Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The circle of life

The other day Monkey and Bug were eating lunch, I was unloading the dishwasher with my back turned to the boys, the TV was on in the other room.  The boys were being fairly well behaved, eating their PB&J sandwiches and strawberries and milk.  

Did I mention the TV was on?

Monkey was watching Planet Earth earlier and apparently it either wasn't over yet or he started a new episode.  He kept leaving the table to go watch the show.  I wasn't too concerned, the sound wasn't even on, he was just watching the animals run around and in this episode, it was all sunshine and roses.

So there I was, with my back to them, emptying the dishwasher (did I mention I was also on the phone), and Monkey comes running up to me in hysterics.  He is absolutely sobbing and I must admit, he's been in this crying phase lately so I wasn't too concerned and was about to tell him to go finish his lunch.  He was attempting to tell me something though and he really was upset and not just the kind of upset he gets when he thinks he can get his sister or brother in trouble.

Me:  "What's wrong?"  (This is said sincerely by the way).
Monkey:  "He ate the apple!"
Me:  "What?  He ate the apple?  Ian?  You didn't have an apple.  You mean the strawberries?"  I double check his plate to see if I somehow forgot that I gave the boys apples.  Nope, and their strawberries were long gone.
Monkey:  Still in hysterics, "NO!  They ate all the apples!"
Me:  "What?  Monkey, you need to calm down a bit so you can tell me."

Incapable of calming down I am still not able to understand this apple predicament.  Every once in a while, I still have problems with Monkey's speech, especially if he's upset or if he comes up to me with a random statement or question.  This was apparently one of those times.  I ask if he can explain it differently or use different words.  This calms him down enough for him to announce, "They ate all the animals!"

Oh.  No.  Did I mention he was watching Planet Earth?  Just to be clear, "They ate all the animals?"

Monkey:  He starts sobbing again, "All the animal are eating each other!"

I had visions of animal carnage with dozens of animals randomly eating each other.  I was pretty sure it was a zebra or a seal but at that point it was over.  "I don't ever want to watch that show ever, ever again.  I HATE it!  It's awful!"

We cuddle on the couch while I try to explain to him why things happen as they do without freaking him out and making him a vegetarian.

Fast forward to later that afternoon.  Sunshine says she wants to watch something.  Monkey has the remote and asks what a particular item is reading.  I tell him it's Planet Earth (the irony).  Sunshine asks what that is and Monkey tells her it's about animals and they should watch it.  Sunshine seems gung ho about it and then he announces that animals each other.

Horrified, Sunshine is on the verge of tears and says she doesn't want to watch it.  She questions me if it's true and if we really have to watch it.  I tell her yes it happens and no we aren't going to watch it.  

I then ask Monkey, "Why would you do ask her if she wants to watch it?"
Monkey:  "Because I want to watch it."
Me: "You said you never wanted to watch it again and that you didn't like it."
Monkey:  With a very smug look on his face, "Now I do like it."

*Sigh* and this is how my life goes.


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Losing our rights - The First Amendment

I'm not the most religious person.  I believe in God, I believe in Jesus and heaven and hell, but I'm not one to be overly open about it.  We don't go to church like we should but we're raising our children with a Lutheran background.

I do not need to be a right winged conservative to recognize a problem though.  The other day, my sister-in-law posted on Facebook a link to a Christian blog with the post, "Intolerant Atheists Viciously Attack Christian School".  As I said, I may not be the most vocal about my religion, but attacking religions is just plain wrong and deserves to be vocalized.

So I went ahead and checked it out and saw, in black and white, what I've noticed happening for quite some time.  Reverse prejudice and this time toward religion.

I am an American, I have every right to teach my child my beliefs of my religion.  Many of the beliefs they talk about in the blog I do not agree with BUT I do believe that it is, without a doubt, their religious right.

Our government, our country, was built on religious freedom.  Freedom from persecution.  Freedom from intolerance.  Freedom to choose.  As a Christian I have as many rights as every other religion and that includes teaching my children how I want them to be taught.  I have every right to teach my child, as long as it does not harm or suggest harm to themselves or others, as I see proper and right.

Believing in someone's religion is different than agreeing with it.  Accepting it as the right way is different than accepting them as a citizen with rights.

