You make me brave

I came across a blog a few months ago that I really liked.  Being the person that I am, I had to go back to the beginning of the blog before I read a lot of the most recent posts.  The blog is Single Dad Laughing.  It’s a great, interesting blog about the struggles and joys of being a dad.  Mostly, it’s a humorous blog, but this morning, as I came up to the last few months of 2012, it became very serious for a few posts.  Dan has written several serious and controversial posts before, but for this one, his bravery was incredible.

ID-10053859You see, Dan came out as being bisexual.  He lives in Utah, in the middle of Mormon country.  He comes from a Mormon family.   He lived with the knowledge of his attraction to men for many, many years but felt the need to hide it, mainly because of the teachings of his church.  His church taught that bisexuality and homosexuality was a choice and those who choose it should be shunned.  It’s no wonder he lived with his secret for so long and had bouts of depression!

Shunning is something I don’t understand, because Jesus loved everyone.  He shunned no one, but that’s a post for another day.  As I read his posts about all he went through before he actually wrote them, about how deep he had to dig inside of himself, it made me think of digging I need to do.  But what truths about myself would I find?  Could I be as brave as Dan was?  Was I ready to do this?

Then, at church, I knew God was speaking to me when the last worship song was ‘You make me brave.’  As I listened to the words my pastor was singing, I knew it was time to dig in and find my happiness.  If I find that, I could be a better wife.  Nothing that I am, other than a child of God, is more important to me that.

Scuba Man has been through a lot with me in our marriage, and his love never wavered.  I am incredibly blessed to have fallen in love with such a wonderful man.  I have always felt that he deserved a better wife, a better marriage that didn’t have so many struggles in it.  He’s not going to get one, mind you, but he deserves better.  The only way to give that to him is to find out what has always made me depressed.  If I discover that, maybe I can find my happiness.




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casting the first stone

Last week, social media was awash in two things: the colors of what a unicorn would puke up from eating too many skittles and pure hatred….

It doesn’t matter if one agrees with the Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage or not.  The LGBT folks have a right to celebrate what they and many others see as a victory. They use the colors of the rainbow, which signifies the promise God made to never again flood the earth, as a symbol of their pride of being who they are.  People should never feel ashamed of who they are, although feeling shame at what you do is a different story..

bible-vs-homosexualityThe haters, well, many are those who call themselves Christians.  They are obviously a different kind of Christian than I am, my pastors are, and my Church family are. These Christians appear to be very selective about disseminating what is said in the Bible.  Yes, there are at least 7 passages that say homosexuality is immoral.  Is this is what their hatred is based on?

I chose to follow what my pastors teach.  Read Romans 13:8-10.  It’s all about loving your neighbor as you love yourself.  Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is fulfilling the law of God.  Ephesians 5:1-2 tells us to be imitators of God and walk in love as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us.  1 John 4:8 tells us that anyone who does not love does not know God because God is love.  Or, one of my favorite passages, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-6, a passage we had read at our wedding “Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.” (ESV). Jesus even gave us a new commandment to love one another.

The Bible does not say that homosexuality is a greater sin than any other.  Everyone sins.  There is and never was a perfect, sinless person to walk the face of this earth except for Jesus Christ.  According to the Bible, homosexuals have God’s forgiveness available just as any other sinner.  Wasn’t it Jesus who said to the group of people about to stone an adulteress “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.”?

bible-dust-read-me1My heart goes out to those Christians who hate.  I don’t imagine they feel the same peace in their relationship with God as I do.  I pray they eventually find that kind of relationship.  I am a sinner and I know God still loves me.  Although I can hate the sin, I cannot bring myself to hate the sinner, regardless of what the sin is.  I cannot bring myself to shun other sinners, as I would be totally alone.  Who was it that Jesus hung out with the most in the Bible?  Was it those who were professing to be following God’s commandments or was it those who were breaking the commandments, those who needed forgiveness the most?

