Tag Archives: community

Is Obama’s faith really the issue?

During the 2008 campaign, even earlier, Obama was questioned multiple times about his religion. Now it is all over the news again as the November 2010 elections near. Is it because it is truly a concern or because it is a campaign tool?

It is true, President Obama’s father was born in Kenya, raised as a Muslim but Obama’s father had lost his faith and become a “confirmed atheist”. Later, his mother married an Indonesian man, Lolo Soetoro, a “non-practicing” Muslim. None of this makes President Obama a Muslim.

For over 20 years, Obama has professed to being a Christian and has spoken publicly of his “personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”


Video – Obama’s Christian Faith (unedited)




Anyone who comes out and makes a public statement on their religious belief and faith and then has numerous people turn around and say otherwise has just been called a liar. This is what has continuously happened time and time again, not only by individuals but by different journalist, religious leaders, radio commentators, talk show hosts and news organizations.

Also during the campaign, one of the churches Obama had attended, Trinity United Church of Christ, was the center of much controversy due to Reverend Wright and some of his sermons and statements made to the press. The issue came up whether his radicalized views would have had any effect on Obama during his time of attending Wright’s church. There were mixed reactions but the more Wright spoke out, the more negative the reactions became. After multiple statements of Wright’s were released, Obama stated,” I also believe that words that degrade individuals have no place in our public dialogue, whether it’s on the campaign stump or in the pulpit.” He went on to say “Let me repeat what I’ve said earlier. All of the statements that have been the subject of controversy are ones that I vehemently condemn. They in no way reflect my attitudes and directly contradict my profound love for this country.”

On May 31, 2008 Obama resigned his membership from the church.

U.S. presidents throughout history have chosen to attend churches in the D.C. area and during the time prior to the Obama’s arrival, churches in the area and even outsiders were eager to learn where the Obama Family might pick to choose as their place of worship.

Although Ronald Reagan did not attend church during his presidency, he had different spiritual advisors, one of which was Billy Graham. Reagan said it was a hassle for the church to set up security screening for all of its parishioners. The Clintons drove down the street every Sunday to Foundry United Methodist and Chelsea sang in the youth choir.

George W. Bush was never a regular member of any local church. He preferred to mostly worship in the chapel at Camp David, Evergreen Chapel.

At this time, President Obama has been following George W. Bush and worshiping at Evergreen Chapel as the primary place of worship with his family. After a 5 month search by Obama, White House aides, family and friends, this seems to be the best place. Due to security issues and the fact even longtime members were not able to get into their own churches because of long lines and feeling as though a person was worshiping on display was all part of the decision.

Although, it has been said, the search for a D.C. church continues.

When it comes to a person’s faith, it is a personal choice that is made by that person at a time when that person feels lead to make the decision. When asked what their religion of choice is and an answer is given, calling them a liar or questioning them seems senseless and Christianity is faith-based. For a Christian to question another person’s Christianity shows a lack of their own faith and for the Christian Community to continue to stand up and question the presidents walk with God after he has publicly said he has a “personal relationship with Jesus Christ” shows a lack of faith within the Christian community. Does one Christian typically question another Christian?

To become a Christian, it doesn’t matter who your Mom is or who your Dad is. It doesn’t matter where you were born or where you were raised. It doesn’t matter what your past is or what your job is. But by faith, you can ask Christ into your heart to live within you and forgive you of your sins. It is having a personal relationship with Christ.

You see it doesn’t matter if you were Muslim, Jewish, Catholic, Hindu, Islamic, Atheist or whatever. A person can always become a Christian. A Christian doesn’t have to be someone that is wearing a sign saying they are a Christian or out yelling at others that they are a Christian and someone else isn’t a Christian. That doesn’t make someone more of a Christian or a better Christian. Going to church every Sunday doesn’t make someone a better Christian. What matters is the person you are and how you are treating others and living as Christ would want you to. Being full of hate and causing others to be the same way doesn’t seem to be a very Christian thing to do.

