Thursday, March 22, 2012
I should start a new blog all on the perils of raising a teenage boy. I know, those with teenage girls will jump up and down trying to "one-up" me with their stories but I'm willing to resort to kicking them in the shins if they try to stop my rant!! I am deeply enamored of my 14 year old son. He is handsome, sweet, funny, talented, smart, and many more adjectives (I cannot recall them now as I am on the death-thrill portion of the roller coaster ride which is our relationship) He is, also, stubborn, lazy, flippant, mouthy, sarcastic (gee, not sure where he gets that from???), frustrating, frustratED, and stinky (had to add the last one in there because, gravy, what happens to boys at this age?)
I grew up in a home where there were 2 boys and 3 of us girls. My parents, at least in dealing with my twin sister and me, had a pretty clear-cut expectation from us. When it comes to school, we were to get comfy, have a snack, and then do our homework. Everything else was secondary - unless the house was on fire or we were on fire! In talking to my parents now, it seems that their battles with my brothers were much more, um, active. I can only remember my own struggles - perhaps I blocked out the drama that ensued with my siblings at homework time?? They never threatened me if I were to obtain a bad grade in school but something compelled me to study, do my homework, and ask for help when I was lost. I am, by far, not one of those people that is naturally smart - I had to work for every grade that I received. It wasn't until college that I determined that I could write my way out of or in to any grade that I wanted but do NOT make me guess on math or science tests because I would fail. So...I studied!
Is this a trait reserved for the female gender? Are we, generally, more self-motivating? Are we less prone to living life on automatic pilot? Are we less apt to be surprised if we missed a week of school and find out that we missed tests and that we have homework to make up for those days? Are we more concerned and, consequently, proactive, when a teacher doesn't come to US with said assignments with a gentle reminder that we need to get on the ball? Well, I'm on the verge of setting up some sort of scientific trial to prove or disprove the theory that girls are much better self-motivators than boys! Am I the only one surprised or ignorant of this information?
A typical scenario at my house on a weekday after school:
Briege - at the table at 3:05 (unless she has drama club or choir or newspaper) eating her snack AND doing her homework. This, most often, lasts until roughly 5:15.
Keagan - rolling his eyes at 3:05 because he has to do ALL of his 1st grade homework. His homework session usually lasts until about 3:45 (with 10 minutes built in by his chattiness)
Murphy - on the couch catching up on the myriad of texts that he had received throughout the day (what?) and then rolling his eyes at 3:25 when I ask if he has any homework. More eye rolling when I don't seem to believe him when he says, "No" or "I did it at school" Then ensues the lecture about study-habits and that life is not about only doing what is expected but it sometimes requires going above and beyond the minimum. More eye rolling... see the pattern?
Have I mentioned that I love my son?????????
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I don't care, at this point, which Republican candidate is on the ticket...Obama MUST be voted out of office in November!!!
Found on Lifenews.com:
Obamacare $1 Abortion Payment Surcharge Upsets Pro-Lifers
Leading pro-life organizations are upset by the news that the Obama administration has issued the final rules on abortion funding governing the controversial health care law allowing for a $1 abortion insurance payment surcharge.
As LifeNews initially reported, the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a final rule regarding establishment of the state health care exchanges required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
As a knowledgeable pro-life source on Capitol Hill informed LifeNews, as authorized by Obamacare, “The final rule provides for taxpayer funding of insurance coverage that includes elective abortion” and the change to longstanding law prohibiting virtually all direct taxpayer funding of abortions (the Hyde Amendment) is accomplished through an accounting arrangement described in the Affordable Care Act and reiterated in the final rule issued today.
“To comply with the accounting requirement, plans will collect a $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer,” the pro-life source informed LifeNews. “The enrollee will make two payments, $1 per month for abortion and another payment for the rest of the services covered. As described in the rule, the surcharge can only be disclosed to the enrollee at the time of enrollment. Furthermore, insurance plans may only advertise the total cost of the premiums without disclosing that enrollees will be charged a $1 per month fee to pay directly subsidize abortions.”
Tony Perkins of the Family research Council was quite upset by the news.
“The day that Bart Stupak said would never come is here. Almost two years after the former congressman agreed to an executive order “banning” abortion funding in ObamaCare, the President finally proved how useless it was. For all the time spent trying to shield taxpayers from any involvement in the abortion business, the executive order dissolved this week into what it always was: a meaningless piece of White House letterhead,” he said. “As part of the new regulations on how state health exchanges will work, anyone enrolled in an insurance plan that covers abortion will be responsible for sharing the cost.”
