Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving 2009!

Of course, as an 80's kid, I grew up on Charlie Brown specials. The downside to videos and DVDs is that you don't look forward to "specials" anymore at a certain time of year. At my house we watched The Wizard of Oz at Easter, The Sound of Music at another time, and then there were Charlie Brown specials for each holiday.

The above clip is awesome, it has the Thanksgiving Prayer from the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. It not only has a prayer, but it also tells the first Thanksgiving story, all in only 49 seconds!

I went ahead and found the above 3 historical documents on youtube. I had posted the Gettysburg Address in 2007 and loved it. I had my older kids memorize it a couple of years ago. This year, I am having my youngest son memorize The American's Creed. When he is done, I am going to videotape him and put it on youtube. I found out that I wasn't the first one to think of it, as I went looking for a video of it this morning.

As I reflect on Thanksgiving today, I'm aware as always, that we have a lot to be thankful for, especially here in the U.S. Which is why I always have my kids help make shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. If you've never participated, its an awesome program. Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse organization does an unfathomable amount of good. I use their Prayer Point with my youngest son for school to teach him geography, and to enable him to learn to pray for the needs of the world at the same time.

So today, I am counting my blessings, and wishing you a Happy Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience!

Last Friday, November 20th, Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical Protestant Christians united to publicly release the Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience at a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington D.C.. Below is a brief description of the declaration:
The Manhattan Declaration is a 4,732-word statement signed by a movement of Orthodox, Catholic and evangelical Christian leaders who are collaborating around moral issues of great concern. Its 125+ signers affirm the sanctity of human life, marriage as defined by the union of one man and one woman, and religious liberty and freedom of conscience.

In the above video clip, Chuck Colson, one of the authors, talks about why the Manhatten Declaration is needed. He talks about how the Church needs to stand up for our religious freedom, in another related commentary, he had this to say:
So why is religious freedom such a concern to us as Christians? Freedom of religion is called the first freedom for a reason. Our founding fathers recognized that without freedom of conscience, no other freedom can be guaranteed.

Christians, in fact, are the greatest defenders of religious freedom and human liberty—not just for Christians, but for all people.
Compare religious freedom in those countries with a Christian heritage to the state of religious freedom in Islamic nations, communist countries, and Buddhist and Hindu nations, and you will see my point.

The reason that Christians place such a high value on human freedom is that freedom itself is part of the creation account in the Bible. God made humans in His image. He gave us a free will to choose to love, follow, and obey Him, or to follow our own way.

That free will, given us before the Fall, is part of human nature itself.

Perhaps more than anything else, it was this understanding of individual freedom that turned me into the kind of patriot who would willingly give his life for his country. It was the words of the Declaration of Independence that inspired me to join the Marines: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

So this question of human freedom goes to the very heart of who we are as Christians and as Americans.
Colson says the declaration was needed because we are losing our freedoms and our conscience clause. Alexis de Tocqueville said that as we begin to lose our freedoms we will end up with benevolent despotism, which is where we are headed. Colson also encouraged everyone to read Hannah Erendt's book, The Origins of Totalitarianism.

Here is the beginning of the Preamble of the Declaration:
Christians are heirs of a 2,000-year tradition of proclaiming God's word, seeking justice in our societies, resisting tyranny, and reaching out with compassion to the poor, oppressed and suffering.
I urge all of us to take a stand for the Christian Conscience and for all of our religious freedoms, while we still can!!

Action & Links:
To read the whole Declaration, go here!
To sign the Declaration, go here!
--The Origins of Totalitarianism--Hannah Arendt
--Call of Christian Conscience by Jim Daly

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sarah Palin Smorgasbord!

Sarah Palin is an authentic American!--Ann Coulter

Sarah Palin's book, Going Rogue hit bookstores this past week. It was a bestseller before it even got on the shelves, and sold 300,000 copies the first day. Palin started on her book tour and her first stops were in Michigan and Indiana. My Mom surprised me by calling me last week and telling me that she had just met Sarah Palin. She had driven 2 hours to Fort Wayne, Indiana and waited forever to get Palin to sign 2 copies of her book, one for herself and one for me.

Palin also did all the interviews last week: Oprah, Barbara Walters and many others, some of which I highlight below. Every show she appeared on skyrocketed in the ratings. Oprah had her best ratings since 2007.

While many liberals seem to be suffering from Palin Derangement Syndrome, she is enjoying higher favorability ratings with the American people than Obama:
Sarah Palin Favorable Rating 47%… Barack Obama Job Approval Rating 46%

--Rush Limbaugh's Interview
As far as I know, Rush got the first radio interview. It was a huge deal for two reasons, one being that Rush is the king of talk radio and the other being that he hardly ever has guests on.

He rocked because he ONLY asked policy questions since, Oprah had asked NONE!!

