Monday, June 15, 2009

A long winded post as I turn another page in my life..

sMy Dear Friend.... (some of this is about a group I have on the Care 2 website.) So, if pieces of this do not make sense, you will know it has to do with my Power over Chronic Pain and Illness group there... if you care 2 (now that was a play on words) :) know about Care2, the petitions, the news there, the network of incredible people... let me know and I will send you a link... there are thousands, millions of people on there daily trying to make a difference in all aspects of life for everyone....

Here goes.... thanks in advance for reading this... my best to each of you... you are a huge part of my inspiration and life....

Happy Monday and Good Week to everyone. I have been contemplating some things over the past three weeks or so, and am now down to making my decisions and moving forth with a couple of things I feel I am compelled to do, in order to truly feel I am making a difference in my own way.

Many of you already know I am a strong voice to try and help get laws changed, get Chronic Pain and Illness helped out with new research, with new laws, with proper training of patients, caretakers, doctors, and all involved. I am trying to debunk the "myth" in those with Chronic Pain. We are NOT a bunch of "drug-seeking" low lifes, that frequent doctors and ER's just to get "High". The majority of those like myself with Chronic Daily Pain, and Chronic Illness, just want our medications, we do not want to haggle over getting them with the insurance companies, with doctors, with the pharmacies, and with stupid laws that tend to make us look like we are horrible, terrible individuals. Thus much more needs to be done about the entire medical and health situation of all, but moreover, all of the stigma of having Chronic Pain needs to get reeled in. Yes, there are those that "abuse" the system. There are those that are not in pain that do go to doctors, go to the ER's and so forth for the wrong reasons. Yet, staticists show the numbers of "abusers" are extremely low, yet millions of people try and cope with their daily life, in horrible, excruiating pain, that harms their jobs, their relationhsips, families, and leaves them with little or no quality of life.

I am also an avid voice Against Domestic Violence, and Violence against Women and Children.. well honestly violence of any kind... but I stood in the fires of Domestic Violenc for far too long in my life... I was one of the fortunate ones, that did finally get out, but the scars in my mind, and on my heart, still remain at times.

Due to my Chronic Illness with Lupus, and Mixed Connective Tissue disorder, I also am an activist to get much more done about these life altering diseases. There has really not been any quality of studies done on Lupus in 40 years! You will read things here and there, but even though the rise of Autoimmune Diseases is rapidly increasing, we are almost in the stone ages in some ways when it comes to these illnesses (Diabetes 1, Multiple Sclerosis, Sjogren's, Lupus, Mixed Connective Tissue Disorder, and there are literally 100's more), and even my own Rheumatologist will admit, there is still so much not known about these illnesses and disorders. I just read an article about another "new" autoimmune disorder that children are born with, and it can affect them as quickly as after they are two weeks old.

Many of the autoimmune illnesses, are NOT that your immune system is "failing" and not working. Actually, like Lupus, my autoimmune system is overworking to the point my own cells are attacking themselves. Medications are few, and the majority of them carry side effects that over years can be worse than the disorders themselves. Corti-Steriods such as Prednisone is a huge one. It is almost like a miracle drug, when I have a Lupus "flare" yet the long term side effects can be awful. We have made much progress in the realms of Rheumatoid Arthritis, so that is great news. There is much research, many more new medications, and effective treatments to help deal with the daily symptoms of RA. Yet, as I said we lack much when it comes to many of the other autoimmune disorders.

Some of you also know that I am a writer and poet, "in heart". I have felt that my "mission" here on Earth since about the age of 13, is to touch others, and help them through life altering situations, by my poetry and writing. I was blessed with a wonderful gift, and I have tried not to allow it to go to the wayside. Yet, there are times in my life, my own "muse" per se, gets in the background, and I get caught up in other things of life.

