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Economy Beer

So, it comes to this:

MILWAUKEE–Cash-strapped drinkers are starting to trade down to economy beers, the chief executive of Miller Brewing Co. said Thursday.

The Milwaukee-based brewer saw some shift between higher-priced, premium beers and economy beers such as Miller High Life and Milwaukee’s Best starting in January, Tom Long told reporters on a conference call.

I get it, to a degree. Our grocery bill grows exponentially every week, almost to the point I’m ready to actually establish a weekly budget for it…but Milwaukee’s Best? GAK!

Wisdom from a 10-Year-Old Boy

My son sees this headline:

Man Dies After Armless Man Headbutts Him During Fight

After he laughs a minute he wittingly says: “Wow…now *that’s* a way to use your head!”

I almost spit my Coke across the room! Can’t get much funnier than that!

Ten Things That Make Me Happy….

Chris was tagged and he was SO NICE to not tag anyone specifically….so I can’t help but respond to his question “So….what makes you happy? Here’s my ten….

1. My hubby! There is no one in life I’d rather be side-by-side with, sharing everything!

2. My children. Having a boy and a girl have been such an adventure. Seeing life through the eyes of a child with cartoon glasses on is always the best. They are so innocent, but they are learning at a rate I can’t even imagine anymore!

3. The smallest moments of life. How to describe this is a challenge! I’ll describe it this way….on our vacation in the Black Hills this summer, there was one of these moments. I was sitting on a horse watching my husband and kids ride their horses in front of me. We were stopped, waiting for my son’s horse to quit eating grass (again!). Just then, I looked up and could see the sky poking out between the trees. Some clouds were moving in and I heard this noise…it was the wind! It was sooo quiet in those mountains, away from everything, that I could hear the wind coming before it arrived!!!!! It was one of those “close to heaven” moments that I think back to whenever the stress or disappoint of the moment starts to overwhelm. THAT is what I mean by the smallest moments of life. It’s also my kids’ smiles, even petting one of our dogs. It makes me think how real life is, and what a gift it truly is to be a part of it!

4. Traveling. I want to do more! My number one place to go outside the US? Australia! But I want to see all 50 states in my lifetime.

5. Seeing movies in the theater. Nothing like popcorn and a new release. Not to say I want to watch *all* of the movies that come out, but I love a good flick, the atmosphere, and the popcorn!

6. Cooking. I enjoy making up new stuff, putting together new ingredients. I also like to can veggies from the garden. That way I can cook with fresh food all winter! I do admit, though, I’ve been looking at cooking more as a chore lately (don’t ask me why), but I think it’s because I’ve been working later hours at work due to how busy it has been and I don’t have time to unwind when I get home. But cooking for the family is fun - cooking for others is also great fun!

7. DVR. One of the GREATEST inventions EVAH!!!

8. Moving things from “to do” to “done.” Oh, and I haven’t been doing as much of this as I’d like lately! GAH!

9. Justice being served. I am admittedly stealing Chris’s number 10. I like seeing justice served. There’s a consequence to every action taken - whether that consequence be good or bad. I love seeing good things happen to good people and equally, if someone has done something terrible, having it come bite them in the butt is simply justified.

10. Learning. I really do like learning new things. I’m inundated at work with learning new stuff, and haven’t been appreciating it much until I went back to school in August. I’ve rediscovered how fun it can be to interact with other people on topics that are compelling. I also crave that instant feedback and am getting good grades so far. I think it’s a boost to my self-esteem, which is something I can use at times.

Anyway, that’s my ten. …and I’ll ask you the Chris question: “What makes you happy?”

Real Life & Reality on my DVR

As you can tell, real life has obviously taken over again! I haven’t posted since August 22 because so much has been going on!

1) The kids are back in school. It is amazing to me how hard one has to work just to get the kids ready! School clothes, supplies, meet the teacher, kids saying “Only 1 day, 2 hours, 18 minutes and, 12 seconds until school starts” (multiplied by 5000 times!).

