Sunday, February 12, 2017

Joy Villa 'n' Me (not together, but in our Trump clothing!)

Will post this temporarily, until I catch up with the writing I've been so far behind in.

During President Trump's Inauguration our neighborhood had an Inauguration Party -- with boomer fireworks going off as soon as our President was sworn in.

Here is the fabulous dress Joy Villa wore to the 2017 Grammy Awards, followed by me in the skirt I wore on Inauguration day.  I made the skirt out of previously used plastic Trump/Pence Make America Great Again lawn signs.

Beautiful Joy, a proud Trump Deplorable!
And me, so happy I could have burst with pride over our newly sworn in President!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Easily swayed at Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Although it seemed like it would never arrive, on the 15th of July Doug and I packed our truck and headed to Cleveland, Ohio to attend the Republican National Convention.  We got there a day early so we could settle in before things got wild.

On the 17th Doug and I attended the Rock and Roll Reception for GOP attendees to the National Convention at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in downtown Cleveland.  As we enjoyed the music, the fun of having the Rock and Roll Hall to “ourselves,” and all the fabulous food provided by Cleveland’s finest eateries, Doug and I stood and talked with a nice young couple from Colorado.  We were getting along great, with this lovely couple even giving us their business card and inviting us to their ranch in Colorado.  “Getting along great” until they realized Doug and I were Trump supporters.  This young couple assumed that because we were Christians we had to be Cruz supporters. 

As the four of us discussed the pros and cons of our candidate and their candidate, the husband brought up a multitude of lies the media constantly spread about Donald Trump.  He had memorized the NeverTrump playbook, written by everyone on every side intent on destroying Donald Trump, and easily repeated every lie written or spoken. 

In this man’s eyes Donald Trump’s worst sin was the “fact” he had molested his daughter, Ivanka, when she was a child.  This man’s “proof” of incest?  Photographs found on the Internet showing Donald hugging Ivanka and photographs showing Ivanka sitting on her father’s lap.  Not only was Ivanka sitting on her dad’s lap, but ‘Gasp!  They were sitting on a statue of two parrots copulating!  Really!  You can see the photos all over the Internet and Donald wanted their photos taken by the dirty birds on purpose!’ 
What interests me about this story that has been told over and over again is that when you look at the photos in question, if you have been conditioned to see two birds doing the funky-fresh-thing that is what you most likely will see.  But if you know there are many statues of similar stylized parrots around the pool at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate and that none of them are of birds having sex – including the birds in the photograph in question – you realize people are seeing what they want to see and not what is before their eyes.  

Hey, have you seen two parrots having sex before?  Really?  Because if you had you would know they look not one thing like the two birds sitting next to each other as the statue at Mar-a-Lago shows.  But someone started a story that someone else wanted to be true -- even though it is a lie -- and now photographs showing everyday signs of affection between a dad and his pre-teen daughter have become proof of incest.  Unbelievable.

A day later as I walked through the Quicken Loans Arena I saw the young couple who Doug and I talked to the night before and who had invited us to stay with them at their ranch in Colorado.  Walking towards them to say, ‘Hello’ I noticed they both turned away when they saw me coming.  I guess the invitation to their ranch is off.

Tomorrow’s Leaders

The day after the State Convention ended Doug and I drove to Annapolis, Maryland to see our very smart, considerate, beautiful niece graduate from the Naval Academy.  Being at a fabulous place full of young adults ready to take on the world, and knowing they have the skills, talents and knowledge to do just that was wonderful.

During the graduation ceremony Ash Carter, Secretary of Defense, spoke.  Sitting high in the stands overlooking the graduates and half of those in attendance I noticed a visible and audible discomfort in the audience as Ash started to speak.  Discomfort may have been the best way to describe the disdain many people felt having to listen to Ash’s liberal leftist lies being poured out upon the graduates before him.  

An odd roar rose up from the amphitheater type seating as though everyone had started to whisper to one another instead of listening to Ash Carter blabbing into the microphone.  And where movement in the audience seemed still and respectful before Ash started talking, suddenly the crowd became animated with many people discovering they needed to use the facilities as he rambled on.  

