Sunday, May 29, 2005

Here's a picture of the Wild Blue Phlox blooming in the woods at our house. We live in the Wayne National Forest. It's gorgeous this time of year. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 27, 2005

Snowflakes Frozen Embryos

Snowflakes Frozen Embryos

If there's any question in anyone's mind about the future of Embyonic research, these baby faces should clear things up. Frozen embryo's are people! - CitizenLink - FNIF News - Snowflakes Enter Stem-Cell Debate - CitizenLink - FNIF News - Snowflakes Enter Stem-Cell Debate

Here's an article from about the seriousness of the Stem Cell Research debate.

Memorial Day Honor

This from

Honoring the American Soldier

With Memorial Day approaching I recall the words of a fellow veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Father Dennis Edward O'Brien. This U.S. Navy chaplain, who served on Guadalcanal during WWII, wrote:

"It is the soldier, not the reporter, who has given us the freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, who has given us the freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, who gives us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag, who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protester to burn the flag."

Father O'Brien's words are perhaps the truest words ever spoken on war. No sane person ever asks for war. However, it takes true heroes to defend freedom when wars occur.

The holiday this weekend is much more than a long weekend to enjoy picnics and friends. Memorial Day is an important reminder of those who gave their lives for their country.

One of the most famous speeches in American history was given by Abraham Lincoln in 1863 honoring the over 51,000 Confederate and Union soldiers who were wounded, missing, or dead at the Battle of Gettysburg.

Lincoln said,
"It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve these dead shall not have died in vain; that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

May God bless all who have worn our nation's uniform, both living and dead.

Family Trip

Wednesday, my mom, Josiah , and I took my grandmother, Mommo, to Walmart.

She did so well. We just put her walker in the shopping cart, and she pushed the cart. When we got to the pharmacy to get a toothbrush, we rested on the bench and talked. She was so happy to get out for a while. I hope she's not too sore from all the exercise.

Virgil got a job with the school bus garage as a substitute bus driver. He starts today driving a full-size bus to pick up some kids and take them home. He'll be doing a lot of weekend driving, taking deaf kids to school in Columbus on Sunday and picking them up on Friday.

Josiah is spending a few days with my mom. I hope he's not driving her crazy. He likes for people to do things with him and feed him constantly.

A friend who hunts on our property brought his small tractor and plowed our garden for us. I gave him a quart of honey.

Virgil has some work to do on his dumptruck and some gravel deliveries to make when he gets back from the bus trip.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Kylie plays in her carseat Posted by Hello
Rosey trees the coon Posted by Hello
Kylie took a picture of Granny holding her doll Posted by Hello

Beautiful day

We had a great weekend. Josiah and I went to the farmers market Saturday to pick up some lettuce, and then on to meet Amber at the flea market. We looked around a while at the antiques, and then I took Kylie back home with me.

Yesterday, we went to Sunday School. Kylie sat on my lap while I played the piano.
For Sunday evening service, I brought my digital camera and Kylie took some pictures. Then she fell asleep on my lap while I played the piano. She loves to sing Jesus Loves Me, but I can't get her to sing at church, yet. She'll be three the end of August.

As I type, our Walker Coonhound is barking. Rosey has a coon treed in her doghouse. Yes, you heard right. The dog house is tall enough for Josi to walk into. It has an automatic dog feeder inside it. I guess the coon came in for a snack, and Rosey treed it.

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Here's the new dump truck. We were hauling junk from Mom's barn. Posted by Hello
I really should trim these vines off the house, but they make such a pretty frame of leaves around the window. Posted by Hello
Virgil's salad--it's a whopper! Posted by Hello
Here's a picture of Ed with his produce stand. I just love him for his sweet lettuce. Posted by Hello

Journal and Pictures for May 20, 2005

It's a beautiful day. I got up to pack Virgil's salad and get him off. He's volunteering with a Construction Club from Hocking College to do some work near Lancaster. I think it has to do with Habitat for Humanity. He'll be back by noon, but I have to go to the Farmer's Market to pick up some lettuce. We called Ed yesterday, and he'll have it all boxed up and ready to go--including 14 head of lettuce, a large bag of spinach, and 4 pounds of chard--all for only $20!

I made chili yesterday. I had the tomatoes thawed out and the beans soaking overnight, so I then ran the tomatoes through a colander, pressure cooked the beans for 10 minutes, added onions sauteed in olive oil, fresh pressed garlic, and chili powder, and heated it in the crock pot.

