Why Would Anyone Sacrifice?

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A favorite hymn in our church includes the line, “Sacrifice brings forth the blessings of Heaven.”[1] It seems a strange thing to think that sacrifice brings blessings.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines sacrifice as:

: the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone

: an act of killing a person or animal in a religious ceremony as offering to please a god

: a person or animal that is killed in a sacrifice[2]

How will any of these kinds of sacrifice bring blessings of Heaven? Few religions demand a living sacrifice to be offered to please a god in today’s world. More frequently members of society will be found giving up something. Why would anyone give up something precious?

From the beginning of our world, sacrifice has been a part of life, even when it has not included the death of a person or animal. Eve, and then Adam, ate of the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, and were rejected from the Garden of Eden. They gave up a paradise for thorns, thistles, and problems. Because they did, they also gained the blessing of children and family,

Women today continue to sacrifice independence, sleep, relaxation, and often health to give birth to and raise children. Life is never the same after a child becomes part of the family, even before birth. Sacrifice of life and health for children brings blessings unknown by those who have none.

Men sacrifice time to participate in more enjoyable activities when they leave home and family for employment. Fathers often miss the sweet times in a child’s life as they grow. Taking on responsibility of wife and family often removes the opportunity to play or relax as they did when single.

If you look, you can find stories of people of all ages who have determined to help a person or an organization. They give time to help, work to raise money, and write letters and make phone calls to change laws. People sacrifice their time, their money, their good name, their influence, and their things to help a person or a cause.

No animals are sacrificed or burned to please God, but hearts, minds, and attitudes are freely given.

What do you sacrifice? Why would you do that?

[1] LDS Hymns, 27

[2] Mirriam-Webster Dictionary; on-line edition

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Abortionists Want it Both Ways

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They can’t have it both ways! The inconsistencies of the argument make no sense.

The arguments plied by those supporting abortion make no sense. They argue there is no problem to “dispose” of an unwanted pregnancy. Yet, when confronted with a murder of a pregnant woman, the perpetrator is charged with two murders, the mother and the child.

Arguments for abortion claim that life doesn’t begin until a specific date. They argue it is but a “blob of cells” with little viability. Until a “fetus” is viable, they claim it has no rights.

It has been proven unborn children develop a heartbeat at five weeks and fingernails nine weeks after conception. The brain is growing and the infant can taste at ten weeks. By thirteen weeks, the body is fully developed and often sucks its thumb, and smiles by sixteen weeks.

Unborn children live, with separate DNA and all the necessary body parts. They just need a mother to carry them while they grow big enough to survive away from them.

Unborn children are individuals and deserve the same protection in law as a child after birth. Murder is murder, regardless of age or birth status.

Will Your Children Be Responsible Adults?

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A basic law of physics states “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” If you push on a something, it will move, or push back. A ball will roll; a wall will push back and hold you up.

The same law applies to interpersonal actions. If you do something, there will always be a response, maybe not something you expected, but there will be a reaction. No action occurs in a vacuum.

When dealing with people, our actions can sometimes be misread, with others feeling everything from humor to anger. It would be easy to suggest that we have no responsibility for the  reactions of others to our actions, but this is not so.

If you smile, you will often receive a smile back, but not always. Sometimes the person you smile at will frown at you or growl. Usually, though, you can expect a smile.

If you hit someone, you can expect two or three things to happen. The person who was hit may cry or curse or be startled. He may fall or wobble. Most likely, he will hit you back.

From the beginning of time, Adam and Eve were given the right to make choices, to act as they chose. They were also held responsible. They chose to eat the forbidden fruit and were not allowed to continue to live in Eden. Their lives were changed for themselves and all their posterity.

It has continued to be the same since then. People make choices and must be responsible for the consequences of those actions. Focus on seeking wealth at the expense of family will distance them until the love and closeness is gone. A choice to be honest in your actions and pay your bills allows one to have good credit and trust from others.

Children must be taught responsibility for their behaviors. Children who do not receive this instruction become difficult to live with. They believe the world owes them a living. Nothing is their responsibility, the fault belongs to others.

