Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Funny Thing About Change

I've been fairly quiet on the political front lately, basically because I am not very thrilled about any Candidate. The way I have it figured right now is that regardless of what party I vote for in November, I am reduced to voting for a far left leaning, Liberal. Yes, I could, and might do the write in thing but there is an almost certainty that one of these three Clowns will be the next President and I will probably have to do, like I do when I vote for Illnois' Governer. Vote for the lesser of two evils. The problem I am having in the Presidential Campaign is in determining who the lesser of evil is?

I have no problem with a former Prisoner of War and War Hero being the President of the United States. I have no problem with a Woman being the President of the United States. I have no problem with a Black Man being the President of the United States.

My problem with all three Candidates, is not their Valor, their Gender or their race. It is in how they have presented themselves in recent years. While I have no problem with a War hero, Prisoner of War being President, I don't want to elect one just on that merit. McCain is as far left in ideaology as one can go in my opinion. While I have no problem with a Woman being President, I sure don't want one elected just because she is a Woman. My personal belief is that this Country cannot afford Hillary. In order to pay for the things she will want to do, we had better get ready to be taxed beyond belief. While I have no problem with a Black Man being President, I believe it would be foolish to vote for one, just because he is Black.

Barack Obama speaks very much about change and many people are following the message. I understand it. I too would like to see change. But the problem with running on a platform of "change" is that "change" has many definitions. If you have lived a relatively healthy life and are stricken with a disease, guess what, things have changed. The trouble with the American public is that we have the memory life of a gnat so let's talk about Mr. Change.

Obama came on the scene by winning an Congressional Seat representing the State of Illinois. What many people have forgotten is that the only reason that Barack won that campaign was because of the moral and ethical fallout of the heavily favored Republican Candidate, Jack Ryan.

Barack became the choice for a keynote address at the Democratic Convention and what a speech he did give. It was by all accounts, excellent. But let's talk about what he has done in the Senate, representing our fine State. It boils down to three things for me. 1. He has missed several important votes. Why? 2. He made a highly publicized trip to Kenya! Yay,that's good for Illinois? 3. He ran for President of the United States. Man, we are reaping the Harvest of "Change" so far in this State!

The thing that bothers me most about Mr. Obama is not the false e-mails flying around about whether or not he is a Muslim. (I don't believe he is) The thing that bothers me most is this, what kind of change is he talking about? In recent weeks, Obama's Pastor, "Rev." Jeremiah Wright, has made National News. Obama belongs to Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago and has for the past 20 years. This Church's doctrine and creed are questionable to me, to say the least but at the forefront is "Rev." Wright. (recently retired) You can find some samples of "Rev." Wright's work by clicking on the Title link of this blog entry but I will warn you, it contains strong language and is not for the faint of heart. I have many more thoughts on "Rev." Wright's "doctrine" but let's just boil it down to say that I believe he espouses bigotry and hate in a far worse manner than any that he complains about.

The real issue to me is this. "Rev." Wright was Obama's Pastor for twenty years. He married Barack and Michelle. He dedicated their children. He has served as a "spiritual" mentor to Obama. Obama's book, "The audacity of Hope" was taken from one of "Rev." Wright's sermons. One of the reason's that "Rev." Wright retired from pulpit ministry was to serve on Obama's Presidential Campaign! What kind of change are we talking about???

Then when the sound bites began to hit National news, they quickly wisked "Rev." Wright away and Obama began denouncing his comments as comments of an era in the past. Then last week, the rhetoric changed and Obama began stating that "Rev." Wright's comments were being taken out of context. I have this simple question. In what contextual format would it ever be acceptable for a Pastor in the United States of America to say, "God @#$% America?"

Change is a funny thing. Sometimes you can actually get worse.

(I will have more to say about Hillary and McCain in the days ahead)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Catching Up

I had meant to post something way before now but life is somewhat of a blur. Let me start by talking about Easter! It was absolutely FABULOUS.

We decided to step out of our Comfort zone and do something completely different. It was brave, bold and exciting. We had the basement of the Church set up in different Stations that represented various things. Then we placed two "Gaurds" at the front door, named Fear and Doubt, (two BIG guys) and they would direct everyone to the Basement and not allow anyone into the Sanctuary. (Yes, as a Pastor, it is as scary as it sounds to not allow people in :<) )

The Stations that were set up in the Basement focused on several things. The first, focused on being a Captive/Slave/Prisoner. At one point you would look into a mirror that had prison bars painted on it and you were to think of whatever it is that imprisons you. You would then write that/those things down on a piece of paper and fashion into a bracelet/chain to wear around your wrist.

