Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Working Moms and Dads

The world is a very different place than it was when I was growing up.  My mom was a stay at  home mom, and because of that I pretty much expected to do the same when I grew up.  However, not everyone has the luxury or desire to do that, and the children are the ones left in the wake of those decisions or circumstances.  So what's a parent to do?  How do those of you who need to work to survive make your children understand you're doing it to make a better life for them?  Or, if you're working because you have that desire -- how do you explain that to the little ones you still love them more than anything, but you love working too?

When parent's walk out the door, children don't always understand why.  Kids, like most people fear the unknown....they worry, they imagine all sorts of things when all the pieces of the puzzle aren't there (remember that boogie man under your bed or in your closet when you were little?).  As adults we can usually reason our way through, but how do children resolve those fears (I'm not telling how old I was before I got rid of the boogie man!)?

In today's world with so many parents working, you would think there would be an abundance of literature to help parents explain this, but sadly there is not.  Jennifer Pereyra, a young mother in New Jersey, found herself in that very situation.  At one point, her then, six-year old daughter wanted to know why Jennifer always had to go to work.  After searching, and not finding anything suitable to help explain, Jennifer sat down at her kitchen table and wrote her own book.

The result is a beautifully written lyrical prose, that can not only help your little ones understand why you go to work every day, but open doors for lots of new conversations about life and the world.  It will give you the opportunity after reading it, to talk about the kind of work you do -- which could then lead to getting your little ones to talk about what they think they want to do when they grow up.  Just imagine the kinds of conversations you can have after reading this book with them! We all know that there is a much greater comfort level when we understand what is happening in our lives.  

Another aspect that is particularly appealing about this book (aside from the awesome illustrations) is that it's said simply, so a child can understand.  Jennifer knew her little girl needed simple straight forward answers to her questions, and through her book she was able to achieve just that. 

You can now buy her book at Borders, and onlineJennifer will even autograph a book for you!  If you're a parent, or grandparent of grown children who are dealing with this, this book would make a wonderful gift.  You owe it to your children (or grandchildren) to buy this book to help them understand, that mommy and daddy love them, but sometimes they have to go to work. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Casey Anthony Trial

Tragically, three years ago, a beautiful little girl died.  The mother did not report her "disappearance" for 31-days, which has led to massive speculation that she murdered little Caylee.  You've no doubt heard something about this entire incident, and even though I told myself I wasn't going to watch this trial, I like so many others, have been glued to the television when time allows to listen and watch the proceedings in Casey Anthony's murder trial.

The first thing that struck me as I listened to the lawyers lay out their points that would be covered during the trial, was how could any mother give birth, raise a child for nearly 3 years, then murder that baby?  Worse yet as the evidence for the prosecution was being presented, was the point hammered home, of the smell of a decomposing body in Casey's car.  The accusation being, that she drove around with Caylee's dead body in the trunk of her car for several days before leaving it somewhere else.  I have tried to wrap my head around this one fact........and for the life of me I cannot.

I, like the majority of people watching this trial, believe that Casey did something to her child--I have not, for myself, been able to decide if she did this intentionally or not....but the thought of her not seeking help for her baby when whatever happened, actually happened, is not something I can understand.  

At the same time, I am surprised at the media's declaration of her guilt before this trial is even over.  I've always thought that a person was presumed innocent until proven guilty.  Since day one, the media in Central Florida has given the public opinion that Casey is indeed, without all doubt, guilty of premeditated murder of little Caylee.  We all can understand that something horrible happened to this little angel....but, I think it unfair that the media has capitalized on this tragic event to promote their own agenda.  It seems to be yet another glaring example of how distorted the media, and "political correctness" has become. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Tribute to My Dad

                                          Texas A&M 1952

My Dad...what an amazing man he was, and I was so blessed to have him as my father.  I was born during his final exams of his senior year at Texas A&M, and my mother said he managed to graduate with a 4.0 average in spite of my entrance into the world.

What I remember most about my Dad was his honesty, his humor, and his devotion to our family.  Early on he taught me to never compromise my integrity in whatever I was involved in.  I can't say I always have lived up to his standards, but, it is always in my mind when making decisions.  He taught me to work hard, and to always believe that whatever goal I set for myself, I could achieve.  There have been so many times in my life that would have been miserable failures, had this not been instilled in me by my Dad.  

My Dad was a petroleum engineer.  He went to work for Sun Oil Company right after he graduated from Texas A&M, and when I was about 12, he bought a small oil and gas exploration company called Triad Oil and Gas.  He went on to drill the first, and deepest triple completion well in Laurel, Mississippi.  To this day I still have no idea what a triple completion well is, but I do know that he was revered and admired for his daring courage and determination to reach his goals.

