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The Unknown Soldier

Memorial-day-2013As I thought about the upcoming Memorial Day, I surfed the web to see what interesting tidbit I could discover, and ended up on YouTube looking at videos of the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier. You cannot view the ceremony without realizing how far we have come, and I’m not so sure it is in the right direction.

Today, we take a more casual approach to life as a whole and this includes the way we celebrate our special days. Even though we have our picnics and parades, we typically regard the day as the coming of summer. Alas we can break out the white shoes and officially move into a more relaxed mode. Yet these men of the Old Guard recognize the importance of this memorial and regardless of the calendar’s date, time of day, or atmospheric conditions, and man their posts to carry out their duties with honor and decorum.

Not only is it impressive to watch the guards march back and forth, it is also captivating to see that it is not merely a rote exercise. When people step out of line, they move into action to execute their responsibilities. Check out this video. Fortunately, a word to the wise was sufficient.

They know this unknown veteran paid the ultimate price with his life, and it is his sacrifice and that of others like him that allows them and all of us to continue to enjoy the rewards that come with freedom.  Let’s use this Memorial Day to remember as we enjoy the fruits of freedom they purchased for us.

Does anyone really observe the National Day of Prayer?

National Day of Prayer ndop-2013-sccacc-wordpress-pageI typically listen to the radio when I have “mindless” tasks like curling my hair, cleaning the bathroom, etc. to do. I’m an auditory learner, so I really am engaged. This morning I was challenged and humbled at the number of men and women who called in to the Focus on the Family broadcast – not to ask questions, not to air their opinions, not to challenge authority, but to pray on this National Day of Prayer. The response was huge!

Each one of them prayed for our country

  • our government leaders from the President down to the janitors in the White House
  • our Congressmen and women
  • our state legislators
  • our local officials
  • our military
  • our Supreme Court Justices and throughout the court system – I should have added lawyers to the mix.

Other groups I had not thought to add to my original list were the families of the military, especially those who were still grieving the loss of a child, spouse or sibling who had given the ultimate sacrifice.

Interestingly, the biggest challenge and emphasis was not for the President and leaders, but for the church in America that we might be humbled and focused to seek God with our whole hearts. This is indeed a challenging thought. If God is going to be glorified in our nation and if we are going to have any measure of peace and safety, cleansing of hearts and lives will have to begin with God’s people and that includes me. I told you I was challenged. How about you?

History is about to change. Are you ready?

While waiting in a doctor’s office, I picked up a copy of the local newspaper. I’m always interested in people and their viewpoints, so I headed to the “Opinion” column. One person wrote in about a TV ad that obviously went against his candidate. Perhaps you’ve seen it also. This person opined the depiction of a young mom running to vent her frustration at her 2008 vote for Obama’s slogan of “Change.”

Rather than listen to the content of the message, the writer criticized the quality of this mom’s jogging stroller and the clothing of both her running attire and that of her little girl. Has this man never heard of grandparents or eBay? He also noted that he’d watched the ad several times to see if the woman was actually wearing a wedding ring. He carefully noted that he did not detect one meaning that he could not see it, but he did not offer a reason why. Were his eyes too dim? Did she not have one on? And if that was the case was it because she had just finished washing dishes and forgot, she needed to hock it for cash, the financial pressures of her husband being out of work caused a riff in their marriage resulting in divorce; etc.? Were her hands hidden? Was the picture too small to see it even if it were there? We don’t know and neither did he, but you can guess his implication.

Here’s my point. If you have nothing better to do than rip campaign ads to shreds, and you have an analytical or critical spirit, go for it. Right now you’ve got plenty to look at on both sides of the spectrum. But if you’re trying to persuade voters to choose your candidate, you have certainly lost my vote.

Let’s deal with the real issues facing us today and determine if we’re better off before or after the Obama administration.

  • How about our economy?
  • Are you doing better or worse, are you richer or poorer? (Sounds like wedding vows, but we’re not married to Obama.)
  • What do you think about the increase in the national debt?
  • Why are many medical professionals throwing in the towel because of Obamacare?
  • How do the candidates stand on issues that impact your personal values?

