Knotty Musings

Ideas, philosophies, and evil plots to take over the world through love hatched here.

I Am Enough

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?

Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people
won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.

We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,

we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others." ~ Marianne Williamson

Remove the Nots

Remove the Nots

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Soggy Garden Thoughts

Good morning friends,

Well David and I went to the garden center yesterday and picked up a bunch of plants to fill in the West bank of our yard. That side is very very narrow and steep; it's about wide enough for the lawn mower and a 6' drop onto the neighbor's driveway if you lose your footing. So we decided that we are going to use ground covers and drought/heat resistant flowers to make it so that we don't have to mow it.

So we got some variegated sage (we can cook with it too so that's an added bonus, some verbena, lisianthus (the 3rd picture is the lisianthus), columbine (the 4th picture), some pansies to line our pathway and stepping stones in the front yard, hen and chicks for the rock garden, edelweiss for the novelty of it, some coleous for punches of color, and balloon flowers to replace the ones I killed last yard (I didn't realize they needed as much water as they do so this year I will plant them in an area of my yard that retains water a bit better.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dying to Donate

In light of National Organ and Tissue and Donation Awareness Month, I thought I would present this information because it doesn't seem to be talked about anywhere else.

Here's a little exercise: Please take your driver's license out of your wallet and take a good look at the lower right hand corner. Do you see a heart and the word donor above it? How many of us have gone to the department of motor vehicles, smiled for the camera, and signed the necessary forms to become an organ donor?

According to
, accessed November 7th:

100, 375 persons are currently waiting for an organ.
January - July 2008 nearly 19,000 transplants performed

During that same time, there were 9,500 registered donors

Harvested organs benefit humanity and could be the ultimate recycling program.
After all, when we’re dead, what do we care what happens to our organs?

Nisha Mohammed, in the Importance of Being Human asserts: “It is what unites us all—being human.” But the evolution of science and technology have also changed the definition of what being human means. Abortion, euthanasia, organ harvesting, cloning, and stem cell research force us to treat life as a commodity. From the cost of our birth, to our ability to support ourselves or by what it costs to keep us alive, a bounty is on our heads. How much is your life worth to you or your loved ones? Your employer? Your government? And is your life worth as much as your death?

My research includes articles, interviews, and statistics and will reveal shortcomings in the definitions of death, the lack of a uniform procedure for determining death, and questionable ethics resulting in patients dying to donate, intentionally or unintentionally.

Do you need to be dead for your organs to be harvested? The answer to that question largely depends on who is defining death and what exactly death means. The medical community has created such terms as brain-death, vegetative state, circulatory death, neurological death, and anticipated time of death.

The problem lies in that there is no uniform determination of death. Two proposed acts authored by the American Bar Association and the American Medical Association have sought since 1981 to remedy the situation and to date have not been enacted in ANY state. The Uniform Determination of Death Act would define brain and cardiac death as:

(a) irreversible stoppage of circulatory and respiratory functions; or
(b) irreversible stoppage of all functions of the entire brain, including the brain stem;

The act does not deal with living wills, life saving measures, etc, instead referring those issues to the Uniform Organ Harvesting Act, revised in October 2007, which specifically deals with consent issues, and living wills, not defining death. Since no uniform definition exists, standards vary from state to state and hospital to hospital.

Dr. Paul Byrne, a brain death expert and former president of the Catholic Medical Association, laments the inconsistency of brain death criteria on

. Dr. Byrne asserts “Brain death was made up in order to get organs. It was never based on science. It is a theory open to abuse and should be treated with care. With numerous sets of brain death criteria, a person may be dead according to one set, and not dead according to another.”

How do we get more organs? By redefining death. First we used “brain death” to take organs from those on ventilators, then we wanted to remove organs even if non-conscious brain functions continued. That was achieved through donation after cardiac death, which relies on heart stoppage. Stoppage poses a number of problems: There is no moment of death. Some hospitals wait 5 minutes after the last heartbeat, others wait two, and a Denver team waits 75 seconds.

No time of death? Not a problem!! Have we got a deal for you! Science has thought of everything: Science arranges the time of death using “anticipated death”, which coordinates the removal of life support with the patient monitored for cardiac arrest and harvesting. Dr. Robert Truong, a medical ethicist, told the New England Journal of Medicine that failure to take and reuse body parts looks like lethal negligence.

