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   Namma  My husbands siblings and their families gathered every week between Christmas and New Years, in the U.P. Of Michigan. We had family coming from Illinois, Wisconsin,West Virgina and Ohio. We would go out to woods, cut down a tree, and the kids would bring it back to camp. It was their job to decorate the tree, but only with things they found in the camp. We had some very interesting trees. One tree was decorated with bottle caps and pull tabs. One tree was all mittens, hats and scarfs. We had so much fun. Kids did a great job using their imaginations.
Yesterday at 20:05 EST .

   4 people like this.

   StormCnter  I love that tradition. What memories that family was making. Thanks for sharing.
Yesterday at 05:38 EST .

   Timber Queen  On the main page there is an article announcing a 15 cent "fee" on fresh cut Christmas trees. I waxed poetic about my wild forest Christmas trees I cut from my back yard. I'll never go back to cultivated farm trees, they are so thick, bulky and uniform. My forest trees let the ornaments, lights, and garland hang between the boughs and you can really appreciate their beauty. I love my wild Christmas trees! Here's our tree from 2012.
   November 16 at 21:29 EST .

   13 people like this.

   StormCnter  Your tree is lovely. I had no experience with a professionally raised and shaped Christmas tree until, as young marrieds, we spent our first Christmas in California. Back here in Texas, in ranch country, the most presentable cedar in a pasture was always hacked down and hauled to the house. Who knew a Christmas tree could look like a perfect cone?

In my childhood, our trees were lighted with birthday candles in special little clips. The tree was lit only once and that was on Christmas Eve. A bucket of water was close by. With limited electricity (no lines, only a big generator ), the power couldn't be wasted on electric lights for a tree.
November 17 at 06:05 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Gerty  Want Miss Timber and Miss Storm to know how refreshing it is to read their charming posts this morning. A much needed respite from today's news!

I have always wanted to see a tree with the natural light from candles...sigh.
November 17 at 06:45 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Gerty  Is "..natural light from candles.." an oxymoron?
November 17 at 08:20 EST .

 1 person like this.

   StormCnter  "natural candle light" works for me, Gerty. One more thing about the candlelit trees. Santa visited us kids on Christmas Eve, so after supper, one parent or the other would take us down to the barn to check on the baby turkeys or over to see the ranchhands in the bunkhouse. When we got back home, Santa had lighted the tree and left his presents for us. It was magic!
Monday at 15:04 EST .

   Balogreene  Oh, so many Christmas traditions. I like my mom's stories of going from Chicago to Muskegon MI. Her grandparents lived only a few months apart. The Swedish/Norwegian grandparents celebrated Christmas Eve. So, the family (mom, Grandma and Grandpa Stanton, and Uncle Larry ) spent it at the Roen house, opening presents, eating the Scandy food. On Christmas morning, they went to the Stanton/Nesburg home to celebrate an English Christmas morning and breakfast.
We did it differently growing up, but, I love mom's family's tradition.
Monday at 20:35 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Balogreene  Oh my goodness, why don't I proofread? Her grandparents lived only a few blocks apart.
Monday at 20:36 EST .

  2 people like this.

   StormCnter  I was very interested in reading about your family's tradition. So very different from our experiences down here. Your family had Swedish/Norwegian rituals to observe, down here we share a lot of the Mexican Christmas traditions: candles, leche quemada candy, luminarias, tamales at the Christmas dinner table.
Yesterday at 05:42 EST .

   Lonestar Jack  Is Obama holding back releasing the deserter Bergdahl decision until Ferguson erupts?

I look for a very unpopular pardon for this Muslim deserter.
November 16 at 21:26 EST .

   9 people like this.

   FL Homeschool Mom  Matty's back home!
November 16 at 07:15 EST .

   12 people like this.

   Gram77  What great news.
November 16 at 11:01 EST .

 1 person like this.