Do you know?

I heard about a young man who was not sure if he would vote in this election. This would be his first opportunity. He said he wanted to be an informed voter, and as of the Sunday prior to the election, he did not know where the candidates stood. Fair enough. As we saw from the above comments on TV ads, the sound bites may not be clear. If that’s your stand, then check out FRC Action’s (Family Research Council) voter’s guide. It’s downloadable so that you can share it or carry it with you on Election Day.

History is about to change, but we all need to do our part and vote. Are you ready?

Will flattery get you nowhere?

Flattery will get you nowhere?

Growing up, one of my dad’s favorite sayings when I’d try to manipulate him to my way of thinking was, “Flattery will get you nowhere!” Dad could see through my schemes because he knew about how people “flatter with their tongue.” That word used for flatter means to divide, share, plunder, allot, apportion or assign. In other words, those who use it are trying to get part of you for their goals and agenda not your own. Dad stood his ground because he loved me and didn’t want me to get hurt or into trouble. He could see beyond my selfish whims.

Does the statement “flattery will get you nowhere” remain true today? After all, we’re continually bombarded with flattery-based rhetoric to pull us in a certain direction to purchase certain products or vote for a certain candidate. Does it even matter? If we are purchasing a certain brand of cereal or article of clothing, we’re not likely to experience any long-term problems. When we’re casting our vote, we could encounter repercussions, some that might extend beyond our lifetime impacting our children, grandchildren and those of everyone else in the nation. It’s important to stand our ground for what is right, so we need to know and understand truth in order to make a wise decision. We’ve got to look beyond that which tickles our ears. Yes, we’ll do our homework, but we can also observe how those trying to persuade us demonstrate their passion.

I read an alarming account on Fox News about  Wisconsin State Legislator’s son, Sean Kedzie, who was beat up trying to protect a Romney / sign in his front yard. Makes you question the discernment and amount of homework these perpetrators did to determine that it warranted violence and destruction of private property. Perhaps in this election, flattery is getting somewhere.

A babe speaks out about the Presidential election

Babe? No, I’m not talking about a hot looking woman; rather, I am referring to those who are considered too immature to count or have an opinion that matters. Yet this 13-year old young lady demonstrates that there is hope for the future. In fulfillment of a class project, Jenny makes a great case by looking at the track records of presidential hopefuls Barack Obama and Mitt Romney and gives each of them a grade based on their performance – novel concept. Looks to me like she’s already moved beyond the elementary teachings as she ably researched and organized her information to deliver it in a comprehensive and easy-to-understand format.  As a former teacher, I’d give her an A.

You may have seen this youtube video in other blogs, but I think it bears repeating for several reasons:

  • Jenny did an excellent job. We need to recognize and affirm our young people for excellent performance so that they will continue to move forward. It does not help anyone, especially the children, when you keep passing them on so that they won’t feel sad or unworthy. Instead commend them when they do well so they’ll learn to accept responsibility to do better or continue on their forward trek.
  • Jenny was more professional in her presentation than many adults in business today. Not only was she neat in her appearance, but she smiled and presented her information in a clear and concise manner. Obviously the debates were not her model.
  • Jenny was articulate in her speech – unless I missed it, there were no “Yo’s or dudes” in the entire presentation. She prepared her material, primarily factual, in an interesting, relatable manner. Everyone could “get it.”
  • Jenny had excellent mentors. Sounds like Mrs. Jackson and her father have accepted their responsibility and opportunity to teach her well including the newest technology.
  • Jenny made some outstanding points.

I’ve seen some comments related to this video stating that a 13 year old was incapable of producing a video of this quality. Maybe the commenter’s kids went to inferior schools. I have 3 grandchildren who could produce an equally professional video, but then they have parents who encourage them to do their best.

Want to watch it again? Click here:  http://youtu.be/prmGb1o3dcQ

Kudos to Yasniger for sharing this information.

So who won the VP debate?

Covered by Obamacare?

Even the media can’t tell. The morning-after headlines say it depends – are you asking a Democrat or a Republican? Bottom line is the polls are pretty well evenly split unlike the camera shots during the debate. There’s no doubt whose side the networks favor.

