13 July 2009

The Study Group

So, I have been asked to co-facilitate the discussion of William P Young's "The Shack" in my ladies' small group. This is going to be exceedingly interesting, extremely gratifying, and a whole stinkin' lot of fun.

Last night was our first session on this book, and our fearless leader asked me to take it. I gotta say, I love studying. I love researching, cross-referencing, preparing a lesson, and then executing it by facilitating a guided conversation. This is a whole host of my strengths just bouncing up and down and waiting to get out of my head. :)

God has given me the ability to learn vast quantities of information, and the further (more useful) ability to applicably regurgitate my studies. I have created and taught entire orientation and training programs, since high school, and this whole concept of studying and comparing notes on topics that interest me with people I love is not a new love in my life. This stuff is FUN!

Anyway, I'm thinking of posting the study guide to "The Shack" as I create it and we move through it. Maybe it could help someone else, if it's on the World Wide Interweb.

Much love.

04 July 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Yeah, so independence is over rated. Says the single woman as she sits in front of her computer after watching yet another year's July 4th fireworks show by herself.

If you're going to read this, you must know that it is not going to be fluid, and I'm not going to re-read it forty-six times before I post it, like I usually do. Here's what I've got:

Vero Beach's fireworks show is, in my opinion, much longer and SIGNIFICANTLY better than Washington D.C.'s is. Go figure. It has the added bonus of not being as much of a nightmare to navigate, traffic-wise. Maybe I shouldn't post this online where people in DC can see it and flood VB next year...

I don't remember the last time I watched Independence Day fireworks with anyone. I've been alone too long. Last year (2008), I didn't go, because I was working my corner at Walter Reed. The year before (2007), I watched the fireworks over the National Mall, alone, from the park by the DCA runway(DC Reagan International Airport, for those of you who don't fly to the District). 2006, I watched the DC fireworks on my TV and out my balcony window and didn't leave my apartment. The year before (2005) was when I was in the middle of moving to DC, but I don't recall what I did or where I was. I don't think I watched an "official" display, though. I think I was at a party. I don't recall the ones in the three or four years before that, though I've tried. Anyhoo, every 4th display I see, I always dream of the day when it's me and my SO (boyfriend, fiance, husband) going together, and eventually the day when it's me, my husband, and our small children... Every year, it's not.

This brings me to the next point-- as awful as it sounds, and I'm not trying to be hurtful with this-- SOMETIMES spending holidays alone is better than spending them alone with people who care about you. Sometimes, it's just easier to be alone and lonely than be lonely with people who are all paired off.

Yet again, as I was walking back to my car from watching the spectacular display over Indian River, I wondered, "How many more holidays am I going to spend alone? How many more seasons are going to pass me by, without a hand to hold, without a future to plan?"

And yes, before you ask, I'm turning 30 this year, and as that hallmark birthday approaches, I'm beginning to be a little depressed. I have a wonderful life. Don't get me wrong. It's just a lonely one, sometimes.

Anyway.. Happy Birthday, Land of the FREE and Home of the BRAVE! There's certainly no better place to be all alone. :)


11 June 2009

Financial Attack on Political Opponents

Here's a really klassy move on the part of the current administration. I'm trying really hard to be shocked, but I called this one.

Chrysler's 'hit list' targets GOP donors

Dealers who give to Republicans much more likely to be shuttered

Posted: May 27, 2009
7:54 pm Eastern
By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily

As part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Chrysler is terminating one-fourth of its franchises – but some say its catalog of doomed dealerships looks more like a hit list that specifically seeks to put Republican donors out of business.

Chrysler will now be eligible for up to $8 billion in taxpayer-funded federal aid. The federal government has already provided $8.58 billion to Chrysler and Chrysler Holding between the months of January and May of this year. The Treasury also loaned $1.5 billion to the automaker's lending arm in January.

President Obama has said the bankruptcy will give the company "a new lease on life," after his administration spearheaded a plan requiring the company sell to Italian automaker Fiat. Chrysler's stronger operations will be owned by Fiat, labor and the U.S. and Canadian governments. The sale could close as early as this Friday.

Obama said the bankruptcy would be a "quick" and "efficient" step toward Chrysler's "survival."

