Monday, May 31, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Susan at Stony River (although with the trans-atlantic move has she left Stony River or just moved to a new Stony River?) . . . at any rate SUSAN offers an illustration and gives us a challenge to write a 140 character story to accompany it. The count includes punctuation and spaces so plan carefully!

This week:

My story:

I feed you, I clean up after you, and I take you out for exercise. I am not going to pick your teeth for you!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Charming Girl

Just a few more photos. You know how it is. You start that trip down memory lane and all of a sudden ALL the photos want to be seen. I restrained them though, and only allowed a few.

This is sweet girl with her Opa (her dad's dad). Notice the right hand in the mouth, leaving the left hand poised to  tell people where to go, how to get there and what to do when they arrive.

This is sweet girl with me! She was "reading" to me.

This is sweet girl getting ready for her "puppy party" for her birthday. She is even wearing paw-print tights.

And finally, last Sunday while serving in Nursery at church:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Humbled From the Start

When I was young, I thought I knew everything about being a parent. Until 16 years ago today when everything we had hoped and dreamed for the last nine months was suddenly in peril. Our baby was in distress, the monitors were going nuts, and a medical person was putting a mask over my face and telling me to breathe deeply. I distinctly remember a female doctor kneeling next to me and speaking quietly but firmly into my ear, "you need to stop crying. The baby needs as much oxygen as you can take in right now." I felt a splash of liquid across my belly and then slipped into unconsciousness.

And yet, I wasn't completely under because the next thing I heard was a cheer.  Many voices were celebrating something.

Several hours later, I was allowed to meet my daughter on the outside. I had known her very well for many weeks. In her safe little cocoon I had nurtured her. I had read stories to her. I had rocked her. I had sung to her and I had laughed when she did her can-can routine. We hadn't known she was a daughter - we were just waiting for the safe arrival of our new baby.

We had no idea that her arrival would be with such fanfare. That the handsome young Navy doctor would be particularly delighted that this little one was not only safe, but beautiful. Covered with a head of dark hair, this precious girl was nothing at all what I expected. I was blonde! I came from blondes and blue eyed people! Her dad was a brown-hair. Where had this dark, thick hair come from?

And then she wailed to be fed and I knew this child was undoubtedly mine. She wanted what she wanted and she wanted it NOW. As we began to make the three of us into a family, we rejoiced that God had a plan for this baby that was just beginning to unfold.

In sixteen years, she has given us joy, astonishment, excitement, and passion. In fact, if you had to choose ONE word to describe this child, it is PASSION. One of her friends once said that if she had any more passion about whatever she was excited about at the moment, the whole high school would explode. He is right. Her excitement about life and her joy in the moment is inspiring and terrifying at the same time.

Happy Birthday to our sweet girl. I wouldn't trade a minute of past, present or future with her. My prayer is that God gives us many years ahead to witness what He has in store for her.  This last image is her self-portrait!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

America's Obsession With Race

We just can't get over it.  We want to be hyphenated but we want to be assimilated.  I read this headline this morning:

"Interracial Marriage Still Rising, But Not As Fast"  (here's the entire article)

My immediate response was:

1.  How do you define interracial these days?

2.  Shouldn't we just be glad people are getting married instead of living together?

And then when I read the stuff about the census data, I got all annoyed again.  They wrote this line:

By some estimates, two-thirds of those who checked the single box of "black" on the census form are actually mixed, including President Barack Obama, who identified himself as black in the 2010 census even though his mother was white.

If you look at old census data you see people identifying themselves as White, Black, or M for mulatto or mixed. But that designation of "White" carried further detail.  People identified themselves as "German" or "Irish" or "English", etc. Because of slavery, blacks could not further identify as "Ghanaian", "Angolan" or "Congolese." They had no idea. So why did it matter what flavor of white person the white person was? And why does it matter now what flavor of color any of us are?

