Support & Appreciation

Look Who Stopped By

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Morning Commute

OK so wow, when you make a conscious decision to open your eyes to the world around you, you begin to see so many interesting things! Simple things, complex things, things that just make you stop for a moment, take a deep breath and smile..

Here's some of those things from my morning commute =)

Well first here's ME! =)

<~~On my way to the bus stop. It's about a half block from my apartment to the intersection, then I hang a left and walk another block to the bust stop. This morning was really nice - not too cold, just a little nippy - it gave the air a fresh crisp feeling. Usually I just walk the walk and not really pay attention to the surrounding scenery. This morning I looked..
~~>Here's me at the bus stop - the blue thing to my right behind me is a bench - I have a slightly better picture you'll see a little further down. There's a huge tree right on the corner too - it's beautiful.

I forgot what these are called but they remind me of Christmas.. there's a tree in a yard I pass on my walk to the bus stop in the morning - the ENTIRE tree looks like this - bright greens & rich reds. HOLLY that's what it's called - how funny! I don't know about you but for me it always works that way - I'll wrack my brain for hours trying to remember a word for something or someone's name then the very second I give up & say oh well, it pops into my head!

Here's fellow passengers at my morning stop -
The guy in the red jacket has been there every morning. I think he works at Wal-Mart - at least that's where he gets off the bus every day. The lady - it's the first time I've seen her. She wouldn't sit on the bench lol I imagine because she was wearing white pants. She was also freezing - she didn't have on a coat!

The bench I was nervous to sit on my first day - it's got what looks like green spray paint all over it - some kids idea of graphic art I'm sure. But it's actually pretty clean. I was for sure it would at least have some bird poo on it but nope! I wonder if people from the transit authority do regular checks of the stops to make sure they are in decent condition..

This is the house that sits on the corner where the bus station is. It's actually an lawyer's office now - I'm sure it was converted. Mobile has absolutely some of the most beautiful homes and architecture I've ever seen. One of these days I'll get downtown with a regular camera and take some pictures. It reminds me a lot of downtown Boston

Here is what's left of a pair of sunglasses on the ground in front of the bench. I noticed them Monday. I wish there was a garbage nearby - it's sad that people feel it's ok to leave their trash on the ground just anywhere.

This past Saturday - my birthday - I walked a few blocks down the street to the corner store to buy myself some ice cream - since my accident stranded me at home for the weekend and I missed out on birthday cake. It amazed me the amount of junk people had thrown on sidewalk and surrounding lawns. Dozens of pop bottles, bags of chips, candy wrappers, empty fast food bags, you name it and it could probably be found on the side of the road in the few blocks north of my house. It's odd really - my street - well the block of the street I live on is in a nicer area of down town. Yet once you go through the light at the corner of my block you enter into an completely different world. The houses and apartments are run down, the roads are littered. It's not entirely unlikely that you might be able to find a um "lady of the night" on the corner a few blocks up.

The turquoise dot on the aeriel map is my apt - the yellow one is the store I bought my birthday ice cream from lol - the pink dot to the right is the bus stop I walk to in the morning. It looks a lot further than it actually is lol.

OK - so I suppose I'd better actually do a little more work today so I must be going, but again I hope you enjoyed coming on my journey with me today! I hope today and each day after brings you a journey of your own!

Love and Blessings

Mollie Jo

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Riding the Wave....

I apologize ahead of time for the bad spacing in between the pictures and paragraphs - for some reason blogger doesn't allow you to put stuff where you want it!!

I've always loved photography. Viewing the world through a lens, seeing life in pictures. When I was younger I'd carry my little 35mm camera with me and just snap random pictures of random people and places. I have a great picture of an elderly black man weed eating the sidewalk, a neat picture of a group of workers striking outside the building where they work with signs.. a cow in a field near the construction office where my mom used to work..

It's a hobby/passion that I've never really pursued seriously but also never really stopped enjoying. I said all that to say this.. I've realized during my journey on the public transit system that there are some phenomenal pictures to be taken. And my camera phone just isn't cutting it!

I did take some pictures today though, on my ride home from work and I'm going to share them with you.. and the stories behind them...

Here is the stop where I caught the bus for my trip home from work. The bus makes it to this stop at about 5:25pm. I get off work at 5:00pm. There is no bench at this stop, it's on a relatively busy road - 2 lanes each way. And it was, again, COLD. Not as bad as yesterday, but still cooler than comfortable for a half hour wait outside! The way the cars look in the picture.. that's pretty much how they looked to me. When it starts getting dark out and you're facing traffic, the lights on the cars give everything a blurry appearance. Just blur and lights and more blur.

Here's where I stood for most of the wait. I stood on the grass for a while but it was really thick and really soft. My shoes kept sinking. So I stood on a concrete slab over a drain on the side of the street. It's really hmm I guess a combination of peculiar and thought provoking, waiting on the side of the road for a bus. People in the cars driving by seem to really only have 3 ways of reacting. They either stare at you as they zoom by. Probably wondering why in the world is that girl standing on the side of the street? Why doesn't she have a car? Doesn't she know anyone who could give her a ride? Or they glance at you and quickly turn their head, pretending they didn't see you standing there on the corner, all bundled up with your head tucked into the neck of your jacket shivering. A young girl in a van that stopped at the red light on the corner where I waited took this approach. She looked at me, I smiled, then she looked away and made an obvious effort not to turn her head back toward the window. I took a picture of her but it didn't come out very well. Then there is the last reaction. They just zoom by and never even notice that you're there. I can't count the number of people I saw eating, drinking, chatting on the phone, reading!.. completely oblivious to the world around them.

Here is the mother and her two little girls I mentioned in my last blog. I think they missed the earlier bus they usually catch right after school and had to wait for the next one. This was at 5:45pm. Every day she boards with her little angels and they entertain themselves for the 20-30 minute ride. This evening they started out singing their ABC's.. that lasted for about 10 minutes. Then the little one on the left entertained herself for about 10 minutes folding her pink toboggan in half over and over again, then unfolding and folding all over. The older one had a fantastically entertaining and in depth imaginary phone conversation with Barbie. Her hand was the phone and she chatted away - playing both sides of the conversation - for a good 15 minutes. When her little sister realized that she wasn't being paid attention to she began to mimic her and had her own little phone conversation. She had butterflies on the bottom of her shoes. You can tell she adores her big sister and wants to do everything just like her. Their mom.. some of the older ladies on the bus this morning were gossiping about her after she got off the bus. The older of the two girls took off to cross the street as soon as they disembarked and her mom grabbed her arm just in time to stop her running right in front of a car. The ladies on the bus commented "She need to stop chatting up the driver and watch those babies! - that one.. she run right off every time. She ask that other driver will he wait on her in the afternoon - ask him to wait on her." They sounded very ehh well judgmental and unimpressed with the pretty young lady and her requests for it seemed to them special treatment. I did notice the morning bus driver makes a point to chat with her and the girls for a few minutes every morning when they get on.

