Friday, December 24, 2010

Christmas Eve: Celebrate Jesus' Birth

As a Christian, this is a joyous time of year, when I honor the birthday of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ (even though I'm pretty certain the day is not the actual date of his birth) and the world joins in.

This night offers great power to those without power, hope to those without hope, love to those who are unloved and faith for those without faith.

Hear Il Divo and chorus crescendo into the profound moment of "O Holy Night."

The story of Joseph and Mary arriving in the night, her ready to give birth and no place but the humble manger--the feeding trough for the stinky animals--was available for the event that changed the world, regardless of what faith one has.

A humble child, in the harshest of circumstances survived the cold night, and lived to bring a message of love and peace.

For the powerless, a story of power.

Angels announced the birth to the humblest of people, to shepherds, who were stuck guarding the sheep in the fields. They didn't have the luxury of a pen or shed to keep their watch easy. No, these were on the bottom rung of the career ladder.

The Angel spoke to them. First words: "Fear not."

I love it when angels appear in unexpected places. The shock individuals experience seeing them forces the first statement to be: "Don't be afraid" or "Fear not" because if an angel appeared to me, I might be scared witless, too.

For the hopeless, a message of hope.

Hear Libera Boys Choir sing "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks by Night"

The next thing these poor, down trodden shepherds learn is that the extreme event means "Good News" and not bad news. "Great Joy" is mentioned, so the presentation is upbeat and positive. They are so overcome, they lug their flocks to the stable to see the young child and discover it is just as the angel said, and later as the chorus of angels sang.

A transforming moment. For the faithless, a reason to believe, enough that the faith is born out.

Whatever hostilities that occur between people of different faiths, countries of rivaling agendas and enemies of common ground, this moment in each year brings a goodness to everyone.

All people (regardless of faith) seem kinder, gentler, more understanding and willing to forgive or at least put up with the ones they don't like. Even the bah humbug-gers will say it with a smile.

Of course, exceptions to every statement above exist, but in general, I believe the goodness that each individual has within them shines during this season.

For the unloved, Christmas is a message of love. God loves you, so much he gave his only son, Jesus, to be born on earth to save us from our sins.

"Lo, How a Rose E'er Blooming" The ancient melody and words sing: "to show God's love aright, she bore to us a Savior."

Greater love hath no one than they give up their life for a friend.

Be a friend of Jesus and feel the love.

As the year draws to an end, I wish you well and thank you for reading my musings. May you find your way to truth and discover the blessings of God for you and yours.

These three abide: faith, hope and love. The greatest of these is love.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Every Child is Important at Christmas

When a child, I loved this song because it empowered me to believe I could bring something important to life and to the God of my faith.

As Advent draws to a close, I share the beautiful voices of Celtic Woman with their unique take on the classic,

and for those who like a light show with their music:

Parents of Teens are Clueless?

Apparently I've been using the wrong carrier

Are we parents fighting a losing battle out there to protect our children from those who would deliberately harm them? With carriers flaunting keeping us out of the loop?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cell Phone and Computer Etiquette for Teens

I'm having an ongoing debate (euphemism for all out war) with my teenagers about their cell phone ('mobile' to UK types) usage and computer usage. They say I am clueless and old fashioned.

When we got the phones, we explained they were for business (we own our own and sometimes need to communicate when we are in different locations) but that they were welcome to use them for personal calls.

Then came the change in behaviors. When the children struggled to wake up each morning, saying they hadn't slept well, I checked the phone logs and computer logs. Sure enough. Texting and playing on facebook all night long. I don't care whether Mark Zuckerberg is Time Magazine's Person of the Year, teenagers texting and using facebook all hours of the night deprives them of well needed sleep.

I swear, he is texting everywhere he goes.

I set the rule based on my own refined breeding when I was young. Don't call anyone after 9 p.m. and not before 9 a.m. (on weekends 10 a.m.) except in extreme emergencies. Chatting did not and does not constitute an emergency, no matter how critical it is to keep in touch with friends. I made an exception and opened up my eldest's phone when he was talking with someone expressing suicidal ideation. He assured me, that all was well when they hung up. That was months ago and the individual is undergoing counseling.

Many articles on sleep deprivation call attention to the constant stimulus we have in society from TV, film, DVD, VCR, cell phones, computers and the like.

I use my computer in the wee hours. With the medications I take, I'm up at night and unable to return to sleep. I try for the eight hours sleep. The children's doctor suggested good regenerative rest was needed.

