CLEAN UP YOUR ROOM! How Many Mothers Have Said THAT Over The Years?

May 10th

I’m sitting here, breathing a sigh of relief on Friday  night.  The week is over.  Though it wasn’t all bad, it definitely had its roller coaster moments which were mentally exhausting.  Hubby and I are sitting here watching re-runs of Frasier, laughing over the humor and sipping a glass of wine.  It’s a wonderful way to unwind after the week.  I’m so glad we enjoy so many of the same shows. Some of the lines in these episodes have me in stitches, and a good laugh is definitely easing any tension I was feeling from the work stresses.  Now I feel like I can celebrate with everyone!  Let’s see what’s on the schedule for today!

Birth Mothers Day – In this world that appears to be filled with selfish people who think only of their own interests, today we recognize the biological mothers of adopted children.  So many people today justify the use of abortion to rid themselves of an “inconvenience”,  moving on from the precious life that they eliminated without another thought.  If they DID think about it in retrospect, those are stories we don’t hear about.  It wouldn’t do to allow anyone to see that there are regrets, pain and lifelong repercussions to murder.  The women who give birth to these children that they perhaps didn’t plan, or maybe were the result of the crime of rape, or possibly life changed for them and they felt that they couldn’t properly care for the baby financially or emotionally, are heroes.  These women made the choice to honor life and bring these babies into the world, and allow others who cannot have children of their own to have the gift of a family.  Today we celebrate those mothers who gave up their children to be raised by someone else.  This day was set up by birth mothers to educate, to remember, and to cope.  Many of these mothers feel such remorse, such guilt, that they don’t feel that they deserve to be honored on Mother’s Day.   Have compassion for these women, for every day they may find themselves searching the faces of people they pass in stores and on the streets, wondering if perhaps THAT is their son or daughter.  They look for similarities, they dream and wonder what the life of their child is like.  Some search for their children, or hope that their children will search for them.  Today is the day to show compassion for the women who made the loving and selfless act of giving up a part of themselves, so that the child could have a loving home with parents who desperately prayed for children to come into their lives.  Being a mother, I cannot fathom the strength it takes to let a child go, because I know that no matter my circumstances, I don’t have that kind of strength.  God bless these women, and give them peace in their hearts.  Happy Birth Mother’s Day.  You know who you are – we honor you. 

Clean Up Your Room Day – This one brings back memories, both of my own childhood, and of my own children.  I’d like to think that if we had known there was a day such as this that, at least once a year, I could have been guaranteed that their rooms would be clean.  Sadly I must admit it likely wouldn’t have made a difference.  This is a day though, if the kids know about it, that they very probably dread.  Growing up, as long as we could close the door to our rooms, there wasn’t dirty laundry hanging out in there, and there weren’t any dishes taken in there that would begin to grow science experiments, Mom didn’t make us keep our rooms pristine.  I think its safe to say that we had more clutter issues than anything.  My own kids?  Well, I tried to pass along that whole relaxed attitude my Mom did with me and my brother, but it sort of backfired.  Their rooms were a vast wasteland of horror – the conditions enough to make me run and hide.  Every conceivable corner, nook or cranny was stuffed to capacity with the hoards of toys, clothes, junk and general debris that could only happen in the rooms of children who have 2 sets of Grandparents who weren’t afraid to bring gifts at all times of the year.  Once in awhile I’d have a meltdown . . . literally . . . no seriously, a complete falling apart at the seams, nagging at top volume, threatening the very safety of every item in those rooms, whirling dervish of hurricane force anger at the mountain of debris that was my children’s bedrooms.  This was following days of orders to clean it, followed by days of orders to clean it combined with punishments that grew more harsh and dreaded by the day.  Nothing worked.  Finally, as the top blew off of the volcano of my limited stores of dubious patience, I would lose it, banish the kids to separate corners to contemplate the spot where the walls joined up, close and personal, while I began to clean their rooms.  The journey to the corners was made with pleading, tears and begging for me to give them ONE MORE CHANCE!!!!! WE’LL CLEAN IT UP! (insert sound effects of sobs, hysteria and the sight of big blue eyes, filled and overflowing with more waterworks than Niagara Falls) Then the cleaning would commence.  HOURS it took to put everything they owned – except clothing and their Bibles – into garbage bags and haul them to the garage to wait it out until the day came when, one at a time, they could be earned back.  By the time I was finished you’d think these children didn’t own one single item by looking at their rooms.  And that was OK by me.   I’d finish, exhausted, as angry at myself as I was at them . . . and more so at their dad for mysteriously disappearing from the premises during these emotion filled days . . . determined that it would never happen again.  It always did.  Somehow though, they grew up and moved out, and now my son is nearly fanatical about keeping his house clean  (wish I could say that about his teen years when we had to put up a HAZARDOUS WASTE symbol sign on his bathroom door), and my daughter has turned into a minimalist who tosses everything not nailed down if she doesn’t use it at least once in a couple months – unless its clothing or shoes – those have an entire room of their own.  What happened to the kids that had me in tears at least once every few months while I disposed of their belongings?  I must have done something right, and now I pass the torch to them. My son married a lovely woman last year . . . she gave him the gift of being a father to her 4 year old son (5 years old now), and he will be a Dad in his own right in just over a month.  I bequeath to him (and someday to my daughter) the wish that their children will be JUST like they were.  I will now sit down and giggle . . . payback is awesome, isn’t it?  It is now my turn to spoil the kids rotten and send them home.  Let the games begin!

