Image Credits: HD Wallpapers Inn
1. Get my driver’s license. This has been my New Year’s Resolution for over 5 years straight now. Maybe this will be the year I actually do it…
2. Get a car. Because what good is having a driver’s license if you don’t have a car? I’d love to get something cute like a Mini Cooper…
Image Credits: SportsCarsWP
Or maybe I can dream a little bigger and end up with my dream car a 2000 purple metallic BMW…
Image Credits: Auto Gespot
3. Get an ATM card Having plenty of money in the bank is cool and all but I have trouble getting to the bank before it closes especially with work. My life would be so much easier if I had an ATM card. I really don’t know why I don’t have one…
4. Read at least 32 books. I read about 23 in 2013. It’s just a few more. I really love to read. My goal was to read 100 last year, but I think that was a little too ambitious…
Image Credits: NewYorker.com
5. Read a textbook from cover-to-cover. Another resolution I’m borrowing from 2013. I am about 100 pages into one now actually. I plan on finishing it in 2014 and maybe starting another one.
6. Read the Bible from cover-to-cover. I bought a new Bible over the summer and have been working on this, but haven’t really gotten very far yet. I’d like to complete this in 2014 at least once.
Image Credits: Amazon
7. Stay single for the whole year. I vowed to do this in 2013 but then I kind of fell in love with Casey and realized maybe a long distance relationship wasn’t completely out of the question. We met in real life and he broke my heart three weeks later. In 2014 I’m going to work on getting completely over him (I promise to stop stalking…) and just enjoy being single.
8. Lose more weight. I lost around 40 or so in 2013. I’m about 40 away from my first big goal weight and would like to lose about a total of 88 pounds. I know that realistically I won’t drop all 88 in a year, but I’d be happy if I could just drop another 40 honestly.
Image Credits: WebMD.com
9. Donate at least $1,000 to charity. Why not put my money to good use? I like helping people and donating to good causes.
Image Credits: LovingMyNeighbor.org
10. Refrain from getting my hair cut. This one will be really hard since my hair’s already starting to get long and annoy the heck out of me. I’m trying my best to let it keep growing because I really want to donate it to locks of love. You have to donate a minimum of 10 inches. I hate short hair on me though.Shoulder length is about as short as I’ll go. I need the length of my hair to pretty much double. I might reach this goal in less than a year in which case cutting it will be acceptable, but I ONLY want to cut it if its long enough for locks of love.
Image Credits: SimplyGloria.com
11.Edit/Revise Escape And Submit to Publishers. I finished my young adult novel, Escape in September. Well, the first draft anyway. I know it still needs A LOT of work done to it. I haven’t even looked at it since I finished it lol. I do want to fix it up and send it to publishers though. I should probably get on that soon…
12. Write In My Journal Everyday. I really need to get back to doing this but realistically I’ll probably break this resolution within a week…I’m still working on detailing aspects of my life that happened like two years ago…
Image Credit: UND.edu
What do you guys think about my resolutions for 2014? Do you have any advice on how I can work towards keeping them? What are your resolutions for 2014?
Remember when Christmas break was actually called Christmas break instead of the all-inclusive “Winter Break”? Or how about when you could freely wish someone a “Merry Christmas” without having to worry about offending them?
I started to notice a shift when I was in high school and the name of the annual “Christmas Dance” got changed to the much safer “Winter Formal”. It seems like such a small, insignificant kind of change, but it means so much more.
Christianity is being censored all across the nation, and as Sarah Palin discusses in her novel, Good Tidings and Great Joy it’s only about to get worst. Other religious groups, atheists, and the liberal left are constantly pushing to have Christianity removed from not only Christmas, but well, everything.
As I Christian I have seen this happen many times recently. It’s frustrating. I feel as though I cannot freely discuss my religion on most occasions without being “wrong” or “offending” someone. It’s perfectly okay to be exclusive or to poke fun of Christians, yet it’s wrong for Christians to be well, Christians. Double standard, much?
Palin paints a picture of what’s to come in the future if we don’t stand up for our Constitutional rights and defend the Christian views of Christmas. She imagines that by the year 2028 when she visits her grandson at college Christian programs will be removed from campus for not agreeing to strict inclusive terms set forth by the university. Funny how a university (or anyone, really) that preaches about inclusion can be so exclusive to the Christian religion. She further imagines Christmas programs that are 100% removed from the Christian religion and focus on other elements including the commercialized views, or what at times seems even more horrifying, strictly scientific views of Christmas.
It can be easy to dismiss Palin’s predictions as being absurd or unrealistic, but the reality is all of her predictions have already been happening all across the nation. I chuckled a bit when reading about how she imagines by the year 2028 the religious freedom group would begin preaching about Saturnalia and encouraging individuals to remember the original Pagan roots of Christmas and even begin to accuse Christians of stealing the holiday. This sounds a bit insane, but truth be told, they are doing that. Right here, right now.
