From the Ranch

From the Ranch

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

What to Do With Existing Leadership

This article is so well written, extremely on point in my opinion, and key to turning the tide in today's military ethics.  For me the question is, "is there presently enough senior leadership at the top whom are possessed with the needed level of integrity to carry out this  plan?",%20AFJ,%20Nov%202012%29.pdf

For the sake of the young student who wrote this description of patriotism at a military school in Germany, I hope there are.

What true legacy for our children will we leave?

Commerating the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women

Office of the Spokesman
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                         November 27, 2012


The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad Commemorates the
International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


            The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad hosted a roundtable discussion with a group of Iraqi government and civil society leaders on November 26 on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. Around the world, violence against women and girls continues to be a serious problem, and women’s rights activists remain at risk from extremists who target female politicians, civil servants, and journalists.  The United States provides funding for civil society projects aimed at combating gender-based violence and promoting women’s advancement in Iraq and is committed to working with our Iraqi partners to help eradicate violence against women in Iraq, the region, and the world.

 The United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 54/134, in December 1999, proclaiming November 25, as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. When women and girls are accorded their rights and afforded equal opportunities in education, healthcare, employment, and political participation, they lift up their families, their communities, and their nations and act as agents of positive change.  Women’s education increases national income and improved health.  As Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently noted, “Investing in the potential of the world’s women and girls is one of the surest ways to achieve global economic progress, political stability, and greater prosperity for women – and men – the world over.”  When women thrive, all of society thrives.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Army Professional, As Defined By the Army

Revised Typology of Membership in the Army Profession

The six essential characteristics of the Army Profession are defined as:

1. Trust: with the American people

2. Trustworthiness: in all internal and institution-to-individual relationships, and externally to all mission partners

3. Military expertise: in the ethical design, generation, support and application of combat power

4. Esprit de Corps: uniting our members in a common bond that will prevail against all odds

5. Honorable Service: reflecting an institutional ethic grounded in the nation’s values and the Army’s duty to the Republic

6. Stewardship of the Profession: the Army self-polices all domains of its professional essence. Effective stewardship results in the Army being prepared for future conflicts with the right practices and expert knowledge.

This list of aspirations is taken  from the Annual Report, dated April 2, 2012 titled  "US Army Training and Doctrine Command."  

I think it is what leadership is shooting for...

Best Kids in the World, Families Serving in Germany



Monday, November 26, 2012

The Greatest Kids in the Whole World Award Goes To..

Vogelweh Elementary School

I had lunch today at Vogelweh Elementary School, and I have always loved children, especially military kids, but this school is just filled with the most outstanding I have ever seen!  So, Soldier's Heart Ranch presents to the students of Vogelweh Elementary the coveted, "Best Kids in the Whole World Award." 

 They are great in the artistic department!

Thousands of Afghan students protest against Israel over recent Gaza offensive - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

It is strange to me that some of the points these students are protesting are well documented as being false, such as those among American/Coalition Forces who commit crimes not being punished.  There are many instances documented where American Soldiers are in prison because of crimes committed in the Middle East.  The logic is so faulty, do they not really have access to the web?  Are some stories blocked somehow?  Do they not learn of those sent to prison when their crimes are discovered?  I fully believe in these Soldiers being punished, and as far as I can tell, it happens each time a crime is discovered.  How is it that the news does not reach these students?  Is it perhaps that they are relying on second hand spin of what goes on in the world?  This is an especially important question.

Thousands of Afghan students protest against Israel over recent Gaza offensive - Israel News | Haaretz Daily Newspaper

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Wonderful Thanksgiving in Vogelweh, Germany

We are having such a wonderful Thanksgiving in Germany!  My daughter, her Soldier, and my beautiful grand-daughters are all well and happy as a military family.  Our turkey and dressing, plus the long flight time leaves me full, and lounging contented and grateful for the wonderful life that is mine.  One of the best parts of the day for me was my grand-daughter Gabby's rendition of "You're a Grand Old Flag."  Also her teacher has taught the third grade class Gabby is in the Preamble to the Constitution.  These two little videos are great entertainment at the end of  a Thanksgiving celebration.

Of course you need a great rendition of  You're a Grand Old Flag to top off the gratitude I feel for being born in such a great country with all the personal liberties we enjoy.  She first sang this to me right after I was picked up from the airport and we were in the car on the way to the base.  It had been two and a half years since I had hugged her last, it was a very emotional moment for me.  A little tingle ran the length of my spine thinking of how much I love her, have missed her and the rest of her family, and what the cost of liberty really is.


Friday, November 23, 2012

Three Generations of Military Women Taking the Hill... or Heel as it May Be!

Found a $5.00 shoe sale in Germany!

Coolest place ever to shop in Kaiserslautern, Germany!

