Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas was saved!

I wanted to update anyone who is reading. The family below that we wanted to raise some funds for ended up with a HUGE turnout. Not only did Christmas get covered, but a few extra bucks for some bigtime bills did, too. THANK YOU to all who dug deep and managed to make it a priority to spare a little (or a lot) extra for someone else at this overwhelming but beautiful time of year. We raised almost a thousand dollars!! Thanks especially to Renee G, your generosity and kindness at the drop of a hat is amazing, and I am forever indebted.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Can you spare 5 dollars?

I have just discovered a fellow blogger is going to REALLY go without for Christmas. Young kids at home, dh just got laid off, the week before Christmas. He works in the auto industry, which we all know is taking a HUGE hit right now. I found out quite by accident, and she didnt ever say a word asking for help. She just let slip something that clued me in, and a few questions later I knew this was going to be a really really hard Christmas unless some elves jumped in. I know a lot of people are strapped this time of year. I know we are. But I can find $5 bucks. You will have to trust me on this one, I cannot and would not reveal names, and you likely wont ever know what came about in regards to their Christmas. I can blog a tiny bit, but there wont be much on details. If you trust me, if you have faith in me that I know real need when I see it, would you please consider making a small contribution to a VERY worthy cause? Good people, these folks. First in line to help anyone they ever hear is in need. Now they are struggling, quietly. And their babies are expecting Santa, too. Please help?

Renee, at Life With My Special K's is going to be the lead Elf here. She will handle any donations via paypal. She is good people, too. Go to and click on SEND MONEY. Put in an amount...ANY amount you can do...and enter her email addy as recipient:

She will take it from there, and do the shopping, then go Elf this very deserving family.

Please help. and please, spread the word. I know we can do this folks. I still believe in Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

a very sad goodbye

when I was a little girl, I longed for a Grandma. Not just any Grandma, she had to be funny, and playful. She had to smile a lot, and she had to love me very much. We would bake cookies and play games like Hide and Seek. She would be fun, witty, and beautiful. My Mom's mom was alive, but she was not very involved with us, she had 15 kids and by the time her youngest child's daughter came along, there wasnt much left. She gave me some neat memories, for sure. But she wasnt fun, funny, or particularly interested in me. My dad's mom was so wrapped up in her own family, my parents were divorced and we rarely saw them after about age 5. I remember being very proud when I went for a visit once and my picture was hanging in a frame in her kitchen. I felt really special, I mattered. But she never baked cookies or played games. I felt like I was missing out. My mom remarried, and his Mom was my Grandma. But she was never MY Grandma, really. Her husband was my Grandpa, he laughed and played with us, took us to amusement parks. But they lived far away, and she wasnt really Grandma material, baking cookies would have meant flour on her expensive pantsuits, and kids were messy and noisy. I loved them, those Grandmas of mine, but they werent like the Grandmas in the story books. I grew up not ever having that connection, and even as an adult, I craved it.
My Mom remarried when I was well into my own life. The man she married is gregarious, funny, charming, and so decent a man that I can barely believe my luck. I love him, and have told him many a time I wish he was my real Dad. I dont call him Dad, but I wish I was brave enough to. He tells me he loves me often, and we chat on the phone easily, with no self consciousness or discomfort. I love him dearly, and thank God I have him. I always wanted a Daddy too, and he is the best thing I could have gotten in that department.
A few weeks ago, we visited Florida, and spent Thanksgiving with them. My brother and his family drove down from Georgia, and we all crammed into their little retirement community home. It was very nice, MUCH bigger than expected, and full of good food, laughter, and family. Thanksgiving Day I finally met Vern's Mom. It was love at first sight. She was funny, charming, interested in everything I had to say, and a delightful lady all around. It sounds silly to say that I loved her. I know people say it all the time...." OH I LOVE her, shes so cool." But I felt a genuine love for this woman, she raised my Stepdad, after all. The connection between us was automatic. We sat and giggled and laughed and talked for an hour, she asking me questions and checking out my Ipod videos of the kids. The next day, she went shopping with us at a huge mall. We went into stores together, walked together, sat on benches outside together and laughed for no reason.She felt so real to me, so mine. It is hard to explain, but I felt like Finally, I got my Grandma. I like to think it was kind of mutual. I think she and I are a lot alike, same crazy sense of humor, same love of gadgets, and the same love for our families. We dropped her off at home that night, and we hugged goodbye. We would be leaving the next day, and I told her how nice it was to finally meet her, and how much fun I had had with her. I didnt tell her that she had already stolen my heart, that I felt a hole filled up with her. She isnt my blood, but she couldnt have felt more real to me if she was.
Vern was on his way to see his folks this afternoon when his Dad called, and said "Come now." He walked through the door to see EMTs doing CPR on his beloved mother. Massive heart attack, and she was gone. She didnt suffer, I guess. It happened very quickly. And just as fast as it happened, just as fast as her heart stopped beating, I lost the Grandma I had longed for for my whole life. And I am sad. Sadder than I would have ever imagined. I never really "knew" her. I never had the privelege of baking cookies, or watching her bustle around the kitchen. But we laughed, and we had a connection that was instantaneous and deep. My Step Dad told me she had mentioned me many times since that day, how much she liked me, how funny I was, and smart. Like a genuine Grandma, she was bragging about me to her friends.
I feel like I lost something too huge to name today. And yet, I feel deeply honored to have known her, to have known her kindness, enjoyed her laughter. I got my Grandma, it wasnt for very long at all. But I got her. And I will treasure that always. Rest in peace, Grandma Record. You were a treasure.

awwwwwwwwww! Thanks, Ruby's Mom!

