Sunday, August 30, 2009

Good Day

Today was a good day. We went to church with Billy & his family this morning followed by lunch. Overall an enjoyable morning spent with good people. Then this evening we ventured back out to attend our church, Mableton Assembly of God. This was our first time attending when they had a men's/women's night and I must say it was neat. We had a time of joint worship which was powerful. I'm not perfect by any means, and won't claim to know God's spirit or how/why he moves when he does. However, tonight I felt his presence in a way I haven't in quite some time. The old questions come up - Was it my emotions or God? I choose to believe it was God's spirit. I prayed with my husband; something I have never done. It was a powerful moment one I'm not likely to forget. It's funny - even as I type this I find myself wanting to press delete... to not share this moment, my mind is saying nah, it was just you... that wasn't God. I refuse to believe that ... "I will declare your name to my brothers; in the presence of the congregation I will sing your praises." "I will Put my trust in him" Romans 2:12&13

After the service we split up (Men in one room / Women in another) and had a separate time of sharing. The pastor's wife, Gina lead ours and she is quite humorous. I am enjoying the people of this church. Their distinct personalities come together to make a home/ a family... one I hope to truly become a part of. After the time of sharing we had some snacks - mainly desert which is the best part of meal time, right :) hee ... I felt comfortable enough to bring out my camera and take a few pictures. I'm surprised I felt comfortable enough this early in going to the church to take pictures but I really did. It also opened some doors to have conversation and begin getting to know some of the church family. One guy used to repair cameras - I don't really know his name, but he is a funny guy. I think Jim... maybe anyway I enjoyed talking to him. And the Associate Pastor Mike is always a hoot. Anyway, it was fun... we meet some people and I even invited some out to the grill out we are planning for Saturday. I'm looking forward to getting to know everyone more...

Here is to cherishing old friends, making new ones and growing together with God.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Hopeful

As some of you may know I've started attending a local church (Mableton Assembly of God). We have been going for a few weeks now and while I still struggle with some old haunts I find myself happy and glad to be back in a church family. I find myself trying to find new ways to incorporate God into my life, new ways to regain my walk with him. And yes I find myself trying to dictate the path by which this walk is done - Something I continue to struggle with. However, the point is - I'm trying again. I feel I am in the right place and that this is the right time.

I find myself wanting to study and learn, clearing my schedule to be at Church when I can and generally hopeful about what tomorrow will bring. I can't share what a joyous relief that is; words simply aren't good enough.

Another great thing is that for the first time in 8 years my husband and I are openly talking about religion /faith and etc... He has agreed to go with me to Church- I'm just so excited to know that my husband is willing to walk with me as we both walk closer with God. Just exciting; I can't wait to see what the future holds :)

Next Sunday night is a men's/women's ministry night. Maybe I'll get to know some people... I always struggle meeting new people. They are friendly and I try to smile and be friendly back, but I don't know I kinda retreat into my shell and peak out from the safety :) hee... Hopefully I'll get over that and maybe make some great friends in the process.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Health Care Reform

I received this email today regarding health care reform and wanted to pass it along. It is rather lengthy, but worth reading!

===============================================================

Dear Friend,

This is probably one of the longest emails I’ve ever sent, but it could be the most important.

Across the country we are seeing vigorous debate about health insurance reform. Unfortunately, some of the old tactics we know so well are back — even the viral emails that fly unchecked and under the radar, spreading all sorts of lies and distortions.

As President Obama said at the town hall in New Hampshire, “where we do disagree, let's disagree over things that are real, not these wild misrepresentations that bear no resemblance to anything that's actually been proposed.”

So let’s start a chain email of our own. At the end of my email, you’ll find a lot of information about health insurance reform, distilled into 8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage, 8 common myths about reform and 8 reasons we need health insurance reform now.

Right now, someone you know probably has a question about reform that could be answered by what’s below. So what are you waiting for? Forward this email.

