Monday, June 25, 2007

Home is where the heart is...

In February 2007 I bought a house that is to become the 'De Jong residence'. Slowly, but surely its is becoming more and more like 'home'. First my things got moved in from Cleveland, then Jen's things got moved in from Grand Rapids and even though all the boxes weren't even unpacked more and more 'stuff' was being moved in.

So now we have a lot of stuff in a house. That doesn't make it a home. What makes it a home is the feelings you're having when you're in it and with whom you'll be in it.

Well, you all know what the 'with whom' part of my story is, but the feeling you're having is a little more difficult. One of the things we're both bringing in is a a sense of starting over.
For Jen it is finally giving the word 'family' and 'marriage' a new and meaningfull feeling, for me it is an end to the process of moving from my parents place, through my first 'house' in Belgium' and my apartment in Cleveland to having my own 'home'.

The first 'house' (which I did own, but didn't really make it home) was more of a learning experience, the first time from underneath the protection of the parents. The apartment was rented, so never really was 'home'. And then I met Jen...

I was finally ready to settle down again and buy my own house again. It is amazing how a girl can be the catalyst for some things every man (at least most of us) have inside, but are kind of keeping under wraps.
At our Michigan shower Beth, one of our friends wrote down a quote for us that really hit 'home':" The most precious possession that ever comes to a man in this world is a woman's heart." It is by Joshua Holland and couldn't be more true and I'm so glad Jen came around for me and that I now have a 'home' to start a family in.

To sum it up, just look at the picture. Jen was taking it and bought the flag, I put it up and -while having some reservations putting up a Dutch flag in a rural Mid-western US town - after it was up it made it more like home since I was now putting a bit of my old 'home' into my new 'home' inspired by my STB wife Jen.

So, I guess it is true 'Home is where the heart is...'

Friday, June 15, 2007

Where did we go wrong?

Jason, one of the two MC's at our wedding commented on the Kellogs announcement below. I found his rebutal very powerful and would like to share it with all of you. The annoucement is in Italic, Jason's reponse is in a regular font.

WASHINGTON - Kellogg Co., the world's largest cereal maker, has agreed to raise the nutritional value of cereals and snacks it markets to children.

The Battle Creek, Mich., company avoided a lawsuit threatened by parents and nutrition advocacy groups worried about increasing child obesity. Kellogg intends to formally announce its decision Thursday.

The company said it won't promote foods in TV, radio, print or Web site ads that reach audiences at least half of whom are under age 12 unless a single serving of the product meets these standards:

_No more than 200 calories.

_No trans fat and no more than 2 grams of saturated fat.

_No more than 230 milligrams of sodium, except for Eggo frozen waffles.

_No more than 12 grams of sugar, not counting sugar from fruit, dairy and vegetables.

Kellogg said it would reformulate products to meet these criteria or stop marketing them to children under 12 by the end of 2008.

"By committing to these nutrition standards and marketing reforms, Kellogg has vaulted over the rest of the food industry," said Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "This commitment means that parents will find it a little easier to steer their children toward healthy food choices — especially if other food manufacturers and broadcasters follow Kellogg's lead."

Jacobson's nutrition advocacy group, along with two Massachusetts parents and the Boston-based Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood, had served notice in January 2006 of intent to sue Kellogg and the Nickelodeon cable TV network under a Massachusetts law to stop them from marketing junk food to kids.

Center spokesman Jeff Cronin said Kellogg contacted the plaintiffs shortly thereafter and began negotiating the new standards, so the lawsuit was not filed and will not be filed.

Did you read the bold sections? "A lawsuit by parents about THEIR kids obesity"!!! And "parents will find it A LITTLE EASIER to STEER kids toward healthy food"!!! Good night!

So…my question is this: WHEN DID PARENTS START LETTING KIDS DICTATE WHAT THEY ARE GOING TO EAT? Since when do kids have a choice in what they get for dinner? Or breakfast? Are kids running the parents? Shoot…as kids, if we wanted something specific, we were lucky to get it. We weren't spoiled like today's kids! And if parents are worried about obesity, then they need to get their kids away from the tv, computer, playstation, xbox, gameboy, etc. and outside where kids belong. Kids are made to grow and that means they need exercise. Not just moving there lil fingers to mash buttons all day.

Look. If anyone reading this knows me, I'm one of the biggest fans of eating. But I also like to eat healthy. It's a choice people. You have to watch what you eat and how much you eat. That's common sense. I'm not against food companies making their foods healthier. I'm ALL for that! But to sue companies because your kids are getting fat from eating foods that YOU gave them probably because they saw it on a tv commercial in front of YOUR tv…come on!

Parents, it's time that WE (not the food manufactures) start watching what our kids eat. And what they watch. And what they do with their free time. We cannot place blame on the food companies when it's our responsibility! Geeze man. What are we doing to this country?! Obesity in kids? When we were kids, we were yelled at all the time for being skinny! The "fat" kid was the oddball. Times have changed my foot. WE'RE LAZY!!! It's time we start spending time with our kids instead of sitting them in front of the tube and keeping them occupied and brainwashed. Come on, dvd players in cars? What happened to actually, OH MY GOSH, talking to our kids! Or even just singing songs? So they get a little anxious. This is NOT A-D-D people! THEY ARE KIDS! Little balls of growing energy. Maybe we need to plan the trip to take (wow) breaks so you can get out and play with them along the way, instead of thinking that they can sit still for hours on end. You were a kid once, remember? Or is that the point? Have we forgotten how to enjoy life? What is most important to you? Our kids are growing up around us. Are we too busy to notice? Or take a part in it?

Perhaps instead of blaming companies or even the kids, we need to look at OUR food choices. Kids can only eat what is in the house. Take charge and act like responsible adults and parents. You want to know where obesity from eating the wrong foods comes from…look in the mirror. No one forces you to eat what you don't want to (not in this country anyway). So stop blaming anyone but yourself and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!

(oh…and the answer to that is NOT to sue anyone by the way. I think the judge would throw you out of court if you tried to sue yourself!)
(and if this offends anyone...sorry...but this is downright ridiculous and it just shows where our country is going unless we take action)

Thanks to Jason for sharing this powerful piece!