Tag Archives: Christmas

Beautiful Nativity Scenes and Artwork

I recently found a Facebook page called: “Festival of Nativities”. The four-day event is held annually by the Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints. Deseret News put together a collection of paintings depicted by LDS Christians. The artwork inspired and fascinated me.  Enjoy.


“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS; for he shall save his people from their sins.” Matthew 1:21

The Story of Christmas is more than merely retelling the advent of a babe in Bethlehem. It is one of the seminal events in human history.

That babe in Bethlehem, born in a lowly manger, was Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and the Son of God—our Redeemer.

Jesus Christ suffered and was crucified for the sins of the world, giving each of God’s children the gift of repentance and forgiveness. Only through His mercy and grace can we be saved. His subsequent resurrection prepared the way for every person to overcome physical death as well. These events are called the Atonement. In short, Jesus Christ saves us from sin and death. For that, he is very literally our Savior and Redeemer.

sorrow 1

Image by Isabel Matos from Mercy Hospital Chapel, Miami, FL

This season, we invite you to read the Christmas story anew with your family and friends. Look for the hope and   meaning it can bring to your life. We join with the angels of old as they announced the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, to the shepherds:

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

Although I am Roman Catholic, we are all Christians and celebrate in unisson the day of the birth of Our Saviour, Jesus Christ, Light of the World.   So many of us get caught up in the commercial aspect of it that we forget it’s about The Gift God gave us, and BEING like God’s Gift to others.

Christmas is a festival of the heart above all for me.  God’s Heart was so Pure and Unconditionally Loving, that He manifested Himself through His son, Jesus, for us, to save and bring us Hope. That is why I love this day so much.  This year in particular I will cherish the moments with my loved ones.

Happy Birthday to Our Lord, JESUS, and Merry Christmas to my readers, editor and fellow writers at “The Speech A Time for Choosing”.  It was a great year. Best wishes for a Happy 2014.


All nativity scenes are depicted by Latter Day Saint Artists. You may find the entire article here:  http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865569137/Nativity-scenes-depicted-by-LDS-artists.html.

The Festival of Nativities takes place in Washington state. Their page: https://www.facebook.com/FestivalofNativities


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Jesus: A GPS for a Lost World

by Whitney Pitcher
Yesterday I read an article at CNET, excerpted below, that noted some churches were putting GPS devices in the “baby Jesus-es” they use in their nativity scenes to help find him if he was stolen:

It’s Christmas.

The time of year when we all love our fellow human a little more. The time of year when we consider the spiritual aspects of our lives (or their lack).

And the time of year when people steal baby Jesus figurines from nativity scenes in churches.

As MyFoxDC reports, a security company has leaped to the rescue of churches frustrated that their Jesus, Mary, or Joseph are taken by the unscrupulous.

Brickhouse Security is giving free GPS trackers to all qualifying churches in order to prevent such an unholy occurrence.

My initial thought was that this was just another means of defense churches and Christians are using in the proverbial “war on Christmas”, and in some ways it is. But, I think it provides another message for us as well. These churches are placing GPS devices in “Jesus” so that in case He gets stolen or lost, He can be found. It is almost the opposite message Christ brought to earth. In reality, Jesus will never be the one lost, but we are. He is the one who finds us, when we earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

The world will celebrate the birth of Jesus on Wednesday. We don’t know the exact date Jesus was born, although it likely was not December 25th. We do know, however, why He came–divine, yet choosing humanity– to seek and save those who are lost (Luke 19:10). Churches are now resorting to technology to “find Jesus” if he is lost, but the truth is that He always had a GPS purpose to fulfill, not because He gets lost, but because He came to save us who are lost.

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Notable Reviews of Palin’s “Good Tidings and Great Joy”


Gov. Palin’s “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas” has been well received as is evidenced by the number of people who have been willing to stand in line for hours in order to spend thirty seconds or so shaking her hand and having their book signed.  You can view some of my blog entries about the book tour crowds here, here, here, and here.

