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Friday, May 29

You Lead Me Lord ~ Psalm 139, Part 4

"O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies misuse your name. O Lord, shouldn’t I hate those who hate you? Shouldn’t I despise those who oppose you? Yes, I hate them with total hatred, for your enemies are my enemies. Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life." ~ Psalm 139:19-24


This is a tough one. Have you ever been hurt by another person before? Betrayed, slandered, mistreated, abused, or violated? Have you ever witnessed injustice, cruelty or prejudice? Have you ever been a victim of circumstance or persecution? Of course you have, you’re human! We all have. We live in a fallen world, overcome by sin, and we’ve all experienced, and caused, by the way, pain.


As Christians we are admonished to forgive. Forgive, forgive, forgive! Jesus said we are to forgive a person who hurts us seventy times seven, meaning as often as we are hurt or offended. We are to forgive if we want to be forgiven.


Forgiveness isn’t natural. It isn’t what we want. What we want is payback, vengeance, justice. We are humans, and we have human emotions and desires. When I read the above verses, I love the raw honesty of the Psalmist. He is being real with his emotions, strong and passionate as they are, as he cries out to God for intervention.


No, forgiveness isn’t natural. But it is necessary. It is necessary for our own sakes. When we hold onto the offenses that are done to us, we become steeped in anger, and that anger turns to bitterness, animosity, hostility and hate. And those emotions are destructive, not to the person who hurt or offended us, but to ourselves.


If we choose to forgive our enemies, we free ourselves from an ugly and dark self-imposed prison and we free God to act on our behalf. He will vindicate us. God is the judge, and He’s got our backs! It says in Romans 12:19, “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.”


Offering forgiveness doesn’t simply mean the offender is getting off without penalty though. Simply put, actions have consequences. One way or another. Forgiveness can be instantaneous, but I think (in my case anyway) that’s more the exception than the rule. We have very real and strong emotions that we experience when we are harmed. That’s natural. And we often have to allow ourselves to experience them before we are able to choose to let go, heal and forgive.


When we make that choice, it doesn’t necessarily make all of our feelings go away, but rather it allows God to come in and begin to do His work in helping us to heal. His healing further allows us to let go and move forward. It is then that we are able to follow His lead and live the life He desires for us to have.


And it is only after that, after we’ve allowed God to show us the dark places in our hearts and heal us, that we are truly able to follow His path, ascend His hill and stand in His holy place.


“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully. He shall receive blessing from the LORD, and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” ~ Psalm 24:3-5

Thursday, May 28

Selfish and Cruel ~ Current Events Wrap Up

Ok, it’s Thursday, and you know what that means… It’s time for The Current Events Wrap Up meme, hosted by the amazing Julie Arduini at her The Surrendered Scribe blog. The Current Events Wrap Up meme is the vision God gave Julie for discussing what is going on in the world, nation and even our own lives. There is so much happening these days and it would be amazing to have a team of conservative commentators discussing their thoughts. Please go and check out Julie’s blog, and if you like current events or news, think about joining in and/or spreading the word!

~~~

I haven’t participated in Current Events Wrap Up for a couple of weeks, so I thought I’d best jump in again. I know you all have been dying to hear my opinion! ;-)


Earthquakes ~ Honduras, California
Wars ~ Iraq, Afghanistan
Rumors of Wars ~ Iran, North Korea
As well as the economy and the Supreme Court Justice Nominee

As always, there’s lots going on in the world today. The story that really grabbed me though, is that of Bonnie Sweeten, the PA mom, who concocted the abduction scheme to go to Disney World with her nine year old daughter.

While her actual motive is yet unclear, it is impossible for me to grasp any possible motive other than sheer selfishness. The worry and sorrow she caused this family is inexcusable. There were two other daughters, a husband, and an ex-husband, father of the taken child who weren’t sure they’d ever see their loved ones again, but were sure something awful had happened to them.

The cost involved for the search must be enormous. The loss of all of the resources that were taken from other actual crimes and situations must be incalculable. Seriously, what are we becoming as a society, that people have such little regard for others? The crimes that this woman are being charged with are misdemeanors, so there will be little penalty for the harm she caused. Will she have to make restitution for the cost involved? Perhaps a portion.

Though I know it will never happen, I have an idea that will help cut crime dramatically and thus solve the overcrowding of prisons. Restitution will always be demanded for crimes and equivalent loss of money, property, income, etc. The perpetrator will have to work in a prison doing whatever jobs around the prison that are necessary (laundry, yard work, cooking, etc), earning comparable wages, paying first taxes, then their own expenses (living, food, clothing, medical, etc), and then any remaining funds going to pay the restitution that is owed. They would get released only after all restitution is paid in full.

No, it will never happen. The liberals would cry foul, saying it is unconstitutional and cruel and unusual punishment. But a girl can dream, can’t she?

~~~

On a personal note, thank you all for your well wishes, prayers and concern over my recent miscarriage. I truly appreciate it. In addition, I am considering taking a blog-cation for some time over the summer, to reflect, refresh and re-focus. I’ll let you know the details when I know them myself.

