Tuesday, September 30, 2008

My Husband Spoiled Me

Call me a Cow of Bashan. (see Amos 4:1)

Yes, my husband has spoiled me with his high standards of doing things right.

I could not figure out what was wrong with the paint job out front, and then it hit me: Bob would have sanded it smooth, then prepped the spot with primer, and caulk, and then painted. Instead, these painters just slap paint onto rough wood. Yikes.

And I thought that anything they did to the little house at back would be an improvement. Nope. It looks worse. The new siding does not match the old stuff. The new siding is thinner, and surely, they won't leave that corner exposed. Oh, dear.

Dear husband says to just make sure they leave plenty of paint for patching.

The irony---it looked splotchy to begin with. Now we just have different splotchy spots. Oh, well. Bob can fix it. But, that is sad. Why pay workers to do what you are going to have to do over? We might recommend this guy as a roofer, but as a painter? Nah.

Maybe if we had let him paint with a darker paint, the mistakes would not be so obvious. It should be a clue when you do not see your painters using any sandpaper. And I watched their job across the street, and saw them replace a rotten piece of wood, and paint it all in a day. Without priming, and without sanding.

And my other red flag that I ignored? This guy said, "we are good people". Sure, he is a hard worker. But, when someone volunteers that they are "good", well, it made me pause. And then there is that cultural thing. They promise the moon because they think that is what you want to hear. I'd rather they be honest.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fish Bowl

Today I live in a fish bowl.

The painters are here.

They showed me the paint color from the inside of the lid. Looks super white with maybe a touch of gray. It will look nice and clean on the outside walls of our house, and go good with the gray brick.

Dear husband wants to inspect before we pay, so when it look like they are almost done---gotta call the husband at work and ask him to scoot home--from 25 miles away.

I am putting clean sheets and pillow cases on the bed. And a sign to myself to be sure and take a shower right before bed. The pollen count is high, and makes me sneeze.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

A Pressure Sprayer is Bob's Friend

My dear husband is having so much fun with the water pressure spayer. The house is now super ready to paint. And the green algae is gone from the bricks, and the patio bricks are gray again instead of black. Whoa. What a difference a little water at high pressure makes. (Sorry, to you folks in the path of IKE)

I have only had to mop water in the garage by the side door, but water comes in that door easily whenever we get a storm from the west. So, I usually have towels down there at the ready, anyway.

The house looks so clean. No more cobwebs. No more spider duplexes. No more grime and dirt and dust. Dust is somehow able to stick to surfaces the sun never shines. Maybe humidity clings there, and then dust adheres, but its been years and years since Bob painted the outside.

Bob is completely soaked. He says he is not sweaty---in fact he says he is almost cold, as the temps are 90 degrees, but he is all wet. That man needs a pressure sprayer for his birthday. I am surprised he has not run out of gasoline yet. Two hours of a lawn-mower like engine. Amazing.

And middle son made it back to Fort Lost In the Woods in just nine hours ! Yea !

Re-arranging Chairs on the Titanic

As Christians, we try to find that balance between keeping a roof over our heads---and ours is brand new at that...and spending our money wisely. Instead of turning our empty nest into a super-duper-dollhouse-birdhouse, we try to support most worthy causes that count for eternity rather than just for here on earth. This house could blow away in a tornado, or burn to the ground if a spark finds that leaking pressure sprayer in the garage, or if the neighbors flick a cigarette into the dry grass/weeds that compose our yard.

I'd love to remodel. Put down a new kitchen floor, and repaint the inside, but we like to live within our means. So, those things can wait. The tub is slowly rusting out, so a major bathroom remodeling job is also in our future. And remodeling is such a strain on a marriage. Inconveniences, dangers, frayed nerves, jobs begetting jobs, higher costs than originally budgeted, etc. And always, in the back of our minds, keeping the house up good enough to sell if called to serve elsewhere.