Here's some of what the inside of the bus looks like -

It seems that there are 2 or 3 different bus models, and they all have different seating arrangements. My evening bus has two seats right when you get on the bus to the left that are raised up off the floor about a foot and a half. Then there are a row of 4 seats on each side of the bus. This picture shows the upper seats in the back of the bus. They're two steps up off the main level. I've sat in the upper seat in the front and the seats on the rights side of the bus for all of my trips so far. I don't think I'll go to the back. I like to see where I'm going to make sure I don't miss my stop!

Here are some of my fellow journeymen and women -

The older gentleman in the middle apparently has a crush on the lady in the blue sitting in front of him. The guy in the hard hat - he was sitting two seats from me - was sitting where the guy in the brown jacket was sitting, but when he saw the older gentleman at the upcoming stop he moved - and commented laughingly "I'd better give ol boy his seat - you know how he likes to sit next his buddy!"

Mr. Hard Hat putting his bicycle on the front of the bus.. He was on the first route I took this morning too. Before my public transit adventure is over I may ask him his name and see if he'll share some of this story - but for now I'm content to just watch and imagine - plus I'm chicken! lol I can admit it =)

This guy got on close to the end of my route - for some reason I guess he felt like he'd better fix his do.. which I found funny because other than a ring of longer white hair around the bottom of his head he was completely bald?? See the lady sitting in the upper seat behind him? She nodded off as soon as she got on the bus.. and stayed asleep through the entire route! That is absolutely amazing to me because these drivers drive like bats outta hell. More than once I was certain I would be catapulted out of my seat onto the floor! See she's still sleeping~>

These two got on at the mall with me.. that's my hand in the first picture holding on for dear life.. sure I'd be thrown from my seat at the next curve in the road! They only lasted a few minutes into the ride before nodding off. The briefcase & the arm on the far right of the picture belong to

This guy -
He got on, set his briefcase and bag down then went back to the front of the bus to pay his fare - (OH I realize I haven't mentioned the fare!! It's $1.25 per ride - and a 10¢ connection fee - so I pay $1.35 for my ride to work and $1.35 for my ride home each day. Not bad huh!) Then he sat down and chatted with the bus driver about video games - I don't remember which one he was talking about but I do remember hearing him say it cost $399.00!! Then he lamented about how he can't ever figure out his woman - she gets mad when he plays the video game - complaining that he doesn't pay attention to her, but then when he does pay attention she isn't happy.. here's him shaking his head about the whole subject ~~>

Here's the bus stop at the mall - this is the connecting stop for all the buses... and the nifty little digital sign that tells you when what bus will arrive next - the last picture is my connecting bus to get home. I guess he put the sign on NOT IN SERVICE during the break between his routes so no one would get on the bus while he wasn't on it and not pay - He forgot he'd changed the sign too - someone asked him which bus his was and he said - "Doesn't it say Dauphin on the front?!" - "No sir, it doesn't"

So that was my journey today - well the half that took me back home anyway - I hope you enjoyed the ride and again I really do recommend that everyone try out their local public transit system at least one time - if for no other reason than to say you did it! lol But I'm pretty sure you'll get much more out of the ride!!!



- postscript-
I always wondered what Namasté meant so I did some looking - taken literally it means "I bow to you" - Deepak Chopra gives it a less literal and I think more enjoyable and acceptable meaning - "I honor the Spirit in you which is also in me." Just some fun facts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Public Transit... and being thankful

Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 4:48pm I was in an automobile accident.
Someone two cars in front of me stopped dead in the middle of the road - apparently to let someone on a side street out. How nice of them you might be saying - that would be so if the place they decided to stop hadn't been in the middle of a very busy 4 lane rd with NO stop lights or stop signs anywhere near by. The truck in front of me tried to stop and hit the car who'd stopped in the middle of the street.

I was about 2 - 2 1/2 car lengths behind the truck and thought I had plenty of time and room to stop. That might have been the case, except as soon as I touched the peddle my brakes locked up and I slid into the truck that had hit the car in front of him. My airbag deployed and my seat belt, thankfully locked so quickly and so tightly that my back never left the seat. I have wonderful multicolored bruises from my collarbone all the way to my heel, but I am in one piece and I am alive -- and thankful! That little recap was to get to the subject at hand.

The Public Transit System - in Mobile, AL also known as "The Wave". I've never been in an auto accident before - in all my 16yrs of driving. I've had a little fender bender or two but never anything serious. It's because of this safe driving history that I never thought I'd need rental reimbursement and opted not to have that coverage on my insurance policy when I bought my new car. Silly me. So I, much like the average person I imagine, just didn't have the extra cash sitting in the bank to cover a rental car for two weeks while my car is being repaired. (Think upwards of $400 for a compact!!) I wracked my brain trying to think of an alternative way to work for two weeks. I live about 8 miles from my office, which doesn't seem that far... if you're a trained marathon runner! So I hopped online, did some searching and discovered The Wave. I've seen the buses periodically since I moved to Mobile in May, but never really thought much about them. Needless to say I started thinking lol.

I have to say I was nervous.. what if there isn't a route that goes by my house? What if there isn't one that goes anywhere near my work?!? Well as the case usually is, it's the times when you worry most about something that it ends up you needn't have worried at all. Turns out there is a stop one block from the intersection near my apartments. So it's about a block and a half walk. Then there is a connecting bus at the mall here that takes me to the corner of the nearest intersection where my office is. That stop requires a bit more walking but nothing impossible. It's about a half mile, maybe less or maybe more lol but it only took me 5 mins this morning to get from the corner where the bus dropped me off to my office. Those 5 minutes wouldn't have even been as bad as they were if it hadn't been so dang COLD!

So now I'll get to the thankful part. I get to the bus stop this morning, terrified I'd missed the bus, or worse yet it wouldn't' come at all. (I'd heard many a story about how unpredictable the local transit is here, evidently the people telling me how unreliable it is have never ridden it). Within a few minutes 2 ladies joined me, then a young man. The ladies were polite and conversational. So we board the bus and SWEET JESUS the driver drove like a maniac!!! I thought for sure we were going to flip over more than once lol.

I've never been a prejudice person, not of race, age, or anything really.. but I couldn't help, as I looked around the bus, but notice that I was in fact the only white person riding. Half way through the route a middle age white man got on - dressed for probably a construction job, but he only stayed on for a few stops - probably using the bus to get to a carpool. The ages of the riders were varied, from early twenties to possibly late 60's or 70's. A beautiful young black woman got on at the second stop with her two little girls - probably ages 3 and 5 or 6. They were riding the transit to school. I couldn't help but wonder how they ended up going to the school they were let off at when it was a good ways from where they boarded the bus. In Mobile you're required to attend schools in your district. But more than that it just really hit me.. here is a young mother - boarding the public transit at 7am to take her babies to school. For some reason I never imagined there being a need like that. I mean I know there is poverty and misfortune in America, but when you think of children going to school, somehow the public transit system never quite comes to mind in the picture you imagine.

