Ever Wonder About the Sunshine-y Virgin on Rear Windows?

Today is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Because Mexican immigrants are becoming such a huge part of our nation, especially here in the South, and because there is so much misunderstanding, and at times ill-will or even bigotry against them, I wanted to share a little about this image and why it means so much.

The story starts way, way back.  
The Spanish Shrine of Guadalupe
The kingdom of Castile, Spain had the distinction of housing a statue said to be carved by St. Luke the Apostle. It is one of the three cherished black madonnas of Spain. When Spain was taken by the Moors around the 8th century, the statue was buried for protection near the Guadalupe river (from the Arabic-Latin Wadi lupum, "valley of the wolf"). Around 600 years later, a shepherd had a vision of Mary, where she told him to dig in a certain spot. There he found the treasured lost statue. (Much like we treasure pictures of our loved ones, especially those departed from us, it has long been a tradition to treasure pictures of Jesus' loved ones and friends.) It was put in a place of honor and a monastery built around this statue of what was now called Our Lady of Guadalupe, in Extremadura, Spain. It was a great medieval center of pilgrimage (a sacrificial journey out of love for God).  The King of Spain attributed the increasing victories over the Moors (remember, this fight to keep their homeland had been going on for 600 years!) to the prayers of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Spain.

(Contrary to what some believe, Catholics do not worship statues, but use them as reminders to virtue, devotion, prayer, or, if the image was of God, worship.  The statue itself would never be the object of any of this, but simply a reminder.)

Many Spanish explorers made a pilgrimage to Guadalupe before their journeys. Columbus was among them, as was Cortes.  This image, however, is not the Lady of Guadalupe you see on car windows & storefronts today.  To understand why there is such ardent devotion, we must go back 700 years again.

Collapse )

What causes breast cancer? Can we prevent it?

Eight years ago, researchers learned that the primary cause of breast cancer is limited pregnancy & breastfeeding.

This shouldn’t be so shocking, given what we know about lung, cervical, pancreatic, & other cancers. But these researchers weren’t expecting this finding at all – in fact, they were so startled that they decided not to focus on educating the public about their findings, but on searching for drugs that would replicate the results.  Lead researcher Valerie Beral reported that, "Prolonged breastfeeding and having lots of children pushes breast cancer rates down. It is completely unrealistic to think that there is a direct preventative message in that for women in the developed world today.  We will have to find out how this happens and ask ourselves if there is a way of mimicking these effects in a way that is acceptable."  In 2008, she challenged the medical industry to focus on creating drugs that do just this.

Collapse )Collapse )

Will more school hours improve DOE problem-solving skills?

President Obama sees a problem, and he sees a solution.  The problem?  American students don't seem to be able to compete internationally.  The solution?  More hours and more days in school.  More years, in fact, as he has long been a proponent of universal preschool, promoting it even as studies continue to show little or no benefit.

In the AP article hosted at Yahoo that I linked above, we learn that in many of the Asian nations we often compare ourselves to, children actually spend fewer hours per year in school than American kids.  Collapse )</div>

Obesity & Brain Rot

I was walking through the woods this weekend with DH, thinking about how my brain has changed.

What, you don't do that?  I do tend towards the uh ... "introspective" side.  ;)

Anyway, I was remembering how I used to have trouble figuring out how to do stuff that wasn't intuitive - like the crazy lock on the cover for the truck bed, starting up the boat, tightening the wench straps to keep it on the trailer, backing up the trailer ... (Hmmm, seems like most of my life's confusion revolved around the boat!) - and also remembering how to do those things once I figured them out.  I was so frustrated for a few years, thinking that Mommy Brain must have kicked in and I was doomed to be perplexed and constantly requiring re-instruction in difficult things for the rest of my life.

But last summer was different. 

Collapse )


Surprise! Drug Studies Favor the Drug Companies

I just have a second to post this one.  The Washington Post reports a major study finding that when a pharmaceutical company funds a study, over 90% of the time, the study comes out in their favor.  When drugs go head-to-head, the winner is nearly always whoever funded the study.

A former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine explains Collapse )


Government is about to grow.  The state that believes it knows how to live our lives better than we do and manipulates us through money and law into doing it is about to swell.  I'm about to have a massive tax increase that will take away the income I've been using to help Tanisha. 

I mourn.

Update on Tanisha: We won!!

Thanks be to God!

We went to the hearing yesterday, ready for DFCS to throw the book at her.  Since they hadn't given her a petition beforehand, and there were no business hours between the removal and the hearing, we had no idea what the allegations were.  We were ready for them to dredge up anything and everything.

Collapse )

Escaping the Massa

Well, crap.  Remember Tanisha?  You know, the young poor single black mother of six who's working hard, paying her bills, keeping her children fed, clothed, sheltered, schooled, medically cared for, & much loved?

Today I had to tell my four year old that Maliq can't come to his birthday party tomorrow because the government took him away and we don't know where he is.

I had to answer my 7yo, asking what they did for Halloween, "Nothing - they were taken away from their mother last night and put in the home of a stranger."

You see, Tanisha committed the grievous crime of taking her 2yo with cerebral palsy to the ER when it appeared she just wasn't eating enough after several days of trying.  And the ER - well, they called DFCS.  And DFCS came to the house, looked around, saw no beds, and carted off all the children - without regard for the sweet child with CP's medical records (which show consistent care and a history of feeding issues) or the fact that the children's words, bodies, & fridge showed they're eating fine.  They even made the newborn's father & grandmother drive him over and took that breastfeeding baby away from its mother - for who knows how long?

I tell you, I have called and emailed everyone I can think of today, from friends to governors.  WSB's investigative reporters tell me this horror story comes to them FREQUENTLY - DFCS taking children away without any evidence of harm, immediate or otherwise.

"It happens all the time" isn't good enough for me.  This must stop.

When government gets too big for its britches, it says, "I know better than you do how to raise your children."  When women like Tanisha try to throw off the chains of years of bondage to government services, pulling herself up by her proverbial bootstraps, they cut the bootstraps, reshackle the chains, and throw her to the corner to remind her just who's the Massa.

Well, folks, she's not alone.  I'm here.  You're here.  Pray, friends.  Pray.

11/3: Update!