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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Think or Listen

There is a dearth of thinking citizens in America.

We need a big name to help us decide. We need a talk show host to give us the nod. We need a politician or the news media to tell us we’re doing the smart thing.

What is up with that?

If individual Americans can’t decide on which Presidential candidate they prefer, I have reservations about their ability to perform well in other areas of living that require critical thought. How about where to attend college, which vocation is best, and what department store to frequent? Those are decisions which other regimes of the world are more than glad to help their residents make.

But America prides itself on its independence. We have documents, wars, and monuments to prove it. We are a nation who thinks for itself – a big country who believes in the bigness of every solitary person. Because the big picture is only as strong as all the little strokes that boldly show their unique colors.

Facts are good. Information is vital. News is great. But, we don’t need biases, opinions, and warmed-over prejudices to help us cast our votes. I am disappointed in the pundits who have gone so far as to ask their own party to turn traitor in order to effect the win they think is best. That seems to be misguided patriotism. I am frustrated with news outlets who seem determined to "help" the listening public with often incomplete information. We don’t need that. What we do need is the courage to stand for what we truly believe in. And prove it at the polls.

Think for yourself or listen to others. You decide.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's that called?

Last week, my four-year-old, Kaley, was eating lunch and also trying to describe to me something that had happened to her. She pointed to the area above her eyes and said, "This is my second-head." Then she corrected it with a giggle "I mean this is my forehead."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Heroine in the Mirror

If you're a reader, you probably enjoy the little game that goes on in the pages of a good novel. You find yourself identifying with the heroine, being absorbed into the character, taking on traits you've always wanted and finding that almost perfect conclusion.

We know the heroine has to succeed, overcome, triumph. That's the way stories are.

I read somewhere that you should live life that way. Be the heroine of your own story. Stop waiting for the fairy tale to happen and just tackle real life. Be the catalyst for positive change in your own circumstances. Stop just setting future goals; instead, make them happen if possible.

Rather difficult to do. Certainly more difficult than sitting on the couch reading about it. But that's what makes the achievements in the real world so sweet. Heroines live for a few hundred pages. Real women live in the hearts of others forever. And, with God as the Author, you know the story will be a bestseller.....'cause He keeps refining the heroine as the tale goes along. (Philippians 1:6)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Are you wondering about me......

I know most of the visitors to my blog do not leave comments. A blog is like a journal that you sow (literally) to the wind. Once in cyberspace, it has a life of its own -- swinging from one screen to another and back again. So I do not know the personal responses that most of you feel after reading my latest post.

If you have frequented my blog lately, you have probably wondered why I have turned "political" on you. I know that the 2 taboo subjects are "religion and politics." I always break the first one; so I thought I would add the second as well!

Seriously, I have never been able to ignore the deep battles of our world. A Reader's Digest article on abuse of women in Third World countries had me so angered I wanted to help. When the catastrophies of 9/11 occurred, I was glued to the radio everywhere -- at home, in the car, trying to sort out on a personal level the magnitude of the event and also trying to kind-of absorb by proxy this horror for the families involved. When Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, whom I only knew from images on the Internet, was accidentally killed by a stingray last year, it knocked the wind out of me. As I learned what a lover of animals he was and what a great dad he was to his kids, I had this sense of mourning that this man who adored God's creation probably died without knowing the Creator, and there was no other chance. My grief made no sense -- but it touched me on a very deep level.

I am not an obsessive NPR or talk-radio person. Most of my dives into the political scene occur when issues of morality and/or faith come into play on the national level. And what I have discovered about the faith and principles of Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee has plunged me into the scene of politics deeper than I have ever been. I have friends who supported other candidates and I am not here to debate that -- frankly, I didn't really ever research them because I was so convinced that Huckabee was the man for the day. Actually, I first heard about him when I saw a clip on a friend's blog where he was answering a question about evolution/creation(before that time, I am not sure I could have listed the Republican candidates for President). When he resolutely stated that he uneqivocably believed that God created the world and quoted the words of Martin Luther, "here I stand, I can do no other" I was incredibly impressed. Here was a man on national news coverage committing political suicide, with a smile on his face, and not one bit ashamed. I began to look at him closer. I read quite a bit about him, favorable and otherwise. I heard what Limbaugh and Hannity said, but I couldn't dismiss him.