The next Station focused on THE PRICE. It talked about the National debt and about the average Credit Card debt in the U.S. And then what would you be willing to pay to lose the chains around your wrist. It then went into how Jesus paid the price for our Freedom.

The next station focused upon our WEAPONS and how we need a weapon to break free. We had Hebrews 4:12 on pieces of paper and would instruct everyone that they would need this sword to get into the Sanctuary.

The next station focused upon the CROSS and the power of the Cross. We then had some simple sticks there that everyone could pick up and fashion into a Cross.

Then groups of people would come up the Stairs with their Sword and their Cross and Fear and Doubt would move aside! In entrance to the Sanctuary we had a larger Cross that everyone would spend a moment at and then ripp off the chains that they wore and let them fall.

The imagery and power of it was quite moving and as they worked their way into the Sanctuary I was there encouraging them to break through. It did take some time to work everyone through the process but it was the time we usually allot to our Praise and Worship.

I then went directly into my Easter Sermon which focused on Freedom. I used several examples of our Countries history and how things changed when good men "stood up." It encompassed the founding of our Nation, the freeing of Slaves, the Civil rights movement, (especially pointing out how at one time an Oppressor would tell people which lines to stand in, etc. etc.) and how people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. chose to stand up in the face of their oppressers regardless of the price.

I then went into how we have all been under the hand of an Oppressor and that we have been in the bondage of Sin. How the Oppressor would tell us that we belong in lines of addictions, depression and destitution. But a man came along that began to speak of being free from the Oppressor and dared to speak of abundant life. The Oppressor set out to stop him, finally killing him on a Cross. The Oppressor thought he had won until this same man took back the keys, and on the third day this Man STOOD UP!

If I might say, it was a powerful message for and incredible day. We then had Communion, a presentation from our children, a living Video and a rocking song that celebrated our Freedom. It was an awesome day! We had 82 in attendance which was not as many as I had hoped for but a great crowd just the same.

A lot of hard work went into it from many faithful people and for that, I thank them. Most people "got it" and a few probably didn't but one thing it wasn't, was boring!

I promise to write more this weekend. I appreciate everyone that looks in. Be blessed!

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Wonderful weekend

After my first full week back after Vacation, we had a wonderful weekend. It started out a little bit scary but ended well and that is what matters. The scary part? Let me explain.

On Saturday morning Sam was picked up by the family of one of his good friends for a Birthday party. They were going bowling and eating Pizza and having a great time. Then as little boys will do, Sam called home asking if Blaise could spend the night. We said OK and everything was set in order.

The Employee Club at work was having "Dinner and a Movie" night, so I had already planned to take Debbie to the movies, (especially since I only had to buy one ticket!) but the plans had now changed to include two little guys along with us and we decided to see the new blockbuster, "Horton hears a Who." At this point I believe the last grown up Movie we saw was "Citizen Kane" but I digress!

I went to the ticket window and cashed in my free coupon and ordered 1 more adult ticket and two childrens tickets. The young man working the Counter seemed a bit confused by it but we got our tickets in short order. It wasn't until we were standing in the refreshment line that I noticed that the blemish faced young man had charged me a Senior Adult fare!

Now I realize that the grey in my hair is becoming much more pronounced but the week before Debbie and I had Dessert with Neil & Julie Smith and I'm sure that Neil looks older than I do! :<) (Love ya Bud) I was torn between being offended and realizing that I had gotten a good deal. Guess which one won out?

Anyway, it was great to be back at Church on Sunday and begin my 8th year there. We had a terrific Palm Sunday service and our Praise & Worship team really rocked the House. It was a good turn out and whether I am considered a Senior or not, It was good to be home!

I pray you all have a great Easter Week!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Friends I have never net

Paul and Bonnie McKinzie are two Friends that I have never actually met. I met Bonnie through a Christian Message board in which she serves as a Volunteer Administrator. The best of the bunch in my opinion! I am guessing that I have known of Bonnie for the past 6 years or so, possibly longer. I had known a little of Paul & Bonnie's struggles but when I read the article that I am about to post, I was in awe of this womans strength, determination and faith. I know you will be too. Oh yes, in the midst of her own struggles, Bonnie took the time to call me and encourage me after my Fathers accident. I hope you enjoy the read.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

She remembers for two what Alzheimer's has robbed from her husband

A spouse tells of loving a man who forgets so much.