Children have a right to learn to be decent adults. Though difficult, parents are expected to ensure their children have opportunities to learn responsibility. If they are not taught, society will suffer from more adults who blame others and expect special attention. For some it is too late. Some may learn. Please teach your children.

Join the Semicolon Project–Save a Life!

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In April the mental health community is celebrating the semicolon project. This project hopes to save lives of those with depression, anxiety, or who have contemplated suicide.

Why semicolon? The period ends the sentence, the semicolon suggests there is more still to say and do. Those who struggle with self-harming and/or contemplating suicide need to remember the events of today are not the end of the story. Rather than using a period, add a semicolon.

If you know someone who struggles, or if you are the one who struggles, remember the trials and problems of today are not the end, there is always more to your story.

All stories, including life stories, include challenges and struggles to make them interesting. The story doesn’t end in the middle of the struggle, it would ruin the story. The main character of the story grows and learns as they are challenged.

The same is true of the story of your life. No one lives a “happily ever after” live, who would want to, it would be boring!

We learn as we struggle and we grow as we confront challenges. It starts at birth. Little children fight and struggle to hold their heads up, to crawl, to walk, to eat, to be self-sufficient individuals.

The challenges don’t end as we reach a certain age, they only change. We have learned to walk, to eat without making a huge mess, and to take care of ourselves, but there continues to be challenges to face, trials to overcome. They make our lives interesting and help us to be better.

Even after the time comes that we are called home to live in another existence, we will face challenges as we improve our lives, to become better and grow to be the best we can be, to borrow an Army quote.

Join the semicolon project, for yourself and for your loved ones. Do all you can to prevent the premature periods in the lives of people we love!

Together, we can save a life, or many lives!

How Can Artists Protect Themselves?

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In 1998 the Digital Millennium Copyright Act or DMCA was signed into law to protect intellectual property. The main thrust of the act is to protect copyrighted works particularly in connection to technology—the internet and other digital media. If intellectual property is illegally copied, the website must remove it immediately, and publishers of intellectual property cannot distribute stolen or copied works.[1]

All this sounds like a great idea to me, as I am working on my first novel. Those of us who participate in the arts have an underlying fear that our work will be copied or otherwise stolen and used for the financial gain of another, to our loss.

To comply with this law, a DMCA Takedown Notice is sent to the site in which intellectual property is copied, demanding that the offending copied material is removed, or taken down. If the content belongs to one person and is claimed by another, the owner of the content can legally request it be removed, and expect that it be removed.[2]

I read something scary about this today. A novelist recently had her book blocked from Amazon and Smashwords because someone had sent in a DMCA notice, and as these companies obey the law, her work was removed.

The problem is, it was her work and the DMCA complaint was sent by someone who had cheated, lying that this work was not hers, for some unknown reason. Perhaps this person wanted to ruin her life, or steal her money. Perhaps she wanted to blackmail the author.

The purpose of this false accusation is not as important to me as the fact that her work was claimed by another, though it had been copyrighted. And the simple fact that it was copyrighted had no bearing on the take down. It is all one person’s word against the others—a classic “he said, she said” problem.

I’ve read a lot by other authors who worry that their work will be stolen and reprinted and sold on other sites, with the benefit of the sale going to others rather than the actual author. I see multiple examples of copyright infringement on photos and paintings, as well as music. This international Act was passed to protect the artist who created the property.

What do we do when someone uses the act written to protect us as a weapon against us? Can I share any of my work with another for help as a Beta Reader if I always worry about theft? How can I share even a small portion of my work in progress if I fear someone will copy it and then claim the total as theirs?

This is a problem for all artists, not just authors. What do we do?

What would you do? Do you have suggestions for me, an unpublished, yet, author? How should I handle this huge problem?

Please respond if you have a suggestion.

[1] Copyright Office Summary

[2] DMCA: Protect Your Content website

How Long Do You Want to Live?