Thanks,

David

David Axelrod

Senior Adviser to the President

P.S. We launched www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck this week to knock down the rumors and lies that are floating around the internet. You can find the information below, and much more, there. For example, we've just added a video of Nancy-Ann DeParle from our Health Reform Office tackling a viral email head on. Check it out:

8 ways reform provides security and stability to those with or without coverage

1. Ends Discrimination for Pre-Existing Conditions: Insurance companies will be prohibited from refusing you coverage because of your medical history.

2. Ends Exorbitant Out-of-Pocket Expenses, Deductibles or Co-Pays: Insurance companies will have to abide by yearly caps on how much they can charge for out-of-pocket expenses.

3. Ends Cost-Sharing for Preventive Care: Insurance companies must fully cover, without charge, regular checkups and tests that help you prevent illness, such as mammograms or eye and foot exams for diabetics.

4. Ends Dropping of Coverage for Seriously Ill: Insurance companies will be prohibited from dropping or watering down insurance coverage for those who become seriously ill.

5. Ends Gender Discrimination: Insurance companies will be prohibited from charging you more because of your gender.

6. Ends Annual or Lifetime Caps on Coverage: Insurance companies will be prevented from placing annual or lifetime caps on the coverage you receive.

7. Extends Coverage for Young Adults: Children would continue to be eligible for family coverage through the age of 26.

8. Guarantees Insurance Renewal: Insurance companies will be required to renew any policy as long as the policyholder pays their premium in full. Insurance companies won't be allowed to refuse renewal because someone became sick.

Learn more and get details: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/health-insurance-consumer-protections/

8 common myths about health insurance reform

1. Reform will stop "rationing" - not increase it: It’s a myth that reform will mean a "government takeover" of health care or lead to "rationing." To the contrary, reform will forbid many forms of rationing that are currently being used by insurance companies.

2. We can’t afford reform: It's the status quo we can't afford. It’s a myth that reform will bust the budget. To the contrary, the President has identified ways to pay for the vast majority of the up-front costs by cutting waste, fraud, and abuse within existing government health programs; ending big subsidies to insurance companies; and increasing efficiency with such steps as coordinating care and streamlining paperwork. In the long term, reform can help bring down costs that will otherwise lead to a fiscal crisis.

3. Reform would encourage "euthanasia": It does not. It’s a malicious myth that reform would encourage or even require euthanasia for seniors. For seniors who want to consult with their family and physicians about end-of life decisions, reform will help to cover these voluntary, private consultations for those who want help with these personal and difficult family decisions.

4. Vets' health care is safe and sound: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will affect veterans' access to the care they get now. To the contrary, the President's budget significantly expands coverage under the VA, extending care to 500,000 more veterans who were previously excluded. The VA Healthcare system will continue to be available for all eligible veterans.

5. Reform will benefit small business - not burden it: It’s a myth that health insurance reform will hurt small businesses. To the contrary, reform will ease the burdens on small businesses, provide tax credits to help them pay for employee coverage and help level the playing field with big firms who pay much less to cover their employees on average.

6. Your Medicare is safe, and stronger with reform: It’s myth that Health Insurance Reform would be financed by cutting Medicare benefits. To the contrary, reform will improve the long-term financial health of Medicare, ensure better coordination, eliminate waste and unnecessary subsidies to insurance companies, and help to close the Medicare "doughnut" hole to make prescription drugs more affordable for seniors.

7. You can keep your own insurance: It’s myth that reform will force you out of your current insurance plan or force you to change doctors. To the contrary, reform will expand your choices, not eliminate them.

8. No, government will not do anything with your bank account: It is an absurd myth that government will be in charge of your bank accounts. Health insurance reform will simplify administration, making it easier and more convenient for you to pay bills in a method that you choose. Just like paying a phone bill or a utility bill, you can pay by traditional check, or by a direct electronic payment. And forms will be standardized so they will be easier to understand. The choice is up to you – and the same rules of privacy will apply as they do for all other electronic payments that people make.