These nice ladies were so helpful!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

How To Love a Terrorist

Previously I wrote about how the primary directive from God calls upon us to love God with all our heart, our soul, our strength, and our mind, and our neighbor as ourselves.  In fact, we are created to do this only by our own choice.  That directive from God emphasizes that God does not need mere men to wage war on His behalf.  The truth is, if He wanted all non-believers dead, they would drop like rocks at His command.  He doesn't need armies for His holy will to prevail, and to me it seems an insult to God for individuals to take up violence in order to force others to love and serve God.  That appears to me to be the ego and pride of individuals controlling their own lives rather than submitting to God's direction.  The leadership of  movements which promote violence and force project the idea that THEY wish to be in charge, to wield power, to rule over others in order to satisfy their own desires, ego, and self pride.

One principle that I am certain of, none of us can control others completely.   You can imprison a man, beat and torture a man, burn his home, kill his family, murder a man, but you cannot control his mind.  God will not allow anyone to remove the stamp of our being that is created "in his image."  With enough torture you can force a man to say things he doesn't really believe, but you cannot control what he thinks and believes, in the secret place in his mind that holds his true self, that part that will exist somewhere forever, cannot be forced. 

Look at God's answer when he was asked by the man, "who is my neighbor."  He answered with a story of a man of one nation, whose nation historically hated  another nation, and the people of the hated nation hated them in return. 

The story He told said that a man from Samaria was on a trip, his journey had him on the road from Jerusalem to Jericho, a road so filled with danger at that time that is was known as the "Way of Blood."    On the side of the road he saw a man who had been robbed, beaten, and left naked  to die.  What God said next, he knew would shock everyone listening to his story in reply to the question "who is my neighbor."  It was shocking because he was from Samaria, and the man left to die was from a country with a long history of hating the nation of Samaria.  The people of the two countries were raised by their citizens hating one another.  God told of how a priest of the man's own country saw the injured man on the side of the road, and just passed on by.  Next a man who held a station in that day that was like our modern day  politicians passed by and he too ignored the man.  The rest of the story is best told in the original text I was read from my childhood on up.  "When he saw him, he was moved with compassion, came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine.  He set him on his own animal and bought him to an inn, and took care of him.  On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii and gave them to the host and said to him, "Take care of him.  Whatever you spend beyond that, I will repay you when I return."  Then God asks the question, "Now which of these three do you think seemed to be a neighbor to him who fell among the robbers?"  The man who had asked the question responded, "He who showed mercy on him."

I realize, I cannot impact nor influence the governments of this world.  I am a person of no importance to anyone other than my family and my friends.  The majority of us are in my same position.  I watch closely the governments of the world in interaction, and there are major differences between some of those governments.  The Coalition Forces are one of the only organizations with mufti-nation participation that I can see which has joined people from many lands in the common cause of standing against terrorism.  I think that is due to the very heart of God's reply to "who is my neighbor?" 
As I said, I have no power over how nations interact, most of us don't.  The man in this story only had control over only  his own response to the stranger on the road as well.  That suggests to me that our thinking toward one another, no matter  what nation we are from, should be controlled by our own response before God.  It also says to me that when others come suggesting violence as a response toward those whose theology is different than mine, they do not have as their motive service to God.

God tells us that He is not a "respecter of persons."   No title that you hold, no position, and no affiliation, impresses God.  Those who have titles given to them by other people that the rest of the world is impressed with do not have influence with God.  He is the only One truly possessing the power of determining standards and rules to live by.  His wisdom encompasses all, it isn't just wise opinion, it is what really is.  Which leads back to those two rules we are to live by everyday, not just the days when things are going well for us, and we are in the mood.   When we are in even the darkest of life, those two rules should be the anchor of our behavior and attitude.  In other words, measure every response of your life by God's directive to love him first, and next love our neighbor.

When the factions in the Middle East who murder and commit other acts of violence claim to do so at God's direction, they are lying, and acting out of prejudices not given them by God.  

The area where I have control is in my own response and to stand against the violence of those who claim their behavior is for God.  


Military Wife Quote: The Hole In The World |

Military Wife Quote: The Hole In The World |

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Why It Matters What They Do in Their Personal Lives

Dr Phil was on The View this morning, I came in for a soda from working on the wheelchair ramp to my front porch, when I heard him peddling the thought that powerful men have always been cheaters, and that we should all just separate the leadership of the man from the personal life of the man.  Just like everyone else, I have been so disappointed by the behavior of many in leadership of the United States Military.  That is not something that has just  come up for me because of how publicly recent wrong doing has been flaunted.  It has been an ongoing concern for me ever since my seventeen year old daughter came to me and wanted to join the Texas National Guard as a junior in high school, and then later joined the active duty component.  I will be the first to admit I am aware of all kinds of dishonorable behavior by many people in the military, and I never fail to attempt to do my part to keep the honor of the military by reporting wrong doing to the appropriate persons in the chain of command.  It isn't necessary to quote the West Point Code of Honor, everyone is right now, but the part that is so applicable here is "or tolerate those who do." 

