Friday, April 30, 2010

Immigration Bill

What a difficult topic, sure to divide and destroy. The thing about immigration is I am totally divided on this topic. I can see both sides to a very difficult issue and if I am divided even by myself how difficult is it for the entire country?

The fact is historically this influx of immigration is actually quite circular and has occurred several times in our past, with the Chinese in the 1870's and with the Irish in the early 1800's both times we fought to limit immigration claiming too many came over, they stole our jobs and did nothing to add to society. Both times we were wrong what is to say we are right this time?

I know a man, an uncle to a childhood friend who crossed the border on the engine of a car, not hidden in the trunk or under the car no he came over hidden on the engine.. Can you imagine the pain that he must have born? To this day he bears the scars of his choice. I have a friend whose mother crossed the border in labor so she could have her child in this country in order to have a better life. I have been in labor trust me that is not an easy feat. How can we as a nation not embrace such people? People who will do anything to improve their lots in life? People who have made a difference in the lives of so many? I know both of them impacted my life.

And yet, I resent hearing of people who come here and DEMAND their constitutional rights. Demand they be given the same rights as those who live and die here. I know as a single parent I do not qualify for many benefits yet when I go to a food pantry or apply for assistance I see in the parking lot expensive cars of people who do not even speak my language and they qualify for the same things that I a citizen do not. It is very frustrating. I find that I resent hearing of someone who breaks our laws then finds a way to get an entire legislature on their side because they are being persecuted. Hey I am a taxpaying American citizen get on my side for a few minutes.

Then of course there is the case of the children... I know a girl, a lovely, delightful, intelligent girl. She has been in this country since she was about 18 months. She did not choose to come here but she did. She was raised here, educated here and wants to stay in what she truly considers here country and yet she is considered an illegal immigrant.. Shoot, she is about as Mexican (and that is her nationality I am not picking on any one country) as my daughter. She is a typical American teenager... trust me I have watcher her grow up. She wants to go to college and have a career but she is limited in her choices because she is not considered legal. To send her "back" to Mexico would be a joke the only thing she has in common is she speaks the language. Again so does my 18 year old daughter.

I guess my main grief is that our laws are being formulated by those who do not care for this country. I am sick of hearing how the president of Mexico says we should make certain things available to the people of his country. Hello, make it available yourself. Fix your country not ours.. We have a responsibility to our citizens not yours.. I know if we went to Mexico and wanted to live there, we could not own land (we could own the structure but not the land) we would have to have a Mexican National co-own the property with us. We could not get free education or free medical. Hmmmmm, the way I see it is if we provide such things for them then they should offer us the same. That is good neighbor policy. Right now our policy seems more like that of a parent appeasing a spoiled child..

Please note, I know there are many many many individuals that come to this country because they DREAM.. and I want to help them with their dreams but I wish their dreams could be realized without putting a burden on us. I know there will be those who say I am ignorant or prejudiced when actually I am neither.. well I may not be as "wise" and informed as I would like to be but I do have an open mind and I am willing to listen to the plight of the undocumented. My grandfather's family were immigrants and my grandmother's first language was Spanish so I do understand. It is just neither of them ever felt entitled to anything. They worked.. oh man they worked... for everything they had and they followed the rules in doing so. I guess that is the main point.. They followed the rules.. and yet earlier I wrote a blog about a woman named Vivian who broke laws because it was the right thing to do...

See, if I am confused about the issue of immigration as a individual, if I can see both sides with clarity how can the government be any less confused?

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sometimes I Just Don't Get It

As I have mentioned in the past I am an avid football fan. I like the NFL but I LOVE college ball. I follow several teams finding my favorites every year. Over the past few years I have enjoyed watching Tim Tebow become the fabulous player he is. I know there are many who think he will flop in the NFL for any number of reasons but today I read an article that totally ticked me off.

Please remember the NFL is an organization that allows convicted man slaughterers on their rosters, who allows players to pretty much get away with anything as long as they don't get press (and that has only changed in the past few years) but they feel that Tim Tebow may be a polarizing athlete because he stands firm and is vocal about his faith. He does not cram it down the throats of others but he does stand firm in his personal belief. That it seems is offensive to many in the NFL. Let me tell you right now if that is the reason Tim or as Word Girl affectionately calls him, Timmy, is not drafted then the NFL has lost me forever.

