The Mark of a Man

“… everybody in the room bore on his head this characteristic emblem of man’s sovereignty; whether it were a felt hat, palm-leaf, greasy beaver, or fine new chapeau, there it reposed with true republican independence. In truth, it appeared to be the characteristic mark of every individual. Some wore them tipped rakishly to one side- these were your men of humor, jolly, free-and-easy dogs; some had them jammed independently down over their noses- these were your hard characters, thorough men, who, when they wore their hats, wanted to wear them, and to wear them just as they had a mind to; there were those who had them set far over back- wide-awake men, who wanted a clear prospect; while careless men, who did not know, or care, how their hats seat, had them shaking about in all directions. The various hats, in fact, were quite a Shakspearean study.”

– Excerpt from “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” by Harriet Beecher Stowe

May I have this dance?

I love to dance. I’ve been teaching classical ballet for over 4 years, and since I have been forced to discontinue taking ballet on a higher level myself, it’s no surprise that I enjoy all kinds of motion put to music! So when my sister and I were treated to a night of English Country Dancing at a Reformation Faire, we immediately fell in love with the style, grace and beauty of it.

Since we are such gracious and considerate individuals, we knew we just had to share this kind of family-friendly social interaction with our local community. Thus, since December we have been teaching monthly English Country Dancing to anyone with a hankering to relive the Jane Austen days.

We have learned a lot through our teaching (let me tell you, instructing little girls in ballet is vastly different than trying to direct 50 grown men and women in pair dancing). We have learned that any height difference between 2-4 feet makes dancing with one’s partner pretty awkward, that calling out can be just as physically taxing as actually dancing, and that men are vastly different from women!

Allow me to expand on that latter notion. Men and women tend to have dramatically different outlooks on life. A man will shop only if his life depends on it (in my Dad’s case, it would be Menards to pick up some roasted peanuts) and a woman will shop sometimes simply for the joy of checking out new styles and trends… even when she doesn’t need anything! The fairer sex will sigh, sob and giggle at all the appropriate moments in “Pride and Prejudice” while “I Am Legend” might have been the choice of the 15 year-old male. When it comes to dancing, the outlook tends to be the same. While it may not be a general rule that men abhor dancing, the sport is also not known to be an immediate favorite of theirs.

And this, my dear audience, is where the gentlemen enter. Whether some noble knights fear rejection, or mistakes, or simply the close proximity of a 2 foot distance from a female, it appears that men take a radically different approach to dancing than women. However, when the hesitancy is pushed aside, the boldness acquired, and the hand offered, a knight is born and a lady is rescued.

I have 5 brothers and I still do not profess to know males. But I am thankful for the differences the Lord gave us; that men can be tough and masculine, and women can be gentle and feminine. Dancing may not be a life or death issue, but biblical manhood and womanhood is. We risk the death of nations when men forsake their duties and women abandon their homes, and even worse when we throw off the word of God calling us to live our lives according to His purpose.

When women dress beautifully and step gracefully, it’s a lovely thing indeed. When men take the initiative and ask a lady to dance, it’s a very chivalrous act to behold! And when men and women shake off the shackles of the culture to pursue their roles with purity and honor, well… that is when the music really starts!

Paul Revere and the 21st Century

I am angry. My heart pounds, my fists shake, and I sputter and cough out objections and exclamations. Why am I here, and not there? I ought to be running through the streets of Washington with my panting horse, crying “Congress is coming! Congress is coming!” for our foe is on their way, and will one day be parading into our homes. How can I help but be excited? Apathy only stirs me up, and were that this battle one beyond words and documents, and I a ready soldier, I would gladly take up arms to defend liberty.

My youthful frustration tells me there is nothing I can do and that it’s out of my hands. My head tells me to go make some phone calls; write some letters. My heart tells me to rely on a sovereign God, and trust Him for the outcome. Which call is hardest to live out?

“What a historic time for our nation…” “What an honor for you, Mr. Speaker, in such a time…” “Today we will make history…” The Democrats are speaking on the floor. History? As the nation that once was founded on God-given rights and freedoms, and then abused and usurped those same freedoms in one big, record-breaking sweep?

I am an American girl of the past. My patriotic pride is based on those men who fought in the name of the Lord to protect the innocent, guard their families, and preserve the way of liberty for their future generations. When I place my hand over my heart, I gaze at the stripes on the flag; remembering not the personal and pure sacrifice of so many politicians today, but of the blood shed by men not so long ago during the forming of our nation. Will I and my family have the courage to show such sacrifice and dedication when the time comes?