I have been contemplating for years now, about writing a book or books. I even submitted many of my thousands of poems to publishers, and do have some that are published at a couple of sites online. I have been told my many, that my writing, the compassion and empathy that shines through my writing, and how I touch some is incredible. I only know and say this not to be patting myself on the back, but rather I know this, due to those that write me and tell me just how much my words encourage and help them. I even had one couple ask permission to read one of my poems at their wedding.

About 6 months ago, after having a long dry spell of not writing much as far as daily journaling etc., I made a vow to myself, that no matter what was going on, how I felt physically, how busy or not busy life was, that I would write daily, even if was junk.

To get to the point before running out of room, I am now making the desicion to split my "time", possibly do away now for some things I am doing online daily, and put the majority of my mind, heart, soul and time into writing my first book. I have contemplated what type of book I would write. Yet, from what others have said to me, along with my own husband & family pushing me, I will be writing my own life journey, through the abuse, the illnesses, the pain & suffering... tell my story, in the hopes that if I touch one persons heart, my "job" here on Earth shall be completed.

I am telling each of you this for a couple of reasons. First, I ask each of you to keep my in your thoughts and prayers, as I take a trip down memory lane. Some good, yet some not so good. I know there will be an outpour of emotions for me, as I tread through my heart & head. I also am having to choose what I will put on the backburner during this time. I don't know if it will take me weeks, months, or a year to write.

I have written since I was 13, yet I have no idea of how much time I will need to finish the book. I am also already looking into how to get it out to the public. I may try and send it out to publishers, but more than likely, I will try the self-publishing route. There are some really good self-publishing companies now, and they help out with promotion, and so much more. The expense varies, but I could save up the money to go with a self-publishing situation.

Here is where my main point of telling you this comes in. I am going to have to as I said in the first post at the top, put some of my efforts, causes, and pieces of life, kind of on hold during this time. I do know I will need to really focus much of my effort into the book itself, so that means less time on my blogs, websites, activist actions, my group here, and so forth. I really am having a difficult time with the entire "time" issue. I also have my own health problems that I never know how I will feel from one moment to the next. I can be fine and in a matter of hours, be in a full blown Lupus Migraine, be totally and completely fatigued and in a Lupus "flare"... plus a growing list of new symptoms that continue to crop up weekly it seems. I, along with my doctors, try and say it is all about the Lupus that is causing issues, yet a part of me feels there could be much more going on, other than the Lupus itself. Yet the symptoms mimic so many other illnesses, so I never really know.

One thing I know I will continue to work on, is my group here, Power Over Chronic Pain and Illness. I would love to have a couple of "co-hosts" that could say hello to new members, post information about illness, pain, and other subjects such as Domestic Violence.... and as you all know, I tend to discuss whatever is on my heart thus it could be anything from politics to gardening

So, if you feel like you might want to help me out here at Care2, with my ongoing group, I would love to hear from you. The group is relatively small now, but I would love to see it grow also. Yet, if I quit actively being here, I know for a fact, it would dwindle and be gone. Tis the life of being actively online... things are so lightining fast when it comes to blogs, groups, the internet, and technology. I also have a couple of other projects, other than being online, from quilting and crocheting, to our new garden, and all of my recent houseplant family I have purchased. Each of those things take up quite a bit of my time daily. Watering, feeding, keeping bugs away, and all that comes with having real houseplants, and gardens, plus daily errands, bills to pay, laundry to do, shopping, cooking, cleaning... darned I am tired just thinking about it.

As of yesterday, I got my software in order that will help me in organizing what I need for the book. Characters, chapters, thoughts, and all that I will need to get very organized first, the software helps with that. From there, then the actual book writing begins. So, my first things is deciding what I have to leave off my schedule, how long per day I will write (waxing and waning depending upon my health, doctors appts, and such)... then I have lots to learn about this book writing software. It is extremely detailed, and has lots to offer, yet it will also be a huge learning experience, to understand how I can use it to actually get my book completed.

