Wise Words

"Wait on the Lord, be strong and of good courage, and He shall strengthen your heart...wait on the Lord. Psalms 27:14


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Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The myth of no expression of faith in the public school system

There are many of you out there who, for whatever reason, can not home school your children or afford to put them into a private school or maybe don't even want to have your child in a private school. There is the myth that in a public school, your child can have nothing to do in regards to showing or sharing his or her faith. That is simply NOT true. So that you can figure out just what your child is able to do in regards to his or her faith in a public school and what is allowed, here is some information put together for you by Koinonia House with links included from such places as the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) and the First Amendment Center.

If there are any questions you have regarding something that may have happened to your child in terms of disciplinary action or warnings given in regards to their faith (or you in the workplace for that matter), please contact the American Center for Law and Justice. They are a FREE legal representation and legal counsel for any and all religious matters pertaining to faith in the workplace or public school system.

Also, below the information for public schooling, there is information regarding home schooling for those who are interested in that as well. Home schooling doesn’t have to be faith based, though most of those who home school do have a faith based curriculum. Personally, if I could afford to be a SAHM, I would look into home schooling Emily. Since that is not an option, I want to put her into a private school. Of course that is a discussion that Matt and I will have to have. We’ve already discussed it and have agreed that private school is a good thing for Emily, now it’s just choosing the school.

I was in the private school system from K-9 and transferred into the public school system in 10th grade. I wish now that I never would have made that transition. My worldview got very skewed for a while, especially regarding peer pressure because everything was so different, I could do so many things in public school that I couldn’t do in private school. Now I know that there is a reason for that. Character gets compromised; maybe the ethics stay the same, but the morals get changed to “fit in” with the crowd.

Hindsight is 20/20 and I’m just happy that I can take advantage of my hindsight when it comes to Emily and how I want her to be raised and what I want her to avoid and the character traits I want to be instilled in her. The public school system doesn’t offer that – especially around here. In Austin, pretty much the whole district fails every year when they go in to check the schools and give them grades based on how well they are performing in the basics, etc. I would much rather scrimp and save and have it be tight in order for Emily to get a good faith-based education in a private school rather than the crap that the NEA shovels out en mass.


The role of religion in public schools continues to be a hotly debated issue. Some public school teachers avoid the mere mention of religion in their classrooms because they are afraid of offending students, becoming the target of a lawsuit, or even losing their job. Other teachers would like to talk about religion, but don't know what they are allowed to say and what would be considered "crossing the line." If you are among the many teachers, students, and parents who may have questions concerning religion in public schools, you may wish to take a moment to explore some of the resources available to you.

A publication by the First Amendment Center called Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools can be downloaded for free online (see link below). Finding Common Ground is a guidebook that explains teachers' and students' religious rights. It gives information concerning a wide variety of subjects such as equal access, judicial court rulings, and religious holidays. Below you will also find a link to the United States Department of Education Guidelines on Religious Expression in Public Schools.

Freedom of Speech

The Supreme Court has ruled that students retain their freedom of speech and expression when at school. According to the 1969 Supreme Court decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District, a school may only silence students if they are actually disrupting school discipline. That is, a student's freedom of expression does not give him or her the right to interrupt class. However, during free time, students are free to:

• Read their Bibles
• Talk to peers about religion and pray with their peers
• Wear clothing with Christian symbols and messages
• Pass out religious tracts

Equal Access

If a secondary public school receives any federal funding and if it allows any other non-curriculum clubs (like the chess club or the glee club) to form, then it must allow students to form Bible clubs or other religiously oriented organizations on campus, with the same rights to the facilities as other clubs. Religious clubs are guaranteed the right to official recognition, which means the school must offer them access to the school newspaper, bulletin boards, and the public announcement system et al. Religious clubs, however, must be student-initiated and student-led. The students may invite outside speakers, but the club must be organized and led by the students themselves.

Educational Opportunities

Because religion is such an integral part of history and politics and the human experience in general, it is a relevant topic in the classroom setting. Teachers and students are free to discuss different religions and the impact religion has had on society. While teachers must maintain a neutral position with the students, students are free to offer their own personal opinions on religious matters. [Teachers are free to discuss religious issues with their own peers outside of the classroom.]

Students may write papers on religious subjects, including the Bible. The Bible has had an enormous impact on history and literature and is an important book to know, even from a secular viewpoint. Literature from Shakespeare to Faulkner is full of allusions to the Bible, which can only be fully appreciated with a working knowledge of God's Word.


Teachers also retain their First Amendment rights at school, but at the same time represent the school while in the classroom and at school events. Therefore, public school teachers are not permitted to "force their religion" on the kids. However, teachers do have a lot of freedom to teach about religion for educational purposes. They may teach on comparative religions, including Christianity. They may discuss the impact religion has had on history and science and literature. They may even discuss religion with students one-on-one, if the student initiates and maintains the conversation and is not compelled to agree with the teacher's position.

As school starts up again, continue to pray for those faithful teachers who are striving to teach students according to righteousness in the face of an increasingly liberal education establishment, and for those students who are willing to stand up for their faith and be a light to their peers rather than just going along with the crowd.

Related Links:
United States Department of Education Guidelines on Religious Expression in Public Schools – ACLJ
Finding Common Ground: A Guide to Religious Liberty in Public Schools - First Amendment Center


An estimated 2 million children were home schooled last year and that number is growing fast. The effectiveness of home schooling has been the subject of much research and debate. Critics decry home schooling as being ineffectual for scholastic achievement. The facts speak otherwise.

On almost every standardized test, home schooled children seem to excel. Statistical data continues to conclude that home schooling not only works, but it works effectively. And it works without the myriad of state controls and accreditation standards imposed on public schools. According to the National Home Education Research Institute the home educated score better, on average, than students in conventional state-run schools.

But these are only academic measures. The Spiritual value of home schooling is difficult to measure on a standardized test. Spiritual integrity and close family relationships are the real prizes of home schooling.

God's creation design is for married couples to bear children and train them to be righteous before Him. God gives us the great commandment in Deuteronomy 6:4 and then instructs us further:

"And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up (Deuteronomy 6:6,7)."

God has placed children in families that they might learn from their parents' character and skills what will be needed in order for them to fulfill their life's purposes. The instruction of parents is vital. Parents who home school are discovering the blessed opportunity to direct more closely the spiritual growth of their children.

If you want to consider home schooling, you don't have to re-invent the wheel or do it alone. There are many resources available to help. The Home School Legal Defense Association website has answers to many commonly asked questions as well as lots of good resources to get you started.

"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it (Proverbs 22:6)."

Home School Legal Defense Association -
National Home Education Research Institute -
The Myth of Socialization by John Loeffler - Koinonia House
The Un-Neighborly Neighbor by Vicki Brady - Koinonia House

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Rally Report

The Crawford rally and candlelight vigil through my eyes.
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We left Austin around 11:00 on our way to Crawford. This was an impromptu trip as my mom had heard about it on Friday morning and called me up at work and asked me if I wanted to go. My response was, "YEAH! Let's do it!" It was a way for us to be able to show our support for our troops and the duty that they are doing in order to provide the same kind of freedom that we have here in America. Though, admittedly, there are so many factions here in America who are working to undermine the basic freedoms that we are afforded under the Constitution, the Amendments and the Bill of Rights. The basic right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Take abortion for instance. Abortion cuts that first basic right to life. Abortion is NOT a guaranteed right. There is NOWHERE in the Constitution that says that anyone can kill the baby that is growing inside of them just because they don't want it, or that child isn't "convenient" for them "at this time in their life". Abortion is NOT a Constitutional right, people. The people who believe in socialistic, humanistic and communistic values that seriously undermine the American way of life that our founding fathers fought to give us are trying to change all of the foundations and priciples that America was founded on. If they get their way of the minority trying to silence the majority, they just might succeed, to the detriment of us all.

So, we were on our way to Crawford for about a 2½ hour drive and when we get to the rally there were cars everywhere!
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(I personally liked the sign that this truck was sporting)

Thankfully we got a space that wasn't too far from the event and I had the forethought to bring Em's big stroller. She still fits in it, thank God.
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Even though she is the size of a 5/6 year old, she still is only 3 and it would have been impossible to carry her everywhere for any length of time with her size. We also were able to put several bottles of cold water, Gatorade and a gallon of tang/protein mix drink in the bottom of the stroller. When we got there, there was an area where you could make a poster to hold up or sign a huge roll of paper for the troops and another for the President, showing your support for both. My mom and I both signed the yellow roll for the troops.
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The crowd there was amazing, very patriotic and very supportive of our troops.
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Some member of the press from SanFran came by wondering how many people were there and someone said about 1,000. I had to laugh b/c it was more like 2,000. I guess my mom had heard it wrong on the radio...two thousand...ten thousand...when the radio connection is kind of choppy, it happens. The really sad thing was that there were very few members of the media from the US who were actually there. Most of them were at Cindy's camp. Of course that's what the liberal media does, they only show one side of the story – the one they are predisposed to be biased toward (Anyone remember the recent "Rathergate").

