Thursday, May 6, 2010

National Day of Prayer

Today is the day (the first Thursday in May) when we lift our country and its leaders in prayer as a nation.

History of the National Day of Prayer

Controversy surrounding the National Day of Prayer

Official National Day of Prayer website

THE WHITE HOUSE
NATIONAL DAY OF PRAYER, 2010
- – - – - – -
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
A PROCLAMATION

Throughout our history, whether in times of great joy and thanksgiving, or in times of great challenge and uncertainty, Americans have turned to prayer. In prayer, we have expressed gratitude and humility, sought guidance and forgiveness, and received inspiration and assistance, both in good times and in bad.

On this day, let us give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed upon our Nation. Let us rejoice for the blessing of freedom both to believe and to live our beliefs, and for the many other freedoms and opportunities that bring us together as one Nation. Let us ask for wisdom, compassion, and discernment of justice as we address the great challenges of our time.

We are blessed to live in a Nation that counts freedom of conscience and free exercise of religion among its most fundamental principles, thereby ensuring that all people of goodwill may hold and practice their beliefs according to the dictates of their consciences. Prayer has been a sustaining way for many Americans of diverse faiths to express their most cherished beliefs, and thus we have long deemed it fitting and proper to publicly recognize the importance of prayer on this day across the Nation.

Let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those suffering from natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, and elsewhere, and the people from those countries and from around the world who have worked tirelessly and selflessly to render aid. Let us pray for the families of the West Virginia miners, and the people of Poland who so recently and unexpectedly lost many of their beloved leaders. Let us pray for the safety and success of those who have left home to serve in our Armed Forces, putting their lives at risk in order to make the world a safer place. As we remember them, let us not forget their families and the substantial sacrifices that they make every day. Let us remember the unsung heroes who struggle to build their communities, raise their families, and help their neighbors, for they are the wellspring of our greatness. Finally, let us remember in our thoughts and prayers those people everywhere who join us in the aspiration for a world that is just, peaceful, free, and respectful of the dignity of every human being.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim May 6, 2010, as a National Day of Prayer. I call upon the citizens of our Nation to pray, or otherwise give thanks, in accordance with their own faiths and consciences, for our many freedoms and blessings, and I invite all people of faith to join me in asking for God’s continued guidance, grace, and protection as we meet the challenges before us.

Today IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand ten, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fourth.

BARACK OBAMA
# # #

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Colorado Springs Tea Party Rally...

This was a pretty straight forward political rally. There was a group that moved along the outer edges shouting, "We love Obama!" at one point to which the crowd responded with, "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A." That was it as far as any sort of drama and it was very short lived. The majority of the speakers spoke about the next election and how we can turn things in this country around. It was nothing like what you hear about in relation to Tea Party events.





















































Monday, March 1, 2010

Looking for Answers to the Homeless Question...

Our city just passed a camping ban a couple weeks ago. It was in response to what is being called, "Tent City." Many homeless have set up camp along a creek bed and as that population grows some have felt that a ban on camping is the answer. Now, those people will be fined and forced to move. I don't even see where this ban is enforceable. If these people had money they wouldn't be down there. You can't get blood from a turnip, ya know? So... they don't pay the fine and are carted off to jail? The jails don't have room! The shelters don't have room!

Sigh...

The fact is that once you cross a certain line in our society it is almost impossible to cross back over.

This past weekend I took a homeless gal to look at an apartment. She had walked several miles to a parking lot near a park where a group I'm involved with serves breakfast to the homeless on Saturdays. Bus service on Saturdays and Sundays was part of our city's budget cuts this year and it would have taken her an hour and a half to walk to the apartment. It was a studio the size of my son's bedroom that was going for $400 a month. The building was clean and I could see the gal was excited about it. Then she was informed that they do not rent to anyone with any prior evictions. She has two.

Each of the people I've met has a different story. There is a homeless subculture... a community. Many of them know and look out for each other. In many ways they are like a family. Yes, there are bad homeless people. There are also homeless people that aren't.

What gives life value? Do the homeless still have value? Do they matter? Do we look at them and see nothing but waste... or do we look beyond that and see a human being that is hurting? When is a person beyond redemption and who of us is worthy of making that judgment call?

When I was 9 years old my aunt sat us down and told us the story of Stone Soup. It made a real impression on me. I don't recall being told a story in that way prior to that day. There was no book and no pictures to look at. She captivated me as she wove through the story and my imagination brought forth pictures in my mind.

The story was about a village of people that were starving. A man went to the center of the village, built a fire, filled a big pot full of water and set about making soup. He threw in some stones. The villagers peered out of their windows trying to figure out what he was up to. Eventually some of them came out and asked. He told them he was making a delicious stone soup. He remained intent as he stirred and the villagers watched. He breathed in the aroma and spoke often of how good the soup was going to be. Then he said to himself that he wished he had some onions for the soup. One of the villagers said he had some onions if he was willing to share the soup with him. The man was.