This post may mean nothing to you. Maybe you found my blog through a random Google search, or happened to click a link from another blog. Maybe you don’t care about the life and ramblings of a simple girl in Nebraska. But I ask you this: how much do you care about your freedom? Are you willing to pay fines, heavy taxes and penalties, and even spend time in jail if you refuse to purchase something you don’t want? And even more importantly, how ardently will you oppose Satan’s forces in our society, and proclaim the cross of Christ?

Sometimes my anger over injustice, and my eagerness to be a part of the action gets the best of me… and causes me to despair over my lack of control and influence. Tonight would be the opportune moment to let loose, as our Representatives vote on H.R. 3962, “Health Care for All of America”. Yes, we’ve written letters, we’ve called our Congressman, we’ve met with staff members and shared our concern over this very hot bill. Tonight we will pray. And then we will sleep, trusting our passions, concerns, anger, frustrations, and fears to Someone completely in control, and unconcerned.

Will you sleep tonight?

The Art of Expression

Election season falls over the worst holiday I know. Not only does snow and cold rain frequent the northern states during November, but dealing with Halloween décor is not my cup of tea at this time of year. In 2007 I took a trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to do some grassroots campaigning. While very few residents welcome political literature dropped at their door, you would think that the majority of America was bent on scaring off any sane person!

I found myself climbing through cobwebs, running underneath giant spiders, hiding my eyes from corpses sitting on porches, and trying not to have a heart attack from the pre-recorded screams. The point, apparently, is not to create a welcoming, warm, and relaxing atmosphere for guests. Unless you are a young teenage boy, you will most likely find such “decorations” annoying, disgusting, and hopefully disturbing as well.

Unfortunately, our society not only has allowed such dark and un-welcoming expressions on our homes, but on our faces as well. I’m not only talking about the uninterested teen, mumbling responses, but also believers who fail to welcome a stranger with a smile, “hello”, or even a direct look in their direction. We often criticize a humanistic culture for things we tend to carry with ourselves in another form, and much of the time unknowingly.

I am often guilty of making wrong judgments of people based on first impressions, as I perceive through their facial and body expressions that they are quiet, reserved, and could not carry on a fun conversation with anyone… least of all me! However, once we manage to bridge the gap, I tend to find a more open personality than I would have expected. But why does there need to be a gap in the first place?

Therefore I have decided that expression, regardless of personality or character, is an art indeed. Some people are naturally very exaggerated and enthusiastic, and others are more reserved and introverted. But how far can we, as followers of Christ in a body of believers, take the excuse… “that’s just not me”? There have been many times I know I have not met other young people, simply because I failed to receive eye contact, a smile, a nod… and also because I failed to give it myself. Are we willing to risk the loss of a friendship, acquaintance, or ministry opportunity to save our own comfort through blandness of expression?

We have less than a second to make a first impression. While we cannot paste a smile on our faces perpetually, we can make a habit of drawing others into our lives as we seek to have cheerful countenances, eye contact, and welcoming gestures. We need to learn to show the opposite of a demonic cultural holiday, celebrating death, darkness and destruction. We ought to instead be emulating the Word through our faces; drawing others to it’s joy, light, and hope.

Forget the black cats, mocking jack-o-lanterns, and screaming witches. Give me Christ, and may we walk in and share His welcoming light!

Come to Me, all you who are…

It’s all too easy for individuals, especially Americans, to become wrapped up in our own daily lives, and forget to look beyond our circles. Very few times in my life have I been confronted with pain, deprivation, insecurity or loneliness; so few that I almost forget entirely it’s strong presence in the world. (Truly; who goes searching for darkness and discomfort, when surrounded by the light?)

Just the other night we didn’t have to go searching for something outside of our daily world; it came to us. In fact, you could say it basically stepped in our path and flagged us down. We were driving home as a family from an evening reunion when a young man stepped into the road and waved. Thinking all they needed was a tire change, or the use of a cell phone, we stopped and rolled down the window.

What we thought would be an innocent, 5 minute encounter turned out to be a two hour adventure with 3 rough young men. As we left the two men at the car and drove one of them to the nearest town, we learned about his distant family, felony history, and gang-member friends. What would have been a simple phone call for help, was in reality a wild chase towards help that would never come: these young men had no money, licenses, food… or friends.

