What Good are Student Demonstrations? …by ARHuelsenbeck

On National Walk-Out Day this past Tuesday, students at thousands of American high schools left their classrooms at 10:00 a.m. to protest against gun violence such as the attack at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida last month that resulted in seventeen deaths. One comment I heard about the walk-out was, “What good do demonstrations accomplish?”

Empty classroom feliphe-schiarolli-445578-unsplash

Students are virtually powerless. Most of the protesters are too young to vote. But their eloquence and their unwillingness to accept the status quo could help sustain attention on the issue of gun violence and the need for our society to come up with a feasible solution.

I don’t know if stricter laws are the answer. People who are determined to do evil don’t respect the law; they find ways to circumvent it.

I think what we really need in our society is more concern for others. Love should be taught by parents starting from their children’s infancy. Quality mental health care should be more readily available. Clearly, the Florida shooter was a deeply disturbed young man. But enough of my theories.

Getting back to our original question, if students can continue to challenge the national stagnancy on gun violence, I believe they may be able to influence significant change.


I read a scripture verse this morning that encouraged me in this regard. “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity (1 Timothy 4:12 NIV).”

These words were written by the apostle Paul to Timothy, whom he appointed leader of the Christian church in Ephesus. Scholars approximate Timothy’s age at around thirty, unusually young for such a high level of authority in a culture that respected the experience and wisdom of the aged. Paul’s advice to Timothy was to be above reproach in his behavior.

My counsel to young people who desire to effect change:

  • Keep speaking out. Don’t give up.
  • Act with integrity. Your good behavior validates your message.

Do you think young people can bring about a paradigm shift in our culture of violence? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Posted in America, Gun violence, Hope, National Walk-Out Day, Uncategorized | Tagged | 7 Comments

My First Job…by ARHuelsenbeck

My parents were immigrants from Germany. My mother’s sister married an American G.I. after World War II, and she and her husband sponsored my parents’ entry into the United States. I was conceived in Germany but born in the United States.

After my parents became American citizens, they sponsored my mother’s cousin’s family to come over from Germany. I knew her as Aunt Lizi and her husband as Onkel Willi. Their three children were Volkmar, Claus, and Gudrun. My dad helped Onkel Willi (a professional baker) get a job in the bakery where he worked. The family lived with us for a short time. I don’t remember that because I was so young, but Claus told me years later he remembered watching Hopalong Cassidy on television with me.

My mother and Aunt Lizi had many fallings out. Some years they wouldn’t even speak. But then they’d forgive each other and start visiting each other again. I have memories of lots of fun times together at their house or ours.


Toward the end of junior year in high school, I wanted a real job to save money for college, something other than babysitting (although I continued to babysit through college). My dad talked to Uncle Willi, who now owned a bakery two towns away. He hired me to work in his store. I wore a white uniform and waited on customers. I sliced bread, filled jelly donuts and eclairs, and eventually frosted and decorated cakes.

My school let out early enough that, even with taking the bus to the bakery, I got there before the nearby Catholic high school released for the day. Many of the students (some of whom had been my classmates in elementary school) stopped in to buy a brownie or a giant cookie before they returned home—the after-school rush. (I enjoyed a certain status by working at a place that was popular with teenagers.) I also worked on the weekends. Sunday morning was another busy time, with parishioners buying crumb buns, cinnamon raisin buns, and hard rolls for breakfast after Mass.


One of Onkel Willi’s little quirks was that he left the drawer of the cash register open when he closed the store for the night. He wanted to be sure that if a burglar broke in, he wouldn’t destroy the cash register trying to get into it. (Cash registers were expensive.) He left about forty dollars in the machine, reasoning that any less, and the burglar might vandalize the store. He figured forty dollars was the threshold at which the burglar would just take the money and leave. (We’re talking 1969. Forty bucks was a fair chunk of change in those days.)

I worked at the bakery until I left for college. When I came home the first summer, I found a new job at a local dry cleaner, because I wanted a position won completely on my own merits, without my dad’s help.

But I always remember with fondness my very first job at the bakery, where the fragrances of vanilla, butter, yeast, and cinnamon greeted me as I passed through the portal.

