The trials and tribulations of a new knitter...

Can Spirituality Be Non-Denominational?

This is a prominent question in today's life with all the different things going on in the world at the moment. So many people would love to know if the troubles that we as one people face, such as the threats of Libya, North Korea and Al Quaeda, might be easier and perhaps non-existent if the human sense of spirituality was totally non-denominational. That is to say that all faith was not centered around a religion but an individual core belief.

But is it possible for human nature to drop ties with religious denominations and follow their own faith? And how similar would people's core beliefs be in comparison with each other?

In theory, yes. Spirituality can be non-denominational. After all, these denominations and religions are man-made, and are created through spirituality. They cannot trap spirituality in a inescapable bond, or they themselves would be bound in return. Spirituality is the very essence of religion, faith, belief. And people experience this in different ways.

However, the question must be asked whether humanity as a whole is able to forget about the man-made denominations and work individually each to his own belief. Why did man create denominations to begin with? Denominational laws divide the masses between good and bad behavior according to a perceived identical faith, and to begin with this seems simple enough. But what about when you reach further within and find anomalies within a denomination?

For example, the Catholic Church is against gay marriage, saying the act of sodomy is against the will of God. Therefore any gay Roman Catholics must remain chaste their entire lives if they are to follow their denomination of choice. One might argue that those people would simply leave the Catholic Church and follow a different denomination of Christianity which is more accepting of their sexual orientation. This leads me on to another point which I have to hold for a second.

What about those who have no choice to be in a religion, those who are born within some fundamental denomination who cannot leave it? They may not agree with the rules upheld by other members of their denomination but there is nothing they can do to change it. Therefore these anomalies in a denomination show that the identical faith spoken of cannot be real. Everyone's ideal of spirituality is different and shows that under the right circumstances spirituality can and possibly needs to be non-denominational.

And I can now return to my point. Why should the gay Catholic go to follow a different Christian denomination if they feel that overall they are more in tune with the traditional teachings of the catholic church? Why must they follow any denomination at all if they understand which moral rules and teachings they believe in? It should be simple for people to march alone following their own unique concept of spirituality, but for some reason most people just cannot.

Let's take a closer look at human behavior then. School is the perfect example. When a student arrives at a school they are categorized into a group according to their interests, fashion sense, looks, and intelligence. Therefore a pretty, sporty, sociable girl will quickly be shoved into the popular group. Her main topics of conversation with her friends will likely be fashion, films and boys. But what if she secretly loves watching Battlestar Galactica? If her friends knew, she would be tossed from the group because after all a sci-fi loving nerd doesn't belong with the popular kids. So what does the girl do? What would most insecure teenagers do? Keep it a secret. She would rather be in a group of people who share other similar interests with her rather than brave it and take on High School on her own, free to follow all of her interests without judgement.

Do you see the pattern here?

Spirituality can be and sometimes is non-denominational for people. But the majority of people just aren't brave enough to follow their own instincts with their faith. They're just too insecure that without denominational guidelines they'll stray from their spiritual path and get lost in a tangle of incorrect beliefs. However, in my opinion you just have to risk it. I understand completely that people feel more comfortable part of a community where they share most beliefs or interests with the rest of the denomination, but I have also grown up believing that everyone is unique. Therefore they should not categorize themselves within a group where their whole personality cannot be expressed.

Please check out this link for more articles. From time to time when I am really moved by something, I will post up on this site. Thank you J M Hart

The Pros and Cons of the Affordable Healthcare Act

The objections to the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA) are really not about its goals, that everyone should have healthcare, but how the government achieves those goals. The center of the controversy is about the total cost of reform. The present regime told us before it was instituted that it was going to be more comprehensive and you would pay less. Without even reading the bill they sold us that as fact.


