I usually don't post twice in one day, but I thought I'd address the elephant in the room - last night's election.
Am I happy with the outcome? No. Am I surprised? Not exactly. It's really hard to oust the incumbent president, and though I thought it might happen this time, it's not overly surprising that it didn't.
I wrote this post four years ago after Obama won that first election (it may be a bit melodramatic, but then again, considering where the country is headed now, maybe not). And I thought I'd repost the sentiment now to encourage all of you who are as bummed about the outcome as I am.
First off, let me just say that I cringe when Christians use this verse as an excuse not to care about politics. As my friend Leanna said on Twitter last night "I am certain my hope isn't in any human being . . . but it is foolish to think the choices of mankind do not affect all humanity."
I agree with that, and I think as Christians we are supposed to care about doing what we can to promote biblical principles here on earth. That means caring about "politics", at least as far as it relates to our faith. It means fighting for those who cannot defend themselves. It means voting.
But at moments like this? I think it is important to also remember that as Christians, we may love our country dearly and think it is a privilege to live here (because it is!), and it is discouraging (rightly so) to see it going the wrong direction . . . but in the end, America isn't our real "homeland". When it all seems to be going down the tubes? We are still not without a home, because we don't belong here (or anywhere on earth) in the first place. We belong in Heaven.
We do what we can for the Lord here, on a political level and on a personal level, while still knowing that this isn't all there is. And we're not doing it for the here and now - we're doing it because our true citizenship is in Heaven, and even while we are here as Americans, we are still living as citizens of that Heavenly Country - which is always intact, because God is King there.
The thought of the next four years here might scare me, and you can bet I'll be happy when the next election rolls around and we have another shot at this, but it is a comfort to me at times to remember that no matter who is president, I am a stranger here. I am glad this world is not my home.
Confusing title considering a few months ago I wrote a post on why I think it's important to vote, right? I wrote that post as the primary elections were coming up earlier this year, and now that the general election is right around the corner, I thought it would be a good time to book-end that post with this one.
Don't vote without being informed.
And yes, this might take some effort and research. But I discussed in my other post why I think it is not just a privilege but a responsibility to be informed and vote accordingly. You should know where you stand on the issues, know which issues are most important to you, and know who best represents your position before voting.
Don't vote for candidates based on "likability" alone.
If you like the candidate you are voting for as a person, bonus! But national elections are not American Idol, and they shouldn't be treated as such. You should consider your values and vote for the person who you think will uphold them best (this is where that research comes in), not for the person that seems the "coolest" person to vote for. Which brings me to . . .
Don't vote based on who you think is going to win.
This is probably the silliest way I can think of to pick a presidential candidate, but I have really heard of some people voting for the person they think is going to win anyway. I know we all want to be on the winning side, but really? The choice of president is huge in determining the direction our country is going to go - take it seriously and make an informed choice!
Don't vote against your conscience.
This all rolls back around to what things you value most, but I think we all have our critical, hot-button issues (if we are informed about the issues, anyway). Two of mine happen to be that I'm strongly pro-life and I support traditional marriage - the Bible is very clear to me about God's position on the value of life inside the womb and on how He intended marriage to be, and I couldn't vote for someone who didn't also support those values.
I know I probably lost half of you there (though if you've been reading a while, I'm sure you're not surprised). But to vote for someone who was on the opposite side of those issues when I had another choice would be to go against my conscience. Maybe your critical issues aren't mine, but know what they are and vote accordingly.
Don't vote without considering what God thinks about your choice.
I'm speaking to fellow Christians here. I think voting is a huge privilege that we have in this country. It's not something everyone in the world gets to enjoy. But more than a privilege, as Christians I think this is also a practical opportunity to be the "salt of the earth". Back in the day salt was used as a preservative to keep things from going bad - to vote the way we think God would want us to is one very practical way to exercise our role as that "preservative".
