me working and singing

Reregistering a car - #WhitePrivilege Experience

My husband did not get a notice that his registration expired. He didn't think anything of driving his car to the motor vehicle bureau with an expired registration as he was certain he'd be treated fairly in the unlikely case he got pulled over. It turns out it was because he changed his license plates and it's fairly typical for them to disconnect the license plate from the car owner. It's a convoluted governmental problem. They were very helpful there to him for this problem and walked him through how to rectify the problem. We expected hours of burearocracy and it wasn't that bad at all.

He would not even have known that there was a problem if our friend, who's African American, hadn't told us that the car registration had expired. We often let her borrow our cars and she said she wouldn't dare drive the car. She has great street-smarts. She said she knows cops look for license expiration and other small things to pull someone over... or at least pull someone over who's a person of color.

It may seem like a small experience, but it would be no small experience if the driver of our car was pulled over, harrassed, and maybe even arrested. We have not experienced anything like that since my husband was in college and was put in jail for not having enough money for paying a ticket after going to court for turning at a light from the lane instead of from the intersection. Our white privilege then was that he had friends at college who had money and could help him.

We need to unite against unfair police actions and stupid bureaurocracy and see that there is NO disparity between the treatment of black and white.
me working and singing

The Golden Rule - What does it mean today?

There are many variations of the Golden Rule and most religions have one. Here are many examples. I like to think of a version that means not to just do what you would like someone to do to / for you, but what they would like to be done to / for them, which might be different from what I'd like, especially in this multicultural society. Of course, it's hard to know what someone else might want, so I at least try to think what I might want in a similar situation.

Life preaches louder than wordsToday it was something as simple as contacting a web site owner that their website was messed up. It wasn't so messed up that I couldn't find the contact info. It turns out that it was like that since Februrary - 10 mos. and no one told them. It is likely it had at least a few visits by real people each of the 40+ weeks it was in that condition, but no one contacted them. They were thankful that I let them know. It was a matter of having too many domain names and one didn't get pointed to the new website.

I also try to use it in my business. Many businesses strive for customer satisfaction, but there have to be limits. Nonetheless, those limits can be explained in a polite and professional manner. In a large corporation, it would not be a requirement of any of the staff to take that level of effort unless they had sales people who were trying to make a sale. Once the sale is made, I have found that in order to keep a customer, sometimes they outright lie to them. This happened to me with Quicken Loans and it was very frustrating. They were successful in keeping us as customers for 2+ years. It is sad when the only thing important is the money. I hope most people have jobs or run businesses that don't lead to that.

"[M]any of us believe that the Golden Rule does not go far enough! We need to apply the ethic of reciprocity not only within our own community, but when dealing with persons of other religions, the other gender, other races, other sexual orientations, etc. And we need to apply it, in fact, to the web of life and the Earth itself." - Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Visalia
me working and singing

Conundrums with Priorities #middleclass #problems

Being a busy business owner now, who still is a social activist and teacher at heart, I'm finding it difficult to prioritize things outside of business. I can't be all work and no play or all work and no learning about things outside of business that I'm interested in. There are so many things I'd like to do, but I don't have time to read all my personal email these days or keep up with the social justice issues.

I find myself engaging in a practice that many people do, while others judge it critically, I mix my entertainment with my news. I watch political comedy where I get a great deal of my news: The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, Real Time with Bill Maher, and Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I don't watch Stephen Colbert any more because his program has too much entertainment and too little substance, which I just don't have time for.
"Paul Ryan says he'll only serve as Speaker of the House if he can spend more time with his family. Working women of the world were like, 'Finally someone gets paid family leave. It just won't be us.'"

Laughter is good for the health - both physical and mental. We need it these days. The real news can be quite depressing, such as this story, which I know is true because I'm living it and seeing it in almost everyone around me: Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year

People around me seem to be working harder than ever; some working two jobs to get by or going back to school to get a degree to get a better job. The latter is a difficult choice since it usually puts a person in big debt which can be risky to know if youll be able to pay it off later. Though people are also supporting each other as it is necessary to have at least two incomes in a household and sometimes more.