2) I am back in school! I started attending classes online last week. I needed to focus as much as possible since this old dog hasn’t been in college since the late 80s. I like learning online…fits my very hectic lifestyle. Interestingly enough, some portions of online classes are almost like blogging!

3) The garden! OH MY GAWD. I am amazed at how many tomatoes can actually come from one plant. The fact that I have 8 tomato plants all standing as tall as me (if not taller!) means I’ve been busy. I’ve canned hot sauce, salsa, spaghetti sauce, and tomatoes. I had to get extra canning jars! Believe it or not, some of the plants have blossoms on them! Crazy stuff. It should die down toward the end of September, I hope!

4) Husker football began…..52-10 this Saturday…WOOT!

5) I’m just enjoying real life so much, it is hard to sit down and spend time putting up a post about things that everyone has already blogged about. I’m getting just a bit cynical about blogging, if you couldn’t tell…I almost feel it’s a waste of time most days! I may end up closing up shop one of these days, but don’t know for sure. I think about looking for partners in crime, but even my hubby’s blogging somewhere else these days. No one (except my buddy Nancy) has the time or a desire to blog over at my little place…I’m just a tiny corner of the blogosphere, not anything special, really.


My DVR is going to be getting full very soon as the “Fall Lineup” of what I call “mindless” television is starting up. Why do I like this stuff? I do enough thinking in a day I like a way to escape! Here are the ones coming in September that I have the Tivo ready for:

Rachael Ray

She starts on September 10, 2007. I DO like her show as much as “30 Minute Meals.”

The Biggest Loser

I have watched this show every year. Given I have a few pounds of my own to lose I always hope it will get me more inspired. It will be interesting with a new host this year! They have a special on tomorrow, September 4, following up with some contestants to see if they kept the weight off. The season premieres on September 11.

Dancing With The Stars

Okay, so I’m somewhat skeptical about the show this year. I don’t know many of the “stars” and those I *do* know are not what I would call, um, dancers. Can you say Marie Osmond?!?!? I also think the makeup of the cast is somewhat worn. Didn’t we have a boxer last year? A beauty queen? …and there’s always a couple of “older” stars, too. Maybe the viewers should vote on who should be on? Or maybe not. I picture a show with Lindsay Lohan, Paris Hilton, Brit-Brit and Kevin Federline or something like that. This one may be axed unless they can really “wow” me. It starts on September 24!

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition

By far, one of my favorites. I cry every time, but it’s a good cry! They start their new season on September 30.

So as you can see, between school, football, real life (including canning), reality television and a general apathy that anyone actually READS what I write, I’ll probably be posting more like once or twice a week, and only if I have anything I want to say. I appreciate those of you who may be reading me regularly (and please let me know if you do). And I even appreciate those of you Rachael Ray fans who bring my numbers up by looking at her wedding pictures (and the guys who are looking at her FHM spread!).

Take care and see you soon!

What is….146?

146 is the number of my homegrown tomatoes that I blanched and peeled tonight, in preparation for canning. Oh….and that doesn’t include the 25-30 that aren’t yet ripe, or the 8 billion (or so it seems) still in the garden. My fingers feel like the outside of the driest.raisin.evah.

My Roma tomatoes are getting ripe now, which is exciting. I’m planning on canning spaghetti sauce out of them. We eat a lot of pasta in the winter, and I can’t think of anything better than homemade sauce fresh from the garden!

/garden geek


The Sopranos

Why is it that we have been tortured the better part of the last 3 seasons with foo foo crap on “The Sopranos?”

We sat down to see the second to last episode last night - that was the best we’d seen in years AND NOW THERE’S ONLY ONE EPISODE LEFT!!!!!

Where was this action the last two, two-and-a-half seasons, huh?!?!?!?


This message brought to you by a slightly deranged woman who has an empty DVR list because everything is now a repeat…EXCEPT THE SOPRANOS!!!!!

Merry Christmas

Luke 2:1-14
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest,and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

Luke 2:14
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

They Usually Try and Escape!

This turkey was a rebel…he wanted to join Thanksgiving dinner!

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — Thanksgiving turkeys usually get carried in through the front door. But this one came crashing through the dining room window.