My Dad was in my life until I was 18.  He died of a heart attack while driving his car--a shock to say the least, and one I thought I'd never recover from.  He was my rock, my idol, my "soft place to fall" (thank you Dr. Phil for this quote), and when he was gone I had no idea how I was supposed to continue forward.  But, Dad was in my heart and head, and I did continue forward.  I went back to college; graduated; got married; began teaching; had children; got a couple more college degrees; worked in a couple of different fields; started a retail business, and finally here I am.  Not because I'm so great, but because my Dad made me believe that no matter what--no matter how unfair things in life seem to be; that no matter what road-blocks we face....we can continue on.

If he were here today I think I'd just want to sit with him and talk about the things we did when I was  little....perhaps journey back and relive the times that seemed simpler........but I can't, and yet, I am forever grateful that God gave me my Dad here on earth.  I love you Daddy.  x0x0

Friday, June 17, 2011

Angels for Epilepsy - Children Can Make a Difference

Epilepsy is a brain disorder in which clusters of nerve cells, or neurons, in the brain sometimes signal abnormally. In epilepsy, the normal pattern of neuronal activity becomes disturbed, causing strange sensations, emotions, and behavior, or sometimes convulsions, muscle spasms, and loss of consciousness. During a seizure, neurons may fire as many as 500 times a second, much faster than normal. In some people, this happens only occasionally; for others, it may happen up to hundreds of times a day.

More than 2 million people in the United States -- about 1 in 100 -- have experienced an unprovoked seizure or been diagnosed with epilepsy. For about 80 percent of those diagnosed with epilepsy, seizures can be controlled with modern medicines and surgical techniques. However, about 25 to 30 percent of people with epilepsy will continue to experience seizures even with the best available treatment. Doctors call this situation intractable epilepsy. Having a seizure does not necessarily mean that a person has epilepsy. Only when a person has had two or more seizures is he or she considered to have epilepsy.

I'm the first to admit, until I met Jamie's mother, I knew virtually nothing about epilepsy, and just how debilitating it can be.  Since meeting her, and learning more about this condition, I have a new appreciation for the courage of Jamie and her family.  Daily they are faced with the fact that her medication must given at precise times, and then there is still the risk that a seizure will occur. Jamie has spent countless days in hospitals being monitored to find an effective treatment for her.  If you've ever been admitted to a hospital, you know first-hand how boring, and sometimes scary, being there is!

However, this hasn't slowed little Jamie down from being a dynamic little girl.  She does all the "normal" childhood things, and  has even (with the help and direction of her mom) formed a non-profit called Angels for Epilepsy.  Jamie gathers "goodies" and delivers them to children in hospitals where she lives, in cute little packages.  Last year Jamie was awarded a grant from Pepsi to help make this endeavor possible.  As a result of that grant Jamie and her Mom and sisters, have delivered over 150 bags to local hospitals in Georgia and Florida.  They even have volunteers in Indiana who hope to soon replicate this mission.

Angels for Epilepsy is once again trying for another grant from Pepsi.  It's not just something you apply for, it's a voting competition.  If she gets enough votes, she'll be the recipient of  $25,000 grant that will go a very long way in helping her to expand her outreach to so many other children.  

This is where you come in!  It takes about 10 seconds to vote for her.  The link to the Pepsi grant voting page allows you to sign in several ways--one of the easiest is via your Facebook information.  Then just click on the vote button and you're finished.  Hopefully you'll take a moment to do so, and help this little girl "pay-it-forward" to many other children who struggle with this disability.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Paying-It-Forward -- Yet another inspirational story of helping.....

 Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire. 
                                                                 ~William B. Yeats

As a former teacher, and a student many times, I know all too well, how difficult it can be to afford the cost of higher education.  It seems most of the grants and scholarships offered are for very specific groups.  So, if you don't fit into one of those groups, you're pretty much left to your own resources.  Yes, federal loans are available, and quiet honestly, that's how I paid for all three of my degrees, but it is a costly venture, and in some ways puts the student at a disadvantage financially after they graduate.  Now, let me be clear--I am a believer in getting as much education as you can get......and if getting a loan is the only way to achieve that, then you do it......but, if someone had said to me, "there's a scholarship available for ANYONE"--honey, I would have been the first in line to apply for it!

Well, guess what....I found one of those scholarships!  Too late for me, but definitely one others could benefit from.  It was started by two women who wanted to "pay forward" to others, what they had benefited from themselves.  They did their research, and starting in May 2009, the RMHS Alumni Scholarship was born.  Michelle Petrillo, and Kerry Moots, founded this awesome scholarship fund, and have committed to giving 2 scholarships of $1,500.00, each, to students who are struggling with the financial cost of higher education.