Yesterday, Megan came for her tutoring session. I had a page of her Banned Book project typed up for her, and had the corrections done on her report on the Civil Rights Movement. Then I typed up a presentation she had written, and we worked on her Banned Book project folder some more. She is a Senior and just has 3 days left. Good Luck, Megan!

While Megan was here, Virgil and Josi were out delivering a couple loads of gravel to a couple neighbors. Virgil got stuck up in a driveway because he made the turn too sharp, and it took them and several neighbors 4 hours to get it out. I guess the driveshaft broke or came loose, so they had to take the other (old) dump truck to pull it out. The local towing company wouldn't even touch it.

When they came in, they were starved and ready for the chili. We had to cancel our singing engagement at the nursing home--it was too late. So Josiah watched Sandlot 2 for the third time, while he ate grilled cheese. I helped Virgil with his Technical Writing--a report on driveway construction. We snacked on some watermelon, and I read Josiah a Bible story before sacking out.

My leg looks much better today, though it still aches some from the accident. It's not as purple. We'll go to my mom's this evening. Josiah and Eric, my brother, like to play music together. I've got to finish typing an outline for Virgil, and email his Driveway report to his online teacher.

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

This came this morning from the Family Research Council.
Each one of these embryos is a precious little child.

Please review this information and act on it.
If you go to FRC's website, they have a clickable link that automatically sends a letter to your representatives.

Oppose HR 810 Federal Funding of Embryo Destruction
May 20, 2005

Early next week, the House will consider a bill that will federally fund research that requires the destruction of human embryos. Sponsored by Mike Castle (R-DE), HR 810 will federally fund research on human embryos that supposedly are "leftover" from IVF. Instead of promoting the adoption of these human embryos, this bill would require their death.

President Bush is the first president to federally fund human embryonic stem cell research. He determined that such research could be funded so long as the cells had been obtained from embryos on or prior to August 9, 2001. Since then, the government has funded research on over 22 stem cell lines. However, the President's policy does not encourage the further destruction of human embryos.

Just as abortion is currently legal, destroying human embryos is completely legal. The debate is about federal funding. Though legal, we don't federally fund abortion. Likewise, we should not force US taxpayers to fund research that requires the destruction of embryos. However, HR 810 would overturn the Bush policy and create a direct incentive to create and kill human embryos for research with your taxes.

Contact your Representative and let them know that you strongly oppose HR 810.


Tony Perkins
President, Family Research Council

Friday, May 20, 2005

Everyone looks at the baby. My grandson, Luke Edward, is 5 months old. Posted by Hello
Kylie and Josi color Easter eggs Posted by Hello

The Day After

I admit, Virgil and Josiah picked up a vegetarian pizza on the way home from geting the Barley Max and the movie. We pigged out while we watched Sandlot 2. We also had watermelon, bananas and walnuts. Oh, yeah, Virgil got lots of nuts and olive oil at the store, too.

I'm hobbling around some this morning, my leg is a little stiff, and my arms a little sore, but other than that, I'm ok after the accident with the tool cabinet.

I put olive oil on the scratch on my leg, hoping to help with the scarring. It's healing up nicely.

This morning we all got up about 6am. Virgil has his first day on the substitute school bus driving job this morning. I helped him juice carrots while Josi watched Sandlot 2 again, with headphones to cut down in the noise department. Virgil just took some bananas, an orange, and an apple to snack on, since he plans to be home by noon. He has to be at the doctor by 10am for some blood work. He thinks his thyroid medicine needs cut again because he's been having headaches. I think it might be the salt. He eats a lot of chips and dip. However, the last time he was having headaches, he did need his medication cut in half.

Virgil was diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 12 years ago when he gained 20 lbs within a month. He initially refused to be medicated because of his adversion to going back to his old drug-addicted lifestyle (he used to be an alchoholic and pot-head--that's another story). He tried to manage his illness by nutrition. We went on the Hallelujah Diet ( 6 years ago, and he used lots of exercise, running 3 miles a day, 300 situps a day. However, 3 years ago he was forced to go on sick leave because his blood pressure was so low. His heart rate was consistently 40 bpm, and he had lost most of his hair all over his body, along with slurred speech, and falling spells. When he went on medication, his TSH levels stabilized. Now, however, they are rising again, indicating that the thyroid is beginning to function again. He has already had to cut his medication. He is very encouraged and gives God the glory.

Anyway, after the movie, Josiah went to sleep in the recliner, I worked on Virgil's outline, and had a breakfast of watermelon, bananas, and walnuts. After checking my mail and the news, I started on this blog. I'm having a snack of cantelope.