What was your first job? Was it a good experience? Share in the comments below.


Posted in Memoir | Tagged , | 15 Comments

Garage of Delight

It’s been almost three and a half years since I wrote about The Garage of Doom, my second post on this blog. This is what the garage looked like then, waist-high with stuff:


The Garage of Doom

Many boxes still needed to be unpacked from our move into the house 28 years ago. Some of the accumulated stuff was pure junk, but some of it had value to me. It reminded me of happy times, when my children were small, when loved ones, now deceased, were still alive. I remembered how much money we invested in this stuff.

I had to face the fact that, if we’d managed to survive up to 28 years without these things, we probably didn’t need them now. I did unearth some family heirlooms, but we’d already bought newer versions of much of the other stuff.

To be responsible stewards of our garage contents, we had to determine what we needed to keep, what could be given away, what could go in the recycling bin, and what should go in the dumpster. Working anywhere from 15-75 minutes a day (except when it was too hot or too cold, or when we were too tired or too busy) we worked until we’d filled the recycle bin and the dumpster many times over, and made dozens of trips to Goodwill and the fiber recycling collection point. We also made a few trips to the hazardous materials disposal site with buckets of old paint and old bottles of chemicals.

Many times during the process, my husband, Greg, said, “Let’s just pay somebody to haul everything away.” I couldn’t. I knew there were priceless treasures among the trash.

Finally, just before Christmas, I unpacked the last box from our move, and Greg removed the last worthless debris from our garage. We still have too much stuff in there, but what a difference, right?



This shot was taken from almost the same angle as the picture above. New door.




I don’t know if you can tell, but the garage door was wooden, very heavy, and dilapidated. Greg had been saying for many years that it hurt his feelings to see how much the garage door detracted from our house’s appearance. And, of course, I always said we had to empty the garage before we could get a new door. And I wanted an automatic door opener, too.

The new garage door was installed two weeks ago, and, for the first time ever, we parked our cars in the garage. Hallelujah!

Did you ever have a household project that took years to finish? Tell us about it in the comments below.

Posted in Decluttering, Doing Life Together, Finding solutions, Motivation, Perserverance, Transformation, When life seems too much | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Abortion…I was there in the beginning, Part 2 by Betty L. Arthurs


Abortion…I was there in the beginning. Part 2 by Betty L. Arthurs

Looking back over 40 years later, it seems impossible doesn’t it that I, happily pregnant, was helping to care for, along with other pregnant co-workers, mothers killing their babies?

John finished his studies in May and found a temporary job so I could quit working.
We were waiting for a teaching position to open up in Wilson, NY. Julie and I played for many long hours as my due date in June drew near. What a relief to not work and have time to rest. But one day I stopped feeling life in our baby, something was not right. Frantic, we rushed to my obstetrician who confirmed that our baby had died. In a few days I delivered Christopher Lee, always an active little guy, with the umbilical cord
wrapped around his neck. He was so perfect, so beautiful. There were no ultra-sounds in those days to warn of such a danger. And I was in the hospital where I had worked and where they killed babies. Only God and his love sustained us through those days of grief.
A short poem I love comes from a greeting card:

Trust God when dark days assail thee,
Trust Him when thy faith is small,
Trust Him when to simply trust Him,
Is the hardest thing of all.

John did get the teaching position and we moved back home to Niagara Falls country. In a few years another precious boy was born, Robbie, and we eventually moved to Arizona. Through the years we became active in pro-life causes. I have held the hands and prayed with women in church and at spiritual retreats who were held captive in the bondage of depression and shame over the abortions they had…God’s forgiveness was there and they learned to forgive themselves.

We didn’t know God was orchestrating an amazing event. The event was the birth of a boy, our first grandchild, adopted by our daughter Julie and her husband Mike, named Kyle Christopher. We’ve been forever grateful his birth mother chose life for him. Now Kyle is married and he and Rachel are expecting their first baby, a girl. We treasure the years with our children and eight grandchildren, showing us the circle of life fashioned by God brings healing and hope.

Yes, I was there in the beginning and I pray America will wake up and reject the culture of death abortion brings. Will you pray too?