Over the last few days there have been several notable book reviews that I would like to bring to your attention.  The first is from Peter Schweizer who is known for his work in exposing crony capitalism via his books “Throw Them All Out” and “Extortion: How Politicians Extract Your Money, Buy Votes, and Line Their Own Pockets

From Breitbart:

‘Good Tidings and Great Joy’: Sarah and Todd Palin’s Christmas Gift Guide

Think all there is to say about the War on Christmas has already been said?

Think again.

With her trademark fearlessness and verve, Governor Sarah Palin’s new book, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmasoffers readers an impassioned, informative, and unapologetic defense of the sacredness of the season.

“If I’m for Christmas, it’s only because I’m for Christ,” writes Gov. Palin. “There is no ultimate peace apart from Christ, and it is Christ who empowers every act of ‘goodwill toward men’ in our otherwise fallen hearts.”

The book’s blending of personal experience with discussions of political efforts to morph Christmas into a homogenized celebration of the “holidays” makes for a brisk and enjoyable read. Even as we learn that Todd Palin gives the Governor what she considers the coolest of Christmas gifts—such as a .30-06 rifle, hockey skates, and a “beautiful red manual ice auger for ice fishing”—Palin packs powerful punches.

“There are few things that anger a secular liberal atheist more than a horizontal plank intersecting a vertical plank—a cross—on public land,” writes Palin. “Perhaps Christmas causes so much anger because the very name of the holiday broadcasts the Name above all Names.”

Political junkies will also enjoy the insider gems Palin sprinkles throughout the pages. In one instance, Palin recounts an interaction with Fox News Network President Roger Ailes wherein the media guru asked the Governor, “What the h-ll is so offensive about putting up a plastic Jewish family on my lawn at Christmastime?”  More


Gov.  Palin shared a link to this podcast review by Randy Bohlender. It’s less than 5 minutes and definitely worth a listen. In it Mr. Bohlender says:

“Thank you Gov. Palin for taking time out of your busy schedule to write about things that really matter.”


Lastly, Joel Pollack tweeted his review of “Good Tidings and Great Joy” complete with a Vine video.



Have you written your review of “Good Tidings and Great Joy” yet?  If not, why don’t you hop on over to Amazon or Barnes and Noble and do so today!

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A Simple Gesture of Christmas Activism at Cracker Barrel (Update)

~It’s Merry Christmas, Cracker Barrel!~


UPDATE 12/23/13.  I wrote an article two weeks ago about the lack of Christmas cheer and merchandise at Cracker Barrel because of the fear of “offending” some customers. I was going to wait until next year to see if they had made any changes, but just recently their political correctness emerged in the news. Their p.c. was exposed when they pulled Duck Dynasty items from their store to “not offend” some customers (same story I got.) They were caught doing so in the midst of the A & E firestorm over the firing of the show’s star, Phil Robertson, for expressing his views on homosexuality as written in the Bible.  Todd Starnes had a field day with it. Here are three statements he made:


“Cracker Barrel seems to be under the mistaken impression that they hold a monopoly on buttermilk biscuits, rocking chairs and intelligence peg board games. They are sadly mistaken.”


“Cracker Barrel said it pulled some Duck Dynasty merchandise from its stores over concerns it might offend guests, a move that infuriated thousands of customers and confused many others.

‘We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation,’ Cracker Barrel said in a statement posted on its Facebook page. Who’s offended? Which specific products were removed?


‘Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture. We continue to offer Duck Commander products in our stores. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation. We continually evaluate the products we offer and will continue to do so.”

The statement led to confusion among some customers who wondered if the restaurant was removing Duck Dynasty products owned by A&E or products owned by the Robertson family’s Duck Commander business.

Cracker Barrel should heed my warning — they don’t hold a monopoly on buttermilk biscuits and rocking chairs.”



“I need some culinary advice! I tried making homemade buttermilk biscuits. I used self-rising flour, butter, and buttermilk. They were tasty – but the biscuits were not fluffy and didn’t rise much. Any advice?”

Cracker Barrel finally decided to restock Christmas items at their story, and Todd Starnes says we’re at war.. a cultural war. This is far from over. I agree.

