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I Am... Mama and Writer

First Mama.  Then Writer.  Though, of late, the latter has consumed a great deal of time as I work to get things in order to potentially be ...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Five Things for Friday

I mentioned it yesterday, but because I just still feel so thrilled by it, I just have to mention it again.  :)  Kat taught FHE this past Monday.  My three girls have been taking turns planning and executing FHE for the last few months!  Yes, they really are AWESOME!

Three people have given us either money to buy dresses or dresses for a Relief Society Service Project organized by a local (but not my) Relief Society.  It feels super nice to be able to contribute so many more dresses than we could give ourselves!  We've collected more than 50!!!  The dresses will be given to a local Women's Shelter....  So totally wonderful, right!

This week we have accomplished much.  Jessie has been actively engaged in checking things off the to-do list.  YEAY!  Among the things accomplished, I've been able to gather most of the bits we need to make more rabbit hutches.  I've been working on the design for a while, so I'm pretty excited to see it come to fruition.

We had double stuffed twice baked potatoes the other night.  The girls have declared it a new favorite meal.  I'm sure it hasn't over taken spot #1 (pizza), but it's among the new top 10, so they say.  :)  They were super hungry when we sat down to eat and when they saw only 1/2 a potato with stuffing, they exclaimed that they would surely need more.  There was much dissappointment when they learned there was only a single half left and that it was being reserved for Daddy.  However, no surprise to me, they were absolutely stuffed when they finished the half they thought couldn't possibly be enough!

Currently 2 or 3 of my does are pregnant.  Jessie butchered 3 bucks and we ate one for lunch on Wednesday.  I'm hoping he'll make a deal with a buddy who wants to try rabbit... and Jess will get some rolly-shoes, which he has wanted for some time.  One of my great hopes is to get into bartering and trading for more of what we need/want.  This would be a terrific first step into this sort of  'realm' of market exchange!  ^_^  So, whether the exchange: rabbit for shoes, transpires or not, our little herd of rabbits is and will be providing us with some more benefits very soon.  Exciting!


As a result of Jessie borrowing the tool necessary, I was able to cut apart some wood with a sawzall in preparation for building the rabbit hutch... SO excited!  I did wear eye protection.  And I only almost cut myself once.  I altered my position and method thereafter, and finished the part of the job I wanted to complete with merely some muscle fatigue.  On another note: I was able to start another batch of my "secret" jam made from a plant in my garden.  I expect to finish cooking and canning it up tomorrow.  I'm going to hold-out a little longer on tellin' you WHAT the jam is made with because I'm worried that a friend who has some may not have tried it yet.  I don't want her to know what it is and have that knowledge negatively influence her experience of it!  :)  I am hoping to be able to reserve a couple jars for Christmas presents to family... as lame as it may be, there may be a few families that have to share due to proximity, availabilty and feasability  "/

Happy Birthday Memaw

Ti auguro un felice compleanno.

Tanti auguri.  Birthday greetings.

Happy Birthday: Buon Compleanno!

Cento di questi giorni!  Many happy returns!

May all your wishes come true.  Happy birthday!  Possano tutti i tuoi desideri avverarsi in questo giorno. Auguri!

Ti auguro un felice compleanno!  Wishing you every happiness this special day brings. Have a wonderful birthday!

Cento di questi giorni.  Wishing you will live long enough to celebrate 100 more birthdays.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Thankful Thursday: August 24-30

I'm thankful for the temple trip last week.  I'm pretty sure some bad things would've been a lot worse had I not just been.

I'm thankful for health and improvements!

I'm thankful for my sweet, smart, wonderful daughters!!  We have lots of little traditions in our little family.  One of them that the children really love is "child of the week."  Jmy has even recently been moved into the schedule.  (This is technically his week.)  Each child, during their special week, gets to do certain things more frequently... they are sort of the "on call" person for certain tasks or privileges.    The privileges are, really, the previously most argued-about subject... like: who gets to sit next to Mama or Daddy (depending on whether Daddy is home or not) for each meal and who gets to say the blessing on the food, or morning devotional prayers, or night time devotional prayers... you get the idea, I hope.  ;)

Well, pretty recently (within the last few months), my girls have decided that they love FHE so very much that they want to plan and execute it so that they know it will, for sure, happen.  (I was doing all right with holding them, but then something specific happened and I wasn't able to maintain it well.)  Anyway... we've had FHE every week I can remember since they took over the planning and holding of it!

A couple weeks ago it was Kat's week.  Oh, my GOODNESS Tea was SO upset when she expressed a desire to teach FHE and I told her no in favor of Kat, reminding Tea that Kat was child of the week.  Tea was irate, which hits our ears as very loud crying.  When I told her that she could plan and teach FHE next week, during HER week, she was somewhat placated and eventually calmed down.  I proceeded to forget the incident.  So, Monday (8-20) rolled around and I was working to "round up the wagons," as it were, to get the kiddos to bed.  Our nite-nite routine involves picking up the house, evening devotionals, and (hopefully) reading time.  Currently we're half-way through 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.  They LOVE it!!  I knew Tea had been planning something throughout the day and realized it was FHE when she was terribly heartbroken when Ria erased part of a chalkboard picture she'd worked on.  (The chalkboard is often of central focus in the girls' lessons because they want to have a pictoral reminder of the story part of their lesson or they want a picture of the topic of the lesson.  It's always really sweet and almost incomprehensible, but still wonderful!)

So, as we're sitting for devotionals, Tea sets up the chalkboard and lets me know who should say opening prayer.  I ask her for the opening song, we sing it, and her assigned pray-er prays.  Then we proceed with the devotional (currently Old Testament reading, reading a General Conference talk from October 1975, each child chooses a song, then closing EXCEPT on FHE Mondays we have FHE before closing prayer).  Tea's lesson topic was Faith.  I honestly cannot remember much of anything about it except that she started out telling a completely made-up story with Jesus Christ as a central character.  I eventually did stop her and remind her that our FHE lesson was to learn about different Gospel Principles.  As it turned out, I helped her discuss Charity.  It turned out to be a very sweet little lesson.

