Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Seeing With The Eyes Of Faith

The morning after our local elections, I've awakened with a dull headache, and a sort of hung-over weariness.

For the past few months I've walked down a path untrod (for me), and come through with a fresh sense of wonder.

As many of you know, I've been working and campaigning for my younger brother in this election for Common Pleas Judge.

Jim is a man that everyone should have the honor of knowing.  His soul is saturated with the presence of God; his word is gold, his integrity is stalwart; he is sign of hope in a dark and hellish world.

I admit disappointment in his loss at the polls; yet strangely, I feel invigorated with hope for him. It seems that God has ordained Jim for His cause--and no matter what Jim's 'Divine assignment' will be, it will show its face when the time is right.

I will never forget the day Jim came into my life and changed it forever.  I was 3 years old and Mom went off the hospital.  I remember weeping in my bedroom, missing her, and not thinking much at all about the new baby.  I just wanted my mom.  When she brought him home, I felt bewildered; I thought he would be an immediate playmate, but all he did was lie in his cradle, sleep, and cry. 

But I instinctively wanted to hold him, to care for him, to protect him.  I marveled at his tiny features, his precious golden curls, his crystalline blue eyes.

As he grew, I carried him, I danced with him, I played with him, and jealously guarded my baby brother.  I loved being like a second mommy to him.

Jim was already plotting his course in life, even before he knew it.  As a little boy, his favorite dress code was a suit and tie!  He and his best friend/cousin, Pat, would dress up as children and each time they parted, their goodbye was this: "Meet you at the office!".  What child would say such a precocious thing?  My baby brother, that's what child!!! 

That same little boy had a fondness for impish pranks.  I remember the first summer we travelled cross country, he was but seven years old.  He bought a huge rubber snake in one of the Midwestern states and he got a huge kick out of scaring our elderly aunts with it.

As Jim grew into a young man, I was there to watch him do his first solo in an airplane (holding my breath as I watched him take off!).  Jim was best man at our wedding at the tender age of seventeen, toasting us with a wine glass filled with root beer.

Jim found the love of his life, Kristina, just at the point where he was entering a new phase: he was in college, carrying 4.0 GPA and working full time at the local music store.  He completed his bachelor's degree (with highest distinction) in three years. 

Jim married Kristina after a long distance engagement (she, in Houston, he in State College), and they began their wedded life as he was entering law school.  Jim continued working and going to graduate school, learning to navigate the crazy roads of downtown Houston each day. 

 Law School, to those of you who do not know about it, is grueling.  It is intellectually, spiritually, physically, and mentally a test of great magnitude.  Jim told me that daily, people dropped out.  The classes dwindled until there were only a handful of students left at the end of the semester.

The college kept psychologists on hand to deal with the students who couldn't take the pressure.  There were suicides and nervous breakdowns.

Add into that the stress of moving numerous times, working a job outside of school, and starting off a marriage, and you've just earned a new threshold off the 'stress' Richter Scale!!!

Jim came through it all, like a butterfly emerging from its cocoon.  It was not easy, but he pulled it off.

The next phase was passing the Bar Exam, and establishing a practice.  Jim moved back to Pennsylvania, and Kristina was happy to oblige him.  She left her family, her established business, and came north to support her husband and start a new life.  Kristina started a new business here in the healthcare field and is thriving!  These people are made of something rare!

One of Jim's lifelong dreams was to be master of his own 'castle'.  He realized that dream when he and Kristina purchased a three story historical home in our town, sorely in need of a complete restoration.  Jim is restoring the mansion to its original grandeur, one plank of wood and a handful of nails at a time. 

This past February, a local judge announced his retirement, which left an open seat for judge.  When Jim came to us, his family, and excitedly told us about his plans to run, we were all gung ho.

For the past three and a half months, we all have been at his side, doing whatever we could to help him.

I don't feel the results of the elections as a loss because of all the good that I witnessed.

Old family friends emerged and went that extra mile to lend Jim not one hand, but two.

Our family worked together as a team, making phone calls, contacting people, praying, strategizing, and supporting.

I can't begin to tell you all the details, it would take much too long.

 I'll just say this: I'm grateful to have witnessed our coming together for a common goal, a group of dedicated and caring people.  Some of them are friends, some of them are family, some of them are BOTH!

I was able to behold the goodness of the human heart.  There was no 'monkey business', we came to this day with the clear conscience of they who can stand before God and proclaim, "I've done this all with honesty, perseverance, integrity, and love."  There is nothing else we should say, because we know where we stand in the light of God, and that's a good place to be!  We have no shame because we have fought the good fight.  Jim truly is a winner this morning. 

Thank you, Lord, for giving us this task of supporting and encouraging Jim.  It has made me a better person, and I feel enriched because of it.

When another opportunity such as this arises, I will come full of knowledge that I did not have back in February--I guess you really can teach an old dog new tricks.  I never knew any of these things that I have learned about running a campaign.  Now, I am a seasoned pro.

Thank you to my husband, Jim's most unwavering cheerleader!  You worked yourself to the bone for Jim, and it was worth it. 

Thank you to my dear Mom and Dad, who threw themselves into this race with a youthful zeal.  Jim couldn't have better people to call Mom and Dad. I love you two more than words can say.

 Shaun, our older brother in Florida, who campaigned through prayers and long distance support (and his family), thank you! 

My children, who were able to learn the ins and outs of running for public office,  you gained so much, and gave even more.  Thank you, especially to Ian, Jacob, and Tony, who spent most of their day yesterday standing in the hot sun, campaigning at the polls with no complaints. 

 JohnPaul, thank you, too, for your support, and-yay--you got to earn volunteer hours for your school! 

And, Therese, you went with me to finish out the poll work after school.  You behavior and patience were very mature!  Thank you...hope you enjoyed your Yumberries afterwards!

Maria interceded spiritually, and Danny was praying on bended knee from Africa for their Uncle Jim.  Thank you both for your love and concern.

Jim Ryan, you've just taken a step towards a splendid horizon.  I wait with bated breath to see what God has planned for you.

HUGSxxx Annie

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Can't Take The Sadness...

We'd never tolerate it if we knew that someone would deliberately cut this kitty's throat, or crush her head, or snip her spine with scissors, would we? 

Then, tell me, please, why are we not horrified that this is happening to precious little children?!

I have had it with all the arguments about 'women's rights'.  I'm SICK of it--literally.  I can't take another moment of knowing that these innocent babies have *no* rights at all.  My frustration leaks out from my eyes--I can't stop weeping for them.  What can we do?

I pray every day for a change of heart for the women who are contemplating abortion.  I pray that abortion 'providers' will see the horror of their deeds and turn away from this scourge on humanity. 

I've been blessed over and over with my family--each child that I've been honored to raise and love.  I would gladly take these unwanted ones into my home and give them the love they deserve!  My brothers, each of whom is married--one who is child-less--the other who has only one child, wouldn't hesitate for an instant to do the same. 

Give these babies life!  Give them to me!  I would cherish them! 

I'm so sad today.  I can't make heads or tails of our world, how sick it is.  We need a dose of medicine to heal us and help us stop this cruel practice.  What and where is the medicine?  Who can heal us?

  Jesus, I Trust In You!

I cannot stop the tears.  The Human Race is so deeply fractured, we need Divine Healing.

Hugs.  Annie