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


WWW As My World Turns

Monday, July 31, 2006

Went Fishing

Well, as one of you commentors figured out, fishing was purely a metaphor really but I must say that a GREAT time was had by all! Sooooooooooooooo, want to see the "catch"?

World...meet "D":

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A totally adorable cutie patootie isn't he? Yeah, he's a keeper, I don't think I'll be throwing this one back. LOL!

"D" and I finally met and it was just a blast! As a refresher, "D" and I were matched up by eHarmony. After having spent so much time on the 'net (every night) and over the phone (he called me from Iraq at least 3 times a week) it was so wonderful to just "be" in the same proximity and be able to share comfortable silence together if we wanted to, and everything was comfortable, not just the silence. The laughter, the conversation, the dancing (he's a really good swing dancer(!)), the fun, the seriousness, just all of it.

I have to say that "D" is one really wonderful man. Completely respectful, funny, quirky, sweet, charming, endearing, among many, many other traits. Le SIGH! He's a hand holder and I just love that! If I wasn't holding his hand while we were walking he was reaching out to take mine. I honestly can not remember the last time someone reached out to take my hand. I always did the reaching. It's a lovely, wonderful feeling! It makes me really smile BIG just thinking about it!

I had an amazing time over the past few days and I look forward to another few days next week before he has to go back to Iraq for another 8 months. This time they are going to be sending him outside the wire, which can be extremely dangerous at any given time. He may have 10 years under his belt and lots of experience in places like Haiti and Bosnia on previous deployments, but I still worry. Not about his ability to handle himself, which he is fully capable of doing, but about the others out there doing their best to kill the soldiers over there.

It is late and I have got to get some sleep before the alarm goes off. So, I'm leaving y'all with a picture of "D" and me, unwinding after a really HOT day at the totally cool zoo. We walked around in 100+ degree heat. OY! I wasn't exactly ready for that but it was totally worth it!

I'm happy...as if you couldn't already tell that but for further proof, here is the picture. :)

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Yeah, went fishing and a fun time was had by all!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Daughter of a Soldier/Red Fridays

D’s sister sent this to him last week and he passed it on to me and I'm just now able to get it up. It's been busy. A lot to prepare for and Em and I had a delightful trip to Houston for my friend's husband's 60th bithday. Typically, the soldier's first stop stateside from Iraq is in Atlanta or Dallas before splitting into smaller groups at the airport and then heading to the other areas of the country to go home on their leave. I can only hope that when D comes home this week on his leave that he is greeted with the same kind of applause.

Anyway, I wore my red on Friday, I hope to see more red around the country on Friday’s too whether a red shirt or something with red in it. :)

"And what is more important than knowledge, asked the mind? Caring, and seeing with the heart, said the soul."

The daughter of a Soldier

Last week I was in Atlanta, Georgia attending a conference. While I was in the airport, returning home, I heard several people behind me beginning to clap and cheer. I immediately turned around and witnessed one of the greatest acts of patriotism I have ever seen.

Moving thru the terminal was a group of soldiers in their camo's, as they began heading to their gate everyone (well almost everyone) was abruptly to their feet with their hands waving and cheering. When I saw the soldiers, probably 30-40 of them, being applauded and cheered for it hit me. I'm not alone. I'm not the only red blooded American who still loves this country and supports our troops and their families.

Of course I immediately stopped and began clapping for these young unsung heroes who are putting their lives on the line everyday for us so we can go to school, work and home without fear or reprisal. Just when I thought I could not be more proud of my country or of our service men and women a young girl, not more than 6 or 7 years old, ran up to one of the male soldiers. He kneeled down and said "hi," the little girl then she asked him if he would give something to her daddy for her. The young soldier, he didn't look any older than maybe 22 himself, said he would try and what did she want to give to her daddy. Then suddenly the little girl grabbed the neck of this soldier, gave him the biggest hug she could muster and then kissed him on the cheek.

The mother of the little girl, who said her daughters name was Courtney, told the young soldier that her husband was a Marine and had been in Iraq for 11 months now. As the mom was explaining how much her daughter, Courtney, missed her father, the young soldier began to tear up. When this temporarily single mom was done explaining her situation, all of the soldiers huddled together for a brief second. Then one of the other servicemen pulled out a military looking walkie-talkie. They started playing with the device and talking back and forth on it.

