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An Open Challenge to the LA Times April 19, 2012

An Open Challenge to the LA Times

On behalf of all the Military Families whose spouses and parents are deployed in Afghanistan and around the world, I challenge you to fairly depict all of the current state of affairs in Afghanistan. Where is your coverage of the new schools, hospitals and infrastructure our hardworking military men and women have built over there? Where are your stories of cooperation and bettering relationships with the local people we are there to protect and serve? What about photos and stories of the self sacrifice and heroic efforts our citizen soldiers will continue to render on our behalf? What, they don’t sell papers? They aren’t graphic enough images for you?

I strongly support this countries right to free speech. My family has proved that through seven deployments in the past thirteen years. My husband is currently deployed in Afghanistan, so everyday we are acutely aware of what we are personally sacrificing in order for you, Mr. Zucchino and Mr. Maharaj to, in the name of free speech, muckrake all over the brave Marines, Sailors, Soldiers and Airman that have answered this country’s, YOUR country’s, call to serve. If you worry about whether your story will put our troops in harms way, you can be most assured the gun you just loaded, will most definitely go off. And to the anonymous solider who felt that releasing these photographs, from two years ago (an eternity on a heated battlefield), would improve current security and leadership conditions? I hope the fifteen minutes of fame you are waiting to get, is worth the blood on your hands. I am not naive, war is messy and horrific, and should not be sugarcoated. However, would you, at 18, 19, 20 have had the fortitude of mind, while getting shot at and watching your buddies get blown up around you, to maintain professionalism at all times? I am not condoning their acts, in fact they were pretty stupid. But through your actions, Mr. Zucchino and Mr. Maharaj, the trigger has been pulled and you are not helping these men, you are leaving them behind.

Have first amendment rights been upheld satisfactorily for you now? I hope yesterday’s news fodder, incidentally blown off the air by a TV show-host’s death, was worth the blood of our best. I believe it was Mr. Zucchino who said in an NPR interview, he wished, and would have been better off, never seeing these photos. Well I agree with him. My elementary school children saw those photos splashed across the evening news. Are they better off now?

If you want to improve relations with the Afghan people. If you honestly desire to make the safety and leadership conditions improve for our troops…How about trying patriotism gentlemen? I challenge you…and all the media for that matter… for every ounce of effort you have put into this horrific story, put equal or double into telling the positive, heroic stories that our military men and women, who are out there as I write this, have done in our name.

Semper Fidelis,
Amie Charney
Proud Marine Corps Wife

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Amie’s Commencement Address May 24, 2011

Speech Text:

President Haynes, Deans, beloved faculty, and distinguished guests, welcome. And to my fellow Cougar graduates, Congratulations! I would like to thank our families, who have worked almost as hard as we have to realize this day. I honor my husband Michael, my children Lauren and Alex, my friends and family who have helped me earn this degree. Thank you.

Five minutes after my last final, I updated my facebook status. It read: after 15 years of classes, 4 colleges in 4 states,12 proud years as a Marine Corp wife, 6 deployments, 2 children, 5 papers and 7 finals… just this week… today… I have finally graduated.

My story is not unique at Cal State San Marcos. Most graduating today have juggled jobs, families, fought for our country, commuted countless miles or even taken one class at a time. For some, today is a beginning; for others of us, this is a victory years in the making. I am proud to be graduating from a university that values both journeys. So, whether you came to San Marcos as a true freshman or started college alongside your own freshman, I congratulate you. Well done!

What do you say to people who collectively know almost everything? It was a bit daunting, but here is some wisdom I have learned.

Life is not all about me. Money, education and esteem are worth little unless you employ them to help others. Put your neighbor’s needs above your own.

Ethical and virtuous behavior should not be what we profess but what we practice. No amount of fortune or fame is worth losing your integrity.

Now is the time to take chances. Trust your instincts, but listen to wise counsel.

Explore the world so you can learn about who you are. And travel now, while youth hostels are still fun.

Dreams are achieved through hard work and time, so have more patience than pride. Stay teachable so you don’t miss new discoveries that lie ahead. Embrace adversity and failure, they fuel creativity.

Attitude is everything. Decide to wake each morning purposeful and positive. Negativity will break a company, a community, a country.

Remember, life is short; don’t just seek a job; seek a purpose, seek your passion, seek to make a difference.

Life is short; don’t waste energy and time envying someone else’s life. Seek to make yours worthy. Surround yourself with people who do the same.

Life is short; don’t wait for a future event to make you happy. Enjoy the journey now. Embrace each day, finish them well.

