This year my daughter, who is seven, is requesting an American Girl doll for Christmas. We recently received the latest catalog in the mail and my daughter read and re-read the catalog more times than I can count. I asked her what doll she would like for Christmas, and at first she wasn't sure. We then started looking at the dolls together, and I soon discovered that the Molly McIntire doll is being retired at the end of 2013. I was in complete shock. Molly was my favorite doll/character growing up. Although my parents were never able to afford to buy her for me, I still read her books voraciously. As a child I loved everything about Molly. I loved her 1940's style, her patriotism, her victory garden, and the willingness of her family to believe in something bigger than themselves. Reading stories about her and the time she lived in gave me pride in the country that I lived in - a country that fought with unwavering strength for the freedom we all cherish. Now, The American Girl Doll Company is hiding her away in their "archives" - for what? To be replaced by a bland, meaningless doll that could be matched to a little girl's own hair color; a doll that has no character or history? How dare they?
Every marriage needs to be reminded why it was they both said “I do”. So, whether you are newlyweds wondering what excitement awaits you tonight or partners with fifty years of marital bliss under your belt…practicing the reasons to say “I do” matters.
Simple Way #1
Lots of marriage counselors suggest you take time for each other as a couple, away from the kids, family, or friends. Setting up a date night on a regular basis is such a great idea it should be written somewhere in the marriage bylaws (if such a thing existed). For some, this can be a day out of each week or it can be bi-weekly and if you just have a busy schedule that would make the President look lame (OK, that was a poor example as he looks lame regardless these days) find one day a month to connect.
You don’t even have to spend a lot of money going to a fancy restaurant or to the movies…you can take the kids to a sitter and just stay home. (However, you are not allowed to turn on the computer, look at your smart phone, or any form of social media!!) You may elect to watch a movie on TV, have a quiet dinner with no interruptions, or turn on some romantic music and dance to a few slow tunes. (My favorite is to pull out our wedding song and a few other oldie Goldie’s that we use to dance to in the beginning)
While web surfing through my favorite news websites this morning I came across an interesting column on Libertarianism.org entitled Politics Makes Us Worse by Aaron Ross Powell. The very first sentence had me intrigued. It was simple yet poignant and I would bet money that it could speak to many Americans who are concerned with our country’s political arena. “In the United States, nothing makes us hate each other quite like politics. Not even religion, the source of so much violence throughout the rest of the world, compares.”
Mr. Powell’s opening statement burned a whole in my brain and made me rethink my own political stances. In general I would consider myself a libertarian. I have often used the word conservatarian and my personal definition of that word is “don’t make me pay for the consequences of your actions.” I am pretty partisan though, I’ll admit it. I, like so many others, watch cable news, read A LOT of political commentary, and have allowed my opinions to sway in one direction. I get angry when I hear a Democrat calling the Tea Party racist by posting pictures of burning crosses to create some type of shock value in order to hide failed policies that they may have voted for. My blood boils even more when I see Republican officials advocate more government spending to a country that is already so far in debt that all the money in the world combined couldn’t pay off what it owes. So I turn to my social networks by posting articles and commentary that reflect my views or resentments. You should see my Facebook page and Twitter feed - all politics (and pictures of my kids but that is neither here nor there).
“It is easier to build strong children, than to repair broken men.” –Fredrick Douglass
It takes a majority of self-reliant and hard working individuals to maintain a strong and prosperous nation. In order for America to remain a beacon of freedom, the values our country was founded upon must be instilled in our children. We should be teaching our rich and tumultuous history in order to illustrate why these principles are so important.
But according to a recent article by Callista Gingrich, we’re not. She references survey results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress which unveiled many disturbing findings.
The study revealed that only one in three fourth-graders could identify the purpose of the Declaration of Independence. Less than half understood why George Washington was an important leader. And a majority of fourth-graders didn't know why the Pilgrims left England.
Mrs. Gingrich, author of 3 children’s books, goes on to say “with education surveys showing dismal results, we must find creative ways to teach our children American history.”
And I couldn't agree more.
"There is no foundation like the rock of honesty and fairness, and when you begin to build your life on that rock, with the cement of the faith in God that you have, then you have a real start." - Barry Goldwater
I don't know about you, but these last five years since Obama took office has left me tired and drained. I have seen laws like Obamacare shoved down our collective throats. I heard President Obama, in a 2008 speech regarding his daughters and abortion, say, “but if they make a mistake, I don't want them punished with a baby." I have seen this President say that he will negotiate with Iran but he refuses to negotiate with Republicans. Cheryl K. Chumley of The Washington Times reported on March 28, 2013 that “[e]nrollment in the food stamp program — officially the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — has soared by 70 percent in the years since President Obama first took office...” Yes, friend, I feel weary, exhausted and sometimes defeated. We need heroes, and I believe they are in our midst.
