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Posts Tagged ‘United States’

        Senator Barack Obama and Dr. Dobson, from Focus on the Family, have brought out their dueling swords…their bible’s and their interpetations of the scriptures as it applies to each person’s choices in their daily living. (more…)

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        You know what…i don’t know much about foreclosures on a home; but, my family came closer to it than i want to think about this past winter.  I know that foreclosure is happening to more and more people.  I live in a state where the economy is all but paralyzed.  People are loosing their jobs, left and right.  The cost of living is skyrocketing.  I know people who are working two jobs and still are struggling to survive.   I also know people who have gone to donate blood and plasma just so that they had gas money to drive back and forth to work.  This puts the quality of life into the depression era, as far as I am concerned.  Foreclosure can happen to anyone because, right now, the economy stinks.

         This past week, we have heard about a couple of high profile people, Evander Holyfield and Ed McMahon, who are possibly loosing their homes to foreclosure.  One of them, Ed McMahon seems an unlikely candidate to loose his home to foreclosure…however, Ed explains his situation.  He says that he wasn’t paying attention to how his money was managed by business people.  He also says some personal difficulties such as divorce and a broken neck decreased his finances and his ability to work.  He says that he worked hard all of his life.  Alot of people are in the same situation…maybe they can’t even retire or pay for their child’s college because of their financial situation and the possible loss of their home.

           Ed McMahon talks about the million, or so, people in the United States that are now facing foreclosure and says that he understands how people are working hard and due to their personal circumstances they could lose their homes.  Many of them, Ed says, didn’t do anything wrong…maybe they lost their jobs or face medical, financial difficulties…but because of those situations…they are being forced out of their homes that they worked so hard to have.  He says he would like to tell them to find the best help available and to not give up. 

         Those explanations are real life for alot of people.  It has been recently estimated that 1percent of home mortgages have gone into foreclosure from January- March of this year alone; that is around 447,723 families.  Divorce, job downsizing, health issues and the economy are putting more and more people in jeparody of loosing their homes.  For most people, their home is one of their biggest assests or investments.  How does this concern you?   Let’s take a look… 

          The problem is…as the economy worsens…more people loose their homes and that means that more homes are on the market.  Say you want to sell your home…how are you going to do that with all of the houses sitting empty on your street, in your neighborhood, or your town or state?  And if you are lucky enough to find someone who wants YOUR house….will they give you what you have to have financially for it?   Housing that is devalued further complicates the issue.  Propety values plummet in areas where there are many foreclosures.   When people owe more on their house then it is worth, because of the devaluing of it…they can’t sell it without taking a huge financial loss; not to mention coming up with the money to move somewhere else.  The stress and the emotional toll it takes is devastating.  It is a bit like a chain reaction…because then their credit is damaged…and finding another place to live is difficult, relationships take a beating in times of financial crisis too.  Other people can be quite judgmental and often people feel ashamed of what they are going through.  The changes that a family has to go through in a foreclosure has a far reaching impact on schools, jobs, relationships, health and emotional well-being.  I heard a random number tossed about in a news report of between 7-8,000 people enter into foreclosure procedures a DAY!  Those numbers are staggering…and devastating to our economy.

         There are those who say…well, those people shouldn’t have tried to live outside of their means.  That may be true in some circumstances; but, many of those in foreclosure had good paying jobs when they bought that home in good faith, they may have been in perfect health when they bought their home, the economy might have been healthier at the time of the home purchase.  Life is full of changes; foreclosure can happen to anyone!

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Field of Memories       Memorial Day is always a bittersweet time to me.  While people are out celebrating the day with picnics and parades…others are at the cemetaries; and many are mourning their own personal losses.  Each and everyone of our freedoms in the United States were purchased by the blood and sweat of a service member from the beginning of our country’s history.    Our town did something unique this year with a, Field Of Memories.  There was a flag and information representing each of the 92 service members, from Michigan, who lost their lives. 

