Toys for Tots, Giving Tree Shopping Tips

I'm feeling pleased and grateful. Daughter and I got our Samaritans Purse Operation-Christmas-Child shoe box delivered on time. Plus, we got good prices on toys for our church's Christmas Giving-tree too. Dollar General had BOGO 50% off art sets, plus $5 off $50. I'm liking how St. Patrick's (our church) is doing the Giving Tree this year. Here's what's different and how I suggest all Christmas gift donations run.  Toys for Tots, Giving Tree Shopping Tips

Making Relationships Work on Different Schedules

 My husband works nights. So we have to be creative about making time for our relationship. Some ways might sound strange to those with more normal schedules. For example, on weekends, if he has a night off, we'll stay up all night visiting, listening to music, watching old movies. Then we sleep till afternoon. Quirky, but it works and keeps us close. Relationship Glue Recipe Bloom Where You Are Planted 

Daily Dose of Silly Cat, Mine Thinks He is Stanley Kowolski

Silly never hurt anyone. We all need more silliness. My bombastic cat provides my daily dose. He's has just determined that it's time to end the work day. Like Stanley Kowolski, in A Streetcar Named Desire he thinks he calls the shots. He has been scratching at Blanche duBois' face on the cover of my program.  My Cat Thinks He is Stanley Kowolski

Free Printable Day of the Dead Crafts and Activities

El Dia de los Muertos--the Day of the Dead--commemorates the lives our beloved dead in Catholic tradition.The Day of the Dead coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day, November 1 and 2. Need free printable activities? You've come to the right place.

Traditionally commemorative altars are brought to the cemetery so that the family may visit with the dearly departed. The human skull is an integral symbol in El Dia de los Muertos. Candies are made in the shape of skulls and people may paint their faces to represent a skull. Some of the United States Halloween traditions have developed from the Day of the Dead celebrations. The Day of the Dead is a religious holiday, culminating the Catholic traditions of All Saints and All Souls Day with earlier Aztec, Mixtec, Olmec and Toltec pre-Columbian traditions.  Free Printable "Day of the Dead" Crafts, Lessons and Activities

Jesse Tree Advent Devotional Craft for Christmas

A Jesse Tree is a popular Catholic and Protestant Christian devotion during Advent. The Bible activity tracks teh lineage of Jesus. Here's the verse 'And a shoot shall spring forth from the stump of Jesse: a branch out of his roots.' Isaiah 11:1. This Biblical passage from the Old Testament prophet Isaiah is foretelling the coming of a new branch in the family tree of King David. Jesse was the father of David. David was the king of Israel during her Golden Age. After Solomon, David's son died, the kingdom fell to quarreling and heathen practices. The two kingdoms finally split and ultimately were carried off into slavery by a succession of eastern rulers from Assyria, Babylon, Media and Persia. Read onJesse Tree Advent Devotional Craft

Birthday Depression, Respect Don't Shame the Birthday Girl

Today is my husband’s 50th birthday. They announced it at work last night. Then they displayed it on the “propaganda monitor” as he calls it. He'd asked them not to, but apparently, that was too much to ask. Co-workers mentioned it. One sang to him. Some guys teased him about his age, calling him “old man.” Some good things, some not so much--he hated it all and said so. Some people didn't understand.  I'm writing this to help raise awareness on birthday depression, where it comes from and how to respectfully celebrate someone's special day.
Birthday Depression--Respecting Personal Birthday Wishes, Preferences

Grand Rapids ArtPrize is Great But I Have Some Concerns

ArtPrize is a huge, outdoor public-juried art show and contest downtown Grand Rapids, Michigan. I go every year because I love art. And it brings people to the state. And it attracts a diverse mix of interesting artisans. But I've got a few issues with the concept of Artprize.

