Friday, December 30, 2011

Hookers, and Homos, and Drugs... Oh my!!!

This is my LOOONG overdue post about Ron Paul's stance on prostitution, drug use, and gay marriage.  Oh its going to be so much fun, and stir so much controversy!!!  I can't wait....

Seriously though, his stance on all three of these subjects is seriously misunderstood, especially among the LDS (Mormon) community.  It is to this group that I address my thoughts.

To start, lets do an activity.  Get a piece of paper and write down one issue that you both a) feel strongly about; and b) worry that the Federal Government is abusing its power to control.  Now this can be anything, whether it is government bans and control on Home-birth, or banning the sale and consumption of raw milk, or banning religious emblems on public property, or anything that tends to get you worked up about government intrusions into the populace's every day life.  Take a few minutes and think about it, then write it down.  Got it?

Okay, if you have this subject written down put it aside for just a few moments, we'll get back to it in just a moment.

First and foremost this should be stated very, very clearly:  Dr. Ron Paul in no way endorses or encourages people of any kind to engage in drug use, to hire prostitutes, or to marry people of the same gender.  He is a devout Christian, and believes that those behaviors are unhealthy, immoral, and wrong.  HOWEVER- he also believes that it is immoral and wrong to force those decisions on other people.  He strongly believes that you cannot force people to do good things, and you cannot force salvation on them.  Ironically, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints also has that same view.  Salvation and redemption cannot be forced upon those who do not want to receive them.  It is to members of the LDS church that I will be making my comments today.

I was going to address each of these issues individually, but as I was writing I realized that all of my arguments in defense of Ron Paul's stance on these things boiled down to the same basic ingredients no matter what the topic was.  (1)  We all have a God-given right to agency.  (2)  Our federal government was not designed to interfere in these types of matters.  (3)  If we allow our individual States to dictate their own policy on these issues then WE as people actually have more control.

(1)  Agency is a right given to us by our Supreme Creator.  It is not something that any governmental force on earth has even the remotest authority to take away.  There are (and always have been) some things that we can do to take away our own agency- such as taking the life of another person.  This crime has (historically speaking) always been worthy of death.  Justice in all her wisdom demands blood for blood.  Rape was met with similar consequences.  One of the reasons for the seemingly harsh reaction is that those two acts take away a person's agency in very real and literal ways.  Death isn't something easily recovered from.  The long term affects of being raped are legion, and very often they are things from which the victim will suffer for the rest of their lives.  When a person chooses to murder or rape they in essence abdicate their own rights to agency- to choose how they will spend the rest of their lives.  Justice must always be satisfied, and in those cases the government has a responsibility to step in.  Those types of situations are the reason that we have a government at all.  There are of course other things that a government has jurisdiction over, but all in all a government's main responsibility is to protect the life, liberty, and property of its citizens.  Anything else is outside of it's authority.  Including prostitution.  And drug use.  And homosexuality.

2)  Our Founding Fathers created a very limited government for a reason.  They had already experienced what an over grown bureaucracy was like, and they didn't want the new government to be set up the same way.  For that reason they set up a government that had three separate branches: The Legislative, Executive, and the Judicial branches of the government, with each branch's responsibilities very clearly defined.  The purpose was for each branch to be a check to the other two branches, and to create an even balance of power (hence the phrase "checks and balances").  Each branch had its responsibilities defined and limited to not only prevent the gathering of all power into one (or a few) powerful hands, but to also ensure that the rights of the States to govern themselves would not be infringed.

3)  Think of this for a moment:  How much better would the State of Utah be if they were able to pass laws about the sale and consumption of alcohol within state lines?  The laws that any state can make regarding alcohol are very few because of the massive backlash against prohibition.  We need to remember: If we can make an amendment to the constitution that completely criminalizes a specific behavior or action to protect people from their vices, then the amendment can also be over turned to completely legalize that issue regardless of what individual states want.  The government is not here to protect us from vice, we have religion for that.  The government is here to protect the individual rights of all its citizens, no matter what they believe or what they choose to do.  When we keep matters out of Federal hands, and keep it localized to our States WE actually have more control over the outcomes.  Don't believe me?  Try writing to, or calling your Representative to Congress.  What sort of reply does the "Average American" get for their efforts?  Usually a form letter, and some sort of automated response.  Why is that?  Well, they have a LOT of constituents, and even though they are supposed to represent YOU they don't actually want you to bug them about anything, they want you to just follow.  If you were to try to write to your State Representative, the story is slightly different.  His (or her) constituency is much smaller, he spends more time actually among the voting population, and he sees the needs of the individual communities.  If you were to threaten to not vote for your State Rep he would take it quite seriously because he knows that you have family and friends that you could easily sway from his potential voters.  If you were to threaten your Congressman with the same thing he would probably laugh at you unless you were the head of some sort of large influential organization.  If that were the case he would be spending extra time pandering to your wishes and making sure you and he were on the "same page" when it came to issues, because then you would actually have influence.  Is this what we want?  Is this how we want our nation and our states to be run?  It is preposterous!  Granting the Federal Government MORE power only means that WE have less of a voice.  The only people who genuinely want that are people in positions of power and corruption who want laws passed that will increase their wealth and power, not equalize wealth and power across the board.