I read this article and frankly I was appalled. Basically it tells us that he may not be drafted because he is a Christian who stands for his belief. How did this country come to this? Where we are ashamed of those who take a stand for Christ? I know we idolize the unfit often but here is a gracious, attractive, charismatic, talented young man and because he devoted these attributes to God there are those who want him to fall. Now if he is like any other Christian he will stumble, he will make mistakes, too bad that if and when it happens the media will rejoice and make sure the entire world knows it.

Ok, I have said enough, I just needed to vent

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Books

I love summer, even when I am working I love summer. There is just so much about it that says put on your suit, grab your beach stuff and head off, time to play. Of course to me that means go play in the ocean, a difficult thing when one lives in the Midwest. When I can not head for the ocean I grab a book and the very best part about summer is all those lovely new books that come out!!

In case anyone wondered I am a book fanatic.. in a way reading is my drug of choice, there is absolutely nothing better than a good book. I am one of those that will reread a good book, something that has been known to drive my mother crazy... but that is just a side benefit. I re read books because when I read I am standing right there next to the characters and they become my friends. I am interested in them and occasionally want to go back and visit them. That of course makes me a huge lover of sequels, then I get new stories and get to touch on the lives of "friends" I have already made.

Since I am such a huge reader I thought I would share a few of the authors I love. Most of them either have a book coming out or just did.

Sherrilyn Kenyon... not for the logical minded.. what a GREAT author, she has several series out right now. I first fell in love with her as Kinley Macgregor when she was writing a historical fiction series but stumbled onto her Dark-Hunter series. Oh my goodness, the woman is brilliant. This is a series that brings, Greek Mythology (actually she uses several different pantheons but in the beginning it is mostly greek) a unique and interesting twist on the vampire genre and takes us on a most intriguing ride. She also has a few other series out which I would recommend. In short if she wrote it, I suggest you read it.

Christine Feehan... another prolific writer who currently has 4 series running. The only downfall to so many series is that you have to wait an entire year before the next book in a series comes out. She too has a twist on vampires, her Carpathian Series, is sensual, intriguing and downright captivating. Another author I suggest you read, just because she is good. But she too is not one for the overly logical.. Which means I wouldn't recommend my mom read it.

Other authors that are fun... Julie Garwood and Elizabeth Lowell. Julie is one of those writers who just cracks me up. In her earlier historical work, I was constantly thinking the hero had to be banging his head against the wall at the total insanity of the characters around him. I would just giggle... Elizabeth Lowell has some pretty great books out there, I would warn you though she is a tease, she creates these fabulous characters then leaves one or two without a story and moves on to a new series. Being the person I am it keeps me hoping for a book for those lost folks. Both of these authors write in what I call the romantic suspense genre... kinda like a Bogart film, the story is great and the romance intertwines with the plot.. not the plot is the romance.

Nalini Singh and Alyssa Day are two of my newer favorites. Both have a great series running and I am enjoying them immensely. Nalini has a series set in the future about, psychics, shape changers and humans... an interesting intertwining of the three. and Alyssa is another one who brings ancient myths to current times as she writes about warriors of Atlantis...

Jacquelyn Frank, Alexis Morgan, Christina Dodd, Gaelon Foley, Stephanie Laurens, Karen Marie Moning, Jayne Anne Krentz and all her aka's, Lisa Kleypas and the ever prolific Nora Roberts.

The only problem with reading for me is I read too darn fast.. yes I know many of you say the same but I inhale new books, once I start reading I can not put a book down until it is finished. Whether it is a Math book, a dictionary (ok, pushing it) or a novel. I LOVE reading. I suppose the benefit about reading fast is I usually finish a book the day I get it so I can put it down sooner than if I read slowly. And yes the day I get it.. I am not exaggerating.

Whatever happens I know this summer will be filled with exciting stories and crazy characters and when life gets too insane I will have a good book to hide in.

Sunday, April 18, 2010


When I was growing up we had a friend of the family, she was this strong, determined, opinionated woman. Sometimes she terrified me and others she just seemed a bit odd. Her son and my oldest uncle became friends in school and as it sometimes happens their mothers bonded. Please not the description I used for Vivian is accurate for my grandma, not that I would ever have called her odd. They were both tough old birds, in a by gone time they would have been referred to as touch broads and it would have been a compliment. My mom swears the only reason they remained such good friends is because Vivian was the only person who didn't take any crap from my grandma.