--Sean Hannity's Interview
Hannity got the first cable interview!

--CBS's Harry Smith interviews Ann Coulter on Sarah Palin.
Coulter is unflappable, as always, during the above interview. Yet, I found myself wanting to smack Smith, because his every word was dripping with condescension. The Drive By Media just can't hide their contempt when talking with successful conservatives.

Coulter was able to make several good points about Palin despite the contempt. Coulter pointed out that Palin has massive influence and that McCain was the media's favorite Republican.

--Bill O'Reilly and Bernie Goldberg talk about O'Reilly's interview with, and other responses to, Sarah Palin.
Bernie is right when he says liberals have Palin Derangement Syndrome and Jon Stewart has it. It amazes me how liberals dismiss Palin as being stupid, etc... and yet, they seem to be extremely threatened by her. They know that she is resonating with millions of Americans because as Ann Coulter said, she is authentic.

I also wonder if Chris Matthews realizes how ridiculous he has become.

--Dennis Miller's Interview
I love Dennis Miller and I love how he interacts with Sarah Palin! I need to keep harassing my local station to dump Michael Savage and replace him with Dennis Miller instead.

Others weigh in with their thoughts:
--Goldberg on Palin
--Cal Thomas on Palin

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Trip Post 5--Mt. Rushmore!

Mt. Rushmore was my kids' least favorite site, but it was one of my favorites. We also visited this one on the 80's trip when I was 10, but I was glad to see it again as an adult.

First of all, I love all 4 of the Presidents that are carved into Mt. Rushmore. Second, I enjoyed learning about the sculptor and a lot of the background information this time. Gutzon Borglum was an amazing, patriotic American sculptor. One fascinating fact about Borglum was the Woodrow Wilson memorial he sculpted in Poland. Hitler tore it down when he invaded Poland during World War II. It is widely thought that Hitler purposely destroyed it because of Borglum's public statements against Hitler. Awesome!!

Third, Teddy Roosevelt ended up being a controversial choice. Roosevelt was a personal friend of Borglum's and many thought that Roosevelt hadn't stood the test of history yet to determine whether he was a great president or not. History has proven that Roosevelt was a perfect choice. Although, I found it interesting that many had lobbied for Susan B. Anthony to be the 4th face on the monument. In fact, "in 1937, a bill was introduced in Congress to add the head of civil-rights leader Susan B. Anthony".

The Avenue of Flags has a flag for every state!

Our whole group, both of my parents, me and all 4 of my kids. It was a very cold day, but we were lucky because we just missed the snow. The day we were there it was nice and clear and the snow came in the next day.

The view from Presidential Trail!

My oldest daughter has a nice camera and she got some good shots of this cute chipmunk along the trail.

We saw quite a few of these neat mountain goats!

There were even more deer!

As we were leaving Mt. Rushmore, I blew kisses to the Presidents. My kids thought I was a little weird, can't imagine why!

There were deer everywhere as we were on the winding roads out of the park.

We didn't have time to actually visit Crazy Horse, but my Dad got some pics from the road.

Basic Mt. Rushmore facts:
-A historian named Doane Robinson wanted to bring visitors to South Dakota. So, he hired the famous artist/sculptor, Gutzon Borglum to scuplt a monument into the Black Hills.

-Robinson's original plan for the monument was to have it be of heroes of the American West, but Borglum decided he wanted it to be of national heroes, of American Presidents.

-It took 14 years (from 1927-1941) to carve the faces. It would've taken less (some estimate that it would've taken 6 years), but there were often delays because of lack of funds.

-About 400 workers helped carve, cut and blast the faces.

-The men hung from cables off the side of the mountain to work on Mt. Rushmore.

-Gutzon Borglum died before the monument was finished, so his son Lincoln (named after Abraham Lincoln) finished the work.

-Mt. Rushmore is the largest work of art on earth.

-In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge was vacationing in the Black Hills. While he was there, Borglum persuaded him to support and give a speech promoting Mt. Rushmore. He did so decked out in cowboy boots ;-).

-Mt. Rushmore wasn't officially dedicated until July 3, 1991 by President H.W.Bush.

-The 4 Presidents on Mt. Rushmore are George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln

--Borglum was personally friends with Teddy Roosevelt and his choice of him for the fourth carving was controversial. Some had wanted the last face to be Susan B. Anthony.

--Mount Rushmore by Susan Ashley
--Mount Rushmore by Dana Meachen Rau
--What is Mount Rushmore? by Laine Falk
--Mount Rushmore by Susan Koehler
--Mount Rushmore by Andrew Santella
--Mount Rushmore by Laura Hahn
--Discover Mount Rushmore

Related Posts:
Trip Post 1--Grand Canyon!
Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!
Trip Post 3--Yosemite National Park!
Trip Post 4--Redwood National Park!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Trip Post 4--Redwood National Park!

