Adam: Counting my blessings.

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Gentle reader,

I wanted to share my husband’s thanksgiving thoughts with you:

The following was read on my on my podcast:

Yesterday at work, I began to think about my blessings and realized how much I truly have to be thankful for. So let’s begin.

I’m thankful for a God who gives Grace to me as I seek to follow him day by day. Many times I fail, but he lifts me up. He is gracious and forgiving. He feeds me through His Word and grants me inspiration. He is the giver of all good things and the one to whom thanks ought to be given.

I’m thankful for health. Other than needing more Omega 3’s in my diet and sleep apnea, I’m a fairly healthy guy with no major discomfort.

I’m thankful for my wife. She’s incredibly patient, understanding, and forgiving. She helps me in so many ways. She edits my blog and is there for every podcast. We have our moments like anybody else, but I wouldn’t trade her for anyone in the World.

I’m incredibly blessed to live in the United States of America. America is a land where freedom is possible. I can speak my mind and can expose the corruption and incompetence of officeholders without fearing for my life. Nor do I face long show trials for hate crimes for expressing my opposition to homosexual marriage, as would happen in other countries around the World. I’m still able to worship freely which itself is a miracle in a world where Christians are persecuted from one end of the globe to the other.

I’m thankful for men and women who volunteer to fight and die to protect our nation’s freedom, and sacrifice precious time with their family to do it.

I’m thankful for living in a land of economic opportunity. There’s an old joke that one man in a truly impoverished country told another, “I want to go to America where the poor people are fat and have cable TV.” Despite our government’s intrusiveness, incompetence, and foolish decisions, I’m thankful for those who keep the dream of economic prosperity alive .

I’m thankful for being homeschooled, as it’s really allowed me to chance to be myself and study areas of interest. It’s taught me personal responsibility and given me the ability to manage myself and work independently.

I’m thankful to be an Alumni of Flathead Valley Community College. While there were some poor instructors there, I was honored to sit in the classrooms of Blake Smith, Brian Bechtold, and Marita Combs, and am glad for the experience.

I’m thankful to have a great employer. While they’re not perfect, they do a good job of taking care of their employees.

I’m thankful for my house, a nice little place with affordable payments and low maintenance costs. I’m thankful for my car, which is perhaps the most dependable vehicle I’ve ever owned even though it’s a little old.

I’m thankful for our police, fire fighters and first responders. We’ve read a couple stories in recent days about bad cops, but I’m thankful that the vast majority of them are concerned about protecting us and put their lives on the line frequently in order to do it.

I’m thankful for friends and allies. People like Bryan Fischer, Brandi Swindell, Bill Sali, and other folks whose first names don’t even start with “B” provide me a great deal of hope and encouragement. They fight the good fight despite attacks, and their courage feeds my own.

I’m thankful for a pastoral staff at my church that tries their best to do what’s right for their people.

I’m thankful for the Blogosphere. Despite, it’s downsides, it’s not only given me a voice, but provided me with opportunities to find enlightening folks who express themselves well, even if I don’t always agree with them.

I know my mother and younger brother will read this, and I shouldn’t fail to mention them. Hello Mom and Josh. Okay, seriously I’m thankful for you guys, too.

I’m thankful for the folks at Comedy Sportz Idaho. It takes guts to start an experimental business on a shoestring budget, but they’ve done it. Their goal is to bring clean comedy to Idaho and they do a great job at it. I can always count on them to lift my spirits on Saturday night with some guilt-free laughs.

I’m thankful for those who’ve helped bring the world closer together. Without inventors of airplanes, computers, trains, and automobiles, the advantages of modern living wouldn’t exist.

I’m thankful for little modern conveniences: DVD Players, MP3 players, computers, e-mail, and all those little things we never really say thanks for, but sure complain a whole lot about if they stop working.

I’m also thankful for the tech-free world. I’m thankful for country roads and nature parks. For simple pleasures you don’t have to plug anything in for: like playing disc golf or throwing a football around.

I’m thankful for the other things that I can’t even think of, because I take them for granted. Email me if you’re one of those things, so I can be thankful for you too.

And my prayer is that I can carry the Spirit of Thanksgiving on throughout this year and every year.

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Feel free to share your own in the comments, or trackback it.

In Christ’s Blessings,

Andrea Graham

May we Never Forget

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Where were you on the morning of September 11, 2001 when you heard the news about the attacks on America?

We should all have an answer to that.

