Once in a Blue Moon..

Blue Moon occurs tonight! From what I hear, a “Blue Moon” is the instance when you have two full moon occurrences in the same month. It is something that only happens once every 2.7 years approximately but the last time it occurred on New Years Eve was 19 years ago!

I think it is fitting to end this year on a blue moon.  Some pretty amazing things have happened this year.  Some obvious, and some not so much, but they are all starting places for a more positive future if we choose to recognize and pursue it.

For the next year, I wish you all the following;  More love than you can imagine, an open-mind to foster inspired creativity, a sensitive heart to understand the building blocks to happiness, and the ability to recognize and appreciate all that’s good in your life, even when things seem their worst.

All the wrong places…

Politics in general seem to rub me the wrong way so much of the time.  So much of the arguing seems self-serving and hardly ever for the good of the majority.  When it gets to the point where even your church leaders are suggesting certain ways to vote I think its gotten pretty bad.  Is there anyone else out there that feels that the real reason things aren’t working is because our priorities as a group are not in the right places? We are trusting in the wrong device, and  looking in the wrong place!

So in our state, they are trying to raise taxes, and everyone is up in arms, it seems  that everyone has an argument one way or the other. Honestly both sides want to protect a certain aspect. One side is worried about pushing small and struggling businesses over the edge, which is indeed a problem.  The other side is trying to save and improve on our education system, which is also more important than we’ve made it.  The unfortunate part is, even as riled up as they are,  I don’t think either choice once made, will offer a real solution to what either side is wanting.

The thing is, it seems money is always at the center of it. It’s an alternate idol, and the biggest problem maker.  People want to earn more and more, because it seems to be the means by which we do everything.  It determines one’s “value”, one’s “status” one’s “importance”, but I ask you … does it really?  Or are we failing our selves by continuing to allow it to be our form of measurement. I seriously feel sick to my stomach thinking about it.

Let me ask you… and I’m sure there are some economists out there that probably have the professional  answer for me, but really I’m curious….. Who is it that determines inflation? Who is it that decides that services we render this year should cost more than they did last year?

My answer… its us! We do this to ourselves because greed is so rampant in our society.  We’ve gotten to the point where we don’t even notice it much. Because everyone’s  striving for “something better” and since our common form of measurement to achieve that –  is currently in dollars and cents – then that means the only way to achieve something “greater” is to have the money to do so.

Since in reality, money was never meant to be the measurement of everything we are, we begin to bind ourselves continually in a belief system, a way of life  that isn’t able to be maintained the way it should be. More and more money is spent yet less and less actual needs are taken care of. Some have so much, while others have next to nothing, and are easily kept in that position even if they happen to be fortunate enough to have a full time job. Does it not seem wrong? There are those who have so much who are intent on keeping our society the way it is.  The greed benefits them.

It seems so black and white to me, it’s so frustrating! Does our society, our state, our country benefit from having illiterate, under educated citizens?  Do any of us benefit from having neighbors and friends that can’t afford to get health care when they are sick? Forcing them to wait until the need is more severe and more urgent? or for them to bankrupt themselves to get treatment?  Does it help us as a society to have neighbors whose homes are barely livable ? or even worse, for people and children not to have a home at all?

This is all so stupid! And sadly we bring it on our selves, because we continue to see the only method of fixing things as being to throw money at it.  Divert money from this location, to this other location.  When will we wake up? The true measure should not be money but creativity and time invested, but monetary rewards are all we know, so its what we stick with.

If we could find a way to reward people for investing in each other, investing in our future.  If we found a way to make our system work to where people could also have an alternate way to   sustain their most basic needs through time spent on improvement of others.  Make it a collective effort to train our children in what ever gifts they have, so that our countries future would actually be filled with the best and the brightest. It does no good for us to limit our best resource, our people.  As long as our focus is on ourselves, and on how much we ourselves can acquire, then we are selfish, and will remain trapped in a system that doesn’t work for any collective greater good.  We need community, no matter how much we like to deny it.  Many want the pride of saying they are self-made, but its false.  No one is self-made, if they were they wouldn’t need money to show it.

The Twilight Experiment..

On my own, I don’t find my self inspired to pick up a book that is not non-fiction.  Growing up, I read a whole lot of fiction, but since adult hood, sadly if I read anything, its for a specific reason and rarely involves imagination. I like to keep tabs on what my daughter is reading, mostly because while she is quite down-to-earth in many regards, there have been long discussions brought on by some … lets just say ..  non-big-picture-thinking.

It is an avid goal of mine to have my children think through things in a way that helps them progress in understanding rather than getting tied up in drama.  I know.. I know, I realize it is a book and meant as a form of escape, and while that is all good and all, I think its important to make sure she understands that point. A lot of things I think we just assume our kids know, or understand.