I just got home and found I had been nominated for an award. someone thinks my blog is FABULOUS....why THANK YOU!!! I peeked at yours, too, and omg, that is one CAYUUUUTE baby. Ruby's Mommy, who is new to the DS world, nominated me. Very very sweet. Go check out her blog, give her a few words of encouragement...and by the way, did I mention how CUTE lil Miss Ruby is? Yep, THAT cute. :)

Now I have to pick 5 others to send it to:

Shea has a blog that I love to read. It is basically a love letter to her son, Oskar, whom she has never met...yet. Her words move me to tears. She hopes to bring him home soon. He is beautiful...see for yourself:

See, the thing is, Oskar is my child. Maybe he is not my birth child, but he is mine. So as more time passes and the more real to me he gets, the more I worry. Like every mother I want the best for my children, even if that means I go without. So I worry about whether he is loved, held, told he is handsome and smart. I worry if he has a tummy ache. I wonder of someone cuddles him when he is sick. In the midst of all this worry, I feel totallly helpless. It's the same as when someone else looks after your kids. You know that NO ONE is going to do it the way you have. That being said, I am utterly confident that they take good care of Oskar. So with every delay, I have to step back and trust that he is getting what he deserves and needs. My mind tells me he is and that he is very fortunate to live in the country he does, reside in the orphanage he does, and have such caring workers to look after him. However, my heart knows he needs his mommy. So each delay makes me feel like I am loosing control(not a good thing for a control freak). I think I deserve to feel a little bonkers at times. This whole hague thing is enough to make you loose your mind. It does not help that when I do anything I jump in with my whole heart and soul. If I love I do it passionately and with everything I have. I refuse to be afraid, but worry sneaks in when I least expect it. I'd rather do that afterward when I have something to be afraid of. I just want him home. I want him to know that I HAVE LOOKED ALL MY LIFE FOR HIM.

Beautiful, huh?

Ok, how bout number 2 is Charrissa? She is a funny, amazing, AWESOME Mommy of a handful of little ones...and she does it with STYLE. She adopted one of the apples of my eye not very long ago. You can read all about them over there, Miss Ava is just BLOSSOMING. Sigh...its a love story, Im a sap. ;)

Number 3-Shelley. Ok, ok, another adoption blog. Adoption might be why I found them, but it isnt why I keep reading. SOMEHOW she takes it all in stride, young kids, Army husband, several moves, medical stuff. Shes awesome, dont take my word for it...go read.

Number 4- Meredith

I had the absolute pleasure to meet she and her REALLY BEAUTIFUL family recently. Wow. 4 BABIES...little ones...and she makes it look easy. Her hubby is a sweetheart, her kids are angels..honest...and oh yeah...2 of them are adopted. But I knew her before the adoption, so this one doesnt count. :)

Number 5 is Adrienne. She doesnt really know me. But I can honestly say I think of her at least once a day. She is an AWESOME Mommy to a precious little guy named Owen. Her story will make you laugh and cry and everything in between. Seeing Owen grow and change over the last yr or so has touched me deeply. Lucky, lucky boy...and lucky parents too. If I could give one miracle for Christmas, it would be to Adrienne, and I bet she knows what it would be, You will too, go read....

And I have to list 5 Fab. things:

toradol-its a pain med. Im currently on it, spent the day in teh ER, kidney stones...yippee.

my family- I LOVE these people. I even like them. And it just keeps getting better.

Christmas-isnt Christmas FUN? I love this time of year. I just got back from sorting gifts for a Christmas is for Kids program we do through the school every year...some little ones are going to have a GREAT Christmas, and I get to be a part of that. How cool is that?

New friends- Jen & Billy. What would I have done if you guys hadnt wandered into my life? To say I am grateful is an understatement. Where have you been all my life, Jen? Love ya.

Down syndrome-the people this syndrome has brought into my life NEVER cease to amaze me, touch me, make me see things more deeply. I am so grateful to have had my eyes pried open.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


Ciarra is in 4th grade this year, and truth be told, it is hard. Hard on us, hard on her. Just hard. Academically, she is doing pretty well. She is not having any real behavior issues at all, and for all intents and purposes, she is doing "ok". But something is sliding away from us, from her, and it is worrying me. Her class size this year is MUCH bigger. The teacher really and genuinely likes her, but doesnt seem to come equipped with that THING that makes a kid like Ciarra fit into a classroom easily. She wants to, but she just seems not to have that magic that last years teacher had...and did I mention she has 10 more kids than last years teacher had?

Something about 4th grade is tough. We fought so hard for inclusion, and in many ways we still believe it is the best thing for our daughter. But at the same time, we want HER to have what SHE needs, too. This isnt about me, or ideaology, not about some belief in a place that is :the best" for a kid with Down syndrome. It is about Ciarra, her needs, her wishes, her heart. What she needs to feel right about herself in the world she goes off to every day without me. For the first time ever, I believe full inclusion just isnt the best fit...right now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring, what teachers, what settings, what changes in Ciarra will come to be? Right now, today, as hard as it is, I feel like the best choice for this blossoming little girl of mine is to be in a place that does not stress her so much. I want her to love school. Not tolerate it, not suffer through it. I want her to have a place where she can be successful, where she can raise her hand and be sure she is right, where the people around her know that even the rambling answer she might give is valuable. I have decided to ask for some time in the special education room. We have a new teacher, a man who seems intuitively to know what she needs. He has initiated touch math, with great results...something I asked for for years...something familiar, the same math I learned on. Ciarra likes him, a lot. She likes the classroom. She likes the other kids. There are a variety of kids in there, one other child with DS, one with high functioning autism, one lesser so. A few with just general learning challenges, but all of them delightful, wonderful kids. I feel like on the qwest for "Inclusion" sometimes, we are led to believe that having our precious children in a classroom where they might...GASP!...model BEHAVIORS...of other kids that are less than a bad thing, something to avoid at all costs. And yet, in my heart I know the children in that room are no scarier than she herself is. They have learning disabilities, they have beautiful smiles. And their behaviors as a whole cant be any scarier than those of other, typical, 4th graders. (Said from the perspective of a mommy who had to explain why the middle finger her former best friend showed her is a BIG no-no.)