Eric Bolling spoke out against the move by A & E and provided this interesting tidbit on Cracker Barrel’s management history this year:

“Inside scoop: Dan Evins (founder of CrackerBarrel) was one of the most conservative, God fearing, bitter clingers (like me) I have ever met. He passed in January. He would have never let CB pull DuckDynasty merchandise. Someone in the management group made a mistake. They fixed their error. We give so many people/groups a second chance.. TheAmericanWay.. Cut Cracker Barrel some slack..”


I don’t know if I want to cut Cracker Barrel some slack, but we now we have a partial and possible explanation as to why Christmas was being phased out of the store this year, too.  Here are some pictures I took on Sunday with. I looked for the words “Merry Christmas”. I mostly found signs saying Christmas gifts for sale, or something fleeting like a name on a box.




There was a handful as you can see. “Christmas merchandise” prevailed.  The sign on the way out hanging on the door was new. It was not there the first time I went.


These are pictures I took at the Cracker Barrel in Florida City, just off of US1 at the end of the Turnpike:



This was my article of 12/10/2013.                               

~ Merry Christmas ~

thomas and gina

Image of Sarah Palin supporters celebrating Christmas in California.

By Isabel  Matos

I finished Sarah’s book, Good Tidings and Great Joy, this weekend. It was a fast and pleasant read. I cannot recommend it enough. I’m not here to preach about or give a review of the book. There are a few out there already, and I loved it so much it would take until Christmas day to cite all of my favorite passages.  I just wanted to share my thoughts and what the book did for me after I read it.

I went to Cracker Barrel for dinner on Saturday night.  I thought they’d have some Christmas displays or whatnots to distract myself with before dining. They have the cutest doilies, crafts, quilts and “American” items I can enjoy, since I’m from South Florida. I wouldn’t live anywhere else (I love it here!), but America is a long way from here. (Those of you who been here or close-by know what I mean.) I just love browsing through their stuff even if I don’t buy anything.

As I grabbed the handle to swing the door open, a small wood sing hung with wire clacked against it. It read:

We will be closed Tuesday, December 10th, for a Holiday staff party.

Anyway, I was greeted by a friendly associate. I did not plan on it, but just out of curiosity I asked for anything with the words MERRY CHRISTMAS on it.. As I did, I looked all around me for T-shirts, signs, aprons, anything with the two little words.  Nothing.  I turned to her and just gave quick stare with a bit of a sarcastic frown (or smile), whichever way you may interpret it.

She was very understanding and said, “Sorry, there is nothing at all.”  She shook her head a few times as she looked all around, too, and nervously sighed. I felt comfortable enough by then to say that it was disappointing and that I was surprised, when I said, “It’s about .. you know, Jesus’s birthday.”  She nodded in agreement with me and smiled, but repeated, “No, we have nothing, sorry.”  And that awkward silence followed.  I thanked her and smiled, too.

As I was waiting to be seated, I asked the hostess if the manager was around that night. She said yes, he was; so I decided I would ask him AFTER dinner why there were no Christmas items in the store.  She was a little aloof and there was no point in bothering her with more questions. I was just there to enjoy the meal, not have my dinner spoiled. (I’ve heard those horror stories about vindictive servers doing things to food for ornery customers and didn’t want to be a victim.)

After dinner (which was great) I asked for the manager. He was very tall and big, but friendly.  I smiled and said rather softly, “I’m not here to preach, just to share my thoughts and concerns about the store not having anything with the words ‘Merry Christmas’ on them. Even the tree in the middle of the dining room has big round flat round wooden red and green ornaments all over it with the words ‘Happy Holidays’ engraved on each one.” I asked, “Really, all its ornaments?” I continued.. “Did they have to rub it in by putting them all over the tree and remind us that Christ was not invited to his own party here?”

As we spoke a customer was walking out with a box. It had a ceramic “Christmas tree” label on the outside and it was about two feet tall inside I guessed. I pointed it out and continued, “Why is there just that one item? Your associate said there was nothing in the store.”

He listened respectfully. I reassured him I loved eating there and dug their gift shop. That is when he nodded and answered, “The policy is to NOT OFFEND anyone.” (Okay, those were red flag words, and I saw him roll his eyes as he said them, as if he wanted me to know about his own resentment of the silly policy.)