After about 10-15 seconds of this, the young soldier walked back over to Courtney, bent down and said this to her, "I spoke to your daddy and he told me to give this to you." He then hugged this little girl that he had just met and gave her a kiss on the cheek. He finished by saying "your daddy told me to tell you that he loves you more than anything and he is coming home very soon."

The mom at this point was crying almost uncontrollably and as the young soldier stood to his feet he saluted Courtney and her mom. I was standing no more than 6 feet away from this entire event unfolded As the soldiers began to leave, heading towards their gate, people resumed their applause. As I stood there applauding and looked around, there were very few dry eyes, including my own. That young soldier in one last act of selflessness turned around and blew a kiss to Courtney with a tear rolling down his cheek.

We need to remember everyday all of our soldiers and their families and thank God for them and their sacrifices. At the end of the day, it's good to be an American.

Red Friday

Just keeping you "in the loop" so you'll know what's going on in case this takes off.

RED FRIDAYS -- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to be called the "silent majority" We are no longer silent, and are voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers. We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing. We get no liberal media coverage on TV, to reflect our message or our opinions.

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that. Every red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar will wear something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the bleachers.

If every one of us who loves this country will share this with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly more than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers.

Let's get the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear something red every Friday.



Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday's Feast and just some 411

Fill in the blanks:
I get extremely uncomfortable and self conscious when I cry in front of other people.

Name something you use to make your home smell good.

Citrus Magic. I love the smell of freshly peeled oranges and this has pure orange, lemon and lime oils in it. Smells wonderfully fresh! I also use some spray I got at Bath & Body Works. Cinnamon Stick, Warm Nutmeg or Fresh Vanilla. Makes the house smell like fresh baked cookies!

If you could receive a coupon in the mail for 50% off any product, what would you want it to be for?

A product? Not an item like a car or a huge plasma TV? Well that sucks. Hmmm, I would probably want it for the LipFusion XL – which costs 50.00 a pop but one tube lasts forever and works like a dream in plumping up your pucker. Or for the really super whitening strips for my teeth which are around the same price, maybe a little more. My teeth are pretty white but it always helps to have something around to make them whiter.

Main Course
Besides sleeping, what do you spend the majority of the hours of your typical day doing?

Work. Lots of work. At work. Lots and lots of work at work. Emily is usually sleeping by 8 so I only have a best 2 hours with her after work. My soldier in Iraq, we’ll call him D for now, and I chat on IM after Emily is sleeping, usually at the very least 3 hours every night, unless there’s a power outage over there which has happened twice this week. I'm usually getting to sleep around 1 in the morning and the alarm is going off at 5:45 so even sleep isn’t a majority of my hours anymore.

What can you hear right now while answering these questions?

Allison Kraus singing, the air conditioning and a motorcycle driving down the street.


Ok, so I have been just AWFUL about posting lately. It’s one of those break thingies that everyone’s doing. And that’s all good.

So, here’s the latest 411 in my life. Em and I are going to a friend’s birthday party in Houston tomorrow. Em’s all kinds of excited b/c this friend’s granddaughter, who Emily just adores, will be there (along with about 15 other kids) and Emily will be having a lot of fun.

Next week D comes home from Iraq for a two week leave. He and I are going to get together in Dallas for about 24 hours after which he will be flying home to South Dakota (he’s already half jokingly asked me if I want to come along with him and bring Emily too) for a few days. After that, the first weekend of August, he will be here in Austin, hopefully for at least 3 or 4 days before heading back out to Iraq for 8 more long months until his deployment is over in February. I am looking forward to this leave time just like kids look forward to the ice cream man on a hot summer day! February will be more along the lines of “just like kids look forward to Christmas”. LOL!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

In "Other" Words - Tuesdays at CWO

What is this? You may be thinking that. Well I belong to an online group of Christian women, coincidentally called "Christian Women Online" or CWO.

They have decided that with over 300 members that it would be good to hear from any of them who want to participate in a weekly meme. In order to do that, CWO posts a quote every Friday in hopes that it will inspire us to jot down our thoughts. On each Tuesday following, they then will post their article at the ezine, along with links to the other Christian women online who are joining in with a post on their blog, such as me.