He pointed out how HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius explained this way back in 2009. “[W]hether you’re male or female, whether you’re 75 or 25, you would all set aside a portion of your premium that would go into a fund, and it would not be earmarked for anything, it would be a separate [abortion] account that everyone in the exchange would pay… It is a bit confusing, but it’s really an accounting that would apply across the board and not just to women, and certainly not just to women who want to choose abortion coverage.”
“For all intents and purposes, this is just another mandate on abortion, which, like its contraception counterpart, makes no exemptions for people with moral objections. Despite the accounting gimmicks, taxpayers will still have to reach into their own pockets and fund the procedure,” Perkins continued.
The Life Legal Defense Foundation also complained about the new rules.
“The rule provides for taxpayer funding of insurance plans that include elective abortion. This departure from the longstanding policy is accomplished through an accounting arrangement described in the Affordable Care Act and reiterated in the final rule,” the pro-life legal group said.
LLDF continued: “To comply with the accounting requirement, plans collect a $1 abortion surcharge from each premium payer. The enrollee will make two payments, $1 per month for abortion and another payment for the rest of the services covered. As described in the rule, the surcharge can only be disclosed to the enrollee at the time of enrollment. Furthermore, insurance plans may only advertise the total cost of the premiums without disclosing that enrollees will be charged a $1 per month to directly subsidize abortions.”
“The final rule mentions, but does not address concerns about abortion coverage in “multi-state” plans administered by the Federal Government’s Office of Personal Management (OPM). There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act to prevent some OPM (government administered) plans from covering elective abortion, and questions remain about whether OPM multi-state plans will include elective abortion. If such plans do include abortion, there are concerns that the abortion coverage will even be offered in states that have prohibited abortion coverage in their state exchanges. The final rule indicates that specific standards for multi-state plans will be forthcoming in future rules from OPM,” LLDF said.
The group concluded: “The final rule extinguishes the hope that the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would respect the rights of the unborn and the religious liberty of pro-life citizens who have conscientious objections to their tax dollars being used to fund abortion.”
The pro-life women’s group Feminists for Life also complained about the $1 abortion surcharge.
“The President’s promise to women and children has been broken,” said FFL President Serrin Foster. “This is most disappointing because it affects those most vulnerable–the poor and working poor, young working women who are otherwise uninsured, and students who are not on their parents plan, and who now be forced to pay $1 for an abortion surcharge through the exchange. A dollar is a dollar too much for abortion. Abortion does nothing to address the unmet needs of women.”
“If abortion was such a great thing, why keep this coverage such a secret?” Foster asked.
Nestled within the “individual mandate” in the Obamacare act — that portion of the Act requiring every American to purchase government — approved insurance or pay a penalty — is an “abortion premium mandate.” This mandate requires all persons enrolled in insurance plans that include elective abortion coverage to pay a separate premium from their own pockets to fund abortion. As a result, many pro-life Americans will have to decide between a plan that violates their consciences by funding abortion, or a plan that may not meet their health needs.
As LifeNews reported, the final HHS rule mentions, but does not address concerns about abortion coverage in “multi-state” plans administered by the Federal Government’s Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
“There is nothing in the Affordable Care Act to prevent some OPM (government administered) plans from covering elective abortion, and questions remain about whether OPM multi-state plans will include elective abortion,” a pro-life source on Capital Hill said. “If such plans do include abortion, there are concerns that the abortion coverage will even be offered in states that have prohibited abortion coverage in their state exchanges.”
The final rule indicates: “Specific standards for multi-state plans will be described in future rulemaking published by OPM…”
Set to go into effect in 2014, the unconstitutional provisions found in Section 1303 of the Obamacare Act compel enrollees in certain health plans to pay a separate abortion premium from their own pocket, without the ability to decline abortion coverage based on religious or moral objection.
That provision was the subject of a legal document that Bioethics Defense Fund’s Dorinda C. Bordlee, lead counsel for the group, submitted to the Supreme Court in February.
“This violates the Free Exercise Clause because religious exemptions are made for groups such as the Amish who morally object to purchasing any insurance, but no exemptions are made for Americans who have religious or moral objections to abortion,” Bordlee said.
“President Obama’s healthcare overhaul includes an ‘abortion premium mandate’ that blatantly violates the conscience rights and First Amendment religious rights of millions of Americans,” AUL president Charmaine Yoest said. “Nowhere in the Constitution does it require Americans to violate their beliefs and pay for abortions.”
ADF Senior Counsel Steven Aden says Americans should not be compelled to pay for other people’s elective abortions.