Vivian was also on the outskirts of my life when I was a child, she owned a flower ranch right next to a cemetery and when we could or needed to we were allowed to work there on weekends for cash. When I was very little (like so young I don't remember) we actually lived on the ranch. Not that it was really a flower ranch but that is what we called it. I remember as a very young child going over to the cemetery to place flowers on the graves for people as that was a service that was offered to regular clients. I also remembered getting really huffy because my brother was allowed to stand on the street corner and sell flowers and I wasn't (that is where the good tip money was) but as an adult I realize that was never going to happen, hello 10, 11 year old girl standing on a corner unsupervised leaning into strangers cars? Even in those days of semi innocence that was not done.

Vivian and her husband also owned property in Wrightwood (a nearby community in the mountains) which we were allowed to use occasionally. So we got some snow time in. No I always called her Vivian but he was Mr. , I suppose looking back that should have told me something. But as a child he always seemed to be in the background and she was larger than life. He passed away either late in my childhood or my early teens and she moved on to Hemit, where I discovered the Ramona Pageant. What a fantastic event! Their grandchildren were two of my closest childhood friends and to this day I am one of the few who is allowed to refer to the grandson by his nickname, well last we spoke at least.

The thing about Vivian was she was this amazing woman, I believe she was a teacher but I am not sure. What I do know is I wish I had known more then because I never knew her at all. It turns out that when most of the world was ignoring Hitler and then slowly started to fight, They were one of those families crossing Europe and delivering those under persecution into safety. I just heard this story in passing a few years after she died and I have regretted ever since then not knowing before. The stories we lost about these amazing people of course to them they were just doing what was right, which of course makes them even more amazing. These two people he was rather quiet and assuming (although later I was told he ran the roust) and she was this strong dominate woman (amazing what a child sees isn't it?). Yet they made such life altering changes for so very many people, they actually changed lives. They made a difference and I wish I had the chance to sit down with them and hear their stories.

I suppose that is one of the reasons for this blog, as we loose our elders we loose generations of oral history. We as a society are no longer an oral one, we are hardly a written one as we tend to need media to tell our stories now. That is ok but we also need to make sure our past is not lost. I suppose I need to keep haranguing my family for their stories, I have mentioned a few times that I would like to have our oral history preserved but have never actually done anything about it. Guess it is time.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Making It Public - Part 3

Today marks the final part for my three pronged blog on taking my faith out into the world. I hope you have enjoyed the previous two. My finally personal verse that I took with me upon leaving school was Philippians 4:13

I can do all things
Through Christ who strengthens me

Is that not a totally empowering concept? I can do ALL things. As I have pointed out in previous blogs I was an arrogant child. The concept that I could do anything was not new to me. I honestly believed that all I had to do was set my mind to it and I could achieve whatever I wanted. In a way I still do believe just that, one of my personal crosses I carry. Did you note how I conveniently forgot part of the verse?

Upon leaving school I rushed forward ready to take on the world. After all I could do anything! Anything that is except succeed, everytime I tried something I failed. I self imploded no one was out to get my I was just unable to stay on course. I became best at was surviving.

Everytime a challenge came my way I did not rejoice and accept God's support, no I worked hard to battle on, on my own. Oh I would usually complete the challenge but each success took a piece of me. My survival became my triumph there was no praise to God. There was no rejoicing no there was a smirk my battle cry became I did this all by myself. Each victory was hollow and each failure consumed me. Oh I could rationalize, I could even make myself a hero in the eyes of the world my trials had been legion, my survival an accomplishment. Of course it was my success not one single Glory to God. Forgetting or refusing to apply the entire verse is an eventual recipe for disaster. The verse is "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". It doesn't mean I am going to conquer the world, no it means when God shows His plans, no matter how hard, no matter how difficult it may seem, with God behind us, with the power of the Spirit flowing through us WE CAN DO ANYTHING! Conquer any crises, survive any trial and when we do it, it is not our glory no it is God's. The spotlight is removed from us and transferred to God. The glow that shines forth embraces us all

Over my adult life I have struggled and stumbled many times. I have gone without as often as I have had plenty. My life has been about feast as well as famine I have never quite managed that even keel, that nice balance, that sure and steady. Nope not me I am an all or nothing kind of girl. May I suggest if you have a choice choose a different way of living.

One of the most amazing things about God is He allows us our idiocy. He allows our struggles then when we finally admit we are lost without Him, He raises us up and uses those same struggles to bring Glory to Him. As a Child of God even our failures are God's triumphs.