Pledge of Allegiance

House Considers Protecting the Pledge
by Bill Wilson, Washington, D.C. correspondent

Congress moves to insulate "under God" in the pledge of allegiance from activist judges.

A member of the House has introduced legislation that would take away from the nation's courts the power to rule on the constitutionality of the Pledge of Allegiance.

Article III Section 2 of the Constitution gives Congress the power to place certain limits on the courts. And that's just what Congressman Todd Akin of Missouri intends to do.

"You can say the pledge if you want to," he said. "But obviously, I think we've gone too far if the court starts to use the First Amendment to say that kids cannot say something… instead of to protect free speech. That's why we're taking this action."

Last year, the Supreme Court considered whether schoolchildren should be allowed to say the words "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance. In the end, the high court dodged the issue, declaring that the plaintiff, Michael Newdow, did not have standing. That effectively left "under God" in the pledge.

There is bi-partisan support for Akin's bill and North Carolina Congressman Mike McIntyre, D-N.C., said it's time the courts are prevented from excising God from the pledge.

"The appellate courts," he said, "should not—and will not under this law—get away with removing Him from our most sacred, patriotic vow, the Pledge of Allegiance."

Akin believes his legislation can stand up to challenges by those who want to remove God from the public square.

"First of all, they have to overthrow that entire current practice and ignore the Constitution," he said, " But when they get done doing those two things, they run smack dab into the pledge. And do you really want to be out in front on the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Both Congressmen see strong House support for the bill, which already has about 150 cosponsors.

The Senate will be more challenging, but Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., has agreed to champion the bill.

Support this effort to promote the family in the public policy arena.

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Thursday, May 19, 2005

The Accident

I will post a journal of our day today, May 19, 2005.

I got up about 6 am, when my husband was just getting out of the tub. I had to make him a salad for him to take to school for lunch. It consisted of one head of red leaf lettuce from our favorite farm market person, Ed (his lettuce is the best because he has a donkey and horse to help fertilize his garden--it's so sweet), mushrooms, olives, tomatoes, and boiled eggs. I packed some red wine dressing with it. He also took some apples and oranges to snack on.
(Can you tell we're into raw vegetables and fruit?) Actually, eggs are not on our diet, but everyone cheats once in a while, right?

Virgil had a couple of tests today, so while I packed, we discussed some of his test questions, and planned the day. Josiah got up around 7am, right before Virgil left, and they sat on the stairs together awhile to "connect."

When Virgil left, I fixed me some watermelon while Josiah put in a Scooby Doo movie. I checked my email while I ate, then fixed Josiah some fried eggs with toast and an orange. He usually eats raw fruit and french toast for breakfast, but we were out of bananas and pumpkin (I use pumpkin to make the frensh toast, because he has a dairy allergy and I have to replace the milk with something).

Josi wanted to check on his stocks, so he logged onto and saw that it had gone up about 43 cents. You should really check into sharebuilder. It's a great learning tool. Larry Burkett recommended it (Moneymatters radio program, Christian Financial Concepts, It only costs $4 per month, you can have the money withdrawn automatically each month, they send you regular statements by email, and you can buy or sell online. Josiah decided to double his investment amount, so he changed that, and agreed to pay me the amount which is automatically withdrawn from my checking each month. His grandma gives him money each week as sort of an allowance, so he uses that.

The neighbor stopped by to ask if he could borrow the dump truck, and Josiah helped him unhook the trailer from it so he could pick it up when he came back. He asked if Josi wanted to go with him to pick up a load of dirt. While he was waiting on Larry to come back to get the dump truck, Josiah worked on his CB radio. He installed it in his car yesterday, and wanted to see if it would transmit out the driveway. He put one by my desk so I could talk to him while he drove out the driveway. (Josi's been driving on the farm since he was 7. His first vehicle was a Toyota truck--now he drives an antique Crown Victoria).

I was busy typing an outline for Virgil (he can't type), but I tried to communicate on the CB. It wouldn't work, so Josi set it up on the porch and begged me to come out there to use it. I abandoned the outline for time outside with my youngster. It was beautiful. I set to weeding my flower bed. I'm a multitasker. I can't stand to only do one thing at a time if I can do more.

The CB worked fair, but not to Josi's satisfaction. He tried various things like adjusting the antenna, changing the mic, and driving closer to the house. We went in for a snack (Josi had grilled cheese, and I had cantelope.)

