Making a Difference

When Is Too Long?
by Bobbi Bartsch Curtis

In a world of hurry and a land that is lauded as being of plenty, when do we stop, look around and say, “It’s been too long!” I think the time is now.

As I listen to the news on radio and read about it on the internet, playing videos from news sites around the world, my mind spins faster than one of those tornadoes that hit Garland, Texas. What have we become? Where are we going? How do we return to a path of love after so many paths of hate? I do not necessarily have answers to these questions. What I have is faith enough in all of you to know that we can make things change.

There are many who spend much of their time working on viable solutions and attempting to create the love that is needed. They are online in forces that would boggle some minds. They are in homes, right now, working on supportive projects, praying, sending healing, writing plans and blogging. They are in churches, setting up charitable projects, meeting to plan outreach programs, praying for the betterment of our times. They are working in offices of organizations that take on the tasks of increasing awareness, creating fund-raising activities, lobbying for a brighter future, and taking direct actions like building homes for those who have none.

There are not, however, enough who will actively pursue that brighter future.

After all the centuries of hate and death, it now requires all of us to make that difference. NOW is TOO LONG!  (There’s the answer to that question first posed.)  I have harped and pleaded for more to join the ranks of the active. I have not done this for some self-serving motive. All one needs to do is turn on the TV or radio or pick up a newspaper or news magazine to realize that things in the Middle East have gone too far – again and again and again. Our country is a mess. Prejudice runs rampant. Hatred and greed are the motivators of the day – to such a degree that those who are most greedy won’t even bother to respond to the fact that the end of the Earth as we know it is near. Their selfishness and need for self-gratification overcome even the predictions of the end of life on this planet – scientifically based predictions, you know, those things called “facts” . . . irrefutable facts. Liars and murderers run the country and most of the population sits at night, beer in hand, shaking their heads at the news commentators and asking how long it will be before the pizza comes.

Oh, we chat at work about how horrible things are. Prices are up. There aren’t enough jobs. People are living in the street and eating garbage. And those poor, poor young men who died in that bombing yesterday – wasn’t that a shame. Oh, and how their families must feel right now – YOU DON’T KNOW HOW THEIR FAMILIES FEEL RIGHT NOW UNLESS YOU ARE A MEMBER OF ONE OF THOSE FAMILIES!

There is one thing of which I would like to remind everyone: If you know that something is wrong and you do nothing to fix it, then you are equally as guilty as those who created the wrong-doing in the first place. Please don’t hem and haw and shake your heads with minimal feeling. Open your hearts until they break – like the parents, spouses and children of those who are dying in war; those who are wrongly accused of crime and imprisoned because the color of their skin is too dark; those who cannot find work and must watch their children starve or become sick and die because they cannot take them to a doctor; the list of inequities is so long . . .

We, those who have something – you’re reading this on a computer, you have something – need to get ourselves motivated at least enough to have our voices heard. It is too long. Take some action. Show that you have love in your heart. Give of yourself. Find a cause and make a difference. Search your heart, search the internet and then do the right thing – for the greater good of all.

Be well!

© Bobbi Curtis 2015


The Strangest Things . . .
by Bobbi Bartsch Curtis

I don’t know if the rest of you have noticed a trend over the years, but many of my friends, associates, and I can certainly testify to some very strange energy running around.  The least likely seems to have become normal.  What we had thought to be the most obvious appears now to be the obscure.  Any truths are now falsehoods.  Laws of physics and logic no longer apply.  Additionally, this oddball energy started about ten years ago and has become worse over time.  We’re currently seeing police officers acting as though it’s appropriate to shoot small children without provocation and people who are running for public office ranting, raving, flailing and screaming outright prejudice while insisting that they are not racist or prejudiced.  Allow me to tender some examples from the beginning of the strangest things.

At a staff meeting, a discussion on scheduling was underway.  There had been some operational and staff changes that had left the schedule off kilter with a couple of days each week that were not being manned properly, and customer service was suffering, while other days the staff was standing around doing nothing due to an overabundance of them.  A new method of scheduling was being implemented that would cover operational hours more efficiently. One staff member said, “It sounds like you’re doing this for the benefit of the company, not for the employees.”  After the initial shock wore off, the director who was running the meeting nodded and said, “Yes, that’s exactly it.”  I have to wonder if this individual thought about what he was saying before he opened his mouth, or did he really think that the company existed for the employees instead of the customers?  It was even more peculiar to the assistant manager, department manager and director that the person who made this statement was always famous for starting out complaints by reminding his upper management that he used to be in management.  One has to wonder if this kind of thinking is why he was no longer in management.