I was thinking I would have to come up with something for today (since it's Jmy's week), but Kat took the heat off me when she begged to be able to teach FHE tonight.  She planned it all out and executed it quite well.  The lesson was on Faith.  She had us since Oh Come All Ye Faithful, then she talked about Faith for a minute, and she ended with reading a Bible story from a children's Bible storybook the kids were given in a parking lot while out with Jess a while back.  Kat, especially, LOVES this book.  She's read it through completely at least 5 times.  She read the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den.  She proclaimed it her very most favorite Bible story (but she says this about whichever one she's been reading recently... like we're reading is Esther currently, and she told me yesterday that THAT book was her very favorite in the Bible!).  ^_^  I love it!

Anyway, Kat's lesson was wonderful.  Ria does an equally awesome job, too.  I look forward to the day Jmy pleads to be allowed to teach during his special week!  I'm just so thankful for these kiddos who love the Lord and His Word SO much!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Forgetting to Eat

So, I'm still a fluffy female.  I've not lost any significant amount of weight or anything.  But I have experienced something with increasing frequency that I truly never thought I'd live to truthfully say happened to me. 

I have actually forgotten to eat.  Yes.  It's true.  And I didn't feel hungry for the forgetting, either.  In the past, I might've just not eaten, but the hunger pangs were talking to me the whole time.  Now, I do still have hunger pangs sometimes, but much less frequently than I used to.  I truly attribute this new experience to the brain changes I know are taking place as a result of meditation.  I'm sure the extended fast I did at the beginning of August could've sped things along and made a difference, too, but I think the biggest impact is due to the addiction meditation and meditating, in general.

Since the extended fast I've been trying to be more careful about mixing food and water.  Adding water right before or after eating can be super bad for those like me who have super sensitive guts.  I think the dramatic impact water can have in my digestion is because it dilutes the gastric juices that perform lots of digestive duties from the mouth to the stomach and onward.  This seems to have made a good difference (in combination with the fast itself, I'm sure).

I look forward to learning more changes in me as I progress in duration of my meditation journey.  I expect, given this change, that lots of things will improve over time - much faster than I was able to bring it to pass without this amazing tool in my life.  Praise God for His merciful leading!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dreams, What Dost Thou Say?

I've had lots of dreams lately.  Unfortunately, I've been a bit too tired to write most of them down.  :(  I'm a big believer in dreams (and their ability to communicate things of importance to us) since I've had a few that have come to fruition AND since my husband has communicated to me some dreams that have come to pass!  Additionally, and arguably most importantly, the Bible refers to dreams as important and a blessing.

I recently had a dream in which I rode a bicycle on a winding path, which turned out to be a form of timetravel.  I remember feeling very disconcerted and upset at my findings... I just cannot remember what those findings are!  :(  In another dream remember crying out in the anguish of my soul, "My God!  Oh, My God!"  But I don't remember what could pull such a prayer of pain from me because I have made a commitment not to take the Lord's name in vain.

In another dream there was a shark.  I trapped the shark in one particular room and believed Jessie could deal with it.  We were having some guests over for some holiday meal or another and they arrived.  Jessie showed up (I'd told him about the shark) completely naked.  I was so upset with him and hauled him off by his ear.  (?)  I dragged him to the room that held the shark (forgetting that it was there), fussed at him, and left him there.  After leaving him there for a while, I remembered the shark and ran back as fast as I could.  I knocked over a huge shelf thing that divided the room from the rest of the room.  I kept calling for Jessie and he didn't respond me.  Then I started crying and heard something... turned out to be Jessie's voice muffled.  So I went in search of him, also on guard for the shark.  Turns out he was under an overturned couch.  He was bleeding and his right arm was completely gone.  He directed me in a matter-of-fact way to cut open the shark and get his arm out of the shark. I did even though I can barely stand to deal with meat to cook it, much less cutting a just alive thing up....  And that's it.

Interesting dreams (or parts of dreams), right?  I have my own interpretations, of course.  If you'd like to share any impressions, I'm up for it, too.  We all know, of course, that the dreamer is usually the best interpreter because the dreamer knows the rest of the story (the stuff that happens in the head, heart and life that impact and/or create the dream).

Do let me know what you'd think they mean, though.  If you want.  ^_^

Monday, August 27, 2012

Meditation Monday #7

I'm still meditating.  Amazing, I know.  I'm very pleased (in a completely devoid of pride sort of way) that I continue to be able to do this daily thing.  I give all glory to God for pushing me to do it when I just don't see the point.  There are (and I'm sure will yet be) plenty of those moments.

I do feel changes in me, but they are just so small lately... I know, in my head, it's a compounding thing and that the sum of the parts is not equal to the whole... yet it is difficult in the moment to carry on.  Surely you have had this experience about something or another that you knew was good for you... right?  I do hope I'm not the only one.
Today is day 84 of meditating.  It is also day 56 since I added in the conquering anger meditation.  I'm a little bit amazed that I've been meditating for almost 3 whole months!  Okay... I'm more than a little amazed, actually.

In thinking about this accomplishment... carried this far more by God than me, for sure, I've also realized that it's been about two years since I started holding family devotionals with my kiddos.  Can you believe it?  The beginning of that family tradition was a long-time whispered to me.  It took me far too long to be obedient... as with all too much, to be completely honest.  I'm grateful for the blessing of it.  We hold steady with one devotional per day and I still try to do two.  I asked Jessie to take over morning devotionals and, although he said he would, it has not come to fruition.  I just have a very difficult time carrying a burden I have turned over to him (that he did agree to carry).  I need to just do it ("Do It" being a frequently used catch phrase of Spencer W. Kimball's!)... and I have... but only sporadically.  It's also complicated by my extreme fatigue due to sleep issues that continue to plague me.  argghhh.  This too shall pass.  I know.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Totally Worth The Time

I watch movies online.  I go through phases of movie watching.  Mostly when I have a difficult time sleeping, which has been often lately.  Anyway... I watched a movie last night that I hope you'll take 93 minutes to watch.  http://www1.zmovie.tv/movies/view/i-am-gabriel-2012  It's cheesy as far as movies go... in a way.  But it's uplifting and inspiring, too.