I was encouraged by this and immediately asked, “What about the person who sacrificed His life for all this? Shouldn’t He be offended? Or those of us who worship Him? I’m offended. What about those who gave up their freedom and sacrificed their lives, too, so we could express ourselves at this time. THEY should be offended.”  It was not time to stop while I was ahead.  Not yet.  I made sure he knew again how much I loved the food there and the store.. but expressed my dissatisfaction again:

“C’mon. No Christmas anywhere at all? in the whole store?”

He was as polite as can be.. so I asked if there was a board of decision-makers who made these calls. He wiped his brow (he was sweating a little – he was a big guy and a bit out of breath) and said, “Yes. There is one and you have my word I will let them know what you said.” He smiled again in agreement, just like the associate, and with that, I thanked him and left. That’s all I wanted, was to let them know someone noticed.

This is the Country Barrel in the last exit of the Florida Turnpike, my backyard, just before you go on the highway (US1) that takes you to Key West, the southernmost tip of the United States of America.  It’s very easy to find, and I will check back with them next year to see if anything is done. Maybe they will follow the examples of the GAP or Wal-Mart.

God bless you, Palinistas. Don’t just fight on, do so with love in your heart. Even if it stings. That’s how we get things done. This didn’t sting, but it hurt a little after I left knowing that the whole world is celebrating what Todd told Sarah about her birthday being just like any other day, a holiday. It isn’t. It’s Christmas.

Ah, I almost forgot to mention why I posted the picture above which seems unrepresentative (but is not unrelated) to my story at Cracker Barrel.  After I got back that night to check in to my accounts on Twitter and Facebook, (just to browse because I was not in the mood for politicking that night), I found a post by Gina Gentry Loudon: “Going to a secret location for a Christmas party.” How intriguing. (She always is.)  Then the picture appeared on my feed from, you guessed it, Thomas Schmitz of AGU who was at the same location with her. Bingo. How wonderful!  He had already posted Merry Christmas several hours earlier and I was tickled pink to have guessed who the mystery guest next to her was, so I wrote it on his wall.  I hope he didn’t mind my mentioning it here to emphasize that we may not be able to know for sure who has read Sarah’s book, but we can be sure who hasn’t!  Scrooges, that’s who!  Anyone who has not mentioned “Merry Christmas” yet, or smiled or cheered or shared a little love and good will.  (I loved the hot pink tree in particular. It was festive and shiny.)

Thanks to Sarah Palin we can all do simple acts of activism like the two(from cost to coast) above, showing our love for Christ’s birth. Sarah did an admirable thing by writing her book and spreading the message the way it should be spread.  (She has always been the right messenger with the right message for me no matter what she does.) And as her book rightly points out, the really brave act was by Jesus Himself who came to serve us with complete humility, and to save us. It is in His Name and Spirit that we should proudly and openly celebrate his day. She emphasizes throughout her book that Jesus was a Jew and that his family, which is at the  center of the debate of  nativity displays, was also Jewish. She does so because she embraces Judeo-Christian values we all share and should defend.

Let’s make the book number one, then, is all I have to say.  This is my backyard and “small” town, Florida City, at dusk.


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Palin takes Book Tour to Roanoke and Duck Dynasty Country


The “Good Tidings and Great Joy” book tour took Gov. Palin to Roanoke, VA this morning and to Monroe, LA this evening for a little southern hospitality with the Duck Dynasty family.

It seems that Gov. Palin was having some fun with her Facebook page today posting a photo of someone dressed up as Santa Claus, She posted additional photos of “Between events travel” and book tour photographer Shealah Craighead.

Gov. Palin also gave a special shout-out to those that attended the signing in Roanoke.  Via Facebook she wrote:

Yes, Virginia! There is a Santa Claus! At least it felt that way this morning in Roanoke, Virginia! The Christmas season’s festive kindness was out in force during the “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas” book tour event! Thanks so much to everyone who joined us and to the Barnes & Noble staff! Merry Christmas to you all!

