Campaign 2016

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We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

 – Preamble to the United States Constitution

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

– Declaration of Independence

With Ted Cruz’s presidential announcement on Monday (watch the speech here), the campaign season has officially begun. I love it. I love to watch the speeches, the analysis, the debates (I have been known to DVR debates); and I am jealous of Campaign Carl (Carl Cameron of Fox News) as he gets to travel to all the political hot spots.

However, putting a damper on my excitement is the tendency of candidates to avoid any topics of substance and reduce their message to political clichés, sound bites, and what they think a particular group wants to hear. I have a startling piece of advice for any candidate – BE HONEST. Tell us what you really think, not what you think we want to hear. Don’t tell us what you stand for when you are visiting Group A, and what you stand for when visiting Group B, and so on. Courageously tell us what you really stand for and stand firm.

Both parties do it, they pander to the voters. Stop it! I have more respect for someone who tells me what they really think – even if I don’t agree with them – than someone who is pretending because they want a vote. We have lost the ability of a good debate. You can discuss opposing issues and have a good discussion. Sadly, debates have turned into spouting the party line and vilifying your opponent. We (the candidates and us regular people) need to be able to have a good debate and productive discussions. Everyone seems to get so bent out of shape and offended about everything that there is no debate. Guess what? You are going to be offended sometimes. Get over it and move on. We will probably never agree 100% with anyone, but we should be willing to listen to each other and discuss issues without becoming hysterical.

Dear candidates, have a decent debate. Talk about actual things in your stump speeches, don’t just fill your campaign stops with political fluff and clichés. Stop altering your position for each group you visit. Stop the incessant labeling! I hate the labeling! People are individuals. “Well, he’s speaking to the evangelicals so he will need to address blah, blah, blah . . .” I can’t stand this. Just tell me your true positions and why I should let you represent me; whether I am an evangelical, a woman, white, black, Hispanic, from the Deep South, from the North or West, from a rural area or a big city, etc. As an individual, why should I vote for you? Why would you be a good leader? Our forefathers risked their lives to create this country, today’s politicians are afraid of losing their cushy lifestyle or a place on a committee.

I think most voters would appreciate straightforwardness in the upcoming campaign season. Just give us the reasons why you would make a good president, senator, representative, and don’t back down. If you can be swayed by a little criticism, you are not leader material. And please, just BE HONEST.

Signed,

(No label needed)

A Voter

(Editorial note: My political leanings are decidedly conservative. I welcome constructive debate only. Of course, I don’t know who I am going to vote for yet, but I enjoyed Ted Cruz’s speech on Monday. I felt he really spoke what he believes. He walked around the stage as he talked sans podium and teleprompter.)

Be you and be salty!

photoI have been beyond excited to be a part of the launch team for Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For the Love. It has only been a week and the lessons from the book and the discussions within the launch team have been awesome. The full title of the book is, For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. I can’t say much about the book yet, but let me share this quote: “You are good at something for a reason. God designed you this way, on purpose. It isn’t fake or a fluke or small. These are the mind and heart and hands and voice you’ve been given, so use them.” So I have been encouraged to use my gifts, and to support others to using theirs. Go us!

The sermon given by Dr. John Bryan at church on Sunday just built on this lesson. The sermon was titled “Step Out . . . of the Salt Shaker.”  The verse from Matthew tells us that we are the salt of the earth. What does that mean? Dr. Bryan encouraged us to look at what salt is used for – to preserve and to flavor. Spiritually salty people preserve God’s Word and make a difference, they spread the saltiness, they flavor the world. Salt is useless just sitting in its container. Get out of the salt shaker!

So I was challenged. I had already been reading about being myself and using my gifts – now I was shown I needed to apply these lessons. So I am trying to apply them. Using my own special set of gifts. I don’t have to be like that other mom to be a good mom; I don’t have to be like that other teacher to be a good teacher; I don’t have to be like that other Christian to be a good Christian. I just have to serve God with my gifts the best way I can.matt513

Simple, yet profound lessons. Be you. Embrace your gifts. Share Jesus. Be salty!

Col. 3:23

Back in the (blogging) saddle again

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Here I go again. Trying to start my blog. I love to write, and it has always been my dream to write. Of course, I have had the opportunity to write for newspapers – a while ago – and now I am writing excellent discussions boards and papers while working on my master’s degree – yay (why is there not a sarcasm font?). I have been trying to work up the nerve to post, and I have been racking my brain to come up with a “post-worthy” topic. Still nothing.

However, I got an email the other night that showed me it was time to pursue my dream. I just began following author Jen Hatmaker – on facebook (not in a creepy, stalkery way)- and she recently posted about looking for members for a launch team for her new book, For the Love. I was so excited! I love books! This team sounded awesome! So I applied, and the next day Jen posted again saying 5,000 people applied for 500 spots. I thought, “Well, there is no way I will get a spot.” However, that email proved me wrong. I got a spot on the team! The book comes out in August (you can pre-order it now), but me and my 499 new best friends get to read it now. (It is a great book, y’all!)

Through this opportunity, I have been able to connect with many women just like me – and they have been so encouraging. So thanks to them and Jen (whose blog post about writing brought my writing dreams to the forefront of my mind again) I am trying my hand at blogging again.

I hope you will follow my blog – I have no set theme. I plan to write about whatever strikes my fancy at the moment. If you like it, please let me know. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to tell me.