First, artists shouldn't have to compete for prize money. It degrades and commercializes. It makes art competitive instead of collaborative. Artists who might normally be mutually supportive, end up behaving in tacky, mercenary ways. Like the conclave we overheard kvetching at the Amway Grand. They'd made it to top 25 and it was like they felt they didn't have to be nice anymore. They were very condescending, criticizing people for only checking out the top 25. These were the ones who voted them to top 25 and whom they should be thanking.  Others hawked their art like popcorn sellers. One said said he was "praying" for votes. Well, I guess you would if winning was the ultimate goal. Which it should not be with art. This kind of attitude won't get my vote, well, it wouldn't have if I could have voted which is my next beef. Read on. ArtPrize 2013 Frustrations and Fails Photo is my own taken of our favorite 2013 entry Gon Kirin.

Yoga Health Benefits

I went to yoga a few times and then quit for about ten years. I don't know why I couldn't get up the gumption to go but I think it had to do with my as-yet-undiagnosed sleep apnea. When you have that, you're tired all the time. And I was super-busy homeschooling four kids and husband working all the time. And I made a lot of excuses. I Can Feel Yoga Progress Already 

Avoid Competitive Parents to Stay Sane and Healthy

 Do you have competitive parents in your family or friend circle? You know the type--the know-it-alls who brag about how perfect they and their kids are? The kind who are quick to point out what you're doing wrong (at least in their not so humble opinion). The one-uppers who LOOVE to expose your weak areas?

I have news for you and them. They aren't perfect and you aren't necessarily failing. They just love to highlight your struggles because it makes them feel superior. In the slightly paraphrased words of Adolph Hitler--"it's not enough that they succeed, you must also fail."  Run, Do Not Walk Away from Competitive Parents (the mom in this picture--in the blue dress--is very imperfect. She shares parenting tips from trial and error, not because she's superior.)

How to Observe Labor Day the Union Way

Labor Day is more than just a another beer-drinking, flag-waving holiday. A lot of union people worked really hard so we could enjoy workplace rights. The way we celebrate a holiday reflects how we believe. If I focus only on partying I show that's all I care about. This Labor Day, thank a union worker. You enjoy that weekend, 40-hour work week, 8-hour day, thanks to collective bargaining. Kids don't work in sweatshops in the U.S., thanks to unions. Even if you work in a non-union place, you're benefiting from the efforts of organized labor. Here's how we celebrated labor as a family.  How to Observe Labor Day the Union Way

Relationship Glue Recipe: Avoid Over-controlling, Micromanaging

My husband and I have been in a relationship for 31 years and married for 26 of those. I'm writing a series of tips using the +Relationship-glue-recipe tag (click that for the rest). And you know when I give advice, it's from personal experience, usually based on some faux pas one or both of us has made. Today's advice: don't micromanage. Or nit pick, hen (or rooster) peck, nag, pester or generally overthink. Read moreRelationship Glue Recipe: Avoid Over-controlling, Micromanaging

Highland Park, MI, Residents Protest Disposal of Black History Collection

 A large collection of books and media on black history and culture was recently found in a dumpster near Highland Park Renaissance High School in Highland Park, Michigan. City Emergency Manager Donald Weatherspoon said workers were clearing the school library's second floor to make room for offices, and they threw the collection out by mistake, says CBS Detroit WWJ. I wrote this article as straight news and so couldn't give my opinion. But on my blog--that's another story. Disposing of books is wrong on many levels. When there's a book burning people come out in protest. Yet here's loads of valuable collectibles dumped and only a handful object. There was no issue of offensiveness. They were just deemed as too cumbersome. How does it cost the school any more to house the collection? And if maintaining it was so expensive, why not donate? And if the school is in so much debt as to require a emergency manager, why not SELL it?? I have no choice but to conclude that this is a racist act of imperialism, plain and simple. Highland Park, MI, Residents Protest Disposal of Black History Collection

Understanding How to Play the Blame-Shame Game

The Blame-Shame Game is a term used in psychology and 12-Step recovery programs to explain behavior that is prompted by blame or shame. The blame -shame game is an avoidance and projection coping mechanism. The Blame-shame gamer attempts to avoid and cover his monstrous sense of shame by projecting the shame onto others (blame).