When the neighbor came back, they left to go get the load of dirt. I took advantage of the time alone to straighten and sweep my bedroom. I had to rearrange the furniture a little--what little there is of it. When Josiah was born, I was 36 and too "mature" to go up and down the stairs to nurse him at all hours of the night, so I put a mattress on the floor next to my bed for Virgil, and let Josiah sleep with me. Since then, we've all gravitated (no pun intended) to mattresses on the floor. Now that I'm used to it, it's much more comfortable. We have three mattresses in my bedroom, and Josi likes to sleep with us, even though he has his own bedroom for daytime activities such as playstation. I painted a little dresser green for my room yesterday, and there is a cedar chest for blankets, a shelf for linens, and a shelf for books. While I cleaned, I munched on cucumber sticks (no seeds or peelings for me).

When Larry brought Josiah back, I was ready to paint a table for the kitchen. Josiah wanted to paint a rusty place on the back of his car, so he found some silver spray paint. I was looking for a paint brush after I sanded the table, when "it" happened.

I pulled all the drawers out on a big tool cabinet in the garage looking for a brush, and the cabinet fell on me (slow motion as the drawers all fell out more.) I screamed, and Josiah ran for the neighbor, since he didn't know his number (actually, he drove the car to the neighbor's, about 1/4 mile down the road.) I figured the car would be safer than the four-wheeler. We don't usually let him drive on the road. Anyway, they finally got the cabinet off of me (about 1000 lbs. worth of metal counting the tools) . I have a big scratch on my leg and lots of bruises.

Virgil came home shortly with groceries (lots of bananas, watermelon, cantelope, oranges, onions, potatoes, canned pumpkin, and fresh pineapple). Yummy! He snacked on some crackers and cheese dip. He did alright on his tests, he thinks. He worked on Josi's CB a little--crimping some wires and fittings together for him. Then they went to town to get a jar of Barley Green from a distributor. I ordered some, but it hasn't come yet. I know the fresh veggies and fruit will help my bruises and cuts heal faster.

I felt much better after a warm bath. I did take a Tylenol right after the accident to ease the pain, even though I know it's not really good for me. It makes my insides bleed. (no kidding)

While some dishes soak in the sink, and the dryer turns, I am typing this post for my blog. Virgil and Josi will bring home a movie to watch so we can relax a little before bed. I will fix them some snacks, probably watermelon and oranges, and will read Josi a Bible story before lights out.

Compassionate Parenting

“raising children compassionately
parenting the nonviolent communication way”
by marshall b. rosenberg, ph.d.

I’ve been teaching Nonviolent Communicationsm to parents for 30 years. I would like to share some of the things that have been helpful to both myself and to the parents that I’ve worked with, and to share with you some insights I’ve had into the wonderful and challenging occupation of parenting.

I’d first like to call your attention to the danger of the word “child,” if we allow it to apply a different quality of respect than we would give to someone who is not labeled a child. Let me show you what I am referring to.

In parent workshops that I’ve done over the years, I’ve often started by dividing the group into two. I put one group in one room, and the other in a different room, and I give each group the task of writing down on a large paper a dialogue between themselves and another person in a conflict situation. I tell both groups what the conflict is. The
only difference is that I tell one group the other person is their child, and to the second group I say the other person is their neighbor.

Then we get back into a large group and we look at these different sheets of paper outlining the dialogue that the groups would have, in the one case thinking that the other person was their child, and in the other case, the neighbor. (And incidentally, I haven’t allowed the groups to discuss with the other group who the person was in their situation, so that both groups think that the situation is the same.)

After they’ve had a chance to scan the written dialogues of both groups, I ask them if they can see a difference in terms of the degree of respect and compassion that was demonstrated. Every time I’ve done this, the group that was working on the situation with the other person being a child was seen as being less respectful and compassionate in their communication than the group that saw the other person as a neighbor. This painfully reveals to the people in these groups how easy it is to dehumanize someone by the simple process of simply thinking of him or her as “our child.”

I had an experience one day that really heightened my awareness of the danger of thinking of people as children. This experience followed a weekend in which I had worked with two groups: a street gang and a police department. I was mediating between the two groups. There had been considerable violence between them, and they had asked
that I serve in the role of a mediator. After spending as much time as I did with them, dealing with the violence they had toward each other, I was exhausted. And as I was driving home afterwards, I told myself, I never want to be in the middle of another conflict for the rest of my life.

