Tag Archive for families

“Giving” in to Tomorrow

Tomorrow is “Giving Tuesday,” a holiday designed to balance out the self-absorbed madness of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  On this day, business, charities, communities, and families enter into the spirit of giving.  EVERYONE can participate.  If not with our wallets, then with our excess food in our pantries or the second Buy-one/Get-One-Free item.  With that like-new clothing we loved when we bought it but know we’ll never wear.  With those toys our kids opened Christmases ago but sit in their boxes, un-played with.  With blankets and rain ponchos for the homeless who are about to be caught in what promises to be a harsh winter.  Or simply with the gift of our time: to help at a shelter or soup kitchen; to visit a lonely elder in a nursing home; to comfort a grieving family; to be with a troubled child.  I hope Giving Tuesday expands to Giving Everyday.  Besides, the spirit of this day turns the madness into a loving anticipation of a Christmas season packed with all the meaning it’s supposed to have.

We All Deserved It


Whomever is telling the truth, Christine Blasey Ford or Brett Kavanaugh, is NOT the issue. The Senate Judiciary Committee has treated both of them unfairly.

Ms. Ford was not allowed to present witnesses who would be subpoenaed to substantiate her claims under direct questioning  and oath. Yes, some submitted short statements, but, as any attorney will tell us, that doesn’t bring out as many facts that in-person, under-oath questioning does.

Judge Kavanau may have benefited from those witnesses, because they may have contradicted each other or said something to prove his side when under the heat of direct questioning. He, too, did not present in-person witnesses which could have bolstered his side of the story.

On both sides, a thorough FBI investigation would have uncovered truths, half-truths, and inconsistencies. Or a history that made one or the other or both suspect. That’s their job–the job they’ve done for accusations made in past nominations. But the Judiciary Committee decided to take on most of that task themselves.

Remember that this is a committee that is supposed to be non-politically biased, like a court. Yet they were drowning in political accusations, blame, and verbal fights. Both sides had political motives. So how could they make an unbiased decision, especially without knowing the whole story that an FBI investigation would foster?

Why are both parties being harmed? Neither has actually had their day in court. Neither is vindicated. Neither has had their good name cleared. Both have had themselves and their families go through a demeaning experience in these hearings. These are people, not pawns.

And our country loses, because we’ve added a person to the highest, most important, citizen-protecting court in our land who will always be surrounded by a cloud of suspicion as he makes serious decisions that affect our lives.

Why would a delay of a couple of weeks–with a vote still before the November elections–have been a bad thing?  Both of these people, and America, deserved it!


Guilt-Free Chocolate

What is the first secular thing that comes to mind with the word “Easter”?  Chocolate, of  course.  Chocolate eggs, chocolate bunnies…gobs of chocolate that make our minds twitch with guilty pleasure.

How about guilt-free chocolate?  The pounds may stay, but not regrets about how that yummy stuff got to us.  The same with coffee, tea, rice, sugar, juice, honey, wine, flowers, crafts–all sorts of things that often reach our homes through the mistreatment of people in other countries.  Many, often young children, work under harsh conditions to support their families.  But it’s the only work available.  The FAIR-TRADE MOVEMENT aims to change this, to provide employment, fair wages, decent conditions, and money that goes back into their communities for health and education.  This is not “free trade,” which is political, among nations, but “fair trade,” valuing the well-being of people.

Participate by buying products on-line (Google “Fair Trade”) or at Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Peet’s, Starbucks, and elsewhere.  Watch for the “Fair Trade” symbol on packages.  Ask the manager.  Make your interest known.  Then, maybe just one more nibble wouldn’t hurt….

The Real Mexican Thieves

Thievery, among other negative activities, is often attributed to Mexicans. Now I believe it.  But only in people who don’t need to be thieves.

