People are good, people are generous

Back in 1987, my husband and I and our 3 children (at the time) worked as missionaries in Venezuela.  Before we left for our 2 ½ year journey, and while we were there, we asked friends and family for financial support, for ourselves, but also (and mostly) to run the children’s home we were in charge of.  There was some local funding, but it was pretty meager, not enough to do the job well.

People responded most generously.  We had enough funds to support ourselves, hire 3 local people to help run the home, and even enough left over to help the other children’s homes in the area (drastically underfunded).

The other day, Jan. 8, there was an accident and the 4 yo son of a woman I know was badly burned.  He ended up far from home in a specialized burn center.  His mom is with him, leaving 5 other children at home.  Her husband was also burned, but not as badly as the child.  He did not need to be moved to the burn center.

Someone (a relative I think) set up a donation center/ fundraiser to help with costs.  It looks like the child will be in the hospital 6 months plus.  I cannot imagine what that must be like for the entire family.  But what impresses me greatly is the outpouring of generosity.  The current fundraiser goal is $25,000.  It has been only 4 days since the accident as of this writing, and already they have gotten over $16,000.

Now, this is an ordinary family.  They are not celebrities, not famous, they don’t have thousands and thousands of friends.  Just ordinary folks.  Yet there has been a  tremendous outpouring of support- prayers and financially.    I suspect that many of the donors have never met them.  I posted on my facebook page about it, and asked folks to support them, with prayers and/or financially.  Others have done the same, I’m sure.  (And this is not a “close” friend, just someone I know.  I only met her once through a Catholic moms group we both belonged to.)

The money will continue to pour in, and if they raise their goal, I’m sure folks will keep giving until it is met.  As I scanned the donations list, there were some $10 donations, but also a fair number of $500 ones, and even more.  And I suspect some of those donors have never met the family or heard of them until they read the appeal.

People are good, people are generous.  Even in these supposed times of a lousy economy.

Thank you, Lord.

PS Should anyone like to read more or contribute:  Fulton Poppe Fundraiser

Detoxing

Detox.  Cleanse.  These are kind of buzzwords lately.  I’ve done some detoxing over the years and read a fair amount on it.  I’ll share my thoughts today.

There are lots of ways to detox.  In my opinion, the first and most important thing, by far, id to make sure you are eliminating well.  If you’re not, any kind of cleansing r detoxing will just stir things up, and probably make your situation worse.  By eliminating well, I mean at least a bowel movement daily.  Get that working first before you attempt any kind of detox.

Next, I would say don’t bother detoxing if you’re not going change your life (if it needs changing).  If you aren’t willing to make a commitment to good eating, detoxing is kind of pointless.  You clean the body, then keep throwing garbage in?  Why bother?

Detoxing can be intense or gradual.  Which you choose may depend on several factors.  One of the very best (and easy and free) ways to gradually detox and stay healthy is to fast one day/week, from after supper one night until breakfast a day later (so really, more like a 36 hour fast).  Drink plain water, teas, possibly fresh juices.  (Or if that is really too hard for you, you could do a raw food fast for that time, eating just fresh raw fruits and veggies- nothing like salad dressing.)

And simply eating well is detoxifying.  A healthy non-processed vegan diet will over time aid greatly in detoxing.  (And, again, in my opinion, NOT eating  healthy vegan diet will led to toxicity.)   Lots of fresh and raw foods, lots of pure water, fresh juices, and so on.

One aspect of detoxing many forget or ignore is that toxins on our bodies come from places other than the foods we eat.   What kind of environment do we live in?  Our homes?  The air we breathe?  Are they laden with toxins?  Our clothes, the soaps we use?  I am a real stickler for whatever we might put ON our bodies directly, onto our skin.  Long ago a I heard about and did an experiment that opened my eyes- try it!  Take a cloves of fresh garlic and thin slice it.   Place the cut pieces on the bottom of your foot (arch area) and tape in place.  Put on a sock.  When I did this, in twenty minutes there was a STRONG garlic taste in my mouth.  Proof to me that what goes ON our skin is easily absorbed into the body.  My simple, easy, general rule of thumb: if you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body.  (This includes things like nail polish, shampoos, and so on.)  I am not 100% on this (I use regular shampoo), but it is a good rule to keep in the back of your mind.

