Heartstrings

1017750_10152748037858858_6042848256968918112_nI love spring. I must admit, with the weather we’re having in Northern VA as I write this post, I’m wondering if we’re going to skip spring, and jump from winter straight into summer eventually. The family and I were in South Carolina last week, and it was such a joy to see green grass, gorgeous dogwoods and other beautiful trees, and fresh flowers poking their heads through the leftovers of winter…that new beginning that springtime brings seems to put a bounce in everyone’s step. I know it certainly did mine.

As I write this, I’ve just finished doing a little reading on the upcoming trip my daughter and I will be taking to Togo, West Africa, and what’s going on over there right now. If I’m being honest, Togo is consuming every inch of my heart these days. The burden is so great I really have a hard time adequately explaining it, so I’ve not done a great job thus far. I honestly wish I knew why, and I don’t say that in any way to sound cold or indifferent.

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Kirsten Powers, LGBT intimidation, and the war on conscience

by John Nantz

Man with Mouth Taped Shut on WhiteConscience is once more under withering attack from the Godless Left. Obliquely, the Left is assaulting the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of religion. It is without question, that the exercise of one’s religious conscience should be free from government coercion. What public outcry would arise if a state or federal government compelled a Jewish baker to create a Nazi themed birthday cake, or ordered a faithful Muslim to photograph a bachelor party involving drunkenness and nudity. But, hardly a murmur is voiced when Christians are coerced into participating in an unnatural union. Perversely, the liberal media machine raises hysterical cries of hypocrisy and buries under a mound of rhetoric the crown jewel of our civil liberties.

Kirsten Powers and Johnathan Merritt seem to think this state of affairs is just fine. In their recent article, they pay lip service to the idea that religious persons should be free from government coercion with regard to the exercise of conscience. However, they illogically shift, in the span of one sentence, from the dictates of an individual’s religiously informed conscience to the uninformed opinion of “society.” They substitute individual conviction based on objective doctrine for the tyranny of the majority. In an attempt to span the intellectual chasm, they’ve created a tortured monstrosity. [Read more...]

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UPDATE: Crunch time

3237878174_549b05c770_bI hate asking for money. I don’t think there’s much in life I hate doing more for any reason. It’s awful.

So, I’m only writing this post today to share my heart just a bit and…to ask for financial help.

When I began looking at Mentor Leaders and exploring the idea of taking a trip to Togo, I honestly had such a heavy burden that figuring out the financial side of things was secondary in my mind. In hindsight, that may have been a tad irresponsible. I shared a bit about our journey a couple of posts ago, and the truth is, with every passing day my passion grows for the people in the village of Gbentchal.

I’ve found out a bit more about what Anna and I will be doing on the mission side of things. While I imagine things will be ever changing depending on the needs at the time, the primary reason we will be there is to help with a sports camp with the orphans in Gbentchal, Togo. We’ll be helping to build regulation sized volleyball and basketball courts, and then we’ll be working alongside other team members to teach core values and the fundamentals of each game. Having been a P.E. teacher in years past, I’m pretty excited about this part of the trip. There will also be a time of tending to the medical and dental needs of the orphans, as well. [Read more...]

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I miss her

Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape. As I’ve already noted, not every bend does. Sometimes the surprise is the opposite one; you are presented with exactly the same sort of country you thought you had left behind miles ago. That is when you wonder whether the valley isn’t a circular trench. But it isn’t. There are partial recurrences, but the sequence doesn’t repeat. –C.S. Lewis

1911113_10203464752722845_969560387_oI often wondered if it would get easier with time. Grief is such an odd thing – it comes and goes with such ferocity, with no warning whatsoever. I still hear her voice, I can still imagine looking straight into her eyes. The old saying that the eyes are the window to the soul certainly held true in mom’s case. We could speak without uttering a single word. Her eyes often spoke the pain she wouldn’t give a voice, too often the smile on her lips never quite made its way.

Growing up, the thing I feared most was losing her. I never even thought of it until someone spoke the words to me one day, asked if I ever feared her dying. From that moment on, fear gripped my soul. I grieved her loss long before she was gone, often pushing her away in an effort to ease the pain. We were close, and we were just alike in more ways than I cared to admit. [Read more...]

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What’s Going On In The Village of Gbentchal

I told you a few days ago how excited my daughter and I are to be joining Mentor Leaders on a trip to the village of Gbentchal in Togo, West Africa. The more I talk with David Whetstone, the founder of Mentor Leaders, and learn about the amazing work the team has already done in Togo, the more excited I get about this journey.

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The village of Gbentchal is located deep in the bush of Togo, West Africa. According to Mentor Leaders, the village – abandoned by its own government – is filled with approximately 11,000 men, women and children who were (until Mentor Leaders stepped in) living under rather harsh conditions with no clean water source, no medical care, schools, or care for the many children who’d been orphaned. In 2011, the first goal Mentor Leaders had for stabilizing the village through providing a safe water source and “basic medical care” was realized. [Read more...]

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Who does Michelle Obama admire? Why, Hanoi Jane, of course

hanoijaneIn her most recent interview with People Magazine, First Lady Michelle Obama was asked about turning 50, getting her AARP card, botox, becoming a grandma and a plethora of other topics. Naturally, she was also asked if there are any role models she looks to and thinks ‘when I’m 70 or 80, I want to look and live like her!’

Of all the lovely ladies in our country today, the 50-year-old First Lady of the United States chose none other than 76-year-old Jane Fonda – otherwise affectionally known to military veterans across the nation as “Hanoi Jane” – and Cicely Tyson.

“I just went to see Cicely Tyson on Broadway. She is in her 80’s and did a two-hour play with stamina and passion. I told her ‘I want to be you when I grow up!’ There’s Jane Fonda, she continueda beautiful, engaged, politically savvy, sharp woman.

Is anyone really surprised that the First Lady admires Hanoi Jane? Let’s be forgiving for a second and imagine that she really just admires the woman for her good looks at the ripe old age of 76, and if that’s the case, good for her. But that raises an entirely different question: is the First Lady just trying to get a jab in at our military veterans, pick a fight with patriotic Americans, or is she so insensitive that she doesn’t have the scruples to figure out that it’s best to keep this one to herself, what with her being the First Lady and all. Either way, it’s infuriating. [Read more...]

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