Ciarra is growing up. She has a right to the best place for her, to be happy in a place where she is appreciated just as she is, and not because she can keep up. Keeping up is killing the spirit that she has. I saw some of that beautiful spirit last week, on vaction last week, when she danced in dressup clothes, pretending to hold the hand of her Prince. It was short-lived, too short. That beauty and uninhibited charm she has is shackled by her desire to be a big kid. It is as though her heart and her mind are at war, and she is learning to put away all of those things that make her smile. She wants so badly to please, but after being wrong a few times, she no longer raises her hand.

She is caught in such a mixed up world, so innocent and yet at the same time so grownup. It struck me last week, as we hurtled from Curious George to one of the world's biggest rollercoasters, from tea parties with her favorite cousin to starting her period on vacation. She is in so many places right now, emotionally, physically, developmentally. What she needs most is the security to be her in a world that is changing fast. I see her fighting back the innocense, trying to be big. That hurts to see. I do not want her to give up the best parts of herself to fit in, to be accepted by the crowd. The kids love her, will they love her when she is not there amongst them everyday? I think so. I want her to succeed, and this is the best decision I can make for her right now. I feel like saying this more or less publicly means I am letting others down. Some people look to us as sort of the trail blazers, and I have always been so strong a supporter for Inclusion. I dont want people to think it cant work for them, or that I have disappointed them, or given up. I am doing what I think is best for MY child, and I hope they will do whats best for theirs. But time and circumstances change, kids change, teachers change, and life changes. I have to keep evaluating, see what works, feel it out for awhile, and make the best decisions I can make..for her. The ego part of me would like to see Ciarra be a superstar in school, get all the answers right, wow them with her intelligence..and she does in some ways. But it is taking a toll on her personality and her heart, and more than I want anything in this world, I want her to be happy. I want to keep her innocense intact, to let her talk about Santa Clause and Barney and Curious George if she wants to. I want her to bake cookies and never know she is learning about measuring. I want her to laugh more than she cries, to succeed more than she fails, and to enjoy this life that is hers, not mine. Tomorrow we meet with the teachers, and we begin the process of cutting down reg ed time. And I feel like this is the right thing for her. I pray it is.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dear Alex

I am thinking of you today. In my mind, you are still 3, tiny hands and feet, impish smile. The last time I saw you, your beautiful hair was all shaved off, but in my mind I see the blonde curls. In my mind, I guess, you are still three. It is hard to believe that you would be turning 12 soon. I try to imagine what you would be like, but my mind is stuck, you will be forever 3, I guess.
Your brother is 13 already, big and strong. He plays football, and I often wonder if you would have joined him out there, though I doubt it. I imagine you as an artist, or curled up under the covers reading Harry Potter with a flashlight. Jesse doesn't talk about you much anymore. He remembers driving home from your funeral and asking me where you were, if you were with God. I can still hear his little voice, and see his stubby finger pointing at the sky, "I see Alex and his gang on that cloud, Mom." I ache for him, because I see his desire for a little brother in every little boy that comes through our lives.
I know with all of me that you and Ciarra would still be close. She is big now, this little sprite of a girl you called "my baby". She is ten. Alex, do you know she still talks about you all the time? She asked me the other day what your favorite song was. I laugh and cry at the same time, remembering you screaming out the words to "Who Let The Dogs Out". That is your song, you are stuck with it, buddy. Ciarra seems to have a connection with you that will never break, and I wonder how on Earth she can still remember. She was only 2 when you left us. But she remembers, there is no doubt about it.
Kristin talks about you a lot more now. She has been begging us to let her get a tattoo on her wrist. She wants it to be your name and your dates or birth and death. I worry that having the pain of you so close will be hard on her. I suppose it is no harder than what she already feels. She was old enough to remember it all, and to feel guilt and grief in the way only preteens can. I know she understands, but I also know that your loss changed her forever. She is going to be 20 soon. I imagine she would do the same with you she does with Jesse, harrass and laugh, tease and love with everything in her. They have discovered they like each other, finally, and I know you would be right in the middle of that, complaining and laughing all at once.
Andrea is a mother now. She has a beautiful baby girl. She talks about you often, too. At Halloween we laughed and laughed remembering you going to the patio door when you heard a knock one Halloween when you were small, and screaming your silly head off when she walked in in an alien costume. You were so scared. I have never seen anyone so scared. Sorry we laughed, but I am glad we have that memory. Andrea loves you, and I know she will read this, and Andrea..he loved you too kid. Rob and Wendy have a little boy too now, Hunter. They moved away, they live in Florida now. We will get to see them next week, we are going to visit Grammy and Papa. Grammy made me a photo quilt, and I was so happy to see that you were not left off it. So many people forget to include you, or they dont want to mention it. I am always happy to see your little face peeking out at me from it. I may have 3 kids now, but in my heart, the answer is always "I have 4". You are not forgotten, baby, you never will be.
Daddy doesnt talk about you much, not ever, really. A few months ago, I asked him why, and he started to cry. That was answer enough.
Alex, I visit your tree a couple times a year. On your birthday, and on the days you left us, the day I last held you, the day your spirit went to Heaven, and the day your body did. Christmas is coming, and I will drive to the tree and decorate it again. Last year, when I went back on your Birthday in Jan, others had added deocrations too. I think your teachers maybe go there, too. Your tree is so big now. Sometimes I see how tall it is, and it is hard. When the leaves are coming alive in the Spring, you are not, and that is always hard to see. But I love watching it grow. I just wish it could be you I am watching, instead. But this is what we have now, and I will be grateful for it.
I wrote to you today because I realized how long it has been since I found a toy you once played with, or a sock that somehow still pops up in the laundry room. I havent seen the box with your clothes in it in awhile. But I dont forget you. You are in my mind often, when I hear a song, or see a little boy that reminds me of you, or a picture. We love you, Alex, every one of us that knew you. Even when we dont say your name every day. Even when it is too hard to talk about you. Dont ever forget that.