And if you're not sure of how He would have you vote? Study His word, and try to decide which candidate best fits with what God tells us in scripture. Spend some time in prayer and ask Him what He thinks.
And if it's one of those things that the Bible doesn't say much about one way or another? Pray about it, do some research, and do the best you can.
Despite the title I picked for this post, I hope you all are registered and planning to vote on November 6th! It really is an a privilege and something that shouldn't be taken for granted by any American - no matter who you end up voting for.
Eleven years ago on this day, my mom came downstairs to wake me up, saying something about a plane crashing into a tower and it being history happening right now. In my sleepy confusion I thought it must be some program on the History Channel that she wanted us to watch for school, so I got up and took my time getting ready.
When I came upstairs and realized this was not a History Channel program but a real event happening right now, I just stared at the TV in shock. We were glued to the news coverage the rest of the day, and I watched as people jumped from the burning buildings and then as the towers fell . . .
Later I just needed a break, so I went outside for a walk along our driveway. The leaves were just starting to change, and the air had that crisp fall smell. It was a perfect day.
Except it wasn't. It was a horrifying and terrifying day for our nation. I remember just walking up and down the driveway, praying for those people, praying for the victims' families, praying for the emergency personnel who were our heroes, praying for our president and our country.
Even though it's been 11 years, it's one of those days that will forever be burned into my memory, and I think into all of the memories of those of us who were old enough to understand. It just seems wrong somehow to let today pass without acknowledging it.
Today really is a perfect fall day. The leaves are changing, and the air once again has that crisp feel to it. No one is attacking our homeland today.
Americans won't forget what happened 11 years ago, and we can't forget those who fight to make sure that it never happens again. They are heroes still.
Remembering those we lost, and praying for our military today,
I’ve finally saved enough to get some new furniture for our living room. So what did we do yesterday on the Fourth? We went and picked it up, of course! We had no parties to go to, so we just decided to make it a shopping day instead.
But of course we still had to be patriotic!
We didn’t get a great family picture, so I’m kicking myself a bit, but oh well.
We decided to invite my sister and her husband for dinner, and we had a great time!
After dinner we went inside and watched The Sandlot. It just seemed like an all-American type movie, so we thought it was appropriate for the Fourth!
Hanging out with Aunt Rachel and Uncle Ben!
Me and my little guy! Couldn’t get him to smile.
Me and my other little munchkin! Derek told me I really looked pregnant yesterday, and that you could definitely tell the bump wasn’t just flab, which made me feel good!
(Ignore the paint on the wall behind me, I’m thinking about changing up the bathroom color scheme, just for fun!)
No fireworks for us this year because so many of them were cancelled because it’s so dry, but I think we did a pretty good job of making it a celebration even without fireworks! So blessed to live in the Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave!
This Fourth of July will be a bit different for us. None of our family has anything planned. Not many places are doing fireworks because it’s been pretty dry around here.
I was trying to think of what we could do together as a family. I thought that we could probably find a Fourth of July celebration somewhere in town to go to, and I decided we’d grill hamburgers and make a good, classic American meal. Just start some traditions together, look for a way to make the day special.
So I searched Pinterest for some food ideas, and I googled our city for a list of Independence Day events. And as I scrolled through, reading about all the things that are planned to celebrate our country, I got a bit sentimental.
Because all across the country, today people will be celebrating the fact that we are Americans. The fact that we live in the Greatest Country in the history of the world (and yes, I really do believe that, no offense to my Canadian or British readers).
Across the country, fireworks will shoot off in celebration.
Grills will be fired up. People will enjoy a classic hamburger or hot dog, spend time making special Fourth of July themed food. Watermelons will be sliced.
People will don their red, white, and blue apparel.
Children will run through sprinklers, participate in sack races, wave sparklers.
Patriotic anthems will play. American flags will wave.
And, I hope, every American will feel a little pride swell in their hearts at the fact that they get to be a part of this. This country.