Tonight on the Truth and Hope Report, Adam and I remembered where we were, and what most of want to forget–what we felt and how it impacted our lives.

I hope you’ll take the time to listen. If you’d rather not download it, you can play the  9/11 +6 podcast online at Adam’s Blog.

But if not:

I’d just gotten out of poetry class at Ashland University, where I was in my third year of studies, and I had an hour to kill before Advanced New Testament, which was in the same building, so I headed to my favorite spot: the second floor computer lab to chat with my then-fiance, Adam.

He’d just gotten back from his early morning class and asked me if I’d heard yet. I was like, “What? Is something wrong?”

That’s when he told me, “The World Trade Center is destroyed!”

Partly because I only knew it as “the Twin Towers,” it took me several minutes to fully comprehend what that meant.

It was shocking, to many of us it seemed like the end of the world. We all clung to our loved ones on that day. Those of us that could. My then-fiance was two time zones away, and my natal family eighty miles. But at least they were still alive, as frightening and confusing as that day was. Nearly 3000 families will never see their loved ones again.

The best way we can honor them is to remember what we felt that day, how our lives and our families were threatened, and to do our level best to make sure it never, ever happens again. On every front.

Remember 9/11!

Whacky Interview

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Adam tagged me for The Meme of 47

So here goes, all the interview questions you never wanted to ask me:
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
A song, actually, entitled “Adrienne.” Mom convinced him to spell it “Andrea” (that’s what it sounded like Tommy James was singing to Dad)

2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?This morning, during Touched by an Angel

3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING
It stinks. I can write pretty, but it takes forever

4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Pepperoni, but we always buy plain old turkey.

5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
I wish

6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Nah, I’d think I was weird and opinionated and too much of a perfectionist.

7. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT?
Never thought about it. Do I?

8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
Nope

9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
Not even for $10 million

10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Shredded Wheat, South Beach Style or real oatmeal with real fruit

11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
No,Mother

12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Strong how? I can move furniture (if it’s not too heavy.) Does that count?

13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM? Mint chocolate chip, preferably the kind with caramel swirls or other goodies thrown in as well.

14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE? hair, eyes

15. RED OR PINK? Pink

16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
Must I choose just one?

17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
The nephew I’ve never met (stop squealing Sis I can hear you from 2000 miles away)

18. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO LINK THIS BACK TO YOU?
YES

19. WHAT COLOR PANTS (Or Kilt) AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
I plead the fifth

20. WHAT WAS The LAST THING YOU ATE? Spinach and shrimp salad with raspberry vinegarette

21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The Fan Whirring Beside Me and some weird Christian folk music Adam’s playing

22. IF YOU WHERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? Medium orchid (I mean the primary color of this website)

23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
Lavender, Ou de Adam, Parent’s House around Thanksgiving/Christmas

24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
probably a telemarketer

25. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO LINKED THIS TO YOU?
I married him so I guess I do. (Kidding, I love you honey!)

26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
Yuck

27. HAIR COLOR?
Auburn

28. EYE COLOR?
Hazel

29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
Not often

30. FAVORITE FOOD(S)?
Pizza and ice cream, but they’re a no-no on our diet.

31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
Happy ending all the way.

32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
In theaters? Nancy Drew. At home. Treasure Planet.

33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
light pink

34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
Spring 😛

35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Hugs

36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Cheesecake or any incredibly rich pie with lots of whipped cream and preferably caramel but the closest thing we’re allowed right now is bland, boring, and certainly un-wild flavored Ricotta.

37. MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND?
Don’t know

38. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND
N/A

39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
If I were reading right now, I wouldn’t be typing this, would I? But this one’s no secret around here. Scroll around and you’ll figure it out.

40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
Polar Bears

41. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON T.V. LAST NIGHT?
Nothin’

42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Adam: Andrea! (see his answers on his site) though “Sure, I’ll take care of the dishes/trash/clogged toilet” would be dreamy too.

43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
I like lady bugs best actually. (Yes I know what they really meant)

44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Cancun, Mexico.

45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
not unless you count making kilts

46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Columbus, Ohio

47. WHOSE ANSWERS ARE YOU LOOKING FORWARD TO GETTING BACK?
Any of them

Tag, You’re It:

Frank Creed Dan Weaver Grace Bridges Chad Lavender Susan Kirkland Write and Whine The Ink Slinger, Donna Sundblad A Christian Worldview of Fiction

Update:

Grace has her answers up at: A whole bunch of questions

Juggling the Balls

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Dear Gentle Readers,

The following article has been adapted from the website that spawned this one, All For Christ. It is no longer being updated at this time. This is for all of us trying to fit twenty-six hours into twenty-four, all who feel overwhelmed, all who find letting go and letting God have control as difficult as I do.