Another very significant toxin many of us have in our lives that is often overlooked is negativity.  Being around negative people, negative “energy”, negative opinions and comments is toxic.  Our thoughts actually create chemicals in our bodies.  More and more science is discovering a vast body/min connection.  Being with a  person who is always a downer can be just as toxic (if not more so, than having a Big Mac and Diet Coke).   Fear is toxic.  And I’m referring to real physical effects in our bodies, not “just” thoughts or feelings.   So detox your mind, emotions, and influences around you.

Now we finally get into what most people think of when they consider detoxing.  There are lots of ways to do it.  Saunas help detox.  The skin is the largest elimination organ we have- sweating will get rid of toxins.  Many recommend a program of herbs and/or supplements to help rid the body of toxins.  Often in particular these act on the large and/or small intestine.  Some protocols insist on enemas (plain, coffee, other kinds) and/or colonics.  Sometimes eating is allowed, sometimes not.   Some last a day or less, some go on a week.  Google “cold sheet treatment”.     (I’ve done that, along with many others kinds of detoxing.)

My opinion is that there are probably a fair number of good, safe and effective ways to do this kind of detoxing.  For many, especially those new to this, consulting professional may be wise.  Various herbs and supplements may be a good idea.  Be wise and use common sense.

But the key here is that while detoxing may indeed be a beneficial health treatment, it is absolutely critical to get rid of the toxins going IN to your body as much as possible.  Once you do that, you are on your way to good health.  Without doing that, I doubt you can truly achieve good health.  So, ditch the beer and pizza, Twinkies and cheesecake.  Go deaf when your complaining mother-in-law comes over.  Stop using _____ product on your body.  You’ll be better off for all of it!

May you have continued and lasting good health!

Generosity

I’ve been thinking about this lately.  You really can never outdo God in generosity.  My kids (ages 34-9), none of whom are “wealthy” are all generous.   I think they kind of picked this up from my husband and I.  (Again, I take no credit for excellent parenting, we just followed the lead God showed us.)  When we “gave”, we usually tried not to let the receiver know, of possible.  So we’d do things like give our parish priest $400 to give to the single mom whose washer broke so she could buy a  new one.  I’d tell my husband about a friend who had a grandchild they had never seen because they couldn’t afford an airplane ticket ($300).  Without batting an eye, he’d say, “Buy it for her.”   (Or get the money to her to buy it.)  The kids saw these kinds of things.

And just one way this has turned around and come back to us is in their generosity.  The other day my 22 yo son bought his dad a new top of the line chain saw because we really needed another one (we had two older ones that were pretty well used), and because he felt he wanted to give us something for some of the shenanigans he pulled over the last year or so.

My 30 yo daughter bought her brother an airline ticket to come home to see his wife and kids when he couldn’t afford it.  This same daughter amazed us all last Christmas with an amazing gift.    In mid-December our mini-van was totaled (no injuries).   No collision on the vehicle.    We had several thousand in other vehicle repair bills as well as a few other financial crunch items pop up.    Money was tight, we were having a cash flow problem.  My husband was stressing over the loss of the mini-van.

So Christmas rolls around.  My daughter (this one, the 30 yo) gave her dad $100, but had it in all kinds of forms, rolls of quarters, dollars bills, a few $20s, all wrapped up separate.  He thought that was nice, generous, and funny.   Then she gives him another gift as a kind of “afterthought”.  He opens it and it’s the title to a new (used) mini-van!  She rallied her siblings and they bought him (us) a car.  (I must be honest and say that 95% of the gift was from our daughter.)   We were floored and stunned.  Amazing generosity!  (She knew it was one he wanted because it was a van our mechanic had and my husband had plans to buy it from him after the New Year).

Anyway, you can never outdo God in generosity.  Give and give generously.  Give of your time, talent and treasure.  And the more you have, the more you can give.

 

Thoughts on Married Life- 36 years today

PRAISE THE LORD

36 years ago today, I wed the man I loved.  I can reflect on lessons learned, what works for us.    I realize some have troubled marriages, I pray for them.  These are reflections on what we’ve learned, what’s important to us, what has helped us persevere for 36 years.