Personally, I got tired of Biden’s interrupting to take away Ryan’s opportunity to speak, and Martha Raddatz did not perform perfectly in holding him accountable though she did do a far superior job than her counterpart moderating the candidates for the Presidential race. That said, she was out to pin Ryan down for facts, but let Biden escape with generalities and words like “stuff.”

Did you notice the camera shots? Every time Ryan spoke, Biden’s pearly whites also showed up because of the split screen. (Kudos to Joe’s dentist.) When Biden had the floor, however, he often held the camera’s full attention and the full screen. Is this intentional? Absolutely. We even changed channels to see if this was the case on another station. It was.

Give me a break. I suppose I am naïve in the fact that I want objective news. Give me the facts so that I can make up my own mind. Unfortunately, the networks (Whose payroll are they on?) decided that we, the American voters, are stupid. We are incapable of making a decision without their subliminal messages directing us toward their candidate.

I’m putting my money on Ryan. He listened to the questions and both respectfully and clearly articulated his answers, and to me, they made sense. He even did it without the drama of a smirking smile. But then if I had spent as much on my teeth as Biden obviously has, I’d want to show them off too.

Don’t abandon the ship

 

I know it’s only August, but both the Democratic and Republican parties will be holding their conventions soon and the Presidential election frenzy has already begun. Before you decide that all politicians are crooked or that your vote doesn’t really matter, I want to encourage you, “Don’t abandon the ship, by not voting.”

Every vote matters and yours is important as well as those of your friends and neighbors. We need to be using this time to encourage people to

  • Register to vote, if they have not done so
  • Get informed
  • Get out to vote
  • Vote intelligently

The Internet is replete with stories about the difference that one vote has made, yet many of them have proven to be myths. That said, your vote does count and so does your influence. If you have done your homework (see yesterday’s blog) and feel strongly about an issue, why not use social media to get some dialogue going? You don’t want to be arrogant, but you certainly want to be knowledgeable and share what you’ve learned.

We want to keep our freedoms, so use your influence to help keep them.

Did you do your homework?

For college kids, August marks the return to school and hopefully renewed vigor to embrace learning. But the pursuit of knowledge requires more than listening to lectures, cracking books and writing papers. Real learning involves research, analysis and measurement against truth before you can answer any questions. Bottom line is it requires some effort, a.k.a. homework. We expect our kids to do it, but are we willing to do the same?

In case you’ve been away or tried to escape what’s going on in the US, it’s an election year. Both the Democratic and Republican candidates are lining up determined to get our vote. Rather than go into the negative ads or address PR ploys and half truths, I’d like to ask a question. Would you be willing to do your homework? If so, you can use the acronym RAM.

Research

Would you be willing to do your own research? This might involve foregoing the nightly news with its biased reporting to find genuine, reliable sources for information on both sides. You can start with each party’s website to see the issues they are considering most important, but I’d suggest you make your own list of priorities first to see if either side is in touch with the pulse of the real people. Then look at their records and jot down the facts. What have they done in the past? How did they accomplish what they wanted to do? Were their methods constitutional? What was their rate of success or impact? Do they share a consistent message with all audiences? Once you get into the research, you’ll find you have a lot more topics for discussion on your own. See if you can find answers. Look for opportunities and forums to ask your questions. When you find them, jot down the responses. You might want to organize the information as you get it. (Time always seems to be at a premium.) A chart might be a helpful tool when you get to the next step.

Analyze

You’ve got some of the facts. Now you need to review them to determine how their platform aligns on the issues. Are they consistent across the board? Do they discriminate against any particular group? (Baby boomers might want to pay particular attention here.) Do they have a reputable track record? Have their programs / policies worked? Are you personally and the country as a whole better or worse off since their election? (Obviously this is for incumbents, but it’s important we ask and not be clouded by media and ads. Do your homework here as well.)

Measure

One last step before you make your decision. How do both sides measure against truth? For Christians, the standard would include the Word of God, but all citizens should look to the Constitution. Some choose to redefine it and history while others understand the original intent of its authors. The Constitution has served us well for over 200 years. It is what made us great as a nation.

