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I have recently acquired an additional role to a long list of my life’s personas.  My son recently signed on to the Marines early entry program.  I am about to become a Marine Mom.

It’s a little like just finding out you are pregnant.  You’re not yet a mother but it’s almost a guarantee that on a pre-determined date you will be.  You can talk to other Marine Moms, imagine what being a Marine Mom is all about, the range of emotions, read about what your fine young Marine will go through physically and only guess what he will go through mentally.

A mixture of emotions for me and for my husband, many of which are positive.  First being how proud I am of my extraordinary, amazing, mature, confident and determined 18 year old son.  I have all the confidence in the world in Robby and his choice.  We raised him to be strong, honest and in touch with himself, to love God and his country.  Everything we have taught him, everything he has ever learned, everything he knows and/or expects of himself is about to be put on the line and tested.  I talk with him about it once in awhile, always seeking that balance of not dwelling on it  yet not ignoring the fact that he will be ‘leaving us’ in 5 months.  He’ll never be the same young man he is now.  I’m willing to bet anything he will somehow be even finer; definitely stronger in body and in mind.  In spirit he is already amazingly strong.  How he will change and grow and mature is in the hands of God.   The metamorphosis begins; already he has increased his pull ups from 4 to 12 and is standing a little taller…

Marine Mom, the proud, willingly supportive and involved bystander of her boy’s personal definition of what being a man means to him.  And possessing the knowledge that my son’s metamorphosis will also be my own.

My Robby is ready to try out his wings and I am thankful for that.

Obama’s presidential campaign produced more promises than (to quote an old saying) ‘Carter’s got little liver pills.’

Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) printed a checklist of Obama’s many promises that my husband cut out and posted in his office.

Below is that IBD list broken down into the following categories: Taxes, Energy, Environment, Labor, National Security, Social Security, Education (only one???), Spending and Health care.  We figured we would keep track of these promises and invite you to do the same.

TAXES:

1. Give a tax break to 95% of Americans.

2. Restore Clinton-era tax rates on top income earners.  “If you make under $250,000, you will not see your taxes increase by a single dime.  Not your income taxes, not your payroll taxes, not your capital gains taxes.  Nothing.”

3. Dramatically simplify tax filings so that millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes.

4. Give American businesses a $3,000 tax credit for every job they create in the U.S.

5. Eliminate capital gains taxes for small business and startup companies.

6. Eliminate income taxes for seniors making under $50,000.

7. Expand the child and dependent care tax credit.

8. Expand the earned income tax credit.

9. Create a universal mortgage credit.

10. Create a small business health tax credit.

11. Provide a $500 “make work pay” tax credit to small businesses.

12. Provide a $1,000 emergency energy rebate to families.

ENERGY:

1. Spend $15 billion a year on renewable sources of energy.

2. Eliminate oil imports from the Middle East in 10 years.

3. Increase fuel economy standards by 4% a year.

4. Weatherize 1 million homes annually.

5. Ensure that 10% of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012.

ENVIRONMENT:

1. Create 5 million green jobs.

2. Implement a cap-and-trade program to reduce green-house emissions.

3. Get 1 million plug-in-hybrids on the road by 2015.

LABOR:

1. Sign a fair pay restoration act, which would overturn the Supreme Court’s pay discrimination ruling.

2. Sign into law an employee free choice act – aka card check – to make it easier for unions to organize.

3. Make employers offer seven paid sick days per year.

4. Increase the minimum wage to $9.50 an hour by 2009.

NATIONAL SECURITY:

1. Remove troops from Iraq by the summer of 2010.

2. Cut spending on unproven missile defense systems.

3. No more homeless veterans.

4. Stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq.

5. Finish the fight against Osama bin Laden and the al-Qaida terrorists.

SOCIAL SECURITY:

1. Work in a ‘bipartisan way to preserve Social Security for future generations.”

2. Impose a Social Security payroll tax on incomes above $250,000

3. Match 50% of retirement savings up to $1,000 for families earning less than $75,000.

EDUCATION:

1. Demand higher standards and more accountability from our teachers.

SPENDING:

1. Go through the budget, line by line, ending programs we don’t need and making the ones we do need work better and cost less.

2. Slash earmarks.

HEALTH CARE:

1. Lower health care costs for the typical family by $2,500 a year.

2. Let the uninsured get the same kind of health insurance that members of Congress get.

3. Stop insurance companies from discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

4. Spend $10 billion over five years on health care information technology.

I haven’t always been cheap.  There have been times in my life when I have spent when I shouldn’t have,  some knee jerk reaction to feeling deprived or in rebellion to my thrifty parent’s way of life. 