I will tell you, my time will be limited here. Rather than spending 3 hours plus here daily with all of your incredibly emails, cards, posts and so forth, I am not disappearing, but if I happen not to answer an email, post or something for a day or two, you can be sure, I have read it, or will, but I may be a little slower in answering. I probably will hand some of the gardening, watering and such over to my husband. I will not be able to spend as much time keeping up with all of the petitions, causes and so forth, but more focus on just a couple, more about Health Care issues, and Domestic Violence. I also intend on keeping my group here for now, yet my "Myspace" and Facebook pages, may not get as much updating of information as they do now. Plus I have a couple of Yahoo groups I am a member of, and I will put those kind of on hold. I intend on telling everyone that I email etc. about my intentions. I don't want to lose any friends throughout this, so I want all to know my plans.

As I start to learn this software, pick and choose my times for activities, decide what to take off the stove for now, and so one, I ask each of you to please post or email me with suggestions, tips, what you see as something I could benefit from, help me get organized as far as my causes and times... and the book... and anything you feel that I probably have not throught about... that would help with time and so forth....

LOL, as I think about what I am writing here, I have to wonder how the heck will I fit everything in, even though I am cutting back things. I am sure as I begin the book itself, all will fall into place... I will fall into pace.. and even though it may never be published... it is two fold for me. I am encouraged by many of you, my family, and others that I can do this, and I do have something to say, that could help others.... and then I can prove to myself, I am capable of writing an entire book. It may not be an awesome book, but I can write it... start to finish... and learn a great deal about myself, life, and writing in the process.

I close this for now, since it is already a small novelette... in asking again, for your thoughts and prayers as I begin this endeavor, for any suggestions you may have, if you care to help on my group, please let me know... anything you feel might benefit this cause will be so incredibly appreciated.

Thanks again... and please keep in touch.... Rhia

"We can judge the heart of a man by his treatment of animals."
- Immanuel Kant, German philosopher

Tuesday, June 9, 2009


Please read the letter at the bottom I received from the American Pain Foundation, along with my own letter that I have posted, emailed to the FDA, my Congress man, my Senators, and the President!
(The front page has the information about it)

I just read a disturbing email from the American Pain Foundation. I am a chronic
pain and chronic illness patient, and have been since I was 17. I began with
horrible migraines that plagued my life several times a month. For years, I got
only a short acting medication, or had to go to the emergency room to get
treatment. That got expensive, was not the real answer, and almost destroyed my
marriage, my job and my quality of life. I put up with that for years. Then at
40, I began to have degenerative joint disease. My joints quickly began to
disentegrate to the point, I have had to have several knee surgeries, including
two total knee replacements, 2 blow surgeries (both need it again, shoulder
surgery on both shoulders (the last was my right one, that has extensive issues,
and may need to be replaced soon also. Plus wrist surgery, now my other wrist
and both thumbs need surgery. I also have Mixed Connective Tissue Disease/Lupus
and Sjogren's. Without my pain doctors help, my quality of life would be none. I
lost all of my jobs due to massive pain, due to having to miss so much work. I
finally got my complete disability after over 3 years, appeals and a hearing.
The pain most days would be almost unbearable without my extended release
medications. With those given properly, and I am extremely monitored by a very
good pain specialist, plus my rheumatologist, my PCP, and my orthopedic
physician, all know about my pain specialist, and they all work together. I
cannot take many medications like NSAID's due to a heart attack at 40. I cannot
take any of the ergot medications for migraines due to my heart attack, and
being allergic to them. Without my proper daily extended release pain
medications, I would be basically unable to even get out of bed, much less have
my life back as I do now. I realize some abuse the system. But, why should I, as
a true patient that does really have health issues that cause so much pain, be
punished because of the abusers? If you take some of those extended release
medications off the market, I would be worthless, as far as my family, my
husband and my life. I have tried over the years every new medication that comes
on the market, yet I either cannot take them due to my other health problems,
such as the heart attack, GERD, kidney issues, high blood pressure and TIA's. I
am only 49 years old and hope to continue to have my life back from the
excruiating, daily chronic pain I had to endure for so many years of my life,
until finding a good specialist, to help me with monitoring and extended release
pain medication. Without control over my horrible pain, and without being able
to continue my medication as it is, I feel suicide could be an issue for not
just myself, but millions of others, who just could not withstand knowing they
would have to suffer horrible pain, have no job, possibly lose their spouses,
and their families, I fear many of us would give up and not be able to continue
on with life.

