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Interests: Reading, cooking, being mom...I have ADD tendencies, so I develop interests, explore them, get slightly decent at them, and then move on. I have dabbled in painting, drawing, origami, cross stitch, and so many others it boggles my mind....
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First off, I am just glad it's over! In what will sound like an old-fashioned, sexist, retro comment, I wanted to make known once and for all (because I know EVERYONE has lost sleep over it) why I couldn't vote McCain/Palin.
But before that I just want to say bravo to America- this election was very unique, in that there were two well-qualified candidates who both seemed to be running for the best reason possible. That reason? They love America and want to make it a better place. Each of them had a long list of plusses and a short list of minuses, and that hasn't happened in a very long time. I followed the coverage from here, read the propoganda put out by both sides, shook my head a lot and was really saturated by the time November 4th came.
We had our ballots, I wrestled for weeks, I prayed, and couldn't decide. What I did decide was that I couldn't vote for McCain based on his choice of a running-mate. I have no ill against Sarah Palin. I thought that given her experience (or lack) in the international spotlight that she made a very good showing for herself. The reason I couldn't bring myself to vote for her? She has 5 kids, one of whom is a special needs baby of less than a year old. Those children need a mom more than our country needs to have a woman in the VP office. I have no problem with women in office, really. There are women that I would vote for in a heartbeat. I feel very strongly, however, that at this stage in Palin's life, that her family needs her more than her country does. Sure she's governor of Alaska, but that really isn't even in the same category from a stress and time standpoint.
Given this indecision and how long it took for me to arrive at that place, I still hemmed and hawed. I knew that if either McCain or Obama won, I wouldn't be overjoyed or upset. So, when I went to finally fill out my ballot, I discovered that it had been thrown away or colored on or something- it wasn't where I left it, and no one knew where it had gotten to. So I ended up not voting. It made me a little sad, but I truly was at peace with the idea of either man in office. I vowed not to be a non-voting whiner- I think you give up your right to whine if you don't take the responsibility to try and change what you can.
There you go. A small part of me is a little ashamed that I didn't vote, but as I said, I couldn't vote for either and would have been satisfied with either as well.
On the other hand I am really proud of America's voting a black man in office. I think it says a lot for the majority of Americans. I pray that he can stay safe and do an effective job. That is my role now, as an American Christian- to pray for my elected officials as directed in the Bible.
The French are ecstatic over Obama's win, and have asked every American I know how we feel about it. I think his election has opened many eyes and only helped how America is seen in the world.
So, how's that for a first-post-in-a-loooooong-time?
In other news, I love this site- http://www.bizarrerecords.com/gallery.html Remember record albums? These are some of the worst album covers EVER!
otherwise entitled "why I get slightly miffed when I hear folks complain about the gas prices in the states"
Taken from http://money.cnn.com/2008/05/01/news/international/usgas_price/index.htm?iref=topnews CNN's report on the cheapest and most expensive places to buy gas. The cheapest, to my surprise is Venezuela at 12 cents/gallon.
To be fair, though, America *is* a huge place and public transportation, while it exists, is not as pervasive, convenient and clean as it seems to be in Europe. But for me, having this trip to the states coming up, it will be pretty nice to fill up a car and *not* get the bank statement back that says it cost me $162 to fill up my van!
You know the old saying "better late than never"? I was reading through some of my favorite blogs and started chasing rabbits, as I sometimes do. Do you ever do that? Read a blog, see an interesting name on the blogroll and click it, and before you know it you've gone 6 degrees of separation from the original. Well that happened today- I was at my favorite non-religious Christian blog happily reading comments to a post he made yesterday. I clicked someone's username and ended up HERE. Then at the bottom of the page I saw a link to THIS. What all three of these had in common was a small ad on their blogs linking to Compassion International.
You see, this month is Blog about Compassion month and earlier this month, from the 10th-18th, a group of Christian bloggers went to Uganda with Compassion and are blogging about it. I clicked that little button on the last site I went to and fell in love with about a hundred little African kids! Obviously we can't sponsor all of them, so I thought it would be cool to make this a family thing. I called Katy up (age 8) and let her pick a child to sponsor. She chose (after much deliberation!) a 4 year old girl from Tanzania named Mary John Mkini. Mark came up later and chose Tumusiime Joshua from Uganda, who is about his age. They are both excited, as am I, at the prospect of making a difference in these kids' lives.