Just a month after starting this scholarship fund, they were contacted by the Orlando, FL, family of a former classmate who had passed away.  This family asked if they could offer a scholarship in memory of their family member.  They wanted it to go to students who were majoring in the field of education to honor her memory.  This just proves how far reaching one person's efforts can be.

These ladies exemplify what makes America great.  They've each committed to helping others achieve their goals and dreams by offering these scholarships.  They and all who generously donate to this scholarship fund, are as the quote at the top of this says......"lighting a fire".  I hope you'll take a minute and visit the website for RMHS Alumni Scholarship, and just maybe you'll be a "fire lighter" too, by helping pay success forward for someone.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Paying-It-Forward -- Pamper's Miracle Missions

Recently I was the recipient of a $50.00 American Express Gift Card via PampersPampers is celebrating it's 50th annivsary, with a "pay-it-forward" program designed to deliver acts of kindness to little miracles and their families.  Pampers is challenging people like you and I to support others within our own communities.

I was thrilled to get this, and it gave me great pleasure to purchase two large boxes of pampers for someone near and dear to my heart--my oldest daughter.  She has 3 little ones under the age of 3!  And, she's in nursing school full time.  She is juggling family life with the pursuit of her professional goals, and as you can imagine, money is tight.  She was so thrilled to get something as simple as a box of diapers because it meant one less thing she had to buy this week.

In the letter I received with the Gift Card, Pampers made this statement, and I hope you'll participate:

".......remember that everyone can participate in a small way by logging on to Pampers Facebook page (Facebook.com/Pampers) by hitting "like" and then going to the Miracle Missions tab and committing to Mission 1 by clicking "I Want To Pledge."  Once more than 2,500 people pledge, Pampers will respond by giving baby showers to expectant mothers nationwide just in time for Mother's Day.  As a side note, anyone who pledges is automatically entered to win a year's supply worth of Pampers diapers and wipes (and that can definitely help someone in a big way!).
Well, Mother's Day has passed, but we can all still do something to help a mom with her little one(s).  Think about what you can do and pay-it-forward.....if we all do something, the little acts soon become amazing gifts! 

Pampers didn't forget the Dad's!  They now have Mission 2--Making a Father's Day!  Father's everywhere might love some special time with their children which leaves a world of possibilities of things we can do to help them too! I pledged to do something special for the father of my 3 grandchildren--won't you do the same for someone special in your life!?

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The only Good ant is a DEAD ant......

I've lived in my house for over twenty years.  For the last ten or so, every spring I engage in the "battle of the ants".  What I call sugar ants.........they drive me crazy.  They're the little itty bitty things that crawl into spaces no other creature can get into to.  This year they've decided my bathroom counter is the place to set up camp.

What they don't know is I finally found the secret to eliminating them.....at least until next spring.  For years I used sprays, traps, and anything else that claimed to eliminate ants.  The problem with the sugar ants, and probably with any ant, is you have to eliminate the the colony, or they just send new ones to take the place of the ones you've already killed--it can be an endless trail of the creepy crawly little buggers.

So what I finally found that actually works; is environmentally friendly (except to the ants); and is safe to use around pets and children, is a mixture of  honey and borax.  Yep--that simple--and cheap too!  You just place it along or near their trail, and within a few days they're gone--obliterated!  If you're having a problem like me try it--you will truly be amazed.  I've even found their trails outside and put it there and found it works.

What you'll need:  a straw (or several depending on how bad the problem is), a toothpick,  honey, a box of Borax (you can buy it at your local grocery store--big box for about $5.00).  Put a few drops of honey on a plate, then mix in a little borax.  It doesn't take very much borax so don't go crazy.  Ants find borax very toxic.  After you've mixed it together, cut the straw into 1-2 inch segments.  Using your toothpick, drop the honey and borax mixture into both ends of the straw pieces.  You don't have to fill the straw pieces--just put enough in that they can get to it.  Lay the pieces along or near their trail.

What you'll most likely see is a lot more ants in the beginning.  I don't know if they have little tiny cell phones to call each other, but once the word is out they seem to be everywhere around the straws.  You'll see them "feasting" on the honey.  The goal is to get them to take it back to the nest and feed it to their little friends, "ants and uncles", and most of all the queen.  Within a few days you should see no more ants--it absolutely makes my day once I've reached that point!

I put a picture below of day 2 in my bathroom.  Last night there were ants everywhere.....you'll see today, very few......and yes, I'm smiling......it is a thing of beauty to me!