We Remember You: 2,996 Victims

2996: A Tribute To The Victims of 9/11


Today marks the 5th year of the World Trade Center tragedy. I am honoring the life of Nancy Carole Farley, 45, who was a World Trade Center victim on September 11, 2001. Mrs. Farley resided in Jersey City, NJ with her husband Robert. She worked as a Claims Negotiator for Reinsurance Solutions Inc., on the 94th floor at 1 World Trade Center.

Nancy was the youngest of three children and a cat lover. Although she owned three, she feed the neighborhood strays and if necessary she would take them to the Vet. If there was a snowstorm and she saw a cat, she would bring it in,” recalled Linda Selnow, Nancy’s older sister. “She had the most caring heart.”

Nancy was preceded in death by her father, who passed away when she was in high school. Her mother passed away 10 years ago.

It is a priviledge to honor Mrs. Farley’s life today. Although I didn’t know her personally, I will always remember this picture and her smile. I hope that you will take a moment to reflect on her life as well. I am also honoring Jeffrey J. Shaw on my blog, The Talk Around Town. Please visit a few of the other 2996 blogs who are honoring World Trade Center victims as well by clicking on the above link.

May Mrs. Farley’s family and friends be blessed.

School Sued For Ignoring Bullies

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This post is a follow-up of my July 23, 2006 post Don’t Bully My Child. Casey County High School in Kentucky is being sued because administrators and teachers failed to take the appropriate action to protect five students on school grounds from bullies. In my previous post, I stated that parents should meet with school officials, and ensure that their child is safe while they’re on school property. Here’s a story of the parents and students taking the appropriate action and receiving nothing in return.

Rachel Weddle has a bald spot from when a bully pulled her hair and punched her in the face at school. Bethany Buis received letters with death threats and eventually transferred schools. Lacy Griffith skipped her high school graduation fearing harassment. Charissa Gosser was diagnosed with an adjustment disorder, which involves feelings of depression or anxiety. Nikki Rayborn spent most of her time at school trying to avoid bullies. These are the five students that are suing for unspecified damages.

The suit states that school administrators told the girls and their parents on several occasions that nothing could be done by the school to stop bullying. One student was told to “ride it out.” The vice principal told one student that she needed to “toughen up. ” The lawsuit also stated that a teacher witnessed a physically aggressive act against one of the girls, and responded, “Whew, she’s mad at you.” One student stated that the vice principal told her that she “got more trouble than most girls” because she was pretty. ”

How can students get an education when they spend the day avoiding bullies, defending themselves, or reporting the harassment and hearing administrators tell them that they can’t protect them? I believe that it’s unfair for a child to miss their high school graduation, one of the most important and memorable days of their life, because they’re afraid of being bullied. I also believe that it is unfair for a student who is being harassed to have to transfer to another high school to avoid the harassment. Why not transfer the bully? I find it hard to believe that school administrators haven’t received training to handle school bullies. Personally, I won’t spend a lot of time, energy, or money on school bullies. Call the parents into the school, turn the problem children over to the parents, and remove them from the system until they learn self-respect, self-control, self-esteem, and learn to respect their school and fellow students. I believe the problem starts at home, and that’s where it needs to be worked on and corrected.

Did these school administrators fail these students and parents? If school administrators don’t know how to handle bullying, they can use State Senate Bill 1621 co-written by 15 year old Caitlyn Nolan in Tenneesee as an example. Nolan was bullied in middle school for years by the same person. She said she lived in constant fear. Administrators say Nolan was a prime target because she was an overachiever, president of the school council and an honor student. I thought these were traits that all parents and administators wanted to see in students, but bullies despise these type of students. Caitlyn said, “When she was pushed face first into her locker, she decided to take action.” She lobbied for guidance on how to deal with bullies in her school district. Her bill goes into effect just in time for the new school year. Caitlyn hopes the bill “shines a light on the problem that students are facing.” Congratulations Caitlyn for stepping up and taking action!

