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Well, it seems as though a hobby of mine and some friends has turned into a labor of love.  We started making some gifts and accessories at the sewing machine for an upcoming craft show and it has turned into something over and above; as people have been viewing our crafts and then…requesting things of their own.  To continue reading: Write Where You Are

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Wow, that is a mouthful for the title of this blog post…but, it is what it says it is.  The National Association of Letter Carriers have committed themselves once again to their annual food drive.   They do this to help combat hunger.  In the last two years in the United States, more than 50 million people have found themselves living in homes that don’t have enough food.  This is outrageous, we can all do something to help.  No one should go hungry in a country that supplies other nations with food from our surplus produce that farmers work so hard to grow.

You may say, I am only one person…what can i do?  You can support the National Association of Letter Carriers help stamp out hunger by leaving a bag at your mail box, on Saturday May 14, 2011, with non-perishable food items.  That is only 2 days from now.   Make sure that the items you are donating are not out of date or in danger of expiring any time soon.   Don’t have a lot to give; give what you can.  If you are blessed enough to have the means to give…give generously; we all have a responsibility to share our blessings with others.

Support businesses and organizations that sponsor the annual Stamp Out Hunger food drive.  This is an amazing grass roots program that blesses your local food banks.  All the food collected by your local mail carrier stays in your local area.  The people you help may be your own friends, family or neighbors. With the economy being so challenging in recent years more people are affected by not having enough to eat.  The numbers of children in homes without enough food is rising.  The elderly are having a harder time making ends meet.  Young wage earners are finding themselves without steady income to support their families sufficiently.   Natural disasters have hurt many families and those people still need to eat.  Churches can’t do it all…they need our help to provide food for those who are struggling with hunger!  Won’t you help?

Would you like to learn more?  Visit their website here:  Stamp Out Hunger and if you happen to have a Facebook account or a Twitter account…then Like them or Follow them to lend your support.  Spread the work online and off.  Tell others about the food drive…encourage others to donate.

Remember to thank your mail carrier.  They are dedicated to helping people stamp out hunger in your community.   Do you know someone who has had to use food from a food pantry or food bank?  Tell them about my friend Connie who heads up a website that teaches people how to eat healthier with the food that they bring into their homes through SNAP, food pantries, commodities, and farmer’s markets.  She does this in a way to help people stretch their budgets and to encourage the people who visit her website to form a community to share tips and ideas with one another.  Her site isn’t just for food stamp users…but for anyone on a tight budget who wants and needs to eat well.  Food Stamp Cooking Club

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This past weekend I had what I would call an eye opening moment concerning self esteem and interpersonal relationships.  My pre-teen daughter had a couple of friends overnight.  These girls spend many hours together at school but this was the first time that they had an overnight together.  All three are high energy girls and each one is a bit of a diva.  So, I didn’t expect the weekend to go without a hitch. However, as the girls got comfortable I started to hear comments and partial comments that made me stop and listen a little more closely.  The reason for that?  Continue reading:  Write Where You Are

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You know that Bernie Madoff has plead his guilt to the court in the securities fraud case against him, as well as  perjury; however, the investigators who are delving into this long -term Ponzi scam are allegedly, having to investigate his business associates, some of his family members, and his tax accountant too.  There is so much missing money…that many observers automatically assume that the money has been hidden among those that he has personal relationships with; whether that is true or not, remains to be seen.

It leaves the impression of guilt by association, though this is unfortunate, because many of them may not have had any idea about the fraud that was taking place.   I personally doubt whether he advertised the fact of what he was doing, to his friends and family; it isn’t something most people would be proud of.    I am thinking about his wife in particular; did she know where the money in their lives came from?  She is also allegedly, being investigated; and, unless she had direct involvement in the day-to-day business operations…how would she know what he did while he was at work?

