Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Daybook

A picture to share...
A shaft of late afternoon sunlight was hitting the cross in my hallway a couple of days ago and I tried to get a picture of it, even though it was getting dark.

Outside my window...
The sun is shining and the sky is blue, but it is cold and windy outside.

I am thankful...
I have so much to be thankful for.

All of you who have prayed for me during my cancer journey. I am certain that it is because of your prayers that I've done so well.

My doctors, nurses and medical techs who took excellent care of me during the treatments and hospital stays. They've been incredible!

My loving and supportive family and friends, who have made the journey easier.

Medical breakthroughs that make it possible to cure cancer and give a person a whole new immune system and a whole new life.

My life. I'm so thankful for every single day, every minute, every second of life--time to be with my family and see my grandchildren grow.

I'm even thankful for the cancer, which has brought me closer to God and given me the opportunity to offer up my suffering for the atonement of sin. Perhaps my time in purgatory will be a bit shorter because of it.

I am wearing...
Black yoga pants, blue tee shirt.

On my mind...
My sister's father-in-law, who was moved to the hospital by hospice yesterday. He is near the end of his life. Please pray for Jim and his family. Thank you!

I am going...
I'm staying home today.

I am reading...
A new Birds and Blooms magazine, online blogs.

Remembering...
Living in Japan.

Pondering these words...
It is better to be the child of God than king of the whole world. -- St. Aloysius Gonzaga

From the kitchen....
Spaghetti for dinner tonight.

Around the house...
Laundry today.

One of my favorite things...
Cuddling a tiny baby.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Veni, Veni Emmanuel

Today we began the beautiful season of Advent. We will use the next 4 weeks to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ.

I have an Advent calendar to share with Reece. We will prepare for Christmas slowly, first putting out the Advent wreath and candles, then the nativity set, to which we will add the pieces a few at a time. The tree will go up with only lights until Gaudete Sunday, when we will put on all of the ornaments. I'm looking forward to thinking of other ways to celebrate Advent with him.



To get a better idea of what Advent means to Catholics, please read the excerpt below.

From the Roman Missal, 1962:

The liturgical texts used during the four weeks of the season of Advent remind the faithful of the "absence of Christ." The Collects of Advent do not end with "through our Lord Jesus Christ," as during the rest of the year. In a spirit of penance and prayer we await the Mediator, the God-Man, preparing for His coming in the flesh, and also for His second coming as our Judge. The Masses for Advent strike a note of preparation and repentance mingled with joy and hope; hence, although the penitential purple is worn and the Gloria is omitted, the joyous Alleluia is retained. The readings from the Old Testament contained in the Introit, Gradual, Offertory, and Communion of the Masses, taken mostly from the prophecies of Isaias and from the Psalms, give eloquent expression to the longing of all nations for a Redeemer. We are impressed by repeated and urgent appeals to the Messias: "Come, delay no longer." The Lessons from St. Paul urge us to dispose ourselves fittingly for His coming. The Gospels describe the terrors of the Last Judgment, the Second Coming, and tell of the preaching of St. John the Baptist "to prepare the way of the Lord."

In Advent, the Greek Church celebrates particularly the ancestors of Our Lord--all the Patriarchs and Prophets of the Old Testament, but especially Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Latin Church also mentions them often in this period. In the Breviary, many texts are taken from Isaias (Introit of the second Sunday, Communion of the third Sunday).

The idea of Advent is "Prepare you for the coming of Christ." Therefore the very appeals of the Patriarchs and Prophets are put in our mouths in Advent. Prepare for the coming of Christ the Redeemer, who comes to prepare us for His Second Coming as Judge.

When the oracles of the Prophets were fulfilled and the Jews awaited the Messias, John the Baptist left the desert and came to the vicinity of the Jordan, bringing a baptism of penance to prepare souls for the coming of Christ. The world took him to be the Messias, but he replied with the words of Isaias: "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: prepare ye the way of the Lord."

During Advent we make straight for Christ the way to the our souls--and behold, our Lord will come at Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Catching Up

These are the beautiful flowers my little sis and brother-in-law sent for my birthday. They were our perfect Thanksgiving centerpiece. I love them.

A cold front came through Thanksgiving day and brought us some COLD weather. Kelly, Reece and I went for a walk around the block (Reece wanted to go on a nature hike) after dinner, and it was COLD. We had to go back inside and find jackets to wear.