   Shimmer128  Just wanted to give my L-dotter friends an update. It's been 8 weeks since my mastectomy and I'm FINALLY feeling goooood!!! So much has happened bad, but I'm on the mend. :D
I got a staph infection in my surgery site and even with antibiotics, it was getting worse daily. The plastic surgeon had to take the expander out and it started getting better within two days. I still have a way to go. I STILL have a drain and the remnants of the infection, but I feel good!
Chemo will start, even with a drain, if I can just whip the last of the infection. Which I will do. It feels so good to feel good.
November 15 at 11:02 EST .

   16 people like this.

   NotaBene  Great news! Nice to hear you are feeling good. With you all the best and a fast recovery.
November 15 at 11:59 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Gram77  Great news!
November 15 at 16:24 EST .

  2 people like this.

   Gerty  Thank the Lord for your feeling good! Continued prayers for a complete recovery.
November 15 at 18:08 EST .

  8 people like this.

   BirdsNest  Such good news. Your last sentence said it all. Be positive.
November 15 at 18:23 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Fireball27  Good luck to you Shimmer. May you get through the next part with little discomfort and bounce back to where you belong, healthy and happy!
November 15 at 19:31 EST .

  3 people like this.

   FL Homeschool Mom  Good news!
November 16 at 07:13 EST .

   Dixonnh  Good news...keep your spirits high, hang with positive people, and give this to God....He will get you through it.
November 16 at 15:38 EST .

   Bettijo  Quote from Nancy Pilosi's own web site:

Health Insurance Reform Mythbuster - ‘Health Reform And Insurance Premiums’

Opponents of health insurance reform continue to spread myths about the recently-passedAffordable Health Care for America Act. For example, they are claiming that health reform would increase premiums for most of America’s families. But the facts continue to knock these myths down—including a brand-new report from the independent Congressional Budget Office.

MYTH: The House health insurance reform bill would result in higher premiums.

FACT: An analysis of the House bill by noted MIT health care economist Jonathan Gruber concludes that the bill would result in lower premiums than under current law for the millions of Americans using the newly-established Health Insurance Exchange – including those who are not receiving affordability credits to help them purchase coverage. (The Health Insurance Exchange is for those without access to affordable employer-sponsored coverage. ) As Gruber states: “the premiums that individuals will face in the new exchanges established by this legislation are … considerably lower than what they would face in the non-group insurance market [under current law], due to the market reforms put in place by the House plan, the mandate on individuals to participate regardless of health, and the market economies of new exchanges.”

The Gruber analysis shows that, on the Exchange, a family at 425 percent of poverty(whose income of $93,710 means that they would receive no affordability credits )would see their premiums reduced by $1,260 or 12 percent compared to current law. Similarly, the Gruber analysis shows that, on the Exchange, an individual at 425 percent of poverty (whose income of $46,030 means that they would receive no affordability credits ) would see their premiums reduced by $470 or 12 percent.

The annual savings are much larger for lower income populations that receive affordability credits. Under the House bill, when the bill’s affordability credits are taken into account, a family at 275% of poverty (income of $60,640 ) would save $5,030, or 47 percent in premiums compared to current law and a family at 175 percent of poverty (income of $38,590 ) would save $9,050 or 84 percent in premiums compared to current law.

Gruber also points out that, even as individuals and families on the Exchange are paying less, they will be getting more:

The coverage those on the Exchange get under the House plan would be better than today’s typical coverage in the non-group market.
For example, it would protect individuals and families from high out-of-pocket costs.
That’s in addition to other consumer protections in the bill – like ending discrimination based on pre-existing conditions and guaranteeing that your coverage won’t be dropped or watered down when you get sick or need it most.
New CBO Analysis

Furthermore, for the vast majority of Americans who get their health insurance in the employer-sponsored group market, the Congressional Budget Office has just released an estimate that, under the quite similar Senate bill, premiums would either be reduced or stay the same. Specifically, for the millions in the employer-sponsored large group market, premiums would
November 15 at 07:29 EST .