In another five months, our middle son will get more semi-permanent digs at his next assignment so he will be taking more furniture with him, like his huge desk, and extra long twin bed. Then we can move the spare room furniture back to his old bedroom, and re-arrange things to repaint easier. It's a thought, anyway.

It is a small house. Just right for two people. But, ready for guests. A new normal begins today. The last to leave the nest came home on a four day pass, and picked up some more of his stuff, and is now driving north to his next school, his next assignment. One last weekend of late night dating, and lectures, and spoiling our last one. We won't have to go to Pei Wei or Cracker Barrel or Red Robin for a while...except Cracker Barrel does have good Lima beans as the vegetable of the day on Saturday.

Our boys introduced us to places we never would have ventured into without their tutelage---Chipotle, Subway Sandwiches, Red Robin, Pei Wei. When we are home alone, we eat lighter for supper than he-who-works-out and needs more calories and who has not gained an ounce in years now, needs.

This morning, before he left, I asked if he needed the lecture on studying hard, and doing his job as unto the Lord. He said no, so it is nice to just have to reference the lectures, and let him know we are ready, willing and able, but no longer needed.

I am thankful for how insurance at least covered half of the cost of the new roof. Bob put the old one on 21 years ago, so it was time. We have two shiny new whirly birds on the roof, and a ridge vent thingy, and heavier, 30-year shingles, so by the time we need another new roof, we will be in our eighties. Maybe someday we can get more insulation in the attic. Our youngest found this cool stuff that adheres to the walls and keeps the attic at a constant 85 degrees. And he is up in attics all the time. So for him to be impressed...it has to be good stuff. I just wonder how long it costs to get back the "savings" from the initial outlay. And not just in a lower AC electric bill, but less wear and tear on that AC, too. Always something with a house.

We moved into this house when our firstborn was just six months old because that baby needed a backyard. We can't wait for that firstborn to bring his firstborn for a visit to run and play in his old backyard. We keep it mowed and free of stickers for just that day.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

New Roof Finished

I wonder how long it will be until we can see our new pink roof from google earth? (instead of the white one with the black garbage bag on the hole in the roof from spring until yesterday)

The roofers finished the roof. Dear husband has been picking up nails with his high powered magnet. The roofers also paint, so painting prep commenced today, also. And we pointed to a light gray shade to go with the gray brick.

The pollen count is so high that we are all sneezing.

Bob was not convinced that the roofer-painters would do the best prep work before painting, so he rented a pressure sprayer, and will do it himself. Bob says that if the proper prep work is not done, then the paint will peel within a few years.

Friday, September 26, 2008

New Roof Today

The ceiling thunders with the roofers removing the old shingles. The cat is upset--she has already been upon my shoulders looking for safe haven.

Last spring, we had a bad hailstorm that pounded the old roof. Insurance paid us about half what it will cost to replace. We have been slow to find someone. Most of our neighbors have had crews come through, and we are one of the last to get a new roof. This roofer is also a painter, so we are having the outside painted, too. Yippeee ! Our house has needed painting on the outside for a few years now.

I am so thankful that my dear husband has stayed home from work today to supervise. I have lost count of how many times he has been up the ladder. The rolled part turned out fine, so Bob decided not to replace that. That saves us $100, and the roofers time and effort. That was a decision I could not have made on my own. What do I know.

Twenty-one years ago, Bob put the original roof on our house all by himself. I was pregnant with our third, and it took Bob a week. Ten years ago, Bob took off the false dormer thingy and re-roofed a section. I have drooled over the thought of a crew getting done in a day or two instead of Bob killing himself for a week.

The weather is good. No rain in the forecast. It is a good day for a new roof.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Most Amazing Sunday Sermon

What if you had studied a certain story in the Bible that is repeated in three of the gospel accounts.
What if you had looked at it from every angle, and researched it as much as you could.
What if you had even written a song to help you remember the important phrases.
What if you had prayed about it, and used it in a Sunday School Lesson, and pondered it.
What if you had even brow beaten your dear husband to please teach it.
What if you had kept the notes in your Bible just in case a teacher did not show.