"The necessary steps have been taken to give one of America 's most storied automakers, Chrysler, a new lease on life," Obama said. "This is not a sign of weakness."
But WND reviewed the list of 789 closing franchises and databases of political donors and found that of dealership majority owners making contributions in the November 2008 election, less than 10 percent gifted to Democrats while 90 percent gave substantial sums to Republican candidates.

The listed franchise owners contributed at least $450,000 to Republican presidential candidates and the GOP, while only $7,970 was donated to Sen. Hillary Clinton's campaign and $2,200 was given to Sen. John Edwards' campaign.

Obama received a combined total of only $450 in donations – $250 from dealer Jane Baldock in Wenatchee , Wash. , and $200 from Waco, Texas , dealer Jeffrey Hunter.
Many of the majority owners who donated to Republican campaigns last year also contributed additional thousands to George W. Bush's presidential campaign in 2004 and to help elect GOP representatives.

The first dealership on Chrysler's list of facilities marked for termination by June 9 is located in Venice , Fla. , and belongs to Republican Rep. Vernon G. Buchanan.
Buchanan gave $2,300 to John McCain in 2008 and has contributed nearly $150,000 to GOP candidates and organizations since 2007. He discovered that his location was scheduled for closure when he crossed paths with Rep. Candice Miller, R-Mich.

According to the Associated Press, Miller told Buchanan, "I heard you're going to lose your Dodge franchise."

"Oh, really?" Buchanan said in a state of surprise.

The dealership's operating partner, Shelby Curtsinger, said he was astonished by Chrysler's decision because the location has been profitable – selling more than twice the stock of an average Chrysler dealership every year.

Houston dealer Robert Archer is one of 330 people contesting Chrysler's decision to close their locations. He donated $1,000 to National Republican Congressional Committee and $500 to Americans for a Republican Majority.

Archer told the New York Times he ordered 700 new vehicles and $1.7 million in new parts after Chrysler told him he could survive unless he stocked more cars. He sacrificed his profits to help the company survive.

Now he is set to lose his franchise.

Other GOP contributors include Michael Maroone, a dealer in Ft. Lauderdale , Fla. He gave $20,000 to the Florida Republican Party, $12,700 to the Republican National Committee and $2,300 to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Likewise, Menomonee Falls , Wis. , dealer Russ Darrow and his family gave $19,000 to the Republican National Committee, $6,029 to the Wisconsin Republican Party, $2,300 to John McCain and $1,000 to Rudy Giuliani. Bedford , Texas , dealer Eric Grubbs gifted $11,500 to Mike Huckabee, $4,600 to Rudy Giuliani, $6,500 to Texas Republican Congressional Committee, $1,085 to the RNC and $500 to National Republican Congressional Committee. Midlothian , Va. , dealer Max Pearson donated $18,000 to National Republican Senatorial Committee, $6,900 to the RNC, $6,900 to John McCain, $3,600 to Virginia Republican Party and $1,000 to National Republican Congressional Committee.

The list continues with more than 60 political donors who are scheduled to lose their franchises – many of whom gave thousands of dollars to Republican candidates – and only seven dealers who contributed a total of less than $12,000 to the Democratic Party and its candidates.

Blogger Doug Ross reviewed patterns on the closure list and noticed the unmistakable trend.

"I took all dealer owners whose names appeared more than once on the list," he wrote.

"And, of those who contributed to political campaigns, every single one had donated almost exclusively to GOP candidates."

With 2,392 Chrysler dealerships remaining, some bloggers claim to have already begun the exhaustive process of checking each majority owner to determine whether Chrysler has been more merciful toward those who donate to Democrats while simultaneously giving walking papers to Republican contributors.

Chrysler has not responded to WND's requests for comment. The company claims it evaluated the dealerships based on raw sales volume, location, market, history of experience and market share. According to the company's bankruptcy court filing, the 789 dealerships listed for closure "lack the operational, market, facility and linemaker characteristics necessary to best contribute to the ongoing dealer network under current or future ownership."

Dealer Jim Anderer told Fox News' Neil Cavuto he doesn't understand why Chrysler is shutting down his Long Island dealership because he claims his dealership is quite profitable – with sales volume ranking in the top 2 percent.