So let's get rid of it.  Let's just ask: "Citizen" or "Resident Alien" and leave it there. The more we ask for specificity the more we perpetuate division.

Let's just all say "AMERICAN."

Random Dozen

It is time again to answer Linda's questions at 2nd cup of coffee.  Well, actually you answer them on your own blog, and then link to hers and then visit people and say nice things. It's fun. You can see definite trends...and then the occasional, "that is so very different!" moment. So join us!

1. Would you rather host party or simply attend a party? Oh definitely host. It's a control thing.

2. Tell us about the most memorable party you've been to. I don't much like parties, so they're  pretty forgettable.  I went to a surprise party for friend from church a couple of weeks back and it was fun. I guess that's the kind I like - ones full of people I already know and like and who like each other so there's no weird dynamics..

3. What is one thing you hope for in the after-life? It isn't a hope, it's a certainty. I want to see the beauty that is Jesus.

4. What do you enjoy most about sunshine? It's warm and makes me feel happy. Especially after three straight days and nights of rain. That's why Tuesday was such a beautiful day.

5. When you attend a bridal/baby shower, do you prefer to bring your own gift or chip in with others to buy a larger gift?  Did you see the answer to #1?  I don't like parties . . . but okay, if I have to go, I'll bring a gift I've chosen especially for that person.

6. Would you rather have a FREE week of having your house cleaned or all of your meals cooked for you and your family? The meals, especially if they're exotic!

7. What song describes your mood today?  What's going through my head at the moment is this: Holy is the Lord God Almighty...You can view it here:  I'd imbed it but it's been disabled.

8. What is something you received for your own bridal shower/wedding that you still own or use? (If you are not married, feel free to sub a gift you received a long time ago.)  We still use a simply elegant crystal vase suitable for tall cut flowers. My boss from those days gave it to us.  

9. Your favorite flavor of ice cream is? Vanilla. I know, boring, but I'm not much of an ice cream eater anyway, so when I do eat it, I want to make sure my son can have it too -- and ice cream is one of those things that has a very high risk rate for nut allergies.

10. When was the last time you felt "tested?" Every time I pass the laundry room without stopping to do what needs to be done. My tests tend to be the simple little acts of obedience that I resist - not the big flamboyant road to Damascus experiences.

11. "[Fill in the blank] is a food that once I start eating I find really hard to stop." Chocolate - duH!

12. "-----" is the best motivation. See the answer to #11.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Microfiction Monday

It's Microfiction Monday again! That's when Susan at Stony River gives us a photo and a command: THOU SHALT NOT USE MORE THAN 140 CHARACTERS TO WRITE A STORY. The command bears a further stipulation that the 140 includes all spaces and punctuation. It is a fun meme to try because one has to be BRIEF. Most people go with funny. Try it! Copy the photo, and write your story. Then link back to Susan. Visit other players and be nice.

Brother Gregory initiated a whole new way of worship with his rebellious laid-back attitude.  The others struggled with the sin of envy.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Busy Day, Busy Night

Yesterday was supposed to be uneventful. And it was until my husband called. It seems that a very young driver had miscalculated timing/distance/clearance, and turned left across traffic right in front of him. He was on the main road, going at the speed limit (40), and had no time to avoid her. He jerked the wheel so he would hit her on the front quarter panel rather than square on her driver's door.  Praise God, no injuries. They both walked away from the accident. Her dad even DROVE her car away from it. Ours is probably totaled. They will call us on Monday to tell us whether we're new car shopping. In the meantime, my husband will be driving mine.

Amazingly, all of my 'must drive to' activities finished up last week. I have no need for a car in the day time until Thursday - and even then, I can change the appointment (or I could ride my bike but it will be a long ride home - uphill!).

At the time the accident occurred, 12:20, our children were ministering at the Lamb Center. It's a meals and laundry ministry in Fairfax that ministers to the homeless. At that time, they were praying with the group. My daughter says they were praying about the Holy Spirit.  She's at that age where she's trying to sort out her own beliefs, and was "spooked" in a GOOD way about this "coincidence."  God is good all the time.

