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Archive for the ‘military’ Category

Well, I guess I can honestly say that I am not surprised about the Supreme Courts decision for Westboro Baptist Churches right to free speech to protest funerals, as they see fit, has been protected.  However, with the vitriol that they spit out at will, towards fellow human beings that they personally deem as going to hell; it is offensive to many that they have the right to say what they will, wherever they choose to take their message, according to the highest court in the land.

My own personal belief is that homosexuality is wrong…a sin if you will, however, I do not think that this group or any group has the right to protest at someone’s funeral.  This is a time for a family & friends to grieve and honor their loved ones.    I think that Westboro’s conduct or behavior is shameful for a church and shows a lack of compassion or love for their fellow man/woman; and, that there are better ways to communicate their beliefs or faith.  To me it is now more like a legal sort of bullying that has the stamp approval from the Supreme Court (except for one Supreme Court Justice).  To continue reading click here: Write Where You Are

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People do many things, for the love of God. There are those who feel that they have a specific calling in their lives to live and accomplish a great mission, or purpose. I’d like to underscore that by saying that we each have been born to praise God; and, to do the great commission which is; to bring the “good news” of Jesus, God’s son, to those who do not know him so that they may have an opportunity to accept him as Lord and Savior of their lives. By doing so, and repenting of their sins…committing their days and nights to living according to the word of God and it’s instructions; they will be used by God to accomplish many things in their lifetime.

I believe that just being aware of the world around you and noticing where the acceptance of God is lacking and doing your best to be of service in some way; of bringing a light or help to those who are in need, is a ministry itself. Some have a pull on their hearts to teach, preach, do missions work, or evangelize. There are others who are drawn to a particular effort of outreach which may be to take Bibles into areas of the world which have little or no access to the word. Then again, there are those with an online ministry to edify or build up disciples such as the Live Sticky movement which encourages people to spend a portion of their online time being dedicated to bringing awareness of God to those that they impact. These are all ministries that are needed.  To continue reading click here:  Write Where You Are

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        There is a debate brewing about whether news media should have access to photograph the coffins of returning military men and women, killed in the line of duty, when their bodies are returned to Dover Air Force Base.  There is strong controversy about whether this should be allowed or not.  In 1991, President George H. Bush enacted a ban on the photographing of the coffins.  It just was not allowed to happen, by the order of the President.

         This has been a matter of contention.  Some people believe that allowing  the photographs could make an impact on the  minds of the citizens of the United States as to the cost of war; as the death toll rises from the wars in recent years.  There are many who feel that by not seeing the evidence of the coffins, people would not understand the depths of the sacrifice that our service persons were making.  In effect, out of sight…out of mind.  (more…)

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     Five pirates from Somalia drowned after they left the ship that they had been holding for ransom for approximately two months.   The pirates small boat capsized and sank along with the money.   The ship that the pirates had captured was the Sirius Star and the ransom was for approximately $3 million dollars.  Three other alleged pirates spent hours swimming to land. 

       The pirates had to have been congratulating themselves about receiving that amount of money.  In Somalia, the people are very poor…most of them are living on humanitarian aid.  Many of these ships that have been targeted, by pirates, have been in this area in the Gulf of Aden.   Somalia is a country that has not had proper governmental leadership since the early 1990’s.  It must be awfully tempting to see all of these ships travel through the area loaded with multi-million dollars of  crude oil and not see it as a way to grab their share of the money for themselves.  Piracy has become a huge problem.

         Just this past week the United States Navy has announced that they will be utilizing an anti-piracy taskforce to combat the issues such as the hostage situations that face the ships that must travel through those international waters.

          Piracy in today’s world is not the piracy of the movies.  It is not some swashbuckling, romantic way to see the world.  It is quickly becoming a form of terrorism that attempts to hold the world of commerce hostage to pay up or be caught in the web of the pirates that feed off of the traffic that must pass through on their way to pick up and deliver merchandise from one nation to another. 