“No one should be forced to violate their conscience by paying for abortions, but that’s precisely what ObamaCare does,” he explained. “ObamaCare requires that employees enrolled in certain health plans pay a separate insurance premium specifically to pay for other people’s elective abortions and offers no opt-out for religious or moral reasons. Such a mandate cannot survive constitutional scrutiny.”
BDF president and general counsel Nikolas Nikas said the individual mandate not only forces individuals into private purchases, it also effectively mandates personal payments for surgical abortion coverage, without exemption for an individual’s religious or moral objections.
He told LifeNews in an email, “Like a Russian nesting doll, the individual mandate has nestled within it a hidden, but equally unconstitutional scheme that effectively imposes an ‘abortion premium mandate’ that violates the free exercise rights of millions of Americans who have religious objections to abortion.”
Saturday, March 10, 2012
Monday, March 5, 2012
I have been contemplating the suggestion "Leaving it all at the foot of the Cross" I hear it time and time again and I also read it in awesome books from awesome people. I struggle with it not because of God's limitations but because of my own. Seriously, how does one sit in the presence of the Crucified Christ and then just "leave it all at the foot of the Cross"? I get the meaning behind the suggestion - that Christ died for our sins and that when you leave your pain, suffering, sadness, etc. at the foot then it is redeemed or eliminated (cannot think of any good descriptive words tonight, ugh)
Here, again, is where I falter. I have 2 bulging discs in my back and I have been so depressed and very pained by it. I soooo try to offer up my pain because I am able to live (albeit with much discomfort) with it and know that there are so many that are afflicted with much more serious issues - physically and/or emotionally. So, I do ask Our Father to use my pain for someone else. I do remember my friends and my family in my prayers and ask that any suffering that I endure be offered up for their happiness and well-being. Don't get me wrong, I am the WORST kind of martyr. I am certain that God will never put me in a situation where I must suffer silently. I called or emailed every single person I know that has experienced back pain just to commiserate. Martyr? No! But, I try - I truly try to get something from all of this. I am, however, unable to stare and contemplate the Cross and then "leave my pain" there.
The other day I was at St. Paul Shrine in downtown Cleveland (just one of many beautiful churches in the Cleveland area) and they have several wonderful statues around the perimeter of the church. I knelt down before the Pieta and looked in to Our Lady's eyes and I could not bring myself to ask for prayers for my back. I realize that I am missing the point of the Crucifixion in my not being able to do this. I know that the Crucifixion was for me and for all of my sins and that Jesus' intense love for me includes His WANTING to take my cross for me. However, I want to take His Cross for Him. I want to soothe Our Lady's pain as She held Her Son. I want to be the one that is there at the foot of the Cross giving Him comfort as so many abandoned Him. I simply just do not know how to "leave it at the foot of the Cross"
Am I depriving myself of a certain amount of blessings because of this? Is there another way of asking for healing without feeling as though I am ungrateful for asking for it? Perhaps it just stems back to the age-old issue that I struggle with constantly: I do not feel worthy of it! I do not feel as though it is right for me to ask such a huge blessing. And, maybe most of all, I am fearful that if I ask for a healing and I do not receive one that it will feed that sinful thought of me not being worthy.
I was talking with my husband about this a few weeks ago that I truly just don't know how to offer things up nor do I know how to do this whole "leaving it at the Cross" thing. I mentioned that I just don't understand the purpose of it all - the suffering, the frustration, the loneliness. And Bill reminded me of all of the things that I have endured the past 20 years or so and how it all builds on itself. He reminded me that I was blessed to be the birth mother of a baby 20 1/2 years ago that was to be born on my birthday but wasn't. Only to give birth 7 years later to a son that was born on my birthday. It was as if the pain and loneliness from that huge event in 1990 was rewarded with an equally huge event almost exactly 7 years later. God doesn't forget - He uses all of our experiences as part of a Divine plan. We often spend many of our days wishing that we could just get a glimpse into why things happen the way that they do or what will happen in the future as a result. My goodness, the wait is always worth it.
In a few days it will be 5 years that my husband died. At the time, I just could not figure out why this could have happened. I couldn't understand why this was something that MY children had to endure. In 5 years, I don't necessarily understand all the whys and why nots of Bill's death (Bill 1 - as Keagan sometimes calls him) But, I see that I am a better wife now because of the experience of loving and losing a husband in 2007. I see now that because of the suffering we all experienced, we are able to really appreciate the love and peace that we have now with this new man in our lives (Bill 2!!) So many things to be thankful for all because I was able to embrace the cross that God gave me. The cross given to me not because I am not worthy but because I AM worthy...we all are!