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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

44th President of the United States


My fellow citizens:

I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often, the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our forebearers, and true to our founding documents.

So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.

These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land -- a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many. They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America: They will be met.

On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn-out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics.

We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of shortcuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the fainthearted -- for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things -- some celebrated, but more often men and women obscure in their labor -- who have carried us up the long, rugged path toward prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn.

Time and again, these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions -- that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act -- not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions -- who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them -- that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works -- whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account -- to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day -- because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control -- and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart -- not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: Know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.

Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort -- even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus -- and nonbelievers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West: Know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages. We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment -- a moment that will define a generation -- it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends -- hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism -- these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility -- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation and the world; duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.

This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence -- the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed -- why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent Mall, and why a man whose father less than 60 years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world ... that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive... that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested, we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back, nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Madame Suzy Says.....

My dear friend Suzy truly is a very cool woman. We met online (same way I have met many wonderful women and my Bestie, also) in a mommy-centered community while we were all expecting our January 2005 babies. Suzy lived in a country very dear to my heart, as it is part of my family make-up..... Ireland. I have a box on my blog for her, supporting her walk through breast cancer.

As if being a mom of 2, working outside the home, and fighting to cast out cancer was not enough for her, she also runs a blog where she does palm readings every Friday! This Friday was my week..... here's what my hands say about me. Thanks Suzy!!!!!!!!!!!!

Usual disclaimer- this is just for fun. I am not an expert by any means and it’s for entertainment purposes only. Please respect this!

As usual, I am trying hard not to let my preconceptions of you enter into this Kristi!

What your hands say about you-

  • You have great confidence, are a very outgoing person and can readily communicate with others.
  • You’re not hell bent on being independent, and like the security of being in a long term relationship.
  • Energetic, ambitious and practical, you’re sought after in the workplace because you are the kind of person who always gets the job done. You are very much a “do-er” and don’t like to hang about once you decide to do something.
  • You like to get your own way and can sometimes be a little bit stubborn!
  • As a teenager, you could be rather headstrong, and you perceived that your parents tried to control your life too much. You don’t think that any more and welcome the influence they have in your life!
  • You’re very adaptable to change and have a realistic and balanced view on your life.
  • You can be hotheaded and very emotional at times. Sometimes you need to take a step back and breathe before reacting, but you find this hard to do.
  • You’re pretty open minded, and try to take people as you find them.
  • Mentally you’re quite tough and can recover from situations even if they’ve cost you a lot emotionally.

What your future may (or may not) hold-

  • Your hand shows a romance very early in life which meant a lot to you, but that person was never going to be “the one”.
  • There is one main marriage line, and three clear child lines.
  • I am nearly sure there is a fourth child line!
  • I am hesitant to say this because I don’t want to upset you, but from two different areas on your hand I think you will outlive your long term partner.
  • Your general health will remain good all your adult life.
  • Your middle years are full of responsibility. You actually thrive on this and find those years very fulfilling.
  • You will do a lot of travelling, but this will mainly be in your later years. One trip will be life changing.
  • You will have a very big decision to make in your later middle years. It’s something you’re going to spend a lot of time considering. You will come to the right decision though, and this results in a peaceful old age with few stresses.
  • Your marriage is very strong and happy. Your partner is extremely protective of you, and you love this!
  • You work hard- but you’ll earn extremely well as a result and thrive in this environment. Your strong business head will get you through some tough times.
  • Your money will come from your own enterprises. You will have an extremely successful business in your own right. Your business
    enterprises centre around creative and artistic areas rather than in something like engineering or accounting. (Disclaimer- I know this might seem presumptuous on my part because Kristi DOES have her own business, but seriously it is right there on her hand!)
  • You’ll earn enough to be able to take early retirement and see the world. And see the world you shall!

Thanks so much for taking part, Kristi! I hope you enjoyed your reading! Please let me know what you think and how accurate you feel it is!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Our last week

Our last week is coming to a close. Last week under our current President, that is. Hopefully this is the last of the downslope of many things- financial struggles, general life hardships, foreclosures and bankruptcy, consumer insecurity, declining healthcare programs, stagnant education systems, closing businesses..... and the list goes on.

I struggle to remember a positive point over the last 8 years of leadership that didn't turn out to be a farse, but I am sure my search for positive leadership points is soon to end- as it will be blatently obvious before my eyes. Obama.

I read an article on Yahoo today that reminded me, yet again, why I love Obama so much. I truly and seriously feel like this man is looking out for the best interest of ME and MY FAMILY. I feel a personal, direct connection to this person, like he stands up and says "MommaV, WE can do it!", yet I have never met him face to face.

This article is a reminder to me that he is, aside from being a President, a father that fiercly loves his daughters. The desire he has for his daughters to achieve success and be given equal opportunities is the same desire parents accross the country have for their own children, including me. His focus on the well-being of humanity is clear, and his involvement in making his desires a reality is obvious.

SO needless to say, I am extremely excited to watch the ceremonies on Tuesday, and will be in prayer that the athiest groups in California do not win the "SO HELP ME GOD" battle!

