Tuesday, September 13, 2011

AM~Erica Can't Wait

So anyway...

Recently a friend was giving me a hard time on my Facebook posts when I would bring up about waiting to brew my coffee. She kept bragging about Starbuck's Via packets that she would enjoy while her coffee was brewing.

It made me laugh, but I thought I'd jump on the wagon & give it a shot. You know? It does help! Crazy as it sounds...but it does.

But now, I feel like this guy:

Yep...cheating while you wait for the slow stuff. Hey! It means you can enjoy the best of both worlds!

That's my story & I'm sticking to it!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

AM~Erica's View on Facebooking Teachers

So anyway...

Right now, in Missouri, there is a great debate on a law trying to be passed about the teacher/student interaction on Facebook. Due to the few that have abused this convenient form of communication, it has really screwed it up for other teachers & their accessibility for students to ask for help from them. Now teachers, one of the most under appreciated professions right now, may be forced to not even be able to communicate with their own children & family members who are minors. Some educators feel they are being put into the same category as sexual predators. So sad that it has to come to that.

I know that there are educators trying to find ways to make this work so they can remain safely accessible AND trying to lax the law, or at least make it more focused. I do know that there are very public loopholes to get around this. One of them is posting updates on Twitter while inviting students AND parents to follow so both parties can receive the information. Why not? The law seems to be focused on Facebook & not other social sites, right now. I think this is a brilliant move!

I do have an idea for teachers on Facebook: how about setting up a fan page for the teacher & have students & parents "like" the page for updates. It doesn't help with one-on-one help, but it's a start. I understand that all email communication between the teacher &/or student needs to go through school administration, too...so also include a lawmaker on them, too. Then see how many of the emails build up for the lawmakers. How quickly would their minds change?

Teachers should be able to use technology to advance their teaching & keep up with society & learning abilities. How sad that a respected career that is already underpaid & under-appreciated continues to be thrown under the bus. (no pun intended)

It's so disheartening to know that a small handful of educators that abuse the system make extreme measures happen.

Anyone agree?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

AM~Erica is Beginning to Understand

So anyway...

The end of summer (in a fiscal sense) is upon us. We are in the season of "Back to School". Some schools have already started; some schools are starting later this month. Our school district begins tomorrow. And it's hard to get back into that routine!

Along with the start of school, there also seems to be so many other extra curricular events being planned, too. For my 2 teenagers, our church's youth group started a thing called "Bring Your Face to the Place". It's a monthly event that happens on a Friday night (generally) & is a time of fun & friendship. The next one is this Friday. It is going to be a themed one...80's Night! Oh, yes! And...more than just the youth are being invited to this one. This is an all-out deal!

So, since I spent most of my childhood & teen years during this period in history, I know all about what we looked like & what it took to achieve those looks! We were totally awesome! Now when I look back...I kinda giggle at what we looked like. But there are very distinct things about those times. If you are planning on having or attending a function based on this era, you'd better get it right!

I have searched the internet to show my kids what I'm talking about & to prove I'm not making this stuff up. I need to show them this stuff because they seem to have their own ideas of what the 80's were, and they get mad at me when I correct them. And it's hard to show them the 80's when it's a big deal to have 80's parties of sorts now & they seem to be held by people born in the 80's or after. Then most of the pix out there are the ones of close-but-no-cigar attempts at capturing the 80's in their outfits.

Then...that made me realize something. When those of us who are around my age were having 50's, 60's or 70's parties & trying to dress like that time period, were the ones who actually grew up & experience that era looking at our pictures & thinking how our renditions were close-but-no-cigar? I, personally, am one that does hardcore research to get the outfit right for the time period. I pride myself in that! So it's frustrating when people only do one little thing to "put themselves in that era" by just wearing an accessory or a t-shirt. But that's my pet peeve. So when my kids don't agree with what they need to do to their outfits to make it right, what does that say?

Yes, usually you can find things at thrift stores that are perfect & for cheap! Take your resource with you (person who participated in the styles of the era) to see if what you find makes the cut. There are a lot of items out there that are INSPIRED by certain time periods. Once again, before you decide that's what the era was about, consult your resource. Oh, and trust your resource in what the footwear was like, hair, makeup, accessories...EVERYTHING!

Not too long ago, a friend of mine was invited to an 80's party & she wanted to get everything right! So...she consulted with me, sent pix of things she would find & double check to see if it was the right thing to do so that she would look perfect for the party!

Once again, I point out my personal mantra: "If you're gonna go, go all out." I have here on my blog at the top all of the time because that's what I do.

So if you are ever having one of these parties, or are ever invited to go to one...why even have it or why even go if you don't plan on going all out? It's part of the fun!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bittersweet Moment for AM~Erica

So anyway...

Yesterday marked something important in [American] history. After 30 years, the NASA space shuttle program launched it's last shuttle mission with the Atlantis. Only with a slight hiccup at T-minus 31 seconds, it lifted off majestically & beautifully.

I remember (vaguely) being awakened early in the morning to watch the very first of the shuttle program take off, back in 1981. I remembered I was in 1st grade. This NASA program has been a part of so many lives...and childhoods, for those 30 years.

I remember, as a kid, going on family vacations (usually tied into one of my dance competitions) & my parents planning trips around that. As I got thinking, we visited the space museum in Hutchinson, KS, space camp in Huntsville, AL...and even the Kennedy Space Center in FL (twice in the same week, I might add). So this program has pretty much been ingrained into my brain from nearly the get-go. Since so many astronauts & engineers that work for NASA say they wanted to be a part of that because of Star Trek...and the fact my dad's a Trekkie...I guess this all makes sense.

With that said, my family made sure to tune in yesterday morning to make sure to watch that last liftoff. And, I will admit, I got choked up. As I was making sure my 13-year-old son was up for it, I was trying to build the excitement of it...and literally got choked up instead. This was a moment where another portion of many of our childhoods are coming to a close. This is a difficult thing to face considering so many of my generation swear we will never grow up...and then we face a moment like this.

However, was our society pretty desensitized to the space program in the last several years? Back in the day, a shuttle launch was a HUGE deal! As of late, we were hearing that a mission was already completed, or they were showing a landing...or we would hear about yet another delay in take off. I feel like so many of us took this amazing program for granted. Not sure how much of it was people, but society & media instead. Now we have so many other channels to watch; too many other websites to check out; schedules are too jam-packed. So sad that the end of it all completely crept up on us. I mean...WHERE has 30 years gone?

Now, going back to when I said I remember watching the 1st lift off of Columbia when I was in 1st grade, I realized I recently said this in a previous post about the Royal Wedding. So, out of curiosity, I Googled when the 1st launch took place. I made an interesting statistical discovery that has a slight Lincoln-Kennedy-type thing going:

In 1981, the 1st NASA space shuttle launch happened in April & the Royal Wedding of Charles & Diana happened in July; in 2011, the Royal Wedding of William & Catherine (Kate) happened in April & the final NASA space shuttle launch happened in July. Oh, along the Lincoln-Kennedy tie-in even? The shuttles are launched from Kennedy Space Center! Talk about a bookend set of events...