" I wouldn't want to live like...that"

Many times as Ciarra's mom, I have talked to people who would oppose kids with Down syndrome ever even being born. Moms who have aborted, Doctors who think it is somehow an ethical duty to rid the world of kids like mine. Sometimes it is hard to view the world without rose-colored glasses, because taking them off means seeing that society as a whole deems kids like Ciarra less-than, undesirable, disposable.

New tests to detect it in utero are being fast tracked to the world, the race to be the first with a 100% effective tool for detection and elimination is on. Soon, kids like her, with their gently slanted eyes and their supple and soft little bodies, will be rare. Sure, many folks will continue to choose life for their babies. But society seems to think the best thing to do is be rid of them, and how long will it be until we hear "We can't help you, you CHOSE this for your child"? I suspect not long. That we could have prevented these incredibly special lives from ever seeing the light of day ("it's painless" "just a blood test" "no risk of losing a normal baby!") will be seen as poor parenting, or worse.

I have lived long enough now to have seen some of the worst the world can offer to those born "different" or made different by some travesty in their lives.

Baby Doe, starved to death because he happened to be born with Down syndrome and a 100% repairable feeding issue his parents chose not to treat. His life was seen as not worth living, but his death gave us new laws that granted some care and oversight to those born disabled and needing care.

U.S.C.A. TITLE 42, CHAPTER 67, Sec. 5106a. Grants to States for child abuse and neglect prevention and treatment programs:

(B) an assurance that the State has in place procedures for responding to the reporting of medical neglect (including instances of withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions), procedures or programs, or both (within the State child protective services system), to provide for--
(i) coordination and consultation with individuals designated by and within appropriate health-care facilities;
(ii) prompt notification by individuals designated by and within appropriate health-care facilities of cases of suspected medical neglect (including instances of withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life-threatening conditions); and
(iii) authority, under State law, for the State child protective services system to pursue any legal remedies, including the authority to initiate legal proceedings in a court of competent jurisdiction, as may be necessary to prevent the withholding of medically indicated treatment from disabled infants with life threatening conditions;

Terri Schiavo, whose agonizing death captured the nation for 14 days, and made us all silent witnesses to court-sanctioned discrimination, if not murder. Why? Because despite her smiles, despite her seeming reactions to the mother who adored her, her husband and the state decided her life was not worth living.

And then there is the case of Haleigh Poutre, a beautiful little girl whose stepfather beat her so severely she was brain-damaged and seen as being in a vegetative state. The courts ordered her life support removed, too, but Haleigh fooled them all. Her will to live kicked in the week before life support was due to be taken off, and her recovery since has been miraculous, although she will likely never walk again, and her brain damage has done so much damage that many people would procliam they "wouldn't want to live like that." Apparently Haleigh wants to, she seems to enjoy her life, and is making steady gains. That she will never be a college professor or Rhoades scholar is sad, but then, how many of us will be, either? Haleigh's life is just that, Haleigh's.

Who are we to decide whose life is "worth living"? Stephen Hawking lives his days in a body ravaged by ALS, and yet he is seen as a scholar and brilliant mind. He, according to society, is deemed "good enough".

Is it because he has a mind still sharp as a tack, that he never suffered from being less smart, just less able? Why do we allow this judgement to pervade our thinking, that smart is everything?

I cannot fathom a world without the Haleigh's, the Terri's, the Ciarra's, and the Stephen's. We would be the lessor for it. Their need for us to be tolerant, sensitive and able to see their higher graces despite their struggles makes us a better people. We all need to remember that we are a heartbeat or a breath away from being in their shoes, and treat them as we ourselves would want to be treated. With dignity, respect, and kindness. Because God let them live, just "like that". And that is plenty good enough for me.

Monday, November 03, 2008

"electic bills will necessarily skyrocket"

MY bill is already extremely high, we have hydro power here, plus extreme temps. HOW can anyone believe this man is right for us?

Redemption in a blog.

I have seen a lot of people who I have long respected make arguments for why Obama is so good for us, why it is ok to vote for him, and I have sat by and watched. I have not been able to articulate my own thoughts well enough, I guess. My overriding feeling is that abortion IS a big enough issue to not vote for him. But I was thinking maybe that was just me, that maybe it isnt a good idea to marginalize myself, be a "one isue voter". Well, today I read this article, and every word rang true to me. I am quoting part of the article. I know what the Bible says, and THAT is what I am voting. Not a man, not a party, but the BIBLE, God's word. Moral equivalance aside. It really is ok to take a stand.