When my husband called, I had just put a cake in the oven. I had some left over plain yogurt to use up, and tried this new recipe. It is AMAZINGLY good. But in view of my last post, I have exercised self control.  And I WILL be on the bike a lot this week.

Chocolate Yogurt Loaf Cake

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1/4 cup water
1/3 cup cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain yogurt (low fat is fine)

Preheat oven to 350.  Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  In a large bowl cream together butter and sugar until the mixture is fluffy and resembles wet sand.  Beat in egg and egg white.  Mix in 1/3 of the flour mixture.

In a small bowl, whisk together water, cocoa powder, vanilla and yogurt until mixture is smooth.  Add half of this mixture to the sugar mixture, followed by another 1/3 of the flour mixture.  Stir in remaining yogurt and remaining flour, stirring only until no streaks of flour remain.

Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly.

Bake for 55-60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cake cool in pan for about 10 minutes, then carefully cut along the sides of the pan to release the cake and turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Things I would have done differently:  I took it out at 55 minutes.  I should have given it the extra five.  And, I would serve with whipped cream or topping if serving for guests!

Busy night?  Oh yes, about 2am we were awoken by great crashing thunder, sky-splitting lightning and torrential rain. It went on for about half an hour - and the rain still continues to some degree even now. I love thunder storms! When scientists are saying they've "created" life in the lab, I just chuckle and say, "maybe you can do stuff in very controlled circumstances that you think is life, but thunderstorms are proof that humans have a LONG way to go before we can pretend to be God.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Leading by Example

Oh boy. As I face the summer I realize that all the good habits I practiced in the winter have slipped in the spring. I need to get eating and exercising back under control.

So here goes. Starting today, I will be diligent about what goes into my body. After all, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. (Although one of my friends says the Holy Spirit REALLY likes chocolate). I will also be mindful about:

  • maximizing my workouts (heart rate monitor NOT optional)
  • stepping AWAY from the computer. Not only is it a time vacuum, it is an energy vacuum
Feel free to cheer me on.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Sometime during the night my son dropped his retainer behind his bed.  This morning he was taking so much time in his room I went in to help get it out. He has a captain's bed so I started pulling things off the top of the bed so as to pull the mattress up.  Oh my goodness.

Does anyone have a bulldozer we can use? I cannot believe the accumulation of beanie babies, note cards, books, tools of all kinds (scissors, etc.) and STUFF that has piled up. We got the retainer out and I confiscated his iTouch. It, and anything else electronic are off limits until he creates some order out of chaos. I suspect I'll be posting a lot of Freecycle offers next week.

The funny thing is that this is the kid who wants to go to the Air Force Academy.  Maybe there he'll learn what SPARSE is . . .


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee, is our question guru. To play, copy the questions onto your blog with YOUR answers. Post on Wednesday, then visit others and leave nice comments.  That simple!

Last week I visited "6's". Today will be "4's".

1. What is one really fast, know-by-heart "go-to" meal to fix in a pinch?
You mean besides calling for pizza? Okay, it's this one:
Prep Time: 10 minutes            Cook Time: 20 minutes

1½ lbs flank steak
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 Tbsp Asian fish sauce
½ tsp (or more) chili paste or 1 tsp seeded, minced serrano chili
1 tsp granular sugar substitute (or sugar)
1 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
½ cup thinly sliced scallions
1 lbs green beans, trimmed (or asparagus), cut into 1 inch pieces
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Heat grill.  Rub steak on both sides with 1 tsp of the oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill until desired doneness, about 4 minutes per side for medium-rare.  Remove from heat and set on a cutting board for 5 minutes.
Whisk together lime juice, fish sauce, chili paste, sugar substitute, cilantro, and scallions in a large mixing bowl.
Heat a saucepan of salted water until boiling.  Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  (About 5 minutes for asparagus).  Drain.
Thinly slice meat across the grain.  Toss with lime juice mixture, adding any meat juices that have accumulated on the cutting board.  Add beans, toss, and serve.
Per serving:  340 calories, 17 g. fat, 6 g saturated fat, 38 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 3 g dietary fiber, 530 mg sodium (if you use sugar sub and beans)

