#FiveFaves: Miscellanea (XXVII)



Dr. Scholl’s Massaging Gel Insoles. The commercials for them are pretty lame but those suckers are incredible. I felt like I was walking on air this morning. Now if only the scraped-up toes would heal…


Every State Described by a Single Sarcastic Line from a Bitter Resident. The one for Montana is painfully true. Go read it here.


NCIS: New Orleans. It’s not quite as good as the regular NCIS but it has definitely grown on me, especially the team of Pride/LaSalle/Brody. I’m also a fan of Sebastian.


People who vaccinate their kids. Dead serious here… every time a parent takes their unvaccinated kid out in public, they put Daniel and my father-in-law at risk of whatever preventable diseases their kid has picked up. Measles is not a joke. You and your small podunk town in the Midwest might have gotten off lightly but those of us who live in places with actual populations actually know real people in our lives who have suffered some kind of complication from it.


Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. I love anything that can buy me 15 minutes of time to take a shower and comb out my dreadlocks. It’s also not the worst thing to have to watch if you have to engage in some screen time with your kiddos so you can get some rest.

Go love up Jenna and the others.

Roald Dahl and the Numbers Argument for Vaccination

I saw a letter on Facebook from author Roald Dahl (author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”) concerning vaccination and his daughter’s death from measles. I’m quoting it here in its entirety.

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn’t do anything.

“Are you feeling all right?” I asked her.

“I feel all sleepy,” she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.


Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was ‘James and the Giant Peach’. That was when she was still alive. The second was ‘The BFG’, dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.

It kind of humanizes the whole thing to hear a fairly well-known author make this argument. I mean, why would you not do something to keep other kids from suffering the way your child did? How are people that stupid?!?!?!?!?

Someone sent me an argument by my official troll. Here it is in its entirety:

I’ve said it before so I’ll just reiterate it – I totally understand parents NOT wanting to give them to their children. But whereever one stands on the issue, I don’t think it is appropriate to say things like:

“As far as I’m concerned, not vaccinating your child is about as irresponsible as driving drunk with your toddler in the back seat jumping around without a child restraint.”

My kids have had some vaccines and I’ve passed on others. I did not follow the schedule at all for Rosie because I thought it was too much too soon – and I agonized about all of it. But bottom line for me is that Doctors and hospitals aren’t always right. They just aren’t. I know that’s hard for people to accept but it’s true. They media also lies and sensationalizes things. Right now it’s measles. But the death rate of measles is less than 0.1%. Prior to the vaccine it was way less than that. So let’s quit guilting each other okay? Here’s a post I wrote earlier this year on the topic. This also seems like a reasonable case for when to vaccinate and which vaccines to get. (Source: Quick Take #7)

Let’s do the numbers here. The USA has 300 million people. If all of them get measles and we assume a death rate of 0.1%, that means a death rate of 300,000 people. That would be equal to obliterating most of the population of North Dakota or a few of the larger cities in the USA.

Incidentally, the study about MMR vaccines in Canada that all the anti-vaxers on my wall are quoting to try and show causation between measles and autism actually shows an increase in febrile seizures amongst those who are either selectively vaccinated or who have been on a delayed schedule. I’m guessing that none of them have had the “joy” of watching their child start seizing? I have. It’s terrifying.

Responding to the arguments that it wasn’t that bad for my official troll when she had it, she had a mild case. She is also the only baby boomer I’ve encountered who doesn’t have some horror story about a sibling ending up in the hospital, ending up deaf, or dying from measles. (I’m a mainline Christian. My church is full of people in that age group and I’ve asked all the ones with whom I deal.) I truthfully cannot understand why a parent would put their child at risk of contracting something that is that hideous and be so blasé about watching them suffer.

Let’s also factor in people who can’t get the vaccine such as children under 12 months old, transplant patients, cancer patients, and people with other health conditions that preclude being vaccinated. Are we just supposed to enclose them in a plastic bubble and tell them “good luck”? Many of these people *HAVE* to be outside in the world and people who don’t vaccinate themselves or their kids put all of them at great risk. Measles is highly contagious and can remain in the air and on surfaces for hours. Why would you be so selfish as to put them at risk? I’m arguing this because I live with someone who has a severely compromised immune system due to chemo and a child who hasn’t met a virus that he doesn’t want to engage. Please, for the love of all things holy, stop putting them at risk!

