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Scheidies Articles 2

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CONTENTS
Why I Celebrate Christmas
Check suitability of movies
Flag, anthem stand for what's good in our nation
Voting Choice, A Responsibility
Embracing the Seasons of Life
Welch--More Than a Teacher
YRTC Picnic--Regular People
Property Valuation Protest--Not so Scary
Snakes slither back into my life again
You're a hero, Madison, my hero
The Lessons we learn from kids
The value of silence
Even imperfect moms make a difference
My most wonderful discovery: the library
Age isn't excuse to act like fools
Easter more than a holiday
Time, Talent, Taxes and Thanks
Carly's Valentine Project of Love
When the Bullied Become the Bullies
Real Love Blesses Others
The Real Planned Parenthood
What are You Worth?
The Restaurant Difference and Respect for Others
Rooting out Snakes in our Lives
Promise 'All will be OK' Unrealistic in Shows
Books without Endings Leave only Frustration
Is Jesus True?
Liar, Lunatic or Lord 

SCHEIDIES ARTICLES

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Why I Celebrate Christmas
Published in Kearney Hub 12/19/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

I read an article outlining reasons the author no longer celebrated Christmas. The author pointed out that some Christmas celebrations have roots in paganism. He reasoned that because the holiday was tainted, Christians should not celebrate Christmas.

As an author, I have also researched this holiday and, no surprise, there are pagan influences. At times, the church tried to refocus pagan celebrations with Christian rituals. Is that all bad? Romans 14:5-6 (GW) states, "One person decides that one day is holier than another. Another person decides that all days are the same. Every person must make his own decision. When people observe a special day, they observe it to honor the Lord."

Jesus may well have been born in December or not. The date may be accurate or may stem from an early attempt to override a pagan celebration. Whether or not Jesus was born in December, and a case can be made for that, what is wrong with celebrating His birth in December? His is the greatest birth in history.

What about the Christmas tree? Trees play a part in the rituals of many religions. Does that mean we should forgo the fun of a decorated tree? There is a legend that Martin Luther became so awed by seeing stars shining through the tall trees, he brought a tree inside and decorated it with candles. What a lovely way to appreciate God's creation.

Has the holiday been commercialized? Certainly. Forces of evil always seek ways to destroy good. Should we not celebrate the wonder of Jesus’ birth, because some don't like it or make it commercial or...the reasons go on and on? Consider the spirit of goodwill and generosity that characterize the season. This good should be encouraged, not discouraged. Because as James 1:17 KJV states, "Every good gift and perfect gift is from above."

This spirit of goodwill also creates a desire to worship. No wonder there are such desperate attempts to stamp out mentions and the celebration of Christ, Christmas, the displays of the Nativity scene or the singing of Christmas carols. These symbols of celebration shows God is present in our world and in our lives.

If the Puritans outlawed the celebration, shouldn't we? They also believed marriage ceremonies were merely a function of the state. Should we stop holding church weddings because some Christians have had issues? People make choices based not only on faith, but also on their experiences and culture. If God doesn't forbid a celebration, why should we?

As for fat, jolly Santa Claus, he is a potent Christmas figure. What an opportunity to share the story about the real St. Nicholas, his faith and kindness, especially to the less fortunate. Christmas is a perfect time to follow his example of generosity and caring.

God delights in celebration. The Bible is filled with God instituted feasts and celebrations. God is much more interested in our hearts than in forbidding celebrations, especially those that focus on Him. Hearts are open at Christmas. What better time to share God’s love story than at Christmas.

Is Christmas tainted by pagan practices? Yes and no, both then and now. My questions for those with reservations about celebrating Christmas. Why should I not celebrate? Doesn’t that let evil win? Why should I lose even one opportunity to share God’s love?

Jesus offers joy. What better time to share His joy than at Christmas. That is why I celebrate Christmas.

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Check suitability of movies
Published by Kearney Hub 12/5/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

When friend Rachel and I decided to see a movie a few months ago, we chose "The Secret Life of Pets." I'd seen the previews and they made me wince, especially when a dog with a cart to help him get around was jerked down a drain. Still, the previews for the animated feature looked cute.

However, another friend had a different take on the movie. She'd taken her young grandchildren and wasn't too happy. She warned that the previews weren't representative of the movie. Umm. What did that mean? I found out.

While my friend Rachel and I enjoyed the movie that was colorful, fun, producing a balance of chuckles and sentiment, after watching the movie I understood the concerns of my friend who'd taken her grandchildren to the feature. Though this was an animated movie many scenes were intense, frightening, and scary. Rachel and I agreed, this was not a movie suitable for young children. In fact, a mature 8-year-old would be the youngest we'd want to take to see the movie and even then it would depend.

But when previews look fun and cute and are obviously geared to the younger set, what's a parent or grandparent to do--especially during the holiday season with lots of movies offered? Where can a parent go to find out more about a movie and its suitability for family, kids or adults before heading to the movie theater? Years ago, I found and used two sites that helped me steer away from certain disasters that would have made me want to leave the theater.

The first of these was created for parents concerned about what their kids viewed. http://www.kids-in-mind.com rates movies on several levels: Sex & Nudity, Violence & Gore, and Profanity. This site takes the viewer through the movie pretty much step by step. While it may give away too much of the plot, it is a way parents and families can find movies that won't offend or be too much for the little ones. The site delineates each instance of violence, etc. so there will be no surprises. This is a factual and balanced website for parents. There is now also an app for iPad or iPhones.

The other site I often use is the the Christian-based Focus on Family's http://www.pluggedin.com movie review site. While not as specific as the Kids in Mind site, it does review in general terms the Positive Elements, Spiritual Content, Sexual Content, Violent Content, Crude or Profane Language, Drugs & Alcohol Content, and Other Negative Elements present in the movies. This site also reviews music, books, TV and games.

Kids in Mind is more specific and on point while Pluggedin is not only more general, but because reviewer differ, reviews are not always consistent. I have found if I check both sites, I have a pretty good idea whether or not I want to see a film. Both also help guide my choices for kids and grandkids.

Previews only whet the appetite for a movie. Is it suitable for you or your family? Check online to choose your movies--especially your holiday movies--with confidence.

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Flag, anthem stand for what's good in our nation
Published Kearney Hub 10/31/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Pilgrims and Puritans, escaping, abuse for who they were as people of faith, sought to find a land where they could be free to worship Jesus without restraint or persecution. They came to America.

America was a land built by a high percentage of God-fearing persons who codified the right to live and worship without abuse or restraint. The new nation grew strong because of a belief in and a reliance of God's guidance.

However, the British decided the new nation needed to be taken down. September 1914 the British fleet with Francis Scott Key aboard to negotiate the release of a friend found himself watching as the fleet bombarded Fort McHenry. All the fort had to do was lower the flag and the barrage would cease. But they knew to do so would also herald the beginning of the end for the new country. Throughout the night the barrage continued. The British wanted that flag torn to pieces, but it kept flying. It tilted but never went down.

Seeing that flag, inspired Key to pen the words of The Star Spangled Banner, the song that became our national anthem. Men were wounded and died during the burrage protecting the flag representing their new nation.

The American flag inspired soldiers to take up the cause of America to stop the South from setting up their own nation with slavery as a key component. America fought and many suffered loss to stop the awful practice of owning other human beings. In World War II, soldiers risked their lives to plant the American flag at Iwo Jima. Men and woman have died defending the American flag--the symbol of hope, faith and freedom.

Today many do not understand the flag and anthem are not symbols of oppression. They are symbols of what is good and noble about America--and there is much that is good. The anthem and flag represent the ideal, the best America can be and often is. They represent freedom for millions around the globe who still come here for what America offers. The flag represents a country founded by those who sought the right to worship. These are things to stand up for, not sit down against.

This trend to scorn the anthem and flag, I believe, comes from several factors--believing news stories that are not balanced in presentation and, often, not even accurate, and an ignorance of history. Not honoring the flag does nothing to stand against problems. Instead, it signals that these individuals, whatever their intent, are standing against all the good America represents. It also incites disrespect toward police, people and property. They stand against the brave individuals who died to hold up the flag at Fort McHenry and hurts all the families who have members who've served in the military. Especially it causes pain for those who've lost loved ones in service of their country. This silent protest against the flag further divides this nation because doing so causes deep, deep pain..