Wednesday, May 27

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ~ All About America

I love America and am a passionate patriot. I believe America offers freedom, hope and opportunity like no other country in the world. As such, I will be posting All About America every Wednesday! The content will vary and may include photos, facts, commentary, quotes, excerpts of speeches, etc. I will use different sources and make every attempt to site the source. I hope you enjoy All About America as much as I do, and that you’ll come back and visit often. And may God Bless America!

~~~

This has been taken from The American Patriot’s Almanac by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb. It is filled with tons of amazing information and history, and anyone who loves history or considers themselves to be patriotic, will love this book. I did a full review of this book and if you would like to see it, simply click here.

~~~

“The sight before us is that of a strong and good nation that stands in silence and remembers those who were loved and who, in return, loved their countrymen enough to die for them,” President Ronald Reagan said on May 31, 1982, after laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in an annual Memorial Day Ceremony.


The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands on a hill overlooking Washington, D.C., in Arlington National Cemetery. One of the most solemn monuments in our country, it honors all of the U.S. soldiers whose remains have never been identified.


Beneath the eight-foot-tall, white marble tomb lies the body of an unknown soldier from World War 1, placed there in 1921. Inscribed on the tome are the words:


HERE RESTS IN
HONORED GLORY
AN AMERICAN
SOLDIER
KNOWN BUT TO GOD


The tombs of unknown soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War lie nearby. The remains of the Vietnam unknown were identified by DNA testing in 1998, so they were removed, and that tomb is now empty. Members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Tuesday, May 26

You Made Me Lord ~ Psalm 139, Part 3

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up, you are still with me! ~ Psalm 139:13-18


Oh, what comfort these verses have brought and continue to bring me. Though I had heard the expression “God don’t make junk” before, I didn’t truly get it, until I read these verses. Then again. And again. I read them over, and over, and over, letting them take root deep inside my heart. I needed them – desperately.


People who’ve grown up in abuse, poverty and dysfunction often struggle with feelings of inferiority. Self-worth is frequently associated with performance. There is often a feeling of not fitting in or measuring up. That’s how it was with me. Often through the years, my pain, anger, loneliness and oppression really got to me. I sometimes thought I was unlovable, to myself, to others, and to God. I didn’t think I was a bad person per se; it was more like I just didn’t matter. I wandered through life, determined to do and be better than my family. I worked hard and was pretty well liked, eventually, popular even. But all of that was superficial. Inside I was eaten up by insecurity and unworthiness.


I always was aware of God, always knew Jesus, but I never committed my life to Him. It wasn’t because I wasn’t interested. I just couldn’t find Him. I tried out various churches through the years, but never felt anything. Finally, when I was 30, I walked into the church that changed my life. God had been wooing me and I was primed. I was ready. I was tired of searching, I now wanted to find.


And find Him I did! God radically changed my life and more importantly, how I saw and valued myself. I realized I was beautiful, enjoyable, and purposeful simply because He made me that way. I had worth and value, because He created me, not because of where I came from or what I’d accomplished. The wonderful and amazing God of the universe, created me, thought about me, loved me, had a purpose for me.


It is truly astounding to me, that He has written all the days of my life in His book. That He has a very specific and unique purpose for me, one that only I can fulfill. He created me; giving me the looks and personality He wanted me to have to fulfill that purpose. I have learned that when I criticize myself, I am actually criticizing the work of God’s hands. That’s not to say I can’t or shouldn’t better myself, but rather I’m kinder to myself as I go about it. I may mess up from time to time, but God is still there. He still watches over me and thinks of me. He still loves me.


I now know that no matter what happens in my life, I am not alone. I am not unwanted or unloved. The following song was instrumental in preparing me to receive Jesus as my Savior. God led me to it a few months before I was saved. I played it nearly non-stop. I love it still. I hope you enjoy it too.




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Monday, May 25

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day! Please pause to remember and to give thanks.


What Did He Die For ~ Twila Paris

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Proud to be an American ~ Lee Greenwood

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Praise You in This Storm ~ Casting Crowns

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In the Arms of an Angel - Sarah McLaughlin

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Saturday, May 23

More About Memorial Day

Memorial Day, the last Monday of May, is the day we honor Americans who gave their lives in military service.

This holiday was originally called Decoration Day and honored soldiers who had died during the Civil War. Immediately after the war, various towns in the North and South began to set aside days to decorated soldiers’ graves with flowers and flags. Those earliest memorial observances occurred in Waterloo, New York; Columbus, Mississippi; Richmond, VA; Carbondale, Illinois; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, and several other places.

The first widespread observance of Decoration Day came on May 30, 1868, which Maj. Gen. John A. Logan proclaimed as a day to honor the dead. General James Garfield (later the twentieth U.S. President) gave a speech at Arlington National Cemetery in remembrance of fallen soldiers, saying that “for love of country they accepted death, and thus resolved all doubts, and made immortal their patriotism and their virtue.” Afterward, 5,000 people helped decorate the graves of more than 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers.

Over the years the day became the occasion to remember the dead in all American wars, and came to be known as Memorial Day.

On the Thursday before Memorial Day, in a tradition known as “Flags-in,” the soldiers of the 3rd U.S. Infantry place small flags before more than a quarter million gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol twenty-four hours a day to make sure each flag remains standing throughout the weekend. On Memorial Day the president or vice president lays a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in the cemetery.