I just watched a video from a liberal (but wonderful) friend who actually teaches flirting (she’s a hoot).    She talks about seduction, says every married couple should be seducing each other (and gives a few suggestions, detailed, but not TOO detailed).  Made my husband watch the video.  Also, she was at one of the conferences we were at and gave him an “assignment” to do with me (had to do with hugging or something).  He hasn’t done it (this was like last summer!).  Okay, so I’d like a hubby who is “seductive”.  Mine isn’t, in the unusual sense of the word.  So be it.  I accept that.  Which kind of brings me to my first point (these aren’t in any order of importance…)

My husband is who he is.  I accept that.   I didn’t always.  30 years ago if he had wanted to wear that silly yellow and black tie, I would have had a hissy fit.  (Side note… I had an on-line discussion with about 200 moms, posted a picture of John’s new tie.  It is a hideous yellow and black striped thing, looks like a road construction warning.  None of them thought it was good, a very few thought okay. It was from a thrift store, so he only paid a few bucks for it.)    Now, I let him clearly know I think it’s terrible, and makes HIM look stupid/foolish, but I can easily accept him even if he wears it.  I love HIM, occasional bad taste in ties and all.

My husband is NOT me, he’s his own person.  We complement each other.  Took me a long time to realize that what other people thought of HIM is what they think of HIM, not ME.  And if he wants to present that image, that’s up to him.  As his loving wife, I can make him aware of how he comes across sometimes, but he can act how he wants.  So I can say that if he wears that tie, most people will think he’s pretty dorky (this is something he does not, obviously, realize on his own).  Or when he talks a certain way, he offends a lot of people and they think he’s arrogant and uninformed (he can sometimes seem kind of boorish).  He, as a man in general, does not notice people’s reactions.  So I just help him be aware of how he looks to others, and ask him if that is that what he WANTS to look like, is that the image he wants to present?   Now, how he or I look to others is NOT important to either of us, EXCEPT in so much as it is our obligation to help others get to Heaven.  If by our dress, attitude, words, whatever, we come across certain ways, that will probably not be a good example to others.  Also, and this was a big thing for me, is to realize that if people think John is a fool or dork or anything else, that is what they think about HIM, NOT me.  When they see him with that tie, they judge HIM, not me.  Except perhaps they might think I married a real loser for marrying him (and I’m not, I’m one of the luckiest women out there).  It reflects about 99% on HIM, not me.  And if that’s what he wants (or doesn’t care), I don’t let it bother me.  Now this is not to say I’m not proud of him, I am.  And generally he respects my opinion and if I ask him not to wear that tie to our Valentine’s dance, he won’t.  He’ll dress up sharp and look like a million bucks.  But he WILL probably still wear the tie to Toastmasters (where he goes without me).

Took me a long time to realize my husband is NOT perfect.  I think he is wonderful in many ways (but like all of us, does have faults).  But he’s not perfect.  He will, sooner or later, in big and/or small ways, sometimes disappoint me or let me down (unintentionally).  That’s what really took me a long time, to realize that it’s okay for him to let me down sometimes.  More than the fact that he’s not perfect.    I need to forgive that (and I can).  I don’t like it (neither does he), but it’s going to happen.  Live with it, don’t hang on to those times.

Life will have ups and downs, good times and bad.  Enjoy them all.

Okay, just a bit here.  We learned NFP (Natural Family Planning) when we were engaged.  The only time we practiced it to avoid pregnancy was when we were working as missionaries in Venezuela for 2 ½ years.  My opinion (John would agree): it’s a whole lot more fun to forget charts, temps and all that and just let nature take its course! Laugh!  But it’s true!  (11 pregnancies later…..)

Communicate.  Talk.  Share.  If you have a man (like many) who aren’t used to that, teach him.  They can learn.  (Maybe slowly, and you need to repeat frequently, but they’ll get it.)

Give 100%.  Marriage is not 50/50.  It’s 100/100.