The flag and anthem represent the positives about America. Those who protest and those who condone this action are both off the mark. Too many are hurt by these protests. There are other ways to protest. There are ways to get involved not in protests, but in actual ways that make a difference. Instead of either putting down or condoning the protest of the symbols of faith and freedom that divide, hurt and anger, we need to encourage positive action.

That starts with caring, communication and working together for the good of all.

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VOTING CHOICE,A RESPONSIBILITY
Published Kearney Hub 10/17/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

We have a contentious election cycle. While we can put this down to politics as usual, there is a difference this year. This year votes count not just to put another person into office, but the direction of this nation for decades to come. Votes matter.

There is the pro and anti Hillary crowds and the same for Trump. But anger and frustration fuel all segments of the voting populace. And for good reason.

Hillary has been around for 30 years or so and she has a record of what she and Bill have done in the political and personal arena. She was an early proponent of what later became Obamacare. She made bad decisions regarding Benghazi--resulting in the loss of life. Then she and others in the administration lied about the cause, though emails showed she knew the truth. She lied to the faces of the victims’ families.

Hillary has also doubled-down on her support of Planned Parenthood, which is being investigated for criminal actions, and in her support of taking the life of unborn children all the way to birth. She is anything but pro-life. She has made it clear she will nominate judges to the Supreme Court who share her extreme views of abortion. She prefers judges who legislate from the bench and do not follow the basics of the Constitution.

Then you have Trump. He is not a politician and has had to learn to tone down his rhetoric. He is a no-nonsense guy who tells it like he sees it. While over the years, Hillary has moved left, Trump has moved right. For those who dislike him, it is easy not to look beyond the words to the man and the businessman who surrounds himself with the best and brightest, and listens. I see him doing something similar in this campaign, listening to advice from those such as Ben Carson, his VP Pence and even James Dobson. As to his temperament, he has done business deals around the world and knows how to negotiate good deals.

In case you think I was all in for Trump. No. He wasn’t either my first or even second choice. I listen. I research and dig beyond many of the twisted stories coming out of those media sources who are all-in for Hillary. (Sometimes, Trump has made this easy, but the spin gets out of control with some media sources.) For all the flaws in both candidates, this election is about one thing--the direction and even preservation of this nation. Hillary has revealed her desire to seat judges who do not hold to a value for life or the Constitution. Trump, on the other hand, has shown his short list of judges who believe in American values and seek to follow the Constitution, This election is about the judges.

A vote for Hillary will send the country in one direction. A vote for Trump will, at the very least, put someone into office who values life, values America and values small businessmen and women.

When you consider your vote, like or dislike the candidates, this election is about more than personalities. It’s about who will nominate the judges who will guide this nation for decades to come.

Whatever your political leanings, please vote.

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EMBRACING THE SEASONS OF LIFE
Hub title: Be thankful for each season of life Published 10/03/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

We all know about the seasons. Spring, summer, autumn, winter. Every season has holidays, celebrations and events specific to that season. Spring is a time of planting, growing, and the start of baseball practice across the street at the park. Summer is blinding heat, lots of baseball, swimming, vacations and a break from school. Fall is colored, falling leaves, cooler days, crickets--ugh!--and Thanksgiving. Winter is cold and snow and a blizzard or two. Winter brings the joy of Christmas and renewal in seeing in a new year. But seasons are not just tied to the time of year. There are many types of seasons.

Fall is not only about weather or the time of year. Fall also brings on the season football. For those of us in Nebraska, that means Husker football with most of us listening via radio or glued to the television on game day. Shopping during a game is almost humorous. Have you tried to find a salesperson during the game, at least one who doesn't have one ear--and most of the attention--on the game?

Parenting, too, is a season. We grow up, find that special someone, make a commitment and start a family. Parenting brings with it little sleep, wondering about sanity and doubts about raising one child, two, more...; Children are so different from our fanciful ideas of sweet kids. It is nights pacing the floor both when the kids are babies and when they are teens. We deal with all ages babies, toddlers, school age, teens, adults. Parenting has many different seasons, requiring us to learn and grow in order to help our children become caring, responsible adults. Sometimes I wondered if we'd ever get to the adult stage, but we did.

Grandparenting is also a season. It has been exciting to be part of the lives of our three grandchildren, two years apart in age, and to watch them grow into caring young people, now 16--getting into driving, 14--into music, and 12--ready for those teenage years. Scary how fast they are growing up. Seems just yesterday, Chris was that age. Soon we'll start over as our daughter is expecting. Grandparenting is a challenging and exciting season.

The four seasons of the year are only the beginning of the seasons we deal with throughout our lives. In fact, life is seldom static as one season of life morphs into another. As kids, time stretches out before us and five minutes seems like forever. What parent travelling hasn't heard the endless question, "Are we there yet?"; Yet, life doesn't wait and time begins to travel faster through each of life's seasons--teens, young adult, marriage, family,.... There are seasons of joy and anticipation as well as seasons of grief and pain. In my 60s now--and that is hard to wrap my head around--time zips instead of dawdles and often disappears before I have a chance to fully embrace it.

What I have learned through all of life's seasons is to be grateful for each moment, each day, to be thankful for family and friends, to embrace today and to live life to the fullest. Most of all, I have learned to say "Thanks!"

WELCH--MORE THAN A TEACHER
Published Kearney Hub 8/22/16
©) 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

In 1969, my parents chose to move to Kearney for one good reason--the college. Before ADA requirements, then Kearney State College was willing to see I got to classes. That concession was pretty important because, back then, I was in a wheelchair I could not wheel myself and campus was filled with curbs, steps and stairs. (We won’t even talk about the old administration building with its flights of stairs. Took three strong persons to grab my chair and get me up those stairs.) For the most part, with some big exceptions, this worked out as teachers and students helped get me from class to class. (One teacher even changed the location of his class because of me.)

One of the classes I signed up for was a poetry class. After all, I was a writer and planned to write as my career. When the teacher, Don Welch, walked into class, I sat up. He entered with a smile and took in each student. My wheelchair didn’t bother him one bit. What was important to him was what he could stuff into our brains, challenge us and how he could help us enjoy that journey.

One of my most vivid memories came on a Friday afternoon when everyone was tired and waiting for the week to end. Mr. Welch entered the classroom arms piled high with our assigned work he’d already graded. He took one look at our dull, spaced out stares and lifted an eyebrow. A moment later, everyone blinked and sat up as he threw the entire stack of papers into the air. As the papers plopped back to the ground exhaustion disappeared, as Don knew it would, and we were ready for the class.

His classes were fun, innovative and challenging. He taught me how to consider words carefully, use them wisely and sparingly to share my ideas in unique ways.

After college, we bumped into each other now again at college, city events or conferences. He was excited to know surgery had allowed me to leave the wheelchair behind. There were times I called with questions. I counted him as a friend. When I coordinated seminars and conferences through the years, I knew they were always better with him in them and he was more than willing to be a guest speaker or to lead a workshop.

Don Welch was unfailingly real, humble, yet as a teacher, willing to inform and challenge. He will be greatly missed. Now...if only we could clone him.

Illustration: Summer barbeque

YRTC PICNIC--REGULAR PEOPLE
Kearney Hub title: I rediscovered regular folks at YRTC picnic
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Sometimes we start believing those who work with at-risk or incarcerated youth are somehow different from the rest of us. But those who work at facilities, like YRTC, for those who've broken the law are regular people. They have dreams and goals. They have spouses and families. They laugh, get frustrated and cry. Often work isolates them.

Years ago when Keith and I were starting our family, he had already been working up at the "hill"; as many still call the Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment Center (YRTC) for several years. The facility held get-togethers, some formal and some informal, where men talked shop, football or something else, while we women asked and gave suggestions and advice about pregnancy and raising our kids. In other words, we were friends.

But things changed, the program changed and staff left until few of the original group remained. Our children grew up and left home. When meeting old friends at the grocery store or other store, we'd reminisce about the time when we were a group of friends who, at times, hung out together.

