Friday, December 31, 2004

More on Helping Tsunami Victims

Apparently, due to overwhelming response, The Red Cross website is crashing at times.

As a result, I've decided to re-post links to places for donations:

World Vision (you can also adopt a child here from one of the affected areas!)

Samaritan's Purse (run by Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham)

International Mission Board (Southern Baptist global missions program; incredible record for efficient, effective humanitarian response)

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Video clip just released Because missionaries already live on the field, the IMB is able to give hurting people every cent of the money Southern Baptists are generously sending for tsunami relief. In the photo above, the local Baptist church will provide rice for a month to the 95 families in this fishing village. The church will use help from Southern Baptist funds

56K Video
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Urgent Prayer Request

For updated news from people involved and located in the areas of crisis, be sure to check SEA-EAT (South East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami)

Most importantly, please remember to pray daily for the rescuers, the survivors and those who lost loved ones in this tragedy.

"God, my God, I yelled for help and you put me together. God, you pulled me out of the grave, gave me another chance at life when I was down-and-out." Psalm 30:2-3 (The Message)

Thursday, December 30, 2004

Help a Fellow Blogger?

I need help with this blog! I need to add a second sidebar on the right (as you can see, I've already spaced it out) but I need help with the HTML code. I've managed to add a second sidebar, but then my main content drops to the bottom below the longest sidebar. Suggestions anyone? Thanks in advance, and if you help me and are not already on my blogroll, you will definitely be added as well as given credit at the top of the new sidebar :-)

Monday, December 27, 2004

UPDATED: 2004: The Year of the Blog

And not just the year of my blog, either.

I've been wanting to do a post like this for some time, and I guess the time has come. When I started this blog in November of 2004, I didn't have any real goals in was just a little experiment. I'v always had a passion for news and politics, especially those items that don't make it in the media. I had taken it upon myself to keep all my friends and family updated via emails on those items I was afraid everyone would miss. Then I decided to start a blog and put it all there and spare everyone my frequent emails.

Now, after just a couple of short month, I've learned so much more about the "blogosphere" and how important it is going to be in the future, not just in the US but especially around the world. Here's my brief-as-possible story of why:

First of all, for most of my visitors anyway, (especially the ones visiting here for the first time because of our Christmas newsletter!) the first question is "what the heck is a blog anyway?" I know that's the question of the year because it was the most looked-up term of 2004 at Merriam-Webster's website. Oh, and their definition?

Merriam-Webster defines a blog as: "a Web site that contains an online personal journal with reflections, comments and often hyperlinks".

So there you have it! Now that you know what it is, the question that begs to be asked is....WHY? Why on earth start a personal journal online? Who supposes that anyone gives a rats rear-end what they have to say? And WHO does, anyway? Does anyone actually read this stuff??

Well apparently someone read them because just said
Freewheeling bloggers can boost your product—or destroy it. Either way, they've become a force business can't afford to ignore.
in this article about blogs and their influence. The article goes on to say
It all used to be so easy; the adage went "never pick a fight with anyone who buys ink by the barrel." But now everyone can get ink for free, launch a diatribe, and—if what they have to say is interesting to enough people—expect web-enabled word of mouth to carry it around the world
The article goes on to list lots of example of how blogs have influenced products available for sale, news items, etc.

As a matter of fact, this article lists the Top 10 blogging accomplishments of 2004. Here's the short list:

10. The Passion versus Fahrenheit 911 - bloggers posted about their faves and gave us a taste of how the blue vs. red would continue to polarize over the year.
9. Winter Soldier - as soon as he's the offical nominee, John Kerry's speech before congress in 1971 is quoted all over the blogosphere and the military records search is unleashed.
8. Iraq then and Now - Bloggers ripped up Al Gore's accusations against President Bush and his mentioning of Osama Bin Ladin.
7. Den Beste's Fall Preview - Blogger Steven Den Beste correctly predicts the Fall comeback for the Bush campaign.
6. The Exit Polls - Once again, fact checking bloggers declare the exit polls to be hog wash long before the final results are in.
5. Political Conventions - Bloggers were invited to attend the events, they live-blogged them and then were interviewed on TV afterwards....all starting the trend of making blogging a household word.
4. Campaign Violence - when the MSM (main stream media) was silent, the bloggers brought to the light all the acts of violence committed by the democratic supporters across the country.
3. The New York Times announces it's liberal - in an article that went, once again, unnoticed by the MSM, the NYT confirmed what everyone already suspected...and the bloggers had a field day.
2. Christmas in Cambodia - With prominent bloggers linking to their publicity videos and making them some of the most-watched campaign ads, the SwiftVets had their say with Kerry and his heroic Vietnam claims.
1. RatherGate - The Big Kahoona. Within a couple of hours, the supposed smoking-gun docs against Bush were completely nullified by investigative bloggers. Some of the more prominent ones were interviewed and mentioned on TV and "bloggers" officially became a household word!
(this list was excerpted from TechCentralStation)

As if that weren't all enough to give credit to blogging and it's worth today, there's even more. A far greater achievement for bloggers is the simple democracy they represent. Anyone can start a blog and write about whatever they want: gardening, parenting, war, politics, bicycling, and even...politics in Iraq! Matt, who has the blog Blackfive says this about blogging in Iraq:

Imagine what would happen to the spin of the Main Stream Media and Al Jazeera if there were thousands of Iraqi bloggers. Imagine what that would do for Freedom and Democracy. Imagine what that would do for Peace.