As I have delved deeper, this has become like a spiritual battle. I believe his stands for morality and faith make him an especially attractive target. If you believe he is a panderer to opinion and out to get votes however possible, I apologize for offending you. I am simply explaining why I have believed in this fight so strongly.

Huckabee's record is honorable, as I think you will discover if get the facts. Add to his credentials his evangelical faith, and I was sold. He is an articulate speaker, which particularly appeals to me since I love words so much. The deft way in which he dodges the tomahawks of the media always amuses me. His close family and the devotion he has to his wife, whom he almost lost to cancer early in their marriage also impressed me. His years as a pastor helped me identify with him since I too know about living in a parsonage. His willingness to fight for the "common people" reached out to me. His accomplishments while in office seemed very positive to me. Most of all, his unabashed willingness to be labeled a Christian convinced me.

I believe another reason I am drawn to his presidential bid is that, as an evangelical Christian and an extremely conservative one at that, I, like many of you, am used to being sidelined and overlooked. To see someone of faith confront the mainstream and, in direct contrast to their predictions, experience success, was a tremendous triumph. It was a victory by proxy. I think some of Huckabee's appeal is that he is a champion for all of us who have a message we want our society to hear but have never had the gifts or the platform to say it and and say it so well. As I have purposely studied him, I find I really like his other policy views as well, but it was his faith that first captured my attention.

When I decided to step over the edge and put in a favorable word for him on my blog, I knew it was risky. There's a good reason why they say never to discuss politics -- it divides people; it divides friends. I know that many who read my blog would agree with me that we don't want a couple of candidates from another party to win the general election, but there are many viewpoints on who to vote for otherwise. And each of us is entitled to his/her own opinion and vote and the freedom to voice that to others. I respect your choice, and hope you do the same for me.

The clock is winding down alarmingly for Huckabee -- I recognize that. Even those who might have voted for him in the beginning are thinking twice now. His former opponents in the party have endorsed the seemingly inevitable nominee -- he might as well follow suit and get it over with, right? Then, we'll focus on defeating....whoever it turns out to be. I just can't go along with that. If a principle is right when the odds are favorable, it is still right when the odds are terrible. The rhetoric, of course,is that "it is throwing my vote away." In my opinion, a vote for righteousness and morality is never thrown away, win or lose. The man I vote for may not win the election, but I can be proud that I raised my personal voice in what I believed was an honorable way.

Now, if you think Huckabee is dishonest and lacking integrity, you will not agree with my choice, I know. But I hope you can see that my choice is fueled by my convictions and at least, agree with me on those. I do not ask you to vote for someone that you do not believe in. I only ask -- if you are convinced of something, do not be swayed by the voices of others or the polls and negative projections. If Washington or Lincoln or Roosevelt had done that, our country would be in dire straights indeed. But they stood by their convictions and so should we. Right is always right; winning or losing. Make up your own mind and vote accordingly, whether for topdog or underdog.

I hope Huckabee keeps running until the buzzer sounds. I admire his tenacity(and, forgive me, but I would love it if he wins). You don't quit even when they say all is lost and tell you you're tangling with folly -- if you have made promises, you keep them and if you believe you should stand for something, you remain standing. That's what I know about America, and that's a lesson all of us can learn from this 2008 race.

If I offended you by my political view today or in the past, I ask your indulgence. If you think I should stick to family or spiritual matters only, please pardon me. This blog is "My Musings" and this subject is very much a part of my current ruminations. Maybe if you can see that my view of national events is integrated with my faith and personal principles, you will understand why it has so firmly entrenched me. However, this blog will not become a political source. I will branch out in other directions, as always.

