A Little Venting

No travelogue tonight Friends. I just have a couple of things on my mind that I feel like sharing before getting ready for book club.

Earlier this week I was reading the newspaper and came across two interesting articles on the same page, and while both had to do with money, the stories were totally different. One was about how more women are getting into the Avon and Tupperware businesses on the side. Why? To make extra money to supplement the family income.  I then saw a short piece about a man who didn’t understand all the hoopla about his bonus. After all, he deserved it, by golly! The thing is, his company has lost BILLIONS, and he got a 75 MILLION dollar bonus. Huh? Here are moms peddling plastic while this guy is raking in millions. I’ve read that the income gap is widening, but this is ridiculous. By the way, I can’t remember the name of his company, but I’m not making this up. Really.

I’m picking up mssc54’s lament about the number of mothers having babies out of wedlock. It’s astounding to realize that 40 percent of America’s babies are born to single mothers. Don’t take my word for it; check it out for yourself. I just do not understand this. Call me an old fogey or whatever else you want to throw my way. But before you do,  check out the research on child development, and you’ll learn that study after study confirms that children with two parents in the home fare better in every way: emotionally, socially, psychologically, physically, and financially. Yes, I know there are two-parent homes where abuse and neglect are regular happenings, but still….Don’t take my word for it. The studies are easy to find, and they all say the same thing; babies raised by single mothers (and it’s usually the mom who’s raising the child) are more likely to live in poverty and suffer the consequences (often long-term) that go along with that.

This phenomenon (single mothers), long a concern in psychology and sociology circles, has now captured the attention of the media. A couple of weeks ago I happened to catch part of the evening news, and an interviewer was asking a young single mother WHY. Why did you opt to have this baby out of wedlock and keep him? She said that it (motherhood) was something she purposely sought and that the reason she didn’t want to get married was because she didn’t want to be cumbered with a husband.  She, however, wanted to have a full life, one in which she experienced all sorts of things, including motherhood. The baby was looking at the camera in big-eyed curiosity. I wonder when his daddy-ache will begin or how he’ll react when he begins school and gets asked/teased about his father. But hey, does that really matter as long as his mother feels fulfilled?

Only one more thing. I’m wondering why so many people feel that it’s necessary to take potshots at President Obama. Lately some columnists have been giving him a hard time for having what they perceive to be a condescending attitude towards Americas and perhaps too much of an empathic one with some of the folks he’s been visiting overseas. President Bush got bashed for having too much of an ethnocentric, “we’re #1” attitude. Can any high profile person avoid getting slammed by the cynics?

My next post will be more upbeat. I just had to get this stuff off my chest. Does anyone have any answers to the above???

Nadya’s Babies

I don’t understand Octomom. I really don’t. How in the name of heaven does she think that one person can take care of eight infants and six other children without a job, a home, a husband (or helpmate), or any means of stable support? 

My daughter Carrie has four children ranging in age from three weeks to nearly 5 years old, and she is busy from sunup to sundown…and in-between those times too. She and her husband are excellent, caring parents who take their parenting responsibilities seriously, and both will tell you that it’s hard, hard work. Between food preparation, story time, daily baths, laundry, ball practice, dance lessons, and breastfeeding the newborn, Carrie is s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d to the max. How can Ms. Suleman feed eight at the same time? And while she’s feeding them, who will be taking care of the other six children?

And speaking of feeding the children, how will she manage this with no job? Formula, diapers, wipes, car seats, clothing, bottles, blankets and all of the other paraphernalia that go along with babies are quite expensive. Where will she and the children stay when they leave the hospital? Admittedly, I haven’t kept up with this situation, but the last time I read about it, she was living in one of her mother’s rental homes that was nearing foreclosure. Is this where Ms. Suleman will take the children when they go “home from the hospital?” I shudder to think about their tiny bodies and psyches and what might lie ahead for them.

Back to the money issue, my son-in-law’s insurance didn’t cover all of the doctor and hospital costs, so Rich and Carrie ended up being responsible for $2500.00 out of their own pocket. They’ve been budgeting very carefully and hope to have this obligation behind them this month. Who’s paying for the extended care of the octuplets? I can’t even imagine the staggering cost of their intensive, round-the-clock care. Though I’m ignorant about such things, I’m guessing that the state of California is footing the bill. I’m also thinking that there may be some special needs among the octuplets that will require $$$.

