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Hallee On the Issues: Abortion Debate

Posted by Hallee on Jul 3, 2014 in Life

issuesI tend to avoid social media when there’s something controversial happening. I also rarely partake in discussions for a few reasons:

  1. I have a public image and I wouldn’t want to dream of insulting a reader who may not know the “real me” by being flippant and reactionary on social media.
  2. I have no desire to engage with people and lose respect or friendship over a social media fight.
  3. I used to love debating on message boards, but I get consumed with it and don’t allow myself to do that anymore because my life is full and being consumed arguing with strangers is the last thing I need on my plate.

But, some things get a reaction out of me before I’m able to contain it. This is what I posted a few days ago on my private Facebook:

Strike one! Now, let’s see this “health care bill” die the death of a thousand cuts. I don’t care about the idea of National Health Care. Our entire medical system has been destroyed by big pharmaceuticals and insurance companies. What I care about is the mandate about health insurance. That isn’t health care. That’s insurance lobbyists. Maybe through the courts we can destroy one of the more asinine things that Congress has ever passed and get a reset and create a system that actually makes sense.

But this morning, I saw on my Facebook stream, and round of abortion debates.

Gah.

I’m so sad that such an important issue — about the absolute absurdity of government mandated health insurance — can get caught up in an abortion debate. It’s equivocation in the extreme. Why not discuss the absurdity of mandated health insurance now and debate about abortion some other time?

My opinion on the issue of abortion? If a woman has had the actual “this baby will kill this woman” experience, I’m so very sorry and please know that I faced some very, very tough decisions in my own pregnancies. Without going into detail here, I had a child die in utero at 20 weeks and both of my living sons were very premature and spent time in NICU while I recovered in ICU.

16wkultrasound

So here is my opinion. No abortion is ever good ever, unless it is the extremely rare case of actual life and death for the mother. Not quality of life, standard of life, standard of living, or what-have-you. Not the less than 1% of abortions that result from rape or incest and please — please don’t comment about those unless you first comment on the other 99+%. Regardless, I am talking about actual “if this baby grows inside this woman, she will die.” There isn’t a single argument that will make me change my mind.

If you or someone close to you has had an abortion, my heart is broken for because of it. Many women who have had abortions realize the truth later on and suffer such guilt and anguish over that lost life. Thankfully, God gave us grace in the form of His only Son.

But all that isn’t my point. None of it has anything to DO with the issue at hand.

My point is that right now, we shouldn’t even be talking about abortion. Right now, we ought to be talking about the absurdity of forced health insurance piled onto this already broken medical system. Right now we should be rejoicing in the Justice branch of our “checks and balances” actually working for perhaps the first time since sometime before 1963.  Right now we should pray that more and more lawsuits will break this “law” so that we can undo this absurdity and our Legislative and Executive branches can actually come up with something legal and functional.

 

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8

No More Candy for This One?

Posted by Hallee on Jun 30, 2014 in Autism, Parenting

emerilWe were in a museum in Washington D.C. this week, at the end of a long day. We’d started the day out standing in line for 2 hours, waiting to get a 30 second moment with Emeril Lagasse while he signed a cookbook, and it ended with this museum. Scott was overwhelmed with the day. Well, I don’t know if that’s accurate. Scott’s overwhelmed with the last 2 weeks. He’s not been home, he’s not been eating “normal to us” food, and he’s not in his secure little bubble. So, at the end of long days, we start losing him.

Meltdowns aren’t *really* a problem. They come and go, but they aren’t the norm. What Scott has been doing lately is muttering to himself and occasionally squawking, really loudly, while jumping up and bugging his eyes out. Then he goes back inside himself and starts muttering, then squawks – over and over again. What he’s doing is some scene from (I *think*) The Lego Movie, but I can’t be certain. It’s really loud, and people look at him like he’s lost his entire mind. But what it is, is HIS MIND protecting him from whatever stimulation is overwhelming at the time so that he doesn’t actually lose his mind.

So, the other day, at this museum, at the end of this long day in the midst of these long weeks, we were in a room that was wall-to-wall screens showing a beach landing in WWII full of lights and sounds and battle, and Scott did his thing. The guide in the room we were in glared at him at a moment of loud squawking and then looked at me and said, “No more candy for this one, right?”