Like I said, I have long been aware of the flaws and flawed leadership which exist in the Army .  That cannot however negate for me and many of those who serve, and their families as well, all that is positive, honorable, and rewarding in service in the United States Military.  I tell anyone who will listen all that I have personally found of extraordinary value and personal reward in the experience of  being an Army wife, daughter, and  mother.  My husband credits the United States Military as the method by which most of the blessings of his life have been delivered.  Many times when he is asked to speak, he tells of his childhood, and the challenges that he faced, and how his appointment to West Point provided the parenting that had been lacking, and values that have guided and given him direction for his entire life.  He took to heart all that he was taught at West Point, and has tried always as he has served to honor the code, believing it not only possible, but needful and necessary for having a satisfying and rewarding life in service.   He and I both still find those principles to be sacred beliefs and foundational to character and honorable living.  Honorable living is still something to be be prized, and I prize it more highly, and seek it more earnestly every day.  In my own efforts I realize and acknowledge how much more difficult achieving such a life is in our society and culture today.  I've heard the YOLO mantra from our young people, and when I encounter a person touting that belief of "you only live once," the first thing I do is agree with them, as I tell them that to me that means you only have one opportunity to do the right thing, and at the end of life, that single principle will transcend everything as they step out into their next existence. 

The military is full of men and women who sincerely strive to live by the Honor Code promoted at West Point, the current much maligned  institution from which David Patraeus and Paula Broadwell both graduated.  More than just a four year university, it is a physical place in our country where duty, honor, and country are upheld as sacred in nature.  Few organizations in our world remain optimistic that those things are achievable.  If these two graduates ever internalized what is taught at West Point, obviously it has lost its' significance.  That doesn't mean it has for everyone who endeavors to live humbly by those ideals.

One of the things that many making comments which amount to "who cares what they do in their private lives," do not realize is how the behavior of these people impacts those who remain committed to self-less service to our country.  For starters, it isn't as prestigious to be a West Point graduate as it was last week.  It isn't as well viewed to be an "Army wife" as it was last week either.  People tend to think more in terms of "pity" than admiration when they consider the wife of a Soldier now.  Young men and women who bought the program, now wonder did it ever mean anything, or was it just a method of recruiting used to lure them into sheep like behavior before the officers they serve under send them off to war.  General Patraeus gave orders which amounted to orders to kill people to Soldiers during the time he commanded.  To the Soldiers who carried out those orders in good faith, that they were coming from individuals of complete integrity, with our national security as their personal and corporate agenda, should have been a completely realistic expectation.  This week, they aren't sure of whether that was the case or simply power hungry leadership furthering their own egos and careers.   

The bad behavior of politicians isn't the same to the Soldier, as so many of those commenting declare is rampant anyway, thus making lack of moral convictions in a four star general fine and dandy.  Soldiers are taught to separate themselves from the politics of orders.  They are taught to obey without question, every order given them, and that duty, honor, and country are the reason they are to follow without question .  They have the right to expect that the persons giving those orders are of unquestionable honor in all areas of life.  It matters what they do in their personal lives, it critically matters.

It goes without saying that to Holly Patraeus, the father of Paula Broadwell, the children of both couples, and all those who have supported the military careers of both David Patraeus and Paula Broadwell, it matters what they do in their personal lives.  May God give grace and be merciful to those most wounded by such betrayal.  I am certain I know who has given the most, sacrificed while always believing in the Soldier she loved, and I pray especially for the healing of her own "war wounds."

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Sometimes the World Seems Scary

I heard from a lot of folks today who were disappointed and discouraged, even a little anxious...  I had already spent some time in prayer, and some scripture from Daniel came to mind, and I looked it up again.  

King James Version (KJV)
Daniel, the second chapter
19 Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.

20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:

21 And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:

Another thing that came to mind is a really old song that is one of my favorites.  It seemed appropriate.


 Living By Faith
Words by James Wells
Music by J.L. Hearth

                I care not today what the morrow may bring,
                If shadow or sunshine or rain.
                The Lord, I know, ruleth o'er everything.
                And all of my worry is vain.

                    Living by faith (Yes, living by faith)
                    In Jesus above (in Jesus above)
                    Trusting, confiding (trusting, confiding)
                    In His great love (yes, in His great love)
                    From all harm safe (safe from all harm)
                    In His sheltering arm (His sheltering arm)
                    I'm living by faith (I'm living by faith)
                    And feel no alarm. (feel no alarm)

                Tho' tempests may blow and the storm clouds arise;
                Obscuring the brightness of life.
                I'm never alarmed at the overcast skies,
                The Master looks on at the strife.

                    Living by faith (Yes, living by faith)
                    In Jesus above (in Jesus above)
                    Trusting, confiding (trusting, confiding)
                    In His great love (yes, in His great love)
                    From all harm safe (safe from all harm)
                    In His sheltering arm (His sheltering arm)
                    I'm living by faith (I'm living by faith)
                    And feel no alarm. (feel no alarm)

                I know that He safely will carry me thro'
                No matter what evils betied;
                Why should I then care, tho' the tempest may blow,
                If Jesus walks close to my side. 

Here is a great rendition by the Gaither bunch!