It starts out with a scripture appearing in the bottom left corner.  2 Chronicles 7:14.  It reads, "If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

This scripture is as appropriate today as ever.  Perhaps the literal land is not parched everywhere all the time, as in the movie.  Perhaps our community isn't quite as small as what is represented in the movie.  Yet there is truth therein, just the same.  Our land is sick.  Our people are, too many of them, faithless.  Without Faith, there can be no real hope.  Without hope and faith, love languishes.

Let's humble ourselves.  Let's pray and seek our God's face and turn, every one of us, from our favorite sins!  Maybe we don't do drugs or take pills.  Maybe we don't cheat or lie or anything that is a bit more obvious.  Or... maybe we do.  Maybe we DO eat a bit too much.  Maybe we can't imagine a day of not having some chocolate, or something sweet, or some Coke, or other soda.  Maybe we don't tell the whole truth.  Maybe we fantasize about a life other than that which we have... a husband other than the one we are married to.  Do any of these things make us horrible people?  No, but they are sins, just the same.  And no matter how big or small, we are all sinners.

But here's the miracle in the system: we can be the change we want to see in the world!  We can change the way we think, and in so doing change EVERYTHING.  And we truly can change permanently when we humble ourselves, pray, and turn from our wickedness and submit ourselves to Christ.  He can and will heal us.

Don't you feel the truth of it!??

What Is Going On?

Agenda 21 in combination with numerous other UN Conventions (UNCRC, CEDAW, UNCRPD) and treaties is what, I tell you.  I'm not even going to go into what the aforementioned terms are.  I'm simply going to provide you with a few links within words of this posting.  This is not limited to the USA.  These are world-wide issues... conventions that will directly impact the lives of all freedom loving peoples.


How Private Property is Being Abolished http://www.discerningtoday.org/ALF/TLmenu.html

Don't believe me.  Do your own research.  Determine what you believe.

Wake up.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Living Without AC 2012

This is our third summer, in the deep south, living without AC.  This time through has been so much easier than the first one!

What has contributed to the improvement?  Well, I do think the temperatures have been slightly more temperate.  But it's still been quite hot many days with no relief from an evening rain.  We love evening rains around here!  (They do an awesome job of overall cooling and, if it's late enough in the evening, it doesn't get all gross and sticky hot muggy before the sun completely sets, which, in iteself is hugely cooling!)

Also, we have learned that we need to close the house up early in the morning to preserve whatever cooling the night has brought about within it.  On super sunny days, this only lasts until about 2:30 or 3pm, but by 6 or 7pm we're able to open up the house and find some relief from the outside coolER air.  Even with the 21 foot high ceilings in our living room (which are a definitely saving grace to living without AC), the house can get oven-hot by about 4-5pm!

Covering windows has helped.  It would help even more if we could get real curtains that actually blocked a majority of the sunlight.  We're making do with a blanket over the hottest window at this point.  It definitely does help, though, as redneck or ghetto as it is.  (Every little bit!)

This year we didn't really start turning fans on during the day until late July.  YEAY!  We sleep with them on through the night from late Spring, but still cover up with a light blanket.  Jessie still uses a blanket by about 2am, but I'm compeletely blanket-free through the whole night almost every night currently.  It's hot, I tell ya!

Showers are integral.  Cold showers.  We do turn the temp guide for the shower head to warm to start, but then turn it all the way cold for the majority of the shower.  This makes a distinct difference in heat perception through the night.  Without a shower every night, it just feels hotTER through the night of a missed shower.  Honestly!

Keeping the house more closed also helps with mold and that sort of gross stuff.  The items that just sit for a long-ish time still have a problem and get moldy.  But I haven't had tons on walls thus far, which is a great blessing!

So, contrary to opinions expressed by most people who consider living without AC... it can be done without a great deal of discomfort.  It might take a few years to get used to... but who said anything in life would be fast and easy or that we'd get it just our way?  Oh, well, besides Burger King, of course!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Five Things For Friday

I'm finally feeling significantly better most of the time.  My sleep issues persist, but I feel more able.  I feel particularly a great deal more endurance.  Able to do physically strenuous work for more than 30 minutes at a pop.  YEAY!

I made some more jam on Tuesday.  It turned out well.  I bet you'll never guess what fruit and/or vegetable I used to make it.  Oh, come on... take a guess anyway!  :)

Ria and Kat have been so much more self-motivated with school lately.  It's been a HUGE blessing and I've been super happy about the progress they have made with far less effort to cajole from me.  Praise the Lord!

I made some great chicken stock from a huge bag of complete legs (thigh and drumstick).  It's a lovely dark color because I roasted the bones.  I haven't tasted it, but it smells awesome.  I then proceeded to, basically, can it up.  The problem is... I didn't read the directions for my pressure canner BEFORE I put the broth in the jars.  GAHHHHHH!  So, needless to say (I hope you know I'm smart enough to NOT go through with the process... even though I had the canner all "battened down" and ready!), I've got a bunch of basically canned (the lids even pinged) chicken broth in my fridge.  I'm going to freeze it.  *sigh*  Note to self: read all the info in the pressure canner manual BEFORE going through the effort to can only to find out that you're doing it wrong and have to stop!)

I watched The Bourne Legacy.  WOWzers.  So much of truth and 'telling us of what is to come' in that one.  If I didn't have God big in me, I would be shiverin' under something and trying to figure out how to cope with day-to-day life.  (I know because that's the reaction I had when I first began to awaken to less than lovely aspects of our current world.

Jezebel Spirit

this one actually starts around 2:05

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thankful Thursday: August 17-23

I'm thankful I was able to go to church with my kiddos this past Sunday, stay the whole time, and hang out with the nursery children.  I love it when their regular teacher is present, but it was fun to be "in charge" for a day.  :)

I'm grateful for health.  It's amazing how quickly I take it for granted... and then realize what a gift and blessing it is when it's absent!

I'm thankful for the ability to change.  I'm grateful that, through Christ, when we rest in Him, we can truly hope for and expect changes to be permanent.  I sure am hoping....  ^_^

I'm thankful for my family.  I've been missing them a bit lately... so I just have to express gratitude that I am so blessed to know such wonderful people as those with whom I grew up (parents as well as siblings).

I knew my brother, John, was amazing when I realized how very convining he was as an actor.  Actually, I knew it before that... that bit of info just tipped the scales a bit.