I got to the mall, which is the connecting stop, at about 7:40am. The next bus I needed to take wouldn't come until 8am. It wasn't until I'd been sitting outside for about 10 minutes that I realized just why the driver offered to let me wait on the bus. IT WAS COLD! But there were several people, again of all ages, again of only one race sitting on the benches under the metal awning waiting for the next bus to take them to their destination. It was about this point that I stopped just going along for the ride (I read the first half of my trip) and really let the reality of what was going on around me start to sink in. I opened my eyes, and my mind to see.. An elderly white lady got on sometime during the second half of my trip. She was on her way to a dr appt. She had one of those 4 leg walkers with the seat in the middle. A couple of seats next to me was a young girl, in her early to mid-twenties. She had a McDonald's visor in hand and was trying to nap during the ride.

It was looking at that McDonald's visor that it hit me like a kick in the gut. I was in an accident, ya. My car will be in the shop for 2 weeks getting repaired, ok. I'm bruised from head to toe and feel like I've been thrown down a flight of stairs, sure. But I'm alive. I have a good ok decent lol paying job. I HAVE a new car even though it's a bit banged up right now. I have my health. I have for all intents and purposes a pretty damn good life. I felt guilty.. for feeling self pity about my situation, for being angry that my family didn't jump and come to Mobile to make sure I was ok after my wreck. (My cousin Karen did come stay the night with me the night of the wreck and for that I am so grateful) But I wanted my sister to come, my dad to call and see if I was ok.. All of which you're probably thinking are normal things.. ya well you haven't met my family, but that's an entirely different blog!

The night after my accident I was so upset, so hurt, so tired, just so overwhelmed about everything in life that I wanted to die. I laid in bed, weeping and begged God to just take me home. My Thanksgiving was ruined, my birthday was spent alone, in pain, with no where to go and no way to get there. I have to pay a $500 deductible that I don't have to get my car out once it's repaired, and God only knows how much the hospital bills will be from being taken to the ER in an ambulance! It was just too much, I was too tired and I couldn't take it anymore. I finally fell asleep and when I woke up the next morning it was a new day. None of the problems I was facing had gone away, it still hurt that my family hadn't been there for me the way I'd needed them to, but I'd been given a new day, a new breath, a new opportunity to get through.

I won't lie and say I all of a sudden got happy and thankful, or that I had an epiphany that everything was going to work out perfect. But this morning on the bus I got a glimpse of what my life COULD BE.. and it hit me that in spite of all the crap the world throws at me, and all the things that happen to bring me down, I could have it so much worse than I do. Not to say my life is any better than anyone else's, but I know that in 2 weeks, my car will be repaired and by some miracle, God will, as He always does create a way for me to have what I need. I know that even though I don't particularly enjoy sitting at at desk, I have a good steady reliable job that allows me to have an apartment with heat, a bed with soft sheets and comfy pillows, a refrigerator with food in it, an oven AND microwave to cook that food in, clean clothes to put on in the morning, hot water to take a shower... and so much more.

There's a blog I follow by a guy names
Travis Ruse. It's a photo blog and it's pictures he takes of people on the express train on his daily commute to and from work in Brooklyn. When I first found the page and looked through the pictures I was just blown away by the simplicity, complexity, beauty and so many more adjectives, of the images he'd taken. People, just like you and me, people you've never met, and probably will never meet, yet in the images Travis takes you feel that you know them. You feel like you know their journey, their struggle, their accomplishments, their life, and yet this morning when I hopped on the bus, hoping it wasn't too awful of an experience I was surrounded by those same people, I WAS one of those people. And it was amazing. I think even after I get my car back I will take the bus every once in a while just for the experience. I truly recommend everyone use their public transit system. Even if only once. But when you get on the bus, get on and open your eyes... open your mind.. open your heart and you will see that you are so so incredibly blessed beyond your greatest imagination.

I laugh to myself now as I hear in my head the comments some people will make at the idea of using their local public transit system. Um no thank you, ew gross, that's only for poor people, ugh only smelly people ride the bus... they're all comments I've heard and some I'm ashamed to say I've probably thought at one time or another. I can promise you, just try it.. once.. and truly be aware of your surroundings when you ride... it will be an experience that can and if you let it change the way you think about your life, about other's lives, about life in general.

So I leave you now.. I have 4 hours and 6 minutes until I leave my office and walk the half mile to the bus stop to catch my ride home. I probably won't get there until about 7pm. I'll lose the time I usually use to feed my cats, change into my pj's, watch the episode of Ellen I recorded from earlier in the day, cook dinner and relax after work.. but I'll be grateful for every second of the ride.. knowing that there is nothing, absolutely NOTHING this world can throw my way that God can't and won't provide a solution for. It may not be the solution I'd like..but His solution just might be better FOR me.

God Bless..

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Have a Safe & Happy..

Animal Cruelty FREE Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Truth about "Free Range" Eggs & Poultry

What about Free-Range?

A growing number of people are looking to "free-range" products as an alternative to factory farmed animal products. Free range farms vary greatly -- there are no legal standards. The only way to know for sure how the animals are being raised is to go to the farm, and to witness how the animal is slaughtered.

Eggs (and poultry) may be labeled as "free-range" if they have USDA-certified access to the outdoors. No other criteria -- such as environmental quality, size of the outside area, number of birds, or space per bird -- are included in this term. Typically, free-range hens are debeaked at the hatchery, have only 1 to 2 square feet of floor space per bird, and -- if the hens can go outside -- must compete with many other hens for access to a small exit from the shed, leading to a muddy strip saturated with droppings. Although chickens can live up to 12 years, free-range hens are hauled to slaughter after a year or two, or . Free-range male chicks are trashed at birth, just as they are in factory farms. Although free-range conditions may be an improvement over factory-farm conditions, they are by no means free of suffering.

The Associated Press reported on March 11, 1998:

Free-range chickens conjure up in some consumers minds pictures of contented fowl strolling around the barnyard, but the truth is, all a chicken grower needs to do is give the birds some access to the outdoorswhether the chickens decide to take a gambol or stay inside with hundreds or thousands of other birds, under government rules growers are free to label them free-range.

As all free-range animals are still viewed as objects to be killed for food, they are subject to abusive handling, transport, and slaughter. Free-range animals, like all animals used for their milk and eggs, are still slaughtered at a fraction of their normal life expectancy.

Here is an example of one "free-range" farm:

The Alameda Times StarMay 28, 2003

How one egg farmer has gone cage-free for 20 yearsPetaluma's Mahrt wanted to make his mark in natural foods

"We're the original, free-ranging chicken people," says Mahrt, a former California Egg Commission chairman.

Below are two pictures from his farm. Click to see a larger version.

For more information, visit Compassion Over Killing

Free Rice - Enhance your vocabulary & feed the hungry!!

About FreeRice

FreeRice is a sister site of the world poverty site,
FreeRice has two goals:
  • Provide English vocabulary to everyone for free.
  • Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

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Whether you are CEO of a large corporation or a street child in a poor country, improving your vocabulary can improve your life. It is a great investment in yourself.

Perhaps even greater is the investment your donated rice makes in hungry human beings, enabling them to function and be productive. Somewhere in the world, a person is eating rice that you helped provide. Thank you.