Britney Spears – Bad Mother or Bad Press

Lets set aside the image that we have of Britney Spears smacking gum while interviewing with Matt Lauder, and the lastest image of her posing on the cover of Harper’s magazine and ask, Is Britney a bad mother or is she receiving bad press? I believe she’s just making mistakes as a young mother. I look back over my experiences as a first time mother, and I know that I made my share. I thought I knew everything, but boy was I clueless. Thank goodness no harm came to my child.

Lets look at Britney’ mistakes as a new mother that have been so high publicized: Driving on Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu with her son, Sean, on her lap. There’s a law that requires children to be in car seats not on a parent’s lap in a moving vehicle. She stated she was “country”, and she used to do the same with her father. Being country is a poor excuse when it comes to a child’s well being, and she must learn that her child’s safety must always come first. I chalked this up as a young and inexperienced mother who’s fear of the paparazzi caused her to make a poor decision. Did she have a car seat in the back of the vehicle? If so, we know that she follows the law for the most part.

Second, losing her balance while she was carrying her son on a cobblestone sidewalk in New York. I guarantee this has happened to thousands of mothers wearing high heels that weren’t walking on coblestone. We’re just not important enough to have a 100 paparazzi surrounding us with flashing cameras at the moment. This incident doesn’t make her a bad mother either, but she may want to consider the type of shoes that she wears when she has her baby in tow. Another learning experience.

Third, Sean ‘s fall from the highchair. It seems that the baby was in the care of the Nanny when the accident happened, not mom or dad’s care. The report stated that the child slipped from the nanny’s hands. How can they hold this poor girl accountable for an accident and she was not around? I’m sure she investigated the nanny thoroughly before hiring her, and she found the nanny to be competent. What mother would leave her child in the custody of someone who was not capable of caring for her child properly? She doesn’t appear to be unintellegient or backwards just young and experienced.

From a mother’s perspective, I wouldn’t be giving this nanny a second chance to drop my child. She would have been fired. I didn’t hear news that Britney fired her. If she didn’t fire her, she must have believed her story and continued to have trust in her. Of course that is her prerogative. Again, children fall everyday and the accidents don’t make us bad parents. They’re looked at for what they are, accidents. Why should the incidents with Britney, which I believe have been blown out of proportion, make her a bad parent?

Will Britney’s real challenge as a mother come when she gives birth to her second child, and little Sean is a toddler? No, she’ll miss some of the real tests because she’ll have a nanny to help prepare meals, give Sean his bath while she attends to the new baby, assist with potty training, etc. etc. Her challenge will be fending off the paparazzi who will be waiting for her next mistake with their cameras in tow. Bad mother or bad press?

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Foreign Baby Names Banned

Authorities in the city of Chihuahua, Mexico are enforcing a new set of rules. They are dictating to parents on what they can name their children. Now the authorities state they have the children at heart. They are trying to prevent children from a lifetime of ridicule and legal troubles. I’ve never known anyone to be arrested or encounter legal problems because of their name, but I have seen a few names where they should have locked the parents up for giving it to their child. I’ve often wondered what people were thinking when they named their children. The celebrities for example: Blanket, Rumer, Tallulah, and Phinnaeus. How much thought did these celebrities put into the selection process? Did they think about the children and what they would have to endure growing up in this world? Oh, these are celebrity’s children they won’t be in the real world.

For those of us who live in the real world, these names would be banned in Chihuahua, Mexico. Authorities in Chihuahua don’t want foreign, odd or creative names used or odd spellings. If parents do use a foreign name, they must use a Spanish surname such as Maria. I’m for Maria, my middle name is Marie. Don’t you love it! I decided to check out a database of Hispanic names. I wanted to see what was so great about Spanish names that authorities would enforce such a rule. Here’s a sample of the names listed in the database under A: Argentina, Africa, Adabelle for girls. Adelio, Achill, and Abdallah for boys. I believe parents should be able to name their children without interference from the authorities or anyone else, but I personally would not choose any of the names listed above for my children. I would not want to place the burden of carrying any of these names on them. For those who have chosen one of these names, no offense. I’m just expressing my opinion. People’s taste are different.