Okay, now we are back to the beginning.  Remember the activity, writing down an important issue to you?  Take that piece of paper and throw it and and imagine what would happen if the Federal government made ___(insert issue here)___ completely illegal.  Would you be outraged?  Upset?  Scared?  You should be.  The government just took something that was important to you and made YOU a criminal if you did it.  Something that wasn't hurting anyone else, or infringing on their rights.  Let's say it was public display of religious emblems.  Anyone who wears a cross on public property could be subject to criminal action.  Pastors and preachers could be harassed, persecuted, and fined.  Any religion that engages in proselyting could be subject to government sanctions.  When we allow the government to gather enough power to take away the rights of a group of people we open the door the government doing it to EVERYONE, not just the segment of society with whom we happen to disagree.

When you protect other's rights, even when you disagree with their choices, you are protecting your own.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

States Rights

At long last I am back to the world of my little blog.  I have a couple of posts that I am working on, but I would like to do this one first.  A while back I approached a friend to write a small piece about the importance of States Rights to our nation, and how increasing the rights of the individual states to manage their own affairs can only be a beneficial thing for our nation.  He has done a great job, and I think you will like his piece a lot.  He begins his piece quoting a comment from my last post, where a different friend was questioning my thoughts, and implying I showed some intense naivete for supporting State Rights.  I will include some of my own thoughts at the end.  

From my friend Greg Safsten, The Rocky Mountain Prepper:

                                                 State's Rights at ALL Costs.

"'I am really glad you are involved in politics!! Glenn and I are also, I think more people are age should be. I am interested in your explanations of specifically the prostitution and the drugs(not pot, the harder ones) I understand that his policy is based upon giving the States rights and taking them from the federal government(by the way, that is Mitt Romney's policy as well, I know you don't like him or agree with him as a candidate but I just wanted you to know Ron Paul is not the only one with this platform and most people think he is.) and I agree with that wholeheartedly in most situations. So he is saying make prostitution and various drugs legal, and then the particular states can make their own law to ban those things from their states. The problem with that logic is thinking that individual state laws don't affect other states. Which is a very naive mindset. When you address this, I would love to hear how you think making prostitution and drug use legal will benefit our society. It only takes one state of people to say, yeah it wouldn't be bad to leave these laws out, and then the sudden decline that our country is going in, will not only be financial and political as in our situation now but morally. Sexual sin has always destroyed nations and if you think our country cannot get worse, just legalize all three that you mentioned above and see how fast life will change. If you see how the Church has fought against the legalizing of gay marriage in this nation, do you really think that they don't mind if prostitution has that opportunity. Yes, they mind. Do you think our leaders are wrong?'”

Point 1: “I am interested in your explanations of specifically the prostitution and the drugs(not pot, the harder ones) So he is saying make prostitution and various drugs legal, and then the particular states can make their own law to ban those things from their states. The problem with that logic is thinking that individual state laws don't affect other states. Which is a very naive mindset. When you address this, I would love to hear how you think making prostitution and drug use legal will benefit our society”

This is a much more complex issue and has many facets to it than is being supposed here. While you get to one point in saying it is naïve to suppose that individual state laws will not affect other states, there are many other aspects that determine whether or not these changes in law will effect other states, and even more importantly, how they will effect those states.

Despite the ignoring the complexity of the argument at hand, it seems to also be lost on you that there are certain basic governing principles embodied in the Constitution that are not up for debate. The very nature of a Constitution is to sternly and authoritatively set forth basic governing principles by which those who choose to live in the country must abide by. In examining the Constitution, and surely through the examining of the historical record, it is blatantly obvious that the objections to the very existence of a federal government were manifold. We were “lucky” to even get a central government.