This summer, the new Facility Administrator, Mark LaBouchardiere decided a picnic was in order. One Saturday, many of the staff got together at Cottonmill Park for hot dogs, hamburgers, beans, chips and condiments. It was simple and practical and fun--especially since many of us chose to remain inside the stone cabin to enjoy food, fellowship and air conditioning. Others chose the picnic tables outside where they could enjoy the scene of a placid lake, fishermen and the gentle breeze whispering through the trees.

But this wasn't only staff. Hearkening back to those long ago days, the picnic was for families. We got introduced to spouses and children and even grandchildren. There was laughter and conversation and playing peekaboo with a toddler. It was regular people taking time away from work, bonding and enjoying the summer, food, casual interaction with friends and co-workers.

After we ate, Keith introduced me to the new Facility Administrator, Mark LaBouchardiere. I asked him how he felt about his new job. He said the goals of the places he has worked are basically the same so he isn't finding a steep learning curve in learning the job at the Kearney facility. What he has found disconcerting is the depth of the political side of the job.

He made it clear, he wanted to be open and transparent about the operations at YRTC. I like that. I also like that he brought back an opportunity for staff to get to know one another better outside of the stress of the work environment.

I hope this picnic and LaBouchardiere's approach is only the beginning of making YRTC a place that works with the community, enables and encourages staff to reach the goal of the facility--to seek to help young men become law-abiding citizens.

I am encouraged.

PROPERTY VALUTATION PROTEST--NOT SO SCARY
Published 2016 August 1st Kearney Hub
© 2016 Carolyn R. Scheidies

I love our house. It is a one level, no stairs house south of Collins Park built to accommodate my limitations. We live in a quiet neighborhood with houses similar to ours, as well as houses that have been moved in and renovated. Close by are Habitat houses.

In the last couple of years, there has been no particular upswing in building or renovations. (In fact, our house needs some repainting and refurbishing.) Every year, we put money aside from each paycheck to pay for our property tax. Last year we received a shock. The valuation of our house increased by a whooping $28,020---jumping from $81, 320 to $109,340 in one year. The tax increase also took a swallow or two.

However, my brother, a contractor, mentioned that Kearney property values had been undervalued for years and many properties were being adjusted to correct valuation. While there were those last year, and rightly so in some cases, who protested their property valuation increases, we did not.

This year our property valuation increased to $131,005. That's another $21,665 increase. Are you kidding me! In two years our property valuation increased a total of $49,685--more than we originally paid for our house in 1979. This year we protested.

Protesting was a bit scary. I am not a fan of forms and paperwork. But I downloaded the form and began to fill it out. Some things were not obvious. Thankfully, a friend and neighbor was also protesting her valuation so we worked together to dig up the information we needed about valuations and selling prices of other houses in our area. It didn't hurt that her brother had already been looking at houses a couple of streets away.

Once I filled out the form, I did what I do best, write up the reasons why I believed our valuation should be decreased significantly. Keith took the paperwork in before the deadline and we waited notice of when to attend a hearing. I tried not to think about it. Then we received our notice. I was a bit nervous when we showed up at the courthouse, found the boardroom, entered and took a seat.

At the front of the room was a long, high, intimidating desk-like structure behind which sat those who would decide our case. The tension eased when one of those turned out to be a friend from long-ago college days.

We scarcely sat down when we were called up. I'd brought my folder and was ready to answer questions. Instead there was silence. I glanced up to see them going over what we'd submitted earlier. The next words were that they agreed and lowered the valuation to what I’d suggested. We were in and out within five minutes. They agreed. We won. Almost in shock, I walked to the car.

I am thankful for local representatives who listen and act. Protesting turned out not to be so scary after all.

Snakes slither back into my life again
Published Kearney Hub 7/18/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies
Snake Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online, royalty free ...
Snakes have their place and were created to function in this environment. As long as that is outside. Unfortunately, sometimes these less-than-cuddly creatures find their way into buildings. A barn, a garage, maybe that’s not so bad, but in the house? No way!

I’ve had my battles with snakes getting into our house. I’ve found snakes sneaking in the front door. I’ve found them along the wall and even discovered a little one escorting me down the hallway--at night. But we’ve tried had hard to find  entry places and plug them up. The era of snakes in this house was over--or so I thought.

Recently, while I made waffles in the kitchen, I began hearing sounds. Some sort of bug, I guessed, since the sound wasn’t all that loud. I glanced around a bit, but saw nothing out of the ordinary.  

I needed to leave for a moment. That’s when I heard  a sound I recognized. I heard the scrape of a plastic ant trap, I knew it was in the corner by the door to the garage. I didn’t see any ants. Nope. I  watched a snake stretch out, all foot and a half, in front  of the garage door. It appeared to wriggle out from under the baseboard. 

Before I could do anything, it slithered behind the frig to behind the stove. Okay then.  Now what? I have learned snakes don’t much like salt. I grabbed salt and poured a heavy line down in front of the stove. I opened the garage door a little bit, there is a small step down. Then I poured more salt this side of the door. This gave the snake a way out without encountering the irritating salt barrier.

I finished in the kitchen and took my nap. Two hours later, I returned. No sign that anything, much less a snake had crossed the salt barrier. I hoped it found  it’s way into the garage. 

I cleaned up most of the salt, though I left some behind the fridge. So far, no disturbance. I’m hoping this snake is gone. If not, I’ll be getting another surprise one of these days. 

I’m beginning to think my summers aren’t complete without at least one snake adventure. After I got the courage last year to throw one out with one of my hooks, I no longer panic. Guess that’s a good thing.

I’m getting more creative. Still, I hope one snake adventure is it for me this year. 

You’re a hero, Madison, my hero
Published in the Kearney Hub 7/4/16
(C) 2016  Carolyn R Scheidies

Today, many, including political candidates, champion the cause of abortion. Women are told a preborn child is little more than a blob of tissue.Yet, early in the development stage, preborn babies have a beating heart and a functioning brain. They move, look like babies and hear the voice of their mothers. Very early on they also feel pain.

Other than cases of rape, babies come to be because of the mother's choices. Yet once the little one is on the way, some woman think twice about having a baby. Freedom to them means doing what they wish without considering consequences to themselves or to the little one growing inside. One reason given is convenience. Sorry, but there is never a convenient time to have a child.

Others think it is ok to rid themselves of a child because it isn't the right gender or for other nebulous reasons. The one reason heard most often is the one dealing with disability. Shouldn't a person be able to get rid of a less than perfect child?  Wouldn't the child be better off? Since when is being ripped to pieces in the womb better off than living the best life of which they’re capable? This isn't kindness. This is either ignorance, selfishness or fear.

Those who abort these less than perfect little ones miss so much. They miss discovering how very special these little ones are. They miss the smiles, the hugs and kisses. They miss the innate kindness and sensitivity.

Recently my family got together at Yanny Heritage Park. My sister Karin arrived from Kansas with her daughter in law Deanna and her five little girls. The oldest, Madison at eleven, flashes an amazing smile that warms the room.

Deanna and Jeremy fought for this little girl's life from the very beginning. She was not only delicate healthwise, but also a Downs Syndrome baby. Legally, they could have terminated her life before birth. Instead they welcomed her.

That evening at the Mitzi Pavilion, Madison came up to me and asked, "Are you OK?"

Karin explained that two years ago when I was hospitalized for a long time, she and Madison prayed for me. This time I'd fallen and my arm was in a sling. I smiled. "Yes. I am fine."

Every little while throughout the evening, Madison asked the same question. Each time, I smiled back and repeated my answer. Later I stayed out of the way while others cleaned up. All I wanted to do was go home.

At that point, Madison stopped in front of me. This time, she cocked her head and softly asked, "Are you in pain?"

I nodded. "Yes." She nodded back and did not ask again. The acknowledgement made me blink back tears. Of all the adults and children in that room, only one sensed my pain.

That one is considered "less than" by medical persons, politicians and many others. Yet Madison showed me caring, concern and sensitivity.

Madison is one of my heroes. How many blessings our family would have missed out on without her. How much many others miss out because they chose to terminate a child, often leaving scars that never heal?