That's what Spirit of America is all about...Freedom, Democracy, Peace. And they are doing something about bringing those concepts into reality.

They developed an Arabic Blogging Tool prototype (with help from Iraq the Model and Jeff Jarvis) that will help to stimulate discourse in Iraq. Not pro-American discourse, just free and open discourse

What if Bloggers' voices could be heard, not only in Iraq, but also in Iran, China, Cuba, North get the picture. If fact-checkers could anonymously post from their homes about what's really going on, the impact on freedom and democracy could be huge. Read Blackfive's entire article on the subject. Matt attended a conference, along with the Iraqi blogging brothers of Iraq the Model, on this very subject and it's worldwide impact.

So now, maybe I've convinced you that blogging can be very important for the simple fact that it IS just regular ole folks talking about what interests them....for the world to read, if it so chooses. Ready to join the ranks?

I'm not going to re-invent the wheel, so here are some great links for anyone interested in getting starting with a blog:

Understanding and Reading a Blog

Everything You Wanted to Know About Blogging But Were Afraid to Ask

Summary of Blogging Articles

Now if you're ready to start ivestigating blogs for the first time (surely not, but you never know) you can always start with my blogroll favorites, or you can check out The 2004 Weblog Award Winners for the best of the blogs listed by category.

Well there you have it. I'm not even going to go back over this post and start re-wording it, etc. because that's the beauty of blogging. I'm not a writer or a journalist...I'm not looking to get a book deal. I'm just writing whatever comes to mind and putting it out there. Enjoy!

UPDATE: More bloggers blogging about blogs (I love saying that!):

Pajama Hadin

Mudville Gazette

UPDATED: Tsunami Victim's Relief Aid

Scrappleface has this post regarding victims' relief aid for south Asia and areas hit by this weekend's deadly tsunami. Scott has a great many people will contribute to large orgs like the Red Cross, but if you're looking for a very experienced, efficient group that will also tell these folks about God, then these are some awesome Christian organizations to donate to.

Samaritan's Purse is an organization I have a permanent link to on the left side of my blog, and they are starting relief action right away. You can donate here

Please see Scott Ott's links in the above referenced article as well.

UPDATE: WorldVision has a place to donate for tsunami relief as well.

UPDATE: The South-East Asia Earthquake and Tsunami blog is up and running at TsunamiHelp. Go visit!!

And yet another UPDATE: I guess they'll accept aid from Christians at this point, but obviously not from Jewish volunteers. So religious bigotry outweighs the acceptance of aid in a world disaster? Nice. So why not the rejection of Christian aid? My guess is that it constitues too much of the aid they are receiveing, while the Jewish aid is small enough to reject without too much effect. Unbelievable.

Friday, December 24, 2004

More Holiday Spirit

This song by Amy Grant, "Heirlooms", captures everything dear to me about Christmas:

Up in the attic,
Down on my knees.
Lifetimes of boxes,
Timeless to me.
Letters and photographs,
Yellowed with years,
Some bringing laughter,
Some bringing tears.

Time never changes,
The memories, the faces
Of loved ones, who bring to me,
All that I come from,
And all that I live for,
And all that I’m going to be.
My precious family
Is more than an heirloom to me.

Wisemen and shepherds,
Down on their knees,
Bringing their treasures
To lay at his feet.
Who was this wonder,
Baby yet king?
Living and dying;
He gave life to me.

Time never changes,
The memory, the moment
His love first pierced through me,
Telling all that I came from,
And all that I live for,
And all that I’m going to be.
My precious Savior
Is more than an heirloom to me.

My precious Jesus
Is more than an heirloom to me.

For some more holiday cheer, please go visit Mudville Gazette for lots of poetry and holiday greetings from and for the troops!

The Big Picture of Christmas

Pastor Rick at Serenity Thru Hope has a great article on the true meaning of this blessed holiday. Please take a moment to read it and understand WHY we celebrate. It's more than a birth, more than a star, more than shepherds and wise men.....there's a bigger picture that goes back to the beginning of time.

Thanks Pastor Rick, for this great reminder!


Thursday, December 23, 2004

Shop at Wal-Mart TODAY!!

Check out Wal-Mart's awesome reaction to their competitor, Target Corp., who banned the salvation bell ringers from their stores this Christmas. Wal-Mart is going to match, dollar for dollar, all donations made to the kettels!