When I was in school, I knew a girl by the name of Candy Kane. She was tortured; kids can be cruel. Here’s a few other names that make me shake my head in disebelief: Apple, CoCo, Whizdom, Avon, Dianionique, and Puma. I see legal trouble surfacing when some student starts torturing and humiliating these poor children, and parents start yelling harassment! Do you think these children will take on an “alias” at some point in their life? Who knows they may end up loving their name.

I don’t believe that anyone should have the authority to dictate what a parent should name their child, but I do believe that some thought should be put into a child’s given name. It is something they will have to live with for the rest of their life. For the Mexician authorities, I wonder if the parents will have legal recourse if they choose one of the names that they have selected and the child is ridiculed. Will the parents be able to sue the authorities? After all, they enforced the rule.

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I Mind Very Much If You Smoke

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Should smoking be banned in private vehicles? If the Marco Firebaugh Memorial Children’s Health and Safety Act of 2006 is passed, drivers in California will be fined if they are caught smoking with a child under the age of six in their vehicle. This applies to moving or parked vehicles. Vehicles on private property will not be an exception. If you pull into your driveway and decide that you want to light up before you enter your home, don’t have a child under the age of six in your vehicle. I don’t know if you will be forced to the ground and asked to place your hands behind your back so they can slap handcuffs on you or not (now there’s a picture for you), but the driver will be warned the first time and fined a $100.00 thereafter.


Lets take a look at this bill: health professionals who testified on behalf of the bill stated that recent studies show that secondhand smoke contributes to high rates of bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma in children. I personally believe this is true and I’m all for protecting our young, but why doesn’t this bill apply to children over the age of six? How can they leave out children of any age? Are they saying that children over the age of six aren’t harmed by second hand smoke because they can sit in the front seat of the vehicle or they don’t have to be in car seats? What about teens? I’m not understanding the logic.

Furthermore, are they going to pull police patrols from crime ridden neighborhoods to monitor private vehicle owners who smoke and their children? Do you think they are trying to shift the focus away from their smog infested cities to smokers because they can’t clean up their own state? You would think that one of the most smog infested states in the country would be more concerned about the rapists, murders, robbers, molesters, and gangsters rather than someone’s personal vehicle. If they’re not going to concern themselve with the criminals, you would think they would be trying to elininate the smog that’s affecting all of their citizens instead of focusing on smokers and their children. The obviously don’t see that the smog is contributing to these ills as well! What’s next, a bill that allows police officers to peep through the windows of private homes to detect parents smoking around children under the age of six?

Back to the controversial cigarette. If this product is so harmful, why is it legal? Could it be the almighty dollar? Industries make billions of dollars on the sell of tobacco annually. If these products are legal, how can one be fined for using them? Why don’t they fine the tobacco companies for perpetrating an addiction? To me selling cigarettes and fining a person for smoking them makes as much sense as alcohol being sold to an alcoholic, but locking up the alcoholic after he kills someone, beats the crap out of wife or kids, gets fired from their job because he or she is dysfunctional from the effects and can no longer provide for his/her family, and than costing society thousands of dollars for rehabilitation.

Lets look at this from another perspective, are they questioning a parent’s decison making skills? If a parent won’t protect their child from second hand smoke, they will. If they are so righteous and adamant about protecting children, why aren’t they protecting “all” children. I think the citizens/parents in this country should question these lawmaker’s decision making skills. What’s your thoughts?