I hope you will stay with me as a reader, and especially, as a friend -- because whatever shakes out, we agree on the important things in life -- a relationship with Jesus, a surrendered life, a committment to family, and a love of life and laughter. And, thanks to our Father in heaven, these things will continue as long as He wills, both in this life and in the one to come.

Mike Huckabee reacts to Romney endorsement

On the battlefield, the biggest shadows are cast by the guy with the most armor. In the battle, the victory is won by the man with the bravest spirit. Battles are about principles after all. Principles endure when armor rusts. Mike Huckabee has the heart and the grit. What a valiant warrior. Keep going, Huckabee!

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

A Day of Sweetness

Wishing you a day of
sweet remembrances and simple delights.

To be loved is a luxury that
no one
can afford to do without.

~ Happy Valentine's Day ~

Listen to the applause....

I long for vindication.

The powers of the day are so blaring in their disregard for the cause of the just. The rights of tiny human lives are mostly insignificant. The platform of healthy society, marriage between a man and a woman, is an outdated preference of the unenlightened. The desire to protect ourselves and our families, our country from extremists takes a back seat to the new day of tolerance. Trust in a Creator who controls our world taints the credentials of anyone holding to his belief. Ministry experience is seen as an amusing background rather than as valid qualification for future endeavors. A person who stands fast in the conviction that so called "social issues" are the defining principles of life is not taken seriously -- his core beliefs are "out of synch" with the generation.

Expect fairness? No, the thinking powers of our world have been twisted for ages. Hope for victory? Yes, history records the fight of so many -- some who lost, some who won. It was God's call. Who knows His mind? How can a human mind determine the outcome of struggles that are not earthbound alone, but are fought in the principalities beyond our reach, whose effect is felt in celestial domains?

Battle on? Yes, the "good guys" never give up. Not when they're outnumbered; not when they're misrepresented; not when they're discounted; not when they're disparaged. To quit is to admit our cause is not worth the fight. That we cannot do.

I want the day now. I want the prognosticators to sit, stunned by the impossibility that has become reality. I want to hug the esctasy of jubilation deep within my spirit. I want righteousness to win...... And it will. But in God's time. That's why I have to remind myself that my conformity to His plan is even more noble than my efforts to ensure present triumph.

I cannot give up. It is not in my nature. To be beaten is one thing; to abdicate is quite another. As long as I have a checker on the board, I am going to play the game. And there is a queue of souls in that great cloud around us who have done the same and whose applause even now reverberates the eternal chambers. In quietness, you can hear it. Keep going. Never quit.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Charlie Rose Greenroom - Mike Huckabee

This clip gives some background details on Presidential Candidate, Mike Huckabee. Despite the media hype, Governor Huckabee is standing true and making America proud that principles, excellence, and faith can rise to great heights. I proudly support Mike Huckabee.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

What if Washington had listened.......

A valiant band of supporters struggled against gargantuan odds. Resources were low, chances were slim, propaganda was against them. They had a stolid leader. They had an indominitable spirit. They had a fiery determination in their hearts. They had a steadfast resolve.

The opposing forces were well-trained, well-outfitted. They had a history of dominating the battles they fought. They were self-assured. Their leaders were unconcerned. They knew they had the edge over the grassroots campaign. The outcome was in their pocket.......

Fortunately for all of us, George Washington didn't listen to the hype. From a military standpoint, the war made no sense -- the challengers didn't stand a chance. But the heart has courage that the intellect cannot forge. And, in those early patriots, heart and spirit was all they had. And, in the grace of Providence, it was enough.

The greatest victories follow the harshest battles. The greater the odds, the sweeter the triumph. "Impossible" is not in the vocabulary of the embattled. Better to die on the field of battle than to forfeit the conflict when the cause is right. History pages are crammed with heros who thought so.

Today, you may not be huddled in Valley Forge with frostbitten feet and a ragged uniform, but your spirit may be curled on a pallet of despair. Remember the end of the tale. The audacity of Revolutionary commoners has become the pride of a great nation. Outcomes are not determined by words, but by grit.