A good example of how anemic many of the Founders wanted the central government to be is the Articles of Confederation and the confederate government that was set up. Despite this first government’s impotence, people still had to eventually be dragged back kicking and screaming to the Constitutional Convention to hack out the issue of states’ rights and centralized governmental power. We can get into the many documents, journal entries, meeting records, etc if necessary to make this point clear, but hopefully that is not necessary so as to avoid the production of a fully cited scholarly article here.

Ultimately, as those who study history know, the central government was given more power than most wanted, but as a compromise certain authority came about. In the end though as it is made clear in the documentation, the historical record as a whole, and even the very personal sentiments of “Americans” all the way through the Civil War ***remember the ONLY known reason that General Robert E. Lee (who was extended the commission of Commander of the Union Forces upon the commencement of intervention by Federal troops) turned down the commission offered by the Federal government and became the Commanding General of the Confederate Forces was because he was a Virginian! State loyalty, and the personal responsibility to make your State a place where you would want to live, and to make it a place you were PROUD to hail from (as all traditionally did as stated all the way into the 20th century) was of the utmost importance.

Note an interesting concept here. I am a firm believer that the shift toward centralized governmental power, and the loss of local sovereignty is a primary cause for the great decline our nation has experienced (although the effects of were somewhat slowed by a century of war (20th century). Because of this century of diversion, we are only more recently realizing the effects of this shift. As centralization occurred, the mythology of great leaders seemed to really disappear from American history. Centralization of government leads to exclusivity, dark rooms, and dirty deals. There is no accountability, and why should there be? At this point, even in the best scenario, they serve the nation as a whole. What’s the point of locally elected representatives if really the job they are doing (again in the best case scenario) is making decisions for the whole nation? This is not how the government was set up to be by that all important Constitution. The purpose of locally elected representative that were to be sent to the centralized government, was to ensure that state sovereignty was preserved and that the happenings of the Federal Government would not infringe upon the basic rights of statehood. If it were meant to be any other way (which it is clearly not) why would it not be established that we elect a panel of people to run the country regardless of their origin(s)? But again, this is the best case scenario for this perspective.

What has really happened is that that lack of accountability, which stems from 1st. the removal of the expectation for states’ citizens to take responsibility for and have the authority to make changes prompted by their conscience of responsibility to make their state a nation unto itself that is a place they can thrive in an live the way they want to so long as it is within the basic framework of the U.S. Constitution. 2nd, the consequential apathy and lack of involvement of the citizens (because of such policies that restrict their rights to control their own local destiny results in those representatives who get into office) further emboldens a government “official” to do what lies in his or her own best interest. Not only are they no longer accountable to the citizens of their district (because nobody holds them accountable) but the fact that these “officials” are likely of the same mindset as the idiot populous makes them much more likely to be deceived when it comes to what exactly their job is. Not only that, but with no founding principles based on local pride, sovereignty, and the resulting accountability  these people in government are easily swayed by big talk, sly catch phrases, and of course, large sums of money…..

Now, there also seems to be the implication that legalizing prostitution and drugs will result in a drastic and sustained increase in use of these two vices. The only problem is this “is a very naïve mindset”. A student of history, knows full well that alcohol use increased 3 times the original figure when Prohibition went into effect. Even before this, the use of hard drugs was seen as a sickness and if they were used, they were used often almost with shame. As soon as they could get off of whatever drug they used (believing it to be a remedy) they would often not partake of the substance again. This goes back to a very basic analogy regarding what happens when you tell a child/teen that they absolutely cannot have something or do something. What usually results? Not only do they want to do it more, but they often do whatever the forbidden practice was and sustain the practice for longer than they likely would have had they never been explicitly told to do so in the first place. This is a basic law of human nature.

Aside from the obvious futility of outlawing such practices (drug use/prostitution etc) it is also “a very naïve mindset” to believe that by making something illegal, you make it a less common practice. Based on the basic principles stated above, and statistics on crime and drug use, this is not the case. In fact, the commission of these crimes is more common when it is outlawed. The only thing outlawing something does, is make it more expensive. That’s it. This has been the case throughout history, and one can openly review the histories of various nations who use these vices to further their own aims of total governance. A good place to start would be the British Empire.

