Thoughts From A Registered Ohio Voter

Posted in Current Events on November 6th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Swing state, political battleground, campaign focal point, election ground zero…  call it what you will.  As a Christian middle-class American, I call it Ohio, and Ohio is my home.  With regards to the 2012 Presidential election, like
countless fellow Ohioans, I’ve grown weary of the seemingly endless parade of dinnertime (wakeup and bedtime) political phone calls.  I’m tired of receiving campaign postcards in the mail (between Thursday and Saturday last week, we got EIGHT political post cards in the mail – I don’t want to be wasteful; I’m thinking of incorporating them into a quilt).  And what if all that postcard mailing money were being spent on feeding and housing the homeless?  Or providing quality health care to the uninsured?  But I digress…).
I do care about the governmental consequences at stake; I note opinions and where the candidates stand on such controversial issues as abortion, the definition of legal marriage, and the state of the economy.  However,  the Holy Bible is the law by which I try to live my life.  And there are no less than 17 Bible passages referring to false prophets.  While educating myself about the Presidential candidates, I did a bit of research into the Mormon religion where I determined that Mormonism does not follow the same Bible I believe to be God’s word.  Although my political and societal views are
usually Republican-esque, in this election, I have felt  unrepresented by a candidate, which is why I’ve begun telling the Romney people who call me that they cannot count on my support for their candidate.

We can faithfully pray about the election and how our lives will be affected afterward, and we can also have peace knowing that our wonderful God is sovereign.  I like the definition of God’s sovereignty I found on theopedia.com:  The Sovereignty of God is the biblicalteaching that all things are under God’s rule and control, and that nothing happens without His directionor permission.
Have peace.  Your vote counts, it matters to people, but also know that God is in the cockpit – no one is going to pilot this plane we call the United States unless our Lord lets him into the cockpit.  Whether Americans will call Barrack Obama a 2-term President or if they get to know Mitt Romney as Commander-in-Chief, it happened because God allowed it to happen.
“The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.” Psalm 103:19
As a popular saying goes: may the best man win.  As far as I’m concerned, that man is Jesus.

WHY Can’t Babies Go To The Movies?

Posted in Current Events, family fun, Kids on July 20th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Gonna climb upon a soapbox for a moment…

The families in Colorado who were involved in the shooting need prayer.  Probably one of the very last things they need right now is a network of UNsupport – people using mass media to put down the people involved and some of their decisions.  Mainly, I’m bugged by those who say things like, “What was a 3-month-old doing at a movie theater anyway?  Especially a MIDNIGHT showing of a PG13 movie??”

What’s wrong with taking a baby to a movie?  As long as the parent(s) willingly leave before the baby causes a disruption, then I don’t understand what all the fuss is about.  I have 5 kids, none of whom have slept thru the night until they were over a year old (probably – my youngest is only 9 months old, but he’s the worst sleeper yet, so I’m guessing he won’t sleep thru the night until he’s a year).  So if I’m up at midnight anyway with the baby, I think it should be up to me if I want to spend my own money on a movie, knowing there is a chance that I won’t get to see the entire movie if I have to leave if the baby fusses.  Babies are not going to watch the movie; they’re not going to pick up any bad things from the screen at that age, and taking the baby to the movies late at night can actually be the ONLY time new parents can find to connect to each other while trying to balance the demands of parenthood and careers.

Or, take the situation of a big brother who REALLY wants to see the midnight showing of Batman.  Again, the parents feel they are going to be up anyway with the baby, so why not schedule in some family time at a most unusual, however more convenient, time.  Again, if kids (or babies) cause a disruption in the theater, they should be taken out immediately as a courtesy to others who have also paid to see a movie.

Well, that’s all I have time for now, just had to get that out – I just don’t see anything wrong with taking a baby to the movies, and it bugs me a tiny bit that people are so busy worrying about how others raise their children instead of getting out there themselves to improve our society’s crumbling family unit.  Please don’t attack the parents who are actually seeking to spend time with their children.

Dear Lord, Thank you so much for the gift of children.  We pray to you to continue to guide us to love them, to nurture them, and to lead them to you.  We pray for the comfort and healing of those involved in the Colorado shooting.  May they grow ever closer to you, Lord.  Amen.