         One has to wonder, do the people who contemplate becoming pirates consider the possibility that they could end up on the bottom of the ocean right along with their stolen treasure?  Maybe some of the area nations could come up with a way to build up the infrastructure of Somalia so that the temptation to take from those who have so much would no longer look like a good way to earn a living to those who have so little!  Stealing is not a good option.  But those nations who are rich in natural resources could invest some of their money into those countries who seem bent on surviving any way that they can.

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       People are funny; when things get tight…their fists often get tighter; but not always.  This year, like no other year in recent memory, people are hurting.  They are hurting in many areas financially.  Many have lost their homes, their jobs, their savings…along with medical coverage.  It is a difficult time for many in our nation.

        Most everyone has something that they have been blessed with that they no longer use.  Those things that you have been blessed with and no longer use just might be terribly useful to someone else.  Have extra blankets (or sleeping bags) in the closet or attic that you have no use for?  Someone else has need for them; donate it to a shelter, a church, or an agency that gives to those in need.  Don’t forget places like the Salvation Army or Goodwill.  Let’s challenge ourselves to find ways to have a positive impact on those around us.

         What about checking out deals, when you grocery shop, that make use of buy one get one free…then, donating that extra item to a food pantry?  In fact, things people often run out of and have a hard time replacing are necessities such as laundry soap, shampoos/conditioners, toothpaste, dish soap, toilette paper; when money is limited…having those things donated to a food pantry can really be a big help.  Maybe you have a baby or toddler that has outgrown their diapers or pullups…and you have a partial package left; donate it, don’t let it set on a shelf somewhere unused.  What good are those items doing sitting there collecting dust?

          Do you have warm clothes that either don’t fit, things that aren’t your style; or, perhaps you just have an extra set of clothes that you could pass along?  What about coats or boots, mittens or hats/scarves?  Items such as these are desperately needed in colder temperatures and climates.  The fall and winter weather is unforgiving if a person is not sheltered and dressed appropriately for cold temperatures.  Children and adults are both in need; so, please check your closets and storage areas for things that you are not using.

          Here is another idea; have you had a tree fall on your property that you would like removed?  Offer it to those who heat their homes with wood for free…just for the taking.  Wow…how wonderful to get it removed and bless someone else with the wood who could use it to heat their homes. 

          So you say…you don’t have anything physical to give.  How about donating your time or possibly a service like raking leaves/shoveling snow for an elderly person who you know isn’t able to do it for themselves?  Maybe you could offer to get their mail so they don’t slip on the snow and ice or offer to run some errands for them.  There really are so very many ways to help another person who is in need. 

          Think about the homeless who are living on the streets.  Do you perhaps have a shelter or tent that is not going to be used in the near future?  Can you live without it?  Find an agency or charity that will use it to house those folks who cannot or will not live in a shelter.  We have many veterans and run-aways who live under bridges and tunnels all around this nation.  Is a tent or a shelter from your basement or garage an ideal place to live?  No but, it may just keep someone safer from the extreme elements, temporarily, until they can get back on their feet.

           Are any of these suggestions going to cure the ills our nation is facing; probably not…but, it may just help communicate caring to someone who is feeling desperate and alone.  Think about what you can do to help someone who has it a bit worse than you and yours.  Your donations could mean the difference between life and death for someone; and it doesn’t have to cost you more than a bit of compassion for others!

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      This week we celebrated two very special things here in the United States: one was Monday, November 10th which was the Marine Corps Birthday…and yesterday, which was Veteran’s Day.  Both dates give honor to our military men and women.  We should celebrate our armed forces because they sacrifice so much for us.  We have men and women who are seperated from their families, often in dangerous situations; defending our country and those in other countries who need defended.

       We have some pretty awesome troops who need support.  I have heard about a wonderful program that does just that.  It is a program that would be a wonderful project for school children or teen youth groups across the nation.   Activity directors in nursing homes would also be a great source for this project.  Even former Veterans can continue to serve their country by reaching out to those who presently serve our great country in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and the Marines. 

