Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Bush's Annapolis Speech

Bush's speech today was awesome. Here are some excerpts. The part where he talks about Corporal Starr was especially moving and inspirational to me.

"These terrorists have nothing to offer the Iraqi people. All they have is the capacity and the willingness to kill the innocent and create chaos for the cameras. They are trying to shake our will to achieve their stated objectives. They will fail. America's will is strong. And they will fail because the will to power is no match for the universal desire to live in liberty. (Applause.)

The terrorists in Iraq share the same ideology as the terrorists who struck the United States on September the 11th. Those terrorists share the same ideology with those who blew up commuters in London and Madrid, murdered tourists in Bali, workers in Riyadh, and guests at a wedding in Amman, Jordan. Just last week, they massacred Iraqi children and their parents at a toy give-away outside an Iraqi hospital.

This is an enemy without conscience -- and they cannot be appeased. If we were not fighting and destroying this enemy in Iraq, they would not be idle. They would be plotting and killing Americans across the world and within our own borders. By fighting these terrorists in Iraq, Americans in uniform are defeating a direct threat to the American people. Against this adversary, there is only one effective response: We will never back down. We will never give in. And we will never accept anything less than complete victory. (Applause.)

To achieve victory over such enemies, we are pursuing a comprehensive strategy in Iraq. Americans should have a clear understanding of this strategy -- how we look at the war, how we see the enemy, how we define victory, and what we're doing to achieve it. So today, we're releasing a document called the "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." This is an unclassified version of the strategy we've been pursuing in Iraq, and it is posted on the White House website -- I urge all Americans to read it.

Senator Lieberman is right. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a message across the world that America is a weak and an unreliable ally. Setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would send a signal to our enemies -- that if they wait long enough, America will cut and run and abandon its friends. And setting an artificial deadline to withdraw would vindicate the terrorists' tactics of beheadings and suicide bombings and mass murder -- and invite new attacks on America. To all who wear the uniform, I make you this pledge: America will not run in the face of car bombers and assassins so long as I am your Commander-in-Chief. (Applause.)

Before our mission in Iraq is accomplished, there will be tough days ahead. A time of war is a time of sacrifice, and we've lost some very fine men and women in this war on terror. Many of you know comrades and classmates who left our shores to defend freedom and who did not live to make the journey home. We pray for the military families who mourn the loss of loves ones. We hold them in our hearts -- and we honor the memory of every fallen soldier, sailor, airman, Coast Guardsman, and Marine.

One of those fallen heroes is a Marine Corporal named Jeff Starr, who was killed fighting the terrorists in Ramadi earlier this year. After he died, a letter was found on his laptop computer. Here's what he wrote, he said, "[I]f you're reading this, then I've died in Iraq. I don't regret going. Everybody dies, but few get to do it for something as important as freedom. It may seem confusing why we are in Iraq, it's not to me. I'm here helping these people, so they can live the way we live. Not [to] have to worry about tyrants or vicious dictators_. Others have died for my freedom, now this is my mark."

There is only one way to honor the sacrifice of Corporal Starr and his fallen comrades -- and that is to take up their mantle, carry on their fight, and complete their mission. (Applause.)

We will take the fight to the terrorists. We will help the Iraqi people lay the foundations of a strong democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself, and defend itself. And by laying the foundations of freedom in Iraq, we will lay the foundation of peace for generations to come.

You all are the ones who will help accomplish all this. Our freedom and our way of life are in your hands -- and they're in the best of hands. I want to thank you for your service in the cause of freedom. I want to thank you for wearing the uniform. May God bless you all, and may God continue to bless the United States of America. (Applause.)"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Sex Offender Registry

I was on the way home from my trip and I heard John Walsh make a passioned plea on Hannity's show for these bills to go through the senate and the house. I think these bills are really important. It could make such a huge difference in keeping our kids safe. I called both of my senators and my representative today asking them to support SB 1086 in the senate and HR 3132 in the House. I encourage everyone to take a couple of minutes to do this. If the bills get held up they will have to start all over next year. Below is an article from Focus on the Family explaining everything.

Crime-Fighting Icon Urges Congress to Act

John Walsh, host of "America's Most Wanted," appealed to
Congress today to sign into law more stringent
sex-offender registry guidelines before year's end.

Walsh, whose son was abducted and murdered in 1981, is
co-founder of the National Center for Missing and
Exploited Children (NCMEC). NCMEC is a key contributor to
H.R. 3132 and S. 1086 -- identical bills that would create
a national system for sex-offender registry and community

"How many more children and other victims need to suffer
before our elected officials do the right thing and pass
this legislation?" Walsh said. "Enough is enough. We see
what these predators do and we know how easily they

Currently lawmakers are set to adjourn without sending a
bill to President Bush.

Ernie Allen, president and CEO of NCMEC, said keeping the
ball rolling on such an important bill is critical.

"We can't wait another week, another month, another year,
for this legislation to become law," Allen said.
"Statistics from the U.S. Justice Department show that 67
percent or reported sexual assault victims are children.
This is powerful testimony to the fact that children are
at risk and we must do something to stop it. Passing this
legislation, this year, will be a step forward in helping
to reduce the risk."

Walsh agreed that lawmakers need to act quickly.

"They owe it to Carlie Brucia, Jessica Lunsford, Shasta
Groene and all the other precious children show were
abducted, abused and murdered by repeat sex offenders," he

TAKE ACTION: You can find contact information for your
senators and representative in Congress in the CitizenLink
Action Center:

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

A Legacy

As I was reflecting on my Pastor's memorial service what stood out to me the most was what an awesome legacy he left. After reading what was written about him by his wife and children I sat in awe. I realized that not only had he been a great pastor who loved and encouraged people but he had been a great dad and husband. Anyone who is a CEO of a company down to a pastor of a church faces the temptation to be a workaholic. Many people in ministry let the demands of ministry (which are many) sometimes cause them to neglect their family. Franklin Graham has even admitted that his dad wasn't around enough. My pastor said "I consider my life to be a success because our two children love the Lord."

