Saturday, January 31, 2009

Shucks...You Shouldn't Have


Thanks to Ohilda, my dear bloggy friend at Bouquet of Blessings, who has awarded my blog the 'Love' award. Here is the description of a 'Love' Award recipient:

"These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find friends and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships will be propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly- written text into the body of their award."

Exceedingly charming? Moi blog? I dunno about all that, but I do really feel blessed by the women I have met in cyber-space. I do enjoy finding friends and being one. So, umm, k then! I accept.

My turn to nominate 8 more cyber-friends' blogs. In no particular order:

Val @ (D)rivvel Supp

Catherine @ Catherine's Chatter

Maverl Girl's Mommy @ If I Only Had Super Powers

Christi @ Cherry Blossom Life

Erin @ Erinlo

Eileen @ Scravings

Karen @ Always in My Heart

Marcia @ Clive and Marcia and Family (invite only--so no link--sorry)

Although, I have never met any of these women in realdeal life, I know their families, interests and passions. I look forward to reading about the ups and downs of their lives, celebrating the joy and offering a shoulder in sorrow.

And I am certain that, any combination of us, if under one roof, could make some sort of godly mischief together. lol

What a weird virtual world we 'live' in!!

Nixed Super Bowl Ad

Visit the link below to see a Super Bowl ad that will not be allowed during the game.

CatholicVote.org

Short, sweet and oh so true.

Let's let God sort it all out.

He alone, knows the immeasurable worth, the endless possibility of each precious life.


Kudos to the Catholic church for publicly fighting for the unborn.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

And just like that *snap* BOOM, bAm-- CONVICTION

Ummm, yeah. Odd thing.

Apparently, God is not all about the negative tantruming and stomping about.

Ap*parent*ly, He prefers a calmer, more prayerful approach to discontent, danger and the transition of power of the governments of men. Huh. Who knew?

(guilty raising of the hand) Ummm, that would be *me*. Yeah. I knew.

So, what does that mean? How does this li'l reminder translate into action?

Well, there will be no less discontent, but there will be more cowbell (haha), er, I mean PRAYER!

God has issued an itty bitty challenge--->mandate--->edict--->commandment.


No complaining, without prayer. Gonna bellyache on the blog? Gonna follow up with PRAYER on the blog.

I don't know what I expect, really. I mean, the title of the blog *is* sort of "And Then God Said", so well, there ya have it.

The story of my relationship with God goes a little like this (me, talking to girlfriend): And so then, I said, " blah blah blah blah" and then *He* said, " yada yada yayda yada" and so, without additional blather, I present to you, my prayer tool for the next four years (as suggested by God):

The Presidential Prayer Team website. Go visit it. It's awesome and just what I need right now.

I was a card carrying (well, owning) member of the team for "W"'s presidency. I have the CD. I had the passion and the belief and the scripture. My fervor waned over the eight years of Bush's terms (I am not proud of that, but that is the truth), but I felt it was my duty and my honor to cover Mr. Bush, his family and our country in prayer.

So, it will be the same for me and Mr. Obama. Only I admit it is even hard for me to TYPE those words, much less put them into practice. That is why I know I will need assistance, accountibility and more cowbell (dang, that is just only funny to me, isn't it?).

Here is where I will begin my obedience to my Lord Jesus (teeth a bit clenched; some from fussing with God and some from resolve).

INSPIRATIONAL REFERENCES FOR THE WEEK

You answer us with awesome deeds of righteousness, O God our Savior, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas, who formed the mountains by Your power, having armed Yourself with strength, who stilled the roaring of the seas, the roaring of their waves, and the turmoil of the nations.
—The Bible, Psalm 65:5-7 (NIV)

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."
—The Bible, Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)


The scripture references, a Presidential quote (this week is Ronald Reagan---*love* him), history about the role of Christianity in the lives of past President's (this week is John Adams) and more are all provided on the Presidential Prayer Team homepage. There are also links for how to get involved, ways to let kids participate in the team, upcoming prayer events, etc.