Time we rethink the rush to terminate the most innocent and vulnerable among us. The most inconvenient and imperfect among us teach us to be less self-centered and more caring as individuals and as a culture. Most of all they teach us to embrace the wonder of life.

Lessons we learn from kids
2016 June 20 Kearney Hub title: Thank you, helpful young man
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

I saw interviews where some Trump rally "protesters"--many in late teens or early twenties-- were paid $2,500 dollars to disrupt the rally. That is sad enough. Later I watched children screaming obscenities at Trump, backed up with hand gestures. I wonder about the parents of such out of control children.

Too often, the media captures the worst in behaviors, while much of what is good about America and this generation seldom gets into the news. There is another side to America's next generations.

Mid April, I did it again. I tripped. This time my shoe caught on the carpet and I had no way to stop myself. My shoulder showed my descent by slamming against the edge of the dining room table. I tried to lever myself back to my feet, but could not get my feet under me.. I ended up under the table, my glasses askew, my arm useless, trying to use my phone without seeing the numbers.

Eventually, my brother Paul and sister-in-law Lorene came to my rescue and called the ambulance. Before long, I was on my way to the hospital. Only this time I didn’t have to stay. By the time the x rays showed a broken shoulder, my husband Keith had arrived after Lorene called him at work.

Surgery is risky in my case so that was off the table. Instead, I was fitted with a sling and, after a couple of hours, sent home to recover. That came slow. After all, I have lots of limitations and I generally use both arms to accomplish things. I was one short and it was my right arm.

The Kearney Hub is delivered to our door. I always ask that it be as close to the door as possible. Since I cannot bend down, I often kick the paper inside and use a long hook to grab the rubber band so I can lift it up. That takes some manipulation.

One afternoon I went out to get the paper. Nothing was going well. Neither trying to get a purchase to kick it without tripping or using my hook was working. Before I gave up, an elementary-age boy, riding by on his bike, ditched his bike near the curb. He didn't know me and I didn't know him, but he came right up, asked to help and picked up the paper for me.

Before I could respond with more than a smile and a "Thank you." the young man was back on his bike, riding away. He expected nothing for his quick, decisive kindness. He saw a need and did something, something positive.

The national media often shows us the worst, but America doesn't exist because of media stories. America is about regular people who raise their kids with the values that stand the test of time--one of which is teaching kindness that reaches out to a stranger in need. I am grateful for young people like the one who helped me.

Maybe there is hope for America after all.

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The value of silence
Kearney Hub title: Silence is unheard of--mostly (Publ. 6/6/16)
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

It scarcely registered when my husband got out of bed during the night. It was a small sound. I heard, and knew, but it didn’t disturb my sleep. It was too small on the sound radar.

We live across from a busy park that is well into the softball season. Our bedroom faces the park and lights and sound filter across the street into the house. At times, games go on after we’re in bed. During games, cars clog the road in front of the house. Because of the park, it is a well used road. I hear children laughing, talking, calling to one another as they play at the park. Dogs bark. Those are good sounds and I smile.

This time of year, I also hear birds chirping, and frown at the buzz of the flies. Grr. I am not looking forward to ants, flies and other assorted insects that seek entrance during the warmer months. Many of them having their own ways to vocalize.

My world is filled with sound, not just from outside and not only from insects. But we miss some sounds that surround us on a regular basis. It happened that night. As my eyes closed and I snuggled under the covers, they suddenly flew open again. What? What was that? What did I hear? 

Then it dawned. I heard nothing. I peeked at the large face clock by the window. It was dark. Everything was dark. No light shone in the window from park lights. Everything was dark...and quiet. It was as though the world fell away. The house was eerily silent. 

There it was. A thunder crash, but even these were few. For some reason, the electricity had gone off. It doesn’t happen often, not even during winter storms. For us, no electricity means no phone. I got up to get my cell and turn it on, just in case. I glanced outside windows front and back. Darkness. Stillness. 

I listened more closely. Gone the slight buzz from technology in the house. The TV box, Keith’s laptop setup, the freezer and refrigerator, even lights. Lights off on equipment signalled their “off” position.  And silence. I revelled in that silence. While most don’t seem to hear those low sounds, sometimes I am unable to screen them out and they bother me. But that night, in the darkness all was quiet. 

We surround ourselves with activities, work, and technology, always staying in contact until we have no time to think, to dream, to be. Is it any wonder stress is up and satisfaction with life hard to come by? The electricity would soon be back on, along with all the usual sounds and sights of the neighborhood and our house. A relief in many ways.

Yet, silence is not a bad thing. We need more it. Maybe it is time to sometimes clear the schedule, close down the computer and phone. Letting go technology time stealers frees us to hear the birds chirp and the joy of children’s laughter. Frees us to read, to think, to dream, to pray--and simply to be still and listen. 

Even imperfect moms make a difference
Published in Kearney Hub 5/9/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies
Moms, inlaws, friends 2013
As moms, as much as we might wish otherwise, we’re not perfect. Some days, we’d like to bury our heads in our hands or run away because we feel so overwhelmed and with a so-not-doing-this-right feeling. Where’s the book that deals with those very real situations that come up in parenting? You know, the ones that seem out of the Twilight Zone. 

Those books on parenting never shared how difficult the task of mothering can be. The books are good for basics of care, but I don’t recall reading I wouldn’t get a decent night’s sleep for two years after Chris was born or that Cassie would want to nurse and cuddle far beyond the time Chris waved a hand, at 18 months, and let me know he was done. 

Books didn’t tell me some kids ignore any discipline and do what they want, while another sibling starts sobbing if you look at them sideways. For all the frustrations, motherhood is filled with those moments when that little one wraps arms around your neck and gives a slobbery kiss. “I love you.” Those moment make everything worthwhile, as do watching children grow up to succeed in life. They do so even though moms are imperfect and parents are imperfect, because human beings are imperfect. 

I sometimes look back and wish I’d done some things differently. Still, our two turned out despite my mistakes and imperfections. 

I loved and respected my parents, but my mother really struggled with discipline. She could threaten, but not carry out that threat. She let dad do that. I took advantage of that weakness. Only later did I discover what I thought of as a weakness in my mother to be exploited, stemmed from childhood trauma from over-the-top discipline that slipped into abuse at times. That made me sick to my stomach. 

Still, I don’t think I truly learned that parents are people first, until we had our own kids. That sure turned on the light for me. I realized how far from the perfect parent I was and how far from perfect my parents were as well. Yet, for all the dysfunction in her home as a child, my mother didn’t dwell on her past. Instead, she loved us, taught us about faith, hard work, family--and music. She was a musician who often accompanied my pastor father with piano, autoharp or accordion. That music found its way down to my son and grandchildren, all of whom are into music. 

My mother showed her love in gifts she sewed, candles she created, and poems she wrote to let us know she loved us. She used her abilities to show love and care. 

I tried to teach our two they were loved, not just by family, but also by the God who created them. However imperfect, letting our children know they are loved is the best gift we can give them. As children and as long as our parents live, we can reflect that love back in visits, calls, cards--care and prayer. We can also show that love to those around us who may not have family near.

My most wonderful discovery: the library
Published Kearney Hub 4/25/2016
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

I remember the first time I got to take a book home from the small library in our first grade class. I was sooo excited to be a “reader.” Our folks read to us early on and I wanted to know what those black marks on the page meant. I learned the alphabet before entering school and even knew how to go down the letters rhyming with “at”-- bat, cat, sat,,…. 

But to actually read a whole book. I sat on my dad’s lap with that first book and read it to him-- twice. 

At the time, we lived in the Siren, Wisconsin where my dad, a pastor, had a church. That church was not far from downtown and not far from the small white building with the words LIBRARY on the front. One day my older sister Karin told me to come with her. Usually, she didn’t voluntarily let me tag along with her. I could tell from her demeanor a surprise was in store. And it was. 

She led me up the stairs and into that sacred place called “Library.” The sight and smell of all those books was heady indeed. Everywhere I looked were shelves and shelves of books from floor to ceiling, or almost. 

Karin whispered, “Be quiet”. She need not have issued the warning. I was already awed. Slowly I walked around. She pointed out books for my age and I looked and looked. Reverently, I fingered spines and sometimes carefully pulled out a book. 

