Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Could Have Been Rich!

Who knew that it was so easy to make a pile of cash? And I mean a fairly decent pile of cash. Look at these financial incentives that are being offered to kids today.

If you can stay in school, smoke free, you can earn $5K. That's $5,000. Seriously? Wow. I could handle that. I never smoked in high school. I could have had $5 Easy Grand. Sweet. Direct from the link above, this is how the program works:

In order to be eligible for a financial REWARD each youth must:

1) Stay Smoke Free

2) Graduate High School

3) Sign up sponsors who will commit to donating about $25 a month to the REWARDS Foundation.

If you are a youth and you want a chance to earn some money towards college, university then sign up and put in the effort of finding sponsors. The world is a competitive place. We give you the tools, and you put them to work. This is the first lesson in how to create a successful life.

Oh, so the money doesn't grow off trees. I have to find sponsors who will pay $25 a month to the program to pay me not to do something I should be smart enough not to do anyway, especially since purchasing cigarettes at a high school age is ILLEGAL. Getting paid to not break the law. Nice. I can do that.

Then there is this option: Money for Nothing

The article sites that there are school boards who pay students more than minimum wage to attend "Learn and Earn" Workshops after school (formerly called "detention"? or "Extra Credit"?) and that other school boards were handing out $100 or Flat Screen TV's for passing grades. Let me tell you, outside of OAC Algebra and OAC Calculus, I was a straight A student. I even rocked Phys. Ed because I could write a wicked awesome test which balanced out the fact that I couldn't dribble worth nothin' (unless you are talking about trying to drink out of a pop can while walking. I ace *that* kind of dribbling to this day).

And finally, one more Take the Money and Run option for students: Just Don't Do It

This program pays girls ages 12-18 $1 a day to, wait for it, not get pregnant. Say what? So abstinence teaching is a bad thing, but paying them a dollar to be "smart" about their, um... "extracurricular activites" is a good thing? Some girls have earned $2000. Really? Wow.

Okay so clearly these days I would not be making much cashola on this program. In fact in the last 10 years I'd have only made $1690 out of a possible $3650. Man. Talk about sacrifice. But in High school, between these 3 programs I could have walked away with enough to pay for my full 4 year degree. Sweet. Forget getting a job and being taught financial responsibility and a good work ethic and some measure of moral standard. Let's just bribe kids to good behaviour with some serious coin. (and yes, this may slightly strengthen my determination to continue homeschooling)

As a wise sage once sang "I got change in my pocket goin' jing-a-ling-a-ling". Maybe if I had have been born later in human history I could have had some stocks and bonds instead.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Alright. So I'm feeling increasingly inadequate as a blogger as everytime I log in I realize that the last time I blogged was last Wednesday. I'm beginning to wonder if I ought to change the whole name of this blog to "Barbara's Wednesday Blog". Less pressure.

But, as usual, I digress.

Let's assume that today is a new start. Let's assume that starting today, I will blog x times per week. See? I can set goals. I bet I can even keep that one.


Truthfully though, I feel like I have an inadequate little bit of opinion on many topics that I would like to hash through in greater detail. Lucky you, you get to read my dissertations as I solidify my beliefs. *snort* Plus I'd like to get back into the habit of writing, a past-time I adore and find highly beneficial to the ol'mental burden. Now to do it for real! Now to get to know my own opinions by putting them to virtual paper, and to get to know you by reading your comments (hint.hint)where you should feel free to suggest topics or questions or scriptures or poetry to discuss in this very forum. Oooh. Almost like I'm an intellectual or something. I'll stir up my 12 remaining brain cells and see if I can remember the meter pattern of a haiku. Or a Petrarchan Sonnet. (did she just name drop an obscure poetry form? Yes, yes she did. Bonus points!)

Next! Okay, so a song for today that lines up with my new and improved Bounteous Blogging. Plus it has to be really good, because my friend Tim told me that sometimes he doesn't get what I find wow-ful about some of my picks. Shameful, that.

Surely today he can't complain. And neither can you. This is longish, which sounds like a disclaimer or an apology, but it is actually a gift to you as she is so.so.good that, long or not, you really ought to listen to it twice! It ties in thematically with my prologue today, and with the need for a really talented, wow-ful woman. There is nothing funny about Diana Krall. That lady is just golden. Stunning really.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Today we celebrate a birthday in our home. My little wild card is 8 years old. She was born on Father's Day at 8:58 am. We quickly called the church and they announced her birth a mere 17 minutes after she arrived. How neat is that?

Her birth has a special place in my heart. When I was expecting her, the original ultrasound told me that she would possibly have Down's Syndrome. Now this was not something I was hoping for, clearly. What I really was not hoping for was the "suggested option" of a follow up ultrasound, an amniocentisis, and the option to terminate the pregnancy. My midwives knew this would never be a consideration of ours and so with us, they prayed that all would go well and that no matter the health of our baby, we would be prepared to love her and care for her as she needed.

And so we prayed. We prayed for healing. We prayed for a miracle. We prayed for peace of mind and strength of character to face the future with grace and boldness.