Still, if the money in their accounts is  found to be accumulated from the fraud; the government could confiscate it couldn’t they?  His own family members could end up being “victims” of his actions, just as well as, those who lost so much financially!  Bernie will be sentenced for his crimes in June.   What the additional investigation finds, will also determine what happens to the others that are being investigated by their association with Bernie Madoff.  Bernie may have plead guilty, but, if this investigation negatively impacts his friends and family…you have to wonder if he will actually feel any guilt!

In this kind of a case, the cloud of suspicion could literally destroy many more lives than those that have already been destroyed.  If Bernie Madoff could admit his guilt in court…why can’t he just be honest and tell the investigators where the money is?   Maybe if some of the money could be found…maybe some of the people who were ripped off could get some of their money back.  If he is keeping that missing money information to himself…it could destroy those that he supposedly cares about, such as his wife, children, business associates and such.  Let the guilty be found out…and the innocent be proven so; still, what if the money is found  in their accounts without their having knowledge of the scam?

So many lives have been destroyed by this security fraud…this Ponzi scam this abuse of trust, it is sickening.  People have lost so much of their money that they counted on to survive.  It makes a person intensely frustrated and angry that Mr. Madoff will be sitting in a prison cell…getting three meals a day and all of his basic needs will be met; while his “victims” future is still up in the air.  The levels of trust and responsibility that we put in our leaders is immense and needs honored by meeting those levels of trust and responsibility and exceeding it!  This damages everyone’s ability to trust those in authority, who’s decisions affect our lives…has it affected how you trust people?

I have moved my site to a new Url:  WriteWhereYouAre if you are interested in more blog posts!

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      Breaking news today at the hearing for Bernie Madoff, financial investor; Bernie has plead guilty to all of the charges against him in one of the largest investigations ever into a Ponzi scheme which ripped off both celebrities and everyday people alike.  Madoff has admitted that he knowingly took money and mis-handled it and lied about it under oath; while actively hiding his activities.

       Bernie Madoff made statements to the court that he is sorry, ashamed and acknowledges that he has hurt many people; he admitted his guilt.  Those statements are some of the biggest understatements ever made.  There are those who have lost their life savings, some who have allegedly committed suicide over their financial situations, others who have need of medical interventions that could save their lives…but now, cannot afford to have done, people who can’t afford to pay their rent/mortgages because of the deliberate actions of Mr. Madoff.  (more…)

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        Honor killings are used as a way to control behaviors typically in male dominated societies, often in the middle east.  Usually, we hear about a daughter, a neice, a sister, mother, or a wife who has been murdered for violating a traditional role in their interaction with other males outside of their family.  Unfortunately, this week honor killings are making news headlines because of a New York television owner’s death.  It is being alleged that Aasiya Hassan was killed by her husband Muzzammil under the heading of an honor killing because of her desire for a divorce after some domestic violence issues, allegedly between husband and wife.

         The Hassan’s started their television station in 2004; they did so because they wanted to combat any form of anti -Islamic sentiments that have been building since 911.  They called their station Bridges TV. (more…)

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     Each time that new information is announced regarding the Caylee Anthony case; it is more heartbreaking than the last released information.  Caylee Anthony, for those who don’t know, or don’t remember, is the young 2 year old child who was missing for months ; before her mother, Casey Anthony, was jailed for lying to the police about her diappearance.  Caylee was murdered and that murder was covered up.  Someone  didn’t want the secret of the murdered child Caylee to be known…it is as if, by hiding her body and duct taping her mouth, they were saying; Caylee don’t tell.

      The new information being released to the public states that Caylee was found inside of a laundry bag, which was placed inside of a plastic bag and dumped in a wooded area not far from where she lived with her mother and grandparents.

         Inside of those bags, was a winnie the pooh blanket, pull ups, a knife, a backpack that said adorable and Caylee’s body.  She had duct tape over her mouth that also had residue from a sticker that was heart shaped.  The duct tape went over her mouth and was stuck in her hair as well.

           Her mouth was duct taped people!   The psychological implications of that is terrible.  It says alot.  It says, to me, that she was murdered by someone that she knew…someone that she could tell others about.  Someone who was suposed to care about her, ie: the heart sticker, the comfort items such as the winnie the pooh blanket, pull ups, and her backpack, put her inside of those bags and left her with items that would, in other circumstances, bring her comfort.   Then they put a heart sticker on the duct tape that covered her mouth? 