Karin let me know I needed to choose a book. I did, a colorful, oversized book with the princess and the pea story. After Karin showed me how to check it out, I tucked it under my arm, threw back my shoulders and all but floated home. Even more exciting, Karin told me that when I finished this book, I could take out another. 

When we lived in a very small oil town in Wyoming, the library was 30 miles away. I was such a quick read and we lived so far away, the librarians allowed me to check out twice as many books as usually allowed. I finished them all long before we again headed to the library. Books were my friends. Books challenged me, taught me, entertained me. 

When my family first arrived in Kearney I was in a wheelchair. The city library then had narrow steps inside that my father negotiated to get me into that magical place. Later, after I had all the reconstructive surgery to walk again and was married, Keith and I spent many afternoons in the, then, new accessible library. Back then, I did much of my book/article research during those long afternoons. 

I love using the Internet for information and, now, I do most of my research using online sources. Still, nothing can replace the wonder of the library. In the library you don’t have to know precisely for what you search. You can wander and look and find a new topic, a new author, new information to enrich your life. Yet, today, libraries offer books and more for the whole family. I 

I am thankful not only for libraries, but also for staff and volunteers that keep libraries special places to visit. If you haven’t, check out your local library and find a whole new wonderful world of reading, seeing and adventure.

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Age isn’t excuse to act like fools
Published by Kearney Hub 4/11/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

More and more on social media, I find graphics posted with pictures and text about what those of us getting up in years should be able to do. These range from sweet and sentimental to somewhat off color to downright risqué. I don’t mind those about loving, even spoiling, our grandkids. But I do take issue with others. 

According to some graphics, at a certain age it is alright to say whatever it is you want to say--that includes language my mother would have threatened a mouth full of soap if I used such words in her hearing. It is alright to dress and look however you want to look, whether this is sloppy or like some twenty-something gone badly wrong. It is even alright to behave in ways you spent your life raising children NOT to do. 

In other words, seniors have some sort of “right” to do, say and behave in ways they themselves would have found irresponsible and destructive when they were younger, raising children or in the workforce. One of these graphics shows an older couple jumping off a pier in the all-together. I don’t remember the text with this, but the image is imprinted in my mind.  

The implication is that throwing off all restraints is somehow freeing and fun. Maybe it is a thumbing-the-nose gesture to a culture that worship all that is young. Billions are spent helping Americans look young. But we do age. The example we set doesn’t stop because we’ve reached a certain age. We can’t be five-years-old again.

Just as with any other time in our lives, our choices matter. Not just to ourselves, to also to our children and grandchildren, other family and friends. Many seniors have done wonderful things. Instead of focusing inward, they focused outward--starting businesses--ie Colonel Sanders, going on missionary trips, assisting in schools, reading to children in the library, even greeting customers in stores. 

One thing I admired in researching Native American populations was the respect they showed their elders. As they aged, others sought out the wealth of their experiences and knowledge. They were the wise ones of the tribe and afforded due respect. As a culture, we do not respect our seniors. We place them in a category of senile, old fashion or not worth listening. 

Why should we buy into this image by our actions? The attitude that I have the right to do anything I wish no matter what, highlights the worst, not the best, of who we are. It is an attitude of selfishness. At every age, how I present myself, how I behave and what I say has consequences for good or ill. Is it fun if others watch me and follow an example I don’t wish them to follow? The result can be tragedy, loss of respect and sadness. 

I’d rather leave a legacy of wisdom, rather than foolishness--a legacy of a life well-lived, of a positive outlook on life, wisdom, faith and hope. I want my children and grandchildren to know Gramma loved them well, prayed for them daily and offered words of wisdom, encouragement and hope. 

Easter more than a holiday
Published Kearney Hub 3/24/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Easter has become a big holiday. The amount of candy purchased probably rivals that of Halloween. Easter baskets have become a mainstay of the holiday--the bigger the better. Add to the baskets, Easter eggs hunts, with those plastic eggs filled with, what else--candy. Cadbury Egg ads fill the airways during the Easter season with the Cadbury bunny. Don’t see many ads for them the rest of the year. Why eggs at Easter?

Easter is also the time stores show off their clothing, knowing that Easter often means new outfits for the whole family. The purchase of new clothes were originally meant for the Easter church service, but has become another Easter tradition--even for those not attending Easter services. Stores love showing off new dresses, shirts, slacks and shoes. Why Easter for a new outfit?

While Easter has become little more than another day of fashion, food and family, Easter is rich in meaning and traditions and is appropriately celebrated in the spring. Easter is about life, about new life, renewal and resurrection. 

Easter is the joyous celebration that there is a God who created each of us and who loves us so much--even when we mess up--that his son, Jesus, entered our reality. He gave up everything to live like his creation. Even the writings of the secular scribes of the day make note that Jesus existed. He cared about others. He healed and preached a message of forgiveness, hope and salvation. 

But not everyone liked his popularity with the common people or his message. The church leaders, along with the Roman overlords, lied about him and incited the crowd against him. Good Friday commemorates the day Jesus was tried, found guilty, sentenced, tortured and hung on a cross to die. He explained he died to take the place of all those wrong things we do. He didn’t have to die. 

That’s what Easter is about--life.  It is a day of celebration because Jesus, as he and Old Testament prophets predicted, rose again. He’s alive! God is not dead. He is here, near to hear and help His own. Many witnessed the living Lord. Even the secular government could not deny that truth. Jesus chose to die and live again for you and me, to offer forgiveness and new life for those who ask. 

Though lost in tradition, new clothes symbolize the putting on a new person, and those eggs symbolize the resurrection. For all the fun family memories of the Easter, let’s also remember God’s sacrifice and rejoice. We’re never truly alone for Jesus is alive and only a prayer away--not just at Easter, but on every day of the year. 

Time, talent, taxes and thanks
Published Kearney Hub 2/29/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

When I was little, I loved January. I went sledding or skating. I built snow forts, snowmen and made snow angels. Most of all, I loved January because it was my birth month. My parents, especially mom, made a big deal out of birthdays. She baked a cake and I had birthday parties. I always got to choose my favorite meal for supper. 

Then I grew up and there were taxes. As in other years, I started the new year with some trepidation. As a writer, the first thing I need to deal with is my sales tax form. As the new year starts, I start going through my records to figure out what I owe the state in sales tax. I don’t like deadlines hanging over me. Too much stress. This year, for the first time, I filled out sales tax form and was confident enough to send it out without calling first and having someone from the Nebraska Department of Revenue go over it with me to make sure I did it correctly. 

Once that was done, I am already knee deep into the process. After all, I want to get our taxes done as soon as possible. Over the years, I’ve developed a file system that works with instead of against me and that helps. It also helps I can call all our doctors, dentists, specialists and medical facilities to get an account of what we paid out. Big help! 

I've developed two forms to input information--one for family and one for my writing. This helps lay everything out. In a folder, I place required documentation. Things went pretty smoothly this year. By my birthday on the 24th, I had most information needed. I could relax a bit and enjoy my birthday until the rest of the documentation came through first part of February. 

Once I have all the information, I do not do our taxes. Years ago, I used Turbo Tax, which is an excellent program, but I came up with questions no one has ever heard before. Stress levels were up and over the moon. That was it. My talents do not include MATH! Calculator please. For the next years, we used several professional sources for our taxes. But doing so got more expensive every year, considering what we got back. One did not balance out the other. 

That’s when our daughter stepped up. She actually likes doing taxes, a change of pace from her counseling practice. She does our taxes. I am so glad she actually enjoys the process. I am thankful that though I have to spend time putting all the records together, I don’t have to actually DO the taxes, nor do I have to take them to someone who doesn’t know us.

 For the first time in many years, getting things together went smoothly and January was more than stress. I am grateful for our daughter. But, from someone who is NOT a math or tax wizard, I also give thanks to all who take the burden of taxes from the rest of us. Thanks!


Carly’s Valentine Project of Love
Hub Title: Teaching the value of reaching out Published 2/15/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Eleven-year-old Carly Glomstad, from near Minneapolis, MN, busily found sponsors and stuffed goody bags for Valentine’s Day. She spent weeks making contacts and putting things together. She takes goody bags to the elderly, the developmentally disabled and many more. She brings not only a Valentine treat, but also conversation and a hug. 

