Wednesday, October 29, 2008

America is about to get it wrong.

The election is fast approaching.  For much of the past 18 months, I have gone from not caring at all to caring just a little about the crazy political activities of our present and future leaders.  Just when you think the media is going to give you something meaty, something of instead find an article on your homepage investigating the merits of each candidate as determined by pet owners.  This is not a joke.  People are actually writing about that sort of thing.  
The nations are raging.  The economy is in the dump.  Gas prices are all over the map.  Our national debt is through the roof.  People are losing jobs.  People are losing their homes.  BUT....not to worry it's all going to be OK because with a little tax navigation wealth can be shared.  With some careful Supreme Court drafting, legislative loopholing and creativity, gay people can get married and abortions can be obtained with even greater ease than they are now.  I mean, these are the important things in our country's life right now, right?  Oh!  I forgot that new "Fairness Doctrine" thing where all opposing view points will HAVE to get equal airtime in the media.  Hmmm. I wonder how that will be policed and how fair such a 'doctrine' will be.   America is about to get all this and more when we elect Barack Obama as president.

Barack Obama is an intriguing figure, no doubt.  He has far more flair, charisma, smoothness and just all around like-ability than John McCain.  I wanted to like him enough to want to vote for him, but I just never could get there.  He certainly has more money to spend than McCain.  His campaign is more lavish than any I've ever seen or remembered that is for sure.  I do think it's ironic know, that it's the Democratic candidate that is throwing all this money around and is surrounded by all this glitz and glam, while the Republican candidate (who chose to keep his word) took public funds and now can't compete with Obama's media blitz.  It's not ironic that we would see the Democrat spend more....we know that is what they do and I've never met one who denied this.  What is ironic is that the Democrat is supposed to represent the little guy!   Yet the Republican here is the one that is standing ground with the little guy.  

More and more Obama comes off elitest and untouchable.  He is clearly the media darling and I dare someone to argue that point with me.  Aw shucks!  I don't really want to get into a fight about politics.  I really have kept my opinions to myself for the most part.  It's just that I've always liked McCain.  It's true, I have.  I know a lot of conservatives havn't embraced him from the get go, and are only doing so now because they feel they have no choice.  I've always liked him though.
He is more moderate than some would like, but I find it to be a good thing.  A check against corruption if you will.  That is my frustration with an Obama presidency.  More and more,  I fail to see the possibility for moderation in it.  It looks very, very leftist and not very pragmatic.   He has a lot of ideas, so many they make my head many promises.  I wonder if people realize he will not be the saviour they are looking for.  

So why am I going to vote for John?  Well because he's a maverick of course! ;>  Sorry, I just had to throw that in.  I like John because he's sensible and he's not making promises he can't keep.  We don't have to wonder about him....he hasn't changed in 40 years.  He upholds the things that make conservatism truly conservative.  I feel confident that he is the best man for the job especially when it comes to foreign affairs.....and there is quite a bit going on in our world today regarding such affairs.  I don't think our nation's future hinges upon what Europeans think of us or our president.  Uh, have you seen what has been going on in Europe over the last century?  They have enough problems of their own thank-you-very-much.
I think he means it when he speaks of energy independence and I think he could actually help to get this done.  That would be pretty huge.  
Since the congress will be mostly Democratic, John would bring balance, but he would also be able to get things done, because he knows how to work with others and he is respected by others.  He's not giving any easy answers to really tough questions because there are no easy answers.  I appreciate that he hasn't tried to make them up.
Bottom line, he's the real deal and.....NEWS FLASH!  He is not George W. Bush.  The notion that his presidency would be a continuation of Bush's is media-spun hogwash.  

Sadly, I don't think the right guy is going to win it.  The current economic turmoil coupled with  our blatantly zombified, Obamaified media have turned too many voters away from the prudent and pragmatic John McCain.
Go vote your conscience, and remember.....God is sovereign!  

In Him we put our trust.


Saturday, October 18, 2008

Our house.....