When the ceremony was done the overall consensus among graduates we spoke with was they were hopeful Donald Trump would be their next Commander in Chief.  Did I mention the place was full of young adults ready to take on the world?  Yes, they are!
 2016 Graduating Class tossing their covers.

Between a rock and a hard place

May 20th and 21st brought the Minnesota GOP State Convention close to home in Duluth.  Doug attended as a Delegate, and Brandy and I attended as Alternates.  Hearing that our BPOU needed another Delegate, Brandy and I were giddy one of us would be seated as a Delegate.  Knowing Doug and I were headed to the big show in Cleveland in less than two months, I encouraged Brandy to take the Minnesota Alternate spot.  She had worked long and hard to become a Delegate for Donald Trump, and she had been a die-hard Trump supporter from the day he first announced his bid for the Presidency almost a year earlier. 
It was sweet watching Brandy take her seat as a Delegate to the Minnesota State Convention – a role she took very seriously.  I was grateful God blessed all of us, Doug, Brandy and me, by giving us the ability to become decision makers during a very turbulent political season.

B&B at the Minnesota GOP Convention.

Before the Minnesota Convention started, and knowing I would not be needed on the floor, I joined a group of Trump supporters outside the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center (DECC).  We handed out bumper and lapel stickers and yard signs, answered any questions people asked about Donald Trump’s policies, and we were interviewed, filmed and recorded by local and state news reporters. 

Because of the multiple conversations I had with Cruz supporters at the CD8 Convention I was fairly certain Cruz supporters would engage me at the State Convention as well.  Thinking about earlier conversations with Cruz-bots and how they could not or would not see their sin in crucifying Donald Trump over and over again for his sins, God reminded me of John 8 verse 7, where Jesus tells the Pharisees that anyone of them without sin can be first to throw the stone at the sinner.  The next morning as Doug and I walked across our gravel driveway I stopped, picked up a few stones and tucked them into my coat pocket.  I did not hope to use them, but wanted them in case the need arose.  

During all the hubbub at the “Trump Event” outside the convention center a young man came up to me and started asking questions about Donald Trump’s policies.  At first I thought he was sincere in his questioning, so I answered his questions with facts found on Donald Trump’s Presidential website.  But soon the man’s questions concerning policy turned into questions of Donald’s immorality – or better said questions about Donald’s ever present, never forgiven sins.  

Before discussing anyone’s “sin” with this man I needed to know who I was talking to.  Was he a Christian who understood what sin is, what repentance and Christ’s forgiveness are?  Or was he a Cruz supporter on the #NeverTrump, just hang-him-high-at-any-cost bandwagon?  Or was he a Christian who thought being a Cruz supporter meant you were fighting a fight for God Himself?  Not that anyone thought of Cruz as God, but many believed Cruz had been ordained by God to be His leader for the United States of America, and that ordination seemed to give Cruz supporters the go ahead to do whatever it took to make sure Cruz got elected.

Coming to an understanding we were both Christians, the young man and I discussed sin in general, and often he would bring up any number of ‘popular to talk about Donald Trump sins.  As he brought up each of Donald’s sins we discussed them, and with each sin the young man seemed amazed at how a different perspective showed both the forgiveness of Christ and the total depravity of every human being – including the two of us talking to one another that day.  It seemed he was intent on wanting to stump me with Donald Trump’s horrendously sinful life, and instead God gave me words to teach a young man how we all live horrendously sinful lives everyday.

But as quickly as he would stop and ponder each comment spoken in love, he would start up again attacking Donald Trump’s sins.  “He’s been married three times,” seemed to be his favorite Trump sin we discussed multiple times.  After discussing Donald Trump’s sins many times over – and believing the two of us had come to an agreement on where we stood before our Holy God – the young man raised his voice and said, “But he’s been married three times!” 