We had such a lovely Thanksgiving. Too much food, lots of family and plenty of love goin' on around here. Mom and Sandi got to meet baby Gina for the first time. Reece, Aubrey and Camryn all looked so cute and were excited by everything going on. When we were at the table, Reece declared, "I love Thanksgiving!"

Sandi cut Aubrey's hair into a little bob, and she looks darling. I had charged my camera battery, but was so busy that day that I didn't take a single picture.

I never ever go shopping on Black Friday, but my sister Sandi is all into it. She was up at 4 AM to go to a sale, and got some great bargains on Christmas gifts for her family. She came by here and I went with her to Macys and The Children's Place later in the morning. It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be at Macys, but we had to wait in line for quite awhile to pay at The Children's Place. I got an $80 purse at Macys for $23, and as I was starting to pay for it, Sandi stepped in and bought it for me for my birthday!

Reece spent the night last night and we kept him with us most of the day today. We played all evening yesterday, and all day today. Papa bought him more farm animals and he was very absorbed in them. We watched The Wizard of Oz last night, and Reece was scared at bedtime. He didn't know why he was scared, but I suspect it was a reaction to the wicked witch in the movie. Or those spooky flying monkeys. Right now I'm missing the way he leans against me and puts his little hand on my arm when I'm drawing or cutting something out for him.

Sandi and Mom spent the day at Mom's apartment cleaning and decorating her place for Christmas. I'm looking forward to seeing it tomorrow when we pick Mom up for Mass. Sandi is planning to go home tomorrow. It's been wonderful to have her here. My sisters are such a blessing.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Will You Still Need Me?

Yesterday was my birthday. Can you figure out how old I am? :o)

Here's a hint:

Ron took me out to dinner and told me that yes, indeed, he still loves me. I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but I always liked the line about "grandchildren on your knee, Vera, Chuck and Dave." I always knew grandchildren would make me happy. :o) Ron also gave me a beautiful CD of ancient hymns.

Kelly was here yesterday. She cleaned the powder room and took me to Milberger's. I had mentioned that I wanted to get some mums for the front porch and she got them for me for my birthday. What a honey!

She picked up the turkey she ordered and stashed it in my fridge. It looks delicious! Josh is also making a brisket, since the turkey is not as large as usual, and we all love to have leftovers. Mmm, brisket! Mmm, smoked turkey!

I received birthday wishes from all of my kids yesterday. Jason called while we were at dinner to wish me a happy birthday, and Josh brought Reece over to spend the night and they both wished me happy birthday when they came in. Reece wanted to know where the cake was. :o) He can't imagine a birthday without birthday cake. I told him we would have my birthday cake on Thanksgiving.

Oh wow, I'm sitting here writing about my birthday and the doorbell just rang. There was a flower delivery man on the porch. My sister and BIL sent me flowers! How sweet. Thank you, Mike and Johnnie! They are gorgeous.

My sister Sandi is at Mom's. They are making pies today. I haven't seen her yet. They had gone to get some lunch when Ron and I stopped by there on the way back from the hospital earlier, so we just left Mom's meds and came on home. I'll see her tomorrow.

I had an appointment for an echocardiogram this morning, to see if the chemo did any damage to my heart. I'm thinking no damage. :o) It is interesting to see your heart working on the computer screen.

Okay, I'd better get off the computer and get something done around here. If I don't get back before tomorrow, I wish you a blessed Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Mass, Mass, T-Day, Grands and The Dentist

We had a lovely weekend. Went to Mass twice on Sunday, once at noon and then again at 6 PM. Both were sung Latin Masses. We are so blessed. :o) Fr. K celebrates an occasional TLM, and this time we were able to go. We took Mom to our regular noon Mass, then Ron and I went to the one at 6 PM as well. It was wonderful to see Fr. K. There was a coffee and donut hour afterward, and we met a few more members of the Latin Mass community. The Mass was at an older church near downtown that we had never visited. One of my favorite things is discovering new "old" Catholic churches.

In between Masses, we took Mom to lunch, then I went to Josh's and stayed with the kids while he and Cyrise went grocery shopping. Aubrey and Camryn were napping when I got there, but Gina was wide awake. I got to give her the rest of her bottle and hold her. She went to sleep, and I played with Reece with PlayDoh. He had me making lots of seagulls and turkeys. We had a whole flock of blue PlayDoh turkeys. :o) The little girls woke up just before their parents came home.