I'm a very visual person.  When I am thinking about or talking to someone on the phone, I visualize where they are in their surroundings.  Before we left for Oregon we made a trip to Orlando to see Jimmy and Tobitha in their new house.  We wanted to see them and they could have met us in Charlotte, but we really wanted to see where they live.  They had already been in that house for 3 or 4 months before we got to see it.  I'm sure to some it seems silly, but it meant a lot to me to be able to see my girl in her home.  Now when I talk with her I can see in my mind her sitting on her leather sofa in the family room, or loading the dishwasher.  When I hear her kids playing, I can imagine what room they are in and what toys they might be playing with.  It helps me feel connected to them.  It helps to illustrate their life for me, and it is a gift.

So I have posted some pics of our home for you.  The house is small, but airy.  There are plenty of windows but the house is surrounded by lots of trees, so sunlight doesn't exactly pour through them.  Speaking of sunlight, there isn't an abundance of it here.  During the summer you get quite a lot of sun and very little rain.  The rest of the year the atmosphere is mostly grey and green.  I hear the leaves are gorgeous in the fall, but they havn't really changed as of yet.  Lately the temperatures have been cool or cold, with an occasional warmer day (high 60's--but today is supposed to be in the 70's!).  

Well, we are going to the zoo today!  Gotta run.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Recent Adventures

Thanks to everyone who helped make Greg's birthday special!  He was very blessed.  
The last couple of weekends we have tried to incorporate some fun outing.  First we took the kids to Multnomah Falls.  We hiked up to the falls and back down again.  The air was crisp and the day was sunny.  We all had a great time, and you can see some of our pics.

This past weekend we went to the pumpkin patch with Colleen, Marisa, and KJ of the M. family next door.  
Again, we were blessed with a beautiful day!   The kids had fun with various amusements, followed by picking out their pumpkins and finally carmel apples and hot apple cider.  Yum!  
I have posted some pics of this as well.  The two little kids in the pics that you don't know are Marisa and KJ.  

In unrelated news, Colleen shared with me yesterday about a prayer chain going on.  Christians across the country are asked to take one minute and pray for the direction of our country.  The time for this prayer is 6:00pm pacific time....which translates to 9:00pm for all you folks back east.  Thought I would pass it along.  It doesn't seem like a bad idea, you know?


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Why I love this man!

Today is my love's birthday!  He is 39 today.  Most people reading this blog know Greg pretty well.  Most of you have your own reasons for loving him.  Here are mine.

He loves my God.  He is a devoted follower of Christ.  I learn so much from him, and he inspires me to love Him better.  He serves our savior with a quiet determination.  His is not a flashy faithfulness but an ever consistent one. 
He loves people.  He enters easily into other people's lives.  He makes people happy.  He's such a good friend.  If you are his friend you are lucky,  and you probably know that he will always be there for you.  That's how he is.  He's the kind of guy you meet and later say to yourself, "That's the nicest guy!".  He smiles a lot and his smile is contagious.

He loves his family.  He's a mama's boy, did you know that?  It's true!  I tell all my girlfriends that marrying a mama's boy was a really good thing.  He knows how to treat a woman.   He knows that love and respect are flip sides of the same coin and he is generous with both.  He is fiercely devoted to his family which is very big, because it includes his family, my family and everyone else he is even remotely related to!  It even includes some people we are NOT technically related to but have somehow gotten absorbed into our family.  He is devoted to all those people.  He would never disown any family either.  It's not his way.  One of our children could totally go off the deep end, they may get into some unbelievable stuff one day (though we pray not),  and he will always love them.  They will always be his and he will never disown them.