I have a grand-niece, a high school freshman, who is gay.  I am so very,very proud of her for not being afraid to be herself and not hide who she feels she is.  And, guess what?  She is a Christian!  And, guess what else?  I do think homosexuality is a sin.  And, guess what again?  I love her to the moon and back!

Hate the sin people, not the sinner.

Rant over.

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can Phil cure the blues?

This is not a feel good post, so be warned.

I have been stuck in the blues for a few weeks now. I’m not sure why. It started when Scuba Man went to the beach for 10 days to work on the new deck. I stayed home, for various reasons. The biggest one was to keep the animals out of the way while the work was going on. Willow would have wanted to follow daddy and Uncle Bob every time they went out the front door.

Every time Scuba Man goes away, it gets to me. I get depressed and don’t want to do anything but veg. I know this is wrong and I know I shouldn’t get this way, but I can’t figure out how to stop it. I tried to force myself to get up and work on things around the house, but I only managed to keep it clean and do laundry. I did a lot of binge watching of Ally McBeal. Horrible, I know!

Calista Flockhart on ALLY MCBEAL CR:Matthew Rolston/FOX

Calista Flockhart on ALLY MCBEAL
CR:Matthew Rolston/FOX

Scuba Man came home, and it helped some. I got a little more done around the house, my spirits were up a little. I was still not feeling my normal, happy self though. I tried to keep an upbeat mood. After all, my hubby had been gone for more than a week and I wanted to show him how happy I was that he was back. Plus, we were headed to the beach for the weekend. How could I not be happy?

Good question. We got to the beach house Friday night and it seemed to make things worse. My sister and brother-in-law had been there that week, as were my niece, her youngest daughter, and a friend of hers. We get to the house and there were no sheets on our bed, no towels in our bathroom, cushions had been left on the deck chairs and got rained on, and things were just not how I left them. Usually, I’m okay with this, but it hit me the wrong way big time Friday night. Why is it that I don’t get to spend as much time enjoying my home as other people? Why is it that when I walk into my home, it’s noticeable that everyone has been there but me? Things aren’t where they belong, there’s food in the kitchen and fridge that we would never buy or eat, stuff there that I don’t know where it came from. It hurt. Why? Why did I react this way?

Yesterday just seemed to deepen my mood. Not only did we have to leave the beach, which always makes me a bit sad, but it was my first Father’s Day without my daddy. I rarely saw my dad on Father’s Day. My brother and sister-in-law usually rented a condo in Ocean City that week and my dad always went with them to the beach. I know yesterday was terrible for my brother. For me, just not even being able to call and tell my daddy Happy Father’s Day was so hard. Then, last night, Scuba Man was insensitive about it being just another day. I got a little miffed and explained, that to me, it wasn’t just another day. It was my first Father’s Dad without my father.

So now, here I am, listening to Phil Vassar because his music always seems to cheer me up. I hope that after listening to Phil for the rest of the day that the blues will leave and I’ll be a much more pleasant wife when I get home from work. Until then, I’ll just sit here and wait for Phil to work his magic.

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the kitchen gardener

One of the things I am looking forward to when we finally move to the beach is having a garden. Because of the possibility of seawater flooding and the deer we have that hang around our yard, it will not be a conventional garden. I haven’t quite figured out how it will be raised or how it will need netting to keep the deer off, but I’ve got time to research it.

I have started a small garden here. I have romaine lettuce and 2 celery stalks growing, along with cilantro. In my kitchen.  In my everyday dishes. The lettuce and celery are almost ready to be transplanted into pots. I think I’m going to have to go to seeds for the herbs, though. The cilantro has roots but doesn’t look that good.

The celery in my kitchen garden.

The celery in my kitchen garden.

All of this has led Scuba Man to start calling me the kitchen gardener. He is amused by the whole thing and humors me, making sure I change out the water and not complaining about the dishes left on the counter and windowsill.