If someone says they are a Christian, who is someone else to say they aren’t or say they are lying?

God?


Video (34 minutes unedited)



This video is very worth viewing, especially with the way things have been recently.

In 2008 Obama spoke at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He spoke about Unity, deficit of morality, empathy deficit and about the problems with people looking too much at the differences of others and not their likenesses. He spoke about politicians and media exploiting these issues. He goes on to say in this 34 minute video to say we each carry the challenge to change this. “We can’t build ourselves up by tearing each other down.”

Recovery for America Pt. 3 – Is education a priority?

In the last article of this series, “Education Reform”, the different issues concerning education in America was looked at and some of the changes currently being made were focused on. Please take the time to read over the previous article. Is education a priority in America?

In the United States, nearly 6.2 million students dropped out of high school in 2007, according to a report by the center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts and the Alternative Schools Network in Chicago, Illinois. Why?

Students across the nation drop out for different reasons. In some areas there is gang violence, racial issues or drugs. Other students lose interest due to poor grades, lack of incentive, situations at home, lack of teacher involvement or the loss of ambition and many times due to outside influence.

Many people believe the students dropping out are low achievers but actually quite often, they were receiving high tests scores and just felt unmotivated and uninspired. These dropouts could have been avoided by more challenging work and more relevant studies as well as more positive influences.

Of course, there are those that drop out due to failing grades but even then, the question is who is failing who?

The fact is education is a necessity for a productive and successful life. This must be a priority for everyone including children, parents, government and community.

It is a must for everyone to work together from the time each child begins their school years till they complete their schooling. A parent’s involvement not only helps to keep their student motivated but also helps enforce what goes on at school. Understanding what the school expects and what homework assignments are being sent home helps keep the student more on track and allows the teacher and school administration the ability to communicate any concerns or feedback to the parents or guardians. Communication is a key element and allows even more possibility for the student’s potential to become that much more attainable.

In a student’s high school years, many freedoms come their way with more activities, a different type of high school schedule and many students will start driving and possibly working a part-time or even full-time job.

However, it is during this time many students find their education and goals starting to collide or become unclear. Teachers don’t always have the time to personally interact with their students and in larger schools especially, a student can feel more in the background and unsure of what their future holds.

With less personal interaction from teachers, and parents becoming less involved due to their child seeming more independent now being in high school, grades and goals can begin to diminish. It is during this time when students need more interaction and help with setting up their plans and keeping up with their grades, school attendance and graduation requirements.

What about the United States standard graduation requirements? Over time, the U.S. has dropped in education throughout the world. Not only should our students meet the graduation requirements but our students should be able to face the world, head on.

In order to do this, we as a nation need to make education a top priority. Our students need to not only learn the basic requirements to graduate but also how to face a situation, think and resolve, form ideas and opinions and learn about the world and its people around them. Our students need to be inspired to excel in all they do and go beyond what is expected because they want to exceed in the world. The tools need to be there for them to live up to their full potential.

For students to achieve in school and regain our standing in the world, this needs to be a national priority. With voting coming up, let your candidates know where you stand. Let them know this is a top priority. Let your school know this is a priority and you plan to be involved starting this year. Education in America must return to a top priority for the sake of all students and the future.





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Help for America Pt. 4 – Hunger in America

Hunger is a reality for many Americans across the nation. According to recent studies by the USDA, U.S. Census Bureau and put together by Feeding America.org,, 49 million Americans struggle with hunger, including 17 million children.

Locally, in Florida, with a population of 18,328,340 as of 2008, 12.2% struggle with hunger. The childhood hunger rate in Florida is 20.8%. Hunger is a nationwide issue.

These numbers increased by 4.7% from 2007 and with the nation’s economy having worsened from 2008 through 2010, hunger rates have not improved. As mentioned in yesterday’s article, “The working poor”, when families need to keep a roof over their head, the lights and gas on, groceries is something that is often where the money is held back from.