The truth is it will cost more, way more because the AHA includes pre-existing conditions and expanded inclusions of healthcare that was not covered before. For example, Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) has three times more devices in the USA per capita as in other developed nations. The widespread use of these advanced medical devices would be expensive if millions more had access to them, thus driving up prices. The main objective of AHA is to insure everyone in America; inevitably costs will be driven up. The spending of $899 billion on healthcare while cutting Medicare pretty much guarantees its success.

Twenty one new taxes will be created from the AHA that will mean more money for the government to run the system but less money in your pocket.


The good news is everyone in the USA will be able to receive healthcare, even with pre-existing conditions, providing the same access to our healthcare system that the presently insured now have.

One hundred fifty three new federal agencies will be created manned by thousands of government employees that will control over 25% of the economy. This large expansion of the federal government will be good for people that get hired (average pay now for employees is $72,000) and will certainly contribute to the paying of new taxes.

Controlling Costs of the AHA

The regime in D.C. so far has not been able to control medical costs which is a secondary goal of AHA and is much likely to not be achieved in the long term because it has not to this date been able to reach this objective.
America is now spending 17% of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on healthcare alone; a level that is almost double that of the OECD average and more than twice what it was in 1980 when it stood at 9%. In 1980 the feds accounted for 25% of the nation's healthcare spending, while today it has sharply risen to 45% and will continue to grow as the Baby Boomers continue to retire and move into the system.

Big Pharma

I must point out countries like Canada & Britain with national healthcare benefit from the medical innovations and new drugs that emanate from America's capitalistic system. Medical companies and Big Pharma make their money off the American consumer only to sell their newly conceived products overseas at much cheaper prices to state run systems.

AHA Monster

The AHA is putting extreme pressure on the federal budget; Medicaid & Medicare at this date account for 21% of the feds total outlays. What is in the hopper now is to cut back Social Security disability payments and entitlements (like food stamps), cut in half unemployment insurance paid out, and rid the federal system of overlapping programs. Clearly this is a good thing; the system should become more cost effective and will need to if they plan to implement this monster to get it up and flying.

Higher Cost Comes With More Benefits

By imposing expensive arrays of new mandates and regulations on the insurance industry like new rules for insurance companies rejecting people (or charging them more) because of pre-existing conditions that the industry calls a "guaranteed issue", this will also drive the cost up.

No Caps

Not allowing caps on benefits per year on treatment costs will also drive cost up. The insurance company will then be on the hook for a catastrophic health condition needing to cover the beneficiary's expenses no matter what the cost.

Other Problems

The paperwork involved for doctors will be almost a full time job leaving many with too much bureaucratic red tape and very little time for patients. This is already causing many doctors and healthcare professionals to move on to a different career with less stress and an adjusted attitude.

Insurance Companies Support AHA

1. The new law gives insurers as many as 30 million new prospects for customers, assuming all states participate in Medicaid expansion. This large market (as large as the population of Canada) will be compelled to buy the industries product. Ones that cannot afford it will be given help from the feds to purchase what they need making them the ideal customer.
2. Insurance companies still remain free to pass on the increased cost to the consumer in the form of higher premiums, co-pays and deductibles. If they increase too much, however, they could be prevented from selling insurance through the exchanges that may become a major problem in the making.


Congress stands to benefit from the AHA being fully implemented because they are already aware of what companies stand to gain with this law they created. With their insider knowledge Congress stand to make millions by becoming shareholders in companies that will profit big time from this law. My question to you is, you didn't think it was about you did ya?

If this helps you gain a better perspective on what is in store for us then go to to find out more about the written word. Gary Kent Boyd

Why You Should Still Buy Physical Books

Physical books are gradually being phased out in favor of ebooks, which are downloaded onto and read from thin electronic tablets. While it is great that people are reading at all, it is a shame that paper books are no longer fashionable. Many people in the field of literature are working to bring physical books to the forefront once again.