At that point I put my hand in my pocket and cradled a stone.  I asked him what his name was and he became quiet.  By this time many people were looking on and listening to our conversation, and the young man’s silence spread across the onlookers.  Realizing he did not want to tell me his name I then said, “Just your first name,” to which he also remained silent.  

With a hushed crowd around us I said, “I have something I’d like you to have,” and held my hand out to him as if to drop something into his hand.  He looked at me, looked down at my outstretched arm, and then held out his hand.  Into his open hand I dropped the stone and everything got quiet.  

Twenty seconds is not a long period of time, but that morning it seemed like an eternity.  Neither the young man nor the crowd seemed to know what to do with the stone, but they definitely knew what it represented. 

After a long pause looking at the stone in his hand, the young man stretched out his arm to me and said he did not want it, so I took the stone back.

Just then Brandy came up and told me we had a meeting to go to.  Since I had no recollection of any meetings we needed to attend, I guessed it was something new that had just popped up.  I told the young man I was sorry I had to leave and thanked him for the good conversation.  As Brandy and I walked away I told her I didn’t know we had a meeting to go to, to which she replied, “We don’t.  I just wanted to protect you from that crazy Cruzbot.”  

I know Brandy was being a friend who thought she needed to rescue me.  Still, I felt a sense of sadness, thinking the conversation with that young man could have ended in a better way.  And at the same time I know the conversation – with a stone – ended like it was supposed to.

The Backstabbers – Worse than the O’Jays imagined

At the CD8 Convention I learned very well how back-stabbing and double-tongued politicians can be.  Better said, I met Ted Cruz supporters.  

I do not believe every one of Cruz’s supporters were snakes, but I know without a doubt that most of the Cruz people I met during the District Convention were neither Christian nor Conservative, or knew what it meant to be either.  They were dirty, they were tricksters, and after trying to discuss platforms and issues with Cruz-bots I realized all they wanted to do was bash Donald Trump for his sins.  Over and over again during conversations with Cruz-bots I reminded them that we all sin and we all sin daily.  They would agree with me and kind of hang their heads in shame, but only long enough to catch their breath and bring up Donald Trump’s sins again.  Most of the Cruz supporters I talked to spoke as if Donald Trump was the one sinner Jesus could never forgive.

Hearing how these people spoke brought great sorrow to my soul.  Not because of whom they were bashing, but because of Whom they were belittling, by discrediting Christ’s authority and sovereignty in His redemptive work.  I was ashamed of these people who professed to be my brothers and sisters in Christ.

Minnesota Republicans overwhelmingly voted for Little Marco during the Precinct Caucus (gag me).  Next in line of most votes came Ted Cruz, followed by Donald Trump.  Because of voter’s numbers the Minnesota GOP broke down Delegates and Alternates for the State and National Conventions as one Delegate and Alternate each per Congressional District and per Presidential candidate.   That meant that Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted and Donald Trump would each have at least one Delegate and one Alternate from all eight of Minnesota’s Congressional Districts.  Or that’s the way it was supposed to be.

Giving my speech during the CD8 Convention.

When the convention was over many attendees were shocked hearing that Ted Cruz’s supporters held all three Delegate slots and two of the three Alternate slots.  Cruz supporters had planned and schemed on how they could take-over the election early in the “game.”  During the GOP interviews in McGregor Ted Cruz supporters interviewed to become Lyin’ Ted’s Delegate and Alternate, Little Marco’s Delegate and Alternate, and Donald Trump’s Delegate only – no one interviewed to become Donald Trump’s Alternate other than yours truly.  

Lyin’ Ted’s supporters admitted during their interviews that they were Cruz supporters who would vote for the candidate they ran under on the first ballot only and then switch to Cruz after that – so I give them credit for admitting they were backstabbers from the start.  The backstabbers put a list together telling CD8 attendees who they needed to vote for to keep Donald Trump out of the White House, and left that flier on all the convention chairs.  Like most people I have a fairly good idea how deceptive politicians are.  What surprised me the most was how these people had been scheming long before I had a tiny clue of how deceptive low-rung, grass-roots politics can be. 