Cast your vote, regardless of the talking points. To vote in fear is to vote in weakness. When has it ever been right to let others dissuade you from following your convictions? Stand tall on the political field and turn a deaf ear to the naysayers. Pundits don't speak for America; citizens speak for America. Impossibilites and insurmountable odds have always challenged us, but they have not conquered us. If it is God's Will, all things are possible. And if it is not, a grave on the battle turf is preferrable to a silent tomb of shame. And on such noble beliefs, our great nation has endured.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Mike Huckabee speaks in Olathe, KS 2/8/08

Listen to the values that fuel Mike Huckabee's campaign for President of the United States. He is a man of principle and determination. He has the most actual executive experience of any candidate. He has now received the personal endorsement of Doctor James Dobson. The race is not over. Vote your convictions. Let your voice resonate on primary day.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Born in the North; Raised in the South

I consider myself a Southern girl, which is a little funny considering I was born a Hoosier and none of my ancestors have distinct Southern ties.
Well, there is that one story.......... In the post below you will read about George and Mary Bender. They married in PA in 1856, and lived over the state line in Maryland. A tale told me by my grandfather is that George served during the Civil War, but that the place they lived was frequented by armies of both sides. (I have verified the fact that border towns of PA/MD were hotbeds of North/South tensions.) Supposedly, Mary Binkley Bender would hang the stars and stripes when the Northern army was in town, and the Rebel Jack when the Confederates made an appearance. It was further told to me that George was captured and kept in a prison camp. When Ulysses S. Grant came to town, Mary Bender fed him a chicken dinner and asked if he could arrange her husband's release. Apparently he did, for in the spring the family saw someone sitting in the cherry tree, gorging on the budding fruit. It was George, ravenous from his prison stay, home again.
Maybe true, maybe picked up a little fancy as it passed down through the generations, but could be it explains why I feel I'm a part of both, why I love North and South, my great American heritage -- proud pioneers and settlers, all.
My family on both sides are from northern states, but I was reared in the cradle of the South, giving me the distinct feeling that I am a daughter of them both.
When I was very young, I played in the sand hills of Central Florida where we lived. I did most of my growing up in the lolling countryside of Middle Tennessee. We spent our first pastorate in the gentle south of Alabama. Our 3rd parish was near the balmy horse country of Ocala, Florida. I had 5 great years of college in Cincinnati, Ohio. We have pastored in the prairies of mid-western Indiana and in the Great Lakes regions of Ohio. As you can see, my North/South split self has had ample opportunity to taste both parts of our great country.
I love the unsurpassed goodness of Southern pork BBQ. I like the tart crunch of sweet corn from an Indiana field.
I relish the snowy landscape of the northern winters. I adore the sweet fragrance of magnolia leaves on a warm Southern evening.
I like Southern accents. I like Northern breads. I like Southern homecomings. I like Northern harvest festivals.
I identify with the rich pride of the South. I admire the hearty spirit of the North.
To me, home and family is a potpourri. An aromatic blend of faces, places, traditions and souls. I will grow old, still cherishing my place and the sense of belonging God has given me. And I hope to pass that on to those who come after me.
Charles and Myrtle (Stewart) Bender -- Wedding Day, July 4, 1908. (My paternal great-grandparents)
Charles and Myrtle in their sunset years on the farm in Michigan.

My grandparents, James and Thelma Bender, with his sister Juanita and mother Myrtle. The Bender Evangelistic Party in the 1930's -- singers and preachers.

The Bender Trio -- 1958. My dad, in the middle, with his brother and sister.

My dedication in Shirley, Indiana -- 1970. (Guess I was born to marry a preacher -- the sign over my grandfather's shoulder says "Go, fill My house." Yep, that's destiny!)

Faces from my past.....

