Saturday, February 25, 2012

Farewell Maryland

There have been big changes for the Smead Family since January 20.  Russell found out that he is one of several employees to be laid off.  Needless to say, that means that we will be heading in a new direction.  We have prayed and sought counsel from some trusted spiritual elders.  Russell applied for jobs in Maryland and in our home state of Michigan.  He checked out schools to attend to finish his Bachelor's Degree.  Ultimately, we have decided to use this opportunity to head back to Michigan to be closer to our family.  We have prayed and hoped for an opportunity to move closer to family and we feel like our prayers have been answered.  This may not be the ideal circumstance to move, but we are stepping out in faith.

That being said, we have lived in Maryland for nearly 5 years.  This is the only home our children can remember.  We have many close friends.  This decision to leave is not made lightly.  It is actually heartbreaking.  It is so heart wrenching to see our children crying at the thought of leaving their friends.  It is like looking into a mirror.  My heart is breaking too.

However....there is still a LOT to do before we go.  We want to use our time to the fullest.  There is packing, visiting with friends, and sightseeing to do.  Hope you enjoy our pictorial diary...

Our Bradley Childbirth class babies saying goodbye...

Family picture at the Smithsonian.

National Zoo in Washington DC.

Nature walk with Daddy behind our Maryland house.

 Last day at Faith Family Church....saying our goodbyes....

Driving away from Maryland.  This is the view from the front window of the Odyssey while following Russell driving our 26' U haul and pulling our car.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Days Of Our Lives

When did the American battle with radical Islam begin.  Who was the first president who recognized the problem that radical Islam presents for America.  It wasn't George Bush (either one).  Nor was it Carter or Regan.

It was actually Thomas Jefferson.

From the time our treaty with France, which had protected our ships until 1783, ended the Barbary states of North Africa had engaged in piracy and regularly terrorized the Mediterranean shipping lanes.  These states were Algiers and Tripoli. 
During his presidency George Washington sent John Adams and Jefferson to London as envoys of the U. S.  In the course of this visit the two men were able to meet the British Ambassador from Tripoli and questioned him about the pirates making a living by robbing American ships and killing Americans.  What was his response?  Did he act ashamed or sad because his country was hurting America?  Jefferson wrote "The ambassador answered us that [the right to piracy] was founded on the Laws of the Prophet, that it was written in their Koran, that all nations who should not have answered their authority were sinners, that it was their right and duty to make war upon them wherever they could be found, and to make slaves of all they could take as prisoners, and that every Mussulman (or Muslim) who should be slain in battle was sure to go to paradise."

Jefferson was understandably not pleased about this situation.  Eventually the fledgling U.S. decided that if the rest of the world were to do nothing to battle this radical and expanding threat then the United States would have to. 

This led to two Wars between the U. S. and the Barbary states.Many of us know that the United States Marine Corps sing about "the shores of Tripoli" however you may not know that that line stems from the USMC invading North Africa in the First Barbary War (1801-1805).  This war also marked the first time the United States flag was raised in victory over foreign soil.

Why is this important.  Well our nation is at war with radical Islam now.  Iran and Pakistan are two nations that support and harbor these terrorists but we do nothing to stop them.  What should we do.  Did Thomas Jefferson force anyone to stop practicing Islam?  No.  He only forced the governments of nations to take responsibility for the people who live in that country or the country itself would face our nation. 
When will this war end.  They have declared war on us.  I only hope we have the courage to finish it.