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ADVICE: Dear Angel

I am a thirteen year old girl in a large family. There is my stepfather, who we all think of as our father, who is the birth father of my baby sister. I have another sister younger than me and two older brothers and my mother, who is the mother of all of us kids. We have five different fathers.

No one talks about it and when any of us kids asks, my mother changes the subject but we (the kids) don't think she was married to some of our fathers. We all have her maiden name and none of the other fathers claim us or write us or visit us.

Depending on who you are talking to, a sin is anything from hanging your coat on the wrong hook to murdering dozens of people.

Our mother is a fabulous, wonderful person and parent and earns a very good living running her own business for which my stepfather works.

My mother sends me and my next younger sister to a private Christian School. We study the bible and particularly the teachings of Jesus every day. My parents and me and all my brothers and sisters never go to church or Sunday school.

The school is somewhat aware of my different family situation and I have come upon two teachers talking who suddenly stop talking when I get near. Maybe they are talking about some completely different student or subject but because of my situation, I always feel they are talking about my family. And their looks don't look approving.

I feel like I am a sinner but I don't know what my particular sin is. Could you please help me sort this out?

Mixed Up Family Member

Dear Family Member:

Depending on who you are talking to, a sin is anything from hanging your coat on the wrong hook to murdering dozens of people. I think we can agree we cannot all agree on the definition of a sin or a sinner.

Whatever your mother may or may not have done with her various partners, you are in no way responsible. Some people would consider your mother a sinner just because she had five different fathers for five children (even if she was married to all of the fathers.) Divorce, having children out of wedlock, a woman working outside the home, wearing lipstick are sins in many peoples minds.

Your mother probably is sending you and your sister to a Christian school because she is hoping its' influence will help her two school-age girls to have a more moderate approach to meeting the right man the first time.

I am sure her life has not been easy. Five mates are not easy; five children are not easy; establishing a successful business is not easy, especially for a mother with children. My opinion is that Christ would admire and bless her for making such a success of what was probably many bad choices earlier in her life.

I see a family, different from the majority, living together with a mother and father, caring about each other and supporting themselves quite well.

And, like the majority, not going to church or Sunday school. And these busy, stressed, people are some of those for whom theCOOLgroup.org is meant.

In sum, continue to visit us and be proud of your life and your family.

Blessings, my child,

Angel

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Sub Contracting

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Three contractors were touring the White House on the same day. One was from Chicago, another from Kentucky, and the third from Florida. At the end of the tour in the Rose Garden, the gardener asked them what they did for a living.

When they each replied that they were contractors, the gardener said "Hey, we need one of the rear fences redone. Why don't you guys look at it and give me a bid right now."

So to the back fence they went.

First up was the Florida contractor. He took out his tape measure and pencil, did some measuring and said, "Well I figure the job will run about $900. $400 for materials, $400 for my crew, and $100 profit for me."

Next was the Kentucky contractor. He also took out his tape measure and pencil, did some quick figuring and said, "Looks like I can do this job for $700. $300 for materials, $300 for my crew, and $100 profit for me."

Then the gardener asks the Chicago contractor how much. Without so much as moving an inch the contractor instantly says, "$2700."

The gardener, incredulous, looks at him and says "You didn't even measure or anything like the other guys! How did you come up with such a high figure?"

"Easy," says the contractor from Chicago, "$1,000 for me, $1,000 for you and we hire the guy from Kentucky.

The guard says "You're hired!"

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