Asked why he believes the company targeted him, Anderer said, "They won't tell us. They seem to be running for cover right now because they won't give us a solid explanation. They come up with all these reasons, but none of them seem to make sense."
He continued, "This is insanity. The government is stealing my business. And they're telling me there's nothing I can do about it."

Anderer said Chrysler claims it wants to combine its stores or that dealers cost the manufacturer money to stay in business.

"In the dealers that they cut, there seems to be no cohesive way that they did it," he said. "There was no process that you could put your finger on and say, 'Hey, we cut 25 percent of the lowest performing dealers.' They didn't do that. Nobody will give us a real clear explanation of the formula that they came up with."

An anonymous employee affected by the dealership closings blogged at Cars.com:
"This isn't about business. It's about politics and control. My dealership is in the top 125 out of the 3,500-plus dealerships nationwide ... yet we are on the list. We are not small nor are we rural. We are in a large major metropolitan area. Our new vehicle inventory alone is well over $4.0 million. Is that small?"

The employee continued, "This is so much more than 'just business.' This is about control and power by our present administration in Washington . An administration that will stop at nothing to bring complete socialism to this once great country. Wake up people or get in line now to 'drink the Kool-Aid.'"

Chrysler's bankruptcy court review process began May 14 and is scheduled to end by June 9. According to a May 14 Chrysler memo, dealers learned of their fate via UPS letters arriving earlier this month. A Senate committee is conducting hearings this week as dealers file their requests to block their termination.

George C. Joseph, owner of Sunshine Dodge-Isuzu in Melbourne Fla. , has sent out his plea to several online media organizations, including WND.

Joseph said his family paid for his franchise 35 years ago and employs more than 50 people. The company is active in the community and the local chamber of commerce, and he claims it is financially profitable.

"On Thursday, May 14, 2009 I was notified that my Dodge franchise, that we purchased, will be taken away from my family on June 9, 2009 without compensation and given to another dealer at no cost to them," Joseph wrote. "My new vehicle inventory consists of 125 vehicles with a financed balance of 3 million dollars. This inventory becomes impossible to sell with no factory incentives beyond June 9, 2009."

He said that without the franchise his family can no longer sell Dodge inventory as "new" or conduct any service warranty work. Joseph wrote that his parts inventory – worth $300,000 – is now practically worthless because Chrysler will not be required to buy vehicles, tools or parts from terminated dealers under bankruptcy rules.

To make matters worse, Joseph said Chrysler recently required his facility to be renovated, requiring a multi-million dollar debt in the form of a mortgage.

"This is a private business, not a government entity," he wrote. "This is beyond imagination! My business is being stolen from me through no fault of our own. We did nothing wrong."

Joseph continued, "This atrocity will most likely force my family into bankruptcy. This will cause our 50+ employees to be unemployed. How will they provide for their families? … How in the United States of America can this happen?"

10 June 2009

Relationship Stuff

So, for those of you who have read blog posts of mine for awhile, you may be wondering what's going on in my relational world. Here's a brief rundown of the last year:

I was in a relationship.
I got non-dumped (that's what happens when you never break up but the other person drops off the face of the planet).
I got over it.

How's that for a clear picture?

Some of you might remember someone I mentioned in a blog post over a year ago, if you've been reading for that long. Apparently, a story I thought was long over has many more chapters to be written. More on this later. For now, I need to continue to privately absorb the fact of it all.

We learn a lot as we go through life. We learn about all kinds of things, but relationally, we learn what we want and what we don't want, as our experience prompts. Some things become unimportant. Some things become vital. I've written about this before. For those of you that have read those posts, you know that in the last few years I've gone through a whole growing-up season of my life. Someday I'll write about that. One of the things that I've learned--the hard way, might I add-- is that respect is very important. If I'm in a relationship where I'm not respected, I shouldn't be in that relationship. If I'm in a relationship where the other person is not someone I can respect, I shouldn't be in that relationship. When neither of us respects the other, I DEFINITELY shouldn't be in that relationship.

I just have to say that I have a whole new picture of what love is in a relationship, based on the respect with which I am treated in my current relationship.