And if you feel like you’re juggling a half dozen bowling balls . . . I’m sending a great big bear hug at’cha.

Love in Christ,

Andrea Graham

As we go through life, one by one, we are given pool balls, and the occasional bowling ball, by various folks with the instruction: Juggle. Do not ever let the balls fall to the floor. No matter what, you must keep the balls in the air. It is a matter of life and death. If you drop the wrong ones, they will explode in your face.

This, however, would seem a very cruel joke: no matter how hard we try, we can never keep all the balls in the air. There is simply too many, and we know that not all of the balls are important, but no one will tell us which ball doesn’t matter and which ball will kill us if we just let it fall to the ground. So we keep scrambling to keep the balls in the air. For each ball we manage to get back up in the air, another five fall to the ground.

So what are we to do? The answer is hilariously simple: stop juggling!

I know what you’re thinking. “But you said keeping the balls in the air is a matter of life and death.”

It is. I didn’t say drop the balls. I said stop juggling them. Why bother? We’re never going to be able to keep them all in the air no matter how hard we try, and how are we to know the one we drop wasn’t the mega-important one that absolutely must stay in the air?

The answer is very simple. You can’t keep the balls in the air. I can’t keep the balls in the air. None of us can. So what are we to do? We can’t drop the balls, can we?

You see my friends, we can’t keep the balls in the air, but Someone can. His Name is Jesus and He is the Son of God and a born juggler. He can juggle your balls, He can juggle my balls. And He can do it at the same time. Why? Because He knows which balls need to stay in the air and which ones need to fall to the ground. He also knows which balls aren’t in the air that need to be, and He can pick them up and put them back in the air again-without letting a single ball that needs to be in the air fall.

So there is only one thing to do: give our balls to Jesus! He loves us very much, He is literally dying to juggle our balls for us. So give them to Him!

Now, He likes to use your hands in His juggling, and sometimes it can be hard to tell He’s there, holding up our hands and showing us which balls to catch and when. But the results will be plain. When we see ourselves keeping balls in the air that we kept dropping before, and giving up the heavy bowling balls we’ve been shouldering for years, that’s truly the Master at work.

One last warning: I know how tempting it is to try to juggle the balls, we see them right before our eyes, suspended in the air with nothing we can see holding them up, and our fleshy nature pushes us to try to juggle a few. But don’t do it! Resist giving that ball a juggle, ask Jesus for the strength to resist the temptation. Touching that ball will only result in it crashing to the ground again, and you will have to start all over because before you know it, you will be trying to juggle them all by yourself again, and juggling them in your own strength and ability will have the same result as it is having now. I myself fall prey to this trap repeatedly. It is from the enemy, so rebuke that old serpent and put your focus back on the Master.

So, today, right now, lets stop juggling and hand the balls life throws at us over to the Master Juggler, and let Him sort them out.

Trackposted to Perri Nelson’s Website, Blog @ MoreWhat.com, Is It Just Me?, Adam’s Blog, basil’s blog, Stuck On Stupid, Cao’s Blog, The Bullwinkle Blog, Conservative Cat, Jo’s Cafe, Allie Is Wired, Faultline USA, third world county, stikNstein… has no mercy, The World According to Carl, Blue Star Chronicles, Pirate’s Cove, Dumb Ox Daily News, Right Voices, and The Yankee Sailor, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

On Race and Racism

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Gentle Readers,
On my husband’s blog, I came across a question from a liberal political blogger, who showed a documentary that interviewed young Blacks with, ah, identity issues. This blogger asked the conservative blogosphere if they feel the same sense of responsibility and concern about this.

I’ve been debating with myself whether to respond for several days, but in the end, I couldn’t resist. To start, my dominant feeling in response to the video (I did watch it) is empathy, but I don’t think that’s quite the answer Binkyboy was looking for.

If he means do I feel responsible for these problems, I’ll agree with Adam, no. I can’t tell you what part my ancestors may have played in slavery and the Jim Crow era, but I am guiltless in those national sins by merit of not having been born. While, “the sins of the fathers shall be visited upon the children unto the third and forth generation,” a spiritual reality wreaking havoc still today, the Lord also declared that the soul who sins shall die, and the father shall not be put to death for the sins of the son, nor the son for the father.

