FREE SPEECH FOR ALL (What happened to it?)

Enough is enough. Every year at this time I, along with millions of others, get extremely frustrated and angry. We are told by our businesses, our schools, our local government, a group of miscellaneous people, and specifically our Federal Government, that we cannot say Merry Christmas out loud to anyone. That’s bad enough, but we are also told we cannot hold a live Nativity Scene anymore as well.

Why? It offends people. It offends those people who live in this country that do not celebrate Christmas, that oppose Christianity entirely. First it started with the atheists saying ‘since we don’t believe in this God, specifically this Christ you worship (he is nonexistent), so portraying a Nativity scene is unfair to us. It bothers us’, and whatever other complaints they had. Now, we are told we can’t do Nativities by our own government because it also offends those people who live in these United States of America who don’t believe in our religion at all!

What the hell is next? Are we all going to be told we have to dress like those people too? Are we going to be offensive and disrespectful to them because of our clothing?

Where does this absurdity end? Does EVERYONE forget why this country was formed? Does not anyone read history anymore? Doesn’t anyone remember how many men fought and died to protect our freedom of religion? And don’t forget, the freedom of worshipping they were speaking of was Christianity. They didn’t think they had to be specific. They struggled to get here, and continued to struggle to maintain it. Everything in this country was written to and for God…under God, remember? Now, we are continually ordered not to include Him in our lives.

Okay, fine. Now that there are so many other cultures living here, and they came here for freedom, we allow them to worship and live their way. Again, part of our country’s motto; but why are we losing ourselves and our ways, our origins, our beliefs? Why can everyone else who comes to this country live the way they want, but we can’t anymore? Why is our freedom of religion and freedom of speech being stripped from us little by little, year after year, decade after decade? When is this insanity going to stop?

For the first time this year, I had someone openly, willingly, gladly, and warmly with sincerity say Merry Christmas to me. Last night, our local Fire Department, who drives around our entire community throughout the month of December with a fantastically decorated Fire Truck and a sleigh with Santa Claus, comes around with Christmas music playing collecting toys for underprivileged children and visiting all the kids in town. It’s a wonderful thing they do; but my point is this is the first ‘stranger’ I’ve met that said those fabulous words to me without fear and without hesitation–MERRY CHRISTMAS! It reminded me of when I was a child and even a teenager and how we shouted a Merry Christmas to everyone we met without fear of reprisal. To hear it again in this manner warmed my heart and soul. It reminded me of how special Christmastime was years ago, and how much I long for it again.

I have the heart of my mother. It is open and warm and giving. I have a lot of love to give to people who are genuine, loving, and warm in return. So when I say if people don’t like these United States of America’s way–our Christianity, our Christmas holiday, our LIVE Nativities, our words of greeting, then don’t live here. Live in some other country where their ways don’t offend you. If you don’t mind our Christmas Holiday, our traditions, our meaning, and we don’t upset you by shouting Merry Christmas and having our Nativities, then welcome. I, for one, would love to show you the same love and respect in return.

A special word to our government–STOP, STOP telling the citizens of this great country to desist and decease with their religious beliefs and practices. We’ve always done it this way. Our great-great and great grandparents and grandparents were happy and honored to travel to this country and keep those original traditions. They learned the ways, learned the language, and adapted to the country. They shared their culture with anyone who was interested, but it wasn’t shoved down anyone’s throats. This is the way it should still be. We are losing a little piece of what this country was founded on more and more each year. Considering how this century started out (and we all know to what year I’m referring–um 2001), I’m surprised by our government’s behavior.

I’m sad to say and even sadder to feel that these United States of America is anything but. We don’t feel and don’t behave as United anymore. We are split apart by the continuous influx of people from other countries who are robbing us of our ways…of our values and of our beliefs and we are allowing our government to support it.

I know it’s not everyone who moves here that is causing the problem. I don’t want it to sound like I’m blaming everyone. There are truly wonderful, intelligent people who move here because they want to live a free life with opportunities and without fear. It’s only those few bad, spoiled meats, that cause the trouble for us all–putting demands on us to cater to them and making sure they cause trouble if we don’t.

We all need to stand up, ban together, and keep our beliefs and traditions alive. If we don’t, we may all find that one day saying Merry Christmas and holding Live Nativities may be against the law.

The refugee debate

Well, here we are in another moment of crisis, something this country and the world for that matter seems to have all the time these day. Humph, maybe it was always this way and we happen to notice it more during our own era.
Anyway, this new crisis has to do with the Syrians. Should they or shouldn’t they be allowed in OUR country. Okay, let’s see. Let’s discuss this. How, you might ask? I’m going to comment on both sides. Yep, that’s what I’m going to do if you want to keep reading. I’m going to say what people are thinking and speaking about in regards to the issue. Everyone thinks they’re right, but isn’t that the way it always is? Doesn’t everyone ALWAYS think their belief and response is the right one? Will this provide an answer or will it rock more ships and have each defending their side more?
The left side (independent liberal side, some of whom say they’re Christians)

What’s wrong with you people? You say you’re Christians and yet you want to keep decent people, namely Syrians this time, out of our country. What is wrong with you all? They’re not terrorists. These refugees need a place to go. They are human beings just like us.