So, I am letting you all know this is how it must be for me for the next four years. Am I expecting it to be easy? Nope. Am I expecting miracles? I wish I had more faith for that. I really do. Maybe that will come. No matter what, though, no peevishness without prayer. Help me, Lord. I need You.



If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. ---2 Chronicles 7:14

And so it begins, er...um... continues

Obama to Lift Ban on Funding for Groups Providing Abortions Overseas

President Obama will continue the back-and-forth of presidents before him by using the Roe v. Wade anniversary to allow non-governmental organizations working abroad to use U.S. funding to give counseling on or provide abortions.

FOXNews.com

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Obama will issue an executive order on Thursday reversing the Bush administration policy that bans the use of federal dollars by non-governmental organizations that discuss or provide abortions outside of the United States.

Obama will sign the executive order on the 36th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in all 50 states.

The policy, known in governmental circles as the "Mexico City policy," requires any non-governmental organization to agree before receiving U.S. funds that they will "neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations."

The language was announced at the United Nations International Conference on Population in 1984, and was approved by President Reagan and originally drafted by his assistant secretary of state, Alan Keyes.

Keyes ran unsuccessfully as the GOP nominee against Obama for the U.S. Senate in 2004.

President George Herbert Walker Bush continued Reagan's Mexico City policy.

President Bill Clinton issued an executive order lifting the ban on Jan. 22, 1993. President George W. Bush issued an executive order re-instating the ban on federal dollars for NGOs that discuss or provide abortions on Jan. 22, 2001.

Oh. Well, as long as you're sorry...

WASHINGTON -- (from Fox News website)

Treasury Secretary-designate Timothy Geithner said Wednesday he was careless in failing to pay $34,000 in Social Security and Medicare taxes earlier this decade but declared "I have paid what I owed" and apologized to Congress. (But don't you, dear gentle-reader, go and try to make an innocent mistake on your taxes. Because I can just tell you (first hand) that 'sorry' don't cut it for you and me).


He told the Senate Finance Committee he was sorry that his past transgressions were now an issue in his confirmation (I'll just bet you are, sir) at a time of deepening economic crisis and urged Congress to act quickly. A top administration priority is to foster economic recovery and "get credit flowing again," Geithner testified. (No telling what methods will be used to do so, since we're not too picky about following the law where he comes from).

As to his failure to pay the payroll taxes from 2001 to 2004 while he worked for the International Monetary Fund, Geithner said: "These were careless mistakes. They were avoidable mistakes."

"But they were unintentional," he said. "I should have been more careful." (Yes, I know, son. It was an accident that Mrs. Smith's window (your tax burden) was broken (unpaid) by your baseball (oversight). But you still need to pay to replace it (say you're sorry and walk away). Yeah. Something like that).

Geithner told the panel that, for the 2001 and 2002 tax years, he had prepared his tax returns himself with a popular tax-preparation computer program. (And that is relevant, how?)

Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the panel, noted that as Treasury secretary, Geithner would be in charge of the Internal Revenue Service and should therefore come under especially tight scrutiny on the issue of paying his personal taxes. (Ya think? Well, at least the man from Iowa said, out loud, what I was thinking. Go, Chuck!!)

He suggested the danger of "sweeping the under the rug" Geithner's tax problems in a rush to get him confirmed. (Ya think? Well, at least.... Wait. I already said this, didn't I?).

"I have paid what I owed," Geithner said under grilling from Grassley. "I apologize to the committee for putting you in the position of having to spend so much time on these issues." (Again, I guess as long as you're sorry (you got caught) then that makes it all OK. No need for any natural and logical consequences to your illegal actions).

Obama last week called Geithner's tax problems an embarrassment but an "innocent mistake." (It always is an innocent mistake for this guy, huh? ACORN, Rev. Wright, etc., etc, etc. And now, Gitmo!!)

Geithner failed to pay $34,000 in self-employment taxes from 2001 to 2004 for money he earned while he worked at the International Monetary Fund. He paid some of the taxes in 2006 after an audit discovered the discrepancy for the years 2003 and 2004.

