My song has no melody, so I hope you like the words

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Earlier this year a remote volcano in Iceland brought modern international commerce to a standstill. The eruption caused such a giant cloud of ice and debris to rise into the atmosphere that planes could not fly over many of the most frequently used flight paths that connect the nations of the world. Food sat rotting on runways, families were indefinitely separated, and the engines of economic production were slipping into neutral or worse. A mountain in the remote northern reaches of our planet basically sneezed, and we were powerless to resist it.

All of this upheaval to the efforts of modern man was caused by a small part of God’s creation. You would think that when events like this occur, when God figuratively allows a mountain to sneeze, that we would be humbled by his might. Yet I sensed none of that in the world around me. I heard people frustrated that they had to change their plans and routines, but no awe of creation itself or the Creator of it all. Most folks were missing the point that all of our plans amount to nothing in God’s eyes. If just one small part of what He created can have such a dramatic impact on our world, what does that say about our insignificance compared to His Glory?

And yet, He tenderly loves each one of us, and knows us intimately, even better than we know ourselves. He loves us so much he suffered and died to restore our relationship with him. He desires to work in us and through us to accomplish his purpose. Paul wrote that ‘when I am weak, he is strong.’ Events like those described above remind me that even our greatest strengths are weak and useless compared to God’s splendor, and I marvel at the sacrificial love He demonstrates by welcoming us into His Presence.

We are approaching the day when we celebrate God’s choice to send His only Son here to earth to save us all. Remember how much glory and power that babe in a manger had, and worship Him in gratitude for giving it all so we could be free.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Last Thursday I was blessed to spend an evening in the presence of God’s transforming love, and the sweet aroma of that evening is still making me smile. Officially, it was the annual Urban Promise banquet and fundraiser, the yearly opportunity for this wonderful ministry to strut their stuff and ask donors to help them continue their work. In reality, it was a demonstration of God’s power to bring light to darkness, redemption to the lost, and hope to those who are hurting.

Urban Promise is a ministry devoted to “Raising up the next generation of urban Christian leaders.” They accomplish this through a variety of programs that reach the children and youth of several cities, including Wilmington, Delaware. In Wilmington, they now have 5 after school camps that provide tutoring and safe havens for children in some of the poorest neighborhoods, as well as a Christian school that educates students through 6th grade, a new high school program, summer camps around the city, and last but not least, a mentoring and jobs program for local teens called the Street Leader program.

The Street Leaders are employed as aides in the after school programs and summer camps, but more importantly they are taught how to live lives worthy of leaders in their community. This program is showing remarkable fruit academically; ALL of these young men and woman graduate high school, and ALL of them are able to attend college. Compare that to the citywide average of 10% college attendance, and you know they are doing something special and unique.

Far beyond these objective academic statistics is the way lives are being transformed from the inside out. These successes are the fruit of change on the inside, brought about by the hope these youth now have in their Savior, Jesus Christ. That was the message they brought to the Chase Center on Thursday night.

The program was presented entirely by the youth, and it was powerful. They spoke, read their own poetry, danced, sang and acted out the reality of their lives in the inner city, and the beauty and redemption that is the love of God.

Admittedly, I am a soft touch for these kids. I have been supporting this work for years through my prayers and gifts, and was thrilled to see children that I did crafts with as kindergarteners standing on that stage performing. I loved seeing old friends, and cried tears of joy as the children shared their talents. God is truly transforming lives here, and it was a blessing to see that in action.

The transformation did not end when the children left the stage. One dear friend who attended summed it up this way, “my heart has been softened tonight, in ways I had allowed it to grow hard.” Many of us were encouraged to see what could be accomplished through faith in our awesome Lord and Savior. Our eyes were opened to possibilities, and several people spoke of their desire to get involved with the ministry for the first time or in new ways.
May we ALL see the evidence of God’s transforming power in us and around us, and be as courageous as those who are giving their lives to the work of Urban Promise.

(Click on the title of this post to be directed to the Urban Promise website for more information.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Make this week matter!

We will be exercising our greatest duty as American citizens one week from today. If you are not yet certain what the issues are, or which candidates you will choose to represent you, please take time this week to study your options. The following list of links is just a sampling of the wealth of information available to you.

I heard President Obama state at a campaign rally yesterday, “We gotta have middle class families up in front. We don't mind the Republicans joining us. They can come for the ride, but they gotta sit in back."

I don’t know about you, but I have no intention of sitting in the back of the bus. Voter turnout in this election will determine whether conservatives are further marginalized, or whether we can begin to restore our nation to its place as a shining lamp of Liberty.

Please prepare yourself, and exhort your friends, co-workers, neighbors and anyone else in your sphere of influence to vote between now and Tuesday, 11/2/10. It is easy to vote absentee in Delaware this week by just walking into the Department of Election if your schedule next Tuesday prohibits you from getting to the polls.

Walk, run, skip, or crawl to the polls; just VOTE!

Delaware Family Policy Council 2010 voter guide for statewide offices as well as State Senate and State House

Christian Coalition national scorecard of votes by current Senate and House members:

Positive Growth Alliance, a Delaware voter guide based strictly on economic issues

Christian Coalition voter guides by state, they have guides for 43 individual states, but not Delaware.

This ResistNet site for Delaware has links to all kinds of state information sources like press outlets and blogs, as well as links to most campaign sites.

League of Women’s Voters has a very informative site on voting in general. Much of it is geared to 19-30 year old women, though not technically a voter scorecard

Liberty Counsel looks like an interesting resource for those in pastoral leadership. From the site, “To help you fulfill your high calling to fearlessly speak the truth, Liberty Counsel provides free information about what pastors and churches may do with respect to political candidates and lobbying.”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Request To My Readers

Apparently there is a glitch [how's that for tech-speak?] in posting comments to my blog. Even my dear hubby is only able to post them about half the time.

I think the problem is fixed, but I can't tell by myself. So, if you have a moment, please try to leave a comment here to this post. Thanks!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

O'Donnell - Coons debate at UD

I've posted a couple of links at Facebook about the debate, or you can watch it yourself at

My quick take, since my son is home from college for a short visit and I want to spend my energy visiting with him:

Wolf Blitzer was so obviously biased in Coons' favor as the moderator that he should be embarrassed. Chris Coons came across as petulant, irritable and defensive - never a good thing for the presumed leader in the race. O'Donnell was upbeat, solid on her facts and positions. IMNSHO, she won the debate hands down.

A lot of noise is being made about her flubbing on a question about recent Supreme Court decisions, but only a part of that is being explained. The question came out of left field from Blitzer, during the part of the debate set aside for UD student questions. And, he considered the 1972 Roe v Wade decision to be 'recent'. She thought he meant within the past few years, especially since it was a setup for Coons to once again recite the Democratic line about the Citizens United case.

Coons quoted President Obama on that case, which I have always found disingenuous. Obama complains that money can be funneled to candidates anonymously, and says that is terrible Apparently he has forgotten the MILLIONS of dollars of campaign donations he received from donors named 'Mickey Mouse' and other Disney character names.

O'Donnell said that donors to her campaign are being harassed due to the requirement for disclosure. Her supporters are getting threatening phone calls, and Blitzer just shut her down when she was saying it was due to the current law.

O'Donnell is far enough down in the polls right now that she had nothing to lose. Coons lost ground, and looked like the political hack he is. He kept saying he had much to say, but he never said it. One of his last lines was in reference to an old article he wrote calling himself a "bearded Marxist". He said, "I am a clean-shaven Capitalist". Anytime the presumed leader has to end with that kind of defensive comment, he is losing ground.

Less than 3 weeks until election day - but I think the campaign direction is clearly in O'Donnell's favor. The question is, will 19 days be enough time to turn this around? If you can help in any way, please do! Prayers, literature drops, donations, phone calls; it all adds up, and there is something each of us can do.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


My devotional calendar had this to say for today:
“One of the greatest fears we have is abandonment. When those feelings of abandonment come, rest on the promise’s of God’s Word.”

October is a tough month for me, because it reminds me of those very issues of abandonment and loss in my own life. I was grateful for this reminder that I am never really alone. A dear friend has been struggling with this recently as well, feeling like he is all alone. I have been trying to reassure him that he isn’t, because I know that will give him the courage he needs to act, but that assurance is not something I can force him to accept. It is up to him, and each one of us, to trust that God’s promises are true.

All I know is that when I was in the most distress, my loving Father stood with me, and gave me hope and courage to walk by faith. One of the verses I cling to when it feels like the world is against me comes from Isaiah 49, a chapter of prophecy about the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ. This verse speaks deeply to my heart because my mother in fact abandoned me on many levels. The Lord knew all of that before it happened, and this truth from His word was there for me all along:

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.” Is 49:15-16

Dear Lord, please help my friend to accept your truth. Thank you for your mercy, for not abandoning us in our distress!

“When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the LORD your God and obey him. For the LORD your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your forefathers, which he confirmed to them by oath.” Deut 4:30-31

Monday, October 11, 2010

Matthew 10:16

"I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."

