Monday, February 21, 2011
After that, we went to Alaska for 2 1/2 months and then we came to Junction, Texas for the winter. Certainly can't complain about the weather here. The worst of the winter arrived sometime in late January and lasted until about mid-February (off and on). The days would hang at around 48 - 55 degrees and the nights were down in the teens. One night actually got down to 6 degrees and the pipes froze in the ground. We were 3 days without running water.
But, for the most part, Texas has been a good experience for us. We found a lovely place on 5 acres just south of San Antonio and decided to buy the property. It is rented right now - and we plan to keep it rented for a while longer. We are not done traveling yet and can't afford to move into a house right now anyway - no furniture, no lawn mower, no washer/dryer, no surround sound tv system, etc. Will have to save a lot of money in the next couple of years to manage living in a house again.
Meanwhile, my children have managed to move into the same state for the first time in a long time. Ray has retired from the Army and he and DeDe are in Sacramento. Greg is still in Santa Rosa and he and Kristine are expecting a new baby in October. I look forward to having the holiday season with them this year - and a chance to see Shawntea, Jonah, Brianna and Aiden for Christmas too!
This blog has never been very structured - but I hope to use it for more than communicating our whereabouts and sharing pictures. We all have facebook for that! I plan to stay away from political issues - I disagree to some extent with almost everyone about some part of their philosphy. I'm a fiscal conservative, a social moderate with a few liberal ideas here and there. Makes it hard to talk about politics these days with all the hard headed, name calling, no compromise stances of most people.
But, I do want to write again - now that I'm out of my funk. I see so many beautiful places in this country, so many beautiful sunrises and sunsets, wild animals, etc. I meet so many wonderful people all the time. I will try to keep it interesting but it may end up just being a diary of where G-d is taking me each season. I'm reaching that age where what is happening today reminds me of some things that happened when I was much younger so I probably should change the title of the blog to Grandma's Wanderings or something like that. But whatever comes of it, I will continue to write this time.
Thursday, March 5, 2009
My children have no idea what it was like to live during the Carter era with unemployment at 12% and inflation at 18%; where buying a car or home was almost impossible because interest rates were 15 to 20% on everything except housing - that was more like 10-12%. They have no idea how horrible it was to watch Americans killed and captured and tortured - and have our weakened military not be able to rescue them - and our good hearted, well intentioned President unable to negotiate -- which kept the captives being tortured and paraded on world news networks FOR YEARS!!!
I, too, am tired of watching crooked politicians who care more about themselves, their elections and their pocketbooks, than preserving the solid foundations of this country. I'm tired of being told that I am insensitive for declaring my faith, for standing for what I believe while I am supposed to stand mutely by and listen to filthy mouthed, ignorant people scream obsenities about the G-d I love and the country I love.
So, while it is still legal to do so, I will pray, fervently, for this country and it's leaders. And I will buy my guns and ammunition and I will speak my mind in every forum that will allow it. And I will pray that the day never comes, for me or my grandchildren, that I have to defend from my own government, with my life, my right to do so.
Robert A. Hall
I’ll be 63 soon. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce, and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, I’ve worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and haven’t called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didn’t inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, there’s no retirement in sight, and I’m tired. Very tired. I’m tired of being told that I have to “spread the wealth around” to people who don’t have my work ethic. I’m tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy or stupid to earn it. I’m tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to “keep people in their homes.” Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, I’m willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the leftwing Congresscritters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them—with their own money.
I’m tired of being told how bad America is by leftwing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the religious freedom and women’s rights of Saudi Arabia, the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Gay people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela. Won’t multiculturalism be beautiful?
I’m tired of being told that Islam is a “Religion of Peace,” when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family “honor;” of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they aren’t “believers;” of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for “adultery;” of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Qur’an and Shari’a law tells them to.
I believe “a man should be judged by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin.” I’m tired of being told that “race doesn’t matter” in the post-racial world of President Obama, when it’s all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of US Senators from Illinois. I think it’s very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the emancipation proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less in an all-knowing government.
I’m tired of a news media that thinks Bush’s fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obama’s, at triple the cost, were wonderful. That thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress, that picked over every line of Bush’s military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his, that slammed Palin with two years as governor for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever. Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didn’t vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.
I’m tired of being told that out of “tolerance for other cultures” we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.
I’m tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gore’s, and if you’re greener than Gore, you’re green enough.
I’m tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I don’t think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And I’m tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.