       The idea behind http://www.make2tell2.com is to make 2 cards of love and tell 2 others about the project.  They can be holiday cards or just cards that express respect and caring.  This is a great way to lift the spirits of those serving our country when they need an emotional pick me up.  These cards can express patriotism, faith, gratitude, caring, support, encouragement, and communicate comfort to those who need it!

         Please spread the word…get involved…support our troops today.  It doesn’t take much effort and it can mean so very much to the individual who receives it.  After you make the cards…please send them to:  Make 2 Tell 2, 991 Road
325, Harvard, NE 68944  This is also a great way to teach young people about service and about community.  We all need encouragement at times…this is a wonderful way to do that for our troops overseas; it can have a tremendous impact on our military personel.  Thank you!

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       Today is the Marine Corps birthday…hope it is a great one for all of our men and women in the Corps.  God bless you for all of your sacrifices for us civilians.  For those serving overseas we thank you and we appreciate you. To all of the Marines who serve here at home on U.S. soil…your sacrifice is also appreciated.  May you have safety and well-being till you are stateside and home again with your family & loved ones!

         Quite often on the news, all we hear about is those who dishonor the Corps or who choose to perpetrate violence outside of war.  Those stories put a black mark on the minds of people who don’t have personal knowledge of the quality of most Marines.  I want to acknowledge the fact that there are more men and women who serve the United States in good standing; than there are who fail to act honorably.  Just by living their lives decently and serving when called upon to do so…they are heros.  It takes courage & commitment to serve in the armed forces.  They risk life and limb and deserve respect for what they give during their time in the military.  We need to honor them and support them; not just at the holiday time…but, year round.  Support their family members who sacrifice alot as well…by being seperated from their service person.

        This week, several Marines made the news with their heroic actions by saving many people staying in a hotel when they discovered that the hotel was on fire.  They immediately went into action and alerted the hotel guests to the fire and told them to evacuate.  One Marine said…this is what we are trained to do…when there is danger we are trained to go in…not run away! The williness to serve, that the Corps instills in it’s personel, is nothing less than admirable.  God bless each and every one.  So, for those who are serving in the Corps today; or, those who have formerly served in the Corps…thank you.   If you see a Marine today…tell them thank you for serving and wish them a Happy Birthday!  Semper Fi

      

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       Slavery exists even today; i know that that sounds like an inflammatory statement but it is true.  It is just not talked about in any kind of real, life changing way.  I read a book recently which opens up a whole new way of looking at the world.  It is rather frightening.  Slavery exists today in what is called, modern day slavery….human trafficking.  People are bought and sold all over the world…but, it is not a subject that has been addressed in the fullness that it needs to be; to face it and, attempt to overcome it.

        The book is called, A Crime So Monstrous; it was written by author Benjamin Skinner; published in 2008.  He has traveled to places around the globe to educate and inform the world of the human injustice that is perpetrated against those who are vulnerable, and can not fight back without help.  It is a moral call to action.  Once your eyes have been opened up to the extent of the evil that is human trafficking…you will never look at the world in the same way.  Children, women, men, young and old…it doesn’t matter…crimes against humanity should never be tolerated.

        So what is modern slavery-human trafficking?  It is the forced sale of human beings to be used and abused.  There are many forms of it…from sexual slavery, prostitution, forced labor, to forced child marriages and the list goes on.  There are very real networks that cross continents buying and selling humans against their will; it impacts well over 800,000 individuals a year.   Sometimes repeatedly; without concern for the well-being of those who are being transferred like a piece of property.  It is illegal, it is immoral and it doesn’t stop there…sometimes, in many cases it is multi-generational.  In those cases, debt forces multiple generations to work to pay off debts…doing hard labor, with little or no pay.  In conditions not suitable for proper human living conditions.  Often, violence is used to coerce people to do things against their will.  They do not get proper food, shelter, health care or healthy human interaction.  It is not right.  Many of the victims are the most vulnerable in society…the weak, the poor, the disabled, the homeless, and those who are without protectors.