Of course, even these are "first world problems" as there are definitely worst problems in other countries and there are the truly poor in this country. I have always tried to help those who are less fortunate than myself, but the resources are slim. Today I find my focus is to help keep the people I have employed working and keep my business stable so that's possible.

Still, I do think the Black Lives Matter movement for antiracism is important. I am doing what I can with meager funds and time. It is directly related to my interests above as Larry Wilmore and Trevor Noah are African American and people are hatefully criticizing their shows for being too racial (like this one that rates Wilmore 1 out of 10 and he's "great, but...seems to only focus on the black struggle"). People are so ignorant. White supremacy is a problem all over the world and white people need to get over themselves, which as a white person, I know is hard & that's why it's so important to work on it and see other people's perspectives.
me working and singing

Physical Health & Spiritual Health @dmuuc #pgco #spirituality

Stretch spiritually quote by Unitarian Universalist minister Marilyn SewellPeople have been drawing me back to this blog with questions about their jaw joint disorder (known as TMJ, TMJD, or TMD). I love helping people and physical pain can deplete a person in more ways than one. It is hard to take care of your other needs when you're in pain, too.

Whether physical healthy or not, we also have emotional and spiritual pain. There's no scientific definition of spiritual pain, but it's more than the depression that can be helped by psychologists, psychiatrists, and drugs. It's something deeper that we can't quite put our finger on. Something some people can turn around to being lifted up by their spiritual joy - I think that's what spiritual health is. When the depth of your person is fulfilled, at ease, or even elated is a "health" that would be nice if everyone had as much as possible throughout their lives.

The news and documentaries and other shows tell of so much sadness and religion that does little in this lifetime. I know living a Unitarian Universalist faith doesn't do it for everyone, but I want people to know it's a choice that could help their spiritual health and their emotional health, too.

me working and singing

A Place for All

All ages now attend our service on Sunday morning since we have religious education before the service.

Some people may say that's how their church is or was. All ages attended my grandmother's Baptist church as did I when I was visiting her. It was really meant for adults, though, and it just "taught us to sit still" as did public school, long rides in the car, and watching tv - it was not really a lesson we needed. I know my grandmother loved her Baptist church and religion, but that's all I got out of it - an understanding of my grandmother.

The worship experience at my church no longer has a "Time for All Ages" as the entire service is designed to be as everybody-friendly as possible. Here's an example from this morning that I loved:

The service was about Gifts so we did the 12 Days of Christmas (today was the 11th day). Our minister asked for 12 volunteers. It took a few minutes to get 12 brave souls, but I was number 12 and a long-time member who has Alzheimer's (stage 3, I believe) was number 6. He decided to participate just as he decides he has to come to church every Sunday and fortunately we have a member who can transport him without any trouble. It was a wonderful experience that was enjoyed by every age and stage.
me working and singing

"Fed Up", Lo-carb diet studies, TOFI, & NO JUICE FOR BABIES

I saw an interview with the doctor-author of the movie documentary "Fed Up" which brought to mind how I raised my own children with nutrition in mind and the research I recently did for the diet we're currently on.

It's well known that obesity was declared a world health problem by the U.N. Dr. Robert Lustig was talking about what he considers something worse than obesity - kids that are more than obese because they are sick. He cites sugar as the reason. I haven't seen the movie, but sucrose being bad for you is far from new news.

He also talked about children drinking juice and that being a contributing factor to infants and toddlers being obese. I have seen programs that show obese infants and toddlers and realize that that's a problem. I had never seen that when my children were growing up. I did have a personal experience with juice with my first baby. My doctor who was ignorant about breast feeding told me that my baby was not getting enough calories because she was underweight so suggested that I supplement her diet with juice. She got diarrhea, so it was obviously bad for her. She stayed on the low side of normal for weight in spite of nursing strongly every 2 hrs., but it was because she was physically active - she kicked and moved a lot. What I remember also about the juice experience, though, was that she seemed to want the juice and not breast milk for a while after she was introduced to juice and it almost seemed like she had become addicted to it. Maybe that is what's happening today - mothers introduce juice too soon and then their babies demand juice by not accepting milk. If they give them what they want, they could get hooked on it. What a shame! NO JUICE FOR BABIES should be a simple message.