Special to the Register
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Valentine's Day was bittersweet to me, and the many other spouses who, for whatever reason, still have their special person, but that person no longer is with the program.

For over 50 years my special guy gave the best hearts, roses, candy and compliments along with tons of his special caring and love. I felt so lucky and so spoiled. Then came Alzheimer's. Slowly, my honey forgot the year, then the month, the day – and even the fact there was a Valentine's Day.

Oh, I know he still loves me; that is, the times that he still knows who I am. Sometimes I am his mother. Or his sister. That hurts a lot. The eternal love we once shared is still there, buried safely deep inside. The only problem is he cannot put into words what we ate for breakfast, or, if in fact, we even had breakfast. And with whom.

So how can I know he really loves me, still? Oh, he says he does. And then he turns and asks me to take him someplace, never mind the fact I am lying down trying to catch my breath from caring for him.

For 50 years, my husband was the eyes, the brain, the hands, and the body who made all the big decisions in our family. And suddenly he cannot recall his favorite food. So now I have to make all the decisions. And, frankly, I don't like it one bit.

I didn't like the diagnosis of breast cancer three years ago, either, but that is beside the point. It does hurt when my special Valentine watches me get out of the shower, stares, and says, "Hey, you only have one breast, where is the other one?" Yeah, the surgeons have it now honey, and I am currently in remission from breast cancer …

To him, I am his gift from heaven, the one thing he loves the most, especially when I will take him out just once more today – and allow him to have just one more soda, even if it is number 14 for the afternoon.

So, missing my lover of over 50 years, missing his insight and his touch, I am exhausted by his care. It is difficult to get help; most people like to think of him as the real estate broker who taught them the ropes, or a strong dad who managed their Little League games, or took them scuba diving, or taught them to water ski, kissed away their boo boos and spoiled the grandchildren. Most cannot bear to think of him the way he is, the way he is always going to be.

Sure, I missed my Valentine, but we still went out for dinner. And we will kiss goodnight, as always. But I would settle for just one more time, if he would, or could, say, "Remember when we took that cruise?" But those days and memories are gone.

I love you honey. When I said "for better or for worse," I didn't know it then. But I mean it now.

Things I have learned


We just returned from a Vacation in mostly Sunny, Florida. We had a great time but it is good to be home. While there we met up with my Buds, Neil & Julie Smith. It was their 21st anniversary and they shared part of it with us. Neil is a great guy and I really enjoy spending time with him and although I had actually met Julie once before, I had always referred to her as "Mrs. Columbo." (you know, the Wife that you never see) Well, Mrs. Columbo does exist and she is a perfect compliment to a great Friend.

As was this time, we usually Vacation upon my Anniversary of Service at Narragansett. (7th year) With that in mind it was a reflective week and I thought I would share some of the things I have learned. Now before you get all excited and expect pearls of wisdom, let me remind you of who is writing. Are you ready?

1. The Sun is always shining somewhere! But it really helps if you can see it.

We flew home Sunday morning, surrounded by beautiful Sunlight. As we made the trek North, the Sunlight was enhanced by the most wonderful looking clouds that I have ever seen. The radiance of the Sunlight enhanced the whiteness of the Clouds and made them appear as a blanket beneath us.

As we broke the plane of the Clouds during our landing, the appearance of the Clouds changed dramatically and what had just been a beautiful blanket quickly became a shield that prevented most of the Sunlight from shining through. It was a typical Chicago winters day, rather bleak and depressing by its very appearance. Thankfully, the Clouds broke in the afternoon and the Sun appeared but the events of the day, drove home some very important truths. The Sun is always shining. Sometimes you just have to know it.

2. Avoid travel during the time change! I have no more to add to that. Just trust me! LOL

3. Concerning parenthood, ALL EFFORTS TO APPEAR COOL ARE FUTILE!!!!
Nuff said!

4. If snow is beautiful to you, you have either spent too much time in the Sunshine or you are just a sick individual. Yes, even Christmas time!!!!

5. People who drive slow can always find the people who don't and even on a six lane highway, they will drive in your lane.

6. People who have a "lane" have a tendency to drive fast.

Enough for now. I gotta look for the Sun in a snow storm.