You have a purpose in this life, don’t settle for anything less. Congratulations Graduating Class of 2011.

To God be all the honor and praise.

Copyright Amie Charney 2011

San Marcos, CA – May 21, 2011 – Amie Charney was selected from the California State University San Marcos Graduating Class of 2011 to give the commencement address at the Saturday afternoon commencement ceremony (May 21, 2011, 2 PM). Charney graduated Magna Cum Laude with her degree in Literature and Writing.

 

Shoveling Out June 19, 2008

One room clean, ugh many more to go My kids and I are on an epic “adventure” in cleaning this week, I call it shoveling out the house. While I am pitching bagfuls of cheap plastic, I think to myself, “Why do I buy so much (well I must say it) crap?”

I am struck by the words of a wise friend who was channeling her inner Peter Walsh… “You won’t have to clean so much if you don’t keep so much.” Or, as my good Midwestern, sensible husband might add… buy it in the first place.

I love a clean house… I really do… I enjoy sitting on my cozy couch, my warm and fuzzy blanket drawn up…a cup of warm jasmine tea in hand… a great book open on my lap (my children blissfully asleep in their OWN beds)… and looking over the vastness that is a clean house… the Lego and Polly pocket free floors, the stacks of paper gone from all horizontal surfaces, the fact that I can stretch my legs out on the couch without knocking over two weeks of junk mail and seven loads of unfolded laundry… Awe BLISS.

However, I am not a talented homemaker… in fact I despise the tasks that it involves all together. I have distinct memories from childhood praying for angels to come overnight and clean my room. Alas, I hadn’t learned yet that God uses room cleaning to teach patience, discipline… needless to say, I never had any angelic maids feather dusting at night… and have tried to avoid as much as I possibly can ever since.

Good on you Fly-Ladies, but… I just can’t seem to make cleaning the house EVERY Day work for me. Instead I choose to marathon clean… meaning when the house starts to have Pre-Cambrian layers it’s time to start shoveling… Indiana Jones style. This is not the method I would recommend, however it seems to be the pattern that I am stuck in…and sick of.

So, I have decided (for the tenth time…at least) that I am turning over a new leaf. That it is time to teach my children to live clean and relatively clutter free lives…and do OTS…(Opportunities to Serve… fancy acronym for chores) I am not without a heart, and realize that it is easier to maintain and do said OTS’s in a clean house, so it’s “kill the first week of summer and get rid of everything” time.

Now, if you are a parent… the dilemna is this…motivating said children to 1) clean at all 2) not move into the clean areas you have just finished, because it’s so much “funner” to play in the part that is not at critical mass 3) get rid of the toy that has been collecting dust behind the couch for 3 months…because it is their FAVVORITEE…  Awe, I can see you sympathise.

So my answer and advice is to bribe with abandon. Instead of popping a coronary…this time… I make up great rewards for achievement… Sure mommy will sit through Kung Fu Panda with you… for a price, just your room clean. Laser Tag?? No problem, the living room is all yours, make sure you dust.

And hey, guess what…

It still didn’t work 🙂

So 3 bags of trash, 5 bags of old clothes and toys to give away…I have 5 rooms down, 3 more and 3 bathrooms to go… I have come to this conclusion and written a sign that is posted on the door out to the garage… it reads

People/Time over Things: 7 days of bleach fumes is not worth buying ___(insert items)____.   

So, You Fly-Lady’s who love to write me whenever I moan over housework…bring it on. I would love any suggestions that actually work…not in theory, but are time tested and successful. I will post the good ones to encourage us domestically challenged…come on, I know you are out there…

See you on the Flip Side! Amie

 

 

By their flair…ye shall know them May 13, 2008

My husband and I were at a fundraiser recently. It is one of the blue ribbon events in our community… if you are somebody, then you are there.

We are not “somebodies”.

My friend happens to be the director of the institute, and needed warm bodies for a few open seats that were left. Always striving to be appropriate, we dudded up in our finest and drove our domestic to one of the swanky wineries in town. We did not valet.

All the way there we shared a grin… we are such posers.

I scanned the silent auction items, proudly writing my bid number down on the interesting looking ones… we were there so early, we got to take the opening bid slots. My husband warns me, if they all hit,  we are eating mac and cheese for a month.

I laugh, we will for certain be beat out… I mean the opening bids were $20. Don’t you know that a charity auction is not for bargain hunters, it is to raise money for their cause…. so, no worries, we will be outbid. This is the upper crust of our fair city’s citizens.

