Friday, January 20, 2012

The Political Process

(Picture by jacinta lluch valero)

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 20: Today, I'm Thankful for the Political Process

I came home from work the other night to a barrage of complaints from my son and his friend about how horrible America is, and what an awful government we have. They were ready to move to Europe to escape the horrors of America.

The berated our current and past Presidents, and talked about how they have ruined the economy and the country in general.

Curious as to where they got their facts, I probed for more information. Of course, there were no facts to back up their very emotional statements. I asked them why they thought Europe was better than America, and was told that they weren't in debt like we are. 

Obviously, they haven't been keeping up with the news of the financial crisis going on over there.

They complained about our taxes, until I reminded them that they didn't earn enough to pay taxes.

They complained about how terrible it is to live here, and I reminded them that we have a high rate of immigration to the states from countries all over the world, so it must not be that bad to live in America.

They complained about the elected officials, and I reminded them that when they actually participate in the process by voting in politicians they believe in and voting out those they don't believe in, they really don't have a right to complain about the process.

Later that night, I asked my son what set them off. Apparently, it was all about SOPA. Again, there was a misunderstanding. They thought that Google and Wikipedia had been shut down by the politicians instead of realizing that Google and Wikipedia had voluntarily blacked out to make a statement and to encourage the American public to contact their elected officials to vote against SOPA and PIPA. 

I explained that this is the beauty of the American system. That we can actually make a difference by banding together and speaking out. That often grass-roots movements can change the course of events.

We can do it with legislation. 
We can do it with elected officials.

One of the most dangerous beliefs is, "My vote doesn't count." There have been many elections, local and national, in which the winning margin was incredibly small. If only a fraction of the people who thought their vote didn't matter had bothered to go to the polls, the outcome could have been entirely different.

The internet is huge. Obviously, the American people have spoken, and SOPA has gone down to defeat. For now, Freedom of Speech is intact. We can still share information freely among our friends and relatives, and on our blogs, Facebook pages, and websites. 

While I have no doubt this isn't the end of the story, it is satisfying to know that we can still band together and make a difference.

We have a strange system in which often the vocal minority overpowers the silent majority. While these issues are seen as issues of freedom, it seems that many times one person's freedom results in another person's loss of freedom.

Take Christianity, for instance. This nation was originally founded as a Christian nation. The founding father's wove their Christian beliefs right into the legislation. Now, we have a President who says that America is no longer a Christian nation. Tell that to the 83% of Americans who identify themselves as Christian.

There is a movement to take the word "God" out of anything having to do with the government or our educational system. 

The pledge of allegiance was written in 1892. 1892 was also when it was first recited by approximately 12 million school children. I grew up saying the pledge of allegiance in school every morning, complete with the line "One nation under God..."

In 1963, prayer was taken out of school. It was considered "unconstitutional". In my opinion, the First Amendment, rather than outlawing prayer, actually supports it. 

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." 

If prayer is forbidden in schools, isn't that a violation of my rights by prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging my freedom of speech? To allow prayer is constitutional. To mandate prayer would be illegal.

Why is it that "freedom of religion" is translated as 
"freedom from religion"?

I have seen the erosion of Christianity throughout our nation since I was a young girl. And, I have to say, I don't like the trend that I have seen. The year after prayer was taken out of schools, the pregnancy rate for girls under fifteen skyrocketed from 5,000 per year to 27,000 per year.  At the same time, SAT scores plummeted. Violence and drug use has also increased dramatically over the years. 

It would seem clear that we are not headed in the right direction.

But, the events of the past week, and the uprising against SOPA give me hope. If we could stand together against our freedom on the internet being taken away, then what is to prevent the 83% of the American public from standing together to defend our religious freedom? 

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, who gave himself for our sins to rescue us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
~ Galatians 1:3-5

Today, I'm Thankful for the Political Process. 
It may not always be perfect, but it does give us the power to change things.

Thursday, January 19, 2012


(Jesus Does Math by LivingOS @Flikr via Creative Commons License)

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 19: Today, I'm Thankful for Forgiveness

Have you ever had a difficult time forgiving someone for something they did? Who hasn't, right? Sometimes people can be so insensitive, and the things they do can hurt so deeply...

How many times have you thought (or even said) "I can never forgive him for what he did"?

Or how about, "I've forgiven her, but I'll never forget what she did".