Last year she raised almost $6,000 she used for 640 goody bags and, with what she received above what is needed for her basic bags, she provided critical supplies to several non-profits. She visits child care centers, a residence for cancer patients who need to be close to treatment, several assisted living residences, and a residence for the developmentally disabled. 

Carly didn’t come up with this outreach this year. She has been expanding her Valentine project every year for eight years. Eight years. Her mother Tina told me that each year she and her husband ask her if she still wants to continue. Every year she is ready to go, even though this outreach takes lots of time, effort, and coordination that starts weeks before Valentine’s Day.

Eight years ago, on her fourth birthday, she received a copy of the book, "Love, Ruby Valentine" by Laurie B. Friedman. Tina read her the story of a little girl who makes Valentine goody bags for those in her town as a way to tell them, “I love you.” At the end of the story, Carly asked her mom if she could do that, too. 

Her mother said she could, but that they lived in a large city and would have to figure out where to go. Tina was sure what with Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas, her daughter would forget all about her idea. But little Carly did not forget and kept bringing up the idea until her parents took her seriously. They started figuring out how to make her idea happen. 

Goody bags they could do. Where could they go? Carly herself suggested a place like where they visited her grandma--an assisted living facility. Tina called a nearby facility and found skepticism. A four-year-old? The facility suggested that Tina bring Carly in to meet a resident or two and see how she did. To everyone’s surprise, the little four-year-old walked right up to the residents, conversed and gave hugs. Those doors swung wide open and so began Carly’s project of bringing not just the gift of a goody bag, but also her warmth, smile and hugs. 

Little Carly quickly became a fixture at assisted living facilities. Tina said that some of the long-time residents keep her picture up in their rooms and even write her notes. 

As the project grew from the savings in Carly’s piggy bank, family and friends started donating to the project. When the work of stuffing the bags grew, Carly’s school class, girl scout troup and others stepped in to assist. 

Eight years later, Carly still goes around offering time, hugs and goody bags to let, often forgotten individuals, know she loves them. Tina says though the Valentine project takes time and effort for the whole family, Carly has taught them the value of reaching out with that personal connection. 

Who knew that a book read to a four-year-old would become a long-term project from a little girl who responded to a need with love. Carly isn’t some Internet story I read. Carly is the granddaughter of my first cousin Nancy. Each year, I am privileged, by way of a donation, to help Carly with her project. I am proud to call her “family.” (For more about Carly and her project: www.carlyvalentine.com )

What can we do to reach out?

When the Bullied Become the Bullies
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies
No Bullying Zone Clip Art at Clker.com - vector clip art online ...
Bullying is a hot button issue. No one wants to be the target of bullying. However, those most bullied today are not always the segment of the population you hear about in the news. 

Let’s face it, the prevailing lifestyles have become a “thou shalt not question” issue. Despite tradition, all sorts of life experience and studies to the contrary, no discussion is allowed. Those who question are intimidated, persecuted and made to feel “less than.” If it happens in a work environment, those who do not go along with the prevailing acceptance, may find themselves forced to apologize for an opinion and to take “sensitivity” training. Businesses are fined or even shut down if owners do not wish to cater certain wedding events due to Biblical values. Those holding traditional and Biblical values are, in effect, bullied into silence, into losing business, into not being able to provide for their families.

This is also the case for those who do not buy into the alarmist environmental concerns about humans being the problem rather than the solution. Those who disagree, those who believe in a young earth and cycles of weather change, including dissenting scientists, are bullied into silence. They are called outrageous names and shamed, if possible, into changing their tune. In essence, they are bullied.

So what is bullying. According to About.com, “Bullying is intentional aggressive behavior. It can take the form of physical or verbal harassment…” The World English Dictionary at Dictionary.com defines a bully as, “a person who hurts, persecutes, or intimidates weaker people."

This defines those who will not accept another point of view. Tolerance is accepting someone even when one disagrees with them. This word was hijacked by those who declare anyone who disagrees with their position are “intolerant” as opposed to simply holding a different opinion or worldview. 

These days often conservatives and Christians come under fire. A few years ago, Duck Dynasty almost lost their show because one of the family members, a Christian, declared his views on sexuality and marriage? David and Jason Benham lost their opportunity to expand what they do--help deserving families get a home--with their own HGTV show. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/08/showbiz/tv/benham-brothers-hgtv/index.html)

The two brothers help families to buy and fix up homes. Yet HGTV was bullied by the homosexual lobby, because the brothers hold a Biblical perspective on sex and marriage. There was no concern about the families who would have benefitted from the show. 

A video on Youtube showed Dan Savage, a supposed anti-bullying promoter, bullying Christian students attending the seminar to the point many walked out at his vicious language and attacks. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ao0k9qDsOvs&feature=player_embedded) 

School administrators have punished Christian students for holding a Biblical viewpoint. (I’ve written about this in the past.) We need to be careful about getting on any bandwagon that sounds good until we know what is truly being promoted. Unfortunately, today’s bully campaigns are often against those who believe in Creation, believe in God, believe in marriage between a man and a women and actually follow what the Bible teaches. That said, whoever is being bullied, it is not ok and it is not ok to respond in kind. 

We can make sure we do not act in hate and hurt others. We can, instead, set an example of standing for our rights, without name calling, without seeking to tear others down and by reaching out to all people with caring and kindness and truth. 

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Real Love blesses others
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

February is the month we celebrate Valentine’s Day, the holiday of love and romance. The ads start weeks before the holiday on February 14th. There are ads for getaways, coupons for special dinners at restaurants. There are ads for those gifts--usually red, pink and white--to give to that special someone in your life. Ads for flower arrangements abound as well as the chocolate ads--large chocolate hearts and small, exclusive chocolates in fancy boxes. The gifts, we’re told, will show our love--to partner, spouse, child, parents or other special people in our lives. 

But flowers fade and chocolates add frustrating pounds that must then be worked off through diet and exercise. Romance is a momentary feeling, all about fluttering eyelashes and flowers, but love is more than romance. Love is more than showing up on a holiday with a present--however lovely or desired. Love is even more than physical intimacy. 

Real love makes a commitment to invest in the relationship with time and effort. Love is sharing, caring and being there for the long-term. Love is hanging in there and working things through when there are problems, illnesses, loss of physical attractiveness through age or accident. It is seeing beyond the surface to the individual beneath. (For clarification, I am not talking about clear abuse situations.) 

What we say and do matters. Screaming and cursing at our spouse, kids family or friends is not caring, is not kindness and is not love. Selfishness is not love. Love is not all about me or manipulation. 

Instead, love sees the best in the other person and does whatever is possible to lift up and show support. A loving parent encourages a child in their talents and abilities and assists them to work on those things they are not as quick to pick up. A spouse and good friends encourage rather than discourage. Sometimes love means challenging someone who is off track. It can mean helping them accomplish dreams, but doing so with consideration of family, budget and reality. 

Real love stands up for right, while listening and being willing to compromise, working together toward solutions. Love doesn’t turn and walk away because things are difficult. Love is the very essence of who Jesus is.

The passage from 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (GW version) says it best. “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t jealous. It doesn’t sing its own praises. It isn’t arrogant. It isn’t rude. It doesn’t think about itself. It isn’t irritable. It doesn’t keep track of wrongs. It isn’t happy when injustice is done, but it is happy with the truth. Love never stops being patient, never stops believing, never stops hoping, never gives up. Love never comes to an end..”

As we celebrate this month, let’s strive not for that perfect gift,  but to be a person who loves well through our attitude, our words and our actions. 

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Click picture to go to National Right to Life Web Site

The real Planned Parenthood
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

Almost everyone has heard of Planned Parenthood (PP). This organization, which is supposed to be a non-profit, touts itself as a place organizations, schools and individuals can go to find information and help with reproductive, maternal and child health services. They maintain an image of caring, kindness and a place to help women with needs. The truth is far different. 

Though a “non-profit, Planned Parenthood raked in, according to a recent ACLJ fact sheet,  “$127 million in excess revenue and $1.4 billion in net assets.” 