I realize it's late in the season, but get out there and finish up your shopping at Wally World and toss some change in the kettles while you're at at! Merry Christmas!

Hat tip to Hidden Nook for the story.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Prayer Request from the Troops

Sgt. Missick posts this prayer request from the troops in Mosul. Please take time out of your holiday preparations (which are possible because of them) and say a prayer for these men and women and their families.

UPDATE: Hat tip to The Swanky Conservative for this link to a chaplain's blog called Training for Eternity. He (the chaplain) had a remarkable post yesterday about the attack in Mosul. I can't see where he has permalinks on his blog, so I'm going to copy the entire section about the patients he encountered below:

The scene was little more than controlled chaos. Helicopters landing, people shouting, wounded screaming, bodies everywhere. As the staff began to triage the dead and wounded I found the chaplain and offered my assistance. He directed me to where he needed me and I dove in. I would be hard pressed to write about every person I had the opportunity to pray with today but I will try to relate a few.

I found "Betty" on a stretcher being tended by nurses. I introduced myself and held her hand. She looked up at me and said, "Chaplain, am I going to be alright?" I said that she was despite the fact that I could see she had a long road to recovery ahead of her. Most of her hair had been singed off. Her face was burnt fairly badly, although it didn't look like the kind of burns that will scar. What I do know is that it was painful enough to hurt just by being in the sun. I prayed with Betty and moved on.

"Ilena" (a made up name. She spoke very softly and had a thick accent so I couldn't really hear her) had been hit by a piece of shrapnel just above her left breast causing a classic sucking chest wound. The doctors said she had a hemothorax (I think that's what they called it) which basically meant her left lung was filling with blood and she was having a very hard time breathing. For the next 20 minutes I held her hand while a doctor made an incision in her left side, inserted most of his hand and some kind of medical instrument and then a tube to alleviate the pressure caused by the pooling blood. It was probably the most medieval procedure I have ever been privy to. In the end she was taken to ICU and will be OK.

"Mark" was put on a stretcher and laid along a wall. A small monitor on his hand would tell the nurses when he was dead. Even a cursory glance said it was inevitable. Mark had a head wound that left brain matter caked in his ear and all over the stretcher he was lying on. I knelt next to Mark and placed a hand on his chest. His heart was barely beating but it was beating so I put my face close to his ear to pray with him. If you've never smelled human brain matter it is something unforgettable. I had something of an internal struggle. He's practically dead so why stay? He probably can't hear anything! A prayer at that point seemed of little value. But I couldn't risk it. I prayed for Mark and led him in the sinners prayer as best I could. There are few things in this life that will make you feel more helpless. After that, I needed some fresh air.

I stepped outside and found the situation to be only slightly less chaotic. The number of body bags had grown considerably since I first went inside. I saw a fellow chaplain who was obviously in need of care himself. I stopped him and put my arm around him and asked how he was doing. A rhetorical question if ever I asked one. He just shook his head so I pulled him in close and prayed for his strength, endurance, a thick skin, and a soft heart. Then I just stood and breathed for a few minutes.

Regardless of what some may say, these are not stupid people. Any attack with casualties will naturally mean that eventually a very large number of care givers will be concentrated in one location. They took full advantage of that. In the middle of the mayhem the first mortar round hit about 100 to 200 meters away. Everyone started shouting to get the wounded into the hospital which is solid concrete and much safer than being in the open. Soon, the next mortar hit quite a bit closer than the first as they "walked" their rounds toward their intended Everyone began to rush toward the building. I stood at the door shoving as many people inside as I could. Just before heading in myself, the last one hit directly on top of the hospital. I was standing next to the building so was shielded from any flying shrapnel. In fact, the building, being built as a bunker took the hit with little effect. However, I couldn't have been more than 10 to 15 meters from the point of impact and brother did I feel the shock. That'll wake you up! I rushed inside to find doctors and nurses draped over patients, others on the floor or under something. I ducked low and quickly moved as far inside as I could.

After a few tense moments people began to move around again and the business of patching bodies and healing minds continued in earnest. As I stood talking with some other chaplain, an officer approached and not seeing us, yelled, "Is there a chaplain around here?" I turned and asked what I could do. He spoke to us and said that another patient had just been moved to the "expectant" list and would one of us come pray for him. I walked in and found him lying on the bed with a tube in his throat, and no signs of consciousness. There were two nurses tending to him in his final moments. One had a clipboard so I assumed she'd have the information I wanted. I turned to her and asked if she knew his name. Without hesitation the other nurse, with no papers, blurted out his first, middle, and last name. She had obviously taken this one personally. I'll call him "Wayne". I placed my hand on his head and lightly stroked his dark hair. Immediately my mind went to my Grandpa's funeral when I touched his soft grey hair for the last time. And for the second time in as many hours I prayed wondering if it would do any good, but knowing that God is faithful and can do more than I even imagine. When I finished I looked up at the nurse who had known his name. She looked composed but struggling to stay so. I asked, "Are you OK?" and she broke down. I put my arm around her to comfort and encourage her. She said, "I was fine until you asked!" Then she explained that this was the third patient to die on her that day.