On Thursday, Sandy Cobbs she was in her kitchen in Bloomington, Minnesota, preparing sweet potatoes and vegetables when she heard a thunderous crash.

Her husband tried to shoo the bird back outside, but it bounced off more windows and tried to hide in a big pot of orchids. Police finally herded it onto the deck.

The crazy thing is that this had happened to the family once before, on Christmas Day in 2004. That break-in cost them more than $10K. Wonder if the turkeys were in the same gang or somethin’? ;-)

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope each one of you has a wonderful holiday!

I usually take time each year to reflect on what I have to be thankful for. There are so many things. I feel so blessed!

I have two amazing children and an amazing husband. We’re celebrating our 11th Anniversary on Sunday. Our kids are healthy, happy and life would never be the same without them.

We have a nice home, a beautiful yard (other than the newly dug holes thanks to the dogs I should also be thankful for!), stable transportation and all kinds of gadgets and thingys to keep us busy and entertained.

I have a great job, of which I should be extremely thankful for!

I know how to cook - and the turkey will be awesome this year! :-)

I have my health…at least for the moment.

We have my dad for another year. And we have hubby’s dad, too. Thank God!

We have many wonderful friends online and in “real life.”

We have Nebraska football on Friday…and Nebraska will kick Colorado’s ASS!

Jack Bauer will be returning for another season of “24″ in a couple of months!

We have freedom in this country of ours. We aren’t ruled, we aren’t dictated, we aren’t killed because we don’t share the same belief as others. We have brave men and women who put their lives on hold and on the line to protect this freedom and give it as a gift to others who desire it.

God Bless each of you on this holiday!

Oh, and if you plan on waking up for the early bird specials on Friday, please be sure to load up on the Starbucks and carry a large handbag or other objects to protect yourself with if needed!

Plains Feeder linked with Happy Thanksgiving
They Did It For His “Own Good”

I think people who beat their kids are evil. I think people who choose to spend little time with their kids for their own selfish reasons is pretty bad, too. But this couple….this vile, disgusting couple. There aren’t enough words to fully describe how awful they are.

JACKSONVILLE — The police description of the 9-year-old boy’s home sounds like a prison: he was locked in a bedroom for much of three years, did not attend school, had no friends and was watched by his father on a surveillance camera that tracked his every move.

The boy’s ordeal finally ended Wednesday when authorities arrested his father on child abuse and other charges. Officials now are trying to determine what led Randall Warren Piercy, 41, to allegedly treat his son that way and why no one stopped him.

…and why no one stopped him.

That would be the mother of this boy who saw him regularly but did NOTHING to save him…and possibly other relatives. The boy who was reportedly “home schooled” but at the age of nine couldn’t read a child’s book. A boy who was NEVER seen in the neighborhood by neighbors who had lived there 40+ years.

The Piercy home, located off a private rural road, had cameras in almost every room, with the father monitoring the boy on television and computer screens, sheriff’s Lt. Annie Smith said.

“According to our investigator, it appears that the Piercy home was a prison, and the child has never attended school, has no friends, does not receive medical attention, and may have been cut off from any human contact other than family,'’ Smith said.

Relatives shared stories such as the boy only being allowed to go to the bathroom once a day because the “dad” thought he needed to learn how to control his body. This “DAD” is being charged with aggravated child abuse, malicious punishment and unlawful caging of the boy. Of course this sick waste of a human being said he was being misjudged as he was doing this in the “best interest” of the boy. Oh, yeah. Methinks you were doing it because you are a heathen, a miscreant, and stand with one foot in the pit of hell. …and of course the “mother,” Michelle Piercy, hasn’t been charged with anything just yet. But read this and tell me she isn’t as guilty as the “Dad” is:

“We are very protective,'’ she said, adding that the cameras are so his parents can make sure he doesn’t hurt himself. She said the boy was hyperactive and was locked in his room at night to prevent him from going outside and getting hurt.

According to a police report, investigators were told Michelle Piercy allowed her husband to make all the decisions regarding the boy and that she doesn’t even know what size he wears or what television shows or games he likes. The report said her husband only let her see the boy at certain times and usually an hour a day.