According to the U.S. flag code, American flags should be flown at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the pole. At 3:00 p.m. local time, all Americans are asked to pause for a moment of remembrance.

~~~

The above information was taken from The American Patriot’s Almanac. I hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, and please pause a moment to remember our fallen heroes. It is the least we can do for the sacrifice they made for our continuing freedom.

Wednesday, May 20

The Meaning of Memorial Day ~ All About America

Anyone who really knows me understands that I am a passionate patriot. I love America immensely. It offers freedom, hope and opportunity like no other country in the world. As such, I will be posting All About America every Wednesday, because I am proud to be an American! The content will vary and may include photos, facts, commentary, quotes, excerpts of speeches, etc. I will use different sources and make every attempt to site the source. Sometimes I may offer commentary, other times, if I think the content speaks for itself, I may not. I hope you enjoy All About America as much as I do, and that you’ll come back and visit often. And may God Bless America!

~~~

Memorial Day has been a favorite holiday of mine for a long time now. Growing up, I didn’t really understand what it was all about. I knew it was a three-day weekend for most, and was generally considered to be the start of summer (though living in Phoenix, it usually seems like summer), but that was about it. My family didn’t typically make a big deal of most holidays, so there were no traditions we followed in regards to Memorial Day.


I grew up in the 1980’s, which I’m really glad for. Throughout my teenage years, Ronald Reagan was the President of the United States. He was both a great man and leader. He was very open about his faith in Christ and was a strong patriot. This man that I admired, but never met, was a huge influence on my life. In addition, he was my Commander-In-Chief when I joined the United States Air Force. I believe those two things, admiring President Reagan and serving in the Air Force, are what became the foundation for the patriot that I have become.


To me (and perhaps most other people), the United States of America is greatest country in the world. We have freedoms, liberties and privileges that many people in other countries only dream of, or possibly cannot even conceive. Our nation was founded on Christian principles and I believe that is the only reason we’ve done so well. That is also the reason so many people and countries around the world hate us and want to see us destroyed.


We’ve had people throughout our duration as a nation, who’ve stood for what is right and have chosen to put themselves in harm’s way to protect not only our freedom, but also the freedom of others. Our military men and women are heroes and deserve to be honored as such. I say this not because I served, but because it’s true. In time of peace or war, it is they who stand guard to protect us from our enemies. It is they who fight and die for the rest of us. We owe them a debt of gratitude. We can never possibly re-pay them for their sacrifice, especially the fallen heroes. But what we can do, is honor and respect them, and thank them for their service.


Memorial Day is a special day that has been set apart to do just that for our fallen heroes. It is a day to think about those who’ve given their lives for this great nation. It is a day to remember them and their sacrifice, with reverence and honor and appreciation. Memorial Day is to be one of solemnity and remembrance, while we celebrate what they did. The way the meaning of Memorial Day has been largely forgotten truly burdens my heart.


Like most holidays, it has become completely commercialized, with great sales all around. It has become a long weekend to party and travel. There is nothing wrong with shopping, with having fun, with spending time with family and friends, etc. But from my heart, I urge you to join me in spending some time remembering and thanking our heroes. Last year, I spent quite a bit of time, creating a page (or lens) at Squidoo, which is all about Memorial Day. It is dedicated to our heroes. Please take a few moments to look at it. I would love to hear what you think about it. It contains about as much info as I could find for Memorial Day, including touching video's, songs, poems and books. This was truly a labor of love for me and I’m very happy to have done it.


Click here to see the page I created, The Meaning of Memorial Day


“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” ~ John 15:13

Tuesday, May 19

Ben Stein ~ Character Counts

The Character Counts Meme posts every first and third Tuesday of the month. I’d love to have you join me for spotlighting, celebrating and honoring people of good character, who’ve led exemplary lives and who’ve lived with honor, integrity, dignity and sacrifice, and those who’ve inspired others by overcome great obstacles in their own lives. I believe that when we celebrate and exhort good character traits, we can turn the tide, and see more of them. At least I’d like to try! If you are joining us, please leave your name and link at the Mr. Linky down below and don’t forget to leave a comment!

~~~

This week’s Character Counts post will be a bit different. I have chosen to spotlight someone we all think we know, but may be surprised to find out more about – Ben Stein. I will give a very brief summary about Ben, then will allow him to show his character through his own words. I think you’ll agree with me, that he is indeed a man of great character.


Ben Stein was born in 1944. He is Jewish, an actor, comedian and documentary film maker (Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed). These are the things most people know about Ben. What many do not know, is that he is (or has been) an attorney, a professor (at American University, U.C. Santa Cruz, and Pepperdine, writer/columnist (The American Spectator, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, New York Magazine, Baron’s Magazine) and a speech writer for President’s Nixon and Ford. He is a typically considered politically and economically conservative and is a proponent of Intelligent Design and is highly pro-life.

To learn more about Ben Stein and his things he’s written, visit his website (I particularly recommend his Christmas article from 12/18/05). This is a bit long, but well worth the read.

~~~

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called Monday Night At Morton 's. (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column...

How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I 'slug' it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is 'E-online FINAL,' and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.


It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's changes have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton 's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton 's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.


Beyond that, a bigger change has happened..? I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.


How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a 'star' we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.


They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit , Iraq . He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.


A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.. A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.


The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.


We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.


I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton 's is a big subject.


There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament... the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.


Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.


I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin or Martin Mull or Fred Willard - or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.