         In this time of war with Iraq, whether you feel it is justified or not personally; i hope you found some way to honor the men and women who are committed to following through with their pledge to their branch of the service and to our country.  It is always a sacrifice; but never more so, than during war.  Freedom and honor don’t come cheap…many individuals gave their lives and limbs, for you and I. 

           Thank you to all who have served both past and present, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard, or The Marine Corps.  It can never be said enough, that you are appreciated; and, your families sacrifice of time with you, is not forgotten.  If you can find a way to support and encourage a military family please do so.  It is a way of giving back!

           

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       Raising children is one of the most important things a person can do.  It not only impacts a family; it impacts communities, businesses, organizations and individuals.  Raising children well; it is an art form.  In our world today, there are many things pulling at a family unit trying to divide it and conquor it.  It’s become the norm to expect families to break up; it is almost extra-ordinary to see a family survive all that life throws at it.

       There are those around us who struggle in ways that we cannot see.  There are stresses that are normal; and then, there are those which have the ability to wreak havoc on our inter-personal relationships. 

        Un-expected pregnancies are one such stressor.  Un-planned pregnancies, no matter the age or marital status of the parents, can overload those involved; due to financial pressures, health issues, as well as, the emotional well-being of the parents. 

        Making a choice to become a parent is an important step; whether you become a parent biologically, or through the adoption process.  Each life that is conceived is precious and full of promise.  A pregnancy should be cause for celebration; however, sometimes circumstances can complicate the miracle of life.  Those type of situations are when the adoption option becomes a lifeline for those affected.

         Organizations such as Bethany Christian Services are just, such a lifeline.  Of course, they offer more than just adoption services; there is counseling, foster care, estate planning, pregnancy counseling, post adoption care, orphan care, infertility ministry and embryo services.  They are all about building, healing, and restoring families here in the United States and around the world.

        If your heart if full of blessings…or if you have a need…go to this link and check them out.  If your heart has been burdened by the complications of life; and, you have been touched by something greater than yourself…can you find a way to give back?  Support Bethany Christian Services either through a financial donation or maybe just by volunteering your time.  Check them out here:  www.bethany.org.  

          Do you see the suffering of those all around the world and feel helpless to do anything about it?  Those who are lonely, without the basic necessities of life, poor, starving, homeless or just without someone to love them; they need help.   Many of us do see the conditions of the world and suffer a sense of guilt at our own good fortune.  Do you feel something within your heart calling you to make a difference?  We all do…don’t turn off that sensitivity to the hurts in the world.  You can make an impact!

          Maybe you already have the gift of making an impact; but, you wish to find ways of increasing that skill…may i suggest a book that will open windows into the system or skill set that will broaden your abilities to impact the world in a positive way?  It was written by Ken McArthur…a man who has felt the need from childhood to impact the world in a positive way.    The world is a big place with lots of needs.   You have a lot to offer, even if you don’t think that you do.  Find out what it is that you were created to do and be.  Read the book, make a commitment to channel positive energy into some kind of a lasting legacy…and make it happen!

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       The earth cries out in grief, and humanity is groaning, in it’s misery; do you hear it?  Cyclones hit Myanmar thousands and thousands are dead, homeless, thirsty, starving.  China is shaken to it’s core by the earthquake that has also killed thousands.  Sumatra was washed away from the Tsunnami and thousands and thousands are dead and lost.  Katrina hit the United States and flooded homes and businessess and left lives in devastation.  Wildfires are consuming buildings, homes, and wildlife and millions of acres around the world due to droughts.  Famines hit the parched lands inflaming lands already hit with starvation.  The ice shelves are melting in the Artic.   Tornados drop in and in seconds wipe away generations of people as well as places.  Hurricanes heap destruction upon land and seas. 

           Do you not feel nature rebelling, against the inhabitants of the planet earth?  The intensity of these disasters and storms has increased dramatically in the last decade or two.  They are increasing in number as well;  we must listen. 