I grew up in the town of Pitman, NJ. It’s known for being a traditional, fairly conservative small town. A majority of the town is Christian or Catholic. They have held signs across towns from the Knights of Columbus for year that say “Keep Christ in Christmas”. No one’s ever really had a problem with them or at least never mentioned being offended by them in town as far as I know. However, the religious freedom group finds it offensive. Last year they tried to sue the town over the signs. This year they gave up with the lawsuit, but instead chose to purchase an advertisement that reads “Keep Saturn in Saturnalia”.
This is exactly the crazy nonsense Palin fears will happen in the future. However, I must commend Pitman on being less than accepting of the sign. I don’t exactly support the torching of the sign (yes, this is actually happening) but I appreciate hearing that people are still trying to stand up for their Christian beliefs and to protect the real meaning of Christmas (which I do not believe is the Saturnalia view, no matter how hard the religious freedom group tries to make us believe that…).
I know that people will be reading this blog post thinking I’m unaccepting of other religions and cultures. That is not true at all. I am accepting of all different kinds of people. I have a very diverse group of friends. I believe we should be accepting of others. But I feel like there are double standards. Palin wrote in her book about colleges and universities spending thousands of dollars to create foot washing stations to support the beliefs of Muslims and they are also rearranging gym schedules and times to allow females their own individual hours if they don’t feel comfortable exercising in front of men. All of this okay, but it’s unacceptable to wish someone a Merry Christmas or to call the break from school in the winter “Christmas Break”. Double standard, much?
I agree wholeheartedly with the views Palin expresses in Good Tidings and Great Joy. I know Palin gets a lot of slack from others, but I always found her to be a brilliant woman. She’s fearless, and in this novel it really shows. She says what she honestly thinks and feels and I truly believe many Americans, especially Christians, feel the same way even if they are afraid to admit it. Why are they afraid? Because they don’t want to offend someone? Sure, it’s important to be nice to people and to never deliberately offend them, but when you can’t so much as wish someone a Merry Christmas without worrying about offending them, then that’s a problem.
Our constitutional rights have granted us free speech and freedom of religion. Sadly, the liberal lefts are choosing to ignore the constitution and strip us from these freedoms. It is now our job to join the likes of Palin and others who value and respect their constitutional rights to protect not only the true meaning of Christmas, but our basic rights to free speech and freedom of religion. These constitutional rights are for EVERYONE. Not just non-Christians, as the liberal lefts would like you to believe.
If anyone is feeling generous and would like to give me a really great Christmas gift this year, I’m accepting donations through a Go Fund Me page for new hearing aids. I started this fund a little over a month ago and have raised $105 so far. I’m off to a great start, but I still need to raise quite a bit more money. Hearing aids are expensive. My new set is estimated to cost a little over $4,000 (and that’s with a credit I’ll get for trading my current ones in!). I set my fundraising goal for $4,000.
As it is, I don’t expect to have the money to purchase the new hearing aids until about March after I file for taxes. I’m hoping to get them sooner. They will help me tremendously. A few weeks ago I had a hearing appointment with a hearing test. My hearing hasn’t changed too much. I still have about a 90% hearing loss across the board. I didn’t get any of the words right when she tested me for clarity. This has always been my biggest issue and with the new hearing aids my clarity should be a lot better. It will never be perfect of course, but whereas I normally have about 0% clarity, the new hearing aids should be able to increase it to about 35%.
To further explain my issues of clarity…most of the time when I hear things it’s like hearing through a clogged straw. I hear noises. Sometimes it’s VERY LOUD. But I can’t distinguish what it is. It just sounds like noise to me. Example – hearing songs and not knowing what they are, who sings them, or how they are supposed to sound. Or hearing someone talk and not being sure who is talking (if I can’t see them) or being able to tell whether or not they are talking to me or someone nearby. My life gets really awkward at times due to my lack of clarity. lol.
My new hearing aids will be coming from The Miracle Ear foundation. I’ve been with them since I was 17. Actually, when I first got involved with them I was issued a free pair of hearing aids due to lack of funds/resources and a dire need for new ones. My services with them have been great. After the initial first pair you typically have to upgrade every 3-5 years. I upgraded about a year ago. The pair I have now have always just kind of been okay. Technology has improved and the new ones are better gear for my types of hearing loss though. The ones I am looking to upgrade to I believe are called the Clear Vation.