How to Play

Click on the answer that best defines the word. If you get it right, you get a harder word. If wrong, you get an easier word. For each word you get right, we donate 10 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance... (more)

Click the banner to play!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Myers-Briggs Personality Type

Introverted Intuitive Thinking Judging
by Marina Margaret Heiss
Profile: INTJ

Scroll to the end of the blog for a link to the test!

To outsiders, INTJs may appear to project an aura of "definiteness", of self-confidence. This self-confidence, sometimes mistaken for simple arrogance by the less decisive, is actually of a very specific rather than a general nature; its source lies in the specialized knowledge systems that most INTJs start building at an early age. When it comes to their own areas of expertise -- and INTJs can have several -- they will be able to tell you almost immediately whether or not they can help you, and if so, how. INTJs know what they know, and perhaps still more importantly, they know what they don't know.

INTJs are perfectionists, with a seemingly endless capacity for improving upon anything that takes their interest. What prevents them from becoming chronically bogged down in this pursuit of perfection is the pragmatism so characteristic of the type: INTJs apply (often ruthlessly) the criterion "Does it work?" to everything from their own research efforts to the prevailing social norms. This in turn produces an unusual independence of mind, freeing the INTJ from the constraints of authority, convention, or sentiment for its own sake.

INTJs are known as the "Systems Builders" of the types, perhaps in part because they possess the unusual trait combination of imagination and reliability. Whatever system an INTJ happens to be working on is for them the equivalent of a moral cause to an INFJ; both perfectionism and disregard for authority may come into play, as INTJs can be unsparing of both themselves and the others on the project. Anyone considered to be "slacking," including superiors, will lose their respect -- and will generally be made aware of this; INTJs have also been known to take it upon themselves to implement critical decisions without consulting their supervisors or co-workers. On the other hand, they do tend to be scrupulous and even-handed about recognizing the individual contributions that have gone into a project, and have a gift for seizing opportunities which others might not even notice.

In the broadest terms, what INTJs "do" tends to be what they "know". Typical INTJ career choices are in the sciences and engineering, but they can be found wherever a combination of intellect and incisiveness are required (e.g., law, some areas of academia). INTJs can rise to management positions when they are willing to invest time in marketing their abilities as well as enhancing them, and (whether for the sake of ambition or the desire for privacy) many also find it useful to learn to simulate some degree of surface conformism in order to mask their inherent unconventionality.

Personal relationships, particularly romantic ones, can be the INTJ's Achilles heel. While they are capable of caring deeply for others (usually a select few), and are willing to spend a great deal of time and effort on a relationship, the knowledge and self-confidence that make them so successful in other areas can suddenly abandon or mislead them in interpersonal situations.

This happens in part because many INTJs do not readily grasp the social rituals; for instance, they tend to have little patience and less understanding of such things as small talk and flirtation (which most types consider half the fun of a relationship). To complicate matters, INTJs are usually extremely private people, and can often be naturally impassive as well, which makes them easy to misread and misunderstand. Perhaps the most fundamental problem, however, is that INTJs really want people to make sense. :-) This sometimes results in a peculiar naivete', paralleling that of many Fs -- only instead of expecting inexhaustible affection and empathy from a romantic relationship, the INTJ will expect inexhaustible reasonability and directness.

Probably the strongest INTJ assets in the interpersonal area are their intuitive abilities and their willingness to "work at" a relationship. Although as Ts they do not always have the kind of natural empathy that many Fs do, the Intuitive function can often act as a good substitute by synthesizing the probable meanings behind such things as tone of voice, turn of phrase, and facial expression. This ability can then be honed and directed by consistent, repeated efforts to understand and support those they care about, and those relationships which ultimately do become established with an INTJ tend to be characterized by their robustness, stability, and good communications.


Functional Analysis
by Joe Butt

Introverted Intuition
INTJs are idea people. Anything is possible; everything is negotiable. Whatever the outer circumstances, INTJs are ever perceiving inner pattern-forms and using real-world materials to operationalize them. Others may see what is and wonder why; INTJs see what might be and say "Why not?!" Paradoxes, antinomies, and other contradictory phenomena aptly express these intuitors' amusement at those whom they feel may be taking a particular view of reality too seriously. INTJs enjoy developing unique solutions to complex problems.

Extraverted Thinking
Thinking in this auxiliary role is a workhorse. Closure is the payoff for efforts expended. Evaluation begs diagnosis; product drives process. As they come to light, Thinking tends, protects, affirms and directs iNtuition's offspring, fully equipping them for fulfilling and useful lives. A faithful pedagogue, Thinking argues not so much on its own behalf, but in defense of its charges. And through this process these impressionable ideas take on the likeness of their master.

Introverted Feeling
Feeling has a modest inner room, two doors down from the Most Imminent iNtuition. It doesn't get out much, but lends its influence on behalf of causes which are Good and Worthy and Humane. We may catch a glimpse of it in the unspoken attitude of good will, or the gracious smile or nod. Some question the existence of Feeling in this type, yet its unseen balance to Thinking is a cardinal dimension in the full measure of the INTJ's soul.

Extraverted Sensing
Sensing serves with a good will, or not at all. As other inferior functions, it has only a rudimentary awareness of context, amount or degree. Thus INTJs sweat the details or, at times, omit them. "I've made up my mind, don't confuse me with the facts" could well have been said by an INTJ on a mission. Sensing's extraverted attitude is evident in this type's bent to savor sensations rather than to merely categorize them. Indiscretions of indulgence are likely an expression of the unconscious vengeance of the inferior.
Click here for the test

Trying to understand people who just seem - un-understandable

Have you ever met someone who for the longest time seemed like they were one kind of person... then after time went by they morphed into some contrived alien creature from planet "If it's not about me it's not worth being positive about"?

I know someone like that and while I normally have little trouble just letting things go, trying to "figure her out" or understand her has become to me something akin to what I imagine the Rubik's Cube was to 6yr old math savants across the globe. You KNOW you know how to fix the puzzle.. you're not entirely sure how just yet but you know you can't stop until you get it.

Let me tell you, for someone who thrives on peace and harmony in her life.. it's really unpleasant. Yet for the life of me I can't figure out why I can't just acknowledge that she's apparently NOT the person I thought she was, or even the person she'd originally portrayed herself to be and simply remove her presence from my life.

Here's an example of the "if it's not something I thought of first or something to glorify ME then I just have to be a b*tch about it" attitude I'm talking about....I sent her a text this morning that said "Happy Friday!". I woke up in a great mood, the drive to work was filled with the glorious majesty of fall colors, leaves scattered on the sidewalks, tree limbs dancing in the breeze.. just one of those mornings where the beauty of life and being alive filled every cell of your being. So I thought I'd share some happy with a friend. I'd smile if I got a "Happy Day" message.. wouldn't you?

This is the response: "Who says happy Friday?". Not thanks.. not you too.. not anything even remotely positive. In response I said with a smiley face and a lol to make sure it was clear I was smiling, laughing and being jovial.. "I do =) gotta prob with that? lol". To which I get this - ":S" If you're familiar with smiley emoticons in instant messengers, this one is the equivalent to the face you'd probably give someone if I dunno they just told you their dog accidentally had diarrhea in your favorite pair of $80 black heels, but not to worry they were SURE the smell would come out! You'd look at them, not only like they were stupid, but I'm sure with more than a small amount of disgust and disdain.