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Shortly after we got there they threw out 3 Sheehan supporters that had managed to get in with their signs. Unfortunately I didn't get to see what the signs said as a member of the Blue Angel's dragged the signs out in front of the few members of the media that were there surrounding the Sheehan supporters as the police escorted them out.

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The man in the black shirt was at the Crawford Peace House later in the day after the rally was over. The lady in the pink hat was also part of it. Funny how the media that was there crowded around them like hungry sharks looking for blood. Most of the media, it sounded like, were from foreign countries. Most of them were speaking foreign languages to each other. That's a downright shame when the media from other countries have more interest in the pro-troops rally than those from our own country.

The crowd chanted "Cindy go home!" several times throughout the rally as family member with loved ones in Iraq, former Vietnam Vets and current military soldiers spoke throughout the 2 ½ hour rally. They had free ice cold bottled water in ice-filled tubs throughout the site area and people with misters to spray a mist on people. They also had a huge tent set up, which, thank GOD they did b/c it was hot, hot, HOT! In the SHADE the temp reading on my car's gauge was 105, so you can just imagine what it felt like in the full sun!
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Thankfully we brought our camping chairs and found a spot for my mom and Emily to sit under the tent in the shade while I went around taking pictures and talking to people and getting some great BBQ for us to eat!

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A woman taking a break from the heat by sitting under a tree holds a poster that says "The land of the Free BECAUSE of the brave".

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AustinTownhallConservatives.com members Brian McAuliffe (right), who also is a member of the Hays County Republican Party and Brad Ward (left), who is a self-described Pro-Constitution, Pro-Gun, Anti-United Nations American, were on hand to show their support of our troops and had a few choice words for Cindy via their signs.

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A huge flag is displayed that was sewn together with each square that makes up the red and white stripes decorated by a different person who supports the American men and women in uniform and supports their decision to go and bring freedom to those who had none over in Iraq. This flag was HUGE.

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Two of the guys cutting the brisket and sausage were from the Austin Fire department. One of them worked in east Austin and one of them worked the campus area.

Speaking as part of the lineup were Gold Star family members, former and current military personnel, Vietnam Vets, and even the wife of one of the men on the plane that went down in Pennsylvania on 9-11. She said that the reason she is supporting our troops in Iraq is because she knows that they are over there fighting to bring freedom to others and to also prevent another 9-11 from happening again. Another speaker who is a current military member who had just returned from a tour in Iraq said that Cindy Sheehan is lowering the morale of the soldiers over there b/c all they are hearing is how "the people" back home aren't supporting them and how "the people" back home are against the war so even though they know that they are fighting for a noble cause, they don't believe that they have the support of the American people back home. He said that it was time for the rest of America to stand up and speak out against people like Cindy so that the soldiers in Iraq know that they are not forgotten, abandoned or disrespected by those whom they are also over there fighting to protect. (I mean really, what do Cindy and the rest of her ilk believe? That if we pull out and go home the terrorists – yes TERRORISTS NOT FREEDOM FIGHTERS – are going to be content to sit there and twiddle their thumbs? No, they will be over here making war on our home soil. Why don't the people like Cindy understand that?)

The Gold Star family members, who had lost family members in the War were going to go over to Camp Casey and take the crosses from the site b/c there were SEVERAL family members at the rally who were furious that Sheehan were exploiting their deceased family members in that way. They were ready to make a statement that CINDY DID NOT SPEAK FOR THEM!! Unfortunately, members of the Democratic Underground got wind of their plans and knocked over the crosses that were out there. Eventually most of the crosses were recovered by the families and put up at the Candlelight vigil held at Fort Qualls, which was set up behind The Yellow Rose, Crawford's big gift shop. However, about 40 that were originally there were missing, which really incensed those family members who's loved ones crosses were among those that were missing.

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On the way into town to get a bite to eat after the rally, we drove by the Crawford Peace House where several anti-Bush, anti-war signs were up all around the house and the grounds.

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Two women from the "Lesbians Against Bush" part of Sheehan's fans were on the corner of the parking lot to one of Crawford's most frequented restaurants and the owner came out and told them to get off of his property so they stood in the street right across from Fort Qualls.

There was a display set up in front of The Yellow Rose, the Crawford gift shop and site of Fort Qualls, that had a replica of the Liberty Bell that people could ring as well as a display of the Ten Commandments. Emily at first was scared of the bell b/c it was LOUD, but later in the evening she tried it out on her own and almost was able to ring it. She did eventually ring it with mommy's help!
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Only in a small (Texas) town would a restaurant be able to get away with having this up without getting slapped by a lawsuit from the ACLU or some other ridiculous organization.

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My mom and Emily sitting on the sidewalk in front of Fort Qualls.

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This was the very small group of anti-war protesters across the street from Fort Qualls that were protesting the candlelight vigil.

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A local Crawford resident who supports Bush and the troops painted his classic car to reflect his patriotism.

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A young girl wears a shirt that reflects the family's feelings about their loved one who is currently on tour in Iraq.

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Fort Qualls was established on August 18, 2005 1. To refute and to ANSWER the untruths that Camp Casey, Cindy Sheehan & The Crawford Peace House have falsely made about our soldiers, our country, and our President! 2. To continue to let the truth of FREEDOM ring & keep America free. 3. To aggressively challenge untruths, wherever they are.

Fort Qualls was named in memory of a Central Texas soldier Marine Lance Cpl. Louis Wayne Qualls, 20, who died in Iraq last fall.

"If I have to sacrifice my whole family for the sake of our country and world, other countries that want freedom, I'll do that," said the soldier's father, Gary Qualls, a friend of the local business owner who started the pro-Bush camp. He said his 16-year-old son now wants to enlist, and he supports that decision.

Qualls' frustration with the anti-war demonstrators erupted last week when he removed a cross bearing his son's name that was among hundreds the group had put up along the road to Bush's ranch.

Qualls called the protesters' views disrespectful to soldiers, and said he had to yank out two more crosses after protesters kept replacing them.


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Retired Military Chaplain stopped at the rally and vigil on his way to Laredo to work with the boarder patrol. He has been petitioning Bush to release some of the surplus supplies and allow homeless vets to work with the border patrol and give them a home on the border and let them help take care of the border problem with illegal crossings. He already has gotten some favorable response from the White House over this plan.

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An unknown man, presumably the father of one of the fallen soldiers, stood in reverent silence in front of a garden of crosses with the names of the soldiers who had given their lives in battle. Sometimes silently shedding tears, sometimes praying silently with head bowed. He finally kneeled before the cross of Robert Thornton and touched the dog tags that had been placed there. Finally after about 10 minutes he went and sat in a chair next to the crosses and was just silent and the look on his face was haunted.

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A tribute set up by the parents of their son in the garden of crosses at Fort Qualls.

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The angel at Fort Qualls is a sculpture that was created in support of our troops.

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Wade Fortin, a Vietnam Vet, who has been in and out of hospitals since he came home from complications due to Agent Orange has had both legs amputated, most of his fingers amputated, almost all of his teeth gone, and is very depressed – his friend was afraid that he is seriously considering suicide, was finally given his homecoming tonight at the candlelight vigil. It was a very touching ceremony complete with the 100 or so people who were at the candlelight vigil cheering for him and thanking him. I could tell that it touched him very deeply and his toothless smile was just beautiful. I can only hope that it is enough to get rid of those suicidal thoughts in his head. The sad thing about this story is that b/c he is missing so many appendages, his friend said that few people get to know him b/c of his appearance. He has been really hurting for some friends and the friend that was there with him said that Wade often asks why he is his friend b/c nobody else seems to want to be. The friend was able to get the former military men there, including the chaplain to go over and talk to him and salute him. It really meant a lot to this Vietnam Vet who had been shunned for the most part by society ever since he had gotten home.
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Wade's friend

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"We did not lose the war in Viet Nam, we lost the cause in America because the media told the country that we were losing and stopped supporting us and through their bias urged others to do the same but if we keep supporting the troops here, we will win in Iraq and it will not become another Vietnam. This is the best thing you can do for the troops right now – show your support at rally's like this. Be vocal about your support of the troops. Don't let the media or the other side try to keep you silent. You know we are not the minority, but the majority and the majority are no longer silent. The minority can not silence us anymore."

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The candlelight vigil was very emotional, spiritual and patriotic with many of the military veterans and loved ones offering prayers, tears flowing freely among those whose loved ones were over in Iraq or who had lost someone there. Everyone said the Pledge of Allegiance, which was led by a former Vietnam Veteran and sang our National Anthem.