I love to grow things though I’m not that great at it. I have a few plants that I have managed to keep from dying for 10 years.  By that, I mean barely alive.  They were from a dish garden received when my mama passed away.  When my daddy passed away in January, I took two of the peace plants and the philodendron from one of his dish gardens and planted them in the same pots as the 2 peace plants and the philodendron from my mama’s passing.  They seem to be doing fine, so far. I am determined to see them thrive.  Maybe, since they’re together….  The 4 other transplanted plants seem to be doing well also.  I like to think it’s because my daddy had a green thumb.

The thing I find easiest to grow is the grass for the kitties. I grow it in small plastic buckets. It takes about 2 weeks to grow and lasts for two weeks, so I always have one growing and one being grown. As both cats are indoor cats, they love having the grass to munch on.

My dad was a big gardener.  He would start his plants indoors in late winter and transplant them into the garden after the last frost.  It all started with him growing strawberries one year and took off from there.  He grew zucchini, green beans, tomatoes, anything he could get to grow in the backyard of a row home in Baltimore.  My parent’s freezer was always full of home grown veggies and they were constantly giving others away.  He taught me how to grow a garden.

Now that we try to eat everything organic, growing a kitchen garden is easy.  For most things, you just need to plunk the ends in water and they’ll start to grow.  Once they take root, they can be planted in pots.  Most non-organic veggies are treated so they don’t grow roots while they are sitting in grocery stores.  The organics aren’t treated, so they will grow nicely.  Lettuce, celery, onions, garlic, herbs, all these are great for a kitchen garden.  Clean and Proper has a great little tutorial on regrowing vegetables.

I’ll keep you posted on how my garden grows.

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shamelessly copying

Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of Facebook.  Ms. Sandberg lost her husband, David Goldberg, the chief executive of Survey Monkey, at the beginning of May.  They were on vacation, there was an accident in the gym, and he died of a head trauma.  He was 47.  His death was sudden.   Ms. Sandberg posted this message on her Facebook page yesterday.   Her message touched my soul and is something I think everyone would benefit from reading.