        Why, what is all of this chaos trying to teach us?  Has the careless actions of generations before us finally reached the peak of what nature can endure without self-destructing. The way we live today is impacting the world; and not for the better.   Are we being taught now that we must be good stewards of the gifts given to us by the Creator?  Yes! 

          Greenhouse gasses are contributing, lack of conservation of trees, farmland,  and bodies of water, and poor utilization of landfills,  are all destroying our environment. 

         Being ignorant, lazy, un-informed or misguided, are no longer acceptable excuses.  Suffering and death, on a regular large scale basis, is going to be a way of life, if we don’t wise up soon.  Making smarter, safer, greener choices can only slow down the effects of the damage we have caused.  But we must start now…if we hope to have any chance of restoring the precious balance that is nature.  It is going to take courage and committment.

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       Backstabbing, betrayal, lies, manipulation, scandal; is this a new episode of Desperate Housewives?  No, it is the political process of choosing a democratic front runner.  In the un-precedented, history making presidental election to come… no matter who  finally becomes the front runner for the Democratic party; it will have been controversial, to say the least.

        Whether Sen. Barack Obama becomes the first african american Democratic nominee or Sen. Hillary Clinton becomes the first woman to get the nod…it is history making.  The problem is, of course, that by competing against each other for the position; they are being accused of ripping the primary process apart, by not allowing the Democrats to unite behind one, or the other, of them. 

         Today a high ranking man, in this process, Joe Andrew, the former chair of the Indiana Democratic Party is supposedly going to announce that he is throwing the weight of his support behind Sen. Barack Obama in an effort to induce other superdelegates to unite behind his campaign.  He feels that this primary process is dividing the Democrats; to the point where, it is giving the Republicans the edge for John McCain.  This is where some feel that betrayal is taking place, since it was president Bill Clinton who appointed Joe Andrew as the youngest chair to the Democratic National Committee back in 1999.

         Betrayal and judgement have also been at the top of the news headlines when it comes to the candidates as well.  Sen. Barack Obama’s judgement has been called into question because of his relationship with his long time pastor Rev. Wright.  The Reverend has become a weighted stone for Sen. Obama’s candidacy, because of some of his viewpoints regarding race and political hot topics.  Some have even questioned the Reverend’s motivations for speaking such controversial statements during this process.  Does he want Obama to win…and if he does…why has he been saying such contemptible things, causing Sen. Obama to distance himself?  The political Judas syndrome has kicked into high gear.

         Sen. Hillary Clinton was thrust into the glare of the media recently because of statements she made regarding her memories of certain events.  Her credibility was called into question, when some of those statements were proven to differ from video clips and other people’s memories of the same events.

         Dirty laundry has been aired though out this process by behind the scenes manipulations, untruths, personal betrayals, backstabbing, and race and gender discussions.  All in all, a typical day in the life of a politician; however, the cost to this country in the event of the wrong person becoming president of the United States, should be enough reason to clean it all up and get down to the business of choosing the best person for the job.  It is an awesome priviledge and responsibility to do the choosing!

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       We all know that the economy in the United States isn’t as healthy as it could be.  We know that gas prices are sky rocketing, we know that everything keeps going up except the average American’s paycheck.  Food prices in restaurants and grocery stores keep climbing because they have to pass on the cost of gasoline increases that it takes to produce and ship their products. 

         The media has been building up the idea of stockpiling food…it is not a new idea…Grandma used to do it too…it is called, preserving food.  Everyday family life has changed dramatically, but not all of it is for the good.

       Canning, drying,  and freezing food is in it’s own way, stockpiling food for when the prices and the availability cause food to be scarce in a home. It used to be a fact of life that to get through a winter you had to do this to survive.  I am a baby boomer so i remember when it was the way things were done.  Then, as i transitioned to adulthood and rasing my own family, i did the same thing for a time; when life was about stretching the money we had, to make it last long enough to feed the children.  

