There is Always Something You Can Do to Make a Difference

This post is in reaction to the mass shooting at an Oregon college and the TWO shootings that occurred TODAY in colleges. Recent comments made by a particular Presidential candidate have my head reeling and wanting to scream from the roof top “This man is a moron!” What can we do? What can I do? I can write. So I drafted the letter below and sent it to my state and federal representatives. It’s a step. Those of us who identify themselves as “moderate” need to make our voices heard nice and loud and get some changes made. Feel free to copy and personalize for your experiences and location. Together we can make a difference.

Dear Governor, Senator, Representative,

My name is Kristine  and I am a life long resident of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, aunt, friend, volunteer and I am fed up with these mass shootings in public places. Fortunately, my daughter’s school has not been affected YET, but I know I could get a district wide call any day. There is no more thinking “This can’t happen in my neighborhood or school.” This most certainly can happen in our school district. It can happen anywhere.

I am stunned that lawmakers cannot agree on fair, comprehensive state and federal laws regarding the purchasing and ownership of guns. I thought for sure after the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School there would be massive change. It is mind boggling to realize that absolutely nothing has changed.

Some recent comments from elected officials and hopefuls that more guns are the answer or that victims can rush their attacker has proven drastically wrong again. Today, Friday, October 9th, 2015 there were two more reports of multiple people being shot at colleges. The one in Arizona looks like it started out as a fight between fraternities. NRA wants and encourages lawmakers to allow open carry everywhere. An 18 year old student had a gun on him and he chose to fire the gun as a way to end this meaningless dispute between two groups. 18 years old. He took the life of another human being. How does one recover from that? His future plans are now dashed. Instead his foreseeable future will most likely involve lawyers, prison cells and appearances in court. Not to mention having to face his surviving victims and the family of the individual whose life he ended. Does the NRA offer counseling or tips on how to hand a criminal shooting afterwards? No, they will be nowhere to be found.

I am one person, but I am taking a stand and asking you to support common sense legislation that should include the following measures:

  1. A mandatory, comprehensive, federal background check law for gun purchasers. If someone has been convicted of a gun-related offense it would show up in the check and that person should be denied a purchase.
  2. Federal background checks must be made mandatory for sales between private individuals or at gun shows. I have a feeling that many of the perpetrators of these mass shootings  did not purchase all of their weapons at their local gun shop. I am sure many of the purchases were made privately.
  3. The CDC, Center for Disease Control, must be allowed to track and study the affects of gun deaths. This is a health issue. I bet if there were formal research and reports being made a trend would be seen in the types of situations the use of a gun would be prominent.
  4. Gun stores need to be made accountable to show the number of weapons they sell each year as well as who they sell to. There are lists for people who buy cars, tools, appliances, electronics, etc. Retailers have records of how much product they sell and where that product gets sold. Guns are a product and should be regulated the same way.Daniel Webster, a public health expert at Johns Hopkins University, notes that in 1999, the government listed the gun stores that had sold the most weapons later linked to crimes. The gun store at the top of the list was so embarrassed that it voluntarily took measures to reduce its use by criminals — and the rate at which new guns from the store were diverted to crime dropped 77 percent. But in 2003, Congress barred the government from publishing such information. Why on earth should that information not be shared? This retailer did a good thing and improved the way he ran his business and it had a major impact on local crime. This is a good thing.
  5. There should be a 10-year prohibition on possessing guns for anyone convicted of domestic violence, assault or similar offenses.

We do not need another debate about this topic. We need real answers and real results. I did not vote the NRA into office I voted you. If you cannot support new gun legislation then I will be looking for a new candidate when it is time for you to run for office again.

PicMonkey & Dancing

The past couple of weeks I have been playing with PicMonkey. If you are not familiar with it, you can add text, design and such to photographs. Since I have been on restricted movement with my broken ankle I have had some free time to play with it.

It is still a learning process for me, but adding some text is pretty easy to do. I access it from the website There has been quite a bit of bad news over the last few days so I thought I would post a pic I edited and it seems appropriate.

lighthouse psalm 433

And here’s a little video that has gone viral to really lighten the mood. Don’t fret…Just Shut Up and Dance!

The Most Hated Fans in the NFL

In honor of Philadelphia Eagles Training Camp getting underway this week, I decided to write a little something about my home town football team. Philadelphia Eagles fans have been named the most hated fans in the NFL (National Football League). My response? Thank you.

I was raised a Philadelphia Eagles fan. My grandparents lived in Southwest Philadelphia and my father was a season ticket holder through most of the 70’s and the early 80’s. Sundays during football season, when the Birds were home, my father was at Veterans Stadium ALL DAY. Even when there was an afternoon game, Dad left early Sunday morning with a cooler filled with beverages, small charcoal grill and a meat of some sort. He would meet up with friends and they would tailgate for hours then go into the game.