National Train Day – Take a little trip backward in time for a moment.  Put on your imagination hat . . .The year is 1869 and the future is HERE!  No longer are we going to have to travel from the east coast to the west in a months long journey by horse and wagon.  No more will we be facing the fear, danger and challenges of weather, disaster, illness and confrontations with indigenous people.  Daily the news comes to us that the Central Pacific and Union Pacific railroads are getting closer to completing the first Transcontinental rail line!  Isn’t it exciting???  Construction of the railroads is dangerous, the workers are in great peril each day as so much of the west is wild and unsettled.  No matter the danger, it doesn’t stop the excitement at the thought of being able to get from one coast to the other in a matter of days, and in comfort!  The face of America is changing, even as the world is getting smaller. . . It is finally here!  May 9 of 1869!  The news will be announced any moment . . . and here it is!  The tracks of the two railroads met up at Promontory Summit, Utah!  They drove a golden spike into the final connection of the two tracks, forming the first continental rail line . . . it is 1,776 miles long! Can you imagine?  As we bring ourselves back to present day, I’m sure we can smile at the thought of the excitement over the trains – after all we can travel much farther than that now by airplane in mere hours – but it really was thrilling and transportation took major strides forward. My family has its own connection to the railroad being stretched across our great nation.  Great Grandpa Hageman helped to build the railroad, following it across the country as they laid the tracks.  Back breaking, intense labor the likes of which most people don’t see these days.  Each spike had to be driven into the tracks, one by one.  Great-Grandpa nearly lost his life performing his job when a spike was hit incorrectly – I was never sure as the story was told if it was a spike he hit, or one that a fellow worker hit – but the spike flew up and embedded itself into his forehead.  The only pictures I have ever seen of him has this deep indentation in the direct center, just above and in between his eyes.  He was very fortunate to survive, and I’m sure his 15 (?17?) kids would agree.  There are a few ways to celebrate this one today . . . you could take a train ride . . . something I’ve never actually been fortunate enough to do.  You could go to a train museum, or explore train and railroad history.  You could join a train club . . . there are actually many out there..  Even more simply, you could watch a movie that has trains in it.  As an interesting side note, this day was created quite recently, and celebrated for the first time in 2008.



Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Awareness Day – This is a sad one, and something I’d never heard of before now.  Cornelia de Lange syndrome (CDLS), also known as Bachmann-de Lange syndrome, is a genetic disorder present from birth. In most cases, CDLS is not associated with any family history of the disorder, but for others, siblings and/or parents may also have the syndrome. Researchers have identified a gene on chromosome 5 associated with CDLS.  The following symptoms and other information has been copied and pasted for accuracy.  My heart aches for these children and their families.

Symptoms:  Many of the symptoms of Cornelia de Lange syndrome are present at birth. These include some or all of the syndrome’s distinctive facial features:

  • confluent eyebrows that appear arched and well-defined (99% of cases)
  • long curly eyelashes (99%)
  • low front and back hairlines (92%)
  • turned-up nose (88%)
  • down-turned angles of the mouth and thin lips (94%)
  • small lower jaw and/or protruding upper jaw (84%).