2. What is one item you won't leave home without. (Purse and license do not count.) I have left the house without the one thing that everyone else remembers from time to time (including purse and license), so really -- NOTHING!
3. Where is one place you never tire of visiting? The National Cathedral. I only go when there's nothing political going on - and it's beautiful.
4. Share one factoid of your family's history. I fell into a fish pond on Okinawa when I was 18 months old.
5. Complete this sentence: "Once upon a time I ...." dreamed of being a pilot.
6. If you could win a one year's supply of anything, what would it be? Sun Butter My teen nut-allergy son goes through this stuff like other kids go through peanut butter.
7. "One quirky thing you may not know about me is ...." that my left foot is 1/2 size longer than my right.
8. You have one dollar in your pocket. What will you buy? Nothing. It will probably go through the wash in my pocket a couple of times.
9. "One thing that always makes me laugh is ...." watching the teen-aged male cardinals out on the suet feeder expending more energy than they can possibly be consuming. They're too scared to perch on the feeder, so they hover like hummingbirds. (Note: the females have mastered holding onto the feeder and getting a leisurely meal).  They parallel real teen life!
10. What is one thing you could do today to help yourself reach a personal goal? Exercise self-control when I go to 'end of year' events that always involve tons of calories.
11. What is one thing you could do today to bless someone else?  Pick up flowers for my daughter's piano teacher. It's her last lesson ever -- after 6 years with this teacher we're ceasing lessons. It's sad, but my daughter has been playing for 10 years and has no interest in continuing. We'd rather the teacher use the spot for a student who is motivated to keep learning.  Update: Did this yesterday. Teacher very happy.
12. What is one thing you're looking forward to soon? School being finished for the year.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Susan, our transatlantic-attempting traveler, is trying to escape Stony River at the moment. Still, she sends her felicitations and her challenge for us to write something witty, pithy, or otherwise two-syllabled entertaining for Microfiction Monday. She gives us the illustration, we provide the wit. The catch is that the caption must be 140 characters or fewer. It's fun, and it's no-fat. So join us!

This week's illustration:

This week's story:

“Mine, all mine!” Tova crowed maniacally, forgetting that she lived alone with three cats who would not begrudge her one bite of the bounty.


I didn't think I had anything to blog about, but then yesterday I found myself wondering what on earth these people were up to.

See, my husband bought some hot dog buns because they were on sale for something like .67c per package. So I asked him to pick up some hot dogs to go with them. He did, and all of it sat in the refrigerator until this Sunday evening when we finally had some down time to grill the dogs.

The package was Hebrew National all-beef franks. I flipped it over to look for a 'open here' arrow. I counted how many hot dogs there were.  Seven.  SEVEN! Who packages SEVEN flippin' hot dogs?  The WORLD is packaged in 6 or 8 hot dog buns. As far as I can tell NO ONE packages SEVEN buns!

So, everyone in the family gets two, except for the person who was late to dinner because he was out with a friend.  He gets one hot dog bun WITH hot dog and one WITHOUT.

Maybe the people who packaged it were thinking you'd only eat one a day for a week and then you'd be tired of them?

It makes me wonder...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

An Amazing Revolution

Over at one of my favorite blogs, an amazing revolution is going on. It started by the blog author's sister going to Rwanda to do human rights work. The sister visited an orphanage, fell in love with the kids and asked, "how can we help?"

Everyone back here in the US got really excited about helping.  But then the orphanage nuns said, "no thank you."  You can read about that here.