"Rachel" was sitting in a chair with no injuries. She was worried about two friends that had been moved to other hospitals in country. So we prayed.

"John", a First Sergeant, asked me, "How does my face look?" knowing he had been badly burned and would probably have some scaring. He was covered in blood, pus, and charred skin so I said, "First Sergeant, you look better than some people I know back home." He laughed and we prayed.

One of the many American civilian workers had been hit in the groin. He was happy to be alive and even happier to be keeping, "all my equipment." It was a light moment in a very heavy day.

As my assistnt and I walked away at the end of the day I saw another chaplain and a soldier standing among the silent rows of black body bags. The soldier wanted to see his friend one more time. We slowly and as respectfully as possible unzipped the bag to reveal the face of a very young Private First Class. His friend stared for a few seconds then turned away and began to cry.

The last count was 25 dead, and around 45 wounded. Nevertheless, our cause is just and God is in control even when the crap is a yard deep. I'm where God wants me and wouldn't change that for anything, even if it means death. After all, "to die is gain".

Post Script: all patient names are ficticious

What an amazing man this chaplain is for serving in this way. Please keep him and all the troops in your prayers, not just at Christmas but every day!

I HATE to be cold!

And yes, I mean hate. Just ask my hubby. I'm miserable and grouchy when it's super cold. That's why I live in Texas for the love of Pete!

But now I'm stuck in it. Yesterday I was wearing a t-shirt, tonight it's getting down to the 40's and into the low 20's by Christmas Eve. Yes, I said the low 20's. I think the last time that happened here was in 1989, and no i'm not kidding.

Most people think I'm crazy and that I should be enjoying the "Christmas weather". It's not Christmas weather, I tell you. I like comfortably cool Christmas weather...not frigidly cold.

I can't wait for summer!!! Until then I'm going to overdose on hot tea and hot chocolate and ruin my skin in hours-long hot baths.....

UPDATE: here are some other whining Texans: Blue Eyed Infidel, The Swanky Conservative

Here's the forecast for us here in South Texas:
Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy...breezy...and cold. A 30 percent chance of rain...snow...or sleet after midnight. Lows in the upper 20s. North winds 15 to 25 mph.
Mostly cloudy...windy...and cold with a 50 percent chance of snow.
Highs in the mid 30s. North winds 20 to 30 mph. Wind chill readings 16 to 20.
Friday Night
Mostly cloudy with a 20 percent chance of snow in the evening then partly cloudy after midnight. Very cold with lows in the lower 20s the upper 20s coast. North winds 10 to 15 mph.
Christmas Day
Partly cloudy in the morning then clearing. Highs in the lower 40s.

Holy Camoley!! I *might* actually concede the cold if we get some snow for my kiddos on Christmas Eve. I can't believe I'm even saying such a thing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Philadelphia Christians Jailed for Protesting

OK, I think my head just might explode on this one. A group of 11 Christians were staging a protest at the Philadelphia "OutFest", a gay pride event, by "preaching God's Word" and displaying banners with Biblical messages. After being confronted by a group called The Pink Angels, all 11 Christians were arrested and charged with criminal conspiracy, possession of instruments of crime, reckless endangerment of another person, ethnic intimidation, riot, failure to disperse, disorderly conduct and obstructing highways!! Read it here and be sure and watch the live video of the arrest, which is linked in the article.

Responding to the riot charge, the group's statement said: "Despite the fact that our behavior was above reproach and we were attacked by a mob of whistle-blowing, obscenity-screaming God haters, the Christians, and only the Christians, were charged."

A statement from the American Family Association Center for Law & Policy, whose attorneys are representing the Christians, said, "The Philadelphia 11 face a maximum penalty of 47 years each in jail for exercising their constitutional rights."

Charles Ehrlich, the city prosecutor in the case, has called the Christian protestors "hateful" and referred to preaching the Bible as using "fighting words."

Philadelphia Municipal Court Judge William Austin Meehan has banned the protestors from doing any type of evangelism within 100 yards of any "gay and lesbian event."

Read more about this outrageous situation here, here, here, and see the video here.

Hat tip to my friend Kathryn and her sister Paula for this story.

2004 20 Most Annoying Liberals

Right Wing News has this post listing their 3rd Annual 20 Most Annoying Liberals. They have a quote from each one that captures the reasons for their ranking. Warning: If some of the quotes are new to you, you may be shocked and at your own risk.

Hat tip to Peace For Our Time for the link.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Merry Christmas Troops - And God Bless You!

