Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Our Freedom To Choose: Presidential Election Decisions 2012

DISCLAIMER: This is merely all my opinion, and does not necessarily need to be up for dispute.  If you have other views or opinions - great!  I would love to hear them.  However, this post is not to start an argument or to trash anyone at all.  Such activity will be ignored and/or deleted.
November, 2012
  As we all know (or at least those of us who don't live under a rock), the 2012 Presidential elections are coming up this Fall (November).  At the moment, we are seeing President Obama take the place as Democratic candidate, and Mitt Romney holds the Republican slot for candidacy. Obviously, in any election, there will be candidates running that have a lot of really good ideas and points, while they also have a few ideas and opinions that you strongly disagree with.

Mitt Romney
Republican candidate 2012

PresidentBarack Obama
Democratic candidate 2012

  Every election anywhere throughout history is just the same as the next and the last.  Unfortunately, we don't truly have too much say over who is to be the winner in each election because of the ways and regulations of the electoral house and the way every office below the President is run.  Yes, we all have the freedom to vote, and yes, our 'voices do get heard' - but just because we are heard does not necessarily mean that we are taken into consideration.  Our votes overall prove to be the popular vote.  Let's face it; most of the people who go to the polls to vote only vote because they really like the way one candidate thinks on one singular topic, or they only vote based on party becasue they've 'always voted democrat/republican' or they only vote because a friend or co-worker is voting for that person.  The most recent reason to vote for a candidate is because of their gender or race - and don't tell me how it wasn't, I kept up with the polls and stats that year seeing that 53% of women who voted for McCain voted because Sarah Palin stood behind him, while 93% of black voters voted for Obama and 67% of those people said it was because of race.  No one really seems to understand, nonetheless care, about what each candidate stands for as a whole.  They focus on one issue debated and make up their mind.  Based on the reasons of which most of our lazy generation votes, we get candidate after candidate into office for all the wrong reasons and we end up paying for it in the end.  Think of where we are right now????

White House
Washington, D.C., Unites States

  This makes me wonder how many people have been brought into office to which their opposer would have done such a wiser job with our country - notice I said 'wiser' not 'better.'  No matter who comes into office, they will always do something that a lot of people won't like.  The difference comes when they make a decision based off of what is best, rather than a decision that will put them down in history as a hero.  Heroes have often resided in the White House - only the good ones were remembered as heroes because of the good they did to help the country as a whole, rather than win the hearts and money of a select few to advance his own ambitions.  And then there comes the complaining of the People who did or did not vote, and we all realize that we helped to make the bad decision, but won't admit that the mistake is in part our fault.

If you don't vote, you don't
have a right to complain.

  Marginal complaint: if you don't vote, you don't have a right to complain about who's in office because you didn't even make an effort towards trying to make a difference.  If you do vote, truly figure out who you want to vote for for legitimate reasons, not just because you think the candidate is smart, or whatever.  If you vote - you have a right to complain about who is in office and the decisions that are made.  Otherwise, it really irritates me to hear a bunch of lazy whiners talking about how much more they deserve when they did nothing for themselves, nonetheless anyone else.

Alright, so where am I getting at with this post??  I am about to give my opinion and inform you all  of the decision I am beginning to lean towards in this upcoming election. I understand that people advise against sharing who you are going to vote for, and while I respect that advise and claim it to be wise, I am going to put it aside for the time being and explain my reasoning behind the decision (I have not finallized but) I am leaning towards.  It is easier to say it straight rather than beat around the bush and hope you understand.

Write-in Vote

  As an American citizen, I have the right to vote once I am 18 years old and over.  I am 20, and this will be my first Presidential election.  I understnad that President Obama and Mitt Romney are the lead candidates for the next term of presidency.  However, another right that I have as an American citizen and voter is the choice to vote for one of the leads, or to do something called a 'write-in.'  Yes, a write in.  I have been following each of these candidates for months in their respective campaigns, checking and balancing their words and also what they stand for.  I have learned enought about their personally history to understand them as people, and I have learned a fair portion about their stance in politics as to understand who they are as politicians.  As I said earlier, there have been elections that really just aren;t that great for one reason or another, and the people in charge of the polls discourage you from writing in a third party becasue "it is a wasted vote."  A write-in - as long as it is taken seriously and not abused - is NOT a wasted vote at all.  A wasted vote is either one not made, one made for the wrong reasons, or one not taken seriously.  Otherwise, a vote is not wasted if it truly represents you.

