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Three things I want to remember about today’s service:

1. The sermon…the role reversal between adult children and their parents.  I see this being a while out for us, but as Anthony said, it’s never too early to begin to think about and plan for it.  Starting a dialogue before your parents “need” you is the best way to make the eventual transition easier.  I’ve already told Mom about the sermon, and I guess that’s a good a start as any to a decades-long dialogue.  I like that Anthony addressed the sermon both to the parents and the adult children, giving example of how each can make the process easier for the other.  One word: Compassion.

2. The meditation…Anthony opened the meditation with a focus on two events of note in our country.  First, Tuesday is Veterans’ Day.  (I’m planning to talk about that more on Tuesday).  Second, the election.  He offered a prayer/thoughts for President-Elect Obama and for successful guidance in leading the country.  This is when I lost it.  I’d begun to tear up when he was speaking of our brave veterans, but as he spoke about the change our country is going through, I couldn’t stem the tears.  I had surprised myself Tuesday night…while I was misty-eyed during Obama’s election and speech, the dam didn’t burst like I thought it would.  Today it did.  After our silent meditation and the sharing of Joys and Concerns, he remarked that – regardless of our political affiliations – this has been a historic week for our country.  And we ended with a big “Hip Hip Hooray!” followed by a lot of applause.  And a song I’ve grown to love in the two times I’ve sung it with my congregation:

When you walk from here,
When you walk from here,
Walk with Justice,
Walk with Mercy,
and with God’s humble care.
(I don’t know the composer; please let me know if you do, so I can credit him/her.)

3. Our visitors…we had musical guests from Russia today.  First was an aria by an amazing mezzo soprano.  I’m really not a fan of opera, a fact that makes me feel badly.  I appreciate its beauty, and I’m amazed at what operatic performers can accomplish, but, sadly, the music doesn’t keep my attention.  That said, it was gorgeous!  The second song was by Zabava, a Russian folk singing trio.  This, I loved.  The joy in the woman’s face as she sung, the feeling behind the words, the accordian, the music itself – all was fabulous.  If I’d had more notice, I’d be dragging Jason to the church for their evening performance.

I’m not feeling particularly eloquent tonight.  That’s okay, I’ll let the President Elect be eloquent for me.

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In recent days, I’ve heard/seen Barack Obama described as cocky, arrogant, and elitist.  (Yes, still with the elitist argument…puh-leez.)  Anyone who watched this speech and still associates those adjectives with our President-to-be wasn’t listening and is simply trying to justify their dislike of him.

Oh. My. Gosh…We did it.  This is for us.  For our children.  For our parents.  For our neighbors.  For our brave soldiers, sailors, and flyers.  For our relationship with the rest of the world.  For our brothers and sisters who are without homes or without healthcare.

I did not vote for a perfect man.  I did not vote for a man who can singlehandedly change the world.  I voted for a man who believes in the ability of people working together to change the world.  I voted for a man who doesn’t owe anything to anyone except his own conscience and the 300,000,000 people he represents to the world.  I voted for a man who will do his best to fulfill the promise of health and safety for all people.

I also voted for a man who is obviously in love with his wife and incredibly loving towards his children.  Being married to such a man, I’ll admit, it warms my heart.

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I appreciated Senator McCain’s speech this evening.  I have said for ages that I believe John McCain is a great man.  I disagree with his proposed policies, and I would have been disappointed to see him elected President, but I admire him.  I also believe his campaign was out of his control some time ago.  He took some bad advice, handed over the reins, and lost control.  You could see it in his eyes at rallies…he knew he was sinking.  He was embarrassed by the misleading fear-mongering being propagated on behalf of his campaign.  I believe President-Elect Obama knows the real John McCain, and I hope they will work together in the future.

It’s a difficult week for us, on a personal level, but we are light-hearted.  Yes, we have hope.  Yes, we can.  Yes, we did.

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The early voting lines were outrageous in a lot of places, including here in some of our Georgia counties.  Isn’t it wonderful?

No, although I lived in England for a bit, where queuing up is a national pastime, I haven’t adopted it as one of my favorite activities.  Instead, I’m simply elated that people are so charged up by this election.  They’re getting involved.  Voting is important to them.

I’ve said for years that voting in America is not only a right, but a responsibility.  We are in a representative democracy.  We elect the people who will shape our country, and if we don’t vote, how can we take any ownership or pride in it?

