“I Found Out My Mother Was a Killer”: The Rebecca Babcock Story

While my mother was not a killer (at least to my knowledge). I found myself relating to Rebecca’s story in many ways.  Probably because of her mother’s narcissism.

By Lisa Grace Lednicer and Eric Mason

It could have been any ordinary teen date night: Rebecca Babcock, then 16, settled down with her boyfriend on his red futon to watch a video. She had no idea what she was about to see until the credits began to roll. Two minutes into the opening scene, the TV screen filled with Farrah Fawcett yelling, “Someone just shot my kids! There’s blood. Blood everywhere!” Becky wanted to look away but couldn’t. And as the moments ticked by, she realized: It was the horrifying story of her birth mother, Elizabeth Diane Downs. Becky knew she was adopted; she even knew that her birth mother was in prison. But she’d never wanted to know the details of her mother’s crime, and no one had volunteered them. That night, she says, “as I watched, the horror of what my mother did became real.”

The events of the spring night in 1983 when Downs committed her crimes are almost too gruesome to imagine. Downs was driving on a rural road outside Springfield, Oregon, when her three children—Danny, three, Cheryl, seven, and Christie, eight—were shot. Cheryl died from her wounds, Danny was paralyzed and Christie suffered a disabling stroke. Downs claimed that a lone gunman with shaggy hair had tried to kill her children while attempting to steal her car. Prosecutors found evidence that proved otherwise, and charged Downs with the crime. Her motive, they believed: The man she had been dating didn’t want kids.

The case made headlines across the nation, in part because, during the nine-month investigation, Downs got pregnant again by a different man. Chained and visibly showing, Downs was a head-turning beauty who would smile for the cameras and wiggle her hips on the way to the courtroom. Reporters who covered the 1984 trial were struck by how much she enjoyed the attention. Then, in stunning testimony, Christie identified her mother as the shooter; a jury convicted Downs on all counts, and she was sentenced to life in prison plus 50 years.

Ten days later Downs gave birth to a girl she named Amy Elizabeth, setting off another press frenzy. Reporters staked out the hospital, but authorities sneaked the newborn girl out unseen. Amy Elizabeth essentially disappeared.

That girl, renamed Rebecca Babcock by her adoptive parents, has remained anonymous until now. For the first time, she has decided to come forward and tell her story about what it was like to grow up as the daughter of a notorious killer. It hasn’t been easy—for years Becky feared she might be impulsive and calculating, like her birth mother. She doubted that anyone could truly accept or love her, given her genetic legacy. Becky felt so alone and confused that she rebelled against the loving parents who took her in unconditionally, but now she wants the world to know how she’s fighting to rebuild her life and her family.

Hidden in Plain Sight

As she watched the movie with her boyfriend, Becky wept at the scene in which Farrah Fawcett cradled her newborn. “Every emotion a person can feel swept over me in a haze,” says Becky. “It was like a dream. I couldn’t be from the belly of such a monster. But I was.”

What the salacious movie didn’t show: Just hours after Becky was born, officials drove her 25 miles from the hospital to a small hotel where her adoptive parents were waiting. Chris Babcock, a chemist, and his wife, Jackie, a stay-at-home mom, already had one adopted daughter, Jennie. They had been trying for two long years to adopt another child. When authorities contacted them about Becky, they were thrilled to add her to their family, regardless of her birth mother’s story. Friends and fellow church members knew Becky was adopted, but Chris and Jackie didn’t reveal her heritage. They simply set out to do their job as parents: give Becky the happiest childhood possible.

The Babcocks’ home sat on 80 acres in the high desert, where the smell of juniper filled the air after a rain and Becky’s bedroom faced the Cascade mountain range. Becky’s mother was a beloved community volunteer, and although her father traveled as far as Asia for business, he’d been there to sit up with the girls when they were sick, and told them adventurous bedtime stories complete with silly voices.