Because even though I don’t like the way we are sometimes headed, even though I sometimes get a bit of fear in my gut that this right of living in freedom is being threatened, may not always be ours to enjoy . . . for the last 236 years it has been, and it will be our right if we are vigilant to guard and defend it.
This country will always be special, because of where we have come from. No other country in history has been founded on the same principles of freedom and liberty and faith in God. And that makes it unique, special.
And it gives me chills to have the privilege of being apart of that.
Happy Independence Day, Friends, and God bless the United States Of America!
That is the question . . .
Sorry, I couldn’t resist.
With the primaries spreading their way across the country, I’ve been thinking lately about voting. Voting has always been a big deal to me, and as kids my parent’s taught us how important voting is. I know several people who don't vote, and I have a hard time understanding why some Americans choose not to vote, because in my mind there are so many reasons that people should vote.
These are some of the reasons why I vote (and why I think you should too).
I vote . . .
1. Because it is a privilege that we enjoy in America. There are many, many countries that do not get the option to vote on their leaders, or to have a say in the way their country is going. They are just rolled along on the whims of those in power, and there is not much that they can do about it. Those people would love to have this voting privilege that we enjoy. We have the power to change our government by voting, and as the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility (yes, I’m quoting from Spiderman). We are using it irresponsibly when we choose not to use it at all.
2. Because there are countless people who have died to give me that privilege. From the Revolutionary War to the men and women who serve in our military today, there are many who have fought and died to protect our freedoms here in America, including our right to vote. To not vote would be to ignore a large part of what those people fought for.
3. Because it is my responsibility as an American. Our Founding Fathers fought hard for us to be able to enjoy the freedoms we have here – and as Americans we cannot sit back and do nothing now that we have them. There are still those who would like to take those freedoms away, and we have to work to preserve them. For the average citizen, working to preserve the freedoms we enjoy here will not involve running for office or working on political campaigns – it will involve the one, simple act of voting. That’s how the Founding Fathers designed our government, and we need to take our responsibility to preserve our freedoms seriously.
I vote . . .
4. Because I am pro-life. If I can’t convince you as my fellow Christians to vote with any other argument, I should be able to convince you with this one. Millions of babies have died because abortion is legal in this country. If you don’t care about any other aspect of the political discussion, you can decide on candidates on this issue alone. We need to get men and women in office who are strongly pro-life (or even just more pro-life than the alternative candidate), or nothing is going to change in this country. It’s great to volunteer at crisis pregnancy centers and donate to pro-life organizations, but it’s only treating the symptoms. If we want to get at the heart of this problem in our country, we need to vote in consistence with our pro-life values. Nothing else will propel real change on the life debate.
5. Because I am a Christian. I listened to this podcast recently (episode 207 if you are interested), and I felt the guest speaker put it very eloquently – in the Bible we are commanded to spread the gospel. In this country we have more freedom to spread the gospel than many countries in the world. We shouldn’t take that for granted, because there are those who will do what they can to take that away. If we are going to protect that freedom so that we can continue to spread the gospel without fear, we need to vote. If we don’t vote, we are taking that freedom for granted, and it could easily be taken away from us.
6. Because every vote counts. I think some Americans think that their one “little” vote isn’t going to make that big of a difference – but it does. If you have never read the story on how Texas became a state, check out this article – Texas and California ultimately became states because of the vote of one ordinary American citizen. This website also had a list of situations in which one vote counted, as does this blog. Every vote makes a difference. You never know when that one vote might be yours.
I know that some people don’t vote because they just don’t care much about politics. I’m not saying you have to care about “politics” per se, but as Americans we should care about our freedoms. As Christians, we should care about doing what we can to save unborn babies, and we should care about protecting our ability to spread the gospel freely in this country. And we should realize that our greatest avenue to change this country for the better is to vote for those who represent our values, and who will do the hard work for us in Washington. As Edmond Burke said so well:
I'll be saying a prayer for the families of those victims and for our soldiers today.