But, I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.


This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.


Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.


By Ben Stein






Friday, May 15

You're With Me, Lord ~ Psalm 139, Pt. 2

I can never escape from your Spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the grave, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night— but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are the same to you. ~ Psalm 139:7-12


Isn’t it good to know we are never alone? Though undoubtedly we may feel that way at times, the truth is that we are not. The thing is the Bible doesn’t ever say we’ll never experience the darkness, storms, sorrow, pain, betrayal, cruelty, evil or death. What it says, is that when we experience these things, God is right there with us.


Have you ever tried to flee the presence of the Lord? Times when you’re angry, doing something you know is sinful, wanting things your way and in your timing, or simply retreating into yourself? I have. It seems like the times that I need Him the most, are the times that I push Him away. Much like a petulant or pouty child. Nevertheless, He is always there for me. He is always waiting on me. He is always reaching out to me.


Have you ever felt as if God has abandoned you, that when you reach out to Him, He’s just not there? I have. There are times when the darkness is so dark and the storm is so violent that you feel you’ll never make it out, you feel like you won’t survive. You even wonder, where is God in the midst of it all? But we can’t rely on or trust our feelings. They are fluid, constantly changing, and influenced by our own limited and faulty perceptions. Feelings waver, truth does not!


The truth is that no matter what we feel, God is right there. Whether we are choosing to live righteously or in sin, whether we are joyful or heartbroken, content or dissatisfied, running to or from Him, He is always there. He supports us when we are frail and uplifts us when we fall. He strengthens us when we are weak and guides us when we are lost. However, we have to let Him. We can, and sometimes do, choose to turn Him down. But that doesn’t mean He’s not there – He is. The darkness may last for a time, but the Light always pushes it back. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning. (Psa. 30:5)


I am so grateful that I don’t have to rely on my own strength, knowledge, wisdom or feelings. To think that the Lord of all creation is always with little ol’ me, no matter where I am, what I’m doing, or who I’m with, is too wonderful for words! Yes, the storms come and the waves crash down, but we don’t have to be overcome by them. We can trust in the Truth, rather than our feelings, and lean on the support and strength of Jesus to get us through. That’s what He wants. That’s what He offers. All we have to do is receive it.


Thank you Lord, for always being with me, no matter what I’m going through. Thank you for offering me your love, mercy, grace, compassion, comfort, patience, strength and support. Thank you for driving out the darkness and showering me in Light. Thank you the hope and abundant life you have for me. You are everything to me and I praise you!

Wednesday, May 13

Duty, Honor, Country ~ All About America

Anyone who really knows me understands that I am a passionate patriot. I love America immensely. It offers freedom, hope and opportunity like no other country in the world. As such, I will be posting All About America every Wednesday, because I am proud to be an American! The content will vary and may include photos, facts, commentary, quotes, excerpts of speeches, etc. I will use different sources and make every attempt to site the source. Sometimes I may offer commentary, other times, if I think the content speaks for itself, I may not. I hope you enjoy All About America as much as I do, and that you’ll come back and visit often. And may God Bless America!

~~~

This has been taken from my second favorite book of all time, The American Patriot’s Almanac by William J. Bennett and John T.E. Cribb. It is filled with tons of amazing information and history, and anyone who loves history or consider themselves to be patriotic, will love this book. I did a full review of this book and if you would like to see it, simply click here.

~~~

On May 12, 1962, West Point Military Academy awarded General Douglas MacArthur the Thayer Award, given each year to a citizen whose service to the nation has exemplified West Point’s motto, Duty, Honor, Country. The following comes from a speech MacArthur delivered to the academy’s corps of cadets in acceptance of the award:


Duty. Honor. Country. Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn . . .

The unbelievers will say they are but words . . . But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness, the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

Tuesday, May 12

You Know Me, Lord ~ Psalm 139, Part 1

O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You go before me and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to understand! ~ Psalm 139:1-6


This Psalm (139) is probably my most favorite of all the Psalms. I have read it many times throughout my Christian journey. It has given me comfort and assurance in ways that are both deep and profound. It is Rhema to me, life-giving words to live by. Just today I read it again. Once more, it has jumped out at me, specifically the part posted above.


I’m the sort of person that can pretty honestly say, “what you see is what you get.” I’m not much of a faker. I never have been. This doesn’t necessarily mean I wear every emotion on my sleeve, but still, I try to be real, though not always deeply revealing (in that I do try to practice wisdom). That’s why it’s been so important for me to be real in my writing. As I go through the seasons of my life, I find I have to be real and honest about them. With both myself and God.


Reading the above verses, it’s good to know that in this, I’m right on target. Like the Psalmist, God knows me better than I know myself. He knows what I think, feel, say and do, whether I’m honest about it or not. Whether I’m aware of it or not. And even whether I am near or far from Him. He knows whether I will take the high road, or the low road, way before I even arrive at the road.


Once again, with my latest miscarriage, as with my previous two, I felt anger. I was angry with myself, with God, with the world… The thing I didn’t want to do was pretend that I was ok, because I wasn’t. I was hurting badly and flat out pissed off! I hope I don’t shock you too much, but once again, this is me, being real. I spoke of my hurt and anger in person, on my blog, and to God. And you know what? I feel better. Yes, I’m still in the process of healing. But being real, rather than in denial, is both healing and freeing.


