Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hearty London Broil Salad a la "I don't know exactly when the guests will be here"

It's been getting a little hot here, so dinner salad has been on my mind. of course, my go-to blog for homemaking inspiration, Like Mother, Like Daughter had a splendid post on salad and the secret to the perfect one- a platter. So, I copied Leila.
Guests were coming to dinner, and I had a London broil that needed to be cooked. I didn't know exactly when they would be arriving, so drying out the meat was a very real possibility. I could make a stew, as usual. But then I remembered Leila's salad post. I decided on broiling the meat, slicing it and serving it room-temperature on top of a salad. Here's the basic recipe:

on a platter, place:
baby kale greens
sliced red onions
chopped broccoli florets
sliced crimini mushrooms
cherry tomatoes
drizzle homemade dressing (click on Leila's post for a specific recipe)
 over the fresh vegetables
place sliced beef over the salad
serve with good bread

Monday, July 23, 2012

Church & Art- a guest post


"When I look around in a beautiful church one of the things I notice as much as the artwork is where the artwork is placed. Placement of the artwork can mean as much as the content of the art. Big thick books could be written on this subject, but I don't have that attention span. Here are some examples of the use of space that many people may not realize.
For instance, the area around the altar will have images relating to sacrifice. My parish has icons of Abraham's almost sacrifice of Isaac and Abel's sacrifice of first fruits. St John the Baptist Cathedral in Savannah, GA has images that subtly refer to the events from the Last Supper up to the Resurrection. On the left is a chalice with a cross emerging from it and the story continues in images to the right until the Resurrection
Traditionally, there is a higher ceiling above the altar with either artwork evoking the glory of God such as the Christ Pantocrator or a painting of the sky. The idea is to use this space above the altar and on the ceiling to both lift the eye to the Heavens and the soul with it to God. It also evokes the idea of Heaven and Earth united during the Mass/Divine Liturgy, that the Most High God has revealed Himself to His Church and JesusChrist condescended to become a Man and the sacrifice of the God Man is continued on the altar below. I really enjoy the way that older, traditional Roman altars are tall, often with spires pointing upward towards the space above the altar.

Traditionally, churches have been built in a cruciform style. This crossing of the transept and the nave further emphasizes the sacrificial aspect of the Eucharist. There is a church in Kaiserslautern, Germany where the apse for the altar is not aligned straight with the nave, but instead is about a 45 degree angle from the nave. According to local legend this is to resemble a the limp head of Jesus Christ as He hung dead upon the cross.
In Byzantine Churches it is traditional to have an iconostasis, a wall of icons between the nave and the Holy Space. This barrier is lifted at moments of Revelation such as Gospel readings when the Royal Doors in the center of the iconostasis are opened and this opening between the two emphasizes the connecting of the two through the mystery of the Incarnation.
Another example is when a patron saint is portrayed in a relevant area, like in Sacred Heart (a former Jesuit parish in Augusta, GA) a stained glass window of St Cecilia is in the choir loft next to the organ. Or when saints with something in common are portrayed together or near each other.

Sacred Heart, for instance, has five stained glass windows in the apse of the main altar. Directly behind the altar is Christ the High Priest. On his left is St Patrick and on his right is St John the Evangelist. On St Patrick's right is St Ignatius of Loyola and on St John's left is St Francis Xavier. So the space is used to portray that bishops (Sts. Patrick and John) have a share in Christ's priesthood and priests (Sts. Ignatius and Francis) share in their priesthood, but that Christ is source of the priesthood. He is shown above the altar with his arms outstretched in blessing, but when it was still a church there would have been a crucifix on the altar. 
We are body and soul, which means that we have spiritual experiences through our sense of sight."