I won’t delve into all of it here, but it would be “a very naïve mindset” to believe that the government does not want to keep these things illegal. It would be even more of a “naïve mindset” to believe that they do not directly profit from this policy. A place to start would be the 6 gigantic banks who have been caught over and over participating in even more grotesque crimes (child kidnapping and human/sex trafficking for example). Guess who the biggest contributors are to many of the big players in government??? <span class="emote_text">;)</span><
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To make the criminalization of drugs a states’ rights issue is the first step to taking our states, and our country back. There is a mirage sustained by the majority of the population (the majority of the population is uneducated in these matters) that there is a Federal government that is superior to the states, and that by approving motions to increase/sustain the power grabs the authority of the central government, “we” are making our country stronger. Nothing can be further from the truth. A good analogy is a sports team. It’s impossible to treat the team as one person. No, but rather each person in the team requires its own individual attention. By strengthening each INDIVIDUAL on the team (building pride, responsibility, accountability) and recognizing that their value to the team lies in their individual strength, one can quickly coach a team to victory. So how will allowing states to choose be a positive thing? Well, it is naïve to think that the majority of states are going to endorse hard drug use. However, in the end it really does not matter. The positives that will result from relinquishing the stolen power that the central government thrives on, back to the states will outweigh any negative of that decision.

It is not the government’s job to tell us what to do. It is not their job to teach us morality. It is not their job to control what we decide to do with our own destinies. The Constitution and Bill of Rights do not “grant” but proclaim that our rights to our own destinies are God given and are not granted or to be controlled by man. There is a hidden poison in zealousness to establish a righteous society by the rule of law alone. This poison is the apathy that results from the constant meddling of “do-gooders and teetotalers” (C.S. Lewis talks much of these types). When you insist on the involvement of yourself or other governing bodies to get involved in something as fundamentally basic as what someone does with their body, you castrate the human spirit, and they soon become dependent and through this dependence they lose their self worth and their personal responsibility. I often find today that so many people blame others for their poor plight in life. And you know what? I think they are often very right. Those who insist on making decisions for people, must be insisted upon to bear the burden of consequence(s) and guilt at least as much, or more so, than the supposed “offender”. This really is the spirit of the argument. Personal accountability vs well, none. The issue of states' rights verses the constant and surely unlimited encroachments made by a central government (which is much more easily manipulated and controlled by outside forces, especially in our modern world) is as basic as an argument for and against the importance of personal responsibility. The beauty and value of insisting upon personal responsibility is not so that we can conveniently rid ourselves and our conscience of any guilt or part in the failures and sins of others. Rather, it's value lies in the fact that it is by strong individuals that societies are built. Make no mistake, that the creation of a personally strong, independent, and responsible person is by no means always a pretty business. It includes gross failures, hideous moments of pain and anguish, and great triumphs. If asked to choose between any effort to try and ensure that something does not happen no matter what the cost...I will opt for personal freedom and welcome the coming dangers of being a human being in this mortal existence.

I could go on and on. The insistence upon states rights is the insistence upon the rediscovering of human dignity, accountability, and accomplishment."

States rights were one of the most crucial aspects of the Founding of our Nation.  If you were to read both the Federalist, and the Anti-Federalist papers closely you would see that the major concern for most people was whether the proposed Federal government would have been granted too much power through the Constitution.  (Keep in mind that in today's society one of the larger complaints about the Constitution is that it doesn't do ENOUGH by way of management.)  That is one of the large reasons for why the Bill of Rights was passed, because the people AND the States wanted to be assured that their rights would not be oppressed by the Federal Government.  This is why Jefferson talked about binding the hands of people in government positions with the "Chains of the Constitution". When we assume that a problem for a State will be solved by increased Federal involvement then we are assuming that people are not capable of knowing what is best for themselves and that the great god of Government is needed to step in and save us from ourselves.  We all know that this is impossible.  If a person does not want or desire help or "saving" then it cannot be forced upon them, no matter how desperately we may try.

As always we welcome any comments on these thoughts, and please feel free to share with your friends!

~The Fair Raven~

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Doctor? Doctor who? Pt. 1 of a Political Nature

Why Dr. Ron Paul of course!

All puns aside, Dr. Ron Paul is basically one of my favorite people in this world.  My family campaigned for him in the 2008 Election race (funny stories there...) and I am currently looking for a way to help out his campaign race for 2012.  I have posted a lot of articles recently on Facebook about him, and I have many friends that are asking questions about his policies and view on things, especially his more controversial stands on things like drugs and gay marriage.  I have been promising an article about it for a while, so I figured that this would be a good time to address it.