        What conflicting information does this give us about the person who killed a two year old child?  Did they love her or didn’t they?  How could they murder her and leave her body laying about like a bag of garbage to be disposed of?  Who knows what; and, why didn’t they tell what they knew? 

     In the end, forensic testing is going to tell us alot about what happened to Caylee.  I think between the evidence found at the site where her body was found as well as the evidence taken from the Anthony home will reveal alot.  The computers that family and friends of Caylee use will reveal more information…maybe enough to piece together what really happened to this beautiful child who would have turned three that summer.   It is nothing but sadness…because this case does not have a happy ending…Caylee is gone…and so far, her murderer is not known without a doubt.

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       Actor Willie Ames is famous for his roles on Eight Is Enough (1970’s) and in the show Charles in Charge (1980’s), he has had a large fan following over the years.   Willie also starred  in video’s from 1995-2004 as a superhero named Bibleman; winning a whole new generation of young fans.  He became a Christian and an ordained minister after struggling for years with drug/alcohol addictions.  He appeared to have things together in his life.

        Just this past November Willie, and his second wife Maylo McCaslin Ames, wrote a book together called Grace is Enough.  Shortly after this book was published, on Thanksgiving 2008, Willie Ames allgedly tried to take his own life.  This is why God tells us to keep our eyes on him and not on man ( or woman).  We are vulnerable to attacks by the enemy (Satan) and we can fail one another as role models from time to time.  It is unfair to put someone on a pedestal as an example to follow because they are; for all intents and purposes, human just like us.  Only Jesus is the perfect example to follow.

         It seems that Willie found himself in the position of having to declare bankruptsy, having his vehicle repossesed and having his wife of 22 years ask him for a divorce.  I am sure the fear of failure, rejection, the possibility of an upcoming divorce, slipping back to the pull of his addictions, and the financial difficulties all contributed to his suicide attempt.  When people are overloaded with difficulties that come all at once…that is when escape starts to sound good…it is an illusion that a Christian is tempted with by his spiritual adversary, Satan.  Suicide is not a solution…it is an really just another way to self-destruct; it an attack on that person’s physical and spiritual being.  http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/  It is important to seek help when depression and despair overwhelms a person. 

        Willie is a Christian yes, but he is a human being also.  One who has struggled with these issues of addiction and self-destruction.  He has tried to live in a place of leadership; which is admirable.  From reading excerpts of their book….it sounds as though both Willie and Maylo have allegedly come from previous places of dysfunction.  No one lives a perfect life…Christians are a work in progress; and, some of the same negative circumstances and forces that affect non-Christians, affect Christians as well. 

         I hope that through this time of difficulty, that Willie and his family can receive proper spiritual counseling and emotional counseling to help them sort things out.  Certainly, we wish him well in his healing path.  As anyone who had had to struggle with these kinds of issues…it is important to know that support is very important from family, friends and, health care professionals; when it is needed.

          For those who would condemn or look askance at Willie’s actions and ask incrediously, how a Christian could do such a thing; I would counter that by asking that person to think compassionately.  When people are in despair and going through some of the worst situations that life has to offer …faith is a lifeline… but, faith is a fragile thing sometimes.  We are to encourage one another and lift each other up.  While Willie played a superhero….he is not superhuman…he is a man who has to find his way back to a place of prominence, by putting faith into action once again,. 

          Do you think Christians are immune from depression and confusion; or should they be?  Do you know any other Christian who has struggled with addictions and depression and then been able to build their life back up from that desperate place?  Have you yourself been there?  National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National suicide prevention lifeline: Suicide hotline, 24/7 free and confidential, 132 crisis centers nationwide               1-800-273-TALK       .
http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Update:  you may also want to read:  http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,20268391,00.html

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     For those who have not heard the news story this past week; a man by the name of Bruce Pardo dressed up as Santa and went on a shooting rampage directed at his ex-wife and her family.  He was aware that they held an annual Christmas party.  He had been planning this for quite some time.   About a week or so before the shootings took place…Bruce Pardo and his estranged wife,  Sylvia, were officially divorced after 2 years of marriage.  This man who dressed up as Santa, needed help.   If he had gotten it…maybe this tragedy would not have happened.