And of course, when I walked in my back door, my three children were fighting. I expressed my pain to them in a way that we advocate in Nonviolent Communication. I expressed how I was feeling, what my needs were, and what my requests were. I did it this way. I shouted, “When I hear all of this going on right now, I feel extremely tense! I have a real need for some peace and quiet after the weekend I’ve been through! So would you all be willing to give me that time and space?”

My oldest son looked at me and said, “Would you like to talk about it?” Now, at that moment, I dehumanized him in my thinking. Why? Because I said to myself, “How cute. Here’s a nine year old boy trying to help his father.” But take a closer look at how I was disregarding his offer because of his age, because I had him labeled as a child. Fortunately I saw that was going on in my head, and maybe I was able to see it more clearly because the work I had been doing between the street gang and the police showed me the danger of thinking of people in terms of labels instead of their humanness.

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So instead of seeing him as a child and thinking to myself, “how cute,” I saw a human being who was reaching out to another human being in pain, and I said out loud, “Yes, I would like to talk about it.” And the three of them followed me into another room and listened while I opened up my heart to how painful it was to see that people could
come to a point of wanting to hurt one another simply because they hadn’t been trained to see the other person’s humanness. After talking about it for 45 minutes I felt wonderful, and as I recall we turned the stereo on and danced like fools for awhile.

So I’m not suggesting that we don’t use words like “child” as a shorthand way of letting people know that we’re talking about people of a certain age. I’m talking about when we allow labels like this to keep us from seeing the other person as a human being, in a way which leads us to dehumanize the other person because of the things our culture teaches us about “children.” Let me show you an extension of what I’m talking about, how the label child can lead us to behave in a way that’s quite unfortunate.

Having been educated, as I was, to think about parenting, I thought that it was the job of a parent to make children behave. You see, once you define yourself as an authority, a teacher or parent, in the culture that I was educated in, you then see it as your responsibility to make people that you label a “child” or a “student” behave in a
certain way.

I now see what a self-defeating objective this is, because I have learned that any time it’s our objective to get another person to behave in a certain way, people are likely to resist no matter what it is we’re asking for. This seems to be true whether the other person is 2 or 92 years of age.

This objective of getting what we want from other people, or getting them to do what we want them to do, threatens the autonomy of people, their right to choose what they want to do. And whenever people feel that they’re not free to choose what they want to do, they are likely to resist, even if they see the purpose in what we are asking and would ordinarily want to do it. So strong is our need to protect our autonomy, that if we see that someone has this single-mindedness of purpose, if they are acting like they think that they know what’s best for us and are not leaving it to us to make the choice of how we behave, it stimulates our resistance.

I’ll be forever grateful to my children for educating me about the limitations of the objective of getting other people to do what you want. They taught me that, first of all, I couldn’t make them do what I want. I couldn’t make them do anything. I couldn’t make them put a toy back in the toy box. I couldn’t make them make their bed. I couldn’t make them eat. Now, that was quite a humbling lesson for me as a parent, to learn about my powerless-ness, because somewhere I had gotten it into my mind that it was the job of a parent to make a child behave. And here were these young children teaching me this humbling lesson, that I couldn’t make them do anything. All I could do is make them wish they had.

And whenever I would be foolish enough to do that, that is, to make them wish they had, they taught me a second lesson about parenting and power that has proven very valuable to me over the years. And that lesson was that anytime I would make them wish they had, they would make me wish I hadn’t made them wish they had. Violence begets violence.

They taught me that any use of coercion on my part would invariably create resistance on their part, which could lead to an adversarial quality in the connection between us. I don’t want to have that quality of connection with any human being, but especially not with my children, those human beings that I’m closest to and taking responsibility for. So my children are the last people that I want to get into these coercive games of which punishment is a part.

Now this concept of punishment is strongly advocated by most parents. Studies indicate that about 80% of American parents firmly believe in corporal punishment of children. This is about the same percentage of the population who believes in capital punishment of criminals. So with such a high percentage of the population believing that punishment is justified and necessary in the education of children, I’ve had plenty of opportunity over the years to discuss this issue with parents, and I’m pleased with how people can be helped to see the limitations of any kind of punishment, if they’ll simply ask themselves two questions.

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Question number one: What do you want the child to do differently? If we ask only that question, it can certainly seem that punishment sometimes works, because certainly through the threat of punishment or application of punishment, we can at times influence a child to do what we would like the child to do.

However, when we add a second question, it has been my experience that parents see that punishment never works. The second question is: What do we want the child’s reasons to be for acting as we would like them to act? It’s that question that helps us to see that punishment not only doesn’t work, but it gets in the way of our children doing things for reasons that we would like them to do them.