Many of us have an understanding of Islam, but few of us understand what it means to live under Islamic rule. Not too long ago I was approached by Randy Noble in regards to a book he had written, The Rose of Nowruz.
Mr. Noble tells us the story of Bahareh, a young student in Tehran, who longs for the day when Iranians will truly be free. She dreams of getting her degree and going to America where people are free and women do not live in fear of the “morality police”. But before she can realize her dream and leave, she has a “crisis of faith” that takes her down another path.
Through his contact with University students in Tehran, Mr. Noble gives us an inside glimpse into the life of those living in fear and longing for freedom under an oppressive regime. His passion for helping others see the desperation of those just wanting to be free comes across in his depictions and characterizations of The Rose of Nowruz. Through his story we are better able to understand Iranians who are struggling between staying true to their faith and their desire for true freedom.
As I have gotten older, I have more and more respect for our military. They take an oath and put their lives on the line every day. For me. And for you.
Their patriotism gives me the freedom to write, to speak, to be. Just to be. How can a simple thank you be enough? How can my mere words express my gratitude to our blessed U.S. military and their families?
Fast forward to now. Our government recently had a partial shut-down. The mainstream media networks never let us forget how many days that the government has been closed. About 83% of the government is still working and has not been furloughed. Yes, it is bad when anyone, federal employees included, is laid off --permanently or temporarily. But the federal employees will get back pay for their time off, so they will win in the end. Unlike private sector workers who have been out of work for years thanks to this President’s detrimental policies. But I digress.
For Lewis and Bobbie, the election of 2008 was a disappointment because they were both conservatives who voted Republican. Then, when President Obama began his pitch for healthcare, both thought maybe this was an answer to a prayer. You see, Lewis has type 2 diabetes and the cost of insurance for a man over 45 with this disease is extremely expensive. Lewis and Bobbie both left their former jobs, and the insurance that came with it, and started their dream. They decided to embark on that most American of all goals, and become small business owners.
Like any starting company, there have been major struggles and at times it seemed their dream was going to collapse into ruin. For the past few years, they have struggled to keep their business from going under and taking their home with it. In the midst of that struggle there were also concerns about health and how Lewis would stay alive without the treatment he needs to fight the diabetes.
Searching for private insurance was one disappointment after another and then the Affordable Care Act came into existence with promises that those with pre-existing conditions, like Lewis’s, could not be turned down nor charged outrageous premiums. It was billed as "affordable care" and that was exactly what Lewis and Bobbie had prayed to find. So, when October 1, 2013 came around, Lewis was one of the first people who tried to sign up at Healthcare.gov.
A couple of weeks ago the Today show ran a week-long segment called “Born Today” and live-cast several moms around the country who were just about to give birth or had just given birth. The series continued throughout the week highlighting pregnant moms, babies, new families and the joy surrounding new life.
Although I am not a fan of NBC, I must admit that I am still a sucker for the fluffy Today show. I was thoroughly impressed by the fact that the Today show was highlighting moms and babies from all walks of life instead of just the royal baby Prince George or the “royal” American baby North West.
As a mom to an incredible 8 week old daughter, I am reminded daily of the amazing miracle of life. I look at her in wonder and am truly in awe that my body was able to create and support another human being.
As I sit here and try to think of a great topic to write about I can’t help but feel frustrated and uninspired. I constantly find myself so angry about our country’s current state that I can never focus on just one topic. I feel as if I am being pulled so thin by a faceless group of elitists who only care about their own power and stature. It has gotten to the point where I don’t even want to watch the news or go on web pages like Drudge Report. It just seems like everything sucks! I am so tired of feeling this way. I use my writing as an outlet to express my passion, but lately my frustration level has well exceeded my passion. I am to the point where I am so disgusted by our elected officials that I could just scream.
There is such a feeling of resentment brewing inside of me that I have gotten to the point where I loathe Democrats and their socialistic agendas. They have never worked. I have completely lost faith in the Republican Party to fight for limited government and sound fiscal policy. The Republicans have had a few superstars come to the plate - such as Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz - but that had to be immediately shut down by biased journalism. OK so the media is Obama’s puppet and we have all known that for quite some time now. No brand new information there. But what gets me are senior Republican officials siding with Democrats on extremely important issues such as Obama-care because Ted Cruz did not get permission to speak freely from the kids who have been playing the game a lot longer. Then there is the filibuster from Rand Paul over drone strikes on American citizens. He had every right to express his concerns and to inform the American people what their government is doing to us. But that’s not how John McCain saw it. Senator McCain stooped to where I thought only liberal progressives treaded and that is childish name calling. How dare Rand Paul speak without permission from the Republican branch of the “I Love Big Government” fan club.