This Very Moving Tribute to the troops is one of kind. I only hope that some of America's Finest will stumble upon it and feel appreciated, thanked and they should.

Thanks to my friend at American Conservative for posting this and letting others copy from him.

As they sang, "Until then..."

Sharon Osbourne Tells of her Biggest Regret: An Abortion

Sharon shares her touching and emotional recount of her experience as a 17 year old posted at After Abortion.

My favorite quote from Sharon in her article is "In life, whatever it is, you pay somewhere down the line. You have to be accountable." How true. We wish it weren't true, and that we could just live for the moment without a thought of the future, but that's just not reality.

My heart breaks for women who have shared this experience with Sharon, and I applaud her for her courage in sharing her story with the world.

Is Christmas for Christians?

I hear a lot of talk this time of year of how Christmas is actually a pagan holiday, has only been celebrated in the last few centuries, has no roots with the first Christians, etc. If found the following article at Christianity Today to be especially informative as to the real origins of the holiday.

It seems that from the beginning, the early Christians made every attempt to positively affect the culture they were living in. This included taking originally pagan holidays and re-vamping them with Christian meaning. The second, and perhaps most important reason for this was that Christians were being persecuted and killed for their beliefs. They could not publically celebrate a "Christian" holiday, so to celebrate at all they just coincided the dates with existing pagan holidays. Thus, their celebrations went unnoticed by those who would do them harm.

In the beginning, not all early Christians wanted to celebrate Christ's birth, or any birth for that matter. But by about the year 273 a regular annual celebration of the birth of Christ had taken hold.

While many of the customs of Christmas that we see now have pagan origins, in a holiday so rooted in spiruality it seems to me it's all about what's in your heart. If I see the giving of gifts as a symbol of my love for Christ and His being the Ultimate Gift to us from God, then that's what it means to me despite what it meant to some pagan thousands of years ago. Same goes for any other Christmas customs that my family observes. Our kids will gleafully look for signs that Santa has "been here" on Christmas morning, and they know that Santa does this because of his love for Jesus Christ and his wanting to celebrate His birth by giving to children.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the meaning of Christmas in your family and how you stay focused during this holiday season....

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Check out this Promising Young Writer

Chase is, by my calculation, a senior in high school and this is the Preface to the book he is writing. What talent! I'm definitely going to get a copy when it comes out. You've got to read this young man's story of how he became a conservative, and you can't miss appreciating his talent in the process. Enjoy!

Great Photos from Iraq

Sgt. Missick has posted some awesome photos from Iraq here. Check them out!

Add Denzel Washington to the "I Can Watch" List...

Now if only he and Patricia Heaton would co-star, I could go to the movies again!

No, seriously, major kudos to Denzel for this awesome effort for the troops.

Hat tip to Mudville Gazette for the story.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

No One Says it Like The Gipper

You and I have the courage to say to our enemies, "There is a price we will not pay." "There is a point beyond which they must not advance." And this -- this is the meaning in the phrase of Barry Goldwater's "peace through strength." Winston Churchill said, "The destiny of man is not measured by material computations. When great forces are on the move in the world, we learn we're spirits -- not animals." And he said, "There's something going on in time and space, and beyond time and space, which, whether we like it or not, spells duty."
You and I have a rendezvous with destiny.

We'll preserve for our children this, the last best hope of man on earth, or we'll sentence them to take the last step into a thousand years of darkness.

Read more from Ronald Reagan's 1964 speech in support of Barry Goldwater titled "A Time For Choosing" at Peace For Our Time. Thanks, Chase, for such an inspiring post!

Friday, December 17, 2004

Send a Marine a letter!

Blackfive has done it again. Check out this post describing how you can send a Marine an actual letter printed out (not an email) for FREE! Now, anyone can do this, so I don't want to hear any excuses, ok? Use that computer for something other than games and surfing!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Me....A Superhero?

Love to be! And here's the first TexasBug, Superhero illustration (created at HeroMachine:

Image Hosted by

Look out, you pack of spineless cowardly I come!

(hat tip to The Swanky Conservative for the idea)

UPDATE: I showed my 3 year old son this pic and said "who does this look like?" His answer...."Is that YOU, mommy?"

Man, I love this kid!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

Travel Plans for the Holidays?

If you'll be travelling over the holidays, then it's just possible you could have the chance to offer encouragement and support to some of America's finest...whether they be coming home permanently or for R&R, or heading back overseas. Here's a first-hand account (Thanks Blackfive) from a soldier's recent travelling experience and how much it meant to him.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

UPDATED: Soldier's Last Request

Blackfive has the post of a letter written by a soldier "just in case".....and then it happened. Read the soldier's letter and then help out. This time not with money, but with a simple email.

UPDATE: Toby Keith cannot attend the soldier's funeral, but he IS cutting a special dedication version of his song "American Soldier" in his honor. Read about it here.