But everyone was energized and ready to do something, so enter another couple - friends of the blog author - who are in the process of adopting children from an orphanage in Uganda. THAT orphanage is happy to receive anything.

So the Monkees are on the move with ideas and creativity and money and prayers and love. And children in Uganda will grow up knowing that some people in the US care about them.  You can find out all about this by going to Momastery.  Feel free to join our dance!

Then yesterday, I offered a barely used Crossword puzzle book on Freecycle. A lady responded that she'd like to add it to stuff that her friend takes to the wounded soldiers who are recovering at Bethesda Naval Medical center. I said, "better than that, give me a couple of days and I'll have lots of stuff from your list." She said, "way cool, and by the way, check THIS out!"

So here's another cool link. Agape Flights.

My point is that all around us, people of all ages are giving, loving, and helping others. Yesterday, the front page of the Washington Post showed a 15 year old girl in shifting through what remains of her home, after a tornado destroyed it, to find what remains of her stuff. My 15 year old girl bounced in from school and I asked her, "wouldn't you want someone your age to help? Someone who knows what a 15 year old needs?" I'm hoping the seed I planted will grow.

It is so easy to feel overwhelmed by the need that is apparent wherever one looks. But not every need is a call for every person. Before you jump in, or worse, turn off, ask the Lord where He would have you be His hands and heart. Then get up and dance.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Random Dozen

Linda at 2nd Cup is at it again!  Asking thought provoking questions. You know the drill -- answer them on your own blog, link back to hers, and then visit some of the others playing and leave nice comments for them. Easy-peasy, right? So, on your mark, set, GO!

1. Please share one memory of your high school graduation. Pics would be great!
I did not enjoy my high school graduation. It was me, and over 600 classmates that I barely knew (we had moved while I was in high school). All it meant was sitting in the El Paso County Coliseum, and being bored for hours.
2. What is one "emergency use" item you keep in your vehicle at all times? 
A flashlight.
3. In your region, do you celebrate graduation open houses? Addendum: (If so,) how many open houses/bridal showers/weddings are on your upcoming events calendar?
No. None. I think as a society we're making our kids our idols.  My kid isn't graduating for a couple of more years, but when she does, I can guarantee it will be a small celebration.
4. Tell me one truth you believe about motherhood.
It's the hardest, best, and most important job that a woman can be called to do -- for her own children and/or others that God places in her path.
5. What was the last thing you broke? My vow of silence.  Oops, no, forgot to make that one. I don't know - I don't break many things. I'm pretty cautious. On the other hand, when I do, I just say, "oh well" and move on. It's just stuff.
6. On average, how many pieces of junk mail do you receive daily?  Tuesday is junk mail day around here, so the excess that day, averaged out over the week, and divided by the number of days, equals . . . 5 per day. Pretty sad.
7. Do you like to shop by catalog? I like to look at catalogs but then I recycle them. I rarely shop via catalog. I'd rather go to the company website and shop from there.
8. Is lawn maintenance at your house a "his job," a "her job" or "his/her job" or "that's why we have teenagers" job? All of the above.
9. Which room would you like to redecorate in your home? Our bedroom. I'm paralyzed by the lack of the designer gene, and too cheap to pay someone else for something I should be able to figure out.  On the other hand, I'm ready to renovate our kitchen to get exactly what I want - that implies FUNCTION improvement so it's easy to figure out.
10. Do you read a newspaper regularly, or do you read most of your news on line? I read the Style Section (comics) and Metro (local news) almost every day. The rest of it blares at me from the radio.
11. Do you believe everything happens for a reason? Ooh! Ooh! I know the answer to this! We JUST finished studying the Kings of Israel and the Minor Prophets!  I know that God works everything to His glory. So even when it seems bad (i.e. the Babylonians are carrying the remnant of the Chosen People off to live in exile), God has a plan -- in 70 years he's going to rescue them!  And how they should live in the meantime is a way they will witness about God's power, majesty and love.
12. Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?  Spiritually, I'm more concerned with knowing what God calls me to do and being in His will. That will automatically be the 'right' things. In a non-spiritual sense, I probably spend more time expecting OTHERS to do things correctly and letting myself do them to the standard of "close enough for government work."  Not very God honoring - gotta work on that.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Susan, at Stony River (for a little while longer anyway) manages to host Microfiction Monday even though her life is in complete upheaval. And it's funny! That is the sign of something, but I'm not sure whether it's true class or true insanity. Either way, we love her for hosting!

