Perceptions

Many years ago, when the girls were much younger, I ran across a wonderful book called “Many Moons” by James Thurber.  It is the story of a young princess who falls ill one day after a “surfeit of raspberry tarts”.  The Royal Physician sends for her father the King, who tells her that he will get her anything that her heart desires.  The princess tells the King that if she can have the moon, “I will be well again”.

The King sends for his Wisest Men, and he asks each of them how he can get the moon for his daughter.  Each of them in turn tells the King of the many things that they have gotten for the King in the past, and then each of them tells the King that the moon is very large and much too far away (and each time it gets larger and further away), and simply cannot be gotten.

Despondent, the King sends for his Jester to cheer him up.  The Jester asks him why he is so sad, so he tells him what has happened.

“How big do they say the moon is….and how far away?”

“The Lord High Chamberlain says it is 35,000 miles away and bigger than Princess Lenore’s room…The Royal Wizard says it is 150,000 miles away and twice as big as the palace….The Royal Mathematician says it is 300,000 miles away and half the size of the kingdom…”

The Court Jester strummed on his lute for a little while.  “They are all wise men,” he said, “and so they must all be right.  If they are all right, then the moon must be just as large and as far away as each person thinks it is.  The thing to do is to find out how big the Princess Lenore thinks it is, and how far away.”

The Court Jester goes into the Princess’ room and asks her how big she thinks the moon is (just a little smaller than her thumbnail), how far away it is (not quite as high as the big tree outside her window), and what it is made of (gold, of course, silly!).

So the Court Jester goes to the Royal Goldsmith and has him make a tiny round moon just a little smaller than a thumbnail, and he has him string it on a golden chain.  The Princess is overjoyed, and is able to play again, for now the moon can always be with her.

There is more to the story – it’s really quite sweet – but one lesson always stuck with me:  If you are trying to solve a problem, you need to find out what a person THINKS first.

It’s all about perceptions.

(I’m not gonna lie – we were able to get off cheap when it came time for the Tooth Fairy to pay a visit; instead of trying to figure out what the “going rate” was, we asked Rachel what she thought the Tooth Fairy was supposed to bring her.  “A coin,” she said.  And she was very happy with “a coin”.)

Well, years have gone by since we read that story to our girls – the oldest 3 are all adults now.  And I had forgotten all about that story until one day a couple of years ago, when Sarah was watching a movie on her computer.

From out of the blue, she asked me, “What do you think about abortion?” (it was a topic in the movie she was watching).

Now, I’m going to be honest with you – we never talked about that subject all that much in our household; it didn’t exactly come up over dinner.  But it was obvious that she wanted to know what I thought about it.

I wasn’t quite sure what to say, as my views have changed significantly over the years (each time I come across more and more information).  So, I decided to use the “Many Moons” approach, and asked her what SHE thought about it.

It turns out that she is very much like I was before my eyes were opened; there are grey areas for her – the very “grey areas” that the abortion industry trots out all the time to scare everyone about an over-reaching State (rape, incest, life of the mother is in danger).

And that’s when I thought about perceptions.

So I asked her how many abortions she thought were performed each year.  I didn’t have a clue what her idea might be, and I was genuinely interested to hear what she thought.  Her answer was very enlightening – and also a clue as to why the abortion industry is able to keep fooling people year after year:

“I guess around 500-1,000 each year.”

And all of a sudden, there was the “teachable moment”.  For in all of the information that is being spoon-fed to our society about “women’s reproductive rights”, a key piece of information is deliberately being left out.

Our kids grow up thinking that abortion is a rare thing – they don’t know the reality of it, and the people who are telling them that they should think of it as a “right” don’t WANT them to know the reality of it.

So I explained that to Sarah – I told her what the Guttmacher Institute – 2008 Report and Statistics cites as statistics for abortions per year (~1,200,000 – see Table 1 on p.3), and how many have been “officially” performed since 1973 (more than 50 million).  I told her how I had been fooled, just like her, into believing that abortion was a rare thing (the reality is that 22 out of every 100 pregnancies are aborted) – and how my views had changed since I saw those numbers.

I told her many more things that I had learned, about pictures that I have seen, and the way that abortion has become an industry that is only concerned with making more money (which necessarily translates into killing more babies) each year.