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Some of the vets that were at the candlelight service. Very quiet, very staid, very reverent and respectful with big rumbly voices that were surprisingly gentle.

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Some of the names of soldiers that their family members wanted their crosses removed from the Camp Casey site.

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Some of the crosses that were rescued from Camp Casey by irate patents and family members who were angry at Sheehan for using their children/loved ones names to further her anti-war, anti-troop rhetoric.

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Some of the family members re-erecting the same crosses at Fort Qualls in support of the duty that their loved ones died performing.

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The parent of one of the soldiers who was KIA in Iraq holding her son's cross that they took back from Camp Casey. She said it was a disgrace what Cindy was doing to the memory of her son and to the memory of every other soldier who had died or were still fighting over there.

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A military father proudly holding up pictures of his son, who, he said, had been proud to be in Iraq, working toward giving the Iraqis the same freedoms that we were privileged to have here in America. He said that his son and everyone that his son served with in his squad/platoon/where they were stationed in Iraq believed in what they were doing and that what Cindy was doing was spitting on their memory and spitting on their efforts and that it was a disgusting display to have someone like her trashing the soldiers who were over there doing their duty.

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Em prayed right along with the Chaplain as he said a prayer for the protection of our brave men and women in Iraq. This is probably one of my favorite pictures of her this weekend along with this one:
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During the candlelight vigil a storm started to kick up. Lots of lightening in the distance, wind gusting pretty hard, huge, infrequent drops of rain. The storm, they say, was going to produce gusts of up to 60 miles per hour, possible large hail, huge showers, etc, so we decided that safety had become the order of the day, plus Em was READY to go.
And now Sheehan is calling the mothers of other slain soldiers "brainwashed" for supporting "murder and mayhem". After calling the terrorists in Iraq who killed her son "freedom fighters," anti-Bush activist Cindy Sheehan now says other mothers of those slain in the conflict whose views oppose her own are "brainwashed." She said, "I am starting to lose a little compassion for them. I know they have been as brainwashed as the rest of America, but they know the pain and heartache and they should not wish it on another. However, I still feel their pain so acutely and pray for these 'continue the murder and mayhem' moms to see the light."

Before calling someone who has lost their son brainwashed for disagreeing with her spitting on their child's memory, she might want to look in the mirror and see how much of what is coming out of her mouth is left-wing regurgitated rhetoric. Who's the one who's been "brainwashed". She has become the parroted mouthpiece for the left, in fact so much so that Martin Sheen visited her on Sunday – he the KING of the ultra liberal Hollywood leftists. The more she belittles other who don't think like her, the less people are going to listen to her and the less credibility she will have with the general American populous at large. She's already starting to lose credibility as she starts speaking about channeling her deceased son and the other fallen soldiers. She herself has said that had she "been in her right mind" after Casey died she would have denied him a military burial and refused to let him be buried in his uniform, and what was she doing while she was not "in her right mind"? In her own words - she sat on the couch and cried and drank for a week, then went to meet with Bush and had nothing but the most complimentary things to say.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

And now a word from Chuck Colson

We will get back to our regularly scheduled program after this message. I am in the process of putting together the recap/photos from our trip to the Crawford rally yesterday but I felt compelled to share this right now. This was a Breakpoint Commentary earlier in the week by Chuck Colson. It is very telling as to how much influence and our dependance on Saudi oil has allowed us to turn a blind eye to the demands they are putting on us.

Who Is Becoming Like Whom?
The Saudis Get a Pass . . . Again

A key goal in the war on terrorism is the promotion of democracy and pluralism in the Islamic world. It’s expected that these Western ideals will cripple radical Islam by reducing the number of potential terrorist recruits, and by making the Middle East more like the West.

Apparently, someone in Blacksburg, Virginia, didn’t get the word.

Blacksburg is home to Virginia Tech, Virginia’s largest public university. This past summer, Virginia Tech was paid $246,000 to host a program in “faculty development” for King Abdul-Aziz University in Saudi Arabia.

Such arrangements aren’t unusual, but what was unusual was the Saudis’ request that the classes be gender-segregated. University officials said that the Saudis wanted the courses to “mirror classroom settings at their home institution.”

As one Virginia Tech spokesman put it, the university “chose to respect the Saudi culture ‘rather than impress our culture on them.’” Well, that explanation did not go down well with Tech faculty members. One professor even filed a grievance. Virginia Tech’s provost issued an apology-of-sorts and called the flap a “learning moment” that will guide Tech’s future actions.

This particular issue is moot because the Saudis will be long gone by the time the grievance process is over. What isn’t moot is the way that Saudi Arabian oil wealth buys an exemption from our professed values and ideals.

A decade ago, the Supreme Court ruled that the Virginia Military Institute’s (VMI) single-sex policy violated the Fourteenth Amendment’s equal protection clause. As a public institution, VMI couldn’t do, as a matter of conviction, what its sister institution, Virginia Tech, now gladly does for money. Please.

Our bending over backwards to accommodate Saudi sensibilities isn’t limited to American college campuses. As scholar Daniel Pipes puts it, “In Saudi Arabia, the U.S. government submits to restrictions on Christian practices that it would find totally unacceptable anywhere else in the world”—including foregoing saying grace before Thanksgiving dinner during a 1990 visit by then-president George H. W. Bush. As recently as 2002, American servicewomen, when they went off-base, were expected to wear “abayas,” the black head-to-foot garments worn by Saudi women. Meanwhile, we allow Saudis to finance schools that teach hatred of the West and send Korans into prisons.

These and numerous other examples prompt an obvious question: Who is becoming like whom? There can be no doubt which one needs to change. After all, Americans didn’t hijack their planes and fly them into the Kingdom Centre in Riyadh.

Yet, Americans are expected, by both their government and ours, to become more like Saudis. And as the price of oil rises, this leverage and influence can be expected to rise with it.

Let’s be clear: This is not “respect” for another culture; it is cravenness. It is letting oil wealth blind us, not only to our values, but also to our best interests. In any war, it helps to know who your adversaries are. The poor, misguided folks in Blacksburg may have done us a favor if this wakes us up to the double-standard we practice with the Saudis.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

It's been a HOT, long and rewarding day...

So we’ve been back home from Crawford and the "You Don't Speak for Me, Cindy", pro-USA, pro-soldiers tour for about an hour. I’m still sweaty - I can't seem to cool down, slightly sunburned in that oh so charming redneck, farmer’s tan kind of way, my head itches where it was under my cap and plastered to my head with sweat, I’m stinking exhausted (at least I’m not stinky - just smell like a lot of dust), my contacts really needed to be taken out (AHHHHH!), I’m really dusty, in desperate need of a shower and I’ll probably be asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow. It was a long day. A looooooong day. I’ve been up since about 4:25 this morning. I tried to get back to sleep, really I did, but my mind went over all the stuff that we had to get together still. SIGH. I itch. Not just where the sunburn is but under my clothes. The wind really blew the dust around, and oh, there was a lot of it, ummm, dust that is - just enough wind to annoyingly blow that dust but not enough to be any relief until the candlelight vigil. I am extremely glad I went and I have a lot of pictures to share as well as a recap of how the day went. However, if I can, I am going to hit the hay and blog about it tomorrow. This trip was a fascinating experience and there’s quite a bit to tell!

Follow the yellow brick road

Well, today I am going to Crawford, TX to a "Support the Troops" rally being held there. They are expecting over 10,000 people to show up. Even though I don't agree with a lot that the President has done lately, especially regarding the Israel disengagement plan (more on that later and why I believe it's a bad idea), I still support him b/c he is the President, but this is not about him today. It is about counteracting the nutcase, anti-war protester, Cindy Sheehan. She crossed the line from another anti-war protester looking for her 15 minutes of fame, which is WAY past up, to nutcase when she said that she was "channeling" her dead son and has the support of tens of thousands of angels and Casey's fellow fallen soldiers backing her up in her protest as well as saying that at 1 week old, Casey could already read her mind.

To clarify, I don't believe that she is a nutcase for protesting the war, she has that right, she is, however, becoming a crackpot b/c she is starting to be delusionary and a little bit on the "fringe" of normal b/c she is talking about "channeling" her dead son and his fallen brothers-in-arms and trying to speak for them post-mortem by saying that they have given her messages and spoken to her.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Three down, two to go...

This is for my first player, the lovely, the delightful, the sweet and sassy Lois Lane! If you haven’t had the chance to read her yet, she is a true riot. Full of great emotion, especially humor, and not afraid to spill her embarrassing stories.