Now maybe you think, oh I'm sure you're just over-reacting.. maybe she's just having a bad day and it was a rare occurrence. If only that were the case, but no. This is a regular every day kind of thing. I asked her.. are you unhappy? Do you feel that being ugly or only slightly less than positive helps you deal with whatever you've got going on? To these questions she always, most emphatically and in a wee bit of a condescending tone that she is extremely happy. She has a great life, great kids, a great gf.. things couldn't be better!!

So I wonder... are some people just unable to be happy or positive about things that don't serve the express purpose of glorifying themselves? Is something as simple as wishing they have a happy day so banal and insignificant they find themselves simply unable to exert the monumental effort a positive response must surely take?

This is the point where I imagine you must be saying, "Well she sounds like a total self-absorbed tool, why don't you just stop talking to her?"

And that my friends is the million dollar question...I try to recall the past 4 years of friendship we've shared, dredging my memory to see if this type of behaviour was always there and I somehow managed to be completely oblivious to it for so long. If that were the case then why now, all of a sudden, did I notice every little negative, snide comment. I've shared in other blogs that I've been doing a lot of soul searching and have decided to embark upon the journey of discovering and creating the greatest version of the grandest vision I've ever had about Who I Truly Am and Who I Choose To Be... so I thought, hmm, maybe it's because I've decided to eliminate all negativity from the way I see and react to things that her obvious lack of positivity has just become more apparent to me. Then I thought further back, and looked a little deeper.. and I think I may have come upon an alternate more likely explanation...

When I first met my friend, I had recently broken up for the final time with my fiance. I was in a very delicate state and was I think desperately searching for something or someone to replace him in my life. Not replace him as my fiance, or lover, but as my best friend, for he had been my very best friend, the person I turned to for everything, shared my deepest fears and hopes with, the person I looked to for validation and encouragement. She was beautiful, outgoing, funny, flirtatious, exotic and so very very sure of herself. I was instantly drawn to that I think. Something strong and what appeared to me at the time positive. Well, what I've come to realize in my reminiscence of our years of friendship was that at the beginning of our budding friendship I was so eager, so desperate for someone to fill the void breaking up with my ex fiance had left that I tended to well... one way of putting it may be... worship her. I know that's an awful word to use and not what I mean in it's most known and purest definition, but it's the closest thing I can think of the describe how I treated her.

I've always been a pretty positive person, sometimes overly realistic, but I've always tried to see the best in people and to lift that up. To let people know they were special. Well... I think I may not have been the only person in her life doing that kind of "lifting". I've begun to think she imagined herself (even if subconsciously) to be sitting up on a pretty damn high pedestal. She's gorgeous. Guys fall over themselves to talk to her. Her family and from what I've seen the majority of her friends are all what could be called "the beautiful people". The kind of people who because of the way they look and the vibe of confidence and self-worth they exude never really have to work for much of anything. Now don't get me wrong, she's been through some horribly tragic events in her life.. and life hasn't always handed her roses, but I imagine so much adulation couldn't help but eventually seep into the deep crevices of your sub and self-conscious and become well.. an expected way of life.

So.. when I decided to embark on this journey of self discovery, I think the way I treated her began to resemble less of what she was used to and more of the way you treat well.. anybody, any person, friend, even someone you care a great deal about. NORMAL. This of course could have absolutely nothing to do with her attitude. I could be way off base, and I think maybe, because she did and still does mean so much to me that it's the hope that she's really not this self absorbed, shallow, person she's presenting herself to be now that's keeping me from just moving on.

You always want to think the very best of those you love; friends, family, spouses, children. And even though true love sees through the unpleasant facets of the personalities of your loved ones and loves them anyway, it doesn't mean you WANT to see traits in them that are less than appealing. You never want to think someone YOU love could be "That kind of person". So it is a result of that "always believing the best" part of my own character makeup that I find myself in this quandary. I'm one of those people who unless you've done something absolutely deplorable never walks away from a friendship. I still consider people I haven't seen in years friends. I may never cross their mind again, but in my heart if they ever need a friend.. I'm still there. A lot of people don't understand how I can still be nice and caring to people who have hurt me so much. I can only say it's a gift from God that I just love in a way that I suppose, sadly, not many people love. I love fully and truly. To me, when you love someone, no matter what kind of love it is; romantic, familial or friendly, is it eternal. Love never dies. So when I love someone, I love them forever. It's that kind of love that makes it easy for me to forgive and usually even forget hurt and harm brought on me by others. I guess you could say I "Let go and Let God" lol =). I know it's a bit cliche'ish, but it's true.

So I continue to act in love toward my friend, always extending positivity and well wishes, however seldom I receive them in return. Is enough ever enough? Do you ever reach a point where you're only hindering a person by showing them love? Or is there a point where to best help that person see the path they've taken and the effect their actions have on others, that you indeed must simply walk away?

I dunno... I only pray.. believing that every thing happens for a reason, and every person who touches your life does so for a distinct purpose... and believing, always believing that there is good.. true, deep, beautiful good in every one.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Factory Farms - Destroying the Heartland

Americans are increasingly aware of the health consequences
of eating animal flesh, dairy products, and eggs, but most of us don’t ever think about the risks associated with working on or living near a factory farm. Unfortunately, people in rural communities often experience, firsthand, the devastating effects of factory-farm pollution.

Factory farms pollute the air and the water for many miles in every direction, often spreading contamination and illness to the people who live and work nearby. A synopsis of a Senate Agricultural Committee report on farm pollution issued this warning about animal waste: “It’s untreated and unsanitary, bubbling with chemicals and diseased organisms. … It goes onto the soil and into the water that many people will, ultimately, bathe in and wash their clothes with and drink. It is poisoning rivers and killing fish and making people sick. … Catastrophic cases of pollution, sickness, and death are occurring in areas where livestock operations are concentrated.”

When factory farms move into communities, the pollution that they bring causes increased rates of neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, miscarriages, bacterial infections, diarrhea, and stomach ailments; sometimes, the contamination leaves people permanently disabled or even dead. An investigative report that recently appeared in The New York Times lists just a small sample of the suffering that follows the arrival of a factory farm: “Paul Isbell of Houston, Miss., began experiencing seizures after a hog farm moved in down the road. … Kevin Pearson of Meservey, Iowa, carried a towel in his car because he vomited five or six times a week on his way to work. Julie Jansen’s six children suffered flulike symptoms and diarrhea when farms moved into their neighborhood in Renville, Minn. One of Ms. Jansen’s daughters was found by Dr. Kilburn to have neurological damage.”