My Food Chain Gang – Restored!

Posted in God on June 16th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I have a wonderful tale to tell – a God story, and I love those.

A few weeks ago now, I met a friend for lunch at McD’s.  Later that evening, as my hubby inquired about my day and asked how my lunch was, I talked about how much I enjoyed hearing my friend’s updates on her beloved cat, Mya.  I even lamented, “I wish I could have a kitten.”  I seem to be an animal person you say (I AM) – so why don’t I just get a kitten?  Well, I’m allergic to cats, otherwise I would probably have a cat (or two or three or…).  I actually had one for 10 years and loved her very much, but I was very allergic to her and that was tough for both of us.  But anyway – back to this Friday night a few weeks ago – I’m wanting a cat.  Saturday morning, the early risers in our family were alerted by an “alarming” sound in our backyard.  They found 2 cats fighting on the fence, and across the yard, 3 baby bunnies crying out in alarm.  Sammie was dispatched to alert me (still in bed, allowed to sleep-in, THANK YOU Hubby!), and in the now-calm backyard I found 3 exhausted baby bunnies resting while my kids were comforting one of the stray cats.  The stray was a friendly fellow; he had black and white fur, green eyes, and a few extra toes.  I couldn’t believe the obliging attitude – pleasure even – that this cat was deriving from the attention my kids were doting upon it.

I couldn’t resist petting this friendly kitty, and when I did, something strange happened.  Well, actually,  it was nothing at all that happened.  No sniffles, no itches, no hives – no allergy symptoms.  How could it be that I wasn’t allergic to this cat?  For the record, Hubby is also allergic to cats but didn’t react to this one either.  So anyway, we let the super friendly tuxedo cat in the house.  He walked right in and looked around, and it really did seem as if he had lived here for years – and he’s been here ever since!  Just fit right in with our entire family, and it’s not an easy feat to forge a seamless transition from outdoor feral cat to indoor family cat, especially when the new family =  5 kids (3 girls ages 12, 8, 5 and 2 boys ages 3 and 8 mos.), a dog, a parrot, a rabbit, and 2 rats.   But saying we’ve had a smooth transition would be an understatement!

What a gift he has been.  A gift from God for our family…  to bring us together as we welcome a new member for however long we’re allowed to take care of him.  A gift for us to cherish together while we play with him.  A gift for me to help ease the mounting stress I’ve felt lately.  Have you seen the medical research on how a purring cat relieves stress?  It exists, trust me!

So to acknowledge this gift for us and to honor our God, “Mittens” became “Moses” – and it is cute when the kids rhyme about “Moses with the extra toe-ses”.  Moses seems very adept at using his paws, and he acts very cat-like around the house, which I love – just why I wanted to have a cat around.  For now, we are enjoying Moses and his company.  He gets along with all of our other pets and is wonderfully tolerant of the kids – he fits in our family like the missing piece of a puzzle; not that any of us realized there was a piece missing before Moses came.  So could it be that “my food chain gang” has been restored?

Both an article I read and a devotional I heard recently happened to be about the same subject: knowing and having the faith and satisfaction that God sees you, even if you feel invisible to the world.  God uses many aspects of His creation to bring people closer to having meaningful relationships with Him and to help us receive His messages, even animals.  My family was getting burnt out from a busy schedule, and it really rejuvenated the kids’ spirits to get to have this cat.  And they aren’t the only ones 😉

“…You are the God who sees me…”  from Genesis 16:13

This is a picture of our oldest daughter holding the cat.  No, my 12-year-old does not normally wear make-up; this was “spa night”  🙂

God is so good!!

Checkin’ In

Posted in Everyday Life, Kids on April 15th, 2012 and tagged , , , , , ,

Here it is mid-April already!  It’s funny that a few days ago I thought I had made the decision to not blog anymore, but here I am (part of this doing-less-for-me-more-for-others mentality I’m attempting).  I have a kid who wants to train to be a babysitter by watching her siblings, and I have a baby who decided he needed a nap – so I find myself with idle time.  Wait, idle time?!?  What’s that?  I’m not used to this; I don’t know what to do!  Usually I try to cram in some housework or laundry or food prep in my “down” time, but right now I just want to sit…  so writing I will do!

