Thursday, May 27, 2010

Life and other lovely things....

Life has been busy lately! I have things growing here at the frog pond :) Dill, cilantro, basil, onions and mint!! Yay for herbs!!! I'm sending the dill "grow fast" vibes especially so I can put some in the tzatziki next time we have gyros!

I'm going to touch on meal planning for a minute, the last round of meals I planned didn't work quite the way I wanted. Like the rye bread ended up going bad before I made the Rubens for dinner. I ended up making Ruben casserole and putting wheat bread crumbs on top, sigh. It was still good but what a waste of lovely rye bread! There was some fresh produce that went south before I had a chance to make those meals too. There was also some needed stuff I forgot to buy at all. But I've been recording our meals and I reloaded so to speak and planned out the meals more carefully we are in the middle of the next round of meals :) This time it's going much better. I planned seven meals for two weeks because we tend to eat leftovers or lighter meals every other day. Tonight is leftovers, tacos! Yay tacos, we love tex mex food here at the frog pong :)

The other really cool thing is I've made a new friend and wrote a piece about Peter McWilliams for a really wonderful memorial page for him. The creator of the memorial page contacted me and asked me if I'd write something. I had made a you tube video where I talked about his wonderful book Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do, they saw it and contacted me.

Here is a link to the memorial page for Peter

And here is the piece I wrote . The creator of the page is a sweetheart and a really creative and interesting person. I don't make new friends often, let alone really great friends, so this something to celebrate at the frog pond :)

In not so good news, my dad had kidney stone surgery yesterday and is going to have more invasive surgery next month to take care of a stone in his other kidney, I need to call and see how he's doing. And our kitty, Bubba, has something wrong with his eye, we are going to have to get him to a vet cause little furry fellow looks uncomfortable with it and it looks really yucky and it totally setting off my eye issues :(

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Supporting Gay Marriage Equals Supporting Freedom for us ALL

I woke up early today with the ideas for this blog post swimming around my still half sleepy brain. I was not ready to wake up but once my mind was churning I knew the only antidote was to come and put the thoughts down properly.

I was thinking about reasons Conservative Christians give for being against gay marriage and why they should, at the very least, stop actively opposing it even if they don't approve of the concept.

1. To be tolerant of gay marriage supports freedom for us all.
If you want to be able to be free within your own life to choose to do things that you believe in and support things that don't fit into others beliefs of what others find moral, you have no business fighting against gay marriage. To support your neighbors right to live his life without outside interference is supporting the same right for yourself.

2. It goes along with The Golden Rule.
If you would not want those who disagree with your choices to legislate them for you, you should not try to legislate choices for those who make choices you disagree with. How does it go along with The Golden Rule to say "I don't want people who disagree with my choices to be able to deprive me of my freedom to make them, but I should have the right to deprive other people from making choices I do not approve of"?

3. Nobody will be forced to personally approve of gay marriage itself.
So this is one I hear "But if I don't oppose legislation for gay marriage it will look like I approve of it!". Or "People will be forced into accepting it/preforming marriages they disprove of" I say BALDERDASH! First of all, there is all sorts of immoral sexual things that heterosexuals engage in and I don't hear ANYONE trying to ban heterosexual marriage because of this. Nobody says "Let's make a constitutional ban against people who live together getting married!" Nobody says "Ban marriage between two divorced people!" Nobody says "Let's make sure that none of the heterosexuals marrying engage in anal or oral sex!". And lets face it, many straight people engage in exactly the same sex acts as homosexuals, anal, oral, frotting and etc, just they have an opposite sex partner. Many of them do this within their marriages!! But nobody has a problem with that or, more specifically, they feel if they DO have a problem with it that it's none of their business to stick their nose in their neighbors lives and bedrooms........... unless their neighbors are two men or two women. And additionally no pastor or priest or clergy of any kind is ever obligated to marry anyone. Just as it is today, a pastor can put whatever requirements they want on those they are marrying. If they want to require those getting married to go to premarital counseling, that's their prerogative. If they don't want to marry interfaith couples that is their choice. If they don't want to marry couples not of their specific denomination that is also their right. If they don't want to marry people who have been living together already or who have previous divorces they have the right to deny their services to those people. If they don't want to marry interracial couples, there is nothing that forces them to solemnize those vows. They could opt to only marry those couples who are regular attendee's of the church they lead and there is nothing that would force them to do any differently. This will not change if gay marriage becomes legal. That is important enough I'm going to say it again with emphisis this will not change if gay marriage becomes legal. Your pastor will still be able to pick and choose whose marriages they preside over and nobody will be able to force them to solemnize vows they don't approve of.