Octomom says she plans to go to graduate school to earn a Master’s degree in counseling. I was incredulous when I heard this. Who in the world will be minding her 14 children while she sits in class? How will she have time to study, conduct research, and write papers? I teach adults, many of whom are young mothers. Believe me when I say that they struggle just to be in class on time. Heck, between ear infections and stomach viruses, sometimes they struggle to attend period. Then, there’s the cost of tuition and books to consider.

Ms. Suleman says she missed having siblings when she was a child. Poor baby. Does she honestly think that these 14 children are going to feel happy, loved, and valued? I can’t see it. I see rivalry, tons of it. Neglect too. Saturday, my 23-month-old granddaughter was lying on her father’s chest enjoying a special moment with her dad who had been gone much of the week. Her four-year-old sister came into the room and began talking to her father, and Emma actually became downright hostile. How dare Brooke talk to “her daddy?”  And this is a family in which there are only four children, all of whom get plenty of TLC from two parents.

In my opinion, these precious children deserve better. There are surely couples who would willingly adopt and provide love, nurturance, and stability to each of them. It’s my hope, no, it’s my prayer, that this young woman will love her babies enough to grant them a better life.

Conference Pearls

I’ve been thinking off and on about many of the splendid things I was reminded of in General Conference last week and decided to blog about a few of them. For those of you who are not LDS, we have the opportunity twice a year to hear from Church leaders in a semi-annual conference broadcast around the world from Salt Lake City. I used to get dressed in my Sunday-best and meet with other like-minded folks at the chapel to hear the broadcasts, but now I’m able to watch them on BYU TV in the privacy of my own home. No, I don’t necessarily dress in my Sunday-best, but I do manage to look presentable because I believe appearance affects demeanor  and mindset.

 

My children say they don’t have a favorite “talk,” but I do. President Thomas Monson spoke Sunday morning, and I’ve taken his words to heart. They resonated with my own beliefs and prodded me to savor life, not just live it. Every minute, every day, every year, we’re changing in sometimes imperceptible ways, and before we know it, children become teens, teens become young adults, and young adults find themselves with presbyopia and gray hair. Before people “turn around,” they find themselves at Shady Oaks Retirement Village wondering where time went…or worse, fretting over regrets and what might have been.

 

Is that what you want to happen to you? President Monson advised his listeners to set goals, get an education, hug a child, hug a parent, express gratitude, speak well of each other, and show love…to name a few. Being kind, sharing love, performing services for others, and making the most of our precious time are perennial themes of his. In fact, one speaker shared that when President Monson was asked what he wanted for his most recent birthday, he said he’d like for every member of the church to find someone who needed something and give it to them. Love, live, laugh. When people put off what they can and should do today and say, “I’ll do it tomorrow,” before you know it, their lives are full of empty yesterdays. Just do it.

 

In no particular order, I was reminded of

  •  The importance of unity in diversity. While we might look different on the outside, speak different languages, and have different checking account balances, we are ALL children of a loving Heavenly Father.   
  •  The importance of love, patience, forgiveness, meekness, tolerance. Even if people attack our religion or belittle our beliefs, arguing is discouraged. It’s pointless. A person could argue about the truths from Genesis to Revelation, but if his listener wasn’t interested or prepared to listen, the discourse would fall on deaf ears.    
  • The necessity of being prepared for whatever may lie ahead economically, socially, and every other way. I love it when I hear news commentators interview people who are now stressing the importance of staying out of debt, something we’ve been warned about for decades. Same with food storage.
  •  The importance of the family unit and ways to improve relationships with spouse and children…and other extended family members.
  •  The benefits of personal and family prayer, scripture study, self-reliance, being Christ-like, paying tithing, obeying commandments.
  • The fact that both abundance and lack co-exist in our lives; it’s up to us to decide what we focus on. In fact, sometimes trials can be good for our personal development. Every cloud doesn’t bring rain.

 There’s much, much more. Time prevents me from posting more, but you can check out all addresses at www.lds.org.  As for me, I’m going to follow President Monson’s admonition to relish life by strolling around the neighborhood and checking out autumn’s splendors.

