful and in most cases, useless. So, let’s take a break and look at the lighter side of life for a bit. Below is a list of 25 Dumb and Silly U.S. Laws I have found to be most curious and interesting. I cannot vouch for the authenticity of all the laws presented, however, the sources are reputable and appropriate links are included within the footnotes to verify resources.

While reading the silly and dumb U.S. Laws and you find any to be false or inaccurate, please leave a comment or contact us for future reference. Let the fun begin:

  1. In fire-sensitive Chicago, it is against the law to eat in an establishment that is on fire.¹
  2. In Zion (Illinois), it is illegal for anyone to give cats, dogs, or other domesticated animals kept as pets a lighted cigar.¹
  3. A man cannot be seen in public while wearing a jacket and pants that do not match in Carmel, N.Y.¹25 Dumb and Silly U.S. Laws
  4. It is illegal in Oklahoma to have a sleeping donkey in your bathtub after 7:00 pm.¹
  5. It is illegal in Florida to fart in a public place after 6:00 pm on Thursdays.²
  6. A man with a moustache may never kiss a woman in public.²
  7. All residents shall bathe every Saturday night.²
  8. In Maryland, it is illegal to take a lion to the movies.²
  9. It is illegal in North Dakota to fall asleep with your shoes on.²
  10. No child may build a snowman taller than him/herself on school property in Alaska.³
  11. In Pueblo, Colorado it is illegal to let a dandelion grow within city limits.³
  12. All residents may be fined in Hawaii for not owning a boat.³
  13. It’s illegal to purchase onions after dark except with a special permit from the sheriff in Tamarack, Idaho.³
  14. In Maine, after January 14th a person can be fined for having Christmas decorations still up.³
  15. It’s illegal in Baltimore, Maryland to scrub or wash sinks no matter how dirty they get.³
  16. It is illegal to make a squirrel worry in Excelsior Springs, Missouri.³
  17. In Lehigh, Nebraska it is illegal to sell donut holes.³
  18. Unless the customer has a note from his doctor in Newark New Jersey, it is illegal to sell ice cream after 6:00 pm to the customer.³
  19. Dishes must drip dry in Oregon.³
  20. In Portland, Oregon people are banned from whistling underwater.³
  21. It’s against the law in Texas to have a pair of pliers in one’s possession.³
  22. In Utah, birds have the right of way on highways.³
  23. All lollipops are banned in Washington.³
  24. It is illegal in West Virginia to snooze on a train.³
  25. In Sun Prairie, Wisconsin cats are forbidden from entering cemeteries.³

If you know of dumb and dumb and silly or crazy laws that you find to be interesting, please share and post them below or contact us with your suggestions.

Additional links of interest:
Stupid Laws in the USA
Weird Laws of the United States
America’s Craziest Laws
Real Strange Laws by States

¹TJS; Real Funny Dumb Laws in the United States –
²; Dumbest Laws in America –
³Information Central; Weird U.S.A. Laws –
FYI ~ Image Credit: plywrit / 123RF Stock Photo