Sadly, there are too many Christians who aren’t real. Worse yet, there are “seasoned” Christians who try to influence “newer” Christians to not be real. Who do they think they’re fooling? Certainly not God! He knows us, loves us, and understands when life, and the storms of life, gets to us. That’s part of the beauty of the reality of Jesus. Fully God and fully man. He felt strong emotions; He loved, laughed and grieved. He experienced loyalty and betrayal. And He faced, and conquered, death. He gets us!


And because He gets us, He expects us to be real, even if that real is raw. He is there for us, waiting for us to come to Him, to receive the comfort, peace and love that only He can give. Like a loving Father, He welcomes us to come and sit on His lap and pour out our hearts to him. Even if it is after a temper tantrum. And as we sit with Him, being real with Him, and inviting Him to touch us in His own special way, He does. Tenderly, lovingly, He reaches out to place His hand of blessing on our head.


Thank you, Lord, for your healing-balm, tender-mercies and loving-kindness. Though it is too great and wonderful for me to fully understand, I thank you.

Friday, May 8

Mother's Day Loss ~ Update and Poem

Last week I spoke about my latest miscarriage and what I have been experiencing emotionally. On Wednesday, I had the D & C, so now the ordeal is over. I’m now able to move forward and ready to begin healing. The emotions (anger, hurt, frustration) are still there, but not as intense as they were. I am beginning to take comfort from my Father. I have to wonder though, if medical personnel will ever understand there is no comfort by them saying things like “there was something wrong with the fetus, and the body just took over,” or “there’s no reason you can’t try again.” A simple “I’m sorry” is much better than medical justifications.


Mother’s Day is this Sunday and while I’m happy to be a mom to my precious little Sweet Pea, I can’t help but think of the little one’s I’ve lost. I recently found this poem on a site that has a pregnancy loss area. It touched me deeply and occurred to me that it may bring comfort to other women who’ve had miscarriages, so I’ve decided to share it here. I would love to give proper credit for this amazing poem, but don’t know who wrote it.

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To Hallmark, they brag that they have a card for everything.


Dear Mr. Hallmark,

I am writing to you from heaven,
and though it must appear,
A rather strange idea,
I see everything from here.

I just popped in to visit,
your stores to find a card.
A card of love for my mother,
as this day for her is hard.

There must be some mistake I thought,
every card you could imagine.
Except I could not find a card,
from a child who lives in heaven.

She is still a mother too,
no matter where I reside.
I had to leave, she understands,
but oh the tears she's cried.

I thought that if I wrote you,
that you would come to know,
That though I live in heaven now,
I still love my mother so.

She talks with me, and dreams with me;
we still share laughter too,
Memories our way of speaking now,
would you see what you could do?

My mother carries me in her heart,
her tears she hides from sight.
She writes poems to honor me,
sometimes far into the night.

She plants flowers in my garden,
there my living memory dwells.
She writes to other grieving parents,
trying to ease their pain as well.

So you see Mr. Hallmark,
though I no longer live on earth,
I must find a way,
to remind her of her wondrous worth.

She needs to be honored,
and remembered too
Just as the children of earth will do.

Thank you Mr. Hallmark,
I know you'll do your best,
I have done all I can do;
to you I'll leave the rest.

Find a way to tell her,
how much she means to me.
Until I can do it for myself,
when she joins me in eternity.

~ Author Unknown

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 7

ACLU, Prayer, and Hand of Hope ~ Current Events Wrap Up

Ok, it’s Thursday, and you know what that means… It’s time for The Current Events Wrap Up meme, hosted by the amazing Julie Arduini at her The Surrendered Scribe blog. The Current Events Wrap Up meme is the vision God gave Julie for discussing what is going on in the world, nation and even our own lives. There is so much happening these days and it would be amazing to have a team of conservative commentators discussing their thoughts. Please go and check out Julie’s blog, and if you like current events or news, think about joining in and/or spreading the word!

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Ok, this week there was too much going on to simply go with one thing. So here is a bit of a hodgepodge of current events.


~ Where’s the ACLU when you need them?

I was briefly shocked today, when I read that the state of Hawaii, which is the birthplace of our very own President Barack Obama, has declared Sept. 24th, 2009 as Islam Day! I say shocked briefly, because few things in the government surprise me much anymore. What about the holy tenet held so dearly by the ACLU, or FFRF (Freedom From Religion Foundation)? My civil liberties are being violated! (To read more about this story, click here.)


~ No National Day of Prayer for White House

Today is the National Day of Prayer, which has been in existence since 1952. For the past nine years, the White House has actively participated in this wonderful event by holding a ceremony to observe the day. Until this year. Apparently the new Pres. doesn’t seem to think he needs it . . . (To read more about this story, click here.)


~ The Hand of Hope

Sept. 4th, 1999, photographer Michael Clancy, then a freelancer for USA Today, shot what he has described as “a miracle picture, a miracle moment.” The special picture he took was that of a 21-week old “fetus” gripping the hand of a surgeon. It was a great moment for the pro-life groups who work so hard to save the millions of innocent babies who are aborted, year after year. And it was a blow to the pro-abortion side, as it was a strong tool in the passage of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban, which passed in 2000.