My aunt continued to tell the story using different voices for each of the villagers that had something else to add to the pot. In the end the entire village was fed and it started with a man that had nothing. I've never forgotten that story.

I know some would look at that story and say it is a good example of how if everybody gives a little bit all of the people can be taken care of and then see taxes and government as a way to accomplish that. I don't.

The government does have its place, as do taxes. However, the more taxes we pay and the bigger government gets... the more we lose our freedom.

In the story, it was the villagers' choice to contribute to the pot. Was it possible that there were villagers that were hoarding vegetables in their cellars? Yes.

I don't have any answers. I am looking for them. I'm trying to get a handle on what services are available, both governmental and privately funded. I'm looking to truly understand the culture and the truth about homelessness.

The man who started the ministry I am now involved in felt led to move into a tent amongst the homeless. I, like one of the villagers from the story, have come out to see what he is doing.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Homeless

What are your perceptions of the homeless?

While we were living in Mississippi I got involved with a gal at our church that had written a bible curriculum for children at risk. She was a nurse practitioner and had worked with the homeless in Hawaii. She was able to set up a time for us to teach what we called Bible Club to children in a transitional home for homeless mothers and their children. She and her husband were just staring their family so she was not always able to be involved. Eventually, I moved from the transitional home to the soup kitchen next door that had an after school and summer program for kids in the neighborhood that might otherwise be left alone. I also drove for a Meals on Wheels program through that soup kitchen on Mondays.

I learned a lot.

When we moved to Colorado Springs in 2002 I got involved with another soup kitchen. We were homeschooling our children so they went with me on Thursdays and we helped prep food, cook, serve and clean. We also helped organize donations. This ministry was run differently than the one in Mississippi and I couldn't help but compare. I was disturbed by the fact that although this, like in Mississippi, was a faith based ministry there was no prayer before the meal and in the separate room they had for families there was a plaque on the wall stating that one of their rights was to receive meals without proselytizing. I respected the rules of the ministry but it didn't set well with me. The people were also different. There were those that were grateful and then there were those that were demanding and rude. There were also people that showed up that were obviously not homeless. Once a bunch of people rode up on their motorcycles all decked out in their leather... and proceeded to go through the line. I was floored. A lady that had to weigh 400 lbs told me that her husband left her three years before. She lived in a house not far from there and she told me that she had not had to buy groceries in all that time. Also, after the meal we packed up the leftovers and handed them out to whoever wanted them. The waste was incredible.

We stopped going when I started to fear for the safety of my oldest daughter as she was exhibiting lack of judgment in dealing with some of the men there. That was five, maybe closer to six, years ago. I have not volunteered in that way since... until last weekend.

As I step back into this world I've been thinking a lot about what the answers are. People are homeless for different reasons... Drugs, alcohol, bad choices, events beyond their control, and mental illness with it often being a combination of some or all of those things. There are also children who are there through no fault of their own. It is a lot to take in and can be overwhelming. Most of those that actually live on the streets are men. There are many more programs available for women and children.

Politically the homeless are often used as a pawn. The fact is homelessness is a complicated issue. What do you think about it?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Beneath the Rubble

The L.A. Times has published an inspirational article about a Compassion International employee and a hotel worker that were buried under rubble for 65 hours in Haiti.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

World Vision Help for Haiti

Even though we no longer homeschool I still receive homeschool related e-mails.

For Immediate Release1/14/10

Homeschoolers around the world band together to support the Haitian community during their time of crisis.Through World Vision and CurrClick.com, homeschool families can now come together to support Haitian earthquake victims and their families. Small donations of $5 and $10 are being accepted at http://www.currclick.com/ CurrClick.com will be matching donations. A counter is being kept on the CurrClick.com homepage that will keep track of the donation amount as it grows.

"Homeschoolers are generous, giving people and CurrClick is excited about being able to match that generosity with a donation to World Vision. World Vision is a great organization and we look forward to donating a significant amount to their efforts in Haiti," said Staley Krause of CurrClick.

Leah Nieman, also from CurrClick asks that homeschoolers help spread the word about this opportunity by posting the following text on Twitter and Facebook: Homechoolers Help Haiti! Join with other homeschoolers & donate now: http://www.currclick.com/product_info.php?products_id=33677&it=1 "Social media is on of the best and fastest ways to spread the word," says Nieman.All donations will go directly toward distributing life-saving relief supplies – including food, clean water, blankets, and tents -- to children and families devastated by the earthquake and aftershocks in Haiti.

To make a donation, visit: http://www.currclick.com/index.php--
Leah NiemanSales and Marketing
http://www.CurrClick.comleah@currclick.comleah@currclick.com
309-678-9576

Friday, January 8, 2010

Churches Fire Bombed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald out of Australia:

Firebomb attacks on Malaysian churches
ROMEN BOSE
January 9, 2010

KUALA LUMPUR: Four Malaysian churches have been firebombed, with one left badly damaged, in an escalating dispute over the use of the word Allah by non-Muslims.