Other physical abnormalities which may be present at birth or detected as the child grows may include:

  • very small head (microcephaly) (98% of cases)
  • eye and vision problems (50%)
  • excessive body hair, which may thin as the child grows (78%)
  • short neck (66%)
  • hand abnormalities, such as missing fingers, very small hands, and/or inward deviation of the pinkie fingers
  • heart defects.

Infants with Cornelia de Lange syndrome are generally born small, sometimes prematurely. The infant has very tense muscles, has trouble feeding, and may have a low-pitched weak cry.
Language and behavior problems:  Infants with CDLS do not develop as quickly as other children. Most have mild to moderate mental retardation, but some may be profoundly retarded (IQ range 30-85). Because of problems with the mouth, hearing impairment, and developmental delay, children with CDLS often have speech delay. Behavior problems for children with CDLS may include hyperactivity, self-injury, aggression, and sleep disturbance. These children may appear to have autism due to a diminished ability to relate to other people, repetitive behavior, difficulty with facial expression of emotion, and language delay.

Treatment: focuses on helping each child achieve his or her potential in terms of development and language, and medical care for physical problems. Infants benefit from early intervention programs for improving muscle tone, managing feeding problems, and developing fine motor ability. Life expectancy is normal if the child was born without major internal physical malformations such as heart defects.

The statistics say that this happens to 1 in 10,000 children.  I’ve never known anyone with this syndrome, I’ve never even heard of it, but now that I am, being aware and spreading the word, maybe that will encourage others to give to research to figure out how to prevent it, treat it, or at least help with appropriate and helpful therapies and counseling for the families.


International Migratory Bird Day – We have had a lot of days to celebrate birds, but today we specifically focus on the incredible journey that migratory birds take each year.  They travel 1000’s of miles between breeding grounds in North American, and their winter homes in Central and South America.  This is the day to both support and to increase awareness of conservation efforts in support of migratory birds.  Today perhaps would be a good day to take a walk in the woods to look for and enjoy watching migratory birds.  We have the wetlands behind our neighborhood where we can see Canada Geese hanging out and doing the things geese do.  It’s pretty entertaining and very peaceful.  

Letter Carrier’s  Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day – Today is the 22nd annual food drive where more than 1,400 post office branches in just about every city, state and territory will have letter carriers, family member and thousands of volunteers out and about to help collect, sort and distribute the cans, boxes and jars of non-perishable food items left in bags next to customers mailboxes.  This is the nation’s largest one-day food collection drive. By now many food pantries and other service organizations are pretty much tapped out, so the infusion of food from this drive comes at just the right time.  The 2nd Saturday in May was specifically chosen for this annual event. The sad reality is that people give generously around Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they push it to the backs of their minds by this time of the year, and the shelves are running bare.  It’s sad and the reality is that widespread hunger in America is a tough problem to solve, and it’s something we can’t just focus on one time of the year, and ignore the rest of the time.   Last year the food drive gathered more than 70 million pounds of food, bringing in a grand total from all the drives to about 1.2 billion pounds.  There is one thing I would like to note to everyone.  I spoke with a lady a couple of years ago who was one of the managers at a local food bank at the time.  This was right after this food drive, and she was showing me a pile of food that they couldn’t distribute to the bank because it was all VERY past expiration.  Do NOT use drives such as this one to unload a bunch of stuff that you wouldn’t eat.  Rule should be . . . if YOU wouldn’t eat it. . . nobody else will want to either.  That’s just rude.  If you are being generous, be TRULY generous and give something meaningful, rather than garbage.


National Miniature Golf Day –  I really enjoy miniature golf.  I am really intimidated by REAL golf, but miniature golf is something I can do and have fun doing it!  Did you know that miniature golf has been around since the 1800’s?  During that time people considered it to be highly inappropriate for a woman to raise a golf club above her shoulder level.  (there were some REALLY weird ideas going around throughout history!).  In 1867 the Ladies’ Putting Club of St Andrews, Scotland built a small scaled-down golf course so that women could play the sport without creating a scandal.  It was the first the first miniature golf course in history.  Miniature golf courses began popping up in America during the early 20th century.  However, these facilities were usually located at hotels and private resorts so they weren’t yet available to the masses.  In 1916, James Barber of North Carolina built the first quintessential miniature golf course – it was named “Thistle Dhu”.  The design of the course was neo-classical, similar to the styles of the Tuileries Garden at the Louvre in Paris.  By the 1930s, miniature golf had become a popular pastime all across the country.  Maybe today, for National Miniature Gold Day can go enjoy a round or two! 