I knew my brother, Josh, was amazing when he didn't give a hairy rat's ankle about our parents' blustery angry spoutings.  (Oh, come on!  Don't all parents do this at some point?????  Especially during their children's teen years!!??)

I knew my sister, Evelyn, was amazing when she still loved me no matter how much I acted like I didn't like her.  I wish I wasn't such a jerk when I was younger.  I still have jerk tendancies... please see above regarding change.

I knew my lil' (big) brother, Ben, was amazing when he would purposefully hurt himself just to make us (older siblings) laugh.  I mean, seriously... how could such a person be other than amazing??  He loved so big and so much he would hurt himself just to enjoy laughing with us... repeatedly.

I knew my lil' (ALSO big) brother, Eddie, was amazing when I read a story my Mom sent to me.  It had something to do with time travel.  I remember reading it and wishing I had such an amazing imagionation as he did.  The kicker?  He was in, like, SECOND grade and I was in colllege!  Seriously.

I'm absolutely sure I knew my parents were amazing before I arrived here because I wouldn't have agreed to take on all the stuff that has come as a result of this life if I didn't believe in all of us... my parents, my siblings... AND me.  Gosh, I wish I could remember why I believed in ME so much.  *sigh*  Hopefully I'll get there sometime soon... time is a tickin' afterall.

And they are still beyond amazing... for even more wonderous reasons!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mainstream Media versus Real News

I've simply copied and pasted a few different articles here.  Just because I can.  ^_^

The first, you should be able to find at WND Commentary.

Between the Lines
Proof! Establishment media controlled
Exclusive: Joseph Farah scorches 'journalists' who are 'selling their ethical, moral souls'
Published about 2:58pm July 22, 2012

There was a rather low-key confession made in the New York Times last week that deserves to be blared throughout this country so that every American understands what they are reading in the establishment’s ultra-controlled, government-managed “press” – and I use that last word loosely indeed.

The admission came in the form of a story by Jeremy Peters on the policies page of the Times July 16. I’ve been waiting for others to point it out, discuss it, debate it, express shock and exasperation over it. But I’ve waited for naught.

What this shocking story reveals is that even I – one of the kingpins of the new media and a refugee from the state-controlled spin machine – underestimated the utter and total corruption of the euphemistically called “mainstream press.”

It shows that most – not some – members of the print media establishment with access to the White House submit their copy to government officials for review, “correction” and approval before it reaches the American people!

Even “progressive” WND columnist Ellen Ratner agrees – media under a spell!

Here are some key excerpts from the piece, if you think I’m exaggerating:
  • “The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.”
  • “They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.”
  • “Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review. The verdict from the campaign – an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script – is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message.”
  • “Now, with a millisecond Twitter news cycle and an unforgiving, gaffe-obsessed media culture, politicians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations.”
  • “Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all mid-level aides in Chicago and at the White House – almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail.”
  • “Many journalists spoke about the editing only if granted anonymity, an irony that did not escape them.”
  • “From Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department, interviews granted only with quote approval have become the default position. Those officials who dare to speak out of school, but fearful of making the slightest off-message remark, shroud even the most innocuous and anodyne quotations in anonymity by insisting they be referred to as a ‘top Democrat’ or a ‘Republican strategist.’”
  • “Those [reporters] who did speak on the record said the restrictions seem only to be growing. ‘It’s not something I’m particularly proud of because there’s a part of me that says, Don’t do it, don’t agree to their terms,’ said Major Garrett, a correspondent for The National Journal.”
  • “It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly. Organizations like Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Reuters and The New York Times have all consented to interviews under such terms.”
I could go on and on. I urge you to read the entire story. This may be the most important story broken by the New York Times in years.

What it means is this: When Americans read these reports – whether in newspapers, wire services or on the Internet – they are not really reading news stories at all. They are reading approved, pre-packaged press releases from the government and politicians. But, even worse, they are not labeled as such. They are labeled as actual news.

That’s how low the national press establishment has descended. And, when you read the story in its full context, you will understand that the concerns expressed about this practice by those submitting themselves to it are not ethical concerns. They are not concerns for the truth. They are concerns about their own convenience and for the loss of “color” in their stories.

Let me state what I hope is obvious to all reading this column: This sort of willing capitulation to government censorship was not the norm five years ago, 10 years ago, 20 years ago or 30 years ago. This is a new phenomenon – chilling and alarming to an old-timer like me who would never agree to submit his copy for approval to politicians.

These so-called journalists are selling their ethical and moral souls for access to politicians. And this practice raises expectations by politicians that they can routinely manipulate the press to their advantage. That makes the job of real journalists – independent reporters faithful to their craft – even more difficult, because they will be shut out from access.

It reminds me of the fact that, just last week, WND was denied credentials to cover the Democratic National Convention. Why do you suppose what has become one of the largest and most influential news agencies in the country would be denied access to the convention floor? Simply because the Democrats know we won’t play by their rules of control like the members of the establishment press club.

All I can say about these people I once considered “colleagues” is that I am so ashamed of them. I am mortified. They are humiliating themselves and a vital institution for any free society.
It seems the biggest threat to the American tradition of a free and independent press is not government coercion. It’s the willing submission of the press to being handled and managed by government and politicians.

The next article:

Latest Word on the Trail? I Take It Back
By Jeremy W. Peters
Published: July 15, 2012

The quotations come back redacted, stripped of colorful metaphors, colloquial language and anything even mildly provocative.