52.25 - Sleeeeep!

But they insist that I am outdated. My 'good manners' don't apply to the modern world. My children say 'all of their friends are allowed to text all night' or go on their computers all night.

They accuse me of being a control freak. I am adamant about their getting sleep and learning good manners. I put turn off times on both cells and computers. Cell phones turn off at 9 p.m. despite the fact they say their friends don't have any restrictions. Computers turn off later, but I block facebook/IM etc. at 10 p.m. and turn them off at 11 p.m.

Am I alone in this? Are all other parents out there allowing unrestricted usage for their children and cellphones/computers? What are your cut off times or do you think the 9 p.m. rule is outmoded or outdated? If I am THE LONE VOICE proclaiming the need for teenagers and people, for that matter, to have a time that electronics shut off, please let me know.

this is radio nowhere

I googled cell phone restrictions and teen usage of cell phones, but found most issues surround not using them in public, movie houses, restaurants and speaking of personal things too loudly. Next to nothing spoke with authority on the mores of society in regard to the hours of cellphone use, especially for teens.

Four Seasons

Please tell me I am not The Lone Voice for courtesy and manners.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Goodbye My Sweet Jaz

The twilight was cold and raining, but dear sweet Jaz, who was holding her own, though resistant to being force fed thyroid medicine, stood up and indicated she was going to leap from the secure spot I had for her next to me.

It was her sign to me, "I need to go do my business. Privately. I don't like a crowd when I eat or use the sandbox outside." So I gently lifted her and carried her to the door. She paused at the rain for a split second, but moved forward with determination on wobbly legs.

I stood at the door for a while. Sometimes she will take an hour before she whines at my window and calls for me to open the door to her, so I returned to my chair and kept an ear attuned to the raindrops, hoping for a telltale whine.

It never came. I searched. My family searched. Each day we searched all her familiar hideouts. Four days later, and I no longer believe she will return. The cold and her weakened condition left her vulnerable.

I kick myself for letting her out, even though it was our routine. My children blame me too.

She was the most beautiful of all cats. From the day I saw her in the pound, when we were shopping for a dog, I left only to dream about her that night. We returned the next day and adopted her. A dainty princess, she rarely caused me worry. Her cry so sweet, we wished she would 'talk' more. The life she lived here was queen of the roost. All adored her and she was highly selective to whom she deigned to give her attention.

I loved her more than all the other cats, even though I typically don't have favorites. Animals appeal to me at all levels. She touched my soul in a way that no other cat has.

Goodbye, my sweet, sweet Jaz. You hold a place in my heart and mind forever. Your spirit encouraged me when I felt pain. Your beauty awed me when life was bleak. Your gentleness and patience taught me I needed to cultivate those traits. I pray your last moments were peaceful.

My computer crashed with all my photos of her. I hope to get them off the hard drive transfer. But I listened to this song and thought of her. She did raise me up...or at least my spirits soared whenever she was around.

Goodbye, my love.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

I Thought My Darling Cat Was Dying

I can't remember a time I recommended a particular product in its own article. I've rated things, but rarely paused to comment. However, I thought my darling twenty-one year old cat was dying. After all, old age and dying are normal. Of all my pets, she is the light of my life, both beautiful and the sweetest, most temperate pet I’ve had.

A week ago, she yowled as if she were dying. The out-of-character behavior alerted me to watch her. I tracked and observed her heaving and throwing up. The vomiting continued until each time she did so, it was no longer food, but bile.

Day 12: Fancying up the cat food.

She cried, whimpered and yowled. I grabbed the old dog bed, and covered it with a plush towel, insuring my smell on it, and set it beside me at my desk. I placed water and her favorite food beside her. She lay curled up on the towel, but turned away from food and water with disdain. Cats eat related to scent and stomach cravings, as well as stress free/settled environment.

Just before leaving (2 of 4)

Long story short, she refused food, water and wasted away in front of my eyes. The vet cost $245 with a certainty of more fees for subsequent shot-visits to deal with her hyperthyroidism.

Her eyes seeped and her listlessness distressed me. I stroked her and she barely moved her head towards my hand in affection.

I searched the web daily for other’s experience with her condition. I discovered after five days. I’d seen my sweet Jaz waste away to nearly nothing, continuing to refuse food, although I saw her lick some water from the small bowl I kept by her. She kept losing weight. A cat losing weight has little reserves. I needed to find a way to nourish her.