Now, as you might have guessed by my initial answer, I come at these issues from a rather unique perspective, as, in addition to attending an inner city public high school with around 80% minorities, I spent three summers in my teens living with a Black family. Granted, this was not a traditional family, but the Ohio Wesleyan University Upward Bound program, at least when I was involved in it, would meet the more liberal definitions of family floating around today.

Did I mention I was the only white girl? As a counselor at UB commented once, if ever a White person understood the Black community, it’s me, both from living among them and being the actual minority in that situation.

One thing I learned, that is applicable here, is not to lump racial groups together. Depending on how the interviewees are chosen, a documentary on racial issues can come to any conclusion the filmmakers want it to. Yes, there are “dominant” issues, but the documentary did not improve the genre’s reputation for manipulation with me. You do have a segment that likes the lighter skin and straight hair, and the girls who deal with the pluses and minuses of kinky hair with those braids and such that I always admired (I used to wish I could do my hair up the way the Black girls did, and one friend actually tried to braid my hair to the end, but it unraveled just as I had predicted.) You have another group that favors a natural look, those with a healthy interest in their African heritage, and some that go as far as to don traditional African dress (and more power to them.)

So, again, my primary response is empathy, I relate easily to the lack of roots—my heritage is only partly known, a little native American overwhelmed by Celtic, Germanic, and perhaps Scandinavian ancestors. The idea I should feel especially sorry for Blacks not knowing what parts of Africa their ancestors hailed from seems silly in light of the fact no one is especially sorry I and millions of other whites can’t list off every country in Europe our ancestors hailed from. On that point alone, few Americans whose families emigrated more than four generations or so ago can. With American culture going down the drain in favor of multiculturalism, there is certainly a pervasive feeling of disconnectedness growing, but it crosses racial lines.

On a side note, due to overcorrection in response to a genuine problem, I also know what it feels like to be made to feel ashamed, as if one’s race is evil, and to be discriminated against and wrongly judged due to the color of my skin (pale pink and light brown, I’m freckled.) I’ve known some great people, many of them my brothers and sisters in Christ, who just happened to be Black. I’ve also known some great racists who just happened to be Black. This segment hates all things white, expects special treatment and privileges based on the color of their own skin, and views every white person with suspicion and even hatred.

Now, our friend on the left could say they are only projecting their own self-hatred and it’s my fault I was discriminated against because of the color of my skin as my ancestors may have injured their ancestors (when they could have easily been abolitionists as I’m from the great abolitionist state of Ohio.) But if this argument was made, who would be blaming the victim then? As I first put into words at the age of sixteen, prejudice itself is all too colorblind, and just as wrong no matter what shape it takes, or whose granddaddy did what to whom.

But, as I can tell you from first hand experience, for many in the Black community, self-directed racial shame and hatred is a serious problem—one I can also tell you from experience is being addressed by programs like the one I belonged to—do I have responsibility to do something? The answer to that question is the same as the answer to the question, “Who is my neighbor?” Wherever I see a need, I have a responsibility to use what I have in my hand to address it. Not everyone will be called to deal specifically in racial reconciliation, etc, but we all will have opportunity on occasion to make a difference in our neighborhood, by something as simple as, at a god-given opening, telling the dark-skinned young lady at church or down the street that she’s beautiful just the way God made her.

For that matter, considering the standards of beauty the media sets, I’m sure you know a few light-skinned girls who need to hear the exact same message.

In Christ’s Love,

Andrea Graham

Check out our new homepage: http://adamsweb.us

Coming this April: Light at the Edge of Darkness, An Anthology of Biblical Speculative Fiction
Featuring: FROZEN GENERATION a short story by Andrea Graham

Venture to futures where faith equates to terrorism. Where terrorists smuggle frozen embryos to save lives and resist invasive technologies designed to break their very souls.

Trackposted to Perri Nelson’s Website, Is It Just Me?, The Random Yak, basil’s blog, Cao’s Blog, The Bullwinkle Blog,  Phastidio.net, Conservative Cat, 123 Beta, third world county,  The HILL Chronicles, Woman Honor Thyself, stikNstein… has no mercy, Pirate’s Cove, Renaissance Blogger, The Pink Flamingo, and Right Voices, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.