Tablets have become popular because they appear to be convenient. People love the idea of having a whole library that is accessible with the touch of a finger. However, building this sort of library requires a significant upfront cost. Tablets are not cheap. Electronic books are slightly less expensive than physical ones, but one would have to buy hundreds of ebooks before the money saved would fully absorb the initial cost of the tablet. Savvy readers who buy physical books online often find books that are cheaper than ebooks. One cannot make the switch to ebooks with the goal of saving money.

Another problem with tablets is that they break. Like smart phones, ebook tablets are notorious for having screens that shatter easily. It is very common to see someone reading an ebook around cracks in the tablet's screen. Some models have glossy screens that create huge glares, disrupting the reading process, though some companies have begun to use a matte finish on their screens. Whatever minor inconveniences physical books were perceived to pose have now been replaced with a whole new set of annoyances.

Academics dislike ebooks for several reasons. First of all, one cannot highlight phrases or write in an ebook. It is impossible to quickly flip to an appendix or skip to footnotes. Tablets eliminate the fluidity of the reading process as it has been taught up to this point. Turning pages and feeling paper is part of the experience of reading a book. Everyone knows what it is like to make creases in a book's spine for the first time. A small sense of pride comes from having made it through a book and left one's mark on it.

Books become heirlooms that are passed down through generations. As new editions are published and different cover art is printed, an old book increases in value. It also becomes an object of curiosity. Old books have a certain mystique about them. It is fascinating to look through a book that someone else has owned and look for notations or drawings. These little messages from a book's past owner contribute to a book's character. An ebook cannot be shared with others in the same way.

It is unclear how ebooks will factor into early childhood education. Children who use tablets are receiving a kind of education that their parents did not, but they are missing out on the tactile experience of turning a book's pages. Books for children are manufactured to contain different textures and pop-up features that cannot be mimicked in an ebook. Time will tell whether children suffer for not having this particular experience.

The main argument against ebooks is similar to the larger argument against people's growing dependence on technology. A book is not something that can only be enjoyed through an expensive electronic device. Some things should be left in their purest forms, and a book is one of those things.

Penny Lee is an avid reader and lover of books in its physical form. She enjoys reviewing best selling titles for readers and buy most of her books from this Singapore-based online bookstore. She previously wrote an interesting article on the effect of reading to newborns. Penny P. Lee

The Benefits Of Using A Smartphone

Many people have made the switch from standard phones, also known as dumb phones to smartphones. Even though the latter are often more expensive, they offer numerous benefits because they bring together the functionality of a cellular phone and a computer in a hand-held unit. Apart from giving you the ability to make calls and send SMS, you can also connect to the Internet on the go with your smartphone, letting you research, go shopping, browse news, read and answer emails, and check social networking accounts anytime and anywhere you want.

In addition to that, smartphones are essentially a versatile personal digital assistant because they come with an address book, calendar, task scheduler, voice recorder, calculator and several other useful features. On top of that, office-related tasks may be accomplished on smartphones thanks to the myriad of productivity apps you can install on them. Unlike laptops, smartphones allow you to carry out tasks on the go, even without a table. They will also take up less space in your baggage so you won't mind taking them throughout your out of town trips. They also come with at least one camera, music and video players, and a GPS feature.

Smartphones have been in existence since the 90s but have become mainstream only after Apple launched the very first iPhone in 2007. There are numerous operating systems used in smart phones, but the most popular are the iOS, which is used only on Apple gadgets, and Android, which is an open-source operating system from Google that is used on numerous handsets. Android is the dominant mobile operating system generally speaking and this is most likely because Android-powered phones are cheaper and there are a number of brands that use the said platform.

In the past, the iOS had the largest number of available apps, but now the numbers seem to be changing. By June this year, there are roughly 900,000 apps on the iTunes store, and about 980,000 on the Google Play Store. Who has higher quality apps is definitely a subjective argument, but Apple tends to secure more big-app names ahead of other platforms. One oft-mentioned criticism against iOS is that it isn't as flexible with regard to the programs permitted on their platform. In particular, iOS has a policy where third-party web browsing applications, such as Opera, Firefox, and Chrome, need to use Apple's web engine, which many consider as poor.