During the Summer of 1980, when I was around the same age as my youngest son, my parents took my brothers and I on a trip out West. On that trip, we didn't make it to the Grand Canyon, Sequoia or Yosemite but we did make it to the Redwoods.

My parents were much more adventurous and energetic than I, and we camped during that entire trip. Of course, having tent camped so much during my childhood, I now say thats why I'm a cabin girl. I've served my time tent camping ;-)! It doesn't help that my Dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service. So, we stayed at their campgrounds which never had running water, which translates to no showers and no flushing toilets.

Anyway, I digress, during that visit we saw tons of the above Banana slugs while camping. During this trip, this was the only one we saw and my Mom said it was much smaller than all the ones we saw during the '80 trip.

We also saw lots of Roosevelt Elk, named after one of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt. I got to see Teddy Roosevelt mentioned at most of the parks because of his conservation efforts and his love for wildlife, nature and parks in general.

Recently, I was grading my daughter's homework and I found this quote in her History curriculum that I thought was excellent. It shows the difference between Teddy Roosevelt's love for nature and some modern day environmentalists:
Unlike most modern-day environmentalists, Theodore Roosevelt did not believe that nature should be preserved for nature's sake. He believed that the nation's natural resources were to be managed for the benefit of future generations.

Of course, even as a 10 year old during my first trip to the Redwoods, I was amazed by these magnificent trees. They are just phenomenal!

We hiked for awhile down some paths and the forests are just beautiful. God's creation is breathtaking. They had these huge 3 leaf clovers, I picked a couple which I pressed to put in my scrapbook.

Basic Redwoods Facts:
-Redwoods are the tallest living things on the planet and among the oldest living things on the earth
-Redwoods have a built-in resistance to disease, insects and fires because their wood contains a chemical called tannin
-Redwood National Park is located in Northern California
-Jedediah Smith was the 1st American known to explore the Redwoods area
-The movies "Return of the Jedi" and "Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World" included scenes from Redwood National Park
-The Roosevelt Elk are one of the largest animals at Redwood National Park. They were named after Teddy Roosevelt who helped save them from extinction.

--The Redwood Coast
--Welcome to Redwood National and State Parks
--Redwood National Park

Related Posts:
Trip Post 1--Grand Canyon!
Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!
Trip Post 3--Yosemite National Park!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tuesday Smorgasbord!

1) Everyone, except Obama celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall yesterday!
--My favorite piece was John Loudon's

--Patrick linked to a Global Museum dedicated to the victims of communism

2) Remembering The Fort Hood Shooting Victims
--Nidal Hasan’s Imam Praises Fort Hood Massacre

--Ralph Peters Examines the Political Correctness That Killed 13 Americans at Fort Hood
How many more Americans have to die, at home and in war, before our president admits that there is, indeed, such a thing as Islamist terror? Will he ever admit that it played a role in the tragedy at Fort Hood?

Not a chance. Islam’s a religion of peace. America’s the problem. And don’t you forget it.

3) The Healthcare Disaster
--The only reason Pelosi was able to con the pro-life Democrats into passing the bill Saturday night was because they took the abortion language out. As you can see, the plan is to put it right back in. Republicans and conservatives were never in doubt about this, its one of only a million reasons why this current version of health care "reform" is a disaster.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Trip Post 3--Yosemite National Park!

Yosemite was the only park that we spent two days at. As we entered it on the first day, we got some shots of the granite Half Dome from a distance.

We then headed to Bridalveil Fall. According to all the books I read, the falls were supposed to be dried up by the end of the summer and early fall. Yet, not only were they not dried up, but they were going at full force.

El Capitan is the other famous granite structure at Yosemite. We used my Dad's binoculars and were able to see rock climbers climbing it. People come from all over the world to climb it.

When I was looking up books for the kids for the trip, I stumbled upon a book about the Yosemite murders. Since, I have an interest in crime stories I decided to read it on the trip. One of the women that Stayner murdered, worked at Yosemite and had done some rock climbing on El Capitan. She had to sleep over night in a sling hanging off of it, because you can't climb El Capitan in just one day.

Yosemite Falls was a little easier to get close to than Bridalveil had been.

We got to see yet another bear. This one was a little farther away and was resting most of the time.

This sign cracked us up because there seemed to be no concern for injuring people, just make sure you don't hurt the bears!

This was the gorgeous view from Glacier Point!

I made sure to take the picture of the above ledge because of a book I bought at the gift shop. The book is entitled, Pioneers in Petticoats. Its about Yosemite's early women from 1856-1900. As you can see from the cover below, it shows 2 of the first women to explore Yosemite doing kicks off the edge of the ledge. When you actually see it in real life, its even more terrifying to envision them doing that.