4. But Tadpole, Marriage is between one man and one woman!
The thing is that marriage as it exists today is a relatively recent development. You don't have to go back too far before you get to a place where marriage was very different. Where marriages between people of different faiths, or different races, or different social classes were looked upon as immoral just as gay marriage is looked on as immoral by many today. Where instead of saying "Marriage is only between one man and one woman" it was more like "Marriage is only between one man and one woman of the same race, faith and class!!!" And remarriages? Forget it unless your spouse died on you. Also for centuries, women didn't have any real say in who they married at all. A fourteen year old girl might wake up to find her father promised her hand to their 35 year old neighbor. Then there was a time and place where a man could legally rape his wife and where he could legally beat her if she vexed him. There was a time, not long ago, that a woman had no legal standing apart from her husband. That is what marriage has been historically. But just because it was what it was did not stop it from changing. It is as wrong to keep marriage for heterosexual couples only as it was to keep voting for white males only. The institution of marriage has changed drastically through the years and whether people like it or not, it will continue to change and be redefined as time goes on and people and societies change and grow.

5. Gay marriage being legal could very well preserve many families.
How common of a theme is it nowadays. A couple seems happily married for ages, they have a family they are raising and then BOOM one of them reveals the secret that's plagued them for ages, they are gay. They tried to deny it away, they tried to pray it away, they tried to ignore it away. They tried to make it go away by marrying someone of the opposite sex and making a family. If gay marriage was legal, my guess is there will be far fewer children who wake up one day to find the family they knew is no more because one of their parents was living a lie in hopes the lie would change them and they just couldn't do it anymore.

6. But what about the children!!
There are children being born to gay and lesbian people every single day. Keeping gay marriage illegal does not protect them, it leaves them vulnerable. But beyond that, conservative Christians are very protective of their rights to raise their children as they see fit. This right also applies to gay couples as well. And there are plenty of straight parents who raise kids in enviroments that Conservative Christian's don't approve of either, but I don't see them trying to limit any heterosexuals ability to parent, even the ones that live lives they disapprove of morally.

7. Gay marriage being illegal does not make gay people go away or make them less gay.
There will always be gay people in society. You cannot make them go away. It has been a constant through history and around the globe, even in places where it's a crime punishable by death there are people who may not share this, but self identify as gay. It's present in the animal kingdom extensively. Gay people will still be engaging in the behavior you disapprove of if you are CC no matter if gay marriage stays illegal or not. They will form partnerships when they meet someone they fall in love with and they will live their lives just as if they were married..... except they will be denied the legal rights and protections afforded their straight neighbors. Keeping gay marriage illegal will not change this one iota. Saying "Marriage is for one man and one woman" makes as much sense as saying "falling in love is for one man and one woman" or "making a house and home together is for one man and one woman" or "raising a child is for one man and one woman".

If there is ONE thing I hope you take away from this post it is this To be tolerant of gay marriage is to be in support of freedom for everyone. It is that simple. There are many freedoms you would not ever support legislating away from others, even though you don't approve of them, you teach your kids you feel they are wrong and you would not engage in them yourself. That's how I want Conservative Christians to look at gay marriage. You don't have to approve of it or teach your kids it's right or moral, you just have to recognize that living in a free society, a truly free society, means we don't get to choose the moral code our neighbors must live by anymore then they get to choose our moral code for us. Supporting Gay Marriage equals supporting freedom for us ALL!!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Things I don't understand....