Here's how the blame-shame game is played. Rules are very important in the blame-shame game,but the can change. What the rule says, depends on who turn it is. Here's what I mean. The blame-shame game requires at least two players, but three is better. This way blame-shame gamers can richocet blame and shame off from and between the other two players. The blame-shame gamer can also form alliances with the person he isn't currently blaming-shaming.  Understanding How to Play the Blame-Shame Game

Control Freaks and Power Struggles in Relationships

Relationships like machines, require balance. Power struggles and control issues indicate a lack of balance in a relationship. Power struggles and control issues stem from one or both partners having poorly developed self-control. Over-controlling results from lack of self-control. Control freaks, usually unbeknownst to themselves, attempt to control other people when they feel out of control of themselves. Those that they attempt to control may fight back, realizing that the control freak is trampling on their boundaries. Hence it may appear that a power struggle is ensuing. However, this is not a true power struggle. A true power struggle is when two persons wrestle over control of a neutral person or separate issue, situation.

If someone is trying to impose his will on yours and you fight back, the controller probably won't understand. It doesn't matter . You're not being controlling when you take control of your life or something that affects you (living situation, safety, health, home, family, personal space). You're attempting to avoid being controlled and asserting your boundaries. This is healthy behavior. You shouldn't cede control of yourself, what affects you or those you are responsible to (kids, for example).

But it doesn't usually look very pretty. No matter how calmly boundaries are enforced the control freak doesn't like it. She rages, sulks, hits below the belt, tries to intimidate and/or shame her partner back into her web of control. She's not in control of herself. She feels it and panics. She instinctively grasps for something or someone external control. Why? Read more Control Freaks and Power Struggles in Relationships

Parent coping tips for teen anger and mood swings

Clinical teen depression is relatively uncommon, but tell that to parents of teens and they may not agree. Bouts of moodiness are hallmarks of teen behavior and one of the most worrisome for parents. Here's a parent survival kit for dealing with teen mood swings.Parent coping tips for teen anger and mood swings

Best Adult Movies to Watch with Mom on Mother's Day

 On the second Sunday of every May, we celebrate Mother's Day. need some great movies to enjoy with mom or in memory of your mother? These movies will make you laugh, cry and fall in love with your mom all over again. Whether you are a mom, grandma, adoptive mom, foster mom, surrogate mom, primary care-giver, aunt, step-mom, god-mother or you were born of a mother, you need this list of movies. Are you missing your mom this Mother's Day? Celebrate the love that moms represent with these movies.  Best Movies to Watch with Mom on Mother's Day

Facebook, Social Media Impairs Real-Life Communication

Facebook and social networking are bubbles. They occupy a lot of time and airspace for a significant number of people. A spectrum of users interact instantly and globally. We don't yet know what all the impacts will be. From my own experiences, I see that digital interaction impairs face-to-face communication. Here's how.  Read more

Detroit's 1914 David Whitney Building to Finally See Resurrection

When I first started visiting Detroit, in 1982, I was surprised that gorgeous old buildings could be left to rot. In my hometown, locals got militant to save a catwalk on the pier. I never thought that historic landmarks would be allowed to fall into ruin, spill interior rubble onto the sidewalk and everyone was okay with this. I watched people casually walk around piles of refuse from broken-down buildings as if they were used to it...because of course they were. They  had no choice but to move on. I was admittedly very naive. And people are certainly more important than buildings. But when buildings crumble it's like they take neighborhoods, made of people, with them. That's why I'm happy to share that after more than a decade, Detroit's famed David Whitney Building is finally getting her long-awaited face lift. The Detroit Free Press says a team, Whitney Partners LLC, will be the developer of the $82-million conversion of the Whitney into retail, apartments, and a boutique hotel. The long-vacant Whitney is an iconic structure downtown at Woodward and Grand Circus Park. On first glance, the Whitney looks pretty dreary and common place. It is now, thanks to a woeful 60s renovation that removed most of the elegant neo-classical City Beautiful exterior design elements. But the glorious Beaux Arts interior remains and only wants a bit of sprucing up. Detroit's David Whitney Building to Finally See Resurrection

Free Printable Easter Triduum Coloring: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday

For Catholics, lent is the holiest season of the church year. It follows the temptation by Satan of Jesus in the desert. During this time, we fast, pray and give alms in imitation of Christ's suffering and in reparation for our sins. Lent ends with Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. From there, we follow the way of the cross (via dolorosa) as stations of the cross. In the last three days of Lent, called the Easter or paschal triduum. "Paschal" refers to the passion, death and resurrection of Christ. The Easter Triduum begins at sundown on Holy Thursday, also called Maundy Thursday. It continues through Good Friday, Easter Vigil or Holy Saturday and on to Easter Sunday. Here are free printable coloring pages to help children explore the paschal mysteries of Christ's Easter Triduum.  Free Printable Easter Triduum Coloring Pages: Holy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday

Rapid Rehousing, Homelessness Prevention Programs in Detroit

Many Detroiters struggle with homelessness. Just how big is the problem? Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries says 18,000 people won't have a place to sleep tonight. There are several large shelters but not enough to house that many. And as worthy as emergency shelters are, they're only temporary. Preventing homelessness is the key and that's what "rapid rehousing" is all about. In 2009, President Barack Obama signed American Recovery and Reinvestment which funded the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) administered by the U.S.Department of Housing and Urban Development Homeless Resource Exchange (HUD-HRE). With the ending of that program last December, the need will be greater. Several organizations in Detroit continue that program model: to get people into permanent homes as quickly as possible.  Rapid Rehousing, Homelessness Prevention Programs in Detroit 

Living with Active Addiction: Staying Healthy Amid Chaos

Living with addiction in any form-- alcohol, religious, rage, money, sex, overeating, smoking--is miserable. I've played codependent to many. Addiction is cunning, baffling and powerful. I've made every mistake in the book (and invented some). Most of my dysfunctional coping mechanisms were learned in childhood and I'm working to recover from them. Here's what to expect in codependent recovery.   Living with Active Addiction: Staying Healthy Amid Chaos

Natural Antidepressants, Anti-Anxiety Supplements

I've always struggled with panic attacks, anxiety, depression, PMS (premenstrual syndrome) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms. I lost two second trimester infants and started menopause early, at about 45. For seven years, I took antidepressants. These made me feel disoriented and numb. I also put on 100 pounds (which certainly didn't help the depression!) I weaned myself several years ago and now use natural supplements to combat negative feelings and boost emotional health. Here's my daily mental health regimen.  Natural Antidepressants, Drugfree Antianxiety Supplements

Dealing with Sad Feelings when Kids Elope

Our oldest daughter is getting married. The bride and her fiance live in down south and both families live up north. They're planning a destination wedding in Florida with just the two of them. We're pleased they're tying the knot, but disappointed not to be part of her big day. If you're a parent whose child is eloping, here are tips to help you deal with any disappointment and enjoy their special day! Dealing with Sad Feelings when Kids Elope

Black History Month: Detroit Heard MLK Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' Speech First

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. left many significant marks on U.S. history. One of his chief accomplishments was his "I Have a Dream" speech, given at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. The Lincoln Memorial wasn't the first platform at which Dr. King gave the speech, however. Detroiters heard it first on June 23 of that same year.  Detroit Heard MLK Jr.'s 'I Have a Dream' Speech First 

What to Do in Detroit This Weekend: Jan. 25-27, 2013

Winter has finally gotten into gear in Michigan for this fourth weekend of 2013. But snow and plummeting temperatures aren't slowing things down in Detroit. The January 25-27, 2013, weekend is jam-packed with activities for kids, families, and adults. Here are a few selections around Metro Detroit for your weekend.  What to Do in Detroit Jan. 25-27, 2013

Octomom Nadya Suleman Exemplifies Misconceptions About Welfare

Mom of 14, Nadya Suleman, dubbed "Octomom" for her octuplets, was investigated by Child Protective Services after photos appeared showing unsanitary, dangerous conditions at her home. Suleman lashed out in an ABC Good Morning, America interview, saying that her hairdresser who took the photos "set her up."

CPS found no reason to remove the children, but ABC cameras showed quite a lot of damage to the house. It concerns me that Suleman's children are living in such a poorly-kept home, while mom is getting expensive stylist treatments. Beyond that, her attitude toward money bothers me even more. It exemplifies some basic misconceptions about welfare. Read more

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