Blog entries can range from inspirational to light and humorous. Their quotes will range from the divine to the quirky--what I do with them is up to me. So here is my first participation in the CWO Blog Meme (which, for those of you who know me know that I LOVE to do memes)

"When life whacks you so hard your head flies off, sew it back on and keep going."
~ Mary Pierce ~

When I came to look at the quote for this week's meme it really touched something inside of me. I know that truth very well. I have been thrown many curve balls in the past few years and quite a few have caught me upside my head. For the sake of my sanity and the care of my daughter, I "sewed" my head back on and just kept going.

Just to name a few before going on the purpose for my participating in the meme this week:

Living with my boyfriend
Found out in December that he very well could have a son that was almost 10 years old

Found out I was pregnant and it had happened in December
Got married
Found out that he indeed did have a son that was almost 10
Husband lost his job and was out of work for several months
My dad had such a severe mitrovalve prolapse that he ended up in the hospital for three months before he could have open heart surgery in order to clear the severe infection that had develpoed around his heart
My dad ended up with brain damage after surgery due to a variety of factors
My daughter was born
We moved
My dad tried to commit suicide the week before Christmas
Three days after Christmas my mom had a biopsy and they found out that she was in stage three breast cancer

My dad succeeded in ending his life at the end of January, but his body was not found until the beginning of February
The day after my father's funeral was my mom's first chemo session
I got laid off in the technical sector during a slump and was out of work for 3 months
My mom had a radical double mastectomy in August
My husband and I moved again in October

2003, which is where my story picks up, dear reader

My husband and I were having serious problems in our marriage caused by various factors. The marriage counselor said that we had pretty much been living in survival mode and had never had a chance to get to know each other as newly weds the way it should have been. I had met my husband during my "rebellious" stage and ended up marrying a non-Christian because I was going to do what I was going to do and nobody was going to tell me otherwise. Every decision has consequences, some more severe than others, some good some bad.

When the problems in our marriage got worse, he ended up striking up a "friendship" with a nineteen year old coworker of his in the fall of 2003. She was eleven years his junior. That "friendship" developed into more until he was going over to her apartment, while leaving me home with our baby and then he would lie to me about where he had been. They would go out in a group of their friends from work while I was told that I was neither wanted nor welcome to come along. By the time Christmas of that year came around I had had more than enough and I asked him to leave.

That same night he moved in with the little co-worker and lived with her for over a year, all the while telling me that he wanted to work on our marriage. I refused to do so while he was under the same roof with her. I still loved him and wanted to give it another chance so when he moved out in 2005, I thought we might be able to make a go of it. However, by that time there was too much bitterness and too many hurt feelings between us. He never acknowledged that what he did was wrong, in fact thought it was ok, and that hurt me almost as deep as the actual act of betrayal itself.

We never did really do too much in repairing the relationship, though it wasn't for lack of my asking and trying to get him to do things with me, and in fact, by the time mid-2005 came along I was just tired emotionally and mentally, tired of the anger, tired of the hurt. I had prayed and prayed about this and, while at the beginning of the separation I received messages from God, in a small quiet voice about extending grace to my husband and not giving up yet, this time it was different. This time I was being told to let go. But I just couldn't quite do it yet. My husband and I had been together both dating and married for almost 8 years. Married just short of 5 years and separated for almost 2 1/2 years of that marriage. I didn't want to be a failure at marriage, though the marriage had failed a long time ago.

In late November of 2005, I found out that he was seeing her again and was moving back in with her. At that time I decided to file for divorce. It was both the most difficult decision for me to make personally as well as a huge relief being lifted off of my shoulders.

Now, you may wonder why I have told you this story and how it actually pertains to the meme quote. Well, there are many reasons. First of all, there were many lessons learned by me as I was driven through these valleys as life "knocked my head off". Here are some of them I would like to share with you:

*Always keep your head up instead of down. If you keep your head up it is easier to look for the peaks and the rivers of joy contained on them, instead of focusing on the valleys of sorrow you are going through.

A song of ascents:

I will lift my eyes to the mountains
from where does my help come?

My help comes from the Lord
the Maker of heaven and earth

Psalm 121:1-2

*When at a crossroads and wondering what way to choose (what decision to make), always, always, always choose the one that God has set before you. He will never steer you wrong.

*God is always there. Even when we can't feel His presence, He is always there beside us. We are never alone, even when we feel lonely.

