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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Celebrating The Harvest Every Day

  Tomorrow, Pagans and Wiccans will celebrate the first of three harvest holidays. Lughnassadh (Lu-na-saad), or Lammas, is the celebration of the first fruits, vegetables, and grains of the season. The second and third being the Autumnal Equinox, or Mabon, on September 21, and Samhain (Sow-en), better known as Halloween.
  The word "Lammas" comes from the old Anglo-Saxon phrase "hlaef-mass", which means "loafmass". It was the time when agricultural societies, most of them at the time Pagan, would gather the first grains of wheat and bake bread. It was also called literally, the "feast of first fruits". There would be feasting and celebrations. Offerings would be made to the Celtic Sun God Lugh.
  So how in the world does the average person, who lives in an urban area, and who most likely is not a Wiccan or Pagan, relate to such a "holiday"?
  Harvests come in many forms. Not just the fruit, veggie, and grain variety. We all have personal harvests we must bring in. It might be a new job, new ideas, new beginnings of any kind. Do you have a project of some sort that you have been working on, and would like to wrap it up and get it done? Sounds like it is harvest time for you. Are you getting ready to start a new job that you have spent years in school studying for? Finally then, the fruits of all of your hard work are more than ready to be harvested!
  Harvests come in small packages too. The harvest of a good job, and a happy and healthy family and home are harvests
we all celebrate everyday. Just your own personal accomplishments are harvests to be celebrated. Because like growing things, you have nurtured and cultivated them until they are jobs well done, that you can and should be proud of.
  We have seasons of flood and drought throughout our personal harvests as well. But we manage to muscle through them. Sometimes we come out on top, sometimes not. The harvest isn't always what we thought it would be. That is the way of growing things, be they in the ground or in our daily lives. Sometimes the harvest exceeds all of our expectations! Those are the best kinds!
  I hope that by sharing my holiday, it will be better understood. Let's celebrate all of the harvests in our lives, big and small. May Lugh bless them all!
  Happy Lammas!

DON'T MISS! August 9 and 10! The Conservative Cauldron will be reporting live from the 2013 Smart Girl Summit in Indianapolis! Plenty of great speakers plus a whole lot more!      

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Trayvon and Malala

  Last week, the entire nation was fixated on the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial. Seventeen year old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed during a scuffle with Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch captain.
  We can all agree that being a teenager is no walk in the park. It is, for good or bad, a transformative time in life.
  But while we were all bemoaning the lack of "justice" that Trayvon did not receive in his life cut short so tragically, there was another teenager who was making news of her own. If only the media had seen fit to actually recognize that it was in fact, news.
  Sixteen year old Malala Yousefzai spoke at the United Nations last week. For those unfamiliar with her story, Malala, is an advocate in her native Pakistan for education for girls. A view not very popular in the Middle East. In October of 2012, while getting off a school bus, Malala was shot in the head and neck in an assignation attempt by the Taliban. She has endured additional surgeries and extensive rehabilitation since the attack.
  These are two very different teen agers from opposite sides of the world, from cultures that could not be more different.
  Living less than a stellar life is certainly no justification for Trayvon Martin's untimely death. However, it has been widely reported that Martin was a known burglar, with pictures of stolen jewelry on his cell phone. It was also reported that there were traces of marijuana in his backpack and in his system at the time of the shooting. Was Trayvon Martin headed down a destructive path? Could be. He was also suspended from school a few times. We could only hope that if this was the case, that a teacher, coach, or his parents would have recognized it
  There stood Malala, on her sixteenth birthday, in front of the U.N. General Assembly. So petite in front of that giant crowd. Clad in a beautiful pink sari and headscarf of her native land. So poised and dignified, in a manner far beyond her years. From this tiny girl came a voice that filled the hall. She said she forgave the Talib who shot her. Quite a departure from "creepy ass cracka". Her only desire, to see children everywhere, girls and boys, get an education. She said that the Taliban thought the bullets would silence her. They almost did. But they only made her stronger, more courageous, more determined.
  While Americans marched, beat up, destroyed, and even killed in the name of "justice for Trayvon", Malala Yousefzai stood before the world, including her enemies, asking, no demanding a basic human right. A right quite frankly, Trayvon Martin did not seem to care too much about.
  Perhaps if America is looking for a hero for teenagers, they should look beyond a dope-smoking would be burglar.
  If I had a daughter, she would look like Malala.     

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Could It Happen To You?