They are sent by e-mail from the Obama headquarters in Chicago to reporters who have interviewed campaign officials under one major condition: the press office has veto power over what statements can be quoted and attributed by name.
Most reporters, desperate to pick the brains of the president’s top strategists, grudgingly agree. After the interviews, they review their notes, check their tape recorders and send in the juiciest sound bites for review.
The verdict from the campaign — an operation that prides itself on staying consistently on script — is often no, Barack Obama does not approve this message.
The push and pull over what is on the record is one of journalism’s perennial battles. But those negotiations typically took place case by case, free from the red pens of press minders. Now, with a millisecond Twitter news cycle and an unforgiving, gaffe-obsessed media culture, politicians and their advisers are routinely demanding that reporters allow them final editing power over any published quotations.
Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House — almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail.
The Romney campaign insists that journalists interviewing any of Mitt Romney’s five sons agree to use only quotations that are approved by the press office. And Romney advisers almost always require that reporters ask them for the green light on anything from a conversation that they would like to include in an article.
From Capitol Hill to the Treasury Department, interviews granted only with quote approval have become the default position. Those officials who dare to speak out of school, but fearful of making the slightest off-message remark, shroud even the most innocuous and anodyne quotations in anonymity by insisting they be referred to as a “top Democrat” or a “Republican strategist.”
It is a double-edged sword for journalists, who are getting the on-the-record quotes they have long asked for, but losing much of the spontaneity and authenticity in their interviews.
Jim Messina, the Obama campaign manager, can be foul-mouthed. But readers would not know it because he deletes the curse words before approving his quotes. Brevity is not a strong suit of David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser. So he tightens up his sentences before giving them the O.K.
Stuart Stevens, the senior Romney strategist, is fond of disparaging political opponents by quoting authors like Walt Whitman and referring to historical figures like H. R. Haldeman, Richard Nixon’s chief of staff. But such clever lines later rarely make it past Mr. Stevens.
Many journalists spoke about the editing only if granted anonymity, an irony that did not escape them. No one said the editing altered the meaning of a quote. The changes were almost always small and seemingly unnecessary, they said.
Those who did speak on the record said the restrictions seem only to be growing. “It’s not something I’m particularly proud of because there’s a part of me that says, ‘Don’t do it, don’t agree to their terms,’ ” said Major Garrett, a correspondent for The National Journal. “There are times when this feels like I’m dealing with some of my editors. It’s like, ‘You just changed this because you could!’ ”
It was difficult to find a news outlet that had not agreed to quote approval, albeit reluctantly.

Organizations like Bloomberg, The Washington Post, Vanity Fair, Reuters and The New York Times have all consented to interviews under such terms.
“We don’t like the practice,” said Dean Baquet, managing editor for news at The New York Times. “We encourage our reporters to push back. Unfortunately this practice is becoming increasingly common, and maybe we have to push back harder.”
The Obama campaign declined to make Mr. Plouffe or Mr. Messina available to explain their media practices. “We are not putting anyone on the record for this story,” said Katie Hogan, an Obama spokeswoman, without a hint of irony. She pointed to the many unrestricted interviews with campaign officials every day on television and when the press corps travels with the president.
Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said the White House has made a concerted effort to make more officials available to the news media. “We have a lot more people talking a lot more often now,” he said.
Both presidential campaigns are keenly aware of what can happen when they speak too freely. Damaging sound bites can live on in the news cycle for days. Mr. Obama’s remark last month during a televised news conference that “the private sector is doing fine” landed almost immediately in attack ads. And Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch A Sketch” comment on CNN, about softening some of the harder positions Mr. Romney took during the primaries, continues to haunt the Romney campaign five months later.
Reporters who have covered the Obama presidency say the quote-approval process fits a pattern by this White House of finding new ways to limit its exposure in the news media.
“We realize there’s a caution and a wariness about stray comments driving the news cycle,” said Caren Bohan of Reuters, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. “The argument we make is that if a president or a candidate is out there more, I think these things are less likely to be as glaring.”
Modern White Houses have long had “background briefings,” gatherings of top officials who speak to reporters under the condition that they are quoted anonymously. With time, the restrictions have become broader, often bordering on the absurd.
In 2007, Vice President Dick Cheney outed himself in a briefing the White House intended to be anonymous during an overseas trip. “I’ve seen some press reporting says, ‘Cheney went in to beat up on them,’ ” the vice president told reporters, according to the official transcript, adding, “That’s not the way I work.”
Though reporters with him protested, the vice president’s office refused to allow them to identify Mr. Cheney by name — even though it was clear who was speaking.
Under President Obama, the insistence on blanket anonymity has grown to new levels.
The White House’s latest innovation is a variation of the background briefing called the “deep-background briefing,” which it holds for groups of reporters, sometimes several dozen at a time. Reporters may paraphrase what senior administration officials say, but they are forbidden to put anything in quotation marks or identify the speakers.
The White House held such a briefing after the Supreme Court’s health care ruling last month with officials including Mr. Plouffe, Mr. Carney and Dan Pfeiffer, the communications director. But when reporters asked to quote part of the conversation, even anonymously, they were told no. Even the spokesmen were off limits.    

A version of this article appeared in print on July 16, 2012, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Latest Word On the Trail? I Take It Back.
Next Article:
The appalling state of 'journalism'
by Ellen Ratner
Published about 3:08pm, July 22, 2012
Four years ago, I interviewed the editor of a government-sponsored newspaper in the Middle East. Given that the government paid for the newspaper, I questioned the editor about journalistic integrity and independence. The answer I received: There’s a lot of self-censorship in the American press, and we don’t have as much of a free press as I wanted to believe. I walked away thinking the editor was crazy. Surely, I assured myself, we have a free press in our country.

Fast forward to this week, when an article in the New York Times titled, “Latest Word from the Trail? I Take It Back,” by Jeremy Peters, detailed the quote policy from the Obama White House and the Romney campaign. It was shocking to me as a journalist. I have been covering the White House since 1993, and the control of the press has been increasing.

President Clinton had free-wheeling press conferences and showed up in the press room on occasion for an “off the record” talk. Journalists would gather around him and ask as many questions as possible.

Now presidents have short press conferences and take questions from a list of reporters prepared by the press secretary.

Previously, there was the morning “gaggle,” where the television people were not seen on screen, which allowed the radio, print and magazine folks to have equal access. The gaggles were held in the press secretary’s office.

President George W. Bush’s press secretary, Dana Perino, stopped the gaggles. The Obama administration did not resurrect them.

The “mix and mingles” after State dinners stopped. Even the annual press picnic – where members of the media could have conversations with staff members – stopped as well.

Now, sadly, we have the White House and political campaigns cleaning up quotes before reporters are even allowed to publish their stories.

Peters’ article details what is really happening. Politicians are granting news outlets access only if they are allowed to first edit and approve their own statements.

He wrote, “Quote approval is standard practice for the Obama campaign, used by many top strategists and almost all midlevel aides in Chicago and at the White House – almost anyone other than spokesmen who are paid to be quoted. (And sometimes it applies even to them.) It is also commonplace throughout Washington and on the campaign trail.”