Your heritage tells where you come from. It cannot always predict what you will become, but it is an important link to who you are. It tells the human story behind your birth and family. I have found my search into genealogy fascinating.
For several months, I was practically obsessed with fact-finding and gathering information. I have collected quite a bit. Each time I opened an envelope, I felt an irrepressible excitement. Each new face was a window. Each scrap of family trivia a clue. Yes, most of the people pictured below are gone into another world. As the Bible says, they are asleep with their forefathers. But, their epic tale lives on in me, in my parents, my brothers, my cousins...the stories handed down of their character and humor and faith give me roots and grace my life. I value my place in this line of family tradition. To know your heritage invokes honor, responsibility, and pride. It strengthens the cords of life and holds you fast.
George Washington Bender and Mary Elizabeth (Binkley) Bender and their 9 living children. My great-grandfather, Charles Bender, is in the middle in the front. The Benders immigrated from Germany (surname is a derivation of Fassbender -- "workers[benders] of iron.") The Binkleys(derived from Binggeli) were from Switzerland -- 3 of my Binkley forbears served in the Continental Army in the Revolutionary War. George and Mary married in PA and traveled by covered wagon to the west -- Illinois, where they settled. They were Dunkards -German Baptist Brethren or Church of the Brethren. George and Mary's graves are behind a small block Brethren church in Illinois.

The Stewart Clan -- my Scottish/Irish ancestors. My paternal grandfather, James U. Bender, Sr., is the boy whose face is barely seen 4th from left on top row. My great, great grandfather James E. Stewart was born in Scotland in 1812 and immigrated to America. His wife, Catharine Porter was born in Ireland. They married in Pittsburgh, PA, and later migrated west to Illinois. The story has been told in my family that some of our Protestant ancestors were burned at the stake in the old country.

The Walkers of Fulton County, Illinois. My paternal grandmother, Thelma Walker Bender, is in the middle in front. My great, great grandfather, Benjamin Franklin Walker, served as a private in the 11th Indiana infantry during the Civil War. His son is pictured above, James Abram Walker, seated on the right.

The Moss sisters of Franklin County, Missouri. My maternal grandmother, Pearl Lorraine Moss Williams is in the middle of the front row. My great, great great grandfather, Peter Benjamin Moss, served in the 8th Missouri Infantry Regiment during the Civil War. Legend has it that the Moss side is distantly related to the great hunter, Daniel Boone, who did eventually settle in Missouri. I have not found the direct link yet, but it is makes you feel good anyway. (smile)

My maternal grandparents, Harold and Lorraine Williams with their firstborn. Harold's mother's family were the Beesons who trace their ancestry back to the 15th century in England where many of them were knights. Edward Beeson came to America in 1682/1684 on one of the voyages of William Penn. The Beesons were Quakers.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Hope 4 Huckabee (I'm Ready to Fly)

My Personal Choice

This is my personal blog -- a place where I share my thoughts and opinions. As a firstborn (have you read Kevin Leman's birth order book?), I am very loyal to a cause I believe in. The coming party nominations and following general election are things I very much care about. I believe in the candidacy of Mike Huckabee. I know I have friends who support other candidates. But the beauty of America is that we are all given a voice. I know the odds seemed stacked against him, but the race isn't over yet. I would rather vote for the man I believe in than the man whose principles I question but think could win.

Mike Huckabee has more actual executive governing experience than any candidate, Republican or Democrat. He won re-election twice as governor of Arkansas and was voted one of America's best governors. He stands for life and family, for the fair tax, and believes in the future of the "common people." I see him as a man of unparalleled values who has a great vision for the United States of America.

If Mike Huckabee is defeated, I will have no regrets that I supported a man of Christian conviction and articulate principle. I do "like Mike," and I think God can do the impossible for His glory, according to His will. "For promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south. But God is the judge: he putteth down one, and setteth up another" (Psalm 75:6-7)

But whoever you vote for...let's remain friends, ok? And let's continue to pray for America.

Mike Huckabee: It's about delagates

Vote for a man who believes in what you stand for, not for the 2nd choice because you think the 1st choice has no chance. The race isn't over until it's over. There is hope for America.

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