Sunday, May 23, 2010

Service to God and Country..Memorial Day Thoughts..

As I write, I am sitting near an Army Reserve location in Indiana. Watching soldiers, come and go from the base like ants who all look alike busy scurrying about doing their busy work. The business of war. The business of defending freedoms that you and I take for granted every day.

As a female those freedoms are as simple as choosing what I want to wear, the right to be single or marry a man of my choosing, the right to vote, the right to bear arms, swear, drink alcohol, and work in a profession that I want. I can go to a store and spend my money on items I want. I can go to school and learn about anything I desire. I can read any material I choose.

Unlike many of my female peers who continue to feel "wronged" in the game of life's fairness; I am grateful for the rights and freedoms that we have as women in America. I am eternally grateful to those who put their lives in the line of danger every day so that I can enjoy my very self serving free choices..

It saddens me to hear about Americans bemoaning their lot in life..I say "Spoiled, entitlement seeking, immature humans..grow up!" grateful...rejoice, and be humble in the gifts you have as an American..!

In honor of the upcoming Memorial Day Holiday, I ask you to spend time with your families, and share a moment honoring those freedoms, and those who have given their lives so you can eat that steak, wear that bikini and drink that martini...

May God's grace find and keep those safe serving in war zones, and may God give comfort to the families who have lost sons and daughters this year, may you know that there are Americans who honor and are humbled by the dedication and service of your family and loved ones. We share in your sorrow and loss.

To those whom are living with physical reminders of their service to this country, may you find healing and comfort in knowing that we support you and honor you for your service. God has a special place reserved for you, your a living reminder to the rest of us to not take freedom for granted.. So this month I challenge you all; buy a poppy, visit a veteran, buy a service man or woman a coffee or a meal if you see them..Demonstrate your appreciation always as we honor and remember on this very special holiday.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sweet Home..

The images of the south, the deep south that we have become indoctrinated with are of rednecks, racism, poverty, ignorance, and a way of life that most in the media would have us believe as "backward".

In fact if I asked you to visualize a small town in Alabama; you would think of those things listed and probably about twenty other things that would be categorized as less then P.C. or intellectual in nature.

The negative visions and images are the frequent display one is given when discussion about southern lifestyles and behaviors is discussed related to politico discussions of what "America" is about; and the life style of the south is often discounted as insignificant..

Interesting that some of those images are indeed accurate; but rather than placing them on the bucket half empty list; I ask you to reconsider your choice of image and think about the following things....

Huntsville and Birmingham are two of the fastest growing economies and job market cities in America. In fact, having spent time here, it is obvious that the recession has not touched this area to the depth it has in Michigan. Job postings are seen at many service areas as we walk through the thriving busy shopping center and downtown areas.

On Easter Sunday, in Michigan few if any major businesses were closed; in Alabama everything was shut down except for a few choice restaurants that opened "post worship". In fact, according to the locals, most Sunday shopping is still frowned upon..commerce on a family focus day is not a norm here..

Southern small towns in Alabama? Oh yes they exist..and they still thrive as their own small micro economic existences..One major commercial enterprise will maintain a community for generations. Think capitalism in it's purest forms..Small family owned businesses that support many other small families..

Politeness..Our 17 year old figured out that people here are just genuinely "nice". We have met so many just kind and polite people, that it gave me reassurance that social graces and rules can still exist. "where y'all from?" is the question that would seem a privacy violation to us northerners and we may respond with our hackles raised. In the south it is genuine kind question that usually follows a discussion of weather, the economy and the great things to do in their fair city or locale..

Customer service? Yeah, thinks truly are a bit slower here..That is a correct stereotype. But truly when was the last time you had your car wash done while they provide you with a glass of tea and a massage chair or bench to sit on outside and visit with other people getting their vehicle washed? Getting a coffee quickly at a starbucks..not quick like at home, but you get a "how ya''ll today?" and a "here's your coffee miss, y'all have a nice day you hear?" Unlike the not so friendly experience and eye roll I have gotten at a local coffee estab.

Perhaps instead of critical analysis of the southern states, we should take a collective look at what we can learn from them. I just hope that as "we" begin to infiltrate these areas in search of a better place to earn, live and raise our families, that we leave behind the worst of what we are; and instead adopt the best of what the south has to give us; character, values and ethics that emulate kindness, honesty and simplicity of living.