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Tonight I’ve been reflecting on my life and the direction it’s trying to take. Not many people know this, but I’m literally living my childhood fantasy. I met Casey around age 8 or 9 and from that time, I begged God to let me marry him. All I dreamed about was him and me together living life. And that’s what we’re doing. Nothing is at all like I planned, and plenty is better than expected.
After the removal of some suffocating influences, I’m back to being me – rather than the ghost of me. I no longer have to apologize for my opinions and the things I like because for one arbitrary reason or another they didn’t line up with other people’s opinions of acceptableness. I’m back to reading – anything I like and want, not the unbearably tepid church-sanctioned fodder – and suddenly my brain is teeming with life and ideas.
I am in school and doing quite well. Made Deans List last term and received an invitation to guest lecture in a previous professor’s class this term. I was recommended and entered (on Monday) an essay contest with a paper I wrote about Jane Austen, Feminism, Romanticism, and Realism using Persuasion and Pride and Prejudice.
I’m writing again because I can. With a little distance from a situation, statements like, “God has nothing for you there,” are revealed as truly idiotic and way off base. If I win this essay contest, I will get money. So it seems there could in fact be something there for me. Even if I don’t win, the process of preparing the paper for evaluation by a panel of six judges who are professionals in English and Literature was stimulating and nerve-wracking. But through that process I wrote a great paper on something I love and OTHER PEOPLE WILL READ IT. I’m proud of that.
Also, I am pretty good at drawing and have known this for some time, but in my past life, pursuing personal talents was strongly discouraged unless the success of that pursuit could be appropriated by the small-minded leadership and used for their personal gain. Since clearly no one could make money from my pencil sketches, “God had nothing for me there,” and I had to abandon it. It’s sad because now drawing is something I love and value as a creative outlet, and I can’t help but think about all these abandoned joys languishing in a barren land of wasted time.
So it’s interesting trying to see what’s around the bend, and actually being excited to get there because it’s bound to be worth the bumps along the way. That outlook is a relatively recent development. For several years, the other side of the bend only brought more of the same stagnation. But now, who knows? No one has locked me into a prescribed destiny or destination, and my future is completely open for however I want to fill it. This kind of liberty is like nothing I’ve ever felt before.
And that brings me to why I was thinking about all this in the first place. It can be too easy to complain and wallow and huff about all the annoying, tiresome, and irrelevant daily crap…fill in the blank, I mean, you know what I’m talking about. For example, everyday, I could be like, “Shit my life is hard. I have mountains of school work, three kids along with their school work, a husband and family obligations, household chores, friends and family to keep in touch with, Super-Mom criteria to fulfill; I need to bathe at least often enough that people in the checkout line don’t stand at awkward distances from me; I have a neighborhood reputation to uphold for Awesomest Halloween House Ever; I have stories to write, pictures to draw, millions to earn, and a toddler to potty-train.” And on the really hard days, when other people say to me – because they often do – “How do you do it all?” I shrug my shoulders and quip, “Poorly. I can do it all because I accomplish my life poorly.”
But the truth is that none of that aggravation matters when I remember that I am in charge of my life. (Don’t come back at me with something about God being in charge because that’s a given. I’m talking about in the land of flesh and blood.) I am no longer succumbing to someone else’s misguided prescription for how to live. It’s refreshing and comforting when I honestly evaluate my situation in life and realize I’m living smack in the middle of exactly what I pleaded with God for for so many years.
I like where my life is. I’m married to my favorite person in the world; my kids are healthy and happy with all their activities. Casey and I talk about our dreams and our goals and regularly help each other along the journey of executing them. We’ll get to where we’re going in life, because we’ll go together.

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This is an excellent article and it clearly explains why Sarah Palin doesn’t belong in the White House.

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I’m an idealist most of the time, but I’m not naive enough to think any one candidate can create Utopia for me, so I will vote according to – among other things – the issues I agree with and the candidate’s integrity throughout the duration of the campaign.
The link below will take you to a breakdown of some specific answers from Obama. Please notice that his answers here represent thought, organization, and an actual plan for how he wants to lead the country. Whether or not you agree with it, the fact remains, there is more substance here with the potential for disagreement than McCain has offered us period.
Please be an educated voter; and if you are a dissenter, at least know why.
Here is an excerpt from the site explaining the premise of Science Debate 2008:
“In November, 2007, a small group of six citizens – two screenwriters, a physicist, a marine biologist, a philosopher and a science journalist – began working to restore science and innovation to America‚Äôs political dialogue. They called themselves Science Debate 2008, and they called for a presidential debate on science. The call tapped a wellspring of concern over the state of American science.”