It is fine to do something about those who abuse the system. But there are
thousands of people like myself, who do what our doctors say, who take our
medications as they should be, and we do so in order to have our lives back. We
are never free of pain completely, but those medications give us enough relief
so we can try and half way life our lives normally.

I urge you to take my case, as well as the millions of chronic pain patients
into deep consideration. You would be taking people away from their jobs, their
families, their spouses, and taking away their quality of life.

I realize we may need more education about how to use medications properly for
some, how to store them properly, away from anyone but the patient, so they can
control the medications and keep them out of the hands of others.

Taking away the extended pain medications would drive the costs of emergency
room visits, doctors visits, and other medical facilities up by millions,
because people would flock to the ER, their doctors, and other clinics for pain
relief. Those visits would be often by millions without their proper extended
release medications. Short relief pain medications are potentially more harmful
due to the Tylenol in them, or NSAIDs in them. They can cause things like liver
failure, they do not work for chronic pain, and many people are unable to take
them to due stomach problems like GERD.

This type of action would also cause patients with true chronic pain issues to
have a stigma associated with them, and then those like myself, who are truly in
horrible daily pain, would not be able to get proper, and immediate treatment
with medications that control pain properly.

Without my good physician, who prescribes the proper extended release
medication, and monitors me, plus I have been well educated about opioid
medications, I basically would be useless, not able to run an errand, help clean
my home, or have any kind of quality of life. I too could lose my husband, and
others around me, just due to not being able to live my life, without being in
bed or on the sofa. I finally found relief from the intolerable pain that
consumed me for years. I urge you to leave things as they are as far as the
medications that help so many.

My best regards, Pam Steele

Here is the letter from the Pain Foundation:


To: All individuals and organizations who care about access to pain care in America.


The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) may remove important pain medications from the market or couldvery likely limit access to certain pain medications that are currently legally prescribed to millions of Americans suffering from pain.

The FDA needs to hear how vital access to these medications is to people with pain and what tragic results could occur if they were denied access to these medications or if additional barriers were created making access more difficult for people who are legally prescribed these medications.


Send a letter to the FDA sharing your story about how their decisions would impact you or your loved one. The FDA MUST receive your letters by Tuesday, June 30th, so don’t delay.

Please review the following to assist in your letter writing and to provide further information on the issue:

Frequently Asked Questions
Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Consumer Talking Points
American Pain Foundation's Position Statement on REMS
American Pain Foundation’s Recommendations on REMS
Click here to go directly to the FDA comment submission page to submit your letter electronically or mail your letters to:

Division of Dockets Management (HFA305)
Food and Drug Administration
5630 Fishers Lane, Room 1061
Rockville, MD 20852

Please Note: All letters sent electronically or through the mail must clearly include the following information at the top of your letter: Docket No. FDA-2009-N-0143. Please send a copy of your letter so we can also have an opportunity to hear your commentary.

Testimony of Pain Advocates at FDA Hearing, May 27th and 28th. These testimonies may also help you write your letter.

Mark Maginn
Carolyn Noel
Teresa Shaffer
Mary Vargas
FDA’s REMS Information



American Pain Foundation

Monday, June 8, 2009

Climate and Clean Energy Petition - Please sign by Wednesday! From

Dear MoveOn member,
It's 2009. Democrats have ample majorities in both houses of Congress. President Obama campaigned on the promise to tackle climate change and boost our economy by investing in clean energy.