As I prepared for this series I have written I went back and really read all of my verses. Went straight to the Bible and refrained from going from memory. I took the time to really do my research to make sure I do not take quotes out of context or misrepresent God's word. In doing so I was so amazed when I re-read this verse. I not only read the verse but the ones previous to it. Instead of just Phil 4:13 I think I should embrace verses 10-13

(10) I Rejoiced in the Lord greatly
that now at length you have
revived your concern for me. You
were indeed concerned for me
but you had no opportunity
(11) Not that I am speaking
of being in need for I
have learned in whatever
situation I am in to be content
(12) I know how to be brought low
and I know how to abound in any
and every circumstance
I have learned the secret of
facing plenty and hunger
abundance and need
(13) I can do all things through Him
who strengthens me.

WOW! Praise God for truly I have been blessed.
Looking back this almost 30 years I realized that I would choose these same three Bible verses to carry forth with me.. Oh I would hope I will do so with humility and grace. That I would take advantage of all the words God gives me through His book but I will always treasure these three verses.

For God so loved the world.
They that wait upon the Lord.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me

LUCKY LUCKY me, I am loved.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Making It Public - Part 2

Upon leaving High School in 1980 I was completely prepared to go forth and live my life for Christ. Well as prepared as an 18 year old can be for facing the adult world. I was well armoured and ready to become a soldier of Christ (a phrase from my childhood) more than that I was excited. I had my armour, my shield and my banner and of course those three verses that I had claimed as my very own.

Number 2 was

Is 40:31

They that wait upon the Lord
Shall renew their strength
They shall mount up with wings as eagles
They shall run and not be weary
They shall walk and not feint.

One of the benefits of attending a private protestant high school is the fact that they not only teach you the bible they expect you to incorporate your learning into your everyday life. We used bible verses as part of each of our classes, clubs and teams. Each group would pick a verse that they felt best described them and would use it as part of their meditations, in a way it was another form of a mascot only this time it was the mascot of our faith. Is 40:31 was something of an "it" verse back in the day. It was used frequently it didn't hurt that it had been put to music and was sung often during chapel as well as at church. Our softball team even used it as our team verse so obviously it must be a good one..

Can anyone tell me what a child can possibly know about waiting, this is the age group that invented the phrase "are we there yet". As a teenager waiting means dreading that the phone won't ring and you won't have a date for the weekend or waiting for the results of a particularly difficult test, or waiting to see if you made the play or the team or won the election. Or standing at home plate and waiting for that perfect pitch. Needless to say I had no clue what waiting was and even less on waiting upon God.

When I left school I had such great plans, fantastic hopes and dreams. I had no idea how I was going to make these plans, hopes and dreams happen only that surely they would all fall into place. I knew God had plans for me I even had an idea of what they were. Even now all these years later I believe that. What I didn't understand was that God didn't just have plans for me He had a plan! I knew I was supposed to be a wife and mother. I knew that God had these plans for me, that this was where I would serve God best. Accepting these plans would be defying my family but I understood that I needed to follow God. And yes I said defying. My family expected me to be a doctor, a lawyer, president, a career woman. An interesting mover and shaker. So believe me when I say being "just" a wife and mother was a defiance. I was told "no one has a right to freeload like that" that I was "wasting my brain" and other such things.

Because of the way I was brought up I honestly believed I was "sacrificing" my life for God. But I am an arrogant fool, God gives you your gifts does that not mean He expects us to use them? And when you follow God's plan for you, you do it in His time not yours.

When I was 22 I met a man, a totally unsuitable man, one who had been wicked and wild
divorced not once but twice but he had turned his back on that and was dedicated to family or so he said. He was a good son a dedicated father, charismatic and sexy. He was the flame and I was the moth circling it until I was all but blind to God's plans. I knew I was getting older (ok, stop laughing I was 22 that is old when you are 22) and I needed to get on with God's plan. I was so afraid that no one was going to want me (again not waiting for God and certainly not trusting in Him) no one would love me that I would be alone for the rest of my life missing out on the chance to be wife and mother I rushed into a relationship. Looking back, knowing the two of us as I do now I have to admit I not only rushed into it I forced it. What a disaster!!! I survived a marriage that can easily be described as hell on earth. No joy, no happiness, no life of living according to God's plan. There was misery, despair, disdain, drudgery and contempt. God was not a part of my marriage! I am lucky that God did not abandon me but no instead He continued to protect me even in my arrogance. I stayed in that fiasco of a marriage for 10 long years before finally ending it.