P.S. In this photo, I’m signing an Iron Dog hoodie from Alaska that a great supporter wore to the Virginia book signing. Todd’s gearing up for his 21st Iron Dog, and that’s why he’s not on this leg of tour.

Photo by Shealah Craighead

Gov. Palin also posted a photo gallery consisting of 13 pictures from her time in Roanoke.  Looks like someone presented her with some tasty treats!


Photo by Shealah Craighead

Later in the day Gov. Palin was welcomed to Monroe, LA by the Robertson family of Duck Dynasty.

“Happy, happy, happy!” Thanks to the Robertson family and the Duck Commander team for welcoming us to West Monroe, LA! #GoodTidingsAndGreatJoy


Photo by Shealah Craighead

Should any additional remarks or photos on the Monroe signing become available I’ll update this blog entry.

At this point in time there are no other dates that have been announced for the “Good Tidings and Great Joy” book tour.

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Palin at the Billy Graham Library and Samaritan’s Purse


Photo by Shealah Craighead


Gov. Sarah Palin’s “Good Tidings and Great Joy” book tour took her to Charlotte, NC today where she was greeted by hundreds at the Billy Graham Library.  Palin had the following to say to the fine people of Charlotte:

A big thank you to everyone who joined us today for a very festive “Good Tidings and Great Joy” book event at the Billy Graham Library. It was great to see our old friend Charlie from the ’08 campaign trail. He’s growing up into such a beautiful young man. I’d especially like to thank Franklin and Jane Graham and all the staff and volunteers at the Billy Graham Library. If you’ve never had a chance to visit the library, I really encourage you to take time and do so. It’s a beautiful place dedicated to telling the story of Billy Graham’s amazing life and continuing his work to bring the Christian message of love and hope to the ends of the earth. Next up, we get to visit with volunteers at Samaritan’s Purse and then it’s on to Roanoke, Virginia, and Monroe, Louisiana, tomorrow!

P.S. I had a great time chatting with Bill O’Reilly last night about “Good Tidings and Great Joy.” I had forgotten I wore the same shirt this morning that I did on Fox last night… that is until every other person at the library today mentioned they enjoyed the O’Reilly interview and thought it was cool I was wearing the same clothes! I laughed and explained that this is what happens when you’re living out of a suitcase on the road meeting all these great people!

You can watch the interview here:

Part 1: http://video.foxnews.com/v/2898490731001/can-the-gop-capitalize-on-obamas-falling-popularity-/
Part 2: http://video.foxnews.com/v/2898438936001/fighting-the-war-on-christmas/


Gov. Palin also posted a gallery of 14 great photographs here.  My favorite is definitely this image where she is writing an excuse note for a school-aged child.


Photo by Shealah Craighead


The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association published this article  on Palin’s visit.  Note the photo at the end of the article with what seems like a never-ending line of people waiting for a signature.

With the backdrop of a sunny sky and an unseasonably warm temperature, hundreds lined the sidewalk on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library, waiting to meet Sarah Palin, former governor of Alaska and 2008 vice presidential nominee.

Palin visited the Billy Graham Library for a tour and a signing of her recent book release, Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas.

“I certainly recognize there is a war on Christmas that’s being waged—it seems—in our culture right now,” she said. “The true meaning of Christmas, of course, is Christ’s birth. I wanted to write this so that people realize that they can proudly and boldly proclaim the true meaning of Christmas.”

In 2010, Palin and some of her family members travel to Haiti, where they visited a Samaritan’s Purse cholera clinic and help distribute Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes. In 2009, Palin visited Billy and Franklin Graham at Mr. Graham’s Montreat home in the North Carolina mountains.

Today, she finally had the chance to visit the place the bears the name of one of her spiritual heroes.

“Billy Graham changed the world because he has allowed Christ to shine right through him. People would listen to him and could receive his message,” said Palin, who attended Mr. Graham’s 95th birthday party last month in Asheville, N.C. “He so capitalized—in a good way—on the favor that God gave him to do the Lord’s will and to do the Lord’s work.”