On the highways going through the Colorado Springs there were lighted signs that scream at drivers “OVER THE LIMIT, UNDER ARREST” and “THE HEAT IS ON, DRIVE SOBER.”  However, 17 misdemeanors and 2 felonies in nine months, committed by a repeat offender who hasn’t spent more than 45 consecutive days out of jail for the past four or five years, is not enough to carry a sentence any stiffer than 30 days on a DUI with multiple cars damaged.  He did a stint in jail for a DUI committed on December 17, 2005.  He was released on July 3, 2006, and was back in jail on the morning of August 22, 2006, for a (you guessed it) DUI – hit and run on a parked vehicle along with at least five other charges including violation of probation.  Are they waiting ‘til he kills someone while he’s on a drunk?  If one looks up this criminal’s record at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department’s website, one will also notice that this man has a minimum of four warrants out for his arrest (one of which is for a felony) and several of his previous charges are for acts of violence – but he was released on September 19th, having served 28 days, though the sentence was 30.  We release people from jail early who have multiple active warrants, a couple of felonies, no job so he couldn’t have been paying restitution and had to have more than one probation violation, and a history of violent crimes?  But, God forbid, you drive over the speed limit; or you’ll find your dastardly, little self under arrest!  My head aches!

On the flip side, we have a woman who has never been in trouble, pays her bills, stops at stop signs, and keeps her home and her nose clean.  Her power was turned off . . . we don’t know why.  This ranks up there with another party whose cell phone was turned off because her payment was misapplied, but the cell company refuses to do the proper investigation and then run the payment she made on the correct account – she has proof.  Also there are the long distance calls being charged to another woman.  These calls were made from a landline she had disconnected six months prior to the dates of the calls.  Her current phone has been disconnected for lack of payment (the bogus charges are over $400).  When she has tried to resolve the problem, the local phone service blames the long distance company and the long distance company blames the local phone service.  The only buck that’s stopping here is the one with his antlers stuck in her behind.

A 2006 car purchased new in November 2005 had a minor problem about six months later – a defective CD changer that locked up with five CD’s stuck in it.  The dealership replaced the unit that included all the musical parts along with the AC and heater.  When the driver attempted to use the cruise control, it wouldn’t engage; however, it did handily change the stations on the radio.  The owner went to a different dealership, and they fixed the cruise control.  They also must have found more than one problem with the wiring – the sound coming from the radio/CD player/cassette player improved immensely.  It appears that the original wiring had never been correct – now all the speakers work, for the FIRST time.

A woman with heart problems was in the hospital for an operation.  She was released.  She was called back to the hospital and another surgery was scheduled within the next couple of days.  Does anyone else think that the original surgery was botched?

A woman found out that she was pregnant.  She was not in a situation to have more children, so she got an abortion.  Another month goes by, she had some issues and was told that she was pregnant; but she hadn’t been sexually active since before the abortion.  Turns out that she was pregnant with triplets, and the doctor aborted only one fetus.  She’ll be having twins in a few months.  She won’t be getting any sort of a refund for an abortion that was not done correctly and completely either.

These are stories from people I know – the car’s mine.  I didn’t go around searching for them.  I didn’t request any stories of the weird and the stupid.  They are not fish stories.  The information is verifiable, but my sources prefer to remain nameless.

Be well!

©Bobbi Curtis 2015


 

Rebirth of a People
by Bobbi Bartsch Curtis

While much of the Northern Hemisphere is blanketed in snow and the Earth rests beneath, we enter the time of year for rebirth and renewal.  Many of Earth’s creatures take this time to slow down.  Some hibernate.  Others have burrows or caves that they stocked with food during the late summer and fall months and retire there to avoid the freezing temperatures outside.  With fewer hours of natural light, the time we humans can spend in outdoor activities becomes more limited.  As the year comes to a close, we tend to review our accomplishments and start to re-establish our goals for the coming year.  If we follow the cycle, we, too, should be slowing down, taking time out, gathering our energies, renewing our internal resources, rethinking, restructuring and rebirthing.

We have seen some amazing events in the last few months, many of which are not pleasant.  It is time for us to realize that a deep cleansing is needed in order to repair much of the damage.  We have a lot of work to do, and now is the time to regroup.  The Astarte Home would like to offer some thoughts in an effort to gain some perspective and understanding.

The United States of America was put together by the sweat of the brows of many, by the blood of men and women who believed in something better than they had experienced in their own lives, and by the strength and conviction of tenacious people who were determined to succeed for the sake of their own freedom and that of future generations.  It became one of the greatest countries in recorded history while it was still quite young.  It took guts and sacrifice.  It took people with a shared vision in a time with no internet, no TV and no radio.  Somehow a commonality of purpose spread from person to person and village to farm to become one of the building blocks of a powerful, free nation.