As I have talked more and more freely about Ron Paul and his ideas I have had a lot of issues raised.  People from all over the political scene seem to have reason to dislike him, and why wouldn't they?  Most of the people who are elected to political office are inconsistent with their views, and want to further a progressive/neoconservative political agenda.  There are hundreds and thousands of examples of this, but there are a few obvious ones that we can point out through looking at the past couple of presidencies.  For example, under the Presidency of George W. Bush we saw a fairly large expansion to the Medicare system, and the introduction of the "No Child Left Behind Act" both of which, when you examine them closely, are pretty engorged with liberal social policies.  We also had the introduction of the Patriot Act (named thus to make it seem like you weren't patriotic if you didn't like it) we started a war with several sovereign nations on fairly ridiculous grounds, and there have been a plethora of other encroachments made by the federal government under Bush's administration alone.  Now we have Obama in the President's chair, and you would think that (logically) there would be some difference in how things were done.  After all they are from supposedly polar opposite parties, and they should have some pretty big differences on how things should be done.  Right? 

Well there is one big difference between the two Presidents.  Bush led a fairly slow but steady push towards a larger, more powerful, consolidated Federal Government.  Now that Obama is in office, he is definitely pushing towards that goal, but instead of pursuing it slowly and gradually so people wouldn't squawk about it, Obama is pushing this as rapidly as he can, and he's not really caring about who complains about it, everybody is along for the ride.  An analogy that is frequently used is that both major parties, Dem's and Repub's, are in the driver's seat of our nation, and they are BOTH driving us towards the edge of a cliff.  Now the Democrats are punching the gas pedal and driving towards that cliff as fast as they possibly can, while the Republican's are minding the speed limit and only going 45 mph.  Either way the end result will still be the same, we will go off the edge of that cliff and go crashing to our nations ruin.

The crash and burn result is not our only option though.  There is a much easier solution to this problem, and Ron Paul has been standing up and saying it for over 30 years.  Don't drive towards the cliff....  Its that simple.  Turn around and drive AWAY from the cliff.  Its a pretty radical idea, and probably a little on the fringe, but it could possibly work.  Our country is headed for destruction on all levels and members of the establishment are trying to tell us that continuing to head towards the cliff is our best and only option.  Ron Paul is telling us to change our ways, change our habits on the federal level, and go away from the cliff.  And people aren't happy about it.  Which is why there have been some pretty bad smear campaigns against him in the past.

Well this is about all that I have time for tonight, but please stay tuned for more, as I will definitely be writing more on this subject.  For more information on Ron Paul you may visit his website here:

 There is a lot of information on him there.  Some terms that you will hear him use a lot is Keynesian School of Economics, and the Austrian School of Economics.  Please look up both of those terms, as an understanding of those two schools of thought will be pretty important later on as I talk more about these issues.  Thanks for reading everyone, and stay tuned for Part Two in my Ron Paul series.  I will be addressing the issues of Gay Marriage, Drug Control, and Prostitution.  Should be fun! 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Forgiveness is a powerful Ally....

I have had a lot on my mind lately about the power of forgiveness.  Most people think that things like humility, long-suffering, and forgiveness are traits of the weak and powerless, something to be despised and rejected.  I contend that those qualities are the ones embraced by those who are striving to strengthen and improve themselves, and will often prove how much power one can yield over one's self serving desires.

Recently I have been experiencing a resurgence of problems with my extended family.  Lasting change is a difficult thing to accomplish when you are attempting to bring it about in anyone other than yourself.  All of us require painful learning experiences in order to grow and develop, it is just in our nature.  We rarely receive the motivation to change ourselves unless something painful or traumatic happens to spur us onward.  I have been learning by painful experience the past few months, and have been reminded that I cannot change other people.   No matter how much I love someone, how much I wish I could help them, or how much I try to coax them along, I cannot make someone's decisions for them.  I cannot resolve their issues, or fix whatever may be wrong.  The only thing that I can do is change my behavior and hope that they see me and do the same.  Everybody reacts differently to trials.  No soldier comes out of a war thinking of or viewing it the same as those he served with.  We cannot change how others react to difficult or unfortunate circumstances, but we can choose how we react to them. 

