Dear Arizona

Dear Arizona

I’m a straight, Christian, American woman and I stand in solidarity with my fellow Americans who are gay. We all fall in love with another human being the same way — with our hearts.

The idea that any lawmaker in the United States of America could even desire in their heart and think in their mind of introducing a bill that would create a legal “less than” mentality back into our country is very disturbing…

BUT, for that lawmaker to then recruit other lawmakers to actually sponsor and help craft a bill with language so a legal “less than” mentality is masked within a web of “religious freedom” language . . . well, that is frightening.

BUT, for those lawmakers to THEN actually get this bill passed in one house of congress in their state, as it did in Kansas and now both houses of congress in Arizona . . . . well, that downright scares the shit out of me and it should every American.

In Arizona this bill appears to be moving closer to the Governor’s office. The intent behind these bills is shameful and against everything our great constitution stands for. The language in these bills opens the door to vast consequences – who will they come after next and what are the next steps – patches on our clothing?

As an American, I believe these are the type of laws that weaken our country. As a Christian, I believe these are the type of laws that weaken Christianity and present God in a false light.

Discussion on vetoing this bill based on a projected detrimental financial impact that will occur to the state only adds to its shamefulness.

Veto the bill based on its immoral intent  — period.

Shame on you, Arizona lawmakers.

Thank God He Put on His Seat Belt

October 2, 1995. I was living in Tulsa, OK and a little after 11:00 pm I received a phone call from my sister in Montana telling me that my dad had been in a serious car accident. She did not have any more information, but would call me back.

At 9:35 pm, my dad walked out of his restaurant to go home for the night. As a business owner, he was in the habit of carrying a small Texas Instrument calculator in his left shirt pocket, but as car driver he was not in the habit of wearing a seat belt. However, that night as he was driving away from the restaurant he felt the need to put on his seat belt. And thank God he did.

Less than 5 minutes later he was broadsided by a 15-year-old driver who was speeding and failed to stop at a stop sign.

My dad was driving a small 1983 GMC truck and the 15-year-old was driving a big 1979 4-wheel-drive GMC Blazer.

My dad suffered multiple broken ribs, a broken clavicle, a dislocated shoulder, chipped teeth, multiple contusions, a gash on the back of his head, and his pelvis was broken in three places, but he survived.

He survived because he had done two things: He carried his Texas Instrument calculator in his left shirt pocket and most importantly, he put on his seat belt.

My dad now always wears a seat belt, but I was reminded of how important this is by a dear friend whose family recently walked away from a terrible car accident because they were wearing their seat belts.

Not everyone wearing a seat belt survives every car accident, but the odds of surviving when wearing one are significantly higher.

Dad's accident010My dad’s 1983 GMC pickup truck. Wearing a seat belt saved his life.

1 Dad's accident (7)Driver’s side of my dad’s truck. Both vehicles ended up in the yard of the house on the northeast corner of 13th St. West and Colton. The 15-year-old was speeding east on Colton when he failed to stop for a stop sign and broadsided my dad who was driving north on 13th St. West.

My dad was less than 5 minutes from leaving his restaurant and less than 5 minutes from being home.

Dad's accident (8)Photo showing how the cab was ripped away from the chassis.

Dad's accident009My dad’s crumpled dashboard. 

Dad's accident (2)The corner of my dad’s driver’s side window and door. The metal square in the center of the picture is the remnant of the exterior rear view mirror. A corner of that metal square was embedded in the Texas Instrument calculator my dad had in his left shirt pocket.

Dad's accident (5)A picture of the exterior rear view mirror with the camera sitting on the top-middle of the back seat looking straight forward. This metal is what was stuck into my dad’s Texas Instrument calculator in his left shirt pocket.

Dad's accident (6)Close up of the driver’s door looking in the window to show how little room he had for his body. The metal plat on the upper left is the remnant of the exterior rear view mirror.

Dad's accident (4)Looking down into the driver’s side of my dad’s truck. The blood on the other side of the seat is from when my dad was trying to unlock the passenger door so he could get out, but he lost consciousness and never got the door unlocked.

Dad's accidentDocumenting his injuries.