I have to say, while I’m sure this Marine Corps vet wasn’t trying to hurt or anger me, he very much succeeded in me feeling a very sharp knee-jerk reaction (which I did not follow up on, that I just ignored while I grabbed Scott and tried to break into whatever world he’d sent himself into.) Instead of reacting or not reacting, I just sent him back to the hotel with Kaylee while Jeb and I finished the museum.

on the train in DC going back to the hotel after a day of site seeing

on the train in DC going back to the hotel after a day of site seeing

Dear world: It isn’t misbehaving. It isn’t hyperactivity. It isn’t too much candy. Or too much soda. Or too little discipline.

It’s called coping.

It’s called an autistic brain coping with this incompatible world the best way that it can.

It’s called a REALLY GOOD kid in a REALLY OVERWHELMING situation who doesn’t know what else to do but go into a world where he is in control until we get him to a place that is dark and quiet and he can plug headphones into his tablet and escape all the way away while he watches some familiar show and resets to the point that he can deal with this world some more.

I KNOW that there are people who will read these words who have no idea what it’s like – and that’s fine. Make snap judgements all you want.  But I urge you to keep sarcastic comments about apparent misbehaving kids to yourself. Because, as the mother of that boy, I’m fully aware of how it appears – as much as I’m fully incapable of putting a stop to it quickly enough so that it doesn’t bother you.

I also fully know that he isn’t deaf. Nor is he stupid. He hears everything — even in the midst of a meltdown — and understands every word that’s said.

And so do I.

 

Hallee


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2

The Power of Marketing

Posted by Hallee on Jun 24, 2014 in Life

TV Remote ControlWe don’t watch live television in our home. We don’t have access to any kind of live TV – we stream Netflix and we watch DVD’s. Consequently, we don’t ever see commercials.

Last week, the boys were at my parents’ – and they watch live television. This week, we’re in a hotel – which came with Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon. Both of those channels are full of commercials.

The day we got to Quantico, I took the boys to the commissary.  Up one aisle and down the other, I heard a running stream of commercials from Scott.

“Ants are hard to kill. Raid kills bugs dead. It’s a family company.”

“Oxiclean gets tough stains out.”

“Lucky Charms! They’re magically delicious!”

“We have to buy Twix cereal and get the birthday card off of the back of the box.”

It was never ending.

We often don’t give our children enough credit for what they take in, what they understand, and what they retain. My kids don’t have filters for commercials, so how they affect them is clearly apparent and makes me aware of the marketing.

Hallee


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2

A Week at Home — ALONE

Posted by Hallee on Jun 21, 2014 in Life

jumpYou heard me. I had an entire week — AT HOME — ALONE.

How many wives and mothers of young children long to be able to say something like that?

Kaylee is in Florida for the month and this is a very busy travel time for Gregg and me. He’s doing a National Guard thing east, I had a conference west, so on his way to his thing, Gregg dropped the boys off at my parents’ house. He left on a Saturday, and I didn’t have to be at my conference until Thursday night.

I’ll admit, right or wrong, I was a little excited.

I’m used to being alone during the school day. Regardless, I kept listening for the sound of anyone else moving in the house. In my entire life, I don’t think I’ve ever been alone for that long. It was kind of a weird experience over all.

I’d planned to write the remaining 3 novellas in my upcoming World War II series during the week. I know, you’re thinking, “Three novellas???” But, I had NO ONE who needed ANYTHING AT ALL from me for about five full days. I type fast. The story is in my head. I could write uninterrupted for five full days!

I didn’t happen.

I only wrote one novella.

I was talking to Liz Curtis Higgs yesterday about it, and she said, “20,000 words in a week!? That’s fantastic! You go girl!”

It made me feel a little better.

I think my creative energy is available for the same amount of time every day, then it’s just gone. I feel a little disappointed in myself; however, I’ve done a TON of research, and that will be necessary information when I do write the other two novellas during the next couple of weeks.

So, during the course of this week alone, I learned a few things:

  • Without planning and preparation, a household without convenience foods makes it hard to feed one person. I ate more than one omelet, let me tell you.
  • I can go entire days without any noise at all – no television on, no person speaking to me, no radio. I’m not really a “talk to my pets” kind of person – I don’t talk for no reason. I kind of want to have something to say if I’m going to speak, and a conversation with my dog or cat just isn’t happening.
  • For a wife and mother of three who adores her husband and children, I never felt lonely during this week. I’m hoping it was just the realization that I knew what day I’d see everyone again and not that I’m über weird or something.
  • I washed all of the bedding and did every single bit of laundry in the house. The only thing in any laundry basket left are the pajamas I wore on my last day there. It felt WONDERFUL to throw away the mis-matched socks left in the basket. I HATE mis-matched socks, I HATE that basket, and after typing this, now I know I’m über weird.
  • No matter what, with no alarm on, I still woke up every single morning at 5:25. Sigh.