Take the illustration she provides, write a story in 140 characters or fewer, post it on your blog, and link back to hers. Visit the others' posts, make nice comments, and voila - you'll have a group of friends who like to be funny and brief. (And some may even wear funny briefs, but you won't be able to tell unless they expose the truth on their blog, so don't worry!)

So here's this week's illustration followed by my story. I'm sorry but I couldn't decide this week. To understand the first one you have to know that in our area, blaze orange is the color prisoners wear as they are moving around the city.:

Look mom! Men in jail dresses!

No honey, those are monks in robes.

They get to wear their pajamas all day?

Not pajamas . . . oh, never mind.


Let’s head for the Treasury building.

Free samples?

Yeah, Americans give money to anyone that looks oppressed.

These robes oughta do it then.

and FYI:  These monks were here in D.C. in 2008 as part of the Bhutan exhibit on the National Mall in Washington.  It's part of the Smithsonian Folklife festival. It was kind of strange to go into their pavilion and watch them doing 'monk' things on display. Sort of a weird anthropological zoo.  And even stranger to listen to all the excruciatingly politically correct discussions around me from the typical Washington beltway folks who know very little about anything in depth. I'm not sure which part of it was more surreal.  After about 5 minutes my son said, "this is creepy. Let's go to the Air & Space Museum."

Thursday, May 6, 2010


On the Beltway that goes all around Washington D.C., yesterday was HOV Enforcement Day.  Many of the scofflaws who exploit the commute in darkness during the winter months were shocked to find out that in daylight, officers can nail them.

And it's expensive.  According to the VDOT website, this is how it adds up:

  • First offense $125
  • Second offense $250 plus 3 points on your driving record
  • Third offense $500 plus 3 points
  • Fourth offense $1000 plus 3 points
There are some exceptions to the HOV rules -- of course emergency vehicles and motor cycles. And there's one more:

In Virginia, alternative fuel vehicles with Clean Fuel plates can use the HOV lanes without the minimum number of passengers required for other vehicles.

This is crazy!  Let me disclose:  I have a hybrid vehicle, so I should be fine with this. But I'm not. It creates a conflict with the stated purpose of the HOV lanes -- Again, VDOT:  

The intent of restricting the number of occupants is to encourage ridesharing, which in turn reduces the number of vehicles on the highway. With fewer vehicles, the HOV lanes operate generally with less congestion and are much faster than non-HOV lanes.

But all the hybrid cars I see around here (mostly Toyota Prius') are occupied by one person. At least 2 of my neighbors have purchased a Prius in the last couple of years specifically so they could go HOV and not have to carpool. So, where they used to carpool, thus reducing the number of cars on the road, now they each drive their own Prius.

Is anyone paying attention to how selfish this is? The exemption was extended through next summer (2011). It will be interesting to see if the road hogs get the governor to roll over on this again.

It sure isn't reducing congestion.  How many clean fuel vehicles on the road does it take to offset what you've saved by getting one 'regular' car off the road.

If I were a snarky person, I might observe that the people in this area who work for Congress and lobbying firms are firmly committed to the belief that laws limiting one's selfish behavior are clearly written for "other" people.  But I'm not a snarky person...normally. And I'm not even liberal - but my neighbors who bailed out of carpools in order to drive themselves are...