Learn more and get details:

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck

http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/realitycheck/faq

8 Reasons We Need Health Insurance Reform Now

1. Coverage Denied to Millions: A recent national survey estimated that 12.6 million non-elderly adults – 36 percent of those who tried to purchase health insurance directly from an insurance company in the individual insurance market – were in fact discriminated against because of a pre-existing condition in the previous three years or dropped from coverage when they became seriously ill. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/denied_coverage/index.html

2. Less Care for More Costs: With each passing year, Americans are paying more for health care coverage. Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums have nearly doubled since 2000, a rate three times faster than wages. In 2008, the average premium for a family plan purchased through an employer was $12,680, nearly the annual earnings of a full-time minimum wage job. Americans pay more than ever for health insurance, but get less coverage. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hiddencosts/index.html

3. Roadblocks to Care for Women: Women’s reproductive health requires more regular contact with health care providers, including yearly pap smears, mammograms, and obstetric care. Women are also more likely to report fair or poor health than men (9.5% versus 9.0%). While rates of chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure are similar to men, women are twice as likely to suffer from headaches and are more likely to experience joint, back or neck pain. These chronic conditions often require regular and frequent treatment and follow-up care. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/women/index.html

4. Hard Times in the Heartland: Throughout rural America, there are nearly 50 million people who face challenges in accessing health care. The past several decades have consistently shown higher rates of poverty, mortality, uninsurance, and limited access to a primary health care provider in rural areas. With the recent economic downturn, there is potential for an increase in many of the health disparities and access concerns that are already elevated in rural communities. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/hardtimes

5. Small Businesses Struggle to Provide Health Coverage: Nearly one-third of the uninsured – 13 million people – are employees of firms with less than 100 workers. From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. Much of this decline stems from small business. The percentage of small businesses offering coverage dropped from 68% to 59%, while large firms held stable at 99%. About a third of such workers in firms with fewer than 50 employees obtain insurance through a spouse. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/helpbottomline

6. The Tragedies are Personal: Half of all personal bankruptcies are at least partly the result of medical expenses. The typical elderly couple may have to save nearly $300,000 to pay for health costs not covered by Medicare alone. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction

7. Diminishing Access to Care: From 2000 to 2007, the proportion of non-elderly Americans covered by employer-based health insurance fell from 66% to 61%. An estimated 87 million people - one in every three Americans under the age of 65 - were uninsured at some point in 2007 and 2008. More than 80% of the uninsured are in working families. Learn more: http://www.healthreform.gov/reports/inaction/diminishing/index.html

8. The Trends are Troubling: Without reform, health care costs will continue to skyrocket unabated, putting unbearable strain on families, businesses, and state and federal government budgets. Perhaps the most visible sign of the need for health care reform is the 46 million Americans currently without health insurance - projections suggest that this number will rise to about 72 million in 2040 in the absence of reform. Learn more: http://www.WhiteHouse.gov/assets/documents/CEA_Health_Care_Report.pdf

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Day at the Zoo - New Lens

We went to the zoo yesterday so that I could try out my new lens. I love it, but I'm going to have to get used to it and read some more about it. Overall the pictures turned out well given the lighting... It was sweltering hot and the sun was high in the sky - not great scenario for pictures. Thus you can see many of them look washed out or saturated; it was just too bright outside. I want to go back on a cloudy day or maybe get over there at 9:30 when they open... I want to try again :) heee

Check them out at if you are interested:

My Absolute Favorites

I love these too, just not as much

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Sip n Strokes = Fun

There is a company by the name of Sips n Strokes that equals a good night out with your friends! The idea is that you bring your favorite drink, some good friends and paint your stress away. You sip (alcohol or non) and follow instructions to paint a great painting... You leave with a painting that you painted, one that is really just awesome. I've been twice and I love both my paintings (both are hanging in my house), not to mention the great time I had. If you have one in your area I highly recommend a night out :)

Sunday, August 02, 2009

I'm So Excited - I just can't Hide It

Ok enough cheese for one day. But seriously I can't wait for Monday, cause guess what gets delivered here on Monday... Wait for it....




Yep, it's the EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM Canon Zoom Lens! Woot! I've waited along time for this baby. Hope it's as good as I've drooled over it being.


Jamaica Day 2 and Part of 3

I'm relaxed - I mean really relaxed and it feels amazing.  Yesterday after the post they showed us a new room and I was really undecided...