I don't understand how preventing other people by law from doing things that go against your own personal moral beliefs makes you a better person of your faith.

But yet people do it all over the world. Here in America it seems centered around two main issues, abortion and gay marriage. Somehow, preventing complete strangers from legally obtaining abortions and from marrying those they love makes millions of "Good Christians" feel like they are being true to their faith. What I want to know, myself, is how they justify this.

Don't get me wrong though. I have nothing against these people holding the belief that abortion and gay marriage are wrong. They may not be my personal beliefs but I would fight for their right for them to live their beliefs within their own lives. But what I don't understand is what gave them the idea that Jesus wants them to get into their neighbors private business and use the Government as a tool to legally prevent them from doing those things. Jesus and the Bible clearly commands it's followers to stay apart from the world. It also clearly tells them to mind their own lives and wrongdoings and not concern themselves with their neighbors personal sins. Unless of course they are without sin, which is kind of hard to find in this world, a human without sin. Nowhere at all does it say "get involved in Government and force others by law to live by your own personal moral beliefs".

This is especially mind boggling because there are plenty of things good Christians can do to live their faith. They can first and foremost adhere to their morals in their day to day lives. They can follow the suggestions of Jesus to feed and clothe the poor(as you do unto the least of these you do unto me). They can open organizations that offer free Christian Guidance to those who are struggling with these issues in their own lives and wish for that guidance on how to handle them. They can live with the love of Christ as their guidelight and share that love with others. And honestly, if Christians did this and gave themselves fully to those simple things, they wouldn't have room to care whether Sally and Linda down the street or Joe and Bill three streets over get married or not.

And with that standard, I would venture a guess that homosexuals who are being denied the legal protections and rights that marriage, or at the very least a civil partnership offers don't feel loved in any way shape or form. In fact, I would venture a guess that being kept from legal protections like that makes them feel pretty hated.

So how can something that makes people feel hated, that goes against the bibles directive to stay apart from the world, and that meddles in your neighbors personal life be something that shows the love of Jesus? I think the only logical answer is that it does not show the love of Jesus, that it is not a very Christian thing to do. So while they may delude themselves into smug feelings that it makes them better Christians to legislate their personal moral beliefs for others to live by, them believing so does not make that a reality.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Praying for God to kill people is not funny

First, a bit about the meal planning, last night was stuffed peppers, they were good, but there is room for improvement in the recipe I used. Tonight is vegetable beef soup. The meat is cooking on the stove right now, it smells great! I'm going to add in onion, carrots, potatoes, green beans, peas, and mushrooms before it's all said and done :) It's going to be marvelous!

Now onto the topic that brought me here today. There is a bad joke going around it goes something like this "Dear Lord, last year you took my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite musician Michael Jackson and my favorite actress Farrah Fawcett and I just wanted to let you know my favorite politician is Barack Obama". There is even a facebook group by this name, but the maroons who started it misspelled Swayze.

Now I'm sure that some will accuse me of having no sense of humor, but frankly, praying for the death of a very real person does not strike me as funny in any way. It minimizes the tragedy of the deaths of the other people mentioned in the joke, which again strikes me as a really rotten thing to find funny and to spread around. I will leave the MJ thing alone, but both Farrah Fawcett and Patrick Swayze were good people who left behind grieving partners devastated by their tragic deaths by cancer while they were in the prime years of their lives. I'm going to bring in another aspect, as all the people I've seen spreading this around(and joining facebook groups by the name) are Christian. I think it's really sad myself, that a follower of Christ would think that a mock prayer asking their Lord to afflict someone with cancer or otherwise kill them is in any way funny. Why is it that people will act all holy and sanctimonious and wear WWJD stuff but when it comes down to their actions, they choose to do things that Jesus himself would find appalling and shameful? Praying for the death of a person is a hateful act. To make a joke of it does not make it less hateful.