It is time we as a collective group took some responsibility for our part in creating the breakdown of our own system.          

Our responsibility as consumers is taken far too lightly.  When prices are out of control, we have the ability to take control.  It is quite simple.  Do not buy what you do not need.  Refuse to pay top dollar.  Shop bargains.  Be informed.

Do not shop in stores where the markup is higher than other stores just because there is some kind of artificial prestige built into walking in the doors of the “exclusive” shops.  Look for clearance signs.  Plan ahead, and buy at the end the season.  Stock up when prices are low.  If a blouse costs $130 at one store; and the same blouse in the same color, made by the same company is $19.99 at another store, what kind of thought pattern would EVER make someone think it is smart to pay $130 for the blouse?  There are seven grocery stores within a five block radius of my home.  One of them has prices that are consistently between ten cents and a dollar higher on every product that most people consider to be normal items, purchased often.  I do not understand why that store can remain open.  There is no reason to shop there.  If you search the brand names among these stores, they’re the same.  How is one can of peas any different from another can of peas packaged by the same company when the only difference is that one has a marked price that is higher?  What makes it better?  The answer is:  NOTHING.  No one should ever go in that grocery store to shop.  Yet, it’s been right there as the anchor store in a small shopping center for years.  If everyone were a responsible consumer, they’d either put their prices down to compete or be forced to close their doors.

If you keep seeing reports proving global warming (one just came out showing 2015 the warmest year on record), then don’t buy a gas-guzzling waste of space.  If no one buys a product, the product will disappear.  Companies do not continue to produce items that do not sell.  Our message to the automotive industry over the past 20 years or so should have been:  Build me something that lasts and that is fuel efficient.  Instead, there are more high-profile vehicles on the road that suck up as much gas as a 47 foot RV than ever before.  Large pickup trucks are driven daily by individuals who haul nothing more than a few bags of groceries once every couple of weeks.  SUV’s are so prevalent, that if you drive a sedan or sports car, you can no longer see anything around you including traffic signs and signals.  When attempting to make a turn, one has to wait until the high-profile vehicles are out of the way, since one can’t see past, over or through them; and, even though the driver of the high-profile vehicle can clearly see in both directions,  he/she seems to be oblivious of the fact that the vehicle is obliterating the view of the smaller vehicles beside it.  Wait until the end of a car year to purchase a car.  Prices do go down on the current year’s inventory when the next year’s stock comes in.  It is not necessary to be the first on the block with the newest toy.  Hey, if you happen to own a 47 foot RV and you lose your home because of some poor choices, at least you have a place to live that includes a kitchen, a bathroom and a full sized bed.  These are not options available on an SUV.  Buy an issue of Consumer Reports once in a while or visit them online to get some more good consumer ideas to not only save you money, but to become more responsible and to help save the only planet we have.

If you know you can’t afford something, don’t buy it.  It doesn’t take Einstein to figure out that paying interest only on a huge amount of money – a mortgage, for instance – will never pay off the balance borrowed.  Somewhere along the way, the loan payment is going to have to go up in order to begin to pay the principle.  If the mortgage lender had to be “creative” to get the home buyer to qualify, what’s going to change that much over the next few years (five of them in many cases) that will increase the buyer’s income substantially enough to absorb the increase?  They just bought a new house and want new furniture.  The house was not brand new and the water heater needed to be replaced, along with the refrigerator.  Then the homeowner decided that the carpet that was fine when they looked at the house is no longer the right color after the new furniture (that is a different color than the old furniture, which did match) was delivered, so they bought new carpet.  Guess what?  These major purchases were all put on credit cards; so, over the course of the five years when that homeowner should have been planning on how to make that increased house payment, they’ve pretty much dug themselves into a financial pit.  It is not difficult to understand that if your monthly payment is killing you right now, when it goes up, you will be in trouble.  Where was the surprise?

If something doesn’t make sense, get the facts and take the side of reason.  Don’t get your neighbor’s opinion.  Don’t ask the guys at work what they think.  Don’t just listen to Uncle Ed’s thoughts based on WWII economics.  You’re on the internet right now.  Look it up – at a reputable source!  You are seeking facts.  Discretion is not just the better part of valor.  It is also how some of the best decisions are made.  Read.  Evaluate.  Think.  If two plus one in someone’s opinion is five, then their opinion is not worth much.  Seek out the truth!  If someone tries to convince you that red is blue, stop listening to them.  Please remember that there are people on the radio and on television who spew garbage in order to get ratings and receive large paychecks.  If what they say is not based on facts, find the facts.  If they continue to spew garbage, change the station, but only after you find out who their sponsors are.  Then, do not buy anything from those sponsors.  Get on the sponsor’s websites and tell them that you will not purchase their products or services any longer because of their lack of integrity in sponsoring programs that you do not hold in high repute.  Be specific and business-like.  If a newspaper or magazine writes tripe, stop buying it.  Again, we need to be responsible consumers.