1. Random: Kind, loyal, protective, great sense of humor

2. I’ll tell you what song or movie reminds me of you:
Song: American Pie (Don McLean) – very American, more sensible and hip in the way America was back in those days – not the outrageous "hip" mother trying to be a teen again crap that is out there today.
Movie: E.T. (Your sometimes chaotic yet always close-knit household reminds me of that family – of course Mr. Lane is in the picture at your house.)

3. I’ll pick a color/flavor of jello to wrestle with you in. Since I’m not into jello wrestling, this is a hypothetical question:
Cherry b/c you are sweet and down-to-earth like cherry pie.

4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me:
Overalls and spooning.

5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you:
I can’t remember when I came across you first but my first memory of you was the really nice comments that you left on my blog when I first started blogging, even the one about me being an aspiring romance writer and you not liking romance novels but that you liked me just fine anyway - LOL! “You had me from hello” and I’ve been so happy that you’ve been my blogfriend ever since. You are a real treasure!

6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of:
You are a turtle. A turtle symbolizes love, protection/protectiveness, and grounding – as in the grounding influence that you are for your family.

7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you:
When was the last time you cut your hair? It’s soooo long and...I remember your public restroom story. ROFLMAO!!!
Next up is the warm, the witty, the distinguished Captain Picard. A frequent visitor to Nic’s Place from a distant galaxy, Captain Picard has always been nothing but gracious, kind and encouraging. A real great blogfriend to have! Captain Picard’s blog is a highly entertaining peek into the life of a harassed and beleaguered Starship captain in the 24th century. You definitely won’t want to miss out on the fun there!

1. Random: Encouraging, champion, stoic, hidden mischief

2. I’ll tell you what song or movie reminds me of you:
Song: Unchained Melody (Cyndi Lauper’s version). The lyrics remind me of the feelings you have for Bev. Feelings you will only admit to yourself, alone in your quarters, in the dark of night after having some good brandy.
Movie: Close Encounters of the Third Kind. That is your life, you seek to make contact with new, emerging and undiscovered civilizations.

3. I’ll pick a color/flavor of jello to wrestle with you in. Since I’m not into jello wrestling, this is a hypothetical question:
Since Earle Gray doesn’t make a jello flavor, I’m going to have to go with Sparkling Grape (made by adding ginger ale instead of water). You have hidden depth and many facets to you that are only shown under the right light. It is a surprising and welcome treat.

4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me:
Beware of wearing your red shirt on your initial visit to a planet

5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you:
I found you through a comment you had made on Master Yoda’s blog and followed the link. There were only a few posts up as the blog had just started but I was amused and intrigued by the humor in the posts and kept coming back.

6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of:
Deer b/c it denotes Gentleness, Caring, Sensitivity, Peace and Wisdom

7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you:
When will you ever admit to Bev how you feel? It’s so obvious to everyone. It’s almost a tangible entity, those sparks between the two of you.
The third brave soul is a strong one for truth, justice and the REAL American way. Ken from Oblogatory Anecdotes is a real sharp guy with well-spoken opinions. He has articles up there from a conservative viewpoint regarding issues that you don’t see on many blogs unless they’re liberal ones defending their side of things. If you’re looking for the conservative viewpoint on the political, current events side of things that is well-reasoned, this is one of the best places to go.

1. Random: Patriotic, strong beliefs, family man, truth teller

2. I’ll tell you what song or movie reminds me of you:
Song: God Bless America. Reminds me of small-town, patriotic celebrations where everyone looks out for one another and is a close-knit community. You strike me as that kind of a person.
Movie: A Few Good Men. Just like the JAG team in that movie, you search for the truth and then put it out there.

3. I’ll pick a color/flavor of jello to wrestle with you in. Since I’m not into jello wrestling, this is a hypothetical question:
Strawberry. Backyard bbq’s, children chasing fireflies, sparklers, sunsets on clear summer nights. That’s what strawberry jello reminds me of and your blog does too.

4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me:
RE: Cornered Dog, etc. - Support makes a difference.

5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you:
I’m not sure how I first found you, but it’s only been about 4 weeks. I know though that when I read my first post of yours that I was very happy to find an intelligent mind out there who was blogging issues from my POV. It seems to be an infrequent phenomenon in comparison to the left-wing opinions out there in the blogsphere.

6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of:
Ant – because an ant denotes teamwork, patience, action, and community.

7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you:
Hmmm, that’s a toughie. If you could make America exactly how you wanted her to be, what would you make different and why?
Who else is ready to play? I can take two more players. See, isn't this fun!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Instead of the HDQ...

We’re going to play a game. A meme or actually, rather a you-you as it is pretty much all about you. I got this interactive meme from Mean Girl over at "Enough Already". It’s quite a lot of fun and it lets you know what I think about you, but in a good way. Here are the rules:

1. The first FIVE people that put their name in my comments, I’ll respond with something random about you (I’ll respond in the comments section, so you’ll have to check back).

2. I’ll tell you what song or movie reminds me of you.

3. I’ll pick a color/flavor of jello to wrestle with you in. Since I’m not into jello wrestling, this is a hypothetical question.

4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me.

5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you.

6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of.

7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you.

If I do this for you, you must post this on your blog. It is the way the game is played, so if you don’t agree to do this on your blog, please don’t put your name/comments in the comments section until AFTER the first 5 people have left comments. Oh, and I will not be accepting anonymous comments for this interactive meme.

I am going to use Mean Girl as an example of what I’m talking about since I got this from her blog.

1. Random: Adventurous, Fearless, Fun, Seeking
2. I’ll tell you what song or movie reminds me of you:
Movie: Chasing Amy
Song: 2 am (Anna Nalick)
3. I’ll pick a color/flavor of jello to (hypothetically) wrestle with you in:
Wild Strawberry b/c I believe you’ll dare to do almost anything
4. I’ll say something that only makes sense to you and me:
The “Fair Comment” defense states that anything written must be reasonably accurate...and merry met, blessed be.
5. I’ll tell you my first memory of you:
I visited you from Michele’s Weekend M&G at least 3 or so months ago and read your (rather extensive) list of things you had done and only 2 of them were not true and we had to pick the ones that weren’t true. My first thought was “HOLY COW!” This girl sure has, um, experience in many things. Now as I’ve read more about you and your optomistic outlook and upbeat perseverance over the past months, I have come to enjoy your blogfriendship.
6. I’ll tell you what animal you remind me of:
Seahorse, because the seahorse represents confidence, grace, joy and the ability to hold on while in emotional waters
7. I’ll ask you something I’ve always wondered about you:
You are a Pagan priestess and fairly liberal, I am a Christian and very conservative, I wonder why you find me interesting (aside from my “intelligent and diverse opinion on religion”) since we seem to be the proverbial Odd Couple? LOL!

So, who are going to be my five victims, er, volunteers? Step right up, don’t be shy. I won’t bite, just maybe growl a little.

Monday, August 22, 2005

The return of the missing Monday Meal!

I have had a blogfriend ask me (Yes, Mark aka The Great White Bear), I'm talking to you!) when I was going to return to doing the Monday Meals. Well, needless to say, things at home have been a little busy, but tonight marks the return of the Monday Meal. Tonight we are going to have some tantalizing, tasty, incredible Italian recipes. For those of you who might not know what the Monday Meal is about, on Monday's I post recipes for a complete meal with an entree, a side and a dessert. Sometimes more but never less. So without further ado, here is the latest installment of the Monday Meal.

My thanks to the wonderful author Shirley Jump for including the most amazing recipes in her books! These come from her latest fun romance novel "The Devil Served Tortellini".

Happy-Ending-For-All Chicken Florentine Lasagna:
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
2 12-oz cans evaporated skim milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
16 oz nonfat cottage cheese
3/4 reduced fat shredded mozzarella cheese
Cooking spray
7 oz whole wheat lasagna noodles, cooked and drained (or regular lasagna noodles if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups cooked chicken breast, shredded
1 10-oz package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano Reggiano
2 tablespoons fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and get ready for a cullinary masterpiece that's good for you - and good to eat. (This is my first really healthy meal for those of you who frequent my Monday Meals - typically I don't do really healthy meals. I do tasty meals, not fat free, tasteless meals - but this one looked so good I coldn't pass it up!) In a medium saucepan, melt the butter, then add the flour and cook for 30 seconds. Gradually whisk in milk, salt and nutmeg. Cook until thickened, about 3 minutes. Viola! Low-calorie white sauce. Mix the cottage cheese and mozzarella in a separate bowl. Looking good already, isn't it? And best of all, it's only about 10 grams of fat per serving. (Long as you're realistic about portion control, that is.)

Spread 1/3 of the sauce over an 11x7-ince baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray to prevent a sticky mess. Arrange noodles across sauce, top with half the chicken and spinach, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with half the cheese mixture, then a little more sauce. Add another layer, same as before. End with noodles, then spread remaining sauce on top.