Stay Up All Night – Well, I saw that there was a day set up for this one, but could find ABSOLUTELY nothing to explain it.  It’s pretty self-explanatory anyway I guess.  It’s all about staying up all night!  When I was a kid I would have LOVED this, as a teen it would have been the norm for a weekend, but now? No thank you.  I appreciate my sleep too much for that and find myself getting sleepy and yawning by 9 p.m . . . I’ll leave this celebration to other people.  Have fun!

Windmill Day- Have you ever been driving through the countryside and there ahead of you, stretching as far as you can see, is a windmill farm?  It’s pretty impressive, and these are the new variety.  Windmills are in no way a new technology though.  Since ancient times man has harnessed the power of the wind to provide power for transportation, grinding grain, pumping water, etc.  The exact beginnings of the first windmill is unknown, though it is thought to be of Persian origin, from where the knowledge spread back into Northern Europe as a result of the Crusades.  The earliest windmills were far different from the days, but the concept was similar.  Today we celebrate this rich history, and the beauty of the early windmills.  Modern ones are interesting, but the older ones with the large sails are gorgeous.  The picture attached is one I felt was particularly stunning.  Someday I’d love to actually see one in person for myself.  Please take some time and do a bit of searching for some of the beautiful, historical windmills and appreciate their amazing abilities in a way that I just can’t fit in here in one entry.  It is a fascinating bit of history that is still so useful today.  “Green” energy isn’t new, it’s just updated.   

World Lupus Day – The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that there are 1.5 million women in the U.S living with lupus. While it’s unknown what exactly causes the disease, experts say that it is more common in women than men, and mostly in women ages 15-40.   What exactly is lupus though?  I know that I’ve heard the name many times, but didn’t have any idea what it was.  Lupus is a chronic inflammatory disease that attacks the body’s own healthy tissues and organs.  It can damage the joints, skin, kidneys and other parts of the body.  There are three types of lupus:Systemic Lupus erythematosus: The most serious form of lupus. This type harms the skin, mouth, kidneys, brain, lungs and heart.
Discoid lupus: Lupus that mainly affects the skin.
Drug-induced lupus: This type of Lupus is caused by medications, but goes away when you stop taking your prescribed medication.

Lupus symptoms are not always the same in every person, but  here are some common symptoms:

Joint pain and stiffness, with or without swelling
Muscle aches and pains
Fever with no known cause
Feeling very tired
Skin rashes
Trouble thinking, memory problems, confusion
Kidney problems with no known cause
Chest pain when taking a deep breath
Butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks
Sun or light sensitivity
Hair loss

It’s important to note that in some cases lupus can go into remission, and in other cases the disease flares up. There are different forms of treatment for lupus, yet which treatment you take depends on your symptoms and its severity of the disease.  There is some good news though.  If you do have lupus, there are some steps that you can take to lessen the incidence of flare-ups. Mayo Clinic suggests:  Get adequate rest because with lupus comes extreme fatigue. Take naps often and get plenty of rest.  Use sunscreen and cover up your skin, because ultraviolet light can trigger a flare-up.  Exercise regularly because it can help you recover from a flare-up.  Stop smoking because smoking can worsen the effects of lupus on your heart and blood vessels.  Eat a healthy diet with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains.  

This Day In History

1969 – The first color pictures of Earth from space are sent back from Apollo 10.      
1994 – Nelson Mandela becomes South Africa’s first black president.

Food Celebration of the Day

National Shrimp DayAmericans eat more shrimp than any other seafood, beating out even salmon and canned tuna in popularity.

Summer Shrimp Cocktail
Thai-Style Tomato-Shrimp Salad
Shrimp Bisque
Abruzzi Shrimp Pasta Sauce
Shrimp Creole
Coconut Shrimp
Yaam Goong (Thai Spicy Shrimp Salad)

Well, that’s a lot to absorb, but it’s a good thing to have many celebrations to choose from, and enjoy!  Not everything is for everybody after all.  As for me? Well, I am celebrating Mother’s Day with my Mom and Daughter today instead of tomorrow.  We are heading out for the annual movie and lunch day . . . I’d better start getting ready!  God Bless You and I’ll see you tomorrow!

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