For those who are questioning what exactly are those rights?  Where can you find them?

The United States Constitution - First Amendment - Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof: or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

I think many people forget the freedom of religion in the First Amendment, often remembering freedom of speech and press, but forgetting that the very first thing that is written by our forefathers is about religious freedom.  Before the freedom of speech to slander another's religion comes another's freedom to choose that said religion.
It's not just the US either:

United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948, Article 18
Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.

According to United Nations Website the declaration was a direct result of WWII to prevent the atrocities that occurred from ever happening again.
Why is this school being persecuted?  Because it's an easy target.  They're not teaching what is the norm.  They aren't teaching what is accepted by the mass of Americans.  No, instead, they are teaching what they believe in.  The parent that started this all was mad because of their own failure.  They chose to not look at what their child was learning.  They didn't ask the school what their belief was on evolution, science, and history, both geological and human.  This is a failure of the parents, not the school.

Is it the press's right to talk about it?  I suppose.  Is it their right to attack them?  No.  Is it other American's rights to talk about it?  Sure, what do you think I'm doing.  Is it their right to send hate letters and threats?  Absolutely not.  Is it the parents' choice to ask about their child's education, question what they are learning, and decide to send or not to send their child to this private school?  Of course.  Is it the school's right to continue to teach their beliefs to others that share their beliefs?  Absolutely.

As a matter of fact, it's not just their right, it's their freedom.


Friday, May 3, 2013

Saving a life with Safe House

After losing our cat Riesen, I've been checking out the cats and kittens on craigslist.  I saw an interesting ad stating Barn/Shop/Warehouse Cats Looking for Work.  I was intrigued and decided to take a look.

I was nothing less than surprised.  The listing brought me to a site called Safe House, a program committed to sterilizing, vaccinating and rehoming cats.  What surprised me was the program that they offered that I have never seen before.  Safe House has a special Barn Cat Program.  These are cats that have been brought to shelters and have been deemed unadoptable.  Safe House will come and rescue these cats and get them in this program.  Safe House does not take feral/wild cats off the streets, rather they save those cats that have been brought into shelters.  In regards to finding feral cats, Safe House's site states, "The most important thing to remember is that feral cats should never be taken to animal control pounds or shelters.  Because feral cats are not socialized, cannot be socialized, and are wild animals unsuitable for adoption, even no-kill shelters are not able to place feral cats in homes - they will almost certainly be killed immediately."

The Safe House barn relocation program works solely on donation.  These cats are free with the promise that they will be taken care of, however, donations are welcome and very much needed.  If you live in IL from Rockford, to Princeton, to Joliet to McHenry or anywhere in between, Safe House will bring you your new, neutered/spayed/up-to-date vaccinated mouser to your barn, shop, or warehouse complete with the kitty condo and litter box she will need during her 2 week acclimation period.

In addition to the barn program, Safe House also has cats that are looking for homes with people to call their very own.  These are cats that have been given up by their previous owners for different reasons.  Safe House works with foster homes, cats live with a family, in a home, awaiting adoption.  The foster parents will be able to give you an honest description of the cat's personality so you may make a proper decision on whether a particular cat is a match for you and your family.  Adoption for these pets is $50, the cats will be spayed/neutered, up to date on their shots, dewormed, microchipped and tested for FIV and FeLV.
Ernie is part of the Barn Cat Program.  He is a young, medium sized, orange tabby.

Jim Bob is part of the Barn Cat Program.  He is a young, medium sized, white and gray tabby.

Kevin is a medium sized, adult, male tabby.  He is available for adoption

 Bessie is a large, adult, black and white female.  She is available for adoption.

Safe House is a nonprofit organization, run exclusively on volunteers.  "We focus on rescuing at-risk pets, adopting these pets into loving homes, practicing Trap Neuter Return as the humane and effective solution to community cats, and offering impounded feral cats a second chance at life as working mousers through our Barn Cat Program. Safe House is a no-kill organization where no pets are ever euthanized for space."

To learn more about Safe House and the organization or to view the other adoptable cats, please visit their website or Facebook

Taking home a pet is a big commitment, one that should not be made lightly.  If you are not sure if you are ready or if you are not able to have a cat but would still like to help, visit their "Get Involved" page here.