Shelsea read the first of the Twilight book, and in me doing some research on the book, there are some very conflicted views..  people seem to either love it, or hate it, and many seem crazily obsessed by it.

So…

I’m trying to read Twilight..   trying to maintain an open mind, and keep forefront in my thoughts that I am not the “targeted audience” and not to judge it too quickly or harshly…  (shh.. so far.. its been a little hard as I already have a healthy dislike for the main character and how easily she can justify using people around her , but I’m only to chapter 4).

But  I just have to remember the point is to know what it is actually about when we discuss it.

Challenges of Christmas

“I hear that in many places something has happened to Christmas; that it is changing from a time of merriment and carefree gaiety to a holiday which is filled with tedium; that many people dread the day and the obligation to give Christmas presents is a nightmare to weary, bored souls; that the children of enlightened parents no longer believe in Santa Claus; that all in all, the effort to be happy and have pleasure makes many honest hearts grow dark with despair instead of beaming with good will and cheerfulness.”  ~Julia Peterkin, A Plantation Christmas, 1934

I found this quote when looking for a few “Feel Good” Holiday quotes. I have to admit that as far as Christmas has been concerned I felt that I’ve been slightly lacking in overall feeling.  Sure, I have had sparkling moments here and there where I see a hint of what I’m after, but sadly they haven’t been as all encompassing as they are expected to be at this time of year.  So it was with the desire to find inspiration, I did a quick search, looking for a quote or two to make me smile and put me in the “right” frame of mind.

It was then I came upon the above quote.  What interested me the most about this quote was not only its honesty regarding a few, small shared points of frustration with the holiday.. but what really stood out to me was actually the date.  That is right, the DATE  in which it was written is what impressed the most meaning upon me today. This had been written in 1939! That was 5 years before my Father was even born! Wither we like to admit it or not, this  struggle has been going on for quite awhile, and its not just me! This is not a “new development”. It has far less to do with the times, society, the administration, the country, and more to do with our own human nature.  I think we hang too much on our expectations of how we think things “should be”. It’s a downfall of ours. It is our sense of expectation that leads us to disappointment, and makes us view things as bigger issues than they really are.  An ego issue truly, our pride gets hurt when things don’t go the way we want, or when people don’t fall in line, and we get angry.  Perpetually children, especially in the instances when we are totally oblivious to it.

All my life there has always been kind of this over-lying shadow. The thought that as time moves on, we as a society get continually worse. When I was a teenager, it was my generation that was abhorrent and disrespectful. We were ruining the world, and that our values were askew.  As since my generation is no longer teenagers, the torch has been passed (a few times even),  and now I even hear people my age talk about how “the current generation” is on the road to ruin. I think I contend that they are really no worse than we were. The only difference is how honest they are allowed to be at the time. They feel they have a right to say what they feel, where we may have bit our tongue.  In truth, at their age, the reason we bit our tongue was probably less out of respect, and more out of fear of how our statements would be received. Of course some argue that fear is respect.. but that I totally disagree with and is a tangent I’m not going into at this point in time.

How fickle we can be, we decide as a country that their should be basic premises… right to religious freedom, right to freedom of speech, so we institute them for our future – in our most precious governing documents, but when those around us explore these  venues with different ideas, we suddenly seem to want to add the amendment of “as long as it doesn’t disagree with my point of view”.

This year I’ve been bombarded with e-mails of people nit-picking at each other.  Apparently there is a whole “War on Christmas” thing going on where people feel it necessary to take exception to how someone else chooses to wish them well this season.  Shouldn’t we just be pleased that people are wishing us well at all? Why should we care about what particular words they use? Should you really expect a Jewish fellow to wish you a “Merry Christmas”?  In the truest spirit of the season, how can you consider yourself so high that you should “expect” anything from anyone? This is the time of year meant to inspire humility, not self-righteousness. Humbly giving of ourselves, blessing, supporting, and loving on those around us.  Not reprimanding over plain term useage.. especially if we aren’t living up to the core meaning ourselves. Have we become so soft, as to be so irrevocably overly sensitive about this? Are we really in need of something else to complain about, or are we simply looking for something to blame. Possibly an impatience we ourselves have towards others. Being intolerant much?

By allowing someone to wish you Happy Holiday, does it really make Christmas less special, less meaningful to you? If it does,  I think that is an internal issue, a personal problem as it were.  Your spirituality is really a personal relationship between you and your God.  It has to be, otherwise the whole thing is a facade.. a show put on for, or else controlled by others -which deems it insincere.  Each individual through their own experiences has in tow their own perceptions on words, meanings, symbols, connotations of everything around them, including holidays. So knowing that, how can anyone realistically say that there is only one “right” way to wish someone well? Its like there is only one single way to express love to another individual. Oh! How we seem to continue to limit our own understanding and possibility of happiness with our closed minds!