Philadelphians seem to be known for two things: tailgating for sport and music events are legendary and our phans are well phanatic. We are vocal. We let our teams know when they are doing well and we certainly let them know when we they are not.

I liken it to a family scenario. In a family you can speak smack about each other, but if someone on the outside starts to bad mouth the players, then the gloves are off.  We are protective of our teams, especially the Eagles. The 700 level of Veterans Stadium was notorious for foul language and intoxicated fans. As a little kid I would ask my Dad to take me to a game and he always refused. He would flat out say that it was no place for a child, especially a young girl.

Eagles fans are loud, obnoxious and it is very clear where we stand. We are not fond of the New York Giants and the loathing we feel for the Dallas Cowboys, I think by this point, is just genetic. Not only do parents educate their young children about this fierce rivalry, but even new players to the team have to learn the history as well.

We appreciate players who do their best; who go out to practices and games and give their 100%. Call us egotistical, but we like it when the players acknowledge the fans and our enthusiasm. And when a player starts bad mouthing the city and the fans, well, their time in the City of Brotherly Love will be short lived. Just ask Terell Owens.

I have a daughter and I have raised her to be an Eagles fan. When she was a toddler we would play the game “So Big.”  I would take her hands, clap them together and lift them up and say “Soooo big.” Then I decided to change it up a bit. When I raised her arms I would say, “Touchdown!” So as a proud mama my baby girl could say Touchdown in her early vocabulary.

We have taken her to pre-season games and last year I took her to an Open Practice during Training Camp. It is a bonding experience which I love. Of course, now that she is a tween she likes to get me going by saying she is rooting for the Cowboys. I have told her in no uncertain terms that she is NOT allowed to root for the Cowboys. No way no how.

We’re from Philly after all. We have a rep to protect.

eagle logo

P.S. If you bring up Eagles fans and Santa – it was over thirty years ago. And the young man who was dressed as Santa never took it personally. He knew the fans were angry at the team and the general economic climate of the time. He was fine taking a few snowballs. Let. It. Go.


We went to Hawaii on a family vacation and I came home with a broken foot. Except I didn’t know I had a broken foot. I thought I had a bad sprain or at worse a torn tendon/ligament. You see, Thursday, June 26 around 8:15 am Hawaii time I stepped off the curb to cross the street to get to our hotel and my left foot bent the wrong way and I fell in the street. I landed in the street right before the light changed and cars started coming. I was hysterical. All I kept saying was “I can’t believe this happened. I can’t believe I did this.” My ankle was throbbing. In the moment I thought perhaps it was broken.

Eventually, Hubby and another person helped me to the curb and then lifted me onto a bench. Not only did I do a number on my foot, but I also scraped up both my knees and took a layer of skin off my pinkie toe and it was bleeding.

To shorten things up a bit, 911 was called and I was checked out. There was no immediate bruising or swelling of the foot so I made the decision to not go to the emergency room. We continued on with the rest of our vacation with me hobbling around, taking ibuprofen and icing my foot when possible.

Once we came home I used an ankle brace to stabilize it. My ankles are wobbly anyway. When I do not wear shoes with support my ankles fall inwards. But after two and half weeks I decided to make an appointment to get it checked out because the pain was starting to get worse instead of better. By week 3 I had had an x-ray and MRI. The results were in: I had a fractured bone, damaged ligaments and inflammation around the tendons. I had quality and quantity of issues.

Today I am in a boot with crutches. I will be in the boot for four weeks. I am just a couple days away from end of week 1. It is going to be challenging. I need to use crutches to get around which inhibits my ability to get around and do chores. The upside to the situation is I am writing more. The ole creative juices are flowing. It is frustrating. There is so much I want to do and I am just not able to do it right now. However, I am thankful. I am thankful for excellent medical care, health insurance, and the ability to get around with crutches. I am also thankful for Hubby and Daughter and others who have helped and will help me over the next few weeks.

It’s a challenge right now. I am sure I will learn some lessons. And get more material for the blog.

Kristine boot 2015-07

5 Things I Like To Do While Camping

  1. Sleeping outside. We like to tent camp and there is nothing like waking up in the morning to the feel and smell of the morning air.
  2. Campfire. Where else can you have a campfire first thing in the morning as well as at night? Roasting marshmallows, making s’mores, even macaroni and cheese.
  3. Walking through the campground admiring other sites. I love seeing other styles of tents and I really love looking at campers. My parents had a Coleman Camper when I was kid. So seeing campers brings back lots of childhood memories.
  4. Quiet time. Camping is the one activity where I can, we all can, be quiet. We don’t need our phones, internet, or Skype. We can actually have conversations and that be enough.
  5. Hiking. Typically, I am not much of a hiker. My husband loves to hike. When he was single a vacation for him was packing a backpack and spending days hiking portions of the Appalachian Trail. Me? Well, I am more of a day hiker, where the trail is paved and clearly marked. I do enjoy sleeping in a tent. When we do go camping, I look forward to hiking through the local state park especially if it has waterfalls. I love waterfalls.