Katy just came up as I was typing this post and asked, "How's Mary doing?" I explained to her that we'll get an information package in the mail in a couple of weeks and she can find out all about her then. She then asked why we couldn't sponsor more kids and I said, "Because each child costs $32/month to sponsor and right now we can't sponsor more."
"What if you don't have any money? Can you sponsor them with what you do have?"
"No, but we can pray for these kids that people will sponsor them and then they can have medicine and be able to go to school and things like that," was my reply.
She sighed and said, "I wish the whole world was like that, where they all could get what they need."
Me too sweetie, me too.
So thank you to Brant of Kamp Krusty, Anne of Flowerdust.net, and Nancy of Not all who wander are lost (all the links are in the first paragraph). From your postings and sidebar ads, there are two more sponsored kids in Africa, and two American kids living in France who can have their own slice of ministry and demonstrating Jesus' love to those less fortunate than they are.
Better late than never, don't you think?
But there is a law here (passed in 1906) forbidding non-food stores from opening on Sunday. They are allowed to be open on 5 Sundays a year, but no more. That may all change.
While I agree that the economy here needs to be stimulated, I have really mixed feelings about this. I like that you *can't* shop on Sunday- you are forced to spend the time at home with your family. I like mine, maybe that has something to do with it. BUT on the other hand, I can see where a family with 2 working parents would greatly benefit from this.
One of our favorite things about France is how "retro" it feels in the sense that the stores are closed on Sunday, EVERYONE takes a walk Sunday afternoon and traditions such as what to eat for which holiday are strongly upheld. I don't want France to lose its charm and become all hustly-bustly. I guess we'll wait and see.
A tiny look at grace...
In my prayer group, all of us have kids. The older boys are going through a period of doubt (mine isn't at that stage yet but I fully expect it or something like it when he reaches his older teen years!). Not doubt in God so much, but doubt in their ability to measure up to what they feel God wants them to be. Entering into the mindset of "If I do X, then God will love me more" or "If I do Y, then I'll be closer to being a 'good' Christian". I was raised Catholic, so I really understand the need to "do" something to feel like you have checked something off a list that will give you "Heaven points".
In the Catholic church, the sacraments *can* feel very much like something you have to do OR ELSE...My mom was raised in a Catholic school that told her if she didn't go to Mass on Sunday and take communion and then died during the following week, she was going to hell. Period. Sort of a superstitious type way of looking at it if you ask me- ritual for ritual's sake, motivated solely by fear. (one other side note, though, is that it really depends on the priest doing the teaching. There are priests- my priest growing up was one- who inspire you to want to do the sacraments out of a love for God and what He's done for you through sending His Son, and not out of a fear of what will happen if you don't take part, which I feel is a beautiful thing and more what the sacrements were intended to be...but I digress).
Phew. Okay, so as I was praying for these boys (who are all truly the kinds of sons you wish you had) I was struck with one thought- the biggest names in Christianity I can think of, The Apostle Paul, Martin Luther, The Wesley Brothers, Billy Graham- are just as far away from God's perfection as I am, in the sense that there is no linear path toward God that we travel down reaching ever closer by our works.
What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: "There is no one righteous, not even one; There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one." (Romans 3:9-12)
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; But Israel, who pursued a law of righteousness, has not attained it. Why not? Because they pursued it not by faith but as if it were by works. They stumbled over the "stumbling stone." (Romans 9:30-32)
It blows my mind, because my humanity then wants to know, "Well, then, WHY on earth does God love me" if I am so stinky inside? I can't answer that but I can give an analogy- my best image is a ruler- 12 inches. I may make up the first teensy marking on the ruler- a micron maybe. But through my faith in Jesus, and the grace that gives me I am a full 12 inches. I CAN NOT BUY PLATFORM SHOES TO MAKE MYSELF ANY TALLER!! But that's okay, because I don't *have* to be in order to be saved.
So from that, I guess I can conclude that I need to do the works, but because of a love and gratitude for God and all He's done for me, and realize that there isn't a scoreboard of works somewhere that determines the "strength" of our salvation or whether or not it will "stick". My salvation is secure through my faith in Christ's death and resurrection. Period.
We will be rewarded in Heaven for the things we do on earth (there are many verses about Heavenly rewards), but I firmly believe that it's the motivation behind the works is the most important aspect and the litmus test we should use- are we doing good works simply to gain points or have people notice us? Or are we doing them as an outreach of our love for God?