Josh and Cyrise got some of my groceries for Thanksgiving for me. I'm making the cornbread stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and a Black Russian cake. Kelly is bringing macque choux and dirty rice stuffing. Cyrise is making her yummy green beans. Sandi and Mom are bringing pies. I have some sweet potatoes I may toss into the oven, and Ron wants some kind of salad. Kelly ordered a smoked turkey, which we'll pick up tomorrow.

We had a change of plans, and Kelly came to clean and decorate my house for Thanksgiving today instead of over the weekend. It's always nice to have her here, and she did a lot of work! Thank you, Kel; I love you!

I took Mom to the dentist this morning. She will be getting new partials in a few weeks. They took the impressions today. They are going to remake her top partial as well as making her a bottom one. The top one has never fit properly, so there will be no charge for the replacement. Mom and I love her dentist's assistant, Jennifer. She is always so sweet to Mom (and to me). The dentist is nice, but very quiet and rather aloof. It's Jennifer that keeps us going back to him.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Counting Blessings

The week has flown by. Ron is already home from Colorado.

We'll have 12 or 13 here for Thanksgiving dinner next week.

Baby Gina is doing well. Josh said she is waking at night to be fed, and eating well. I didn't see her today.

My blood sugar is doing something weird. It's usually high, but lately has been low (for me). Makes me feel a little dizzy. I've stopped the insulin and the Janumet, and it's still low. It would be amazing if I don't have diabetes any longer.

It got down to 34 degrees here last night, but warmed up nicely today. It won't be that cold tonight (or anytime over the next week).

I'm still bald, but the fuzz on my head seems to be getting a little fuzzier, and my eyebrows and lashes seem to be coming back a bit.

Kelly is coming over this weekend to help me "clean and decorate the house for Thanksgiving." She is a sweetheart.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Thursday Chitchat

Busy week.

Tuesday I dropped Ron off at the airport, then I was at the hospital for about an hour with Gina. I took her car seat in for the car seat test they do before releasing the babies from the NICU. Gina slept while I was there, but I loved just being there with her and watching her sleep--the lull before the storm. :o)

I stayed with the kids Tuesday evening while Josh and Cyrise went up to see her. Then I was there again yesterday morning while they went to bring her home. Kelly came over, so we were all there waiting when they got back.

After holding the baby for awhile, Kelly and I left to go have a late lunch at Olive Garden, then we went to Gran's. Teddy was so excited to see Kelly. He and Gran were out for a walk when we drove up, and when he realized it was Kelly he nearly pulled Gran off her feet trying to get to her.

Reece spent the night last night. We did a little shopping at WalMart. I got him a new jacket and a Toy Story game. It took him a long time to decide what kind of toy he wanted. :o) We picked up a few groceries and a frozen pizza for dinner, came home and spent the rest of the evening playing and having fun.

We stopped at Academy and got him some new sneakers before we went to Gran's today. I was helping him put his old ones on, and they were just too tight. He didn't really want to shop for shoes at Academy. He wanted to know where the toys were! :o)

When I took Reece home, I stayed for a little while to hold baby Gina. The little girls are delighted with her, but went about their business while I was there without paying much attention to her. Reece is so used to having baby sisters around that he just rolls with the flow. It's amazing how a new baby is integrated into a family so easily.

Thank you all for your prayers for Gina, her mommy and the family!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday ChitChat

We've been busier than usual with grandkids, since Gina is still in the hospital, and Ron and I stay with the kids whenever Josh and Cyrise go to see her.

Gina is doing great, has gained back all her weight, wakes to eat every 3 to 4 hours, and is eating even more than they require. She nurses well, too. I'm praying she will be home in the next day or two.

The extra time in the hospital has given Cyrise a bit more time to prepare for Gina's homecoming. We've washed two large bags of little girl baby clothes. It seems like a lot, but not when you remember that little babies often have to be changed several times a day. We still need to get the car seat cleaned and the cover washed. We got her a little support cushion that fits into the seat.

She will sleep in a bassinet for awhile. The kids are still trying to work out sleeping arrangements in their two bedroom house. They have a twin bed and crib in the kid's bedroom, but now they need a trundle or bunk bed.

Do you remember the mandolin that Ron got me for Christmas last year? It was a kit he ordered from a company he sometime uses for his woodworking tools. It was put aside and out of mind after my cancer diagnosis, but Ron recently got it out and started working on it again.