Luckily an undercover investigator prompted this case to move forward. Unluckily, it’s likely there will never be enough justice served on behalf of a nine year old boy who was served a life sentence by the very people he was supposed to be able to trust.

UPDATED: Tiffany Hall in Custody in Slaying of Pregnant Woman

Tiffany Hall Sought in Slaying of Pregnant Woman


How awful:

CHICAGO — An Illinois woman who was found dead apparently had a fetus cut from her stomach.

State police said Tiffany Hall , a 26-year-old East St. Louis woman, is being sought in the killing.

The police chief of East St. Louis, where the victim was found Thursday in a vacant lot, said authorities were alerted to the suspect after a funeral for a baby that she said was stillborn.

Allegedly, Hall told her boyfriend, a sailor home on leave, that she had killed a woman and taken her baby. This was during the baby’s funeral. The boyfriend reportedly alerted police, and that information appeared to have led police to the body of the deceased woman.

An autopsy will be performed Friday to determine if the child that was buried was the fetus removed from the dead woman.

The Belleville News-Democrat reported that neighbors said Hall, a mother of two, had appeared to be pregnant.

Police said that Hall went to a Centreville, Ill., hospital with the deceased baby, according to the paper. Mister said that Hall told the hospital that she had gone into labor and delivered the stillborn baby after being raped.

Hall may be driving a maroon Lincoln Town Car with temporary Illinois registration and may still be in the area.

I pray for the family of the deceased mother and the little baby. Words can’t describe the feelings this story brings to my heart.


UPDATE: All Three Missing Children Found Dead in Illinois, FOX News Confirms

This story has a terribly sad ending. The woman accused of slaying a pregnant woman to attempt to take her baby is in custody, but the pregnant woman also had 3 other children ages 7, 2 and 1 and they were missing. The sad news is that these young children have been found dead, stuffed into a damned dryer in an apartment complex.

Tiffany Hall, 24, was jailed on $5 million bond, and faces charges of first-degree murder and intentional homicide of an unborn child in the death of 23-year-old Jimella Tunstall, said St. Clair County State’s Attorney Robert Haida.

Relatives of both women told media outlets the two grew up together and attended alternative schools. The woman in custody often baby-sat Tunstall’s children, and Tunstall never expressed worry about leaving them in her care, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

An autopsy showed Tunstall bled to death after sustaining an abdominal wound caused by a sharp object, believed to be scissors, said Ace Hart, a deputy St. Clair County coroner.

Hart said he believes Tunstall was knocked unconscious before her baby, seven months into gestation, was removed during a slaying he called “very graphic and very brutal.”

I pray that none of these children endured suffering at the hands of their killer - I pray that it was swift, or in their sleep or something. I cannot bear the idea that someone could be so evil they could look down into the face of a child and take their life - and if, indeed, Tiffany Hall killed them (the evidence is surely leaning that way from my vantage point), then she has a level of evil most will never know since she’s known these children, taken care of them, seen them grow. I am saddened about these wee ones losing their life, and know they have a special place in Heaven.

I believe there is also a special place reserved for Tiffany Hall as well.

Baby Abigale Woods Has Been Found Alive!

Thank God this little newborn was found alive. A second “Thank God” because the criminal who kidnapped her is in custody!

UNION, Mo. — An newborn abducted after her mother was slashed was found alive Tuesday in excellent condition, and a woman who had recently miscarried was arrested, officials said.

Dr. Peter McCarthy, an emergency room physician at St. John’s Hospital in Washington, Mo., said 11-day-old Abigale Lynn Woods has been reunited with her mother, father and other relatives. She was expected to be released from the hospital later Tuesday.

“The family is elated and thankful to everyone in the community who prayed for them,” McCarthy said. “The baby was hydrated, nourished and in good condition when she arrived at the hospital.”

FBI agent Roland Corvington identified the suspect as Shannon Beck, who lives a few miles from the home of the mother and baby.

…and a third “Thank God” for the relative who turned Shannon Beck in.

September: What Day Is Today?