President Barack Obama (D)

  I personally feel that, with my knowledge and basic understanding of each candidate standing, my vote would be wasted if I voted for either of them.  Too much corruption and personal gain seems to be on the agenda of each, and I really don't stand for much that either of them stand for.  One of these candidates has me very worried about any future choises he could make because he's so wishy washy; why is he like this? To gain votes.  He doesn't seem to understand what he really stands for.  The other has too much pride in his political past.  I fell personally that he would advance his own ambitions for the sake of making a mark in history, while taking those down who truly need change and help in the process of his gain.  If neither of them (Obama or Romney) stand for what I feel strongly about, then I'm not really sure how I can trust either one of them.  Of course, I understand that these men will be the President of the United States, not the President of Jessica, so to be against them for personal reasons like agreeing with me on most issues rather than working to please the whole - is stupid.  I know.  But that is not what I am saying at all.

Mitt Romney (R)

  We the people have the opportunity to decide whether or not we want someone in office that will truly make the best and wisest decisions based on beliefs that we agree on.  If we don't take advantage of this and enable the corruption to continue, then we will never see the fruit of anything better. 

  My growing choice is to write-in a third party whom I think would do a job in office that upholds what I stand for, while also standing up for the right reasons to make the right decisions.  I, in reverence to the advice given to not share who I am voting, will not share with you which third party Iam writing in.  However you should know that I am probably not going to vote for either the president or for Mitt Romney.  Maybe my vote won't necessarily be counted, but at least I know that, if 'our voice is truly heard' I made a difference without giving either one of them gain, and also making sure that I am understood in where I stand.  I will not fall for the whole "a write-in is a waste" thing because it's not if I intend on using it wisely.  But if I am an American citizen, free to vote for whomever, I will exercise my right to do so.

I don't encourage you in particular direction,
 but I encourage you to do something.

  For those of you who either don't know who to vote for, aren't sure why you are voting for a particular candidate, or just plain don't want to vote, I encourage you to consider your options.  I encourage you to learn about the man (or woman) who could possibly have the most say over our country in terms of social order, economic strife, and international relations.  Who out there best represents you?  You are the individual that helps the United States stay in existence.  Yes, you are one person, but imagine: if you decided to leave, another will follow, and another, and another, and if you started that trend of just walking out on our nation, the United States would hardly have anything left worth surviving for.  That's extreme, I know.  But your vote is the same way.  I do not encourage you towards or against one candidate or the other, and I don't encourage you to write-in like I might.  However, I encourage you to do something.  Learn about our issues, and listen to what everyone has to say.  Make your decision.  I do encourage you to vote, however, because otherwise, I don't want to hear you complain.  We have the coice to do this, we have the freedom to do this, and we can take on these opportunities respectfully, demanding the respect we give and striving towards true representation of us - the people - and away from representation of the personal agendas of those who will never care to know us.

That is all.


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

World News

  Catching up with the day's news, I realized: a lot has gone on in the past few weeks that I could written about.  I will only select a handful of topics to brief the world on in case no one else has been paying attention, so starting with the most recent:

Bhutan grieves fire of historical monument

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong

Wangdue Phodrang Dzong Burns
Mournfully into the Night

Late Sunday afternoon, June 24, 2012, Bhutan's Wangdue Phodrang Dzong sparked on its embellished hilltop view and burned mournfully late into the night.  The four-century-old dzong, built in 1638 by the nation's founder Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, stood as a fotress and administrative outlet for the country of Bhutan.  It was built so long ago as an effort to take control over - and unify - the country, as were many dzongs built in that time.  Still uncertain of what caused the spark Sunday afternoon, the Home Minister, Minjur Dorji, assumes it to have been prompted by an electrical short in the building's wiring.  No one was hurt, as conveniently Sunday was a holiday for the nation, and most of the relics were salvaged (hundreds of them, dating back to the 6th and 7th centuries).  But seeing as "95% of the dzong" is completely timber, the only remains, according to the local newspaper, are the stone that used to be the front steps leading up to the magnificent landmark.  Today, Tuesday, June 26, 2012 was held in reverence throughout the Himalayan region, closing all schools and offices to remember the historical structure and what it meant to the country.  Suggestions of rebuilding the structure are being considered as they have rebuilt another dzong after a 1998 fire.  News will continue to be shared over the next several weeks on progress of the Bhutanese effort to unify the people in events like these.