Although, Dubyah did give us some comedy, aiding in the decline of our reputation as a country... and that I will miss!

My BabyGirl Turned 4

Yesterday my sweet princess turned 4..... Thank you BabyGirl for making me a mom.

(better pics of the birthday girl to come!)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Is it too early....

to make change of address cards??

Hehehe, so we got approved! I spent the weekend attempting to not stress or harp on the outcome of the application.

I got a call early Monday (I was expecting Tuesday, so that was a relief) and the rep from the property management company told me he was processing my application and everything looked great. (Yeah, if you don't look at our CREDIT!) He said he just spoke to the owner of the home and she had 2 questions. First, do we have pets. Since I already read the limitations on pets through the property management company's website, I knew I couldn't bring my Chico with us. So I told him yes, but he will not be coming with us. (that's another story). Second, can we move in earlier. She was looking to have someone in mid-January to have some income for the month to cover some expenses she fronted. I was hesitant, but once he told me there was another applicant after me that wanted it in January, I told him yes, as I didn't want to loose the house!

He called the home owner and called me back about 20 minutes later. Said she only needed about $180 to cover her expenses, so if we moved in on the 27th, that would cover the income she needed! The house was ours! I don't think I have been THAT happy in quite some time! We arranged a time to go up and sign the lease, and spoke funds. We need half the security deposit ($550) on January 14, $1700 for rent and move in expenses on the 27th, and the other half of the deposit mid-February. Difficult, but doable. I know God will provide a source of income for us, and allow this to happen. I had budgeted to have the 30th paycheck for the move-in, but I am going to have faith it will all work out!

I am ecstatic. I have started thinking of where things will go in the house, started starving for that 40mile less commute everyday, and started feeling the relief and change the future has for us!

As for my sweet dog, he is up for adoption. Being a pit bull, it was a shot in the dark to find a rental that allowed his breed. Seriously, it is discrimination. It's like saying all middle eastern originated people are terrorists. Sure, there are a few bad eggs, as there are bad white, black, Hispanic, Asian, Indian, Russian, Australian, etc people out there. He is a good dog. Loving, sweet, protective, loyal, active adult dog. The good thing is we have 3 possible scenarios for him already, all people we know. The bad thing is nothing is official yet, and my sweet BabyGirl is SO upset we cannot bring him with us. But, again, he is one of Gods creations, and will help us to find a loving home for him!

Friday, January 2, 2009

A picture year in review- 2008



One quick bite before mom takes it away!




Silly Face!

I can do it!






Thursday, January 1, 2009

Already? Really?

I woke up after a terrible night of bad dreams and anxiety. I am contributing it to the end of 2008, and not the beginning of 2009.

I am going to knock on wood, or the space bar in hopes that today's good day was not coincidental. It is hard for me to think back to the last day we felt this at peace, so I am feeling confident this may last!

We found a home! Correction, we found TWO homes. The first one- we will call it Power- we viewed today was so nice. A bit further SE than we had been ideally looking for, and a bit higher rent we were aiming for, but it was super nice! 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, 2152ft, loft, $1225 per month. As we were talking with our real estate agent about the next couple houses we were going to see, she got pretty candid with us about a home we wanted to look at- we will call that one Spectrum- one I absolutely thought was put on the market late the 30th (the night we found out that other 'perfect' home was no longer available). She told us all the expenses it cost her to run her business. The percentages to this company and that, the fees for insurance and memberships, etc. On rentals, she makes either a percentage of the years lease term, or a flat fee upon occupancy. A normal feel is $200-300, but $200 is minimum to cover all fees and make a tiny bit of cash. WELL, she was hesitant on the Spectrum home, as the realtor commission was only $130- which would end up in her having to pay! SERIOUSLY! We convinced her to go ahead and show it to us anyways.

We went to 2 other homes first, both duds. Then proceeded to the Spectrum home. Neighborhood, perfect. Exterior, perfect. Inside, perfect. This home was amazing. Didn't even look lived in! All aspects of the house were just amazing, and great for us! 4 beds, 2.5 baths, 1753ft, and only $1095/mo!!!! Hubby and I agreed this was the home we wanted. We told our real estate lady we would pay her $170 in additional commissions, off the record. That would give her some extra cash for the rental, and with the savings in rent from the Power house, that would be worth the extra expense! I will be filling out the rental application tomorrow and praying like MADNESS we get approved. Our history may look bad on our credit, but our future looks amazing. The structure we have put our budget into is truly a blessing from God. All of our debt is back in a debt management company- one flat payment for it all, and it will be gone in 4.5 years making their minimum payment.

We got home and took down Christmas in the house. Our house here is feeling less and less like our 'home'. We have truly started to detach ourself from it, which I think will make it easier to go. I was able to gather all of my 2008 deductions for my taxes, with the exception of medical statements.

Today was a good day. We feel good. We feel at peace. Once we can get our broke checking account in check, no pun intended, everything in life will be calm. In 19 days, we get a ray of sunshine, Obama takes office. My BabyGirl turns 4 in less than 2 weeks, and her growing up warms my heart.

I am hoping this is a start to something beautiful.