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In the first meeting of my American Political Process class last night, I learned that there is no specific “right to privacy” granted by the Constitution and that the Constitution makes three references to God or religion – one of those is merely the date: “in this one thousandth seven hundred seventy-sixth year of our Lord” or something like that.
I just think it’s interesting.
Also, this is something I knew already, but plenty of people don’t: the idea of “separation of church and state” was not established in the Constitution. That phrase was only first mentioned some time later in a letter from Thomas Jefferson (I think) to someone else.
People would do well to be knowledgeable rather than to subsist only on the regurgitated misinformation of both sides of the media. Generation after generation perpetuate half-truths and foundational lies until now we’re at a point where our collective understanding is too wobbly to stand on when asked to explain what we believe in. Or even if we can say, “I believe in a, b, and c and I think x, y, and z are secondarily important,” we often can’t definitively claim which political personality represents those values. I think there are several reasons – severe contradictions even inside party lines, apathy toward the system and the people, blind acceptance of hearsay as fact; aside from that last one, the worst is complacency.
I continue to encounter this burgeoning mindset of plodding on with whatever came before simply because it came before. Why do we not regularly reassess our personal values and allegiances? Why do we continue to vote a party just because we voted it last time? Rather than taking an analytical and deductive approach to each new candidate as an individual, we assume we know what a person stands for merely because we think we know what the D or the R stands for after his or her name. That brings me back to the wobbly collective understanding and the fact that the ideals of parties subtly change year after year, until 30 years have passed and you’re still voting R when in reality your ideals line up with the D, but you don’t know that because there is no reevaluation.
I think there is little to be done for the contradiction in values within party lines; we can not hope to convince the R that by building up military might, they are polarizing the other R goal of small federal government. Likewise, even with the D generally being anti-capital punishment, someone is still going to die under the umbrella of pro-choice.
There’s also the problem of apathy. It’s discouraging that people can’t bring themselves to an educated opinion – and therefore an educated vote – of anything because they wrongly believe it all has no effect on them; so why care? I personally see little difference in apathy and selfishness. Both of them stand on the premise that no one else’s situation matters as much as my own and so no action is required of me. Apathy can’t be blamed on party lines; it’s pervasive. But there again is little to be done about it.
I don’t know what can be done about the public’s penchant for believing every bit of spin from the radio waves and pulpits and I don’t know where liberals get theirs but I know they do. It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to, the conversation will die – or at the very least become an ineffectual monumental waste of time and breath – as soon as one person starts flinging partisan rhetoric. Those well-rehearsed parroted lines by the zealots on both sides do nothing to actually support the causes and issues for which each candidate stands. It only further polarizes Americans and entrenches them even more deeply in their separate ignorances.
Voters should read about their representatives, listen to their speeches and plans for the future, learn about their voting records, and decide how those measure up to their own values and societal ideals independently of talk radio, NPR, or their church pastor. At least that way, it’s honest.

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End of an Age

First grade and thus an essential end to childhood looms. Monday marks the day when my real battle with materialism, clothing trends, BFF heartbreaks, cell phone envy, and oh my god, so many things I don’t even know about will begin in earnest. You will gasp and shake your head in denial, but those things all existed – in their infancy – in Kindergarten. But that was only three hours a day; that’s somewhat counterable. Seven? I don’t know about seven hours.
Already, in Kindergarten, relatively in order of ascending offensiveness: Evelina was kissed by a boy, excluded from games and secrets, alternatively the most popular and most despised, led severely astray by the misinformation of her tiny peers, taught to fear airplanes because some wretched little urchin filled her head with everything he didn’t know about terrorism, learned that some clothes are “cool” and some aren’t and how to use “sexy” in a sentence. It’s depressing and nauseating.
All that will more than double and intensify in first grade. It’s impossible for me to approach the new school year with excitement and genuine anticipation. I have to be on guard against all these innocence-depleting influences. I have to constantly run around with my arms out shielding, surrounding, gathering mine, punting theirs, rerouting and misdirecting. I’m like this berserk mother hen flapping and throwing feathers while I hop in circles around my brood, squawking maniacally to run off the foxes and wolves. I have to lead off with my insanity these days; the only way to remain un-stuffed with this world’s idiocy is to be crazier than everyone else. I’m sure I gave a fair impression of that in Kindergarten, but this is the year to cement it.
Happily, it’s not necessary to walk the extreme fringe around here in order for stifling ideas to allow a wide berth. Everything here popped out of the same well-oiled silicone Williams-Sonoma pan; somebody had to run a knife around my burnt edges and pry me loose. I might be a little misshapen, but I still taste alright.
Anyway. First grade, you’re on notice.

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as much as I do, then you need to help save him. In September, PBS is planning to reduce Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from his daily syndication now to a mere once weekly on the weekend showing.
I am devastated. I love Mister Rogers and so do my kids. If you love him as much (or even if you don’t, but you can bring yourself to care about the things I care about) then please visit, Save Mister Rogers and send requests to both PBS headquarters and your local station to keep Mister Rogers scheduled daily.
Thanks.

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“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” -Albert Einstein.
We should all live by this.

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