Customizability is also among the selling points of Android devices. An iPhone can only be customized once it is jail-broken. One frequently disregarded, but very useful feature in Android is its system-wide sharing feature which lets you pass data, such as text, photos, and links, between several programs.

Facebooking, Which Dancer Are You?

Returning to social media and Facebook theme, we highlight further insight into Facebook. There is a new dance that we could compare to the Waltz, the Samba and such classic human movement concertos we define as dance.

Facebook has choreographed a few new dances, although we have personally witnessed movements similar to the Pas de deux and the Bop. One conjures up images of a Nureyev and Fonteyn classic.

Facebook dance movements can be classified as such:

  1. A member is on chat merrily chatting away until one logs-in, then whoosh, they miraculously dissipate and have the audacity to take an encore by peeping ten minutes later and immediately dissipating again, instead of soaking up the rapturous applause. This new dance lacks elegance and style and is akin to the Bop.
  2. Member is posting away and commenting and "liking" until you log-in, then their fingers are frozen,and once again whoosh they dissipate, now Facebook has a generic time stamp, and the like they just clicked on says - "30 seconds ago" This is called the Ghost Dance.
  3. Thirdly, they later send you lame messages, "oh gosh I just missed you, wanted so badly to chat" This dance is called the "Bollockero"
  4. This is a personal favorite Facebook dance, it is called the marathon dancer, they are always on chat at three in the morning and again at Midday, low and behold, their icon appears on the left with a green illumination marker as testimony to their chat status. Not even Nureyev had this kind of stamina. One can check for signs of sweat on their brow, there is never a trace of it.
  5. Finally, there is the "cause" dancer, who collects silver plated gold hearts, purple hazed gemstones, diamond toothy smiles, and then the sweetest one of all "the happiest Facebook character on Facebook." This dance is so elegant that the intrinsic movements are barely discernible and the participant sweeps their page with such grace and demeanor that choreography is indefinable. More commonly known as, "Pass de Award Dance."
The Facebook dance academy is a burgeoning institution, the familiar jive we revered in the fifties and sixties has become the 'Duck and Dive' of the millennia.
Which dancer are you?
In conclusion, one aspect of Facebook that should be an improvement is the good old Profile Photos; Photo- Shop has never had such great usage as it presently enjoys. Profile pictures exude a youthful and spiritual character of all Facebook members.Please use Photo-Shop but be cognizant of your own limitations, colleagues and clients alike will look out for any anomaly.

You do not want to look like a prize turkey the day before Thanksgiving, lest you want to stir up the ire of the American Humane Association, rather be the splodge of cranberry on the lily white damask linen, this has an artistic or Jackson Pollock undertone to your character.

Perhaps if Facebook introduced a swimsuit version to their profile picture, honesty and sanity would prevail. Imagine a swimsuit photo of Mark Zuckerberg in his bathing trunks on a frosty wind swept Chicago day. I would wager a dime to a dollar that Marks own team members would not recognize this edition of his profile photo. Preferably, I would prefer a photo of my neighbors' wife in her swimsuit best!

Having spent almost my entire life on my feet, my height and posture has given me a perspective very few normally enjoy.
This perspective I call "head spotting" and this ultimately leads to characterisation of people you interact with on a super fast platform.
I thank everyone from the past and anyone from the future, they have contributed toward my character, perspective and social interaction in a meaningful way.

Vernon RC Boxall


Addicted to Upheaval

How much can our (literally) poor economy take? In the middle of high-stakes negotiations to raise the debt ceiling, new unemployment numbers were released that show significantly lower job growth than expected and needed. Foreign economic turmoil continues to wreak havoc on our fragile recovery. On top of this, both political parties have shown an increasing desire to play politics with our economy and risk defaulting on our debt obligations. This is not a moment of crisis: we are already there.