Even then I did not as for God's guidance I knew what had to be done. Yet with every wrong choice, every time I rushed forward knowing what was wrong and ready to fix it all by myself. God blessed and protected me. Why? well not because I am some prize of a follower nope because He loves me and has plans for me. It took me a long long time to let go and really let God. I would pray but then I would start bargaining, then I would ask for forgiveness and say I knew I wasn't supposed to try and bargain with Him, then I would ask for help but I would lay out my plans and let Him know how I needed His help. I did not listen to what He wanted done and I certainly did not wait upon His plans.. Oh arrogant, arrogant child. Can you not just picture God sitting there shaking His head after we finished our little talks? I am so lucky that God did not give up on me.

Now I find myself praying not for what I need as much as for the ability to wait upon God's timing. That I will learn to listen not control. Even as I write this I wonder at my motives. Am I truly trying to share what God has done in my life? Or am I trying to manipulate God's plans again? See one of the negatives to rushing God's plans is that when He speaks you are not quite sure if it is Him. I mean we don't get a lot of burning bushes these days. So you tremble and pray it isn't once again your ego and arrogance taking charge trying to "fix" things.

I submit these words to God asking Him to use them as He sees fit, even if that means He doesn't use them at all. I hope finally I am on the right path and am using one of the gifts He gave me in a manner that becomes Him. and yes, I am praying that I learn to listen and wait.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Making It Public - Part 1

Recently while I was at church part of the sermon was about Making Your Faith Public. This caught my attention. I started writing about my faith and the three bible verses that have made the hugest impact in my life. Instead of writing one huge blog I decided to break it down into three parts this is part 1.

On June 13, 1980 I graduated from Whittier Christian High School. I was full of faith both in God's love and in my ability to accept God's plan in my life and to live a rich and full life in Christ. I left fully armed with the shield of my faith. I was well educated in my faith and inspired by three Bible verses. They were my banner that proceeded me, that declared my faith to the world.

The first was John 3:16 what I believe to be the very foundation of the Christian belief

For God so loved the world
He gave His only begotten Son
So whosoever believith in Him
Shall not perish
But have eternal life.

Pretty basic, God loved us enough to send His Son. To live as man, a perfect life then in His Prime, well I suppose due to the time He was probably pushing towards the end of the average life span but no matter. Anyway At the age of 33 He was accused, tried and convicted of I guess NOT being the Son of God. He was mocked, vilified and finally crucified left to die a horrid and torturous death. We all know the story it has been told over and over again, in film, on TV, in our homes, at our churches. It has been told so much it has taken on almost mythic proportions. Passed along until it has reached fairytale status. We will see the verse blazoned on poster board at a

What an arrogant child I was and like the sheep The Great Shepard claimed us to be I followed the path of least resistance. Seeing the verse I would shake my head, silently mock the person who dared post it, occasionally I would quote it to myself or to those around me, to show my intelligence and Christian education.

One day I started to think just what that verse means. I am a parent I have four beautiful, wonderful children. God more than blessed me with these fabulous shining stars. They constantly bring joy and light into my life. They make my world a wondrous place to be. I watch them grow and develop see them starting out on the paths of their lives, see the things they may accomplish and the people they may become. I have a fierce love for them, intense and proud as only a parent can be. Now as an adult a parent I look at that verse and think. God loved the world - ME - so much He sent His Son to die for me, to be mocked and tortured and crucified for me. So my sins can be washed away.

Let me put this into perspective, real honest perspective. I have a deep and true love for several people the love of a friend to others and general brotherly love to the world. The love that one of God's children should show to the world. Even then knowing that I care, that I want to spend eternity in heaven with you all. There is NO WAY, NO CONCEIVABLE WAY, that I would allow, let alone send forth one (let alone my ONLY one) of my children to suffer such humiliation. To sacrifice even a hair on their heads (ok that is extreme but you get my point) to die for anyone's sins. To let them go KNOWING in advance what would be done to them. Yet God, in His amazing grace did just that. He sent His perfect Son down to live among us, die for us, to die for me..

Oh arrogant vain me, never again will I presume to understand what real unconditional love is. I can only begin to discover what an amazing gift God gave me. Now when I see that verse, plastered on poster board waving in the end zone at a sporting event or on a leaflet, I will not mock that person. No I will give thanks to God because He loved me so much. I will give thanks to God that someone is out there reminding me how much God loved me. Shoot I may just go make a few poster boards myself. I will do what I can to make Jesus' sacrifice a commonplace fact. One every single person I know is aware of. Then I will rejoice that I was given such an opportunity.