I can understand running out of money and gas. I can understand struggling to hold down a job, and making less than wise choices as a young person. What completely boggled my naïve mind was the complete and utter lack of friends, or even acquaintances the young man had. They knew no one; aside from a few “friends” in low places completely unable to help.

As I began to ponder the people I’ve met in my short lifetime, and friends I’ve made, it’s hard to fathom going through life… alone. It seems to me that simply striking up a conversation with a waitress, chatting with a coworker, or stopping to help the elderly lady reach something off the shelf can be the start to a friendship, or a chain of acquaintances. And yet so many around us go through life knowing only their loneliness and shame.

Some people may choose to live a life of anonymity; others simply don’t bother to try. However, it may be more in our power to draw people into the light than we know, if we have the strength of vision to look into the shadows and recognize a need. Are you exercising your eyesight when you step out into the day? When we walk out the front door to our jobs, and go about our daily routines, how often do we really look a coworker, client, or passerby in the face and invest in their lives?

Those young men probably ended up spending the night on the street. While it may not be in our power to physically shelter others from poverty, or wrong life choices, we can offer what Jesus extended to all broken men in His life. Without Christ we are those friendless, hopeless people living in darkness, but by His grace we live in a light we can share.

Who will you share Christ with today?

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Matthew 11:28-30

About Patriot Undeserving

American girl…

When I started my original blog “Jennifer’s Musings” in 2004, my intentions were to strengthen my writing skills and share some silly ideas with various friends. What took me by surprise was the response I received from complete strangers who read, commented, encouraged, as well as criticized my writings. I was motivated by both the encouragement and opposition, and quickly found myself growing more familiar with the Christian Teen Blogosphere, with much admiration for the cause of the Rebelution. Since then I have continued to grow in controversial blogging with a vision to be a part of the rebellion against feminism, secularism and more sins growing rampant in our culture.

Currently I am a stay-at-home daughter residing in the red state of Nebraska with my family of 9. Home schooled all my life, I graduated in 2008 and have not pursued college as many would expect. This is yet another controversial subject which I am not afraid to touch on as I instead pursue various dreams and ministries; including teaching dance, working with a Political Action Committee, taking part in Church ministries and continuing to study at home.

Saved by Grace…

If I were to write on this blog, and publish posts under my name with no mention of Jesus Christ, I would be claiming praise and recognition stolen from the one who created it. I live and breath each day solely because my Lord is a gracious God, and all I do is because of His amazing mercy, even down to each post on this blog. My writings, I pray, reflect a biblical outlook on culture as I seek to bring to light the reason for living and searching for reform.

I am completely undeserving of God’s special grace towards me for “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). I am fallen and helpless, and so it is only through His power that my errant writings may be of any worth. It is my prayer that the verses below would come to light in my readers’ lives;

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ— by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

-Ephes. 2:4-10

As I seek to seek to pursue excellence in my writing I pray that you, my reader, would be enlightened and edified not by my works but by the power of the gospel transforming my feeble words.

Undeserving of Freedom…

Many conservatives today are becoming increasingly pessimistic and bitter about the secular turn our nation has taken since the days of our founding fathers. There is no doubt that the liberals have wreaked havoc upon our constitution and biblical foundations, but this is in no way a call to abandon our nation. If our government and society can be called away by the devil in a mere 200 years, how much quicker can it be claimed by the Almighty God?

I have much hope for America not only for the many freedoms we have the spiritual weapons to reclaim, but also for the many blessings we continue to enjoy. Having been spoiled by our liberty and wealth, we forget nations bloodstained by mass killings of Christians who must run from their lives and struggle to care for their families in poverty. We forget the horrendous economic situations, the ongoing civil wars, the poverty and complete government control in nations such as China, India, the Middle East and much of Africa.

We as fallen sinners are completely undeserving of our liberty, privileges and prosperity in a nation such as America. What a sin it is to bewail our easy situations, and even more so of a failure and sin against God to give up this country we have inherited. While I endeavor to be a culture-changer and bring reform to our nation, I am without hesitation thankful to be an American girl living in the United States.

Why a Patriot? I love this country that the Lord has placed me in and have not given up on it. As Noah Webster described it, so I want to be

“A person who loves her country, and zealously supports and defends it and its interests.”