        It sounds as if  the Pardo’s marriage was one of deceipt.  Mr. Pardo had not disclosed to his wife that he had a child from a previous relationship that he did not see, nor did he help support.  It seems that when this child was a toddler in Mr. Pardo’s care; the child ended up in a pool and almost drowned.  The young child is now around the age of 7 ; but, Bruce Pardo kept this child a secret from his wife.  She discovered that the child existed by going through tax papers and finding out that he claimed the child as a dependent.  He denied the situation and Sylvia called her mother in law who confirmed that a child did in fact exist and was disabled.   She filed for divorce…he did not want it.

       It seems that during this time…Bruce also lost his job and then was ordered, by the court, to pay support to his soon to be ex-wife.  By all appearances…Bruce did his best to follow through on the court’s dissolution of his marriage….yet, all along he planned his revenge on the woman who divorced him and those who were closest to her and helped her to leave him. 

        Bruce rented two vehicles and he had things planned out.  He had an extra large Santa suit made up for him.  It seems that at the annual party, Santa always showed up.  He went to the home with a gift in his hand…when the door was opened by a young 8 year old girl…he opened fire, shooting her in the face.  He then went about shooting and looking for specific people.  After he shot the people he went looking for…he then used a homemade device to set the home on fire; inadvertantly causing himself 3rd degree burns when part of the Santa suit melted into his skin from the incendiary device he used to start the fire.

         People in the home had tried to hide and some were able to flee.  A sister of Sylvia’s escaped to a neighbors with the young 8 year old girl who was shot in the face.  She was able to call 911.  After starting the fire, Bruce Pardo shot out street lights…allegedly to help further his escape. 

         People are speculating that he had plans to shoot his own mother who was planning on attending the Christmas party, at her ex-daughter in laws parents home.  She felt ill that evening and was not able to attend.  Bruce blamed his mother for siding with Sylvia in the divorce.    Also allegedly a possible victim of violence was the divorce lawyer who represented Sylvia.  One of the rental vehicles was sitting near the lawyers home. 

        It appears that Bruce changed his plans after he was burned.  It is thought that he was in great pain.  He allegedly had purchased a plane ticket for Illinois to go there and cross the state line into Iowa to see a friend.  He also had about 17,ooo.oo dollars plastic wrapped to his body.   Instead of implementing those plans…he drove approximately 30-40 miles to his brothers home and broke in and shot himself dead.

         What is hard to understand is; didn’t anyone who knew him or had occasion to spend time with him, during the weeks preceding the violence, see his mental breakdown?  Was he so good at hiding his wrath that he was able to misleed the people in his life?  Or did he isolate himself a this time?

         Those familiar with the divorce situation say that he seemed almost eager to have it over with.  The neighbors say that he was friendly and even wished them a Merry Christmas after telling them he was attending a Christmas party. 

          People who knew him said he was a friendly guy.  They are shocked.  And yet, a close friend of Sylvia allegedly said that Sylvia said he changed almost immediately after the marriage.  He became secretive.  Others say that Bruce had a secret guilt about the child that was gravely injured on his watch.  The mother of the child allegedly says that he was involved when the child was in the hospital; but then…he didn’t visit nor did he support the child.  In fact, he kept the child a secret from many…including his new wife.

         The thing is…people who struggle with mental health issues dont always get the help that they need.  Bruce Pardo needed that kind of help to cope with the feelings that he had from the tragedy that happened to his child.  He needed support and counseling to heal up from the guilt that he most likely felt after the child was injured.  He needed to have pre-marital counseling to help him break the news of this part of his life to his intended wife. 