When the Congressional District Convention was over the three Delegates and three Alternates were asked to the front to have photos taken.  I stood among people who had weaseled their way into the positions they held and felt disgusted with all of them.  It was then that I learned the elected Donald Trump Delegate had recently switched from being a Democrat to being a Republican – a slap in face to all the hard working, long lived Republicans who ran for that position.  Thinking of all the true Trump supporters who were duped by this Lyin’ Ted supporter I was mad, knowing this dirt-bag would be heading to the Republican National Convention in July, and I would be his Alternate -- the only true Donald Trump supporter in CD8.   
Early Monday morning, less than two days after the convention ended, I decided to search the Internet and find out as much as I possibly could about attending a Republican National Convention.  Did I need to do anything special as an Alternate?  Were their rules about what was going to take place that I had no clue about?  Were there gatherings I needed to be prepared for?  What was expected of me?  What might I be able to volunteer for?  Where could I help?  This was my first trip to that rodeo and I wanted to make sure I stayed on the bull for as long as I could!

Then I saw it.   Paperwork that all Delegates and Alternates needed to complete and turn in "immediately" upon being elected.  It was an affidavit each person needed to sign in order to attend the National Convention along with a form stating they needed to pay their attendance fee the day they were elected.  Needless to say my heart sank.  It was early Monday morning and the convention had been over for one and a half days.  I had not signed an affidavit and I had not paid my fee to attend the National Convention.  Imagining my trip to the National Convention would be cancelled due to paperwork "technicalities," I could hardly catch my breath.

Emails started flying -- mine to anyone and everyone in the Minnesota GOP.  I wanted answers and wanted them now.  By 8:15 an answer came; print out the online affidavit, sign it and stick it in the mail with your check, making sure it gets "here" by tomorrow.  "Here" meant Grand Rapids, another small town in Minnesota.  

I don't know about anyone else, but the mail out of our small town leaves once a day, and if your letter isn't in the bag when it leaves town, it waits until the next business day.  And, the mail coming into our small town comes in once a day, and if your letter isn't in the bag when it comes to town, you won't see it until the next business day -- or later.  So the idea of me getting the letter to our Post Office in time was no big deal.  But the thought that my letter would go from Two Harbors to Duluth, then to St. Paul only to turn around and head north to Grand Rapids and make the trip over night was as likely as Santa Claus making the delivery for me.  

A second email arrived that said they 'Had to have the signed paperwork and payment in Grand Rapids today, because tomorrow they would be in St. Paul to turn in everything from the CD8 Convention, including all Delegate and Alternate paperwork.'  Panic mode set in.  Why had I not been told about this crucial paperwork?  Why when all the Delegates and Alternates stood to have their photos taken after the convention did no one mention filling out your affidavits and submitting your fees?  Why did I not get that information before attending the convention in the first place?  I was not only in panic mode, I was mad.  Were these people seriously trying to keep me from attending the National Convention?  Or were they so unorganized they created upheaval at every turn?  First I was running uncontested, then I was running contested, then I was running uncontested again.  Now I was attending the National Convention, but had God not gotten me out of bed early that Monday morning to research my role at the convention, I would have not known about the affidavit, I would have not known about the required payment, and I would have blindly been booted out of the convention.  Either these people were evil or stupid, and neither choice set well with me.

Although I had a full day of work ahead of me it all fell away.  Doug heard what had happened in hyper speed, and when I finally slowed down enough for my words to make sense I told him I was on my way to Grand Rapids -- a two hour drive one-way -- to drop off my paperwork.  

Two and a half hours later I reached the person who saw me sign the paperwork, and after asking who I needed to write my check to, included a note on the bottom saying it was "[My] payment as Alternate to Republican National Convention" (yes, a lot in a little space!).  Everything seemed good, but just to be sure I asked if there was anything else I needed to do and was told 'No.'