Cover with foil and bake for 45 - 55 minutes. Remove foil, sprinkle with grated Parmigiano and some more mozarella and bake another 5 minutes. Serve with Parsley garnish.

Mamma's Joining-of-Two-Hearts Double Cheese Risotto
4 tablespoons butter
1 small onion, minced
1 3/4 cup Arborio rice
1 cup white wine (a good vintage from a lucky year)
4 cups boiling chicken stock (Swansens is best, in my opinion)
1 cup Gorgonzola cheese, chopped
1 cup Fontina cheese, chopped
Salt and pepper
Walnut (or pecan) halves for garnish

Melt the butter in a pan, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the rice and stir, until the grains are ready to burst. Add the wine for a little sweetness from the vine. Now pour in a little of the stock, stirring until it's absorbed.

Risotto requires tending, so add a little more stock and stir, repeat until risotto is creamy and al dente. Finally add the Gorgonzola and Fontina and stir until the risotto and cheeses are completely blended and sprikle the top with walnut halves.

Mamma's If-Wishes-Were-Son-In-Laws Lady's Kisses
10 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup ground almonds
1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup almonds finely ground
1 taablespoon almond paste
1 cup chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer until it's light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolk, almond extract, ground almonds and flour. Chill for 2 hours until firm.

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Break off small pieces of the dough and roll into 40 petite balls. Place the balls on baking sheet, spacing 2 inches apart. Bake for 20 minutes.

In a food processor, grind almonds and almond paste for filling. Melt chocolate chips and spread on cooled cookies, then dip halves into almond mixture, and press two cookies together to make a sweet sandwich.

Ok, so that's it for this week's Monday Meals. I hope you enjoy it. Next week will be a Labor Day meal selection for you to mix and match and choose from to make your own custom Labor Day meal.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Update on Marine being denied in-state tuition...

I am happy to say that after a nationwide outcry, the Marine that I posted about a couple of day sgo is getting a fair shake after all and will be allowed to recieve in-state tuition rates.
Marine gets tuition break
Officials find way for Texan following nationwide outcry

Following nationwide public outcry, a decorated U.S. Marine from Texas will be allowed in-state college tuition after a school turned him down because he didn't reside in the state when he began two tours of duty in Iraq.

As WorldNetDaily reported,Cpl. Carl Basham was told by admissions officials at Austin Community College he didn't qualify as a Texas resident "for tuition purposes, despite being a registered voter and holder of a state driver's license.

But today the college said Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, himself a former U.S. Marine, identified a state waiver provision for which Basham qualifies, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"We are so delighted that he will be eligible for in-state tuition," said Veronica Obregon, spokeswoman for Austin Community College.

Patterson wrote a letter stating Basham qualified for a waiver that requires him to provide military documents showing Texas as his state of residence plus his voter and automobile registration.

Obregon said Basham has presented the proper documentation to meet the waiver requirements.

Previously, the school pointed to the Texas Coordinating Board Rules, which regulate public colleges in the state. The rules say members of the armed forces "are presumed to maintain the same domicile that was in effect at the time of entering the service during their entire period of active service."

Basham moved with his parents to Louisiana when he was a junior in high school, and he enlisted in the Marines right after graduating. Even though his parents moved back to Texas after he had been in the service for a year, the college argued he lived in Louisiana at the time of enlistment.

"Any time that a student leaves the state of Texas, moves into another state, resides in that state, enters into the military in that new state, and claims that new state as their permanent home, then they lose their Texas residency," Obregon explained.

Basham had argued that after "being in the military for a year, coming from Louisiana, my parents moved back into Texas, making me an automatic resident, because I'm still their dependent."

Over two enlistments and eight years of service, the Star-Telegram reported, Basham was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and other decorations. He served as a driver and an auto mechanic in his two tours of duty in Iraq, each lasting seven months.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Today's FFT

Yes, there actually is an FFT today! Yay. Today our field trip takes you to a place where ugly bridesmaid's dresses live on in infamy. Yes, I am talking abou Ugly Dress.com. So go have yourself a laugh at the really, really ugly dresses found there.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Mother Sheehan's gentle musings...

Will this lady just please go away! I have to agree with Anne Coulter about Cindy Sheehan when she said, "Call me old-fashioned, but a grief-stricken war mother shouldn't have her own full-time PR flack. After your third profile on "Entertainment Tonight," you're no longer a grieving mom; you're a C-list celebrity trolling for a book deal or a reality show."

Here is the latest from Matt Drudge about the stuff that is spewing from her mouth. Though she has the right to free speech - all of us do, she is dishonoring the memory of her son and the other soldiers who lost their lives or are still fighting for other people across the world to be able to have freedom. Is America one of the few countries to be able to be free? Newsflash, freedom is never free. The cost in lives is usually high b/c there are those who would rather keep the people under their thumb with a dictatorial rule where NOBODY except those who agree with the dictator has a say.

Wed Aug 17 2005 21:51:56 ET

"We are not waging a war on terror in this country. We’re waging a war of terror. The biggest terrorist in the world is George W. Bush!"

So declared Cindy Sheehan earlier this year during a rally at San Francisco State University.

Sheehan, who is demanding a second meeting with Bush, stated: "We are waging a nuclear war in Iraq right now. That country is contaminated. It will be contaminated for practically eternity now."

Sheehan unleashed a foul-mouth tirade on April 27, 2005:

"They’re a bunch of f*ck*ng hypocrites! And we need to, we just need to rise up..." Sheehan said of the Bush administration.

"If George Bush believes his rhetoric and his b*llsh*t, that this is a war for freedom and democracy, that he is spreading freedom and democracy, does he think every person he kills makes Iraq more free?"

"The whole world is damaged. Our humanity is damaged. If he thinks that it’s so important for Iraq to have a U.S.-imposed sense of freedom and democracy, then he needs to sign up his two little party-animal girls. They need to go to this war."

"We want our country back and, if we have to impeach everybody from George Bush down to the person who picks up dog sh*t in Washington, we will impeach all those people."


Now why is it that it is perfectly fine to malign our President, granted I'm not too happy with his decisions of late, especially regarding Israel, or our elected leaders but it is completely taboo to speak out against those who do the maligning? There is something caled Free Speech and we are ALL entitled to it. It is not for the select portion of our population as many of the extreme liberal left would like everyone to believe (no offense meant to the liberal blogfriends of mine who read my blog b/c I know that they get it when so many on their side do not.), it is for EVERYONE, the maligners and those who defend the malignees.

And now...for some further gentle musings from Mother Sheehan (these are actual quotes from her, people):

On America

"We began the killing as soon as we stepped foot on these shores [of America] and the killing has gone on unabated for over 200 years."

"There has always been excuses for wars, but NONE of them have been good or valid."

"This country is not worth dying for.” If it's not worth dying for they why are you still here? Why haven't you moved elsewhere out of the US? Maybe France.

“America has been killing people on this continent since it was started."

"The U.S. government is a morally repugnant system.”

On 9/11

“9/11 was Pearl Harbor for the neo-conservatives’ agenda.”

The Jewish Plot

"Am I emotional? Yes, my first born was murdered. Am I angry? Yes, he was killed for lies and for a PNAC Neo-Con agenda to benefit Israel."

"My son joined the Army to protect America, not Israel." Where in the world did THIS one come from?

"Am I stupid? No, I know full-well that my son, my family, this nation, and this world were betrayed by a George Bush who was influenced by the neo-con PNAC agenda after 9/11."

"My first born was killed violently for a neo-con agenda that only benefits a very chosen few in this world." I hardly call millions of Iraqi citizens a very chosen few

“George Bush and his neo-conservatives killed my son.”

On Other Threats

"Is there yet an American who can not clearly see that Dick Cheney...will say whatever he thinks is required to ultimately cause wealth and power to move to himself and to his friends? ...need I defile this holy place with words like "Haliburton" and "Kellog, Brown & Root" and "torture" and "US weapons industry"?"

Is there anyone in America who cannot yet see that Donald Runsfeld is a liar...that he, as with Hitler and Stalin....will say anything so long as he thinks it will help shape the world to his own liking? Is there even one, sane adult among us who cannot see that Donald Rumsfeld is a threat to our nation's security and to peace on our beloved earth?

"As soft-spoken and sincere-sounding as Paul Wolfowitz is, is there yet any sane adult in this country who's skin does not crawl when this murderous liar opens his mouth and speaks? Am I the only person in this room who clearly sees that Paul Wolfowitz is a threat to our nation's security...and to peace on our beloved earth?"

Our Elected Leaders

"Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs...gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far."

"We've watched these thugs parade themselves before the whole world as if they are courageous advocates for Christian moral values...and for the spread of democracy."

"The US government is now ruled by murderous hypocrites...criminals who should be arrested, charged appropriately, confined behind bars."