I think it ironic that with one joke someone can mock their own faith, their own God and make themselves look like someone who does not really follow the tenets of their faith and yet somehow in the end they think it's hilarious because to them "it's just a joke".

But then what do I know, I'm just a pagan with no sense of humor :P

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My oh my, how time does fly...

Looking at the date of my last entry I realized I was tardy in updating the Frog Blog. So here we are, just after 4/20 day, my most favoritist holiday ever. No Hallmark crap saturating everything, nothing to buy anyone and celebrating with some nice fat bowls of the Goddess in plant form and some nice munchies for afterward. What's not to love about such a wonderful holiday?

So here at the frog pond we have Mr. Tadpole working on his arcade projects and various gaming diversions. The cats think they are starving(despite having full food bowls) and specialize in giving out hurty punishing love. And I am trying to plan meals and distract myself. My little brother, We'll call him CatLover, moved to Fairbanks Alaska two years ago. He had purchased a spot of land out in the middle of nowhere, by Iskgiza lake specifically, and he has been working towards his ultimate goal of living the mountain man life on his property. Today he is closer to ever before, ready to take his boat out on the Tanana River, and I am simultaneously very excited for him and very very upset that I won't get to talk to him again until next November at the earliest. CatLover and I are (were?) very close and him living in Alaska was hard enough when I could call him up once a week and chat, the thought of not being able to even talk to him for months and months make my eyes spout big leaks and that makes it hard to see to type so I'm going to go on to my other current activity, planning meals.

Mr. Tadpole and I are foodies. We love our food, Asian, Greek, Mexican, Mediterranean, just regular old hearty home cooking and more. We love to make our favorite restaurant meals at home and try new foods and cuisines. So I decided in an effort to simplify our meals and hopefully save some on groceries, I would start planning meals. Now, I can't do the "We'll have this meal on this date" a week or two ahead. I don't know what my tummy will take nicely until the day of and we like spicy meals and I like to match meals to the weather, cold rainy days call for warm comfort food and hot days call for lighter fare. So the first time around I planned ten meals that I hoped would carry us through two weeks. I just hung the list on the fridge and decided each day which meal to make. It worked beautifully. The ten meals carried us three weeks. We did get a couple of items and made two unplanned meals in the third week, but that didn't bother me at all.

We had:
General Tso's chicken
BBQ meatballs
eggplant Parmesan
Penn Station style Italian subs
Cabbage and Bacon
Black Bean chorizo Burritos
Sheppard's Pie

And a couple of other meals that I can't recall at this moment(I lost the original list and my memory is crappy). We ended up making Lasagna too, because we only needed a couple of ingredients and that made so much that I put a smaller lasagna in the freezer and we had that last night for supper!

So hoping that once again 10-12 meals would take us three weeks between major shopping trips I started on a Master List for our favorite meals(with recipes I can look at easily) and made the second list of meals and we are two meals into it so far.

On the menu at the frog pond for this go around is:
~4/17 Frito Pie, hubby made this meal, nuclear strength chili, fritos, onions and cheddar cheese all baked together. It was good, but a little spicier then my tummy appreciated.
~4/18 Ratatouille- really awesome, it was really lovely, a baking dish piled high with veggies and cheese. We loved this, hubby told me three times how good it was!

Stuffed peppers
General Tso’s chicken (we love and adore this meal)
Vegetable soup
Chicken hot wings w/ blue cheese dip
Cincinnati Chili dogs and chili 5 way

The fresh veggies pose something of an issue, so I'm trying to make the stuff that calls for fresh veggies in the first week or so or put of buying them if I think we won't get to the meal in the next two weeks. It's one of the kinks I hope to work out. Another kink this week was I have a list of stuff I forgot to put on the list that I need :P. It's a challenge but it's being a ton of fun and I hope as I go on, things will get easier. They have to get easier, right? Just lie to me if you have to :) Thanks for reading and bright blessings!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Penn Station style spicy italian subs.....