Samuel Armas, now nearly ten years old, has a good life. He still has struggles with the Spina Bifida he was born with, but thanks to the surgery he had at 21 weeks in utero, his quality of life is much better than it would have been without it. . In addition to being an active young boy, he is an advocate for life, believing the photo that made him famous before birth, likely gave countless "babies their right to live" and forced many others to debate their beliefs on abortion, something he's proud of.

Michael Clancy, who was at the time a pro-choice advocate, change his beliefs and has now become a motivational speaker at pro-life events. His mission is to help others see what he saw, and hopefully, change their hearts and beliefs too! (To read more about this story, click here.)

Wednesday, May 6

Christian Universities?! ~ All About America

Anyone who really knows me understands that I am a passionate patriot. I love America immensely. It offers freedom, hope and opportunity like no other country in the world. As such, I will be posting All About America every Wednesday, because I am proud to be an American! The content will vary and may include photos, facts, commentary, quotes, excerpts of speeches, etc. I will use different sources and make every attempt to site the source. Sometimes I may offer commentary, other time, if I think the content speaks for itself, I may not. I hope you enjoy All About America as much as I do, and that you’ll come back and visit often. And may God Bless America!

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I find it fascinating that our prestigious, rabidly liberal Ivy League Universities were once Christian Universities! Below is a brilliant article, Harvard, the Ivy League and the forgotten Puritans, written by an academic, Ellis Washington, and posted in World Net Daily.

~~~

Sunlight is the best disinfectant. ~ Justice Louis Brandeis

There's always a conflict of interest when people who don't really like America are called upon to teach about its history. ~ Ellis Washington (a paraphrase of Ann Coulter)


How did the eight so-called "Ivy League" schools – Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Brown, University of Pennsylvania, Cornell and Dartmouth – go from being training grounds for Christian missionaries and ministers and respected citadels of higher education to what they are now – propaganda factories for every leftist, perverted, radical, tyrannical, failed ideology known to mankind? – Marxism, Darwinism, Freudianism, Higher Criticism, communism, multiculturalism, relativism, naturalism, positivism, socialism, liberalism, egalitarianism, feminist studies, gay studies, transgender studies, transvestite studies, outcome-based education, radical environmentalism, etc.


Did you know that America's oldest and most venerated colleges and universities like Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth were founded by the Puritans? Yes, those same Puritans who along with the Pilgrims were devout Christians and the original founders of America. What do we remember about the Puritans? Now, thanks in large part to the false prophets called "professors" of the Ivy League schools, we equate the Puritans inseparably with the Salem Witch Trials of 1692-95 where between 175-200 people were imprisoned, and, tragically, 20 innocent people were given the death penalty for allegedly being a "witch" based solely on the testimony of a few hysterical, emotionally unstable adolescent girls. This incident was indeed a dark chapter of history that has nevertheless been hyped up beyond reason by the secular left to erase the memory of the Puritans from the marketplace of ideas and from American history, from which they remain banished, even until this day.


Despite their Christian roots, currently all of the Ivy League schools are private and are not currently associated with any religion. Why? Because by the mid-1800s the secular revivalist movement called the Age of Enlightenment (1600-1830) had thoroughly infected the academy. The French Philosophes led the movement – Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, d’Alembert, Dumarsais and Diderot. There were "benevolent" tyrants: Napoleon, Catherine II, Leopold II, King George III; would-be tryants: Robespierre, Saint-Just, the indulgents, the Jacobins; as well as Anglo-American and Continental philosophers like Hobbes, Locke, Berkeley, Kant, Paine, David Hume and John Stuart Mills, some of whom considered religion generally, and Christianity especially, as passe, anachronistic, barbaric and increasingly irrelevant to humanity's march towards humanism, secularism, higher learning and utopia.


Therefore, over time, as a new generation of professors and university presidents took over, the Ivy League schools forsook their explicitly religious mandate to train missionaries and ministers to spread the Gospel to the world and instead pursued newer fields of study that not only denigrated American's Judeo-Christian traditions, but were increasingly openly hostile to it. The 19th century saw a continued rise of empiricist ideas and their application to old and new disciplines of knowledge – physics, chemistry, biology, zoology, taxonomy, geology, paleontology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, psychiatry, economics, political science. This was at the same time Charles Darwin's theories on evolution and non-theistic creation became popular among intellectuals and academics. Darwin's famous book, "The Origin of Species" (1859), became their new Bible – its priests and prophets, the professor, its pulpit, the classroom or the seminar, its temple, the academy.


Next came influential thinkers like Darwinians Thomas and Aldous Huxley, Engels, Marx, Hegel, Freud, Franz Boas, Mead, Weber, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Roscoe Pound, John Dewey, B. F. Skinner, Samuel Atkins Eliot and Charles W. Eliot (president of Harvard), and by the 1930s the Ivy League had totally become temples not only to secular thought, but they were increasingly hostile to orthodox religious ideas of any kind ... except of course the new omnipotent religion of Liberalism.


The late 1950s saw the coming of age of the so-called baby boomer (the post-World War II generation, 1945-65) of whom many, having rejected the Judeo-Christian traditions of their parents, willingly embraced these ideas taught to them in the academy. As the 1960s progressed, this godless, hedonist, self-indulgent, entitled generation got their college degrees and even filled the graduate schools, receiving J.D.s, Ph.Ds., M.D.s, M.B.A.s and other advanced degrees.