‘Cheap’ gets a bad rap.  It conjures up images of tacky, poorly made, low quality things. Of course it can be just that, however, my brand of cheap is something else.  ‘Cheap’ has been a way of life for so long now, that I’m always amazed at what people consider radical measures to save money.  I can’t resist reading articles about ‘new ways to save money’ or ‘you can save $5,000. a year, just by doing this or that’.  The eternal optimist in me hopes that maybe I’ve missed something or that someone has actually thought of something that I haven’t, but alas, they leave me shaking my head.  Are these people kidding?  Wear the same maternity clothes that you wore with your last pregnancy? Only shop sales… these people are obviously amateurs.  Honestly, I do ignore the truly radical approach like washing and reusing aluminum foil …. 

I always shop in second-hand stores for everything and can’t pass up a good yard sale, a real find on eBay for a gift and yes, have even pulled an occasional item of value left out for garbage that was just too good to pass up.  I dragged my beautiful, carved mahogany antique upholstered chair out from the front of someone’s brownstone left out for garbage in NYC in the late 70’s….dumpster diving is nothing new to me. 

With the economy the way it is, and where it looks to be going, more and more people are having to really cut back, not just dipping into their savings to go on vacation or giving up your second home, I’m talking about really cutting back.

Think of it as a sort of treasure hunt, kids.  I find I actually have higher quality possessions by buying slightly used.  Instead of buying a $15. handbag at K-Mart I buy a $10. handbag at a consignment store that is Dooney Bourque or my latest find, a Kenneth Cole beauty.   It’s just a different way of thinking.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free”

Michelangelo

Life as art, art as life.  There is positive potential, a chance for beauty everywhere in everything and in everyone.  We can either see the angel in the marble or just walk on by. 

As a parent, we are given the honor of a child to raise.  Michelangelo put it beautifully….  We don’t carve out our own hopes, desires and plans in our children.  As with the ‘Angel’, we seek and learn who our children are and work with them to bring out their full and true potential.

Vanity and Pride

The quote below is from one of my favorite books and definitely one of my best loved movies (the A&E version, of course!).  You won’t regret sitting through 6 hours of a faithful rendering of Jane Austen’s book with it’s charmingly diverse characters taking you on a stunningly beautiful, insightful journey to the early 19th century.
 
“Vanity and pride are different things, though the words are often used synonymously….Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us.”

Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice,  1811

We have another addition to Obama’s list of promises which I posted on February 18. 

Last week we spent $787 billion on his stimulus bill then with dizzying speed,  just yesterday,  he promised to cut this years deficit of $1.3 trillion to $533 billion by 2013.  Few details have been given as to how he expects to accomplish this incredible feat, making today’s speech to the nation particularly enticing for an America desperate for a miracle.  It sounds too good to be true.  Am I being cynical?  This is one of the few times that I am praying to be wrong.  With all of the problems facing our country it seems a miracle is the only thing that can save us.  Can our new president really pull the rabbit out of the hat or is it just another elaborate trick?

2nd Amendment Mom

My husband is a safety freak; safety glasses, steel toe boots, gloves for gardening, fire extinguishers, ear protection, bike helmets, flashlights everywhere; you’d think we lived in a cave or something.  Pepper spray is on my keychain, a baseball bat is in my van next to the drivers seat and a gun is always handy.  So safety has become a way of life, which is a good thing with heaven knows what happening all around us.  Just in the last year there have been three shootings in our town, one a 14 year old girl on my daughter’s softball team.  She was out walking a few houses from home with a friend and was shot in the chest for her purse which contained $3.00.  She lived, thank God, but we no longer hear anything about her…

In a world like ours, I’m always amazed that people would consider not being armed.  In one of my earlier blogs I wrote that if we give up our guns and the right to bear them, then only the ‘bad guys’ will have have and use them.  Anyone who thinks criminals will willingly give up their guns if required is just plain nuts.  Thank God for our police, but they sure can’t be everywhere all the time and more often than not, arrive AFTER the fact.  The rest is up to the individual. 

I never realized how most people walk around in a state of complete unawareness as if they lived in some fairy tale.  Many are so distracted with a cell phone conversation or earbuds playing their favorite sound that they wouldn’t have a prayer of responding defensively.

I didn’t grow up with guns but my good friend did.  I shot my first shotgun at age 15, skeet shooting.  I was a surprisingly good shot for having had no experience.  I was a natural and I enjoyed it. 

Fast forward to safety conscious husband and a hobby turns into a self defensive way of life.  It’s a good mindset to have with our world getting stranger and more dangerous every day.  With our 2nd Amendment rights being threatened,  we should be very pro-active with the NRA.  We must maintain the right to be responsible for protecting ourselves and our families. Why????

“This year will go down in history.  For the first time, a civilized nation has full gun registration.  Our streets will be safer, our police more efficient, and the world will follow our lead.” Adolph Hitler, 1935  

When the Germans invaded Europe, one country they did not invade was Switzerland.  Can you guess why?  Switzerland being the only country left in Europe with citizens allowed to keep and bear arms presented too strong a resistance, even for Hitler.

“All political power comes from the barrel of a gun.  The communist party must command all the guns, that way, no guns can ever be used to command the party.” Mao Zedong, 1938

“When we got organized as a country, … giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly…When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it.” Bill Clinton 1994

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