I love whacky days of observance, recognition or celebration. Here’s a few to mark on your calendars!

September 19 is “Talk Like a Pirate Day!” (truly a day for Teach! Congrats and Arrrrrrrgh!)

September 22 is Elephant Appreciation Day (for my Republican readers) as well as Hobbit Day (for my fanatical LOTR readers!)

September 23 is Fish Amnesty Day, so I think I’ll have some fish sticks (I mean, if they are frozen fish sticks they weren’t caught on Fish Amnesty Day, right?). There is some irony, though, in that September 23 is *also* National Hunting and Fishing Day. I think we’ll confuse the fish, won’t we?

September 24 is Punctuation Day, a day dedicated to my good friend Beth. When is Spelling Day, I wonder? Hmmmm…..

September 25 is National One-Hit Wonder Day, dedicated to you “Soft Cell” fans everywhere!

In preparation for October’s monthly commemorations, please be sure to stock up on trinkets and decorations to celebrate October as the month of….

…Celebrate Sun Dried Tomatoes Month

…Go Hog Wild, Eat Country Ham Month

…National Pajama Month

…National Poppin’ Popcorn Month

…National Toilet Tank Repair Month

…National Spinach Lover’s Month (…and National Talk About Prescriptions Month, which is what you’ll need if you celebrate National Spinach Lover’s Month!!!)

…and there you have it. Be sure to mark your calendars, plan, and celebrate!

MY Vast Right Wing Conspiracy linked with Quick links
2996 Tribute: A. Todd Rancke

I’m certain his day probably started out like every other work day. September 11, 2001. The sky was clear, and the sun’s reflection likely shimmered all over the windows of his building, World Trade Center South, on the 104th floor, in the office of Sandler O’Neill & Partners. Do I know Todd Rancke? I never met him, which is certainly my loss. I feel as though I’ve learned a lot about this man because of the tragic event that drew Americans together that day. I hope I can do some justice in sharing what I know about Todd through the posts and memorials I read about him. On the highest level, Todd was a husband, a father, a brother, a friend. It’s evident he touched many lives well before his tragic passing on 9/11. He is survived by his wife, Deborah; his daughters, Christina and Brittany; his son, Todd; two sisters, Pamela Rancke Schroeder and Cynthia Rancke Biennmann and many other family and friends.

When family and friends heard of the attacks, and knew that Todd would be in the building, they called him to see if he was okay and to also encourage him to evacuate to safety.

When we heard of the attacks and knew his office was located in one of the Towers-we immediately called him and heard a busy signal or got connected into his voicemail. We left several messages asking him to call us back-hoping he was running behind schedule — late for work that day.

Todd was on the phone with his wife, Debbie, when the first plane hit One World Trade Center, the other tower. He had called, as he did daily, at about 8:45 a.m. to wish her and their three children a good day, and he told her about the plane crash.

I called Todd shortly before 9:00 a.m. to check on him. He described a “smoky ticker-tape parade” outside of his window. He had just finished speaking with his wife, Debbie, on the phone and was obviously aware of the plane crash in the North Tower. Todd said that he was alright and that the public address system in the building had advised that they were safe. He had decided to stay in the building. I told him to keep his head down and stay out of trouble, and with that he spoke to me for the very last time and said “thanks for thinking of me buddy.”

Deborah’s statement to those watching an episode of “60 Minutes” soon after 9/11, as she continued the search for her husband: “please find him — he’s my whole life.”

Todd had a strong impact on many during his life.

Todd was always an awesome guy, popular with everyone. I knew Todd as a Christian young man, and I know in later years he grew to become an influential part of the church we spent all those youthful years in. I remember church youth group, watching Todd play sports in school, and school student coucil. He was always involved!

I spent that summer babysitting for Todd’s two beautiful little girls, Christina and Brittany…At the time Mrs. Rancke was pregnant with little Todd. I remember the girls would be so excited at the end of the day when their dad would arrive home from work. They would always ask me if it was “the weekend yet” because that was when they had dad for a full two days…I also remember how very happy he was the day his son was born. I remember he gave his wife flowers that day and the card read “thank you for our beautiful son”…that always stuck with me. He was such a nice man and a great father.