Nothing much to say, just a generic update on my family.  The kids are doing great!  There hasn’t been any sickness in our house lately, so we are thankful to God for that.  So a quick update on each of us if I can get it in before Luke’s nap is over…

Taylor is 12 and a half now, and she is a great kid.  She shows so much responsibility and genuinely cares for others.  She is challenged at times with patience with her siblings, but she does well.  I can’t imagine it would be easy to be the oldest in a house where there is always so much chaos and needy little kids!  Taylor leads the worship music for the kids at church, and she also enjoys using her artistic gifts to make posters for church events.

Sammie is almost 8 and is a pretty good babysitter.  She LOVES her baby brother, and if it’s the right day, she’s great with her 5 year old sister and 3 year old brother.  But Sammie has her off-days too, and if it’s one of those days, WATCH OUT!  🙂  She will push buttons of all of her siblings, and she is quite good at getting them going.  She is watching the littles as I write though, so it feels wrong to say bad things about her behavior.  She is getting ready for her 8th bday party coming up in May!

Disney has been causing 90% of the trouble in our house lately.  Our sweet little Disney is going through a phase right now that is making all of us (her included!) crazy!  She had a good day today, but in the past few weeks, she’s been upset about EVERYTHING and also intentionally pushing the buttons that drive siblings over the edge.  She loves school, and she is excited to start Kindergarten in the fall (we do homeschool, but we don’t start homeschooling our kids until 2nd grade for a number of reasons; one is because we like the social skills that kids learn at school in the early ages).

Christopher has been acting like such a big boy lately!  He’s been potty-trained since New Year’s day, and he does well with that.  He’s stopped throwing so many tantrums and is really acting more like a kid these days instead of like a crabby tantrum-throwing toddler.  He does get into his fair share of messes, and he gets especially upset when he goes thru candy withdrawal.

Luke is 6 mos. already, and a handful as always – it’s only getting worse as he gets older.  Then again, he is getting even cuter as he grows, so that’s the plus side 🙂  But what a strong personality and eye for mischief he has for such a young age!  I try not to think about it, but I find myself tempted to worry about how I’m going to stay sane when he is actually moving!  Right now he’s just scooting and rolling around, but he puts EVERYTHING in his mouth and is quite demanding; wanting 100% of the available parent’s attention 100% of the time!  You can see why this is challenging when there are 4 other kids – it’s just one reason why I gave up my social life 🙂

Hubby and I are doing well also.  His working 2 jobs keeps us busy, but in some ways, it’s actually not as stressful as I thought it would be.  It’s amazing how much easier things are when you truly trust the Lord to get you through.  By no means is life easy these days, but I am so much better equipped to handle the twists, turns and busyness now than I was a few years ago thanks to Him.  As I mentioned, we have given up our social lives.  I miss my friends, but luckily we live in a world where I can still keep up with their lives and know how to pray for them when they need it.  I’ve tried hanging out with adults a few times in the past few months, but unfortunately with all these kids running around and being so demanding, it seems better for everyone if I just focus on the kids and live a kid-oriented life.  So, with Hubby now working on the weekends, we’ve been having our family Saturdays  on Fridays when we can.  And we’ve been doing less of the expensive entertainment stuff and have been trying dedicating our hearts to serving more.  My husband has thought of some very creative ways to do this, and we’ve had many an opportunity to get out into the local communities and give and share God with others.  It’s been wonderful!

I was going to write more, but the baby has woken up, and he’s demanding my attention, of course.  I just can’t think straight when he cries and he knows it!  More next month…  haha!

Highlights From A Beth Moore Bible Study

Posted in church on June 20th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

One of the activities that’s been keeping me so busy lately is the Beth Moore Bible study I’m attending on Mondays, called Jesus The One and Only.  It’s great; I’m learning a lot, getting to know other women from my church, and it gets me and the kids out of the house for a few hours every Monday morning.  The kids can blow off some steam while I go through the workbook with my small group and watch the dvd.  A fun class, but there is a side effect of all the learning: homework.  Our workbook is divided into weekly sessions, and there are 5 days of homework for every week’s lesson.  Each day has about 4-5 pages of homework that involves creative thinking and looking up passages in the Bible, contemplating them, comparing them, and answering thought-provoking questions.  Time-wise, it’s intense, especially for this pregnant mother of 4.  This is the 3rd week of class, and so far I’ve been able to get all my homework finished on time and am really enjoying it.  I struggled a bit at first with the stress of trying to find those extra hour 5 days a week that I was sure I didn’t have, but I’m managing and reaping the rewards.  Before I begin today’s homework, I thought I’d share some things that I’ve highlighted in my workbook.