We came to this country to escape the SAME kind of issues they are facing. Aren’t we all immigrants? The only ones who aren’t are the Native Americans and we slaughtered them for a spot here.

Our Statue of Liberty doesn’t say Christians only, and this IS the 21st century. Our forefathers came to this country for a better life. What if they were refused entry? If you are truly a Christian, what would Jesus do? Wasn’t HE salvation and love for ALL? Do we hearts and love our fellow man, or don’t we? How can we be selfish and not open our hearts and allow them entry and a good life like we are all blessed with? It’s not their fault their country is in the state it’s in.
Here’s the right side ( or the conservative staunch mostly Christian side)

What’s wrong with you people? You want to let MORE refugees into our country? Why, so we can take care of them too? Who’s footing this bill? Aren’t we already in debt in the trillions? Yes, we are, so guess what? Our taxes are what’s paying for these refugees. Yep, that’s right. WE ARE paying for these people.

What about all our homeless we have in this country already? A lot of whom are our military that put their lives on the line for you. Now, you want to allow more refugees into this country to take more of our jobs or even worse, to live off of us by receiving food stamps and welfare and free medical. What’s next? You want to allow them to move into our homes? Yes, and how about that? Why don’t you who are for allowing these refugees into our great country, welcome them into YOUR home. You take care of them and pay for all their needs with your personal income.

Our forefathers didn’t have this in mind when they fought and died for this country. Yes, that’s right. They fought and died, not you and not all these refugees that we are continually allowing to come here. And yes, it may not say Christians only on the Statue of Liberty, but that’s what they meant when they built the country. It was for religious freedom, but the religion was Christianity, which is now getting lost because of all these other religions trying to take over our country. Hell, I barely hear anyone speaking English anymore.

Our forefathers we’re proud to learn English and proud to be a part of this country and blend in with our ways and beliefs. Now, all these refugees do is bring their baggage with them and refuse to become a part of our culture at all. Our forefathers were citizens of this country and they ALL contributed and fought in our wars no matter where they were from. They didn’t expect to be taken care of by the government.

By the way, Native Americans may have been the first here, but they were not from here originally either.
Well, there you have it. I’m sure I missed comments both sides would say, but you get the gist of it. Does it change anything? Does it make one side more right or wrong? Probably not, but if you’re somewhat intelligent and reasonable, I think you may be able to see both sides. Maybe before we mouth off about what’s right, we should close our mouths, open our minds, and seriously consider everything before forming an opinion.

While the majority of us speak with our hearts immediately, we tend to forget there are consequences to this, and even though the heart feels, it needs to realize it need not be blind to everything else.

A “Pen Name” to be or not to be? That is a good question.

As a writer, and thankfully, now as a published author, I’ve been wrestling with my choice of whether I should have used a pen name under which to write and publish novels. Many of the other authors I’ve met recently whether in person or by Facebook seem to use a name different from their own. Even my husband was concerned and wanted me to use a pen name. Another author mentioned to us that it helps to keep away the crazy people, though I can’t imagine why a crazy person would really be that interested in moi!

Anyway, I decided against this idea and used my real name. After all, I thought, I know a lot of people who know me by my real name. If I change it, wouldn’t it be harder to get attention for my work? Of course, everyone I would tell about my book, I’d have to give them the pen name anyway so they could find it, right?

Still, my author acquaintances reminded me that you never know if you may come across someone that isn’t all there (obviously they meant mentally), and that I should take precautions. I figured it wouldn’t matter if I had a Pen name or not. If someone wants to find you badly enough, with today’s technology and some computer geniuses who are in the “dark net”? I think they call it or maybe it’s “dark web”, I’m not sure, but with their skills, I believe they can find you no matter what. I doubt changing your name would do much to discourage them. My daughter, who’s in the publishing field as well, confirmed this. Thus, my additional reasons for keeping my name.

Unfortunately, now that I’ve finally had my first book published, I still feel slightly exposed being out in the public eye a bit more. Whether or not it really would have protected me in some way by using a Pen name, I’m starting to wonder if I should have taken the advice of my author friends and used a name other than my own. I guess I won’t know the answer to this until much later when I see how, if at all, having books out there published with the real me affects me. My hope is that it doesn’t, at least not in a negative way.

Book Review for Harlan Coben’s “Promise Me”

I like this book, and I like Myron. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of the Myron series.