Karen Hudson of the Illinois-based grassroots group Families Against Rural Messes, summed up the problem of animal factories’ need to dispose of millions of tons of feces: “In order to get rid of it, they have to dump it. And who’s paying for it? It’s the communities—in water quality problems, air quality problems, and public-health problems.” In 2006, public-interest and environmental groups expressed shock and anger when the Environmental Protection Agency proposed a new loophole that would make it even easier for giant animal factories to pollute the water and air without any oversight. Ed Hopkins, director of the Sierra Club’s Environmental Quality Program, said that the new loophole “essentially means that these facilities are going to be able to continue to use our streams and rivers as sewers.”

The government and the animal flesh and dairy industries are well aware of the health problems caused by factory farms—one recent government report by the California State Senate admits, “Studies have also shown that [animal waste] lagoons emit toxic airborne chemicals that can cause inflammatory, immune, irritation, and neurochemical problems in humans.” Yet, despite overwhelming scientific evidence that proves factory farms cause significant damage to Americans’ health, the federal government and state officials continue to do nothing while the animal flesh, egg, and dairy industries pollute our air and water.

Make this Thanksgiving a HAPPY Turkey Day!

Go Cold Turkey!

No, we're not talking about smoking—we're talking about the addiction to eating animal flesh. November is the perfect time to kick this nasty habit and go vegetarian!

Why kick the meat habit cold turkey? Well, there are many reasons to go vegetarian, but here are two: Vegetarians are significantly healthier than meat-eaters, and vegetarians save more than 100 animals a year from terrible abuse. And no animal suffers from this abuse more during the holiday season than turkeys.

Take a few minutes to watch the video below about PETA's undercover investigation at a slaughterhouse owned by Butterball—the world's largest turkey-killing company—that documented workers stomping on live birds' heads, slamming birds into walls and metal railings like baseball bats, and sexually assaulting them. Then sign up to "Go Cold Turkey" by taking our pledge to be veg for 30 days!

Click link below for video

Meet your Meat...

Thursday, November 08, 2007

November is National Adoption Awareness Month!

For Facts & Features about National Adoption Awareness Month click the link below!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Adopting as a Single Mom- My 2 Year Plan

Where do I start... I've always, for as long as I can remember wanted to be a wife and mother. I've always loved children and felt I had so much love to give. My dream of my "ideal life" was to be a wife and stay at home mom, complete with cute little house, white picket fence and tire swing in the front yard. Oh! and dog. Can't forget the family dog. I could see it in my mind, as clear as if I were looking at a picture. The image was filled with such warmth and love, peace and joy. It felt.. Complete.

I've always been somewhat of a "good girl". Good grades, rarely in trouble, never smoked, did drugs, drank or even kissed a boy until I was 24.. those traits in my personality just fit with who I knew inside I was and the life I knew I was meant to live. So imagine my anxiety and discontent when I reached 25, was still single, in a dead end job, living with a friend and no prospective husband on the horizon. I think I'm going to end up telling a little more of my history than I intended but it seems right to do a bit of a recap of how I ended up where I am now to better explain why I finally decided not only to adopt, but to do so as a single parent.

So I'll try to condense most of the history in as short a story as possible while still giving enough background to help you journey with me to reach where I am now. When I was 25 I met a guy online. He was the farthest from "my type" as possible. Crude, tattooed, heavyset, irresponsible, obnoxious.. I could go on and on lol. I never till the very end thought he was physically cute. What he did have going for him was an uncanny ability to read people, me in specific and realize that I was lonely and terrified of being that way forever. So we chatted online, on the phone, then met in person. One week from the day we met we moved in together. WHAT?!? Ya I know, my entire family thought I was crazy. The girl who had her first real kiss just the year before moved in with basically a complete stranger. It's amazing how much you can get to know someone (or think you do) on the phone. It's also amazing what you will let your heart and mind will convince yourself of when you're so desperately searching to find who you are and your purpose in life is.

So 3 years on an off of intense love, hate, abuse, lies, cheating, loving, laughing, crying, fighting, forgiving and many other events and emotions finally ended when I came to the conclusion that I had not found myself or my purpose in life in being with this man and had in fact lost the few precious things about myself that I cherished most. My dignity, strength, self-respect, confidence and love for myself and others. What hurt and confused me the most was that a very trusted friend and pastor - a Prophet gave me a Word from God that he, this man, was the One. The helpmate and partner God had chosen for me. We were destined to be together and would have a ministry that would reach hundreds, thousands of people for Christ. In once sentence I'm told, this is God's Word and it will not return void, and in the next I'm told that even though it's God's Word, God will never force anything on anyone and if he (the man) refused to follow God's path for his life than I was free from the Word I'd been given. Color me confused. Anyway, long story short, I decided I'd had enough. I ended it and have spent the last 4 years trying to again figure out who I am, and what my purpose in life is. During all of that one thing never faded, and that was my desire to be a mother.

Fast forward to October 2007. I occasionally visit the local Salvation Army looking for interesting books to read. I love knowledge, I love to read, to learn, to grow! So I found this book called Conversations with God - an Uncommon Dialogue by Neale Donald Walsch. I read it and was absolutely blown away. It's a 3 book series and I HIGHLY recommend it to anyone and everyone! There have always been things about God and life that the church taught that never quite "fit" with what I knew of God in my heart. These books clarified so much of that. One of the most important things the books explain is that we are NOT victims of circumstance. We are victims of nothing. Each and every person has his/her entire life under their complete control, and nothing ever happens that isn't right for that exact moment or season. Now I know there are many things that you and I would never agree are ever "right". A child being abused or molested, someone being murdered, children senselessly dying of hunger and prevetable disease.. but every thing, every thing, good or bad happens for a reason and good can ALWAYS be found in every situation if we have the right thought process.

I've been through some pretty bad events in my life. Suffered some unspeakable things at the hands of others. And for the longest time I thought. Why God? Why does this happen TO me? Am I not good enough, do You not love me enough? Do I not deserve to be happy and whole? But as I get older and wiser I've come to realize that nothing has ever happened TO me. Things happened that I was a prt of the experience of, and nothing has happened that I didn't overcome, conquer, gain victory over and come through on the other side, stronger, smarter and better than I was before. I realized that I did have control over my life. I realized that God really does have everything under control. I realized that I'm a hell of a lot stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I also realized that I have allowed the events of my life to strip me of the joy I once had, of my love for people, of my ability to smile from the deepest part of my soul. I love my life, I love the Lord with every cell of my body and I can stand outside and see beauty so moving and breathtaking it brings you to tears. I appreciate my life and every blessing in it. I appreciate every trial. I think most importantly I finally appreciate every "bad" thing that's ever happened to me and realized that I can and I will heal from them all. The last is part of my 2 year plan.

So on to my 2 year plan. It's amazing to realize that something as simple as reading words, thoughts, ideas written by someone else can bring you to understand, learn or remember things that you've always known. I am not a victim and I have complete control over my life. It's brought me to realize that while being a part of a loving committed relationship is something I may always long for, it is not required to fulfill my deepest longing and I believe most important purpose in life. Being a mother. Would having a husband make being a parent easier? Quite possibly. Does that mean I can't do it on my own. Absolutely not! So I sat down, thought about my life, where it was, where I wanted it to go and how long I think was reasonable to reach those goals and came up with 2 years. It is incredibly amazing to me how different dreams become once you stop wishing for them and start doing something about obtaining them. I set a few simple goals for myself and I don't think, or hope, or even believe that I will achieve them within the time period I've set for myself. I KNOW I WILL. Any other outcome is simply not an option. Here are a few key goals on my list.