All in all, it was an interesting week. I finish my conference this afternoon and head to my parents to get my boys. Tomorrow we’ll head on to where Gregg is. I’m hoping to see Kaylee by the end of the week.

 

Hallee


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1

Social Media is Replacing Social Life

Posted by Hallee on Jun 18, 2014 in Life

tupperwareI was born in 1972. I know that’s hard to fathom for some of you younger wives and moms out there. I graduated high school in 1990 – probably around the time some of you were born. When I graduated high school, I remember wondering why there would be an initiative to raise money to put computers in the school, because I couldn’t fathom what they would be used for in the classroom.  These were the days before the public use of the internet, before www.anything, and long before any kind of pixel driven social media.

I remember when I was a little girl, my mom had a Tupperware party in our home in Ft. Lewis, Washington. My older brother, Jim, was in kindergarten and my little brother, Ty, was a baby. It was an afternoon party while Jim was in school – during a time when most wives and mothers would be home and available to attend an afternoon party.  I remember my mom cleaning the house, making snacks, brewing tea, cooling sodas – and then I had to play in my room while the house filled with other wives and moms and the Tupperware sales woman did her sales pitch. I remember having little Tupperware cups, popsicle makers, and matching canisters on the kitchen counter when it was all over.

When I became an adult, I had my share of “parties” — 31 purses, Premier Jewelry, Pampered Chef — I’d invite 20 friends and 5 or 6 would show up. But that was okay, because you could hand out catalogs to all of the friends who had a dozen other commitments but who still wanted to see what the latest line was and the sales woman would extend the party for you.

Now, though, it seems like parties of this nature are coming to a slow crawling end. The last 31 party I attended, I was the only guest, but there was an order sheet of orders already filled out.

This morning, I received an invite to an “all day online party”. Basically, instead of getting together, socially, with a bunch of friends and friends of friends, I just have this in my “social media calendar”, and on that day I potentially go and order, and that “host” gets the “hostess” points and gets her free gifts.

vintagesocialnetworking1For everything good that it does (and there is a lot of good to it), I feel like social media has sucked the social right out of our lives.

And, I know it’s not just social media. It’s busyness – it’s filling our days until they’re so full that there’s no time to take a break and go to a friend’s house for one single evening and enjoy the company of a bunch of other women while we all munch on snacks and sip drinks – even if that evening is under the guise of buying jewelry or another purse we really don’t need.

But what social media has done has kind of excused this lack of social in our lives and created a way to “make it all better” — so that we can cram more and more into our life and keep up with friends and family and complete strangers on our time and within our limitations.

Last night, I met a friend for dinner and we were in the restaurant for about 3 hours.  Eventually, the waiter even quit coming to our table. We just were having too good of a time talking to each other, the restaurant wasn’t overly crowded, and it didn’t matter that we occupied that table space.  Another table, directly in my line of vision, was filled three times during the time I sat there. One couple came in, sat down, and picked up their phones. They looked through their menus with phones in hand, waited with phones in hand, and ate with phones in hand – and never, not a single time, said a word to each other. They didn’t even look at each other. Whatever was going on in the media of their phones was more important than their interaction with each other.

I’ve been alone this week. I’ve set it this time alone aside to write a book I’m finishing. In doing so, I pulled off of a social media presence so that I wouldn’t be distracted during the day and focus entirely on writing.  Whenever I do something like this, I LOVE it. I love the freedom I receive by not constantly checking social media. I HATE being in a social media climate and want so badly to pull out of it – but I’m bound to it by the nature of my career.

How about you? Do you find that social media is taking your social life away? Turn it off for a few days and see how different your life can be without it. See how much more often you look up and look out and SEE the life going on away from the screen.

 

Hallee


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Today’s Word of Promise

Posted by Hallee on Jun 16, 2014 in Christian Faith

actsMany days a week, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 17 – Acts 28.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

And he called for two centurions, saying, “Prepare two hundred soldiers, seventy horsemen, and two hundred spearmen to go to Caesarea at the third hour of the night; 24 and provide mounts to set Paul on, and bring him safely to Felix the governor.” 25 He wrote a letter in the following manner:

26 Claudius Lysias,

To the most excellent governor Felix:

Greetings.