Stay informed and vote.  We cannot take the chances we have in the past.  We have to pay attention to what is going on.  If what we see on the surface is dirty, imagine what goes on that is invisible to us!  I’m not a political scientist, but normal reason says that the longer our representatives are in public office, the more time they’ve had to build up relationships with those who are not maybe so interested in the public good.  I don’t want to say that all politicians are dirty; but everyone has a price, be it in dollars or other types of favors.  Everyone has an agenda – good, bad or indifferent.  The beauty of a democracy is that we have the choice to replace our representatives every so often.  Unfortunately, we have taken the lazy way out for a long, long time.  If we are voting at all, we don’t look at the issues or the track records.  We don’t watch out for our own good.  Some of us go vote for the guy whose name we recognize, paying no attention to the fact that the reason why the name is familiar is because he was indicted on seven counts of theft of public funds a week before the election.  We don’t use our heads when one candidate attempts to slander another.  Stating that someone associates with a known terrorist is pretty low-down, especially when the “known terrorist” might have been a Viet Nam war protester back in the 60’s.  Terrorist or protester 38 years ago?  Fact or fallacy?  Good campaigning or flinging pooh?  Dealing with the issues and informing the voting public on where one stands or grasping at straws because the candidate can’t address the issues because there is no plan?  This rant could go on and on – based on facts.  What we need is a cleansing!  We, as a nation, stood up in the last two presidential elections in many ways.  This needs to continue.  We cannot let down our guard!  We did that in the last Midterm election, and take a look where we are.  Still watching a party that was pissed off that they couldn’t steal the last two elections put every possible stumbling block in the way of progress while a determined President continues to press forward.  I wish there were a way to predict what could have happened and how much better off we’d be if those elected to represent us had been doing their jobs for the last six years instead of trying to make the Black guy look bad – something that was openly expressed within the couple of months between the election results and inauguration day two times.

At this time of rebirth and renewal, we, the people, need to look at ourselves.  We need to be responsible.  We need be discerning.  We need to quit blaming someone else for the shape of things.  We need to realize that we brought this upon ourselves.  We need to re-prioritize.  We need to take back control.  We need to take action every time we can.  We need to stay informed.  We are the watchdogs.  We cannot be complacent.  We need to educate ourselves on what we can do to make a difference and get ourselves back on track.  We need to fact check and not just take the word of someone who is already in office and who is trying to continue to be in order to keep lining his/her own pockets.  We are the country!  It is not the land.  It is not the governing bodies.  It is not the facade some put on to appear to have more wealth than they do.  It is not the vehicle, or the house, or the furniture, or the electronics, or the high-end restaurants.  We need to get it together and do what’s right.  We need to stop accepting the garbage spewed by those who would take away the power of the people by making the people undereducated and too impoverished to fight back and by removing the people’s ability to vote.  We need to be ever vigilant in assuring that the rights of one are the same as the rights of another, that no man or group of men has both more and different rights than any others and that religion plays no part in the governing of what once was one of the greatest societies ever on this planet.  We are responsible for bringing this nation back up off its knees and making it great once again.  We are the people who must push this society back up to where it was and not let it slip ever closer to the Dark Ages where it is headed at breakneck speed.  Do not be taken in by the charlatans who have never had your interests in mind and who cater entirely to a god who is suspiciously shaped like this: $ with a whole lot of zeros after the first digit.  Some run churches and some run cities, counties, states, and our suffering country.

Before I climb down from this soapbox, I am honor bound to put this before you:  If someone runs for the highest office in the land, two things are essential prerequisites,  1)  speaking the English language fluently and correctly, and 2)  having a generally business-like demeanor most of the time.  Just those two relatively small expectations eliminate the top two Republican contenders as of this date, November 25, 2015.  If what we are seeing is the best they have, and I come from a long line of Republicans, then it is time to leave that drained old party in the dust with the Tea Baggers who are worse and let both of them (the parties, that is) die in peace.

The United States of America is us, not The U.S., US!

Take charge!  Take back your government!  Place the right people in office so that OUR needs are met, not the needs of large corporations and those who make so much money you can’t even count up all the zeros fast enough to know whether the undeserving lout is a billionaire or a trillionaire.     