But it wasn't until two years later, days before Obama tapped him to head Treasury last November (oops, sorry for the shrill screaming!!! ::ahem:: Wow, what an amazing coincidence)-- that Geithner paid back taxes he owed for the years 2001 and 2002.


He did so after Obama's transition team found that Geithner had made the same tax mistake his first two years at the IMF as the one the IRS found he made during his last two years at the international lending agency. (Hey, wait a minute. I thought this was an 'innocent mistake'. Well, fool me once and all that jazz, but I see a pattern and smell a rat).

Day 2.

And so it goes.

And so it shall be.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sometimes, ignorance really *is* bliss

(excerpt from this blog site)

Outrage is erupting over the inauguration benediction by Rev. Joseph Lowery, an 87-year-old civil rights pioneer, for asking God to help mankind work for a day when "white would embrace what is right."

Lowery, known for co-founding the Southern Christian Leadership Conference with Martin Luther King Jr., asked God to encourage America to make "choices on the side of love, not hate, on the side of inclusion not exclusion, tolerance not intolerance" after President Barack Obama took the presidential oath.

Then he ended his prayer with, "Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get back, when brown can stick around – when yellow will be mellow – when the red man can get ahead, man – and when white will embrace what is right."

Obama reacted to the benediction with a smile.

The crowd cheered and boomed with a loud "Amen."

***************************************************************************************

Are you kidding me?

This would be soooo hilarious to me, conjuring up remembrances of that juvenile playground taunt, "nana nana boo-boo, you got what you voted for") except ::ahem::, yooohooo!!! and Wake Up People!!...we are talking about the spiritual blessing prayed over the highest office and the highest elected official of the COUNTRY THAT I LOVE!!!!

Yeah. I purposefully skipped out on today's pomp and pageantry. I knew I would be unable to be happy, hopeful or hyped.

So, I went shopping over my lunch hour and thought I would catch up with the day's events through my chosen (vs. forced) medium at the end of the day.

Ahhh....bliss.

Until I read the above and well, I was happier before.

Lord Jesus, rescue our nation. We are desperate and wicked. We are silly and blind.

**of course, you know that the title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, right? In this new era, ignorance is dangerous.

Honoring the Memory of MLK Jr.

“Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?'

Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?'

But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?'

And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.”

------Martin Luther King Junior

Monday, January 19, 2009

Leaping Off the Page

Psalm 46

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of the sons of Korah. A Song for Alamoth.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear,
Even though the earth be removed,
And though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
3 Though its waters roar and be troubled,
Though the mountains shake with its swelling. Selah

4 There is a river whose streams shall make glad the city of God,
The holy place of the tabernacle of the Most High.
5 God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.
6 The nations raged, the kingdoms were moved;
He uttered His voice, the earth melted.

7 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah

8 Come, behold the works of the LORD,
Who has made desolations in the earth.
9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariot in the fire.

10 Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth!

11 The LORD of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our refuge. Selah


As I was reading the Bible this morning, I turned to the Psalms (on-line) and scrolled through the familiar verses, seeking comfort. As I read through this particular Psalm, I was struck by verse 5.

I am claiming it for myself today, as I continue to be lost and lonely.


God is in the midst of her, she shall not be moved;
God shall help her, just at the break of dawn.

Please, Lord, let it be so for me today.

Help me, just at the break of dawn.

Amen.

Caleb's 5th Birthday (and Great Grandma's, too) **UPDATED

Best present ever?

A Radio Flyer Big Wheel.

Worst thing ever about having a winter birthday?


A Radio Flyer Big Wheel.

Caleb also received: a Puzzle. 'Cars' Coloring and Sticker books. "What's Gnu?" game. Bath toys. And the quirkiest present ever....A SpongeBob Sea Monkey kit.


Grandma received another animated stuffed holiday creature for her growing collection. lol It sings/plays/and blinks its lights to "Jingle Bell Rock". She seemed to like it and immediately Grandpa was full of creative ideas of how to awaken his wife in the morning (something about setting all of them off at once and then leaving the apt. to go for his morning walk).