Gray Matter

Gray Matter poster

GRAY MATTER. I’m guessing most of the world believes, like I did, that the horrors of the Holocaust were stopped when the war against Hitler and the Nazis was won. Or, at the very least, national governments did not celebrate, award, revere, and allow Nazi war criminals to continue their work.

Wrong.

Austria allowed, promoted, and awarded FOR YEARS the work of Dr. Heinrich Gross.

GRAY MATTER follows filmmaker Joe Berlinger’s attendance at the 2002 burial of the brains of more than 700 children murdered by Dr. Heinrich Gross and his colleagues under the order of Adolf Hitler, which as history reveals, appears to be the beginning acts of the Holocaust.

Why were these children murdered? Because 3 doctors deemed them not worthy of life simply because they had some form of handicap.

After the child had been murdered, the brain was removed, preserved for scientific study, and the body was returned to the family…maybe.

If that’s not horrific enough what Dr. Heinrich Gross and the Austrian government did FOR YEARS after is equally as horrific.

The Austrian government allowed Dr. Heinrich Gross and other “experts” to continue to experiment on the brains of these children FOR YEARS in secret – all the way to 1998. Not only did the Austrian government allow this “research” to continue, but they awarded Dr. Heinrich Gross repeatedly and elevated him to a position of great esteem. They just never told anyone the truth about what was really happening AND the Austrian government legally fought against the survivors of the horrific Spieglegrund hospital where the murders and other atrocities took place.

After years of repression of their stories and the truth, the families of many of the murdered children won the right to have the brains of their loved ones buried in 2002. Sadly, as of 2004, survivors of Spieglgrund still had not been awarded any justice by the Austrian government.

Perhaps someday governments and those in positions of power and authority will actually understand, as the filmmaker shows, that the truth cannot be buried.

GRAY MATTER, a film by Joe Berlinger.

Our Common Need

Thing 1 Thing 2

Today, I took my mom to get her toenails trimmed at a local assisted living facility. A self-employed and delightful woman so joyously and lovingly cared for each of her clients as they came into the room. She knew them each by name, which delighted them.

As I sat waiting, I was blessed to see great care and assistance in action all throughout the large facility … and I thought about The Geek Squad that repaired my computer this week and the groomers at Lovable Pets who groomed my dogs and my Up with People castmates who are praying for our family member in Brazil having surgery today. The beauty and truth of how we all need each other was so clear.

Thank God we are unique in our gifts because we are very much common in our need for one another.

 

Silence

A bullied child.

A bullied adult.

Someone battling depression.

Someone battling grief.

Someone in an abusive relationship.

Someone who lost their job.

Whatever the situation or battle, when someone becomes silent about their feelings or issues that would cause pain or just simply retreats from communicating with family or friends, reach out to them because silence is often the loudest cry a heart can make.

 

You are so brave and quiet I forgot you were suffering

BULLY

BULLY. Following 5 characters during the course of the 2009/2010 school year, documentary filmmaker Lee Hirsh captures the truth of bullying and reveals its nature and impact through and on both children and adults. From Oklahoma, to Iowa, to Mississippi, to Georgia, the stories reveal the same torment experienced by those bullied and of the families left without their young children because death was viewed as a better option to their child than being bullied one more day.

This film captures kids continuously tormenting one child in particular while riding on the bus to and from school and all the while the adult bus driver never does one thing to help or intervene. Ever. When the filmmaker shows the footage to the parents and the school administration the response is . . .  something I encourage you to see for yourself.

Bullying is not just a child’s form of power over another kid; it’s also a method used by adults. BULLY brings the reality of how adults disguise and rationalize their contribution to group think, mob mentality, and the tormenting bullying of others by ignoring, blaming the victim, or simply being a silent bystander.

This film also shows the courage of kids who refuse to back down to bullying and how important active support by their parents is in helping them navigate safely through what must feel like a war zone called school. One of the greatest lessons of the film comes from two sets of parents who lost their young children to suicide and one set of parents whose child is one of the characters in the film and that lesson is the danger of when a child becomes silent.

Communication is vital to helping a bullied child and to stopping the bullies.

Visit The Bully Project and Stand for the Silent to learn more.

BULLY. A must see film for all ages.