"In their secret hiding places, while celebrating newly won fortunes with their fellow brass, these men must surely congratulate themselves with orgies of carnal pleasure as they mock the dwindling multitudes who are yet so blind as to mistake them for God's devoted servants."

"Every member of Bush's executive branch (past and present) and every member of Congress who voted to give George the authority to invade Iraq have innocent blood on their hands. For the next State of the Union address, maybe the hypocrites in Congress should shamefacedly display blood-soaked hands, instead of proudly wriggling fingers stained with ink to symbolize sham Iraqi elections." Maybe she could get a job scriptwriting for the next Wes Craven horror movie?

"Then we have this lying bastard, George Bush..."

"So anyway that filth-spewer and warmonger, George Bush was speaking..." And her language is so squeaky clean and her words are gospel? I hardly think so.

"We can't let somebody rise to the top who will pardon these war criminals. Because they need to go to prison for what they've done in this world. We can't have a pardon. They need to pay for what they've done."

Civic Duty

"Another thing that I'm doing is - - my son was killed in 2004, so I'm not paying my taxes for 2004. If I get a letter from the IRS, I'm gonna say, you know what, this war is illegal; this is why this war is illegal. This war is immoral; this is why this war is immoral. You killed my son for this. I don't owe you anything. And if I live to be a million, I won't owe you a penny."

"And I want them to come after me, because unlike what you've been doing with the war resistance, I want to put this frickin' war on trial. And I want to say, "You give me my son, and I'll pay your taxes."

On Terrorism

"You get America out of Iraq and Israel out of Palestine and you'll stop the terrorism." Really?! Does anyone really believe that if we don't fight the terrorists on their own turf and stop keeping them occupied over there that they will be content to sit and twiddle their thumbs and leave us alone? Really?!

"When I was growing up, it was Communists'. Now it's Terrorists'. So you always have to have somebody to fight and be afraid of, so the war machine can build more bombs, guns, and bullets and everything."

“The biggest terrorist is George W. Bush.”

Support For Troops

"I DEFINITELY think that we should support war resisters in the military." Funny how her son Casey didn't resist the war, instead he enlisted twice - and volunteered for combat.

"I know several people who are being court-martialed, and they need support--they need monetary support, they need our moral support, and they need to know that we’re with them."

"We need to encourage more people to do this. "

Concern For Others

"Why does Terry Schiavo deserve to live more than my son, Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan?"

There are some more of her insights collected here:

Cindy Sheehan -- In Her Own Words

Yes, everyone is entitled to Free Speech and their 15 minutes of fame, but when that 15 minutes is over, it's time to pack it up and get a life. Funny how none of her family is backing her up on this and they are all coming out against her saying that they do not have the same opinions and views as those held by her.

When the "You Don't Speak For Me, Cindy" tour arrives in Crawford the weekend of the 27th, I'm sure it's going to get pretty ugly.

In fact, one family who lives in Spiewood, TX drove hundreds of miles to Crawford to remove their son's name from a "protest cross" that Sheehan had put up. The fallen soldiers family said, "I went there and had Matthew's name taken off of there," said Matt Matula, whose son, a 20-year-old Marine, was killed by hostile fire last year. "It's fine for people to grieve their own way. It aggravates me to see them using other people's names to further their cause."

"He's not a victim, he's a hero," he told KXAN-TV, "and I think that everybody that's serving our country [are] heroes."

He earned a host of decorations, including the Purple Heart, Combat Action Ribbon, Presidential Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Operation Iraqi Freedom Expeditionary Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, and Sea Service Deployment Ribbon.

"Matthew was very proud of being a Marine and proud of his unit and what they were doing," his mother, Toni, said.

Another mother who called in to a popular syndicated talk show said "I would never dishonor his actions by doing what this woman is doing," she tearfully said, referring to Cindy Sheehan. "What she's doing is not only dishonoring her son, she's dishonoring mine. ... [Casey Sheehan] didn't die for nothing, he died in the United States Armed Forces. There's nothing more honorable than that. These kids volunteered, they were not yanked from their cradle by an evil government to send them someplace they didn't want to go ... My son knew what was in store for him, and my son stepped up to the plate."

If they volunteer, that is their choice to do so. Every death is a tragedy, but those soldiers who gave their lives, so that others could be free deserve to be honored, not used as leftist propaganda. Those soldiers did not go into this war with blinders on. As the saying goes "War is hell". They knew what they were doing and the possibilities of dying and yet they chose to still go. To give freedom to those without. To allow them the ability to freely speak and give their opinions just like Ms. Sheehan is able to. How are they any less worthy than her to have these rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness? We're all human. We all want to be free from those who would rule us with an iron fist, who would murder us for speaking ill of those in charge, who would decide who lives and who dies just by what ethnicity you are. Ms. Sheehan had better thank her Maker for living here and not in Iraq before the war b/c if she ever said anything like this over there against Saddam, she would have been found in one of those mass graves over there...that is if Saddam had left anything of her to find. Why is she any more worthy than the Iraqi's that her son fought to give freedom to? She isn't.

Decorated Marine denied in-state tuition

I am sad to say that this story comes from my hometown. How does something like this happen in this day and age? It is an egregious outrage that he is disqualified from in-state tuition just because he's done two tours of duty in Iraq, even though he's been registered in Travis County since '98, banks here, etc. I am glad that two of our state officials, including our State Comptroller are looking into this.

Decorated Marine denied in-state tuition
Community college tells Texas native his tours in Iraq disqualify him

Despite being a Texas native, a registered voter and holder of a state driver's license, a decorated Marine has been denied lower in-state tuition at a community college because he spent too much time out of the state while serving two tours of duty in Iraq.

Carl Basham says he was shocked when personnel at Austin Community College told him a few weeks ago that he didn't qualify as a Texas resident "for tuition purposes." Basham was born in Beeville, Texas, registered to vote in Travis County in 1998, holds a Texas driver's license and does his banking in Austin, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

"They told me that I have to physically live in the state of Texas for at least a year," Basham told the paper. "It kind of hurts."

According to the report, Austin Community College officials were unable to specify why Basham isn't considered a Texas resident, only that he didn't meet state requirements as determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. A spokeswoman said privacy laws prevent a discussion of Basham's case.

In-state tuition at the college is $500 per semester, compared to $2,600 for non-Texas residents.

Two state officials are decrying the decision.

"Mr. Basham has gone to war for us, and I intend to go to war for him!" said state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, in a letter to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. "We owe it to our returning service men and women to make it as easy and uncomplicated as possible for them to resume their normal lives."

State Rep. Suzanna Hupp, R-Lampasas, also plans to probe the issue.

"I think we need to look into it further. It doesn't make sense that people who have bullets flying over their head aren't treated properly when they get back," she told the Star-Telegram.

The higher education board is reportedly investigating the case.

Basham, 27, says that while his college costs eventually will be covered by the federal government, those benefits won't be available for several months, so he'll need to come up with the higher tuition cost plus cash for books in the meantime.

The Marine's wife, Jolie, could hardly believe her ears when, after presenting multiple pieces of evidence proving his Texas residence, her husband was turned down.

"[The admissions officer] said, 'It's really your military service that's holding you back.' I couldn't believe that those words came out of her mouth," Jolie Basham is quoted as saying.

"He's always Texas this and Texas that," she said. "It's always been his home."

Over two enlistments and eight years of service, the paper reported, Basham was awarded a Combat Action Ribbon, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and other decorations. He served as a driver and an auto mechanic in two tours of duty in Iraq, each lasting seven months, he said.

Basham was honorably discharged from the Marines on Jan. 31 and hopes to work toward a degree in emergency medical care.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

And now...for some lighter fare

She said sarcastically... and the HDQ after the article

As John Stossel would say "Give me a break!" Does this member of the ACLU, of any part of the ACLU really think that praying officials have the same mentality as the terrorists who blew up the WTC, Pentagon, railway in Spain and mass transit means in London? Really?! You have got to be kidding me! Talk about making the ACLU into more of a joke than they already are. One of my favorite sayings regarding the ACLU is that "they are totally without A C-L-Ue". Read the story below from World Net Daily and see if you can spot the ludicracy and lunacy in their mindset.

Praying school board likened to terrorists
ACLU boss compares officials to 'people who flew the airplanes into the buildings'

A local ACLU director equated al-Qaida terrrorists with members of a Louisiana school board seeking to open their meetings with prayer.

Joe Cook of the ACLU of Louisiana spoke on camera with WAFB-TV, Baton Rouge, La., while staff and teachers of the Tangipahoa Parish district in New Orleans were at a seminar being informed of their free-speech rights by a member of the Alliance Defense Fund.

Referring to the school board, Cook said, "They believe that they answer to a higher power, in my opinion. Which is the kind of thinking that you had with the people who flew the airplanes into the buildings in this country, and the people who did the kind of things in London."