These were Christ's words when he sent out his 12 disciples to share the good news, heal the sick, and drive out evil spirits in his name. We were involved in a situation this weekend that left me crying out to God to please help us be as he commanded. Much like the man who said, "I believe, please help my unbelief!', I was pleading with God to make us and our friend more shrewd while at the same time avoiding sinful thoughts or behavior of our own.

It is a tough balance for us, and led to a late night talk tonight with one of our sons. How do we truly love those that God brings into our lives, without falling into the trap of enabling or excusing their sin? How can we know where our responsibility ends, and God's begins? How can we know who the other sheep are, and not be deceived by the wolves among us?

Just last week another dear friend shared how she has been focusing on 1 Corinthians 13, the chapter that defines love. I think that as Christians, it is easy to get confused and think that love requires us to be gullible, or at least tolerant. But Christ's words here convey something very different to me. We can grieve at the pain and brokenness we see all around us that results from sin, but we need to realize that not everyone wants to live in the light of God's truth. There are wolves in the world, and we are not called to sacrifice our own well-being to fulfill their desires. We need to be shrewd, 'street smart', or at least wise enough to recognize our own limitations and boundaries.

When we allow those wolves to continue their wolf-like behavior at our expense, we are no longer innocent as doves. We wind up stained by their sin, and taking it on ourselves. We can bring light to the dark places, but if our loved ones prefer to remain hidden in the shadows, we aren't doing anyone any good by joining them there.

Food for thought, God's command in Micah 6:8 "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." is not always as easy as it sounds.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

10/6/10 Delaware Representative Candidate Debate

Henry and I were able to attend this debate last night between Glen Urquhart and John Carney, moderated by a UD professor named Nancy Karibjanian. You can watch the full debate yourself at the UD website, or read an article at the website, or keep reading here for my synopsis...

Carney has been a professional politician for many years, and it showed. Urquhart was very nervous at the beginning, but quickly hit his stride and spoke in detail about the issues. Where Carney stayed consistent with general statements of the Democratic Party platform, Urquhart was specific and energized about changes he would make.

Carney referred to himself as a “loyal Democrat” and smugly repeated the tired line, “I am a tea drinker, not a Tea party” candidate when asked. In his opening statement, he mainly focused on his time spent traveling around the state talking to residents who have fallen on hard times, citing the 6,000 home foreclosures in Delaware last year.

Urquhart stated that he was an independent jobs creator who had run against the establishment in the primary, and said that although he did not claim to be a Tea Party candidate, he was concerned like tens of millions of Americans that government debt is crowding out private investment. He gave a nod to Glenn Beck by saying he believed that “Faith, Hope, Charity and Trust” were vitally important. He said he would “peacefully and vigorously” work to restore the American Dream, and referenced the fact that his great-grandfather had come to this country as an indentured servant, and that he himself is the first member of his family to attend college.

For the most part, Carney talked about bringing people together by finding like-minded individuals. His solution to the economy is providing more government funding through programs like the recently passed $30B commercial bank fund. He also spoke about ‘green technology jobs’ and cited the wind turbines being built off the Delaware coast. He got quiet about that program after Urquhart revealed that Carney had personally taken a $1.5 million dollar federal grant to start his own wind turbine company. Funny how all of these green jobs promoters seem to benefit by the federal largesse is that area, isn’t it?

Carney frequently referred to the UD science and technology jobs that are being created, and stated that we need to deal with job creation immediately and put off dealing with the deficit as a ‘long term” goal. Somehow he missed the irony of going further in debt to create public sector jobs rather than reducing federal debt and allowing the private economy to grow and produce private sector jobs.

This was the most drastic difference between the candidates. Urquhart kept going back to debt reduction and private economy job creation, even pulling out Reagan’s quote “Government is not a solution to our problem, government is the problem."

Both candidates recognize the need for jobs in our state. With a current unemployment rate of 8.4%, there are about 35,000 unemployed Delawareans as I write this. When asked by the moderator for specifics, Carney said that government is responsible for ensuring that small businesses can thrive, and must supply the capital. Urquhart took a very different approach, saying that all of the thousands of pages of regulations are creating a “culture of compliance” where entrepreneurs are unwilling to take risks to succeed. He firmly believes that deregulation is needed, but not across the board. He specifically highlighted safety regulations as an example, and reiterated his point that government does not create jobs; its role is defense and protection.

Carney stated that the economic collapse is entirely due to risky Wall Street investments, while Urquhart equally blamed the government regulations that demanded quotas for high-risk mortgages and made millionaires of the government appointees who forced those quotas on private banks.

They discussed the current Dodd Frank bill several times, and Carney snidely suggested that Urquhart had not read the bill and that he himself had read the summary. I almost broke the silence rule at that point, because Urquhart is such a numbers wonk I am certain he read more than just a summary! Unfortunately, Urquhart missed the opportunity to respond. That bill devastates the Delaware financial industry, by nationalizing what had been Delaware’s unique corporate climate that has allowed the state to generate 20-25% of its state budget from corporate fees.

On health care, Carney said the current legislation is “a work in progress”, and that the solution is better management and electronic records to control costs. Urquhart called the current plan “government tax care” and mentioned the recent announcement by McDonald’s that it will no longer be able to offer healthcare to its employees due to increased costs of compliance. He believes that competition across state lines, and State managed high risk pools are a better solution than the current plan that mandates nationalized provisions demanded by special interests.

There was much more, so I will stop here and report the rest in my next post.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Just Smile!

My son just shared this with me and I loved it so much I had to pass it along :-) He saw it at the Mt Sophia Culture Creator Workshop this weekend, and we're passing the smiles along.


Saturday, October 2, 2010

Today’s Rally in DC

If you’ve read anything I’ve posted here about politics, you know I feel strongly that we are trading our freedom for the false security of government-controlled handouts. I have shared with you statements by the writer’s of our Constitution that make it clear the entitlements that are driving our nation into bankruptcy have no place in this free Republic.

That is my opinion, and you are entitled to yours. You may agree with our President that “spreading the wealth around” is a good thing. You may even agree with the policy statements of the website quoted below. One of the speakers today, the president of the SEIU, said that instead of bailing out the wealthy corporations we should instead start bailing out the union workers. I’m not quite sure how another misguided financial policy is going to help, but she is free to say that as loudly as she wants.

That said, I have at least two major problems with the rally held today in our nation’s capitol. The first is that the organizers lied, and the second is that one of their spokesmen just stated on national television that I am apparently not a “real American.”

The organizers of the event are now saying their rally had nothing to do with the Restoring Honor rally organized by Glenn Beck, but I had previously read exactly the opposite at the Young Communist League website at After a very defamatory description of the 8/28 event, the website said this:

“…he [Glenn Beck] should have known that the masses would not allow it to go unanswered. That same day [8/28/10] the One Nation Working Together rally was announced."

Now they are trying to claim their rally had nothing to do with Beck's event. I think it is because even with over 400 organizations representing labor unions, civil rights activists, gay rights activists, left wing political groups, environmentalists, etc. they drew a fraction of Beck’s crowd for their rally today. They PAID people’s bus fare to come, and used all of the persuasive abilities of their various groups to get people to attend. “...organizations from around the country most notably including the AFL-CIO and the NAACP [who] have put millions of dollars into providing transportation and assistance to get the word out.” [again, from the YCL website] You decide where the truth is between these different statements. Either it was or was not a response to the 8/28 event.

Now it gets even more personal. I just heard Al Sharpton say that today's rally was for "real Americans", insinuating that those who attended 8/28 were not actually Americans.
Hey, Al - what does that make the 650,00 or so of us who stood together and prayed on 8/28???? I have no problem with protesters; I’m one myself. But the commentary tonight was too much for me to bear silently. It saddens me that a peaceful gathering of people joining together to pray and seek God’s guidance would be met with such hostility and ad hominem attacks. Our nation deserves better.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Waiting For the Autumn Dance

Okay, so my last few posts have been a bit on the heavy side… time to lighten up!

It’s been rainy and windy here for a few days now; the ground is finally getting the soaking it needs before curling up for a winter nap. The leaves on the trees are tinged with red and orange even though the air is still warm and moist. I can almost hear them saying ‘we’ve been hanging here long enough!’ I’m ready for cooler temperatures myself; the heat is not my friend. The old Farmer’s Almanac predicts a cold winter, which would be welcome after the scorching hot summer we just endured. I have to remind myself that we moved back east partly because we missed the changing seasons, and that both Winter’s chill and Summer’s sweat are made worthwhile by Fall.

Waiting For the Autumn Dance

The leaves atremble with delight
Their colors soon so bright
Excitedly they sway while still held fast by wood
They soon will fly like a child’s bright kite

Wait now, but not for long
The music of the skies will form their song
Their summer homes will soon set them free
To dance amid the breezes strong

As air is cooled by Autumn’s kiss
All creation glows with golden bliss
The trees grow quiet to reach roots below
And leaves are jewels, not one amiss

Filling skies with silent laughter
They celebrate their freedom in a blur
Then just as quickly they settle into brown
And rest on colder ground with honor

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lack of Knowledge, continued...