  Well, the verdict is in, the jury has spoken. Whether you like the outcome or not, our justice system works. For everyone. First of all, we must recognize the first true victim in this case. A young man's life was tragically struck down before it had a chance to really begin. Trayvon Martin will never know the pride and accomplishment of such milestones in life as high school and college graduation. Leaving home, getting a job, getting married and having a family of his own. It happens to too many young men like him. Sybrina Fulton and Tracy Martin have lost their child, and they will always have holes in their hearts, and will always be mourning him. No parents should ever have to endure such pain for the rest of their lives.
  But there is another victim. Yes, he is still alive. But is he really?
  On the morning of February 26, 2012, George Zimmerman was just like you and me. He had a wife, a house, a job, and a family. That Sunday night, he decided to get some grocery shopping done to get ready for the week ahead. I have done that, have you? That totally innocent decision changed his life forever.
  Could something happen this week, in the course of your daily life, that could change your life in a heartbeat? Most of us will drive to a job tomorrow. George won't. More than likely, he never will. Who will hire him? Maybe you will stop off at the grocery store too. George won't. He can no longer leave his place of residence by himself. People have threatened to kill him. They have even created a Facebook page entitled, "Kill George Zimmerman". Could it happen to you? George didn't think so either.
  George's wife was going to school to be a nurse. Can she continue? Possibly, Zimmerman is a fairly common surname. Maybe no one will do the math. But what if they do? George's mother took the stand to defend her son, like any mother would. Can she leave her house alone? George's brother Robert was also very outspoken in his defense. Should he also worry for his safety? How many friends has George lost in this circus? No one could blame people for just not being able to deal with this type of attention, no matter how good of friends they were. Or, are they wondering, is this really George? How well do I really know him? Now, let's look ahead a little. George and his wife are a young couple. What if they decide to have children in the future? Will those children be safe, or will someone decide that "justice for Trayvon" includes harming that child?
  The CEO's of the race hustler industry, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson. I refuse to call either of them "reverend" because nothing about them is. Who renders earthly judgment on them? George Zimmerman is just the latest in a long line of destroyed lives left in their wake, all in the name of "civil rights". When will either of these pathetic examplesDeen's life and work?
of humanity be held accountable for their atrocious actions? Is it a stretch to wonder if either of their miserable fingerprints are on the destruction of Paula
  Trayvon Martin's life is over. A truly sad thing. But what will life really be like for George Zimmerman and his family? What will you be doing this week that George can no longer do because he must fear for his life and look over his shoulder for the rest of it? A trip to the grocery store? Dinner and a movie with your spouse? Maybe a ballgame or a concert? Or just going to a job?
  Jesse and Al's dirty work is far from done in this case. They will begin camping out on the doorstep of the Department of Justice for a chance at possible federal charges against George Zimmerman, and Eric Holder's trolls will no doubt help in any way they can. Jesse and Al, like the vampires they are, will search for another victim to feed off of.
Who will be next? Could it happen to you?      

Thursday, July 11, 2013

A Cross To Bear

  America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles. It is what makes us exceptional. Regardless of how you worship, that is a fact. One of those founding principles is the freedom to worship how you wish. It is a sacred law to most Americans. As a member of a non-mainstream religion, that law is perhaps even more sacred to me. Maybe it makes me a bit more sensitive to religious discrimination.
  The popular target of that discrimination seems to be Christians. All one has to do is turn on the television, or surf the web, and you will see someone telling a story of being asked to remove a cross necklace, or read something vile that has been written about Tim Tebow, or another prominent Christian.
  A few weeks ago, a loyal St. Louis Cardinals fan, Michael Vines, noticed that on the back of the pitcher's mound, there was a Christian cross etched in the dirt. Next to it was what could either be an Ichthys, commonly known as a "Jesus fish", or a number 6, perhaps a tribute to the late Stan Musial. Jesus fish or six, now there's a dilemma!
  So Mr. Vines took it upon himself to write letters. One to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, and one to the Riverfront Times. His basic beef, religious symbols do not belong in a baseball stadium. Especially one that is supported with taxpayer money. Taxpayers of all religious stripes, or no stripes at all. Mr. Vines did not identify himself as an atheist. So why does he care so much about whatever might be scrawled on the pitcher's mound?
  A lot of Americans seem to be easily offended by any suggestion these days of religion. Even a mention by someone of having attended church, listening to a Christian radio station, or even wearing a cross sends people into a frenzy of "don't shove your religion down my throat" palpitations. Are they afraid that any mention of faith will cause them to stop and think about their own human failings for a nano second? How can that be, in a society that is constantly being told they are not responsible for their actions?
  But back to baseball. Does a cross or a Jesus fish belong in a stadium that is frequented by all? The Cardinal players who are Christians are very open about their faith. This is a teamPujols would send one into the seats, and point upwards as he came around to step on home plate? Does anyone contemplate firing off e-mails or letters when Yadier Molina, or any one of a dozen or more Latin players make the sign of the cross when they come up to bat? Mr. Vines, if he is in fact an atheist, and just atheists in general, seem to expend quite a bit of effort on something they claim to have no belief in.
who has a promotional day called "Christian Family Day at the Ballpark". But by all accounts, no other Cardinal players, or players from visiting teams have complained. If it presents a problem for a particular player, can't he just scrub it out with his foot? It is dirt after all. Did it bother Michael Vines, or anyone else, when Albert
  As a Wiccan, I do not expect anyone else to agree with my choice of religion. I don't even expect everyone else to tolerate it. What I do expect is that you respect it. That is really all Christians expect as well. If nothing else, it is respect for a basic foundational block that the founding fathers made sure to include. They knew that it was imperative to the lifeblood of our nation.
  So far, they have not been wrong about much.