Image Credits: Miracle Ear
The Clear Vation hearing aids are, in the words of my audiologist “AMAZING!”. They offer the clarity as I already discussed, are a great deal smaller, and what’s that…they have a WIRE instead of tubes to connect the mold to the device. Why is this so special? My ears get a lot of moisture in them. More than average (no one is really sure why.). When the moisture builds up it gets inside the tubes. The moisture then causes the tubes to shrink and harden. Think of the tubes like a straw. When straws get clogged they don’t work as well. A more narrow straw can get clogged more easily, making it harder to use. With my hearing aid tubes when they harden and shrink it becomes harder for the sound to come through and I can’t hear as well. I typically have to get new hearing aid tubes put in once a month. It’s a bit annoying to have to make monthly hearing appointments just for this reason. With the new hearing aids with wires this will no longer be a problem.
If any of you guys would like to donate to my cause you can by clicking this link: http://www.gofundme.com/506cvs . I can’t thank you enough for your donations. Every little bit helps; no donation is too small.
Thank you all for taking the time to read this, share it, and/or donate. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
Image Credits: Book Cereal
I recently blogged about the Top 5 Biggest Differences Between the Orange Is The New Black Show and the Book, but with such a great and powerful novel I feel like it deserves it’s own separate post reviewing it.
Piper Kerman was no criminal. She was not a dangerous woman. She was just a young adult who made some really, really bad decisions. Did she deserved to be punished for her actions? Absolutely. Did she deserve to be sentenced to a year in women’s prison for a crime committed 10 years ago? Not at all. But that is exactly what happened and what happens to many women everyday in the US.
I’ve always been anti drugs and anti legalization of drugs including marijuana. And I still hold those beliefs. But whereas before I believed that drug addicts deserved to be confined to prison, I’m not so sure I believe that anymore. Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black definitely helped me to reevaluate my beliefs.
Prison is a place that no one ever wants to be. You are completely blocked from the outside world. That seems to be the biggest punishment. You are alone with fellow inmates and your thoughts. Yes, you can have visitors — but they must be approved, your time will be short, and you can’t so much as give them a hug most of the time. This seems to be the harshest punishment in prison. Not that prison is a walk in the park.
Living in prison is hard. It’s supposed to be. The food is terrible (unless you’re lucky and there’s extra vegetables at the salad bar that day…then it’s almost manageable), you’re expected to do odd jobs you’re not qualified for (Piper was an electrician…), and you’re treated like a completely worthless, inhuman…thing. Not even a person.
I think that there are people out there in the world that deserve this kind of punishment. Child molesters (although I honestly don’t think prison is enough punishment for them…the death penalty sounds best to me), rapist, murders, etc. These are true criminals who do not belong in society.
The women detailed in Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black are not murderers. They are not rapists. They are not child molestors.
Honestly, they are not that much different from you and I. They just made poor decisions.
Piper was a drug smuggler. She bought in illegal drugs to and from the US for a VERY short time. Actually all she did was handle money. She was convicted 10 years after committing the crime. She was living a completely different life at the time, free of drugs and any other crime. She worked very hard and was in a faithful relationship with a man who really loved and took care of her.
Piper’s inmates were drug addicts mainly, who were serving very long sentences for possession or violation of probation. They needed help for their addictions. Rehab, therapy, inpatient, outpatient, something that could actually help them. Prison confined them and made it difficult (though not always impossible) for them to obtain drugs…but it didn’t correct the problem. Many of them ended up back in prison right after being released, mainly because while they were treated like criminals (which they weren’t, they were just people who made poor decisions…) they never actually received the help they so desperately needed.
Then there’s other inmates with even more mild crimes. Piper talks of one who was serving a very long sentence (I believe it was 5 or 7 years) for Internet auction fraud. E-bay. Have you ever been ripped off of a deal? I think we all have at some point. Did the person who ripped you off go to jail for it? Probably not. They were forgiven and allowed to move on with their life. Why was this girl any different? She made poor decisions…bad mistakes. She deserved to be punished. But by punishment I mean returning the money she stole and being fined and banned from the website(s). Jail? That’s a bit harsh, unnecessary, and ineffective.
What I liked the most about Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black is that it allows you to sympathize and relate to people you’d never imagine you could sympathize and relate to. What do I have in common with a prison inmate? Actually quite a few things. I’ve made poor decisions, I’ve made mistakes. I am human. I have feelings.
America’s prisons need to be reformed. It’s no secret that they are overcrowded. I now realize why they are over-crowded. It’s not because there’s such a high rate of crime and not enough prisons to fit everyone in. It’s because most of the people in prison really don’t need to be there.
Here’s what I propose:
Release a majority of prisoners unless they are TRUE criminals (example — murderers, rapists, child molesters, terrorists, etc.)
Instead of sending drug addicts to prison, GET THEM HELP. Make them go to intense rehab/treatment facilities, counseling, etc.
Drug smugglers, those convicted for fraud and similar minor offenses should be fined. If we start fining more people and limiting the number of people we send to prison we’ll cut down the costs of operating prisons, add more money to the economy, and lower America’s overall debt and help to solve the problem with prisons being overcrowded.