You know...I watched the final liftoff yesterday and cried. It's so bittersweet. So amazing what the shuttle portion of the program has done for 30 years, yet heartbreaking that the toys & keepsakes of space though the childhood of Gen X & beyond surrounded the space shuttles.

But...we moved from the rockets/capsules of early space exploration, to the shuttles, now NASA is looking to travel beyond. Yesterday it was brought up that going back to the moon & trying for Mars exploration are in their sights. They did use the term "Deep Space" and they were quoting Gene Roddenberry about finding new frontiers. So cool hearing from astronauts! Maybe we need to work on our Vulcan greetings - looks like some sort of "First Contact" may happen sometime in the future.

For all those kids out there who are looking to be a part of the NASA program...I am so excited for where you all will be able to help take this program! And it is a great partnership that can be kept internationally as Russia is still sending flights into space. So, learn Russian & a few other languages to be able to increase the horizons of human space exploration together!

And to NASA, I say, "Live Long & Prosper."

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, July 4, 2011

AM~Erica's Holiday Greeting Smack-Down

So anyway...

Today, as I look at the calendar, is July 4, 2011. If I am correct, this is a day that an important holiday falls on in American history & culture. But, wait a minute, what is it called again? Oh yes...INDEPENDENCE DAY!

I am trying to figure out what other holiday we celebrate where we call it by the day/date:

Happy 1st of Janurary!

Happy 14th of February!

Happy 17th of March!

Happy 5th of May!

Happy 3rd Sunday of May!

Happy 4th Monday of May!

Happy 3rd Sunday of June!

Happy 1st Monday of September!

Happy 31st of October!

Happy 25th of December!

As you are reading through these, do they sound ridiculous to say? Of course they do! Because we wish the actual holiday name to others in our greetings on each of those days! OK, so the closest on is 5th of May, but we do actually say "Cinco de Mayo" to use for it.

And when it is our birthday, or someone else's, do we wish them "Happy [date]"? NO! We tell them "Happy Birthday"! We just celebrated my brother's birthday on July 2nd. We are certainly NOT going to tell him, "Hey! Happy 2nd of July, Dan! Have fun!"

So think about this as we celebrate today wishing our great nation "Happy Birthday" and greeting each other with "Happy INDEPENDENCE Day".

Just something to think about as you greet each other for cookouts & fireworks...and whatever else it is that you all have planned. And remember we get to celebrate our independence because of our soldiers & troops, through the years, who have helped to keep it that way. Thank a soldier & vet that we get to celebrate today! (Because we CERTAINLY don't wish them "Happy 11th of November".)

Have a wonderful, fun-filled, safe & thankful INDEPENDENCE DAY, everyone!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, June 10, 2011

AM~Erica Goes to a Funeral

So anyway...

There is going to be a lot in this post, so bear with me.

For those of you who know what happened this last week, my family & I truly appreciate the prayers, thoughts, and words of encouragement. They have truly meant so much.

For those who are trying to figure out what the heck I'm talking about, I got word this past Sunday morning I got word from my mother that my grandmother, Connie Burr, passed away. The past several years have been rough as she developed Alzheimer's. It is a cruel & ugly disease! It is something that took a fabulously witty, intelligent & creative mind to leave a shell of a woman. It was very difficult for me when I had to be reintroduced to her about 3 years ago. By the time this was over, she wasn't recognizing her own 6 children. She left behind quite a legacy, for sure! And, what's even more amazing is how much she put her growing family first! I had a connection growing up with her as we both collected dolls. All kinds of them! I remember comparing them with her, or I would bring whatever new doll I got for Christmas over to her house to show her my new addition. She would take me to a room or to the attic to show my a doll she's had or one she'd just received. Many years ago, I made doll for her. I made a Martha Washington doll (at least in my head). I poked my fingers so often from the LARGE needle I used to attach the porcelain head, arms & legs to the soft, stuffed body; I got glue on my trying to make the doll wig stick; I completed her with, what I felt was, the perfect dress. My grandmother was quite a special woman, indeed! I even learned so much more about her when I read her obituary. What a remarkable woman! How sad how much of that left so long ago.

I am at peace with her passing. It was difficult to see her for the last time at Easter seeing what Alzheimer's had done to her. I know she is in a much better place. It will be hard dealing with the grieving process from my mom, my aunts & even my uncle. On big holidays, the family would gather together (6 siblings & spouses, 10 grandchildren & spouses, 23 great-grand children) for meals & company. It was always in her presence. And now it will be different without our matriarch. I miss her soft & raspy laugh, I miss her loving & ornery since of humor. But she celebrates now & awaits the rest of us to join her.

When I found out about her passing, my husband & I were at the Missouri United Methodist Annual Conference in Springfield, MO. I was keeping the news a little under wraps, not wanting to draw attention, especially since I was at peace. If you know me well, you will know that I have a thing for butterflies. They bring a spiritual sense to a situation & at least one seems to show up somehow when I need it most. I was speaking with a pastor at the conference, Angela Olsen, about a beautiful butterfly necklace around her neck. She did not know my situation, and she said to me, "Can I tell you my butterfly story?" Of course I welcomed it! It was a beautiful story filled with God's love & vision. I watched her get chills...and it gave me chills & hope. A spiritual butterfly showed up for me in that time. I tell you that story to move onto this story...

I was at my grandmother's visitation when one of my aunts began to tell a story about that Sunday morning after she received the new of her mother & a butterfly came & landed on her friend. It stayed & visited for a while. My aunt wanted to know why it landed on him if it was really her mother. She held out her finger & the butterfly went to her & stayed with her for quite some time. They walked around with it for a long time for a butterfly. Then she exclaimed that she knew it was her mother, because, you see, my grandmother loved butterflies. Every time my aunt saw a butterfly, she thought of my grandmother. Apparently, my grandmother's favorite song is called "The Lucid Butterfly". Interesting since everyone tried so hard to hang onto every lucid moment during her Alzheimer's. So I feel like my grandmother visited some of us maybe to let us know she is OK.

Now we move to the day of the funeral...
I put out some wording lately that was taken out of context...kind of. The pastor who gave the message & officiated the service is not Methodist. That's where I will choose to leave it. The family wanted my husband to speak in some capacity during the service, but was denied. The family was told that no one else could say anything until the body was committed to the ground at the gravesite. It would not have been a big deal if the message was that of comfort & love. Instead we got very little comfort from the pulpit that day. We were reminded about Adam & Eve and the original sin. I am unsure as to why that had to be brought up just to tell us that my 88-year-old grandmother died of sin. It was a horrible & awkward moment. It really was. He also spoke about he would visit with her, but that's where it should have stopped, because he added the words, "once a month". It sounded like it was something in his schedule that he had to do. Those three words could have been left out & it would have been much more personable...instead it sounded like a civic duty that he HAD to do. There was only a brief celebration-of-life moment when he compared to the shepherd by herding & caring for her family. That was it. The obituary was more of a full celebration of life than the entire funeral service. This was also a service that was promised a choir or song leading, and neither happened come time for the service. The family had hoped my hubby would give words at the graveside or give the blessing during the luncheon back at the church. These didn't happen either; it was my mother who offered extra words at the graveside since this pastor didn't open it up after the body's committal. When we got back to the church, the pastor is the one that took the blessing. The family was very disappointed & knew that my grandmother would have loved for my husband to have done or said something besides being a pall bearer.

