About Me

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St. Louis, MO, United States
What the name sez, Christian, conservative, 2nd amendment supporter. Physician, wife, daughter and loving mother.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When Your Hut is On Fire

My 87 year old mother loves her email. She sometimes surprises me with the salty content of some of the jokes that she circulates from her octagenarian friends. Bless her heart, she has sent me angels and breast cancer chains and roses to pass on to all my friends under threat of dire consequences should I hit the delete button, but today she scored big.

Yesterday, during the free fall of the stock market, a friend whose husband works in the insurance and investment industries, confided that she was very worried about what would happen next. Those who are counting on their personal investments to either provide for or supplement their retirement saw their nest egg significantly diminish over the past several months with a resounding exclamation mark added yesterday.

Today during drive time on our local FM talk station the conversation turned to the subject of the financial status of our nation and the world. It was suggested that if the nation's economic situation is so dire, why can congress go off for extended vacations and why is nothing happening from Monday to Thursday. Opinions went hither and yon but one reasoned caller chimed in that perhaps during this hiatus in observation of the Jewish New Year, we should all take the time to reflect and pray for wisdom and guidance.

So enter Mom's email barrage today in which this little item arrived and put everything into perspective.

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small,
uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him. Every day he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store his few possessions.

One day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, with smoke rolling up to the sky. He felt the worst had happened, and everything was lost. He was stunned with disbelief, grief, and anger. He cried out, 'God! How could you do this to me?'

Early the next day, he was awakened by the sound of a ship approaching the island! It had come to rescue him! 'How did you know I was here?' asked the weary man of his
rescuers. 'We saw your smoke signal,' they replied.

The Moral of This Story: It's easy to get discouraged when things are going bad, but we shouldn't lose heart, because God is at work in our lives, even in the midst of our pain and suffering. Remember that the next time your little hut seems to be burning to the ground. It just may be a smoke signal that summons the Grace of God.

Thanks Mom.

Monday, September 29, 2008

An Open Letter to Sarah Palin

Dear Sarah,
In the past two days, I have heard several pundits raise the mantra "Free Sarah Palin". I am certain that you are prepping for the Vice Presidential debate on Thursday and your constituents are looking forward to it. But I would like to offer you some debate prep straight from the fly over states.

First, and foremost, stop everything and watch the classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. No....watch it a couple of times. This is your story on so many levels. Individual from small town America goes to Washington to represent the common folk. Big and corrupt government tries its best to sabotage his mission with massive red tape and underhanded smears to destroy his credibility. His mainstream supporters and a couple of insiders who become sympathetic to his cause provide him what he needs to triumph in the face of extreme adversity. You have a broad base of conservative supporters who will rally behind you. We share your views. We know that you are more like us than you are like THEM. When you debate on Thursday, speak from your heart. That is what we want to hear. You are a diamond in the rough, untainted by the Washington machine and that is what you need to be.

Break free of the micromanagers for the campaign. Spread your wings and show us more of what we saw in your acceptance speech at the convention. You are a bright and talented woman who has succeeded in state politics and knows what it takes to get things done at the state government level. A state is a microcosm of the nation. Bring that common sense to Washington where they need a huge dose of it.

Since you and Senator McCain are running on a maverick reformer platform, tell us what should be changed in Washington. It doesn't even matter to me if what you think should be done is not in lock step with your running mate. If questioned, tell them that you and Senator McCain are your own individuals, he is at the top of the ticket, but that no two people are ever in total agreement on all issues...Period. If you are faced with a Gotcha question--and I am sure that there will be many--ask for clarification and if you don't know, tell them that...Your base will understand. Then follow with something that lets the audience know that you will be giving your all to learning everything that there is to know about the subject so that you will be able to represent them well--and remember, you are not running for President---yet. You are great in one on one situations and small groups---well Thursday you are going one on one with the little people of America. Forget the audience, forget the media, forget all of the trappings and the hype and just SPILL YOUR GUTS. The moderator is just another guy with a question. Biden is just another guy with a different point of view. Deal with them just like you would in the mayoral chambers or the governor's office.