Planned Parenthood (PP) talks about how they provide care for women, and they do provide some other services, but these pale in comparison to their fundamental core purpose--abortion. For all their claims to the contrary, these “other” services make up a mere 6% of the services provided. What services make up the major portion, a whopping 94% of services provided? Abortion! Abortion is the main business of Planned Parenthood. 

PP will refer for adoption on occasion. However, every single adoption referral is followed by 174 abortions. This means that Planned Parenthood dispenses one abortion every 95 seconds and they do so around the clock. Consider how many pre-born babies lose their lives due to PP every day, every month, every year. 

According to Lifesite News, “Planned Parenthood performed 323,999 abortions and received $553.7 million from U.S. taxpayers during the 2014-2015 fiscal year, according to its most recent annual report.”

These aborted babies are little human beings who could grow up to contribute to society, find cures for diseases, and help ease the suffering of others. But these little ones will never grow up, thousands and thousands of lives thrown away in the name of "business as usual." PP’s president, Cecile Richards says, “We’re proud.” 

She is proud of an organization that provides abortion by the thousands. She is proud of heading up an organization that supports the gruesome process of partial-birth abortion in which a viable baby is delivered backward until only the head remains inside. The child is then stabbed in the back of the head with scissors to open a hole.The baby’s brain is suctioned out, killing the little one. These little ones are alive and feel pain during this procedure. Yet the head of PP is proud. 

PP supports gender and race selection abortion. It even supports killing a baby accidentally born alive after an abortion. PP parenthood stands for absolutely unlimited abortion. 

Why does this matter to you or me? Because PP forces you and me to partner with them in their gruesome death business. Did you realize they receive over 41% of their funds from us--the US taxpayer? We help fund this business to the tune of $553.7 million. This breaks down to over $1.4 million each and every day. 

So what can we do? Contact your elected leaders and ask them to stop funding an organization that deals in death and that certainly should not be supported by the hard-earn money of the American taxpayer. Also, support those places, such as Crisis Pregnancy Centers, that support life not death and do so with love and compassion.

Link to resource for above article-1:

Link to resource for above article-2:

*WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?
(c) 2003, 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

What type of society do we have when we applaud individuals and groups that take or advocate the taking of the lives of those unable to defend themselves?

What type of culture applauds the woman who chooses to destroy her preborn child; applauds parents who choose death for their disabled infant or severely disabled child? What kind of people have we become to stand by while relatives and guardians of severely injured or elderly patients get court approval to withdraw from their ‟loved ones” the basic elements of nutrition and water, relegating these helpless individuals to slow, painful deaths by starvation and deprivation?

As we stand apathetically by while the innocent and helpless are systematically terminated, we herald the belief that not only are some lives worth more than others, but also that the worth of each individual is not inherent. The value of human life depends, then, on the valuation placed on us by a fickle society. Is the cost to keep one alive more than an arbitrary valuation placed upon that person by society? Is the cost of keeping them alive and comfortable more than they are worth?

If society places the valuation, what about you and I? Do we contribute enough to pay our dues to society? For how long? Is economic criteria the best, the only, deciding factor in the decision whether or not to allow a person to live? 

As the innocent are sacrificed on the altar of selfishness and the greed of materialism and personal lifestyle, where is the loving, self-sacrifice of accommodating to changing circumstances of birth or illness. Where is love, compassion, the joy of giving? Where is growth through adversity? Where is the inherent worth of a soul? 

This is not the time for apathy, but for action. It is the time to cry out against crimes against the most vulnerable among us through letters, votes, action and prayer.

It is time to once more rejoice in the worth and dignity of each human life, that of the preborn, the disabled, the elderly, mine...yours.

The restaurant difference and respect for others
Life Full Of Memories ♥: June 2011
Hub title: As restaurant customer, my special order matters to me Published 1/4/16
© 2016 Carolyn R Scheidies

The second of every month since we got married in 1974, my husband and I celebrate. Usually that means eating out. One second a few months ago, Keith who usually gets off at 8:30 pm and home by 9, was able to take a bit of time off. He picked me up around 7 pm. and drove across town to a newer restaurant in north Kearney. 

I could see there were empty tables, yet some people still waited. The place wasn’t overly crowded, but there was a steady stream of individuals and families who desired to enjoy the food. We were soon seated in a booth. 

As I have a list of food sensitivities, I try to think of food that will not be a hassle for the chef. Their gluten-free pasta with white sauce is delicious, but takes loads of time. I usually call ahead to let them know when we’ll arrive. I wasn’t going for pasta. I thought in terms of quick and easy. 

I ordered mashed potatoes with peas and cheese on it. I figured, all would be ready to go for other meals and it would not be difficult to create this for me. Wrong. The waitress returned. She looked uncomfortable. The chef, she said, needed to feed the other people first, before he did a special order. Did I wish to wait---maybe an hour? 

Are you kidding me? Potatoes, peas and cheese. No, I said, forget my order. 

Keith needed to eat and we were already there. He’d already ordered. I shrugged. “You eat. I’ll find something at home.” Keith hesitated, but I insisted. Later at home, I fixed myself something I enjoyed. 

December 2nd, we chose Ruby Tuesdays. I like them because they have not just a gluten-free menu, but several others as well, including nuts. What I wanted was listed as sides or extras. I ordered mashed potatoes topped not only with peas and cheese, but also ham, black olives (I love black olives), diced egg and all with olive oil. Not a problem. All gluten-free and my other sensitivities-free. It was delicious and there was so much, I took a whole lot home. 

This time the service was great and quick--something I found sadly lacking in that other Kearney establishment. There, I felt I didn’t matter. I hadn’t asked for something outlandish. Even a busy chef should have been able to provide my request. I would have been a grateful, paying customer. Now, I have little desire to ever go to that other restaurant again. 

What happened helped me realize things like waiting an unreasonable time for service for an easy-to-prepare dish hurts. How we treat one another matters. Regardless of size, health, race, disability...or allergies, everyone deserves more than a throw-away “Chef wants to feed everyone else first.” I won’t be a second-tier patron.

I tried for an easy meal and found rejection. Another place, I found overwhelming acceptance. Guess where our eating out dollars will go?  Most of all, in this new year, let us remember to treat all persons in the same way we’d like to be treated--with dignity and respect.  

Rooting out snakes in our lives
Published in Kearney Hub 12/7/15
© 2015 Carolyn R Scheidies

For several years, I wrote about my experiences with snakes around the house during the warmer months of the year. I am glad my experiences didn’t stretch back to when my brother Paul Fredrickson built our house to accommodate my limitations before the birth of our first child April 1980. We moved into our house the end of 1979.

My run in with snakes on a regular basis began long after our children grew up and left home. The house required a new roof and siding because of one of Kearney’s favorite type of storms that takes out cars and trucks and does damage to houses. The contractor hated snakes. What did he find when replacing siding? Snakes that crawled up behind the siding. Yikes! He killed about 30 snakes

After that, I found a big, bloated snake along the wall just inside the front doorway. Another time, I caught a snake halfway in and halfway out. One night, late, I walked down our hallway from our bedroom to the rest of the house. I didn’t turn on a light. I got this uneasy sense that I was not alone and something was beside me. Reaching over, I flicked on the light and glanced down at a small snake, staring up at me. It was almost cute, but how did it get in the hallway? I greatly dislike snakes and, always, called on someone else to rid the house of those that crossed my path--inside my house. 

Last year, after the weather cooled and I figured the danger of snakes had passed, I breathed a sigh of relief. No snakes inside the house for once. That thought came too soon. Not long afterward, I found a snake, just inside the front door. It was average size. I froze--at first. There was no one to call.

Because of my limitations, I keep tongs in many rooms and hooked sticks I use for so many things. I saw my hook hanging from the wall. I surveyed the snake. Images of snake handlers flashed into my mind, including how they managed the snakes--with hooks not that different from mine. This time, I also got mad. Enough already. 

I reached for my stick and slowly opened the door that swung over the snake’s head. The snake didn’t see it coming. With a sigh, a prayer and a shudder, I scooped up the snake and heaved it as far down the sidewalk as I could. Not far, but enough to get that snake out of my house. Finally, I took charge, overcoming my fear. I felt great. This year, no snakes. 