Today is the end of sheloshim for my beloved husband—the first thirty days. Judaism calls for a period of intense mourning known as shiva that lasts seven days after a loved one is buried. After shiva, most normal activities can be resumed, but it is the end of sheloshim that marks the completion of religious mourning for a spouse.
A childhood friend of mine who is now a rabbi recently told me that the most powerful one-line prayer he has ever read is: “Let me not die while I am still alive.” I would have never understood that prayer before losing Dave. Now I do.
I think when tragedy occurs, it presents a choice. You can give in to the void, the emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even breathe. Or you can try to find meaning. These past thirty days, I have spent many of my moments lost in that void. And I know that many future moments will be consumed by the vast emptiness as well.
But when I can, I want to choose life and meaning.
And this is why I am writing: to mark the end of sheloshim and to give back some of what others have given to me. While the experience of grief is profoundly personal, the bravery of those who have shared their own experiences has helped pull me through. Some who opened their hearts were my closest friends. Others were total strangers who have shared wisdom and advice publicly. So I am sharing what I have learned in the hope that it helps someone else. In the hope that there can be some meaning from this tragedy.
I have lived thirty years in these thirty days. I am thirty years sadder. I feel like I am thirty years wiser.
I have gained a more profound understanding of what it is to be a mother, both through the depth of the agony I feel when my children scream and cry and from the connection my mother has to my pain. She has tried to fill the empty space in my bed, holding me each night until I cry myself to sleep. She has fought to hold back her own tears to make room for mine. She has explained to me that the anguish I am feeling is both my own and my children’s, and I understood that she was right as I saw the pain in her own eyes.
I have learned that I never really knew what to say to others in need. I think I got this all wrong before; I tried to assure people that it would be okay, thinking that hope was the most comforting thing I could offer. A friend of mine with late-stage cancer told me that the worst thing people could say to him was “It is going to be okay.” That voice in his head would scream, How do you know it is going to be okay? Do you not understand that I might die? I learned this past month what he was trying to teach me. Real empathy is sometimes not insisting that it will be okay but acknowledging that it is not. When people say to me, “You and your children will find happiness again,” my heart tells me, Yes, I believe that, but I know I will never feel pure joy again. Those who have said, “You will find a new normal, but it will never be as good” comfort me more because they know and speak the truth. Even a simple “How are you?”—almost always asked with the best of intentions—is better replaced with “How are you today?” When I am asked “How are you?” I stop myself from shouting, My husband died a month ago, how do you think I am? When I hear “How are you today?” I realize the person knows that the best I can do right now is to get through each day.
I have learned some practical stuff that matters. Although we now know that Dave died immediately, I didn’t know that in the ambulance. The trip to the hospital was unbearably slow. I still hate every car that did not move to the side, every person who cared more about arriving at their destination a few minutes earlier than making room for us to pass. I have noticed this while driving in many countries and cities. Let’s all move out of the way. Someone’s parent or partner or child might depend on it.
I have learned how ephemeral everything can feel—and maybe everything is. That whatever rug you are standing on can be pulled right out from under you with absolutely no warning. In the last thirty days, I have heard from too many women who lost a spouse and then had multiple rugs pulled out from under them. Some lack support networks and struggle alone as they face emotional distress and financial insecurity. It seems so wrong to me that we abandon these women and their families when they are in greatest need.
I have learned to ask for help—and I have learned how much help I need. Until now, I have been the older sister, the COO, the doer and the planner. I did not plan this, and when it happened, I was not capable of doing much of anything. Those closest to me took over. They planned. They arranged. They told me where to sit and reminded me to eat. They are still doing so much to support me and my children.
I have learned that resilience can be learned. Adam M. Grant taught me that three things are critical to resilience and that I can work on all three. Personalization—realizing it is not my fault. He told me to ban the word “sorry.” To tell myself over and over, This is not my fault. Permanence—remembering that I won’t feel like this forever. This will get better. Pervasiveness—this does not have to affect every area of my life; the ability to compartmentalize is healthy.
For me, starting the transition back to work has been a savior, a chance to feel useful and connected. But I quickly discovered that even those connections had changed. Many of my co-workers had a look of fear in their eyes as I approached. I knew why—they wanted to help but weren’t sure how. Should I mention it? Should I not mention it? If I mention it, what the hell do I say? I realized that to restore that closeness with my colleagues that has always been so important to me, I needed to let them in. And that meant being more open and vulnerable than I ever wanted to be. I told those I work with most closely that they could ask me their honest questions and I would answer. I also said it was okay for them to talk about how they felt. One colleague admitted she’d been driving by my house frequently, not sure if she should come in. Another said he was paralyzed when I was around, worried he might say the wrong thing. Speaking openly replaced the fear of doing and saying the wrong thing. One of my favorite cartoons of all time has an elephant in a room answering the phone, saying, “It’s the elephant.” Once I addressed the elephant, we were able to kick him out of the room.
At the same time, there are moments when I can’t let people in. I went to Portfolio Night at school where kids show their parents around the classroom to look at their work hung on the walls. So many of the parents—all of whom have been so kind—tried to make eye contact or say something they thought would be comforting. I looked down the entire time so no one could catch my eye for fear of breaking down. I hope they understood.
I have learned gratitude. Real gratitude for the things I took for granted before—like life. As heartbroken as I am, I look at my children each day and rejoice that they are alive. I appreciate every smile, every hug. I no longer take each day for granted. When a friend told me that he hates birthdays and so he was not celebrating his, I looked at him and said through tears, “Celebrate your birthday, goddammit. You are lucky to have each one.” My next birthday will be depressing as hell, but I am determined to celebrate it in my heart more than I have ever celebrated a birthday before.
I am truly grateful to the many who have offered their sympathy. A colleague told me that his wife, whom I have never met, decided to show her support by going back to school to get her degree—something she had been putting off for years. Yes! When the circumstances allow, I believe as much as ever in leaning in. And so many men—from those I know well to those I will likely never know—are honoring Dave’s life by spending more time with their families.
I can’t even express the gratitude I feel to my family and friends who have done so much and reassured me that they will continue to be there. In the brutal moments when I am overtaken by the void, when the months and years stretch out in front of me endless and empty, only their faces pull me out of the isolation and fear. My appreciation for them knows no bounds.
I was talking to one of these friends about a father-child activity that Dave is not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave. I want option A.” He put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”
Dave, to honor your memory and raise your children as they deserve to be raised, I promise to do all I can to kick the shit out of option B. And even though sheloshim has ended, I still mourn for option A. I will always mourn for option A. As Bono sang, “There is no end to grief . . . and there is no end to love.” I love you, Dave.