Before you head to the polls, I would ask, “Did you finish your homework?”

How about some 236 year birthday fun?

For those in the US, we’re celebrating the 236th birthday of our nation. Here’s a quiz to test your 4th of July knowledge.

1. July 4, 1776 is considered the birthday of our nation and recognizes the signing of this document.

  1. Mayflower Compact
  2. Declaration of Human Rights
  3. Constitution
  4. Declaration of Independence

2. How many men signed this renowned document?

  1. 56
  2. 50
  3. 54
  4. 49

3. The signers of this document were

  1. Poor men
  2. Men of means, wealthy landowners
  3. Wild-eyed pirates
  4. All of the above

4. The courageous signers of the document knew the win / loss results could be

  1. Peace / prison
  2. Safety / deportation
  3. Struggling hardships / death
  4. All of the above

5. Less than half of the signers lived through the Revolutionary War to forge our country’s future and the rest were

  1. Tortured to death
  2. Had their homes sacked, looted occupied by the enemy or burned
  3. Lost their own lives or their family members in the war
  4. All of the above

6. This signer new King George’s eyesight was poor and courageously made his signature with large bold letters so the king would not miss it.

  1. Benjamin Franklin
  2. John Hancock
  3. Thomas Jefferson
  4. Benjamin Rush

The signers of this document relied firmly on God’s protection and leadership as evidenced by signing their names to these words:

“And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”

Our Founding Fathers were men of character, confidence and conviction, yet they looked beyond the comfort of their own lives. They willingly sacrificed all of it for us. Not relying on their own resources or plans, they felt God’s leading and surrendered to it. Though it cost them dearly, they understood the import of their mission and allowed God to lead them to victory. The price of our freedom came at a very high price. We must not forget.

I wonder if we today would be as courageous and bold?

Thanks to all who maintain our freedom and Happy Birthday USA!

Answers: 1 – 4; 2 – 1; 3 – 2; 4 – 3; 5 – 4; 6 – 2 

Peter’s no hero

Who does he think he is, anyway? I’ve absolutely had it with Peter. Sorry to vent, but I just have to tell someone before I scream. I actually caught him in the act, and it made me furious. By the way, Peter is a wild rabbit.

Those who know me well understand my love for gardening and in particular growing my own vegetables. Not only do they taste so much better than grocery store fare, but the garden sure helps the budget. If I can put away some of my fresh produce, I can enjoy the savings throughout the year.

Unfortunately, Peter does not agree, and he has made it his mission to demolish half of my plants. It matters not that my garden incorporates approximately 256 square feet and that directly behind it is over 320,000 square feet of wild land filled with grasses, raspberries and other wild delicacies, all of which, according to the Internet, are actually more beneficial to his health than the plants he’s eating from my patch. They are certainly plentiful and easier to access to satisfy his voracious appetite as well. He does not even have to chew threw a heavy plastic fence to get to them. But no, his only concern is trying to take what he thinks is best at the moment. He has neither logical rationale nor consideration and respect for my efforts, needs and desires. It’s all about his agenda. Maybe he works for the government.

Though this true account is totally frustrating, I suppose the timing of it is appropriate as it makes me begin to think of the 4th of July celebration and our country’s founding fathers. We remember their character, strength and life-giving sacrifices to provide freedom for us. They planted seeds of patriotism and independence providing us a harvest of rights that have proven themselves for over 230 years. Perhaps on this Independence Day, our Declaration of Independence should be renewed in the hearts and minds of every citizen. John Quincy Adams says it well. “Posterity – you will never know how much it has cost my generation to preserve your freedom. I hope you will make good use of it.” We must remember because if we become lax in our vigilance, others will come in to tear down what we have sown, even undermining the protections we’ve put into place.

As we prepare our barbecues and fireworks, let’s reflect on the yesterdays that made our country great before it is too late. Former President Woodrow Wilson provided this warning. “A nation which does not remember what it was yesterday, does not know what it is today, nor what it is trying to do. We are trying to do a futile thing if we do not know where we came from or what we have been about.”

We need to look back and remember in order to foil the victory of those who would like to sabotage our garden of independence.