I know he’s looking down at us and is frustrated at not being able to take our sadness away-he was such a cheerful soul. I think he would like us to remember him with a smile, and as a loving husband and father more than for his working role (although he was very good at what he did). Again, I am convinced he has not entirely left us and am comforted by it.

Todd had a teasing sense of humor that played on people’s flaws but did not generate any ill will, said his sister, Cindy Bienemann. “He could crack on you in a way without making you feel bad,” she said.

Todd was a Duke graduate, earning his degree in ‘81. Todd’s sister Pamela, also a Duke graduate, shared these thoughts about Todd - thoughts that really helped me better understand how great a loss it is that he is gone:

Duke was so special to Todd. He was married in the Duke Chapel. Our family was there for that, and to have had a wedding down there was special. His in-laws live outside of Durham, about a half an hour out, so he was able to come back to Duke quite often, and go to Chapel.

Duke was a special place. He had a lot of great memories. He did meet Debbie there—she did not go to Duke, she went to another school in Carolina. Then they met seven years later on a business trip; they were both up in Canada and saw each other again. The wedding was beautiful.

It was always a special place, to have a wedding there, and to go back and go to Easter Sundays there, and I think Todd was lucky that his in-laws lived there, he could just go back and walk around and share with his kids and go to Chapel and go to baseball games. For his children to run on the quad with their cousin—it’s just such a special place.

Debbie just told me that somebody is getting her tickets to a Duke basketball game (in New York) with the children. The kids were all telling me that they’re going to a Duke basketball game. He used to take them to that game. He was a big fan.

His sister also reflects on life without Todd in their lives.

Still, when I see things on TV, I still will sit there and the tears just come. It’s going to take us a very long time to realize that they’re truly gone. They’re young, and he was just so full of life, and with his children… it just breaks your heart to see those children. It’s just sad how their lives have changed so quickly. They’ll be okay—hopefully they’ll be okay. They would ride bikes with him, he could take them everywhere, he’d bring them to the football games, he’d bring them anywhere with them on his back, he coached the basketball, he coached the soccer… he was really a hands-on father.

Little Todd, when something comes up, I can see him wipe at his eye, and I think he’s afraid a tear might come and he can’t go there. We’re surrounding them. Debbie, she doesn’t think she can do it but I’ve told her, you can do this.

Todd was full of life. And he danced. We teased him about that, because our husbands can’t dance. His sisters loved to dance with him.

A former classmate and roommate at Duke hadn’t been in touch with Todd for awhile, but Todd’s passing left a lasting impression on him.

I somehow feel his death places a greater responsibility on me to live my life—and maybe on you, too. I now understand—really understand—that tomorrow may not come, and that what I do today needs to be done so that I have no regrets if there is no next day.

How? First, I must pursue the career, the activities, and the people that evoke passion in me. It is so easy to fall into a career, for example, that is comfortable, or begets comforts, yet is uninspiring. I was trained to achieve, to succeed, and the process of getting there was of secondary importance. September 11 and Todd’s death make that not good enough any more.

Second, I need to do more to nurture my relationships, because I know more than ever that it’s the people in my life that make it special. Todd was one of those people, but we both let things fade as we pursued career and family on opposite sides of the country. I wish I’d called.

The final realization I have is the need to make sure I’m giving something back to others. Todd gave me a lot—he was upbeat, enthusiastic, and nonjudgmental. That he should be taken away, that someone so positive should disappear for no good reason, leaves me grasping for a way to fill the void. As I look now at my two-year-old son, so excited by each day, so constantly curious, I’m reminded to do more for those around me. I have no illusions about changing the world, but rather the need to make sure I’m doing my part to make it better.

I think his thoughts hit home with me and why I feel loss for a victim of this attack that I’ve never even met.

Why did Todd not survive that day? The family and others who knew him believe that, despite being urged by his wife to escape, it’s likely the Eagle Scout chose to help others get out of the doomed skyscraper. It sure seems that how he lived likely influenced him to help others live that day. Todd was a hero, but likely never thought twice about getting others to safety.