And what if you had tried to keep it all fresh in your mind by blogging about it February 27 and 28th, 2008 and April 3, 2008.

And that story was your favorite one because it dwelt with a special woman.
And how Jesus told this woman something He never told anyone else.

And what if you then showed up at church one bright Sunday morning in September, and a pastor from out of town---a missionary, in fact, preached on that very story and finally proclaimed the words you'd be longing to hear preached from the pulpit.

Wouldn't you be amazed? I am still in shock.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Fifteen Grain Bread

My dear husband likes plain white bread. I like heavy-duty, old-fashioned, the more-grains-the better bread. Nine grain is okay, and twelve grain has been my favorite for years. But when Pepperidge Farm upped the ante with fifteen grain, I just had to try it. Dear Husband has suggested that I purchase one of those bird seed cakes that come with a little bell. He read the ingredients on the fifteen grain sack---they cheat by mentioning sunflower seeds. And flax seeds. Seeds are seeds, and grains are different. Grains are oats and wheat and barley. I say the more fiber the better. If they came out with forty-grain bread, I would buy it.

Fifteen grain bread is nice and dry and it soaks up the mustard.
Fifteen grain bread is so dry that it soaks up the horseradish.
Fifteen grain bread is so full of fiber that you can skip a day taking Metamucil capsules.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Our pastor has been preaching on Amos. And has encouraged us to read ahead. Ahem.

I have some fourteen pages of notes, going at it from the New American Standard translation, and the Jewish Bible, and the NET version. When I can ask dear husband how to copy and paste, but collapse the notes so that only those who truly want to wade through them can click...I will post them here. Amos, the nine chaptered book in the Bible has so many treasures. So many nuggets. Things literally do get lost in translation.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sure 'Nuf and A Fire In the Kitchen Story

Yeah !!! My folks and Bob's brother and his wife all got their power restored in Kingwood and Houston last night. 7:18pm for my folks, and 7pm for B & J. Yippeee!!!

I was right---Murphy's Law. I should have mailed the batteries on Monday!

And alas, my rice cooker is no more. Pampered Chef has this nifty, dishwasher safe contraption for cooking rice. I used it for heating those meal-for-two Bertolli meals, too. But, while cooking rice the other day, I thought it would be a good idea to keep all the minerals and vitamins from some carrots I had cooked in the crock pot, and make rice with the liquid. But, the olive oil from the seasoning, and that splash of Newman's salad dressing was just enough to start a fire in the rice cooker in the microwave. I was on the phone with my folks at the time---and the smoke smell started filling the house. I took the smoking rice cooker out of the microwave, and let it cool enough to throw in the trash. Huge melted hole in the bottom. The house still smells smoky. Yuck.

I went to good old Walmart yesterday and bought a pyrex bowl, four quarter, and tried cooking the Bertolli bag in it last night, and it worked out fine. The pyrex bowl cost less than $5 and you have to be careful and use hotpads whenever pulling the bowl out to stir, but it keeps the pasta moist. The skillet method which the package calls "perferred" makes the pasta too chewy for my taste. And like last night, there was a delay in the train, so Bob was about fifteen minutes late getting home, but dinner was fine, waiting with a glass lid on top.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Murphy's Law

I am expecting Murphy's Law today, and that will be a good thing. My folks asked for D cell batteries, and so since I just mailed them, maybe they will get their power back on today.

We have 18 relatives and relatives of relatives in the Houston area suffering no AC in the wake of hurricane IKE. They are all okay, but no AC in Houston is pretty unbearable.

It is sad to hear of so many dying from being idiots---running their generators inside their houses, and dying from carbon monoxide poisoning. Surely, these generators come with warning labels. And it seems to kill the little kids first.