Peters continues, “The Romney campaign insists that journalists interviewing any of Mitt Romney’s five sons agree to use only quotations that are approved by the press office. And Romney advisers almost always require that reporters ask them for the green light on anything from a conversation that they would like to include in an article. ”

This entire process turns my stomach.

Wealthy news organizations can afford to travel with the president and with Gov. Romney. They want to show their bosses and the consumers of their news product that they have access.

The trade is clear: You give us the interview, and we will let you approve our reports.

We have all reviewed quotes with sources. It is done for the sake of accuracy. However, if an interview is taped, there is no need for reviews – unless it is to “clean up” a quote to please the news source.

The Associated Press has never allowed its journalists to clean up quotes that were accurate in the first place. Just this week, James Asher, the Washington bureau chief of McClatchy Newspapers put in force a policy regarding getting quote approval and the policy of Freedom of Information, or FOIA, requests.

In a letter to staff and readers he said, “These days government is trying mightily to constrain access to public information. Each of you has had no comments, demands for FIOAs that goes unanswered and worse. More recently our sources have been chilled by threats of leak investigations and some have endured full blown leak inquiries.”

Asher continued, “As advocates of the First Amendment, we cannot be intimidated into letting the government control our work. When The New York Times agreed with Bush Administration officials to delay publication of its story of illegal wiretaps of Americans until after the 2004 election, it did the nation a great disservice. Acceding to the Obama administration’s efforts to censor our work to have it more in line with their political spin is another disservice to America.”

Finally, McClatchy’s Asher said, “And judging from the controversy that has ensued from the disclosure of these requests, the people don’t like this, either.”

Helen Thomas gave me great advice when I first arrived at the White House. She said, “Ellen, a free press is necessary for democracy, and remember to never do anyone’s bidding.”

It seems that many in the news media are happy to do politicians’ and government’s bidding in exchange for access.

That kind of “journalism” will signal the end of our democracy faster than a rigged election. We don’t need it. Americans don’t want it. And it will ruin our free press – as well as our country.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Notable and Definitely Quotable

“Love is a force more formidable than any other. It is invisible / it cannot be seen or measured, yet it is powerful enough to transform you in a moment, and offer you more joy than any material possession could.”

“Love is a choice you make from moment to moment.”

“The more anger towards the past you carry in your heart, the less capable you are of loving in the present.”

"Only when your consciousness is totally focused on the moment you are in can you receive whatever gift, lesson, or delight that moment has to offer.”

“You never lose by loving. You always lose by holding back.”

"Love's greatest gift is its ability to make everything it touches sacred."

~Barbara De Angelis

Monday, August 20, 2012

Meditation Monday #6

Meditating continues daily.  Amazingly enough!

I haven't been sticking to the outline I gave a while ago as strictly as I did for many weeks.  I still do the same meditations, almost every day (rare exceptions), but I don't do it in the same order every day.  From what I've read, this is totally normal... if I were to be able to go to a studio and be taught by an instructor, the class would do different meditations each time depending on what the instructor felt should be done.
I sometimes add one particular meditation.  It's called "Camel Ride" and feels quite nice.  I probably NEED to add "Cat, Cow" because my spine feels so tight at the lumbar area, but I haven't made the room for it in my day as yet.  I'm including "Camel Ride" below, in case you'd like to try it, too.

Today is day 77 since I began meditating.  It is also day 49 since I added the conquering anger meditation to my routine.

Modesty Isn't Only About Cothes

A previous post of mine entitled "The Way of the World," which showed up here just a few days ago on August 17, is sort of pre-requisite reading to fully understanding what I have to say now.  I hope you'll check it out before you continue.

I've not been long in the effort to be modest in all ways one can be modest.  Did you know modesty has to do with more than just the length of a skirt and the depth a neckline plunges on a shirt?  If you knew it, you are now ahead of my learning curve of a few years ago.  How could a girl brought up in the LDS Church not realize that modesty is about more than the choices of clothing?

To answer that question directly, I think it has everything to do with being direct and specific.  All too often lessons are taught and specifics are not specified.  Seriously.  I love to think symbolically and figure things out and all, but when I'm being taught something (particularly as a youth who wasn't fully applying herself), I wasn't trying to figure things out overmuch.  If it wasn't stated explicitly, I had a super easy time justifying myself.

Foolish?  Yes.  Of course.  I never proclaimed perfection for myself.  Neither in my past, nor in my present.  In fact, I've oft repeated how imperfect and weak I am.  In one post in particular, I declared my imperfection and weakness quite explicitly.  In another, I half-heartedly tried to blame hormones for some of my bad behavior.  These are only a couple examples of me publicly acknoweldging my own humanity and imperfection.

So, here I go again.  I was a foolish youth.  I didn't try as hard as I should've.  I didn't apply myself to understanding the whisperings of the Holy Ghost.  I didn't try to understand what oblique references to "things" meant because I, quite frankly, didn't want to know.  And this, truly does include not wanting to fully understand what modesty meant and still means to God.

Since I'm the kind of girl who would rather have things spelled out and specified, that's what I do.  Overmuch?  Yes, probably.  Especially (even more than now) in the past.  But if you're like me, then maybe you'll be a little glad I've specified... and you might appreciate what I negatively refer to as "verbal vomit."  I'm quite good at being 'sick' that way.

Modesty is about choosing God's way of doing things and being.  It's about fitting into His mold, rather than seeking to belong among those who choose the great and spacious building.  If we are Christ's, we will not be loved of the world.  And if it seems that we are... then enjoy it.  For it is as a perfect day: too soon over and never to return.

Do you know this truth, somewhere in the depth of you?  Do you feel the witness of truth by the Holy Spirit?  Do you know that God would have you speak quietly?  Do you see that He would have you do and be so as not to purposefully draw attention to yourself?  Do you feel the truth that He would have you clothe yourself with temperance, retraint, and fully covering all of your most special and sacred parts?  Do you know the truth?  Do you know that God will keep you from evil if you have chosen Christ and desire to be fully His and submit your whole Will to Him?  Don't you know that once we are born of God we will always overcome the world, by faith!?!!