Three Word Thursday

Three Word Thursday, hosted by Quilly, is an excellent opportunity to resurrect useful words. I wanted to blog about something today that has been bugging me for a couple of days, so Three Word Thursday gives me the perfect opportunity! Sorry for the non-fiction approach. As most of you who read my blog know, I am a lawyer. And as a fairly idealistic one, I take assaults on the integrity of the law very personally.

On May 3, 2010, the front entrance to the Supreme Court was closed. A decision was made by people ‘smarter than us’ that the security threat those great front doors present is too great. The symbolism in this move cannot be overstated.

In England, up through the Edwardian period, only people of a certain social class were permitted to approach a home through its front entrance. Tradespeople and others of lower class were expected to ‘go around back’ to enter. This applied even to police officers. In the U.S., cruel laws, called “Jim Crow” dictated who could eat, sleep, sit, and even walk in certain areas of the public. And again, “go around back” was the order of the day. My children study this in school and cannot believe it was still the case in my lifetime. It floors them that it took the Supreme Court until 1967 to strike down Virginia’s law against interracial marriage in Loving vs. Virginia. But once the Jim Crow laws began to fall, dismantled by the U.S. Supreme Court, it was a tantivy conclusion the country reached – separate but equal was NOT equal and we must, as a nation, accept nothing less than EQUAL access to justice.

Supreme Courts of the U.S. have not always been at the forefront of courage. Decisions made in the interest of political expediency are painful to review. The Dred Scott decision and Plessy vs. Ferguson are shameful examples of knuckling under by men who should have shown more fortitude. After all, if the Supreme Court is afraid to uphold what is morally right, then what hope do the rest of us have?

The closing of the Supreme Court front doors for access is symbolic. You can be kicked out those doors, but you cannot enter through them. Ridiculous. Supreme Court buildings in much more dangerous places in the world (Pakistan, Israel), have not, despite many threats, closed their front doors. As countries move from totalitarianism to representative government, constructing their justice system modeled after ours, they have learned that the very legitimacy of the court rests on access to justice.

So now the great model for judicial authority, the U.S. Supreme Court, is running scared. It is interesting that the Supreme Court itself issued the decision (of course, with 2 dissents). Apparently it is within their discretion to do so. I do not know whether Congress or the President can override such a decision, although Congress could simply by using the power of the purse to either enhance the security arrangements or by stalling further appropriations until the doors are re-opened. But both of the other branches of government can certainly decry it. And have you heard the deafening silence?

And oh, irony of ironies…at the same time this imbroglio arose at the Supreme Court, the President was giving a commencement speech at University of Michigan. During the speech, one of the things he said was:

This democracy we have is a precious thing. For all the arguments and all the doubts and all the cynicism that's out there today, we should never forget that as Americans, we enjoy more freedoms and opportunities than citizens in any other nation on Earth. We are free to speak our mind and worship as we please. We are free to choose our leaders, and criticize them if they let us down. We have the chance to get an education, and work hard, and give our children a better life.

None of this came easy. None of this was preordained. The men and women who sat in your chairs 10 years ago and 50 years ago and 100 years ago -- they made America possible through their toil and their endurance and their imagination and their faith. Their success, and America's success, was never a given. And there is no guarantee that the graduates who will sit in these same seats 10 years from now, or 50 years from now, or 100 years from now, will enjoy the same freedoms and opportunities that you do. You, too, will have to strive. You, too, will have to push the boundaries of what seems possible. For the truth is, our nation's destiny has never been certain.

What is certain -- what has always been certain -- is the ability to shape that destiny. That is what makes us different. That is what sets us apart. That is what makes us Americans -- our ability at the end of the day to look past all of our differences and all of our disagreements and still forge a common future. That task is now in your hands, as is the answer to the question posed at this university half a century ago about whether a free society can still compete.

