Thursday, November 15, 2012

Land That I Love

"I exhort therefore that, first of all,
supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;
For kings, and for all that are in authority;
that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour..."
I Timothy 2:1-3
(KJV)

"God bless America,
Land that I love;
Stand beside her,
and guide her,
through the night, 
with a light from above..."

Familiar words written by Irving Berlin in 1918...
that still resonate deep...
in the heart of every patriotic American....
almost a century later.

Patriotism runs deep within me.
Dad was a veteran who served in Korea.
I love looking at old pictures I have of him sharing "snow cream"
with the local village children.
He grew attached to some of them
and used to love to tell me stories about how they would run out
to see him and other American soldiers to beg them for candy.

Kevin's Dad is a veteran who served during World War II.
Zachary sat and listened the other day as he relayed stories of his adventures.
It makes me proud to know that both of our fathers served our great country
and did their best to preserve our heritage of freedom.

I was at the airport waiting for a plane to land,
when a group of soldiers arrived to greet their waiting family members.
I couldn't stop the flow of my tears,
as their faces lit up
when they spotted faces that were familiar.
How long had it been since they had seen each other?
How many times had they been in harm's way since they parted?
How often had they questioned whether or not they would
ever return safely home?
How many prayers had gone up to God for their protection?
I reached out my hand to one of them as he passed by me
and said the only two words I could muster while choking sobs,
"THANK YOU."
He humbly acknowledged my thanks...
and moved on.

The debt we owe them cannot be paid.
The sacrifices they make are so understated....
so taken for granted.
Their selflessness is above commendation.
They work SO hard.
They give SO much.

I was so thankful to hear that my second-cousin
is back home safe from Afghanistan...
and accompanying him home this time...
is a purple heart.
I couldn't be more proud of him....
and the sacrifice he has made for so many years of his life.

I cry each time I hear our national anthem
or watch grown men stand and salute our American flag.
It just moves me deep inside,
and I could no more control the rushing tears
than stop the waves of the ocean.

Zachary loves airplanes.
Especially military ones.
They utterly fascinate him.
So, to say he enjoyed the field trip we recently took
with other homeschoolers to an air force base...
is a huge understatement. :)
I think I enjoyed it as much as he did.
I was completely enthralled...
and amazed...
at the dedication,
precision,
professionalism,
and efficiency of the operation of the American Air Force.

We got to go on board a C17 cargo transport aircraft.


What a thrill!


The size of it was enormous...
just massive.
It felt like standing in a huge room.

We even got to enter the cockpit....


and imagine how it must feel to fly such a plane.

When it was over,
I shook the hand of the sergeant homeschool Dad  who guided our tour.
I told him how much I enjoyed the day,
and that I had gained an even greater appreciation for our military.
He has served our great country...
in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
It was an honor to shake his hand.
As I stepped off the bus I told him
how much I appreciated his service.
My words seemed very inadequate....
and fell so short....
of conveying the gratitude that is in my heart.

My love for America has caused me to become
increasingly aware of the many products we can no longer
buy that are American-made.

Does this trouble anyone else?

We have made several purchases of small appliances
over the past few months,
and we were appalled that in many cases,
we could not find ANY of them
that were made in the USA.
Familiar, household-name brands,
are no longer made on familiar ground.

I stood in the store and felt a sense of something lost.
Like something precious is slipping away from us.
And even though I would have gladly paid a higher price
for something just because it said "Made in the USA",
I wasn't offered that option.
Given the choice, I'd happily pay the difference...
every, single time.
I care about it just that much.

I begrudgingly and sadly handed over hard-earned money
for products that didn't optimally benefit the betterment of
the country I love so much.

The things that bothered me most were that I was no longer offered the choice,
and that there are so many...
right here in our country....
who are unemployed, under-employed, suffering, and struggling...
who would love to have the opportunity to manufacture
and assemble a coffee pot,
or blender,
or microwave oven,
or toaster....
right here on American soil.

We visited our dear friends in Bassett, VA,
and I felt tears rising to the surface as we passed
furniture factory after furniture factory....
empty...
with no cars in the parking lots...
and no people inside working hard for a living.
These were massively large buildings...
that used to make the town thrive.
It thrives no longer.
There was a destitute, abandoned feeling
that came over me,
as we passed the forlorn buildings.