Dr. Lustig also seems to have coined the term "TOFI" for "thin outside and fat inside". Sugar is hurting children's liver even if they're not becoming fat. This reminded me of my recent research about low-carb diets.

My husband was given a diet that's very carbohydrate restrictive and he thought it was not a healthy diet - that it was based on bad science and he was skeptical. So I did some research. I found several sites on the topic, including studies on NIH and articles that referenced peer-reviewed studies. Low carb diets look pretty well proven to lose weight, lower cholesterol, reduce blood pressure, and lower blood sugar levels. This site reviews the studies and references some. However, the part of the diet that recommended no artificial sweeteners, my research showed that that may not necessary. It seems that its the psyche and habits of people who use artificial sweeteners that's more of the problem, but researchers indicate that better studies need to be done to determine the relationship between artificial sweetener intake and obesity. This report says artificial sweeteners can be beneficial in losing weight if used in moderation (as is best with all things). There's also not much risk of other health problems from them according to this report.

Of course, we need to remember to exercise, too. My doctor says 1/2 hr. minimum walking for my bone health to help calcium be properly absorbed is needed.

Good health to you!
me working and singing

#religion #hope "It's a lie to think you're not good enough;'re not worth anything."

This was shared on Facebook and this man, Nick Vujicic, is doing a great thing to help give people hope (see the video below that's on YouTube here, "No Arms No Legs No Worries"). In this video he doesn't talk about his love of Jesus, but he does use that as part of his message when he's not talking to a public school group. For those who doubt the Bible and other holy books as being "the word of God" or the absolute truth, you have another option: Unitarian Universalism which includes the principle of "A free and responsible search for truth and meaning".

It is so empowering to me to know that I can choose and find my own truth and meaning and beliefs about God, the Universe, and Life. I choose what I believe, and then what I think based on those beliefs, and then the actions I take. I may not have been born with his supportive parents or financial resources to support his ability to get where he's gotten, but I have the ability to make the most of my life just like he does and we all do. Hope does not have to be "religious"; it is a human ability and we can all pass it on.

This video was shared on Facebook right after I wrote this, so I'm editing it to add this for those of you who would like to know why someone would not believe in Jesus, Christianity, and the Bible:

me working and singing

Memorial for my mother who passed 2 days ago

Rest in peace Mary Janice Colegrove Wickwire Bjornsen. Her obituary will be in the Syracuse Post Standard on Sunday.

coupleMy mother had been in a "rehabilitation center" not being rehabilitated for several years. The last time I visited her was in Aug. 2011 for her birthday; she was 82 then. She was 84 on her last birthday. I last spoke to her on the phone in Jan. but she didn't appear to be in a mood to talk (or state to hold a conversation).

I wish i could say she lived a good life, but mental illness struck her in her teen years and it was always a struggle for her. She wanted to be a good mother, but was not able to. Her second husband, whom I call "Ozzie", gave her many good years - at least 20 or 25 of them were good and we saw them once or twice a year most years during those good times. My mother asked me to write "her memoirs" which was just a few stories she shared with me:
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Population, #BillMaher, Religion, and the Universe

Cosmos_spacetime_odyssey_titlecardOn Bill Maher they talked about "Cosmos" and they talked about how the Universe is 13.8 billion years old and how they know it (mathematically).

I saw the new Cosmos show with Neil DeGrasse Tyson and I can understand how people couldn't understand it, even though it was done in a pretty clear way for people who watch TV and movies regularly today could understand, their minds just can't digest something like that. They might believe they're not smart enough to understand it.