Fascinating stories on the web about the cattle killed by the hurricane now being eaten by alligators. Yikes. And the rice industry has been harmed.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Have I Been Doing?

I was so glad to hear that my package made it to Ohio okay.

Sept 11th found me reading all the neat military blogs and remembrances.

The Pentagon Channel has an excellent concert dedicating the new memorial.

I got all the laundry done up when James got home---even washing his uniforms twice as he is battling poison oak. He picked it up off Army knee pads during training out in the field. I even washed all his bedding....before the hurricane, just in case we lost power.

We followed all the weather websites and enjoyed gentle rains from the edges of Hurricane IKE. The rest of east Texas did not fare so well. Bob (dear husband) has storm duty as he works for the power company.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Back in 1981...Twenty-Seven Years ago this week...

It was a dark and stormy night. That is how I remember it... I had this attack of nesting, bigtime. And I had washed and waxed the Lincoln. We had taken a long, long walk, and I think I ate a whole pizza, and ice cream... And this time of year in Texas, we were just waiting for that first front to break the 100 degree days.

I remember sitting in the hospital room after Andy was born watching the Miss America pageant---the one where the girls have talent. A gymnast that year seemed to be able to contort her body in ways I could not imagine with my stitches...

Twenty-seven years ago this week, we brought home our firstborn son. And I became a MOM. He was the first grandson to my folks, and the first great grandson to three still living at the time. Our beautiful, blonde headed baby boy. We could not hold him or kiss him on the head enough. And he was so cute that even my siblings were inspired to give parenting a go.

I'll never forget the gorilla doctor (hairy was not the half of it) that I had never seen before in my life come into the delivery room, feel around on my tummy and proclaim, "small baby, no problem." Andy turned out to weigh over nine pounds. That silly doctor had to spend half an hour stitching me up when I tore.

And now, our firstborn has a beautiful baby of his own to love and hold and sing to. Happy Birthday to our Firstborn. We said then, "Welcome to the World, Andrew."

Re-Thinking Kroger

It was dumb to go to Kroger today at 5pm, but hey, I did not want to miss my dear husband's call. All I needed was packaging tape. It could have waited for a Walmart run tomorrow morning. The Glus-Condroit. might have been cheaper at Walmart, too. Kroger runs these buy one-get-one free deals, but whoa. That joint stuff is not cheap.

It made me mad to see the horrid "US" magazine staring me in the face at checkout. Right there by "People". Both looked to be bad-mouthing Governor Sarah Palin. I never buy them anyway, but it was tempting to ask them to be removed.

But, when the checker dropped the cherry tomatoes all over the floor, put them back and asked if I wanted them, that was enough. How many more signs does one need?

I did get a chuckle out of the display of lunch-sized mac and cheese wrapped in a wine pushing bunting. September is back to school month for some...so let's push that wine. Maybe this is the month that grapes are harvested and wine is made, I don't know.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Piper Palin for President 2044

You Know Fall Is Coming In Texas when...

The cold water in the shower stayed cold this morning. I bet you could wash lettuce with the cold water from the faucet now...wow. Fall is truly on the way.

Our nights here in Texas stay above eighty degrees in the summer, so the water coming out of the faucets is never really cold in the summer time. We turn down our water heater, and can shower or take a bath in just the tepid cold water.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I got a commenter---then I lost it---but found it in my email. Whoop!

Hi Joyce,
I'm a longtime reader of One Cosmos & saw your comment regarding Piper Palin fixing Trig's hair. Here's a copy for you.

Now, as to the linky-dinky thing, there are several ways to go, some more user-friendly than others. Blogger appears to have some info here, including instructions on how to create them manually.

