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I Pledge July 3, 2008

Memorial Flag flown over the USS Arizona

Memorial Flag flown over the USS Arizona

As the United States of America dawns its 233rd year, I thought it fitting to take a moment and give honor to the country we love.

As some are cracking out the beer and BBQ, as some are readying their fireworks display, as some are whipping up their picnic salads, as some are watching parades… as some are strapping on their guns and body armor, as some are patrolling foreign shores, as some are weeping quietly and praying for their safety, as some are mourning the ones that will never return… I would like us to take a moment and think about this nation, and what it stands for.

So often in our lives we have begrudgingly stood, doffed our caps with hands over our hearts and recited a pledge taught to us in primary school. I wonder, how many have truly considered the honor it is to stand in freedom and say those words. My prayer this Fourth of July is that we can stop merely pledging and start practicing.

I PLEDGE …. a solemn promise, a binding oath, a formal vow taken with the knowledge of one’s responsibility  

 ALLIEGENCE devotion, fidelity owed by a citizen to their government 

to the FLAG the visible representation, the distinctive symbol of our Nation; representing the freedoms and rights guaranteed to its citizens. Its colors standing for purity, innocence, bravery, sacrifice, vigilance and justice: the cornerstones of our society.

of the United States of America a confederation of sovereign states united to protect a shared vision of self evident truths: that all mankind is created equal and endowed by God with the unalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

and to the republic…  a government in which supreme power resides in its citizens and is exercised by elected officers responsible and governing according to laws approved by those citizens. 

for which it stands… the values and freedoms that we as a united nation will die to protect

One Nation… One Nation means “… malice toward none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan – to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting, peace, among ourselves…” Abraham Lincoln

Under God… “”It is the duty of nations as well as of men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God… and to recognize the sublime truth, announced in Holy Scripture, and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord.”

That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” Abraham Lincoln

Indivisible…the union of states is incapable of undergoing division: discussion absolutely, disagreement certainly, but division impossible.

With Liberty… the state of being free and enjoying social, political, and economic rights and privileges: The power of choice.

“Give me your tired, your poor,/ Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,/ The wretched refuse of your teeming shore./ Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,/ I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” Emma Lazarus, American Poet, engraved on the Statue of Liberty.

and Justice… what is right, fair, appropriate and deserved

FOR ALL! …The United States of America and the freedoms she holds dear is our birthright, no matter creed, color or religion.

As I sit and pray for my husband who is defending this great nation on foreign soil once again, I realize that with great gifts come great responsibility and sacrifice. There are thousands right now who are defending our freedom with life, limb and time. They have been called upon, by this nation, to defend her life and liberty; you and me. Let us do our part to support them…

…until the last one comes home.

I Pledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gotta Laugh June 26, 2008

My son has a wonderful sense of humor. When something strikes him funny, he doesn’t hold back. His laugh fills the room… a head thrown back…deep belly laugh that brings tears to his eyes and an ear wide smile. It is the sound of pure bliss. I laugh, just because he is. 

He loves old cartoons, you know the ones our parent’s watched when they were kids… Something I love about him.  He is a lot like me in this way. I appreciate humor without swear words and complicated punch lines. When writing is funny, it doesn’t matter what age you are or era you live in… universal humor that crosses these lines…is magic.

Tex Avery, is a humorist like that….and his cartoon Magical Maestro (1952) is what brought my son to happy tears this morning. I figure we could all use some humor today, so here is your chance to fill a room with laughter and shed a few happy tears.

 

Let God be God June 23, 2008

I believe that God heals us…body, soul and spirit. 

Sometimes it is through miraculous healing. Sometimes it is through the medical knowledge that resides in  God’s amazing creation…the brain.

I believe that God is a refuge in times of trouble.

I believe that God will work all the muck and mire in our life out for His glorious good.

Do you believe that God is enough in your life? Do you believe that there is nothing impossible for God? Or, are you like me, praying in faith…but also in parallel… that God will help my unbelief.