©Bobbi Curtis 2015


Seek Within
by Bobbi Bartsch Curtis

As the news becomes more and more horrendous in reference to how our government has failed our troops and the rest of our country, I am reminded that crimes that go unpunished allow the perpetrator to continue to build upon the base they’ve built.  If a person is not required to own up to things they’ve done wrong, then the wrong-doing will spiral out of control.  If a child continually receives no negative reinforcement when they misbehave, then they will not only continue the poor conduct which has gone unpunished, but they will have to assume that there are more behaviors, worse behaviors, they can commit that will also just be ignored.

We must remember that we have allowed our government to reach a point where they assume that “we, the people” will not confront them, will not speak out against injustices, will not get up off our butts and respond in any way.  WE ARE THE REASON THAT OUR TROOPS ARE NOT RECEIVING QUALITY MEDICAL CARE.  WE ARE THE REASON THAT LIES ARE THROWN AROUND IN OUR FEDERAL BUILDINGS AS THOUGH THEY WERE TRUTHS.  WE ARE THE REASON WHY GREEDY, PETTY, SELF-ABSORBED LIARS ARE RUNNING THINGS.  (I am not thoroughly convinced that every politician is a greedy, petty, self-absorbed liar; but I am convinced that those who are dominate the scene.)

Why would I say this?  Because when the writing was on the wall, years ago, we did not stand up and, in one loud voice, say, “NO!”  Instead, because we were too lazy, too tired, too wrapped up in our own little lives, we gave it all away to human beings with, apparently, no souls, no consciences, no morals, no ethics, no hearts, no, no, no . . .

Many of us were alive when John Kennedy was murdered – under very questionable circumstances.  Many of us were alive through the Watergate scandal.  Many of us were alive during the Viet Nam fiasco.  We are the famous Baby Boomers.  We were born during the post-World War II era of parents who were born or were young during the Great Depression and its aftermath.  We should know better . . . or did we forget the history that has shaped itself during ours and our parents’ lifetimes?

Now we must seek within.  We must take a stand.  We must do something outrageous, something outside the character we’ve built that this government has grown to expect.  The men who created this country put their lives on the line in order to create something better.  Remember that those men who took a stand to create the United States of America were committing treason against their king and country.  This was not a step taken lightly.  If they didn’t succeed, they would be sought out, put on trial, and imprisoned or put to death if found guilty.  But they and the people who believed in them and the principles for which they were willing to die wanted to create a place where people had some freedoms, a place where the local governments put in place by a king who backed them would not have supreme power, place where the people had a voice, a place where it was not considered acceptable to burn down your neighbor’s house because his beliefs were different from yours, a place of reasonable laws, written to protect the innocent, where Right would prevail — right meaning correct, not The Right as opposed to The Left!  Although the founding fathers, being human and living in their own time and space, could not have foreseen everything nor were they perfect, they did their level best to make a good foundation.

Folks wake up.  That place was developing for 200 years and is now reversing itself.  If we want it back, we have to do something. We have to take back some control.  We may not need to put our lives on the line as our forefathers had to do; but we need to look at reality, determine what we can do and take action.  Nothing is getting better as we sit back and allow others to make decisions for us.

Seek within and speak up.

Greatergood.com for ten click to donate opportunities

Care2.com  for twelve click to donate opportunities

The Petition Site to sign petitions and to create petitions for your pet causes

Moveon.org

Truthout.org

Savebiogems.org

Change.org

Stand with Planned Parenthood

There are so many sites online that address issues and allow action.  Use your search engine of choice, choose your area of special interest and go for it.  Sign petitions, volunteer your time, march and carry a sign for or against something where your beliefs are strong, debate issues, write and or call your representatives and make them aware that not only are you and others like you watching but will hold them accountable for their actions — VOTE!  If your congress people are not acting in responsible manners, get them out of office!  We have to wake up and pay attention!  No one else is going to do it.  We should never assume that people with power can self-monitor.  That’s one reason why we have a governmental process with three branches — to provide that monitoring process.  Unfortunately, that process has become corrupted over the years, and it is high time for an overhaul . . . but that is subject matter for another article.

Seek within for the answer lies there, but action is necessary afterward.  Search your heart, your Juno, your higher self, your conscience, your head.  It’s past time.  We have a lot of work to do!

If you have sites that you currently go to to take action, please submit them to bobbi.astartehome@outlook.com so that I can include them here and in future materials.

 Many blessings to you all!

May we be a road to progress together.

Make yourself heard – speak out!

© Bobbi Curtis 2007

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