I watched his daughter and her strength as she played her dad's favorite songs at the service. His son gave the message. I had known him as a kid growing up and so even though I knew he was now a Pastor of his own church it was still hard for me to picture. His message was very moving and the greatest portrait of a living legacy of his dad. He referenced sayings and scriptures that were important to his dad. His mannerisms and even his voice reminded me of his dad. But his humor and message was his own and an awesome tribute. I have read John 11 and heard messages on it before but he had my attention from beginning to end. It was about listening to God and faith. And at the end he teared up (I still get tears in my eyes) and he said that we should be wanting to join Pastor in heaven not want him to be back down here with us. Those words are hard to hear but meaningful all in one. I think all of us hold on a little too tightly to this world. I know I do.

One of my brothers came a long ways to be at the service also. As we were talking we realized that the biggest reason Pastor had meant so much to us was because we knew he cared about us. It was amazing how many people went to great lengths to come to the service because of what Pastor had meant to them. As a result his death leaves a big hole. But he also leaves a great legacy. Nichole Nordeman sings a song called Legacy. Here are a few words from the song that I think apply:

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

There was a "Little House on the Prairie" epidsode called "The Legacy". Charles thinks he needs to make these tables with his initials on them so he can be remembered. But in the process he starts neglecting his family. He ultimately realizes that his family & his children are his legacy.

As I reflect on all this I see how important our relationships are. We all think we need to do something "important" with our life and we all do have a purpose. But our legacy will be left by the lives we touch. Whether it be our family, our children or others that we have reached out to.

My Pastor touched people's lives to draw them to the Lord. So in honor of him my quote of the week will be "Stay Straight with the Lord" and my verse will be Romans 10:17--So faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. Because thats what he wanted people to know.

Friday, November 18, 2005

One Life Can Make a Huge Difference

My heart is broken today because I found out that my Pastor from my growing up years died last night. My heart is very sad but yet I know he is rejoicing in heaven.

It is hard to explain the difference he made in my life. When I was 13 yrs. old my dad sought out a different church. This new church was like night and day for me from our old church. The people were loving and accepting and made me feel special. The Bible was important and I began to learn a lot about it. My pastor and his wife were wonderful to me. My pastor's wife prayed with me to accept Christ. And they both helped me to grow in my faith. I could come to them with any problems or questions at any time and they would listen and care.

My pastor believed in me and challenged me and I was only a teenager. Most people treat teenagers like they aren't important and can't contribute much but my pastor made me feel important. Him and his wife invested a lot of time in my life and it made a difference. It was a small church and I know sometimes they might've wanted to be at a bigger church where they could reach more people. But there were many individuals like myself for whom they made a world of a difference.

Because of them I developed confidence and a strong faith in the Lord. They encouraged me to go to a good Bible College and so I went to Moody Bible Institute just like they did. I met my husband there who is a great Christian man. I teach kids at my church and my own children about the Lord because of their influence. They made a difference in my life for eternity.

I think in life we need to slow down and remember that it is the personal connections we make with people that make a difference. It takes time to invest in people's lives but it is worth it. I have invested a lot of time in my kids and I know it will make a difference. My husband is a Youth Pastor and his strength is the relationships he has with the teens. They know he cares about them and he has a huge influence on them.

So this is a tribute to my pastor and how much I love him and will miss him. But it is also an encouragement to others to take the time to invest in people's lives.

UPDATE: I will be out of town for a few days for the memorial service. I will be back to blogging when I get back.

Thursday, November 17, 2005


Today I will take a small diversion from politics to discuss people. Although I'm sure it could relate to politics.

My daughter had a Drs. appointment this morning and I ended up taking all 4 of my kids with me. I will not pretend that my kids are perfect by any stretch of the means. My oldest daughter is quiet and well-behaved but my other 3 are normal children. But it always amazes me how other parents seem to be in denial and have interesting perspectives on childrens' behavior.

My youngest son that I have told you about is almost 6 yrs. old. He was coloring and playing with the toys in the waiting room when he began to be harassed by a bully. The kid was younger than him but clearly aggressive. He took my son's stuffed animal away, hit him numerous times and was trying to take over whatever toy my son was playing with. My son didn't hit back but he also didn't lay down and let the kid walk over him. He stared him down and retrieved his stuffed animal and didn't let him take it back although the kid tried numerous times. He also didn't back off on whatever toy he was playing with when the kid tried to bully him away. As you can imagine I was getting more and more irritated as I watched this and the other boy's mother was completely oblivious. This is one of my huge pet peeves. Parents who have children that are bullies usually appear to be completely oblivious to what their children are doing. Finally I just pulled my son aside and told him to try to stay away from the other kid but to no avail because the kid kept following him. Then the mother says real loudly (to no one in particular) laughingly that these 2 boys have been in a power struggle all morning. I'm sitting there incredulous. Any objective person would not have described the scenario that way. My older 3 children were outraged that this kid was being a bully towards their younger brother. My oldest son was about ready to intervene. I am a very transparent person so people can usually tell what I'm thinking. It had to be obvious that I was not happy and did not agree with this lady's assessment. We were saved by the bell so to speak when the nurse called my daughter's name and we left the waiting room.

Do I have a point to this story? I guess it would be that parents in denial irritate me. And that it seems our culture is accepting bad and irresponsible behavior more and more and justifying it. I don't think that is good for the kids and for society in general.