Category Archives: Be-Causes

Friday’s Tornadoes Shift Priorities A Bit

When bad weather hits, I’m cautious but not an alarmist. My husband tends to get caught up in all the weather channel hype. You know, the storm-of-the-century-of-the-week. He borders on playing the alarmist. When bad weather is predicted, he turns up his weather radio and watches the radar on TV. Since he’s so tuned in, I tend to tune out.

Not last Friday.

Weather technology has become more and more amazing. A tornado, caught on the radar at the Alabama border, was headed our way. Gathering strength. Well formed. Highly damaging. I repeat, headed our way. It started almost 150 miles away and it was coming. And the weather man was able to tell us what street it was on and which street it was headed for next.

My husband was watching the news intently all evening. I got interested when the tornado was a couple towns away.

The logical side of my brain realizes that tornadoes can affect me. Our home. My family. The emotional, stunted part of my brain doesn’t really think it will. Until a few nights ago.

We woke the boys up out of sound slumber and brought them downstairs to our basement. As I was gently nudging #2son awake my husband got irritated, “This isn’t the time to be gentle! Get them up NOW and go downstairs!” (Remember? He’s the alarmist.)

Half asleep, but enjoying the adventure, my boys weren’t afraid. Probably because I had created a little sleeping bag nest for us, complete with books and ipods and nintendo games. My husband paced while the boys and I cuddled and giggled.

After the tornado had skipped south of us, my husband and I breathed a sigh of relief. Sure. I was scared. But I couldn’t stop the tornado from coming. And having it come so close to us, hearing the weather man announce which street it was on and which street it was headed for next? Made it a little more real for me than I was comfortable with.

The internet was loaded with pictures the next day of all the devastation Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Tennessee, Alabama, Ohio, and yes, Georgia had experienced. Our neighborhood message board lit up with requests for people in need. I tore through our home and put together clothes, toiletries from my extreme couponer-wannabe stockpile. It felt good to do something. Anything. Some neighbors, that I had never met before, have friends in Chattanooga who lost everything. Their home was flattened. They all survived, thank goodness, but now have to start over. I brought them the things that I could put together and told them to let me know if they need more for their next trip up there to help.

So many people lost their lives, their homes. Pictures, beloved books or toys, favorite curtains or cups. Sure, all of these things can be replaced. But the loss they must be feeling right now is unimaginable to me. It made my silly request of you all on Friday afternoon seem……silly. Share some love, indeed.

If you can’t help a family directly, please consider donating to the American Red Cross. Rebuilding is going to take time, money, and so much hard work. If we all share a little of what we have, together we can make a world of difference.

(My Friday post also included a bloggy friend who could use your help. If you can help her in her financial struggle as she tries to make things right, thank you. And if you still want to vote for the picture of my kids for the contest, that’s great, too. Just wanted to let you know, my own priorities have shifted a bit.)

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Latest YouTube Trend Smacks Of Bullying. And It Must Be Stopped.

This latest YouTube trend must be stopped. Mothers of daughters (and sons — because I’m sure an off-shoot or similar video is on its way), please be aware of what your child is posting online.

Read this article here about teens posting videos of themselves and then asking viewers to comment if they are ugly, pretty, fat or thin. You can imagine the majority of the comments are not very nice. It smacks of anonymous bullying to me. It must be stopped. But how?

I have no answers. Just posting this to make other parents aware.

Even if it just opens dialogue between you and your child. At least that’s a start.

Addendum: I just saw this article online about boys and anorexia, which apparently, doctors are seeing more of. This is so depressing. Excuse me while I turn off the computer for awhile.

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When The Lines Of Privacy Are Blurred

I was in high school in the 80s. I read 1984 and Future Shock and had discussions in class about Big Brother. And I remember thinking, I live an honest life. I have nothing to hide. So what if there will be cameras on the streets? That’s for the bad guys. The guys who deserve to be caught.

Case in point: Victim in Videotaped ATL Beating Identified

Now that the victim has been identified, hopefully the bullies will be brought to justice.

Then came YouTube. I remember watching a television show where a young girl video taped a man changing a tire who was swearing through the process. She posted it on YouTube and I thought, hmmmm. How many times have I been in public and displayed less than mature behavior? I certainly wouldn’t want my actions to go viral. Outside the confines of my home what kind of privacy can I expect?

With the advent of text messaging, camera phones and WiFi, our ability to spread the word or picture or live action is a matter of pushing a few buttons. A generation is being created who over-shares with virtual strangers and takes no issue with publicizing their own, a friend’s or a stranger’s poor choices.

As funny as viral videos can be, where is the line drawn?