Two weeks later the check I wrote and dropped off that day came back to our house.  It was inside an envelope addressed to Doug, not me.  Included with the check was a letter from the Minnesota GOP saying, 'Thank you for your donation to the Minnesota GOP, but you made your check out to the wrong payee.'  My heart sank.  What in the world is going on?  How can things get so mixed up?  It was made out by me.  It had my signature on it.  It had a note on it saying exactly what it was written out for.  

This time phone calls started flying, but knowing how frustrated I was dealing with "those" people, Doug did the calling for me.  By the time he had talked to many people Doug felt sure all the details were worked out and I would be on my way to the Republican National Convention with no more snags along the way.  

My little piece of being a Donald Trump supporter among Republicans was interesting to say the least.  Watching Donald Trump topple insurmountable obstacles from his own Party everyday I knew -- I would be OK.

Rollercoaster, oh Lord!

Eight days later, on April 12th, I received a phone call from the nominating committee letting me know I had run uncontested for the Trump Alternate slot in Minnesota Congressional District 8 and I would be going to the Republican National Convention.  I was going to the Republican National Convention as a Trump Alternate!  Amazing, unbelievable blessing from God!

Although everyone deep in the workings of the GOP said it was “impossible” I would be attending the convention as a Trump Alternate because I ran “uncontested,” impossible became a motto of my small slice of Making America Great Again.  As hard as it was to believe myself, I was the only person in my Congressional District who applied for the position of being an Alternate to the Republican National Convention for Donald Trump.  Being uncontested meant I would not have to compete against other Republicans from my district for that position.  And because I was uncontested it also meant that long before anyone else knew who would be going to Cleveland, Ohio in July, I knew with certainty I was going – and going to represent my candidate, Donald J. Trump.  Impossible is in no way associated with God and His plans for our lives.

Three days later I received another call, this time saying, “There was a mistake” and “I may not have an uncontested slot.”  Hearing those words made me extremely suspicious of the powers that be, but remaining steadfast in the Ultimate Power, I knew if God wanted me to go to the convention He would make it happen.  Because if sneaky deals to get me out and someone else in were lurking in the background – God was always in control.

Not knowing if I was uncontested meant I would have to be prepared to compete for the Alternate position.  Everyone competing was given the opportunity to sell themselves by way of delivering a three minute speech before 400 people during the Congressional District Convention.  Now I needed to write a speech stating why I should be Donald Trump’s Alternate from CD8 – just in case I truly was contested.  Being contested also meant I needed to create a flier selling me, my candidate and my abilities, and have it all done for the convention in Park Rapids, Minnesota on April 30th – two weeks away.

A few days before the convention I received a third phone call, this time letting me know that I indeed was running uncontested – I did not have to compete against anyone else  – I was going to the national convention!  And I learned that even though I was uncontested, I still needed to deliver a sales pitch about myself and present fliers to everyone in attendance.  Had the “mistake” not happened I would not have been well prepared for what was to come.  God was taking me on a roller-coaster ride through this political journey, and even when the nose dives looked as though I would crash, He used them to make me ready for the ups and downs yet to come.
It is so much easier to do difficult things when you know you cannot lose.  Whether my audience at the convention liked me or not, because there could be no blanks on the candidate voting form, everyone had to vote for me as the Trump Alternate that day. 

My ride on the political roller-coaster was interesting; I could not begin to imagine the trials Donald Trump was going through.

Friday, January 6, 2017

How are “we” doing?

On April Fool’s Day I drove over 400 miles to pick-up Trump yard signs in Eau Claire, Wisconsin.  Although I live in northern Minnesota, Wisconsin’s Primary was quickly approaching, and Superior, Wisconsin needed Trump signs.  The following day I put on my white Bunny Boots and headed across the bridge to Superior.