A young patriot from rural Nebraska can do nothing to save a nation. A perfect God willing use his many imperfect children can do it all.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

-Romans 8:18-21

Foul Ball: Keeping a Hold on Humility

I’m not usually a big fan of football. Actually, there are very few sports I can sit and watch for hours, let alone jump and scream enthusiastically like some emphatic addicts. However, when I have a better understanding of and connection to the players’ lives, I am much more apt to pay attention. Needless to say, Thursday found me watching parts (but not all) of the Gator Bowl; cheering at the right moments, grimacing at the collisions and injuries, and peering for a second glance at the writing on Tim Tebow’s face.

As a homeschooler and Christian, what qualities I have seen from Tebow have piqued my interest and gained my respect. While I wouldn’t pick a life of grunting, slamming and sweating as my ministry, it’s exciting to see culture changers from my generation enter all different areas of life with the cross as their goal. We can’t all be preachers or missionaries. We need to be sending arrows out into the political, medical, legal, entertainment and educational arenas. Every year I look forward to seeing what the Lord has in store for homeschoolers, and not because of a general vision we might have, but a unique and personal plan He has for each person.

So what’s the problem? Where are the misleading trails and hidden nets? Invariably with the fight and progress come the setbacks, and even for the most grounded Christians there will a struggle against more than just quarterbacks and linemen. What I’m talking about is the big P-word that no human can escape; pride. As we endeavor to live in purity and holiness, and experience victory over sin in our lives and ministries, God will send encouragers as well as challengers into our lives.

Pride is such a hard sin to conquer. Often it creeps in without our noticing; sometimes at one simple praise, other times by wounded feelings or bitterness. It’s possible to feel both broken and insignificant, and proud at the same time. In any case, whether we feel high or low, pride is never lurking very far to take down it’s young and eager victims. It’s one of the major hindrances to young leaders and culture-changers who are not prepared against it.

So. I’m excited for myself, Tim Tebow, and other young rebelutionaries who have a vision to impact society through the gifts God has given us. We can do so much through Christ who strengthens us, as long as we are not deceived into taking our eyes off of the cross and place them on our pride. It’s when we listen too long to the praises and smile too much for the camera that our goal no longer has meaning, and our mission is not blessed. Meekness is the goal; not weakness, and indeed we crumble when we replace His praise with our pride.

So let’s put on our helmets, line up together, and prepare to run towards the goal; not forgetting the game plan for our own pursuits, but working as a team with God’s blessing.

Campaign Slideshow 2008

Legislative Victory (i.e. involved teens)

It’s been a long and short past few days as I look back at coordinating a volunteer group for a local campaign. My sister and I gathered 35 homeschoolers to make hundreds of phone calls, do literature drops and wave signs Saturday, Monday and Tuesday. Our candidate was Beau McCoy for Legislature, and we were working in part as teen volunteer coordinators with the PAC.

I honestly had no idea what response we were going to get from the voters, and never saw any polls to know how Beau McCoy was coming. Even up to the few days before the election our opponent’s supporters were making slanderous comments and sending out negative mailings about Beau McCoy. We were seeing money put to use, but money does not buy volunteers, and where negative rumors were sent circulating we had energetic teens running door to door and ten people to a street corner waving signs.

A month ago this quote was posted on New Nebraska Network;

“Regardless, even with a whole army of home schooled children “volunteering” for McCoy, this is still going to be a very close race. If the primary attacks on Moats are any indication, it’s also going to get rather ugly from here on out.”

We didn’t have an army, but we did end up being blessed by having more volunteers than were expected. Regardless, the Lord didn’t need an army to elect a godly man to office, but he chose to use homeschooled youth to impact society, and on Tuesday November 4th Beau McCoy was elected Senator of District 39 with 54% of the votes.

We were so blessed by the Lord for protecting all the volunteers, and also for providing beautiful weather (which promptly changed the day after election!). He provided for everything and we are so thankful that He chose Beau McCoy to run, and to win.

I am tempted to now take a deep breath and go “now I can relax!” when in reality, now is the time we need action more than ever. The decline of morality in our candidates has come about because of failure by evangelicals to be involved at the state level. We have to work from the bottom up, starting right here in our own cities, districts and states. Responsibility has been thrown out the window and apathy has taken hold of many so called “Christians”, and it will be everything we can do to raise up godly leaders, equip them to run, and campaign for them.

So don’t relax. This is just the beginning.

Why campaign?

As a young person involved in politics, I receive many mixed reactions from people as I explain what I do and why I do it. Usually the expected response is “oh, wow! That’s great you’re so involved!” but it’s not uncommon to meet suspicion, questioning and sometimes ridicule as well. Of course you know, young people are so wrapped up in fun, games and frivolous things, that when someone under the age of 20 expresses an interest in big words such as government and legislature the first thing any sane adult does is wonder “what is wrong with that kid?