Posted in Abortion, Doing Life Together, Faith, Fear, Forgivness, hospitals, nursing | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Abortion…I was there in the beginning, Part 1 by Betty L. Arthurs



Abortion…I was there in the beginning. Part 1 by Betty L. Arthurs

Over the years, many people have distanced themselves from the abortion debate until recently they learned of Planned Parenthood’s selling of body parts from pre-born babies.
Undercover videos revealed the scope of the heartless attitude of executives talking about their gruesome enterprise like they were dissecting fetal pigs in a college biology class.
For years abortion providers have told pregnant women it’s just a blob of tissue, let us help you take care of your problem. A fetal heart saved from the crushing of an abortionist is a tiny bit of flesh?

I was there from the beginning when abortion was made legal in the state of New York…before Roe v Wade.

In the early 1970s my husband and I moved to a college town in the Finger Lakes region of the state of New York so he could attend graduate school. I worked an evening shift, 3PM to 11PM, at a small hospital as an RN. This shift worked well for us since John could watch our toddler daughter, Julie, after his classes were done.

My nursing tasks were routine pre-op and post-op care on a surgical floor. All accident victims came to us from the ER since most would need surgery. Giving out medications, checking surgical dressings, comforting those laid up in traction, checking on cancer patients, making rounds with doctors…as nurses we kept busy, depending on our nurse’s aides and orderlies for help.

Back then I never paid much attention to the news so it was a shock when my co-workers talked about the new doctor, I’ll call him Dr. S., (I will never forget his real name) and how he was using the operating rooms to perform abortions. Up until then I had lead a very sheltered life. Obstetric textbooks taught us about miscarriages or spontaneous abortions where a grieving mother and father lost their baby, but not intentional abortions.

The nursing staff was in an uproar. Operating room nurses ran out, crying and threatening to quit, “some of the babies were born alive.” Other doctors were also horrified. But the hospital by now was making a lot of money off abortions since the women had to pay cash up front…no way would they stop these procedures. New nurses were hired with stronger stomachs to help the doctor of death.

Soon the overflow of women waiting for abortions came to our surgical floor. The doctor had advertised in newspapers and magazines. The women poured in from states where abortion was illegal. A thirteen year-old girl from Ohio told my nurse’s aide, “I have a boyfriend,” when her parents said she had been raped.

In a room with six beds, one woman would be recovering from a mastectomy, another had had gall bladder surgery, but one bed held a woman with a huge stomach undergoing a saline abortion. Hours earlier, Dr. S., huge syringe in hand, plunged the needle into her uterus and gave her baby a few hours to be poisoned and burned alive. Then in the operating room he would remove her “problem.” In the coming years, saline abortions would stop since so many babies survived the procedure, giving way to late term abortions where the abortionists carved up the baby to remove it.

After their procedures, the women would come back to us for a few hours and we would monitor their blood pressures and check for excessive bleeding. They looked half dead, not much of a medical term, but that’s what I observed. Soon they were discharged.

I never saw any poor women. There were college students, women who said, “I already have three children and my husband and I don’t want anymore,” teenagers whose parents didn’t want the shame of an unwanted pregnancy; older women and very young from all walks of life came to our Dr. S. In case you’re wondering, birth control in all forms was cheap and available at this time.

Now, 45 years later I know, this was how mixed-up American culture would help the poor, give sexual freedom, control the population, give the founder of Planned Parenthood, Margaret Sanger, the superior race of intellectual white people she craved. It’s true what the Bible says: “ For wherever there is jealousy (envy) and contention (rivalry and selfish ambition), there will also be confusion (unrest, disharmony, rebellion) and all sorts of evil and vile practices.” James 3:16 (AMP)

I remember those months as being a time when the hospital exchanged its call of giving and sustaining life for a spirit of death. It was a time when I prayed for God’s help just to get me through each shift. My co-workers and I were locked into our jobs since there were no other hospitals in the area. The women were our patients and needed care and I knew God loved them more than they could understand.

And I was six months pregnant. Part 2 tomorrow, August 1, continues my story.


Posted in Doing Life Together, Family Stories, Forgivness, Grief, hospitals | 2 Comments

In the Meme Time: Ask for Forgiveness

Mess up

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In the Meme Time: Heads Up

Head above water

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