On, I discovered Resthyro as a treatment for hyperthyroidism. Reading reviews of pet lovers, convinced me to risk trying it on Jaz. When the box arrived, I force fed two drops of Resthyro. She was too weak to resist my opening her mouth. She barely swallowed and curled into a ball and slept. Tempting her several times a day with food over the last week, to no avail, so I force fed a special mix of emulsified fresh liver and water, vitamins, and tissue salts. Earlier attempts had resulted in her throwing up everything I gave her. After one day of taking Resthyro, her stomach settled. No vomiting.

Scout Close-Up

This is the third day of giving her two drops of Resthyro twice daily. When I forced fed her she scratched me—a joyous moment—because she’s been too listless to resist until now. I see her life returning. Her weakness is reduced. She is resting comfortably. The crying and yowling has stopped. Just now, she sat up, drank water, jumped down off my desk and walked outside to do her business.

Ginger's Food

I didn’t expect such results for three weeks. Natural remedies often take longer, but this change is stunning. I emulsified fresh liver with a cup of water and have been feeding her with a syringe. She hasn’t thrown up and is growing stronger. Holding her head up, she is resting comfortably and looking around her.

I can’t recommend and Resthyro enough for a cat with hyperthyroidism. The quality of life for my sweet Jaz is looking up. I have not written a review such as this. To have observed so drastic a change in her behavior and demeanor brings me joy. The prospects for her quality of life in three weeks and more are encouraging.

I couldn't get my pictures to work, so I used flickr and pictures that are close to looking like my Jaz. These sickly cats resemble her, the first photo, taken on its last day. My condolences on their loss.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Tis the Season for Listening to Music

One of my favorite things about the holidays is listening to music. The resounding beats and trills of familiar songs makes my toe tap, involuntarily and ups the beating of my heart. (I wonder, 'Could it be considered aerobic exercise if my heart rate goes up?' LOL)

Doing the routine maintenance of the house is better with the upbeat sounds of Christmas, whether it's a crooner singing popular music or orchestra's soothing symphonies of Christmas classics, hymns and instrumental arrangements.

I love this music, and I am going to share some of my favorites with you.

Manheim Steamroller's versions of the standard carols particularly lighten the load of housework with its contemporary flavor to old songs. Since I'm in the process of decorating, I submit a favorite: "Deck the Halls" produced and presented with the extra light show enjoyment:

Gets your heart beating and foot tapping, doesn't it? Mine do.

Stay tuned to this spot for more.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Who Owns Your Internet Access? Net Neutrality?

In the ever changing internet and electronic scene, the roles of corporations and the public welfare are confusing and uncertain. Can we trust that corporations who are vying for control of the internet and electronic access have the public's interest at heart?

Read the article, The Game of Monopoly, in Publishers Weekly about Tim Wu's new book, The Master Switch. It delves into the past history of technology companies and how they started with innovation, but once gaining the upper hand or monopoly, turned and stifled inventions and access.

Net Neutrality And Creative Freedom (Tim Wu at re:publica 2010)

Comcast, who bought out NBC, is asking for the right to have vertical tiers of internet access. Public and Premium. Google and Verizon have joined forces to gain control. What is net neutrality?

Doesn't that mean that they become the filter through which all information is processed? Do you want Comcast to decide what news you can read about on the internet? What programs you can see? Is it a form of censorship? Do you want Comcast to be your censor?

Did you know that AT&T's monopoly of the phone service prevented the answering machine from development for many years, wanting the public to use their phone booths to communicate?

Why is this important? We all need to be responsible for what we encourage the government to allow. Read up. Be aware and contact your representative with your views.

Check out Senator Franken, speaking on "Net Neutrality" which he says is a first amendment issue.

Should there be a public and premium internet access?

What are the upsides?

What are the downsides?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards dies; Remember her Political Savvy

James Fallows writes a great article at The Atlantic...challenging us to remember the greatness about Elizabeth Edwards on her death. Yes, it is a tragedy that cancer takes so many. She left a legacy for politics, for women, for survivors of cancer and parenting.

Rest in Peace, Elizabeth. We will miss you.

Pearl Harbor Day. We Remember Dec. 7th

USS Arizona Memorial

Military and civilian alike remember the bombing of Pearl Harbor, HI on December 7, 1941, if not from the day itself, then from the stories told. A day that will live in infamy has been recounted in books, in film and ceremonies. Today, Pearl recognizes 120 survivors who journey to share their experiences, remembered as if it were yesterday.