Since punishment is so frequently used and justified, parents can only imagine that the opposite of punishment is a kind of permissiveness in which we do nothing when children behave in ways that are not in harmony with our values. So therefore parents can think only, “If I don’t punish, then I give up my own values and just allow the child to do whatever he or she wants.” As I’ll be discussing below, there are other approaches besides permissiveness, that is, just letting people do whatever they want to do, or coercive tactics such as punishment. And while I’m at it, I’d like to suggest that reward is just as coercive as punishment. In both cases we are using power over people, controlling the environment in a way that tries to force people to behave in ways that we like. In that respect reward comes out of the same mode of thinking as punishment.

There is another approach besides doing nothing or using coercive tactics. It requires an awareness of the subtle but important difference between our objective being to get people to do what we want, which I’m not advocating, and instead being clear that our objective is to create the quality of connection necessary for everyone’s needs to get met.

It has been my experience, whether we are communicating with children or adults, that when we see the difference between these two objectives, and we are consciously not trying to get a person to do what we want, but trying to create a quality of mutual concern, a quality of mutual respect, a quality where both parties think that their needs matter and they are conscious that their needs and the other person’s well-being are interdependent—it is amazing how conflicts which otherwise seem unresolvable, are easily resolved.

Now, this kind of communication that is involved in creating the quality of connection necessary for everybody’s needs to get met is quite different from that communication used if we are using coercive forms of resolving differences with children. It requires a shift away from evaluating children in moralistic terms such as right/wrong, good/bad, to a language based on needs. We need to be able to tell children whether what they’re doing is in harmony with our needs, or in conflict with our needs, but to do it in a way that doesn’t stimulate guilt or shame on the child’s part. So it might require our saying to the child, “I’m scared when I see you hitting your brother, because I have a need for people in the family to be safe,” instead of, “It’s wrong to hit your brother.” Or it might require a shift away from saying, “You are lazy for not cleaning up your room,” to saying, “I feel frustrated when I see that the bed isn’t made, because I have a real need for support in keeping order in the house.”

This shift in language away from classifying children’s behavior in terms of right and wrong, and good and bad, to a language based on needs, is not easy for those of us who were educated by teachers and parents to think in moralistic judgments. It also requires an ability to be present to our children, and listen to them with empathy when they are in distress. This is not easy when we have been trained as parents to want to jump in and give advice, or to try to fix things.

So when I’m working with parents, we look at situations that are likely to arise where a child might say something like, “Nobody likes me.” When a child says something like that, I believe the child is needing an empathic kind of connection. And by that I mean a respectful understanding where the child feels that we are there and really hear what he or she is feeling and needing. Sometimes we can do this silently, just showing in our eyes that we are with their feelings of sadness, and their need for a different quality of connection with their friends. Or it could involve our saying out loud something like, “So it sounds like you’re really feeling sad, because you aren’t having very much fun with your friends.”

But many parents, defining their role as requiring them to make their children happy all the time, jump in when a child says something like that, and say things like, “Well, have you looked at what you’ve been doing that might have been driving your friends away?” Or they disagree with the child, saying, “Well, that’s not true. You’ve had friends in the past. I’m sure you’ll get more friends.” Or they give advice: “Maybe if you’d talk differently to your friends, your friends would like you more.”

What they don’t realize is that all human beings, when they’re in pain, need presence and empathy. They may want advice, but they want that after they’ve received the empathic connection. My own children have taught me the hard way that, “Dad, please withhold all advice unless you receive a request in writing from us signed by a notary.”

Many people believe that it’s more humane to use reward than punishment. But both of them I see as power over others, and Nonviolent Communication is based on power with people. And in power with people, we try to have influence not by how we can make people suffer if they don’t do what we want, or how we can reward them if they do. It’s a power based on mutual trust and respect, which makes people open to hearing each other and learning from each other, and to giving to one another willingly out of a desire to contribute to one another’s well being, rather than out of a fear of punishment or hope for a reward.

We get this kind of power, power with people, by being able to openly communicate our feelings and needs without in any way criticizing the other person. We do that by offering them what we would like from them in a way that is not heard as demanding or threatening. And as I have said, it also requires really hearing what other people are trying to communicate, showing an accurate understanding rather than quickly jumping in and giving advice, or trying to fix things.