While the Obama campaign is showing Senator Biden as a scrappy Scranton small town guy, I can guarantee that he has long since stopped shopping at Sam's or Costco. Let us see that you are still like us and know what happens at the check out line. Let us see that you know what life is like in Small Town America where people get up, go to work and come home to wrestle with the real issues of the day. Where honorable young men and women volunteer to serve in the military to keep us safe, where people are trying to stretch a dollar and pinch pennies hard, where parents home school their children because they want to provide them with a quality education that mirrors their values, where junior athletics still requires that one team WIN, where good people wrestle with the job of parenting and sometimes fall short and where people run small businesses that move the economy.

Lastly, get the campaign to let you do interviews on conservative media. They have huge audiences and are a powerful voice in your corner. There is no real need to lay yourself at the altar of MSNBC and the MSM where your words will be twisted and the entire interview will be hostile. You don't deserve the treatment that they have afforded you. You need not apologize for your personal feelings and morals. We understand! So throw us some red meat and get out there where we can hear from you in friendly turf so that you can flesh out your own positions and ideas.

You are the embodiment of what conservative voters have been longing for, so take off the gloves and show us the real contrast that you and Senator McCain bring to this election. Be a sweet shark and don't give an inch to anyone. WILL THE REAL SARAH PALIN PLEASE STAND UP!!

One of your supporters in the Heartland

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Goon Squads Arrive in Missouri

In a political milieu that is poisoned with barbs sent from both camps, it is sickening that we learned in the last few days that Obama Goon Squads will be hitting the streets in St. Louis, Kansas City and other areas of Missouri. Led by such notable figures as the Circuit attorneys of St. Louis City and St. Louis County, Jennifer Joyce and Robert McCulloch and other law enforcement officials they have pledged to carry out an intimidation effort against those that the Obama campaign identify as producing "misleading" statements or advertisements against the Senator. The squads, called "Truth" squads, will threaten libel litigation against those who speak out against Obama in ways that THEY determine are adverse. Can you say 1939 Germany, Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini???

Both Joyce and McCulloch are Obama supporters and it appears that they are using their elected positions to catapult another crony into power through a blatant abuse of their elected positions. In addition, sheriffs in other counties have gotten on board with this movement. Whether libel suits can actually be carried out or not is debatable, however the threat is real, and as any lawyer knows, a suit can create havoc on so many levels for an individual even if the suit turns out to be frivolous and without merit.

There has also been no evidence provided that these officials will also be sweeping the media for adverse statements, advertisements or video media against the McCain/Palin ticket. To squelch any adverse expression on one side and allow the most base and vile filth to be spewed unfettered on the other side shows the HOPE and CHANGE that we can expect if Barack Hussein Obama and his minions are allowed to rise to supreme power over our country.

Monday, September 22, 2008

That Down Syndrome Baby

During the silly season of politics just before an election, politics gets down and dirty with attacks on both sides. Some of the attacks are justified and others are just gratuitous insults. This year is no exception and, in fact, the personal attacks on Sarah Palin and her family have been blatantly abhorrent. That said, the comments revolving around one member of the Palin family that bother me the most are those regarding Sarah Palin's infant son, Trig. I am sick to death of hearing him referred to as "that Down Syndrome baby," "Sarah Palin's Down Syndrome baby", "the baby with Down Syndrome", etc.

Yes, Trig does have the genetic condition Down Syndrome. However, Trig is just a little defenseless baby. Trig is an individual just like your child with red hair, your child with freckles, your child who stutters, your child who cannot read well, your child who isn't the prettiest child in the class....he is just an innocent baby. He is loved just as much as your child. He will be cared for by a family that is totally accepting of his frailties. And blessedly, he may never realize the malice with which the appellation "that Down Syndrome baby" is associated.

The people who tout tolerance and acceptance for all people are the ones who are most unaccepting of Trig and the Palin's decision to bring this special child into their family and accept him for what he is rather than discarding him as "that Down Syndrome baby."


I am so happy that today is the first day of Autumn!!

I can't wait for the leaves to change and the weather to get that first chill. Most of all, I can't wait to pull out the cool weather clothes and get rid of the summer stuff. I want a fire in the fireplace and an afghan on the couch. I am ready to drink a warm beverage without breaking into a sweat and I looked longingly at my chili recipe this weekend.

To celebrate I drank a cup of hot tea in my Snowman mug this morning!