So what is it that makes teens campaign? Why are we seeing a growing number of young people working at a grassroots level for candidates? Obviously since teens care only about partying, it must be that the parents are forcing (i.e. pushing, telling, abusing) their kids to do slave labor for someone they couldn’t care less about.

Well, maybe if we’re talking about teens from public schools; they truly would feel as if campaigning for someone in the government or legislature would be abuse. However, it’s not teens attending public schools that are in question here (partly to fault because they simply have no time or freedom to volunteer). The explosion of young people we see going door to door, making phone calls and waving signs are largely homeschoolers.

As a homeschool graduate, I see these as the key reasons why teens like myself campaign:

We have the time

Homeschoolers have the flexibility and freedom to help a candidate when public schoolers may not

We have the energy

We’re young. We get restless. Having contests to see which team can get their literature drops done first; dancing and yelling at intersections with signs, making phone calls; it challenges us and gives us something to do where we can actually see our efforts directly impacting our culture.

We make friends

Simply the fact that we’re a group of peers with the same likes and dislikes, doing the same thing, makes an activity fun. The memories made on a campaign were not so great because of the work but more because of the people. I have never worked on a campaign where a teen was not there voluntarily and had a blast making new friends (and eating the great meals served!).

We care

Parents think their kids don’t care about culture, world issues, or politics. In our government schools, this is often the case. However, homeschoolers are taught up front by their parents that what happens in our legislature directly affects us, and that we have a duty to be involved and apply a biblical worldview to every area of our lives. We care, and this is what scares the secularists in our nation.

Our parents care

When we see our parents discussing the election, voting, and being involved, it’s not unnatural for us to pay attention to the same issues. Children follow in their parent’s footsteps and have many of the same priorities, and that’s where many parents fail in our nation today.

As of this summer my sister and I have been recruiting young people to campaign for Beau McCoy, a conservative homeschool graduate running for Legislature in Omaha’s District 39. Having been impressed with his honesty and conservatism on the issues, we have devoted more time to his campaign than any other we’ve worked on so far, working in part as coordinators with the newly created Political Action Committee of Omaha.

Recently the liberal site “New Nebraska Network” posted an article on Beau McCoy questioning the many young people working on his campaign, again asking the inevitable question; why ever do young people campaign?

“One of the great peculiarities of this race is the involvement of the home schooling movement on McCoy’s behalf. McCoy is actually a product of home schooling, and they’re evidently looking to get him elected so he might champion their cause in the legislature.”

As if it’s not bad enough that McCoy is a “product” of homeschooling, now he even has homeschool teens helping on his campaign! I think it is fair to say that we are electing him to “champion” our cause in the Legislature; if that means protecting our constitutional right to homeschool without restriction or harassment. (See my post “Declaration of War“)

“This development becomes a little bit disturbing, though, in light of this PACs suspect efforts to recruit home schooled children as free labor for the McCoy campaign. When young people get involved of their own volition, as a step in developing their own political consciousness, that’s a definite benefit to our democracy. But, where this involvement might cross the line into their school curriculum – dictated by parents pursuing their own political purposes – one starts to get a sense of why so many have such serious doubts about the quality and integrity of home school education.”

Of course when the Political Action Committee would consider asking teens to participate it is interpreted as an evil intention to force children to campaign against their will. This is a completely false and unfounded assumption. My sister and I as young adults ourselves have spearheaded a large part of the effort to bring specifically young people into Beau McCoy’s campaign, and not once have I met or worked with a teen on the campaign who was “forced” or unwilling to volunteer. This is an idea for teens, by teens. We work together, and it’s ultimately friends and peers, not parents, who get the fun-seeking, party-going kids out on the campaign trail.

The article on New Nebraska (which, remarkably, has everything to say about what Republicans do wrong, and little to say about what Democrats do right) ends with this quote;

“Regardless, even with a whole army of home schooled children “volunteering” for McCoy, this is still going to be a very close race. If the primary attacks on Moats are any indication, it’s also going to get rather ugly from here on out.”

While each energetic and excited teen does an amazing part in campaigning, I am confident because it is not the army that wins a battle, but the God who goes before them. If the Lord is pleased with our efforts, and with the intents of our hearts, He will cause Beau McCoy to win on November 4th, teens or no teens.

Just be sure to honk for McCoy when you see all us of slave laborers dancing on the street corners.