Diane and her crimes were largely forgotten until the Babcocks learned she had escaped from prison just three years into her sentence, Becky says. Fearing that the fugitive might try to kidnap young Becky, authorities recommended that her parents tell the nursery school and babysitter about Diane—and what she was capable of. Within two weeks Diane was found shacked up with a new man and was locked away once more. But Becky’s secret couldn’t be reclaimed.

As an eight-year-old, Becky was already pestering her mom about her biological mother. Jackie revealed little, saying only that “she had blond hair and green eyes.” Once, Becky recalls, Jackie said her biological mother “did something really bad” and that they’d talk about it when she was older. “I thought maybe she stole a car,” says Becky. “I never imagined she’d be a murderer.” Insatiably curious, Becky began to work on her babysitter, who eventually slipped and revealed both Diane’s name and the fact that a book had been written about her case. Becky went to Barnes & Noble and flipped through the pages, but then, scared, put it back on the shelf. “I was still playing with Barbies. I wasn’t ready for that,” she says. Even today, she’s never read the book or searched online about Downs. “I am afraid that if I know more about what really happened, it may have some control over my life—that I might forgive her for killing her daughter, or that I may hate her more. It’s like Pandora’s box: I do not want to open it for fear of what’s inside.”

If Diane’s story still frightens her at 26, imagine how Becky must have felt hearing the first details as a young teen. She longed for a confidant, but felt she couldn’t turn to her parents. “My parents wanted to protect me from her,” says Becky. “I knew that if I wanted to know more [about her], they would be disappointed, because they wanted more for me. I felt it would break my mom’s heart.” She’d always been close with Jennie, but lately her sister had had no time for her because she’d started sneaking out, drinking and using drugs. “When Jennie wasn’t around anymore, I had no one who understood my confusion and anger,” says Becky. “I felt alone and didn’t know where to go.” Soon she was following Jennie to parties, where she began experimenting with pot and meth and dating older men.

Then she saw her birth mother’s story played by one of Charlie’s Angels, and her teen rebellion careened out of control. She lurched from boyfriend to boyfriend, hoping one could prove to her that she was lovable. “In some ways my genetics are what I feel kept me from really caring about right from wrong,” says Becky. “I had plenty of ‘normal’ friends who did normal things. I chose to be destructive. Deep inside me was the blood of Diane. My addictions mimicked Diane’s in the way of men—like Diane, I lived for the attention.”

Facing Diane

Finding out the full truth about your birth mother from a TV blockbuster could devastate anyone, says David Brodzinsky, Ph.D., research and project director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York City, who has counseled hundreds of adopted children. It’s hard enough for those who learn disturbing details about their birth parents’ past—such as abuse, neglect or incarceration—in a gradual, considered way. “It’s not just worrying, I’ll [commit crimes like these],” he says. “It’s thinking, This is who I came from, and I can’t ever escape it. And that is a reality. They will never have a different birth mother. What’s important to stress is that we are more than who we come from. Values are not translated genetically.” Becky couldn’t connect with that truth as a teen. In turmoil, she lashed out at her adoptive parents, especially her mother. “I couldn’t accept that my parents loved me enough to raise me as their own, not caring what a monster I came from,” says Becky.

When she was 17, Becky hooked up with an old boyfriend and got pregnant. They’d already broken up again by the time her son, Christian, was born in 2002. Despite becoming a mother, Becky filled the next three years with more partying, more men, more job changes, as she searched for a way to forget her past and feel loved. “A part of me wishes I had never known [that Diane is my mother],” says Becky. “But the other part of me knows that if I never knew, I would not understand why I did the things I did.” She took some comfort in the idea that she could never be capable of Diane’s violence: “She committed the ultimate crime—she killed her child,” says Becky. “I tried to understand one day how she could have done that; it made me physically sick.”

When Christian was three, Becky got pregnant again. Laid off from her job and struggling to support herself and her son, she decided to put the new baby up for adoption. “I remember holding him in my arms seconds after he was born and realizing I had to hand him to a family I had only met twice,” says Becky. “I thought that since I was adopted it wouldn’t be so hard for me to put my son up for adoption, but afterward I was completely lost. It made me think about Diane. I knew the hurt I felt, and I wondered if she felt it too.” Years earlier one of Becky’s boyfriends, bizarrely fixated on the case, had gotten Diane’s prison address. Becky had refused to contact Diane then, but now found the address and wrote to her birth mother.