27 This man was seized by the Jews and was about to be killed by them. Coming with the troops I rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 And when I wanted to know the reason they accused him, I brought him before their council. 29 I found out that he was accused concerning questions of their law, but had nothing charged against him deserving of death or chains. 30 And when it was told me that the Jews lay in wait for the man,  I sent him immediately to you, and also commanded his accusers to state before you the charges against him.

Farewell. ~Acts 23:24-30

I have always imagined that the government in the time of the New Testament was corrupt. I think it stems from the fact that Jesus, a man without sin, was crucified so terribly — in my mind, only a corrupt system could have that be so.

However, while it’s not necessarily “moral” to the way that our society operates today (and I use the term moral in conjunction with our society loosely), it was absolutely NOT corrupt. It’s fascinating to me the lengths that were taken to protect Paul – a Jew – because he was a Roman citizen. He was about to be beaten when Paul revealed his nationality – and in a day and age without recordings and video evidence, they could have easily beaten him, killed him, and covered it all up because was a Sadducee in the Jewish faith. Instead, they immediately halted anything against him until they could investigate who he was and what he was.

In the meantime, the Jewish leaders sought to kill him. Rather than just letting it happen and washing their hands of this whole religious feud between the followers of Christ and the Jewish leaders, they took great pains to keep Paul safe and transport him out of the area for his protection.

When I listened to this, the lack of corruption both surprised me and impressed me.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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3

Summertime Screens

Posted by Hallee on Jun 10, 2014 in Parenting
A picture of the television taken by Scott

A picture of the television taken by Scott

I have typical kids. They want easy entertainment. They want something colorful and flashy on a screen to engage their minds and keep them occupied, keep them from being “bored”.

My typical kids have a mean mom, though. It’s summer time. Time for sun, dirt, bugs, fish. Time to sweat and drink lukewarm water and get sticky with homemade popsicles. NOT a time to sit and stare at a screen for hours.

So, here’s our house rule:

Between the hours of 9AM and 3PM, there are no screens. No television, no laptops, no tablets, no phones. -AND- before 9AM, there is a list of chores that must be completed before those screens can come on. Maybe some days I’ll turn on the radio and we’ll listen to classical symphony or Christian contemporary music, but not all the time. I like the sound of the silence – the sound of the house filled with the noise of things NOT produced by multimedia.

Every day, around 9:01AM, we go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. By 9:05AM, acceptance kicks in and they’re busy. Around 2:00PM they start asking every thirty seconds what time it is. By 3PM they’ve forgotten that they were waiting for the clock and are busy and engaged elsewhere. *I’m* not going to be the one to remind them that they can turn on devices.

It makes for a much less boring summer if they have to train themselves to seek out engagement and make their own entertainment.

How do you handle summers?

Hallee


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10,000 Toddlers on Ritalin??

Posted by Hallee on May 27, 2014 in Parenting

I came across an article this weekend that suggested that nearly 10,000 toddlers are on medication for ADHD.

TODDLERS.

Here is the quote from the article in the New York Times:

More than 10,000 American toddlers 2 or 3 years old are being medicated for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder outside established pediatric guidelines, according to data presented on Friday by an official at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The report, which found that toddlers covered by Medicaid are particularly prone to be put on medication such as Ritalin and Adderall, is among the first efforts to gauge the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. in children below age 4. Doctors at the Georgia Mental Health Forum at the Carter Center in Atlanta, where the data was presented, as well as several outside experts strongly criticized the use of medication in so many children that young.

Picture source

Picture source

I have a friend who has a teenaged daughter who is bi-polar and is on medication that, seriously, saved her life. But, she’s a teenager with a developed brain who can very rationally explain what she’s thinking, seeing, hearing, and feeling. She isn’t a four-year-old who has had language skills for the lesser part of two years, or a three-year-old. Or a two-year-old. She and a few other friends I can count using one hand, to me, is the rare exception to what should be the “medication as a last resort and only in the most extreme circumstances” rule. I’m not talking about them here.

Ritalin is a drug that is classified by the DEA as being a schedule II — the SAME classification as OPIUM and COCAINE.

And medical doctors are prescribing this drug to toddlers?

ritalinTo babies?

HOW did our society come to this – to the point that we throw drugs at our children in an effort to force them to behave in lieu of parenting?

And, before you come to me with, “You don’t know what it’s like –”, I have a son who, when he was seeing the psychiatrist at the University of Kentucky at the age of 4, was classified as “having issues far more reaching than simply ADD or ADHD,” and was ultimately diagnosed under the autism umbrella.

And, you know what?