So why on earth is Congress considering an energy bill that:

Would weaken current law, repealing President Obama's authority to crack down on dirty power plants,1 and
Doesn't actually require the creation of new solar or wind power? (The Union of Concerned Scientists has concluded that the clean energy standards won't make power companies produce more clean energy than is already in the works.)2
Why? Because Big Oil and Coal have teamed up with conservatives in both parties, and they've been successful in weakening the bill.

These are major flaws, but the bill has a lot of really good provisions, too. The key thing is that Congress can still strengthen it—if there's a public outcry. But we don't have much time: Congress is expected to vote on this bill in less than three weeks.

Can you sign this petition to Representative Joe Barton today? Eighty thousand MoveOn members have already signed. We need to double the number of signatures by Wednesday—that means we need 3 more signatures in Ennis. MoveOn members will personally deliver this petition to many congressional offices the next day. Click here to add your name:

The petition says: "We need a stronger energy bill to fulfill Obama's vision of a clean energy economy. Congress should strengthen the clean energy standards and restore Obama's authority to crack down on dirty coal plants."

Congress must change the energy bill to require power companies to produce more clean energy for America. Wind and solar create more than twice as many jobs as coal and oil.3 And Congress needs to hold polluters accountable by restoring President Obama's current authority through the EPA to crack down on global warming pollution from power plants.

The Union of Concerned Scientists analysis finds that the current version of the clean energy standard "won't require utilities to use any more renewable electricity than...would be generated as a result of state renewable electricity standards already in place and the recently enacted stimulus package."4

If we just sit back, we'll miss our chance to go big with wind and solar—and we'll lose the jobs those industries would create. Big Oil and Coal will keep getting billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies. And President Obama will be powerless to stop more than 100 new dirty coal plants, which will crowd out the clean energy growth we need to boost our economy.5

There are some good parts of the bill, but these are significant problems. As the Sierra Club's Carl Pope writes, the bill establishes strong long-term goals for cutting carbon pollution and very strong energy-efficiency investments, "but in its present form, it won't do all that's needed. The oil, coal, and dirty-utility interests...were able to prevent enactment of President Obama's much bolder vision...Yes, they will try to kill the green-jobs recovery in its cradle, and yes, they will try to block our clean-energy future."6

Please urge Rep. Barton to fight for a stronger energy bill. Clicking here will add your name to the petition:

Thanks for all you do.

–Anna, Michael, Joan, Noah and the rest of the team

1. "Bill Needs Strengthening to Guarantee Necessary Carbon Reductions, New Green Jobs and Consumer Benefits, Science Group Says," Union of Concerned Scientists, May 14, 2009

2. "EPA urged to act on climate, not wait for Congress," Associated Press, May 18, 2009

"American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009," Library of Congress, May 15, 2009

3. "Green Recovery: A Program to Create Good Jobs and Start Building a Low-Carbon Economy," Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, September 2008
4. "Bill Needs Strengthening to Guarantee Necessary Carbon Reductions, New Green Jobs and Consumer Benefits, Science Group Says," Union of Concerned Scientists, May 14, 2009

5. "Stopping the Coal Rush," Sierra Club

6. "So How Good Is This Climate Bill, Anyhow?" Sierra Club, May 22, 2009

Want to support our work? We're entirely funded by our 5 million members—no corporate contributions, no big checks from CEOs. And our tiny staff ensures that small contributions go a long way. Chip in here.

Another Monday, Hot Weather, Friends, Oceana & More

This truly hit home with me this morning. We have so many worries, concerns, and stresses in our lives, too often I know for myself, I forget to really remind myself, just how incredibly blessed I really am. I do have a little home to call my own, I have food and drink, I have a decent vehicle to get around in, I have my husband, my Mom, my two children, and now since the birth of Logan, a week ago today, three grandchildren. I also have my pride and joy, my "fur kid" my pug, Tazz, who is just a joy in my life. I do struggle with health issues that keep me from doing many things, yet I am still able to do other things I enjoy, from reading, writing poetry and short stories, crocheting, sewing, working some in my new garden, and the list goes on. No, I will never snow ski again, but I did have several years of going and so many wonderful memories from skiing and other vacations. I am able to worship where I want, and when I want, without being condemned or harassed... So, when I saw this, I wanted to share with you... because I am also very thankful for my friendship with you.