The hubby and I love Penn Station spicy Italian subs. They are absolutely delicious. Unfortunatly they are hard on a budget so we decided to try to make our own at home. They turned out really really good, tasted just like them, and I thought I'd share how we did it at the frogpond.

I started by checking out the Penn Station webpage
and looking at what ingredients they list. The ingredients are pepperoni, hard salami, smoked ham, provolone cheese, red onion, banana peppers, tomatoes, lettuce, olive oil , red wine vinegar, salt & pepper, oregano and mayo. I used a loaf of french bread from the grocery for the bread.

We used stick pepperoni and hard salami and sliced it kind of thin. We used a honey smoked ham and sliced provolone. First turn oven to 500 degrees, while it's preheating cook the meats in a skillet until slightly crispy on the edges but still soft in the middle. Slice the bread in half longways and place both halves cut side up on a cookie sheet. Put a generous layer of mayonnaise on the bottom half of the bread. Cut the onion and tomato into thin slices and if the banana peppers aren't sliced slice them also. I cut the lettuce into 1-2 inch strips. Put the meat on the half of the bread with the mayo, layering pepperoni, salami and ham. Next is the provolone cheese, put it on top of the meat. Then the sub goes into the oven for five minutes to toast, or till the cheese is melty and starting to get browned and the top is nicely toasted. Watch it carefully, it'll burn quick! Once it's toasted the onions, banana peppers and tomato go on then I sprinkle the salt and pepper, oregano and oil and vinegar on then the lettuce then a little more oil and vinegar. Then put the top on, cut into four pieces and enjoy!!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Conversation with Emily continued...

I have a new installment of my ongoing conversation with my cousin Emily, Enjoy!

Here is Em's response to my last reply to her,

I know it's taken me a long time to reply to this, but It's taken me a while to formulate a response. lol, it was such a long message, I still can't take it all in, so I just want to address a few things. Ezekiel does say that gluttony was one of their sins, but there are many other verses in the Bible, such as Jude 7. (I put all of it below, just to keep the context right.)
(Now I want to remind you, although you once fully knew it, that Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe. And the angels who did not stay within their own position of authority, but left their proper dwelling, he has kept in eternal chains under gloomy darkness until the judgment of the great day— just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.)
That clearly states that the sin they were punished for was sexual immorality and unnatural desire.

The next thing I want to address is your view of Jesus. Yes, He was a great man, a loving, kind teacher, and he taught wonderful lessons, like you said. But, He said some very shocking things, such as claiming to be God. Now, either He was a good teacher, or He wasn't. If a teacher teaches a lie, that's not a good teacher. So in order to agree that He was a good teacher, we must agree with what He taught, specifically His deity. Also, I would argue that you have rejected God, though you say different. God has revealed Himself to us as fully as we can know Him in the Bible, and if you reject parts of the Bible, you reject parts of God. I think you have made a version of God that agrees with your lifestyle and beliefs rather than conforming your life and beliefs to God's unchanging truth.

Yes, many Christians have missed the point of Christianity, and what God commanded them to do, but that doesn't give anyone license to ignore it.

Homosexuality is sin. The Bible says it plainly. I agree with the popular idea that people can be born homosexual, but I don't think that gives them the freedom to indluge. Many people inherit the sin of alchoholism, but just because it's in their genes doens' tmean they should indulge. Again, people can actually be born with a "killer" gene that gives them a desire to murder people for enjoyment, but that doens't mean they should, and it doesn't make it legal. If you love Jesus, like you've said, if you have a close relationship with God like you said, you must take the Bible at face value, you must believe what it says, regardless of how much you like it or how nicely it fits into your life.