Grandma also provided the cake of Caleb's choice (chocolate with chocolate frosting), complete with 'Cars' decorations. It was yummy. Grandma is one super Betty Crocker.
Anyway, we all ate (chicken tortilla soup, deli style sandwiches and relishes) and laughed till we needed a nap, but Caleb was having none of that! lol

It was a great birthday and we pray for many, many more generational combo birthdays in the future.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

And so it goes....

Obama Hosting Pricey Party in Hard Times

The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million.

AP

Sunday, January 18, 2009

WASHINGTON -

Unemployment is up. The stock market is down. Let's party.

The price tag for President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration gala is expected to break records, with some estimates reaching as high as $150 million. Despite the bleak economy, however, Democrats who called on President George W. Bush to be frugal four years ago are issuing no such demands now that an inaugural weekend of rock concerts and star-studded parties has begun.

Obama's inaugural committee has raised more than $41 million to cover events ranging from a Philadelphia-to-Washington train ride to a megastar concert with Beyonce, U2 and Bruce Springsteen to 10 official inaugural balls. Add to that the massive costs of security and transportation (costs absorbed by U.S. taxpayers) and the historic inauguration will produce an equally historic bill.

In 2005, Reps. Anthony Weiner, D-N.Y., and Jim McDermott, D-Wash., asked Bush to show a little less pomp and be a little more circumspect at his party.

"President Roosevelt held his 1945 inaugural at the White House, making a short speech and serving guests cold chicken salad and plain pound cake," the two lawmakers wrote in a letter. "During World War I, President Wilson did not have any parties at his 1917 inaugural, saying that such festivities would be undignified."

The thinking was that, with the nation at war, excessive celebration was inappropriate. Four years later, the nation is still at war. Unemployment has risen sharply. And Obama pressed Congress to release the second half of a $700 billion bailout package in hopes of rescuing a faltering banking industry.

Obama's inauguration committee says it is mindful of the times and is not worried people will see the four days of festivities as excessive.

"That is probably not the way the country is going to be looking at it," said committee spokeswoman Linda Douglass. "It is not a celebration of an election. It is a celebration of our common values."

Douglass said the campaign sought to keep costs down by having the same decorations at each of the 10 balls, eliminating floral arrangements and negotiating prices on food.

"Those at the Obama administration are trying to be reflective of the climate," McDermott's spokesman, Mike DeCeasar, said Saturday.

**(from Fox News website)

******************************************************************************

No matter how offensive it is to point it out, the American media is biased. Completely. Sold out. Owned. Fawning idiots.

I am embarrassed for them, because they are nekkid and don't know it. But I do and therefore, oftentimes, I must avert my gaze because it is too awful to look upon the hideously ugly sight.

"Celebration of common values"?

Huh? Wait. What?

"Costs absorbed by the taxpayers"?

Oh yeah. *That* I get.

The double standard and equal blindness of the Democrat party is laughable. I am so thankful to have a media source that, although not perfect, at least attempts to put forth the comparative truth, replaying for us the blaming, whining, self-righteous, finger-pointing statements and actions. Because, when played back, they are self-condemning; even damning.

With hardly a word being said, except the hollow echo of their own.

Friday, January 16, 2009

No, really. Thank *you*


I am so thankful for President Bush's service to our nation for the past 8 years. We campaigned for, supported and prayed for this man and his family. Despite the polls that say otherwise, I predict that the legacy President Bush leaves in history will be a very positive one. And although I did not agree with Mr. Bush on all issues, I always felt that he and I were on the same team, heading in the same direction. Farewell, President Bush. We shall certainly miss your leadership of our nation. God bless America.

(I have highlighted portions of President Bush's speech that especially resonated with me. I have added some of my own (brief) thoughts in italics).

(CNN) -- President George W. Bush gave a farewell speech to nation on Thursday night. The text of the speech follows:

Thank you. Fellow citizens, for eight years, it has been my honor to serve as your president.

The first decade of this new century has been a period of consequence, a time set apart.

Tonight, with a thankful heart, I have asked for a final opportunity to share some thoughts on the journey we have traveled together and the future of our nation.