Arizona Memorial 4

The stacks of the Arizona are an eerie reminder of the 2400 souls that perished on December 7th. The Arizona Memorial rises above and honors the sailors with an etched wall commemorating each, who sacrificed all in defense of country. It brings a knot to the throat and moisture to the eye to think of those, whose families would never grow old together. The loss is so profound that it is palpable when you stand there quietly.

Having conducted ceremonies on the Memorial, I can attest to the troubled aura that pervades the open viewing area. Loss leaves its lingering imprint, years after.

USS Arizona Memorial

A loss of such magnitude should serve to remind us of the preciousness of life. We have a duty to ourselves to reconcile what we can and do our best to bring honor and truth to every day.

Chaplain Kennedy writes additional experiences of the Navy at the Memorial and aboard the carriers.

Be good to yourself and those you love. You never know if it will be your last day.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Write a Romance Novel? Easy Peasy.

A friend, who writes romance novels, is getting published, and another, I believe will join that group soon.

So, I am focused on critiquing and reading romance novels for a writer's group, wishing for them every success.

Finding this video puts all in perspective. Maybe I, too, could write romance.

Chapters 1 - 3

Chapters 4-10

Chapters 11-15

Chapters 16-20

I'm excited now. Romance, here I come.

Ah, it should be easy peasy after that. What do you think?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

100 Top Books You Have Read or Not

The Classics are always worth a little extra viewing time.

The Blue Boy

Following on from Sandra's Blog, I am duplicating the list of books of which the BBC reckons most people have only read 6 out of the hundred. If you want to accept the challenge, copy and paste this list into your blog and link back to here.


• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible - (yes, really!)

Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell

His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller

Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck

Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma - Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown

One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding

Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas

On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens

Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

*Last book is missing. My suggestion for book #100: Holes - Louis Sachar
Book #101 The Cat in the Hat - Dr. Seuss (actually, most of them)
Book #103 Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Judith Viorst
Because there should be children's books on the list, too and I would place these three children's books higher on the list than some of the ones above.

What book would you suggest?

So that gives me a total of 59 plus 11 started. If you include various works of Shakespeare, it would jump some more. Hmm...not bad. Better than 6 anyway!

How did you score?

Humor at Christmas Avoid the Rush

Holiday fun or Holiday stress?

Some days the car won't start on the subzero temperature day and you left your gloves at home; you are standing at the cashier of the line you waited in for thirty minutes and you discover you left your wallet in the other pants/purse/jacket; or your credit card is stuck in the machine from the gum your kid dropped in your wallet after you told him not-to-be-rude-and-drop-ABC-gum-on-the-floor-but-put-it-in-your-purse-instead, and for a change he obeyed you. So gum is on the corner of the checkbook, the zipper of your wallet coin purse, the tissue packet that he opened at the wrong end, so now the Kleenex are all freed of plastic confinement, ostensibly to wrap around the gum. Ah yes, there is a fragment of gum attached to a corner of a tissue.

So, how is your day?

With the flurry of activity at the holidays, and the meaning of Christmas getting lost in the shuffle of gift buying, packaging and mailing, parties and obligations, the holidays can stress people to the nth degree. Santa is no exception.

One of my favorite editors tells this glimpse into the stress of the North Pole at this time of year.

Warning: the subject is a little known fact and a little risque. Venture at your own risk of rolling on the floor laughing...

Behler Blog

The Tree

Ah yes, the angel atop the tree brings a smile to your face. Have a happy holidays and try a little humor to de-stress your life.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Love Those Dog Tricks

If it could be true that a dog would take over the daily chores, we would all want a terrier. Housework would be a thing of the past.

This is one of the cutest videos of a dog:

What is your favorite dog trick story? Tell me in the comments below.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Do You Enter Contests?

I do. Especially if it means the chance to receive a book. I love to read and my interests are diversified. I'll read anything, my interests are so comprehensive. Okay, eclectic. Okay, okay, I'm picky.

But I do like to enter a contest if there is a chance at winning a book. This cool author has developed a brilliant method. She reads a book and passes along the book in a contest. It's a gift that keeps on giving.

Check out her contest here at Stephanie Reads. Click on the link at the upper right column of her blog where it says Win a Copy of

Matched by Ally Condie.

Have fun. I'm thinking I just might do the same thing. What do you think? Should I have a give away of some of my books?