The Death of a Child

As a parent, you often wonder if your child is safe, especially during their teenage years and when they decide to move away from home. My worst nightmare would be receiving a call that my daughter had been in an automobile accident or injured somehow coming from a party or club. A message awaited me one morning at my office informing me that a co-worker and friend had lost her 25 year old son. To say that I was shocked would be a understatement. My heart broke for her. I wondered what had happened, but most of all I wondered how a mother would ever recover from the lost of her child. I still haven’t come up with an answer to this question. My daughter and this young man grow up together. We lived in the same neighborhood for years, and I’ve worked with his mother for 20 years. What would I say to her? We had just discussed our kids in the hallway at work several weeks before. She was planning to retire in several months, and I was expressing my envy. I thought of the pain and confusion she must be feeling. How do you make funeral arrangements for your only child? How do you say good-bye to someone that you gave birth to, nurtured, disciplined, loved unconditionally, and vowed to never allow any harm to come to them? How do you say good-bye to someone that you would literally die for? The answer to these questions have not come. I knew that I had to go to her, but what would I say. I had no answers.

The obituary appeared in the paper. The viewing would be Thursday night and the funeral Friday. My initial plan was to go the funeral. As time grow near, I decided that I could not sit and watch this mother’s pain from the loss of her son. I would have to go to the viewing. I left the office early heading home to prepare for the evening. My mind was racing a hundred miles a minute. I wondered if my daughter was okay. I lost count of the number of times, I had her called that week. I just wanted to know that she was safe. She understood, she never complained about my calls. She took the time to chat and tell me what was happening with her life. As I drove to the funeral home, I tried to prepare my condolence speech. I’m an experienced and eloquent speaker I told myself, I can do this. I pulled up at the funeral home, and saw that there was only 1 car in the parking lot. I realized that I had driven to the wrong funeral home. At that point, I also realized that I was an emotional wreck. I prayed for clarity, strength, and the right words for my meeting with Cindy. I arrived this time at the correct funeral home. I had planned to arrive early, but to my surprise the line was already coming out the door. I took a deep breath, and took my place in line. I felt my blood pressure rising, as I read the obituary and looked at pictures of her son around the room. A kind gentleman standing behind me noticed my discomfort, and placed his hand on my shoulders. He talked to me until it is was my time to approach Cindy.We embraced for what seemed an eternity. The words poured from me as I gave my condolences from my daughter and me. I turned the focus to the good times that the kids had growing up, playing by the pond and fishing. Our common love of Longerberger Baskets, my manager who would be there for her tomorrow, and others at the office who wanted me to give their condolences etc. It was effortless, it was coming from the heart. I could see and feel that she was grateful that I had come to support her. I had brought a smile to her face inspite of her pain if only for a moment. I felt so good after leaving her that I stayed and chatted with other co-workers and friends to help ease their discomfort while waiting to talk to her. Once again, through Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior all things are possible. I pray that this mother will find strength in God, and she will at least be able to move forward with her life. To all that have lost a child, may you be comforted and blessed.

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Preparing Home Made Baby Foods

While reading my local newspaper, I came across an article on mothers preparing home made baby foods. The article referenced a site on preparing wholesome baby foods, which I decided to visit. The site listed several reasons for preparing home made foods. Two of the reasons listed really caught my attention. First, “You have total control over what is put into your baby’s food and you know it’s free of additives that a tiny tummy simply does not need!” I feed my daughter Gerber and Beech-Nut cereals, fruits, and vegetables until she was ready for table foods. She never acquired the taste for any of their meats. Not once did her pediatrician tell me that the foods that I was giving her was affecting her digestive system or was the cause of any of her health problems. The second reason was, “Healthy eating habits develop earlier as your involvement is dedicated to making only high quality, healthy baby foods and snacks. Your baby will benefit from these healthy eating habits long after that college diploma is in hand!” My daughter is a college graduate, and she is healthy and happy. She watches what she eats and works out regularly. I was able to achieve the same result as the mothers who are preparing home made foods. If one is able to raise a healthy and productive child using store brought products, what are the true benefits of preparing home made foods? Did you raise a Gerber or Beech Nut baby? What’s your thoughts?

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