Our friend worked hard and loyally in one of those factories for no less than 28 years.
Then one day,
he was let go...
just like that....
told he was no longer needed....
because his job along with all of the other jobs in the furniture factory...
were being outsourced to a foreign country.

Now, I don't know about anyone else,
but to me, this is not only beyond sad,
but it is absurd.
To imagine shipping that heavy cargo from all the way across the sea,
when it could be created from trees grown on American soil
and crafted by hands of American citizens...
is just beyond understandable to me.
Maybe I am missing something....
but I can't help but wonder about it.
Why not keep the jobs here...
on American soil...
and allow those who still have the innate desire to work
be offered the opportunity to fulfill that desire?
How good it would make me feel to walk into Wal-Mart
and be able to buy an iron that says,
"Made in the USA".

I have been trying real hard to buy as many 
American-made products as is possible.
There are still some out there.
I am thrilled and feel like I am doing something important
each time I find and buy one.
There is just something troubling to me 
about supporting manufacturing that happens
outside of the United States
when so many of my brothers and sisters would give so much
to able to work and make it here at home.

This is where I live.
This is the land I love above all other lands on earth.

I know a Christian, homeschooling family
who own and operate a family-based internet business.
Two of the reasons I desire to support their business are that...
they share my values...
and they strive to sell American-made products...
whenever it is at all possible.

If you'd like to check out their website, please do so at:
http://www.brodskyministries.com

They sell a wide-spectrum variety of things including,
health care,
alternative medicine,
homeschool curriculum and aids,
skin care products,
toys,
books,
Bibles,
church supplies,
essential oils,
soap,
hair care products,
tracts,
and many other things.

They sell "God's Creation" calendars for only $5.99 each.
The pictures are beautiful,
the Scripture verses are from the King James Version,
and you can't beat this price.
I am ordering some to give as Christmas gifts.
I feel good about supporting a company so intent on
selling American-made products.

I know they would appreciate your patronage and support...
especially during the CHRISTmas season.  :)

Linda Brodsky wrote a great article about American-made products
and their mission of selling them.
You can view it here by following this link:
http://www.brodskyministries.com/index.cfm?page=newsletters&pagename=Merry CHRISTmas!.cfm

I believe we should support fellow-Americans
and fellow-Christians...
whenever we can.
When we can do both at the same time,
it is a double blessing!

Zachary has been studying American history.
I am so deeply grateful for the precious privilege of homeschooling him.
I pray every day that God protects and preserves that privilege...
not only for me,
but for every parent who wishes to teach their children at home.

As we go through the pages of his Social Studies curriculum,
a deep yearning arises in my heart...
for the old days....
in America.
Back when children were allowed to pray to God in public school, without fear..
and without breaking a rule.
Back when school curriculum was Bible-based...
and teachers taught their students Scripture verses as part of their daily learning.
Back when family values were of utmost importance.
Back when working hard was the desire of the majority,
and no one actually enjoyed taking a government handout.
Back when families gathered together at the end of the day...
for something called "family worship".
Back when families went to church...
together...
on a regular basis.
Back when church activities were the hub of social life.
Back when soldiers were shown high regard and respect...
when they returned home from fighting a war.
And back when black steam still billowed from the pipes of
factories on American soil...
factories that were filled with hard-working men and women
who were thankful for their jobs
and who were more than willing to work over-time to produce
a good quality product.

I love America.
It is dear and close to my heart.
It is the land I love.
I miss the old days.
I keep hope alive that maybe one day
things will turn around and feel "right"
and "familiar" again.

That is why I remain committed...
determined...
to stand in the gap...
to pray intercessory prayers for a hedge to remain around our country....
to follow the Apostle Paul's sound instruction in today's passage of Scripture...
every, single day.
To keep hope alive in my heart.
To support our country and companies who
sell products made on American soil as often as possible.
If we all did this, we could make a difference.
Maybe we could bring some jobs back home....
through the technique and approach of supply and demand.

Click here for a great article:
http://madeinusaforever.com/mainusano20.html

CHRISTmas is coming.
What better time to rekindle the flame of patriotism in our hearts?
We spend more money at this time of year than any other.
Why not let it flow into the hands of those who are struggling...
here at home....
and determined to uphold American and Christian values?

Individually, we can make a difference.
Imagine what we can accomplish....collectively.

May God have mercy and bless America...
land that we all love....so much.

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