Many thanks for your guest post! You can read more from Chris at 50 Days After

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ask Priest's Wife....Quick Takes

Happy almost-end-of-July! I wanted to get to know the readership of this little piece of the blogosphere so I made a survey- you can still take it!- I posted the results of the first portion yesterday...but today and next week's quick takes will be devoted to some of the random questions you wanted me to answer. I'm going to really quickly answer all of the questions. Some might be inspiration to write a long post in the future...so here is the first half...
Why did you put yourself in this position?
I asked God to give me a husband who would be the spiritual head of the household!
What do you believe is the best way to evangelize a church?
"Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words"- people need to see God's love in action
Could we have tea? It would be nice to know you personally.
I'm still mourning the closure of 'my' tearoom, so I'd love to have a cuppa
What is your favorite meal to make for Sunday dinner?
I usually don't know when I am getting home (maybe 3, maybe 7) from church, so I usually make soup or stew in the crockpot. For a Sunday that is 'easy' (meaning we don't have extra things to do after services), I prepare chicken soup, chicken schnitzel, mashed potatoes and vegetables or another 'old country' meal like cabbage rolls and polenta. If we ate at church, we might just have smoothies or something when we get home. Unfortunately, we don't have a set Sunday routine, but we are always together.
If you could pray for my husband, who believes he should not become a priest because he does not think he can sing
I'll pray for him- but you might gently tell him that it is prideful for him to shut out God that way- he should ask his bishop and perhaps he will hear AXIOS in the future (but maybe not)- and if he has a deacon working with him, he doesn't need to sing very much ;)
What is your perception of latinizations, since you do come from a Latin background?
I think they stem from our feelings of inferiority and bad catechesis. There is nothing wrong with a Byzantine Catholic or Orthodox praying the rosary, but it shouldn't be at the expense of the Akathist (one example)
How could we improve understanding between Latin-rite and Eastern-rite communities?
We need to respect one another's traditions. Also, we should visit each other and force ourselves to learn the Church's true diversity. Big churches (usually Latin) can support a small parish by letting them use the space.
Do you feel that the parish family is helpful and supportive of the priest's family? Are there any specific things they do to show support, or could they do better in some respects? Do you feel like you're under a microscope being the priest's wife? (Three things asked - thanks! and God Bless You, priest-husband, and your children.)
I know that the parish loves us. They do what they can, being so small. We have someone who fixed the pipes (more than once), another who painted the downstairs while we were gone, and another who babysat for a few days when I was in the ICU after having the last baby. We could work on positive boundaries; I want to buy my daughter's birthday cake, for example. And yes, I am under a microscope.
Can your husband forgive your sins? Do you have to go to confession or could he grant you absolution every night before bed (for instance)?
NO! I mean, he could if it were some horrible emergency. In general, priests don't hear the confessions of those he is really close to. My Latin-rite sister hated that the last time she went to an anonymous-style confessional, the priest (her favorite) recognized her voice and said he knew it was she. It is better for everyone that priest-husbands do not hear the confessions of their wives.
Don't really have a question, just want to say thank you for always giving me something to think about. God bless you and your family!
Thanks!
Were you on your path to Eastern Catholicism before meeting your husband or is this one of the happy consequences of life?
Both? I was lucky to be in Central Europe for four years after college graduation. That is where I learned about the other rites of the Church. Learning about the persecuted Church and then meeting my future husband made me fall in love with the Byzantine rite. It has only been 28 years Catholic and 15 years specifically Byzantine, so I am still learning.
Do you feel the need to be almost perfect all the time?
hmm...yes, I feel the need to be perfect, but I don't do very much to be perfect. I wish I were more type-A, but I'm not. I would rather curl up with a cup of tea and a good book (only sometimes theological).
What's the best occasion for a Roman-Rite to visit the Byzantines?
I suggest that you visit on a Sunday that is 'ordinary.' Most likely, the church will not be packed like it might be on a major feast day. The Liturgy will not be as long as Easter or Christmas. You'll see the faithful parishioners who might take you under their wing. Be certain to get a Mass book (the service is different than what you are used to).
where oh where is my camera? (not that I expect you to know, of course, it's just that I lost it this morning and now I'm frittering away my afternoon on the internet for distraction because it's better than crying...$450 and two weeks' worth of shooting - gone astray)
I hope you found your camera! :(
Advice for keeping a Byzantine-type Lent?
Look to your right and click on the labels fasting, food and lent
Do we get to see the results of the survey?
Yes- read yesterdays post!
I'll write answers to the rest of the questions next week- so take the survey here if you want to participate!