Nancy Valko, R.N. writes in “Dying to Donate” downloaded November 8th, that “. . . misguided zeal for organs has led many ethicists and transplant experts to try to develop new ways of increasing organ donations, usually without public input or even awareness.

Among the strategies:

1. Changing organ donation rules requiring patient or family consent for donation to "presumed consent", which legally assumes that everyone is automatically willing to be an organ donor unless they have documented an objection to it.

2. Enforce organ donation if a person has signed an organ donation card, regardless of family objections.

3. Financial incentives for organ donation to increase the pool of potential organ donors, such as educational programs for promoting organ donation in schools, with a focus on teen drivers.

4. In 2003, Critical Care Medicine published an article by Drs. Robert D. Troug and Walter M. Robinson in which they stated "We propose that individuals who desire to donate their organs and who are either neurologically devastated or imminently dying should be allowed to donate their organs, without first being declared dead".

In his book Beyond Brain Death, Michael Potts asserts that it is wrong to cause the death of an organ donor in an operation not undertaken for his or her benefit.

It is true that harvested organs benefit humanity. It is true that these human beings are nearing the end of their existence. However, they MUST NOT be killed solely for the benefit of others deemed more worthy. To create a class of patients deemed “futile to care for” the vulnerable are placed at an even greater risk – the elderly, the mentally impaired, those in a persistent vegetative state, and infants with several birth defects.

If the medical community will not protect us, ignores the Hippocratic oath to “do no harm” and sees no problem with allowing death to be defined in any number of ways as long as it serves the purpose of sustaining life deemed more worthy, how do we ensure our needs are taken care of before the organ recipients’? We should pressure legislators, insurers, and the medical community to adopt clear cut standards for what constitutes death. In the meantime, however, each of us can begin to define what death means to us, put that definition into an advance medical directive, and keep that document where it can be accessed easily in a time of need.

At the risk of eroding public confidence in the worthy goal of organ donation, it is critical that the public be adequately informed about all the ethical issues and given an opportunity to have a voice in determining policies before simply signing an organ donor card can be considered truly informed consent. To quote Albert Einsten, “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity. “

Einstein, Albert. Brainy Quote. Nov. 4, 2008. <> Nov. 4, 2008.
Jalsevac, John. “Doctor Says about "Brain Dead" Man Saved from Organ Harvesting - "Brain Death is Never Really Death." Lifesite News. Mar. 27, 2008. <>. Nov. 3, 2008.
Kapralos, Krista J. “The Cost of Dying.” HeraldNet. Oct. 12, 2008. <>. Nov. 4, 2008.
Mohammed, Nisha N. “The Importance of Being Human.” Oldspeak. July 17, 2003. Nov. 3, 2008.
National Conference Of Commissioners On Uniform State Laws. “Uniform Anatomical Gift Act.” Oct. 24, 2007. <>. Nov. 8, 2008.
National Conference Of Commissioners On Uniform State Laws. “Uniform Determination of Death Act.” Feb. 10, 1981. <> Nov. 8, 2008.
Potts, Michael, Paul A. Byrne, and Richard G. Nilges. Beyond Brain Death. Netherlands: Kluwer Academic Publishers, 2001. Google Book Search. <> Nov. 4, 2008.
Saletan, William. “Undead BabiesThe retreating boundaries of organ harvesting.” Oct. 3, 2008.
<>. Nov. 6, 2008.
Simkin, John. “Martin Niemoller.” Spartacus International. 2003. <>. Nov. 4, 2008.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. U.S. Government Information on Organ & Tissue Donation and Transplantation. Nov. 3, 2008. <>. Nov. 8, 2008.
Valko, Nancy, R.N. “Should We Be Dying to Donate?” Voices Online Edition. Vol. XX No. 1 - Eastertide 2005. <>. Nov. 3, 2008.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Woohooo Remodel Here We Come!!!!

Well, we cleaned up in savings on things to remodel our house with! One of the local Sears stores is closing and everything is 25-75% off so we went and looked around after work. I got 2 pairs of dress slacks and a sweater for $25, a new bath mat, and 4 gallons of paint at 50% off which is a great deal. The paint was originally $28/gallon so we can change the look of our kitchen and dining room for under $75!!!