Sorry about the name slip, you've been Susie in my head for so long, lol. I didn't hear that you preffered Susanna. I'll try very hard to keep that in mind.

Now here is my response :)
This is kind of scattered and really long(I'm probably going to have to break it up into two messages). I don't mean to overwhelm you, I just have a lot to say on this subject:)

The problem with taking the Bible at face value is that it means different things to different people. To the Amish, it means living a life apart, wearing dark austere clothing, allowing no dolls with faces, no movies, no cars, no electricity in their homes and much more. To a liberal Christian, it means that they accept that the Bible was written by men and is in many ways a reflection of the times it was written in and, while there are divine truths within one should live by, God did not mean for every word to be considered inerrant truth.

But even among those Christians who consider it inerrant truth, there are thousands upon thousands of different interpretations of the bible by people claiming they are taking the Bible at "face value". There are around 38,000 denominations of Christianity. They all feel they are taking the Bible at face value yet in doing that have come up with thousands of different interpretations as to what exactly that means. Who is "right"? Is it Baptists? Catholics? Lutherans? Unitarian Universalists? It is the Charismatics, the Pentecostals, the Mormons, the Church of God, the Presbyterians, the Old German Baptists, the Mennonites, the Quakers or the Amish? Who is right? They all claim they are right and they claim they are taking the Bible at face value yet they have come to very very different conclusions.

You said
"I think you have made a version of God that agrees with your lifestyle and beliefs rather than conforming your life and beliefs to God's unchanging truth."

This is what everyone, including yourself, does. You interpret the bible in such a way that you can live the lifestyle you do, movies, music, being politically involved, going to college. Have you ever talked about the sermon or biblical teachings in church with males? That is wrong according to the bible, women are supposed to remain silent in church. Do you ever wear pants? It's an abomination to wear clothing of the opposite sex. Do you keep your head covered when you pray? Failure to do so is a sin according to the Bible. Have you ever had short hair? Do you ever braid your hair? There are biblical verses against those things as well. You know your Christmas Tree? There is a verse in Jeremiah(I quoted it on facebook) that says not to bring trees inside and decorate them with silver and gold like the heathens. But you manage just fine to wear pants, discuss sermons in church with males, pray without head coverings, have braided hair and sit around Christmas trees and you still feel like you are following "God's unchanging truth". You've chosen to believe in a version of God that agrees with your lifestyle and beliefs rather then conforming to (what you believe is) God's unchanging truth. If you truly want to live by "God's unchanging truth" you would be living a life very much like the Amish. But you don't, you enjoy your lifestyle so you conform your God to that rather then truly following everything in the New Testament. To mirror your words back to you, if you truly believed that the Bible is the inerrant truth it seems you would be living it no matter how much you like it or how nicely it fits into your life. If you were to do what Jesus said to do to truly follow him, you would reject your family(even your fiancee) give away all your belongings and go live a life of service to the poor. But you aren't going to do that, you wouldn't even consider rejecting your family and your fiancee to go and serve the poor. So like me, you pick and choose what parts of Gods words to apply to your life and which to ignore because it's inconvenient and does not fit into your chosen lifestyle. The difference is I don't consider it the inerrant truth I consider it an ancient work written by man that has divine truth within. I don't think I'm meant to live by the social structure of biblical times that are reflected in many "sins" in the Bible. I think many edicts of the bible are reflections of the men who wrote them and the times they were written in. I don't believe God intended women never to speak in church or to never cut or braid their hair or people to be homosexual as it exists today. I especially don't believe that God intended his followers to ever make laws regarding their personal morality for the masses to follow.

You were right that Jesus said some really shocking things. Jesus was in fact a liberal. Nothing conservative about him. He came to upset the conservatives of his day and to shake up the old ways. He ate with tax collectors and prostitutes, he broke the laws and he threw the moneychangers out of the temple. He did indeed say he was God, but he also said we are all God and Children of God just like he is.