*Need help? Ask God. God loves to provide for His children. Though the provisions are not what we may think of as an answer to prayer at the time – such as the ending of a marriage, whether it was a good one or not – God's ways are beyond our understanding so we just have to learn to trust and obey.

*Never give up. Keep going on and focusing on God. If God has brought you to it, God will lead you through it.

*Count your blessings instead of your woes. It will perk up your spirits and give you that extra bounce in your step that you thought was long gone.

*God gives us unexpected blessings at the most unexpected times. Just like the old song by Garth Brooks "Unanswered Prayers", indeed some of God's greatest gifts are unanswered prayers.

So, where does that bring me to today? Even though I was told Saturday that my ex-husband and his girlfriend were having an unexpected baby, created while we were still legally married, and admittedly that did knock me for yet another loop, my relationship with God is still back on the path it should have been on a long time ago. I may still stumble and fall more often than I like, but God is always there to help pick me up. I am closer with God and have more peace during times of frustration or confusion. I understand now that it is God's will that needs to be done, not my will and I'm working hard to put aside my will for His will.

God's biggest blessing so far after the divorce, other than the love of my wonderful and precious daughter? I have met a man who is not the man of my dreams. He is the man of my prayers. He is the wonderful, Godly man I have been praying for since I made the decision to file for divorce. Witty, kind and wise, he has made me laugh and smile more in the short time I have known him than in the last 6 years combined. He prays with me every single night without fail and in every prayer he includes my daughter, he even prayed for my ex-husband Saturday night that he would finally see through this latest series of consequences resulting from his actions that the hand of God has been guiding his life all along. How could I not already feel so much for someone like that? He is serving our country in Iraq right now and so the communication we have is limited to the phone and the internet. He comes back on leave in 11 days at which time we will be able to see what God has in store for the future.

I am indeed living proof that you can sew your head back on after getting it knocked off and keep moving forward. After the valleys of sorrow that I have been through, God has led me to the rivers of JOY on the peaks of the mountains that we find when living under His wing and according to His will.

Keep your head up!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

When the world comes crashing down

How does one react when they get the worst kind of news personally possible to them?

"The X" told me tonight that the girl he's been living with over the past 2 1/2+ years, but always denied having any physical relationship with, is pregnant. He doesn't know what they're going to do yet (other than keep it) and that it "just happened" and he can't explain how or why really - well if he doesn't know how and why, it's the same explanation for both of them. Hasn't he ever heard of condoms? Our divorce has only been final 3 months and already he's knocked up yet another female. (Pardon the expression but few other terms fit this situation from my POV)

It's like, the whole time I thought there was something going on, he never confirmed it and instead denied, denied, denied; but now that there's, well, actual proof of it, it's kind of a relief to say "I knew it" and be vindicated but at the other side it's kind of like a real blow as well.

I'm in shock, stunned, hurt, a little angry and very disappointed in him. I guess I had thought that he knew better, that he had learned from his mistakes, but obviously not. I didn't expect better from her b/c I know better than that but I expected better from him even though we are no longer married. This will be his third child by three different women. Talk about your irresponsible behavior.

It angers me too b/c he is setting such a awful example for his son Brian, who is 15 and my Emily, who is 4 1/2. Is Emily going to grow up thinking that it's ok? That this is normal behavior? And what about his son, whom I love dearly? What is "The X" going to say when Brian announces at age 17 that he got some girl pregnant just like his dad did at that age? He said that he's already talked with Brian about that but he sure isn't practicing what he preaches.

I asked him what his family said about it. He hesitated and then said "Well, they haven't disowned me", but he didn't say they were exactly happy about it either.

I worry for Emily even though "The X" says that she's really excited about it (I was the last one to be told and he felt that he had to tell me in person). I can't support him in this and tell him it's ok and it's all going to be fine. It's not and won't. What do I tell Emily when she talks about it? Am I supposed to tell her that her daddy's actions are ok, fine and normal, especially if he continues to do this throughout the years? I am praying for protection for Emily from the consequences of her father's actions.

Apparently, according to Emily, the baby is due in October, which means that this happened several months before our divorce was even final.

I am just heartsick and upset about the whole deal. I figured this day would probably happen but I didn't realize how sharply it would affect me or that it would be so soon.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Where in the WORLD is Nic?