Isn’t there enough to deal with that we shouldn’t be making up issues?

Sincerity in giving is another point I struggle with. Not to sound all “Bah Humbug” – like, but I get frustrated with the obligation of Christmas.  I love to give, don’t get me wrong, but I want to give because its in my heart.. not because its expected of me, and I surely don’t want people to think that I don’t care because I couldn’t afford to get them something from the store, and I want to give where its going to do the most good. I wish that the season was more based on being “Present” in our loved ones lives, than giving them just some gift we found at Wal-mart because it was expected.  I want Presence for Christmas.. not presents  🙂

Even through hard times, I think most are in truth far more blessed than what we give appreciation to. What reason do we have to be sad, except for our own self-made expectations for what the holiday should bring to us, and how others should act.  We should know better. Anytime we look to others to supply us the ability to be happy, we are setting ourselves up for failure. If only we quickly understood that any real satisfying happiness isn’t in what we get, but in what we give!

It is with this thought that I will endeavor the following goals this Season.

  • I will continue to wish people well, using whatever terms I feel are appropriate.  How they take it, and what they read into it is totally up to them, and may quite possibly be  as flawed as their desire to read anything more into it than what it is. A greeting of well wishing.
  • To strive to breakdown my own expectations for what Christmas should be, or should “feel” like,  and focus my full attention on blessing and being a blessing to others.
  • To allow an open heart, and an open mind in which to take part in a more gracious and lasting spirit that may not flutter away once the decorations come down around us.
  • To put my all into giving in areas that will do the most good, and be sincere in my intentions.
  • To know that life is too short to dwell on unimportant details.. not having everything perfect doesn’t really make the sentiment any less



How times flies..

I remember when I was small, how often I was assured that milestones I wished for were “would be here before you knew it.”   When I was little, it was pretty hard to believe. Everything took SO LONG!, seemingly taking forever! Birthdays, Halloween, Christmas, Middle School, High School, Dances, Dance Team Competitions, May Day Celebrations, Graduations & Summers! It all came so slowly..

Something odd happens the older you get. All that time you spent as a child, wishing for that time to hurry …. well it seems to catch up with you, and now all the sudden  it is more than willing to oblige.  When you have children, you are graced with an obvious gauge that makes it unmistakenly clear, just how fast time flies… and suddenly you are wishing that you had a pair of brakes that could slow things down, at least just a little..

I make this observation as my son Haiden, my second child, turns 10 years old.  Two of our three children are now a decade or older… absolutely insane.. it can’t really be possible!

We had a small get together for Haiden on Saturday.  We gave him an IronMan watch, which he was pleased with as he had actually just asked for a watch the other day.  Deon made an absolutely awesome gluten-free, dairy-free chocolate cake with strawberry-coconut filling! It was great!! There were a few regular cupcakes for others, if they weren’t brave enough to try the allergy-free cake, but honestly we could have done with out. Deon’s cake was better than any allergy-full (hehe) cake I’d tasted.. well… back when I could taste them. ^^

Deon’s Parents (Poppa & Tutu) , and my sister Muriel, and Aly were over. We had fun talking, and the kids entertained themselves with The hot wheels toy that Aunt Muriel, Uncle Trevor and Jeremy got Haiden for his birthday.

Alysondra enjoyed herself a cupcake… preparation for next week when she has her 1st Birthday party… which also doesn’t seem possible..  🙂

she had quite the face… hehe

Neighbor girls even came by a little later to wish Haiden a Happy Birthday, as well as his God Father.

In other news.. My niece Stephanie had her baby a little over a week ago.  So we welcome little Jackson Dennin into the family.. 🙂

Also, the boys had their Christmas programs on Dec. 16th, which was my father’s 65th birthday… talk about time flying!…   The boys were lucky enough to have both sets of Grandparents come out which was cool.

Here is a picture of them with some decorations after the show.

Kylan’s was first as his was for the K – 2nd graders, and then Haiden’s program – the one for the 3rd – 5th graders followed. They both did great! It was fun to watch, the music teacher did a great job putting it together!

Kylan was adorable, singing in his first Christmas Program as last years got snowed out.