This Pew Forum study just gets more and more heartbreaking the closer I look at the results:

Only 19% of self-identified Protestants knew that salvation by faith alone was a tenet of their own faith. Only 9% of Black Protestants knew this.

Only 50% of Christians could correctly name Matthew, Mark, Luke and John as the 4 Gospels of the New Testament, and only 60% knew Genesis is the first book of the Bible.

43% of Christians did not know that 'the Golden Rule' is NOT one of the Ten Commandments.

On 12 questions specific to Christianity and the Bible, Christians got an average of 6.2 correct answers, and atheists and agnostics got an average of 6.7. How can we "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have"[1 Peter 3:15] if those we would witness to know God's Word better than His own followers?

Every Christian teacher and pastor in this country should hang their heads in shame! What are they teaching from the pulpit if their sheep do not know even these basic facts???

Religious commitment level [how often one attends services and how important religion is in one's daily life] did not make a significant difference in the scores, which surprised me. The only variable that made a big difference was educational level. When all other factors were statistically removed, a subject with a college degree answered an average of 7.2 more questions correctly out of the total of 32 than a subject without a high school diploma. This included questions on world religions and geography, so doesn't necessarily mean the same results would hold true if questions were limited to those about Christianity.

I have often taken the 'lazy way out' in my faith, believing that just having the faith of a child was what God desired. That allowed me to feel that increasing my knowledge of scripture and the world around me wasn't very important. After all, a child doesn't have a lot of knowledge, just trust, right?

Today I realize how wrong I have been. Funny how the Lord was already convicting me of this, BEFORE I saw the results of this study. I guess He really wanted to get my attention! Clearly I need to be better prepared, and this study suggests I am not alone.

Lack of Knowledge

"My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also reject you as my priests; because you have ignored the law of your God, I also will ignore your children. Hosea 4:6

You can click on the post title for a link to take the quiz used in the survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. There are questions on world religions, but quite a bit of it is based on facts from the Bible.

It saddened me to learn how few of my Christian brothers and sisters knew such rudimentary facts. Even worse, atheists and agnostics did considerably better. These words from Hosea strike painfully close to home tonight. The average score among Americans and Protestants was 50%. Many people who called themselves Christians could not even name the 4 Gospels in the New Testament, or correctly identify that the 'Golden Rule' is not actually one of the Ten Commandments.

Lord, please give us a hunger for your truth!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

A New Day, Another Chance

I’ve been feeling guilty lately for not spending more time in God’s Word, and noticing that the well has run dry as far as writing anything worthwhile as a result. Tonight I wandered over to and read the verse of the day, Matt 6:33 “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” Talk about a direct hit!

That one verse pretty well sums up why I’ve felt ‘out of synch’ lately – I’ve been so busy trying to be active and engaged in the world around me that I lost my focus. The rest of the chapter talks about giving and fasting and praying without drawing attention to your actions, and not going after or worrying about treasures of this world. All things I know, but apparently needed the reminder to practice.

I worry a lot about our country, and how far we have drifted from our foundations. It is humbling to realize that I can so easily be set adrift myself. I want to be a part of the solution, and yet have no strength to act. As the verse says, I need to stop worrying about all of that, and focus on God’s kingdom.

The next thing I noticed was an article on the website stating the statistics on the top book searches there in the past month. They listed the top 10 cities that accessed the site, and the top 5 books of the Bible searched from each city. There were only 8 books listed, with Psalm 23 showing up in all but one city. The books and chapters, in alphabetical order, were:
1 Corinthians 13,
Genesis 1,
James 1
Jeremiah 29
John 3, 17,
Proverbs 2
Psalms 23, 46, 91, 146
Romans 8
(Matthew 6 didn’t make the top 8)

It made me wonder about my own reading habits. In the richness of what God has given us, 66 books that teach us who He is and His plan for humanity, how often do I barely skim the surface? These are all great scriptures, but I hope that I don’t become complacent, just referring to these familiar words over and over again. I want to know God better; I want to be overwhelmed and humbled by His glory.

Forgive me, Lord, for losing sight of what really matters. Thank you for giving me another chance, another day, to seek you with all my heart.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Equal Rights, not Equal Results

Suppose your neighbor sees that another neighbor has no car yet you have 2 cars in your driveway. The well-intentioned neighbor then decides to give one of your cars to the man who has none. Would you agree to this, or would you call the police to report the theft of your car?

If it is not legal for your neighbor to share your vehicles, how is it that we allow the government to take your property to meet another's need? I am borrowing this analogy from the 5,000 Year Leap, mentioned in other posts here. The Founders of our government wrestled with these ideas as well, and determined that if the government does not recognize the property rights of ALL individuals, it will result in a loss of rights for everyone.

This is not to say that the Founders rejected the biblical command to be charitable. But personal, intentional charity is not at all the same thing as government theft of one man’s property to give it to another. Not only is there no Constitutional authority for the federal government to provide welfare, it is in fact unconstitutional for the federal government to do so. According to Samuel Adams, “the utopian schemes of leveling and a community of goods…are arbitrary, despotic, and in our government, unconstitutional.”

The government’s sole obligation is to protect the equal and unalienable rights given by our Creator, not provide equal results for all. When we forget this, and give the government power to do otherwise, we all suffer.

Mr. Skousen quotes Benjamin Franklin on the idea of charity needing to be given wisely as follows, “Whenever we attempt to amend the scheme of Providence, and to interfere with the government of the world, we had need be very circumspect, lest we do more harm than good” [5,000 Year Leap, page 120]

The author goes on to summarize the Founders principles for ‘circumspect’ charity, and ends with this, “The first and foremost level of responsibility is with the individual himself; the second level is the family; then the church; next the community; finally the county, and in a disaster or emergency, the state. Under NO circumstances is the federal government to become involved in public welfare. “

I believe that as a people we have failed our responsibility to be charitable, and have left a void that is now being filled by force. We cannot remain free while at the same time asking the government to do what we should be doing for ourselves. When free Americans choose to live responsibly, we will begin to restore our government to its proper place on our lives.

Give generously and wisely, and thank God for the unalienable rights He has bestowed on His people.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Seasons Change

"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt 6:19-21

We did some decluttering here this weekend, trying to make space for things we actually use on a regular basis. I talk a good line about having ‘a place for everything and everything in its place’ but the reality is I have trouble letting go of things when their place is ‘not here.’

I am sentimental to a fault, and still have almost every card any of my children made or bought for me. Multiply 5 sons times 30 years of Mother’s Days and birthdays and random other holidays, and you can see the problem. Yes, in theory these things all have ‘a place’, but my file drawers are bursting at the seams, and won’t fit this month’s checking account statement.

My tendency to hold onto things beyond their useful life isn’t limited to paperwork. I also hold on to items that once were necessary tools for activities I no longer participate in or hobbies I once enjoyed. None of which matters, except it explains why one particular closet here is always stuffed to the brim. It is the closet where I store supplies for volunteer work I have enjoyed. This treasure trove of sweet memories, samples of craft projects, books and games reminds me of who I used to be, not who I am today.

Hanging on to those things makes me feel more secure, as if their tangible existence verifies that I have done something that mattered, proof that I did something of value. The problem with that attitude is that it is a burden to carry all of my past, so heavy that it keeps me from being flexible in the present. It reveals my insecurity, and a lack of trust in my Creator.

God doesn’t ask me to prove my existence or worth to him by storing treasure of past accomplishments; He loves me today, in the present. Instead of grieving over what I can no longer do, God wants to reveal what he is accomplishing through me today. Seasons change, but God’s plan is eternal.

I’m happy to say that the closet is now swept clean, ready for whatever adventure God has planned for my future. Next time I’m feeling really brave I will tackle my file drawers.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Happy Constitution Day!

On this date, September 17th, in 1787, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention signed our Constitution. Celebrate by reading your Constitution with your children and sharing what you learn with your friends and family. If we don’t know how our government is designed to function, we won’t know when our political leaders are misrepresenting it.

When I was being trained as a bank teller, the way we learned to recognize counterfeit bills was by handling the real thing so often that we knew immediately if a bill was different. The same principle applies to the Constitution; if you don’t know what it says, you won’t be able to tell when it is being undermined. At the bottom of this post are a couple of good links for online copies of the Constitution and explanatory notes. I’m sure you can easily find more.

I’m not going to print the whole document here, just the preamble to whet your appetite:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Remember that in the original, those first three words, We The People, were written in huge letters because the founders wanted to remind us from the very start that this republic was not formed by a ruler or ruling class. It is up to ‘we the people’ to protect and defend our legacy.

I was going to try and give you a sort of ‘crib notes’ version of the Constitution, but decided I couldn’t do it justice, and that most readers here already know far more than I do. Instead, I encourage you to look over this brief outline as a reminder and preparation for going to one of the websites listed below.