Ladies, you know how when you're in a relationship with a guy who's really good-looking (or whatever--insert adjective here..) but who doesn't care much for your opinion you start feeling needy? When you're disrespected (whether you know it or not) you begin to depend on the way you feel about your significant other because you're obviously not worth his time... It hits you right in the self-esteem and you don't even notice it at first. You begin to lose yourself in whatever he wants out of the relationship, and you discount anything that you want, or used to think you wanted, because obviously he must be right about how this is supposed to work. If you stay in that long enough, it can do lasting damage to you. Believe me. I know. When you feel lucky to be graced with a few minutes of his time, that's a sure sign that you need to run for your ever-loving life. I lived this crap off and on for about 6 years, and it's no wonder that I've had to learn from scratch the value that is intrinsic in me.

I told a girlfriend of mine who has had a lousy history of boyfriend-jumping (get your head out of the gutter-- I mean jumping from one boyfriend to the next) that until she had learned to grasp in the most private places of her heart how VERY MUCH God loves her, she will never be able to have a viable relationship. I wasn't saying this out of inherent meanness. I was saying it from the perspective of someone who has had to learn that the hard way. BUT, I've LEARNED it. No one can take this away from me. I've been held in the arms of Jesus, close to the heart of God. I have grasped the meaning of the suffering He experienced in my place on the cross, and I have seen the value that He places on ME, His Beloved. From here, I can see a whole lot that wasn't ever clear to me.

So, when I took the step into this relationship, I did it from a place of wholeness. For the first time in my life, I have entered a relationship knowing who I am and what I'm worth.

My mother has taught me all my life that "One is a whole number." I can't tell you how many times she's told me this. She got married when she was 18, and when she turned 36, she became depressed, because she had lived 18 years in her father's house and 18 years in her husband's house, with no time to see what she could do. (She got over it, btw.) She has told me over and over, seeing me lost and trying to figure out who or what I was: "One is a whole number. Until you are capable of being whole on your own, you can never be half of a couple. You are enough, just as you are." I am so very blessed to have her wisdom. I'm also blessed to be able to tell her that just shy of 30 years of age, I have fully grasped this lesson. Took me long enough.. Whew.

The other side of this is this: When I took the step into this relationship, BECAUSE I was able to do it from a place of wholeness, and because it was with someone who loves and respects me for whoever or whatever I am, I have entered a relationship on even footing.

This man's desire, as he tells me with every word and action, is to see my relationship with God grow. He wants me to be in the center of God's will. Period. He was willing to watch me walk away because he thought it more important for me to be happy than for him to get what he wanted. Because HIS desire is to be the man that God intends him to be, it's only to his advantage for me to be the woman that God intends me to be. If we're both in the center of God's will, then if God intends for us to be together, we'll both be united in that. Because he respects my relationship with God, he doesn't allow human desire to push him around. He knows that if we build the foundation of this relationship on solid ground, it will stand the test of time. He's willing to do that, brick by brick, bag of concrete by bag of concrete.

It may not look perfect from everyone's perspective right now, but because we are doing this the right way, with a respect for each other that helps define what love means to us, it will eventually be just right. For those of you who know me well, he also tones down my Type-A-ness when it's not appropriate and encourages it when it is. He never has to knock me off-kilter to keep the upper-hand, because he doesn't seem to care about having the upper hand. He only cares about loving me the way God wants him to. That means that it's a joy for me to show him deference. I get to see, in a real relationship of my own, that what I've always believed about submission is really true.

Another time, I'll share more of our story, where we are, where we're going, etc. For now, suffice it to say that I may have just been found.

Much love.

Sunday Walks

It has become my habit to take a walk on the beach at least once a week. When I'm in town, I always go on Sunday, and when I get a chance on other days of the week, I go then, too. I use it as a time to refresh and recharge, to adjust my attitude, to clear my mind. Sometimes I pray. Sometimes I sing. Sometimes I talk to myself. Sometimes I just wander absent-mindedly. The beach/ocean never fails to amaze me.

One of the things that occurred to me one day on my walk was that this was an analogy to heaven. Heaven touches the earth, as the water touches the beach. They wash over-under each other. One is one and the other is the other, but the two meet and mingle. We walk on earth the way I walk the beach, with our feet just touching the edge of heaven, but not fully in it. We get a glimpse of it, but our bodies aren't made to live in the ocean any more than they're made to live in heaven. For that, we need new ones. Just as I go to the beach, I go to the edge of heaven and peer out into it. In both places I meet God.

