Thursday, May 29, 2008

the gratitude campaign

What a wonderful idea! The original site, with the story and a longer version of the movie, is at http://www.gratitudecampaign.org -
Share freely, use lots! God bless you all!

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Good News about Gas Prices

Wow! I just passed the corner gas station and saw the they have bumped up the price by 20 cents since this morning. Twenty cents a gallon! Lots of angry, frustrated people out there, aren't there? Are you one of them? Not me. (Well, not much, anyway.)

I've actually found a Silver Lining to this whole Hostage at the Gas Pump scenario. When the prices topped $3.00 a gallon, my wife and I started car pooling. Yeah, we could have done it before - she's in a clinic all day while I'm out and about at meetings, sessions, and the local coffee shop (doing this!). But we just didn't think of it. Except for the rare occasion when one of our cars was in the shop, and we had to share, we just toddled off in our separate cars, blithely ignorant of our solitude.

But, with prices up, we said why not share a ride? And guess what? We're talking more. I get to talk to her about what I have on the agenda for the day and she gets to bounce her plans off me. Then, on the way home, we find out how each others' day went while it's still fresh. Talking about the day on the way home together makes for a nice way to unwind and review. I find that when I can do this, it sort of closes all my files on the day's tasks and I can let them go at home.

Plus, since my wife doesn't have time to go out for lunch, she takes a lunch to work and eats in the break room at the clinic. Driving to work together has even encouraged us to share lunch more often. I toss a sandwich (grilled tofu and olive tapenade on rye) or a bowl of home made soup (there are so many!!!) into a bag and she takes it up with her. Then we meet in the break room. If the weather is good, we walk a few blocks around the hospital and clinic together, if it's rainy, we sit and do puzzles together just to break up the day.

I can't tell you how much closer it has made us feel to do this. We have a close relationship anyway, but after a few weeks of this, we seem to be more in tune with what's going on in each others worlds. Weekends aren't a cram session of catching up on the week, we just relax.

And just think, we'd have never done this if the gas had stayed down! Plus there's all that exercise from walking two or three times a week!

Now, don't get me wrong. I hope the prices come back down (don't hold your breath!). But until they do, finding creative ways to cope together will make it much more acceptable.

What about you? You're not wasting all these opportunities just fussing and fretting, are you? What are some ways you and your sweetheart are making the best of a tight situation? Write me at coach@stepcarefully.com and share your brilliant ideas with everyone.

Meanwhile, here are some ideas to get your brain cranking:
* candlelit dinners
* more salads (less meat!)
* storybook time for the kids at home instead of going out so much
* walk the dog around the block - meet your neighbors
* bicycles!
* go to bed early (when the kids aren't home) ; )
* put in a family garden (mega-benefits: exercise, family activity, fresh air, and free food!)
* what else???

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mobile Phone Use While Pregnant May 'Seriously Damage Baby"

Good grief! A brand new study by American, British, and Russian universities and scientists has found, among other results, that mobile phone use is "not much lower than the risk to children's health from tobacco or alcohol".

What does this mean for soon-to-be moms and stepparents? A couple of things: first, damage to unborn children could be from radiation incurred during the use of the mobile device while mom's pregnant (so the Russians say). And second, the damage could also come from how parenting patterns are affected by mobile phone use, which is the American's contention. The Brits are just confused by the whole study.

Let's look at these factors and see how they may affect your stepfamily. First, regarding the radiation: there have been, for years, alarms going off about the increased microwave radiation which is the result of the rapid growth of cell phone towers across the world. Which only makes sense of a sort. Think of what happens in a microwave oven. High frequency (micro-) waves passing through the food causes the very molecules of the food matter to vibrate, which causes friction of the molecules together, which causes heat, thus cooking the food from the inside out. Cell phone towers send out microwave frequencies with the telephone signals to any and all receivers in range. Cell phones can receive these signals pretty much anywhere these days, which means the microwaves are present pretty much everywhere, right? So, if the phone is in your pocket or purse and it receives the signal (not only of an incoming call, but to update the time and to keep authorities aware of your global position), the receiver is focusing the incoming waves, which must be passing through you to get to the phone. Now, what do the microwaves do to a raw egg placed in the oven? What are they doing to your body? What about a baby inside the person holding the phone? That's sort of what the Russians are saying may be happening to the baby's brain.

The Americans, however in defense for the highly profitable mobile phone industry and convenience above all, say No, that couldn't be the problem, technology is our friend, it could never hurt us. So the problem must be the blame of the mother. (Since, as much of American thought turns these days, parents are the real problem every child must endure.) They posit that Mom, by using her cell phone, is neglecting her child's demands for attention.

Anything there? Well, maybe. How many times have you found yourself distracted by the ringing of that infernal, ever-present phone? We don't even get away from them on vacation or while playing with the kids anymore. And how many times do you see moms in traffic talking on the phone while driving and trying to keep an eye on kids in the back seat? Not you. I mean other people.

This begs the question - how much multi-tasking can even the most efficient mom do without someone suffering from lapses in attention? If your friend is engaged in a rapid-fire discussion with her buddy via the cell phone, how much quality time is junior getting from her? And if that's true of her own flesh and blood, how much easier is it to let her mind wonder from her husband's kids? (... his mind to wonder from his wife's kids?)

And what does that teach our kids about their importance to us versus the importance of the intrusive Phone? Hey! Could that be the reason so many kids today can't be without their pacifier phone? Have they learned from us that the most important relationships are at the other end of a wireless phone?

So where does that leave us? With the Brits, in confusion, I guess. Unless we want to really take a hard look at our behavior and our attitudes toward our families. Maybe we should take this whole damage-to-the-kids study as a wake up call (so to speak) that we need to switch the bloody things off every once in awhile and focus on more important relationships much closer at hand.

"Teach your children well ... and feed them on your dreams," as Crosby and company said. Teach them how to parent fully. So they can repay you someday with the same love you give them.

God bless y'all,
Bobby C

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