I do take the Bible at face value and I don't deny that there are Divine truths within and I don't think Jesus was lying when he said he was Divine. But I don't think that Jesus telling the truth about his divinity means I have to accept every single word of the Bible as divine truth. And I don't see why anyone has to accept other peoples interpretations of the scriptures. With so many to choose from it's next to impossible to say "this is the ONE CORRECT interpretation" about any of them so one has to listen to the voice of God that they hear and decide for themselves what they feel God means.

As for the sexual immorality and unnatural desires Sodom and Gomorrah was punished for perhaps that was sex with multiple partners, incest, or having relations with an unwilling partner or chidren. It does not say that the sexual immorality is monogamous relationship between two people of the same sex. As for being unnatural, homosexuality has existed in some form in every culture and in every era of history. It exists in the animal kingdom as well. Seems pretty natural to me. In the end I suspect we'll have to agree to disagree on this subject.

I have to say it bothers me greatly to have homosexuality as a inborn trait being compared to being a natural born killer(which there are out there). When we look at the "sin" of homosexuality we have a sin that involves two consenting adults. When we look at people killing others we have violence and people who cannot consent involved. We have people being violently robbed of their lives verses someone only engaging with consenting others. I don't see the fact that some people are born with a killing gene as evidence that people born gay should live a celibate life.

But considering it's a belief, we have the fact that it's not fair for one man to be forced by another man's chosen belief. Do you believe in freedom, or freedom for yourself and those who believe as you do only? Would you want to be forced to follow another religions moral beliefs? If not why is it okay to force the gay people to live by your moral code? You believe they are immoral, but they don't believe they are. Should it not be up to each person to decide their own moral code outside of harm caused to others and their things? Also, think about this, on the day you are married, there will be gay people exchanging vows, in America, in Canada, in Brittan, will the fact that that's happening have any effect on the vows you exchange with your beloved? Will it undermine or lessen the feeling and devotion you and Gary feel for each other?

As for my name, yeah, I don't care for Susie at all anymore :P I never was thrilled with it as a nickname, but once I became an adult I knew it had to go! Tad is the name I go by, but for those who don't find that suitable I would rather them call me Susanna and me feel uncomfortable then to insist they call me the name all my friends and almost all of my family call me. I don't particularly understand why Tad is unsuitable as a nickname, but that's neither here nor there. The only ones I don't insist change what they call me are my grandparents and aunts and uncles(I gave my parents the choice as well but they both graciously opted to call me by what I feel most comfortable being called). They are the only ones I'm OK with calling me Susie. There is a story behind the nickname, when I went backpacking on the Appalachian Trail at age 21 I went by the trail name Tadpole. Some of the other hikers called me Tad and it really clicked, when I came home I spread the word I wanted to go by the nickname Tad and it's stuck tight. The people who have only known me as Tad tell me "I can't imagine you being a Susie, it doesn't fit you at all, Tad suits you perfectly". It's been ten years now so you'll have to excuse me that it feels odd for people to call me by my formal name.

I'd like to say I'm enjoying our exchange, I don't mind being told I'm wrong, I'm always willing to re examine things. I can't promise I'll come to the same conclusions the person I'm discussing things with wants me too, but I will always try my best to be respectful of other peoples deeply held beliefs.

How are your wedding plans coming along? It's so much fun, I had a blast picking out everything and finding things that fit in my theme and the budget. You will be such a beautiful bride!

Bright Blessings Emily,

I am finding this conversation extremely enjoyable. I love talking to people about religion. I think religion practiced personally is a beautiful thing, but I think when people try to make laws that others must live by based on their religion it's a very bad thing. The standard of laws being based on harm done to others and their property is one that America should strive for and one can live by their beliefs without supporting legislation that restricts the freedom of others.