I’m tired of illegal aliens being called “undocumented workers,” especially the ones who aren’t working, but are living on welfare or crime. What’s next? Calling drug dealers, “Undocumented Pharmacists”? And, no, I’m not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic and it’s been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. I’m willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person who can speak English, doesn’t have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military. Those are the citizens we need. I’m tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people then themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years—and still are? Not even close. So here’s the deal. I’ll let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops foundin Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then we’ll compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.
I’m tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers—bums are bi-partisan. And I’m tired of people telling me we need bi-partisanship. I live in Illinois, where the “Illinois Combine” of Democrats and Republicans has worked together harmoniously to loot the public for years. And I notice that the tax cheats in Obama’s cabinet are bi-partisan as well. I’m tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught.
I’m tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor. Speaking of poor, I’m tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didn’t have that in 1970, but we didn’t know we were “poor.” The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing. I’m real tired of people who don’t take responsibility for their lives and actions. I’m tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination, or big-whatever for their problems.
Yes, I’m damn tired. But I’m also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, I’m not going to get to see the world these people are making. I’m just sorry for my granddaughter.
Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate. He blogs at www.tartanmarine.blogspot.com
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
And politically, we live in even more dangerous times than the "cold" war with it's fears of nuclear extinction. History seems to have been rewritten by the news media and our world view is formed more and more by prejudiced news reporting (from ALL media outlets).
The following is a good review of our past history with Iran. I send this not to condemn the efforts of our President, but to ask each of you to pray for an open heart in this country bent on causing chaos, for a new result and a real move to more reasonable dialog. I ask you to pray for our leadership, that they will be strengthened in their spirit and given the wisdom to find a way to true progress. And pray for the protection of all our men and women in service in countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Saudi Arabia - that their risk may not be increased in political gameplaying.
In other words, pray for true change - in the hearts of all who are engaged in these deadly games.
An Opening to Iran?
Michael Rubin - Feb 16, 2009 Weekly Standard
During the Democratic primaries, Barack Obama promised to meet the leaders of Iran "without preconditions." He appears a man of his word. Within days of his election, the State Department began drafting a letter to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intended to pave the way for face-to-face talks. Then, less than a week after taking office, Obama told al-Arabiya's satellite network, "If countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us." The president dispatched former Defense Secretary William Perry to engage a high-level Iranian delegation led by a senior Ahmadinejad adviser.
The pundits and journalists may applaud, but their adulation for Obama's new approach is based more on myth than reality. "Not since before the 1979 Iranian revolution are U.S. officials believed to have conducted wide-ranging direct diplomacy with Iranian officials," the Associated Press reported. But Washington and Tehran have never stopped talking; indeed, many of Obama's supposedly bold initiatives have been tried before, often with disastrous results.In 1979 Ayatollah Khomeini's return gave an urgency to U.S.-Iran diplomacy. Many in Washington had been happy to see the shah go, and sought a new beginning with the "moderate, progressive individuals" -- according to then Princeton professor (now a U.N. official) Richard Falk -- surrounding Khomeini.
The State Department announced that it would maintain relations with the new government. Diplomats at the U.S. embassy in Tehran worked overtime to decipher the Islamic Republic's volatile political scene.On November 1, 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Carter's national security adviser and now, ironically, an Obama adviser on Iranian affairs, met in Algiers with Iranian prime minister Mehdi Bazargan and foreign minister Ibrahim Yazdi to discuss normalization amidst continued uncertainty about the future of bilateral relations. Iranian students, outraged at the possibility, stormed the American embassy in Tehran, taking 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days.
But the hostage seizure did not end the dialogue. For five months, even as captors paraded blindfolded hostages on television, Carter kept Iran's embassy in Washington open, hoping for talks.Should Obama send a letter to Iran's leaders, he would follow a path worn by Carter. Just days after the hostage seizure, Carter dispatched Ramsey Clark, a Kennedy-era attorney general who had championed Khomeini after meeting him in exile in France, and William Miller, a retired Foreign Service officer critical of U.S. policy under the shah, to deliver a letter to Khomeini. After word of their mission leaked, the Iranian leadership refused to receive them. After cooling their heels in Istanbul for a week, the two returned in failure.