Five days from now, the world will witness the vitality of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose history reflects the enduring promise of our land.

This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation. And I join all Americans in offering best wishes to President-elect Obama, his wife, Michelle, and their two beautiful girls.

Tonight, I am filled with gratitude to Vice President Cheney and members of the administration; to Laura, who brought joy to this house and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Barbara and Jenna; to my parents, whose examples have provided strength for a lifetime.

And above all, I thank the American people for the trust you have given me. I thank you for the prayers that have lifted my spirits. And I thank you for the countless acts of courage, generosity and grace that I have witnessed these past eight years.

This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house, September 11, 2001. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since Pearl Harbor.

I remember standing in the rubble of the World Trade Center three days later, surrounded by rescuers who had been working around the clock. I remember talking to brave souls who charged through smoke-filled corridors at the Pentagon and to husbands and wives whose loved ones became heroes aboard Flight 93.

I remember Arlene Howard, who gave me her fallen son's police shield as a reminder of all that was lost. And I still carry his badge.

As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11. But I never did. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. And I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe. ----And I am so grateful for President Bush's belief that the threat exists every minute of every day. His vigilance has helped keep us safe.

Over the past seven years, a new Department of Homeland Security has been created. The military, the intelligence community and the FBI have been transformed. Our nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists' movements, freeze their finances and break up their plots.

And with strong allies at our side, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them. Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young democracy that is fighting terror and encouraging girls to go to school.

Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Arab democracy at the heart of the Middle East and a friend of the United States.

There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions, but there can be little debate about the results.

America has gone more than seven years without another terrorist attack on our soil. This is a tribute to those who toil day and night to keep us safe -- law enforcement officers, intelligence analysts, homeland security and diplomatic personnel, and the men and women of the United States armed forces.

Our nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. And America owes you a debt of gratitude.

And to all our men and women in uniform listening tonight, there has been no higher honor than serving as your commander in chief.

The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience and marks unbelievers for murder.

The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God and that liberty and justice light the path to peace.

This is the belief that gave birth to our nation. And in the long run, advancing this belief is the only practical way to protect our citizens.

When people live in freedom, they do not willingly choose leaders who pursue campaigns of terror. When people have hope in the future, they will not cede their lives to violence and extremism. ------I pray that this is true, when we are tested as a nation. I pray...

So around the world, America is promoting human liberty, human rights and human dignity. We are standing with dissidents and young democracies, providing AIDS medicine to bring dying patients back to life, and sparing mothers and babies from malaria. And this great republic, born alone in liberty, is leading the world toward a new age when freedom belongs to all nations.

For eight years, we have also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home. Across our country, students are rising to meet higher standards in public schools. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing peace of mind to seniors and the disabled. Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes.

The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith- based programs. Vulnerable human life is better protected. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled. America's air, water and lands are measurably cleaner. And the federal bench includes wise new members, like Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts.

When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy. These are very tough times for hardworking families, but the toll would be far worse if we had not acted.

All Americans are in this together. And together, with determination and hard work, we will restore our economy to the path of growth. We will show the world once again the resilience of America's free enterprise system.

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks and there are things I would do differently, if given the chance.

Yet, I've always acted with the best interests of our country in mind. I have followed my conscience and done what I thought was right. You may not agree with some tough decisions I have made, but I hope you can agree that I was willing to make the tough decisions.

The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course.

While our nation is safer than it was seven years ago, the gravest threat to our people remains another terrorist attack. Our enemies are patient and determined to strike again. --------Without a doubt, they are patient and waiting and determined. Without a doubt, they have not forgotten their mission. But our ADHD tendencies as a nation, insures that most of us will be surprised when we are struck again.

America did nothing to seek or deserve this conflict. But we have been given solemn responsibilities, and we must meet them. We must resist complacency. We must keep our resolve. And we must never let down our guard.

At the same time, we just continue to engage the world with confidence and clear purpose. In the face of threats from abroad, it can be tempting to seek comfort by turning inward. But we must reject isolationism and its companion, protectionism.