I want all of the clergy out there to know that you do what you can to bring comfort to the family; make it a celebration of life instead of a full-on theological lesson. I am letting you know that the words spoken from that particular pulpit did NOT help! We were/are blessed to have each other as a family with lots of love & humor. All of that was so much more helpful in this case.

Once again, my family & I are so thankful for all of you who have given words of hope, been vessels of God's word knowingly or not, prayers & thoughts. It has meant a lot...and the grieving begins & the celebration of a beautiful life continues.

If you are still reading, thank you for sticking it out & let me get this out.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, May 2, 2011

AM~Erica Bids bin Laden Adieu

So anyway...

After a very hectic weekend, our family was T.I.R.E.D.! We went to bed early last night...like BEFORE 10:00 last night! Wow!

My hubby turned on the TV last night to catch the weather...and then we heard it: Osama bin Laden is dead! We didn't react much out of mere shock!

As so many of you know, this name has been so prominent in our lives for the past decade. [We] have been looking for this man for so long after being the mastermind behind one of our nation's greatest tragedies; certainly a defining one in several of our lifetimes. It has definitely changed how we live in our nation & how things are done.

Nearly 10 years ago, the horrific nature of terrorism was brought to light when the planes hit each of the towers of the World Trade Center on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, followed by the hit on the Pentagon. I still well up with tears & my heart breaks when I see ANY of the images from that day. Watching the towers fall, seeing the dust & wondering how life in New York & our nation would continue.

There was also an amazing sense of brotherhood (all encompassing) & pride toward each other & our nation for quite some time afterward. American flags flew everywhere. People were wearing flag pins & clothing in support. We were kinder to each other & listened to each other in our time of hurt & need. We all had opinions to share & didn't know how soon was considered safe enough to laugh & joke again.

We all have memories of how that day played out for us & it still evokes emotions thinking about where we were when we heard what happened & saw the first images...and memories of how our lives were effected.

In the time since, patriotism has faded, we have raised our voices & opinions against each other, and we have lost a lot of pride in our nations & ourselves. We have been through hard times since then, and still continue. So, who won? Does pointing fingers at each other & blaming each other really help anything?

Our troops are certainly to be commended for what they have done in these last few years since the surge after 9/11/01. We should always be thanking our troops for their tireless hours, days & years put into making sure we stay a free country. Yesterday was no different. We played the most intense game of hide-and-seek EVER! We won that part of the game!

So now with the amazing scenes from the crowds outside the White House & the scenes from New York upon the news of the death of bin Laden are so moving! With spontaneous outbursts of our national anthem & flags waving...it was joyful patriotism again. This time, not brought on by grief.

The death news brought on so many different emotions. I think it is more of an appropriate sense of relief. But our work is not done.

If you think that Osama being out of the equation has taken care of Al Qaeda, you are SO wrong! There are so many "splinter cells" out there & now there will be a struggle for power...and will will need to be on alert as there are going to be very violent threats (at the very least) as a new leader attempts to emerge. I would like to see this as a downfall for this group, but cautiously positive.

In this positivity, I would hope this would lighten the load for our troops...but it will not be immediate due to my theory stated in the previous paragraph.

Now I am going to point out that I am not the only one who thinks that a VERY abrupt burial at sea was a little strange. I do not advocate parading the dead...I was really bothered when Mother Teresa passed away & she was laid out in the open & on camera. (Please note that I am in NO way comparing Osama bin Laden to Mother Teresa...just a death situation.) I was even bothered by the video of Saddam Hussein's hanging, but it was a relief knowing there was proof. I am from Missouri, a.k.a. the Show Me State, so we tend to want that proof. I almost want that picture & documented proof of DNA knowing that it was really him that we got. To say the body is in custody with the United States & then in the same breath say his body was chucked out to sea was all too weird. Let the conspiracy theories begin...

I also made sure my children knew this morning when they got up so they would be in the know when they went to school today. I am hoping that SOMEONE at school brings this up today! My kids were in the dark about the Japan tragedy until we told them AFTER school! But that's just this school system, I know others are better about bringing up breaking news updates that effect the world as we know it.

Will all of this being said, let's all come back together, show our support for each other & our nation, and bring back our patriotism. Oh, and actually keep it up while we are at it.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Sunday, May 1, 2011

AM~Erica's BIG Wedding Weekend

So anyway...

If you read my previous post, you will know that I did watch the Royal Wedding. The ceremony, the hats/fashion, the dress, the transportation, the kiss...everything was wonderful! And the royal couple are so precious! The were like two giddy kids in love! The sparkle & twinkle in the eyes of both of them. The precious moment when William finally got to see Kate & tell her she looked beautiful (even when Harry HAD to sneak a peak). The funny little quip that William made to Kate's dad at the alter. We got to forget the horrible in the world for just a little while & focus on a joyous celebration! We also got to focus on hats galore (yes, even the ones that I think Fergie had Beatrice & Eugenie wear in her revenge against the snub of the royal family's cold non-invite). It was even more fun to see the crowds gather to catch a glimpse of their future princess & eventual queen. For those of you who are my Facebook friends know that I changed my profile pic to my big hat pic for the wedding...and for the Kentucky Derby next weekend.

Then I got to be the wedding coordinator for a wedding my hubby officiated for. We did the rehearsal with the boisterous family on Friday night, and then the wedding on Saturday afternoon. I have never seen a wedding where the entire family were ready for rehearsal EXTRA early...and guests arriving to the wedding an hour early! Talk about an excited bunch! Plus, the couple was so adorable. As a matter of fact, they both cried through the vows...so sweet! Another sweet & simple wedding with a lot of family!

THEN we went to a wedding reception of a family friend. Well, she's like my little sister & I always believe she's 8 years old. I think she hates it when I say that, but that's how it goes! The reception was a true party! She was super adorable in a full-on 40's themed short dress & pillbox hat w/ a mini veil. She was perfection! Since her dad passed away a few years ago, she didn't get the chance to get her dance with him...so she brilliantly had ALL present dads with daughters come dance in her place...with a condition: dancing to her dad's favorite song. So the daddy/daughter duos boogied down to "Jeremiah Was a Bullfrog". There was karaoke & we danced the "Time Warp"! There was even a makeshift photobooth for a chance to take 4 crazy pictures at a time! There was a peacock feather sent with each invitation, so I wore my peacock feather necklace & headband with a dress I've had for years that happen to coordinate! The bride donned a couple of peacock feathers in her perfect french braid, and the feathers were placed in center pieces, her bouquet & even the amazing 3-tier hexagon-shaped cake had edible peacock feathers on each tier.

What a crazy-amazing weekend for weddings! All so different & all so wonderful! So glad I got to be a part of each of them in some way, from watching from afar, to being hands-on, to enjoying a full-blown party in celebration.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

AM~Erica Talks Royal Wedding

So anyway...