Pray.   Without God, you might as well hang it up.  If only one of you has faith, then you will have to make that enough to get you by (until he gets some as well..)  For us, with the many things we’ve lived through, without out God, we would have crumbled about 25 years ago.  HE will sustain you when you cannot….

John and I committed to each other on Sept. 24, 1976.  Committed.  No matter what.  So when the going gets tough, remember your commitment.  Life hasn’t always even a bed of roses for us, or between us, but we have remained committed to each other.  No matter what.  (I think it has been much worse for him than me.. I went through some years of …uh….. pretty intense PMS stuff… not a very loving wife or person for a while…)

Support one another. Particularly in the roles of husband and wife, man and woman.  Submission is another whole topic, but it IS a good thing, and works, and makes a marriage, and both partners stronger.

Your husband is more important than your kids.  For many years, and many times, the needs of your children may outweigh the needs of your husband,.  That is fine, meet the needs of your children.  But NOT at the expense of your marriage.    Meeting needs (or the level of needs) is not the same as importance.  Rosemary may have greater needs than my other children, that doesn’t mean she any more important than they are.  One of the very best things a child can have/get is parents with a solid marriage.

You cannot change your spouse.  I can encourage, and do lots of things to help.  But for him to change, he has to 1) see there is a problem, 2) admit he has control (some or all) over it, 3) WANT to change. (This is  a HUGE one, I think.  My husbnad needs to lose weight,. He knows it, he admits he has control, he doesn’t WANT to change that much.  He SAYS he does, but his actions do not bear that out.)  And if 1, 2 and 3 are met, it will probably still take a long time, with slips and back pedaling.

You CAN change you.  You can change your attitude, your thinking, all kinds of things.  I’m NOT suggesting anyone become a door mat or something God is not calling them to be.  Just to realize you control YOU control you- your actions, and can choose them, and change the way you act/think.  You can’t control/change your spouse.

LAUGH together!  FLIRT with each other!  Have FUN together.

Be not afraid.  Don’t be afraid of the hard things.  They WILL come.  Face them head on together.    Many of you have heard this story, but it illustrates my point.  I’m in a hospital bed in mayo clinic facing major surgery the next morning (unexpected).  I was scared.  John asked of what and why.  He proceeded to explain (correctly and it was just what I needed to hear) that the only thing to fear is dying and going to hell.  “You just had the Anointing of the Sick, so that’s not going to happen.  Anything else we can deal with.”  And he meant it.  Anything else (even my death or his) we/he/I can deal with.  Be not afraid (expect of dying and going to hell, and if you’re worried about that, do something NOW about it- get RIGHT with God.)  be not afraid.

Our priorities (and I’ll admit that there are times when both of us fail to live up to them) are: God, each other, family (kids), and then others.  Set your priorities (talk about them, discuss this) and keep them in front of you.  We help keep each other on the straight and narrow (or try).  Admittedly, often this is not “fun”.  If I remind John that he hasn’t exercised all week, he may not like that.  If he sees a candy wrapper in the car and says something to me, I may not like that.  We both know it’s for the other’s good, and we try to help each other in positive ways, but sometimes it’s not fun to give or get such “reminders”.  When I am ticked at my husband for something like that, I try to remember he’s doing it because he loves me and wants to help me get to Heaven.

One of the very best things we can do for each other is indirect compliments.  If I overhear John on the phone bragging about me to some customer or supplier, that makes my day.  And if I give this to him to read (I did) and he sees the part about where I say he’ll look like a million bucks, it will boost him (not that this particular man’s ego needs much boosting, but it is still very nice to hear).  Direct compliments are also very nice.

You don’t need to compare yourself to others.  John is not the type to write love letters to me.  That’s okay.  Getting a love letter would be wonderful.  But he can show his love in other ways (and does).  I’d like it if he were more romantic in certain ways.  (And me being a woman and him a … shall I say… typically dense?….. man I have explained EXACTLY what I mean by that.)  And if he can do that, or do it sometimes, fine.  If not, that’s okay.  Like I said, I can’t change him.