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the weekend that was

It didn’t start so great. I had dental surgery Friday afternoon. Not a fun way to start the weekend, especially once the anesthesia wore off!  I’m still in pain and the pain killers aren’t helping much.  I have not been a happy camper.

Saturday, my niece came down  and we went to get tattoos together.  Mine was this one:

My new ink

My new ink

It’s on my left wrist and included our anniversary date and Scuba Man’s name.  What a way to celebrate our 25 years of marriage!  My niece, who is celebrating her freedom from a failed marriage, got this one:



I have a smart a$$ friend who saw picture of both on Facebook and wanting to know why we needed to free Scuba Man & what did he do now?  I just love my friends!  I pray that one day my niece will find her true love, as I have, but I think she’s sworn off men for good!

That evening, Scuba Man and I went to dinner with our niece and a friend of hers that we have come to know and enjoy hanging out with.  Luckily, the restaurant had cream of asparagus soup and mashed potatoes, so I could actually eat something.  Of course, I got funny looks for my order from the wait staff.  I’m on soft foods only for a whole week.  It’s killing me, Smalls!  I’ve lived on protein shakes and what I call my green juice – kale, carrots, an apple, and orange juice pulverized in my Bullet, with ground flax seeds for that extra kick, since Friday.  I can’t wait until I can eat normally again.

Sunday was nice, as our church started streaming their service live.  We have been waiting for that since our pastors moved and started a new church a year ago.  It was a wonderful way to celebrate their first anniversary. I also had time for a nice nap.

Not much of a special weekend.  The week hasn’t been all that great either as I struggle to stay in a good mood despite the pain.  I have pain meds for 10 days and I pray the pain goes away soon.  Luckily, the swelling started going down last night and my face at least looks better.  I just hope it doesn’t hurt bad when they take out the stitches after two weeks.

So, how was your weekend? A better one than mine I hope.

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I’m Obsessed

Can one ever have too many books?

Can one ever have too many books?

Sometime three summers or so ago, I bought a Kindle.  Not a fancy one, just the Kindle touch.  I was one of those people who had hundreds of books and would end up taking a bunch on vacation with me.  To me, vacation is kicking back, relaxing, and reading.  I don’t usually want to do much else.

Of course, taking 4 or 5 or more books with you adds to the bulk and weight of your luggage.  You can’t always be carrying a book with you where ever you go, especially if you are reading a hardback.  Paperbacks are a little easier.  The Kindle?  I can carry it everywhere!  And I do.

I have become obsessed with reading.  Don’t get me wrong, I have always loved reading.  As a kid, my mama would force me to put down my book and go out to play.  Now, I read every chance I get because I always have plenty of books with me.

I was one of those people who thought they could never read a book electronically.  I wanted the feel of the book in my hands.  I wanted the smell of the book.  I wanted to turn real paper pages.  Wrong!  I blame it all on my niece.  She raved about her Kindle and showed it to me when I visited.  I was hooked.  I haven’t picked up a book with paper pages since then.

I am never at a loss for things to read.  Amazon has hundreds of free books and thousands more at very low prices.  I have about 1,000 books on my Kindle right now, a lot of them freebies.  They are all good books.  I’ve only read 2 or 3 free books that I didn’t like.  I’ve also read quite a few books from authors that I had never heard of that I never would have read otherwise.  Discovering new authors whose writing blows you away is a real treat!