The talk everywhere right now is the British Royal Wedding in a couple of days of William & Catherine (which is what she is supposed to be called after the nuptials). There is a true obsession about it! Countdowns everywhere & so many shows telling you how to throw a viewing party. Even if it BEGINS in the U.S. anywhere from midnight to 3:00 AM depending which time zone you're in.

Many guys are so lost as to why there is this obsession, especially amongst their wives/girlfriends. I will tell you what it's about, but stay with me...

When I was in 1st grade, I have a memory of my parents waking me up while it was still very dark outside to watch "The Wedding of the Century" back in 1981. It was the British Royal Wedding of Charles & Diana. I remember the dress, and, even funnier, I remember them showing a model who was reminiscent of Diana showing off a copy of the dress & they tried to tell everyone it was Diana showing off this dress. Even at age 6 or 7, I knew that chic was NOT the future princess! But I still believe I got to be a part of history by watching this.

Does it have any impact on our country? I don't think so. It is more of the fact that every little girl was watching a fairytale fantasy. Guys, you have to understand that most females start planning their wedding the moment they start playing dress up. Weddings are a big deal to us. Plus we get to see a modern-day princess being made & crowned right before our eyes. We are living vicariously through her! Then we take our moment to glam it up to celebrate.

Now, Diana's son, William, an heir to the throne in a big way, is marrying a woman who is actually considered a "commoner". Diana was part of a noble family & was already called Lady Di[ana]. Kate Middleton is our modern-day Cinderella! It is the ultimate rags-to-riches princess story we read in books, watch on Disney movies, and dream of as a child. It also sets a lot of trends, not just in fashion, but culturally.

So, this wedding is happening in a day of super-social media & a major age of information. We have all kinds of ways to dream & put our thoughts out there. Look, I'm even blogging about it...and you're reading it! We also have this thing called TiVo or DVR. We can record the coverage & watch it later in case you want to sleep in.

Because of the array of channels out there now (way beyond the 40-something cable channels back in '81), you have your choice of how & where to watch it. Or you may choose to watch a channel that isn't even showing it. But for those who are planning on doing it, we have AT&T U-Verse...we can get the BBC. If you're gonna get coverage of this event, go hardcore & go all out! Then, you can even hold a follow-up party. You have had time to process the recipes & decorations so you can hold your own high tea in retrospect. And you don't have to do it in the middle of the night.

This is a once-in-a-life time event (so-to-speak). Keep showing it & you can have as many teas & royal parties as you would like! You don't even need to worry about running out of room on your VHS tape that you set to record on your VCR!

So, is there anyone who is planning on watching live? Anyone planning viewing parties? Anyone planning on recording it & watching later? Anyone watching it on the BBC, even in America? Anyone who doesn't care at all & wants it over with so we can get on with our lives?

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, April 18, 2011

AM~Erica Celebrates Tax Day

So anyway...

Today is the day, everyone! Make sure you take care of one of the 2 of life inevitabilities...TAXES. I believe you can figure out the other one.

Uncle Sam was nice enough to let everyone wait until Monday, April 18th this year so he could celebrate Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15th (the usual filing day). Well, this gave the weekend for him to get over whatever Emancipation Hangover he may have incurred.

Many people are probably quite happy with having the extra time, so hopefully you all have either got everything filed already or are working diligently to get it done & in by midnight!

For everyone who is not having to file today since either a) you already have taxes filed, or b) someone else does it for you, then we can join together in an annual protest of taxes. How do we do that? By having a Tea Party of course!

OK...that has taken on a new connotation lately with the GOP spinoff political party, but it was based on the same annual tradition...or the Boston Tea Party...whichever...

We can all wear a big hat & sip tea in protest! This is my choice. Or we can take our boxes of tea bags & dump them into the nearest body of water (i.e. ocean, river, lake, stream, creek, pond, bathtub, etc.), but this one could be slightly less effective & get everyone doing it fined for littering...and you'd be out of tea bags. Plus you'd have a larger fine tacked onto that if you choose the second option along with a full protest by not filing taxes.

Yes, the protest is tongue-in-cheek...but it just shows we all feel the same way about it. Yes the taxes are needed...but do we know what they are all going for? Sometimes we tend to get surprised.

By the way...there are a few businesses around the U.S. who give discounts & freebies for they own personal protest that they like to include the people! Watch for those!!

So...raise your pinkie & your tea cup! Have some Boston Cream Pie! Cheers to a Tax Day protest! Now make sure you go file...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, March 21, 2011

AM~Erica on Bullying: Take 2

So anyway...

I am once again heartbroken to hear the level of bullying going on around, even when there has been a very recent uprising against it.

A note to those doing the bullying: You are being watched & you will be caught. It is not ok. Ever.

My middle schooler has been coming home with stories that there is constant bullying going on. It has happened to him, and to several others too. Apparently much of it has been going on under the faculty's noses & they haven't noticed. There is physical, verbal & mental bullying going on daily that never gets addressed.

Take a look at that last paragraph & replace the word "bullying" with the word "abuse". It's the same.

I have said that you should try to get to know the person first, no matter how "weird" or "strange" they seem to YOU. If you don't get along, go separate ways. There is no need to be abusive the person you don't see eye-to-eye with. And I am not just talking about kids at school...I am talking about life in general. It happens all of the time with adults, too. It's disgusting. If you are so rude to go out of your way to humiliate someone that you do not agree with for some reason, then that is abusive. We all are entitled to our own opinions. It doesn't make it right to belittle someone for not agreeing with you. It is not ok to try to humble someone weaker, or that you personally deem weaker, just for your own empowerment. And it all tends to begin at an earlier age that adults allowed to happen because of "kids being kids". The lesser party is being traumatized. The bully is allowed to believe what they are doing is ok. Neither is fine.

I remember being in 6th grade (still in elementary school) & hearing that a 7th grader, a kid I used to playfully chase on the playground in prior years, had committed suicide because of the level of bullying he had endured. Some of you may remember Paul Boucher & I remember my mom telling me what had happened. Looking back, he did seem to be an easy bullying target, but I never saw that when I chased him on the playground. It was hard for me to imagine what had happened. The truth is...it did happen. It happened because the level of bullying was very real & very escalated. Paul did not get the privilege to encounter the level of education we have about bullying now, nor the resources we have too. He was a victim of "well, it's kids being kids."

Everyone reading this needs to take a step back & take a look at what they do everyday. Is there anywhere in this that you have been a bully to a classmate, family member, co-worker, passerby, person on a street corner with a sign, that person who excels more than you, that person who doesn't quite excel as much as you, the fat one, the skinny one, the short one, the tall one, the smart one, the struggling one...where does it end? Why are we so jealous? Why are we so commanding? I am sure I have bullied someone in some way...and for that I truly apologize! I never had that idea in mind! EVER! But there are those of you who do try to do such things. You even bully the advocates of the ones standing up to those you abuse.

After one more day of these stories coming out, I have emailed the principal of the school to raise the issue with him. We will see where this goes...

Please be sure to read my previous post on this.

After reading it, you will see I have dealt with it with my own kids, and it is for pointless & sensless reasons.

Try the Golden Rule: Treat others as you would want them to treat you. And Rodney King was right! Why CAN'T we all get along? I know we are human...tender, over-sensitive beings...but get over it. If you can't say or do something nice...don't say it or do it at all!

