Category Archives: Just Saying

Just saying: There Is No Such Thing As Humanity Without God and The True Meaning of Christmas

 

Secret-Stonehenge

Humans are as unique in the animal kingdom as Christianity is among world religions. Evidence strongly suggests that humans are fundamentally different than other animals. I believe that our very uniqueness as a species indicates the existence of God.  It seems to me that humanity as a concept for higher moral behavioral traits can only exist if humans were created in the image of a higher power. Without God there is no humanity.  For we would no longer be a unique creation, but would be no better, no worse, no more special than any other animal. We would not understand mortality.

Without a moral soul from God there would be no right or wrong…only survival of the fittest.  Our sole focus would be to do whatever it takes to obtain our next meal and propagate the species. Nothing would deter the violent methods needed to be successful at either of these two tasks.

There would be no such thing as a conscience.  You couldn’t afford to have one anymore than a lion, tiger or shark can afford a conscience.  The softer human traits like love and kindness would have been evolutionary death sentences.  Just like any other animal on this earth, we would merely be another link in a food chain where only the strong survive.

Of course, if here is no God there would be no need for religion. However, even the earliest humans sought out gods and practiced forms of religious rites. They had burial ceremonies for their dead and offered sacrifices to either win favor or appease gods. So seriously did they seek out gods, that not only human, but child sacrifice was commonly practiced throughout the world. In some cultures on a massive scale. A rather counter-productive evolutionary trait.

Generation after generation, culture after culture, religion after religion, humans have sought out gods.  In all of the other religions of this world people seek God. Only in the Christian faith does God seek people.

The God of Christians does not ask for sacrifice, he asks for obedience.  What does he require of us? Jesus summarized all of the commandment’s into two.  To love God with all of our heart, soul and mind, and to love one another as we would like to be loved.

The Christian God does not ask for sacrifice from us, he sacrificed for us.  In the birth of his only son Jesus Christ in Bethlehem over two millennia ago, God sought to save us, just because he loves us.   John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

God seeking us is the true meaning of Christmas. Sadly, if you don’t learn about the birth of Jesus the Christ and ask him into your heart you are missing out on the only part of the holiday season, and life, that brings real joy and peace.

Jesus is the Christ in Christmas.  Without him all you are doing is having one big commercial gift exchange.  Great for the economy, not so great for our world or your soul…..just saying.

 

 

 

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Beware and Be Warned: Food Allergy Alert!!!…Peanut and Nut Contamination in Cookie Sprinkles

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Food allergies can be and are sometimes fatal.  They are a life-threatening health problem for millions of people and must be taken seriously.

As a person with severe allergies myself including a peanut and nut allergy, I always read labels.  When I began my Christmas cookie baking this morning, to my surprise, many of the decorative cookie sprinkles, some brands I have used for years, now carry a nut warning.  Yes, a “tiny”  exposure to nut-contaminated sprinkles could be life-threatening to the severely allergic!  This includes multi-colored round beads and all of the sugar sprinkles made by Wilton and several off-brands.

 

As you bake and decorate goodies this holiday season remember the 1,2, 3’s of food allergy safety:

1.    For a food to be in fact “safe”, it cannot contain, been manufactured, prepared with or come in contact with other foods that contain the allergen. That, would include a person distributing  treats having their hands touching candy or cookies containing the allergen, then providing an allergen-free treat without first thoroughly washing their hands. This includes just touching the candy wrappers.

2.   A treat is not “safe” if it is packaged with “unsafe” treats.  Safe treats cannot be in the same package or combined in the same bowl with unsafe treats.  For example, if you purchased a bag of miniature candy bars and separated them into bowls of those with nuts and those without nuts, you have failed in your mission to provide a safe treat. They were potentially contaminated when packaged and are unsafe for the allergic person.