FIND THE POSITIVE.  Be encouraging.  Okay, I’ve got this husband with this ridiculous tie.  I can kid him about it, and so on.  And I have been.  BUT, the same qualities that “allow” him to be able to wear that thing in public are the same ones I admire I so many ways. They are the qualities that allow him to start evangelizing with a complete stranger about the faith.  So I can lament that he doesn’t care what people think about him, or I can rejoice that he doesn’t care.  On the one hand it means the tie, on the other it means saving souls.  Saving souls is more important.  That’s just an example of focusing on the positive.

Lately, I have been realizing how important a good marriage is to help your CHILDREN prepare for married life.  If they do not grow up with mom and dad happily married, it is so much harder for them to learn how to be a good spouse.

Walk away

I could label this post: Another Success Story!

He’s getting it!

And we can all learn a lesson from my 22 yo son, Michael.  Michael is an amazing person, very wonderful, smart and musically talented.  He’s also made some mistakes in life and is learning and growing (like all of us).

But he’s really getting it and I’m proud.  The other day (yet again), someone he lives with was pointing out his faults/ mistakes.  Michael just looked at him, said, “I prefer to surround myself with positive people,” and walked away.

AWESOME!  WAY TO GO!  Instead of being drawn into defensiveness or argument, or just staying and taking the “abuse”, he let it slide off his back and walked away.  What a great response!

PS: The other day he came out to help cut trees for firewood for winter.  When you cut a  lot of trees (which we do) your chainsaws take a beating.  We really needed a new one.  And this son (who within the last year has paid us off over a $4000 debt!) gave his dad a gift of a new really nice (like $400+) chain saw a as gift.  Totally unexpected.  He said it was for “some of the crap” he’s pulled on us the last year or so.  My husband and I thought he had already made adequate “restitution” for some of his mistakes that affected us, but he felt like he wanted (not needed) to do more.  Very thoughtful and generous.

Describe Describe Describe

I was thinking about this.  The other day, someone told me they “liked” a story I had written.  That was nice to hear.  And someone said the chicken was “good.”  I have heard others say (not about me or my talents in this area), that the person’s living room looked “nice.”  All good.

But how much better if we describe what we see/ hear/ experience!   Describing gives constructive feedback, and allows the person to form their OWN judgment, and begin to learn to rely less on the judgments of others.

For example:

Your story drew me in right away- I immediately began to wonder about the characters, what would happen to them, why they acted the way they did.  Your description of the marketplace scene was so vivid I could easily imagine myself right there.  I can picture the people in your story in my mind perfectly.

That chicken last night had just the right blend of something hot and spicy (curry, maybe?).  It was well done, tender, and fell off the bone.

The way your living room is decorated makes me feel perfectly at home and comfortable.  That single picture over the couch draws the eye as soon as you enter the room.  And the colors are warm and soothing.

In these examples, the person can think about what is being said, then decide, “Yes, I am a ‘good’ story writer/ cook/ interior decorator.”   It is a much more effective way of sharing than saying, “That was good.  I liked it.”

The other corollary to this is that it requires you to PAY attention to detail.  So often we rush through things, the world passes us by without our noticing much.  We eat, enjoying the food, but not really savoring the tastes and nuances.  We like being in a room, but never thought about why.  The story interests us, but we never think about what we like about it.

It is good and rewarding to enjoy the creation we are surrounded with, to not just let it slide by.

Success stories- Peter and Anne

A couple success stories.  You don’t have to “follow the crowd/ fit the mold”.

Two of my kids.  They’re not yet “done” (are any of us?), but well on their way!

We have Peter, 20.  Let’s see, in the last month he has gone away for a week to a 4H program where he and 30 other young adults (16-20) learned and rehearsed a show.  Came home for a week, tehn went back to the State fair for 14 days to perform this show 3-4 times daily.  He didn’t get paid for this, but all his expenses for both trips (food, lodging, a “night out on the town” ) were all paid for — I think, maybe they had to chip in something like $100.  And spent some awesome time with terrific young people- winners!

He came home from fair, slept about 2 days.  Then stopped in at McDonald’s where he used to work.  First thing they said was, “Do you want your job back?”  He liked working there, but when he said he wanted a higher wage (like $11/hour) they said they couldn’t do it.  The managers and owners wanted to, but “corporate policy” wouldn’t allow it.  So Peter said, “It’s been fun, but so long.”  He called another old boss and will be working construction for a month, then he will head off to a monastery for discernment about becoming a brother.