Article 1 describes the responsibilities and structure of the legislative branch
Article 2 does the same for the Executive branch
Article 3 does the same for the Judicial branch
Article 4 does the same for The States
Articles 5 through 7 deal with how amendments can be added, federal responsibilities for treaties and oaths and defining ratification of the Constitution itself

The one note I would add here is the importance the founders displayed for the legislative branch by putting it first. This is the most immediate way for the citizens to engage in politics, because the lower house is chosen by the people every 2 years. Unfortunately, Amendment 17 (Senators Elected by Popular Vote, ratified 4/8/1913) undermined the founder’s intent to have the Senatorial body reflect the will of each individual state legislature. Senators are now no longer accountable to the governing bodies of their states. I believe this is a dangerous step toward pure Democracy, rather than the Republic described in the Constitution.

The founders recognized the need for clarification and further protection of individual liberties, which led to the first 10 amendments all being passed on 12/15/1791. They are briefly described as follows:
· Amendment 1 - Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression
· Amendment 2 - Right to Bear Arms
· Amendment 3 - Quartering of Soldiers
· Amendment 4 - Search and Seizure
· Amendment 5 - Trial and Punishment, Compensation for Takings
· Amendment 6 - Right to Speedy Trial, Confrontation of Witnesses
· Amendment 7 - Trial by Jury in Civil Cases
· Amendment 8 - Cruel and Unusual Punishment
· Amendment 9 - Construction of Constitution
· Amendment 10 - Powers of the States and People
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

I think that a clear understanding of and respect for this last amendment would go a long way towards limiting our headlong rush into overreaching federal control. Unfortunately, our president seems to contradict the intent here, and claim that powers not specifically delegated may be claimed by the federal government, when the amendment clearly states the exact opposite.

The entire Constitution through Amendment 27 can be fitted on 21 typed pages – why do our representatives now need thousands of pages for bills?

These 2 websites are a good place to start your own exploration of this wonderful document:

God Bless America!

PS As long as you're here, please go to the bottom of this page and vote for NNYM in the Pepsi challenge

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pray For Our Nation

Last night’s primaries were a wake up call to those who are comfortable with ‘politics as usual,’ but if we don’t take advantage of this moment then all of the efforts made to win those races will be lost. I believe we need to be focused on the only certain cure to our ills, and that is by fervently praying and asking God to heal our land.

We can’t put our faith in political parties or ideologies any more than we can worship individual leaders. It is the Lord who works in the hearts and minds of those that he has placed in positions of authority over us. We are commanded to pray for those leaders, and I believe that praying for God to change their hearts and minds is the most honorable way to do that.

Our Constitution defined a very different system of governing than what we have allowed to develop. I’ll write more about that on Constitution Day, this Friday September 17th, but today my focus is on our individual responsibilities.

When we hold too tightly to our own comfort or desires, I believe we are failing in our duty as American citizens. Matthew 22:21 “…Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." My standard comment to those who do not vote or participate in the political process in this country is that one of the principles our nation was founded on was citizen participation in the political process. That means that in the US, part of what we ‘give to Caesar’ is our informed vote.

For some of us, what we will be called to give is serving in public office, and for others it will be supporting those who strive to be elected. We may have to put our own plans on hold for a time, or do things that stretch our faith, but they are worth doing. We need to be active in the public square, talking about our ideals and principles as they relate to public policies.

Some of us may be the lone voice of virtue in their sphere of influence; others may find themselves ridiculed by friends or family for their beliefs. Our nation is in deep trouble right now, and if we don’t begin to put country ahead of our personal agenda, we will have only ourselves to blame. John Ratzenberger (the actor who played Cliff Clavin in Cheers, but don’t hold that against him) just said something interesting on Fox: “I don’t think any of the soldiers at Valley Forge stopped and paused and thought, ‘Geez, what about my career?’”

If you fall into the trap of thinking that your vote doesn’t matter, or that your voice won’t be heard, remember something else that Mr. Ratzenberger reminded us of today: only 3% of citizens in Colonial America really wanted a revolution and to be independent of England, but they moved mountains!

Throughout history, God has used individuals to make enormous changes in His world. How will God use you?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Votes have Been Counted

Fox News is calling the Delaware primary the upset of the night. And the national Republican party bosses who supported RINO Mike Castle have already thrown a temper tantrum. They decided to take their ball and go home by announcing that they will not support the winner of tonight's primary.

Wow! They didn't even wait an hour to make the announcement, which means that decision was already made.

Mr. Castle is pro-abortion, and voted for cap and trade as well as most of the rest of President Obama's agenda. I heard him state at a public meeting that he doesn't worry about the US Constitution, because the courts 'take care of that.' Christine O'Donnell may not be a great candidate, but my only option today was someone who thinks his political party is more important than life or his nation's founding documents.

Now the race to Election Day in November. I think O'Donnell is going to surprise the 'conventional wisdom' folks. She has enthusiastic support from the Tea Party Express, Sarah Palin, and Jim DeMint's PAC. This is a mid-year election, which means that turnout will be low in general and particularly among disengaged Democrats. A majority of Delaware Republicans are fired up, and I think even those who voted for Castle tonight will hold their noses and vote for O'Donnell in November.

Her opponent is a well-known and liked Democrat, but when I met him several years ago he set off my "creep meter" alarms, so even if I was a Democrat I couldn't vote for him. He is likely to win even without my help, but I don't think it will be as easy as the pundits are claiming tonight.

Even if O;Donnell gets trounced in November, I am glad Castle is out. We need to 'retire' more career politicians and send some concerned citizens to Washington.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Are You Ready to Vote Tuesday?

The polls will be open in Delaware on Tuesday 9/14/10 from 7:00am until 8:00pm.
Here are a couple of last minute websites to check out before you vote in tomorrow’s primary:
This website is geared to just Delaware voters. They have a scorecard, and links to find your polling place if you don’t know whereto go tomorrow.
The official government website for all election details.
A list of DE candidates on state races, and links to candidate’s websites. You can look up any state from this page.
An independent PAC that supports and raises funds for a slate of 11 candidates from different states. They have set up a single site for donations to any of these chosen campaigns. The candidates, chosen by Sen. Jim DeMint, all have committed to 8 conservative principles described on the website. I encourage you to support some of them if you are able.

The political pundits are saying that they expect a very small turnout in the Republican primary. That means your vote will carry more weight, so PLEASE, make time in your day to VOTE!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Mary Had The Right Idea

But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 9:41-42 NLT

Johnny Cash reads to me almost every night at bedtime. Sort of. My Ipod is loaded with him reading the New Testament, and most nights I listen to a couple of chapters to help me rest. Better than sleeping pills, the Word of God eases my heart and mind, and Johnny reads it in a soothing way.

Last night these words from Luke jumped out at me, because my mind was racing about a million details and challenges. There are many things nowadays that are difficult for me, and I get frustrated and fall into the trap of stressing about what remains undone. This is not what the Lord desires, I just need frequent reminders!

Most of my life I have acted more like Martha, staying busy and "productive." I was comfortable with my never ending lists, and reveled in checking things off one by one. Rarely did I rest in the peace that passes understanding, and my life was poorer for it. Rather than focusing on knowing God more each day, I focused on doing for him, just like Martha.

All of those achievements will be forgotten, and what will be left is what Mary had all along - love. Lord, please help me to focus on what really matters, and let the rest fade away.

PS - Please vote once a day for National Network of Youth Ministries at the bottom of my homepage!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Touching Tomorrow

Please scroll down to the very bottom of my homepage here and click on the link for helping find mentor's for youth. It will cost you nothing, and could very well make a difference in our future. Remember - as scary as it sounds, those crazy teens today are tomorrow's leaders!

You can vote once per day, so please click on the link each time you visit here through September 30. It gets easier to vote after the first time you do it.

Two friends of mine are on the staff of this wonderful organization, and I'm happy to introduce you here. NNYM also provides support and training for youth to organize the annual 'See You At The Pole' prayers every fall.

Coming Soon to a Clinic Near You

I went to the Post Office this week. One of those annoying little errands that keeps getting postponed because something more urgent gets in the way. I had unearthed a stash of odd stamps that were not marked with any numbers to indicate their value. They were the ones that are first issued after a rate increase, but had been sitting long enough I wasn’t sure what they were worth anymore.

It seemed simple enough; walk into the Post office and ask a clerk how much each stamp was worth, then buy stamps with the difference so I could use them to mail letters. It was annoying not to be able to know the value of the stamps, and even more annoying to wait in line to find out.

There was plenty of time to think about the inefficiency of the system, because there was only one clerk on duty despite there being 4 very nice, modern registers available. I waited 30 minutes for my turn at the counter. I was racking my brains trying to think of why it would be so crowded when the woman behind me in line informed me that it is always that way at this office: Lots of modern, expensive machines, and one clerk.

I quickly depleted my small talk repertoire, and used the silence to focus on the inefficiency of issuing stamps with no value printed on them. I wonder how much money the government spends to produce those stamps? How much postal employee time is spent telling customers what the stamps are worth? How much is spent processing mail that is sent with the wrong amount of postage because consumers guessed wrongly?