Before I do that, however, I will recap in a nutshell what the study itself is all about: Jesus.  We began our discussions talking about Mary, and Beth Moore is really great at delving more deeply into things and encouraging the student to give more thought.  We talked about what Mary might have been like as a young Jewish woman (Mary was probably around 13 or 14 when  she was told she was about to carry the Lord’s child  – did you know she was that young?  I didn’t!), and we talked about her pregnancy (of particular interest to me right now), her thoughts and feelings, her journey to see her cousin Elizabeth, and then we moved on to talking about Jesus himself.  We talked about him as a baby, a child, and about how he was led into the desert, all while relating it to our own lives.  Some of Beth Moore’s statements that stuck out to me in the workbook are:

God seems to love little more than stunning the humble with His awesome intervention.

Seasons of intense temptation are not indications of God’s displeasure.

God emphasized that the road to redemption would be costly and confrontational.

Luke was the only Gentile God inspired to write a Gospel.

God allows circumstances to exist in our lives that drive us to dependency on Him.

God is far too faithful to let anyone make it through life without confronting seasons of utter helplessness.

The good news Christ may want to preach to you today is that you don’t have to subsist.  You  were meant to thrive.

I’m quite sure if my healing process had been painless, I would have relapsed.

Many people sincerely love God, but I don’t think anyone stands to appreciate the unfailing love of God like the believer finally set free from failure.

Easter 2011

Posted in holidays on May 1st, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Easter is definitely a favorite holiday of mine.  Can’t be THE favorite because nothing beats Christmas, but it’s proven to be even better than Halloween these days.  No matter how you celebrate Easter, there is always lots to do this time of year, and I think our family found the perfect balance between celebrating the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ and the traditional kids’ stuff like Easter eggs and bunnies.

Every year, our community has an Easter egg hunt, and my kids always love it.  My oldest is now too old to participate, but I was proud that she chose to come along with us and that she was a HUGE help with the little ones.  Our community’s Easter egg hunt is more of a candy scramble now.  They used to have it in the park, and the volunteer teens from the high school would hide the candy all around the park, but they got tired of having to move the event indoors at the last minute because of inclement weather.  With Easter being in April, you just can’t guarantee a sunny, dry, Saturday morning without muddy ground in which to hide the Easter surprises.  So now they have it in the middle school gym, and while they can’t exactly hide the candy, the kids seem to love it all the same.  If the kids find a piece of candy with a colored dot on it, then they win an extra prize, and 2 of my 3 kids did just that – those of you who know our family can guess who was the one with the (as always) bad luck  – poor kid.

At church the following day, we had two special guests join us – one friend who doesn’t go to church but began to come after falling on hard times in his life, and a new friend who is also going through tough times and looking to switch churches.  I’m so happy to report that New Friend now calls our church her church home – she and her kids really like it!  Also, Friend #1 has been coming to church every week since!  God is amazing!

Monday, we were invited by some friends to attend “The Living Last Supper”, a show near Fort Wayne Indiana staged solely for God’s glory – to depict the last days and the death and Resurrection of Jesus.  It was an awesome, powerful show; one I strongly recommend.  This will be an annual tradition for our family for sure!  Especially since all 4 of our children were moved by the performance, and we didn’t even need to use the child care!

