Thursday, November 3, 2016

Vote No to Legalizing Marijuana

Not Your Grandpa’s Shake        Opposition to Prop 64      


Why shouldn’t we legalize recreational use of marijuana? People should be allowed to get high if they want to, right? I used to think that way; I didn’t think marijuana should be illegal. The first time I smoked pot, as a teenager in the 1960’s, my step-brother sent some home from Viet Nam; it opened more than my eyes, it opened a door into the drug world that I couldn’t close for 15 years. During those years I got involved with drug smugglers, growers, and dealers and I learned first hand that people who break the law in one area don’t think twice about breaking it in other areas. So let me start there: marijuana is still illegal at the Federal level, anyone using it in any form is still breaking a Federal law, that’s one area. Here is another part of law breaking, people get high and get in their cars and drive. The American Automobile Association AAA has statistics of an increase in car accidents in states that have legalized marijuana. (Sacramento Bee 2016) Driving under the influence of marijuana is like drinking and driving, and we already have a lot of people out there getting into their cars after a wine tasting, do we need to add to the numbers of impaired drivers? Speaking of wine, there are people who believe that smoking a joint is no different than drinking a glass of wine. Really? When is the last time someone told you they got paranoid after drinking wine? I know that for over 30 years the growers have been cultivating to get stronger strains of cannabis with higher Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content. Smugglers didn’t just bring back pounds, they also brought seeds to the growers; they wanted those sticky resin fibers on the buds in abundance for a longer lasting high and the hallucinatory effect, which makes you vulnerable to paranoia. This generation of Cannabis isn’t your grandpa’s shake, that’s what we called the baggies of leaves we smoked. Those dried out leaves weren’t very strong, but even that marijuana was and still is considered a drug. Remember marijuana is a drug that affects your brain; research what marijuana does to the brain (How Stuff Works Bosner and Gerbis 2001).  

Marijuana is especially harmful to developing brains, the very time when many young people try it, not realizing that some people have a predisposition for mental illness. High levels of THC can cause psychosis which can be triggered the earlier a person starts smoking marijuana. (Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016) There are studies in Australia, New Zealand, and Europe confirming this, why isn’t there more research here in the United States on cannabis and its side effects? We passed the Medical Marijuana Bill without going through the right channels so now we have growers and distributors telling us it’s good for whatever ails us; there is antidotal hearsay for topical use to the cure for cancer. But think about this, if it cures cancer then what did Bob Marley die from? (Wikipedia) He was the Jamaican ganja guru of my generation.

Here is another side effect of legalization that you rarely hear about: pets and children getting into marijuana edibles and overdosing. I first saw this on Dr. Jeff: Rocky Mountain Vet, a program out of Colorado, where he was trying to save a dog that had eaten its owner stash, so I asked my local vet and he verified it saying that they were seeing an increase in cases.

Ask yourself “Who is behind this push for the legalization of marijuana?” Follow the money trail. (Washington Times 2014) One reason proponents use to legalize is by saying that it will solve our financial problems. That is the same argument the Lottery used and did the Lottery help our schools, or are we still asking for money to repair buildings, provide books for children, and pay our teachers? Bringing in taxes, if the distributors comply, will not offset the costs incurred from implementing this proposed law.

Prop 64 wants you to believe that by legalizing marijuana we won’t have criminal activity by the drug cartels. Back in the early 1970’s when I was involved there wasn’t a drug cartel, my friends just thought we were doing a good thing by bringing money to the struggling farmers in Mexico, and other places, and then bringing marijuana back so people could party. That justification worked until people starting dying. There is always a consequence to the choices we make. I see now that the money we and other people gave them, planted the very seeds that grew the drug cartels, and now the cartels have moved on to other more lucrative illegal drugs.  

One thing I think the proponents and opponents of Prop 64 agree on is the problem of incarcerating people for minor marijuana possession. These long term sentences overcrowd our prisons. We need Sentencing Reform, more addiction recovery programs, and an up grade in our mental health facilities, not blanket legalization of marijuana. 

Another thing I know personally is that it is rare for a person to smoke marijuana and not go on to try other drugs, and for addicts it’s “one is never enough and one is too many.” We didn’t believe that marijuana was addicting, we now know that anything that changes your brain chemistry and is used on a continual basis becomes an addiction. (Pietrangelo 2014) If Prop 64 passes more people will try marijuana adding to the numbers of people who have a tendency towards addiction. Is that what we need in California; a tsunami of new addicts? If Proposition 64 passes then we will all be dealing with the fall out from DUI, drug addiction which harms our families and neighborhoods, and adds people to our flawed mental health system. I have the benefit of hindsight and longevity to say that in my opinion Prop 64 is bad for California.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sometimes You Need Help

One of our three rescued dogs needs surgery, and we can't afford it. With cancer if we wait too long it spreads. We have always taken care of our dogs needs and would this time without a second thought, but I can't charge another thing on my credit card. We are paying off a clutch we just replaced this summer. Please share this link...God Bless you.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

He's Like That

We stood in the cemetery, an icy wind betrayed the blue sky, no heat reached us from the yellow globe over head. On a hill overlooking distant hills finally green from days of rain, we waited shivering as the Marines unfolded the Flag; Stars and Stripes threatened to take to the sky like a kite. Behind us the mournful notes of Taps reached our ears, and at that moment a red tailed hawk flew up from the valley, soaring on wind currents, chasing the harbinger of death, reminding us that the spirit lives on.