Uncensored Survey Results- a guest post written by 100+ readers

1. What religion do you practice?
Catholic, Roman-rite      55.3%   
Catholic, Byzantine-rite    30.3%   
Catholic, Eastern-rite other than Byzantine    0.0%
Orthodox    9.2%   
non-liturgical Christian (such as Baptist, non-denominational)    5.3%   
liturgical Christian (such as Lutheran, Episcopalian)    6.6%   
non-Christian (please specify in comments)    1.3%   
no religion (elaborate in comments)         0.0%
2. How often do you attend religious services?
never         0.0%   
once or twice a year    1.3%   
once or twice a month    4.0%   
once a week    64.0%   
twice a week    17.3%   
more than twice a week    17.3%
3. Why do you attend religious services?
habit    22.9%   
cultural/family/work obligation    12.9%   
good feeling    31.4%   
learning new things    25.7%   
oasis from a busy week    22.9%   
love for God    94.3%   
love for community    31.4%   
family time    21.4%     
4. What is the best thing about your faith community?
--Small churches are usually more closely knitted.
--We really love each other, and God.
--the people
--the variety of activities offered for the different ages and stages of life
--Very small and close knit, and very Orthodox (no Latinizations)
--Our care for one another and for the Liturgy.
--Our liturgical prayer.
--we are very thankful to have a priest. it's a growing parish even though it is small (100 families) I like knowing just about everyone that I worship with; lots of young families with children; wonderful people; you can count on people to pitch in to help with various jobs to keep the church running.
--Very small, but devoted, parish
--Small and welcoming
--It is very faithful to the teachings of the Catholic church. Many of things I read on the internet about other people's churches or dioceses are surprising to me. My church is full of faithful people and our priest is an amazing man of God who is not afraid to "preach the issues" from the pulpit. ;)
--Devotion to theology
--the love that is shared
--Our parish was open and inviting. It became our family.
--Finding others like myself/my family to share life, faith, fun with
--The True Presence of Christ and the assurance of standing on the Rock of Peter.
--Very welcoming.
--steadfast truth! (runner-up: architectural, musical, and liturgical beauty)
--We come together on Sunday to pray, but we also stay afterwards, share a meal, and get to know each other.
--Catholics - the lay faithful are friendly, welcoming and fun. Orthodox - again welcoming. The clergy also have a real commitment to serve.
--friendly + good priest
--Nothing...the community is dreadful, I go to Mass because of my faith. If I was going based on community (around here), I'd have to be a Muslim.
--Jesus Christ
--Welcoming, loving, ready to serve
--Community
--The generosity to the community
--The Mass is the same everywhere so even if you are travelling you can usually feel at home
--lots of family functions, but it has a lot of cons so I'm looking for a new parish
--It's universal!
--Acceptance
--It's small, cohesive and I know everybody there
--We believe and are united.
--liturgy, music, homilies
--As a whole? The all-encompassing, familial nature of it. My local community in particular? Its sincerity.
--They help me be a better person.
--The music and the fellowship and the opportunity to discuss religion with other Catholics
--Specific to my parish, it's a place where people are friendly and welcoming, and it's so nice to spend time with people who share our faith. Regarding the Orthodox faith in general, it's the One True Church, and I'm honored and humbled to be part of it. (No offense intended to the Catholic Church, which I regard with love and respect.)
--It was begun by Jesus Christ.
--The community as family. (and coffee hour)
--Reverent and faithful to the magisterium (no liturgical abuses, no dissent from the pulpit, etc)
--Good Priest
--Orthodox (that is, faithful to the Magesterium) teaching. I never have to worry about hearing heresy from the pulpit.
--They are serious about their faith.
--The family atmosphere
--The liturgy
--How supportive everyone is.
--Common identity with Christocentric emphasis.
--Like-minded people
--a good 'orthodox' Liturgy
5. What is one thing that could improve your faith community?