3.   Read labels!  Excellent label reading skills have prevented many a trip to an emergency room or worse.  When purchasing or baking a treat, if the label says , “Made in a factory with nuts,” even if the food item itself does not appear to contain nuts, it cannot be safely consumed by anyone with a nut allergy, and that includes peanuts. Never be offended if a guest, family member, friend, child or parent asks to see a label or recipe. They know what they are looking for and are only interested in enjoying their time with you and avoiding a health emergency.

4.   Know what is in the treats you are distributing and any foods you are serving. This rule applies to both home and professional cooks. Many baking ingredients, such as chocolate chips, are made in factories that also process nuts.  Even some frozen pizzas come with a warning that they may have been contaminated with nuts.  Also, check out what types of hygiene products you provide for your guests or customers. There are nut oils in many lotions, shampoos, hair sprays and soaps.

5.   Ask!  Waiters, waitresses, chefs, hosts and hostesses need to ask if their guests have any allergies to food. Pay attention and take it seriously. Remember that not only are they allergic to the food itself, but anything that food has touched…your hands, pots, pans, utensils and counter tops.  Dishes and silverware used for someone with food allergies should be washed separately from those that for example have peanut butter residue on them.

6.   Your best friend…is your Epi-pen!  Anyone that has a severe food or bee sting allergy needs to keep their Epi-pen with them at all times!  It does absolutely no good, to leave it at home.

7.   When in doubt….do not eat it!  There is not food product on this earth that is so delicious that it is worth risking your life for it.  If you do not KNOW that a food item is safe, DO NOT eat it.

Nobody wants to kill or be killed by Christmas cookie.  Well, maybe if they are of a murderous intent to begin with, or have no self-control and take overindulgence to an entirely new level, but definitely not from Anaphylaxis.  I hope that everyone has a happy, safe and food allergy reaction free holiday season!

For a more detailed blog on food allergy reaction prevention read:
Cooks Take Food Allergies Seriously!

 

Recipe: Noodle Knocking, Nursing Home Romancer and a Whole Lot of…Sugar Cookies

After reading today about Matt Lauer and Garrison Keillor getting fired for sexual harassment, I have decided that what this country needs is a whole lot more uncompromising grandmothers, hat pins and canes!  Or, as was the case in our family when a young woman reached dating age, a Great Uncle Ed that would make her a “noodle knocker”.

This device was a small oak baseball bat that could fit into a purse or backpack and was used to knock upside the head (the noodle) any male that crossed the line. If you did not have a “noodle knocker” a well aimed fist could and should be substituted.

Grandma Esther strongly insisted upon hat pin, noodle knocker and cookie baking expertise. This recipe for sugar cookies is really the best.  Actually, I made them yesterday.

Day before yesterday, my little three-year old neighbor boy asked me over the backyard fence, very politely, if he could have some cookies. He is a brave little lad as both of my hundred plus pound German Shepherds were barking him. They wanted to be petted through the fence.

It was then, to my horror, I discovered that Grandma Pat was out of cookies. I couldn’t even find my emergency child stash in the freezer. (My husband later confessed to having found and eaten them.) I did give my little neighbor some homemade bar cookies, but that is just wrong for kids. Kid cookies require either sprinkles or chocolate chips.

This generational family recipe for sugar cookies is always a great Christmas favorite. They look wonderfully festive when covered with bright holiday sprinkles.

Enjoy!

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

Aviary Photo_130940614679318455Aunt Esther, known as “Little Esther; Grandmother Esther and Aunt Hilda

For a while when I was in college I lived with my Great Aunt Doris.  Aunt Doris was a very kind soul and spent many hours each week voluteering to care for patients in our local nursing home where my Grandmother Esther resided.  One day Aunt Doris came home just chuckling.

It seems that in her youth my grandmother had garnered quite a bit of interest from young fellows and had more suitors than just grandpa.  As it turned out one of those fellows, who had been sweet on her so many years ago, was also a resident at the same nursing home. He was quite happy to see her and had been chatting her up and frequently tried to secure a seat at the same dining table during meal times.