What are some things you like to do while camping?

family tent             NY creek     campfire

Under Appreciated Tool

There is one item I believe to be an under appreciated tool – the timer. Every home has at least one, most likely more. There are timers on microwaves, ovens, cell phones, computers/tablets, and even watches – does anyone wear a watch anymore?

I never gave timers much thought until after I was married and I started a direct sales business that sold kitchen tools. One of the tools was a kitchen timer. I started using it at home and I was hooked! Food in the oven didn’t burn anymore :) As the years have gone on I have found many uses for my handy dandy timer.

I have used my timers for:

* cooking and baking

* to determine how long chores took

* timeouts for my daughter

* length of time she needs to read for homework

* track my exercise at home

I think the two ways I use my timer the most anymore is for cooking and baking and chores. I used to dread emptying the dishwasher. For some reason it seemed to take forever for me to do it. So one day I decided to follow the advice of FlyLady and time how long it takes to empty the dishwasher. I was making soup in the microwave – 3 minutes. So I decided to see how far I could get in 3 minutes. Well, much to my surprise I had about 2 or 3 items left at the end of the 3 minutes but those only took seconds to put away. From that day on, I stopped dreading the dishwasher. Quite often I empty the dishwasher while I have something in the microwave cooking.

So if there are any tasks you dread doing at home or at work use your timer. You can

1. set it to count up to see how long a task takes

2. or you could set it for a set time and when the alarm goes off, stop what you are doing and do something else.

Use your timer. I bet you will be fan just like me.

The Death of a Church

Today I attended the closing of a church I belonged to for about 12 years. It was where I was confirmed and married. I served as acolyte. My mother was on the Altar Guild committee. My sister received her first communion there. It was my spiritual home.

The pastor who served there while I was a member was progressive in my mind. He was the first preacher I heard admit that he was not perfect; he was flawed just like everyone else.  One phrase I remember him saying practically weekly in prayers “We are not accidents in time and space.” That was where my belief, my true feeling that God created each and every one of use for a purpose. We had a mission. Sometimes the mission is crystal clear and other times it is not.

I posted some pictures I took of the church and that it was closing. I have received many comments from friends and friends of friends saying how sad it was. Yes, it is sad. One person asked why it was closing.  Low attendance is the reason. People are not coming to church like they used to.

I am about to climb on my soapbox. People do not hold Sunday special or sacred anymore. Stores are open. Sports teams have practices and games. People, families no longer make attending a church a priority. It is more of a “if we can squeeze it in.” There are other reasons too. Younger people are not attending traditional church anymore because they can listen to Christian music on the internet and download songs digitally. They don’t need to attend Bible Study or Sunday School because they can attend book clubs or study groups in coffee houses or in an individual’s home. Mission projects can be done with any number of individual charities. Of course there is also the notion that people feel the church is hypocritical.  It is.

The hypocrisy of organized religion is blatant as well as the conservatives who tout scripture at the drop of the hat. In the past week the public was made aware of allegations that the oldest son of a reality show family had sexually abused young girls a number of years ago. Most of the victims – his own sisters. As Christians we are instructed to love one another as ourselves. We are treat people the way we want to be treated. That does not mean we can exclude a segment of the population because we don’t like what they do behind closed bedroom doors. Does this oldest son lose his salvation because of his alleged crimes? No. Once we become followers of Christ we are always followers of Christ. Anyone is welcome to believe. Yes we are to repent of sin and change our ways, but it is not up to other people to decide if we have done that. That, judgment, is up to God. That is a relief to me. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want that responsibility.

Anyway, the church as a whole needs to make changes. We need to be willing to accept “contemporary Christian” music. Open to having worship services outside, stepping outside the box in how we share God’s Word. To go along with that, we the people, need to show up to church. The pews need to be filled. It may be difficult for some people to understand but the church is a business. A church as expenses: mortgage, salary, utility expenses, landscaping. The church depends on the consistent donations of its members in order to pay the bills and help those in need.

If it has been a while since you’ve been to church. Go back. Go church shopping. Just because you were raised in a Lutheran, Baptist, or Catholic Church does not mean you have to stay there. Really. You have a choice. I was raised and confirmed in the Lutheran and now I am a member of the United Methodist Church. Think about what is most important to you in terms of a church home. How close is the church to your home? Do they have a children’s program? How about adult classes? What mission projects are they involved with? Is music important to you? Do they have a choir or praise band? Both?

It is very sad that churches around our country are closing, but it can be stopped. People need to start attending again. We need to be part of the process. Be part of the change.

Today I witnessed the death of a church. However, I have faith that a new Church will emerge and be stronger than ever.