“You’re probably not going to believe me,” her first letter began, “but I think I’m your biological daughter.” When Diane’s reply arrived, Becky says, “I felt like my heart would pop out of my chest.” Her tone was giddy and loving; she asked what color Becky’s eyes were and if she had any siblings. Diane wrote again the next day, but this letter was filled with paranoid fantasies. On 12 pages torn from a legal pad, Diane scrawled stories about a secret man—“someone very powerful has been watching over you all your life for me”—and how she was in jail so she’d be safe from the real killer. She signed it, “Forever, Your Mom.” Becky was flabbergasted. When the letters got crazier and crazier over the next three weeks, Becky asked Diane not to contact her again. Diane’s response was disturbing: “You are a piece of work, Rebecca…,” she wrote, before ranting that Christian could grow up to be a killer. “If you love your little boy, you’ll take him far away from there.” Becky now regretted reaching out to such a deranged woman. “A part of me had wanted to know that she thought of me,” Becky says. “But when she told me she did, it wasn’t what I wanted. I didn’t want a murderer to love me.”

The following year Becky finally hit her “enough” moment. According to a sexual harassment claim she later filed, she was out for drinks with coworkers from a car lot when her boss forced her to have sex to save her job. “I realized that even though I was staying clean, bad things were still happening,” she says. “As long as I worked these dead-end jobs, they’d always happen. I had to show my son that his mom was a strong person.” She got enough money from a settlement to pay off debts so she could finally pursue her dream of becoming a doctor. “I never thought I was good enough or strong enough to get my life together,” she says. “I was terrified, but I went back to school. The first semester was awkward and scary, but when I didn’t want to go to school one day, I remembered how I felt when I handed my baby to strangers, and I remembered the life I had lived and how I would be devastated if my son followed in my footsteps. And I’ve kept going.”

Each small accomplishment motivated Becky to reach for the next goal. Medical school will be a hard road, but Becky is determined to stay on the path: She just made the dean’s list, and she spends her nights plowing through anatomy textbooks. She still thinks of the effect Diane’s legacy could have. “I fight with myself every day to not be the person that I feel inside of me,” says Becky. “I look at the way my parents live and that is what I strive for—to be honest, true, good people—instead of becoming my biological mother.” Sometimes the stress of balancing college and parenthood triggers grim thoughts about her birth mother. “I think about Diane most when I feel crazy. When everything’s crashing down upon me and I feel smothered, I think, Do I feel this way because she’s related to me?” But then she thinks of Christian: “I look at my son and I know I have to try harder.”

Christian, who also has Diane’s green eyes and slender fingers, is shy, polite and remarkably well-adjusted. And friends say Becky is now an attentive mother. “It’s almost like a little lightbulb clicked on and she thought, I better start taking care of my kid,” says Marie Armon, Christian’s great-aunt. Indeed, Becky’s bond with Christian is clear. He sneaks up to her often to nuzzle her ear. She responds in kind, like their own secret Eskimo kiss, before he giggles away. “If I do not keep God and my son as my focus, then I may let my dreams fall to the side,” she says. “So I keep looking forward and I hang on to the fact that I am better than Diane. And every day I try to make a better life for my son.”

Becky has no interest in communicating with Diane again, though she did reach out to her half-siblings. Diane’s two surviving children, just three and eight at the time of the shooting, were adopted by the lead prosecutor in the case, but Becky has yet to meet them. “I’m sure life has been tough on them,” she says, “and I guess I don’t want to intrude.” She briefly corresponded with Diane’s father, but didn’t pursue a relationship in part because he still maintains a conspiracy-theory-filled website dedicated to Diane’s innocence.