If something as straightforward as mailing a letter can be so wasteful and confusing, imagine what it will be like applying this same methodology to health care:

You walk into the clinic for your appointment. All you want is a refill for medication you’ve taken for years. You don’t know what the visit will cost, because they calculate it based on a complicated formula using your income, and you have to give them all of your personal financial information in advance. You still aren’t sure if you have been granted an appointment, or the value of the doctor’s time to see you. You see that the waiting room is full, and look for the receptionist so you can sign in. There is a brightly lit reception area at one end of the room with several desktop computers visible, so you go there with your financial documents, birth certificate and social security card. You don’t see anyone because the only receptionist is on her break, so you wait. You don’t know how long you will be there, but you can tell it will be a long time and you’re glad you aren’t ill.

Since there is only one clinic available, you wait all afternoon to ask the doctor for your prescription, knowing that you will face a similar line at the pharmacy tomorrow. The visit itself is “free”, but you had to take a day off of work. The combined union wages for the doctor, receptionist, nurse, pharmacist and store clerk who played a part in this drama, added to the building overhead costs for clinic and pharmacy, plus all other related costs came to $327.00 and the drugs you need cost $42.00 to produce. The medicine costs you $1.25, which just happens to be how much I spent on extra stamps to mail my letters, and the remaining $367.75 is paid by the 47% of Americans who pay Federal Income Tax.

Does anyone really believe this is a sustainable or efficient way to handle health care?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Supreme Excitement!

Last year my son and I joined a lawsuit against the US Government because our right to constitutional representation has been violated. I am thrilled to announce that the case has now been appealed to the US Supreme Court. The Court will decide in early October whether or not to hear the case, but we have strong reason to believe it will proceed. I am excited and proud to be a part of this ‘history in the making’!

The Background: When the Progressives were in power in the early 1900’s, they decided that the US House of Representatives was big enough that they would just vote to freeze it at 435 members to maintain their position. Over time, this arbitrary number has resulted in state representation becoming more and more unequal. Delaware is now one of the 5 most under represented states in the nation.

Our Case: The suit demonstrates how smaller districts will result in more equitable representation in the US House of Representatives, the body designed by our founders to reflect the will of the people. Not only will smaller congressional districts result in restoring the constitutional principle of ‘one person, one vote’ but they will also produce smaller government and more individual freedom.

More Info: The website gives much more information in written and video formats, and I encourage you to check it out. The purpose of the nonprofit organization, from their website:
1) Achieve equal and appropriate representation in the U.S. House of Representatives for current and future generations,
2) Educate American citizens about the Constitution in general, and House apportionment in particular, and
3) Promote the benefits of smaller congressional districts resulting from an increase in House membership

Personal Note: Michael Farris from HSLDA is the attorney, and he offered to represent me in this case last year. Not only are we headed for the US Supreme Court, but I just received a very cool bound edition of the claim filed there, and I will be able to sit in on the proceedings if/when the Court decides to hear the case. Supreme Excitement!!!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

One On One

Psalm 139:1 O LORD, you have searched me and you know me…
139:13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.

Isn’t it wonderful to be known, and loved? God doesn’t love us in the abstract, or in a general ‘love for mankind’ sort of way. He loves each one of us as His unique creation, knit together by His loving hand. Let your heart be filled with this truth, savor it! Then ask God how you can share that love that is overflowing in you.

Since we are loved as individuals, doesn’t it make sense we should love others in the same way if we are to love others as God loves us? Look around you today at the people in your life, and marvel at how they are each “fearfully and wonderfully made” (v14). How can you love and honor them?

Each one of us has been given a variety of gifts to serve the body of Christ, so the ways we express our love will be as unique as we are. For some, it is a smile and encouraging words, for others it may be meeting physical needs, and for others it is revealing or teaching truth in a way the other person can understand. There is no one ‘right way’ to love our fellow man, as long as we are focused on loving the specific person.

For example, if someone is hungry, that might not be the best time to share a word of prophecy with him or her. A more loving response would be to feed them, even if you’re not a good cook. (A caveat here – if you cook like I do, it might be more loving to buy take-out food!) Loving someone means meeting him or her where they are, not where you are comfortable.

Loving others does NOT mean enabling them in their sin, or doing for them what they can do for themselves. It simply means to love them because God loves them, and to cherish the individual.

When we love others as God loves us, it brings us joy because that is what God designed us to do. This past weekend I had a chance to show love to someone dear to me, and we were both blessed. I did it by showing him new possibilities, and then walking with him through the first steps to reach that future. I met him where he is, and showed by my actions that he is loved as a unique and wonderful creation of our loving God. It was a good day.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Giving For a Reason

I recently read something that made me think about WHY I give more than WHAT I give. In some ways it is a comfort, but it was also convicting. By ‘giving’ I am not referring just to financial donations, but more to the way I share all of the gifts I’ve been given - my time, my talents, and my love. The comment was that how much we give away is irrelevant if our motive isn’t right. This goes beyond God’s love for cheerful givers, because sometimes we may cheerfully give for all the wrong reasons.

If God is not leading our decisions about where and how much and what to give, He won’t bless the results. And that is what convicted me. Tithes and offerings have been a habit for me for long enough that I take those for granted. I cheerfully ask God to direct where my money should go to meet the needs He sees. Where I stumble is the giving of my time and talents. More than once I have felt I didn’t have enough to give, or wanted to give of myself for all the wrong reasons.

God will never ask us to give more than we are able. That doesn’t mean we give in our own strength, it means that ‘whatever God calls us to do, He also equips us to do’. I have to remind myself of this frequently, since I tend to run off in my own strength and wonder why I fell flat almost as often as I balk at giving what I believe God is leading me to give.

If pride, guilt, a desire for attention or gain, or even fear, is motivating me, then whatever I give is irrelevant at best, and destructive at worst. I can’t count the number of times I have given of my time or energy because I felt obligated, only to have it blow up in my face. Clearly my motive was wrong in those situations, but I couldn’t admit it at the time. As a stay at home mom, I tend to think that I ‘should’ have time and energy for all of what I think are worthy goals. It is much easier for me to tell others not to ‘should’ on themselves than it is for me to recognize it in my own actions.

The reality is that I am not the superwoman I wish I was. I am not able to do many of the things I see others doing, and I tend to dismiss the ways I can contribute. I want to argue with God, and say that what He asks of me is not important, or not enough. He gently reminds me that if I am doing it for Him, it matters. For whatever reason, he has placed me here and now, and what matters isn’t how much I accomplish but for whom I am accomplishing it in the first place. Some days it feels like very little, so I have to remind myself that if I’m following His lead, God can take my meager offerings and create something wonderful.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Primary Primer

I don’t know if it is this confusing in other states, but Delaware doesn’t make it easy to figure out who you are voting for. Our state primaries are being held in 11 days, and though I know the candidates I want to support, figuring out where they are listed can be confusing. The state mailed me a helpful “Delaware Polling Place Card” telling me where and when I can vote on September 14th.

My choices will be limited, because only voters registered for a particular party can vote in that primary. That means all of you unfettered independents will have to wait until the general election to vote for whoever is left, because only those who are registered as Democrats or Republicans can vote in the 2 closed primaries. I swallowed my independent pride a few years ago when I figured out that I wanted a voice in the selection of conservative candidates, and that often happens in the Republican primary, before the general election. On Election Day in November, I may wind up voting for the third party candidate, but on September 14th I can just support “mainstream conservative” candidates.

First listed on the helpful card is my Electoral District. Delaware only has 3 electoral votes, but my electoral district is #8. Go figure. Somehow that number, combined with my State Representative District, determines where to find my polling place. All 41 State Representatives are elected every 2 years. That means your vote in the primary may help determine who will be on the ballot in November. In my State Representative district, #27, the lone conservative [and only Republican] is running against a proudly “progressive” labor leader and the incumbent who is bragging about how many new laws and regulations he has helped pass in his short tenure. Since there is no other Republican in the race, he is unopposed and will not be on the primary ballot. I can put up a yard sign for him, or encourage people to vote for him in November, but my energy for now is on contested primary races.

Next is my State Senate District, which is #10 out of a total of 21. My State Senator is not running this year, because only ½ of those positions are on the ballot every 2 years. I’m stuck with my current State Senator for 2 more years. If you live in a district that IS on the ballot, you can learn who the candidates are by going to the following link:

For the single US Senate seat up for a vote this year, there are 2 Republican candidates, 2 Third party candidates and 1 Democratic candidate in the race. Since the Democratic candidate has no competition, there is no Democratic primary for that position. Same for our single US Representative, there are 3 Republicans vying to run against the single Democratic and 3 Third Party candidates. These 2 races will determine who speaks for us in Washington for at least the next 2 years, or 6 years in the case of the US Senator. Please prayerfully consider whom you will support and if you are registered as a Republican, please vote on September 14th!

There are several other races in Delaware this year, depending on which county AND which County Council or Levy of Deeds district you live in. Those marked with a “ *” will have a primary in one party or both on September 14th.