Friday saw the annual kid-friendly tradition of egg coloring, and I think this was really the first year we’ve done egg coloring with a little BOY in the house.  Our son is 2, and what a difference there was between his rowdy excited way of dropping the eggs into the colors versus his sisters’ delicate quest for prettiness in their egg designs.  Our son barreled through his allotment of eggs so quickly that his sisters were still working on theirs when he was done, and this is what happened:

After dinner, our family sat down in a circle to do another one of our favorite Easter traditions: Resurrection Eggs.  It’s a set that was given to us by my sister last year, and I have to remember to tell her how much we enjoy doing this every year.  We even lent our set to some friends this year for them to enjoy!  It comes with a booklet, and we take turns reading the little paragraphs that tell the story of Jesus’ death.  The booklet asks questions and gives you places to pause,  and you open each of the 12 eggs when prompted.  Each of the different colored eggs contains a little something that represents the part of the story that was just read, and we have kids take turns opening eggs.  It’s a wonderful way to combine the eggs aspect and the spiritual meaning of Easter into a fun-filled educational family activity, and we love it!

Saturday morning the kids got a nice surprise – the Easter Bunny had visited early and hidden their gorgeous eggs!  I think the Easter Bunny thought it would be too much for us to search for eggs while trying to get to church on time Sunday morning, and he was right 🙂  Oh, here’s a pic of the kids with their eggs; Dude is still recovering from his egg coloring tantrum:

After the egg hunting , we attended a fun Easter event at the community theater up the street, and the weather actually cooperated.  There were Easter egg hunts, games, lunch, and plenty of prizes for everyone, and the kids had a blast.  We returned home and made a last minute decision to check out another Easter drama at a friends’ church.

It seems that the Easter Bunny made another visit to our house on Saturday night since Sunday morning the kids woke up to a laundry basket for each of them full of surprises.  We went to church, and I enjoyed a whopping class size of 13 first-graders to teach!  Problem was, all of their jacked-up-on-candy brains could only think about the other aspects of Easter, and we had difficulty doing some of our planned activities.  It’s often difficult to accomplish much when I have a class of that size anyhow, so I took it in stride and we went to the gym early to run around and burn off some of that sugar!  At adult worship, we were blessed to see enough friends join us so that our group filled up an entire row!  It’s not about quantity, but it was amazing to see some friends there who don’t regularly go to church and some whom we’ve been inviting for years and haven’t come until now.  I am so excited to see what God is doing in the lives of those I care about!!!

We went out to brunch, took a family nap, and then we took the kids to the movies.  No, we didn’t see Hop, which might have made sense for Easter, but our older kids have already seen it.  So we took in Rio, which is a cute family movie about a couple of rare parrots – fitting for our family since we reside with a jerky parrot of our own, and we had fun.

Overall, one of the best Easter seasons ever; actually, this season just keeps getting better and better every year, especially as I become aware of what the season is all about and how to really celebrate it.  I am truly blessed!

So a belated happy Easter to everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter and have many more to come!  Celebrate Easter, celebrate Jesus, celebrate love, celebrate family – Easter is great & we have God to thank!

A God Story

Posted in church, Everyday Life on January 10th, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , ,

I love coming across God stories.  Real life anecdotes which display the way God works in our lives, God stories can be experienced by Christians and non-Christians alike; it’s just a matter of recognizing them and taking the time to be thankful and appreciate them.

I was at our babysitter’s house last week picking up my kids, and there was a little girl cuddling a dog.  Being  an animal lover, I had to say hello to the cute little furball and find out her name and age.  The little girl’s father said he didn’t know the pup’s age because they had found her, and then he said, “I have to tell you the whole story.”  So he begins his story, not knowing me or that I am a Christian who appreciates God stories.  His story went something like this:

“My wife left me; she left me and the kids and even took our dogs, so these poor kids lost their mother and their dogs.  I kept telling them I would get them a dog, but I had lots of other things to work out too.  So for Halloween, we went to one of those ‘trunk or treat’ things at a church, and there was a little girl walking around inside the church with a puppy in her arms.  I thought, something doesn’t seem  right there – why is this little girl walking around a church with a puppy, so I asked her about the dog.  “We’re not even sure what we’re going to do with  her – we just found her outside.” the little girl told him.  “Well,” I told her, “my kids have been looking for a dog.”  We took home the little puppy, and she was mangy and starving, just skin and bones.  We didn’t estimate her to be more than 10 weeks old at that time, and she has been  a part of the family for the last few months.  She is thriving physically, and she has helped provide some of the healing the kids needed as they spent Christmas without their mom.”