My husband is a fan of Tosh.O. (Don’t judge. It’s his version of mindless entertainment.) The other night a video was featured of a woman, sticking her hand down the backside of her pants, pulling it out and smelling (tasting? I honestly don’t know. I was so grossed out, I left the room) what was on her hand. The person taping the event was laughing so hard the camera was shaking.

Obviously, she was displaying inappropriate public behavior. One could argue (and rightly so) that it was inappropriate private behavior.

What I find horribly inappropriate is that someone would…

a) think it OK to tape the action

b) think it fine to post the video evidence on YouTube

c) that others would watch, laugh and not feel the least bit squeamish that they might be watching something they shouldn’t

and…

d) that a television show would re-broadcast the video for anyone to see who might have missed it the first time around.

The more savvy electronics become the more detached we seem to be from each other. And the more attached we are to our plug-in devices, the more we disassociate ourselves from ethical responsibility toward others.

I’m stymied. I don’t have any answers. I want a manual, a guide and then laws to back up my distaste for this voyeurism that I find so offensive. I want others to join me in this disorganized crusade. I want someone or something to police the internet airwaves and root out immoral and offensive content. I want to be able to walk down the street, slip on the sidewalk with my dress flying above my waist, knowing that only a handful of people saw my thong. And as embarrassing as that would be, at least it wouldn’t be broadcast to the world, living on in infamy.

I know what I want.

But how do we get there?

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Buy A Balloon. Help A Child. How Easy Is That?

A dear friend of mine has recently started fostering dogs. I admire her generous heart and am waiting to see if she’ll actually be able to let go of dear, sweet, little Abby when the time comes. Her latest crusade inspired me to dig deep and see if I could do the same thing.

Alas. No.

One cat and one dog is enough for this family. I know that when you foster an animal it eventually finds another home. But after cleaning up not one, not two but three disgusting throw-up piles this morning from a dog that never knows when to leave well enough (from pinecones to candy wrappers to fallen birdseed to whole tennis balls) alone, I’ve decided that fostering animals is not for me.

But there are other ways to help. MyOwnPet Ballons is sponsoring a program right now when you buy one of their balloon animals, and there are many to choose from, $5 will be donated to Canines For Disabled Kids (CDK). CDK is an organization that provides families trained assistance dogs for children with autism, hearing impairments and other disabilities.

If you’re in the market for one of these cute little balloon animals (think party favors) you can purchase them here.

If you want to donate to Canines For Kids directly, go here.

Either way, it’s a win-win.

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Item #174 From The List Of What NOT To Say To An Adopted Child

I know you meant well. I know you were, in your feeble way, trying to make my child feel comfortable.

But you didn’t. You made him feel singled out and confused.

When assigning a Family Tree project and addressing your group of children, just talk to the whole group. Use words like “family” and “parent” and “grandparents” as if everyone in the group has a family and a parent and a grandparent.

Because we do!

We all do. Families form in different ways, to be sure. But you don’t need to single anyone out. Each child will find a way to complete the assignment that fits for him.

And if my son had brown hair and blue eyes like his father you wouldn’t have even considered saying…

Item #174 – “That’s ok, #1son. Just use the information from the parents you live with now.”  And when you saw the confused look on his face (because he understood the assignment until you tried to “clarify”) you go on to say, “Not your real parents but the parents you live with NOW.”

Real parents? Are you kidding me?

We are his real parents. We may not have physically given him his 46 chromosomes but we have given him food, shelter and love from the moment we first held him in our arms.

We were there for his first tooth. We rushed him to the hospital when his fever spiked to 106. We laughed with his infectious laugh. He held our fingers, one in each hand, before falling asleep those precious first few nights. We held him when he cried, when he was sick, when he wanted simple cuddle time.

We took him to pre-school and proudly watched him at his kindergarten graduation with adorable cap and gown. We jumped up and down when he rounded third base to score the winning run. We read with him every night. We worry about every sniffle. We stand on the porch watching him walk two houses down to a friend’s house, hiding behind the pillar, hoping he doesn’t see.

We know to give him his medicine during pollen season. We anticipate his frequent bloody noses when the weather is dry or the pollen is high. We know that he is allergic to certain antibiotics. We have his pediatrician on speed-dial.

We are his real parents. We are as real as it gets. His biological parents made a heartfelt, incredibly difficult decision to allow us to be his real parents. And we will be forever grateful.

Our son has a family. A real family. To call his own. He knows who his parents are. Who his siblings are. Who his grandparents are. Even his great-grandparents. So, no need to explain things to him.

He knows who his real family is.

No need to clarify.

Just wanted to let you know.

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Never Forget

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An Earth Day Pictorial – Sort of

For all of you Star Wars fans….

For my favorite philosophers…

For my fans who enjoy a little potty humor….

For those of you, like me, who work daily on improving themselves…..

But to everyone, a very happy, healthy Earth Day! (What will you do today to make our Earth a better place?)

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