Lindsay Sandiford, British grandmother, last up before Nusa Kambangan (Execution Island) firing squad says ‘I won’t wear a blindfold. I’ll look them in the eye and be singing Magic Moments when they shoot me’

Originally posted on Universal Journal Review:

Daily Mail — British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford, 58, is facing death by firing squad after Indonesia announced that its next batch of executions will be in secret – and with no advance warning.

Sandiford, sentenced to death for smuggling cocaine into Bali in 2012, is now the last prisoner on death row on the island’s Kerobokan jail after eight other inmates – including her close friend Andrew Chan – were executed on Wednesday.

Here, in her own words, Sandiford tells how she has started to write goodbye letters as she faces up to the gruesome prospect of facing a firing squad…

My execution is imminent and I know I might die at any time now. I could be taken tomorrow from my cell in Bali to Nusa Kambangan – the place they call Execution Island – and given 72 hours’ notice before I am put in front of a firing…

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Free Range Day

May 9th is now Free Range Parenting Day, an unofficial event starting in Silver Spring, Maryland, in which parents are asked to bring their school-age children to a park together and let them walk home without adults.

The group announcing the event, Empower Kids Maryland,  says it wants childhood to return to what it used to be, when unstructured time alone and with other kids was “the norm, not the exception.”

The free-range movement hit the news this past December, when the three elementary-school-age children of Maryland residents Danielle and Alexander Meitiv walked home alone together and were picked up and held in custody by Child Protective Services for five hours.

It remains to be seen how many parents observe versions of Free Range Day in Maryland and elsewhere. I support the idea with some reservation. It is tragic that in the United States, people under age 35 or thereabouts are the first generations in the history of this society to grow up with no independent, organic learning experiences, no sense of solitary curiosity about the world and no sense of spontaneous initiative based on early explorations. However, protecting children should be the most essential function of any society.

On May 9th, I ask all adults who are able to do so to be the adults a free-range society requires. In the old days, every neighborhood, whether business or residential, had people keeping an eye out and an ear open for kids. People paid attention. If a child seemed to be in danger, someone would step in.

Let’s keep an eye out for kids on May 9th.

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St. Joseph the Worker

May 1 is the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, one of two feasts dedicated to the husband of Mary. This feast was instituted by Pope Pius XII in a countermove to the spread of communism in the 1950s. Communists consider May 1 a major holiday, International Workers’ Day.

Pope Francis seems to have a particular devotion to St. Joseph. He places prayer requests near a wooden statue of the saint, and has said, “He’s a carpenter and he gets the job done, even though he sometimes makes you wait.” The Pope added St. Joseph’s name to the eucharistic prayer in every Mass, as of 2013. He chose St. Joseph’s Day (March 19) as his inauguration day, and wears the image of a flower associated with the saint. Pope Francis spoke on this day two years ago about the dignity of labor, clarifying what that means in a Catholic view:

“Work is part of God’s loving plan, we are called to cultivate and care for all the goods of creation and in this way participate in the work of creation! Work is fundamental to the dignity of a person…it gives you the ability to maintain yourself, your family, to contribute to the growth of your nation. […] I would like to encourage those in public office to make every effort to give new impetus to employment, this means caring for the dignity of the person, but above all I’d like to say do not lose hope; St. Joseph also experienced moments of difficulty, but he never lost faith and was able to overcome them, in the certainty that God never abandons us.And then I would like to speak especially to you young people: be committed to your daily duties, your study, your work, to relationships of friendship, to helping towards others; your future also depends on how you live these precious years of your life. Do not be afraid of commitment, of sacrifice and do not look with fear towards the future; keep your hope alive: there is always a light on the horizon”. [quote found at Vatican Radio]

Here is a prayer to St. Joseph for employment.

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10 Ways to REALLY Help Someone Who Has a New Baby – by Shelly Lopez Gray (Registered nurse)


We always want to help when a friend is learning the ropes of caring for a newborn, but how often do we know what to do? It’s always good to know what someone would really appreciate.