Many of us would like to be able to transfer the responsibility for our actions and feelings onto others.  We say things like "I can't help but feel this way, my ex-husband was awful and he did this to me" or "Well, I just had a terrible childhood and I can't help it. My parents did this to me..."  I know I had used the latter excuse a lot when I was a teen.  My biological father was a terrible, violent man.  When I was a child I would lay in bed at night and listen to my parents scream at each other, an think that if I were to run away then my family would be happy because I was obviously the cause of the contention there (my father liked to get mad at and punish me for things that I didn't do because he knew it would bother my mom.  I ended up thinking that I really was the cause of all my family's problems.).  When my parents got divorced, I had many unresolved anger issues, not just towards my father, but towards men in general.  While all of us did receive counseling after the divorce, it took many years for me to reach the maturity level required to put the things we learned into practice.  I didn't want to let go of my anger towards men.  It made me feel powerful and in control.  I became quite aggressive at times, and would fight with my brothers or any other "guy" that wanted to mess with me.  When I would do things like that my mom obviously had a responsibility to correct me, and one thing she would tell me all the time as she was explaining my punishment was that I had no control over anything that was done to me as a child, and it wasn't my fault that those things happened.  The one thing that I did have control over was how I chose to react to it, and what I chose to do with it.  If I made poor decisions I could not blame them on the abuse that had happened to me, I had to own them myself.  I was never given the opportunity to lay the responsibility for something I had done onto someone or something else, whether it was my daddy issues, or teenage hormones, or lack of sleep, or depressed moods, I was always held accountable  for what I had done.  And rightly so! 

Now you can imagine as a teenager that this type of responsibility didn't go over too well.  But those lessons stuck with me.  As I got older I began to see how I was crippling myself with my anger.  The anger was an easy choice.  It was appealing, it took very little effort, was easy to summon up, and left those around me intimidated and frightened.  No wonder it appealed to my father so much!  But I realized that just because it was easier, didn't mean that it was better.  Forgiveness?  That was hard.  It took constant and active effort.  It meant that I had to learn to control my feelings and not let the anger take control.  I had to ask for forgiveness from others, and I had to forgive myself.  I had to forgive myself for not being able to protect my family.  I knew that I was just a child, but I wanted to protect them none the less.  I had to learn to see differing view points, and recognize that my was was not the only option.  I had to learn to view God differently, to see not just His wrath and judgment, but to focus on His love and mercy.  It took a long time, required a lot of soul searching, but I was eventually able to get myself into a healthy state of mind.  When I finally forgave my father, I released a huge burden off of myself.  I was no longer plagued by the stifling emotions.  I recognized the pain for what it was and did not let it turn itself into anger.  As time has passed, I kept finding new realizations of hurt that needed to be dealt with, hurt that had been hidden for years behind anger and never healed.  The anger kept the wounds fresh and open, constantly oozing and bleeding betrayal behind the scenes.  When I started to forgive those things I was able to let those wounds close up.  I still have the scars.  but they are not bright and painful.  They are old and a shiny glossy white, smoothed down by time.  When I see them it is almost a surprise, I had forgotten they were there.  When I examine them closely I remember what caused them and how they came to be, but I feel no more rush of anger.  They are gentle reminders of what can happen when a person refuses to take responsibility for themselves, and instead tries to thrust it upon others.  I resolved that I would be different from my father.  I would not cause others pain in order to hide my own.

I broke the chains of anger that I tried to hold my father captive with, and when I did, I found that the only person that I had liberated was myself.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Bedrooms, Floors, and Flying!

Okay, as I have said before, I am not perfect with my Fly-Lady stuff, but I am loving it so far!  Even though at the moment my house is pretty thrashed from the work we've been doing on it the past day or so, I don't feel overwhelmed by any of it.  That alone is a pretty huge change!  Normally I look at a mess and freak out because I don't know where to start, and there are so many freaking details to finishing whatever it is I want to finish, that I don't end up doing it.  But with Fly-Lady everything is simplified.  When I'm washing dishes, I don't need to make sure that everything is perfectly sanitized and disinfected, the floor is swept and mopped, and that everything is picture perfect nice and cute, I just need to wash the dishes and wipe out the sink.  If I want and I have time, I can sweep and sanitize everything, but I don't HAVE to every time.  And freeing myself from that actually enables me to do more than I would normally do.