Thank all of you so kindly for your concerns, those of you who emailed me apart from the blog.

Really, things are good. Things are much better then good. They're GREAT! I have had a lot going on in my life right now. Work has kept me super busy the past two weeks. I've been talking with my guy in Iraq every night after Emily goes to sleep for at least a couple of hours each night. That's going BEAUTIFULLY!!! I've just been taking time for myself. Never fear I shall be back very, very soon. In fact I have a really good post for next week.

I will be blogging regularly again soon, but right now, as I've noticed with a lot of my blog friends (all mommies - the guys don't seem to be taking much time off), I am taking time for myself to spend more with Emily and cultivating this relationship with my soldier man. He's coming stateside in 11 days! I'll be seeing him when he comes in before he goes home to South Dakota and when he leaves back out. And, as I said in an earlier post, this is one I'm not talking about so much right now other than to say that he is one of a kind! The possibilities are limitless with him. :)

Thank you all again for the kind words and thoughtful concerns! I have such great blogfriends!!!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Two for One

I'm doing a double post today. I didn't post yesterday so I'm going to hit the Thankful Thursday and the Friday's Feast/Friday Field Trip in the same post!

~1 Thessalonians 5:18~ Give thanks to God in all circumstances (no matter what they may be), for this is God's will for you (who are) in Christ Jesus.

My Peace I Leave With You

Thankful Thursday: What Nic is thankful for this week

A man who prays for me and with me on a daily basis.
Warm fuzzies that make me grin from ear to ear.
Finding out that a day you thought was going to not be so good turns out to be unexpectedly wonderful.
Instant Messenger that allows a 9 hour time difference between two people become the span of only a few seconds.
Smiles that just won't quit.
Love shared that is unconditional between my daughter and me.

Links to other Thankful Thursdays:
Unicorn Child (new "home" of ThT and code)
A Child of God
A Revision
Anna's Place
As My World Turns
Friday's Child
Imagine Bliss
Journaling Through the Valley
LadyBug Crossing
Momma's Life
Mommy Does It All
Mommy Needs To Vent
Show Them Through Me
Sting My Heart
Uzi's Musings
Yellow Rose's Garden

(If you participate, leave your link in the comments and I'll post it below; or, you can post in the comments)

Click here for the Thankful Thursday code

Click here for Chrixean's blog

Trackbacks, pings, and comment links are accepted and encouraged!

So you participate in the Thankful Thursday and/or the Friday's Feast? If so please leave your site below and I will come by for a visit!

Feast One Hundred & One

When was the last time you visited a hospital?

The last time I visited a hospital was when I was giving birth, so it was kind of a mandatory “visit”.

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how ambitious are you?

Ambitious? Oh I would say if it interests me I’m a 9 or a 10. If it doesn’t interest me I’d say around a 5.

Make a sentence using the letters of a body part. (Example: (mouth) My other ukelele tings healthily.)

MOUTH – Making Our Unique Thoughts Heard.
FACE – Fear Acknowledges Courage Everyday.
HEART – Hear Everything And React Thusly.
LIPS – Love Is Personal Service.
CHIN – Courage Helps In Need.
ELBOW – Every Love Begins On Wonder.

Main Course
If you were to start a club, what would the subject matter be, and what would you name it?

I think I would start a club for support of single parents with kids who look older and have intelligence beyond their years. I know it’s difficult sometimes for Emily b/c she’s much younger than she appears and acts and people expect so much out of her that she’s not able to give yet since she’s only 4, is the size of a six or seven year old and the intelligence of at least an 8 or 9 year old. I would call it MOW – Mothers of Wunderkinds. Wunderkind is German for “wonder kids”. (Of course there would be no discrimination of single dads in this club so they would be welcome to join too.)

What color is the carpet/flooring in your home?

Living room is rust colored; carpet, kitchen, bathrooms and walkways a gray/rust style of “brick tile”; master bedroom and second bedroom is gray carpet.

And FINALLY the Friday Field Trip.

A couple of months ago I did the FFT for Monk-E-Mail. Well, today is more monkey madness!

Yes, it's TRUNK MONKEY!!!

Trunk Monkey Options to address concerns of:

Unrulely kids? Click Here
Police officers? Click Here
A date chaperone? Click Here
Unexpected emergencies? Click Here
A Car Theft Retrieval System? Click Here

Hail to the "Trunk Monkey"!