Modesty is about our attire.  It's about the length of our skirt, the tightness thereof, the choice of pants (again with the tightness thereof), the choice of neckline and the amount of flesh we reveal to the world.  It's about the length of our sleeves and the amount of our form that we choose to share with anyone who happens to look.  But it's also about the words we use, how we speak them, the decible level we choose to apply when we utter.  It's about the way we laugh.  All in all, it's about the way we act... who we are.  Are we seeking to be seen and noticed of the world?  Do we desire that others around us should, us, admire?  Are we trying to be pleasers of men?  Or is what we do in constant devotion to God?  Are we doing and being as we are and do for His glory.  That's the question.  End of story.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hope, Faith, Charity and... Let's Add Compassion

It's not that I'm trying to reorder the order or anything, but I've been thinking so much about standards both of the world and God's and the difference between what He would have and what is commonly accepted.  Now, these thoughts pertain to lots of things, but I'm going to focus on what is most dear to my heart.  That is, of course, God and Godly things.

So, one thing I feel like I've realized as a truth (right from the Bible) is that the Holy Trinity is really incomplete.  You see, I believe God would still be who He and She are, but without man... well, God is not exactly a God.  Do you see it?  I mean, without man, who would worship God?  Isn't being a God about accepting the glory that is your due of those who you have created?  I think this is inherently necessary and part and parcel of the whole gig.  Now, I'm not saying that God was less than He is without man... He simply wasn't quite what He is WITH man.  Anyway...

Thus, my conviction has become that God, the Father, His son, Jesus Christ, the Holy Ghost and man constitute the geometry of completion... true unity and wholeness.  So, instead of a triangle representing that which is complete and holy, a square, or, more appropriately, a basic diamond, is the more perfect representation of God.  This seems more accurate, really, to me.  For we rarely ever have any direct interaction with God, the Father.  However, Christ and the Holy Ghost are more interactive with man.  So, if we consider the most sacred geometric shape to be more of a diamond, man would be at one tip with God the Father at the opposite and Christ and the Holy Ghost on opposite points.

Changing this geometry really doesn't change much that IS.  However, it does create room for more.  For instance, there exists a triumverate of virtues that are commonly accepted as the most desireable and necessary.  A trio, like the Godhead.  But if we add man to the first, perhaps a fourth should be added to the most holy virtues, too.  At least, this is what I've been thinking.  And in my thinking, I've come to a decision.  Compassion is the virtue that will join the exiting three.  Now we have a quartet of the most necessary virtues.

And it makes perfect sense, really.  If you have love, you must have hope.  If you have love, you must have faith.  If you have any one, you must have one of the others.  So, too, I would argue, if any of the three are exstant, compassion will be also.  Whether it be full-blown 'Mother Theresa' type compassion... or merely a spark that can burst into flame... it is there.

Just somethings I've been thinking about.  What do you think about them?


Saturday, August 18, 2012

A Quote Worth Sharing

“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”

 ― Siddhārtha Gautama

Friday, August 17, 2012

Five Things for Friday

The garden.  It's time to get it cleaned up a LOT more, seeds started, and swiftly set in the ground.  It's that time.  But I'm not getting it done.  :(  I'm just tired, yall!  So very tired.

If you don't already know about the problems with genetically modified organisms, I encourage you to become a tiny bit more informed by looking at this picture/posted.  I hope it might inspire you to gather more information and become an informer about this truth.  We need to know what's in our foods, but agribusiness has full-time lobbyists and we're not informed.  It's lame and we need to fight to gain the information we should've always had ready and constant acess to! 

I continue to feel less and less anger and more control over my thoughts and feelings.  I still struggle a lot, but the improvements continue and I feel they are increasing.  I attribute the increasing swiftness of the change to my brain (becoming more Christ's, I believe and hope!) to the daily meditation that I have added to scripture and prayer.  I'm grateful for this tool in my life!

We've been microwave free for a few years now.  Although it was difficult in the first few months to get used to using the stove and oven for everything, it's second nature now.  And I would rather spend a little more time on our food than feel the great concern over the additional radiation and denaturalizaion of nutrients in our food that I felt from the time I learned about microwaves until we gave it up for good.  I'm so grateful to have learned about this stuff quite a while ago!  God is GREAT!

I'm struggling with a bad attitude in some very specific areas of my life.  Overall, not having a tough time, but the specific areas seems to cast a huge shadow over the rest.  bah!!

The Way of the World

Just because it looks pretty... is attractive to the human eye, doesn't mean it's modest OR acceptable to God.

Modesty has been much on my mind lately.  Predominantly because I read a post a while back (three or more weeks) about the subject and it just has NOT left my thoughts since.  So, I figure maybe it would help to share my thoughts on the subject here... not that anyone will respond or share their ideas, but I can hope!  :)

So... what is modesty, anyway?

mod·es·ty [mod-uh-stee] noun, plural mod·es·ties.
1. the quality of being modest; freedom from vanity, boastfulness, etc.
2. regard for decency of behavior, speech, dress, etc.
3. simplicity; moderation.

mod·est [mod-ist] adjective
1. having or showing a moderate or humble estimate of one's merits, importance, etc.; free from vanity, egotism, boastfulness, or great pretensions.
2. free from ostentation or showy extravagance: a modest house.
3. having or showing regard for the decencies of behavior, speech, dress, etc.; decent: a modest neckline on a dress.
4. limited or moderate in amount, extent, etc.: a modest increase in salary.
I have chosen to ignore the definition of decency because it is conveyed as something relative to the times, which definition is contrary to the truth: that truth is truth regardless of society's perspective at a given time.
To continue, I am sharing a few more definitions which seem pertinent to my point.

mod·er·a·tion [mod-uh-rey-shuhn] noun
1. the quality of being moderate; restraint; avoidance of extremes or excesses; temperance. (there are two more definitions, but they do not pertain)

mod·er·ate [adj., n. mod-er-it, mod-rit; v. mod-uh-reyt] adjective, noun, verb, mod-er-at-ed, mod-er-at-ing.  adjective
1. kept or keeping within reasonable or proper limits; not extreme, excessive, or intense: a moderate price.
2. of medium quantity, extent, or amount: a moderate income.
3. mediocre or fair: moderate talent.
4. calm or mild, as of the weather. (there is one more definition, but not pertinent)

tem·per·ance [tem-per-uhns, tem-pruhns] noun
1. moderation or self-restraint in action, statement, etc.; self-control. (there are two more definitions that do not pertain)
While the following definition references some relativity, I think that which is negative to me about the definition will provide me a jumping-off point to discuss another aspect of the point.
ex·treme [ik-streem] adjective, ex-trem-er, ex-trem-est, noun
1. of a character or kind farthest removed from the ordinary or average: extreme measures.
2. utmost or exceedingly great in degree: extreme joy.
3. farthest from the center or middle; outermost; endmost: the extreme limits of a town.
4. farthest, utmost, or very far in any direction: an object at the extreme point of vision.
5. exceeding the bounds of moderation: extreme fashions.