Sometimes we are so deeply offended that it seems we can never truly let go of the pain. The truth is, forgiving others isn't nearly as important for the other person as it is for ourselves.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


(Laughing Baby photo by Weird Beard @ Flikr - Creative Commons License)

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 18: Today, I am Thankful for Laughter

I was thinking about laughter today. Seems it's a popular vein in my household right now. I came home, and Nick has been watching comedians all night. Laughter is a good thing.

Have you ever had one of those days (or nights) when everything just strikes you as funny? You start laughing and just can't stop.You can barely talk because you are laughing so much. Every time you think you have your laughter under control, you start up again.

It's been a long time since I've laughed like that. I think I'm overdue for a good belly laugh.

There's nothing like laughing so hard that your stomach hurts and your muscles ache -- both in your abdomen and in your face!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


"Sunset" from stock.xchng

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 17: Today, I'm Thankful for Endings

It's been a long day. It's nearly midnight, and I'm just getting time to post what I'm thankful for today.

I'm glad the day is almost over and I can go to bed and sleep. Perhaps that's a bit lame for a post on thankfulness, but it's at least honest. Even last night, I had Shakespeare running through my brain "to sleep, perchance to dream..."  So, maybe it isn't that far-fetched.

Sometimes you just have to know when it's time to end things. I know that I have a tendency at times to hold onto things long after they've outlived their usefulness (my Geo, being a case in point). But, there is a certain joy and beauty in knowing when it's time to let things go, to set them down, to leave them alone, to release them...

Perhaps one of the most important reasons for endings is so that you can experience new beginnings. Short post today.

Today, I'm thankful for endings.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lessons from the Past

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 16: Today, I'm Thankful for Lessons of the Past

Today is Martin Luther King, Jr. day. The banks and post offices were closed. Some offices were closed. But many of us went to work just like any other day.

I was a young girl when Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed. It was a brutal, deadly time in American History. It seemed we went from one tragedy to another.

President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 2, 1963.
Lee Harvey Oswald was killed on national television 22 days later, November 24, 1963.
Bobby Kennedy was killed on June 5, 1968.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated only 5 days later, June 10, 1968.

It was a lot for a small child to take in.

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Photo by Gibson Claire McGuire Regester used under Creative Commons license.

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 15: I'm Thankful for Friends

This is the post I should have written yesterday. But, I was having one of "those" days. So, I posted the video from TED instead.  (And no, I didn't mean to rhyme, it just turned out that way.)

We often take our friends for granted. They are there to talk to, to hang out with, to have fun with.

Our friends also fulfill very important roles in our lives at times when we need them most. Sometimes they are there to lend an ear to talk to, or a shoulder to cry on, or a swift kick in the backside when we need that too to stay on track.

Most of all, friends are there for each other. There is no selfish underlying motive. If you need something, they are there. If they need something, you are there. That's what friends do.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 14: Today I'm Thankful for Gratitude

One of my Facebook friends posted this today. I couldn't say it better if I tried.  Enjoy!

Friday, January 13, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 13: Today I'm Thankful for Choice

Have you ever caught yourself saying "I had no choice..."? That is a phrase that we should all abolish from our vocabulary. I know that there are times when we may not like the choices we have, and it may seem that one choice isn't any better than the other (I frequently feel that way come election time!). But, to say we have no choice is a lie.

From the very beginning, we were created with the power of choice.

Thursday, January 12, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 12: Today I'm Thankful for Warmth!

...and I mean that with all sincerity. It is cold tonight. Right now, the actual temperature is 32 degrees, but with the wind chill factor they say it feels like 23. Tonight it's supposed to get down to 17, with wind chill values as low as 8. Can you say brrrr??

But, I'm in a house with central heating, and with a space heater in the room for good measure. So while it's freezing (literally) outside, I'm still warm.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 11: Today I'm Thankful for Tina

Tina is my little sister. Today is her birthday. She's a little miracle. Everyone who knows her loves her -- that is somewhat of a miracle in itself.

Tina was born 48 years ago with Down Syndrome. Momma said that when Tina was born, the doctors said she probably wouldn't live to see her 1st birthday. I guess she showed them!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving a Praise
Day 10: I'm Thankful for Movement

I've been gradually getting back into my familiar routines. One thing that I have been lacking -- and actually missing -- is movement. 