I thought about this scenario and how snakes wriggle into our lives. We allow snakes of hurt, hatred and revenge to take the place of understanding, true tolerance--accepting different points of view, agreeing to disagree without trying to force compliance or destroy those who differ, Fear and anger causes us to make choices that hurt ourselves and others. They are snakes that we need to eliminate from our lives not pet and nurture them. 

All lives do matter. Only as we get rid of the snakes in our lives will we move beyond the anger and a desire to hurt others in some way because they disagree with us to caring, acceptance and fighting together for what really matters--faith, family and freedom.
 
Then we can truly understand the joy of the Christmas season is love.

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Promise ‘All will be OK’ unrealistic in shows
Published Kearney Hub 11/09/2015
© 2015 Carolyn R Scheidies

I was watching an old episode of JAG, about military lawyers, when it came. I rolled my eyes and shook my head. The phrase was a response to a client. “I promise everything will be all right.”

Television shows and movies have used some version of this promise in dramatic shows since the beginning of the media. It is especially prevalent with doctors and lawyers, though it also comes out of the mouths of characters playing detectives, military and other medical personnel. 

The scene is set with soft music. The person in trouble has been a victim of some sort. The person may be facing a stalker, been hurt by crime or facing a court system as a witness. The character may be accused of a crime not committed by his/her hand or the person may be trying to protect a loved one. The victim may be a patient in the hospital after a crime or accident and may fear for life itself. Serious surgery might be involved with the concern for survival or worry about facing a life-long chronic illness. 

Script-writers, producers, directors and others with authority seem to think they have to have their character make promises of health, wellness and safety. 

“I promise, I’ll win this case for you.”
“We will find out who did this.”
“We promise to keep you safe.”
“I promise the surgery will go well.”
“I promise to save you, your spouse, your child...sometimes even your pet.”  

The setting is always sentimental and tear-jerking. The promises sound so right in the circumstances and give the victim hope--don’t they? Not really. If military, medical personnel or lawyers made these promises and reality happens, they open themselves up to lawsuits. 

No one can promise to win a case. Court cases, even those that seem a slam-dunk, can go south. No court case judgment, short of fixing the outcome, is a given. Exoneration cannot be promised. A criminal may not go to jail. An innocent person might. That’s reality. 

In a war setting, things are even more unsettled and even a promise given in all sincerity may not be fulfilled. The individual is subject to orders from higher up the chain that may change everything. A promise of safety or protection would, in reality, be a cruel joke. 

As for doctors, I’d wonder about doctors who would make the sort of promises TV and movie doctors make on a regular bases. No one can know what will happen in surgery, how well someone will handle medications or what a body will do under different sets of circumstances. 

Promises may draw a tear in a melodramatic moment, but in the real world, such promises do more harm than good. Those who make such promises may find things going very bad. Those who rely on such promises will find, if things do not go as planned, those promises are nothing but wishes that dissolve in the mists of life. Broken promises lead to distrust, anger, hurt, depression--and lawsuits. 

While these promises are a standard technique used in movies and television, it breaks credibility and reveals the fiction of the show. Most of all, don’t expect your doctor or lawyer to smile, pat your hand and promise, “It will be all right.” Part of real life is its unpredictability, which is both a challenge and a great hope--for, many times, things really do come right. 

Books without endings leave only frustration 
Published 10/26/15 Kearney Hub 
© 2015 Carolyn R Scheidies
Free School Girl Reading Book Clip Art
Recently, I finished my third book in a row that had no real ending. This last book could have had a solid ending. There was place where the main story came to a positive conclusion. But the next page dragged the reader into a whole new situation of danger. I can not tell you how frustrated it makes me to spend a lot of time and effort reading a book of fiction, only to get to the last page and find a new critical situation, but--nothing more. There are no more pages. No conclusion, no wrap up, just enticement to purchase the next book, which also would not end. 

I know why many books don’t end with a satisfying conclusion. Book publishers push their authors to write series instead of stand alone books. This gets readers hooked and reading three instead of one book, particularly if they like the characters. Don’t get me wrong. I like to read more about characters that capture my heart and mind. 

In fact, I’ve even written book series. My Barrington Saga of four books was published by TrebleHeart books several years ago and my Regency series for the Harlequin Heartsong Presents line was released a couple of years ago. The publisher for the Barrington Saga called it quits in the last few years and turned rights for the books back to me. I’ve updated, reformatted and recently released new editions--both print and Kindle of the Barrington Saga. The Harlequin series is still selling for the company. 

Series or not, I believe each book should have a beginning, middle and an end. There are authors, like me, who do not leave the reader hanging. We have a thread that ties the book series together, but make sure each book is complete in and of itself. I always consider the long-term for books. Those who buy books second-hand or at a garage sale, may not be able to find the rest of the series and will be left frustrated if the book they purchase leaves the plot hanging. 

Unfortunately, publishers encourage authors to write books that, like soap operas, always leave the audience hanging. These books without proper endings requires the reader to purchase all the books in the series to get one satisfying story. They call it strategic planning. I call it something else. Years ago, a friend of mine purchased a book. She paid good money for the book, but was anything but satisfied. The book wasn’t what she was used to from that author, which usually offered an entertaining sweet romance. This book offered only the start of a story. She felt she’d wasted her money. That’s the way I feel when I get to the end of the book, but the story hasn’t ended.

Other than reading the ending of the book before buying, I have no good solution to this problem. For me, I’ll keep taking chances on the endings, because the great books I read are worth the ones that frustrate. Despite occasional frustration, I still believe there is nothing like a good book to lower stress, entertain and brighten up the day. 

IS JESUS TRUE?

© 2007, 2013 Carolyn R Scheidies

Jesus answered him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one goes to the Father except through me. John 14:6 GW

This book of the law shall not depart out of your mouth, but you shall meditate on it by day and by night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you shall make your way prosperous, and then you shall act wisely.  Joshua 1:8 MKJV

Jesus doesn't speak truth, He is the embodiment of truth His Word is also truth. Scripture doesn't contain truth, it is truth. “Sanctify them through Your truth . Your Word is truth.”  John 17:17 MKJV

But to receive that truth we need to be in tune with Jesus, not trying to prove our beliefs through the Bible, but allowing God to speak to us through His Word. 2 Timothy 2:15 MKJV “Study earnestly to present yourself approved to God, a workman that does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth.” 

That makes all the difference. The only way we can know God's Word is through intensive, systematic and continual study.

Millennium of persons have testified to the redemptive power of Jesus and His Word to change lives. However we try to subvert His Word, God is God, who makes sure His Word is truth.

If He can't, He isn't all powerful. If He won't, He is deceptive, neither good or righteous, which makes Him a liar and not worth our time or worship.

Jesus can't simply be a good man, because He claimed to be God. Jesus is either a con artist and liar, or exactly whom He said He was. If He is God we need to get to know Him. The way is through prayer (communicating with God) and through His revealed Word. Reading the Bible through cover to cover is a start.


Liar, Lunatic or Lord


© 2006, 2013 Carolyn R. Scheidies

 

Many believe Jesus is a good man, but not God. Yet, we have three options. Either he was a liar, a lunatic or, exactly what he claimed, Lord. A good man would not try to deceive people by saying, “"I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6 NIV That would make him a liar.

 

He could have been a lunatic, except his message was simple and clear. He said he had the answer to people’s need for acceptance, forgiveness and hope. He died for his belief. If he deceived himself as well as others, he was tragic, but certainly not worthy of our admiration.

 

If he was neither a lunatic nor a liar, we have one choice. Jesus was who he said he was, God. We’ve all done those things for which we’re ashamed and for which we deserve punishment. Because he had done no wrong, Jesus was able to do what no one else could do, take on himself the punishment we deserve for the wrongs we’ve done. He died for our wrongs, but more, he rose again, conquering death and hell and sin. Because he lives Jesus can offer us hope. All we need do is to recognize we can’t make it on our own and accept his offer of forgiveness, a new start, a new life with Christ as our friend, our savior, our guide.

 

Jesus said it best. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29

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