It didn't take him very long at all to get it finished (he still wants to put some coats of wax on it), and I'm so happy with it! It will take me some time to learn to play it, but I can tune it and have learned a few chords. I still need a strap and some picks. It's easy for me to pick out melodies on it, but learning to play chords is new to me. I also have a bit of arthritis in my fingers, so I don't know how much that is going to slow me down. So far it hasn't bothered me much.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Thursday With The Grands

We've had the kids every afternoon this week while Josh and Cyrise go to the hospital to be with Gina. Yesterday we took them outside to play.

Camryn and Aubrey in the grass. I had to make them sit down in order to have time to snap a picture before they started moving around again.





Here they are sitting in a chair together. I love how Aubs has her arm around Cammy.









Reece wanted to go up on the second story deck, so Papa took him up there. Here he is, looking down at his little sisters in the grass. :o)



I'm glad Papa had a couple of days off for the Veteran's Day holiday.

Aubrey had a throw-herself-down-on-the-floor-screaming-and-crying fit when we brought them inside. She loves playing outside.


Ron and I went to see Gina last night. She was wide awake and alert when we got there, and hungry! The nurse gave her a bottle of breast milk and she downed all 25 cc's in record time, with a little stop to burp. She is having absolutely no trouble drinking, and I hope she will be able to come home in a day or two.

Papa held her for awhile, then I held her. Once again she had the hiccups after eating. Although she was awake for over an hour, she hardly cried at all, but just looked around and made cute faces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Gina Meets Gramma and Papa

Ron and I saw Gina last night in the NICU. She is doing well.

I asked her nurse if he thought she would be able to come home this weekend, and he said that it would depend on how well she is eating.

They are giving her three feedings a day through her feeding tube, and then she gets a bottle several times a day.

I held her while he was giving her a tube feeding, and he had me give her a pacifier to suck on while her little tummy got full. He said they want her to associate the sucking with her full tummy.

After her feeding she got the hiccups. She was awake when we got there, and stayed awake the whole time we were there until I finally gave her to Ron. After only a couple of minutes in his arms, Gina totally relaxed, stopped hiccuping and fell asleep. He's got the magic touch. :o)

I got to change her diaper and dress her in a little onesie while we were there. She is so very tiny, but perfectly formed. I loved looking at her little fingers and her ears. She has lots of dark hair. She looks like all of our babies; they all resemble one another as newborns.


I can hardly wait to hold this little one in my arms again!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Update on Gina

Baby Gina was doing so well, but this morning they put her on a feeding tube. The nurse told Cyrise that she "just wasn't eating well." :o( So she will be in the NICU at least until this weekend, instead of coming home tomorrow as we had hoped.

Cyrise spent the night in Labor and Delivery because of her blood pressure. They put her on medication for that, and she's doing better. I think that being at home and getting some rest will help. She was unable to sleep at the hospital, even with meds. The kids were happy to see her today.

Prayers for Gina, Cyrise and the family will be much appreciated. Thanks!

PS: They decided on a middle name. She is Gina Sharon. :o)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby Gina!

I'm sitting here bawling my head off because I just got the pictures of baby Gina and the one of Josh holding her, and I can't help it, whenever I see one of my newborn grandbabies it makes me cry.

Here is Cyrise just a couple of days ago. Baby Gina was already settled in place, ready to be born. You can hardly tell that Cyrise is pregnant from the front or the back; she is so tiny.












And here is our newest grandchild. She was born this morning and weighed 4 lbs. 6 oz. She will be in the NICU for a couple of days. They are planning to send mommy and baby home on Wednesday as long as all goes well. Isn't she beautiful?












And here is my baby holding his fourth baby. This is the picture that I opened in my email that started me crying. She is such a tiny bundle, and I know that she already has him wrapped around her little fingers.

Welcome to the outside world, sweet angel. Happy Birthday!

Thank you God, for this little girl.
Amen

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Sleeping Babes Await Little Sister

Reece, Aubrey and Camryn are here tonight. They have been so sweet all evening, and now they are sleeping soundly, Aubrey next to me in my bed, Cammie on a futon next to my bed (because I'm afraid she will roll off the bed in the night), and Reece in the spare room with Papa.

They are here because their little sister will be born tomorrow! Josh and Cyrise went to the hospital this evening, and they are keeping her there. Tomorrow they will break her water. Baby will be about a month early, but Cyrise has been having contractions and her blood pressure has been high for the past few days. Her doctor has assured them that the baby is big enough to do well, and that she will grow quickly outside the womb. All of their babies have been early, so this is not unexpected.