I wish you many incredible memories and times to come to make more... Pam

(This is one of the nicest e-mails I have seen, and it really puts things into perspective..)

I dreamt that I went to Heaven and an angel was showing me around. We walked side-by-side inside a large workroom filled with angels. My angel guide stopped in front of the first section and said, 'This is the Receiving Section. Here, all petitions to God said in prayer are received.'

I looked around in this area, and it was terribly busy with so many angels sorting out petitions written on voluminous paper sheets and scraps from people all over the world.

Then we moved on down a long corridor until we reached the second section..

The angel then said to me, 'This is the Packaging and Delivery Section. Here, the graces and blessings the
people asked for are processed and delivered to the living persons who asked for them... 'I noticed again how busy it was there. There were many angels working hard at that station, since so many blessings had been requested and were being packaged for delivery to Earth.

Finally at the farthest end of the long corridor we stopped at the door of a very small station. To my great surprise, only one angel was seated there, idly doing nothing. 'This is the Acknowledgment Section,' my angel friend quietly admitted to me. He seemed embarrassed.

'How is it that there is no work going on here?' I asked.

'So sad,' the angel sighed. 'After people receive the blessings that they asked for, very few send back acknowledgments ..'

'How does one acknowledge God's blessings?' I asked.
'Simple,' the angel answered. Just say, 'Thank you, Lord.'

'What blessings should they acknowledge?' I asked.

'If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on
your back, a roof overhead and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of this world. If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish, you are among the top 8% of the world's wealthy .'

'And if you get this on your own computer, you are part of the 1% in the world who has that opportunity.'

'If you woke up this morning with more health than illness
... you are more blessed than the many who will not even survive this day .'

'If you have never experienced the fear in battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation .... you are ahead of 700 million people in the world.'

'If you can attend a church without the fear of harassment, arrest, torture or death, you are envied by and more blessed than three billion people in the world. '

'If your parents are still alive and still married ... you are very rare .'

'If you can hold your head up and smile, you are not the norm, you're unique to all those in doubt and despair.'

Ok, what now? How can I start? If you can read this message, you just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you as very special and you are more blessed than over two billion people in the world who cannot read at all.

Have a good day, count your blessings, and if you want, pass this along to remind everyone else how blessed we all are.

"Acknowledge Dept.":

'Thank you Lord, for giving me the ability to share this message and for giving me so many wonderful people to share it with.'
I thank God especially for all my family and friends !!

If you have read this far, and are thankful for all that you have been blessed with, how can you not send it on?

If you spent time to read the above, then you will see I am continuing from here. I posted the "What happens in Heaven" just due to how it hit me, that I so often want to gripe and fuss, rather than see all of the blessings I receive daily. We all get caught up in the negative sometimes, and have to be reminded, how much positive light we are given. Of course it is another Monday. Which means work for some, errands, running around, paying bills, or whatever and however your week begins. For myself, it begins with an extremely hot day. The humidity is already high, and we are to reach 90 degrees today, and more like 100 by Friday! I have to admit I am not looking forward to the heat. I guess old age has set in, but I have problems with extreme heat or cold now. My body just does not tolerate either. With the garden going, all of the new houseplants I have added to our home, we need to paint the outside of the house, plus everything else like cutting the grass and so forth, the extreme triple digit temps sure make those things much more difficult to do and enjoy. Thank goodness for the new propane grill. That way, we don't have to heat up the kitchen as much. Plus probably like most we tend to eat cooler and lighter meals, more salads, including tuna salad, chicken salad, taco salads, and things not as heavy as the Winter time meals.

My new grandson Logan, is doing well. Amanda says they are both doing okay. She is still tired and sore from the C-Section, but knowing her she is probably trying to overdo it too quickly. She says he is just such a good baby, that sometimes she has to wake him up to feed him. He is not wild about a bath yet, and she says he likes to be really bundled up tightly... probably like many, it makes them feel safe, since they are now out of the womb where they felt that.