I stood next to a woman for three hours on Thursday while we waited to vote.  I didn’t learn her name, but at one point, she shared with us that she had taken personal time off work to vote.  Her employer had sent a company-wide email the previous day, stating that they did not pay their employees to stand in voting lines.  The polls were open until 7:00, and they could all vote after work.  Well, lines after working hours were well over 4 or 5 hours in our county (a poll worker told us that he had stayed ’til 10:30 two nights that week, and until after midnight one night), and who knows what it will be like on the fourth, so she took it upon herself to trade some of her precious personal hours to fulfill her right and responsibility as a citizen.

That is how important this election is.

Hmm…don’t ask me where the title came from.  I’m feeling punchy this morning.

Yesterday was pumpkin-carving day!

Kalen was the only one of us who didn’t want a template.  He guided me through the design of the face: round eyes (check!), eyeballs crossed (check!), round nose (check!), toothy grin (check!).

Nicky wanted a ghost and loved the first template we found.  I promise you, the pose in this picture is 100% his own.  He arranged himself carefully before picking up his jack-o-lantern, glancing over his shoulder and smiling “just so” while I got my camera out.

I think Jason enjoyed our trip to Seattle.  I designed this template at his request.

And, to continue my obsession with the presidential race, I downloaded a template from Yes We Carve.

The shiny pumpkin faces are a result of the advice I read to spray the cut parts of the pumpkins with cooking spray to help them last*.  It had the added benefit of easy pumpkin-goo cleaning from the faces, but I’m not so sure I like the shininess.

*The second part of the advice is to keep the pumpkins in the fridge at night, but I’ve been strongly discouraged by my hubby.  For some reason, he isn’t keen on throwing out our food in the name of pumpkin preservation.  Halloween scrooge!  😉

I am making an effort to visualize Barack Obama as our president.  I spend a moment or two each day thinking about the joy that will runneth over on the night of November 4, as it hits home.  On November 5, when I am sure I will be walking on air.  And on January 20, I see him taking the Oath of Office, Michelle at his side, their daughters close by, grinning from ear to ear.  It will be cold that day, but thousands upon thousands will be there to witness this historic moment.  Lastly, I envision eight years of positive change, with President Obama leading us step by step.  Hard work and healthy results for our country, its people, and the world.

I’ve been envisioning this for a few weeks now.  I am choosing to focus on the positive, and when the negative intrudes, I give myself more time for positive visualization.

Whether you call it the power of prayer, the law of attraction, or the power of positivity, this works.  Envisioning the positive helps it become reality.

Today I received an email from a dear friend.  It was sent to her by Lauren, who has created a new website: Manifest Obama, upon which you can see this:

The story of Laren and her husband’s journey to create this video and site is a manifestation of the power of positive thought.  From her email:

About two weeks ago, I got an idea for this site…which would help people visualize Obama being president.  We felt that people seemed to be focusing on what they DIDN’T want, paying alot of attention to the other side’s “low-road” behavior & especially Palin’s shortcomings.  And their poll numbers were going up, b/c so much (negative) attention was focused on them.  We strongly believe that “what you focus on grows” – we’ve seen this over & over again in our lives & the world around us – and wanted to help ourselves & our friends change our focus to what we DO want.  Which is peace, prosperity, leadership, hope & change – all possible if Obama wins on November 4th.

It seemed very improbable 2 weeks ago that we could find time in our seriously overcommitted schedules to make any kind of viral video or website.  Where would we get any compelling footage – wandering around downtown Asheville?  Who would make the video – we don’t know anything about videography – and make it something worth watching?  How would we find the time & resources to get this thing done?  But we just had a sense that it was going to happen somehow, and decided not to focus on the questions, but instead to visualize it being complete.

Things started “magically” falling into place – Jamie’s scheduled barbershop chorus competition last weekend got canceled, so I had time to work on it; Patrick Scully – Jamie’s dear buddy, boss & graphic design genius – had an unexplainable hole in his production schedule; he had just bought a digital video camera he lent us.  Then Obama announced he would be preparing for the second debate IN ASHEVILLE of all places and would be speaking at a rally that weekend.  Who were we to question at that point?  We packed up the kids and got in line 5 and a half hours before the speech, with video camera in hand.

The energy at the rally was unlike anything I’ve experienced.  People smiling, making friends, comparing stories about why we’re so energized, and admitting we’ve never been so devoted to any political cause in our lives.  The emotion was palpable.  When Obama finally took the stage, with an estimated 28 thousand supporters packed in & around Asheville High football field, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place.  It was a day that all six of us will always remember.

She goes on to talk about staying up most of the night editing, her husband building the website, etc.  I don’t know them, but I’m so proud of them!  This is the power of the people, brought to life.

President Barack Obama!

A very moving montage of Obama photos.

My boys

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