After hearing the story, it was magical to see the little girl cuddle her puppy.  It warmed my heart to see them together, knowing that God brought this little puppy into the lives of a family who needed her – and brought a family into the life of an ailing little puppy who needed them as well.  God works in wonderful ways, and being a witness to it is awesome – you just have to stop and look around; He is always there!

Sharing My Daily Bread

Posted in church on January 3rd, 2011 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

I’ve written before about Our Daily Bread –  it’s a little pamphlet of daily devotionals that I find very helpful in remembering to take time to think about God and His many gifts everyday – even when time is short.  Yesterday’s devotional was a good one that I think can help and/or speak to many people.  Enjoy:

Trouble by Dennis J. De Haan

Does it surprise you that trouble is a part of life? Probably not. We all know trouble close-up and personal—bad health, empty bank account, blighted love, grief, loss of job, and the list goes on.

It shouldn’t surprise us, therefore, that God permits the added trials of being ridiculed and hated because we follow Christ (1 Peter 4:12). But trouble, whether it is common to man or unique to Christians, can reveal to us the moral fiber of our soul.

I have never seen a golf course without hazards. They are part of the game. Golfers speak of the courses with the most hazards as the most challenging, and they will travel a long way to test their skill against the most demanding 18 holes.

Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “If I had a formula for bypassing trouble, I wouldn’t pass it around. I wouldn’t be doing anyone a favor. Trouble creates a capacity to handle it . . . . Meet it as a friend, for you’ll see a lot of it and you had better be on speaking terms with it.”

Let’s not think it strange when trouble comes, for God is using it to test the stamina of our souls. The best way to handle trouble is to commit our “souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator” (v.19).

The troubles that we face each day
Reveal how much we need the Lord;
They test our faith and strength of will
And help us then to trust God’s Word. —D. De Haan

Great triumphs are born out of great troubles.

Daily Bread

Posted in Everyday Life on April 23rd, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , ,

My Daily Bread spoke to me today.  Our Daily Bread is a little book that contains small daily devotions.  I keep mine in my bathroom; that way I can flip through it while I’m bathing a kid, or, er, whatnot.  Lately I’ve been struggling with being overwhelmed by back-logged home repair and organizational projects that I know I really shouldn’t waste time and energy worrying about.  Some people would say’ just do it’ – then I’d be less overwhelmed as the things start to get done, but with 4 kids, I just don’t have the time (see my post about Poison Control and you’ll see what happens if my kids are left unattended for mere minutes), and I’m tired all the time and also kind of lazy.  So anyway, I’m trying to just let go and not think about my To Do list, and here is the Daily Bread for today; maybe it will help others in my boat too:

It’s been a long, cold winter, and I am eager for warm weather. I’m tired of seeing bare trees and lifeless brown leaves covering the ground. I long to see wildflowers poke through the dead leaves and to watch the woods turn green once more.

Yet even as I anticipate my favorite season, I hear my mother’s voice saying, “Don’t wish your life away.”

If you’re like me, you sometimes hear yourself saying, “When such and such happens, then I will . . . or, If only so and so would do this, then I would do that . . . or, I would be happy if . . . or, I will be satisfied when . . .”

In longing for some future good, we forget that every day—regardless of the weather or our circumstances—is a gift from God to be used for His glory.

According to author Ron Ash, “We are where we need to be and learning what we need to learn. Stay the course because the things we experience today will lead us to where He needs us to be tomorrow.”

In every season, there is a reason to rejoice and an opportunity to do good (Eccl. 3:12). The challenge for each of us every day is to find something to rejoice about and some good to do—and then to do both.

Just as the winter turns to spring,
Our lives have changing seasons too;
So when a gloomy forecast comes,
Remember—God has plans for you. —Sper

Every season brings a reason to rejoice.

Last Post of 2008!

Posted in holidays on December 31st, 2008 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Because I barely have time to fit in the writing of this current blog post, I can safely say that with 4 kids running around (Christmas break = parental nightmare) this will be my last blog post of 2008!  What better way to go out then but to experiment with the new polling feature of tangents.org and make a New Year’s themed poll?  Enjoy, and have a very happy and safe New Year’s celebration!  Here’s wishing you the best of luck in 2009!  Check all that apply:

What are your goals for 2009?

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