Give him a banana!


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy Birthday America!

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I must say that I am so disappointed in the direction our country has taken. I went to get Em a book her age that talked about the 4th of July and why we celebrated it and kind of a kid mini-history lesson. I found almost NOTHING but books that talked about the 4th of july with hot dogs and fireworks and picnics. I found one - ONE - good book about the Declaration of Independance but that was for much older kids - not a 4 year old, albeit an extremely intelligent 4 year old. History is being rewritten and most people don't even notice or are turning a blind eye to it. Why don't those who really care speak up and do something about it before all this "one world" crap goes too far and we lose our sovereignty as citizens of the United States of America and instead are absorbed into the new age, neo-Eupoean society? Where did we start to fall apart? It is when good people did nothing to stop it.

I have one question for y'all out there? WHY DO THERE SEEM TO BE SO MANY ASHAMED OF AMERICA, when they live here, work here, have their families here? They are NOT the majority. They are the minority. But the majority is keeping silent so the minority seems to the world like the majority. If you don't like it here - move elsewhere. If you're American born and yet not proud to be American, I don't want you here anyway. You make a mockery of what patriotism is about. I will not apologize for that remark either. I am damn proud to be an American, even though I am saddened at what she has become. Liberal to the core, Christian and Judaism bashers, seems like everyone gets a fair shake, and everything is permissible and acceptable, except for those two - Christianity and Judaism.

I am proud to say that I am conservative, believe in the Bible, God and love of country, am FOR life as in PRO-LIFE NOT PRO-ABORTION b/c in reality pro-choice is saying the woman has the right to kill her child b/c she doesn’t want it for whatever reason, pro-choice is pro-abortion no ifs ands or buts about it. And as an American, I have the right to say that. And for those of you who disagree with me, have a right to disagree b/c America and those that fight for her gives you that freedom.

I am pro firearms and anti-gun control. Proponents of gun control say it is to get guns out of the hands of criminals – but really, when was the last time a criminal obeyed the law? It takes guns out of law-abiding citizens hands and makes them defenseless against the criminals who don’t surrender their weapons. Guns will ALWAYS find their way into the hands of the criminal element. There’s good money in black-market arms. It’s the law abiding Americans who will find themselves in big trouble if the gun-control lobbyists get their way. It’s like this cartoon I saw once where a thug had a gun on someone and the other person only had his thumb and index finger out pretending to hold a gun at the criminal. So sad...So true.

I am against same sex marriage, even though I have some gay friends. As the Bible says, hate the sin, love the sinner. I do NOT believe there is more than one way to heaven. All roads do not lead there. There is only one way and that was stated by Jesus himself when He said "I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No man come to the Father BUT BY ME". So I have serious issues with spiritual leaders saying otherwise. That's another reason why this country is in decline, I believe. There in no Godly fear anymore. People believe in God when there is a need, when there is a tragedy, but never when things are going good.

Here’s a good article from last year for you regarding our declining patriotism here in the USA:

Celebrating what?

By Barbara Simpson

Happy Birthday to us! Yes, us, the United States of America – 229 years old and still kicking!

Given the state of the world, politics, jealousy, philosophies, ego and human nature, it's almost a miracle we're still here and generally intact.

Not that there wasn't, and isn't, an effort – exterior and, unfortunately, interior – to change us and ultimately to destroy us. Evil hates good and whatever you think about the frailties of the United States, overall, we are a good and benevolent country.

Oh, how some people hate that. It galls them to attribute goodness to us (U.S.) in any way, shape or form. They don't want to be proud of this country even though it's the most free and generous of any on this planet, now or ever.

At a recent meeting, the discussion centered on the music to be played at a gathering this Fourth of July weekend. "God Bless America" was suggested.

It sounded appropriate to me, since the Fourth of July is Independence Day. The day celebrates our separation from the dependence of colonialism and our move into freedom.

One woman objected to using that song, saying – without a hint of awareness of what her objection really meant – that it bothered her because it made it sound as though we're better than other countries.


Her ignorance appalled me. In her mind, any praise for the United States was an automatic putdown of all other countries.