CNN - Bhutan Historical Site Burned

Jack Osborne reveals diagnosis of MS

Sharon Osborne, left, and 26-year-old
son, Jack Osborne, right

In lighter, more social news, Jack Osborne, son of Ozzy (Prince of Darkness) and Sharon Osborne, revealed in a People magazine interview that he had recently been diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis).  Sharon Osborne, a co-host of televeision show, The Talk, and British pop-celebrity, broke down thanking everyone for their prayers and goodwill towards their family for Jack's sake.  MS, overtime, attacks the brain and spinal cord and can cause mild or sever disability, such as paralysis.  Sharon reassures the public that Jack is doing fine, and and that she believes in the vibes of prayer.

Saudi Arabian Women - Olympic Debut

First Saudi Arabian Women's
Basketball Team

Dalma Rushdi Malhas, Saudi Arabian
equestrian rider

For the first time in their history, Saudi Arabian officials decided to allow their female athletes to comete in the International Olympics in London this summer, July 27.  Until now, Saudi Arabia remained as one of three countries (Qatar and Brunei being the other two) that did not allow its female athletes to compete in the games.  This year, all three countries have caved to the promptings of the International Olympics Committee and are sending women to the London Olympics.  This isn't the only socail matter Saudi Arabia is learning to loosen up on, but by 2015, women will also be allowed to vote and run for public office, however, they are still not allowed to drive cars. 

First Saudi Arabian Women's
Olympic Soccer Team

The reason for not allowing the women to compete thus far is due to the moral belief of not performing in front of a mixed-gender crowd - an understandable reasoning.  However, physical fitness and exposure to the games and athletics are seen as a "step towards immorality" - another understandable assumption, wisely considered, but still a painful hinderance to the morale of women in their country.  Equestrian rider, Dalma Rushdi Malhas states that the country opening it's permission to women in the Olympics is "a dream come true" and "will open the door for so many women."  Truly an event worth celebrating, we can look forward to seeing the woman of Saudi Arabia representing their country with pride as Olympians on July 27 for the Summer Olympics 2012.

This concludes my latest segment on world news for now.  See? Only a handful ;)  Next time, I will update everyone on prgoressions in the Middle East, home country conflict, and the UEFA EURO2012 tournament. 

Anything interesting you want to hear more about?  Comment below and I will write about that too!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Through The Fog, There Is Hope In the Distance

  Before the summer began, I had some struggles and worries about what was to happen in ministry and with finances...

  God, once again, is coming through as always! :)  I'm learning new and different lessons in ministry: what not to expect; things won't always work out according to my plans that I have made; where there is one, ministry can be done.  It's a hard lesson, but I am taking it fruitfully, understanding that this is how the rest of my life in ministry will be: unpredictable and sometimes frustrating - but never disappointing!

  Disappointment.  I use that word a lot to explain how I feel sometimes about the outcome of each night I devote to ministry in whichever way it comes.  I felt so 'let down' by all the people that I was trying to count on, only to remember  that relying on any other human is a waste of time that I will never ever get back.  God is the ONLY One I can rely on, and He will never let me down.  Learning lessons is something that happens in everyone's life, but those who chose to blame their lessons and trials on everyone else around them are the people whose hearts are hardened and can't be soften by God's loving discipline.

We are the clay, God is the Potter that molds us
into something beautiful for His glory.
  Discipline.  a word we hear from childhood that means learning lessons the hard way to refine our every verb.  Without discipline, we are told, we are wild, mindless, senseless, irresponsible, disrespectful, less-than-what-we-could-be humans.  It takes trial and error to get this discipline (not taking the cookie from the cookie jar, or we get a wrist-slap and time out to follow - never doing that again), and it also takes spiritual discipline to refine us daily from our wrong doing.  Most have heard the spill about God loving us so much that He disciplines us, but it's true!  If God did not love us so much and want us to live more like Him, He'd let us roam around doing whatever it is that we would want to do on our own!  And when we ignore His lessons and discipline, when we shove the blame on someone else as to why our lives are not working out the way we had hoped or "the way it should be", when we sit back and let things happen without caring what they're happening for, we ignore God and His awesome wisdom and knowledge becasue we are so much more set in our ways!  There is NOTHING more powerful to have than the wisdom of God and that's a fact.  The hard part is: trying to get it across to someone who feels justified by their ways and only looks to the point of human knowing.
A world without God would feel so empty.

