Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Children

They are driving me crazy. Seriously crazy.

Today I think Peaches cried about 80% of the day. Not a whimpering pouty cry that can sometimes be considered cute. But the ear-piercing screaming cry that totally drains a person. And causes minor hearing damage. She did most of this type of crying at Home Depot. Thus, this also resulted in a lot of impolite stares from other shoppers.

This afternoon, while the kids were playing outside right before leaving for Home Depot, Slim cut off one of Peaches' irises with a sword. She was devastated and decided to show just how mad she was by stepping on the blossom and smashing it into the cement sidewalk. This made Slim angry. So he retaliated by taking his plastic sword (he was Captain Sparrow today) and slicing his sister on the arm. He drew blood.

In retrospect, I guess this means he would make a fantastic pirate.

I digress...

My children have been causing me a lot of grief lately. Peaches is, for lack of a better and more appropriate word, a brat. She is loud. She is obnoxious. She is always right. She pouts. She screams. She cries. Loudly. In other words, she is me. I cannot believe the arguments that we get into already. The girl is only four, yet she has the manipulation skills of a teenager.

Slim hasn't been that much better. Generally, he is a kind and gentle boy. He has a deep and genuine love for people that is very admirable. However, he is extremely pessimistic. He is negative. He is contradictory.

I don't know if this is a phase or if these are the traits that my children will struggle with their entire lives. But, I also do not know how to handle them. Complaining and negativity drive me bonkers. Laziness and sarcasm are not things that I admire.

Today, as Peaches was lying in her bed banging the wall with her feet she screamed "I guess this just means I have to hate everybody! Even Mommy and Daddy!"

The fact that she threw Daddy into her hate-pot is amazing. Daddy is her hero, her life-saver, her rescuer.

Tonight, I made Peaches go to bed at 6pm. She ate dinner and then went straight to bed. She gave all the classic tiredness signs throughout the day: crying for no reason, whining, complaining, pouting, crankiness...

However, once we put her in bed, she failed to fall asleep. She ripped her Ikea pink bubble lamp off the ceiling decrying the stupidity of having a light on the celling. She kicked the wall, which butts up to the living room wall thus knocking picture frames askew. She screamed that she needed water, that there was a fly in her room, that she was scared. But what she screamed the most, was that she hated everyone. Everyone was stupid. She did this for two hours.

Just ask me. I dare you. Ask me if there was even a sliver of sympathy in my heart for her. Want to know the answer? Really?

Well, there was none. Not a bit. She was a pill at church and she wasn't letting up anytime soon.

But Daddy, dear Daddy. He did have those sympathy pangs in his heart. Her crying got to him. So what happened? He agreed to let her come out. He told her that she had to apologize to me. He let her know that her attitude was deplorable.

I got my apology. I got the sweet look from her gorgeous brown eyes that will fool any man. She gave me hugs and cuddled next to me. Then, Hurricane decided to go for a run. Left me with the monsters. He was gone for literally two minutes when the fighting started. AGAIN!

Well, this no-nonsense Mama was done. Bed for both. And that is where they remain. Slim is reading but Peaches is out. Finally.

This is going to be a long summer break.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Coptic Christians

** This article is from The Australian. **

TWELVE Christian were murdered in Egypt. Two hundred and thirty-two people wounded. The death toll will surely rise as victims succumb to their injuries. And that's just in the past few days. In the same time period, more Christians were killed in Egypt at the hands of Muslims than people killed in Syria or in Libya as a result of protests, riots and resistance.

Two churches in Cairo were burned in recent days. Over the past few months church property has being gutted, vandalised and violated with graffiti. Churches have been blown up.

An entire community - the Christian community in the new Egypt - is under attack. And the world remains relatively silent. There has been no significant religious outcry, political redress or diplomatic pressure to stop the attacks. There has been almost no media coverage as Egypt's Muslims systematically, over the past few months, set about massacring Egypt's Christians.

The world is not only standing idly by, it is enabling the massacre. The US naively expects that a new era, begun in new Egypt, will ripple to the rest of the Islamic world. So in the midst of these monstrous mass murders in Egypt, the US has decided to send an extra $US1 billion to help the Egyptians ease the economic crisis that emerged as a result of the ousting of Hosni Mubarak on February 11. Muslims in Egypt are on the warpath - on the religious warpath - and the US is feeding them money.

This most recent round of Christian murders began with the rumour that Christians had kidnapped a Christian woman who had converted to Islam. According to the rumour, the woman was being held in the cellar of one of the churches and Christians were brainwashing her back to Christianity. Egyptian Muslims set out to find this woman. Along the way they murdered, pillaged and burned.

The rumours were not true. There was no kidnapping. But there are two burned churches and 12 murdered Christians.

Threats against Christians have become a near daily event since Christmas. On New Year's Day 21 Christians were killed in a church bombing in the ancient port city of Alexandria. Alexandria has a long history of multiculturalism, it should have, and could have, been a model city where Christians, Muslims and even Jews lived together harmoniously. Statistically, there are no longer any Jews in Egypt, but there are still seven million Christians. Instead, Alexandria has become a symbol of attacking Christians. Do not for a moment think that the date January 1 was an accident - the church was bombed in the middle of holiday mass. No one has been prosecuted. .

A year earlier, on January 7, Coptic Christmas, seven people were killed as they left mass. Six were Christian worshippers, the seventh victim was a Muslim guard. In this case someone was actually arrested.

The ugliest of all Muslim attacks against Christians took place on March 9. On that day 1500 Muslims stormed the Christian community in a modern pogrom. Thirteen people died, 45 were seriously injured, 150 moderately injured. The Egyptians put a military blackout over the material, but the Assyrian International News Agency reported the carnage.

Egypt's Christians are a minority living in a Muslim majority. Coptic Christians are a very successful minority. When Gamal Abdel Nasser took over as ruler, the Copts were 10 per cent of the country and owned 50 per cent of the wealth. In Alexandria, where the Copts still own 50 per cent of the businesses, attacks on Copts are perpetrated by Muslims. Fear of the unknown feeds these murders and fuels the mob that unleashes a fury of hate.

Why has the new Egypt done almost nothing to prevent, protect or prosecute?

Because in their culture, no wrong has been committed. In many of the cases the army was actually present when these attacks took place and the perpetrators took refuge behind army tanks.

In Egypt there exists a cultural norm that sometimes seems to permit killing someone with whom you disagree.. The Western world must insist that if Egypt wishes to get foreign aid, that norm must change.

The history of Christianity in Egypt dates back to the birth of Jesus. Matthew 2:13 describes Joseph and Mary taking Jesus to Egypt to escape the "massacre of the infants". Egypt has historical and religious significance for Christians. And now Egypt also has blood libels against Christians.

Micah D. Halpern's latest book is Thugs: How History's Most Notorious Despots Transformed the World through Terror, Tyranny, and Mass Murder (Thomas Nelson).

Monday, May 2, 2011

Seaside, OR

I know there are a lot of pictures, but we had so much fun!