Please pray for a safe delivery for mommy and baby, and for a strong, healthy little girl. Her name is Gina. She was named after Cyrise's sister, whose story I told here a few years ago.

Prayer for a Safe Delivery
O great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted child of Mother of God, enkindle within our hearts one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love.

O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine Master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the patron and protector of expectant mothers.

Preserve Cyrise from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which she now carries, that baby Gina may see the light of day and receive the purifying and life-giving waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

O Mary, Mother of God, please pray for Cyrise and baby Gina.
St. Gianna, please pray for Cyrise and baby Gina.
St. Ann, Mother of Our Lady, please pray for Cyrise and baby Gina.
St. Elizabeth, Mother of St. John the Baptist, please pray for Cyrise and baby Gina.
Gina, Sister, Aunt and Namesake, please pray for Cyrise and your little niece, Gina.
Amen

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thursday Chitchat

(Photo of lacewing from the internet).

Our backyard has been invaded by these delicate, lacy creatures. Too bad we don't have a trout stream nearby.

I smell like cookies. :o) I was putting some things away in the pantry and accidentally knocked my bottle of vanilla off the shelf. The cap broke off and half the bottle splashed onto me and spilled on the floor.

I had a rather busy day, going to Mom's, then lunch at Chuy's with Ron, then a harrowing drive to Wilford Hall. There were two wrecks on I-35 on the way there, and one on the way back. Traffic was a nightmare. On the way back a gravel truck had lost its load all over one side of the highway. Fortunately it was on the southbound side (I was going north), but everyone was slowing down on our side to rubberneck. Drives me crazy!

I met with my hematology/oncology doctor today. He will be scheduling another CT scan, another colonoscopy, and another bone marrow biopsy over the coming weeks, after he has seen the lab work I'll have done next week. He will be looking for any signs of the cancer, but he said he doesn't expect to see any, and neither do I.

Ron and I went to the grocery store this evening and then had hamburgers for dinner.

It's cold tonight--44 degrees right now. I'm going to go snuggle in for the night.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brrrr!

It's 64 degrees here this afternoon and I've been so cold. The wind is from the north and is blowing hard. Summer is my favorite time of the year; I don't like cold weather. I'm really dreading winter.

Monday I had an appointment with my diabetes counselor. While I was going through treatment for my cancer my doctors stopped or changed some of diabetes medications. They've been adjusting them, but wanted me to check with my diabetes doc to make sure he was in agreement. He did change things up a bit, and gave me a new monitor. I hope I'll be able to get back on track with a lower blood sugar level soon.

I had Reece overnight on Monday. We didn't do anything special, just enjoyed being together. I played with him all evening. He says such funny things and makes me laugh. The next morning he wanted to make pancakes, so we did. He took the base of my salad spinner full of toys to Great Gran's. He loves to take toys to her place because she always plays with him. On the way home Reece said, "Gramma, thank you for being so nice to me." He's such a sweetheart!

Ron and I watched the election returns off and on Tuesday evening. I'm glad we'll have a new speaker of the house, disappointed that Nevada didn't get rid of Harry Reid, and think the people of California are absolutely insane. We do live in interesting times.

Ron took Mom's meds to her during his lunch hour today, so I haven't had to go anywhere. I cleaned the kitchen and am doing some laundry. The dogs are inside with me now. They like the cold weather better than I do--they run around the yard like crazy things. :o)

I'm thinking of baking something, just to have an excuse to turn the oven on. :o)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Witches and the Grim Reaper!

Our daughter-in-law emailed these pictures of our older grands. They live three hours away, and we didn't see them on Halloween, so I'm really happy to get the pictures.

The tall witch is Ahlyssa, the small witch is Lily, and the very scary grim reaper is our sweet little six year old Jacob.











This one was taken outside. They always have the best jack-o-lanterns.

I'm sure you got plenty of candy, sweeties, and I hope you had lots of fun!

Hope to see you soon!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Pics

When we drove up to Josh's house yesterday, Reece was waiting for us in the door in his Woody costume.



























Woody and Jessie from Toy Story.





















Reece as Woody.

















Aubrey as Jessie.


















Who is this cute little zebra?














Why, it's Camryn! She looks sweet in the costume Aubrey wore last year. :o)














Getting a picture of all three of them together was like herding cats. They were too excited to be still. After they went trick or treating, Ron and I took Reece and Aubrey over to Great Gran's so that she could see them in their costumes and give them candy. She thought they looked precious, of course.