  Humanity.  It's such a fragile thing I have come to remember as so many people are dying around me lately.  I think of tiny birds (even if you think this is a weird way to think of it) that are still waiting for a chance to leave the nest, but there are cats below; when they take flight - or at least try to - they fall into the clutches of the one who tries to rip them apart.  Whether figuratively speaking from the inside, or physically taking that life away, the ripper is the one who wins.  It's so hard to hold onto to our humanity because that is all we are instinctively tought as fragile beings - be safe and rely on your gut.  In the end, your gut will no longer be there and there is no longer anything to lose.  But. When we are weak, or scared, or confused, or unsure of what next move to make that is safest - God is the only One we can truly rely on.  Humans let me down all the time; my family members let me down; my friends let me down; my own fiance lets me down at times.  So why do I put so much stock into trusting something that bend and breaks with the wind? Why do any of us? And as hard as it is to see or understand sometimes, God is the only One who will never bend or break because He is the solid foundation for everything that we do.  He will never let us down, and even when I feel like His answers and provision just aren't coming through, He always remains faithful to me as a Father and will always be there to hold tight to when I begin to fall.  I just need to learn to let go of my humanity in the worldly sense, and strive towards a life of His presence.

Weeping might stay for the night, but
joy comes in the morning.  Psalm 30:5b
  Am I talking over some of your heads? Probably.  And I don't mean to.  But one thing I know when it comes to God is that there are no words good enough in any language to really explain or exclaim the love of God.  No word I could ever find to use or any language can fulfill my need to tell God how amazingly awesome He is.  There is still so much for me to learn, still so much discipline in all aspects that I need to be vulnerable to, and still so much time that I have to learn how to trust God with.  This summer is a summer of joy in the learning, a reason in the struggle, and a hope in the insecure.  I know I still have yet so much to learn, but I know one thing: I know I'm filled to be emptied again; the seed I have received I must sow.  


Tuesday, June 12, 2012

History I Have Been There For

  I've always been the sentimental type, in that I love the meaning behind an object or event rather than the cost or price of it.  A huge bejewled necklace dating back to the 16th century, worth at least a million dollars or whatever means so much less to me than the fact that my great-grandfather bought it for my grandma as an anniversary gift from a pawn shop.  [HYPOTHETICAL]  To me, the fact that my great-grandmother wore this necklace, given out of love by my great-grandfather, is so much more important to be than having a pricey jewel - for me, it is priceless and too valuable to be sold.  Whether it's that kind of fortune, or not, I see something of value as important only if it means something to me - and then, why would I sell it!? 

Our history will always be here, even when we are not.
   Similarly, I want to raise my future kids to appreciate what they have been apart of and what they have experienced more than what they wish they could have been alive for. I want them to appreciate the value of memories more than the value of money -  a love that is lost amongst our greedy generation.  Because I am this way, do I write blogs about the Venus transit, and Pottermore opening, and the Occupy movement, the first 'black' president, and things that will be a part of history even in the smallest of ways. 
  Of course, my children will learn about 9/11 and big events in world history, but there is so much more to my life personally that happens day-to-day that I want my future kids to know about and be able to look back and think, "Wow!  My mom was there for that? She was a part of this?  This heirloom will soon be mine? Think about all the memories, and who else held it like me!"  Maybe not necessarily those words verbatim, but I want to instill a valuable mindset within them, rather than the greedy one that is so heavily impressed upon the minds of people today.  Of course, if it's not greed, it's carlessness. 

Occupy Wall Street, New York

  Here, I want to start a post that might continue over months and months of history.  I want to be able to record slowly different events in my life that were important to the world, the social world, political world, economic world, religious world, and my own little world.  If it meant something to me, or if I was around when it happened, I want to record it for the sake of my kids someday being able to appreciate the history they have behind them.

September 11, 2001
  So much is lost in time when we focus on money and fortune.  So much is forgotten, and love that brought about the world today is on the backburner waiting to truly be found again as real love and care.  Over the coming years, I will be constructing blog posts that have to do with the love and memories I have in my life that connect to world events in whatever way they present themselves.  I will give the unbiased details, and then I will slip in my own opinioin and why my opinion is what it is.  I will try to include as much online documentation as possible in hopes that what I link will remain on the internet for years and years to come.  If not, at least I can say that I tried, and my intentions were not to plagiarize.  For my future unborn, but definitely thought of, children is who I record this for, but of course, this will also remind everyone around me what we have been through together. 