Originally posted on Kindness Blog:

mother with newborn tired wallpaperI would have given a kidney if someone would have done any of these things for me after the birth of mysecond child. To the people who brought my family food while I was so busy with my baby, you will never know the full extent of my gratitude!

1. Take their other kids somewhere.

Anywhere — just get them out of their house. It’s so much harder when you have to tend to a new baby and to your other kids. So take out her other children as often as you can!

2. Bring food.

And I mean food that comes in a disposable pan or food that you can dump in a crock pot. Do not bring anything that she’ll have to wash and worry about getting back to you. If you just don’t cook, bring paper plates and silverware… so if she’s forced to…

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Nepal: How to Help

Here are some links to organizations helping the victims of the Nepal earthquake:

Catholic Relief Services is raising money to provide shelter kits, sanitation and hygiene supplies and water.

Doctors Without Borders is supplying medical aid.

Crowdrise is a good place to find lots of ways to help.

Charity Navigator can help you find the most effective way to make a difference for the people of Nepal. They rate charities according to efficiency and reputation, and you can search for a group that is providing whatever kind of help you most want to be part of.

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Earth Day Links

As the sun sets on Earth Day 2015, at least in my time zone, I’m grabbing a few spare minutes to link up some good reading.

Here’s John Murdock on the narrow path of respecting human life and the planet that nurtures it.

Murdock again, on the history of Earth Day, its Christian roots, tangled though they may be. I remember 13 to 16 years ago, as a new believer and active environmentalist, how it drew me in to read about the tinge of environmentalism in Christianity and the tinge of Christianity in environmentalism, and how it saddened my heart to see how, again and again, people have felt forced to choose sides between the Creator and the creation. It has never seemed right to me that the two should ever be at odds.

But I can’t express the issue as well as the Pope just did.

Caring for the poor can be done sustainably, if the workers have the skills and tools to do so. By way of example, here’s a video on appropriate technology training for Christian aid workers:

The conflict between environmentalism and Christian principles comes about mainly when the subject is population. Anne Morse, writing for Christian News Wire, discusses the fallacy of depopulationism in this article at Crossmap.

Another source of conflict can come up when radical environmentalists confuse care with worship, and say that in order to care for the planet one must worship nature. But that argument is absurd on its face. Worship and care are two different things. We care for our family members, pets, homes and belongings, yet we do not worship them. Instead, we are in possession of the material world as stewards, with a duty to treat it well as a precious gift. The creation is a gift from the Creator. If you’re looking for a long read with endnotes, one that raises lots of good questions about the meaning of stewardship and how it relates to controversies in science and economics, here‘s an article at Acton.

Or, if you’re just looking for easy ways to do your part this year, this piece at the Christian Post might fill the bill.

In any case, I hope you had a happy Earth Day.



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Begging and Dumpster Diving — What to Do?

A man walks up to you and asks for money for food. The problem is, he has a pile of food next to him, so much that at least some will definitely go bad before he can eat it all. He has a pack of tobacco in his hand. Does he want the money for tobacco, or alcohol? Very likely. Do you give him the money?
I’ve been a beggar. There were times I truly needed the money.
Is it better to enable someone’s drinking and smoking, or better to let someone go without something he needs (even if it’s not food, but something he doesn’t want to explain, maybe new underwear or something), when Jesus told us to help the needy?
The easy answer is to give the money to a reputable charity, and most of the time I think that’s the right answer.
But what about situations for which no local charity exists? In that case, it may be time to examine your schedule and energy level and see if you can help start one.
How about Dumpster divers? They risk catching, and spreading, serious diseases by climbing into trash and eating things they find there. For decades, businesses have thrown detergents and other chemicals into the trash to deter this hazardous practice. But it doesn’t always work, and it seems cruel. I’ve done some diving, when I needed to, and it was sickening what people throw away in the midst of people who could use some of the excess — everything from couches to pizza to software disks to shampoo, just thrown into oblivion and not even offered to anyone.
Here is a sign I appreciate. It affirms the human dignity of all parties and establishes a connection between the people in the restaurant and the person in the Dumpster. The individual’s need for a meal is not in conflict with public health concerns after all.


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