I am definitely a seasonal gal. I would go crazy without the changing seasons. I could never live in a perpetually warm area---Sorry Floridians!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Sunny Day

Having spilled my guts in my last post, the sermon this morning at church spoke directly to me and made me feel a bit foolish. To distill things down to a sentence, God will supply all my needs and His grace is sufficient for me. No, for those of you who think that Heartland Christians are stupid and backward, I don't think that God will protect my 401k, but in looking into scripture and searching my heart, I know that my needs will be supplied. What I really need is my loving family, friends, a job, enough money to put food on the table, and a roof over my head. If I had to, I could sew my own clothes thanks to my mother and 4-H, I have my health and if I have to work until I die, then so be it. I really don't need "things" and the things that I have could be sold or bartered for the essentials I need.

With that out of the way, I saw this beautiful sunny Sunday in a new and hopeful light. I know that I have the grit to weather this storm just as I have struggled through other low times in my life. I know that we will end up on top though it might require a difficult path. I know that I am not alone, I am not bitter, and I will survive.

In that light, the new week has dawned and life will go on in the heartland.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Gloomy Days

Ever have one of those days when you wanted to curl up in a ball and retire from the human race??? Well, this week had several of them. Watching Wall Street move like a car on the Screaming Eagle made me alternately want to cheer and vomit. Then at the end of the week, came the incredible salvage of "everything imaginable" and I am not sure that I can wrap my head around the implications of it.

A year ago I had someone go over my financial plan for my retirement and they said that they would not change anything, that I had charted a fiscally sound plan for my future and to keep up the good work. I have no credit card debt and had chuckled at the nest egg and "my number" ads on TV as I thought that I was among them with a retirement plan at work and a couple of other side investment accounts that I opened when there was a bit of spare change lying around. I had always pretty much known that I could not rely on Social Security for my retirement (most probably because it would not be there for me) and I felt so proud (and even patriotic, Joe Biden) that I was doing what I needed to do to provide for myself for the future so that I would not be a societal burden.

Now I am not so sure and am wondering what effect this week on Wall Street will do to my "best laid plans". I am now thinking that it would have been better if I had stuffed my mattress with the investment contributions that I made and bought gold bars.

I found this quote earlier this week when I was trying to put what was happening before my eyes into some perspective. "The gloom hanging over Main Street America stems largely from rising price levels, high interest rates, failure of new plant and equipment expenditures to stimulate a new wave of production, failure of housing construction to pick up and the failure of Congress and the President to make much headway on development of an energy policy tax revision program, private capital program, international economic plan and on the establishment of an inflation reduction effort.........Given the unbalanced conditions of international relations and vital resource use patterns however, the possibility of a serious recession in the United States...cannot be entirely discounted........Nevertheless such things as OPEC decrees on the price of oil because of its uneven distribution in the world and the use patterns of industrialized nations will cause the rate of inflation to rise...A determined effort to cut the federal budget deficit will fall short of significant favorable price consequences. Thus price rises will be steadily reinforced during the year ahead." Does this sound familiar?? Well, this is a quote from an article in the Columbia Missourian by Robert Paterson, Professor of economics and public administration in the College of Business and Public Administration at the University of Missouri. The date of the article.....January 7, 1979.

In 1979 I did not know/realize that things were so bad. I did not have the 24-hour media telling me at every turn that the sky was falling. I had not yet had my first child. I did not yet have a 401k because I was still finishing my education. I had student loans to pay and was already in my second new home. My bills were paid and I was able to save a bit each month, so how was I to know that the sky was falling? Is this just more of the same today only with a constant barrage of nay sayers beating it into my head 24-7? Or have we really fallen over the cliff this time and it is no longer "crying wolf"?

On one hand I want to remain optimistic and weather the rough times as I have done several times in the past, but on the other hand, as I get older and know that my retirement SHOULD be getting closer, I feel that I will no longer be prepared or that all my hard work and preparations will disappear overnight. I have listened to the different talking heads this week and I know several things for sure:
1. There is no agreement about what should be done.
2. There is no guarantee that this will work out.
3. I am on the hook for the liability of the past week's activities in some way or another, though I don't exactly know or understand what form this liability will take.
4. This has been a long time coming and my government has sold me out.
5. I am ready to clean out the money lenders from the temple and I DO NOT want to replace them with more entitlements, hand outs, bail outs and nationalization schemes to put a hand in my back pocket and give away what I have earned fair and square!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


The other night I watched both of our presidential candidates speak at the Time forum on public service and volunteerism. There was little that the candidates differed on during the forum and it was not particularly exciting. But as I watched both of them talk about programs to promote service and volunteerism, it struck me that you cannot legislate volunteerism.