The kitchen walls will be a very light mint green which will go nicely with the white cabinetry. I want to get either a Mary Engelbreit or an ivy border. I want Mary Engelbreit curtains and lots of color in my little kitchen.

The dining room is getting a lilac color on the walls, some white moulding around the ceiling and some border. I'd like a Victorian tearoom look in the dining room so I can hardly wait but alas, the first chance we'll get to do any painting will be the downtime between quarters so we're looking at May 22-June 8th for a trip to NY to see David's family and a week or so for us to work on the house.

Coming Up For Air

Hello friends,

I haven't fallen off the face of the earth. I promise! I've been grieving and turning a bit introspective in light of all of the events of the past several weeks. I am slowly healing but I really need a break just to restore my batteries and I'm not likely to get that any time soon.

I received a bunch of plants and statuary from my mentor's gardens; his kids thought that I have them since they don't live here. It will be nice to have a living reminder of him because it is so hard to realize that he's gone. I've also been spending time with my best friend's kids and trying to help them since they lost their mother. They are both in their teens which is a hard time but to navigate it without mom and with a father who has a drinking problem is even harder. So I'll do what I can.

School is still kicking my butt and I will be repeating this algebra class, but with a tutor and I'm taking the accelerated which will repeat the algebra concepts all the way from the beginning. I believe that subtle things have escaped me and I don't have a good enough basis for understanding. So. . .hopefully the new approach works. In the meantime, I will continue to go to class and pick up what I can of the concepts. Frustrating, yes, but probably character building as well.

I must admit that I haven't been taking care of myself well during all of this. I have been mostly just existing; the exhaustion is just crushing and I know it's depression and stress causing it so I went to the dr. and now have some meds that are starting to pull me out of it.

I haven't crocheted a stitch in over a month; there just hasn't been any time so I'm glad that the shawl ministry starts meeting again so that I have that time at least.

Things will get better, it's simply taking a while.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why Do We Wait?

Good morning friends,

As some of you know I lost a couple of beloved friends last week. They will be sorely missed and I am so glad I had their love for even a short time. Yes, I do know that my blog postings have had a theme as of late but there is a reason: I believe that we don't love enough. We don't express it enough, we don't believe in it enough, we don't share it enough. So after these latest tragedies and nearly losing my furbaby this weekend after she ingested some plastic, I have some thoughts on love.

After yet another tragic event, I'm left with many questions. What would motivate someone to cold-heartedly pull the trigger dozens of times and take the lives of so many people? How could something so awful happen, and what can we do prevent it from occurring again? Where can our children go and be safe? Why did God allow this to happen? Where was He? During the aftermath, psychiatrists, law enforcement officials, clergymen, and a slew of others will try to answer these questions.

I also have some of these same questions, but there is one that troubles me every time a Virginia Tech or Columbine or tsunami or 9-11 knocks me off my seat of complacency. "Why does it take a tragedy for people to realize who and what is really important in life?" Why must people die senselessly for us to stop our busy lives, to embrace those we love a little bit longer, to tell someone from the depths of our hearts we love them, or to realize when it is all said and done, love will be all that really matters?

In the midst of the turmoil we embrace what matters and hold on as tight as we can. Clinging to our loved ones, we vow never to let go. We make promises that we will never take our loved ones and life for granted ever again. But, we do. As the dust settles, violent waters recede, airlines fly once again, and classes resume, we move on and let our busy schedules and daily to-do lists take top priority in our lives. What about love? Yes, we still love, but only when we have time or when it is an item to be checked off on our schedule.

A tragedy strikes.

We love deeply.

Life moves onward, or should I say backward, toward the chaotic schedules we try to maintain. Our senses are awakened, but as quickly they are deadened to the pain in the world around us. Yes, one could go crazy focusing on all the evil and injustices in this world. With so much starvation, suffering, and senseless death, it is much easier to live in a cocoon of complacency than to break free from the comfortable chaos we call life.