I was taught that as "just a girl" I don't need to learn physics and other sciences. I guess it was mostly my father, but it worked. I find it hard. I love science and want to understand, so I've been able to change myself, but I wanted to. I don't belong to a religious organization that still tells me that as a woman I should be home taking care of the children. There are a lot of women who are taught that and I know people in my children's generation who believe that and don't see population as a problem. Though they do say that the percentage in the younger generations who believe those things that keep them from embracing the concepts of science is less. There are men, too, that are taught that all they need to know is how to make money in business or some people just plain aren't interested in science, though some are taught at a very young age that they shouldn't listen to that science talk because it's against their religion, especially the part about the Earth being 6,000 years old (maybe they believe in gravity).

Alan Weisman was on Bill Maher and talked about the problem with population growth even in the United States. I mentioned the population problem in my last post, but I thought most industrialized nations, even the U.S. was doing OK, though he says it's not.

Bill Maher said that 60% of Americans believe in Noah's Ark, so their statement that most people know about the Big Bang Theory is not necessarily so (I can't believe they said that on Bill Maher - there's a disconnect). If they "know" about it, it's not the kind of "know" where a man knows a woman in the Bible. LOL! They don't even know about the Big Bang Theory as much as people know that milk comes from a cow (many who never actually saw it these days, don't really connect milk and cows) and that beef is a dead cow (or related mammal which is bred just to be meat) and they create a lot of gas emission that contributes to global warming (9%). Most people don't know or don't care or believe what they do can't make a difference (maybe they believe in predestination - that we have no free will).

What a diverse world of beliefs we live in - that's why Unitarian Universalism exists - so people can come together with the knowledge that people are different and believe differently but can still be together. That's how we learn and grow.
me working and singing

Diversity benefits in a world with white genocide fear #whitemanmarch #whitemanmarchprotestsigns

In Tempe, AZ a woman says in response to the White Man March, "Tempe is such a diverse city, and I think that's what makes Tempe so unique and so interesting. It's such a draw for a lot people. For someone to come in and try to protest that, I think it's terrible. I think it's very disrespectful to the people of the city and to people everywhere in general from different races and different cultures and different backgrounds."

This is how I feel about growing diversity. It's a wonderful thing and it makes our world so much more interesting. It is an experience of pro-love. I don't understand how the white genocide fear movement could not be considered hateful. Maybe it's just ignorant. That's why I feel compelled to say why and I wish more people would do the same.

I don't want to promote a horrendous movement, so I won't link to their site, just to stories about them. Today is the day they planned to be marching in many places. Thank goodness I see no news that they're doing it around where I live - I would feel the need to be counter protesting (not that that necessarily helps, but white people should be the ones to counter protest since they seem to have a problem with other skin colors).

On Jezebel, they're laughing about it. I'm glad people can take it that way. It doesn't look like a very big movement. They're looking at protest signs on Twitter that make preposterous claims.

And why is it a white "man" march? Just like the KKK, this organization looks to be misogynistic, too. Why can't they see that eliminating people from their world is hateful! Whites are still the majority in the U.S. and Europe and we've spread to many other countries, especially though the British empire colonizing so many countries and U.S. trade and companies moving to them. As one quote posted on Twitter says, "CULTIVATING AN OVERDEVELOPED SENSE OF ENTITLEMENT SINCE 1607".

White people can be so arrogant and superior-sounding and acting; that's why this kind of activity is called "white superiority". It will be a while before whites are in the minority, but it can be a very good thing to happen. It can be an eye-opening experience to understand how it might feel for other minorities, though everyone has their own experiences, and whites being the majority on TV and in leadership will probably continue for a very long time.

Fear is useful in some situations, but the fear of "white genocide" due to diversity is crazy! No one is seriously talking about killing white families and their future offspring for the purpose of ridding the world of white people. I can understand why people of color believe that family planning is a plan to get rid of people of color because it's the same kind of thinking. Family planning is being used by the majority in industrialized nations of all races and needs to be used more, because our population growth is too high. We don't have enough resources for this enormous population. Let's not have a fight to see who can grow the largest population. The most oppressed will still feel it the most and it probably won't be mostly white people.

Live in peace and grow through diversity.