My husband, who is a Viet Nam veteran, recounts that people were "chosen" to volunteer for any number of unsavory tasks during his time of service in the Air Force. The draft during the Viet Nam war is also a part of why the veterans from this era carry such a blot on their service records. Draftees that had no loyalty to the tasks at hand were a drain on their fellow soldiers who could not rely on their comrades to watch their backs, perform honorably or stay clean and sober while on duty. The same may be said for forced volunteerism or public service. An unwilling "volunteer" will not attack a task with the same vigor as someone with a passion for their task. Who would you want to help you in a time of need....someone who is committed to help in any way possible or someone who would rather be anywhere else but helping you???

Mainstream Americans are good people who will put aside their differences and come together when it is needed. We saw it on 9/11 when people went to blood banks to donate blood just because it was one of the only things that they knew might help acutely and when it became clear that there was no need for blood donations for victims, they opened their hearts and wallets to provide whatever they could for the families who were torn apart and deprived of their incomes. We see it in the responses to natural disasters where people from across the country converge with supplies, money and services. Just this spring, the call for sandbaggers during the Midwestern floods was answered by perfect strangers who came from far and wide to stand shoulder to shoulder with total strangers in muddy hot discomfort just to save a complete stranger's home or town. There was no monetary gain in answering any of these tasks. There was no stipend offered. There was, in fact, some sacrifice for many of these people who took time off of work or used vacation or sick time to meet a need without thought of any personal reward.

We also see it in communities and neighborhoods. In my neighborhood, we look out for each other. My home is on 10 acres and my next door neighbor is also on 10 acres. When storms come and we have trees down or electricity out, our generator keeps the refrigerator and freezer going and it becomes the repository for their food. Likewise the trees are cleared by a community of neighbors with chain saws and tractors and the wood will be used for fireplaces and wood stoves. For the past two weekends, my husband has been helping our neighbor build a wonderful fence at one edge of his property. The task has taken all day both Saturdays, and our 7 acres of grass didn't get mowed those days, but we came home from church on Sunday to find that in thanks for the fence building help, half of our property had been mowed.

This sense of community is why there are funeral meals for grieving families, friends who sit far into the night in an ICU waiting room to support a sick person's relatives and charities that survive solely due to the servant hearts of volunteers and financial backers who pull the full load because they are not recipients of United Way funding for reasons that should be obvious if you just think about it.

The problem in America is not that people won't volunteer or serve others, but rather that they don't always know what to do. I am reminded of a perfect example of a random act of kindness that occurred when I was doing my residency. As a chief resident, my team rotated on the cancer service from time to time. We assumed a service with many sick patients, but one in particular struck a chord with my Junior resident and we took her on as our project for the rotations. Our goal was to get her out of the hospital before we left the service. This unfortunate young woman had undergone disfiguring surgery for an ugly malignancy and she had suffered a stormy post op course. She was depressed and her wounds were healing poorly. She rarely had visitors. She would pick at the hospital food and the dietitians who had been asked to assist with her nutritional needs had not come up with any solution that suited her. She longed for some home cooked meals and had no one to provide it. My junior resident and I decided that we would try to find some take out food from a local restaurant, but we did not know how to find the right place. One day when I was in my OB clinic and feeling particularly frustrated at what seemed to be Mission Impossible, I asked one of my young black patients if there was a nearby restaurant where I could get good home cooked greens, hocks and beans and cornbread. She thought for a second and then said that she did not know of any such restaurant. We finished our visit and I went on to the next patient. When I came out of the next room, the nurse told me that my patient's mother wanted to talk to me. When we sat down in the conference room, I expected to be asked something about her daughter's pregnancy, but instead she wanted to know about the patient who needed some home cooked food. She volunteered to cook for this patient and to get the ladies from her church to help her. That was the beginning of a daily parade of ample black matrons who would arrive on our floor with plates of food for our patient (and occasionally a whole roaster pan of something wonderful to share with all of the nurses). They would drop off food for the day, visit her, fix her hair and do little things for her. She perked up, gained weight and with better nutrition, her surgical woundsbegan to heal properly. While this patient has long since died from her cancer, it is undoubtedly true that these wonderful ladies "who did this for the least of these" have a place in heaven for their random act of kindness.

So there may be a need for service and volunteerism in the some areas of our country, and some sectors of our society may feel that they are above getting down and dirty, but in real America, if you need them, they will come.