Retreating behind our borders would only invite danger. In the 21st century, security and prosperity at home depend on the expansion of liberty abroad. If America does not lead the cause of freedom, that cause will not be led. ------Absolute truth. If we do not maintain our nation's status as beacon of hope to the world, there will be no land on earth to carry on the legacy.

As we address these challenges, and others we cannot foresee tonight, America must maintain our moral clarity.

I have often spoken to you about good and evil, and this has made some uncomfortable. But good and evil are present in this world and between the two, there can be no compromise. Murdering the innocent to advance an ideology is wrong every time, everywhere. -----Wow. Did he really say that? How un-PC. How much we need to hear the truth. Repeatedly.

Freeing people from oppression and despair is eternally right. This nation must continue to speak out for justice and truth. We must always be willing to act in their defense and to advance the cause of peace.

President Thomas Jefferson once wrote, "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past." As I leave the house he occupied two centuries ago, I share that optimism.

America is a young country, full of vitality, constantly growing and renewing itself. And even in the toughest times, we lift our eyes to the broad horizon ahead.

I have confidence in the promise of America because I know the character of our people. This is a nation that inspires immigrants to risk everything for the dream of freedom. ----Ours is the only nation on the face of the earth that people are routinely willing to risk their lives to become Americans.

This is a nation where citizens show calm in times of danger and compassion in the face of suffering. We see examples of America's character all around us, and Laura and I have invited some of them to join us in the White House this evening.

We see America's character in Dr. Tony Recasner, a principal who opened a new charter school from the ruins of Hurricane Katrina. We see it in Julio Medina, a former inmate who leads a faith-based program to help prisoners returning to society. We see it in Staff Sgt. Aubrey McDade, who charged into an ambush in Iraq and rescued three of his fellow Marines.

We see America's character in Bill Krissoff, a surgeon from California. His son Nathan, a Marine, gave his life in Iraq. When I met Dr. Krissoff and his family, he delivered some surprising news. He told me he wanted to join the Navy Medical Corps in honor of his son.

This good man was 60 years old, 18 years above the age limit. But his petition for a waiver was granted, and for the past year he has trained in battlefield medicine.

Lt. Cmdr. Krissoff could not be here tonight, because he will soon deploy to Iraq, where he will help save America's wounded warriors and uphold the legacy of his fallen son.

In citizens like these, we see the best of our country, resilient and hopeful, caring and strong. These virtues give me an unshakable faith in America. We have faced danger and trial, and there is more ahead.

But with the courage of our people and confidence in our ideals, this great nation will never tire, never falter and never fail.

It has been the privilege of a lifetime to serve as your president. There have been good days and tough days. But every day, I have been inspired by the greatness of our country and uplifted by the goodness of our people.

I have been blessed to represent this nation we love. And I will always be honored to carry a title that means more to me than any other -- citizen of the United States of America.

And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time, good night. May God bless this house and our next president. And may God bless you and our wonderful country.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Let the Screaming and General Tantruming Commence

Why wait? Why should I wait till the inauguration to begin my tantrums?

*He's* not waiting till he is sworn into office to begin to negatively affect my future and that of my children, grandchildren and great, great, great- grandchildren.

How can this even happen? He is not even President yet. I mean, in my secret fantasy, I'd like to start making decisions and tossing my opinions and ideas out their for Congress to immediately act upon.

OH WAIT!!

*That's* how it's supposed to work. They work for ME!!

ugh

We are so $cr*w*d.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pointed Pondering--a bit raw

Menopause
(chemically induced)

Empty Nest
(allmost)

Sadness
(underlying--all the time)

Hormones
(whacked out)

Depression
(self-diagnosed)

Struggles
(more like whimpers, really)

Don't Care
(truth)

Sweats
(the kind you wear and the ones that keep you up at night)

Isolation
(self-imposed)

These are the things that have been swirling around in my head and heart for nigh on a year now. Surprised, dear gentle-reader? Had no idea? Oh, I can cover. I can cope (just barely). I can put one foot in front of the other. No-one really even knows I struggle, since I do not talk about it. I can do it. Yes, I can! (yuck)

But today, I am done. I ain't foolin' me and I ain't foolin' God. Nosiree. He is not buying it and neither am I. I am a sad, empty, hormonal, directionless mess of humanity. (:::tsk tsk tsk::: sadly shaking head to and fro). I am a mess.