It sounds to me like he challenged those graduates and others among us, to get those doors opened back up.  The decision to close the front doors of the U.S. Supreme Court for access is a delenda and we should be ashamed of it. I haven't figured out what my course of action should be. I'll start with prayer.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Random Dozen

Linda, at 2nd Cup of Coffee, humorously and graciously hosts this meme each Wednesday. It sounds like she had a terrible Monday, so be kind when you answer your own set of questions! Join us by clicking on the badge above, capturing the questions from her blog, answering them, linking them up on Wednesday morning and visiting at least a dozen people.

There are so many people playing now that I play an additional game in visiting. I choose a number randomly (from 1-10) and visit all the people whose number contains that or is a multiple. Last week it was "5's".  When I get to a dozen, I stop.

1. What was the last thing about which you procrastinated?
Trying to get my daughter moving this morning...which means she'll probably miss the bus and I'll probably have to drive her. Sometimes it is easier to just let her sleep that extra 15 minutes.
2. How long does it take you to fall asleep, and do you sleep through the night? 

Most nights it takes me only 5-10 minutes to fall asleep and sleeping through the nights depends on how many liquids I had in the hour before bedtime.
3. Which decade would you choose to exemplify your favorite fashion styles?

I loved the 80's preppy style. Give me a button-down shirt any day. I really dislike today's tendency to put plastic stretchy stuff in everything. Some curves should NOT be highlighted!
4. What is your personal best dish to feed a crowd?
It's not a main dish - it's blueberry swirl cheesecake. The recipe is here. But for main dishes, it's probably my spaghetti.
5. Are you an impulse shopper? What was the last thing you bought on impulse?

Not usually. I've usually researched and developed a plan to purchase anything that's over $5. However, when I walked into Office Depot during the book sale and they had write-on blackboards (like small menu boards) for $1 WITH the day-glo marker, I bought 5.
6. What is one wish you have for your own funeral?
That the gospel be preached clearly.
7. If it's true that joy is in found in the simple things in life, what does your joy look like today?
Well, now that the child is finally out of bed and showering, my joy will be in seeing a smile before she heads to school.
8. What is your favorite type of bread?
Anything from Great Harvest Bread Company, particularly Apple Scrapple.
9. What trait do you fear developing the most? (Laziness, greediness, grumpiness, etc.)
Anything that will make me a bad living testimony. The tendency would be to grumpiness as I mature and my body doesn't act or feel like it did when I was in my 20's!
10. What trait would you like most to develop?
Perseverance. I get frustrated that I can't achieve a certain level of fitness, or competence in something, and then just push the "HOLD" or "PAUSE" button and stay there.
11. Which room in your house best reflects your personality? Why?
My kitchen. It's orderly, but full of great potential.
12. How do you maintain balance in your life regarding, work, family, church, other organizations and activities, and blogging?

Ask the Lord to order each day and to give me peace about whatever is NOT going to occur. Also, before I agree to A.N.Y.T.H.I.N.G. these days, I've learned to say, "let me talk with my husband and pray about whether we can add that to our schedule." Trust me, it works! It buys you time, and it's a living testimony. It is particularly effective when working with non-believers (school things) because they can't believe I have to "ask my husband's permission" so I get to tell them the difference between that and the commitment we have to work together to do things the Lord calls us to, rather than agreeing to whatever comes along.

That said, the next two weeks will include invigilating for International Baccalaureate Exams at the High School as well as volunteering for child care at a different Community Bible Study class for their Sharing addition to the other 'normal' stuff I do. Watch to see if I maintain my joy!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Microfiction Monday is hosted by Susan at Stony River. She posts and illustration and we try to think of a story to go with it. The catch is that entire story has to be 140 tweetable characters or fewer. The count includes spaces and punctuation. It's short, it's pithy, and it's a lot of fun. So join us!

This week's illustration:

My story:


No, Anthopologie's line of Under Armor.

Oh dude, you're so . . .