I will not stay quiet on this. Just note that you may hear more about this from me.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Saturday, March 19, 2011

AM~Erica Wonders if It's the Super Moon

So anyway...

Tonight is the full moon. When I was employed at one of the banks I worked at, I would always keep track of the full moon & let several other employees at our branch & others know to look out for the weirdos & crazies to come out. And they would never disappoint! People get really crazy when the full moon comes out. We all kind of become our own werewolves. And it's in traffic, when you go to the store, when you deal with clients & vendors at work...EVERYWHERE! It's amazing the type of spell the moon can cast on each of us.

Now, tonight is not only a full moon...but a SUPER MOON! It's supposed to be the closest to the Earth in 18 years. So...does that mean the bigger crazies come out, or do we all become even more over-the-top? Probably a good mix of both. And I'll give a couple of examples:

1. My lil guy's 1st soccer game of the season was today at noon. We were keeping watch for rain to see if it would hit around game time. We figured, and were hoping, that we could get the game in right before the game. It was SO cold out & the sky was just getting darker. The game of 5 & 6 year olds had not been going for very long when lightening began to appear in the distance. That should be grounds for ending the game. But the game kept going. Then thunder was rumbling. This should be a sign that we should at least cut the game short. But the game kept going. Not only did it keep going, they didn't even give the option to shorten the quarters. We went the whole game time watching lightening, listening to thunder & feeling the cold front working it's way through. So all the games going on acted like none of this was an issue...until...the games ended. The teams shook hands & before the teams could huddle back up for final thoughts, the referees were running through YELLING for everyone to immediately exit the fields & head right to the cars in the parking lot due to lightening in the area! Mass hysteria & a mass exodus came on like a bomb had just hit or fire broke out. It was all strangely calm & cool until the refs blew their final whistle. WHAT??

2. One of the greatest headlines came out today that totally gave me the giggles. From Spartanburg County, SC - "Deputy: Strip Search Finds Crack Between Buttocks". Really? I never would guessed to check there!! Yes, people...someone let that out to the public. How do you miss that? Someone, quick! Send this to Jay Leno stat!

My goodness...I am afraid as what else is coming for the day. Rain already messes with people & then to add a Super Moon on top of it? Please act responsibly, folks. Because you may the weirdo out there to someone else today.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

PS ~ Don't forget that you can now receive my blog updates by email if it's more convenient for you! Just submit your email address in the "E-Follow AM~Erica" field!

Friday, March 18, 2011

How Irish was AM~Erica?

So anyway...

Since yesterday was St. Patrick's Day, it was our goal to work on eating something Irish, not something colored green (that happens on Dr. Seuss' birthday). Because of our ever-crazy schedules, and the research between me & my hubby, we had oatmeal for lunch, and then by the time dinner came around, we needed to have someone else cook for us. So we had to get a close-to-Irish meal. We landed at Bob Evan's where there was good selection of homestyle meals. It was either going to be there or Cracker Barrel.

So the kids didn't necessarily take in anything close to Irish, but my hubby & I tried. I went with a Haddock fish & chips (fries/potatoes) with a big roll & a side of coleslaw (cabbage). And on the positive side, we had a great waiter who was definitely in the spirit with a GIANT leprechaun top hat & a fun, silly humor to match! He was great!

Then we decided to figure out dessert. Since pudding is big in Ireland, that's what we went with...plus it is cheap...uh...I mean..."economical".

So I made pudding & we ate it while watching "The Quiet Man". It's a great movie that takes place in Ireland that is in a whole different time & culture. I love the wit of the Irish in Innis Free. Maybe that's the Irish in me. But I wonder how concerned I should be that it's my hubby's favorite movie...hmmm...It is certainly NOT your typical John Wayne film either! Interesting trivia about it: this movie was made to try to raise money to make the movie "Rio Grande". John Ford used John Wayne & Maureen O'Hara for both films. You're welcome.

So, we had a good day & hope to be much better prepared for next year! As with all the other foodie holidays.

So I am going to try to make my mom's Erin's Lush in cupcake form to see how it turns out. Then, once again...maybe next year...

What did everyone else do for St. Pat's?

OK - Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

PS ~ If you prefer to get my blog updates by email, you may now enter your email address in the "E-Follow AM~Erica" field at the top!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

AM~Erica LOVES Celebrating with Food

So anyway...

Earlier this month was Dr. Seuss' birthday. You better believe we enjoyed green eggs & ham to celebrate. I love doing stuff like that. And if you know me well, then you already know that fact about me.

However, I missed a few key "holidays" to have themed food for! SHAME ON ME! So I am making a list of days during the year to have particular types of food on.

This week, I missed Pi Day. We should have had pizza at least. And yesterday was the Ides of March. We should have eaten Caesar salad. We even missed Chinese New Year AND Mardi Gras. So getting these marked for next year.

Tomorrow, however, is St. Patrick's Day. Even though it's a Catholic holiday (green), and we are a Protestant group (orange), I still plan to celebrate our Irish heritage. I just read that corned beef & cabbage is more of an Americanized Irish meal - go figure. That's ok by me...I really do not care for corned beef anyway. I'm pretty sure my kids would look at me like I was even crazier than I already am. So I am on a mission to put together a slightly Irish meal for tomorrow. So I am researching now.

My kids are (sadly) not fans of mashed potatoes. I would love to do a shepard's pie. So I will put the idea out there for anyone else...why not do a shepard's pie loaded baked potato? Just put the pie filling right on top of the potato? Or scoop out the potatoes & do a shepard's pie appetizer by filling the skins & then mashing the potatoes to put on top!

My mom makes this great salad/dessert for St. Paddy's Day. I consider it a dessert. It's Erin's Lush. It's a layered dish with a crust, cream cheese layer, pistachio pudding & whipped topping. YUM!! I have decided, since I'm on a big cupcake kick, that I may try it as a cupcake! If not this time, then I will stick to trying a lemon-lime & orange layered cupcake.

I will let everyone know what was decided on. The potato may end up being a French fry or tots of sorts...we will see.

In the morning, I would love to put together my own coffee concoction that some of you may have seen/heard me mention before: Tingling Leprechaun. It's coffee, chocolate, Irish Cream & mint. It can be served hot or cold & it could be spun into a liqueur version. And it is delicious!

Hopefully I will do a better job at keeping up with themed foods for certain days.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


Monday, March 14, 2011

AM~Erica is Prepared

So anyway...

I've been keeping up (or trying to) on the horrifying images, stories & updates coming out of Japan. They are certainly getting it from all ways!

With "Snowpocalypse" that happened not long ago & with the Japanese scenes being called "Apocalyptic", everyone is scrambling to Revelation for guidance...again.

I will NOT downplay what is happening...this is tragic & of course there are "signs of the end" attached to it. All of this going on does not help but feed the crowd concerned about 2012 being the end.

However, there are people putting out there that "this is the end" & "here are the signs". The bible passages are being taken out of context as the following passages remind us that only God knows the end. We must be prepared for whenever that time comes. Signs like this have happened several times through the ages & the end has been prophesied each and every time.