Becky’s at peace with not knowing the identity of her biological father. “I would not trade my parents for anything,” she says. “A parent is the person who is there when a child has nightmares or a scraped knee, who holds them through the pain of a broken heart.” She’s closer than ever to Jackie and Chris, often calling her mother her “best friend” and her father “my hero,” and she thinks Jennie has her life on track too. And although the Babcocks declined to be interviewed for this story, Chris said in a statement, “We believe this to be Becky’s story, not ours. Our role was adoption and being loving parents,” and they supported Becky’s decision to come forward.

It was a choice she made carefully, motivated by a desire to reassure others struggling with a dark family history. “Until I saw my adopted birth certificate last year, there was still a tiny bit of hope that I was wrong and she wasn’t my birth mother,” says Becky. “But I’m confident that nurture has overcome nature, and even though her blood is in my veins, I am not capable of doing such evil things. I hope this story will help people who have the same stigma. Whether they came from a monster or were even raised by a monster—a murderer, molester, someone who beat them, a thief—that does not define who they are as an individual. Their parent’s mistake does not have to become their story. Each person holds her own pen and paper and can write her own story. People should never let anyone tell them different.”

Lisa Grace Lednicer is a reporter at The Oregonian in Portland. Eric Mason, now a private investigator, was in the courtroom throughout Downs’ trial in 1984.

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Awesome Aquariums & Unusual Household Items

This company has some really cool stuff for your home. Below are 4 of my favorites that they offer, but check out their site http://www.opulentitems.com/.

OpulentItems.com

This company has some of the coolest aquariums I have ever seen. Though some are a bit pricey!

Closet doors that are actually bookcases
that can make any room
in your house a “secret room”

Vertical gardens for the gardener or
cook that likes fresh plants & flowers
but lacks the space for a traditional garden.

Have you DNA made into frameable art

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At Arlington, each soldier has a special lady

At Arlington, each soldier has a special lady

This story really touched my heart. What a wonderful service these ladies are doing to ensure no one is forgotten at the time of their death.

By HELEN O’NEILL
The Associated Press
updated 6:45 p.m. CT, Sat., May 29, 2010
ARLINGTON, Va. – Joyce Johnson remembers the drums beating slowly as she walked with her girls from the Old Post Chapel, behind the horse-drawn caisson carrying the flag-draped casket of her husband.

She remembers struggling to maintain her composure as she stared at his freshly dug grave, trying not to dwell on the terrible sight in the distance — the gaping hole in the Pentagon where he had so proudly worked.

The three-volley salute. Taps. The chaplain handing her a perfectly folded flag. The blur of tributes.

And then a lady stepped forward, a stranger, dressed not in uniform but in a simple dark suit. She whispered a few words and pressed two cards into Johnson’s hands.

“If there is anything you need …”

Then she melted back into the crowd.

Later Johnson would think of her as a touchingly, human presence in a sea of starched uniforms and salutes. She would learn that the stranger was an “Arlington lady” — one of a small band of volunteers, mainly spouses of retired military officers, who attend every funeral in Arlington National Cemetery. She would read the notes — a formal one from the Army Chief of Staff and his wife, and a personal handwritten one from the Arlington lady herself.

She would learn of their mission: to ensure no soldier is buried alone.

Johnson wasn’t alone. In fact she felt as though an entire nation was grieving with her.

But she never forgot the kindness of her Arlington Lady.

And several years later, as she wrestled with how to best to honor her husband, she dug out the lady’s card. This is something I can do, she thought, not just for him, but for every soldier.

“It doesn’t matter whether we are burying a four-star general or a private,” says Margaret Mensch, head of the Army ladies. “They all deserve to have someone say thank you at their grave.”

Mensch is sitting at her desk in the basement of the cemetery’s administration building in the cramped office shared by ladies from the Navy, Air Force, Army and Coast Guard. The place bustles with activity — young military escorts in dress uniform arriving to accompany ladies to funerals, chaplains scribbling eulogies in their tiny office across the hall, cemetery representatives ushering mourners into private rooms upstairs.