Don't be shocked by all the weird HTML code that will appear in your working-comment-box, it's perfectly normal. You can test whether the link displays & functions correctly by clicking the 'preview' button (down next to the 'publish your comment' button)

If the Blogger's auto-set-up does not work for you, many browsers have 'add-ons' that come with hyperlink features. Check the website for your browser for 'Hypertext link' or 'Text Formatting' to see what's available. Once it's installed, make sure it's set for HTML code (not BBcode or Wiki code)

For example, I'm running Firefox & installed the add-on
"Text Formatting Toolbar" (from the Firefox Add-On Website) which lets me play around with comment-text quite a bit, and includes drop-down-and-fill boxes that make linking a breeze - and they always come out right.

Hope this helps you in your quest to conquer hyperlinking. Yes You Can!

Posted by ximeze to mom is a verb at September 5, 2008 12:43 AM

The Cutest Video of Piper Palin

Mosey on over to AmericanDigest.org and scroll down to see the cutest video of little Piper Palin holding her baby brother and licking her hand and smoothing down his hair. I just love that video. Can't watch it enough.

Then go to the video of Senator McCain getting off an airplane day before yesterday, and greeting his family and the Palins. That video made me cry. Wow. That is what love looks like.



I never thought I'd be SO glad to see mold on the bread.

I know it sounds strange, but my husband and I are empty nesters during the week, as our soldier gets to come home for three more weekends before going on to training three states away.

We don't eat much bread anymore. And I was concerned because, the bread was sitting on the counter for days/weeks, and was not molding. It made me wonder what kind of preservatives were being added to bread these days.

This morning, I found mold on the bread. Yippeee! Mystery solved.

Sorry, dear husband, but that loaf of anemic white bread you picked out had to be thrown away.

And shout out to Walmart: thank you for stocking smaller sized loaves.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Link to Gov. Palin's Great Speech Tonight

Here's Governor Palin's acceptance speech:

Mr. Chairman, delegates, and fellow citizens: I am honored to be considered for the nomination for Vice President of the United States...
I accept the call to help our nominee for president to serve and defend America.
I accept the challenge of a tough fight in this election... against confident opponents ... at a crucial hour for our country.
And I accept the privilege of serving with a man who has come through much harder missions ... and met far graver challenges ... and knows how tough fights are won - the next president of the United States, John S. McCain.
It was just a year ago when all the experts in Washington counted out our nominee because he refused to hedge his commitment to the security of the country he loves.
With their usual certitude, they told us that all was lost - there was no hope for this candidate who said that he would rather lose an election than see his country lose a war.
But the pollsters and pundits overlooked just one thing when they wrote him off.
They overlooked the caliber of the man himself - the determination, resolve, and sheer guts of Senator John McCain. The voters knew better.
And maybe that's because they realize there is a time for politics and a time for leadership ... a time to campaign and a time to put our country first.
Our nominee for president is a true profile in courage, and people like that are hard to come by.
He's a man who wore the uniform of this country for 22 years, and refused to break faith with those troops in Iraq who have now brought victory within sight.
And as the mother of one of those troops, that is exactly the kind of man I want as commander in chief. I'm just one of many moms who'll say an extra prayer each night for our sons and daughters going into harm's way.
Our son Track is 19.
And one week from tomorrow - September 11th - he'll deploy to Iraq with the Army infantry in the service of his country.
My nephew Kasey also enlisted, and serves on a carrier in the Persian Gulf.
My family is proud of both of them and of all the fine men and women serving the country in uniform. Track is the eldest of our five children.
In our family, it's two boys and three girls in between - my strong and kind-hearted daughters Bristol, Willow, and Piper.
And in April, my husband Todd and I welcomed our littlest one into the world, a perfectly beautiful baby boy named Trig. From the inside, no family ever seems typical.
That's how it is with us.
Our family has the same ups and downs as any other ... the same challenges and the same joys.
Sometimes even the greatest joys bring challenge.
And children with special needs inspire a special love.
To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters.
I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House.
Todd is a story all by himself.
He's a lifelong commercial fisherman ... a production operator in the oil fields of Alaska's North Slope ... a proud member of the United Steel Workers' Union ... and world champion snow machine racer.
Throw in his Yup'ik Eskimo ancestry, and it all makes for quite a package.
We met in high school, and two decades and five children later he's still my guy. My Mom and Dad both worked at the elementary school in our small town.
And among the many things I owe them is one simple lesson: that this is America, and every woman can walk through every door of opportunity.
My parents are here tonight, and I am so proud to be the daughter of Chuck and Sally Heath. Long ago, a young farmer and habber-dasher from Missouri followed an unlikely path to the vice presidency.
A writer observed: "We grow good people in our small towns, with honesty, sincerity, and dignity." I know just the kind of people that writer had in mind when he praised Harry Truman.
I grew up with those people.
They are the ones who do some of the hardest work in America ... who grow our food, run our factories, and fight our wars.
They love their country, in good times and bad, and they're always proud of America. I had the privilege of living most of my life in a small town.
I was just your average hockey mom, and signed up for the PTA because I wanted to make my kids' public education better.
When I ran for city council, I didn't need focus groups and voter profiles because I knew those voters, and knew their families, too.
Before I became governor of the great state of Alaska, I was mayor of my hometown.
And since our opponents in this presidential election seem to look down on that experience, let me explain to them what the job involves.
I guess a small-town mayor is sort of like a "community organizer," except that you have actual responsibilities. I might add that in small towns, we don't quite know what to make of a candidate who lavishes praise on working people when they are listening, and then talks about how bitterly they cling to their religion and guns when those people aren't listening.
We tend to prefer candidates who don't talk about us one way in Scranton and another way in San Francisco.
As for my running mate, you can be certain that wherever he goes, and whoever is listening, John McCain is the same man. I'm not a member of the permanent political establishment.
And I've learned quickly, these past few days, that if you're not a member in good standing of the Washington elite, then some in the media consider a candidate unqualified for that reason alone.
But here's a little news flash for all those reporters and commentators: I'm not going to Washington to seek their good opinion - I'm going to Washington to serve the people of this country. Americans expect us to go to Washington for the right reasons, and not just to mingle with the right people.
Politics isn't just a game of clashing parties and competing interests.
The right reason is to challenge the status quo, to serve the common good, and to leave this nation better than we found it.
No one expects us to agree on everything.
But we are expected to govern with integrity, good will, clear convictions, and ... a servant's heart.
I pledge to all Americans that I will carry myself in this spirit as vice president of the United States. This was the spirit that brought me to the governor's office, when I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau ... when I stood up to the special interests, the lobbyists, big oil companies, and the good-ol' boys network.
Sudden and relentless reform never sits well with entrenched interests and power brokers. That's why true reform is so hard to achieve.
But with the support of the citizens of Alaska, we shook things up.
And in short order we put the government of our state back on the side of the people.
I came to office promising major ethics reform, to end the culture of self-dealing. And today, that ethics reform is the law.
While I was at it, I got rid of a few things in the governor's office that I didn't believe our citizens should have to pay for.
That luxury jet was over the top. I put it on eBay.
I also drive myself to work.
And I thought we could muddle through without the governor's personal chef - although I've got to admit that sometimes my kids sure miss her. I came to office promising to control spending - by request if possible and by veto if necessary.
Senator McCain also promises to use the power of veto in defense of the public interest - and as a chief executive, I can assure you it works.
Our state budget is under control.
We have a surplus.
And I have protected the taxpayers by vetoing wasteful spending: nearly half a billion dollars in vetoes.
I suspended the state fuel tax, and championed reform to end the abuses of earmark spending by Congress.
I told the Congress "thanks, but no thanks," for that Bridge to Nowhere.
If our state wanted a bridge, we'd build it ourselves. When oil and gas prices went up dramatically, and filled up the state treasury, I sent a large share of that revenue back where it belonged - directly to the people of Alaska.
And despite fierce opposition from oil company lobbyists, who kind of liked things the way they were, we broke their monopoly on power and resources.
As governor, I insisted on competition and basic fairness to end their control of our state and return it to the people.