1. I will reach a certain level of financial stability by either moving up in the job I'm currently
in or moving to another job that meets both my financial requirements and will move me
further along the path to reaching my ultimate "career choice" (relief/missions work)

2. I will be enrolled in college and on my way to achieving a Bachelor's degree in a field most
closely related and beneficial to my chosen career choice. Most likely Social Science &/or
International Studies

3. I will have found either a house or apartment in an ethinically diverse, family friendly
neighborhood, close to a good school whos curriculum will best benefit my child's growth
and development.

4. I will begin the process of becoming an adoptive parent.

There are several more steps and goals in my 2yr plan but these are the most important. So why adoption? I've given thought to artificial ensimination. Having a biological child is important to me and something I hope to ultimately do, but when it happens I want it to be the result of a union between two loving people who's desire is for their love to produce a life to share that love with. So browsing through a catalog of "traits and characteristics" of sperm just isn't that appealing to me. I don't feel that I have the right to create and bring a new child into this world as a single parent simply to fill my urge to be a mother. Children deserve a mother and a father. And it is most likely that the child I will adopt had that. He or she may never hold dear a personal memory of either birth parent, but they did exist. In their case I'm simply becoming an additional caregiver. Supplemental if you will, but never a replacement. I have every certainty that the child I adopt will be an orphan not by any choice of his or her parent, but buy a simple twist of fate. They may have died while the child was an infant, they may be unable to care for their deeply loved baby due to the conditions of their environment and geographical location. But to me the importance of adopting as a single parent over natural child birth as a single parent is the choice to give a child who's already born the opportunity for a better life rather than creating a new life simply to have a biological part of me. Who says I'm that great to go repoducing myself anyway lol!

Where to adopt.. I know in the deepest part of my soul that I will eventually adopt an African child. My heart aches for the people of that country and I will do a good part of my life's work there. I also see an exotic little Latin baby in my future. I've not yet done enough research to even know if they have an international adoption policy or not and it may be that my future husband is a passionate Latino and that's where my beautiful tan baby will come from. Another option that has been weighing on my heart is Native American adoption. I am part Indian and it is an important part of my heritage. It's peculiar to me that I'd never considered it before, but once I wrote out my 2 year plan it just out of no where became something I couldn't get out of my mind. Ok I know nothing comes from "out of no where", God put it there so I think it's something that I will give careful prayer and thought to. I did some research online, I didn't even know if Indian Reservations allowed adoption outside of their community. They do. In fact there are hundreds of beautiful little Indian babies who have been orphaned by parents who have passed away or are due to the financial instability and conditions of life on a reservation (which are in dire need of improvement in many cases!) are unable to provide the necessary care for their child. So that is another option I will definitely give deep consideration.

It's kind of strange to me that I really have no deep seated desire or need to have a "white" baby. I think sponsoring children over the past few years has given me a clearer way of looking at children and people in general. I've never been one to think much of color and I can say Praise God that I am at a point where I really don't see it. The church I go to... is hmm I think I can safely say about 98% black. I've seen I think 4 or 5 white people in the months that I've attended. And I absolutely LOVE it there. I feel more at home, more free to worship, more open to the Word than I have at any other church I've ever attended. Now you may be thinking.. what there are 4 or 5 white people out of 50 or 100 church members? That's not so bad. No.. my church has approximately 4,000 members. Yes that's 4 Thousand. We have 2 services so I'd say there are probably 1,500 -2.000 in each service. And I've never felt more welcome.

Oh back to sponsoring children for a minute. Are you one of those people who see the Feed the Children commercials on TV and think omg that's awful.. I wish there was something I could do, but I'm only one person and I barely make ends meet as it is then you change the channel. Don't feel bad. I was that person once. About 3 1/2 years ago I was in between churches and was trying to figure out where to tithe. I knew you could tithe to TV minstries, or radio ministries or basically any ministry that fed you the Word and nourished your soul. I didn't want to do that so I began researching child sponsorship. There were a few very important criteria to me. 1 - it had to be a Christ centered organization. 2 - it had to be up front and honest about it's finances and be able to show me where the money I sent would go. 3 - it had to have a personal approach to sponsorship, not a broad spectrum community approach. I found Compassion International. They are a Christian organization that works ONLY with and through local churches and while this means they don't receive the funding of large corporate and/or government backers, it also means they have complete free reign in what they can do in their ministry in regards to sharing the Gospel. No censoring of big companies or government organizations. They believe in reaching each individual child and making a difference in his/her life rather than dumping money into a village or community and hoping the people figure out what to do with it. They believe impacting the children of the country will lead them to BE the people who make a difference in and for their countries. Their motto is "Releasing Children from Poverty, in Jesus Name". So I decided to sponsor a child. At the time it was $28 a month, plus you could send additional monetary gifts for the child's birthday, holidays, etc. I received a picture of the child. His name was Gerardo and he was from El Salvador. I picked him because his birthday was the same as mine and when I saw his picture online I just fell in love. I sponsored Gerardo for just over 6 months, praying daily that God would touch his little life and bless his family. I received a letter from him and wrote him in return. Then I got a letter from Compassion explaining that Gerardo wasn't going to be a part of the program anymore. His mother had gotten a job and they no longer needed the assistance of the program! Praise God. As happy as I was for the blessing his family received I was sad. In such a short time I had grown attached to this little boy. He was my "Compassion kid". He had become a part of my life and I had been a part of his. So I immediately opted to sponsor another child. By this time God had blessed me with a stable job and a better financial situation. I sponsored 5 children from 4 different countries. That was almost 2 years ago and I still sponsor them. Eduardo from El Salvador, Josselin from El Salvador, Julianna from Tanzania, Abimael from Honduras and Saiful from Bangladesh. I've had the honor and blessing of watching them grow and learn and become filled with awe and excitement about the God that loves them. We write each other letters, send each other pictures and I send them stickers and pages to color. It is by far the most important thing I've done with my life to date and I think it is through sponsoring children internationally that my heart has grown for them and their plight.

The reason for that last paragraph was just to let everyone that if adoption is not something you've considered but want to do something to make a difference in the life of a child then child sponsorship is an excellent alternative. You truly do develop a connection and relationship with the child you sponsor and it is such a blessing! The website to the organization I sponsor through is Even if you do have children or have adopted internationally, still consider it! It's a great tool for teaching your children about conditions and cultures of other countries.

Thanks for everyone who's taken the time to read my mini novel lol. Keep me and my 2yr plan in your prayers! =) I know the time will pass by in a moment and before we know it I'll be posting a blog saying I'm bringing home my new baby boy or girl!

God Bless

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Decision to stop eating meat

NO I am not a PETA activist (I wear leather shoes), NO I am not a religious freak, (God didn't tell me not to eat meat because it's mean) YES I really enjoy a good grilled chicken breast or steak once in a while. So why am I becoming a vegetarian you ask? Several reasons...