Mostly, I feel so empty and sad that I just don't care. I am (for the first time in my life) adopting the avoidance route, the passive stance.

Usually, I am a go-getter, even in my times of struggle and doubt and grief, I get after it. I dig into the Word of God. I worship harder. I seek counsel. I journal. I expectantly await revelation and insight from God.

Not this time. Not this place. I am stuck with a capital 'S' and a loud --'uck'!! Not moving and don't care. I have watched more TV in this last year than I have my entire lifetime, up till this point. Icky-doo.

I have spent more time avoiding people than hanging with them. Hey, it's work, people!!, WORK to screen calls, to feel the guilt and the pressure; to Facebook someone versus sharing coffee/tea/water---it's work, I tell you, exhausting, challenging work!

So, I don't know what the issue is that has me here (see above for the list of obvious contenders) and mostly, I don't care. I don't care to talk about it, to try to gain insight about it, to solve it/fix it/deal. Don't care.
Don't care. And oh, did I mention? I don't care.

Now, the clever reader will think to herself, "Hummpff. She cares enough to blog about it, so she must care at least a tiny bit" and I would allow that the clever, dear, gentle-reader would be right.

You know, this is what I have come to see lately (my friend, Addy, helped me a bit with this. She cunningly devised a strategy by which she made me think that I was helping her, so I would return her call but then, ended up helping me, instead. Smart girl, that one).


In my isolation, my pulling back and into myself, I have come to see that I do not hang onto God and His promises because all my friends do (although, I am very glad they do).

I do not hang on Him/them, because it feels so dang good (because it has been a looong dry spell, with very little mountain-top-ness experienced).

I do not hang on, because it looks good to others, when I put on my church face (because, I haven't regularly attended church in allmost one year).


I do not hang onto God and His promises for any other reason than they are such a part of my DNA at this point, that it is second nature to pray with a friend, when she is in need.

Second nature, to comfort someone with Scripture, long-ago hidden in my heart, in a time of loss.


Second nature, to have the wisdom to know that "this, too, shall pass" (whatever, "this, too" is for me or another) even if it is not till eternity.

Second nature to believe; nope, to *know* that God does not love me less, for this puny, wimpy person I am. Second nature to know that He has not and will not, ever leave me, even for a minute.

It is now second nature to know that waiting is always a part of the human condition. It is second nature to know that one of the the greatest questions with which, the growing Christian must contend, is the question, "When, Lord? When??". (obviously--or maybe not?---the other question is "Why??", but that is for another day).

The groaning of the Holy Spirit and of my spririt, is for Christ to return and to silence once and for all, the dissonance between the spiritual and natural realms. To silence the grating cacophony, much like the Grinch's exclamation each Christmas morn, "Oh the noise, Noise, NOISE!!".

The noise of pain and sorrow and war and famine and the cries of orphans. Of hormones and loss and death and hunger and thirst and worry and fear and suffering.

The loud groaning of all of creation to experieince that moment when our Triumphant King will, once and for all, wipe away all our tears, heal our broken bodies and minds, right the wrongs and catch us unto Himself forever.

So why am I like this now? What's wrong with me now? How can I fix it? When will it get better? end? I don't know.

I met God for the first time, by myself, alone and afraid, sitting on a couch in rural Iowa (yes, that may be redundant). I am quite certain He can meet me there once more and can transform me once again.

Until then? At least, I am done pretending and striving. (deeply exhaling).

(PS Here is the scripture the Lord brought to my mind on the commute home today..."The people perish for a lack of vision". That may just be it. The missing piece. I have no vision for the next phase in my life).

Monday, January 5, 2009

Random Pondering


Why does that woman have pink hair?

Can *not* figure that one out.

Yahoo had no answers, either.