Grandmother Esther was a very polite woman blessed with…

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Just Saying: Another Open Letter To Senator Al Franken…Hugger vs Groper!

b bunny

Dear Senator Franken:

I have read your “full statement” as printed in the Pioneer Press responding to multiple sexual harassment and abuse complaints.

Senator Franken’s full statement:

“I’ve met tens of thousands of people and taken thousands of photographs, often in crowded and chaotic situations. I’m a warm person; I hug people. I’ve learned from recent stories that in some of those encounters, I crossed a line for some women — and I know that any number is too many. Some women have found my greetings or embraces for a hug or photo inappropriate, and I respect their feelings about that. I’ve thought a lot in recent days about how that could happen, and recognize that I need to be much more careful and sensitive in these situations. I feel terribly that I’ve made some women feel badly and for that I am so sorry, and I want to make sure that never happens again. And let me say again to Minnesotans that I’m sorry for putting them through this and I’m committed to regaining their trust.”

Your statement is another attempt to defend your actions, while offering excuses for your inexcusable behavior choices. You did not “hug” these women…you groped them.  This is not a warm heart issue, but a warm wandering hands issue. There is never anything appropriate about any greeting or hug that ends with uninvited hands on a woman’s butt cheek, breasts or anywhere else on her person. This is not about “some” women’s perceptions of “encounters” with you.   It is about your abusive actions.

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Please, please let this be photo-shopped.

After having posed for that picture where you are feeling up the breasts of a sleeping woman, it is time to ask yourself if you really can continue to be a respected and effective member of the United States Senate.  For example, should the people from Alabama elect Judge Roy Moore to the United State Senate, and the sexual abuse accusations against him prove true, would you accept a statement mirroring your own from him?  I would hope it would be rejected. However, as an a adult male who, only two short years before running for the U.S. Senate, abandoned all common sense and the moral high ground for a quick laugh at the expense of a sleeping woman, you have forever forfeited any right to question anyone’s maturity, sense of judgment or to condemn others regarding sexual harassment and abuse of women.

It seems that you are a bit like Scarlett O’Hara, in the movie, “Gone With the Wind.” In the scene where Rhett Butler finds her drunk and feigning grief over the death of her second husband.  Scarlett didn’t fool him for a second.  She didn’t care a wit that her actions resulted her husband’s death, but cared a whole lot about what was going to become of her.  Rhett sums up Scarlet’s performance by telling her, “You’re like the thief who isn’t the least bit sorry he stole, but is terribly, terribly sorry he’s going to jail.

After so much dishonor, any redemption of your reputation lies not in a legally-approved public relations statement, but in doing the honorable thing. It is time to take complete responsibility for your actions and set a powerful example for other sexual harassers and abusers to follow by actually putting the welfare of your victims before personal ambition.

Senator, you have been caught with your hands on the “cookie jar”, and it is time to pay the piper.   Resign!

Just saying…..

Just Saying: An Open Letter to Senator Al Franken….Resign and Call Off Your Dogs!

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Dear Senator Al Franken;

You have been very adamant that you want to be a strong leader on women’s rights. As a senator you have been very outspoken and uncompromising on the issue of sexual harassment. Excellent! However, being a leader means walking the walk, not just talking the talk. To send a loud and clear message that sexual harassment, such as the behavior demonstrated by you in a picture where you felt up a sleeping woman, is indefensible and intolerable you must resign.

Then, you need to call off your dogs.  I am sure that you and your best political strategists have been huddled together since this story broke.  Anyone that has ever worked in politics knows that just like in sports the best defense is a good offense. It is obvious that you have already deployed your defensive strategy.

I have always believed and taught that it is better to have character than to be one. If anyone could use a good character reference or two it is you. However, it appears to be a shameful fact that a sitting United States Senator from the State of Minnesota has orchestrated, at worst, and not stopped, at best, women, from his Senate staff and Saturday Night Live, from writing letters of reference on his behalf.  Seriously, I thought better of you, than to use other women to further humiliate your victim.