Update: Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak has since spoke with the Busch Stadium Grounds Crew, and asked them that the symbols be removed.       

Thursday, July 4, 2013

America - A Love Story

  Today we celebrate Independence Day. It is a day to reflect. A day to give thanks. A day to look around ourselves and be amazed at the fact that we have been blessed to have been born in, or become a citizen of, the greatest country the world has ever known. It has been said so many times before, but today it is worth repeating. America is not just a place. It is an idea, a vision, a concept. At the time of the founding of our nation, such an experiment had never been tried. The world had never seen a nation of free men. Free to create their own idea of government. They determined what that government was permitted to do. They also determined what that government was not permitted to do. Most early Americans came the oppression of a monarchy. A King who made up the rules as he saw fit. The King decided who prospered and who did not. He did not permit dissent.
  America's founding fathers did not agree on how this new idea of liberty should be implemented. They debated, they argued, they may have even wanted to throw a punch from time to time. It was those first meetings that vigorous debate, agreement, and disagreement became part of American DNA.
  America has endured trying ugly times. We fought a war for our independence and many lives were lost. We fought and killed each other to prevent the perpetuation of Americans of African descent remaining in chains and continuing to be second class citizens. We went to Europe and made sure that the evil of Nazism was forever squashed. But we have also been that shining city on a hill that President Ronald Reagan spoke so eloquently of. A beacon of light and freedom for so many who came to our shores in search of a better life. Not only for themselves, but for their children. Many of those first immigrants came with nothing but the clothes on their backs, whatever they could carry in a bag or trunk, and the willingness to work as hard as they had to, so that their American dream would become a reality.
  For Conservatives, this is a very troubling time for a nation we love so much. We see a national debt that no one seems to understand, much less care about, climbing higher and higher. The American economy continues to languish, with more of our citizens simply giving up looking for work. Overseas, our influence is nothing like it used to be, and rogue nations rattle their swords, and have no fear or respect for us. Right now, in Egypt, people carry signs in the streets mocking our nation and our President.
  Even on a day of celebration, we feel like just throwing in the towel, giving up. It seems like every day, more and more, the other side seems to be winning the fight. That the people we elected to send to Washington to represent us have no more fight left in them. They just want to be liked and get along with the opposition. But on this day more than any other, is when we must renew our commitment to fight on.
  Maybe we ask ourselves and each other, "What can I do? I am only one person. Who will listen to me?" What you can do is show up, speak up, and speak out. Go to the City Council meeting. Go to the School Board meeting. Write a blog or write for a website. Better yet, run for that School Board seat, run for that City Council seat. Be seen supporting the issues and causes that you care about. We all think we are just one person. What if a million plus of "just one person" get together to fight for what is right? What amazing things can we accomplish for the sake of our country?
  Independence Day would not be complete without thanking the brave men and women of our Military. They and their families sacrifice so much to keep our nation safe and free. They embody everything that is great and wondrous about America.
  Conservatives, Patriots, fellow Americans. Don't give in. Don't give up the fight. We have so much to fight for. Our country needs us now more than ever.
  Don't be afraid to rise up and take her back.
  Happy Independence Day from The Conservative Cauldron!