Unmarried gay couples lose health benefits

The Boston Globe has this article today, discussing the perhaps unintended results of the recent gay marriage legalization in Massachusetts. It seems there were many large companies who offered full benefits including health, dental, etc. to gays and their domestic partners. Now that marriage, in the same vein as heterosexuals, is available, some of these companies are saying they will now drop the benefits for those couples who choose to remain unmarried. After all, unmarried heterosexuals are not eligible for such benefits.

As you can imagine, there are some homosexuals upset with this idea.
Cathleen Finn, an IBM employee in Cambridge, said she hasn't heard any complaints from colleagues. Finn, a lesbian who married her longtime partner on July 17, said, "It's not fair to offer a benefit to one group and exclude another group."

Oh sure....we'll just make the companies pay for benefits for both married and unmarried homosexual couples....and what the heck, while you're at it, why not add benefits for unmarried heterosexual couples too? After all, we don't want to "exclude a group", do we? And people wonder why companies want to relocate overseas.

I don't understand the constant attempt to "drain" corporations as if they are bottomless pits of money. I don't think many people stop to realize that shareholders expect a little notion called profits in order to continue investing in a company. Why should I care as long as I get what I want, right?

This is just one of a plethera of complications that arise when a cultural standard like marriage is re-defined. I predict this is just the beginning of the repurcussions, even though the re-definition of marriage is not widely available. Did anyone stop to think of these things in advance, or was it just a goal of making a point for "the principal of it"? We'll see how it all plays out.

Hat tip to commenter Jim at La Shawn Barber.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Positive News from Iraq You Won't Hear in the MSM

Military Blogger "Dagger Jag" has posted an awesome story about halfway houses for Iraqi detainess that are being released from US prisons. Apparently the Iraqi's themselves started this program. The former detainees are given new clothes, checked out by an Iraqi doctor, and assigned a host family. They attend classes at the halfway house that include computer & internet but are mostly Iraqi national history,etc. to try and educate them and get them to help work for the future of their country, Iraq. It's a fascinating description of this process with very cool anecdotes of people who have been through the program.

Why isn't anyone reporting this stuff? Ahh, that's a whole other post....

Marine Corporal Bobby Warns

Blackfive has an article about another amazing & brave young hero that our country has lost. Be sure to view This Tribute....the 5 minute video is the best I've ever seen and you can post comments to his family.

Godspeed, and thank you for your brave service, Cpl Warns.

Yellow Ribbons or Phone Cards?

Several bloggers have been buzzing about the significance (or lack thereof) of having the "Support the Troops" magnet on your car, a yellow ribbon on your tree, etc. I haven't really gotten into the debate because I DO think those things are a means of support. They let the troops who are coming home know that they are appreciated and that someone is willing to make a statement on their behalf on their car or yard. I'll bet the guys and gals returning from Vietnam would have loved to see more sights like that!

Anyway, I'm bringing it up today because there IS so much more we can do, and here is a simple idea. The number one request at Walter Reed Hospital, where injured Iraq Vets are being sent, is for paid phone cards. They do not have long distance available and many of the injured will be spending the holidays alone in the hospital with their families miles away. According to Hugh Hewitt, they need an endless supply of the cards, even in amounts as low as $5. They are very inexpensive at places like Walmart & Sams, and they make a great gift in someone's memory or honor! Pick up a couple of extra phone cards next time you're at the store, and send them here:

Medical Family Assistance Center
Walter Reed Medical Center
6900 Georgia Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20307-5001

I can't think of anyone who deserves it more than those who have been injured fighting for our peace, security & freedom.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Dec 7th, 1941, 0753 Hours - Attack Erupts at Pearl Harbor

Read the entire Time line of events here. The following is an excerpt:

0342 Minesweeper CONDOR sights periscope off Honolulu Harbour ...notifies patrol destroyer WARD to investigate. 0458 Minesweeper CROSSBILL and CONDOR enter Pearl Harbor... defective submarine net remains open.
0600 - 200 miles south of Oahu carrier ENTERPRISE launches 18 aircraft to scout ahead...then to land at Ford Island, Pearl Harbor...ETA 0800.
0610 - 220 miles north of Oahu Admiral Nagumo orders launching of 1st wave of 183 aircraft off three carriers...2 are lost during takeoff.
0630 Destroyer WARD again notified of submarine sighting this time by supply ship ANTARES off Pearl Harbor entrance...Navy patrol plane (PBY) dispatched to the scene.
0645 WARD opens fire on target hitting conning she closes in drops depth charges..air attack by PBY follows.
0653 WARD'S commander Captain Outerbridge sends message to Commandant 14th Naval District: 'We have attacked, fired upon and dropped depth charges upon submarine operating in defensive sea area'.
0700 Commander Fuchida flying towards Oahu directs his pilots to home in on local radio station. 0702 Private's Lockhard and Elliott of Opana Radar Station pick up what appears to be a flight of unidentified aircraft bearing in 132 miles north of Oahu...discussion follows.
0706 Private Elliott phones switchboard operator Joseph McDonald at Information Center, Ft. Shafter, telling of a large formation of aircraft approaching the Island.
0715 Capt. Outerbridge's attack message, delayed in decoding is delivered to duty officer, 14th Naval District, and to Admiral Kimmel's duty officer...Japanese launch 2nd wave of 168 assault aircraft...
0720 Joseph McDonald finding Lt. Tyler in Information Center, calls Opana and patches Lt. Tyler thru to Private Lockard who describes the large flight picked up on radar and is told, 'Well don't worry about it.'
0755 Attack Erupts at Pearl Harbor