One example of this is sweeping.  I have avoided sweeping much of my house for (literally) months because there are so many construction materials out everywhere, and dust-bunnies get caught on the sub-floor (the floor beneath your floor!  Didn't know you had one, did you?) and it was a big hassle and sometimes more messy than just allowing the dirt to be there.  Between drywall dust, mud and texture remnants, and the grout for the tile in our bathroom, it just wasn't worth it to me.  But about a week and a half ago I decided that I wanted to sweep at least 4 times a week, and preferably every day.  So I started doing it.  I gathered all the construction materials into one small spot (I need to do this again because things are spreading out as we use them!) got everything off the floor that had no business being there, and started sweeping.  I started in our room, and then the bathroom and hall, then moved to the living room, and by the time I was done I had a fairly decent pile of dust and debris gathered up.  I swept it up, threw it out, and for the first time in months, walked from the living room to my bedroom without shoes on, and didn't worry about getting splinters!*  It was pretty encouraging for me.  I have been sweeping every few days since then, and I can really tell the difference.   When I sweep I do the everything from the kitchen on in (I don't do the mudroom every time because my dog and cat just thrash it within 10 minutes!), and it usually only takes me 10 to 15 minutes to do.  Which is another thing that I like.  Fly-Lady says to break your work down into manageable portions, 5,10, 15, or 20 minute segments, and when the time is up you don't have to keep at it.  Only start what you can finish in your selected time period.  Sometimes I have gone over my time- only by a couple of minutes- because I have a bad habit of leaving projects unfinished and I am trying to break my habit.  One time I had my three biggest house cleaning projects done in just under an hour.  It was awesome!  I am feeling a lot more in control of my household now, and I think that the Handsome Boy is liking it too.

In fact, he is liking it so much that he put floor down in our bedroom this week!!!  About a week ago we found a great deal on flooring and we bought enough to put down in our bedroom and our living room (just to get us started, the deal was too awesome to pass up!).  This past Saturday the Handsome Boy spent the whole morning clearing out a space for our vegetable garden, digging out a ditch down the driveway so our back yard wouldn't flood, and then he came in around 2:00 or 3:00 and put the entire floor down in our bedroom.  Watching him go made me feel somewhat paltry and insignificant with what I was doing, it was like watching a freaking tornado go through!  He finished our entire bedroom floor on Saturday, which means that I now have a floor in my room!!!  I love it too, its a nice blonde laminate floor, and it looks beautiful.  I am amazed at how much he did!  He is such a good example to me.  He is one of the hardest working people that I know and I always feel lazy when I'm working with him because he does so much!  He is my biggest motivation to change myself, because I know that he deserves someone much better than the person I currently am, and I want to change that.  I am so excited about my floor though!!  I know that people live in houses under construction for years at a time, and we haven't even been here a full year yet, but I am ready to have this sucker finished!   It will be so beautiful once it is done, and I can't wait to see it.

I know, I'm a dork.  But you love me anyways, don't you?  :-)

*One thing you have to realize about sub-floor is that it is basically particle board.  Its not meant to be used as a real floor, and will start flaking and it will give you splinters.  Not pleasant!  As such we always wear shoes in the house, which I'm not too fond of... :-)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

FlyLady progress...

So I've been slowly working on my FlyLady project for about a month now, and I am slowly starting to see improvement in my house hold.  I still struggle with some of the basic stuff like keeping my kitchen sink shining, and picking out my outfits at night so I don't have to do it in the morning, but all in all, I think I'm actually doing quite well.  As I mentioned before, I de-cluttered quite a bit in my kitchen and it was looking fabulous, but then I got busy and I haven't kept up on it as I should and now clutter is starting to show its ugly face again.  I suppose that it could be a clever strategy on my part:  Get rid of the obvious clutter, open up some nice flat surfaces for clutter to start sneaking out onto, and just when it is starting to get comfortable you nab it all up and get rid of it!!!!!  Bwahahahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!  Really, the fact that my kitchen is no longer quite so organized is just a clever ploy on my part to trap unsuspecting clutter and rid my life of it.  See, that makes me feel better... 

I have been doing much better though.  In the past 2-3 weeks I have completely filled not only our garbage can, but also several of my in-law's garbage cans as well (we live next door to them so I get to do annoying things like that!) with just sheer rubbish.  I am a bit surprised at how much trash I have been bringing out.  Granted we are remodeling our house so that is so be expected, but I wasn't expecting quite this much.  Take our mud room for example: Every time I clean it out and get it looking all nice and pretty it only seems to take about 3 days and then it is filled with trash again!  Now a lot of this is due to our dog Barley dragging stuff in, but a lot of it is not.  I am surprised every time that I bring several trash bags full of garbage out to the street.  I thought that I just did this...  I could have sworn....  Oh well.  The good thing about all of this is that it is going, and I don't have to deal with it anymore. 