Selling Your Life

I just finished reading a book that’s made a profound difference in how I view work. Entitled Nickel and Dimed, it’s by Barbara Ehrenreich and tells of her year-long foray into the world of minimum wage jobs. Waitress, nursing home aide, hotel maid, cleaning lady with The Maids, and “Wal-Martian” were a few of the jobs she held while subsisting on meager compensation and living in inadequate housing. Ha Ha. To call her accommodations “housing” is pretty funny. How many of you have ever gone “home” from work to find your landlord standing in your room to inform you that there’s been a little sewage problem and that, in fact, it’s in your room?

 

There’s so much I could say about Dr. Ehrenreich’s experiences, but today I want to zero in on a paragraph in which she’s describing her perceptions of her Wal-Mart tenure.  “You could get old pretty fast here. In fact, time does funny things when there are no little surprises to mark it off into memorable chunks, and I sense that I ‘m already several years older than I was when I started….Yes, I know that any day now I’m going to return to the variety and drama of my real Barbara Ehrenreich life. But this fact sustains me only in the way that, say, the prospect of heaven cheers a terminally ill person: it’s nice to know, but it isn’t much help from moment to moment. What you don’t necessarily realize when you start selling your time by the hour is that what you’re actually selling is your life.”

 

Selling your time by the hour is actually selling your life! This fits into nicely to something I’ve been writing about for a few months, the idea that what you do for a living, if you do it long enough, will eventually become a way of making a life. That said, I don’t know why more people don’t spend the time and effort necessary to make their lives rewarding.  

 

What you do, your self concept, your friends, what you think about, what neighborhood or community you live in, your income level, your status, your health, and just about every other aspect concerning adult life is related to occupational choice. I’m not big on statistics, but I’d venture to say that perhaps as much as 90 percent of your happiness or misery can hang on occupational choice.

 

Let’s start by thinking of our work as a calling, a vocation, instead of a job. Then read her book if you dare.

 

Call Me Frugal

 I love a sweet deal. One of my sisters-in-law has a saying that, “You can only spend your dollar once,” and she is so right. Becky would be proud of my frugality on Saturday.

 

My first stop was a swap and shop event at church, an event similar to a big indoor yard sale. No money is exchanged, just “stuff.” I had gathered a few things to swap, including a few articles of clothing, a lamp, a picture, some purses, and a mirror. When I drove into the parking lot, a couple of women who were standing outside came over to take a look at my box of goodies, and one of them took the cute little blue lamp before I even got inside.

 

When I got inside, I realized that the people in charge were actually packing up. Somehow I got my time confused, for I thought it was to last until noon. No problem. I saw exactly what I needed right away: toys for tots. I made a beeline for the children’s toys and was able to get nine or ten items free of charge…except for the goods I had brought to swap. It gives me great pleasure to think of the tiniest of our granddaughters, those 1 and under, learning to identify sounds and letters.

 

Perfectly content with my “purchases,” I drove back into the neighborhood and spotted a sign that said “YARD SALE.” I didn’t catch the address so I drove around checking out the pretty yards and flowers until I spotted bargain hunters rummaging through treasures arranged atop a hillside yard: antique furniture, dishes, clothing, wall art, and so forth. To sweeten the experience, there was Sophia, a friend from church. She found a beautiful hall table and mirror and was able to get it for a terrific price. I found a antique stool covered in a lovely tapestry that has found a home in the bedroom. I also bought a pair of festive looking party slacks, a black and white striped blouse, and two magnets…all for the small price of  $29.

 

Isn’t that amazing? Just think about it. There was something for the grandchildren, a stool for DH to sit on while putting on socks and shoes, party pants for me, and initial magnets for my sister and me. The black and white blouse will find a new home because although it was size M, it must be a child’s medium.

 

Becky’s right. You can only spend your dollar once. Right now my little blue light is illuminating someone’s house, the pretty floral print has found a niche in Christy’s home, my toy box is brimming with toys, and the fabric covered stool sits beneath the bedroom window…all for the mere cost of $29. The way I see it, now I have a few extra $$$ to spend for Braden’s preschool graduation gift and for Paul’s college graduation gift.