Next the question is: Why have the Ivy League schools become so radicalized in modern times? Because they are filled with the progeny of the World War II generation, the baby boomers of the 1960s who have so thoroughly hijacked and perverted the original Christian/intellectual paradigm the Ivy League schools maintained in the beginning. However, progressives, liberals and humanists' unrestrained assault on reason, logic, religion, morality, politics, philosophy, education and capitalism didn't stop with the Ivy League schools. For example, the College of William and Mary (1693) was founded by Congregationalists (Puritans); Andover College (1778) was founded by Noah Webster to train missionaries; Rutgers (1766) was founded by Dutch Reformers; Dickinson College (1783), Smith, Bryn Mawr, Lehigh, Bucknell, Colgate, Swarthmore, Vanderbilt, Northwestern and on and on and on all were founded either by Jews, Christians, Christian denominations or Christian religious organizations. In modern times, however, virtually all these colleges are temples to intellectual paganism.


Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941), the first Jewish person to sit on the Supreme Court and a brilliant legal mind, once famously remarked, "Sunlight is the best disinfectant." I hope this column was successful at shedding the light of clarity regarding the denigration of the Ivy League schools and other prestigious universities and showing how far they have devolved from their original mandate to train Christian ministers and missionaries to spread the Gospel throughout the world into institutions of higher perversion, avarice, excess, vanity and degenerate ideas.


Paraphrasing Ann Coulter's august words in the context of this article, I likewise say – There's always a conflict of interest when people who don't really like America are called upon to teach about its history.


History is the tragic narrative of the martyrdom of our geniuses. To the Puritans that gave America America, as well as Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth, setting the original Christian intellectual and academic legacy of the Ivy League schools, I say, truly you are the greatest generation.

Tuesday, May 5

James Earl Jones ~ Character Counts

The Character Counts Meme posts every first and third Tuesday of the month. I’d love to have you join me for spotlighting, celebrating and honoring people of good character, who’ve led exemplary lives and who’ve lived with honor, integrity, dignity and sacrifice, and those who’ve inspired others by overcome great obstacles in their own lives. I believe that when we celebrate and exhort good character traits, we can turn the tide, and see more of them. At least I’d like to try! If you are joining us, please leave your name and link at the Mr. Linky down below and don’t forget to leave a comment!


UPDATE: Mr.Linky doesn't appear to be working at this time. If you are participating in Character Counts, simply notify us in the comments part of this post. Thank you!

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This week I have chosen to spotlight a man who is a fantastic actor and orator. He has long been a favorite (actor) of mine, but when I learned his history, I grew to admire him even more. While he is best known for his deep, rich voice, it wasn’t always that way. I hope you are as inspired as I was.


James Earl Jones was born January 13, 1931, in Arkabulta, MS. His parents separated before he was born, and he was raised by his maternal grandparents. When he was five, the family moved to a farm in rural Michigan. The move was so traumatic for the young boy, he developed an incapacitating stutter, and he refused to speak, essentially becoming mute. Though he could speak some, his stuttering was so bad, he wouldn’t do speak more than a few words at a time, even for his family. This debilitating condition lasted for eight years.


Jones began communicating through writing. He began to express himself through writing poetry. Things started to change for Jones in high school. He had a teacher, Donald Crouch, who saw through his insecurities, believed in him, and challenged him. When Jones turned in a well-written poem, Crouch pretended to believe that Jones couldn’t have written it himself, and had him recite it in front of the class to prove it. With his own words memorized, Jones found he could speak without stuttering. Crouch encouraged Jones to compete in high school debates and oratorical contests. One day, when he was a senior, Jones won both a public-speaking contest and a scholarship to University of Michigan.


When he started at the University, Jones majored in pre-med. He also joined the Reserve Officer Training Corp, where he excelled. It wasn’t long before he found himself more drawn to drama than medicine. Though he completed four years of college, he left without a degree. In late summer of 1953, he received his 2nd Lieutenant’s commission and his official orders. He was off to Ft. Benning, where he completed Ranger training.


After completing his service as an Army Ranger, Jones then headed to New York City to pursue his acting career. In time, he began getting small roles, which eventually led to larger, better roles. He has performed on Broadway, in movies, in TV shows, and has done voiceover work. Many people were surprised to find that his was the voice of Darth Vader in the Star Wars movies. And he lent his voice to Disney for his role as Mufasa, in the animated film The Lion King. One very special project he did though was to narrate an audio version of the KJV New Testament.

Jones is believed to be politically conservative, due to the fact that he supported the Gulf and Iraq wars, and is also a 2nd Amendment advocate. However, he prefers to keep his political views secret, and has stated that his endorsement is not for sale (which I respect).


James Earl Jones has become a well-respected and beloved actor and orator. He has won numerous awards for his voice and performances, including an Oscar nomination, numerous Emmy, Golden Globe and Tony awards and nominations. And all of this was accomplished by a man, who couldn’t even speak as a boy! Through encouragement from others, hard work, persistence, and an arduous program of public speaking, he overcame his debilitating handicap, to become one of the most talented and sought after voices in our time. Today he is one of America's most celebrated actors, renowned for what critics have called "the voice of the century."


Friday, May 1

Anguish, Anger, and Acceptance . . . Again