Attorney General – 1 Democrat, Joe Biden’s son, is running against 1 Third Party candidate
*State Treasurer –2 Democrats, 1 Republican
*Auditor of Accounts – 2 Democrats, 1 Republican
*LC CC - 2 Republicans in District #3 primary [My LC CC is #6, no primary since both parties have unopposed candidates]
*Sheriff for New Castle County –2 candidates each party primary
Sheriff for Sussex County - 1 candidate in each party, so no primary
*Recorder of Deeds, Sussex County – 2 Democrats in primary
Recorder of Deeds, Kent County -4 candidates in 4 parties [it must be an important job downstate!]
Registrar of Wills – 1 candidate in each party, so no primary

I have probably missed someone here, and encourage you to do your own homework. This is an ‘off year’ – in 2012 there will also be elections for governor, Lt governor, insurance commissioner, Clerk of the Peace, etc.

In case you missed, your first opportunity to cast a vote in the 2010 elections is coming in just 11 days, on September 14th. Please exercise your right to vote!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

“Freedom Under Siege”

This title comes from a program I recorded several weeks ago and just got around to watching tonight. It was John Stossel’s eponymous weekly program on Fox Business channel, and I highly recommend checking it out.

This episode was focused on how too much regulation causes harm to our nation’s entrepreneurial spirit. He showcased the 70,000 pages of government regulations passed in just the past year, and reported on several specific cases where those regulations reduce our freedoms. When our government is making so many decisions for us, our own freedom to choose is threatened, and we should all be wary of sacrificing our liberty for a false sense of security.

Some of the examples he cited verge on the absurd. For example, did you know that is now against the law to have a bake sale fundraiser in the NYC schools? The reason? Obesity, called a problem that, “will dwarf 9-11”, according to a former Surgeon General. Really? Selling cookies to raise money for the school band is akin to an act of terrorism? I think someone has fallen off the reality rails. Given all the problems in the NYC public schools, I would think they have more important issues to spend their tax revenues on solving.

In California, one county has outlawed the action figures fast food restaurants put in their children’s meals, because it unduly tempted the children to eat fast food. I must admit to taking that one personally – my children played with entire collections of happy meal figures when they were young, and I resent the government telling me that makes me an unfit mother.

If this attempt to shield us from our own poor choices was as far as it went, that would be insulting enough. Unfortunately, the reality is much worse. He spoke with one of the authors of a book called One Nation Under Arrest and cited several cases of heavy-handed government interference that made my skin crawl. In one case, an elderly grandmother was actually arrested for allowing her hedges to grow over the 2-foot legal limit. In another, a 12-year-old girl was arrested for eating French fries on a subway, and a businessman was arrested for importing lobster in the wrong package.

Being arrested is scary enough, but then he went on to interview people who had been jailed for breaking a variety of regulations. One man and his wife grew orchids in a small greenhouse in their backyard. It was their hobby, and as a small cottage business they also sold some of these orchids at fairs. They legally imported some of the orchids, but apparently misplaced some of the paperwork. Remember – older couple, growing flowers as a hobby: their home was ransacked by federal officials, and the husband served a year and a half in federal prison, after spending $100,000.00 in legal bills.

Another man tearfully explained his own experience. He was a ‘science geek’, the kid who always won the school science fair. As a young adult, he was tinkering with inventing an efficient fuel cell in his own home. He used something called ‘metallic sodium’, which my scientist husband tells me is quite explosive. He ordered more than he needed, so he sold one pound of this substance online [which, btw, is NOT illegal] The federal enforcers instead charged him with the “environmental crime” of abandoning hazardous materials, even though they were safely and properly stored on his private property. He served 21 months in federal prison. How likely do you think he will be to engage in any more inventive pursuits?

Paraphrasing Mr. Stossel, politicians and government appointees think the laws they pass make our lives better, but there are always unintended consequences. How likely is someone to risk doing something new, if there are too many laws and regulations to understand? Most people will tend to play it safe to avoid breaking the law, and we are all poorer for it.

Right now there are over a million federal employees in this country, not counting military or Postal service. This nation founded on the principles of freedom is becoming a ‘nanny state’. It is time for us to let our elected officials know that we value freedom over the false security of government control.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Restoring Honor 8-28-10

Our idea to stroll down last night didn't pan out, but thousands of people were there all night. By the time we went to the Memorial at 7:30am [the event was starting at 10am], it was a mob scene and we wound up about half-way down the reflecting pool.

The mood was very different from the Tea Party Rally last 9/12/09, much more reflective and directed towards personal action. One expression of that was the generous response to the Special Operations Warrior Foundation. The SOWF exists to provide support and a college education to the children of special ops soldiers who are killed or severely wounded in service to their country. Glenn Beck asked us one time to text "SOWF" to 85944. He came back on stage a little while later to announce that $3,000,000.00 had been raised since he made the request. Check the group out at if you want to help honor those who give their lives on our behalf.

The whole event was a call to return to our founding principles, a personal relationship and worship of our Creator as the foundation of our liberty. 240 pastors stood on the steps of the monument, representing every denomination and faith. This was the kickoff event for a new "Black Robe Regiment", which was originally a group of pastors who came together during colonial times. From a website, "they understood that in order to have a great government, then you must have great citizens. The way that you have great citizens is by having great people that are rooted in the foundation of the Word of God." []

Glenn Beck recognized 3 individuals by awarding a Medal of Merit to each for their steadfast devotion to the 3 themes of Faith, Hope and Charity. The Faith award went to C.L. Jackson, civil rights activist and pastor of Pleasant Grove Mission Baptist Church in Texas for the past 45 years. The Hope award went to Albert Pujols for his extensive community service in both St. Louis and his home country of the Dominican Republic , and the Charity award went to John Huntsman, the billionaire philanthropist who has, among innumerable other charities, started many shelters for abused women and children and founded the Huntsman Cancer Institute

Though most of the speakers were Christians, the event glorified God rather than any doctrine. It was definitely apolitical, with several prayers, scripture readings and gospel music. We also sang the battle Hymn of the Republic, and near the end, the crowd came together to sing Amazing Grace. Trust me, you haven't heard that song sung, until you hear several hundred thousand voices lifted in one accord. It WAS amazing.

Today was only the beginning, a gathering of like-minded patriots who will now return to their communities with a fresh determination to honor God is every aspect of their lives, including their civic participation.

A sweet 'extra', the Lord led us to sit next to a lovely woman from Wilmington, and I look forward to connecting with her again when we get home.

Now I'm going to take a nap, and let the ideas and events of the day percolate a bit. I am grateful beyond measure to have been here today!

Friday, August 27, 2010

I'm in DC!!!

I'm settled into our room, and later tonight we're going to stroll down to the Lincoln Memorial grounds to check it out before the crowds arrive tomorrow.

We would already be out walking, but 'flaky me' struck again. In the chaos of packing all of the gear it takes for me to be away from home, we left behind a case of critical chargers and batteries. My husband is driving north, our son is driving south, and if all goes according to plan, they will soon meet in the middle for an exchange.

Then my ever patient and loving spouse will drive BACK into the city in Friday night traffic. He's not riding a white horse, but he's still my knight in shining armor, albeit in a gold minivan.

We think we're staying at the same hotel as the organizers because there are a bunch of people wearing staff badges and there is a reception here tomorrow afternoon after the rally.

Weather tomorrow is supposed to be ideal - dry and 80 degrees, well within my comfort zone. In every way we sense God's presence in this. The kickoff event tonight is a gathering of religious leaders at the Kennedy Center. We wanted to go, but decided that tomorrow would be all I could realistically handle. A woman behind us in the hotel check-in line was handing out American flags, so my scooter is now "fully equipped"

I took all of the political buttons off my backpack, and instead am sporting a large "We The People" bumper sticker on the backrest and an American flag waving off the back. I've got my flag pin and 'Restoring Honor' shirt and hat ready to go. I know all of the bling is silly, but if I have to be in an electric scooter dragging oxygen tanks, at least I can have fun decorating my ride!

David Barton and 3 pastors were on Glenn Beck's show tonight, talking about the light of God that covers the darkness. May tomorrow be a bright new beginning for our nation and each one of its citizens!

Faith, Hope, Charity, and What am I Doing Here, Anyway?

I spent the better part of my day today preparing for a special event this weekend. It is a rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. called “Restoring Honor”. I’m proud to stand with those who will answer this call to personal responsibility and citizenship. Time will tell if or how much difference it will make, but I’m praying for our nation like never before.

By ‘preparing’ I don’t mean packing, though I need to get started on that soon. Mostly I have been preparing my heart and mind for the days ahead. I’ve been praying, listening to scripture on my Ipod, and reading. I read Wives of the Signers, The Women Behind the Declaration of Independence, and a transcript of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech.

Rev. King delivered that speech from the Lincoln Memorial 47 years ago this Saturday, and my mother was there that day to hear him. I remember being in the city with her during those tumultuous days, and always been proud of her for standing for what was right even when it was hard.