So, I’ve spent time I used to spend on writing posts, reading.  It’s a disease for which there is no cure.  But I’m okay with that.

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this is what I imagined

My "grand" babies

My “grand” babies

We’re at the beach for the long weekend. Our niece and our three “grand” kids are here. The house is full; of people, of noise, and of laughter. This is one of the ways I imagined things would be like when we move here permanently.

We expect there will be times when the house is full and look forward to it.  Our beach house is within driving distance of one of my sisters, and two of my nieces. I totally expect them to visit when we move here. We have other family that we hope will visit, but it’s a much longer drive for them.

I also imagine the times we have alone here. There will be many more of those times than the others.  It so much more relaxing and less stressful near the ocean. The cares of the world seem less important. We laugh more here, enjoy life more here, have fun with the simpler things in life here.  Even having to work here is much more enjoyable.

I sometimes ask myself why that is.  Why does life seem simpler here?  Is it because for most of the year we can have the windows open and the salt air breeze through the windows?  Is it because we seem to have more friends here that we get together with than we do in Richmond?  Is it because we walk into a store or restaurant and we know the people there and they know us?

Maybe it’s because the house is much smaller and there is less clutter and cleaning.  Maybe it’s because everything in on one floor, which really makes laundry easier!  Maybe it’s because Willow and the kitties seem to like it here better than in Richmond.  Willow is crazy happy when she goes to the beach.  The windows are open here more often, which the kitties love.  They lay on the window sills and watch the world go by.

my-goalsLiving here full-time will be a dream come true for us, something we have planned for, for most of our marriage.  Many, many years ago, when we had only been married a few years, we made a list of goals with timelines attached.  We have hit them all so far.  Not all of them were achieved in the time we wanted, but they were achieved.  Retirement is the last one, and that is on the horizon.

I think it’s time we add a few more goals in our lives.  What are yours?

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let’s catch up!



There’s been a lot happening in the seashell household the last 2 years.  For one, we have a new family member who arrived a year ago at Christmas.  Shadow is a black kitty, who is now almost 20 months old.  He’s been an interesting addition to the family as his personality is so different from Willow and Pockets.  He’s not much of a cuddler and at first was not even a people person, but has really warmed up to mommy and daddy.  Pockets tolerates him and sometimes play with him.  Willow shows lots of interests in him and will sniff around and lay near him, but since he’s small, I think she’s afraid to play with him.

Willow is doing wonderful.  She had to get put back on her immune suppressants and will be on them the rest of her life, but she’s healthy.  Except, of course, for those infections she occasionally gets because her immune system is suppressed.  She is as sweet as ever.  Pockets is Pockets.  He still wants to be cuddled all the time, has gotten bolder trying to run out the back door, and likes nothing more than to be rocked in mommy’s arms.

Scuba Man is as awesome as always and we’re both doing well.  We haven’t moved to the beach yet, but it’s getting closer!  We’ve finally started getting the painting done at our main home.  The foyer, steps, and upstairs hallway are all complete.  The family room is next.  We have a few more things to sort through after the holiday weekend and then the painting can begin!  Woo hoo.

The new kitchen

The new kitchen

The beach house now has all the siding and new lights put up.  Scuba Man and my wonderful brother-in-law put in a brand new kitchen!  It still needs a few things, like the trim work finished and painting the cabinets, but it’s functional and looks awesome.  The other stuff can wait until we move down there, as it’s something I can do myself.  Best of all, it has my old fashion farm-house sink in it!  Next month, they are rebuilding the front deck.

The old kitchen

The old kitchen

I’ve gone from blonde back to brown hair.  I stopped using chemicals on my hair and body.  Now I use a henna dye and the blonde doesn’t really work well, so I’m back to my natural color with the dye hiding the grey.  It’s gotten much longer and Scuba Man loves it.  I’ve switched to natural/organic everything – soap, detergent, lotion, make-up, etc.  The best part about it is non-chemical products don’t test on animals!