Forget the words of men, forget the media coverage of the presidential race. Just think about these words of Almighty God:

If the people of the community close their eyes when that man gives one of his children to Molech…I will set my face against that man and his family and will cut off from their people both him and all who follow him… (Leviticus 20:1-5)

Do this so that innocent blood will not be shed in your land, which the LORD your God is giving you as your inheritance, and so that you will not be guilty of bloodshed. (Deuteronomy 19:10)

He sent them to destroy Judah…Surely these things happened to Judah according to the Lord’s command, in order to remove them from his presence because of the sins of Manasseh and all he had done, including the shedding of innocent blood. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the LORD was not willing to forgive. (2 Kings 24:2-4)

There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood… (Proverbs 6:16-19)

Therefore as surely as I live, declares the Sovereign LORD, I will give you over to bloodshed and it will pursue you. Since you did not hate bloodshed, bloodshed will pursue you. (Ezekiel 35:6)

Every Christian should take these teachings seriously. Is the unborn an innocent human being? If you claim to be prolife in the historical meaning of the word, then your answer is yes. Is abortion the shedding of innocent blood, the taking of human life created in the image of God? If you say you are prolife, your answer must be yes. (Please do not redefine the meaning of the word prolife and say "I'm prolife" if you're really not.)

So, is the candidate’s stand on the issue of shedding innocent blood important enough to disqualify him as a candidate? Yes. While a single issue can’t qualify a candidate, it can disqualify him. In my opinion, this issue clearly disqualifies Barack Obama, just as it disqualified Republican Rudy Giuliani.

I don’t think someone is a good candidate just because he is prolife. But he cannot be a good candidate unless he is prolife. Personally, if he is committed to legalized child-killing, as a matter of conscience I must vote against him.

John Piper takes this same position in an article he wrote about one-issue politics.

Now, when someone says, "But still, abortion isn't the only issue," I agree. I care very much about the poor and racial equality. That's why if John McCain was committed to legalizing the killing of the poor and the killing of ethnic minorities, I would not vote for him either.

But suppose you have two candidates, one who has promised to defend and further the legalized killing of one group of people (any group: women, minorities, disabled, unborn, poor.) You disagree with the other candidate in areas that in their own right might be important, but do not involve the merciless slaughter of millions of people. Furthermore, the second candidate—whom you consider boring and disagreeable—believes that same group of people has the right to live, and he says he will defend their rights, and appoint judges who will defend it. Now, which candidate should you vote for?

If neither candidate were committed to the legalized killing of people, any people, then I would say, by all means weigh and measure those other important issues and make your choice. But can you seriously argue that these other issues trump the killing of millions of innocent children, not just now, but in the decades to come under a proabortion Supreme Court that could have been a prolife Supreme Court?

Don't you believe that though there were other issues in Nazi Germany besides the killing of Jews, Gypsies and the disabled, that all those other issues were trumped by that one? If Lincoln's platform involved ending slavery yet you agreed with Douglas (who wanted slavery to remain legal) in lots of other areas, would you feel right voting for Douglas, knowing you were voting for slavery?

So I say OF COURSE THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES. I don't minimize them. All I can say is the differences between the candidates on those issues don't stack up, even cumulatively, to the legalized killing of human beings. It's a matter of relative importance, not just a number of issues. A man who is a good husband in most respects, but who beats his wife, is not a good husband. That issue outweighs all the others.

In a previous blog comment, someone said they wouldn't vote for McCain due to his failures in his first marriage. I too am troubled by John McCain's treatment of his first wife. He has said it was a failure on his part, but whether he has repented, I don't know. This is one of several things I don't like about John McCain. But his past failure in marriage is not comparable to Obama taking a present stand for the legalized killing of children.

I am not excited about John McCain in every area. But when I compare him to Barack Obama in the overriding issue of our day, the right of preborn children to live, there is a stark and radical difference. In America right now, the rights of Jews to live and slaves to be free are not on the table. The right of unborn children to live is on the table. The killing of the unborn is the holocaust of our day. Where do you want to have stood on this issue? Where do you want the man you vote for to have stood on it? If your grandchildren ask you one day whether you voted for or against the right of children to live, what will you say?

Yesterday someone else left a comment saying, Hurry and compose a blog to the under 30's Christians who are planning to vote for a 3rd party candidate in hopes of "sending a message" to the RNC! FOCA could very well be the last nail in the coffin.

I sympathize with wanting to send a message to the Republican Party. I have done this both in state elections and once on the presidential level. One year I wrote in a third party candidate Alan Keyes, an African American who has boldly stood up for unborn children. There is a time to do this.

But is this the time, when failing to vote for McCain could ultimately remove hundreds of laws limiting abortion at the statewide level—informed consent and parental consent and late term abortion measures? As a physician commenting on my last blog said, prolife physicians and nurses and hospitals could find themselves with a federal mandate to perform abortions, and lose their licenses if they refuse. The Freedom of Choice Act, which Obama promised Planned Parenthood he will sign if elected president (my previous blog has this on video), could ultimately do all this and more. It may also make life very difficult for Pregnancy Resource Centers.

Would John McCain be a great president? I don't know. Maybe he wouldn't even be a good president. There are so many claims by both candidates that their words seem like wind to me. I don't feel like I know a lot. But I do know for certain that one candidate defends the right of the unborn to live, and the other is utterly committed to be sure that it remains legal to kill them. And on THAT issue I know what God says is right and wrong.

Yes, I realize Obama is cool. As I said two blogs ago, I really wanted to vote for him, so I could be cool too. John McCain is not so cool. And he's a Republican at a time where being a Republican definitely isn't cool. The question isn't whether I'd like the Republican Party to change. (I would.) I'm not voting for the Republican Party. In one sense I'm not voting mainly for John McCain. I am voting for McCain because it's my only way in this election to vote for the right of unborn children to live rather than die.