I fought to bring about the largest private-sector infrastructure project in North American history.
And when that deal was struck, we began a nearly forty billion dollar natural gas pipeline to help lead America to energy independence.
That pipeline, when the last section is laid and its valves are opened, will lead America one step farther away from dependence on dangerous foreign powers that do not have our interests at heart.
The stakes for our nation could not be higher.
When a hurricane strikes in the Gulf of Mexico, this country should not be so dependent on imported oil that we are forced to draw from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
And families cannot throw away more and more of their paychecks on gas and heating oil.
With Russia wanting to control a vital pipeline in the Caucasus, and to divide and intimidate our European allies by using energy as a weapon, we cannot leave ourselves at the mercy of foreign suppliers.
To confront the threat that Iran might seek to cut off nearly a fifth of world energy supplies ... or that terrorists might strike again at the Abqaiq facility in Saudi Arabia ... or that Venezuela might shut off its oil deliveries ... we Americans need to produce more of our own oil and gas.
And take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska: we've got lots of both.
Our opponents say, again and again, that drilling will not solve all of America's energy problems - as if we all didn't know that already.
But the fact that drilling won't solve every problem is no excuse to do nothing at all.
Starting in January, in a McCain-Palin administration, we're going to lay more pipelines ... build more new-clear plants ... create jobs with clean coal ... and move forward on solar, wind, geothermal, and other alternative sources.
We need American energy resources, brought to you by American ingenuity, and produced by American workers. I've noticed a pattern with our opponent.
Maybe you have, too.
We've all heard his dramatic speeches before devoted followers.
And there is much to like and admire about our opponent.
But listening to him speak, it's easy to forget that this is a man who has authored two memoirs but not a single major law or reform - not even in the state senate.
This is a man who can give an entire speech about the wars America is fighting, and never use the word "victory" except when he's talking about his own campaign. But when the cloud of rhetoric has passed ... when the roar of the crowd fades away ... when the stadium lights go out, and those Styrofoam Greek columns are hauled back to some studio lot - what exactly is our opponent's plan? What does he actually seek to accomplish, after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? The answer is to make government bigger ... take more of your money ... give you more orders from Washington ... and to reduce the strength of America in a dangerous world. America needs more energy ... our opponent is against producing it.
Victory in Iraq is finally in sight ... he wants to forfeit.
Terrorist states are seeking new-clear weapons without delay ... he wants to meet them without preconditions.
Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America ... he's worried that someone won't read them their rights? Government is too big ... he wants to grow it.
Congress spends too much ... he promises more.
Taxes are too high ... he wants to raise them. His tax increases are the fine print in his economic plan, and let me be specific.
The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes ... raise payroll taxes ... raise investment income taxes ... raise the death tax ... raise business taxes ... and increase the tax burden on the American people by hundreds of billions of dollars. My sister Heather and her husband have just built a service station that's now opened for business - like millions of others who run small businesses.
How are they going to be any better off if taxes go up? Or maybe you're trying to keep your job at a plant in Michigan or Ohio ... or create jobs with clean coal from Pennsylvania or West Virginia ... or keep a small farm in the family right here in Minnesota.
How are you going to be better off if our opponent adds a massive tax burden to the American economy? Here's how I look at the choice Americans face in this election.
In politics, there are some candidates who use change to promote their careers.
And then there are those, like John McCain, who use their careers to promote change.
They're the ones whose names appear on laws and landmark reforms, not just on buttons and banners, or on self-designed presidential seals.
Among politicians, there is the idealism of high-flown speechmaking, in which crowds are stirringly summoned to support great things.
And then there is the idealism of those leaders, like John McCain, who actually do great things. They're the ones who are good for more than talk ... the ones we have always been able to count on to serve and defend America. Senator McCain's record of actual achievement and reform helps explain why so many special interests, lobbyists, and comfortable committee chairmen in Congress have fought the prospect of a McCain presidency - from the primary election of 2000 to this very day.
Our nominee doesn't run with the Washington herd.
He's a man who's there to serve his country, and not just his party.
A leader who's not looking for a fight, but is not afraid of one either. Harry Reid, the Majority Leader of the current do-nothing Senate, not long ago summed up his feelings about our nominee.
He said, quote, "I can't stand John McCain." Ladies and gentlemen, perhaps no accolade we hear this week is better proof that we've chosen the right man. Clearly what the Majority Leader was driving at is that he can't stand up to John McCain. That is only one more reason to take the maverick of the Senate and put him in the White House. My fellow citizens, the American presidency is not supposed to be a journey of "personal discovery." This world of threats and dangers is not just a community, and it doesn't just need an organizer.
And though both Senator Obama and Senator Biden have been going on lately about how they are always, quote, "fighting for you," let us face the matter squarely.
There is only one man in this election who has ever really fought for you ... in places where winning means survival and defeat means death ... and that man is John McCain. In our day, politicians have readily shared much lesser tales of adversity than the nightmare world in which this man, and others equally brave, served and suffered for their country.
It's a long way from the fear and pain and squalor of a six-by-four cell in Hanoi to the Oval Office.
But if Senator McCain is elected president, that is the journey he will have made.
It's the journey of an upright and honorable man - the kind of fellow whose name you will find on war memorials in small towns across this country, only he was among those who came home.
To the most powerful office on earth, he would bring the compassion that comes from having once been powerless ... the wisdom that comes even to the captives, by the grace of God ... the special confidence of those who have seen evil, and seen how evil is overcome. A fellow prisoner of war, a man named Tom Moe of Lancaster, Ohio, recalls looking through a pin-hole in his cell door as Lieutenant Commander John McCain was led down the hallway, by the guards, day after day.
As the story is told, "When McCain shuffled back from torturous interrogations, he would turn toward Moe's door and flash a grin and thumbs up" - as if to say, "We're going to pull through this." My fellow Americans, that is the kind of man America needs to see us through these next four years.
For a season, a gifted speaker can inspire with his words.
For a lifetime, John McCain has inspired with his deeds.
If character is the measure in this election ... and hope the theme ... and change the goal we share, then I ask you to join our cause. Join our cause and help America elect a great man as the next president of the United States.
Thank you all, and may God bless America.