He loves his children.  I know our kids are our family, so I seem redundant right now, but it's special with your very own kids.  He is an amazing father.  He is gentle and kind and when he loses his temper (like we all do), he is remorseful and tries not to do it again.  He's much better at that than me...yet another way he inspires me.  He builds his kids up.  He is always talking to them, teaching them things.  They respect him, and they love him so much.  They still scream "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" when he walks through the door.  They love being with him.  He is very protective of our relationship with our kids.  He is my biggest supporter in our homeschooling them.  While I do the teaching, he is always reinforcing what they are learning.  He is always encouraging me in my mothering and schooling the kids. 
He loves me.  He has pursued me since the day that I met him.  I can be so difficult and so unlovely at times and he still pursues me.  He reminds me, often, of the lavish way the Lord loves me.  No one else reminds me of this the way that he does.  No one else even comes close.  I didn't love him when I first met him, but it wasn't long before I somehow knew that I would...and then it wasn't long after that and I did.  I still feel like there are places to go with our love.  It's still growing, changing and deepening.  I know him better than anyone else on the planet, but I don't know him fully.  There is always more to him and I am really enjoying getting to know him! 
He doesn't let me get by with stuff.  He holds me accountable, and he looks for me to do the same for him.  We are partners.  We're doing this thing together.  He has never once lost sight of that.  That's a big deal, because a lot of times in a marriage one spouse will want everything to be all about know, like centered around them.  I've been like that before, but Greg never has.  Really, he never has.
He gives me more ice cream.  If one of us is going to have 'more' of something, it's always going to be me, because he makes sure of it.  He's always been this way.

There is a lot about him that is really cool.  He plays soccer and tennis and basketball and well just about any sport he can.  He doesn't obsess over any of them though.  He loves the Jaguars.  He's pretty conservative politically, but he gives everyone a fair shot and he doesn't obsess about any of that either.  He's so reasonable.  He's just got so much common sense.  He is really refreshingly smart.  Actually, he's really, really smart but a lot of people don't always know how incredibly smart he is cause he doesn't show off.   And my goodness!  Do you see how cute he is!?

I could go on.  I definitely could, but I know I should stop here and give my readers a chance to ponder my hubby's greatness all on their own!  Seriously, if you are reading this, leave a comment and give him a nod on his birthday.

Happy birthday baby!  I love you!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Blue Like Jazz--A review

Here comes my first book review installment!  

I started reading Blue Like Jazz (BLJ) about a week ago after meeting a lady from Rolling Hills Community Church that recommended and then loaned it to me.  She prefaced the book by saying that it would help conservative Christians to love liberals more.  Well, that intrigued me because I am always interested in ways to get conservative Christians to love anyone more.  Of course I lump myself in that group as well.  I decided I should definately read the book.  I'm glad I did.

The author is Donald Miller who is a thiry-something, unmarried, writer/speaker who lives in Portland.  He attends Imago Dei Church in Portland, which is known for being very progressive in it's outreach to our lost and broken world.  Donald doesn't mince words and he doesn't worry too much about political correctness within the Church.  He certainly doesn't come across as a very religious man, although the reader is left with no doubts about Miller's personal relationship to Christ.  His recollections are funny and touching.  I found myself relating a lot to him, as I imagine most Christians would also, if they are honest with themselves.  He uses the term "Christian spirituality" in place of Christianity with the premise that he cannot relate what the term 'Christianity' means anymore in todays world.  I'm not big on renaming things.  Seems kind of trendy, but his essays in the book are so real and down-to-earth,  I was able to overlook the renaming thing.

He touches on a number of subjects ranging from love to tithing, politics to Jesus.  His spiritual journey begins within Christian fundamentalism.  He took some fair shots at fundamentalism without alltogether tearing it down.  Ultimately his journey takes him far....very far from his fundamentalist beginnings.  It is during his time at Reed College (known as one of the most intellectual, yet Godless institutions in the country), where the rubber starts to meet the road with regards to his faith in God.  While spending time in the midst of free-loving, pot smoking liberal geniuses, Miller begins to learn what following Christ is really all about.  Not that those free-loving, pot-smoking, liberal geniuses knew what following Christ was about, they definately did not.  Still, it was in their midst that he began to learn.   This was truely fascinating to read about.  It was eye-opening and convicting.  