I’d like to think that she came away from that conversation with a lot of stuff to think about – she had started to see things from a different perspective than she did a few years earlier, now that she was older and out in the world.

And that’s when it hit me – if we are ever going to change the perception of abortion in this country, we first have to understand what each individual THINKS it is.  Without that, we cannot go any further.  And we won’t go anywhere if we tell them that what they think is wrong – but we MIGHT be able to give them something to think about.

And, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words:

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It’s My 12th Blogiversary!

The original “Cook’s Tour” guy, Thomas Cook

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On January 10, 2011, my little vanity project started out:

Well, I guess I’m going to really do this thing.  I don’t know how often I’ll be posting, or if it will be any good, or if anyone will even read what I write.

I’m still learning my way around the whole blog “thing”, so be patient with me!

It’s hard to believe that I have been doing this for 12 years – WOW!!!!

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When you start up a blog, one of the first things that you have to do is come up with a name for it.  You want it to be catchy and personalized, without sounding too self-important.  You also want to hint to people what kind of adventure they will be going on if they decide to read your blog.

With that in mind, here is how I came up with the name for my blog:


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National Gluten-Free Day – “One Grain More”

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….We’ll discover foods that even vegans have forsworn…..

In honor of National Gluten-Free Day (which always falls on the 2nd Monday of January), I HAD to share this hilarious video (please note – the Kellogg’s Corn Flake Crumbs shown in this video are NOT gluten-free; they contain barley malt extract).

As anyone with food allergies knows, navigating restaurants and grocery stores can be a real challenge – especially when you are first starting out. When Rebecca was diagnosed with Celiac Disease in 2008, we got a crash course in gluten-free living and “Alternative Foods” – it’s been a real education!

I have to give credit to all of our friends and family – they’ve been very patient with us on this journey, and they are always sending us stuff that they think might be of interest to us. One of my Cyberfriends*** sent me this a while back – I had to pick myself off the floor when I saw it:
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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #25: Songs for Christmas Day


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Gets me every time…

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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #24: The Night Before Christmas

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And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed….And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem….To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:1-7 KJV)

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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #24: The Day Before Christmas

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Happy day before Christmas! I had a bit of a conundrum with today’s musical selections. I ended up with many selections which lend themselves to “Christmas Eve”; some deal with the “Santa Claus” aspect of Christmas, while others celebrate the TRUE meaning of the Christmas season – the birth of Jesus; God come down to live with Man.

The two styles of songs didn’t really “mesh” for the mood that I was trying to set, so I’ve done something different today – this post features more “secular” songs; Part II is more reflective.

Today’s first song is about someone who is missing the one that they love on Christmas Eve – “Merry Christmas, Darling”, sung by Karen Carpenter:
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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #23: A Trio of Very Intelligent Gentlemen

When I was a kid, I loved this song, but it took me FOREVER to finally get the rhythm down right when I would sing it without accompaniment! Of course, in church, we sang it reverently, but there have been some really rollicking versions released in recent years; I hope you like today’s musical choices!

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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #22: An Old-Fashioned Christmas

Whoever made the decision to team up Bing Crosby and the Andrews Sisters deserves a medal for raising the spirits of families in this country at a time when there was lots of uncertainty about what the future held in store.

Between 1939 and 1952, they recorded 47 songs together – including 6 Christmas songs – almost half of which (23) made it onto the Billboard charts (the most successful pairing of musical acts in recording history).  Many of these songs are still very popular today, even among younger listeners.

I’ve always loved the “scratchy” tone on these recordings; it gives them a unique sound and places them at a particular time in history. Whenever I hear these “old” recordings, I think of families sitting around together in their living rooms, listening to the “newest” tunes by the contemporary artists of their day. This post is for all of them.

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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #21: Shepherds and Angels

….And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (Luke 2:8-9 KJV)
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My Advent Calendar of Music – Day #20: Sounds Like Christmas

I don’t know about you, but for me there are certain songs that I hear on the radio that always put me in a Christmas frame of mind. The funny thing is, they are all songs that are – for lack of a better word – “older”.

But I guess that’s the thing – they weren’t really all that “old” when I was a kid; they were the popular songs of the day. Who knows what songs the kids of today will associate with Christmas when they get older?

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