Any thoughts?

Article from the local paper (X-Post)


***UPDATED to include text from the article***

Here is an article from our local paper about the dance team going to perform in New Orleans at the half-time of the Sugar Bowl. That's my dd, front and center and smiling!

We are already in NO and are loving the weather and the food and the fun. The game is tomorrow, so the girls are practicing for 8 hours today!


I will try to post photos later. We've already don so much!

Happy New Year from the Big Easy!

***
Thursday, January 1, 2009 6:13 AM CST
Sweet opportunity
By EMILY CHRISTENSEN, Courier Staff Writer
WATERLOO --- Dancers are used to learning a new routine in a matter of hours.

They get the basics --- where to leap, where to turn, where to put their hands, where to look --- and then spend months perfecting their performance.

The West High dance team is no different. Members spent about five months learning the nuances of the three routines they took to the state dance competition in early December.

But tomorrow, the 11 girls will perform a routine they first learned just a few weeks ago. And they will do it in front of a live audience of thousands and a potential television audience of millions during halftime of the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

"It's exciting because no one from our school has done this before," senior dancer Emily Jensen said.

The team left Tuesday for New Orleans and spent the week on the field with hundreds of other dancers and choreographer Bonnie Story. Story is mostly known for her work on the "High School Musical" movies, a fact that didn't escape these girls. The dancers' parents are more likely to know Story as a dancer in Michael Jackson's Smooth Criminal video.

Brittany Lenth, a senior dancer, said Story's style is "flowy and showy, with more spins and snaps" than they are used to, but learning the new routine has been fun.

"It might not look like we know what we are doing now, but we will," she said, during a break in practice Sunday night.

The girls learned they would be performing for the halftime show last spring, but coach Morgan Havlicek didn't tell the girls they would need to learn the dance before leaving until the pressure of the state competition had lifted. Havlicek learned the routine from a DVD sent out by the halftime organizers and then began teaching the girls in early December.

Each girl then received a DVD to take home, so she could practice more on her own.

By Sunday night, the steps were finally falling in place. Just 15 minutes into the three-hour practice, Havlicek was pushing the girls to practice using the typical excited dancers' expressions. But, even the facial expressions couldn't mask the confusion, as the girls came to a complicated step series in the routine.

Through all the goof-ups, the girls, and coach, kept upbeat and laughing. And when they finally nailed it, everyone stopped for a moment to offer a round of applause for the hard work.

"I'm not worried about them" Havlicek said. "They are such an outgoing group, they blow you away. Whenever they are in front of a group, they are on fire. They know what to do in front of a crowd."

The girls say they aren't really all that worried either, although senior Sarah Shirley admitted to at least one irrational fear.

"I'm scared everyone will be down, and I will be left standing up," Shirley said, giggling nervously.

The team also will attend a New Year's Eve bash in New Orleans before returning home Sunday.

The University of Alabama and the University of Utah will square off in the Sugar Bowl at 7 p.m. Jan. 2 on the Fox TV network.

Now you all know who is the *real* photographer in the fam

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Sugar Bowl Dress Rehearsal



The parents had the opportunity to attend the dress rehearsal for the half-time performance. We had to be dressed and on a bus at 7:00 AM, but it was so worth it. We were able to take photos and video and see all the behind the scenes prep for the halftime show.

Here is a video of the first (or second or third) run through. My girl is the brunette, straight hair, leg warmers.

Fine Dining

Sugar Bowl Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year from New Orleans!



We arrived on Tuesday for the Dance Team Trip to New Orleans! Who-hoo! We have been busy (although not as busy as the girls--they have a brutal schedule--not much of a vacay for them) enjoying the weather and the food and the company of good people!

Here are some slide from our first day. You can click on any photo to read a caption or to look at the photos and captions without effects.

The Sugar Bowl half-time performance will be on Friday evening (kick off is 7:00 PM--CST, I believe). I am rooting big for Alabama to beat Utah (sorry Utah fans, but I am a Southern girl by birth).


DD will be one of 125 dancers on the field; so exciting!!! Look for her and wave!!