All his jobs (except the “traditional” one at McDonald’s have allowed him to work as he desires.  So he’s had time to  do things like take a week plus and “work” as manager of the 4H food stand at the fair (more for fun than income).

Peter has had lots of people tell him he needs a “real” job, he needs to go to college, etc.  (Mom and Dad do NOT say this- we see Peter as quite successful.)  Peter looks at them and thinks: I have no debt, I have about $4000 in savings, I have about 5 people who’d hire me in a second if I asked them to, I can do what I want when I want (like go to the monastery), I’m happy.  WHY do I need “college” and a “real” job?

We have Anne, 18.  She’s in her 2nd year of college.  She just posted on facebook that’s he got a raise at her “favorite” job (she has 3 jobs, by choice.)   She gets $10/hour to work at Community Education at a rock climbing gym (she belays), and to take people out canoeing, kayaking and sometimes geocaching.  When things are slow, she sits in the sunshine and reads her book.    All of her jobs are also ones where she can work pretty much when she wants.  So this summer she went to New York with her choir and sang at Lincoln Center (mostly paid for by school), took another trip with a friend to Tennessee.  She’s also in demand as an employee.  And has no debt (nor is acquiring school debt- college is free as she is still considered a high school senior and the state pays for it all), and more than a few thousand in savings.   She knows who she is, what she believes, and how to stand up for herself.   Yeah, right, she needs a “real” job, like Peter!

Some folks go the “traditional route” and that’s fine.  But you can be happy and a success without doing that, if you want.  Just as important as any academic skills are good character traits like dependability, integrity, MANNERS (amazing how many people lack plain simple manners), and more.

How and why did my kids end up like this?  I certainly am not taking credit, but do think my husband and I may have had some influence.  John has worked his own business for over 35 years.  While I wouldn’t call us wealthy, he has been able to support a wife and 7 children over those decades.  We get what we want and need, including what a lot might consider “extras” (like a trip to Hawaii, family cruise vacation, and more).  I’ve never had to work outside the home.  We’re debt free, including out home and 5 acres.

John works hard, but also has freedom to do as he likes.  If he and I take two weeks to go to Hawaii, we can.  He has no boss besides himself.  He’s home 95% of the time.  So the kids see dad providing well for his family, yet not being tied into an “employer” and someone else telling him what he has to do and when.   We’ve always encouraged the kids to work hard, but do what THEY want to do.

We’ve home schooled all of them from K-12 and been careful who/ what they were exposed to.  We’ve never told them they had to get “real” jobs, we’ve encouraged all kinds of alternatives (though there is nothing wrong with a  “real” job if you want it).

My point is not to brag, as I said, I’m not taking credit.  My point is to illustrate that kids/ young adults can do well outside the “system” and thrive.  Give them a  chance, encourage that if you can.

When is “unhealthy eating” okay?

Most of us would agree that some amount of “unhealthy food” is okay. In moderation. How you define that really depends on your knowledge, your health and more. What, and how much is not the focus of this thread. More the “when”.
When is it okay to have “junk food/ unhealthy things”?
MY answer to the question is that it is okay WHEN IT IS PLANNED.
Examples:
I will have a small piece of cake at the birthday party.
I will have a reasonable sized dessert on Sundays.
We will stop at a fast food place once a week on our way home from soccer practice.
Each day I will allow myself _____ (one can of pop, one small piece of candy, one small bowl of Doritos, whatever).
I will only eat desserts when we go out to eat at sit-down restaurants.

The key to me is to decide for yourself what is reasonable, PLAN it, then stick to your plan (or, if you don’t feel like it, omit something- skip the can of pop.)
But so often, our unhealthy eating is the result of unplanned impulses (= temptation).
Examples:
One small bag (mini-bag) of M & Ms is no big deal.
One small cookie won’t make any difference.
Everyone is tired and hungry and I have no supper ready at home, let’s stop at McD’s.
I’ll count the chips as my “grain/bread” serving.