Ultimately I have to heartily recommend this book.  For ultra-conservative believers, it is a must read.  Some things are more important than being 'right' and what you will gain from this read is one of those things.   Miller deals with issues that are usually off-topic and taboo in the Church.  There shouldn't be anything we can't talk about in the Church.  We are
 children of the Most High God of the Universe!  We don't need to fear honest conversations...honest questions. 
 Believers have times of doubt.  We deal with crises of belief.  It happens.  God is still God, and if we know Him, we are still His child.  I am reminded of a blog I read recently where a pastor, that will remain unnamed, actually called into question whether or not Mother Theresa was really saved....because she had doubts.  She suffered from the crisis of belief at times.  He pretty much stated that this would not have been the case had she been a true believer.  I had to swallow back the bile that was rising up in my throat upon reading such trash.  It isn't even because I am so sure that Mother Theresa is saved (though if I were a betting woman, I'd say she's probably resting securely in the arms of Jesus right now), it's because who was he, that pastor guy, to say she is or is NOT saved?  What is the point in even discussing something like that about a dead person!?  However, the real problem there was that that pastor, from his place of self-righteous condemnation, was just so un-real.  He was trying to say he has never doubted his faith....never struggled with the crisis of belief.  If that is true, I don't think he is probably a very good pastor.  

Get real.  There is stuff in this book that every believer would do well to read and ponder.  It's a quick read and can most likely be found in any library since it was a best-seller.  I don't know everything about this Donald Miller, but from the bit of research I've done on him, I think he's the real deal.  Does that mean I buy everything he's selling?  No, but I'm a thinking girl and he gave me a lot to think about.  I can appreciate that.

By His Grace,

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I will seek His face

"Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice, and be gracious to me and answer me.  When Thou didst say, 'Seek My face,' my heart said to Thee,
'Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek."  David---Psalm 26:7-8

Sometimes I find myself asking, 'Why did we come here?'.  Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad place.  The people are nice and the air is fresh.  There is no want for cool places to go and things to do.  It's not hard to find great music teachers...they are everywhere!  We've got great neighbors who love the Lord and have kids to boot.  Greg goes to a job where he earns a paycheck for doing what he likes to do and he gets to come home before 4:00 most days and sometimes even earlier. I don't have to tell you, that ain't no small thing!  Life is good here and I am not complaining.

I still wonder why we are here though.  See, it has to do with more than just the job.  From our fleshly perspective, that is what brought us here, but there is more to it than that.  Our country is in economic crisis.  Job security doesn't exist.  The housing markets are so bad, it is very likely we will not sell our house in North Carolina.  That means we will not buy a house here.  We will not be putting down roots here in that way.  That's a new thing for us.  The truth is, we don't know where we will be living a year from now, or who we will be working for.
So, we have a home in NC and we have a transplanted, possibly temporal life here in OR.   
Well, of course our lives anywhere on the Earth are temporal, but you know what I mean.

To top all of this off:  God is sovereign.
That is what I believe,  which means I believe that none of this is outside of His will.  How 'bout that!?
This is our story.  Anyone reading this is going through his or her own story.  I know for a fact that many of you (my friends) are dealing with illness, relationship issues, job loss, financial crises, and other life changes in your own lives.  When you are going through something and the Lord is doing a new thing in you, have you ever noticed the coincidences that mysteriously start cropping up everywhere?  You know, where it seems like life starts taking on a theme.  It's the kind of thing we later call a season.  There are seasons for ministry, seasons of happiness, seasons of sadness...seasons of pruning.  
Speaking of pruning, it's hard work you know.  Especially if you have neglected to do it for some time.  The last time I pruned my rose bushes, it ended up being a monster of a job.  I had scrapes, scratches and punctures all over me.  See, I had not done it the year before (I wanted to see what would happen).  So the branches were very thick and thorny and unruly.  It was a mess.  They had looked so full and thick before I pruned them, but I knew I had to do it, because they stopped producing roses like they used to.  When I was finished they were ugly and bare and cold looking.  Sad little rose bushes that just hours before had been big, green and bushy...though wayward.  
It was not easy work for me, but it's my job to take care of them and that is what they needed.  It was stressful for them too.  You have to be careful when you prune a plant back.  It's got to be the right season.

And so it is with God and us.  
Pruning is hard and some seasons are more fun than others.  

I don't know what we will be calling this season once it's in the past.  As for the pruning, I don't know how deep the cuts will go.  It's anybody's guess, but the Lord knows.  For now, I know there is to be a singular focus in the Liechty family.  We are to raise up our eyes above the unanswered questions to the One who deserves our undivided attention.

"When Thou didst say, 'Seek My face', my heart said to Thee, "Thy face, O Lord, I shall seek".

By the way, the roses looked great this spring!