The Simple Woman’s Daybook: February 1, 2015

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY February 1, 2015

Outside my window… dark. Yet again, I’m writing after everyone else has gone to bed.

I am thinking… about some of the things I’m hearing in the Rachel Held Evans video I am listening to. I seriously want to be her when I grow up.

I am thankful… for the snuggle and nap with Daniel during the Super Bowl.

In the kitchen… darkness as I sit in here typing.

I am wearing… my Online Debate Team shirt and black sweats from Target.

I am praying for… healing from my fibro flare-up, a call for Jon, some special intentions, and for the needs of my #Cathso chicas.

I am going… to be spending tomorrow morning scanning auto loan paperwork to email to my credit union.

I am wondering… if I need to order more yarn for Daniel’s “big boy blankie”.

I am reading… Yarn Over Murder by Maggie Sefton.

I am hoping… I get some entries for my giveaway in which I’m offering the winner the option to pick my Lenten discipline.

I am looking forward to… Bible study at church on Wednesday morning. I’m the youngest by quite a bit but it’s fun to go and listen and the other women there are wonderful.

I am hearing… the Rachel Held Evans talk.

Around the house… darkness.

A favorite quote for today… “Now invariably after I’ve gone through this whole litany of things [on what millenials want in the church in terms of social justice], someone in the back will raise their hand and say, ‘So what you’re saying is we need a cooler band?’ And I proceed to bang my head against the podium.” — Rachel Held Evans

One of my favorite things… time to just sit and read.

A few plans for the rest of the week: lots of walks (with my foot taped up — gotta love bursitis!), bonding with my core ball, errands, Bible study and inquirers class on Wednesday, and whatever else come up.

A peek into my day… the video I have been referencing!

Hosted by The Simple Woman.

7 Quick Takes: Car Buying, Sick Kids, and Jen Hating Planks

7 Quick Takes

— 1 —

Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline 2015. The second annual “Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline” giveaway starts today and goes for ~2 weeks. Click here for details.

— 2 —

Panic attack myths. If you get panic attacks or love someone who gets them, I highly recommend you read this.

— 3 —

Progress on the plank challenge. I accidentally abandoned it this weekend as I had too much going on and then was taking care of Daniel who decided to scare the pants off of me and spike a fever of 104F. Instead of going back and making up missed days, I decided to just do 4 60-second planks this morning… and found that being up for 60 seconds was a piece of cake… something that it hadn’t been at the beginning of the month.

— 4 —

Some interesting perspectives on the vaccination debate. There is an outbreak of measles stemming from an unvaccinated person and I’m seeing a lot of things left and right about it. There are parents writing letters to parents with unvaccinated children, someone on BuzzFeed showing what measles looks like, and someone talks about their kid having to be quarantined because someone brought a measles patient to the doctor and the kid was too young to vaccinate, forcing the parents to quarantine her for a month.

And as always, here’s the opposing viewpoint (who I do not endorse and think is seriously misguided).

— 5 —

Small world. I was my father-in-law’s “plus-one” for the Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on Saturday and was walking with him to an accessible ramp for his walker when I hear the words, “Hello Jen!” I look up and it’s a seminary classmate of mine who is apparently representing the same pan-Lutheran group as my father-in-law. Once we found our assigned seats, he came back to where I was sitting and we caught up on the last 12 years since we have run into each other. It’s pretty pathetic that this is the first we’ve seen of each other because right now we live about 5 miles apart. Still, it was good to see him.

— 6 —

New Year’s resolution update. The read through the Bible is going well. I’ve gotten through Genesis and am in Exodus in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, I’m almost to the crucifixion scene in Matthew. I’ve also discovered some new Psalms (new to me, that is) that are really pretty.

— 7 —

Car-buying. Jon’s car decided to die on the 57 last Friday and repairs were going to be $3000. The car was only worth $1000 so we had to come up with another car for transportation. (The situation we’re in at the moment makes being a one-car family pretty impossible.) Thankfully, his mechanic had a used 2003 Volvo station wagon for sale and allowed us to purchase it for under the Kelly Blue Book value. (It is in impeccable condition.) Currently, I’m trying to get loan stuff done so I’d appreciate your prayers as I’m working on all of this over the weekend.

For more Quick Takes, visit Kelly at This Ain’t The Lyceum.