But did you hear about the last space shuttle launch today? I'm not able to watch, because I'm at work, but I wish I could be there for the launch. Is it really the last space shuttle ever? I find that very depressing. I think space exploration is important - and now it's over? Boo! I hope our next president starts the shuttle program back up again (if we can ever afford it again, with the crazy national debt).
Do you know how many advances in technology came as an indirect result of research done for the space program? Pretty much anything worth having. And they just ended it.
Needless to say, I'm not happy about this. But when you spend trillions of dollars in three short years you have to cut somewhere, right? It makes me sick.
Today could mark the end of an era.
But I'm not giving up hope yet. This could still turn around, right? I'll give up hope when I'm fifty and there's still no space program.
Fireworks popping in the distance and crickets chirping outside the windows . . .
Barbecue smoke and sweet floral fragrances floating on the breeze . . .
Kids waving sparklers and playing in the evening light. . ,
American flags waving from the porches of every house we pass as we stroll along as a family. . .
Fourth of July in America.
How grateful I am that I was born in the greatest country in history, and that my children will be born here too! The Fourth is one of the days of the year when I feel God's blessings most deeply. I am so thankful to be free.
I wish each of you the most blessed Independence Day as we celebrate and thank God the freedoms we have in our country! And may God bless the USA.
The other night Derek and I watched a movie called Agenda. It is a documentary produced by Curtis Bowers.
Many people in America, especially Christians like myself, are unhappy with the direction that we are headed, not only politically, but also culturally. The culture in America is entirely different now than it was 50 years ago, and not in a good way.
There is more crime today than ever before. Most people are more concerned with saving the earth than saving unborn babies that are dying every day. Congress has attempted to classify any words spoken against the homosexual lifestyle as a "hate crime". Promiscuity is actually encouraged among our children, and 40% of babies born in 2007 were born to single mothers.
When you look at the good 'ole "Leave It To Beaver" days, and then you look at our culture today, it's just baffling. Where did we go wrong?
I think there is a strong spiritual warfare component. One of America's greatest assets has traditionally been the morality of it's people and the fact that our country was founded on Judeo-Christian values. And I'm sure Satan just hated that, so it makes sense that our basic value and morality system would be the first thing he'd go after.
Agenda addresses our cultural shift and examines the influences that have led to it. Curtis Bower provides some startling evidence of how the agenda of the Communist party is behind the shift in our culture, and how they have used many popular political movements to facilitate that shift and ultimately weaken America. It also showed the connections between the Democratic party and left-wing ideology to the socialist/Communist agenda (and I know how controversial that statement is - you just have to watch the documentary).
If you are at all concerned with the way our culture seems to be headed, I'd highly recommend seeing this documentary if you get a chance. It will not only open your eyes to things that you may not have thought of before, it will also get you thinking about practical ways to fight against this shift.
Some of the researchers and authors interviewed suggested that one of the most powerful things that we can do for our country is to pray. I know I don't pray enough for our country and it's leaders, but I was inspired to make more of an effort to fight this war with prayer. The power of prayer really is our best defense against a spiritual attack such as the one we are facing today, and I hope after watching Agenda you will be inspired to pray more as well.
Image from NationalMovieNight.com.
Today is election day. And unfortunately, only about half of Americans will actually end up voting, if previous voting statistics are any indication.
I think that's incredibly sad. I don't think voting is something Americans should skip or take for granted.
A major reason we became a country in the first place is because our Founding Fathers were unhappy that they were being taxed without representation. They fought and died to give future generations freedom, and to give them the opportunity to have that representation through voting. Voting is why we are a government "By the People, For the People."
Many people have died to protect our rights and our freedoms, including our right to vote. I think it is disrespectful of their memory to take that for granted and stay home on Election Day.
Voting is a privilege that many people across the world wish they had. Why don't we treat it as such?