In order to allow God to be God in our lives… we need to trust Him. Do you at your core, trust Him for everything? To be honest, I have a hard time with this one. Some things, the ones out of my control I can give to Him, but the ones I clutch tightly too…the ones I need to give up…I often can’t. He wants it all. Our lives are like a jigsaw puzzle. The beautiful, complete picture can’t be realized when you are hiding pieces. 

We are also under attack. The moral fabric of our nation is eroding. The earth is groaning in labor. Hitting closer to home, our lack of knee time… my lack of knee time… is allowing the enemy of our souls inroads in our lives and those that are dearest.

We need to stop this cycle and be the ones to stand in the gap for each other. So many of those closest to me are taking hits in the face. It is time to stand together and pray for each other.

No, I mean now.

WAKE UP! Why do we starve ourselves on popcorn prayer when God’s amazing banquet is set and ready?
WAKE UP! We are under attack, and it’s time to fight back. Together, corporately…as a body of believers, whatever that might look like in your life.

I am praying for Alex, a friend and pastor who is facing some of his families hardest days right now. For Wade, a pastor who’s daughter is in need of an immediate, miraculous healing. For my friends, here in one of the hardest hit (financially) areas in our country, who are losing their houses, their jobs, their families. For my husband, who is in Iraq for the fourth time…for my children who are struggling with it.

Lord, we bless your holy and righteous name. You alone are worthy of our praise, and we thank you for the blessings…seen and unseen.. that you bring to our lives. Right now, where we sit… move us out of our complacency, move us out of our lukewarm faith, help our unbelief. You are a God of miracles. You are our healer, our friend, our deliverer, the lover of our souls, a strong fortress in times of attack in our life. Help us, we implore you…Help us allow you to be those in our lives. Forgive us the sins that so easily beset us, and guard our hearts and minds against falling into their trap again. Breathe afresh on our weary souls, Lord. We desire your spirit to fill us anew every day. We love you Lord, to you be all the honor that we can’t even fully express within ourselves. Amen 

I was blessed to run into the videos below that express, in worship…how I am feeling. Alex, these are for you. 

(Excerpted) On the evening of Sunday, March 9th 2008, thousands of worshippers gathered to fill the Acer Arena in Sydney as Hillsong Church recorded their latest live worship album. It was an unforgettable night. An encounter with God that left the thousands who filled the stadium humbled and in awe of the wonder and grace of God and the reality of Christ. We come together and we say, “This is who we are, God. We need You, we love You, and we’re going to give everything to You.

It was a night of unified faith and expectancy, with moments all will never forget such as when Michael Gugliemucci, who has battled his own health crisis against cancer for two years, walked confidently on stage, oxygen tank in hand, declaring the promise of God and boldly
Singing the words to his song ‘Healer’.

The evening culminated with a loud and victorious declaration of, ‘With Everything’ and a holy moment that all who experienced will remember. As the band left the stage and the name of Jesus on display, the people were not ready to leave and with little accompaniment, they broke into spontaneous song and continued to worship God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better than Shoes June 21, 2008

My best friend Gwyn and I hired a babysitter and stole away late tonight. We went to see a great film about four girls in New York looking for love. For me, who spent a good deal of my 20’s watching and wishing I could strut around NYC in Manolo’s and Dior (going to flamboyant careers and fabulous events) like they, it was a closing note on that decade of my life.

It was fun to dress up in my most “designerly” dress and heels, and feel as fabulous as one can amid popcorn strewn floors and sticky arm rests. We shared laughter and tears… ooohed and awwed over which dresses and shoes we would “so” wear.

For the night, I lived glam vicariously…

and I got to thinking. I spent a lot of time wishing that I could experience the trappings of those character’s lives, when those characters were focused on finding what I have in REAL life… deep, meaningful love… unconditional acceptance… abiding joy… happiness and laughter ever day… a great, wonderful man… children who love you just as you are…time tested friendships….  relationship with an amazing, forgiving God. 