Mike Johnson, senior counsel and southeastern regional coordinator for the Alliance Defense Fund, said Cook has become increasingly outlandish in his statements.

"It shows the ACLU has become more and more extreme and marginalized," said Johnson. "So, to that extent, I like it when he talks, because he simply reveals who they are."

Johnson said the ACLU tries to "come across as champions of liberty, but the truth of the matter is they are extremists."

"It's clear in a number of recent cases that the ACLU of Louisiana wants to impose a radical form of secularism that the Constitution doesn't require, and frankly, that people of this state are not willing to accept," Johnson said.

The local ACLU has filed three lawsuits in the past 10 years on behalf of "offended parents" with children in the Tangipahoa Parish district.

The board is appealing a federal judge's ruling that prayers at its regular meetings violate the Establishment Clause of the United States Constitution, which says, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."

The board – which has opened each of its meetings with a prayer, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance, for more than 30 years – argues the invocations impose no restriction on any religious viewpoint, and any person who wants to lead the prayer may do so regardless of his religious beliefs.

In 2003, however, a parent of two high school students in the district, represented by the ACLU, filed a lawsuit claiming the invocations were unconstitutional.

The trial judge recognized it is constitutional for legislative or deliberative bodies to begin meetings with prayer, but she ruled the principle did not apply to the school board.

The ACLU says, "The school board's consistent defiance of the law not only dishonors and endangers the Constitution, but it also sends a message of religious intolerance and polarizes the community."

In April, the ACLU of Louisiana filed a motion for criminal contempt against the board for allegedly defying a court order banning official prayer at athletic events.

In March, the local ACLU also asked a judge to hold the board in contempt for allowing an elementary school student to recite the Lord's Prayer before its meeting.

Public prayer at school-related functions is "un-American and immoral," Cook said at the time.

"Public schools should be kept inclusive and secular in keeping with our founders' ideas for religious liberty for all," said Cook. "Because public schools are part of the government, official school-organized or school-sponsored devotional exercises are inconsistent with the principle of religious freedom."

Cook made his comments to the New Orleans TV station while the ADF's Johnson was providing in-service training to the district's 1,500 staff and teachers, outlining the legal parameters in which they can express religious faith in a public school setting.

"What [the ACLU desires] is to remove all religious expression from the public square," Johnson said. "But the people of Louisiana are not along for that ride. [Cook] has a very different vision for the country that the people here do. Traditional family values and religious liberty are still things held in high regard here. When he comes forward with this message, there is a backlash."

Johnson said most of the seminar amounted to going through the Department of Education guidelines on prayer in schools.

Any school receiving federal funding through the No Child Left Behind Act must commit to the guidelines each year, but the information rarely is passed down to the classroom, Johnson said.

The guidelines – first issued in 1995 under President Clinton and most recently revised by the Bush adminstration in 2003 – essentially say students and teachers maintain their rights to free speech and religious expression on campus.

All religious express that is student-led and not a material disruption to the school program must be allowed, Johnson emphasized.

Public schools must be neutral toward religion and allow equal access to student media outlets and facilities for after-hours events. If a math club can use a classroom, a religious-oriented one can use one too, Johnson said.
Today's HDQ:

What "anything" in this world do you find asinine, ridiculous or laughable? Something that either boils your blood or makes you roll your eyes and go "Not again" or some similar reaction.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005


It's so nice to see the IP addresses of two of my latest "fans" lined up all nice and neatly for me. All the IP addresses the two of them use through their AOL connections. So nice to have a list of them all nicely copied and saved on my computer, including the times and dates and length of time they visited and each visit they made from the last 2-3 weeks. Wonderful thing about stat counters. They show all and keep a record of it.

Monday, August 15, 2005

When in doubt...don't

Good Monday morning everyone. I know I haven’t been updating on a regular basis lately and I apologize for that. I’ve been spending as much time as possible with my darling Em. God knows we both need each other right now. I think myself moreso than her.

Today I would like to share with you one "Word of Wisdom", instead of the 10 I’ve been doing on Sunday nights. Or, ok, haven’t done in a few weeks but try to do on Sunday nights.

When in doubt – think about it before you say it. Or more popularly When in doubt...DON'T

Is what you say really going to be beneficial in the long run? Would you be damaging a relationship of friendship that you’ve had for years and years if you were to talk about it? Is it really your place to say what you feel needs to be said to the other person?

You may be asking yourself if I have a reason for this specific “Word of Wisdom” and the subsequent questions that follow. Well, yes, yes I do.

Over the weekend a dear friend of the family, whom I’ve known since I was probably 6 or so came by b/c she had a “burden” to talk about. It was about…my blog. She feels that I am too personal on my blog and that the things that are on my blog are, for lack of a better word, appalling. Excuse me? There is nothing on my blog that a child couldn’t read. She feels that my blog goes beyond the bounds of “what is proper”. She started getting in my face (figuratively speaking) and on me about the “content” of my blog and was absolutely appalled, yes appalled, when I told her that not only do I have friends who read my blog but that I have relatives that read my blog to keep up with me and what’s going on in my life and family. They also enjoy my articles that I post from time to time on my views, etc. Her (literally) choked response was “your relatives…read your blog?” and was so mad she was almost shaking. She then proceded to rant about "how could I write personal things about my life, my relationships with my husband, my family, my friends" on the blog. How dare I "exploit" them in that way! (That is a paraphrase b/c she said so much stuff that I don't want to write it down b/c it was just not very nice) I let her know that I appreciated her “concern” but that my blog is my business and what I choose to put on there or not put on there is just that, my business, and nobody else’s. She was livid and kept trying to push, push, push her opinions after I had already heard them ad nauseum. I told her that I loved her but that this conversation was finished.

It was neither her place nor her right to try and tell me that what I write in my blog is wrong and that I should stop. That is her opinion only. Certainly not the opinion of my family or my blogfriends or my other friends that I have in my life.

My mom was a little shocked, to say the least, as well as another friend of the family who is also friends with this other lady. They could not understand for the life of them why this family friend felt like it was her duty to take it upon herself to take me to task about my blog. My mom feels that yeah, sometimes maybe I might share a little too much about my life with complete strangers, but it is certainly not anything really to raise the alarm about like this person tried to. In doing so, she had put a definite strain on a friendship that has lasted about 25/26 years. I certainly won’t feel comfortable around her anytime soon and that is very sad b/c my little Em loves her like nobodies business. She is Em’s Nonie. Maybe my mom can take Em to see her b/c I won’t be doing so any time soon. Not until the hurt and anger are gone, or have at least subsided somewhat.

So what say you, my blog readers and friends? Do you think my blog is improper, offensive, appalling and too personal? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005


Short and simple: What is your favorite movie?

I have three.

The first and always #1 in my heart: The Princess Bride by S. Morgenstern. It has everything in there. Really rockin’ humor, true love, action, magic and an awesome song for the credits! I absolutely fell in love with this movie the first time I saw it. I was in high school and was mesmerized by how much this movie touched me. After all, what girl doesn’t dream of having a love that transcends time, difficult situations, misunderstandings and overcomes all obstacles in its path to be a GREAT love? To be TRUE LOVE. To become a love that endures forever.
This is TRUE LOVE. You think this happens every day?

#2 is The Phantom of the Opera – the one that came out last year. Oh, the cinematography, the music, the beautiful people…the Phantom. Ok, I have to say that a more handsome Phantom has never existed! But the whole movie is a work of art. I know there was controversy about Gerard Butler being cast as the Phantom, but in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s own words, he wanted someone with a roughness to his voice to show the contrast between Christine and the Phantom. With the exception of Minnie Driver, everyone did their own voices. I love this movie b/c it shows so many facets of the human psyche, love, forgiveness, strength, courage, the willingness to sacrifice for the other person, jealousy, anger, possessiveness. Both the good and the bad. I was a little confuzzled about Schumaker’s decision to put nipples on the suit in Batman and Robin (I think that was the one), it actually was kind of appalling - the rubber nipples and codpiece for Batman of all people. However, he redeemed himself with this movie. It just is an enchanting, enthralling movie. My 3 year old loves it and has so many questions to ask about why people acted a certain way, why they did the things they did and she absolutely LOVES the music so much that she hums the music to the songs as they are playing and dances to the songs. The movie is a good teaching opportunity to show her that it is not how a person looks, but how they act and how they treat others that matters.