        Do you think it doesn’t affect you?   What if it was happening in your town?  What if it was in your neighborhood?   What if one of your loved ones came up missing?   Missing family member…what if they have become one of the invisible slaves bought and sold for someone else’s gain and pleasure?  People who patronize the prostitutes on any street, in any country, around the world did you ever wonder if …are they doing it because they want to?  Or, are they being forced to perform as a prostitute because they are in fact, someone’s slave?  If you purchase their services…you could be part of the problem. How about people who purchase the servant to cook, or clean in their business or home, especially those  individuals not legally present in that country; are they working for them willingly, or have they been bought and paid for?  

         Our country, the United States of America, is involved in war.  Our military men and women have seen things in other countries that would shock you.  In some of those countries, when war breaks out…rape is used as a tool to destroy cultures and to break down the resistance of the opposing fighters.   Our military men and women have seen what happens to the women in those countries that have been warring with one another when they have gone in to establish some kind of peace-keeping.  Women and children, as well as men, are raped and used horribly.  Some of them never recover, physically or emotionally.   This is unacceptable behavior…no matter what country it takes place in.  These are issues to think about.  No-one is guaranteed safety from these predators.  http://www.humantrafficking.org/updates  This is a global issue.  It affects us all.  If you met one of these individuals in person… how you could be unaffected?  Yet most of us live our lives unaware of their plight.  Their stories of abuse would horrify you. 

         Many of the hotbeds in the modern day slavery networks, are on the news everyday…either they are points of travel destinations, or glamour spots that the rich and famous travel to and from…others are known for their sexual tourism…PLEASE STOP FEEDING THE MONEY MACHINE.   Someone’s “tourism” is someone else’s nightmare!!!   Do some research…don’t travel or support countries that are known for trading the services of human beings, illegally, for money.  Governmental leaders must take a stand and enforce those who would disregard the value of human lives by their inaction.  We must expect legal consequences and demand it from the authorities who can make a difference.

         Ben Skinner’s book, A Crime So Monstrous, touches on some of those people and their situations.  It breaks your heart.  And yet, you know that it is just a way of outlinning the scope of the problem.  You can find out more about the book here:  www.simonsays.com  It is also available as an e-book.  Take the time to educate yourself…read it; and, understand how this affects us all.  We need to stand up and demand that our leaders help to wage a war against those who would commit crimes against humanity in such a vile, and dehumanizing way.  Thank you to those who fight the fight against such inhumanity in our world.  

See possibly related story:  http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/WireStory?id=6081857&page=1 or http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6121646

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       September 11th used to be just another day.  Then, it became my son’s brother’s birthday.  Nine years later…September 11th became something else.  September 11th, 2001 became the day of the destruction of American innocence.  It became a day controlled by terrorists and their plot of destruction.  It became a day of horror and fear.  It became a day of mourning.  Then, it became a day of rememberance. 

         Each year the day brings anxiety, fear, sadness and depression…but it also, becomes a measure of time.  It becomes, almost a before and after measure in our country and in our lives.  The military men and women, the everyday people who traveled on the jets, the business people who worked in the World Trade Center, the people on the street…every life that was lost was precious; and the grief never becomes anything less than what it should be!  The grieving process is different for everyone…but, it is the bridge from a place of denial to an acceptance of a life that has been changed, due to a loss of the life of a loved one.  At some point, you either become a person cocooned in pain and loss or you move towards a place of healing and acceptance.

        How much time has passed since that tragic day.  How many things have those people who’s names are called out in the roll-call missed.  How many sons and daughters have marked milestones in their lives without parents?  How many spouses have witnessed holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, births & deaths without their partners by their side to support them?  How many parents, grandparents, grandchildren, neighbors, and friends have been forced to bear witness to life without those who were such a part of their lives?