          Sylvia needed a husband who could share this past with her.  She needed him to seek marriage counseling when their marriage appeared to flounder shortly after it began.  She needed some indication that the man she married was deeply disturbed and capable of such violence.  She needed protection from the man that she fell in love with. 

          Experts will tell you that people who are in a state of flux…or life changes are often the most vulnerable for domestic violence.  This is a dangerous time when emotions are raw and assets or custody rights are at stake.  Passions are running high.  It should almost  be mandatory to have to have some sort of counseling to help people through the maze of emotion and legal wrangling that takes place.

          I can’t help but to think of those that lost their lives and those who were left behind to deal with the aftermath.  God help them.  The things that they saw and heard will live with them for a very long time.  And what about those who weren’t there; but, were directly affected such as Bruce Pardo’s mother or his brother.  What about them?  People need to pray for all of them.  They are not responsible for his actions…and yet, they are directly affected by them as much as Sylvia’s family and friends.  His brother…can you imagine…how will he ever be able to go back into his home?  He has to wonder…why did his brother come there to commit suicide?   His mother…she was obviously friendly with Sylvia and her family; how will she relate to the surviving members?  They are all hurting…will they be able to help support one another or will it be too painful for them to see each other?

          So many questions and so few answers.  The thing is…unfortunately…people who are depressed or going through trauma often don’t think past the moment, about the long term effects of their actions.  It is the survivors that are left to cope with both the questions and the answers.

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      As we once again approach the end of a year and begin another one; it never fails to amaze me how often we repeat the same old patterns.  Oh to be sure…there will be the predictible year in review on the news programs…on the entertainment programs; and, even on the morning talk shows.  Does anyone else watch those things and think….that happened this year?  Why, i thought that person passed away longer ago than that…or did that much stuff really happen just this year?  We can learn from these things because time really does pass more quickly than we are aware of.

         As as we approach the new year…we will invariably have to hear about all of the new year’s resolutions that we may or, more likely, may not keep within days of making our comittments!  🙂  We will hear from all of those people who have the ability to “predict” the future; telling us their  version of the coming days and, how we are going to handle those situations around the world. 

          I say, let’s do something new this year.  Let’s live in the moment for a change…how does that sound?  People get so locked into the past that they can’t envision the future.  Those who have their sights set on the future…are so busy trying to forget about the past that they cant live for today.  When we live in a constant state of rewind or fast forward…we miss some of the greatest moments today with our friends, our family, our co-workers, neighbors and even with friends we have not yet met.

          Each day is a gift and must be truly lived in to be appreciated.  There is nothing worse than meeting someone who is bitter and corrupted from the past that continues to haunt them…or someone so bent on tomorrow that they can’t even take the time to realize that today is passing them by while they are so busy preparing for the next greatest thing that may be coming their way.  Regrets are a terrible thing to live with because wishing things were different doesn’t make it so. 

          People who get to the end of their lives either take stock and tally all the blessings in their life or they sit and review all of the missed opportunities and regrets of things that they could have, would have or should have been done better.  That is not a happy moment.  

          Our attitude or approach to life should be viewed as a whole life outlook or plan…not as in segments to be filed away for posterity to be reviewed at a later date; it is much too precious and passes way too quickly, we might forget to DO something important if we view life in small segments to be accomplished.  At the end of life, there are no do overs; I am afraid to tell you.  This is it, in this world that we live in.  If you get off of your chosen path…it is easy to re-route your footsteps and get back on track…as long as you are still breathing…you can change the course that you choose to follow.

         Many of us spend way too much time doing things that we don’t want to do…things that don’t make us happy; or, doing things that others expect us to be doing.  When it comes right down to it…no-one else lives inside of our skin…or our souls; we alone are responsible for our personal failures and achievements.  Yes, there are others who help us on our way but; no matter what…when it comes right down to it; we each have a responsibility to figure out how we want to live our lives…with both the beginnings, the endings and all that happens in our lives, in the very important middle.  Let’s make it a goal to make every day count for something special!

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