Shining a spotlight on private correspondence may score points in Washington, but it kills rather than creates opportunities.Obama's inattention to timing and target replicates Carter's failure. His outreach to Ahmadinejad comes amidst Iran's most contentious election campaign since the revolution. Allowing Ahmadinejad to slap a U.S. president's outstretched hand is an Iranian populists' dream come true. Alas, this too was a lesson Obama might have learned from Carter. Three decades ago, desperate to engage, Carter grasped at any straw, believing, according to his secretary of state, that even a tenuous partner beat no partner at all. Each partner -- first foreign minister Abolhassan Bani-Sadr and then his successor Sadeq Qotbzadeh -- added demands to bolster his own revolutionary credentials, pushing diplomacy backward rather than forward.
Thirty years later, the same pattern is back. Ahmadinejad's aides respond to every feeler Obama and his proxies at Track II talks send with new and more intrusive demands.Once out of office, Carter aides sought to secure history's first draft with a flood of memoirs praising their own efforts. Kissinger aide Peter Rodman noted wryly in a 1981 essay, however, that pressure brought to bear by Iraq's invasion of Iran did more to break the negotiations impasse than Carter's pleading with a revolving door of Iranian officials.
Carter is not alone in his failed efforts to talk to Tehran. While the Iran-Contra affair is remembered today largely for the Reagan administration's desire to bypass a congressional prohibition on funding Nicaragua's anti-Communist insurgents, the scheme began as an attempt to engage Iran. On August 31, 1984, national security adviser Robert McFarlane ordered a review to determine what influence Washington might have in Tehran when the aging Khomeini passed away. Both the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency responded that they lacked influential contacts in Iran. Because weapons were the only incentive in which the war-weary ayatollahs had interest, McFarlane decided to ship arms both to cultivate contacts and win the goodwill necessary to free U.S. hostages held by Iranian proxies in Lebanon. He failed. Not only did the Iranian leadership stand McFarlane up during his trip to Tehran, but the incentive package also backfired: Hezbollah seized more hostages for Tehran to trade.
The stars seemed to align for George H.W. Bush, however. Khomeini died on June 3, 1989, and, two months later, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, whose pragmatism realists like Secretary of State James Baker applauded, assumed Iran's presidency. In his first address, Rafsanjani suggested an end to the Lebanon hostage crisis might be possible. Like Obama, Bush spoke of a new era of "hope." State Department spokeswoman Margaret Tutwiler described Iran as "genuinely engaged." Alas, as Rafsanjani spoke publicly of pragmatism, he privately ordered both the revival of Iran's covert nuclear program and the murder of dissidents in Europe.
In his first term, Clinton signed three executive orders limiting trade with Iran and approved the Iran-Libya Sanctions Act. He and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright changed tack in their second term. Both apologized for past U.S. policies. The State Department encouraged U.S. businessmen to visit Iran, until Iranian vigilantes attacked a busload of American visitors in 1998. Not discouraged, and lest U.S. rhetoric offend, Albright even ordered U.S. officials to cease referring to Iran as a rogue regime, and instead as a "state of concern." Rather than spark rapprochement, however, it was during this time that, according to the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, Tehran sought to develop a nuclear warhead.While the press paints George W. Bush as hostile to diplomacy and applauds the return of Bill Clinton's diplomatic team under his wife's leadership, it is ironic that the outgoing administration engaged Iran more than any U.S. presidency since Carter -- directing senior diplomats to hold more than two dozen meetings with their Iranian counterparts. Yet, after 30 years, Iran remains as intractable a problem as ever.
Every new U.S. president has sought a new beginning with Iran, but whenever a president assumes the fault for our poor relationship lies with his predecessor more than with authorities in Tehran, the United States gets burned.
Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and editor of the Middle East Quarterly, was an Iran country director at the Pentagon between September 2002 and April 2004.
Monday, January 26, 2009
G-d has directed that I use this quiet time to study and delve deeper into His Word. I have signed up with Koinonia Institute and begin classes on Feb 2. I'm also doing an in depth study on Romans - taking from two different courses at the same time - which provides interesting perspectives.
Pray that G-d's hands will ensure a safe and effective surgery and that each will recover fully and quickly:
Marla L - Going in on Feb 4 for surgery to remove fibroid growths. .
Alan Stirnaman - going into the hospital on Feb 10th for hip replacement
Pray: As G-d directs
Kimberly B: needs to find work, a car and a place to live as soon as possible. Having just left drug rehab, she is in need of constant prayer support to protect her from the demons of addiction and to help her grow in her fledgling walk with G-d.
Jennifer (Gabriel's friend) - Searching for G-d and seeking salvation.
Karen P - Physical pain - needs healing and relief. Also needs prayer for understanding and protection.
Audra, Randy and Rowen - safe travel to Germany and a great learning experience when they arrive.