A Political Discussion With My Son

My oldest son and I have been exchanging emails about the election. He believes that I have compromised my principles by casting my vote for candidates whose views and values do not reflect my own. And he's right. I have. I compromised because I want the current administration gone, and was willing to vote for what Jason calls "the lesser of two evils" in order to make that happen. Rather than vote for those whose values most closely reflect mine (because I didn't believe they had a chance of winning), I voted for those I thought had the better chance of beating the democrats.

I think I'm more optimistic than Jason. But he is realistic and looks at things with clarity, whereas I'm usually wearing my rose-colored glasses. Anyway, I asked his permission to post one of his emails on my blog, and after some consideration he agreed to allow it. I believe his arguments are good and well thought out, and maybe they will give you food for thought, as they did for me.

It's long, but worth the read.

Stop Voting for Democrats and Republicans

The Constitution of the United States of America has failed. It has not achieved its essential purpose: to safeguard and secure the blessings of liberty for the American people. Thomas Jefferson wrote:

“It would be a dangerous delusion were a confidence in the men of our choice to silence our fears for the safety of our rights… Confidence is everywhere the parent of despotism. Free government is founded in jealousy, and not in confidence. It is jealousy and not confidence which prescribes limited constitutions, to bind down those whom we are obliged to trust with power… Our Constitution has accordingly fixed the limits to which, and no further, our confidence may go… In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution.” (Draft Kentucky Resolutions, 1798)
As Jefferson notes, the Constitution was intended to bind down the national government (and the men who possess power within it) from “mischief” against our rights and liberties. Accordingly, the Constitution enumerates a specific list of powers granted to the national government, reserving everything else to the states and the people, and it acknowledges the inherent natural rights that individuals possess—not because the Constitution grants them—but because they are inherent and inalienable and precede any law or dictum of government.

The founders of our nation held an abhorrence of democracy and simple majority rule, since it lends an aura of legitimacy to actions which would otherwise be deemed criminal or tyrannical. James Madison wrote, “Measures are too often decided, not according to the rules of justice and the rights of the minor party, but by the superior force of an interested and overbearing majority.” (Federalist Paper #10) John Adams said, “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There was never a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.” This clarity of vision is what drove our founders to institute a constitutional republican form of limited government, which attempts to reduce the tyranny of mob rule and makes the protection of individual rights the very purpose of government. (“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…)

But look at us, today. Do you believe our government is what the founders intended? Would they even recognize what it has become? The government ignores the Constitution. It passes unconstitutional laws. It establishes and funds unconstitutional federal agencies and departments. It both exceeds the limits of its enumerated authority, every day and all the time, and it also infringes on the natural rights it’s supposed to uphold. It intrudes in and regulates almost every aspect of our lives.

“The air you breathe. The water you drink. The size of your toilet tank. The water pressure in your shower. The subjects your children study in school. The manner in which your physician treats you when you’re ill. The speed you drive your car. What you can drink before you get in the car. All of these are regulated by the Congress. Congress has written over 4000 criminal laws that take up over 1 million pages of text… Does the Congress recognize any limits on its ability to legislate whatever it wants? Yes…whatever it can get away with.” (Judge Andrew Napolitano, “The Verdict,” Fox News)
As it continues to grow and to intrude and to impose itself in more and more aspects of our lives, the government drains more and more of our prosperity to feed itself. Merely by its intrusion, it disrupts our economy and stifles our productivity. It increases the tax burden on us. Where it doesn’t tax us, directly, it borrows the money, increasing our debt through deficit spending. Where it doesn’t tax us or increase our debt, it increases the supply of money, causing inflation that devalues every dollar we own. In fact, it has changed the monetary and banking laws to allow the creation of new money at will, removing any fixed foundation of value (e.g. gold or silver) from the dollar. It ignores some of its chains and legislates others out of existence.

The problem is systemic. It is not limited to one political party. We both know the policies of the Democrats are bad for the nation, so I’ll concentrate all my opprobrium on the Republicans. The Republicans are just as culpable as the Democrats. Even Republican governments that are popularly viewed as free market, libertarian-leaning, and laissez-faire have marched in exactly the opposite direction. Reagan is often seen as a champion of small government. But under Reagan the government grew, with the increased spending being funded through inflation and massive debt. In 1980, the government spent $591 billion and ran a $73.8 billion deficit. In 1988, the government spent over $1 trillion and ran a $155 billion deficit. Despite lip service to free trade, imports facing restrictions increased 100% over the course of his two terms. Reagan promised to end draft conscription, but later flip-flopped his position. He promised to restore sound money through the gold standard, but failed to follow through on that, as well. He pledged to abolish the Departments of Energy and Education, but instead strengthened them. The bottom line is that government grew, debt grew, and inflation grew. This is not the legacy of a champion of limited government and free markets.