Today is World Oceans Day... Oceana was started actually by the actor Ted Danson. Shortly after he began being in the sit com Cheers, he decided to give back... thus Oceana was born.

Not much to tell, still trying to get my shoulder completed rehabed, trying to stay cool, and just being... for a change...

I hope all is well with you... I wish the best for everyone.... Rhia

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Time to play catch up on my blog...

Lots has been going on lately. Due to the wonderful weather, I have been working on the new garden, working with all of the houseplants we bought recently, keeping things watered and green, and enjoying being outside before the heat here gets too bad to enjoy it. We have already had some "code orange" days due to the pollution, the humidity, heat and no breeze.
We have bought the outside paint to begin painting the house also. There is still much to do on the house inside and out, but little by little it is coming together.
Of course lots in the news, from more murder-suicides, to more suicide bombers overseas reeking havoc on innocent lives, to the murder of Dr. Tiller, which to me was a senseless, stupid act. I am not saying I agreed with his practices but killing him in his place or worship, or anywhere for that matter was certainly not the answer. I have not caught up on who this guy was that did the ridiculous deed, but I feel certain he is probably a nut case. Of course, now we run a huge possibility of more just like him doing useless harm to others. We all are allowed and are even encouraged to have our own opinions. But, no where does it say that we are allowed to take lives just because we do not agree with someone. Violence is NEVER the way to settle anything.
I just read a really great article on the Care2 site, about the way to handle conflict without violence, or even raising your voice. Effective communication is the main key, along with truly not just hearing someone, but truly listening to their side and trying to see why they believe as they do. As humans we all want acknowledgment that we are worthy, our opinions count for something, and we have our basic right to our decisions and opinions.

Of course there is just so much controversy surrounding so many issues at this time, from personal to political, it is difficult to keep up with each of them.

Issues from the bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler, to all of the instability of North Korea, and their nuclear testing of bombs, to our continuing down turn of the economy, to greed and corruption, to our much needed dramatic change in our health care system, to the ongoing brawl between the Senate and the House... moreover between the Republicans and the Democrats, our news seems to be filled with issues, rather than hope and peace. We have to make sure our eyes are wide open, and we are alert and cautious everywhere we go. No one wants to walk around in a state of being frightened, but the way things are, it is almost a given, from church, to your own home, the issues surrounding us are making way to the gruesome violence of many.

The plane that went down is a sad situation for those loved ones left behind. We may never know what went on those final moments, before the plane hit the Atlantic. I would hope those people went quickly and without suffering, but that is something as I said we can only have faith about, for finding any part of the plane is probably like looking for a needle in a hay stack so to speak.

I continue to recover from the shoulder surgery, and still have other issues, like the severe bruising and petechia on my arms especially that we do not have an answer to why it is happening yet. We are not very happy with our doctor at this time. He is either overwhelmed with too many patients or his staff is just plain stupid and not capable of doing their jobs correctly. I went there a week ago today in fact to drop off some blood work that my rheumatologist took about 4 weeks ago. There are several things that are abnormal, either too high or too low, that I feel really need to be addressed. Yet, still not a call back or anything. I even called on Friday, and the girl that answered the phone basically told me he had not even seen what I left. Which is frustrating and infuriating. So, I don't know if he just has not bothered, or if possibly he has not been given it to look at. Either way, it is just plain wrong.

I do have a new grandson as of yesterday at 7:59 am. He and my daughter are doing okay. He weighed 7 pounds nine ounces and is 19 1/4 inches long. Kind of light brown hair and so far blue eyes. He is a real cutie. My son in law emailed pics to me yesterday evening. His picture is at the top of this. Honestly, my daughter had already named him several months ago, but right now I cannot remember what she said. LOL, my mind is getting ancient.

Take care and best to each of you.... Rhia