Now, if you think that's an overstatement, that the difference between the candidates isn't that great, or they will not influence the future of abortion in this country, I challenge you to look at Obama's dogged commitment to the legalized killing of unborn children, backed up by his 100% proabortion voting record. And look at McCain's repeatedly stated commitment, also demonstrated by his voting record, to oppose the legalized killing of children. If you think your presidential vote is not for or against unborn children, you don't understand the significance of the Freedom of Choice Act or the significance of the balance of power of the Supreme Court with the Obama judges who are certain to be pro-legal-abortion and the McCain judges who are virtually certain to be anti-legal-abortion.

My conversations with fellow Christians who are prolife but are voting for Obama have common themes these days. They always emphasize "Obama is prochoice, not proabortion." To which I respond, "actually he is pro-legalized-abortion." This is emphatically true, based on his own words and 100% consistent voting record. It shouldn't be considered a matter for debate. What politician in the country is more strongly committed to legalized abortion than Obama is? Every radical proabortion group knows this, and everyone of them have been working tirelessly to get him elected.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dear Mr Obama

Life is not a gift a politician can grant. It is a right, guaranteed under the Constitution. Barack Obama voted against saving the lives of babies born alive after attempted abortions. The baby he specifically was being asked to consider was a baby boy with Down syndrome. Mr. Obama voted NO. Senator Barack Obama and his campaign staff have made many conflicting claims in an attempt to "explain" his opposition in 2001, 2002, and 2003, while an Illinois state senator, to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, legislation to provide legal protection for babies who are born alive during abortions. The language of the Illinois bills was very similar to the language of the federal Born-Alive Infants Protection Act (BAIPA), which was first introduced in Congress in 2000 and enacted into law in 2002. For much more extensive documentation on the Obama record on this issue, see Assertion: On many occasions beginning in 2004, and as recently as August 13, 2008, Obama and his official spokespersons said that Obama opposed Illinois BAIPA because it lacked a 1 sentence "neutrality clause" that was added to the federal BAIPA before it was enacted, and that he would have voted for the federal bill (if he had been a U.S. senator when it passed) because it contained the "neutrality clause." This "neutrality clause" read as follows: "Nothing in this section [that is, the entire bill] shall be construed to affirm, deny, expand, or contract any legal status or legal right applicable to any member of the species homo sapiens at any point prior to being ‘born alive’ as defined in this section." Obama said that such a clause prevented the federal law from conflicting with Roe v. Wade. The Obama campaign asserted "there are major differences in state and federal bills, including the fact that the federal bill included a ‘neutrality clause’." Response: In the first place, the original federal BAIPA introduced in 2000 was only two sentences long – it merely defined as a legal person any human, "at any stage of development," who achieves "the complete expulsion or extraction from its mother" and then shows signs of life (heartbeat, breathing, or "definite movement of voluntary muscles"). This bill, which received initial approval from the U.S. House of Representatives 380-15 in late 2000, said nothing in either direction about the legal status of a human prior to birth. Therefore the "neutrality clause," added in 2001, simply made explicit what had originally been clear if implicit– that this bill dealt only with the rights of babies who had already been born alive. Obama insisted that the purported lack of a "neutrality clause" in the state BAIPA was all-important. NRLC uncovered, and publicly released on August 11, 3 documents that proved that on March 13, 2003 Obama, as chairman of the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee, actually presided over a committee meeting at which the original state BAIPA (SB 1082) was revised to make it virtually identical to the federal law – including the addition of exactly the same "neutrality clause." Yet, immediately after that change was made, Obama voted against the amended bill, and it was defeated on a party-line vote, 6-4. In other words, Obama led the way in killing a bill that was virtually identical to the federal law – the federal law that, since 2004, he has insisted he would have voted for if he’d had the chance. Obamas campaign continued to misrepresent these events. For example, on August 13, they submitted to the Chicago Tribune a chart that purported to contrast the "2003 Legislation That Obama Opposed" with the "Federal Legislation That Obama Would Have Supported" – this chart falsely claimed that the "neutrality clause" was a "failed amendment, not included in final legislation." On August 16, when David Brody of CBN News asked Obama (on camera) about the NRLC charges, Obama said that we were "lying." He repeated his claim that he would have been "fully in support of the federal bill that everybody supported – which was to say – that you should provide assistance to any infant that was born – even if it was as a consequence of an induced abortion. That was not the bill that was presented at the state level."

On August 25, the independent group ( issued a review of this question that concluded, "Obama’s claim is wrong. In fact, by the time the HHS Committee voted on the bill, it did contain language identical to the federal act. . . . The documents from the NRLC support the group’s claims that Obama is misrepresenting the contents of SB 1082."

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Best Friends Forever

when Ciarra was four, a neighbor stopped down to see Jim, bringing with him the granddaughter he and his wife were raising. She was a wild child, scrappy and stout, loud and sometimes incredibly mouthy.

We watched as he guided her, he has a voice like sandpaper, roguh and choppy, but gentle and sweet with this little girl. How he loved her was so obvious. To this day, 6 years later, he calls her "the Baby".

Ciarra is "The Baby" too, and he has come to adore her almost as much as he does his own. It is funny to watch this hard, worn man love these girls, he dotes on them, spoils them rotten. Last Christmas, he helped Jade design and build an end table that looked like a reindeer, they cut it out, sanded it till it was butter smooth, then painted and trimmed it. It was a beautiful thing, and all the more so for the hours of love and companionship they put into it.
As Jade has grown, she has started to settle down a bit. Visits arent always drama anymore, the girls have slipped into an easy pattern. Their friendship has grown as they have, 6 years of dressup and arguing, 6 years of illnesses and best friend bracelets. 6 years of holding hands on long walks, arts and crafts and glue all over the carpet. 6 years of knowing someone will be holding a spot for you on the bus.
It has not always been easy to let them be, there have certainly been issues and struggles, and I am sure there always will be.