Pick Jen’s Lenten Discipline!

Guess what time it is!!!!


I’m taking a page from one of my favorite authors and letting someone else pick my Lenten discipline for the year. I’m starting early this time to give whoever wins a chance to figure out what they want to pick and also ship me whatever they need to. (example: Kelly would need to ship me a hair shirt.)

The only rule is that it has to be doable and workable around my schedule with Daniel.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Yarn Along: January 28, 2015

I’m linking up with Ginny of Small Things today and showing off what I’m reading and what I’m crocheting.

Big boy blankie and book.

The crocheting: I’m making a “big boy blankie” for Daniel because he is shredding his baby blanket. I’m hoping to get it done by his birthday in April. The yarn is Bernat Super Value in the Whirlpool colorway.

The book: Close Knit Killer by Maggie Sefton. It’s your basic cozy murder mystery but involving yarn.

Want to see what others are making and reading? Head on over!

Being a Titus 2 Woman in the 21st Century (II)

I was hoping to get this post up on Saturday but I was at a Gospel concert put on by the Claremont Interfaith Council in the afternoon and the Respect Life Mass at the Cathedral in the evening. (My father-in-law is super-involved with ecumenical things down here in Southern California and one of his colleagues is the ecumenical officer for the diocese so I’ve had the blessing of getting to go to the cathedral and sitting with the ecumenical guests or at least their plus-ones.) I spent my computer time last night up with a very sick little boy who decided to spike a 104F fever. (We thankfully got it down and he is headed to school tomorrow.)

The previous entry I posted on this subject had a pretty negative tone so I thought I’d talk about the positive “Titus 2 women” in my real life and online.

Mary Lenaburg: I’m sure Mary would be surprised to see her name on here (hopefully not all that surprised) but she is a huge encourager of everyone that finds themselves in her sphere. Seeing her life with her daughter Courtney (who went to be with Jesus after Christmas) has inspired me to be a better mother to Daniel and at times like last night when I was up with my sick kiddo, she sends me messages to let me know that she’s praying for me. Girlfriend also just captured the “Most Inspirational Blog” and “Miss Congeniality” awards in the Sheenazing awards this year and I can’t think of a more deserving person.

Michelle Lehnardt: I come from a pretty amazing family and yet I really wish Michelle and Erik would adopt me! Not only is she a phenomenal photographer, but Michelle has managed to raise 2 wonderful young men, has three fabulous teenagers, and one wonderful daughter. She is the first to name her shortcomings but she and her husband have managed to instill a sense of honor and kindness in their kids as well as an ability to find fun ways to include other people. Her oldest son Ben is back at BYU after serving a mission to Italy, her next son Stefan comes home from his mission to Russia in a few months, and her kids left in school are phenomenal musicians and quite bright.

My mother-in-law Victoria: We have a good relationship but we both have to work at it to make all that goes into sharing a house work. She knows just about everything about cleaning just about anything and she had ideas about the ways she wants things to work; but at the same time, she’s also willing to listen to what I have to say. She prays for me daily and is willing to listen and help me talk out a lot of stuff I’m dealing with in order to find a solution.

Lou Ellyn Griffin: I wish she had a blog because I would publicize it as much as I could. She and her family used to live down the street from my parents and her older daughters baby-sat for us. My brother and I were her pet and house sitters growing up and I worked for her during my summers from the time I was 10 until I was 19 with a couple summers off to be a camp counselor. The reason she’s on my list: she read me the Christmas story when I was six and made sure I knew that God loved me and that she would answer any questions I had. I took her up on it as a teenager and she is my godmother.

Dee Rheingans: Dee was one of our parishioners in Minnesota and a woman who is now in her 80’s. She is incredibly young at heart and she was honestly one of the best church women I could have had as a young pastor’s wife. She loved me for who I was, was wonderful about not giving advice unless I asked for it, and always willing to answer questions I had about how to do something, no matter how stupid the question probably seemed. She prayed for me every time I took my driving test (3rd time was the charm!) and I remember her leaving a message on our answering machine on a really snowy day telling me that she was laughing at the thought of me out playing in it. (At that point in time, I had only been out of California for 3 years and snow was still a novelty.)

I bring these women up as examples for others in the faith to try and emulate because they have a good relationship with my generation and I feel that others who want to be “Titus 2 women” can learn from them.