“I am happy to be here at the Billy Graham Library today. I had no idea it was this amazing. It reflects the fact that it was not about Billy Graham. His ministry is truly about the Gospel, and this facility reflects that.”  More


Gov. Palin also visited with volunteers of Operation Christmas Child and expressed appreciation via her Facebook page for their dedication.


Photo by Shealah Craighead


Today we had the honor of meeting Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child volunteers at the processing center in Charlotte, NC. I was blown away with the energy and joy there!

My family was blessed a few years ago to participate in this mission in Haiti with Rev. Franklin Graham, Greta Van Susteren and her husband John Coale. It was heartwarming to see children’s faces light up when given a Christmas gift box packed with love! It’s a tangible way to show kids they matter and they’re loved.

Operation Christmas Child relies on volunteers; and today we met many of these hard workers who make the program possible. There are about 75,000 volunteers serving in a three-week timeframe at processing centers across the nation. That’s more than 395,000 volunteer hours! The Charlotte processing center alone has 28,000 selfless workers packing more than 2 million gift boxes. This year’s collection goal is 7.2 million gift boxes domestically and 9.8 million worldwide. Without these volunteers none of it would be possible! Their great efforts ensure gift boxes reach children all over the world, and more importantly, they send the love of Christ, reminding all that Jesus is the reason for the season. It’s the true Christmas spirit in action!

Here’s more on Samaritan’s Purse:


There’s an additional 13 photos on Palin’s Facebook page chronicling her visit with the Samaritan’s Purse volunteers.

The Charlotte Observer also published a photo gallery of Gov. Palin’s visit with the volunteers here.

Palin’s book tour will take her to both Roanoke, VA and Monroe, LA tomorrow, December 7th.

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Palin Talks Republicans, Bashir & Christmas with Bill O’Reilly

Gov. Sarah Palin appeared with Bill O’Reilly last night at which time they covered a range of topics including Republicans, the TEA Party, Palin’s feistiness, Martin Bashir’s vile personal attack and Palin’s newest book “Good Tidings and Great Joy”.  In my opinion, Palin’s finest moment was her answer to O’Reilly’s line of questions on the Bashir incident.  (Starts at 4:00 mark.)

” I would have never allowed a corporate culture to have such low standards that that kind of vile talk was accepted.”  (Palin on Bashir, former MSNBC host.)

h/t iizthatiiz


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Palin on FOX and Friends 12/5/13

Gov. Sarah Palin took her place on the curvy couch during this morning’s Fox and Friends.  Palin discussed her new book, “Good Tidings and Great Joy” as well as recent derogatory comments by MSNBC host Martin Bashir, his subsequent apology and resignation.

h/t sarahnettoo

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Palin: “Put your life in God’s hands” -Liberty University Roundup

Liberty1_13_1204Photo by Shealah Craighead

Gov. Sarah Palin kicked off the second leg of her “Good Tidings and Great Joy” book tour by going to Liberty University and speaking at their final Convocation for 2013.  Palin’s time on stage was an informal Q&A session with President Jerry Falwell, Jr. which included questions submitted by students. Gov. Palin, via her Facebook page, had the following to say about her visit there today:

It was such an honor to participate this morning in Liberty University’s final Convocation for 2013! A big thank you to the students and faculty and especially to President Falwell for the kind invitation. As I mentioned this morning, places like Liberty University inspire me. This young university is educating a whole new generation of American leaders who understand the positive effect our Christian heritage has had not only in our personal lives, but also in the life of our nation.

It was awesome meeting the students after the Convocation. Congratulations to everyone graduating this month. And best of luck to everyone else on their final exams!

P.S. I enjoyed the tour of your beautiful Snowflex Centre. It’s not quite like the snow in Alaska, but pretty darn close!

Gov. Palin also posted a gallery of 14 photos of her Liberty University appearance.  Looks like it was a packed house!

Photo by Shealah Craighead

Liberty University posted their account of Gov. Palin’s visit:

In the last Convocation of the fall semester on Wednesday, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told Liberty University: “I have your back, because I know you have my back.”