Folks, we don't know. We just need to know that we must be prepared at any time.

Awful things are happening around us that are definite signs of "THE END", but that time is NOT specifically put out there. Sure, it could be tomorrow...and it could be another thousand years from now.

Anyone who has put an absolute time on the end of all is wrong. The Rapture was supposed to happen back in spring of 1989, and now it is supposed to happen on May 21st of this year (sorry to my daughter, that's her birthday). But the fact is...WE DO NOT KNOW!

We must always keep watch. Live like everyday is your last, but live it fully in the name of Jesus Christ. But do not live it out in vain.

If you take out your bible, or find one, you need to read Matthew 24:36-44.

With Japan being hit by the earthquakes, tsunami & nuclear meltdown scares, of course it looks bleak. This is not a time to point fingers but to band together. I am a large believer in taking care of our own, don't get me wrong, but it's major tragedies like this that the world must come together. What Japan has & is going through is catastrophic. They do not have the resources & manpower/peoplepower to deal what they are going through. This is where we must step up. This is also part of our preparation for the end times...whenever that may be. We are to take care of those less fortunate & help them get back on their feet so they can once again continue on their own.

The Red Cross does do a lot & so does UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief). I highly suggest one of these to help give to so they, who are trained to deal with these crises, can help out over there. Pray for them & support them with gifts & donations that they are looking for to help in the efforts.

In the meantime, prepare yourselves. Everyday is the beginning of the end. I do not mean that negatively. I look forward to the day when I have eternal life in heaven through the saving grace of Jesus Christ. Am I terrified of what is going on? Yes. I am terrified for the people having to go through this. Am I afraid? Well, not really. I continue to prepare my heart for whenever that day comes. Because at anytime it could be THE end or our own end.

So when you start quoting the bible about the signs, please complete the thought & text by reminding everyone that we do not know when the end is, not even the Son. Only our Father in Heaven knows when that will be.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Monday, March 7, 2011

AM~Erica on Lent

So anyway...

Tomorrow is Mardi Gras...Fat Tuesday! It's the day that is supposed to be your last big shot at the stuff you love to do or eat before Lent kicks off with Ash Wednesday the following day.

Lent is a season of preparation in Christianity to get ready for the culmination of the prophecy of the Christ on Easter - it lasts 40 days, minus Sundays. It's the time when we remember that Jesus [the] Christ sacrificed himself for the sins of ALL people. It's a solemn season where we fast/sacrifice something to focus on Christ in meditation & prayer instead of the consumption of whatever it is that takes our focus away from Him.

Now here's my reminder:
Everyone tends to make a big deal about what they are giving up for Lent. Some people even give something up without even knowing what Lent is about. It's a spiritual thing & not meant to be a popular society-trend tradition of "something you're supposed to do." With this in mind, there is no need to announce & make public what your personal sacrifice/giving might be. When we do that, we have become like the pompous Pharisees that told everyone what they were doing because they were so "holy". Do NOT be the Pharisee, but instead make it known to only you & God. If it is something that you need to let someone else know because it is for dietary reasons, etc., then do NOT make it a big ordeal; instead quietly make your current needs known when necessary. It might effect dinner with the family, or watching a TV show with friends. But keep in mind the true reason of the piety behind what you are doing instead of turning into a Pharisee during the Lenten season.

I hope everyone has had or is having a fun & safe Mardi Gras, but remember what Lent is truly about. And may you truly have a thoughtful & blessed Lenten season.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Friday, March 4, 2011

AM~Erica is "Dog-Gone" Relieved

So anyway...

My fun & crazy post a couple of days ago pointed to the fact that we had roofers. After the crazy triple hail storm back in September, we needed a new roof...and did not get it until 2 days ago. The team that came out were very courteous & hardworking. They got it done in less than a day & a half! With there feverish banging away, my hubby said he was glad I wasn't having one of my migraines during this...he's right. I'm glad I didn't have one of my headaches either!

Well, when the roofing crew left on Wednesday, I went to let the dog out (FINALLY) when I noticed they left our back gate WIIIIIIIDE open! Good thing I caught it & got it closed before I let our dog out! They knew we had the dog...they watched me walk him with his leash in the backyard so he would leave the guys alone & their stuff.

Then came yesterday: the roofers got here at a decent time & got started, so I made sure the dog was in. The roofers finished around 11:30ish, so I checked the gate, it looked latched, so I let the dog out. I even watched to make sure the dog wasn't pushing the gate open. He tried, but the gate didn't [seem to] move. So I let him frolic in the gorgeous weather. He never asked to come in & I figured he was loving the weather as much as everyone else...

Fast forward to the kids coming home & heading out back to play & kick the soccer ball...
I told the boys to let the dog in but instead got a frantic response that they hoped the dog was already in. The gate was open. We have no idea how long it had been like that, but the roofers did not latch the gate back, so our very large yellow lab was able to nudge it on open at some point.

The older two jumped on their bikes & started scouring the neighborhood, and hubby drove around too. Nothing. The kids (especially the girl) were very upset! I felt bad because it still happened under my watch.

Well, since there's not much food in the house at the moment before we head to the store, we went to pick up some dinner. As we turned the corner, my hubby noticed a makeshift sign by the sidewalk that read "DOG FOUND". We picked up dinner to bring home (YUM! Sonic!) & looked at the sign to find a number to call. But we knew there was the possibility that it might not be ours. As we passed...no number. So I was hoping it would be behind the house where the dog was.

After dinner, I went to put my car back in the driveway, but took the opportunity to track down the sign to see which house it might be. So I started checking houses in the cul-de-sac the sign marked. Even though it was after 9:00 at night, I was ringing doorbells asking if they were the ones that posted the sign. No avail. I was really disheartened. Then I got a text from my hubby (the kids didn't know about the sign & that I had gone looking) bringing up that maybe there was a number on the sign we missed. So, I headed back to the sign...and...as I turned the corner...

...that crazy dog was crossing the street!! He just looked at my car approaching & kept going. I stopped abruptly & jumped out of the car. I started calling his name & he looked at me like I was insane! I told him to sit, so he did...and then layed down. He was a very tired dog & must've had a very long day. I had the leash with me & hooked it onto his harness, helped him into my little car, and then took him home.

Since we left the gate open just in case the dog came back on his own, I walked him back through the gate, into the backyard & back into his room (the storage room). I texted my hubby that I had an extra passenger, so he met me in the basement. The dog was tired & knew that he was in a little bit of trouble for wandering because he went and sulked in his hiding place under the stairs.

We did not let the kids know yet since one of them was in the shower & we wanted to tell them all at once. However, when my daughter was getting her pajamas on, she could hear sniffing in the storage room. The storage room is just on the other side of her room downstairs & there is a crawl-space door in one of her closets that leads to his hiding place. So instead of coming up & asking us what was going on...she investigated herself. *sigh*

Then she came up & let the boys know the dog was in the storage room! After they went & said hi to the dog in relief, we told them about the sign & me going & looking for him while I moved my car.

Now then...do you believe God gives you signs? I do! And I believe in very literal signs sometimes. I believe "DOG FOUND" was God leading us to our dog. And the dog was ready to get home.