To the women who signed these letters reporting Senator Franken’s respectful behavior towards them.  All that can be said is lucky you!  How the Senator treated you has absolutely no bearing what-so-ever on how he treated other women.  So, instead of supporting a sister, who has the picture to prove that the Senator obviously has exceedingly poor boundary recognition skills, what did you do?  You joined the wrong side of history by circling the wagons to isolate and further humiliate the victim, another woman. Wonderful!

Since the allegations against you, Senator, became public, there has been a lot media play questioning the seriousness of the accusations and the woman’s integrity.  I have witnessed members of the media excusing your actions.  They have used the, “It’s not a big deal” defense. Or, your behavior should be overlooked, because you talk the talk.  Then,  yesterday, I saw a meme on Facebook floating around defending your actions while showing degrading pictures of the woman you victimized.

By all means, Al, really show this gal, who did the right thing by coming forward, that she should have just shut-up and quietly accepted that she should have been honored to have been noticed by as powerful and famous man as you.  I acknowledge that you did offer an apology for the picture.  The sincerity of your apology, is between you and God.  However, you did not in any way, shape or form apologize for the forced slobbery French kiss.

What you said about the actual unwanted physical groping was that you remembered things differently.  That’s not an apology or an admission of wrong doing. It is merely an exercise in semantics.

What did you do, Al?  Memorize the sexual harassers’ handbook.

1) Always question the woman’s perception.

2) Suggest that she’s just making a fuss over nothing and she’s exaggerating.

3)  Defend your indefensible behavior by having surrogates begin with character         references for you and a character assassination campaign against her.

Actions speak louder than words.  Senator, resign and call off your dogs.

Just saying…..

 

 

Just Saying: False Fish Feeding Frenzy!

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I have been trying my very best to not comment on current events.

I held my tongue when shrimpy little arrogant mask-wearing cowards in skinny jeans proclaimed themselves to be anti-fascists by becoming violent fascists.  I watched their personal attacks and extensive property destruction on lots of videos.

I did not comment on the “Don’t Shoot!” rallies, even though multiple eyewitnesses to the actual event testified, under oath, that it never happened. Nor, did I comment last week, when it was learned, during testimony to Congress by social media giants, that a Russian trolling group had actually used social media platforms to organize the “Don’t Shoot” protests with the sole purpose of causing civil unrest in our country. Why? Just because they could.  It would be laughable….if I were Russian.

Then, too, it was amazing to have Donna Brazile confirm what many of us already knew.  The Democratic party primaries were rigged against Bernie Sanders by Hillary Clinton. Ms. Brazile’s disclosure that she felt her life was in danger after the Seth Rich murder speaks volumes.

Naturally, it would get my goat to learn there are actually college students, and others in this country, that think free speech is only allowable if it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  A worse indictment of a failed and biased educational system, I can’t imagine. Sometimes, I ponder when, if ever, these all-knowing, overly-sensitive college administrators and teachers are going to figure out that their success at limiting, and in some instances eradicating conservative colleagues, thought, opinion and discussion from college campuses has only been an self-deluding and self-defeating exercise in cutting off their noses to spite their faces.

It appears that there is an inability or unwillingness to teach critical thinking skills, or at least a lesson in the Karma of what goes around comes around regarding restricting the Constitutional right to free speech.  If you restrict or outlaw anyone’s right to free speech, someday, someone will restrict and outlaw yours.  We are either all going to be free, or eventually, no one will be free.

Normally, any or all of those things could have triggered one of my….just saying….opinion blogs. However, this morning the line is way too far behind some folks to ignore.