The Bush presidency is even worse, in many respects. Over the Bush years, federal regulation continued to expand. Federal regulations went from 64,438 in 2001 to 78,090 in 2007. Far from acting as a check or balance on Congress, Bush vetoed fewer Congressional bills than any other president in history. Instead of working to reduce or eliminate government interference in the market, he signed a record $190 billion farm subsidy bill. He signed the market-stifling Sarbanes-Oxley Act into law. He signed McCain Feingold into law, even while conceding he thought it was unconstitutional. He increased spending in many areas, including medical welfare programs and education programs (e.g. No Child Left Behind). He signed the Patriot Act, which runs roughshod over rights (warrantless searches and communications monitoring, etc). He instituted the TSA. From 2001 through 2007, Bush increased spending an average of 4 percent per year. Then he nationalized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and instituted the first of the ruinous bailouts to which we have been subjected. To follow the previous Republican Fed appointment of Greenspan (who gave us the inflationary dot-com and housing bubbles), Bush selected Bernanke, which is more of the same, as far as economic and monetary policy goes. Government spending, size, and power grew more under Bush than under any former President in my lifetime. In fact, in terms of expanding the scope of government and its influence and intervention, he ranks up there with FDR and LBJ. This is not the legacy of a champion of limited government and free markets.

You have said that the issue of abortion is your main issue, and view the Republicans as the party that supports the right to life. Yet the Sanctity of Life Act, which would have overturned Roe vs. Wade by defining human life and personhood as beginning at conception and amending the federal judicial code to remove Supreme Court jurisdiction, never became law and never even received serious consideration or press coverage. This, despite the supposedly pro-life President and Republican-controlled Congress. Just like they give lip service to libertarian economic and personal liberty policies, but don’t follow through, I think Republicans give lip service to pro-life issues, but don’t pursue serious actions in that direction.

Our country has been on our current track, the wrong track, for at least a century. Government power and influence has continued to grow all throughout that time. The ideals behind the Constitution have become more and more marginalized. Both of our major parties are on this course. The differences between them are meaningless, in the big picture. They are two sides of the same (cupronickel clad) coin, flipping over to show first one face, then the other. And as a nation, we citizens keep believing that turning the coin over is going to make things better, “this time.”

You believe that the Republicans are a “lesser evil,” and that choosing the lesser evil is a good act because you have no other practical or meaningful choice. I disagree on several grounds. I disagree that you have no other practical or meaningful choice. I also disagree that voting for the Republicans is good because they are the lesser evil. A lesser evil is still an evil. And in this case, “lesser” is meaningless: a distinction without a real difference. When you vote for politicians who stand for positions and take actions which harm us and which violate both the Constitution and our natural rights, you are endorsing them. You are condoning the evil. You are saying that it is acceptable. You are offering them your mandate. You sanction their evil and give it the legitimacy of “popular support.”

You also believe that maybe “this time” the Republicans mean what they say. You want to be optimistic. You want to have confidence. But even those “tea party” Republican candidates who give such fine speeches about reducing taxes and spending can’t offer an example of a federal program they would cut. On Fox news, tea party candidate Carly Fiorina was asked seven times by Chris Wallace to name “one single entitlement expenditure you’re willing to cut” in order “to extend all the Bush tax cuts, which would add 4 trillion to the deficit.” Mr. Wallace asked her “…where are you going to find $4 trillion dollars to cut?” She did not name a single expenditure she would cut or say where she would find the money. Instead, she accused Wallace of “asking a typical political question.” Remember what Jefferson said about confidence in such people, and what a “dangerous delusion” that is.

You believe that you should vote, that it is your patriotic duty, and that you must therefore make the best of the selection that is presented to you. However, you are being presented with a false choice. A choice which is no choice. And you are accepting this with the attitude that there’s nothing else you can do and that you must make the best of it. When a steer is led to slaughter it might be given a similar choice: go down the left channel or go down the right channel. Both journeys end the same. That is how I see the choices we are given to vote on. And that is why I refuse to select a “lesser evil that can actually win.” I would rather make a vote of no confidence by simply not voting, or by “throwing away” my vote on a third party candidate who can’t win, rather than offer my mandate, my approval, and my support to a candidate who represents policies and performs actions that I repudiate.