Missing me?

I just realized that I haven't posted anything since February. This is NOT due to a lack of things about which to think/write. Rather, it is more due to a combination of a lack of personal time, intentionality, and decisiveness on my part. There have been many dozens of topics about which I've considered writing, pictures/videos/links I've considered posting, etc. One of the difficulties I've had is the fact that my personal computer continues to be possessed of the Blue Screen of Death on a fairly regular basis, and I get tired of fighting with it. When I'm done staring at my secure computer for the day, it's really hard to make the decision to fiddle with my own stuff for the evening. Be that as it may, I've been remiss in my bloggishness, and I deeply apologize. Please forgive the error of my ways.

Today, my goal is to get my links updated to include the blogs that I've been reading lately and a couple of things I like, as well as post a few thoughts on different subjects. I seriously doubt that I have retained any regular readers through my intermittent blogging, but if you're out there, thank you for your time and patience.

Links I'm adding:
Just Barely-- a blog that I originally encountered awhile back through Ranger Up, and of which I became a subscriber just to help meet a Ranger Up donation goal to Wounded Warrior Project.
Cake Wrecks-- I have NO idea how I found this, but I found it utterly hilarious. I'm now a regular reader on there, and am taking Jen up on her blanket permission to link to her. If I need a really good laugh, I just go on there and read a bit. :)

Links I'm pulling:
Brownie Points--as my friend has not updated it in over a year, I don't see the value in retaining the link.
The DTS Group-- as it's being re-worked. I'll add it back in when the new site is launched.

Hopefully, I'll be a little better at keeping up, now..

Much love.

18 February 2009

An Open Letter to My Heroes

To the best of the best, our US military:

I heard a really infuriating thing the other day. A friend of mine stopped a soldier in uniform to thank him for his service, something that is always necessary and always right, whatever time and effort it takes. The soldier told him that he had just returned from the sandbox that day, and that as a group of soldiers were walking through the airport, there was a little boy watching them. He stopped his dad, and pointed at the soldiers. This scumbag of a wannabe frenchman pulled his little son back and said, while making eye contact with the soldier, "Don't get near them. They're a disgrace." Needless to say, the soldier was grateful for the appreciation shown him by my friend.

When I heard that story I was so mad and so sick to my stomach that anyone, for any reason, would EVER say that about MY guys. MY guys are out there risking life and limb so that we can bask in the freedom to say stupid things in public and ruin our children. I hope that little boy grows up to be a type-A commando with a love for country and a sense of honor that is big enough to die for his dad's right to make such idiotic statements.

My input: There is nothing too big, too hard, too difficult that I would not do it for all of you guys who sign your lives over to our country. Whether you are a soldier, sailor, airman, coastie, marine, policeman, special agent, firefighter, paramedic-- You are what makes us great. You are what makes us viable. You are what makes this country the beauty, the envy that she is. Your service is the only thing that keeps us a notch above, even when we make every effort to destroy ourselves with poor decisions. I love you guys, with all that's in me. You are so greatly loved and appreciated by so many. Some people don't know how to come up to a man (or woman) in uniform to tell them thank you, but that doesn't mean they don't feel the sentiment. They're worried that they might look foolish, they might bother you, they might embarrass you... Whatever. I'll say it for all of them. We love you. We FIERCELY appreciate you, and I, for one, would love the opportunity to do anything in my power to make sure that guy's voice is never again heard by anyone who wears (or ever has worn or ever will wear) the uniform. Thank you for your service. Thank you for your honor. Thank you for your sacrifice. Thank you to your family and friends who carry and support you. Thank you. I love you.


05 February 2009

Ranger Up Ladies Stuff

Fans and friends, and odds and ends...

Today I got an email from Nick at Ranger Up (Yes, that's the site I love with all my heart in my links on this page...) asking me for some input for their ladies' gear line. I'm taking ideas here, via facebook, myspace, and email. If you have any thoughts, slogans, suggestions, colors, designs (graphic or clothing), please get them to me!