He listens. He pays attention within the parameters established by us and his educators. He eats, sleeps, and behaves according to the standards set by our family. And he does it because we have diligently worked with him, with understanding how his brain functions, with monitoring what foods affect his behavior and shifting to adjust accordingly, and with a sympathetic understanding of how affected he can be by stimulated environments.

So, don’t tell me I don’t understand.

What I do understand is that my son requires a whole lot more parenting energy than my other two children. But, I’m certainly not going to throw an addicting drug onto his developing brain.

generation rxIt’s bad enough that there are MILLIONS of children who have these kinds of prescriptions. But, now they’re being given to TODDLERS? What kind of attention are we expecting from toddlers, anyway? In what environment are these toddlers that require them to sit still and have to pay attention?

What?

This article made me crazy. Seriously. I’m so angry over it that I’m having a hard time typing this.

If you haven’t seen the documentary Generation Rx directed by Kevin P. Miller, do see it. It was free on Netflix last I checked. Every single parent in the free world should see this movie and think not twice, but three or four times more, before placing their child on a mind altering drug. Here’s the trailer for it:

Seriously, watch this film. Learn about what danger these drugs are. Make informed decisions for your children.  And, in my opinion, any doctor who prescribes these drugs to toddlers ought to have his or her medical license revoked before facing criminal charges.

Hallee


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1

Today’s Word of Promise

Posted by Hallee on May 26, 2014 in apologetics, Christian Faith, holiness, Leviticus

actsEveryday, I do a 4-mile aerobic walk. It takes me one hour. I listen to my Word of Promise Bible while I walk.

Today I listened to Acts 9 – Acts Acts 17.

The part that stood out to me in that passage is this:

 The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance and saw heaven opened and an object like a great sheet bound at the four corners, descending to him and let down to the earth. In it were all kinds of four-footed animals of the earth, wild beasts, creeping things, and birds of the air. And a voice came to him, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.”

But Peter said, “Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean.”

And a voice spoke to him again the second time, “What God has cleansed you must not call common.” This was done three times. And the object was taken up into heaven again. Acts 10:9-16

Almost certainly, whenever we explain our choice to follow a Biblical diet, someone brings up Peter’s vision. However, this vision has nothing to do with food. In fact, Peter himself knew that. While he was having this vision, Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian regiment, had a delegation on their way to where Peter was staying. These were not Jews, and it was unlawful for a Jew to “keep company with” someone who was not Jewish. However, these men explained that an angel of the Lord told Cornelius to send for Peter. So, he put the men up for the night, and the next day went with them to see Cornelius.

When Peter met Cornelius, he said:

Then he said to them, “You know how unlawful it is for a Jewish man to keep company with or go to one of another nation. But God has shown me that I should not call any man common or unclean.

Peter’s dream was showing him that God could sanctify and cleanse any MAN.

So, if you want to argue about whether God has approved those country hams for Sunday after church consumption, this isn’t the passage you ought to use.  If you want a passage to use, it’s better to use Acts 15. There was a church in Jerusalem that was preaching that Gentiles had to be circumcised and follow the law of Moses in order to be saved. So, Peter and other church leaders met and held a council to determine how to handle this situation, because the Gentiles were coming to Christ in huge numbers. They determined that:

They wrote this letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:

Greetings.

Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” —to whom we gave no such commandment— it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth. For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well.

Farewell.  ~Acts 15:23-29

So, there you go. If you’re a Gentile, and that country ham wasn’t sacrificed to an idol, it isn’t a sin to eat it.

But that doesn’t make the meat clean. Or healthy. Or pleasing to God.

May God bless you and bless your day. Find a word of God speak to you today.

Hallee


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2500 Fans Giveaway

Posted by Hallee on May 25, 2014 in Blog Stuff

2500

Hallee the Homemaker’s Facebook page reached 2500 fans!

To celebrate, I’m doing a massive giveaway on Facebook.  Here’s the information from the post that you can find at this link.

We reached 2500 likes on this page! I didn’t realize it – I was out of town last week. So, let’s celebrate. Let’s do a giveaway. “like” this post and leave a comment. That allows more people to see it through Facebook’s stupid filters.

One person who BOTH comments and likes will win an autographed set of my cookbooks – Fifty Shades of Gravy, The Walking Bread, and Iron Skillet Man.

Three people will win a single autographed cookbook of your choice.

25 people will win ebook of your choice.

Giveaway ends Tuesday morning at 7AM EST. And — go.

Please don’t enter on this blog post. Please enter on Facebook!

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