Imagine that we were debating this with the founders. When I rail against the government and its abuses, when I reject the farce of choosing between two parties who do violence to our Constitution and the principles it stands for, when I go so far as to refuse to vote at all, am I unpatriotic? When you vote for the lesser evil, are you doing your patriotic duty? Do you think the founders would stand with you, or with me? My opening sentence was the shocking statement that the Constitution has failed. But that’s a distorted picture. The Constitution is just a piece of paper; it can’t protect and secure anything. If the principles and ideals of the Constitution have not been upheld, it’s not because the Constitution was derelict in its duty. We have been sheep. We have been cattle. The people have failed.

“I know no safe depository of the ultimate powers of the society but the people themselves, (A)nd if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform their discretion by education. This is the true corrective of abuses of constitutional power.” (Thomas Jefferson)
“If a republican government fails to secure public prosperity and happiness, it must be because the citizens neglect the divine commands, and elect bad men to make and administer the laws.” (Noah Webster)
“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.” (Thomas Paine)
“He therefore is the truest friend to the liberty of this country who tries most to promote its virtue, and who, so far as his power and influence extend, will not suffer a man to be chosen into any office of power and trust who is not a wise and virtuous man….The sum of all is, if we would most truly enjoy this gift of Heaven, let us become a virtuous people.” (Samuel Adams)
“In selecting men for office, let principle be your guide. . . When a citizen gives his suffrage to a man of known immorality he abuses his trust; he sacrifices not only his own interest, but that of his neighbor, he betrays the interest of his country.” (Noah Webster, again)
“Now more than ever before, the people are responsible for the character of their Congress. If that body be ignorant, reckless and corrupt, it is because the people tolerate ignorance, recklessness and corruption. If it be intelligent, brave and pure, it is because the people demand these high qualities to represent them in the national legislature…. If the next centennial does not find us a great nation … it will be because those who represent the enterprise, the culture, and the morality of the nation do not aid in controlling the political forces.” (President James Garfield)
We have the government we deserve. We deserve it because we follow the easy path, we vote for the lesser evil, and we do not jealously guard our liberty. Jefferson said to educate the people so they would make good decisions, but in our government schools we don’t learn to mistrust the government and to jealously guard our liberty, we learn how wonderful our government is. Patriotism is conflated with nationalism and state, rather than with liberty and the principles that truly made America and her grand experiment great. Our political candidates tug on the strings, invoking “country” and we leap high. They say “come and vote — do your important and essential patriotic duty” and we rush to pull the lever, giving sanction and legitimacy to a government that tramples the very ideals our founders sought to protect. And we get a sticker.

I repudiate the status quo of our government, including the policies of the Democrats and the Republicans over the course of the last century. It is a single course. It is the wrong course. I forswear it. I renounce it. I would nullify and abrogate it. I will never again lend it my mandate, even if every other voter in the land chooses to condone it. There are issues where compromise is possible, and there are issues where compromise is not. On the question of the unalienable rights the Constitution is intended to secure no compromise is possible. Give me a party and a candidate worthy of my vote—one who recalls that the purpose of government is to protect liberty and rights, recognizes the limits of government authority, and honors the inalienable rights of men in both word and deed—and I will offer it. Otherwise I offer nothing but opposition.

“Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break in pieces. (√Čtienne de La Bo√©tie, The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude)
In our conversation, you said we can’t have a revolution. You’re wrong. We can have one. I think we must have one, or else we will go the way of other doomed democracies and republics that preceded us. I’m not talking about violence. That’s foolishness, and would only cause a “rally ‘round the flag” reaction, anyway. I’m talking about a radical change in perception among the people: a paradigm shift. I’m talking about a shift to principles that are worthy of patriotism. I’m talking about people waking up and refusing to pay their coin to go around the carousel again. If we’d step off the carousel we might get somewhere, instead of going around in circles.”

The government needs our support for its legitimacy. We need for people to say “no more,” and to mean it. We need a revolution in thought and perception. We need to stop accepting the status quo and “doing what we can” and start demanding the liberty the founders wished for us. You believe your one vote is worth something? Then only use it on something worthy.