I used to wonder if they would outgrow one another, now I friends forever dont outgrow one another. Thier friendship is so rock solid, it is a beautiful thing to see. In the world of Down syndrome, we worry so much about relationships and friendships, will our kids know that kind of love.

I have been so blessed to see that the answer is yes. It is not without a lot of work. Sometimes I want to send them both to their respective rooms and not let them play together for awhile. Sometimes Jade's grandmother thinks the same way.

But for all of us, in both families, there is a respect for this thing they have created between them, arguments and all. It is a thing of beauty, it is a thing of fragility sometimes, but it is also a thing of terrific strength for both of them. How blessed they are, and how blessed we are to know that for both of our girls, Best Friends Forever is everything it is cracked up to be.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


it is mundane
wake up, busy day
start the coffee
"what's the weather"
game night for Jesse, 2 hours away
bag is packed, gear cleaned,
class trip tomorrow
that bag is packed too.
3 days my boy will be gone
I wrestle with bad-mommy-itis,,,should I be going?
backpacks are ready by the door
clothes laid out
he will wear his football jersey to school
she will wear a summer shirt with a heavy sweater
fall is coming to Maine
pause in the kitchen for a hug
this man smells so good
he is so strong
open Ciarra's door
she is sound asleep
baby blanket too short
clutched to her chin
little feet peeking out into the cold
the cat is snuggled next to her
paws up, smiling
down the hall to his room
he was up late, studying, reading
his life is on overdrive these days
he wakes slowly, turns and smiles
and rolls out of bed to start his day
back down the hall
I lie down beside my girl,
she is warm despite the cool air,
the cat opens one eye, the smile fades
do we HAVE to get up, Mom?
seems to be her thought
I wrap my arms around this little big girl
tickle her a little, pull her close
she opens sleepy eyes and smiles at me,
eyes twinkling,
Brushfield spots catching the sunlight
she is a beautiful little person
she trusts me so
mornings should be gentle
time for love, time for some cuddling
she is fully awake now
the dogs have joined us on her bed
the puppy is licking her feet
another cat comes in to check out the happenings
it is morning.
I put out bowls of cereal,
Jesse has to be at school early for checkin
we scramble, he showers
Jim hands me money for Jesse's trip
and some extra for me too...he knows me well
Ciarra eats in her room
Curious George is the background music
the cat still snuggled on her pillow, smiling again
they get dressed, shoes on...gym today
where's my library books, Mom
Mom, did you wash my girdle for football?
Honey, do you think this old cellphone would still work?
(No, it is from the 80s,
Coffee in hand, he leans against the counter and smiles
the commotion around us means our lives are full
Ciarra grabs her backpack and her sweater and heads out to wait for the bus
all smiles, she turns to me
"I found a dead frog yesterday"
I dont hear the rest of the story, but the excitement in her eyes
tells me its a good one
I walk to the window to watch her,
she is so small her voice a plume of smoke in the air
"Can I have Daddys binoculars?"
"I cant see the bus"
"its coming, baby."
"Bye Mom, I love you..."
one last I love you and she is gone
big girl, 4th grade, one kid down
Jesse walks in
football bag-helmet, pads, pants, jersey, socks, is heavy
strung across his back
the bus leaves at 3
backpack on the other side..big French test today
laptop case in hand
Jim smiles at him, takes the backpack
grabs the Maine Studies duffel bag
3 days of clothes, extra shoes, sleeping bag, pillow, flashlight
3 days in the wilderness, camping, learning
this boy has such clarity about him
he will be somebody
my boys walk out the door, stop for a kiss
and some I love you's.
Into Dads truck
he forgot his coffee
I put on Jims big old work shoes and clod out the door
to anyone else, I would be scary looking
in my nightie and my wild hair, too-big shoes
to them I am welcome, they smile at my getup
another round of goodbyes.
Jim backs down the driveway, coffee in one hand
I see him turn to Jesse
and then they both laugh
and that is the sound I hear as they drive away
and I am alone in the house with the dogs and the cats and the smell of coffee
and breakfast to clean up
and a 19 yr old still sleeping
we will both work today
and then
babysitter, schools out
drive 2 hrs each way to see his game
Daddy cant go he has to work too late
Ciarra cant be out that late
so just me and Kristin will go
shes driving
mundane is beautiful sometimes.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Dear Mr Obama

God Bless the USA-and thanks for your service


Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,255,000

The U.S. Government has increased humanitarian assistance for displaced Iraqis from $43 million in 2006 to almost $200 million in the first half of 2008.

Since 2003, the U.S. Government has been the single largest contributor of humanitarian assistance for displaced Iraqis.

UNHCR estimates returns during the second half of 2007 and the first three months of 2008 to stand at 50,000 refugee returns and 60,000 IDP returns. UNHCR projects that overall in 2008, there will be 100,000 newly displaced, 100,000 refugee returns, and 120,000 IDP returns. UNHCR “Progress on Mainstreaming IDP issues in UNHCR and Global Work Plan for IDP Operations,” EC/59/SC/CRP.16 (June 2008), p. 23.

(that is 430 thousand returnees predicted, and this was compiled BEFORE the surge worked)

Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect
NOTE ON NATIONWIDE UNEMPLOYMENT TABLE: Estimates of Iraq’s unemployment rate varies, but we estimate it to be between 25-40%.
The CPA has referred to a 25% unemployment rate, the Iraqi Ministry of Planning mentioned a 30% unemployment rate

(lower than June of 03, incidentally)

Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%
06? This is 08. Inflation is down, considering the war is being won. Try using current "facts". ANY country mid war will be high.
2007 and 2008 Real GDP Growth projections are provided by the authors and disagree with the figures released by the
IMF and World Bank of 14.4% and 12.9% growth, respectively

Inflation and unemployment rates in Iraq have subsided recently due to procedures taken by the government, announced Iraqi Finance Minister Bayan Jabr Al-Zubaidi.