          For those who have valiantly tried to heal from the deep wounds of September 11th; some have found some way of marching into the future…one difficult footstep at a time.  Others have been forever stuck in that moment of loss.  For those who have been able to move forward painfully…there is no lack of a sense of guilt, for surviving and beginning to enjoy the blessings in life again. 

          Each milestone of survival is marked by loss…that can’t be forgotten; and yet, to choose not to enjoy what’s left in life to enjoy; is a slap in the face to those who’s lives were lost.  Which of them, if given a choice would choose to live a life without thanksgiving, without joy, without celebration… of all the good things before them; if they were able to live again?  It does those who were lost no honor, to allow the terrorists to have more “dead” victims than they already stole from the world.

          So while we honor those who were lost…let’s not forget those who were left behind to survive.  Let’s honor the loved ones, of those who were lost in the attack.  At some point, peeling back the scab over and over again can only serve to prevent long-term healing.  When, might September 11th become just another day again?  Can it ever become just another day…probably not?  Should it ever become something else besides an acknowledgement of the terrorists deeds?  Or are we forever bound by loss and respect to the lives lost, to always carry the scar of history ?  Is it possible to take back some of the power that the terrorists stole from us by reclaiming that day as just another day?

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Stand Up To (2) Cancer

        Do you know anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer?  Did you know that 1 out of 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime…1 out of 2 men.  So unless you are a family of one, with no friends and you are the luckiest person in the whole wide world…cancer is going to touch someone you care about, at some point.  If you haven’t had to deal with the enemy cancer yet…consider yourself blessed beyond reason.  There is a movement afoot to Stand Up To Cancer.  It doesn’t matter if it is breast cancer, colon cancer, blood cancers, brain cancer,ovarian, or any other kind of cancer…it is a destroyer and needs to be eliminated.  Please join forces to battle a plague on the world that we live in…help fight cancer.

        The goal is to Stand Up To Cancer and understand it…take it apart…so that we can more efficiently battle it and WIN!  That is the end goal.   Cancer is the enemy…it is a thief…it has stolen enough, artists, doctors, mothers, muscians, pilots, cab drivers, babies, teachers, clerks, lecturers, fathers, students, writers, researchers, husbands, factory workers, miners, fire fighters, sons, nurses, daughters, child care workers, politicians, sisters, waitresses, brothers, lecturers, speakers, wives, caregivers, grandparents, role models, athletes, neighbors, librarians, friends, social workers, police men & women, military men and women, designers, dancers, clergy, you get the idea…Cancer is not picky about who it chooses to invade and try to destroy. 

          It could be you next, or someone you care about.  Cancer claims one life a minute each day!  Can you believe that?  One person a minute per day is too many loses! That is 1,500 deaths per day… that is unacceptable.    Protect your health best way that you can, eat right, exercise, protect your environment, take your vitamins, stay away from contaminants, be aware and educate yourself.  Honor those who have fought with everything they have…help out someone in a health crisis with cancer…be a supporter to someone in need. 

          Once cancer strikes…there are many needs, physical,spiritual, medical, emotional, financial, transportation, and daily care needs.  Do what you can to lift someone up!  Life is precious.  Will you make a commitment to be a force to be reckoned with and help make an impact in the fight against cancer?

         For us to win the war on cancer it requires courage, support, awareness, education and funding.  The television networks are joining together to bring those tools to the public and try to create a historic event that will hopefully rev up the odds of winning.  http://abcnews.go.com/Health/StandUp2Cancer/  There are many celebrities who are adding their voice and their talents to the project.  They have a wonderful website that you can view here that will explain more.  In the meantime, look for the program to hit the networks on Sept 5th, at 8 pm.  You can go to the website and read up on the idea here:  http://www.standup2cancer.org/  Let’s not be idle and let others do the fighting…there is something that we all can do…what are you willing to do to help?  Let’s envision a future without cancer!!!

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