Annie F - diagnosed with breast and bone cancer
Joan B - diagnosed with terminal lung cancer
Audrey N - fighting cancer and a new tumor in her throat
And please pray for Marla and I - that we may be in the right place at the right time, saying the right things that will bring G-d's will into the lives of those we love.
As always, pray for our leadership, our country and Israel.
Baruch aba b'shem Adonai!!
Monday, January 12, 2009
Memory is not necessarily an accurate recorder. Memory only records our perspective and our emotions at any given time in our life. And perspective is certainly subjective to the emotions of the time thus distorting the truth with joy, fear, pain, etc. That concept is never more noticeable than when family members get together and reminisce about all the events of their lives for no one person will have seen the event the same as anyone else.
I used to have journals that I could refer to to help me keep the memories clear. I started writing as a young child and kept my secret journals throughout my life. So, when confronted with memories of friends or relatives that conflicted with mine, I could dig back and find out what I thought at the time. Really helped keep me honest - and helped show me how I had grown and changed as the years went by (Praise G-d for that! I would hate to be the same person today that I was 30 and 40 years ago!). However, two housefires and lots of moving around have destroyed all the old journals. I can't look back and see how important that one boy was to me or how bored I was in school or how I felt about all things that were going on in my family at the time.
I really miss having them!!! I used to use New Year's Eve and New Year's Day as time to sit, review parts of my life through my journals and formulate my personal goals for the new year. Oh, not the "I'm going to lose fifteen pounds" kind of goals - but the really important goals, like "I want to be a more generous person" kind of things. It takes a lot more time to review the past and reformulate goals when you don't have a true picture of your past perspectives. Thus, the time was needed to pull myself away from everything and everyone - and spend time in the presence of G-d reviewing, comparing and formulating the goals for this year.
For my family - no, I was not depressed. I had some emotions that I needed to analyze and some serious praying to do. It is difficult to watch those you care about suffering pain, emotional stress, etc. but that is part of what must be accepted as the cycle of life. Sorting out how I feel about my place in that cycle was more of an issue.
Suffice it to say that I have done my review, started a whole new set of journals, accepted my place in life and the goals that G-d has set before me and have begun working on the objectives necessary to reach those goals.
Now, I must ask for prayers - the list is short this time - but we're back in touch now so keep an eye on this blog :
1 For my Mom, Joan, who has been in a lot of pain lately. Please pray that the days of her life will be filled with peace.
2 For my brother in law, John Lee, who is doing much better since he is under 24 hour care but doesn't seem to have recovered any short term memory. Pray that he will accept where G-d has placed him and will do what is best for himself, his family and his friends.
3 Amy - and Paige and Garrett - the twins that Amy is carrying. Pray that both babies will wait just a little longer to be born - and that they will both be healthy.
4 For Janet D - and for her daughter. Please pray that some of the stress of all these illnesses and caretaker problems will be relieved soon and that good health will follow in this year. Also pray that Janet will know that the L-rd is in charge and will bring peace to all who believe in Him.
5 For Dan and Liz - Dan lost his sister suddenly. Pray for his peace of mind and comfort from the pain of loss.
Praise report - After 6 months of prayer, my daughter's friend had his child returned to him from an ex-wife abduction. I did not have some of you with me on the prayer chain then - but it is a joy to report when prayers are answered.
Thanks for your prayers!!!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Monday, December 15, 2008
It was an interesting week and I was thrilled to make a new friend in DeVawn, Johnny's home caretaker. I wish she had been around during the many months that I fought to bring my hubby back from his strokes! A positive attitude with a gentle heart and a spirit of joy makes the perfect compliment to her bright mind. Jordon and Janet are so lucky to have found her.
But I am not recovering as quickly as I should from the trip. My stomach still doesn't know what time to get hungry and I want to nap in the middle of the day. I am beginning to wake up at the right time but I still have nightmares about the 2x2 coach space that bounced me through the storm front making it difficult to control my claustrophobia. Or maybe the memory of the airport food is the real nightmare!
Emotionally drained, hurting for those I care about and missing others that I care about; my thoughts don't seem to want to coalesce into the good, and often funny things that I can share.
Soon, the chemical imbalances will level out, the memories of herd travelling will fade and I will have a more holiday-like outlook.
I hope all the preparations for your holiday celebration are going well. Remember a little prayer for me - and lots of prayers for John Lee; my mom, Joan; my son, Greg; Jordon; Janet and Kimberly. I hope the season is filled with joy and peace and the sure knowledge of the Christ whose birth is celebrated.