Yesterday I de-cluttered something that I have been avoiding for quite some time out of a sense of moral obligation.  Books.  Allow me to explain.  I have a theory about my family genetic code.  There is something in our genes that compels us to gather and collect massive amounts of books.  My mother literally has hundreds, possibly more than a thousand.  Her cousin (my aunt Kari)  once told me that ALL of her daughters (she has 4 or 5...) collect unholy amounts of books, and that she does that herself.  Why do we have all of these books?  Well, you remember those dooms-day stories about how the world has returned to the dark ages because all books have either been burned, destroyed, or used as toilet paper, and how a few brave souls who kept them hidden safely saved the world from destruction and despotism?  Well if those stories were real then the women in my family would be those brave souls saving the world one hoarded book at a time.  We love them.  Just having them around makes life worth living.  We don't even have to read them all the time, just having them and knowing that they are there when we want them is enough.  Well I have my own decent book collection, no where near as good as my mom's or my cousin's, but a good start.  The problem is that some of those books that I have aren't worth keeping for me.  I do want to have a good variety of books for my children to read (I plan on homeshooling them, but that is a completely different topic!) but I don't think that "In Search of Wallace Whipple" is going to be on my "must read" list.  So why do I have it?  And there were plenty on my shelves like that.  Books that I had been given as gifts or I picked up from thrift stores that I would never read.  So why do I have them?  So yesterday I went through some of my books and made a big stack of ones that I am going to give away.  I don't need them or want them, so I'm getting rid of them. And while part of me has a sense of guilt in throwing away the printed word in any form, part of me feels good too, because I know they will go to someone who really wants them.  Besides, I don't really care if those books get burned... :-)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Organization, Weddings, and Tenants

So these past few weeks have been pretty busy for me, and I haven't been as consistent as I should be with my new FlyLady thing that I'm trying to do.  Snow White (the Handsome Boy's little sister) got married three days ago and I had to do a bunch of stuff for that, so consequently my sink did not remain quite as polished as it should have been.  Add to that the fact that the Handsome Boy got *incredibly* sick last week, and it didn't make such a great mixture for my new found desire for cleanliness and organization.  But I continue to persevere.  For example:  Normally I wait to do our dinner dishes until the next morning because we eat late (very late) in the evening, and like to go straight to bed afterward.  But three nights this past week I have stopped to do the dishes before going to bed.  The nice part has been waking up in the morning and not having any dishes on the counter or in the sink to look at or worry about.  That takes away a lot of my stress.  I will admit, last night I slipped and didn't do the dishes, but the Handsome Boy was really tired and wanted me to come cuddle him.  What can I say...  You win some, you lose some I guess.

The Handsome Boy's brother, formerly known as the "Stinky Boy", can no longer be called that.  He is officially in boot camp and shall now be known hence forth as the "Marine".  His wife "Shasti", has moved back in with her family for the few months that he will be gone, which meant that we had our house back for TWO WHOLE DAYS!!!  It was awesome.  But all good things must come to an end, and the spare room is now being inhabited by Snow White and her Husband (I don't have a name for him yet) for a few weeks or so until the loan for the place they want to buy gets approved.  So no more peace and serenity, we have another newly wed couple living with us.  Which is fine I don't mind at all, Snow White's husband also knows how to remodel houses, so we can get him to help us out with things that the Marine couldn't do.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that he is planning on finishing off their bedroom.  That will be nice! :-) 

Snow White's wedding was BEAUTIFUL.  She looked great, the reception was great, and the best part of all is the cloak that I made for her was AWESOME.  So cool in fact that I want to make one for myself, just so I can say that I have one.  Surprisingly it only took me a month to make, but that is because I wasn't able to work on it all the time.  I even took a break for a week because I didn't want to get carpal tunnel, and I still had it done in time.  And it looked great on her.  Since I don't have a picture, imagine this:  A beautiful bride in a gorgeous mermaid cut dress, surrounded by a snowy landscape.  To keep her warm she wears a thick white cloak edged with a blue fur trim.  And it is not just any cloak with a fur trim, it is a cloak with a hood.  Oh yeah.  Might I mention that it was a hood that the maker of the cloak had to totally change two or three times because the pattern was messed up.  I am just that good.  It was amazing.  Sorry, I have to brag about it a little bit, because it is probably the most famous piece that I will ever make.  It will be not only in the Bride's wedding pictures, but on various people's websites too.  What can I say?  As soon as the pictures get developed and put on a CD I will post some for you all, because they are pretty epic.