What a day!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Seussification of AM~Erica

So anyway...

...today is a day
that I'm going to use
my blog to play!

Today's the birthday of Dr. Seuss,
so I'm putting his rhyme-style into use.

Roofers roofing makes a BANG!
In my head it's causing a PANG!

Today I almost have no voice.
It's Missouri weather, I had no choice!
And it makes me kind of sad
because of the big chance I had:

You noticed the title said "Seussification"?
It came from a Tim Ezell invitation.
You may know of him in St. Louie.
In KC we don't have one like him - PHOOEY!

Last year I gave him a hard time
for not using a single rhyme
to use Dr. Seuss to celebrate.
I pointed out that he was too late!

Now it is a whole year later
and I got a head-inflater!
An email from ol' Tim Ezell
that was more than wishing well...
He said that he remembered me
and invited me to the show, you see.

He even wrote in Dr. Seuss-style!
Yes! Tim went the extra mile!

And as I'm watching by live streaming
I see what I'm missing in teaming.
Oh the time I could've had!
But I couldn't do it and that makes me...sad.

My Lou friends would have been surprised
to see me there & not believe their eyes!!

But because of this voice & roofing
I didn't get to go help spoofing.
While watching, I took the cue,
and pretty sure would've been Thing 2.

But I hope to make it clear
That I hope to join in next year.

Til then, I'm where the house is quaking,
much like my voice, it's all shaking.
So instead I'm planning dinner.
My hopes are up that it's a winner!

Who Hash, and ham with eggs of green,
Goldfish crackers, you know what I mean?
Plus we'll have some pink to drink!
We'll drink pink ink, just like the Yink!
Plus maybe have some bread with butter,
but hopefully no bitter battle words to utter.
Plus we'll have dessert of cake!
Seussy cakes I think I'll make!

Must wear bold colors that are stripey,
topped with a hat that is stove-pipey!

I hope you all have enjoyed this post.
This one I've enjoyed doing the most.

Thank you, thank you, my dear friend,
for reading this until the end.

Now go enjoy this wondrous day!
And to Theodore Geisel, Happy Birthday!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica


Missing my opp was hard to chew,
It left me wanting to cry - BOO-HOO!
But never worry, never fear...
I got my official invite for next year!!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

AM~Erica Has New Bargain Skill

So anyway...

In my quest to figure out what our life holds right now during life changes, we have talked about where to save more money. If you have kept up at all, you know I love my coupons! But a friend told me about Extreme Couponers & they have been showing up on several talk shows. I half joked about taking their lead! I'm always in for a good bargain!! But I very recently picked up a new (to me) technique & I highly encourage it...


Oh yes! Ok...it does take some homework & prep...but sooooo worth it!!

We go to Wally World (aka - WalMart) for our one-stop shopping. THEY PRICE MATCH!! So when I find a sale from a competitor in a sales paper, I just circle (in red) what the item is & the sale price. It is so satisfying to see the things you buy forced to a lower price...then you can add a coupon on TOP of that! It's amazing & I've got the bug for it! Coupons on top of price matching at a place that usually (not always) has lower prices? Oh yes!! I am also going to go back to printing coupons, too. The more the merrier, right?

Not sure if I can get $300 worth of groceries for $12, but I'm willing to take it down as much as I can!

How will it work out? Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

AM~Erica at a Crossroads

So anyway...

Well, the time has come for a change in my life. And it is a decision that will effect my family, not just me...as most crossroad-decisions do.

I have been out of work for almost 2 years now. We have had a some big life changes in 2010 on top of that. Between my husband becoming ordained as an elder in the Untied Methodist Church, a graduation, having a kid entering kindergarten which gave us a kid in EVERY level of education, my husband getting appointed to his own church, a move involving a different city AND a new school district for the kids, plus a milestone birthday for my hubby...I'd say it was pretty eventful.

In this meantime, I have been a stay-at-home mom...able to get some stuff done that I would not be able to if my husband AND I worked. However, we have a lot of kids...4: 1 in kindergarten, one in middle school, one in high school & one in college. There is a lot of expenses with these kids. We are so grateful for my husband's position, our home, our vehicles (even my hubby's truck he got). But with prices rising EVERYWHERE with gas, food, health insurance & cotton...and possibly *gulp* chocolate soon, there may be a very strong need for me to go back to work, someway, somehow. We are fine on my hubby's salary, do NOT get me wrong...but if we choose for me to stay home with no income, we will have to simplify a LOT (absolutely not a bad thing, we are pushing for more simplicity), but it would lead to my hubby getting rid of his baby...the truck.

This could be something part-time, or something from home, but it may need to happen. Many of you know I love coupons, but I may have to become an Extreme Couponer!

First, I would love positive thoughts & prayers as this discernment process begins. out It's nerve wracking! I would also love to explore options...so my moms that have their own home businesses...just a small one where it really is just you, please give me your insights on where you came up with your business idea, your inspiration & how you went about going through with it. I want to include it in my discernment process & would love your feedback.

Thank you all! I pray God leads me to what needs to be done to put myself in a place that still glorifies Him as well as bring a peace to my family & me as times change.

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, January 20, 2011

AM~Erica Loves These Shoes

So anyway...

As many of you know, I am a bargain shopper. I actually have a standing rule of "nothing over $20"; however, that rule can be bent a little, depending on the item. If I find a good pair of jeans that fit me well, I might pay up to $30. Shoes might go up to $25 or $30 depending on the situation.

I recently found a fabulous pair of shoes at Shi by Journey's that I had been looking for: a stylish, nude-colored pump. I came across the Nadara Reyna pump there, but they cost $45. I was hoping for a serious sale, but I had been eyeing these shoes every time I saw them. Well, after having some Christmas money, I got the chance to purchase these beauties as my splurge. Here they are:

Love them? I do!

Then I came across some shoes that Kim & Kourtney Kardashian wore to the People's Choice Awards, earlier this month. They wore the Altadama nude platform pump from Christian Louboutin. Here's a picture of Kim in hers:

Pretty comparable, huh? But not in price, as you can imagine...

The Kardashian sisters shoes are $850 more than I paid for mine! Whew! And I considered mine a "splurge"...mine is a killer bargain next to theirs...and it has an adorable ruffle where theirs only have the red sole. I came out WAY ahead!

How much would you pay for your dream pair of shoes, or willing to pay? I would love to hear your thoughts...

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

AM~Erica on Bullying

So anyway...

I would like to say that there has been a much needed, and long overdue, focus on bullying. Sadly it has taken the act of 6 gay young men committing suicide due to being bullied for it. It's a horrible thing that should NEVER happen to anyone! EVER!

We all get bullied at least once throughout our lives. It isn't right, but it happens. It's even more prevalent due to the fact that I am now a parent & have witnessed it with my own kids.