Later that day, at the store we walked past a young woman, her child in a grocery cart in front of their car; I smiled at her and went to get my own cart, and turning to say something to John I noticed he had stopped to talk to her. Maybe he knows her: he's friendly like that. In a few minutes he met me in the store, piling items in the cart he shares that as he walked past her he felt like he was supposed to ask her if she was alright. He sensed she was distressed. She was. She couldn't lift her little girl out of the cart, she wasn't supposed to lift anything over 25 pounds because she was pregnant and had suffered a hernia. John said he would help and when he reached for the little girl she just jumped into his arms. Then he helped with their groceries. He's like that. The Patron Saint of Damsels in Distress.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Ventures 2016

We are trying new things in 2016, a year of change, and a year of opportunity. I have been looking for new ways to highlight and show John Barrett's art: this is one way I've found to begin, Art as Fashion. Using images from his art that aren't for sale and giving people the opportunity to enjoy them as fashion pieces. The company is  their story is one of young entrepreneurs' creating fashion by working directly with artisans and then giving a portion back by providing literacy education for their factory workers who make the clothes. You can see John's page at the link below:

Friday, December 18, 2015

Merry Christmas 2015

Every year when I put up our manger I think about Jesus's whole life. In it you can see baby Jesus, his mother Mary, and father Joseph surrounded by the animals and Shepherds. Angels oversee the scene and the wise men with camels come bearing gifts...but look closely and one comes with elephants from Africa, and in the back ground is a pyramid representing Egypt where the Holy family fled from Herod.  Surrounding the crib are seashells and stones from the Holy Land, and the coins Judas received for betraying Him. In the distance a tiny olive wood cross stands waiting, and at His feet the square headed nail that pierced His flesh. There is also the alabaster jar ready to for the woman from Bethany to annoit Him, and oil and a Jewish lamp.  Look again and there is a carved wooden bowl made from the cedars of Lebanon and tiny jars or Frankincense and Myrrh. Every piece tells His story and the most important part not seen, but felt is His love for us. Merry Christmas...O come O come Emmanuel...

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Biography of a Man of Faith

David Wilkerson: The Cross, The Switchblade and The Man Who Believed

There are certain people in the world who have a profound effect on your life, whether you knew them personally or not, and for me one of those people was David Wilkerson. For those of us whose personal struggle with drug addiction ultimately led them to Jesus Christ, we can thank David Wilkerson for paving the way, by listening to the Holy Spirit and stepping out in faith, way back in the late 1950’s, where he opened the hearts of evangelists and pastors to reach out to us. My mother gave me a copy of The Cross and The Switchblade when she was praying and searching for a way to get me out of the drug world.

 In this biography, his son Gary Wilkerson presents a well rounded look into the man, who I would list in the company of Mother (Saint) Theresa, and Billy Graham. David wasn’t perfect; he didn’t come from a perfect family life; even though generations of his family members have been Christians. He was a person who had doubts, and struggled like we all do with relationships. But he prayed and sought God, and listened for guidance everyday and then he acted on what he was shown. Out of his obedience we have Teen Challenge turning young lives around and giving hope to families. We also have worldwide ministries that reach the poor and overlooked and there are new pastors and evangelists being sent out to give witness to the power of Jesus Christ to break addictions. I would highly recommend this book to people of faith who need encouragement in their walk, I know it changed my feelings about the hopeless mess our world is in and encouraged me to keep praying and reaching out. This book is a five star keeper.

Friday, December 28, 2012

It Just Takes One

It Just Takes One

Years ago I went to my first Writers’ Conference hoping to get encouragement or insight, even if it meant discouraging me from becoming a writer, because I wanted to write a memoir about how I got into and out of the drug world. I left the conference with a lot of information about what the literary industry wanted, and also with a little book titled “You Start with One” by Deo Miller and Susan Titus. It was the story about how Deo and his wife wanted to help abandoned children in Sri Lanka find homes. They were overwhelmed by the needs of these kids, but they decided to find one child a home and they ended up helping multitudes.

Later on in my journey to be an author, I read Anne Lamont’s Bird by Bird another book about doing things little by little. So that is how I wrote my memoir, little by little over 20 years; one idea, one memory, one line, one chapter at a time.

When the economy tanked I spent over a year filling out mountains of paperwork, month after month, trying to save our home from foreclosure: contacting our bank and every program we fit into, trying every lead, and getting nothing but overwhelming stress and buckets of tears. Then as I was ready to give up and walk away, my husband who has learning disabilities, handwrites one letter with spelling and grammar errors included, to one person; the CEO of the bank, and sent copies to every politician and news media he thought might help. Immediately the bank called, and started helping us get a loan modification. We are finishing up the trial modification and should get the permanent loan Modification in February. From that one letter we now have letters from The White House, the governor, 2 senators, an assembly man, a state representative, the Department of Justice, The Department of Treasury, including a call from our district attorney’s office, another assemblywoman, and a personal contact with our attorney general’s office who is working closely with us to save our house. Everyone made phone calls and sent letters to our bank to help us, and many more people prayed that we’d get help. When all else fails remember it just takes one; one person who goes that extra mile and doesn’t give up.

As we head into the New Year the news is filled with pending doom of the Fiscal Cliff, the people we put into office can’t seem to find common ground and yet if one person, one Party, would shift a little, to do the job we asked them to do, to look out for us and put us first we could break through this quagmire and start the year united.

We have just celebrated Christmas, a time where we remember that one young girl said yes to God and put her needs aside, and she changed to course of mankind forever. Will we be the one that looks at the impossible and says with God all things are possible? I hope so. A Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.

Lilly, our newest foster dog, who had a broken back
and still lives her life running at full speed.