There is also an awesome media show/map at National Geographic that is very moving.

Having parents that remember Pearl Harbor as a day that changed their lives forever, I cannot let it go by unremembered. It is to them what September 11th is to me. And there are so many similarities....althought it was the Japanese who attacked, we had to join the fight in both the Pacific and the European fronts to guarantee the peace and safety of our homeland. (Read a fabulous essay about the similarities here) There are differences too....back then, everyone supported the troops and made personal sacrifices in their daily lives to help them. My parents still have their ration books with coupons for flour and sugar still there. My mom remembers everyone in the neighborhood pooling their sugar rations to make a birthday cake when it was someone's birthday. Would we do that today? I don't even know half my neighbors. My dad joined the Navy at 17, when he had never been out of his hometown of 1,200 people. He still remembers the sights and smells of San Francisco as he shipped out, as it made such an impression on him. He also remembers the Sunday dinner at a stranger's house before he left....the invitation extended to him based on his uniform alone, and the fact that he had worshipped in their church that morning. Would someone feed him in their home like that today?

There is a reason they are called The Greatest Generation. If only we could learn from them and emulate them in the similarly perilous days we find ourselves in now.

Argghh! and other bloggers report on Pearl Harbor.

Monday, December 06, 2004

More Reasons to Be Thankful

As you read this article about what a female Marine has to be thankful for, it's an even bigger wake up call for those of us back here in the States. We have SO much to be thankful for, and the our first thanks should go to those like Jessica, fighting for our behalf. If I said it once, I'll say it again......find a way to show your suppport for the troops! They deserve our appreciation, thoughts, and prayers. I've seen several requests at for just letters or emails. Anyone can do that! Hat tip to Blackfive for introducing to this special lady.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

...And a Bowl Full of Cotton

Looks like the Aggies will be facing Tennesse at the Cotton Bowl this year on New Year's Day. Just a big of Aggie Bowl history...

A&M’s first bowl appearance was actually in Dallas as E. King Gill, the original 12th Man, and head coach Dana X. Bible beat Centre College, 22-14, on Jan, 2, 1922 at Fair Park Stadium. Gill came out of the press box and stood ready on the A&M sideline but never entered the game. Since that time, the A&M student body “stands ready” throughout football games as the 12th Man. has this article about the upcoming bowl.

Gig 'Em Aggies and Beat the Hell Outta Tennessee! WHOOP!

Friday, December 03, 2004

The Grinch Who Stole the Bell Ringers

Apparently they are returning to Mervyn's after a slight change of heart on their part. Check out this article, hat tip Hugh Hewitt

Target, on the other hand, still hasn't, and it's estimated to cost the Salvation Army $9 Million. Where are you doing your "Winter Solstice" shopping, which is what Target has labelled their holiday tablewares. Feel free to send a polite email to Target and let them know at

Customer complaints and emails prompted a reversal by Mervyn's...let's make it work for Target too.

UPDATE: The following is a form letter I received in response to my complaint to Target. I know it's a form letter because my friend Kathryn received the exact same letter, word for word:

Like many nationwide retailers, Target Corporation has a long-standing "no
solicitation" policy that it consistently applies to all organizations
across all of its stores.

We receive an increasing numberof solicitation inquiries from non-profit
organizations and other groups each year and determined that if we continue
to allow the Salvation Army to solicit then it opens the door to any other
groups that wish to solicit our guests. While some of our guests may
welcome the opportunity to support their favorite charity or cause,
allowing these organizations to solicit means that Target would also have
to permit solicitation by organizations whose cause or behavior may be
unacceptable to our guests.

We notified the Salvation Army of our decision in January 2004, well in
advance of the holiday season, so the organization would have time to find
alternative fundraising sources. Target also asked the Salvation Army to
look at other ways that we could support their organization under our
corporate giving guidelines. To this date they have not provided a proposal
that fits those guidelines.

Local Salvation Army chapters can apply for grants through their local
Target stores. For decades, many non-profit organizations across the
country have successfully worked with Target in this manner. We are asking
the Salvation Army to work with us in the same exact manner as the other
groups and organizations who ask to solicit our guests.