As I was driving home… and moonlight illuminated the car interior… it’s blue light cast over the peaceful faces of my children sleeping in the backseat. Through the rearview mirror I saw my jewels, more valuable than anything. I realized my dreams were still there, they had just expanded, mellowed and rearranged themselves in even more beautiful and organic ways.  Gone the desperation and need to put myself out there… gone the need to prove my worth to gain love… gone the frantic searching and unfulfillment…

I still have ambitions, dreams and desires…but the stuff that really matters…the stuff that really seeps in and glues up the cracks….

I have in spades.

I have love…I have acceptance… I have friendship… laughter, hugs and kisses…I have happiness and joy everyday in my life…

From the little corner of the world I live in… I realize that I am blessed. I am not searching anymore… I have come home… I am home.

(now, if someone offered me Manolo’s I wouldn’t turn them down:)

See you on the flip side…Amie

 

 

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

 

 

Home Depot withdraws Support of the Troops June 10, 2008

Many of you know that my husband is deployed back to Iraq for the fourth time. We always laugh that when he leaves, everything breaks….his fix-it mojo exits our little world. As I sit here all the light bulbs in our bathroom have burnt out, the pool motor burnt out, the control panel is fried, the burners on the stove aren’t lighting and we are waiting for the other shoe to drop. So usually, to fix all these things and do more “retail therapy” home renovations projects, it’s off to Home Depot I go.

Over the past four years that we have lived here, and had a Home Depot literally down the road, I have been overwhelmed by their consistent support of the troops. No matter if it was light bulbs, flooring or appliances I knew that I could count on them for a great 10% discount extended to military families. Often stores do specials on Memorial, Veterans Day or the 4th of July when it seems the patriotic thing to do… but Home Depot chose to have that every day…and because of that…out of all the home stores in our area…I chose them.

Until today.

I was informed by the check out associate that as of yesterday, Home Depot has withdrawn their military discount program. So, I informed him that the purchase I was making would be my last with his company. As a corporation they have the right to conduct business however they see fit. As a customer I have the right to stop purchasing there, and to let my readers know about the change of Home Depot’s corporate policy. I confirmed the information with a manager at the store, and also called the Corporate Office for confirmation… I am still waiting for a response.

I am grateful for the years that they have supported military families, and am extremely disappointed that they have decided to stop doing that. It’s not about the discount per-say (although it would have been nice to have when purchasing my new stove) it is also about the feeling I got when they looked at my ID, gave me the discount, and said thanks for serving. Your families sacrifice means a lot to us, and we honor you in the best way we can.

They aren’t doing that anymore.

You can make up your own minds….as I have already done… but I hope that you think about this the next time you have a choice between Home Depot and your local hardware store, ACE, LOWESor Sears….and vote with your dollars. Let them know what you think about it, click here to contact them. Let your friends, family and neighbors know about this, and if you are military how the decision affects you.

I would encourage Home Depot to rethink their newly changed policy and remember that the military customers they have,  are most likely there because they chose to Support ourstill deployed…still sacrificing for our country…still fighting for their right to be in business…still fighting for my right to speak freely….TROOPS.

Home Depot isn’t doing that anymore.

Till the last one is home… Semper Fidelis

 

 

God’s Amazing Grace May 15, 2008

A friend posted this video on his blog (Thanks Eric). I was moved to tears. Wintley Phipps starts out with a little history on John Newton’s hymn and Spirituals. It ends with one of the most beautiful renditions of the song that I have ever heard.

I have always loved this song. It tells the story of all pilgrims that traverse this world through time and place. It tells my story.

 I have been thinking a lot lately of the trappings we array ourselves in; the careers we hold, the houses we live in, the things we own and tightly cling to. The worth we try to squeeze out of them… a mere trickle.  All God asks is that we clothe ourselves in His Grace. That we put our worth and faith in it’s unfailing promise…a promise that will never fade, wear out, or run out of batteries… worth that is a tremendous flood.

We overcome all obstacles, stress, fear, our past, our present and future through Christ’s amazing grace. I challenge you, while you listen to this song, allow God to immerse you in it.

And another one if you want to continue basking…

 

 

 
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