He told reporters Thursday that the reduction in unemployment rate could be attributed to the investment sector contribution to the government's budget, adding that the rate went down from 70 to 20 per cent.

On the reduction of inflation rate, the Iraqi minister indicated that the Finance Ministry's policy to increase bank interest rates as well as boosting the rates of exchange for the Iraqi dinar over the US dollar led to this outcome.

The inflation rate went down from 66 to 20 per cent according to the Ministry of Planning while the Iraqi Central Bank affirmed that rates went down further more, reaching 16 per cent, Al-Zubaidi added.

Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June 2007 (Per, July 30, 2007)

these are old figures, and frankly, with oil revenues of 6.07 BILLION dollars this year alone, thats up to them to fix. We arent the answer to every problem. Under Saddam Hussein's regime, Iraqis' standard of living deteriorated rapidly. In nominal terms, Iraq's per capita income had dropped from $3,800 in 1980 (higher than Spain at the time) to $715 in 2002 (lower than Angola).

Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%

Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000 Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000

Some 8,000 physicians, most of them specialists, have abandoned jobs at government health centers since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, most seeking refuge abroad and a few hundred heading to the relative safety of Iraq's Kurdish region. Many ran from a violent campaign by extremists and crime gangs that targeted Iraq's elite.

Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000

Figures on how many doctors have fled since the 2003 US-led invasion have not been made available by the Ministry, but earlier this year it said 618 medical employees had been killed, including 132 physicians
UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

At the same time 40 per cent of the professional class has left since the invasion.

TV, however has flourished. before the war there were no commercial TV stations in Iraq. By March 2006 there were 54.

And politics, too, is flourishing. Over 300 political parties were registered for the December 2005 election.

The law has also changed enormously. There were no trained judges in Iraq before the war. By January 2007 there were 870.

Before the war there were an estimated 4,500 internet users in Iraq. By April 2007 there were an estimated 261,000 surfers. And this doesn't include those who access the web at internet cafes.

Source: Brookings Institution, Iraq Index

Specialists now make $2,000 to $3,000 a month, while under Saddam Hussein's rule, doctors would earn as little as 30.

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Per Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007)
nationwide Iraqis had 8.7 hours
Source: Brookings Institute, Iraq Index

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.9 in May 2007/Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 5.6 in May 2007

in January 2008, Baghdad had 7.2 hours and nationwide Iraqis had 8.7 hours
Source: Brookings Institute, Iraq Index

Pre-War Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 16 to 24

Because Saddam's regine focused on providing electricity in Baghdad rather than other regions, before the war Baghdad had 16 to 24 hours of electricity per day, whereas nationwide the average was 4-8 hours.

After the US invasion, the whole of Iraq, including Baghdad, had only 4-8 hours per day.

Since then it is Baghdad that has suffered the smallest electricity supply, while nationwide supply is generally greater than before the war. The country is currently producing less than half the megawatts it needs.

Electricity demand has increased 70 per cent since 2003 invasion (because Iraqis have more TVs, computers, refrigerators etc...)

Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%

google "iraq sewer" and see what you find. HUNDREDS of hits talking about CURRENT infrastructure, and many many hits talking about pre-war life under Saddam.

Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70% (Per, July 30, 2007)

In early 2004 the Ministry of Public Works announced that the average daily water service availability was one hour above pre-war levels. While the vast majority of Iraq's urban population has access to water, the quantities per capita are deemed to be insufficient. Although over half of the overall population has access to potable water, leaking pipes have contaminated those networks in many areas.

Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

RESULTS OF POLL Taken in Iraq in August 2005 by the British Ministry of Defense (Source: Brookings Institute)

Iraqis "strongly opposed to presence of coalition troops - 82%

thats old news,
THE U.S. – Views of the United States, while still broadly negative, have moderated in some respects. Just shy of half, 49 percent, now say it was right for the U.S.-led coalition to have invaded, up by 12 points from August; the previous high was 48 percent in the first ABC News poll in Iraq in February 2004.

Iraqis who believe Coalition forces are responsible for any improvement in security - less than 1%

THE SURGE – On a national level, as noted, 36 percent of Iraqis say security has
improved in the last six months; that’s jumped from just 11 percent in August. Of them, 82 percent express at least some confidence improved security will continue, although fewer, about a third, are “very” confident of it.

Iraqis who feel less ecure because of the occupation - 67%
BAGHDAD/ANBAR – As noted, it’s Baghdad and Anbar, focal points of the surge,
where many of the changes have been greatest – but where conditions still lag in real
terms. Ratings of local security have improved by 43 points in Baghdad (from nil in August) and by 32 points in Anbar (nil in March). They’ve advanced more slowly in the rest of the country, by 10 points since August, to 68 percent positive – still much higher than in Baghdad.

Iraqis who do not have confidence in multi-national forces - 72%

To my commenter, who wants so badly to bring America down, make it seem we are bullies and thieves: your information is old and very outdated. Things are looking up tremendously in Iraq. But, like Obama, you choose to see what you choose to see. Only now is he admitting the surge worked. Maybe your talking points will catch up with his newfound understanding soon?

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Friday, August 29, 2008

not Romney, not it

I am so excited at the prospect, I cant stand it. Shes conservative, smart, pretty...and she has a son with DS! What a GREAT public face she would be for "us". Oh please, McCain, give me SOMETHING to like about you.