We really liked their rendition of “Polar Puppy”.. was pretty cute!

here’s chatty Kylan…   this was actually before the show started.. hehe

Haiden was a character, fully animating all his parts as usual.. the kid is the biggest ham.. definately a performer. Haiden even had a small speaking part. 🙂

It ended up being even more  eventful as well as the evening ended up included two seperate instances of someone pulling the Fire Drill.. luckily whoever did it, waited to do so after each show, so it was times that people were leaving the building anyway… Well unless you were like us and had a child in both shows.

It all just makes me realize how important it is to not just exist, but to live! To be present in this day and to maybe worry a little less about the past because it can’t be changed.. and the future because nothing is written in stone..   Enjoy NOW.. because its really all you have. Soon before I know it, the days of my children being young will be gone.. They will have grown to live their own lives, and they will be gone, and then at some point I will be gone. All I really have is now, can’t fight time, it always prevails, but I can choose to enjoy the time I do have! It really is a choice.

Email recieved: Letter from Jesus about Christmas

Loved this, received this e-mail from a co-worker today.. (Thanks Peggy!) thought I’d share! ~ sc

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
*Letter from Jesus about Christmas ** **– *

*It has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. *

*How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own.
I don’t care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth, just GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. *

*Now, having said that let Me go on. If it bothers you that the town in which you live doesn’t allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn If all My followers did that there wouldn’t be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town. *

*Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish: I actually spoke of that one in a teaching, explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1 – 8. *

*If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it: *

*1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home.
They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time. *

*2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don’t have to know them personally.
They just need to know that someone cares about them. *

*3. Instead of writing the President complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don’t you write and tell him that you’ll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up… It will be nice hearing from you again. *

*4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can’t afford and they don’t need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you down here. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them. *

*5 Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him or her. *

*6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don’t know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile; it could make the difference. *

*7. Instead of nit picking about what the retailer in your town calls the holiday, be patient with the people who work there.. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren’t allowed to wish you a “Merry Christmas”
that doesn’t keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn’t make so much money on that day they’d close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families *

*8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary– especially one who takes My love and Good News to those who have never heard My name. *

*9. Here’s a good one. There are individuals and whole families in your town who not only will have no “Christmas” tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don’t know them,** **buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me and they will make the delivery for you. *

*10. Finally, if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then behave like a Christian. Don’t do things in secret that you wouldn’t do in My presence. Let people know by your actions that you are one of mine. *

*Don’t forget; I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me and do what I have told you to do. I’ll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I’ll help you, but the ball is now in your court. And do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love and remember :*

*I LOVE YOU,*

*JESUS*

Are you kidding?

I really don’t understand those who don’t believe that our health care system is broken. Even worse.. those who know, but don’t want to venture to do anything different. Heaven forbid that our nations people have access to affordable insurance. (Affordable meaning that not only are they able to pay the monthly premiums, but that they are also able to afford to actually use it when its needed, and not end up bankrupt)   Our health insurance is far too lucrative of a business. The focus is all wrong, its so frustrating!

I read an article today (here’s the link.. may not work for long because it is a news article link, but  here it is:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/34330376/ns/health-health_care/

The points I found most disturbing:

In 2007 as reported by the OECD

International Average  of money spent on health care – $2984.00 per person
International Average infant mortality  – 3.9 deaths per 1,000 births
International Average  for Life Expectancy     –   79.1

United States Average of money spent on health care – $7,290 per person
United States Average infant mortality -6.7  deaths per 1,000 births
United States Average Life Expectancy  – 78.1

Quote from the article:   “It suggests that the U.S. is not getting great value for its health spending, in terms of life expectancy,” Gaetan Lafortune, one of the report’s co-authors said.”

hmm.. really?

We received our yearly notice..  premiums & deductibles are going up…  over 20% higher for the same plan we had last year.  I am fortunate to work for a company who tries their best to minimize the impact on their employees by exploring options.  I work for a smaller company. I fully expect that if the trend continues, sooner than I like to think, they will no longer be able to help the employees as much as they have.

I listen to some of these politicians in interviews, and they make me want to cry at times.  There is a serious departure from what seems like common sense.  They just don’t seem to care. ~ Serina

I’ve figured it out… if I end up being deemed unsuccessful in this life, it will not be because of apathy, but rather because I don’t choose money as my motivation.

Drawing…

There is a quiet relaxation that comes from drawing.  I should do it far more often.  This weekend, my kids and I spent some time curled up on the couch just calmly drawing and loved it. They are pretty creative.. 🙂

Here is a few pictures Shelsea drew:

"Enling" by Shelsea Clason 12/5/2009

Here is one by Haiden:

He was copying a color book picture..

Here’s a couple of mine:

this first one is from awhile ago…

"Lailee" by Serina Clason ~ Sept. 2008
"Kat sketch" by Serina Clason 12/5/2009