30 funerals each weekday
There are approximately 30 funerals in Arlington every weekday and the ladies attend every one. All have their own reasons and stories.

There is Mensch, married to a retired Army colonel, who oversees the mammoth task of organizing the schedules for her 66 Army ladies and who says attending the funerals is the greatest honor of her life. And Doreen Huylebroeck, a 63-year-old nurse who remembers how desperately she wanted an Arlington lady beside her when her own husband, a retired Navy officer, died three years ago. Janine Moghaddam, who at 41 is one of the youngest Arlington ladies, and who felt a desperate need serve her country in some small way after Sept. 11, 2001. And Johnson herself.

She treks to the cemetery in spring when cherry blossoms burst over the rows of white stones and everything seems dusted in yellow pollen. And in the swelter of summer when the stones blaze in the heat and mourners sometimes pass out at services. Even in winter, when the wind whips through the marble pillars of the Columbarium, Johnson and the other ladies keep their vigil, clinging to the arms of their escorts as they pick their way through the mud and snow.

Always elegantly dressed, often in hats and gloves. Always standing, hand over heart, a respectful distance from the grave. Always mindful of history.

The ladies know every inch of Arlington’s 624 manicured acres, from the stones of freed slaves marked “unknown citizens” to the grave of the first soldier interred here (Private William Christman, a farmer from Pennsylvania who fought in the Civil War) to Section 60, where the men and women who lost their lives in the current wars are buried.

“So many stones, so many stories,” says Paula Mckinley, head of the Navy ladies, as she drives through the cemetery one recent spring day, stopping at a section not far from the throngs of tourists at President John F. Kennedy’s grave.

Baldwin. Curtis. Sanchez. She walks among their headstones reciting their names.

With her booming voice, red hair tucked under a straw hat, and brisk manner, Mckinley, whose husband is a retired Navy officer, is a striking figure. But she is subdued by the graves, reverential. “They all deserve to be remembered, and to be visited,” she says.

McKinley, who has been an Arlington lady for 21 years, drives a little further. She stops by a grove of willow oaks, searching for a specific plot.

“Here you are, sweetheart,” she says, gently touching the stone of a young woman Navy officer who died in an accident at the age of 25. The officer’s mother called from California one day — on her daughter’s birthday — and asked if an Arlington lady could put flowers on the grave. Now McKinley visits regularly. She says it’s the least she can do.

Job to honor, not grieve
The first group of Arlington ladies were formed in 1948 after Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg and his wife, Gladys, noticed an airman being buried without any family members present, just a chaplain and honor guard. It seemed so sad, and somehow so wrong. So Gladys Vandenberg enlisted a group of officers’ wives to attend all Air Force funerals. The other branches of the armed services followed, with the exception of the Marines, who do not have a group.

The ladies insist they are not mourners. They come to honor, not to grieve. “An Arlington lady doesn’t cry,” is practically a mantra.

And yet, there are times when that is inevitable.

McKinley remembers choking up as she offered condolences to a 10-year-old girl, who had just lost her parents. The child reached up and hugged her tight. And the time a young widow from Peru clung to her, begging McKinley to sit next to her in the front row. Her husband had died suddenly and there were no family members to comfort her.

Linda Willey, head of the Air Force ladies, describes the pain of burying friends from the Pentagon after September 11, 2001, when shards of debris still littered the cemetery and tears flowed freely behind dark glasses.

And Mensch tells of the heartache the Army ladies felt last year when one of their own escorts was killed in Iraq. The handsome young soldier from the 3rd Infantry Division, who had escorted the ladies to hundreds of funerals, was buried with full military honors, an Arlington lady standing by his grave.

About 145 ladies volunteer in the four branches, which all have slightly different rules. The Army ladies maintain a strict dress code — no slacks, no red, panty hose to be worn at all times. The Navy ladies introduce themselves to the families before the funeral, and follow up with personal notes about six weeks later.