Basic Yosemite facts:
-1864-President Lincoln signed a bill to protect Yosemite Valley
-1890-Yosemite was only the 3rd to become a national park
-Yosemite is located within the Sierra Nevada mountains in Central California
-John Muir fought to protect Yosemite
-3.5 million people visit Yosemite in a typical year
-El Capitan is the world's largest exposed granite cliff
-There are 3 groves of Sequoia trees with Mariposa grove being the largest and most famous
-The most famous and the oldest living Sequoia in Yosemite is Grizzly Giant which is in Mariposa Grove
--The Yosemite Murders
--Yosemite National Park
--Yosemite National Park (Symbols of Freedom)
--Welcome to Yosemite National Park
--Yosemite National Park (National Parks)

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

GOP Sweep!

It takes a special kind of Democrat to lose in New Jersey.--Jordan Lieberman
Shepard Smith and Jordan Lieberman (publisher of politics magazine) in the above video are discussing what last night's races will mean for Democrats in 2010. Lieberman said that the Virginia and New York races weren't that big a deal, but if Corzine lost New Jersey, the Democrats were in trouble. It wasn't too long after that, that the race was called for Corzine's opponent, Republican Chris Christie.

In fact, the GOP ended up with a lot of victories last night, enough to call it a GOP Sweep. Two big Governor victories in Virginia and New Jersey.

Supposedly, Obama wasn't watching the results. Of course, that may be true, he may have known that news was going to be bad and didn't want to watch the depressing news. Anyway you look at it, its not good news for Obama, no matter how his people will try to spin it. Rush may have been right about the bloodbath for Democrats in 2010.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Trip Post 2--Sequoia National Park!

Sequoia National Park was my kids' favorite park out of the 5 we visited. It wasn't because of the spectacular trees, although, they were impressed. It was because we got to see 5 bears up close in the wild.

Also, 2 hikers had been missing for over a week and were found on the day we visited. I bought local newspapers on the trip, whenever I got a chance, and I had read about the missing hikers that morning. During the day, we saw the rescue helicopter, and that night on the news we saw that they had been found.

We started out at a Visitor's center, and then made our way to "The Sentinel Tree".

After that we made our way to Moro Rock. My parents and the kids and I started up the 400-step stairway to the top. The older 3 kids sped ahead with my Dad. My Mom was walking slowly and my youngest son and I were taking each turn as it came. I finally got to a certain part, and in my mind I knew I wasn't going up any higher. At the same time, my son said he was ready to head back down, so it worked out well ;-). The older kids and my Dad made it to the top. They were literally in the clouds, and the view was wonderful.

Its amazing when you see people, or even a vehicle next to the trees. It gives you some perspective on how awesome they are.

We then headed to "General Sherman", which is the biggest living thing in the world. Redwoods are taller, but Sequoias are bigger.

We were walking back up the trail from seeing "General Sherman" when we saw the bears. The kids had run ahead, which we heard many times later at that park and others, "children should not run ahead because of bears and mountain lions, etc..".

The bears were completely oblivious to the fact that we were there. Before we arrived, we found out that a Mama Brown Bear had gotten into a spat with a Black Bear because the black bear had gotten too close to her cubs. Mama Bear had 2 cubs and she was way up in a tree whipping down pine cones to them. There was also another brown bear on the scene. It was amazing how close we were to them. My Dad worked for the U.S. Forest Service his whole life and this was his first time seeing bears in the wild. It was a sight to see.

I made sure I was close to my kids and after awhile we figured we shouldn't tempt fate anymore, and we left.

Basic Sequoia National Park facts:
--There are 388 National Park Areas in the U.S.
--Sequoia National Park was created in 1890
--John Muir was instrumental in protecting/preserving this park as well as Yosemite and others
--It is located in Central California
--It is high in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range
--It is famous for having some of the biggest trees in the world
--There are 2 surviving kinds of Sequoia trees--the redwood & the giant sequoia
--The Sequoias can live for more than 3,000 years, in part because they are fire-resistant
--There are about 30 Sequoia groves at the park
--One of the largest is the "Giant Forest"
--The "General Sherman" tree is located in the Giant Forest, it is named after the famous Civil War general and the tree is the BIGGEST living thing in the WORLD

--Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks

Monday, November 02, 2009

November 2nd Edition of Conservatism With Heart!

LIVE TODAY at 9:00-10:00 am CST!! To listen, go here!!

Some of the articles and topics I will be discussing:
--Pop Culture Update
--My Trip Highlights
--SNL Skewers Obama, Again!
--Former Nobel Peace Prize Winners
--Rush Limbaugh on Fox News Sunday
--Obama Waffles Some More On Afghanistan & Rush Nails Him
--Dee and James dish on the issues
--Right Wing Women Rock
--And more...

To be a part of the show, call in, toll-free 1-877-864-4869!!

To listen to podcasts of my previous shows, go here!