Friends from Mexico and/or have relatives recovering from the recent earthquake there have been telling me stories.  They describe people who have lost the very little they had yet helping others, sharing food and supplies.  They also describe what happens when the government receives direct donations of money and goods.  They tell of truckloads of necessities being driven to storehouses to save for festivities for next year’s Presidential election.  They tell of people from the U.S. with supplies being stopped by the Mexican border patrol, who demand that the items be turned over to them for delivery to the government.  They picture those people, who outnumber the border patrol, rushing through the boarder to get those supplies directly to the people.  Money that the government itself collects goes to the city, to get government buildings rebuilt and refurbished before the world focuses on the upcoming election…And their stories go on and on.

My friends are intelligent, caring people, not prone to untruth or exaggeration, so I believe him.

The moral of this story is this: Help the Mexican people, but be sure the help actually gets to the families and individuals who need it. Give to aid organizations you can trust, whose mission is to help the people.  That’s why, in this  instance and in all  disasters, my donations go to the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities,  and the Red Cross.


Class War or Fiscal Responsibility?

A large group of our Congress-members really want to make our country fiscally sound.  That’s a laudable goal.  But at whose expense and whose reward?  Opponents to what they want to do say this is setting up a class war, pitting those who are poor and vulnerable against the wealthy and privileged.  You be the judge:






Despite Law, Kids Can Avoid Vaccinations

My state, California, is mandating that all children be vaccinated before they can attend school.  This means that the 80,000+ kids who have claimed personal exemptions no longer can do so.  At first blush, it seems an infringement on rights.  However, most of the families sought exemptions based on a bogus report written by a now-disgraced “scientist,” saying that vaccines cause autism and other maladies (scientifically proven wrong).

It’s been a clash of rights:  for some families it’s freedom of choice vs., for other families, freedom from spreading disease (especially by unvaccinated children).

The 80,000+ still have ways to pursue their beliefs, however.  They can home-school their kids or put them into off-campus independent studies.

I’m afraid there will be an additional avenue for people so inclined.  Children with medical problems that make vaccinating harmful or impossible to them are still exempt.  Therefore, if parents look hard enough, they’ll find an unscrupulous doctor who, for a price, will give his medical opinion that their child should not be vaccinated.

Can’t happen?  How about all those doctors making a healthy living off of issuing medical marijuana cards to anyone who merely claims a debilitating condition?




Charlston: Peaceful Closure

It’s amazing: families of the people shot to death in a Charlston, SC church, during Bible study, are saying they forgive Dylynn Roof, the killer.  They refuse to let hatred breed more hatred.

Hearing their response to cold tragedy brought me to a realization–that forgiveness is the only way to reach the elusive “closure” that everybody talks about.  Execution and life-imprisonment punish the perpetrator but are forms of vengeance.  Anyone who has ever kept a grudge for awhile knows that “getting even” doesn’t make us feel a lot better. In fact, it gives more power to the person receiving our retribution, because of time and psychic energy we wasted on thinking about him and because now we, too, have done something negative.  Besides, his wrong act and our reaction will haunt us forever as we call up memories about how he got his comeuppance.  It’s a far cry from closure, which, by definition, brings an end, a conclusion to a situation.  It’s even farther from what people expect closure to bring them, which is peace.

Forgiveness closes off the gut-churning blame process and it doesn’t involve a soul-shattering battle of negatives.  Most importantly, it brings peace.

Forgiveness–what a concept.



How to Spend that Upcoming Extra Hour

Let’s plan ahead for Sunday, when we turn our clocks back an hour.  What will we do with the extra hour we’ve gained?  Why not share it with someone who doesn’t necessarily consider time a friend, like that neighbor or acquaintance who is too ill or shy to get out much.  We can spend time feeding hungry families at a kitchen, gathering food for local food pantries that serve them, visiting veterans at the VA, bringing a picnic lunch and conversation to Aunt Sally at the nursing home.  Or give that extra hour exclusively to our children, playing, reading, or just being together.  Or nurture our marriage with an uninterrupted hour together, being present to each other. Through that one hour, we won’t let stress, overwork, or other pressures interfere with our relationships. In short, rather than waste that morsel of extra time, we can use it to live life more fully, sharing our time and selves with others.