The National School Lunch Program (NSLP) is a federally assisted meal program operating in public and nonprofit private schools and residential childcare institutions. The program was established under the National School Lunch Act by President Harry Truman in 1946.

For many children, the School Lunch received under the NSLP provides their only meal each day. Applications for this program can be found on their website as well as guideline requirements. Also, a person may go through their child’s school for additional information and assistance.

It is not always easy or even possible to point out or tell the difference of who is or is not going hungry in America. Going hungry can mean different things. It can mean missing a meal each day or two meals. It can mean doing without food of substance and living off things like rice or noodles or any food one can bulk up on for a very minimal cost.

Is it okay families to be living this way? Should it come as a shock that so many are having earlier health issues? Could this be why more children are having issues with diabetes and cholesterol? Is this possibly tied to economic hardship?

How can people help? There are ways to get involved and help insure Americans have access to necessary food and nutrition.

Feeding America is the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Their mission is to feed America’s hungry through a nationwide network of member food banks and engage the country in the fight against hunger. Please visit their website to help or to get assistance if necessary.

Stay involved with pieces of legislation going before the house and senate such as the Healthy School Meals Act of 2010 (HR4870). Please visit the link to read for more information. Getting involved with legislation not only makes a difference now but for years to come.

Find local food pantries in your area. Many places that help families in need rely on donations. These places differ for each area but many churches have food pantries, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, Ronald McDonald House Charities, and another good place to start is through FeedingAmerica.org as well as FeedtheChildren.org.

The only way for America to move forward to its future is to focus on the biggest issues at hand. These things cannot continue to be overlooked as though they will go away.

By each person knowing where to look for help and how to offer help, people can focus more on their abilities and their future and less on what may be holding them back.

America’s children are the future and deserve every opportunity to have the brightest future possible. For the United States of America to again be number one in education, productions, innovations, technology and science and rise above what anyone could imagine today, it starts with taking care of one another across each neighborhood, community, each state and the Nation.

The United States of America can go above and beyond any hopes one may have as long as the opportunity for growth and development, education and income and ultimately the ability for everyone to live up to their full potential is attainable.

“We cannot always build the future for our youth, but we can build our youth for the future.” Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Feeding America Local Website for Tampa

FeedingAmericaTampabay.org

Ph: 813-254-1190

Help for America Pt. 3 – The "Working Poor"

Having a job in today’s economy and current job crisis is an enormous step toward solving a person’s financial hardships, right?

For many Americans, going to work every day, bringing home a paycheck and doing everything they can to support their family is far from enough. They find themselves in the category, the “working poor”.

Many working families live below the poverty level. As inflation has gone up, the cost of gas, heating, mortgage or rent, electric and overall the cost of living, their rate of pay has not increased near the rate of inflation.

To leave one job to find another is just not possible and even finding a second job is not always an option or a possibility.

Many families are struggling to pay only the basic utilities, as well as rent or mortgage and taking away from items like clothing, medicine and even groceries. This is living in America as the working poor. More often, this is becoming a reality for more people in the richest country in the world.

In 2008 there were 39.8 million Americans who lived below the poverty level according to the U.S. Census Bureau. New data will come in from the new Census Data collected this year.

The 2010 Poverty Guidelines from the CMS.gov state that in order to fall below the poverty level a family of four would need to make below $1,837.50 per month or less to be considered fully at poverty level. For more or less family members, the income is adjusted and there are different levels of poverty. 39,800,000 Americans fell into this category in 2008 and since then the economy fell more into a slump. Did these numbers rise?

To look around a community, workplace, school, church or anyplace people are gathered a person may not be able to pick out the “working poor” families. They are everyday Americans working hard to support their families, keep their utilities from getting turned off, their children happy and safe and they have goals and dreams like anyone else. They watch the news and hear how the economy is changing both in good ways or bad ways and like everybody else, they want so badly for things to turn around and improve.