--Evangelization of non Catholics.
--More small groups
--more opportunities for socialization
--more priests
--Younger families
--More attention to adult formation.
--I wish it were closer to our home! We drive 1.5 hours to get there.
--If our children and teens would come to church on a holy day. We have very poor attendance on holy days, and rarely any children. As our pastor has remarked: "Where are the kids? They are going to grow up not knowing what a holy day is." Being a church that serves 8 suburban areas may be a reason. It's a different world than the 60s when I was a teenager living in a small town.
--Evangelizing & bringing more families in
--Maybe some more groups for study and such
--Hmm. Lukewarm Catholics falling in love with Jesus and really appreciating and understanding the amazing gift of the Eucharist.
--Always better organization, more involvement by all members and better fellowship.
--the aesthetics of our building. It's an ugly early 90's, very utilitarian church. I wish we had the physical beauty to go with all the love that is shared by our church family
--I have no idea.
--Placing more importance on fellowship
--Everyone could be orthodox and dedicated.
--More orthodoxy.
--a priest I wasn't scared of (runners-up: way fewer songs by marty haugen and a redecorated sanctuary)
--I wish that there were more of us, and that we lived close enough to one another and to the parish to be more of a "family" to each other outside of Sunday. Some members of our parish drive 2-3 hours every Sunday, so it is not practical for them to come to midweek events, whether it is church services, fundraisers, bible studies, etc. I also wish we had enough people to be able to support our priest without his second job.
--Being permitted to have our own bishop. When the clergy gathered together to elect a bishop (there hasn't been one since 1960), the Vatican intervened (the last Pope personally) and put a Latin Polish bishop to administer the Rite.
--a better choir!
--Create one? Sarcasm aside, people here in the UK need to prioritize our Catholic community at a parish level. We need to have more regular events, but without prioritizing creating a Catholic community, all the scheduled events in the world won't help.
--More people.
--Catechesis
--Fellowship, more information about pro life issues
--Welcoming people after Mass, especially newcomers
--it feels impersonal
--More appreciation for the various approaches to worship: i.e. charismatic, orthodox, etc.
--if they were closer to my home so I could go more often
--More outreach and activity
--More reverence while in church
--sometimes people come and the church is so big, they feel outsiders.... once they join a group, it's fine.... we have good greeters and friendly clergy, it's just a very big parish
Again- as a whole: being willing to acknowledge and connect with members from different parts of the spectrum. Locally: dealing with tension between the regular service and the children's service.
--If there were 3-4 well connected people in the parish who would take new people under their wing and introduce them around.
--Better outreach to those who aren't Orthodox.
--More holy boldness by clerics and lay persons (including myself).
--Everybody speaking the same language.
--Improved adult faith formation.
--more participation
--Some silence before and after mass. Usually easier to say one's prayers while sitting in the church's parking lot before entering the church
--More opportunities to get to know one another and fellowship together
--Just one? :( More people around mine/DH's ages, more social opportunities, closer to home.
--Get more people singing!
--The lack of a community itself. Yes, we are all there, and yes, I know people, but we aren't a community.
--More people participate fully in the life of the church.
--Attendance.
--more welcoming
--Its over an hour away
--a spiritual renewal
Thank you to all readers that took the survey 
(If you had trouble getting that site to work when it was imbedded in the old post, click on the link above & provide responses if you like)....I will write some commentary on the survey's findings for Monday and my 'quick takes' for this and next week will be answering some of the questions at the end of the survey.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Coptic Orthodox Priest's Wife's Blog