On a sunny but cold April day with plenty of snow piled along the main drag I traveled, I walked over and around piles of snow, knocked on every door and talked to everyone who answered, letting them know I was a volunteer for Donald Trump’s campaign.  Some people laughed and slammed their door, and a few listened and let me know they were considering voting for Trump – if he got the nomination.  Then there were the few who were like me, all in for Donald Trump for President, and they happily allowed me to put a Trump sign in their yard on a well traveled road. 
While talking to one of those Trump supporters I learned Donald Trump was going to be in Superior on April 4th.  April 4th?  That was two days away!  I was super excited about attending a Trump Rally, but had been too busy working on campaign stuff to check the online schedule and get tickets.  Yikes, I would be totally bummed if Donald made a campaign stop so close to home and I missed seeing him.

After eight hours knocking on doors out in the cold and with daylight running out I headed home.  First thing I did after kissing Doug ‘Hello’ was print tickets for Monday’s rally. 

Doug wanted to attend the rally, but was busy with work.  At the Precinct Caucus Doug and I met another couple who were even newer to the area than we were, and they lived only a few houses down the road from us.  Scott had volunteered to be the Recorder at our caucus and Brandy had won one of the other Alternate slots, higher than my #6 space.  Brandy attended the BPOU meeting and, like me, became one of two Alternates to the Congressional District and State Conventions.  Scott and Brandy were die-hard Trump supporters, so while Doug and Scott worked on April 4th, Brandy and I headed to the Donald Trump, Make America Great Again rally in Superior, Wisconsin.

Although the rally was not supposed to begin until 1:30 pm, the doors were going to open at 10:30, so Brandy and I decided to get there early, ensuring we would have a place upfront and “inside.”  By the time we arrived at 8 am there were already 40 people ahead of us in line.  Being from northern Minnesota I thought I had dressed appropriately for the weather, but 24 degrees in a shady, windy spot seeped through my clothing faster than expected.

When the doors opened at 10:30 and we slowly passed through Security it became apparent that being inside an airplane hanger meant we would still be outside with a roof over our heads.  After spending 2 ½ hours in below freezing temperatures we got a good spot in front of the stage.  Now we only had 3 hours left to go!

Donald made it to the stage around 2 pm and his speech lasted approximately 50 minutes. It was fabulous to see our next President, and for the short period of time Donald spoke I did not notice the pain that had earlier overtaken my feet.  Brandy and I had already been standing in below freezing temperatures for 7 hours, but as Donald Trump started making his way around the roped off mass of people – signing autographs and shaking hands – we agreed the cold was not so bad and decided to stay a while longer. 

It was well worth the pain to have stayed the 7 extra minutes it took Donald to make it to where we were in the crowd.  But with everyone pushing forward I was now two people back in the thickening pack and everyone in front of me had their hats and books ready, hoping Donald Trump would sign them.  Knowing I had to do something different to stand out from the crowd, God gave me the answer – remember your manners.  After hearing only yells of “Donald!” ringing in my ears, when Donald’s eyes glanced my way I yelled, “Please Donald, Would you sign my T-shirt?”

At that point Donald had already been outside for over an hour, he looked cold and was moving quickly past many people.  With arms reaching everywhere and the end of the line only feet away I knew there was little chance Donald would stop to sign my T-shirt — but stop he did.

Handing Donald Trump my T-shirt I told him, “I work for you.” Hearing those words he gave me an odd glance, until I added, “And you will never fire me.”  Hearing those words Donald smiled and signed my T-shirt.  

Handing my T-shirt back Donald asked me how I thought things were going.  Donald Trump asked me, a nobody volunteer, how things were going.  After telling him I thought things were going very well he then asked, “How are we doing?”

Think about that.  How are “we” doing?


Inside I was giddy knowing my little contributions had been acknowledged by the man I was working for.  But staying on point I looked in his eyes answered, “You are doing great! 

Then the sweetest thing happened — Donald Trump, the human being with emotions like the rest of us — reached out, grabbed my hand and squeezed it.  Then he moved on.  

God blessed me richly that day, and I prayed my words encouraged Donald Trump, a man who included “We” the people from day one.

When Donald Trump stopped and talked to me. This image was taken from a video news article from a local TV station.  The bald guy with white frame glasses on his head was standing right behind me during the entire event, so although you cannot see me, you can see where I was when Donald signed my shirt and was talking to me.