All of the ladies volunteer for one day a month, sometimes attending four or five funerals in a single day. All have memories and stories: the time a family feud erupted and police had to break up the mourners; the young widow who wore a red cocktail dress because it was her husband’s favorite; the older widow who refused to get out of the car because she saw the Arlington lady standing near the grave. She assumed this was the other woman.

“You never know what to expect, and you never judge,” Willey says as she walks among the headstones and ponders her role. Willey, 63, who is married to a retired Air Force colonel, became a lady almost by accident, as a favor to a friend who kept pressing her. From her first funeral she knew that this was what she was meant to do.

“It just felt right, such an honor,” Willey says. “It’s such a simple gesture and yet it can be so powerful.”

As she talks, strains of “America the Beautiful” seem to float over the stones from a grave site a short distance away. Jan Jackson of Fort Collins, Colo., is burying her parents. Their urns sit next to each other on a table above their joint grave.

Jackson’s mother died in 2006 and her father, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, died last year. She had planned this springtime date on what would have been her father’s 96th birthday. She wanted to honor her parents, married 67 years, by burying them together in the nation’s hallowed ground.

As a member of a military family, Jackson, 59, is familiar with the pomp and precision and patriotism that accompany funerals. But she was utterly unprepared for the flood of emotion that swept over her as a young military escort took her arm and guided her from the chapel to the grave.

It was a small funeral — just Jackson, her son and grandchildren. And her Arlington lady.

Everything about the service was perfect, she said later. And this stranger was there to make it even better — “almost an angelic kind of person who is there for you even though she doesn’t know you, even though she is not required, even though it is not her job. It was so special, so comforting.”

From around the cemetery drift the sounds of other services, bands and gun salutes and drum rolls, one funeral seeming to blend into the next.

In one section, three daughters in black dresses and pearls, are burying their father, a former Navy officer who served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam, and who meticulously planned his own funeral, even visiting Arlington regularly to view his final resting place. He smiles from a photograph propped next to his urn.

In the Columbarium, decorated veterans, laden with medals, are saluting one of their own — a member of the naval aviation squadron known as the Golden Eagles, and one of the last survivors of the Battle of Midway.

And in Section 60 a widow, young and beautiful and dressed in black, clutches her toddler son. Before her, standing to attention, the honor guard that had processed behind her husband’s coffin, pulled in a caisson by six white horses. In the distance, the rifle guard that had fired the salute. In a far corner, the lone bugler who had played taps.

On this steamy spring day, beneath a towering oak, a 27-year-old Army sergeant, killed in an attack in Pakistan a month earlier, is about to be laid to rest.

“Today the country tries to say thank you … and yet words are inadequate,” the chaplain begins.

His widow seems overwhelmed, her eyes locked on the silver casket that holds his remains. His parents softly sob.

And then a lady steps forward, an older woman, dressed in a simple dark suit.

She whispers a few words of condolences and presses two cards into the widow’s hands.

“If there is anything you need …”

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/37416579/?GT1=43001

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Internet addicts guilty of starving baby to death

Internet addicts guilty of starving baby to death

This story is really sad. I believe that internet addiction is a real ailment just like any other addiction, but there is no excuse for this extreme behavior. I can’t believe nobody stepped in. Where were the grandparents? Did neighbors not hear the baby crying when the parents were at internet cafes for 10 hours at a time?

The sad irony of this story is that while their baby was slowly starving to death, they were on the internet all these hours raising a “virtual baby”.

Little long, but nice analogy for life

A young woman went to her mother and told her about her life and how things were so hard for her. She did not know how she was going to make it and wanted to give up. She was tired of fighting and struggling… It seemed as one problem was solved, a new one arose.

Her mother took her to the kitchen. She filled three pots with water and placed each on a high fire. Soon the pots came to boil. In the first she placed carrots, in the second she placed eggs, and in the last she placed ground coffee beans. She let them sit and boil; without saying a word.

In about twenty minutes she turned off the burners. She fished the carrots out and placed them in a bowl. She pulled the eggs out and placed them in a bowl. Then she ladled the coffee out and placed it in a bowl…. Turning to her daughter, she asked, ‘ Tell me what you see.’