When “bad” eating is planned, it ceases to become “bad” eating, I think. I can enjoy the birthday cake without guilt. (Now if I gave in to temptation and ate a huge amount of cake batter as i made it and licked a ton of the frosting, say equivalent to 3 large pieces of cake, then I will NOT be able to enjoy the ONE piece of “planned” birthday cake.)

What’s your answer?

More on Attitude

School starts next week for my 9 yo daughter (she has Down Syndrome).  She’s the first of mine to attend public school (started in pre-K).  All the rest were homeschooled from K-12.  Rosemary’s in public school for lots of reasons.  It is a good place for her, and good for them (staff and schoolmates) to have her there.

But it’s really rather funny.   Some of her teachers, and some of the other parents are younger than my oldest (32 in 3 days).  This bothers me not at all.  I was thinking about it, though.  A person COULD be concerned about what others think, they COULD be embarrassed (even ashamed?).

Sometimes I’ll be out somewhere with Rosemary and my married daughter and her two (ages 11 and 12).  Many folks assume Rosemary is my daughter’s child, not mine.  No big deal.  But again, in that situation one COULD be offended or feel bad.

My attitude is kind of like: think what you will, bothers me not.  The only one I am truly concerned with pleasing is God.  I also care about what my husband and family think, but that is a fr second to God’s “approval”.   (And rarely does it cause problems in the family, even if they disagree with me.  And even more rarely do my husband and I disagree on things.)

One could go through life trying to please others, seeking the approval and confirmation from others.  What a waste.  And so much energy.  And you’re not following your own path, then, but one laid out for you by someone else.  And many people DO live this way!  How very sad!

One can serve others in their life, this is a great part of what life is all about.  I might choose to go to the restaurant my husband likes instead of the one I want to go to, just because I love him.   I might do his laundry, cook for him, mend his clothes and so on, to serve him, and out of love.  This is good and kind and noble.

But if I change my Thanksgiving Day plans and go to my mother-in-law’s house (just to please her) instead of staying home with my family as I had planned and WANT to do, and I volunteer at ____ because someone wants me to, and I ______ because then so and so will like me, perhaps it’s time to reconsider.

Serving others out of choice is good.  Serving others out of a desire/need for approval isn’t.  be who you are.  Love who you are.  Go ahead and strive to be better, that’s good.  But do it because YOU want to do it.

Overpopulation fact

I don’t know where you all (you all meaning any readers) stand on the theory of overpopulation, but here’s a quick fact I’d like to share.  When I first heard it, I didn’t believe it   I did the research and calculations myself (easily done, obviously true factual information available, information not in question by anyone).

If you took ALL the people in the whole WORLD, and grouped them into “families” of 4 people each and gave each family a house on a 6000 square foot lot (typical city size lot), how much space would it take to house everyone?   (This assumes no square footage for streets or parks, just lots with homes.)

EVERYONE, every person in the world, would fit into a space the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.  That’s IT!  (Don’t believe it?  Do the math… 6 million people, google square mileage of TX and OK, convert to square feet, divide… that’s it.)

Personally I think a major problem lies in allocation of resources, and helping people to help themselves.  Governments are often not very effective vehicles to “help the poor”.  I speak not only from what I have learned, but from personal experience.

We spent 2 1/2 years in Venezuela running a children’s home.  Shortly after we got there the government came in to build us 2 large bathrooms, a boys and girls, with multiple showers, urinals, toilets and so forth.  John, my husband, being in the water business, had brought along a water meter and one of the first things he did was measure how much water we got daily.  I asked the engineers how much water 8 showers, 4 toilets and a multiple use urinal would take.  They said about 8000 liters daily.  I said, “STOP!”  The most we have every gotten in one day in the last 2 months has been 2000 liters (and often less than half that).  This is NOT going to work!   Oh, no problem, we will build you a water tower and truck you water each week.  Yeah, sure.

They built it all.  We locked 3/4 of it off, turned the urinal into a laundry sink AND built a couple of very deep outhouse holes a good distance away from the home (like 30′ out, the old ones had been right next to the home).  My point is the government thought they were doing something good and wonderful for the poor kids.  Poor planning.

Anyway, sometimes we need to look beyond the “facts” as they may be presented.