My daughter had an incident when she was in 7th grade. A girl she was "friends" with was actually a controlling ringleader. I had already expressed my disapproval of this girl, but my daughter seemed to have it under control. Then the Halloween mixer was coming. As we went costume shopping, my husband & I had found a really cute pirate costume that was within budget as a possibility for her. When time came around, she was ridiculed for being in because the ring leader was apparently coming as a pirate & had instructed the group of her toadies that no one had better come as a pirate since she was - a costume that is in the top 3 costumes every year AND it wasn't even the same pirate costume. Well, my daughter stood up to the ring leader & wore her pirate costume where the ringleader tried to ruin my daughter's costume & they had an exchange of words. All the way through the winter break, she was receiving silent treatment, horrible names & pranks & anonymous emails saying horrible things to her. The ring leader was making her marionette army "do" these things to my daughter...ones she thought were "friends". One of the parents caught on to what their daughter was doing & made their daughter apologize to my daughter. It took a very long time to mend relationships with some of the friends & they were proud of my daughter for standing up...but it was an awful bullying ride. Being the parent not able to do more was heartbreaking.

Right now, my son tends to have some runs at being bullied. He is 13 & it isn't setting well as it is, but he is also a very smart kid that is slightly oblivious to the world around him sometimes. He recently got braces & now he takes a lunch to school everyday so we know he is eating SOMETHING. I was horrified to learn that he was being bullied one day during lunch: a group of kids kept taking his lunch bag. He did not eat lunch that day. He did tell me that the guilty party was disciplined, but that he was not given any extra time to eat. I am glad the faculty did not just stand by & allow the situation to carry on, but am disappointed that they did not allow my son to eat. There have been other instances with him, and I hate it.

Bullying has been an epidemic for so many years, and there is no sense in it. It is even so strong in elementary schools.

We need to let our children know that there is no reason to make someone feel low or bad about themselves if they are smarter than us, not as smart as us, less attractive than us, prettier than us, less fortunate as us, have a greater fortune than us, skinnier than us, heavier than us, shorter than us, taller than us, if they are gay, if they are straight...we are all individual & have been made that way for a reason. If we all had a box of green crayons, then the pictures we color would get really boring after a while. A box of crayons has so many different colors to pick from to make our pictures more beautiful by adding the options & contrasts in an eloquent mix. We are all different. We need to rejoice in the fact that we are not all made exactly the same. If there is someone that is very different than you, get to know them. Yes, there are times where chemistry isn't there, but that doesn't give us the right to judge.

The Golden Rule is exactly how we need to live. We were not put on the earth to judge. That is not our jobs. If you do not get along with a person, separate. Leave the other person alone & let them get along with other people. You shouldn't ridicule them just because you don't get along. There is a difference.

There is a book that came out 10 years ago called "The Wounded Spirit" by Frank Peretti:

Amazon.com Review:
"This is not fiction. This is real." So reads the cover of The Wounded Spirit, the first nonfiction title from bestselling novelist Frank Peretti. In a departure from his usual spiritual thrillers, he's penned his personal journey through pain, disfigurement, and abuse, offering hope for those struggling with emotional wounds.

Peretti vividly chronicles how he became the object of negative attention in a gym class, after a horrific medical condition that he grappled with as a child caused his growth to slow. Winding throughout his personal story is a thoughtful look at how culture shapes our perception of the worth of individuals--and how events from Columbine to the movies reflect this.

Although Peretti has experienced healing, the depth of his wounds are still apparent, poignantly saturating each page. Yet he writes, "A wounded spirit need not be permanent. Throw off those chains of bitterness and resentment that have been constraining you for so long, and get on with your life." He also admits the damage he himself has inflicted, and apologizes, noting "it amazes me how a victim, who knows how it feels, can still be insensitive to the feelings of others."

Despite our wounds, Peretti reminds us, "We all have our difficult seasons--they do have a way of finding their place in the overall scheme of our lives, welcome or not." Adults and older children wrestling with painful emotional wounds will find solace and healing here, through the eyes of one who understands suffering. --Cindy Crosby

From Publishers Weekly
The man who has thrilled Christian readers with novels such as This Present Darkness and The Visitation here describes the childhood trauma that first introduced him to the dark side. Peretti was born with cystic hygroma, which at birth manifested itself as a small lump on his neck. In two months, the lump was baseball-size, and Peretti was enduring the first of seven early surgeries. During childhood, his tongue was so swollen that it lolled out of his mouth, preventing normal speech development. Classmates were repulsed by his tongue and by the bloody trickle constantly dribbling from his mouth. They tormented him about his grotesque appearance, small size and inability to form words normally. Peretti's response was to retreat to his room, where he wrote stories and played with monsters like toy Frankensteins and hunchbacks, who he felt were also misunderstood and abused. Peretti writes here that he survived this difficult period because of the unwavering love and acceptance of his family, and because he had deep faith in the equality of all people in Christ. He expresses grave concern about other "wounded spirits," particularly young people who may eventually snap after withstanding years of bullying by their peers. The book is full of painful stories, but also memorable moments of hope, as Peretti recounts instances when a peer or a teacher stood up for him. This remarkable memoir will inspire readers to undertake similar acts of courageous compassion. (Nov.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.

This book still rings through my mind as so many people are coming out about bullying. I have believed for 10 years that this book should be required reading in middle school &/or high school. REQUIRED READING!! He talks about the hurts & pains of being bullied for something he could not control. He talks about the horrific things that have happened & how he now views it as an adult.

I will step off of my soapbox for now, but I am an advocate of "NOH8". I believe it should be more widespread than just the bullying of the gay community, but to anyone who has ever had anything physical, mental, personality, or just a moment that is different or embarrassing.

Thank you & stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy New Year AM~Erica

So anyway...

It's a new year, and it's my plan to begin blogging here more. I've been keeping up (not so much lately though) with my GLEE blog, this one has gone by the wayside. But I've got stuff going on in my life that I think others (maybe parents) could learn from.

At the turn of 2011, our youngest certainly has been a witty thing. Here's a few that all stem from New Year's Day:

He has been big on drinking hot beverages (i.e., tea, cider, etc.) and has decided that it's his "coffee". So when he finished drinking his hot tea that day, he asked for more "coffee" because, "...I'm a coffee boy!"

My hubby and I got on the subject of "aging". I reminded him that he is still older than me, and he told me that women get "old" & men get "distinguished". So the little guy piped up & announced to his father, "Daddy, you are older than everyone in this family except Jesus!"

The boys were being boys & pretend fighting. So daddy was fake punching the little guy when the boy stopped everything & told his father, "You know, God is watching you...and so is Santa."

Our youngest, like many other young'uns, happens to be naturally savvy with technology. He enjoys playing with my hubby's EVO & my new Transform. He was listing to different ringtones on my phone when it actually began to ring. He brought it over to me to tell me, "Here, it's Chris." (Chris, in case you do not know, is my hubby & the boy's father.)

I would like to point out that our son is just short of 6-years-old, and in Kindergarten.

With that said, his first day back to school, they work on their writing by doing journaling (pictures & then some "words" to describe). Apparently he wrote "I wt to nw yk" with a very colorful picture. He told his teacher that we went to New York on an airplane for the holidays to see his grandparents & play in the snow. Now that we are back in Kansas City, we VERY close to ALL of our family. When I asked if he went without us, he said he went with his dad.

Happy New Year, Everyone! May it be blessed & prosperous for you!

Stay tuned...

God Bless, AM~Erica