… most that were there…posers. Fortunately for my food budget, we only won two. Unfortunately for the charity, they came in a huge amount under their goal.

So how do we know by looking at people if they are genuine or not. In this day and age of labels…Gucci and Prada… and posers… leased prestige BMWs, no interest loans on mansions, 40 year college loans on ivy league… how do we wade through them and find truth about people…who they really are and what they stand for? I mean, act your wage. Isn’t that a huge contributing factor to the economy going down the drain? People are posing.

This is why I appreciate the military system. By their flair, ye shall know them. I was struck by this on base recently. Simply by looking at the Marines around me, I could tell upwards of ten significant things about them. No words required. Depending on the uniform they are wearing:

1. I know how to address them

2. what their job is

3. the places in the world they have been

4. what kind of education they have

5. how much they really earn

6. where they live (base stationed at)

7. their Job performance

8. How crazy they are (All the services wear different cammies and uniforms from each other, you can spot a Marine a mile away)

9. Merit, heroism, bravery….

10. All the obvious things like rank, last name, unit, schools they’ve gone to, how great of a shot they are (rifle and pistols), how many times they have deployed…and to where….if they fly, what they fly and how long they have been… among others.

You truly can get a whole snapshot of who they are the moment you are observing them. Those are not silly things, like what kind of phone they use or car they drive…they are significant things about who they are as people.

These are just observations. I am not advocating everyone start wearing little emblems of themselves everywhere…although if you think about it, we already do…. there is just no governing body to regulate and police proper, honest display of them.  It would be an interesting social experiment though… wearing patches and medals to tell the story of who you really are….

1. Spent all my food money on this Prada Bag and am living on top raman now.

2. This BMW is really leased….or better yet, my other car is a enterprise rent-a-car

3. Living on my parent’s couch once my no-interest loan comes due on my gated 6bdrm.

or perhaps…

1. I just got back from refuge relief in Tanzania

2. I just helped build houses for Habitat.

3. I love my children.

My husband is laughing at me as I write this. I am the girl who won’t even wear the nametag at church…I like to force people to say hi and ask my name. I like to force myself to remember theirs. (Plus I get creeped out by people looking at my boobs all the time…squinting to read the nametag)

I can’t help thinking how differently we would look at the people we meet if this was the case? Would we get to know people better or ostracize them more…if they wore their truth on sleeves and collars. What would yours say… let me know?

 

 

 

 

 

STOP RANDOM acts of kindness April 26, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness, the “movement” started a few years ago.

It is time for it to end.

Instead, let’s start doing them on purpose!

You say, this is only semantics Amie….well look at what the “semantics” say about it…

Def of random: without definite aim, direction, rule, or method. synonyms haphazard, casual mean determined by accident rather than design. Random stresses lack of definite aim, fixed goal, or regular procedure.

Let’s start looking… actively looking… for ways to lend a hand, meet a need, support and encourage our communities.

Let’s be purposeful…intentional…meaningful.

If we looked at our fellow humans intent on meeting their needs, not only would we start to change humanity, but ourselves. It doesn’t have to be large gestures… so often, all people need are simple things to make their day easier and brighter.

I recently was on Camp Pendelton, a large Marine base out here in So-Cal.  Ahead of me was a young women, a marine, juggling an arm full of packages. Everytime she got one settled, another would drop. I wasn’t in a particular hurry, so I asked her if I could carry some of them.  To be honest… (I am ashamed to say) if I had been in a real time crunch, I probably would not have stopped to help her…

At first, she said no. Then another package dropped. I picked it up, and took a couple more in my arms.

She teared up.

“You really don’t mind?”

I teared up.

“The post office run is always the errand I hate the most.” I reassure. “I know what it’s like to have to juggle a ton of packages, a baby car carrier…with another in tow.”

She said that the care packages were for her husband in Iraq. All Copenhagen 🙂 He didn’t want anything else. It was his third time over there, and he would be getting home about a month before she was leaving for her second tour.

As I walked with her to the post office, I could tell she was a little shocked that someone would go the distance with her…which I thought was sad. She thanked me profusely.

We parted ways with a brief hug between strangers, and I left truly honored that I could lend a hand. I felt light and giddy….and on the hunt to find someone else to help. It had taken less than five minutes, but it changed my outlook forever.