Aside from specific comparisons of democracy and other forms of government, aside from specific recitations of our record of support of freedom across the world, aside from our willingness to put our own lives and welfare at risk to save others from totalitarianism, aside from our willingness to literally "fight for right" and defend our own freedom and our own people, aside from the billions and billions of dollars spent rebuilding other countries, foreign aid, debts forgiven to deadbeat recipients, and aid in the form of food, medicine and manpower – ASIDE from all that, WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

We're blessed with location, climate, natural resources and the beauty and variety of nature. We've been blessed with a population that has taken advantage of the opportunities in our country, built businesses and developed inventions that changed the world. This country has encouraged an intellectual climate that has enabled ambitious people to succeed.

We have the freedoms that make it all possible – speech, assembly, press, religion. We have the ability to seek redress against the government, to have arms to protect our families and ourselves and to be safe in our courts and system of law. Our belongings, papers, homes and properties are safe from intrusion, and we have the blessings of private property and protection from government confiscation. All this and more are in the Constitution, the foundation making the United States of America unique in world history.

That woman who was embarrassed to praise the country that allows her these freedoms has no idea how much she could lose. Considering that the first thing despots do is disarm the population and eliminate private property, those words of protection in the Constitution are vital.

Has she considered what it would be like if Islamist terrorists succeed in their quest to destroy us? Would she be so quick to consider all countries and beliefs equal? For this independent, talented and successful woman, life would not be so pleasurable were she encased in a burqa and kept in her place at home, her children and her life circumscribed by what men, government and religion demand.

She and others of her ilk don't consider us at war because they don't want to admit the kind of war this is. We're in an ideological war – at its core, a religious war that crosses national boundaries.

Radical Islam has hated the West for centuries. It's a hatred everything we stand for – essentially, the fact that Western Civilization is based on Christianity and Judaism, with a reverence for life and the value of each individual. With people like that woman, it'll be an uphill battle to victory.

The latest propaganda video released by militant Muslims has the voice of terror suspect Abu Musab al Zarqawi berating President Bush as an "idiot" – funny, that's just what the liberals in this country call him – and accusing us of aiming to "humiliate Muslims and to obliterate the rituals of this religion."

No. They want to obliterate us. What we want is to stop them from terrorizing us and the rest of the free world.

Because of that difference, and because radical Islam wants the West destroyed and everyone in it converted or dead, it'll be a long, long road to victory. Which is, by the way, exactly what the president said.

But we have more insidious enemies. They're within our borders and government, working to destroy what makes this country unique. Whether they're politicians, bureaucrats, judges, the media or people with influence who have liberal, progressive, socialistic, totalitarian or communist beliefs, the result is the same: undermining our very foundations.

They've made great strides. The government is more and more intrusive, spending is out of control, taxes are arbitrarily increased, elected officials do ignore their constituencies, and the judiciary has turned the Constitution on its head, as recent decisions illustrate.

The wolves are on both sides of our doors and while we celebrate the Fourth, we'd best remember it commemorates our independence and freedom. It may still be a celebration, but unless we're careful, it could be our last hurrah.


Another fabulous commentary from Pat Boone - this one came out on Sunday

Are you an American patriot?
By Pat Boone

Some thoughts as we approach Independence Day. You do remember, don't you, that's why we declare July 4 a holiday and take the day off? To celebrate, and to thank God for, our precious independence – our liberty?

Oh, most of us do a lot of fun things like backyard barbecues, races and games and parties and family get-togethers. Others just ''kick back,'' rest, putter around in the yard or garage or patio, watch sports or something on TV. You know, just relax.

And that's fine. That's what liberty provides. In some ways, that's the very definition of liberty. The freedom to do anything we want, on any day we choose – that's what we're celebrating. Isn't that what our brave young men and women have fought for, many times over these past 230 years?

Well, yes. These fun things, these freedoms, are part of what we're intended to celebrate. But we're also supposed to think about, to quietly and earnestly contemplate, how these exceptional privileges became ours to enjoy. And was there a price tag? If so, who paid it? And at what cost?

I feel obligated, actually drawn, to visit some of the ones who bought and preserved these freedoms that many take for granted. Each Memorial Day, each Independence Day, each Veteran's Day, I spend some time walking slowly through the countless headstones decorating the green hillsides of the veterans cemetery in Westwood, California. Each year, the Boy Scouts do the wonderful job of placing little fluttering American flags at each marker and headstone, tens of thousands of them.