As Muslim groups held protests yesterday, police increased security around churches after one in Kuala Lumpur was set ablaze in a midnight attack that left its ground floor gutted. Three other churches were attacked hours later, with one sustaining minor damage, while the others were not damaged. No arrests have been made.

The Home Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, appealed for calm amid the conflict over the use of Allah as a translation for God by Christians, and assured minorities in Malay-dominated Malaysia that ''they are safe''.

''I take the events that happened last night very seriously,'' he told a press conference. ''We want to assure the public that this was not a co-ordinated and well-planned action.

''Let's hope for the best in a few hours' time,'' he said before the protests that took place at two main mosques in the capital after yesterday's prayers.

Police said officers had been deployed to protect churches around the country and to monitor the protests, following the attacks and also phone threats against churches.

In Kuala Lumpur, young worshippers carried banners and vowed to defend Islam.
''We will not allow the word Allah to be inscribed in your churches,'' a speaker shouted into a loudspeaker at the Kampung Bahru mosque. About 50 people carried posters reading ''Heresy arises from words wrongly used'' and ''Allah is only for us''.

The High Court this month ruled in favour of a Catholic newspaper which used Allah as a translation for God. The Government has said the word should be used only by Muslims. The ruling was suspended on Wednesday pending an appeal.

''Islam is above all. Every citizen must respect that,'' said Ahmad Johari, who attended prayers at the National Mosque. ''I hope the court will understand the feeling of the majority Muslims of Malaysia. We can fight to the death over this issue.''

The rallies were held inside the mosque compounds after police banned protests on the streets. Participants dispersed peacefully afterwards.

Pribumi Perkasa, one of the groups organising the demonstrations, condemned the fire-bombings but warned that Malays were deeply concerned.

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press


You may be wondering why I'm reprinting that here. My father-in-law lives in Kuala Lumpur. We received an e-mail from him this morning:

We are having some big problems out here. They burned down four churches last night and are now going after cars with anything that looks Christian. This is a result of a court case where the judge ruled that it was OK to use Allah in print but the local Muslims did not agree and now are ripping the town apart.

Will give you update later when more is known.

If necessary I will evacuate to Penang or Singapore.

Dad


My father-in-law is not a Christian. He's been living in KL for around 12 years. He is also not an alarmist in any shape or form so the fact that he's mentioned evacuating has me concerned. I would appreciate any prayers on his behalf.

In addition to that, the reason for this situation itself is alarming.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Interesting...

The recent announcements by several Democrats (Dodd, Dorgan and Ritter) that they will be retiring or not seeking re-election are... interesting. It certainly puts the pressure on Obama to get those things he wants to passed as soon as possible.

At the same time, there is something going on here in the city of Colorado Springs. There is a lot of talk about the city selling the Memorial Health System. Memorial consists of three hospitals on two campuses and does not receive taxpayer money. It is a self-supporting city enterprise that pays operating expenses through revenue and cash reserves. People have said that it is about to become a liability for the city, so it's a good time to get rid of it... they did lose money through a devaluation of their investment portfolio to the tune of $28 million last year. However, on the other side of things they have remained profitable.

I just can't help but wonder... and that may be from my lack of knowledge on how all this works... but, could this push be in response to the health care stuff going on in Washington?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I've Been Thinking...

Thinking about what I want to do with this blog. It has been ignored for months. I even thought about deleting it because I seemed to have lost interest. In the end, I decided to keep it and to start posting again.

I don't know what to do about the current political scene. There is much I don't understand. In many ways I feel helpless. One of the things that has bothered me for a long time has been the perceptions that people have of one another... in the political arena as well as just in every day life. We tend to box everyone into a category... even ourselves.

I am a Christian. I am politically conservative. I believe in limited government and a free market system. I am a registered Republican.

I am not surrounded only by those that believe the same as I do. I have the ability to disagree with people while still appreciating their right to believe as they choose. The truth is I am most interested in people and what makes them tick.

The characterization of Republicans being rich and not caring about the poor really bothers me. Where does that come from?

For the time being, I am going to take this blog in a bit of a different direction. I want to understand the people behind the labels. I want to take a look at different relief agencies, learn their histories, see the impact they've had, and look at who is supporting those agencies. I'd like to look at current government programs here in the United States as well as relief agencies supported by donations... secular and religious. I also want to take a look at the same in terms of our involvement in other countries.

I have talked to some people about interviewing them for this purpose. The more I've thought about this project, the more I've realized it could become an overwhelming task. I am just an Uneducated Housewife and I've got responsibilities that come with that. I haven't got this all figured out but I am just going to start and while it may not be well planned, I hope that it will be interesting.

I am going to begin with Compassion International. Stay tuned.