I woke up early this morning and logged onto my computer to try and learn more about the horrendous massacre in that small Texas church.  It angered me to learn that a mentally-ill, self-proclaimed atheist, with a history of domestic assault who should never had access to any fire arm had attacked the church of his in-laws causing the deaths of 26 innocent people, including many children…one only 18-months old.  My sympathy, heart and prayers go out to the affected families and that entire community.

Then….it happened! I lit up like a Christmas tree as my eyes fell upon an article about President Trump….feeding fish!  First of all, what a stupid event to report on. Especially on a day when our country is mourning the loss of so much innocent life. It was absolutely flabbergasting that with all of the chaos and trouble in our nation and world that several media outlets took the time and chose to make the call to, yet again, maliciously doctor a video just to make fun our president.

Of course, yet again, a person only had to watch the entire unedited video to learn that Japan’s Prime Minister had fed the fish the exact same way and amount as our president.  I have included a link to the unedited video of the fish feeding for anyone who is actually interested in the truth.

http://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/2017/11/06/anti-trump-media-makes-up-fake-story-about-overfeeding-fish-at-japanese-koi-pond.html

The atrocity committed by the shooter in Texas is pure evil. The intentional manipulative lying and disgustingly childish bullying by the media is embarrassing and shameful. They remind me of a pack of mean junior high school girls. Maybe, junior high school mean-girls training has replaced ethics courses at our college journalism schools?  It would appear so…….just saying

What is on my mind today? Testicle or Not to Testicle, that is the Question?

hereford bull

I have been working diligently on my oil painting for these past several months and it is finally nearing completion.

Yesterday, my dad and mom came down to deliver excellent potatoes and squash out of their garden and join me for lunch.  As dad came into the room where my easel stands with the painting on it, he took one look at the painting and said three things…you painted that for yourself, you really captured a Montana sky, don’t you dare touch that, and what do plan to do with that one?

I think he figured that a painting of the Dakota badlands and a meso-cyclone in hot pink with Hereford cattle is probably a Pat painting. It is time for me to find a gallery to show and market my artwork, before I drive my friend Pat to distraction. She hadn’t seen the canvases I painted for myself, before I became disabled, that are stored in the basement until this week. This painting will probably join them, but it is not quite done yet.

There is the usual tinkering to complete.  Putting in some grass, light and color corrections and I have to decide whether to testicle or not testicle the Hereford Bull.

Yes, I have to tinker with testicles and I actually have put some thought into this testicular dilemma.  Bully, bully is a pretty proud looking fellow standing guard over his family, but one must think of the troubles caused by testicles or lack there of.

The case against testicles can be summed in two words…Harvey Weinstein. There is no excuse and there should never be any tolerance for the Weinstein’s of this world.  And, there are way too many of them.

I do not think I know of a woman, who has worked outside the home, that at some point in her career hasn’t been sexually harassed.  I know I was. Whenever I think about the grossness, hurt, stress, shame, sadness, anxiety, anger and lost career opportunities,  I lean strongly towards a testicle-free bull.

So, why would I consider blessing my bull with the awesome responsibility of testicles?

There are several reasons:

1.    I still have paint left,
2.    The artistic challenge,
3.    I often think society in general needs to get a pair.
4.    In all fairness, I must admit that some of my sexual harassers in the workplace
weren’t male.

Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it is all about power.  Remaining silent about abuse is not golden, it is cowardice of the worst sort.  My grandmother told me long ago, that if I didn’t admire cowards, I should choose not to be one.  I may be a lot of things, but few people would ever call me a coward.

Yes, I have reported abusers in the work place.  I have also supported and stood by other women who found themselves in gosh awful situations, whenever I had first hand knowledge of the harassment.

Did I pay a personal and professional price for speaking up? Of course!  But, it was worth it!

In retrospect, if I found myself in the same situation again, would I do things differently? Absolutely not!  And do you know why? Somebody had to stop it and I am somebody.  We all need to be somebodies.

It’s like the Bible says, “Here I am God….Send me!”