Fifty-three years ago...just after midnight, so closer to July 2nd than the 3rd, I was born to a young married couple in Champaign, Illinois. I was the first grandchild, and first great-grandchild to both sides of the family. And I held that title until my sister was born two years later.
Being born so close to the 4th of July, as a little girl, I associated fireworks for my birthday. I was slow to notice that not everyone had fireworks for their birthday. I can remember my Grandpa James taking me to the public fireworks show at the stadium in Champaign.
For my eighth birthday, I got a puppy. Mine was a very care free childhood. I knew I was loved. I was well-fed, and hauled about with my grandparents. It was a big outing to get to go with Grandpa James "to town" riding in his big farm truck, or him even letting me drive a little in the front of his Oldsmobile.
Visiting the great grandparents was part of the outings with the grandmothers as they checked on their folks. So, from a young age, I was taught by example that we look out for each other. That we help each other, and share food, and are generous with our time and concern.
My Grandpa James kept the growing horde of grandchildren entertained with rides on the Shetland pony, rides in the wagon, rides on the tractor, rides in the combine, and he even put together fancy playground equipment from sandboxes to swing sets to a twirling tetter-totter made of huge springs, boards, and painted bright red. And he faithfully moved the contraption from yard to yard as my folks moved a lot. And he made a version for the farm for the visiting grandkids.
Mine was a fun, sheltered, wonderful childhood where everything was an adventure, and learning was encouraged.
Today, I look out into a very green back yard where that white crepe myrtle is so heavy with blossoms, that the branches are bending down to the ground. And there is no evidence of severe pruning in January. The oak tree I thought we were going to lose is fully recovered sporting only a few brown leaves. I did not know oak trees could drop all their leaves after a hard frost and start over.
I bought my own favorite perfume, as I was getting low. I bought my own birthday cake, as the Chick-fil-A cheesecakes are good to have on hand for guests. I have not a clue what all to cook this weekend. Bob will be home tomorrow, Friday. And James is home, but mostly busy with Amber. He took her coffee and breakfast this morning already. One-hundred-one today, predicted.
Fed Ex just delivered my Tastefully Simple order---carmamel for cut apples, a cookie mix and a cake mix. Fun. Fun.
But, now a word about Iran. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/01/iran-protest-arrests-afshin-friend In this sad article, 18 year old kids that tried to protest an unfair election have been thrown in jail and raped repeatedly, teeth broken, tortured---and if the thugs are doing this to their own boys, what horrors are they doing to the women? Forced to "confess" the thugs just cannot believe their own people want to be free. The thugs are convinced there was outside influence---that the protesters had outside help, and unless you "confess" what they believe is the truth, then they will torture you. And I have seen pictures online of young people being hanged. Hanged for confessing? And our weenie president does not want to "meddle" in Iran.
What is sad to me, is that these young people being tortured by their own country, and especially by their own religion of islam, are prisoners in their own country. Their pleas for help are in English. Unarmed except with rocks, they are being beaten to death and raped by their own police. Raped. Ruptured rectums, colons, bruised bodies, broken teeth---and our country ignores it all and obsesses about a pedeophile that died of an overdose.
Dear Heavenly Father, I am heartbroken to hear these stories from Iran. You gave these young people life, and a desire to be free. Did they hear the gospel? As their lives are cut short, do they know You love them and sent your Son to die for everyone? every sin? Only You can set things right. Only You can bring down oppressive governments that abuse their own people. Only You can open hears to hear there is a better way through Your Son. Children suffer in Africa, and in Pakistan where criminals are allowed to roam and steal aid. As a mom, I hate to see anyone suffer. I have been so blessed. My life has been one of ease. I live like a queen. I have a loving husband, healthy sons, a house, air-conditioning, everything I could ever want. All I can do is pray---and ask that You fix Iran. And fix Afghanistan and Iraq so that our troops can come home and train for the next conflict. Only You can wake up our weenie president. Only You can bring back the Biblical principles that You founded our country, and shut the lying mouths of the liberal press, and liberal politicians spending beyond our means. And the shame of a sanford--a man who claims to be a Christian, yet started down the path to ruin years ago, and now will not shut up---this male brings shame to Christ.
It is sad to consider how if Iran builds a bomb and is a threat, innocents will die taking them out. But, innocents are being tortured now. Innocents who dare to question their rulers and evil religion. Please bring sanity back to our leaders. Please protect the men of our church, our city, and our nation from the lies of unfaithfulness. Please help the fathers in our nation to raise up men for the next generation.
Bad things happen. Children drown when unsupervised. Your will be done. We look to You to make sense of it all. In Jesus name. Amen.