Many of these families were middle class families not too long ago. Due to the financial crisis, they have now found themselves living in a situation they had never planned on living. What they were planning for is now a distant memory.

America is a country that was established on opportunity and freedom. Working Americans want the opportunity to move ahead and live, providing for themselves and their children and plan for their future.
It is always said to “set aside for a rainy day”. The opportunity needs to be there to not only live each day and take care of a person’s family and responsibilities that day but also to be able to plan ahead for what may come up or just to be able to have a “nest egg” set aside, plan for a child’s college fund or take care of things to insure prevention of larger bills due to neglect (i.e. insurance on vehicles, rentals, dental, appliances, etc.)

For 39.8 million Americans, it has been a “rainy day” for a long time and although many are extremely grateful to have a job to work each day, they want to be able to take care of their families and responsibilities as well. In a great country like America, with so many resources, it doesn’t make sense to have so many families that are working to still be struggling and living below the poverty level.

America has always been a Nation to be able to come back stronger and show its resilience through tough times. But, for this to work, things have to work as a whole and not as a part. Just like a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, America has to stand strong together and for each other through each community, state and Nationwide.

Part Four of this series will be pretty shocking to read. Stay tuned.

One of our community’s biggest assets is our youth

If everything is going well and people are happy with the way things are in their community and Washington D.C., then campaigns and candidates should continue to run the same pattern they always do, right? But, if something needs to change then it should start at the beginning of the cycle. This means to start at the process of choosing the candidate, the style of campaigning and the effort put into researching each candidate as well as understanding the reasoning behind the choice of each person’s vote. Is the choice being made by qualification and belief in the person or is it based on party?

What goes on in Washington D.C. begins with local elections just as much as the presidential election, often times even more. What is going on in a local community on a daily basis has a substantial impact on everyone’s daily lives in that community and can greatly improve in a short amount of time once given an opportunity for advancements and growth. But, the opportunity comes from the community itself more than from anyone on the outside or their promises.

One of a community’s biggest assets is its youth. If you look around the Bay Area, there are a great number of talented youth off for the summer. Many may have jobs but due to the economy, those hours may be limited or they may not have been able to get a summer job for a number of reasons. Our young people today are extremely creative and talented and many are also very active within the world of social media. Social media is not just something for chatting but if used wisely, this can help a large number of non-profit organizations and businesses network and reach millions of people they may not be reaching. This is one way a young person, or anyone can touch a lot of lives in a little bit of time.

The more involved our youth are today, the more involved they will be in the future. Who will be running our country in the future? They will become our future leaders. Our young people are watching how campaigning is being done, how politicians are “following through” with their word and how our communities are utilizing its own abilities to participate and better what we are capable of bettering for ourselves. We don’t always have to wait for things to happen for us. There are many things right around us we can do for ourselves as a community.

The best step forward is the step we take on our own initiative.

Stay tune for more to follow on this topic. If you would like to know of local non-profit groups you can assist with, please feel free to email me with “Non-Profit Group Info” in the subject line or feel free to comment with info.

View this article on the Examiner.com page where the entire article is posted. Become a subscriber when new articles are released.

21 Days Makes a Habit

I used to hear that all the time growing up. If you really want to change the way you get your homework done, study for a spelling test, brush your teeth every night (really, what was so difficult about that task?), then just do the right thing for 21 days and it will stick with you.

Okay, so most people make big New Year’s Resolutions and I am not sure what is going on January 21st but maybe they are still going strong or maybe they are loosening up on the idea of what was started.

I do better with small goals or major goals. For instance, I don’t ever see myself in a marathon but possibly making posters for a marathon. I do see myself setting a goal to do 30 minutes a day on the treadmill for maybe 2 weeks, then set a goal for month, you get the picture.