At one point, my husband had a dream. In it, he walked into a hospital room, and picked up the chart belonging to our unborn child. He opened it up to find one word written across it: resolved. We prayed that this was an answer to our prayers, and continued on in faith asking for the Lord's will to be done.

Then on June 17th our wee girl was born. Perfectly healthy. Perfectly gorgeous. One thing remained: A third fontanelle. I did not know what that meant, but my midwife informed me that it is associated as a marker for Down's. But in her ever reassuring words "But your daughter clearly does not have Down's". She was perfectly healthy and yet with this reminder of what could have been. Or perhaps what was but was healed and resolved. We will not know this side of heaven, yet we remain ever grateful for our daughter who came as she did.

She is my wowful woman-in-training today. This was a song that the Lord used to comfort and strengthen her and I both in those early weeks of sleeplessness and sadness. He was carrying me. He is carrying me. He always will carry me.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Wow-ful Women Wednesdays

Have you missed this feature? I'm pretty sure I've skipped at least one week, maybe two. But hold on...this is worth the wait. Kind of...

Weeks ago we were at a family wedding and my cousin and friend Katie was wondering how in the name of all things musical have I not highlighted this icon of musical brilliance yet...Okay. Those weren't her exact words...

And since I've made her wait for this long to see this video, I'm posting two equally retro videos today.

First: Tiffany. I Think We're Alone Now. So weird that I used to think that the harmonies and layering in this song were so.fab.u.lous... And yes, that is pretty much just how I danced at school dances...when I wasn't being Janet Jackson of course.

Alright: now kind of saving best for last is my other favourite 'girl' from those days...I'm not ashamed to admit that I used to cry listening to this song. If you know me, you know it often doesn't take much to make me water. Imagine me being, like, twelve and heartbroken by some boy named Brad...or Jason...or my music teacher... Ya. That's messed up.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Talking to Myself

Three of my daughters apparently take after their mother in the most unfortunate of ways.

Our family had the neat opportunity to attend a neighbourhood 3 on 3 basketball tourney today. What was truly remarkable was the vast array of different responses to this invitation.

My first born was ready to play. She figured out which of her brand new friends would join a team with her, they picked a name for their team, made a logo and matching t-shirts, taught the younger sisters some cheers to do on the side lines and then waited to go stomp the competition. She was not detered in the least by the reality that she didn't actually know the rules to basketball. "I can learn. We'll figure it out. I bet we can still really do well."

That's one response.

Then there was daughter 2. "I'm not playing. I don't think anyone will want to be on a team with me. I'll just cheer. If they don't mind me doing that."


Then there was daughter 3. "I can't wait to be a cheerleader! I'm so excited! I'll practice and get it memorized and do it the whole time they are playing." Except then today while the games are going on, despite her mastery and excellence in these cheers, she dissolves into tears of fear because "There are alot of people here I don't know and if I do the cheers now, what if someone sees me and laughs at me. I want to be a cheerleader but I'm just so scared."


Then there was daughter 4. She was too busy being the adorable cheerleader doing all the actions, all the routines, while flashing her brilliant smile to care if anyone was watching her or not.


Then there was daughter 5. She found the chip bowls and stayed there for a couple hours.

Ah yes.

So out of my 5 lovely daughters, can you guess which ones were like me? And which ones were not like me?

Oh yes, I recognized my mother's voice speaking to a 9 year old me when I was telling daughter #2 "Of course they want you to be here. You are an amazing girl. Just have fun and hang out with them. Of course they want to be your friend."

And yes, I felt the stab of irony when I was telling daughter #3 "You don't need to be afraid. Go out there and give it your best. Do the cheers. No one will laugh at you. And who cares if they do? You'll know that I'm proud of you and that you've done your best. No one is even watching you. It is a little self-centered to think the whole neighbourhood will be watching you and you only in the middle of a basketball game. Just go for it. Have fun trying to be brave."

And yes, I sucked my gut in a little tighter when I was telling daughter #5 to use a little more self-control at the snack table.

Some day I'll get it. Some day I will bust out of all the lies and elementary school insecurities that cling on. I seem to recall telling my friends Kate T. and Catherine earlier this year that this would be the year for challenging my self and being brave to do the things the Lord is calling me too. And yet, here I am, kind of still not really pushing myself too hard. I want to be the girl willing to jump in with great enthusiasm and zeal to try the new thing and push my comfort limits a bit. And I want to be the girl who does what she knows she can do full out, regardless of what people might think or say.

I don't want to be a fool, jumping into arenas where I don't belong. And I don't want to be so 'care less' about people's opinions that I stop listening to wise counsel. But I do want, first and foremost, to listen to the Lord, and to do His will, unfettered by fear of man, and unenslaved to weak masters.

But now that I've put this down on virtual paper, and now that you've read it, I'm kind of committed to being brave and trying to obey the Lord in those potentially embarassing areas no matter what.

So, my prayer for this week -- a real small first step: Lord, show me one thing to do that would typically scare me silly that you want me to do for your glory. Then give me the strength to do it. And if we could start with a small thing, I'd be very grateful.