re·straint [ri-streynt]
1. a restraining  action or influence: freedom from restraint.
2. Sometimes, restraints. a means of or device for restraining, as a harness for the body.
3. the act of restraining, holding back, controlling, or checking.
4. the state or fact of being restrained;  deprivation of liberty; confinement.
5. constraint or reserve in feelings, behavior, etc.

re·strain [ri-streyn] verb (used with object)
1. to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress: to restrain one's temper.
2. to deprive of liberty, as by arrest or the like.
3. to limit or hamper the activity, growth, or effect of: to restrain trade with Cuba.
Now for my thoughts.  Be you never thought I'd get around to it, eh?
I believe that modesty is not a subject where relativity or cultural norms are really pertinent.  Should individuals have the right to practice their religion and cover themselves completely (like wearing a burka)?  I believe they should be allowed to make this choice born of their own convictions.  Yes, I acknowledge that one's own convictions are formed by numerous factors.  Be that as it may, there are numerous women who choose and like to wear the coverings they wear.
God has a standard for the attire of men and women.  I know this to be truth.  If you do not believe this, you are entitled to your belief.  However, if you are a truth seeker, then you must apply to the God of truth to know ultimate truths.
I know that through time immemorial man (and I do mean the males among us, primarily, though women have this problem as well) has misunderstood God's direction to him.  I believe our God is a God of Love and tolerance, moderation, temprance, and all things that could be and are related to modesty.  He would have us cover ourselves in such a way as to avoid drawing attention to ourselves.
Clothing is one way, through various means, that someone can draw attention to themselves.  If we look to the microcosm of a public high school (especially one that does not have uniforms), we will find an environment that is representative (though arguably slightly extreme) of the world, at large.  In high school there are those who group themselves according to certain similarities.  I'm not exactly sure of all the current lingo, but I do know there were some groups that were readily identified by the following names: emo, prep, jock (female and male), straight edgers, pseudo-hippies, stoners, band geeks, punks, nerds, goths and more.  Each group has its norm for attire.  Does that mean that any of them are modest?  Well, if modest is relative, then surely there is a sort of modesty in each group.
However, there is a true form of modesty that is outside of the relative or societal norms.
For instance, if a prostitute has a certain way of dressing to attract customers, then it seems to follow that women of virtue would steer clear of the kind of attire that prostitutes find helpful to their cause.  Unfortunately, though, as history shows us, the devil is in the details.  The devil would have us believe that something long considered unacceptable is attractive (at least in part BECAUSE it is successful in garnering business of the sort mentioned... so it must be attractive to men... so it is something women, in general, should use for their own purposes).
In the early days of this country, as a standard, virtuous women wore long skirts and/or dresses with long or quarter-length sleeves  and necklines that were at their neck, all the time.  Do I propose that only this is modest?  No.  But over time, the deceiver of our souls has led us (men and women) to believe that the way prostitutes of that time dressed is acceptable for all.  Is this true?  Certainly not entirely.  And once a successful mode of making wrong into right has been determined, the process continues on.  Prostitutes and pornography lead the charge in becoming ever less modest.  The media touts the beauty of movie stars (in these modern days) and popular/well-known individuals (generally) as those people dress increasingly more and more like prostitutes and porn stars.
About 18 years ago, when I was a bit younger and wilder than I am now... it was significantly more difficult to find stilletos than it is now.  I know because I wanted some.  I did say I was wilder.  Stilletos were, even such a short time ago, considered (generally) shoes best relegated to dress up for your husband and/or common shoe-wear for pole dancers, prostitutes, porn stars and call girls by the majority of generally virtuous women.  Now, the most stylish women at church wear them.  The shoes still serve their purpose (lengthen a woman's body, tighten her calves, raise and tighten her butt, require a particular curve in the back for stability which enhaces the breastline because the chest must be jutted out ever so slightly to maintain alignment created by the unnatural foot positioning that is par for the course in stilleto wearing 101).  So, why is it acceptable to otherwise virtuous women to wear prostitute shoes publicly now, when it wasn't 18 years ago?  Because the devil said so, I guess... in the same way he has led the charge to raise skirts (so now a long shirt that barely covers the gluteous maximus is a dress; basically the same as the '6os).
So what is modest attire anyway?  What has modest always been?  I think the latter question is really more important.  One must completely understand what modesty of attire is... search knowledge, understanding and wisdom in this matter and then appeal to our Father God for confirmation of our understanding.  I have found, in my search, that modesty in attire requires coverage of, minimally, all of the thigh (and over the knee), all breast-age, and full shoulder coverage (because of the proximity to breast-age and potential for accidentally showing that part of the body that is meant to be reserved for one's huband and breastfeeding babies.  Additionally, choosing clothing that neither accentuates nor highlights the area of breast-age (especially in women).  This last part means, really, that one would not wear tight and/or revealing clothing items if we are trying to be truly modest in our dress.
Is it easy for everyone to dress mosdestly?  No.  Of course not.  For instance, I know big breasted women have a difficult time finding cleavage covering tops.  However, difficult does not equate to impossible.  Difficult is difficult.  And if it became impossible to find modest clothing because the world's ways became so far divergent from God's that no modest clothing was readily available, does that mean that we then succumb to the world?  I propose God's answer to that is: no.  I'm certain He would have us develop talents and skills that would enable us to continue to do and fulfill His Will even when the world is far from Him.
Only recently (within the last 5 years), did I realize that modesty was about more than the cloth we can choose to place on our bodies.  Since this post has become longer than I planned, I think the continuation of this subject must wait for another day.
Until then... what do you think?

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