Being so far away from the tragedy here in the Midwest, emotions were raw and people were deeply affected.

The Rancke’s pastor, Richard Kannwischer, summed up the confusion, the sadness, the grief and, yet, the hope we all had that day…

The last house I went to was of a good friend and elder, Todd Rancke. The door to the house was open and I walked into the entryway. Because I am about the same height as Todd, his wife, Debbie, mistook me for her husband. With relief she sprang up to hug me, but reality slowly crept in. She collapsed in my arms, saying, “Oh, my God! I thought you were Todd. I thought he came home! Where’s Todd? You’ve got to find him.” I have never felt more helpless as a pastor.

Todd, the husband, the father, the brother, the uncle, the Eagle Scout, the church elder, the hero…Heaven became an even better place the day Todd arrived. I can only hope and pray that God has laid His healing hands upon Todd’s family and friends so they can have some peace in their hearts. I know I cannot begin to understand their loss, but in writing this tribute to him, I have done a bit of grieving on my own…me, a perfect stranger.

I knew no one who died on that day, but it has profoundly affected who I am. I think many of us changed that day.


9/11 Remembered…Part I, Reflections

I was looking back at my blog and came upon the post I put up to remember the anniversary of 9/11 last year. I remember being so full of emotion, four years after these barbaric acts. Nothing has changed this year, a year that marks the five year anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks on our country.

This picture speaks volumes to me and sums up so much about what I feel about 9/11.

How do I feel about 9/11?

We aren’t safe anymore.

What will my kids see in their lifetime? Will they have freedom their whole life?

These acts mean war. GWB had it right…the road will be hard and long. This isn’t a war on Afghanistan or Iraq. This is a war on terror - a means to protect us from thugs who do not have a soul.

This was a tragic event that bridged many gaps, brought patriotism out of most people. This was an event that favored one political party. This patriotism, this unity didn’t last long enough. It seemed as though the first anniversary of these acts marked the end of this for many.

We need to get that building up in NYC. We need to do it now and it needs to be stronger and taller than the WTC buildings combined.

We are too complacent as a society now, five years later. We should show the videos of the buildings and the planes crashing in them. And the people losing their lives at the hands of these evil, vile, disgusting pigs. And we should see them frequently so we don’t forget.

We should never dishonor the lives lost this day, nor any life that is lost protecting our freedoms. People like Dumbass Nagin and Michael Moron should think twice about the harm they cause in a matter of minutes. And leave Rummy the FUCK alone…do something that makes a difference, like shoring up our borders or improving homeland security. And for those of you with your idiotic conspiracy theories - yes, the ones that presume that the Bush Administration somehow planted bombs and did this intentionally - shut up and shove your theories up your ass. You are as bad, if not worse than these terrorists.

Our troops are the strongest and the bravest human beings I’ve ever known. Their willing and passionate support of our freedoms and our country should NEVER be forgotten. Five years later, people, they are fighting for what YOU AND I take for granted every day. I can wake up every day without fretting about whether my spouse will be murdered by my government, without worrying about whether I will be raped and then slaughtered, without worrying about having to cover my hair, face and body in shame. If I want to go to school, I can…my kids have this priviledge each and every day. I can work, I can vote and I’m free to do what I want. FREE. I have freedoms that MILLIONS of people in this world will never know. And I have our troops to thank for this. I am awestruck by their bravery and dedication. And supportive of those family members who stay on the homefront and support them every day.

See this picture? What does it mean for you?

For me it means we need to step up and protect our freedom before it is too late. For me, it represents a day that thousands of people, innocent people, lost their lives for a reason that remains so unconceivable to me I cannot possibly articulate it. It means sacrifice for many, both at home and at war. But it also means resolve, bravery and patriotism.

This day, five years later, I still experience sadness, but I’m finding that I am angrier NOW than I was a year ago. There’s still much to be done and the media can’t seem to turn their ear away from the voice of dissent. A larger, louder voice needs to be heard - that of the majority of us…Americans who GET it.

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