I learned a lot from reading Piper Kerman’s Orange is the New Black. This book completely changed how I view prisons and inmates. I highly recommend this book — it will definitely change how you think. It made me really want to see prison reform and it made me sympathize with inmates and want to help them as an alley. These are issues I never previously cared about and never thought I would want to take action against. I always thought “you do the crime, you do the time”. Now I’m not so sure how much I support that.
Have any of you guys read this book? If so feel free to leave a comment about your thoughts!
Okay so my mom’s been a bit frustrated with me this holiday season. I have a decent full time job and if I want something I buy it. This makes it difficult for her to buy me things for Christmas…I keep buying everything on my own. She also thinks some of the gift ideas I give her or lame or stupid. She keeps saying “You never tell me what you want!”. Since I’m a smart ass I decided to post a blog post with a guide for what she can buy me for Christmas. haha.
1. Bath and Body stuff from Bath and Body Works – Okay, it doesn’t have to be bath and body works, but they’re the best. I like to buy huge orders of the stuff and I always have coupons. The signature stuff is the best deal you can buy 3 get 3 free. That’s what I always get. I have more coupons too. Ask me for them…I’ll act surprised lol. I like these in bubble bath or shower gel. Here’s the ones I’d buy for myself but I’m very flexible with this…
2. Calendars. I don’t think you can buy me too many of them. Don’t buy me the large desk ones though as it will be too big for my desk. I like the tear off ones and I could use one of those ones that you hang up for at home. I don’t really care what’s on it as long as it’s not totally lame.
3. Large post its. I use them all the time at work but they keep shrinking…
4. Something I can use to hang things up with in my cubicle. I want to hang papers onto my cubicle. I found pushpins in the office but they don’t stick through the cubicle walls very well. I’m not sure what other people do…
5. A cord to plug in my deaf ILY lamp when it comes. They told me you can buy it at like Home Depot or Lowes or something.
6. Books. I can never have too many. Here’s the ones I am most interested in:
(Really anything by Sarah Addison Allen except for Garden Spells, The Girl Who Chased The Moon, or Sugar Fairy…I have those).
(Or really any Cecelia Ahern book except for P.S. I Love You, Love, Rosie, The Gift, If You Could See Me Now, There’s No Place Like Here, and Thanks For The Memories).
7. Something fun to do. Tickets to something different, gift cards for the tea place, etc.
8. The Betty Crocker Cake Pan I Was Supposed to Get When I Was Like 16 – I believe you owe me this from past Christmases…Amazon has it.
9. Clothes I could especially use sweaters or a new white long sleeved shirt since mine is not really white anymore. I also really like this TWLOHA shirt:
7. My rings resized. I miss wearing those.
8. More charms for my bracelet. I’d really love a 7th infantry one if you could ever find it and a hashtag (number symbol). I’s like a panda as well.
8. New slippers. I really like the ones that look like uggs.
9. Pretty much anything Big Bang Theory related except for the dvds since I have them all. Sheldon and Amy are my favorite characters.
10. Frames for my diplomas.
11. Surprise me!
That’s about all I can think of. I like quirky, unique things and I like surprises. Get creative, but not too weird. I.E.-Don’t let Daddy buy me another walking cane this year lol!
Christmas can be such a wonderful time for the hearing community. Christmas songs constantly plague radio stations, children get to visit santa and read their Christmas lists, Christmas movies are always on tv, and everyone is generally so happy and full of cheer. But what happens when you are deaf? Or more specifically, what if you are a deaf child who still believes in santa, but lacks the ability to communicate their Christmas wishes to him?
Unfortunately, many deaf children may never get the chance to sit on top of Santa’s lap and read him their Christmas wish list. The Santa down at the mall is getting paid to sit their and pretend to listen to kids. That’s about it. He’s not expected to really pay attention, respond, or do much of anything but feign happiness and cheer. He’s certainly not expected to know sign language and possess the ability to effectively communicate with deaf children in most cases.
However, this year deaf children in Austin, Texas recently had the chance to receive a bit of Christmas joy that they would normally be deprived of. The Barton Creek Square Mall in Austin, Texas appears to have hired signing Santa for this holiday season and the deaf children look thrilled! Check out the video over at DeafNation.com!
Image Credits: Book Cereal
I started watching Orange is the New Black on Netflix a couple of months ago. Okay, I’ll admit it — this show was one of the main reasons why I ever signed up for Netflix to begin with. I was intrigued after hearing so much about it from everyone else. I knew it must be good. But more than that I wanted to see Madeline Brewer who plays the role of Tricia Miller. Maddie and I went to school together years ago in Pitman, NJ. I didn’t know her very well at the time, but I always knew she was talented. She was frequently cast in school plays and I remember seeing her perform in a talent show once. I was excited to see her in her first big role, and she definitely didn’t disappoint.
Image Credits: IMDB
I really loved the Netflix series and watched…
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