My white, middle class family did not suffer anything remotely like what the nonviolent protesters in the south endured, but as a small child it rocked my world. I remember my father bellowing in the middle of the night, trying to raise cash because my mother had been put in jail as a result of our car tags being on a watch list. I remember the adults talking about our phones being tapped, about being watched, about the injustice. I remember watching the city burn from our apartment window, and waiting what seemed like days for my father to safely return home. Mostly I remember the smell of the tent city on the National Mall when my mother took me with her to deliver food to the protesters.

Those were different times, but what has always stuck with me is that a man of God was willing to risk everything to stand for the ‘unalienable rights’ to freedom that God so abundantly blessed us with at this nation’s founding. Rev. King did not stand on those marble steps and demand a government that controlled our lives, treated us like children and taxed us into bankruptcy; he was there to demand “the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”

I believe that his dream we so famously recall from that day, “that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” is only possible when we recognize one another as the free men and women God created us to be.

‘Faith, Hope and Charity’ are the source of our strength as free people. Not trust in government, but in the God who created us. I sense more and more that we Americans have lost sight of ‘the riches of freedom’, that we have traded our birthright for a cheap imitation, our freedom for a false sense of security not based on justice but on power and greed. Our politicians may promise us everything, but we need not foolishly believe them.

So that is why I will be in our nation’s capitol this weekend. Not because I put my trust in men, but because I will be pleading with God to heal our hearts and our land.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Dark Days of Joy

I just posted a depressing poem, because that is sometimes where my thoughts go. At those times I cry out to God, and ask him to sustain me. Maybe I just need that reminder sometimes that he really is my only source of peace.

When I look back on my years of journals and poems, I can see that this low place is where I spent most of my time. The few poems and writings that I can find from the happy times are brief, because at those times I was participating in life instead of observing it from the sidelines.

I’ve been labeled as having so many mental illness diagnoses that I feel like a walking textbook of crazy. From what I have read, and what I know of my own experience, those labels all fit. That is just the mental health issues; I have a slew of physical issues as well. My local pharmacist loves me – at present I take 13 different prescription pills a day, in addition to 3 inhalers for my lousy lungs.

This is the reality of my life. I am broken, and deteriorating more day by day. Walking across the room is a challenge many days, even with several extra liters of oxygen flowing through a tube up my nose.

But just as real as all of that is the hope I have in Christ, and the joy that fills my life. God has blessed me with a wonderful husband and five terrific sons. I have friends who love me ‘warts and all’, I am safe, and secure in the knowledge that God will never forsake me, no matter how unpredictable or uncooperative my mind and body may be. He has saved me from eternal misery, and is right now preparing a place for me. I sense God’s presence with me even on the darkest days; I experience His Holy Spirit as my comforter in the very core of my being.

Today I have a choice. Which reality will I embrace? Will I give up because I am such a wreck, or will I live a life of gratitude for all that I’ve been given? I choose joy.

Wars and Rumors

Wars and rumors of wars to come,
Devastation and suffering surround me
Hatred, violence, lies and greed
Such is the world we’ve made

Forgive us Lord, heal our land
But first, restore our souls
Save us from our enemy
The father of lies who tempts us still

We of weakened frame cry out
Overwhelmed by brokenness
Please bring your holy light
That saves us from the darkest night

Monday, August 23, 2010

Flaky me

I thought turning 50 was pretty cool; it makes me sound all grown up and mature, right? Unfortunately, it's still the same flaky me, just in an older body. I found that out the hard way this morning when I did a belly-flop off the fireplace mantle onto the hardwood floor. Not exactly a belly flop, more like a knee-ankle-arm-and-toes-flop. Nothing broken besides my pride, but lots of scrapes and bruises. Clearly age has not improved my grace and agility.

It hasn’t helped my memory either. Or my aversion towards and ineptitude for paperwork. Or a host of other foibles and shortcomings that have followed me through my life. As a matter of fact, there are days when I don’t feel like 50 years of experience have done me much good at all.

But then I remember that the real standard I am called to live by is pursuing Holiness, not coordination and organizational skill. God is at work in me every day to make me more like His Son and less like flaky me. I may not have gotten any more graceful physically, but I hope and pray that I am becoming more full of God’s grace.

Galations 5:22 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Those are the qualities that really matter, the goals I strive for each day.

James 3:17 “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” That definition of wisdom is very different from what the world would define as successful, but it is what I pray for. I do plenty of belly-flops on those, too, but I like to think that I’m closer now than I was 50 years ago.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Wings Unfurled

We delivered our third son to college this week, and my nest is feeling increasingly quiet. This poem is for him, but I thought I would share it here as well.

Wings Unfurled

You burst into my life one day
So rushed to make your mark
You never even stopped to breathe
And almost broke my heart

Our fears relieved by your strength
You overcame that shaky start
My child of laughter and delight
Took on the world a boy apart

Though life confused you many times
By your determined heart
Somehow you made your way
Your life God’s work of art

All I knew and tried to teach
From all the love within my heart
You’ve soared beyond, wings unfurled
Flying from a running start

My son, now grown a man
Tested, strong and smart
Seize the future God has planned
Your life, His work of art

My Rich Mullins Story

This whole blogging thing is a bit unnerving… I have no idea who is reading, or when, and feel a bit silly for posting into the void. But post I will, because it makes me happy. I was at a Rich Mullins concert years ago, and heard him explain why he wrote songs. He said it wasn’t because he had something new to say, since it had all been said before, and it wasn’t because he thought he had anything better to offer. He wrote his music because he couldn’t help himself, and it brought him joy to praise his Maker. I agree – writing just brings me joy.

I heard Rich Mullins make his comments at what turned out to be one of his last concerts. The story of how I came to be there that night still fills me with awe and gratitude. Our family had just moved to Delaware from Texas. We were broke trying to cover mortgages in 2 states, and I was home alone with 5 sons, 3 dogs, 9 cats, and no car in a strange new place while my husband worked long hours 50 miles away. To be more precise, it was “no fun.”

Things became even more stressful when some long buried personal issues surfaced. I was emotionally shattered and overwhelmed, and clinging to my sanity. God bless my dear husband, who saw that his wife was at the end of her rope, and praise God for providing the perfect reminder of His love and presence in the tiniest details of my life!

I never had a sense of ‘home’, or roots, having lived only 3 weeks in the state where I was born and then continuing to move around frequently all my life. The home we were renting at the time was the 24th place I had lived, and at that point I really needed stability. I knew the name of the town where I was born, but that was it. I didn’t even have a birth certificate.

It will come as no surprise to my faithful readers that those details were not a problem for the Lord. I felt compelled to track down my birth certificate, and get the address of where I was born. Then I learned that Rich Mullins was going to be performing in that same small town, on my birthday. That may not seem a big deal to you, but Rich Mullins was the first Christian songwriter I ever heard, and remains my all-time favorite.

Somehow my husband pulled together the money to put me on a plane to Indiana, buy me a ticket to the concert, and reserve a room for me at a local hotel. He also set up a rental car, though the address I had for where I was born didn’t show up on any maps. I arrived on the afternoon of my birthday, just a few hours before the concert at a local church. I had hoped to see my first home, but even a call to the city hall didn’t find the location of the street.

I decided that the concert alone was going to be such a blessing that finding the house was too much to ask for. My husband had even arranged for a birthday banner to be hung in my room, reminding me that he was with me in his thoughts. It was with that overwhelming feeling of being loved and cared for that I walked into the church and sat down next to a friendly looking young woman. Before the concert started and during intermission I told her about the amazing blessing of being in my hometown on my birthday for the concert. She told me she had lived all her life there, and eventually asked me the street name. When I told her, she got a strange look in her eye and asked me if I was kidding. I assured her not, and showed her the birth certificate.

You have probably guessed what happened next. The street where my family once lived was only one short block long, a sort of connector between 2 other marked roads. My companion at the concert lived on that small street, across from my parents’ former home. She told me it wasn’t on any maps, that there was a street sign but only the postal service used the street name.

I drove back to my hotel after arranging to meet her the next morning at the house, laughing and crying with thanks and thinking how impossibly perfect the day had been. But God wasn’t finished yet – when I got out of my car and approached the hotel lobby, Rich Mullins and his band mates were standing at the door. I couldn’t help myself; I gushed and made a fool of myself telling him how the Lord had brought me there and led me to my first home. I know he though I was crazy, and when I told him I had 5 sons he understood why!

Standing in front of the house the next day was almost anticlimactic, because the miracle was in the journey. I thought the destination was the point, but God made it clear to me that He is with me in every step, no matter where it leads. Rich died in a car accident just a few weeks after that concert, and I was blessed to work though my grief by helping to assemble a memorial book for his family. I was grateful that even in the midst of my pain, God was leading and healing me in the broken places.

Treasure those moments when God reveals himself to you – He delights in doing miracles!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The best education is not 'one size fits all'

The title of this post is stunningly obvious, I know. But I hope it caught your attention enough to spend a few minutes supporting a cause near and dear to my heart. If the link works [doubtful given my lack of computer literacy] it will send you to a page to promote awareness of The Elijah School in Northeast, MD. This small school was started by 2 educators I greatly admire and am honored to call friends. They had a burden for students who learn best through non-traditional methods, and the vision and courage to start a school to meet those student's needs. Please take 30 seconds to give the school 5 votes, and increase its visibility.