Catholic and Orthodox and Protestant, Christians of all kinds are so persecuted in (what we in the US call) the Middle East. Pray and fasting is certainly called for. Tasoni from Coptic Dad and Mom shared this post about writing a (semi-anonymous like me?) blog:

"The last few weeks have been very busy. My husband (Abouna!) has been ordained a priest in the Coptic Church. Then he was shipped off to the monastery for 40 days of prayer and meditation. Now those days are coming to a close, and we're just days away from our first service in our new home church. I haven't blogged for a while for a few reasons.

First: I wanted to focus on myself and the little one. Second: I got sort of freaked out about what people would say about this blog and the idea of a Coptic Tasoni blogging in the first place. As far as I know, I may be the only one.

I already have a sneaking suspicion that many people as they call to say "Mabrouk" are also secretly thinking: "Has she gone completely bonkers?!" I know that they must be thinking this because that was the first thing I thought over a decade ago when I heard that Abouna Anthony was going to be a priest.  My know-it-all teen self thought the following in no particular order: "Didn't he just get married?" "What is he thinking?" "That poor girl"

I know, I know. I look back now and can't help but burst out laughing and do a Homer-esque "Doh!" as I stand here in nearly the same place thinking, "How did I get here???"
 
I'm sure many people who barely know me (as I barely know Abouna A) are wondering the same thing. (FYI: One of my favorite Abouna/Tasoni pairs got married the day before the ordination--how is that for a double leap of faith?)

It's easy to imagine my husband as a priest but quite difficult to imagine me as a tasoni. All the tasonis I know are so sweet. So demure. DEMURE--ha! That would never describe me. I'm bossy and loud... and opinionated... I like to argue and have a hot temper. What if people read this crazy blog thing and think all tasonis are like this? I'd be doing such a disservice to their quiet beauty and grace under fire.

Because I heard the news so suddenly, I assumed that Abouna A's decision was rash. Having gone through the process myself, I now have a completely different picture of "how these things happen."

So I want you to know. We prayed a lot, for a very long time. We talked through it as a couple and as a family A LOT. No priest springs his priesthood on his wife. God works wonders in private, in the hearts of His people. The announcement seemed sudden, yes, but that's because not everyone could walk this journey with us. Some journeys you take alone, as a family.

God must have decided that I would do okay as a tasoni, because here I am. Trying to figure it all out. And this blog, well, I had pretty much decided it would be best to keep my thinking through of things private. Then Abouna Anthony posted an entry about how we should all blog (okay, he didn't exactly say that, but...).

The truth is that life is complicated. Maybe as you watch me work through things, you'll find solutions to your own life experiences. I am most certainly not perfect: not as a person or a wife or a mother or a tasoni. But I love God. He loves me back. And we're both working daily to make our relationship stronger. Maybe you can learn something from my trials and errors and maybe you can teach me something, too.

In case you're wondering, I am THRILLED that the 40 days are almost over. Life without my best friend sucks. (Are Tasonis supposed to use that word? Oh well, too late...)"

Priest's wife here again- explore her blog- she has some yummy recipes posted. Personally, I think 'Middle Eastern' inspired recipes are so delicious (especially when going meatless).

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sir Ken Robinson, Education, & Creativity

If you interested in education, education choice and reform- Sir Ken Robinson has many intriguing ideas. Play a video while you scrub some dishes- I did. And for homeschooling families, his soothing voice can be a little shot of inspiration while we gear up for the 'new year.'

Monday, July 16, 2012

Socrates Salad a la Kid Sister

Socrates Salad
Combine 2 cups of grape/cherry tomatoes or chopped tomatoes with 2 cups cubed feta cheese and 2 cups diced green onions. Sprinkle with oregano, a bit of salt to taste (feta is very salty), and freshly ground pepper. Squeeze a quarter of a lemon over the salad and then drizzle with olive oil. Serve as an appetizer with a loaf of good bread.
I don't know the original origins of this salad, but we enjoyed my sister's version when we were vacationing with family. I actually remembered to make it when we got home!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

7 Quick Takes- Family Health

okay..I am finally officially finishing & publishing this post
36 BMI is considered obese- and that's what I am. I really don't know how awful I look because I haven't looked in the mirror or taken a photo (except for my face or sitting down) since I was proudly expecting our first child. I don't have high blood pressure or diabetes or sleep apnea, but I am very out of shape.  Basically, I gain 30 pounds with each child- 10 pounds is the child and placenta- the twenty pounds left stays with me. 
My first born daughter has a BMI of 26.6- borderline overweight. She hasn't turned 13 yet. She does ballet 7 hours a week and is pretty active, but she would rather watch an episode of Road to Avonlea or reread a favorite book. In order for her to be at a healthy BMI, she would need to lose 10 pounds, and to go en pointe, she would need to lose 20 pounds. Her genes on both sides are against her. Neither her father nor I are the kind of people to eat compulsively, but both of us are not as healthy as we could be. And this is hurting the next generation.