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Life extends easily into the eighth decade and it is not unusual to hear of one living past 100. Over our history, life expectancy has varied dramatically. In the recent history of the last two or three hundred year, men and women were lucky to live to be 50 or 60.

Women especially struggled to survive through the births of their many children, facing unsanitary conditions and the resulting infections and fevers. Men didn’t fare much better, facing hunting accidents and war injuries with less than sophisticated medical knowledge and technology.

Even in the last century, accidents were fatal. Stories of men or women burning to death from accidents resulting from kerosene lamps are not unusual, nor are stories of death and injury caused by other accidents.

The question is: how long do you really want to live?

In the far past, it was common for people to live much more than 100 years. Abraham lived 365 years; Methuselah was the longest lived man on record, living 969 years. Adam and Eve lived well into their ninth century. That is much longer than I want to live!

Our lives are easier than theirs; we have all the benefits of electricity and electronics. Easy travel and rapid communication join with near effortless work in the home, food production, and other occupations, especially in comparison to lives just a century ago.

Our lives are more difficult in some ways. Consider the intensity of the challenges of hate, immorality, and evil that inundate us. It is difficult to get through a day without facing scantily clad people caught up in fierce expressions of lust, unless you stay in bed with the television off. Violence, hatred, pornography, abuse, immorality, and many more symptoms of a failing society abound, throughout the world.

Ancient days were not much better. None of the modern conveniences were available. All the work we depend on electricity to do was done manually, often by servants or slaves. Cleanliness would have been difficult. Medical knowledge was adequate, but certainly unable for its practitioners to cure or prevent infections and diseases.

Worse, battles between men were hand-to-hand, face your enemy, and slash him to bits before being destroyed. Women whose husbands and sons went to war could only hope and pray theirs would be the lucky ones to return without injury, if they returned at all.

Women who lived in those early could expect to be attacked and raped without protection of husbands, fathers, or their hired guards. Most men in nearly all ages believed in their right to have sexual relations with about any woman, while holding their wives and daughters to a stricter standard of sexual purity.

Violence and evil of every kind surrounded these people—much like it does today.

Eve struggled in her time in learning to survive a new, uninhabited world. Everything was new requiring thought and effort to overcome the problems, often failing and needing to try many different solutions before finding one that worked. She, too, faced the grief too many of her children who listened and succumbed to the voice of evil.

No, living for multiple centuries is not enticing. Seventy or eighty years is more than enough for any of us!

Refuse to Check the “Ethnicity” Box!

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Each time children register for school, or someone completes employment paperwork, there is an obnoxious little box quietly demanding to be checked, demanding self-revelation: What is your ethnicity or race?

Ethnicity? I know, some think it is Hispanic, or Black, or Eskimo, or Native American, Asian, or some other “color” people. Aren’t we all people? Don’t we all live here in America? What difference does it make where our ancestors came from?

Yes, money is added to a school or organization from the government if sufficient numbers of these “Ethnicities” are included.

All this sounds a bit biased. It has become almost shameful to check that box hiding on the bottom: Caucasian. My check doesn’t add money to coffers of the organization, or give them needed diversity.

Each time I see this box, I want to write in “Human”. Most American families can trace their heritage back to many different countries around the world. But the nasty little box doesn’t want to know your family arrived in America sometime in the 1600s, making you as much an American as about anyone else, except Native Americans. Many can follow their ancestry into multiple countries and more than one continent.

But, look! That naughty little box doesn’t offer “American” or “Descended from Multiple Countries”.

The United States is again becoming divided by “racism” even though it has been proven scientifically that there is no such thing as race. We are all humans. That should be enough. All the honoring of different groups of people sounds good, but in reality, it divides. Identifying differences causes everyone to notice differences. It is more important to recognize similarities.

Our communities need and want to draw together. We want to know our neighbors; we want to have friends around us, people we can visit. We need to be aware of who lives next door so when something that shouldn’t be, it can be stopped. Fear of others, caused by divisions of differences, does not help neighbors to interact.

Join the movement, refuse to mark that obnoxious box!