Monday, January 9, 2012


Photo by Benjamin Earwicker

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 9: I'm Thankful for Work

I wasn't raised to be idle. In fact, I was raised on the old saying "Idle hands are the devil's workshop." Now, I will be the first to admit that there are times in my life when I carry this to an extreme and fill too many hours of my day with work, and not enough with other things. I tend to be a bit of a workaholic if I don't rein myself in. But, I would much rather be working than be bored with nothing to do. 

In fact, I don't understand how people can be bored. It seems to me there is always something to do but never enough time to do it all. I guess I had my moments of boredom when I was younger. But, I don't think I suffered from boredom the way so many do now.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Songs of Praise

2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 8: I'm Thankful for Songs of Praise

I love music. I guess I always have. And I love to sing. Ever since I can remember, I sang in church. Even as a little girl, I sang in groups, or in duets, or by myself.

I used to like just about all kinds of music, but as I've grown older, I've pretty much narrowed my musical preference down to one genre:  praise and worship.

I still sing in the choir, if I'm not running projector. Either way, I love to participate in that very special -- and important -- part of the worship service.

Saturday, January 7, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise
Day 7: I'm Thankful for Rest

"For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works."
~ Heb 4:4

I think God knew what he was doing. He worked for six days, and then rested on the seventh day. Today, on the seventh day of the new year, I'm thankful for rest.

Friday, January 6, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise

Day 6: I'm thankful for books.

One of my favorite activities is reading. Over the years, I don't know how many hundreds (or thousands) of books I've read. I go through phases where I just plow through them reading everything I can get my hands on. Then there are phases where other things take precedence and I don't get to read as much as I would like. (Lately it seems that when I settle in to read at night, I fall asleep more often than not!)

I enjoy many types of books, but read non-fiction almost exclusively. Most of the books I read are Christian writings, although I also enjoy reading books about finances (Dave Ramsey and David Bach being two of my favorites in that category). It's not at all uncommon for me to be reading several books at once (right now I'm reading 6 books).

My favorite book to read is the bible. I have several different versions as well as concordances and dictionaries. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012


2012: A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise

Day 5: I'm thankful for health.

There is nothing like not having something to really appreciate it when you do have it. For the majority of my life I have been "as healthy as a horse", as the old saying goes. I was raised in one of those families that just didn't get sick. We didn't miss work or school due to illness, because we just weren't ever ill.

Sure, we would get an occasional case of the sniffles, but nothing ever kept us down.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


2012 A Year of Thanksgiving and Praise. 
Day 4: I'm thankful for time.
We look at time as something that's limited. And, in a way, I suppose it is. But many people complain that they don't have enough time. Actually, we all have exactly the same number of hours in a day. It's really boils down to how we spend them.
I can fritter away my time, or I can use my time wisely.
In fact, time is an incredibly valuable asset because of it's limited nature. You can't get more time. When you spend time, it's gone forever. If I spend money, I can always make more. Time isn't that way.


On this third day of the new year, I'm thankful for touch -- in all of its aspects. (I actually wrote this yesterday, but didn't get it posted until today, January 4th. I will post another article for Day 5 tonight.)
There is the sense of touch. We are able to take in so much through our fingertips; the rich softness of velvet, the cool dampness of earth, the soft fur of my dog Spot, the roughness of sand paper... So many textures.
Our fingertips sometimes act like eyes. We can identify a lot of objects by feel. You can put common (and sometimes not so common) objects into a sack and know what they are by simply touching them.
Our touch can comfort others with a hug congratulate someone with a pat, or greet someone with a shake of the hand.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Day 2: Today I am thankful for Light.  

Of course, this can have a whole variety of meanings... Thankful for the light of day. As I often do, especially on mornings when I don't have to get up at a particular time to go somewhere (work, church, etc.), I hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off at 5:00 am, and allow the light to wake me up (usually around 7:00 am). It's a wonderful, peaceful way to start the day. At some point, I would love to have my life and work reach the point where this can just be my normal routine.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

2012: a Year of Thanksgiving and Praise

The first day of the new year. I must say I'm glad to have 2011 behind me, and looking forward to 2012.

One of my Facebook friends posted their declaration for the new year and thought I would make my own. I have decided to declare 2012 a Year of Thanksgiving and Praise. 

So, on Day One of the new year, I'm thankful for new beginnings. I'm thankful that I have a New Year in which I can imagine and create what I want for my life. I'm thankful that I have the promises of God's Word to back up my desires, and there is no better guarantee than that possible anywhere, anytime.