        As the children aged, we started to buy our food in bulk, in the fall can good sales, that the major grocery stores do every year.  Over the last 8 years or so, you started finding that the can good sales weren’t as cheap as they used to be.  You began to get less can goods, for the same amount of money…everything started to cost more.  Some people are never going to want to take care of canning, drying, or freezing their own food…they will just continue to pay whatever it costs in the stores.  But, i feel that in the last decade or so, we are starting to see many families looking to learn some of the old ways.  It is going to become more common as young families want to feel more in control of what they put into their family’s diet and save money at the same time.  

        Already, farm markets are making a huge come back.  The media is touting ways to save money and help green up our buying habits, by buying locally grown produce when we can.  This helps us cut down on how much pollution is put into our environment by cutting down on how far the produce is shipped across the country.  It is all about making some sacrifices and using our buying power to make a statement of dedication.

        I think you are going to see a resurgence of people growing and preserving their foods.  Especially with the last couple of years experiences with salmonella outbreaks, contaminated feeds, and the common usage of cancer causing pesticides.  The average person is wanting to eat food that is healthier and the more we learn about producing food that is organic and full of nutrients…the more that people are going to demand a higher standard of quality.

        So, my hat is off to Grandma & Grandpa and all of us who are brillant enough to understand that not all of the old ways are to be passed over for the quicker, easier, and more popular way of doing things.  We can accomplish much when we commit to using wisdom from the past, with wisdom from the present…to use wisdom for our future!

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        Say what you want about “religous” groups that segregate themselves away from society…but, the children are the innocents in those situations; the children involved in the Fundalmentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints are probably going to end up in foster care en masse.  There have been claims of physical, sexual, spiritual and emotional abuse; enough reasons to remove children in every state in America.

         In Texas, more than 400 children were removed.  This group practices polygamy..having more than one mate.  The problem is with this particular group is that it is alledged that the adult men forced or coerced young female child brides to get married and to have marital relations.  This is illegal.  In almost all cultures in the United States this is considered sexual child abuse.  What is worse is that these men used God to validate their right to abuse these children; making them feel like they were sinful for not wanting these marriages.  They found a bed in the church where the female children were “spiritually married” and then traumatized.

        Some of the young mothers went with their children to the place where the protective services placed the children.  Some of the other mothers did not.  However, some of them are saying that they are being denied access to their children.  They all have to be fearful and  anxious about what happens next.

         Foster care for this large of a number of children is going to be overwhelming to the foster care system.  The thing of it is…in my mind, the young mothers are also considered  to be of an age to be placed into foster care themselves, if the prosecutors deem that indeed they have been abused.   They are going to need counseling for years to come.   I don’t think that there is much doubt that they have been abused in all kinds of ways. The children and mothers will need lots of support. 

         This investigation is going to be huge.  It is going to take many hours and lots of investigative staff to wade through the evidence and organize it into some sort of legal presentation for the court system.  I worry about the children, who will almost certainly be placed into the foster care system, becoming more damaged from the long process.

         Living this type of different lifestyle is one thing; but, being thrust into another whole world is going to be even more traumatic.  They will be seperated from their mothers and siblings in some cases.  If this investigation and eventual prosecution of their fathers is not done in some sort of speedy fashion the “help” can cause additional, emotional damage.

        The news said that the investigators had an informant in the “religious compound” for four years gathering evidence.  Just think how much horror and abuse was done in that amount of time.  I understand that they had to get “enough” evidence to be able to prosecute without allowing charges to be dismissed for “lack of evidence”; but really, four years?  How many female children were raped and forced to produce children every 10 months or so?

       One  story was released that there was a young 16 year old girl who had given birth four times already.  That is horrible.  Surely, some of that had to have taken place during the informants time in the compound. 

       These child brides were the victims; they were often forced to marry middle-aged men who already had other wives as well.  I have heard some comments online from people holding these women just as accountable as the men who were in control of daily life.  I beg to differ.  I think when it comes down to it…these women were forced…they were brainwashed, and they were conditioned or raised up to believe that this was acceptable.  I think it is going to take the wisdom of Solomon to figure out legal accountability. 

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