I no longer develop code for a living.  I’m an IT Project Manager now and absolutely loving it.  I think I finally found what I want to do when I grow up!  Scuba Man also starts a new position next month that he’s looking forward to.  Work is great for both of us.

And the biggest new is….

The twins with their very proud big brother.

The twins with their very proud big brother.

A week ago today, we had 2 new additions to our extended family.  Our nephew and his wife had twins!  A beautiful baby girl named Gracelyn and an adorable baby boy name Josiah.  I am very much looking forward to our next trip to Florida to meet them!  That brings the total to 19 grand nieces and nephews!  Our family is so very blessed!


I think that’s about all the news that’s important right now.  What’s been happening with you?

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Free the Beagles!

I have a new passion in my life.  It’s called The Beagle Freedom Project(BFP).  It’s an outreach of Animal Rescue, Media & Education (ARME).  BFP is all about rescuing animals incarcerated in research labs after the labs are finished using the animals for testing.  Usually, the animals are murdered, or as the labs like to put it “euthanized”, when the lab is finished with their testing.  The labs feel the animals, after spending their entire lives in cages, suffering through heaven knows what kind and how many tests,  are no longer adoptable.  Huh?

I can't imagine this sweet girl in a research lab.

I can’t imagine this sweet girl in a research lab.

The organization is called The Beagle Freedom Project because the majority of animals used in research labs are beagles, but they are involved in the rescue of any and all animals from testing labs.  Approximately 70,000 beagles are used in research labs in any given year.  Because they have a trusting, docile personality, they are the animal of choice.  As a beagle mommy, this breaks my heart.  The types of testing include medical/pharmaceutical, household products, and cosmetics.  Here’s a kicker though, every year, 106,000 people die from drugs tested safe on animals.  Why are we, as an educated nation, still conducting this type of research on animals?  But that’s a whole different issue.

In addition to rescuing these animals, BFP is lobbying across the nation, state by state, for The Beagle Freedom Bill.  This bill would require any research lab funded by tax payer funds to release the research animals for adoption rather than killing them, when the lab has finished using the animals for testing.  Their hope, and mine, is to get this passed as a federal law.

I support BFP financially as a monthly doner.  I have also “adopted” a dog through their Identity Campaign.  This campaign allows people to adopt a research animal while the animal is still incarcerated in a lab, to advocate for the animal’s release.  Will dog #30209, now known as Del Rio, every be released from the research lab at Texas A&M?  That is unknown.  At this point, I don’t know anything about the dog, whether it’s a male or female, or even whether it’s still alive, as Texas A&M has petitioned the Texas Attorney General for the right to refuse to provide any information I requested under the Freedom of Information Act.  I cried when I got that email.  What exactly are they trying to hide?

These companies test on animals!  Don't buy from them.

These companies test on animals! Don’t buy from them.

I’ve emailed my story to all of the local radio, television, and print outlets in the area, asking them to consider doing a human interest story.  It’s been a few weeks and I haven’t heard anything back from anyone.  I guess they don’t feel anyone would be interested in this type of story, although BFP has posted on Twitter links to other local papers, in other areas, that covered the Identity Campaign.   I want to do all I can to get the word out about these animals and to support this organization.  It’s the least we can do for them.

I encourage you to download the BFP application that lets you check to see if a product is tested on animals.  It’s called The Cruelty Cutter and it’s free only $2.99*.  I no longer buy any products that are tested on animals.  This causes a bit of a … discussion with Scuba Man, but it’s worth it.  I just tell him to imagine it’s our little girl in that lab.  Would you still want to support that company by buying their products?

Please stop by the Beagle Freedom Project and see the work they do.  Maybe you, too, will want to support them.

*Thanks to my friend Barb for pointing out my mistake AND for downloading the Cruelty Cutter app.  Free the Beagles!

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