When I first started this blog, one year ago, I was being obedient to God by sharing my words, thoughts, etc. Most of what I post here comes solely from me, but some of what I post is from another source (My Princess book, American Patriot’s Almanac, etc). Sometimes I like to be informative, other times I like to simply have fun, and once in awhile I share with you my journey.


Regardless of what is posted each day, I strive to be real and relevant. Sometimes my words are for God, sometimes for others, and sometimes they are for me. Like most of you who do much writing, I find it to be cathartic. Sometimes, I simply have to let what is deep inside of me out. This is one of those times. While this is for me, it is not private otherwise I wouldn’t be posting it here. It is real and it is honest. I don't do fake Christianity.


First, let me say that I’ve been a Christian for ten years now. My relationship with God is deep enough that I can be real with Him, and He's big enough to handle it. I know there are mountain top experiences and valley experiences – and neither last forever. I understand that elation is on the mountain top while growth happens in the valley. I know God has a plan. I know He will never forsake me. I know He collects all my tears in a bottle. I know He uses things intended for harm and turns them into good. I know that God is good. I know all of this. But sometimes, I feel . . .


I had hoped to make a wonderful announcement soon. Instead I’m disappointed again. On March 31st, I discovered I was pregnant. We decided to wait until our first scheduled u/s to make the announcement. We were hopeful that this one would take. It hasn’t. We are now in the midst of our third miscarriage. Third. We have been dealing with this “threatened miscarriage” for two weeks already. The pregnancy is not viable, there’s basically nothing left but an empty sac, which is not passing on its own, so we had to schedule a D & C for next Wednesday. The day before what would have been our first scheduled u/s. Five days before Mother’s Day.


I don’t understand any of this. I’m hurt, disappointed, confused and angry. Very angry. I’m angry with my body for once again rejecting the life that was trying to grow within. And I’m angry with God. I know He could have intervened, but He didn’t. For whatever reason, known only to Him, He has allowed me to carry this burden again. As I have continued to delight myself in Him, I have not gotten the desires of my heart, but rather heartache.


I have an amazing, healthy and beautiful daughter that I love with all of my heart and I am eternally grateful for, but I wanted at least one more. Is that so wrong? This has been a five year journey. We are “older” first time parents and I desperately wanted to give Sweet Pea a sibling or two, because the likelihood of our passing when she is still relatively young is pretty strong. Of course that’s not the only reason we wanted another child. We just did.


The thing that gets me, is that those who seem least able or worthy of having children, have no problem doing so. Teens who are still children themselves, girls and guys who’d rather party than parent, drug addicts, welfare recipients, child abusers or murderers, etc. Rarely does a day go by that there’s not news of terrible child abuse. Just yesterday I heard of a local man and wife who’d been arrested for extreme child abuse. They admitted to breaking both the legs and an arm, as well as numerous other injuries, on their four year old daughter, over a potty training incident!


Once again, I just don’t understand. I come from a screwed up, dysfunctional family, both immediate and extended. I am the only one who’s worked to better myself. Booze, drugs, poverty, stripping, welfare, abuse, etc, is the normal way of life to my family. So is breeding like rabbits. The girls (my cousins) have lots of kids, who all have different fathers, whom they seldom marry. The guys really aren’t any better – it’s just harder to determine how many illegitimate children they really have. None of them take responsibility for the actual raising of the kids they have.


I grew up knowing life wasn’t fair. I accepted it. I didn’t really care that I’d been neglected, sexually and emotionally abused, was treated like a piece of dirt for being a welfare kid (that was before it was cool to be so), and many other things I survived or overcame from my childhood. I believed I could change the direction of my life and I did so. And yes, it was with God’s help. But He didn’t offer me anything that He hasn’t also offered my family (and millions others), I just reached out to receive it.


But this one thing makes me cry out to God, “It’s not fair!” Why is it that I am having such difficulty, when I’ve overcome so much and have so much to offer? We can provide a safe, loving home, and meet the needs of a child financially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. And I know I’m not the only one. Before I became a Christian, I’d only known one person who’d dealt with infertility – my friend LaNae, who was a Christian. But since I’ve become a Christian, I’ve met, known, and have heard of lots of other people who also struggle with this issue. Once again, it’s not fair!


So now we are faced with more choices. Do we continue on, trying to have another child of our own, trusting God to provide, and likely facing more bitter disappointment? Do we look into the option of adoption? Do we simply quit, accept the one child God has given us and be content to be a family of three? I’ve thought of adoption in the past, but I would rather it be a choice because that is what we want to do, not because we are forced into it because we have no other option.


I ‘feel’ very differently than what I ‘know’ and right now, this is my reality. I don’t need pat Christian answers or patronizing platitudes. Since the miscarriage is not yet complete, obviously neither is the grief. This is something we will get through, but I wish we didn’t have to. Frankly, it sucks. I wish this wasn’t happening again, but it is. And I know, that in the grand scheme of things, my problems are pretty minor compared to what millions, perhaps billions, throughout the world are suffering. Still, they are my problems and they do hurt. I haven’t been ok in the last couple of weeks, and it will probably be awhile before I am. Please don’t tell me that my pain will help someone else some day, because right now, I just don’t care.


Thanks for letting me vent and process. Thank you for allowing me to share my anguish, anger, and acceptance. Again.