It all stems from a few bad habits. Unfortunately, there is no Debtors Anonymous for entire countries or governments. We continuously spend beyond our means when we know we can't take in what we need. Our chronic spending is bankrupting our children before they even have a chance. Just recently, President Obama announced that social security checks might stop coming if we cannot reach an agreement on the debt ceiling. Sure sounds like a solvent program and economy when we will default on our promises to our own citizens.

We also have a nasty partisan habit. Both parties are guilty of kicking the pork barrel down the road, waiting until the last minute to fix disastrous problems. In the name of electoral politics, we've let programs like social security and Medicare become so unaffordable that they will either dry up or consume any last hope of economic growth. On our debt problem, leaders of both parties are considering tactics that will lead to political gain, evidenced in the statements they make blaming others for their problems. In the short term, we will no doubt have to sacrifice politics for the common good. In the long run, it will make sense for both parties to do what is right for the future. Instead, this is what we get in return for our tax dollars.

Our worst bad habit however is our failure to make significant structural changes necessary for our long-term future. This goes beyond even reforming entitlement programs. What we need is a reform for the way we spend money, for example. It doesn't mean simply raising the retirement age, because this is only a short term fix. We have an aging population that poses a great problem: who will care for our growing number of seniors? Some jobs are simply gone and not returning. On the issue of foreign policy, we are still adapting to modern warfare and terrorism but do not address our standing around the world that causes the deep-seated hatred. On immigration, we simply have no clue what we are doing. These problems cannot be fixed by even the best reform acts our Congress can come up with. We need to recognize the relation between our actions and their consequences. We need to think and act consciously and comprehensively. This is the real solution to our crisis.

In the meantime, what do we do? These changes cannot be made overnight, obviously. The first thing we have to do is vote to raise the debt sky. Though our spending is through the roof, we cannot default on our obligations and send our economy into further downward spiral. No more short term fixes; we deserve a budget that sets us on a sustainable path for the future. Next, we have to start holding our politicians accountable for what they do. Whether you like the tea party or not, this is something they do well. On both sides of the aisle, we need effective politicians who are results-oriented and willing to put our country above their own interests. No more "politics as usual." Finally, we all need to own our responsibilities as American citizens and initiate these changes beginning at home. One thing that has not changed is that we can all make a difference. It is our right, and it is our duty.

Andre P. Audette is author of the blog No Politics As Usual - Challenging partisanship, calling out corruption, and confronting "politics as usual." Read it online at

Terra Brockman reveals the farmer's moons: the tasks and fruits and nature of each month. This is a great book for those who want to start eating seasonally, but don't know what's in season. Yet there is also plenty of inspiration for a lifelong home gardener like myself. This book is a revelation to the hard work it takes to bring fresh vegetables to the table, and I am very grateful to farmers like Henry who do so in a sustainable way (i.e. raising animals AND growing crops to be in a manure/fertilizer balance). It is also sobering to realize that if it takes this much work to provide the quality and variety that the small farm provides, then our food system is in big trouble! Not many souls would be willing to work this hard for such a meager reward. They must have a love of the work and a desire to do the right thing, so I hope that this book will spur people to support their local organic farmers.
But this book would be a bore if that were all it was about. No, it is peppered with simple recipes, and Terra manages to surprise and delight with warm stories of family and garden lore, even stepping aside to allow Henry's daughter to describe a day of weeding with her brothers. I've been gardening for decades, yet I never knew what Terra told me about spring ramps, or that there was no red rose before 1950, or how to grow shiitake mushrooms on a freshly cut oak log. The variety of vegetables that Henry grows (hundreds of varieties) made me green with envy, as it is difficult to find an heirloom tomato or a unique varietal at the farmer's markets I attend here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I can't stress it enough - support your local organic farmers! You will be rewarded, and someone from the future will thank you.
Diana Abreu