Barack Obama, first 'black' president, 2008
  In the coming months, if you would like to record your own history (whether they be local occurrances, personal events, social issues, world news, and anything else) I encourage you to do so.  Have you never stopped and thought, 'I wonder what lies in my family timeline that links me to the history recorded in the past" or even thought, "I wonder if I'm related to anyone significant, or if my anscestors were in the Civil War..." - surely things like this must have run through your mind.  You can start that cycle to find importance in recording your history for those who come after you - children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, even some kids that won't ever really know who you are.  Regardless, to occupy a part of history is something that, no matter who you are, will never be taken away from you.  So soon, this will be the history that I have been there for, the part of me that will always remain...


Friday, June 8, 2012

Post-Venus Transit

  On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, Venus came between the Earth and the Sun in a rare transit that happens in pairs ever hundred to a hundred and fifty years.  Although this occurrance is that of rarity, it is among very few predictable rarities.  The last time Venus transitted the Sun and the Earth, it was June 8, 2004.  The last time Venus made it's transit was December 9, 1874 and then again on December 6, 1882.  The next time after this past Tuesday that humans will be able to see a Venus transit will be December 10, 2117, and then December 2125 - our great grandchildren will be alive when it happens, crazy, right?  Below is a chart from Google depicting which areas of the world were able to see this event take place:

  There were different methods to have been able to see this transit.  I listed a few in my previous post on the day of the transit.  I apologize if I mislead anyone to believing that looking directly at the sun was the right thing to do - never ever look directly at the sun no matter what I say, you will burn your retinas to a crisp.  Anyways, as it was explained to me, you would take a piece of paper and poke a penpoint-size hole through it.  Hold the paper close to the ground so that you can see the little hole of light on the ground.  Hold it there until you see a small dark circle moving across the little gap of light - it is possible!  Other things you can use for this are saltine crackers (and then eat them afterwards incelebration, I guess).  If you are fortunate enough, you could have gotten a pair of welder's glasses to put on and look directly at the sun.  However, most people don't own welder's glasses. 

  The cloudy picture below on the right was taken in Woodstock, Maryland around the 6 o'clock afternoon hour.  This is the time closest to when I would have been able to see it.  The one beside it (without the cloudiness) was taken in Syracuse, New York around the same time. 

  Although I tried, I myself could not get a mere glimpse of the twin planet crossing the sun in the late afternoon.  However, for history's sake, I can say that I was there when it happened, I tried, and was outside as Venus was crossing the sun - that is more than most people care to do.  So I hope that my children and grandchildren can appreciate the fact that I was a part of a rare, but predictable, phenomenon in history.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Venus Transit Today!

I have been telling people for a little over a month now about this rare occurrance!  Today, June 5, 2012, Venus is to come between the Earth and the Sun - an event that happened on June 8th, 2004, and before then, had not happened in a little over a century, and an event that will not happen again until Christmas of 2117.  No one living at this moment will live to see another great rare phenomenon like this for over a hundred years.  The only other thing we are looking forward to at the moment is the alignment of the planets with the sun later this year in December (you know, what the Mayans were predicting with their calendar?). 

On the East coast of North America, we will be able to see this happen at an estimated 6:03 this afternoon.  According to the Weather Channel, if you live in the same strip as Chicago's timezone, you can see it around 4:15.  Over near the Los Angeles area of NA, you can see this at around 3:04.  In all, all of North America will have a chance to view this rare occurrance in our world's history! 

Be sure not to look into the sun without some heavy duty protection over your eyes.  I've heard that welder's glasses and radiation shades are good ideas to use in order to look directly at the sun and see the little black dot of venus moving across it.  Otherwise, I have heard from my mother you can prick a little hole into a piece of paper and stare at the black dot.  She also said something about using a saltine cracker to look into, or look at the ground, or something like that (I have no idea, but I'll let you know once I understand it entirely).  Anyweawys, do not look directly at the sun - even with 100% UV protection sunglasses - you can burn a hole straight through your retinas, and you will never be able to see again.  You can't just fix your retinas.  So head my warning.

Here is a picture to give a little tidbit of information on venus:

I will post an update about this spectacular event - that I am so proud to be a part of in my own history - and I will find great pictures and other footage that will keep this piece of history wide alive for a long time.  FYI, the link I have connected to the WEather Channel above gives you more information about this event, and has video of meteorologists and astronomers talking about this rare spectacle.  Check it out for more info!