Here are 7 things we need to do to get healthier- I'll be posting and updating these at the 'feast' label at the top of this page. 
1. Drink more water! After drinking my parents' delicious direct-from-a-mountain-spring tap water, I realize that I need to go to the water store and buy all our cooking and drinking water. I shudder to think what is in our water. It tastes so bad- we usually put something in it which cannot be optimal for our health. 
2. Eat more veggies-preferably in salad form! I loved Leila's post on salads. Gotta copy that. 
3. Get back to the going-for-a-morning-walk habit! I had been alternating a big girl to walk with in the mornings. An extended period of having a house guest was my excuse to stop. Time to rev it up.
4. Absolutely no fast food! I could compare myself to other families and be proud of how infrequently that we eat fast food, but it is really never healthy for us. There are plenty of healthier options that are also convenient for busy days and travel (good bread, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, carrots and hummus, fruit)
5. Make doctor and dentist appointments for everybody.
6. Use all the various sport equipment (free weights, hula hoops, balls) that we own. Our house is just too small to have anything we are not using
7. Choose and frequently do a family sport- swimming, hiking, basketball. We are not a very sporty family, but we are very blessed to have health. I want to keep it that way. 
go to conversion diary for more quick takes
Have you taken my survey on religion yet?

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Pretty Happy Funny Real Vacation

Pretty- we visited the most beautiful carousel I have ever seen. All of the horses are hand-carved by master craftsmen who also happen to be volunteers.  If you are ever in the Pacific Northwest, head to Salem's riverfront carousel
Happy- cousin time! Not only did my kids get to play with their best friends, two sweet baby cousins were there to go ga-ga over. Only 8 of the crew were missing...
Funny- Baby Girl has been on a 'Rapunzel' kick. After cutting her longish hair into a mullet, I had to give her a bob-cut. Big Sister #1 made her a Rapunzel braid (that's what she is holding in the photo), and Big Sister #2 bought her a Brave (we haven't seen it yet) dress from the Disney store at the mall. We never go to the mall.
Real- I'm feeling wimpy about this- I know a one-year old who has been sent to the old country for a year so the parents can work.... but the big girls are staying with grandparents until the end of the month. We are still in the same time zone and they are having a great time...but...we miss them. And the little ones really miss them. Hi girls! (sometimes I let them read a post- not all!)

dear reader, please take this short survey here (multiple answers allowed!) if you haven't already

Cardinal George at Holy Resurrection Monastery

For nearly 10 years the current Archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George, has been a patron of the ecumenical work of the Byzantine Catholic monks of Holy Resurrection Monastery. On Saturday, May 12 2012 His Eminence was able to visit the community at their new home in the small village of St. Nazianz, Wisconsin.
The Cardinal was in Wisconsin to give the commencement address at St. Norbert’s College in De Pere, near Green Bay. On his way up, he was able to stop off for a short time to join the Eastern Catholic monks for a little prayer and fellowship. His Eminence was accompanied by his secretary, Father Dan Flens. During his time with the monks the Cardinal expressed his satisfaction with their lovely new home, and said he hoped and prayed that the monastery would thrive there.

just because 'Priest's Wife' is curious...take this survey, please!

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Magic Mike Movie versus Hosea

I just had to share this homily from one of my husband's classmates from the University of Dallas. Deacon Harold is becoming the 'go-to' man for great thoughts on marriage and pro-life issues....and now that my mini-vacation is through, I hope to post more regularly- sometimes mommy blogish and sometimes more along theological lines.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

US Independence Day Thoughts

The Boston Massacre- Britain's response in 1770 to the 'Boston Tea Party'- the colonists' refusal to buy tea that was taxed with no representation

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.  ~Thomas Paine

He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from opposition; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself.  ~Thomas Paine
 
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July 4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from happiness.  You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.  ~Erma Bombeck

May the sun in his course visit no land more free, more happy, more lovely, than this our own country!  ~Daniel Webster

We on this continent should never forget that men first crossed the Atlantic not to find soil for their ploughs but to secure liberty for their souls.  ~Robert J. McCracken

Liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.  ~George Bernard Shaw, Man and Superman, "Maxims: Liberty and Equality," 1905

My God!  How little do my countrymen know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy!  ~Thomas Jefferson

The life of the nation is secure only while the nation is honest, truthful, and virtuous. Frederick Douglass
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