"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land." -2 Chronicles 7:14

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Smart Girl Nation, November Edition, Article, "Defining Patriotism"

The latest issue of Smart Girl Nation, published by Smart Girl Politics Action, was released today.  Below is an excerpt from my article, called Defining Patriotism.  Hope you enjoy!  (You can read the rest here.)


Patriotism is not short, frenzied outbursts of emotion, but the tranquil and steady dedication of a lifetime.”  America was founded with many basic values.  We were a God-fearing people, striving for liberty, and the good will of people was evident at every turn.  Sadly, we as a nation have strayed from many of those founding principles.  We are now in danger of losing another; one that has been an underlying theme in every American success.  Patriotism exemplifies everything America is about.  Love of country is much of the reason America is different from every other nation.  If we lose that, most of our superiority in the world goes with it.

Patriotism is something that has been instilled in Americans' hearts for generations.  This country gave many people the opportunity to achieve their “American Dream”, giving them a very strong love for their country.  It was of great importance to them that their children learn that same love of country, through telling their stories to their children, and teaching them that America truly is the land of opportunity.  They, in turn, grew up to tell their own children the same thing, sharing their own stories of American success, with a sense of pride and patriotism which every American who has achieved their dreams understands. 

Patriotism is the driving force behind our military.  As Nathan Hale, a spy in the American Revolution, said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”  Every person that enlists in our armed forces has a patriotism the rest of America should strive for.  To have the courage to leave your family for the cause of freedom is something worthy of being admired and replicated to everyone in America.  They love their country enough to sacrifice themselves for it, and that is true patriotism: “Love of country and willingness to sacrifice for it.”  Thousands of young Americans have given their lives for this country.  While not all of us are called to follow in their footsteps into war, we can embody that same kind of patriotism by showing how much we appreciate their sacrifice.  Even a smile and a thank-you shows a soldier how much you appreciate him or her.  The fact that a person would give of themselves so that we could have freedom ought to elicit a feeling of patriotism from every single American. 


Friday, November 25, 2011

Don't give up!

I'm sure everyone has been at the point where they just wanted to give up; whether it was on something big or small, doesn't matter.  I'll be honest and say that I'm at a point like that right now, of wanting to give up on something.  I know that I shouldn't, but things have just become so hard in the said area that my flesh and my mind are just exhausted beyond imagination.  Trying to "keep face" about it seems pointless anymore.  I've finally discovered, I think, that I really can't change this situation on my own.  I've tried and nothing changes.  I've prayed about it, but nothing has really changed; but I think I figured out that, honestly, I've been saying the words but not putting forth the effort I know it will take to truly change things.  I've been trying to carry this on my own, and it hasn't been working.  I'm ready to give up.  I was reading my Bible tonight and I came across-- no, I couldn't have done it.  This was one of those times that God had to be guiding my fingers (if you've ever experienced that you know what I mean).  I landed on this passage in Hebrews tonight that I want to post.  I'm starting in the middle of chapter 11 and I'll end in one of the first few verses of chapter 12.  In case you're not familiar with it, chapter 11 of Hebrews has been "nicknamed" the "Hall of Faith."  It gives details on how Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Sara, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, and even Rahab were able to accomplish miracles through faith, just because they had faith.  I know this is a little lengthy, but I'd encourage you to read the whole thing:

"And what shall I more say?  for the time would fail me to tell of Gedeon, and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jephthae; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong,
waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.  Women received their dead raised to life again: and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection:  And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, more-over of bonds and imprisonment:  They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword:  they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented; (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.  And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:  God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.  Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God, For consider Him that endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds."

After reading that, it was hard for me to not be encouraged!  It starts off by asking what more you need after all the Writer has already told you previously in the chapter.  It then tells you the types of things that have been accomplished by faith in the past, and tells you of more people that accomplished great works through faith.  This is my favorite part:  Every one of those people, who accomplished those unthinkable things through faith, is sitting in a cloud of witnesses as we speak, looking down on believers and encouraging them in our race down here. 

I've come out of reading this encouraged and, although I'm not looking forward to it, I know that I just can't give up on this.  I'm handing it over to God and trusting Him to take care of it; but I know that I have to do my part, too, and that I can handle whatever comes at me by doing that.  I'm encouraged knowing that there are people who are cheering for me right now, that want me to succeed. 

I'm not sure why I wanted to post this.  Maybe somebody needed to read this, too.  If so, I hope it encouraged you as much as it encouraged me!  Please keep me in your prayers; constant battle between my flesh and the Spirit going on inside me as we speak :) but I feel confident that I'll get through this.  Hopefully this won't be looked at as a pointless post-- if anything, it did help me to actually type this out!  If you take anything away from this, let it be this:  Don't give up!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!  I really don't feel like I've fully realized yet all the things I have to be thankful for-- trying to, but I don't think I could truly count all of them!  Here's a list of some of the things I'm thankful for (in the order I think of them).  I'm not giving a number because I'm going to list them until I can't think of anymore!

1.  My faith.

2.  My family

3.  My friends

4. Living in America!

5.  My "necessities"-- sense of sight, smell, hearing, taste, etc.

6.  Laughter...the best medicine (I know it's cliche, but I think it's true!)

7.  Blogging!

8.  Our democratic system of government.

9.  Texting (if I was going in order, this would be higher up on the list...I am a teenager ;)

10.  Football!  (This, too, would be higher up!)

11.  Campaigning

12.  Taking goofy pictures

13.  Longboarding

14.  Getting pulled on a longboard by a bike

15.  Playing manhunt in the dark (awesome!!)

16.  Mountains

17.  Spending time with my friends and family :)

Take a moment this Thanksgiving to reflect on all you truly have to be thankful for.  Just because life isn't perfect, doesn't mean that you have nothing to be thankful for.  In fact, it's at that point that you probably have more to be thankful for.  Hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving!

P.S.   It really is "Thanksgiving", not "Turkey Day"...the latter is an attempt to erase what the first Thanksgiving was truly about.  Don't give in!