"What could I possibly do," we ask, "to make a difference in a world that seems to be going to hell in the proverbial hand basket?" (Actually I believe the basket has grown considerably since this saying came about.) Life will offer us an endless cycle of tragic events, and no, most of them we cannot do anything about. Tsunami warning systems will save some but not all. Metal detectors in schools keep some violence from within the buildings, but they do not erase it from beyond the confines of the walls of the classroom.

In the aftermath of tragedy lies our answer. Love. Not just from being caught up in the emotions of the moment, but love at all times. We treat love as a feeling, but ultimately it is a choice, a decision we make. We can choose to love or not to love. The decision is ours to make. It is in our hands. No one can force us to love. To love only when it is convenient is not love.

Love will not keep all the disasters of this world at bay. Love will, however, keep us from fearing what we ultimately fear: death. When all is said and done, when death rears its ugly head, nothing about life will be regretted if we have lived a life of self-sacrificing love. We will not live in the "what ifs," and "if onlys." Jesus commanded, and did not merely suggest, we "love one another as I have loved you." This is a love that takes its last breath loving. We waste so much of our time not loving, but when we look back upon our lives all that will have mattered is, "did we love with an inexhaustible love?" Love never counts the cost but always says, "no greater love is there than this, than for a man to give up his life for his friends."

Love is Liviu Librescu. A Jewish holocaust survivor, he blocked his classroom door and told his students to jump out the windows while the gunman at Virginia Tech tried to enter and continue his murderous rampage. He took his last breath loving.

There will be many "who, what, when, where, why, and how" questions that can never be answered whenever any tragic event takes place. But only you can answer for yourself the question: "Why does it take a tragedy for us to realize who and what is really important in life?" Why do we "wait" to love?

Everything is always okay in the end, if it's not okay, then it's not the end.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

"Giving back"
By Bob Perks

Life isn't about what you get from it.
Life is about what you give to it.

It's another Monday. For some, just hearing that
brings a feeling of sadness, depression and angst.

As a society we buy in to such things and those
who don't, appear to be pollyanna-like, foolish,
die hard, the glass is always half full, positive

But times are changing.
I am tired of turning on the TV to see another
senseless act of violence. I am sick of reading about
the stock market, job loss, armed robberies and war.

Still, I am not foolish enough to believe that all
I need to do is turn off the television, stop reading
the newspapers and avoid the internet.

I must still remain aware but balance it all with
hope, faith and logic.

Here is the truth. In spite of all the ugly in the
world, the beautiful is overwhelming.

You cannot hide from the day. Violence and hatred
does not stop simply by denying it.

As much as you hate Mondays, the sun waits for no one.

The truth is...

There is no giving up or giving in on life, just giving

If you awoke this morning and are dreading heading into
work, remind yourself there are millions now unemployed.

Give back. Find time to help those who have no work to
go to.

If you want to hide from the news of a more violent
society do something...give back.

It is said that Mother Theresa was asked to join a
protest against the war. Her reply was no.

"When you have a demonstration for Peace, I will participate."

Give something peaceful.

For every act of violence do two acts of kindness.

For everything you see as ugly plant something beautiful.

Be aware of what's wrong in the world and and do what's right.
Monday? "Thanks, God! I'll spend it giving back!"

"I wish you enough!"
Bob Perks
I encourage you to share my stories but
I do ask that you keep my name and contact
information with my work.

If you would like to receive Bob's Inspirational
stories, please visit

and submit your email address.
"I Wish You enough!"
© 2001 Bob Perks
I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear
much bigger.
I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
I wish you enough "Hello's" to get you through the final "Goodbye."

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Pursuit of Happiness

I was thinking the other day that people too often hold themselves back from pursuing the dreams that make their hearts sing because they believe they're too old, the kids are too young, friends change, people pass away - the list goes on and on.

I say, SO WHAT?? Even if all of the above statements were true, does it mean that the pursuit of happiness has no value, that love and friendship have no value? I think not. I received the following in an e-mail from a friend (thanks Joan!). I do not know who wrote them so if you know a verfiable source for these words please let me know and I will provide proper credit.

Happiness is reachable, no matter how long it lasts.
We should stop making our lives complicated.

Life is short
Break the rules
Forgive quickly
Kiss passionately, love truly
Laugh constantly

And never stop smiling
no matter how strange life is
Life is not always the party we expected to be
but as long as we are here, we should smile and be grateful.