In a sit-down, conversational interview on stage with President Jerry Falwell, Jr. and Vice President for Communications Johnnie Moore, Palin talked about her motivation to keep standing for “time-tested truths” — the same truths Liberty upholds — when she is attacked by the mainstream media for her conservative views.

“This is what inspires me — you,” she told the arena of more than 10,000 students. “ … What inspires me and allows me to keep going and standing strong is being in a place like this.”

Palin, the first woman and youngest person to be elected governor of Alaska and the country’s first female Republican vice presidential candidate, has visited campus before, but this was the first time she has appeared at a Liberty event.


Photo from LU website

She said she was amazed at the campus transformation that has taken place since she was here a few years ago.

“You guys are doing an awesome job; it’s amazing, the infrastructure, additions to the amenities, what a wonderful force for good in this part of the nation and for the world,” Palin said.

Coming off a 15-city tour for her new best-seller, “Good Tidings and Great Joy: Protecting the Heart of Christmas,” she talked about the larger message that the Christmas story brings today.

“My book is about protecting the heart of Christmas, which is really about protecting the heart of America,” she said. “Because the message of Christmas is the message of hope and change, not the stuff you hear coming out of Washington. … It’s the Judeo-Christian faith that provided all the foundation in our charters of liberty, our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence. It was a faith–filled people who understood how blessed our land was and the opportunities we have, our wonderful work ethic, all the things that have made America so exceptional.”

She said the tour is about more than a book; it is about restoring our nation’s principles.

“That’s why I appreciate Liberty University,” she said. “You will be a force for good, understanding the importance of Christian faith and a Christian education. You are the future leaders of this country.”

Students submitted their own questions for Palin, which ranged from who her biggest inspiration is (her youngest son, Trig, who has Down syndrome and has taught her “the world’s standards of perfection are not God’s standards of perfection”) to her family’s favorite Christmas memories (eating moose chili and traveling “over the river and through the woods” by snow machines).

She left students with a lesson she’s learned as a leader:

“Fear not. Again, it’s that message of Christmas; remember the angel came to Mary in a situation with less than ideal circumstances … and that message needs to be received by each one of you here today as you get out there in a pretty rough and tumble world. You’re going to be inundated in the workplace with cultural and societal pressures trying to beat you down … remember that message from that angel. … The greater message was that everybody is made so uniquely, with certain gifts and talents and passions and interests for a reason, to get out there and do good for the world. …  When it comes to families, when it comes to jobs, please remember that you do have purpose and you do have destiny — God don’t make no junk. … Success is letting Him shine through you so that others will be attracted to that light — the eternal destiny is really what matters.”

Looking back at where God has taken her, Palin still calls her rise to a position of leadership “bizarre,” but credits it as God’s work.

“Put your life in God’s hands — you never know where you’re going to end up.”

Once Liberty University uploads the video of today’s event I will update this blog entry.


h/t Liberty University

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A John Force Christmas Story

By Gary P Jackson

John Force is the winningest drag racer in history. John Force Racing has 17 NHRA Full Throttle world championships.15 by John himself, and one each by hired guns Tony Pedregon, and son-in-law Robert Hight. All in Funny Car.

Three of John’s daughters also race. Ashley Force-Hood is the first female in history to win in Funny Car, and a three time Indy winner, including back to back in 2009 and 2010. His youngest daughter Courtney will debut in Funny Car in 2012, after a year of training and testing. Middle sister Brittany will start training in Top Fuel. All three girls have raced in the Top Alcohol Dragster class.

John is a self-made man. He grew up poor, suffered from polio as a kid, and his early days as a professional racer were anything but a success. John was able to work hard and went from living hand to mouth, to being one of the most successful businessmen in all of motorsports. And he did it by not only being a great driver, but having a solid work ethic. As he would put it, he’s an old truck driver who made good!

To fans he’s a real working man’s hero.

Back in 2002 NHRA.com’s Rob Geiger wrote the quintessential John Force story. Here he asks Force to tell the story of his best Christmas. Not only does it go along way toward explaining John’s work ethic and drive to succeed, it really shows us all what Christmas is all about.

This is a classic and I thought it would be nice to share with our readers. It really does remind us what is important, not only at Christmas time, but all the time.


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