Voting is our duty as Americans. America didn't get to be the great country that we are today by having our citizens sit out of our elections. We got to be the great country we are today because of the Christian principles our country was founded on, and because of the fact that we are able to vote.
The Lord has blessed us here by allowing us to live in a country where we have such a voice. Let's not take it for granted. Get out there and vote today! And say a little prayer thanking God for that blessing as you leave the polls.
Image from ElectionStickers.com.
I love our national anthem, but you only ever hear the first verse sung. I think all the verses are beautiful, so I wanted to share the national anthem of the United States of America in it's entirety today.
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?
On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause. it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!
Two hundred thirty-four years ago, our Founding Fathers established the United States of America and changed the coarse of history. Happy Birthday to the greatest country on earth! I am so grateful, and I thank God that I was born an American!
So they passed the healthcare bill on Sunday. I can't tell you how infuriated I am at that. All the Democrats in Congress just spat in the face of the majority of the American people.
It's just a mess. Goodbye to the formerly best healthcare system in the world.
What gets me most is that they cheated! They just "deemed" it passed by the House, without letting the House of Representatives actually vote on it. Um, that's called unconstitutional and dishonest.
I know there are scores of lawyers ready to file lawsuits against it, and I hope they succeed. But honestly, the only surefire way to get this reversed is to vote the Democrats out in November. Every last one.
Rush Limbaugh said on Monday that there are no moderate democrats. They are all far left - some of them are a little farther left than others, but there isn't one in the middle. I completely agree.
We need to vote them out in November, People! At least then there will be a chance to get this repealed. If we don't get them out, I just don't know what's going to happen.
After I heard that they actually had this passed, I couldn't help but think back to a post I wrote right after Obama was elected president ("The Day After: Remembering My Sojourner's Heart"). I felt like the world was ending then too (for good reason, as I'm reminded of now).
But I had to just remind myself then, as I am now, that this world is not my home. America is the best country in the world to live in, even now, but it's not my Home Country. I'm on my way to someplace better, and even though governments and countries here on earth rise and fall, no one can touch my real Homeland. Sometimes it's the only thing that keeps me sane.
But until Jesus returns to take us Christians Home, I say we fight, fight, fight! We need to do everything we can to get this repealed, and that means voting Republican in November.
Are you with me?
I hope all you American's that are reading this actually vote, because if you don't this post won't mean anything to you. Being able to vote on what direction our country is taking is one of the greatest privileges we have in America, and I've never been able to understand why some Americans don't vote. It's a privilege and, especially for those of us who are Christians, it is also our duty to do our part to keep our country moving in the right direction.
Caucus's (or would that be cauci?) are the real grassroots of politics in America. When you vote you are choosing between different issues or people that are already on the ballot - but the caucus is the beginning of the process of deciding what goes on the ballot.
I don't know nearly as much about the process as I'd like to, but I'm learning.
Last night we voted to choose delegates to attend the county assembly for the Republican party. If you go to the assembly you get to directly vote on which of the local candidates you want to be on the ballot for the Republican party. From there they also vote for delegates to the state assembly, which is the same thing as the county assembly except for the entire state.
Derek and I were both able to be delegates to our county assembly! I'm so excited. During the last election year I was an alternate delegate (meaning I could fill in for a delegate if they didn't make it), but this time I get to be an actual delegate! I'm excited to get to decide which Republicans I want to be in the running for the county positions that are open this year.
If you've never been to a caucus for your political party, I'd encourage you to go the next time they have one - it's a great way to actually get involved in the political process.
It's really unfortunate that so many Americans take these things for granted - very few countries allow their people to be so directly involved in the decisions of the country. Being able to vote, and being able to be involved in the political process at this very beginning level is an honor, and I wish more Americans treated it as such.
So yes, if you've never been, definitely try to attend a caucus for your county in 2012 - it's even more interesting during a presidential election year anyway! Maybe you'll get to be a delegate to the county assembly like we did this year as well (which is even more exciting)!