If my links don't work, or even if they do, go to the school website to learn more about this unique opportunity for children in the MD/DE/PA area.

My husband and I have home schooled our boys for 20 years, dabbled with a few years of private school, and even a semester of [gasp!]public school. That experience has taught me one thing - there is no perfect school for every child. That said, The Elijah School is a perfect fit for the students who need it, and I'm proud to share it here.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Best Birthday Card Ever

I found the best card for me to give those I love when I invariably miss their special day: on the front, it has a cute little mouse saying, ‘I marked your birthday on my calendar so I wouldn’t forget’ and on the inside it says, ‘… have you seen my calendar?’

Between my husband’s frequent overseas travel, son #3 heading off to college next week, and sons #4 and #5 signing up for every sport, bible study, party and volunteer event they can find, is it any wonder I’m losing track???? School is starting in 17 days, and I haven’t finished filing papers from last year yet. I keep telling myself to breathe, that this hectic and chaotic season of life will not last forever, that my adorable children are worth whatever the cost to my sanity. Some days I believe me.

It is the constant shifting and changing plans that really send me around the bend. I learned long ago to use pencils, not pens, to write down appointments. So this got me thinking… how does God manage to have written the future in indelible ink? My life feels out of control because I forget my friends’ birthdays, but somehow God, across the millennia, knows exactly when and how His plans will be fulfilled. When Jesus said that we couldn’t know the day of his return, it wasn’t because God penciled it in and hoped for the best. God KNOWS the exact moment that Christ will return, and exactly how the future will unfold.

Amazing, isn’t it? Thank you, Lord, for holding the future securely in your hand.

Friday, August 6, 2010

I am a Patriot

When reading words from long ago
Describing what would be
My heart is full of gratitude
And more, humility

What have I done today
To sustain this legacy?
Have I served my nation well?
What future do I see?

Days are dark and violent now
Our leaders lack integrity
Selfishness and greed abound
Fools and liars live easily

Do I speak the truth aloud
To honor this gift of liberty
Or do I grieve alone in silence
Denying that we once were free?

No! I am still a Patriot
Standing tall and constantly
Fighting lies with honest words
And honoring our history

Children, listen to my words
Honor men of bravery
Live your lives with virtue
Remember why you're free

Thursday, August 5, 2010


My husband and I have been blessed with five sons. The older 2 were teenagers when I wrote this poem, after a long day with their friends. Now the younger boys are all in their teens, and I am as convinced as ever that teenagers are aliens, wonderful, entertaining aliens.

Do you ever wish to see
Your world through another's eye?
What can seem so maddening
Appears to some as fun
Teenagers must be aliens
Who stay a few short years
Confusing all their parents
In times from youth to manhood
They forget the social graces
How to act, and how to speak
They view the daily grind
Through a different frame of mind
Aliens they must be,
Not quite fitting in
Excitement and activity
Define their daily life
As we adults just shake our heads
And wait for sanity's return


This morning I awakened
To God's symphony of sound
A thousand birds to praise Him
With voices skyward bound
The light was soft and gentle
Not yet the harshness of the day
My heart was called to worship
And my spirit stirred to pray
What need has God of humankind
When all creation sounds His praise?
And yet it brings me such great joy
To dwell upon His ways

The funny part about this poem is that I am not and never have been a morning person at all :-)

Virtues and Morals in Public Life

I’m reading The 5,000 Year Leap, a book dedicated to explaining the principles that guided our nation’s founders and led them to design the governmental structure of our Republic. It is an excellent book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who wonders why current events in our country don’t make sense anymore.

The author quotes generously from the official documents, speeches and correspondence of the founders, and then restates the ideas in language a modern and comparatively illiterate person like myself can understand. If you read Polybius, Cicero, Hooker, Coke, Montesquieu, Blackstone, Locke or Adam Smith, you might not need the translation. The closest I ever got to reading Alexis De Tocqueville’s tome, Democracy in America, was ordering it for my precocious firstborn son, so I’ll take all the help I can get. By synthesizing all of these ideas into a set of 28 “Founder’s Basic Principles”, the text clearly explains each concept.

The forward thinking of the men who spent that long hot summer in 1787 Philadelphia serving in our first federal convention can’t be overstated. I was surprised to learn that John Adams predicted our nation would someday be composed of 200 to 300 million citizens. It was with that future in mind that they crafted a Constitution that could stand the test of time, IF we stayed faithful to its guiding principles.

Our government was designed very carefully to keep all power in the people’s hands to prevent rule by tyrants, while at the same time avoiding anarchy. Foundational to the success of this grand experiment was the character of its citizens. Without what they called “public virtue”, or a willingness to put one’s personal desires below the needs of the community, the government will fail. A personal morality based on subjection to our Creator’s code of “right conduct” (The Ten Commandments, for starters) is equally essential.

When tempted to blame politicians or any other group for our deteriorating condition and increasing government control over our lives, remember that the success of this nation starts with each one of us as individuals. If our nation is suffering, it is because we as a people have lost our bearings and shirked our responsibilities. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Only a virtuous people are capable of freedom.”

Hopes and Dreams

Who places these desires
Deep within our souls
And drives us on continually
To such a far-fetched goal?

Does God within each child He makes
Plant seeds of greatness to be sown
Then leave us in life's tangled grasp
To find the way alone?

A loving Father could not, I'm sure
And yet I wonder why
These hopes and dreams I carry
Seem destined still to die

I ask Him in my quiet time
Are each of us the same?
Does every child of God
Have dreams they know by name?

When I look across the crowded pews
And see tranquility
I try to glimpse within the hearts
And know what God can see

Are they satisfied by daily life,
By outward symbols of success?
Does that old man feel content
That life has been his best?

Or does he now prepare to die
And leave this earthly realm
With hopes and dreams unsatisfied
And regrets that overwhelm?

Does the housewife in her lacy dress
Seek more than what she's found,
Or does her average, daily world
Bring joy while duty bound?

I wonder all these things and more
As I sit there in my pew
God has not revealed the truth to me
And those who I can ask are few

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Stream

The God who created water in this stream
Made some paths smooth and quiet
Other places full of rocks.
In those rocks the water's tossed
Pushed aside from its gentle path
Those rocks are hard, and sharp,
But only there does the water dance
And sing, and come alive

Monday, August 2, 2010

A Purpose in Everything

"And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them." Romans 8:28, New Living Translation

Last night I was browsing through an old collection of poems I've written over the years, and was overcome with gratitude:

I read through memory lane tonight
And stopped along the way in thanks
So many cries for help,
So many answered prayers!
Brief glimpses of the life I've lived
The triumphs and the trials
Young wife, new mother,
Confused and overwhelmed
Then by God's grace and power
Came a help for every need
Where once lived doubt
I now have faith
Still weak, I've persevered
Where fear once filled my days
My hope is a strong tower
I praise you, Lord, for all you've done
To save a wretch like me
Amazing grace, amazing love
Your power is revealed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

New Links and dates to remember

August 21, 2010 - last day you can register to vote in the DE party primaries. You have to declare party affiliation to vote in these.

September 14, 2010
- DE state primary elections

October 9, 2010 - last day to register so you can vote in the general election

October 10 through November 2 - no changes can be made to your voter registration

November 2 - general election, poll open 7am to 8pm.

New Links:
I've just added a sidebar of links to Delaware political websites. If you find these helpful, or know other websites that would be helpful and informative, please pass them along. The Green Papers website already links to the individual candidate websites, so I won't be listing those individually here.

Principle or Politics - How Will You Vote?

A great visit with friends, discussing the upcoming primary and elections. We talked about local and national candidates, and wrestled with the temptation to vote for a winning candidate rather than voting on principle even if you know your candidate will lose. 'A half a loaf is better than none' can sound very reasonable, especially when you know that their opponent would be worse.

No candidate is perfect, they are all human. Some share my convictions, some only mouth the words, and some clearly see the role of government differently than I do. My husband and I decided last year to make a 'no incumbent' voting pledge. This grew out of our frustration with the lack of term limits; if politicians won't willingly return to the private sector to live under the laws they pass, then we will do what we can to force them into retirement.

If I set aside incumbent candidates, I still need to decide which other candidates to support. Our discussion today centered on races where the candidate that we support in principle likely doesn't have the chops to win the general election. This is where I think the concept of 2-party politics does us all a disservice. Rather than choosing the best candidate, we begin to think in terms of whom best serves our party. We begin to think of the party over the country, our own alliances instead of putting the Republic first.

Maybe I am a hopeless idealist, but I would rather vote for someone I want to represent me, than settle for someone popular enough to win. I know this leads to split votes, or victory for the person I like least, but my vote matters to me. If I give my vote to a party rather than to my country, I have diminished its value and my privilege as a citizen.

What do you think? How do you make the decision for whom to cast your vote?