I’ve read some of the reviews already here, and it still amazes me that some people write them as if they are the end all and be all of book reviews. First of all, I hate it when someone rehashes the entire plot before they get to their opinion … Waste of time. Second of all, we all need to remember that these reviews are subjective. It’s your opinion, not the only correct answer to 2 x 2.

With that off my chest, I can continue. I FEEL the book was entertaining. It was a fun read and hard to put down. One person wrote that it wasn’t plausible because teenagers wouldn’t run away or go out to a party without telling their parents or something to that effect. LOL! Sorry, but in this case, there is definitely a right and wrong, and you are wrong. Maybe your daughter didn’t do that (mine didn’t either) but yes, many, many, many do. Thinking they do not puts you living in Utopia. I’m not trying to be rude … Just stating fact. Everything Mr. Coben wrote was plausible enough. A fiction book does have to take some liberties … It’s fiction for goodness sake. That’s what makes it fun and interesting–takes us out of our world for a bit. I, personally like that. I don’t need 100% accurate. Again, that may be opinion.

As for the ending, I read the reviews where it said it was a shocker,, total surprise. I guessed it correctly, and not because it was easy to guess. Maybe Mr. Coben and I think alike, or maybe my mind works like a twisted, crazy person … I’d like to think the former. Whatever the case, “Promise Me” was well written, exciting, and the characters very likable, even Myron’s best friend. I hope he’s with him in the other books.

PS if you are a Sci-fy or Dystopian fan, this may not be for you. We should stick to the genre we like, unless we have an open mind or just love it all!

Retirement or Bust

My husband and I have been discussing retirement quite often lately. We love our home now–our neighborhood, our neighbors, and our town. We even found out our town is ranked as one of the best 50 towns in America to reside by Time Magazine. That’s an amazing feat if you consider just how many towns there are in this country. Our children grew up here and still have friends they met here. This is the place they consider home … the only one they know.

So, why, you may ask, are we talking about moving from here and finding a new home to live out our retirement years? For the same reason many other residents have left–the high taxes in the state of Connecticut. This state charges taxes on Social Security benefits and on pensions and the taxes are high. Now, I’m aware there are other states that also follow suit and charge taxes on the same retirement income as Connecticut, but there are others that do not.

I’m not going to go into the entire list of which states do and don’t, and which ones only charge a portion of your retirement, and which states don’t on Social Security and do on pensions, etc. … the list is long and complicated. But suffice it to say, our state of Connecticut taxes on everything and they are one of the highest. According to WalletHub, Connecticut is ranked the fourth highest state for taxes including the District of Columbia. It is 31 percent higher than the national average.

To this day, I don’t understand what happened to this state. When my husband and I first moved here, there was no state income tax. Then a governor was elected, (and I don’t need to mention names–if you want to know that’s what Google is for) who started a state income tax to reign in the deficit. He also said spending by the state needed to be cut; it was out of control. We have two major casinos in this state which bring in more revenue, something the state didn’t originally have at that time.

Now, the state’s deficit is larger, (though according to our now governor we don’t have a deficit), we still get enormous amounts of tax money from the casinos; we still have the state income tax, and high property taxes in our towns, and an increase of sales tax within the last year or so. Our gas tax is 59.26, higher only in California at 60.75 and Hawaii at 63.50. Of course, everything is higher in Hawaii because it’s imported These are the reasons we are discussing where to move when my husband retires in the next few years.

I began noticing every year around May/June, houses were going on the market for sale. I assumed this was because its the right time to sell … the weather is nice and summer is at hand. It wasn’t until I personally knew two of the people who put their home on the market that my reasoning was incorrect. They weren’t selling their homes specifically because of weather, though it helped. They chose this time of year because their youngest child was graduating from high school and they were getting the heck out of this state. Why? The taxes are too high, retirement money is taxed, and the large businesses that the state has are moving out due to high taxes. As for the gun manufacturers, none of them want to be associated with Connecticut anymore, but due to financial restraints along with a few other reasons, they can’t leave at this time. The gun control initiative bring pushed by the present governor certainly isn’t helping matters. Revenue losses from businesses departing the state is another issue of why higher taxes are needed.

Some of you may agree with our governor about gun control. Personally, I do not, but that’s a debate for another time. As for this state, that’s a death sentence, no pun intended. Connecticut is or was the largest manufacturer of guns. These businesses have brought revenue to the state since 1797. Obviously, if we are for gun control, this isn’t the state for them to do business. As it is, their revenues are down. Where does the money come from when the state loses revenue? You guessed it, from us, the residents.

So, yes, my husband and I, like a lot of others we know, are looking for a less expensive and more retirement friendly place to live. If the taxes weren’t devastating to us or we had an inordinate amount of money like some people who live in the southern end of our great state, we would stay. Instead of our conversations being about where to move, we’d be talking about what to do with our house to make it retirement friendly, or maybe even consider buying a smaller house closer to the border of New York where our children reside.

Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Hell, he was certainly right. I wonder what he’d think about the number of items we pay taxes on today and the rate of these taxes!

My best wishes and blessings being sent your way.

Drones–A different version of Peeping Toms?

Most of us have likely heard about these newest flying objects, drones. When we hear this word, we think of high-tech surveillance as used by the military. It’s most likely where we first heard of them. Television programs use them as part of their plots, often. We are familiar with them, but only in these ways, right?

Wrong. Drones have now integrated into society as computers and lasers have before. Some of you may be too young, but computers were massive at one time and were only used in businesses. Smaller versions were eventually made, but were still used for business purposes only. Now, almost everyone, at least in the United States, have personal computers in their home, and more than one. Lasers, though not as prolific, are available to the consumer as well.

This is what’s starting to happen with drones. On a smaller scale than a military drone, personal ones are now available to purchase. These drones are controlled by a remote and work in a similar manner. Drones used in the military are used to spy on others from a distance. Personal drones are being used for the same purpose, but on a smaller scale.

Let’s face it … No one needs to be spying on their neighbors or anyone else, but it’s happening. Some will say their drone is a toy and they are flying it around by remote just like they fly an airplane or helicopter by remote control. It’s a toy, and that’s how they’re using it, but is this true? No, it’s not for two reasons. The first being the the drone comes with a camera and the second, people who own them have been caught flying it over a person’s house and into their backyard.

It used to be when we had a private backyard we felt secure in it and its’ offer of privacy. Some of us intentionally make our yards private for a reason; we don’t want our neighbors or passerby’s spying on us or even accidentally having a view. When a drone is flying overhead, it basically deletes the privacy aspect. You can say you literally have a pepping Tom in that drone. Of course we know it’s not the drones fault, but the person behind the drone; the operator of the remote. It’s no difference than that same person walking up to your window, or fence in this case, and peeking through it. Is this acceptable to you if you haven’t invited that person?

What if you decide you want to sunbathe in your backyard sans clothes–or maybe it’s your teenage daughter that is nude sunbathing? How would that make you feel? Would you think having this flying peeping Tom is acceptable, or would you be annoyed and want to destroy it?

I believe if we personally experienced this invasion, we’d probably all feel the same way, especially if we were caught doing something personal that we don’t want the neighbors to view. Our home is the only place left that affords us our privacy. Now with these drones that are available for purchase, we are starting to lose the last place in our very public lives (with microphones and recording devices, cell phones) to have aninimity. And think about it … If someone gets good enough at flying these objects, could the next step be having these flying peeping Tom’s behaving like the actual peeping Tom and hover around the windows of your home where maybe they see what’s happening on the inside? For all I know, this has happened to someone somewhere already! Where do we draw the line?

RIGHT VS WRONG…Which is Right

You hear people all the time … That’s right, or that’s wrong. Well, which is it and who’s correct?

There are the standards — it’s wrong to steal anything from another; it’s wrong to hurt others intentionally in any way; it’s wrong to kill; it’s wrong to lie; it’s wrong to cheat on a mate. Yes, there are many more, but you get the idea. We all have an opinion as to what is right or what is wrong.

You’d think those I mentioned above are simple. Yes, it’s wrong to do all those things. There are people who would disagree with you, though. It’s okay to lie isn’t it to protect someone’s feelings? It’s okay to take “that” because they ripped us off in the first place; I only took back what is rightfully mine; or my family is starving. I only took that little loaf of bread to feed my children. Cheating? Well, my spouse cheated, so now I can. It’s only fair.

We can justify anything if we really want to, which means there will always be a difference of opinion. So what boils down to right or wrong really is how you look at the situation, right? Again, wrong. Because wrong is wrong, isn’t it? But in whose opinion? Does the majority rule? I suppose when it comes to the law, they are always right. If you get a ticket, it’s your fault, isn’t it? Actually, not always. So, can this question ever be answered?

It’s the same with books, movies, songs, TV Shows, even clothing. Someone will tell you they hate that movie they just saw and you say you loved it. They will actually tell you you’re wrong and they’ll proceed to inform you as to why you’re wrong. It’s the same with a book they’ve just read. They’ll say, “Oh, wasn’t that the worst book you’ve ever read?” And you’ll say, “Why, no, I loved it.” So who’s right and who’s wrong?

People will actually fight over this and try to convince you to see their side. It always amazes me when people have an opinion about something it automatically turns into a who’s right or wrong argument. I think if we all just took a moment to calm down and think, we’d realize most things in this world are not 100 percent one way or another. If we could just decide to stop insulting another because they don’t see it our way, we’d all be a lot happier. A difference of opinion is just that, and unless it’s completely in color like picking up a weapon and hurting another, not for protection, but just because you felt like it, I don’t know too many individuals who’d be totally on your side.