‘Carrots, eggs, and coffee,’ she replied.

Her mother brought her closer and asked her to feel the carrots. She did and noted that they were soft. The mother then asked the daughter to take an egg and break it After pulling off the shell, she observed the hard boiled egg. Finally, the mother asked the daughter to sip the coffee.. The daughter smiled as she tasted its rich aroma.

The daughter then asked, ‘What does it mean, mother?’

Her mother explained that each of these objects had faced the same adversity: boiling water .. Each reacted differently. The carrot went in strong, hard, and unrelenting. However, after being subjected to the boiling water, it softened and became weak. The egg had been fragile. Its thin outer shell had protected its liquid interior, but after sitting through the boiling water, its inside became hardened. The ground coffee beans were unique, however. After they were in the boiling water, they had changed the water.

‘Which are you?’ she asked her daughter. ‘When adversity knocks on your door, how do you respond? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean ?

Think of this: Which am I?

Am I the carrot that seems strong, but with pain and adversity do I wilt and become soft and lose my strength?

Am I the egg that starts with a malleable heart, but changes with the heat? Did I have a fluid spirit, but after a death, a breakup, a financial hardship or some other trial, have I become hardened and stiff? Does my shell look the same, but on the inside am I bitter and tough with a stiff spirit and hardened heart?

Or am I like the coffee bean? The bean actually changes the hot water, the very circumstance that brings the pain.. When the water gets hot, it releases the fragrance and flavor. If you are like the bean, when things are at their worst, you get better and change the situation around you.

When the hour is the darkest and trials are their greatest do you elevate yourself to another level? How do you handle adversity? Are you a carrot, an egg or a coffee bean?

Construction is FINALLY done!

Hip! Hip! Hooray!!

Well 4 months later and the construction is finally done!! It took a little longer than planned because of some rain days and when the house was lifted it cause a second plumbing leak after the house that took a week to dig out and repair.

Now the house has been lifted and backfilled, but all that dirt and heavy machinery has ruined our yard. There is no grass left! 2 days after they finished my BIL came down with his bitch of a girlfriend and he insulted our yard talking about how much of a mess it was and how we should really take care of it! WTF! He is such an ass. NEWayz…

Now we have to have the interior cracks filled & sanded. Then on to painting…

Gun Salute Question posed by Uncle Larry

Grandpa Lineberry passed away this past week and received a military funeral. After the services, Jerry’s Uncle Larry posed the question, “What is the difference between a 21 gun salute and the funeral salute?”. Nobody knew the answer (including a not to be named Naval Officer:-), so I decided to look it up and post the answer:

21 Gun SaluteToday the national salute of 21 guns is fired in honor of a national flag, the sovereign or chief of state of a foreign nation, a member of a reigning royal family, and the President, ex-President and President-elect of the United States. It is also fired at noon of the day of the funeral of a President, ex-President, or President-elect.

3 Volley Salute
The 3-volley salute is a salute performed at military and police funerals as part of the drill and ceremony of the Honor Guard.

A rifle party, usually consisting of an odd number of firers, usually from 3 to 7 firearms. Usually the firearms are rifles for military, but at some police funerals, shotguns are used. The firing party is positioned such that, when they shoulder their arms for firing, the muzzles are pointed over the casket of the deceased who is being honored. If the service is being performed inside a church or chapel, or funeral home, the firing party fires from outside the building, typically positioned near the front entrance.

On the command of the NCO-in-charge, the firing party fires their weapons in unison, for a total of three volleys. Because unbulleted blanks (which will not cycle the action of a semi-automatic rifle) are used, in the United States, M1 or M14 rifles are preferred over the current issue M16 rifle, because the charging handles of the M1/M14 are more easily operated in a dignified, ceremonial manner than on the M16.

The three-volley salute is not to be confused with the 21-gun salute (or even lesser gun salutes, such as 19-gun or 17-gun, etc) which use cannon.