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For many parents, the way I’m talking about communicating is so different that they say, “Well, it just doesn’t seem natural to communicate that way.” At just the right time, I read something that Gandhi had written in which he said, “Don’t mix up that which is habitual with that which is natural.” Gandhi said that very often we’ve been trained to communicate and act in ways that are quite unnatural, but they are habitual in the sense that we have been trained for various reasons to do it that way in our culture. And that certainly rang true to me in the way that I was trained to communicate with children. The way I was trained to communicate by judging rightness and wrongness, goodness and badness, and the use of punishment was widely used and very easily became habitual for me as a parent. But I wouldn’t say that because something is habitual that it is natural.

I learned that it is much more natural for people to connect in a loving, respectful way, and to do things out of joy for each other, rather than using punishment and reward or blame and guilt as means of coercion. But such a transformation does require a good deal of consciousness and effort.

I can recall one time when I was transforming myself from a habitually judgmental way of communicating with my children to the way that I am now advocating. On the day I’m thinking of, my oldest son and I were having a conflict, and it was taking me quite awhile to communicate it in the way that I was choosing to, rather than the way that had become habitual. Almost everything that came into my mind originally was some coercive statement in the form of a judgment of him for saying what he did. So I had to stop and take a deep breath, and think of how to get more in touch with my needs, and how to get more in touch with his needs. And this was taking me awhile. And he was getting frustrated because he had a friend waiting for him outside, and he said, “Daddy, it’s taking you so long to talk.” And I said, “Let me tell you what I can say quickly: Do it my way or I’ll kick your butt.” He said, “Take your time, Dad. Take your time.”

So yes, I would rather take my time and come from an energy that I choose in communicating with my children, rather than habitually responding in a way that I have been trained to do, when it’s not really in harmony with my own values. Sadly, we will often get much more reinforcement from those around us for behaving in a punitive, judgmental way, than in a way that is respectful to our children.

I can recall one Thanksgiving dinner when I was doing my best to communicate with my youngest son in the way that I am advocating, and it was not easy, because he was testing me to the limits. But I was taking my time, taking deep breaths, trying to understand what his needs were, trying to understand my own needs so I could express them in a respectful way. Another member of the family, observing my conversation with my son, but who had been trained in a different way of communicating, reached over at one point and whispered in my ear, “If that was my child, he’d be sorry for what he was saying.”

I’ve talked to a lot of other parents who have had similar experiences who, when they are trying to relate in more human ways with their own children, instead of getting support, often get criticized. People can often mistake what I’m talking about as permissiveness or not giving children the direction they need, instead of understanding that it’s a different quality of direction. It’s a direction that comes from two parties trusting each other, rather than one party forcing his or her authority on another.

One of the most unfortunate results of making our objective to get our children to do what we want, rather than having our objective be for all of us to get what we want, is that eventually our children will be hearing a demand in whatever we are asking. And whenever people hear a demand, it’s hard for them to keep focus on the value of whatever is being requested, because, as I said earlier, it threatens their autonomy, and that’s a strong need that all people have. They want to be able to do something when they choose to do it, and not because they are forced to do it. As soon as a person hears a demand, it’s going to make any resolution that will get everybody’s needs met much harder to come by.


This is an excerpt from Raising Children Compassionately, by Marshall Rosenberg, Ph.D. which is available from our [bookstore].