I'm brainstorming like crazy, and would LOVE any ideas y'all might have. Hey, since I'm telecommuting, I basically live in Ranger Up gear. :D

Much Love.

20 January 2009

The Obamination of the USA

Today, Barack Hussein Obama was the 43rd man to take the Presidential Oath of Office. (No, he's not the 44th American to take the oath, as he stated in his inaugural address. He's the 43rd. Grover Cleveland served two non-consecutive terms, taking two separate numbers on that list, though being one man. Beyond that, I'll avoid pointing out that the Supreme Court still hasn't ruled on whether he's actually eligible to hold the office, due to a case in that highest court of our land questioning the whereabouts of his birth... but I digress.) I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my best to the new First Family.

To President Barack Hussein Obama: May all the wisdom of God be given to you as you ask it. May He guide your hand, your thoughts, your decisions. May He protect you and yours from those who would seek to do you harm, lead you astray, and press any agenda that might move you against His will.

To Mrs. Barack Hussein Obama: May you have the grace to fill the enormous shoes of the ladies who have gone before you. May God grant you patience as you deal with the necessary pressures your family will experience while in this position of power. May the stresses of this circumstance roll lightly off your shoulders, and may you truly be a role model for those millions of young ladies who respect you and frame you as their heroine.

To the little Obamas-- Malia and Sasha: May you grow in grace, to be beautiful ladies, as you are beautiful little girls. May you be preserved from the things which would impinge your chance to experience all the joys of childhood. May this be an extraordinary opportunity, and may you look back on it as a happy time in your lives.

To the First Family, the administration, and all of those who are linked thereto: May all the hopeychange be with you, inasmuch as you believe in it and work toward it. (Whatever the heck that means.)

To My United States of America: May God go with us as we are led by a man who would fight for the murder of babies, while speaking against those who participate in "slaughtering innocents" in his inaugural address. May He (that's God, not the Obamessiah, people) protect us from ourselves. May He guide our country and our President, and may He draw our hearts ever closer to Himself. May we remain the republic that we are (not the democracy that we aren't, Senator Feinstein), and may the consequences of our decisions be administered to us lightly and mercifully, but only as that might follow the infallible will of God.

While I might not have said it as well as Blackfive did, he is now President Barack Hussein Obama, and therefore occupies an office deserving of respect. As the man in the chair in the Oval Office, as the Commander in Chief, as the leader of the free world, he deserves our respect and support, however he also needs to remain accountable. I stand behind that office, no matter who occupies it, and whether I support his decisions, his standpoints, his policies, I will offer my prayers, and my support, on his behalf. Pray harder, people. We're going to need it. God help us all.

Much love.

19 January 2009

Obots. haha!

Democratic Republic

This country is not a democracy. This is a concisely, cleanly educational explanation of what government is and how it works. It's amazing what intelligent people can squeeze into ten minutes and thirty-five seconds.

17 January 2009

Change for me, baby.

Loving someone is wanting the very best for them. That has been a theory of mine for a very long time. Wanting the very best for them out of everything, including yourself. Becoming your very best so that they can have the very best of you. Seeing something that's less than the best and wanting to make it go away...

A thought that just occurred to me is this: If you want better for someone than he wants for himself, does that mean that you want him to change for you?

My Beast had some things that needed to be addressed in his life, and now that he's no longer mine, I wonder if addressing those things would have made him very different. If he was well, would he lose the things I loved about him? The things that made me crazy and kept me sane? Would he still be maddeningly, wonderfully impulsive? Would we still dance across the parking lot or skip through the zoo? Would he still offer sweet compliments to lift my mood? Would he lose the kind along with the unkind? I like to think that a healing within him would be the best for him, but would it? Maybe I should just stick with the things I know.

Maybe I wanted the very best for him, or maybe I just wanted the very best for me. I'm not really sure, anymore. What I do know is that I loved him. Still do. Now that the numb is starting to wear thin, I'm approaching the point where the emotions burst the dam, and it's terrifying. Loss is powerful, and undealt-with loss can be lethal. God help me.

Much love.

14 January 2009

Welcome back to DC...

The land where chivalry is truly dead and everyone hates each other.

Ah, yes.

SO very glad I've moved. So So SO SO very glad.