   11 people like this.

   Bettijo  be reduced by up to 3 percent or stay the same. And for all Americans, copays would be eliminated for preventive care and out-of-pocket expenses would be capped.

Like Gruber, CBO found that for Americans using the non-group market, their coverage would significantly improve under the Senate bill. The CBO data indicate that the Senate bill would reduce premiums by 14 to 20 percent for people in the non-group market when comparing plans that provide equivalent coverage.

For the Gruber analysis, please click here.

For the CBO analysis, please click here.
November 15 at 07:33 EST .

  9 people like this.

   Bettijo  Once a Year at 11:11 am the Sun Shines Perfectly on this Memorial

   November 13 at 10:25 EST .

   14 people like this.

   NotaBene  That is beautiful. Thank you Bettijo for posting this.
November 14 at 11:26 EST .

  9 people like this.

   Safetydude  Ok, so last Memorial Day I was chastized on The Connection for asking the question 'why do we have a bunch of entertainers who have no connection to the military' entertain us when we have so much talent in the military?

I'm asking the same question about the concert for valor.
November 11 at 23:01 EST .

   11 people like this.

   Wrightwinger  The lack of decorum, taste, manners, ethics, respect, of so much of our society is breathtaking in its depth, length, and breadth.
November 12 at 18:26 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Balogreene  Mr. Officer Safetydude, this latest concert was a travesty. It was put on by HBO, and had mostly liberals, anti-war, socialists. Carrie Underwood and Jennifer whats-her-name don't count. This concert had nothing to do with honoring vets.
I don't remember Memorial Day. But, I do know Fourth of July included people like Gary Sinise. Mr. Sinise has contributed mightily to military charities, etc. So do many stars who, with their appearance will bring in a lot of money to those charities.
I think these concert should be a mix of the stars who will bring in viewers and contributions, and he various service members who have a career as military musicians.
November 12 at 22:44 EST .

  5 people like this.

   Safetydude  Thank you for the correrction. It was the Fourth of July concert.
I looked up Gary Sinise and found out about his work for veterans through the Gary Sinise Foundation.
I salute him and all celeberties who lend their names to veteran's help organizations.
November 13 at 10:13 EST .

  6 people like this.

   Balogreene  I want to lighten this up a bit. I told a 35-year old co-worker "Happy Veteran's Day". He looked at me kinda funny, and I said, "well, I'm glad you're here for Veteran's Day, not Memorial Day." He said his wife bought him a t-shirt with that sentiment.
November 11 at 21:12 EST .

   9 people like this.


November 11 at 17:30 EST .

   12 people like this.

   Balogreene  I cried.
My daddy, and many others, fought in the Pacific, and Europe, and never spoke a word to their family's (daddy was a 2nd Lt. Quartermaster Corps, on Okinawa, from the beginning. He told us he made sure the Generals had clean uniforms and sheets. )
A very close friend did Long-Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP ) in Vietnam and beyond. They never spoke a word to family, but they did it for us.
November 11 at 21:17 EST .

  6 people like this.

   NotaBene  I cried too. We should always be thankful to the sacrifice of so many to keep us safe. Hope the next president of this country will understand this and treat our military how they deserve.
November 11 at 23:44 EST .

  4 people like this.

   Guard SGT (ret)  This brings back a memory for me.
I was in a Memorial Day Parade with my Army National Guard Company. I was riding in the back seat. When I saw a person in the crowd with a Legion/VFW cap, I saluted them. Well, this one older gentleman was sitting back from the rest in a lawn chair. He had one of those caps. I saluted him. Like the first gentleman in the clip, He slowly got to his feet. Then he stood proud and straight and returned my salute with an honor and dignity that humbled me then. He knew the honor of a salute. I'll always remember him. SALUTE Sir!
November 15 at 18:18 EST .

  2 people like this.

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