We are the only Jesus that people may ever see. What we do reflects Him. We are His hands extended in charity, in sympathy, in love…

I challenge you to step out of your house every day and look forward to doing a Purposeful Act of Kindness…and not just one here or there… lets start a revolution of people acting out the simplest and most profound truth of all……Do unto others, as you would like to have done to you…

So what am I doing? Slowing down and letting people get by me (a feat on So-Cal freeways), I am smiling and saying hello to the people I pass, giving more hugs, looking for people who need an extra hand …and actually extending it, I am setting aside a little pin money each week to treat someone to a meal, to gas in their tank, to mailing a care package for them. I am actively looking for someone, every day, to be kind to.You might say, that you aren’t aware of anyone in need…or that it’s to big an issue to tackle.

I have your first mission… please accept it.

Being a  military wife about to face deployment, I can tell you the families back home can always use an act of kindness. Every little bit helps. I would encourage you to not only display your solidarity with a ribbon, but to display it with actions. If you know a family affected by this; write a note, offer a lawn mow, a game of catch with their children, a laundry folding party, a home-cooked meal that they don’t have to make, rake up fallen leaves or change light bulbs in places they can’t reach… a hug. Simple actions say more than 10,000 words sometimes. 

…and these ideas are just a start… we need to take the blinders off and take a long look at the world around us… noticing need is the first step… now meet it.

…be purposeful in the way we treat one another, I guarantee you will get back in happiness 10x’s more than the effort it took to do it.

Care to join me? Comment about what your plan is today… 

 

 

The Few…The Proud…and the comforters of Job April 12, 2008

American Soldier by Toby Keith

Patriotic Medley

If I hear another talking head say….”We support our troops…we love our military service men and women…they are our national treasure!”… followed by how wrong the missions they embark on are, how wrong it is that they are defending our country in another, how terrible it is that we are sacrificing “our boys” in a war that is simply no longer popular….. I WILL PUKE. Consider this blog that: Word Puke.

I am the proud wife of a Marine. My husband…my family…is serving our country now, and has for the past twelve years. Out of those twelve years he has deployed five times, four have been served in combat. He has flown over 2300 hours, and has 17 air medals (many with valor) amoung the other commendations to his credit. He has done so willingly, modestly, without complaint because he loves his family and his country. Our family…my children… have sacrificed milestones, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births, deaths …time…peace of mind…for this country; for you. We are not alone. There are thousands more who have, and are, defending our freedom with life, limb and time. They are patriots. A patriot is “one who loves their country and supports its authority and interests.” They go when called upon to defend life and liberty; you and me. Through their bootprints and our tears, we have earned the right to be called citizens of this country… not only because we were privileged and blessed by God to have been born here, but because when called, they answer and we support.  

Unbelievably, there are those that feel the need to put a hand on my shoulder to commiserate and comfort me for our sacrifice…

“Tell your husband thank you for his service…but you know, I just don’t support anything he is being made to do right now.”

Like they expect me to support their position?

No. Hell no.

I tell them, isn’t nice that my husband is “over there”, that my family and many others are sacrificing peace of mind and time…so that you have the freedom…the right…. to think and speak that way. You see this nation has forgotten that WE send the military. We DO. They serve us. They defend us. Whether you voted for Bush or Gore… whether you will vote for McCain or Hill-bama…. we the people, send the military. The majority speaks, and though we may be divided… become one once they do.

So don’t try that post-Vietnam politically correct… we must at least appear to love the Marine on the front line even if we don’t support anything they do…crap. You see for all intents and purposes, they are the mission. Hard to seperate… near impossible. Those that wear the uniform, and the military families that support them, consciously put the interests of their nation above their own personal interests and comforts. My husband, those that serve our country, are models of what civic virtue should be. They recognize that with rights come responsibilities. With what generation have we lost this basic equation?

We have instead become a nation of pompous, entitled brats that don’t feel the need to serve the country we owe our freedom and liberty to. I think that if you desire to exert control over the fate of our country then you should be prepared to sacrifice for the life of it. Perhaps, this is the downfall of a volunteer only force… we don’t ask our young men and women to truly defend our liberty anymore. Instead, we have become a nation that feels free to spout unsupported, politically correct…yet often incorrect tripe without any forethought to the consquences that may follow… just to fill a 24 hour news addiction.

….at least, that is how it appears on the surface. You see, I fall into the camp which believes that the politicians, the media, those that think they control public opinion and polls…are sorely out of touch with who American’s really are and what they believe. I think if they would come from their high towers and talk to you, and me….for the most part, they would be shocked that we don’t think like they do…have never thought like they have…and never want to.

So why do we allow them to control the public forum and yell louder than any from a bully pulpit? When do we get to regain the sanity…and majesty that this country really is about?

I am, 

a Proud Marine Wife

 

 

 

 
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