Wow---this video made me cry.


Sorry, I don't know how to embed, but this video of Senator McCain greeting Bristol and her fiance with such gentleness, compassion, and seeing the reaction of Gov. Sarah Palin as she then embraces her husband---wow.

Such grace. Such love. This is what love looks like.

Twenty-Two Years Ago Today...

Almost five-year-old firstborn was helping me pick out party favors at the party store when my water broke. I told firstborn that we had to go home, and would continue our shopping later. Firstborn asked the lady behind the counter, "what time do you close?" Too cute.

We drove home, and a good friend watched over our firstborn while I went on to the hospital. I can still hear Bob's cowboy boots coming down the hospital hallway in to the delivery room. We watched the monitors the rest of the afternoon... about 6 o'clock, the doctor came to check on my progress after her office hours, and when she installed another monitor into James' skull, the monitors showed that James' heart rate dropped. They threw me on the operating table and took him out quickly. It was a very sudden entrance...and yet, on my own Mother's 50th birthday.

I wonder what our firstborn remembers about it all. To be the only child for five years, and then be given a brother, and then another fourteen months later.

To James, he has always had brothers, being the middle child. Built in playmates. And such a bouncing baby boy. Such a joy. We have so enjoyed watching him grow up and now we get to enjoy him for three more weekends before he heads to his next leadership course.

Happy Birthday James ! Love, MOM