#3 is a tie. I love the movie US Navy SEALs with Charlie Sheen, Bill Paxton, Dennis Haysbert (President Palmer on 24), Michael Biehn and others. It is all about camaraderie, a true family/brother bond between friends and teammates, triumphing through the face of adversity…I love military movies. I like all things military. I love looking at a man in uniform (or a kilt). I have watched Navy SEAL Hell Week training videos and documentaries for the fun of it. I admire the hell out of our fighting men and women, especially those in the Special Forces. I respect them and support them for the sacrifices they make on everyone’s behalf. They literally carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Ok, so I said it was a tie. GI Jane is the other movie. Talk about grit and determination. Yes, I know it’s only a movie, but it made for great subject matter. It is a movie that I admire b/c they didn’t make it into a powder-puff movie, which it easily could have been b/c of the subject matter of a woman going through BUDs training to become a SEAL. Instead they didn’t pull any punches when it came to showing the beatings she took and the ridicule and hostility she endured. Great movie.

While I personally believe that the Special Forces should be kept to just men b/c of all the psychological and emotional ramifications to the team if one of their mates was a woman and she got captured, injured or killed, etc., (as it showed in the movie, even though it was a mock capture) if a woman wants to become a Special Forces member – more power to her. I believe that a woman is just as capable of doing things that a man is capable of – most things anyway. Myself, I have an excellent eye for riflery. At 100 yards, black iron sights with no scope on a black target I can group my shots pretty consistently and hold them to about a 6” diameter grouping. Most guys I know who are at the range on a fairly frequent basis can’t do that well without a scope. Me, that grouping was a result of only the 2nd time I’d shot my AR in 2 years. I’d say that’s pretty darn good, I don’t care who you are.

Friday, August 05, 2005

It's not the FFT...

I will post the FFT later today, but just take a moment to really read this and absorb the information.
Please pause a moment, reflect back, and take the following Multiple Choice test. (The events are actual cuts from past history. They actually happened! (Do you remember?)

1. In 1972 at the Munich Olympics, athletes were kidnapped and massacred by:
a. Olga Corbitt
b. Sitting Bull
c. Arnold Schwartzeneger
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

2. In 1979, the U.S. embassy in Iran was taken over by:
a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80-year-old women
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40.

3. During the 1980's a number of Americans were kidnapped in Lebanon by:
a. John Dillinger
b. The King of Sweden
c. The Boy Scouts
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

4. In 1983, the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut was blown up by:
a. A pizza delivery boy
b. Pee Wee Herman
c. Geraldo Rivera
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

5. In 1985 the cruise ship Achille Lauro was hijacked and a 70 year old American passenger was murdered and thrown overboard in his wheelchair by:
a. The Smurfs
b. Davy Jones
c. The Little Mermaid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

6. In 1985 TWA flight 847 was hijacked at Athens, and a U.S. Navy diver trying to rescue passengers was murdered by:
a. Captain Kid
b. Charles Lindberg
c. Mother Teresa
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

7. In 1988, Pan Am Flight 103 was bombed by:
a. Scooby Doo
b. The Tooth Fairy
c. Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

8. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed the first time by:
a. Richard Simmons
b. Grandma Moses
c. Michael Jordan
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

9. In 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed by:
a. Mr. Rogers
b. Hillary, to distract attention from Wild Bill' s women problems
c. The World Wrestling Federation
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

10. On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked; two were used as missiles to take out the World Trade Centers and of the remaining two, one crashed into the US Pentagon and the other was diverted to a crash by the passengers. Thousands of people were killed by:
a. Bugs Bunny, Wiley E. Coyote, Daffy Duck and Elmer Fudd
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

11. In 2002 the United States fought a war in Afghanistan against:
a. Enron
b. The Lutheran Church
c. The NFL
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

12. In 2002 reporter Daniel Pearl was kidnapped and murdered by:
a. Bonny and Clyde
b. Captain Kangaroo
c. Billy Graham
d. Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40

Nope, .........I really don't see a pattern here to justify profiling, do you?

So, to ensure we Americans never offend anyone, particularly fanatics intent on killing us, airport security screeners will no longer be allowed to profile certain people. They must conduct random searches of 80-year-old women, little kids, airline pilots with proper identification, Secret Service agents who are members of the President's security detail, 85-year old Congressmen with metal hips, and Medal of Honor winning former Governors.

Not only that, but now the ACLU who is totally without A CLUe, is trying to make random backpack searches in NYC illegal. It is totally ridiculous. Am I saying that all Muslim males between the ages of 17 and 40 are extremists? No. I know many Muslim males through my work who are kind, caring, hard working people, family men, who abhor the events that are going on. But look at the records, look at the numbers, the percentages, the facts and you come up with Muslim male extremists mostly between the ages of 17 and 40 doing the majority of the terroristic activities around the world. Even in the Sudan, the atrocities in Africa, the genocide, those were and are perpetrated by Muslim males. When is liberal America going to wake up and smell the coffee on this one?

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Well...I'm back...and the HDQ

So, as all of you know, I went to Reno last week. Well, I am back from Reno now and will give you my update.

Honestly, it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be. The last two years I have had a blast at the conferences! I mean it was just kind of dull there this time. I was so busy that I didn't have a chance to even step outside of the hotel. I didn't get a chance to go to any of the workshops that I wanted to and I wanted to rent a car and go to Tahoe, which is about a 45 minute drive from Reno, but the afternoon I had that planned, they opened my area, which was supposed to have been closed for the afternoon and would have given me a free afternoon b/c there were no workshops that afternoon. As it was, I was on my feet pretty much the whole time from about 6 in the morning to 7 or so at night – except for lunches where we all got together as a group. This year was especially heinous b/c there are usually around 1900-2100 people at the conference, but this year it was close to 3000. I was the volunteer “running” the promotions area and was kind of the liaison between the authors and publishing houses doing the promotions there and the general attendees. I enjoy doing it every year b/c, hey, free stuff, but this year was too much I think.

I mean catching up with the friends I have from across the world was fun, but I wasn't into the gambling or the drinking. I think that I had more fun talking with one of my roommates than anything else at the conference. Though I do have to say that the food was awesome, except when it came to the salads. Salad is an appetizer, not a meal. The last day, our lunch was a Southwest salad. UGH! I like salad as a whole with the occasional meal, but not every day, with every meal and as a meal.

Oh, I learned that Johnny Rockets has great fries and grilled cheese sandwiches! 

Two of my roommates were from my Austin chapter. One was a critique partner of mine and another was her other CP from England. The really pleasant surprise was that the third roommate who was also from our Austin chapter that I only met a couple of times prior to the conference is a Christian. We are close to the same age, she lives in the Austin area, has two young boys and a strong marriage, she used to live in Germany and was a missionary there in her 20s. She was talking about doing mission work and at first I thought she was Mormon, but she isn't. Turns out she was talking about genuine missionary work and not the "missions" that the Mormons send their members on. We talked and talked and talked and basically pal'd around the conference when she wasn't in workshops and I wasn't working my tail off behind the scenes. I had such a great time with her. So this conference was really beneficial to me in one significant way: I made a great new friend in my area who also is a Christian that writes romance. She writes paranormal romance by the way. Even though both of us are Christian, we aren’t fond of inspirational romances. As she says, if you say you haven’t been tempted as a Christian to do things that are un-Christian-like, then you’re lying. Nobody lives without temptation. And sexual tension is a part of life. Everyone deals with it. It’s what you do about that tension that matters.

Once I got back to Austin, nothing was better than seeing my Emily! Thank God for the children who love us! She was all I thought about on the way home, and for most of the conference. The last two years were ok being away from her, b/c she was less aware that I wasn’t there but this year was different b/c she knew that I wasn't there. The nightly calls were difficult on me. I’m not sure what I’m going to do next year. I’m not going to National in Atlanta, but to a wedding in Scotland with Matt – if we make it to then (which I really hope we do). I am debating on whether or not to take Emily or to keep her here. Then there is the whole school issue too. She’s smart enough to go into kindergarten next year at 4 and I really would like that, but the wedding falls during when school starts. What to do, what to do? Well, I have a whole year to figure it out.

Ok, so for today’s HDQ:

Is there something that you looked forward to that when you finally went to it or did it that it was a real let down and not what you had your expectations set for?

You already read my answer above. I’d like to hear yours.
I forgot to add that other than making a new friend from Austin at the conference, the second best thing (and only other worthwhile thing worth mentioning) was the Suzanne Brockmann BBQ I went to. For anywone who knows who Suze is, yeah, it was that great! She ate dinner at our table, there was a lot of fun with her Q&A session, a skit of "The Complete Works of Suze Brockmann - Abridged" and trivia with a raffle. Laughter and a great time and yummy food (especially the desserts) was had by all. This was Thursday night. For those of you who DON'T know who Suze is: she is one of the most engaging authors today. She writes romantic suspense in hardcover about Navy SEALs and CIA agents and a Special Forces group that are kind of like troublshooters for hire. Appropriately named Troubleshooters, Inc. made up of former SEALs, etc. If you are looking for a great read with a lot of action, some great romance and an engrossing plot/story, then Suze is the one for you!