While I never ever condone animal violence or cruelty I have always been of the opinion that some animals are raised for food. Settlers & farmers have for hundreds of years lived off of the animals they farm. Of course in those days the animals were given free reign to roam over acres of fields and pastures. They were loved and treated well and the family had a deep respect for the fact that the animal gave his/her life to provide sustenance for their family.

Mass production factories have greatly eliminated such a way of life for food raised animals. They have also gone a long way to remove a safe, clean, healthy lifestyle (however short it is) for the animals that are slaughtered for food. I've done some research and if animal cruelty wasn't reason enough for me to swear off ever ordering a quarter pounder again, seeing the conditions of the factories where the meat I bought came from was. Chickens are kept in small metal cages. Not one chicken to a cage, where it can roam around, clean itself, do the things it needs to do to produce healthy eggs and safe nutritionally viable meat, but 5 to 15 chickens in a small cage. Crammed in so tight they can't turn around, can't clean themselves and are forced to sit in their excrement and breath air filled with insanely high levels of amonia and other toxins produces by their waste. So they're pumped full of drugs and antibiotics to keep them alive. My dad used to work for a uniform company & BC Rogers was one of their customers..(they are a chicken processing plant). Anyway the workers told him that some stores & fast food chains buy sick or diseased chickens because they're cheaper. I guess they figure we'll cook it and hope any bacteria or disease will be killed before we put it in our and our children's bodies!

I've never been much of a red meat eater so I figured.. hey I'll just eat chicken. It's high in protein, low in fat, nothing bad for you right... ya that's what I thought until I started doing research. Even the chicken you buy that says "Organic" or eggs that say "Free Range" are rarely really organic or from free range chickens. The USDA has a set of guidelines that farmers..I hesitate to call them farmers, let's say mass producers have to follow in order for their product labels to contain the terms organic or free-range. This can be something as small as having a window in the shed where the chickens are still kept crammed in a metal cage. The window is the "access to outdoors" vs being kept entirely indoors. So that kind of disolved any further desire I had to eat chicken.

I also started reading about the human body,the effect mass animal "farming" has on the earth, it's resources, the economy and many other things that all led me to the conclusion that while sure, a sweet juicy BBQ'd chicken breast sure tastes good, there is no real positive benificial outcome of eating it.

The effect of eating meat on the world and it's people -

Global Warming - With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Methane is produced by a number of sources, including coal mining and landfills—but the number one source worldwide is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan - eating no animal or food that contains any animal byproduct),we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.

Earth's Resources - Would you ever open your refrigerator, pull out 16 plates of pasta and toss them in the trash, and then eat just one plate of food? How about leveling 55 square feet of rain forest for a single meal or dumping 2,500 gallons of water down the drain? Of course you wouldn't. But if you're eating chicken, fish, turkey, pork, or beef, that's what you're doing—wasting resources and destroying our environment. We feed more than 70 percent of the grains and cereals we grow to farmed animals, and almost all of those calories go into simply keeping the animals alive, not making them grow. A major 2006 report by the United Nations summarized the devastation caused by the meat industry. Raising animals for food, the report said, is “one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global. The findings of this report suggest that it should be a major policy focus when dealing with problems of land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution and loss of biodiversity. Livestock’s contribution to environmental problems is on a massive scale.." Growing all the crops to feed farmed animals requires massive amounts of water and land—in fact, nearly half of the water and 80 percent of the agricultural land in the United States are used to raise animals for food. Nearly half of the water consumed in this country is used for livestock. According to scientists at the Smithsonian Institute, the equivalent of seven football fields of land is bulldozed every minute, much of it to create more room for farmed animals. Of all the agricultural land in the U.S., nearly 80 percent is used in some way to raise animals—that's roughly half of the total land mass of the U.S. More than 260 million acres of U.S. forest have been cleared to create cropland to grow grain to feed farmed animals.

Life - Do you know how often one of our fellow brothers or sisters dies from starvation? Every 2.43 seconds. Every year 15 million children die of hunger. In 2004, 35.1 million people, including 12.4 million children, in the United States did not have access to enough food for an active healthy life. That means one in ten households in the U.S. are living with hunger or are at risk of hunger. One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night. This isn't just a third world problem. Hunger does not exist because the world does not produce enough food. How many people could be fed by the 70% of grains & cereals grown that are used to feed livestock? We have the experience and the technology right now to end the problem. The challenge we face is not production of food and wealth, but more equitable distribution. It would take a modest effort to end hunger and malnutrition worldwide. Hunger is a political condition. And so the key to overcoming hunger is to change the politics of hunger. (The less people that eat meat, the less big corporations make in their heinous practices of mass producing animals for slaughter).


Now I'm not one of those people who are going to look at you funny if you order a steak when we go out to eat. Hey I've been a carnivore for 30 years. Becoming a vegetarian is like picking a religion or a church or a lifestyle. It is a choice each individual person needs to make based on his or her own reasoning. But I do encourage everyone to do a little research. It's as easy as typing a few words in the Google search bar. Deciding to make a conscious decision to KNOW about what you put in your body is one of the most important decisions you can make. If you do the research, learn about the conditions and still say "Hey I like my steak!" Then by all means eat steak. But at least you will have the knowledge of what the process of that steak coming from the cow to your table had on the earth, on the economy, on the lives and livelihoods of millions of people world wide.

I know a lot of people think omg there is no way I could become a vegetarian. It's too hard. What on earth will I eat?! Well, last year I had the honor of meeting one of the most incredible men I may ever meet and he is a vegetarian. I asked him what guided his decision to stop eating meat. He said, "We have a disconnect from our food. Chicken does not come shrink rapped and in styrofoam. I could not kill it, so I don't eat it." It intrigued me so I thought, what the heck, I'll try it for a few months & see what I think. It really wasn't that hard and I did it eating whatever the mess hall on the SeaBee Base provided for lunch & dinner each day.

Tofu (I know, I know I hear you YUCK!) can be made to taste like most meat when used in recipes. I made a tofu lasagna for my family one night last year. They had NO IDEA & didn't know the difference until I told them. Then of course they made the obligitory funny faces and set their plates aside lol, but they'd eaten over half of their meal & commented on how great it tasted. What foods we like or dislike are mostly determined by our mind. You hear something tastes bad, or it doesn't fit with what you were brought up knowning, ie. tofu & you automatically train yourself to think it's gross and you'd never eat it. I've eaten tofu tacos, tofu stirfry and honestly couldn't tell the difference in taste. Tofo takes on the taste of whatever it's cooked with and is an excellent source of protein. There are actually a lot of choices these days that make a vegetarian diet rather easy to maintain, and there are a ton of health benefits! Yes a vegetarian can quite easily get ALL of the protein, nutrients and vitamins they need without eating meat. AND they consume a great deal less saturated fat, cholesteral and other icky things found in meat!

Wow this turned out to be a lot longer than I had planned! But it's all good solid easily verifiable information. So next time you're dying of boredom at work, pass over that super tempting MySpace survey lol and do a little reading instead. You may be surprised at what you learn!