God bless those kids, and their leaders.

I hope each one feels some of the same emotions I do. Every time.

I stand in front of each marker, as many as I possibly can, and read the names out loud. I feel it's important that each person in one of those grassy beds have his or her name pronounced loudly and gratefully, perhaps for the first time in many years. And so I do, and I cry. I don't intend to, but as I try to picture that patriot and what he or she imagined life held after the war, and how all those dreams were abruptly erased, and how the loved ones back home gave up their hopes and plans, too; I feel the very least I can do is thank them, from my heart and soul, out loud.

I'm heartened to read the results of a survey on national pride conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago. It found that of thirty four countries surveyed, Americans exhibit more outspoken pride in our institutions, our democracy, our way of life, and yes, our military, than any other country. By the way, Venezuela runs a close second.

What is it that evokes this national pride?

Is it just the freedom to run in our parks and cook in our backyards and watch whatever we want on TV? Is this what prompted some our finest young men and women to forfeit their lives and surrender their personal hopes and dreams?

Oh friend, it has to be more than that, much more. And it is.

It's a heritage, a history; it's a consciousness, a shared sense of identity, of purpose, of sacrifice and daring and vision and accomplishment. There's justified pride in our industrial and economic innovation, our centuries of leadership in world affairs, our military victories and our even greater humanitarian aid to virtually every other country on Earth in times of crises and needs. These attributes and activities, a simple matter of history, have become so commonplace, so expected of us, that the whole world takes us for granted, and credits us little. After all, that's just who America is, and what a big blessed country does.

And they're right.

But the world, and to an alarming degree now, we ourselves, are losing sight of the most important and bedrock source of the unique pride that has motivated all of our patriots, those living and those heroes in the lovely quiet graves across our land.

It's our sense, our conviction, that the hand of God Almighty is upon us.

We, most of us, believe that we matter to our Creator, that He somehow ordained our existence, that He has had purposes for us and has personally seen us through many grave perils and strifes. No other country has ever, to my knowledge, put God's name on its currency, as a testament to our faith in Him! For two hundred-plus years, we've believed in the words of Thomas Jefferson in his majestic Declaration of Independence, that every American citizen is directly ''endowed with certain inalienable rights, among these Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness'' ... by God. No other country in human history has made such a declaration.

American pride in its institutions is rooted and grounded in this fundamental belief. George Washington believed it. Ben Franklin believed it. Thomas Jefferson declared it. John Adams and James Monroe and all the signers of the Constitution devoutly believed it. The first Supreme Court Chief Justice, John Jay, stated on October 12, 1816: ''Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest of our Christian nation, to select and prefer Christians for their rulers!''

This faith, this ingrained sense of who and what we are, has made us the greatest nation in the world. It has emboldened millions of young American patriots to enlist and train and put their personal goals aside to risk, and too often,to sacrifice, their very lives, to protect and perpetuate our way of life. Under God.

And now, today, comes an annoying, selfish gnat on the national windshield like Michael Newdow, trying, in opposing ''under God'' in the Pledge of Allegiance, to erase the very basis of our identity. And foolish, loud musicians and entertainers who present themselves as ''patriots'' while they deride and denigrate our president and commander in chief, in time of war, very publicly ridicule and demean what our brave soldiers are doing to defend them against the evil, announced, and determined schemes of maniacal terrorists!

Are you an American patriot? Will you while away the long weekend just having fun, relaxing and catching up on hobbies and neglected pursuits? Or might you spend at least a few minutes, or hours, talking with your kids about how this republic came to be, and why we should manifest outspoken pride in who we've been, and what we ought to be?

What a beautiful way to honor those patriots sleeping in the grassy graves in our veterans' cemeteries. What a fitting tribute to the young Americans from Bunker Hill to Gettysburg to Normandy to Iwo Jima—to Korea and Afghanistan and Iraq. It's important, it's necessary, it's required, if we expect to hang on to this precious dream, still so young and precious in the world's tortured history.

Hear the directive of God Himself, through Moses: ''Remember the days of old, consider the years of many generations; ask thy father, and he will show thee; thy elders, and they will tell thee.''

Remember. Consider. Ask, show, tell. And defend.

Next week, in this space, I'll give my considered definition of an American patriot. Meanwhile, have a great and meaningful Independence Day.

And may God bless us still.