This decision in no way diminishes Target Corporation's commitment to its
communities. Target has one of the largest corporate philanthropy programs
in America, donating more than $2 million per week and hundreds of
thousands of volunteer hours each year to the communities in which it does


Jennifer Hanson
Target Executive Offices

Angel Decoy Photos

These are photos of an Air Force C-130 (I LOVE these bad boys!) releasing flares to repel heat seeking Missiles. The pattern formed by these "decoys" are how they got
their name . . . . . Angel decoy. It's absolutely awesome!

Maneuvers are usually in remote areas and over water, therefore the general
public does not get to view these exercises.

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Free Image Hosting at

Photos are thumbnails; click on them for an enlargement.
(Courtesy of an unknown email source.)

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Are You in the Christmas Spirit?

Well if you are, then I've got just the opportunity for you to spread some holiday cheer. And if you're not, then this is just what you need to get ready for the real meaning of the holiday. As we celebrate the birth of Christ, God's greatest gift to the world, it is only right that we pass along His gift of Love to others. There are troops fighting for our freedom to celebrate, who may or may not hear from home this holiday. Helping them is SOOO easy, I've done all the work for you (well, actually did it) Just follow the link to At the top of the page, click on "Where to Send" and a list will appear on your left of soldiers names. Click on any name and you'll see their posted message, listing their requests. Once you start reading them, you can't stop. I wanted to go out and buy everything on every list! I can't stand it that there are soldiers out there fighting for my family who don't have a coffee pot, or deodorant, or shampoo, etc. because they're stationed far from the PX and/or haven't been receiving packages. Once you've selected a soldier and are ready to help, you MUST re-check that soldier's page the day you're mailing the package to verify that the address is still accurate (a.k.a. they haven't been moved). All the instructions for mailing, including proper addressing and customs forms info can be found at the site under the "how to send" section. If you have any trouble, leave a comment here and I'll gladly help you out. Check out the FAQ before you begin and let's spread some holiday cheer to those who need it most!

You can now get flat-rate priority shipping boxes from the USPS that will cost $7.70 to ship. You can ship as much as will fit in the box, regardless of weight, for the flat price. The boxes can be ordered (for free in lots of 25) online here at the USPS Store. You then pay the $7.70 when you ship it. It doesn't get any more convenient than this!

Pray for Lance Cpl. Travis Pollok

My husband got the following email from an employee of one of his clients, telling him of Tavis Pollok who was wounded in battle in Fallujah:

Also wanted to let you know that I have a nephew, Travis Pollok, that is in
the Marines and he was in Iraq (has been there since September--his second
time there) and he was shot 5 times and is critically injured. It happened
on November 15th. He was shipped from Iraq to Germany on the 16th and then
he was shipped to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda Maryland on
the 19th. He turned 24 on the 18th of November. One of the bullets missed
his heart by a "hair"; one bullet took off part of his left lung (they
opened him up in the field and saved his life from the lung injury); one
bullet shattered his leg and hip (where your leg attaches to your hip--they
had to put in 5 rods and pins to put it back together and they had to remove
part of his left buttock because the bullet pretty much ate it up on the way
out of his body); another bullet just about blew up his left shoulder and
the last bullet was in his left arm. He pretty much had his whole left side
shot up. He and his platoon were sweeping a town (he was the leader of his
platoon) and he saw a sniper on top of a building and Travis shot him and
the sniper when down. They turned to continue their mission and then next
thing he heard was pop, pop, pop and he knew he was shot. Has little memory
after that until he got to Germany. Remembers them working on him in the
field. When he arrived at the Naval Hospital in Bethesda, he had a letter
taped to him that was put on him in Germany on the 19th before he left from
a guy in his platoon that had also been injured (we don't know how bad and
we are trying to find out) that told Travis that he killed the SOB that shot
him. He just got out of intensive care (praise the God). My sister and
her husband have been in Maryland since he arrived on the 19th. I am more
than likely going to Maryland one day next week (I think on Tuesday the
7th). I am seeking any and everyone who prays or knows someone who prays to
put him on their prayer list. I know that he has survived only by the
"GRACE OF GOD". My family and I would greatly appreciate any and all



You can read articles about Travis Pollok here and here

If you'd like to help the family out with travel expenses to be with Pollok as he recovers, an account has been established at Falls City National Bank to help defray the Polloks’ travel expenses. Donations can be sent to Falls City National Bank, P.O. Box 339, Falls City, TX 78113.

Please keep this brave young hero in your prayers.

UPDATED: Services for Captain Sean P. Sims

The final services for Cpt. Sims have been planned and will be held in College Station, TX as follows:

1. Rosary - Sunday, November 28th 4pm

2. Funeral - Monday, November 29th 1pm, St. Mary's Catholic Church, College Station.

You can read about the very moving services held for Cpt. Sean Sims here. Cpt. Sims was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star for his service.

May his memory live on forever in our hearts and minds.