So, do you remember the “Pay it Forward” Film that came out around 2000? The film had come from a book that had been written by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It was about a little boy that worked on a school project that in effect touched many people’s lives one by one while in return it was also bettering the world around them. If each person decided to do one deed, small or large, whether it seemed significant to us or not but useful to the person we were helping, it would most certainly make our world much more productive, hopeful, creative, tolerant, and a place of unity. The book and film caught very quickly. Viewers and readers both were doing activities and were paying it forward. I see people doing it in different areas I follow online. A foundation was started, http://www.payitforwardfoundation.org/ to get young people in schools involved and different communities involved both nationally and internationally. When a good thing is happening, it is best to continue the movement.

How easy is it to remember something negative we see or hear? I love to hear good things and I think we all do. The fact is though is it takes us making things happen to get them done sometimes.

Some things we may not realize we do make a huge difference in the lives of others. I am going to use some personal examples there. This is about improving lives today.

Here is a few organizations/ideas that I stand behind 100%

When someone is sick and not feeling well, someone reaching out to them with a card or a letter just shows that someone that time to show love. If you know someone, it is a great expression. You can also go through your local church, assisted living facility, or if you want to make some children smile, visit http://www.makeachildsmile.org/ or http://www.hugsandhope.org/. Both are great and have many kids who can use some happy mail!

Visiting someone in the hospital can be a huge pick-me-up or bringing someone coffee while they are at the ER due to an emergency of a family member.

Sending someone snail mail! Remember that? It can come in with the only other snail mail these days, (bills).

When it comes to the saying at the top of the page, “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it”, I think of people that struggle through many injuries, diseases and tragedies and I am in awe of how much they pull through and each day have a smile on their face instead of bitterness.

Another major way of helping is through Blood Product Donation at your local blood bank. Having a daughter who is a cancer survivor and has been through a stem cell transplant, I am a huge advocate for educating others on the need for regular blood donation and registering as a bone marrow/stem cell donor. You can learn more about this via http://www.marrow.org/ or http://www.katiasolomonfoundation.org/

These sound easy but are often the hardest. The magic words we learned as kids. “Please” and “Thank you”. Oh, I am so bad at these!! I should make this my 21 day quest but honestly, the thought that just crossed my mind was that I would fail… positive thinking I know. They seriously make people happy and in return would improve your own day.

Lastly, I have given up on this until people agree to wear name tags, is calling people by name. I am pretty surprised but happy when people use my name but my first thought is usually, “Oh man, what is her/his name?” But it is such a nice gesture and feeling when someone knows a person’s name.

All in all, it is just a lot about showing those around us that we are thinking about them, looking out for others and making a point to put ourselves down on the list. Not that we shouldn’t look out for ourselves. But, the way things are going right now in our community, in our nation, in our world, is it really making us happy or stressed? Life isn’t about just getting through it or getting by. Life is about living and living with a purpose. Life is about being able to look back, not just at the end but during the weekends and think of moments during our week that made us smile or laugh. Some of the best ways to make ourselves happy is to make others happy. Focusing on the positives in our lives and the blessings in our lives and giving thanks for what we have been given.

When things seem so heated up around me, I remember that 10%/90% and I always try to remember to breathe. In today’s world everything goes at a high speed and it seems we must answer everything now or yesterday and our answers are being watched by everyone and must match up or we are going to be kicked out by some hall monitor or something.

I have one person I must answer to and that is God. I look around me and see that God has given me many blessings and throughout many trials in my life, He has always been there for me and I have never felt alone. I have a very personal relationship with Christ and in my 40 years, He has never failed me. So, with all of the news and debates and things that may cause confusion, with time and faith and knowing not only that God has given me the ability to have good common sense as well as the ability to pray for clarity in any decision making, I really try (and I stress the word try) to stay away from arguing. However, I never mind sharing my opinions when asked. And of course, if there is a C-Span debate going on or something, I do have red blood in my veins so yeh, I get caught up in some things but my point is watching how a person reacts. We all will never see eye to eye. Hollywood could come up with a really creepy movie about everyone in the U.S. seeing eye to eye…