© 2000 by Marshall B. Rosenberg, Ph.D. & Center for Nonviolent Communicationsm

Food Pyramid contradictions

The USDA Contradicts its Food Pyramid Advice

A troubling disparity highlighted the awkward truth about the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): What it advises people to eat to stay healthy does not exactly match what it pays farmers to grow ... to say the least.
For starters, the only reference to corn on the USDA's new food pyramid is a graphic of a bright-yellow ear of corn amid a sea of other vegetables; soybeans are not mentioned at all. Yet U.S. farmers receive $15 billion in subsidies to grow corn and soybeans that are largely used to feed livestock (with harmful chemicals and antibiotics often added).
What's worse, corn and soybeans are used to make artificial sweeteners and partially hydrogenated oils -- the very ingredients the food pyramid urges Americans to avoid. Comparatively so, fruit and vegetable farmers receive no subsidies whatsoever, though whole foods are supposed to make up the largest part of Americans' diets, per the pyramid's recommendations.
Discrepancies Noted
According to a former U.S. Congressman, farm policy has clearly been developed with little regard for the diets and health of Americans and instead is the result of a Depression-era program that was supposed to give temporary relief for low commodity prices. He further explained that those who attend hearings on domestic farm policies are largely lobbyists who protect the interests of a handful of crops, including:
A nutrition professor at New York University said the USDA has fought with conflict of interest since its mission was expanded beyond farming to dietary advice and food assistance to the poor.
The result?
Lobbying from the food industry has historically influenced the agency's nutrition advice -- the composition of the new pyramid included.
Moreover, the alleged conflict between the agency's role in promoting both nutrition and agriculture even prompted former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald to compare the USDA, when it comes to farm subsidies, to a fox guarding the henhouse. He introduced legislation to move the nutrition program to the Department of Health and Human Services, but his legislation fizzled.
Farm subsidies are not the only USDA program that seems to contradict the advice of the food pyramid: The department also sponsors a variety of marketing initiatives that encourage consumers to eat more of everything.
Chicago Tribune May 2, 2005
Dr. Mercola's Comment:
You may be wondering why there is such a gigantic discrepancy between what corn and soybean farmers are being paid, compared to fruit and vegetable farmers. The reason, as usual, is money.
The USDA doesn't give $15 billion to just anyone. In this case, they are guaranteeing themselves continued support from the mega food corporations, who make billions themselves from the sale of numerous products made with the ingredients supplied by corn and soy.
By itself, corn is used in an untold amount of products. Everything from conventional cattle feed to high-fructose corn syrup to even some forms of vitamin C are made from corn.
Of course, products made with soy constituents are equally plentiful. Many experts tout soy as a health food, despite the evidence that it is not. Most soy is grown for its uses in livestock feed and in the hydrogenated fats used in making processed foods.
It's unfortunate that the government doesn't place the same emphasis on your health as it does on capitulating to corporate conflict of interest. The above study only serves as more confirmation that there is still a long battle ahead to turn the health of America's citizens into one of its highest priorities.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Josiah on the banjo Posted by Hello

Grasslick Cemetery

I visited Grasslick cemetery last summer and found Grandad Anderson's sister buried here. Posted by Hello

Granny and Kylie

Granny Jill with precious 2-year-old granddaughter Kylie. I was showing her how to jerk the parts off a flower in "he-loves-me-he-loves-me-not style.  Posted by Hello


Mission Posted by Hello
This is where we attend church--or rather the building where the church we are a part of meets regularly. It is a wonderful racially mixed church where everyone is accepted for just who they are, dirty tennis shoes and all. I will try to post profiles of the church members so you can meet them. My husband, Virgil, and son, Josiah, and I help with worship service. It is so fulfilling to minister in song to such a receptive congregation.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Beneath the Surface: A Deeper Look at Modesty

Beneath the Surface: A Deeper Look at Modesty: "cultures which admire women primarily for their physical characteristics, ultimately degrade them and take advantage of them."

Marriage Amendment

Today I posted this letter to the editors of several local newspapers:
Ohioans made it clear in last November’s elections that they want to define marriage as the union between one man and one woman. That same Defense of Marriage Act has been passed in several other states since then. However, it is becoming obvious that a an amendment to the state constitution is not enough. Recently, in a federal court ruling out of Nebraska, a U. S. district court judge manipulated the Constitution to declare Nebraska’s marriage-protection amendment invalid.
Judge Joseph F. Bataillon said preventing gays from marrying violated their rights to "equal protection" under the U.S. Constitution, but nothing could be further from the truth. Those in favor of same-sex marriage have had and continue to have every right and opportunity to push for passage of their own pro-gay-marriage amendment
It's a nonsensical ruling clearly driven by a political agenda. Marriage law does not discriminate; marriage is open to any two individuals who meet certain criteria regarding age and blood relationship and who are of the opposite sex. Gay activists seek not to end discrimination, but rather to completely redefine — and thus undermine — the foundational institution of marriage.
All of this is evidence that preserving the traditional definition of marriage cannot be accomplished at the state level. Nothing short of defining marriage in the federal Constitution is sufficient to keep the Judeo-Christian definition of marriage from being redefined by leftist activists and judges.
Efforts to pass such an amendment stalled in the House and Senate last year, but the Nebraska travesty is just the impetus lawmakers need to get the job done this time around. Contact your congressman and senators today and urge them to support the Marriage Protection Amendment.

Friday, May 13, 2005

I did it! I created a blog (whatever that is).

This is the most fufilling thing I've done in a long time.

Well, now that we've got that formality out of the way, let's have some fun.

I've learned how to create a blog, now to maintain it--that is the crux of the matter.

If ANYONE cares to read this blog, maybe we can learn something together.

I will be posting daily journals, ramblings, pictures, and music (is that possible?).

Hopefully, I will hear from old friends and meet new ones.

Let the worshippers arise, let my words be few, and to God be the glory.