Tag Archives: freedom

Thursday:) The Land of the Free…

26 Apr

“In order to continue being the land of the free, we all need to do our part, and not take our freedom for granted.”

~ Toni Armenta Andrukaitis


Today, I decided to take advantage of early voting for Municipal elections in Collin County. I get the feeling that there will be a small turnout for this local election that is filling positions for local city government, and also voting on bond proposals. Local elections usually have low voter turnout. We are so lucky to have the privilege of voting, so it is our responsibility to go out and vote.

Besides having the privilege of voting, we also have the freedom of religion. After voting, I drove over to St. Gabriel the Archangel to drop off a donation for the upcoming annual bingo night auction. The ladies club had requested donations of wine or wine related items. I thought that a couple of hand-painted wine glasses and a bottle of wine would make a nice donation. It’s also important to support your church.

After dropping of the donation at the parish office, I walked across the way to the new sanctuary. As I knelt all alone before the altar, admiring the gorgeous lilies and in awe of the beautiful artwork, statues and colorful stained glass, again, I thought how lucky we are to live in this country. Not all are afforded these freedoms.

Now, right here on this blog, I’m able to write about anything thing I want, which demonstrates my freedom of speech. Yes, this is a great country and I’m pleased and blessed to be living in the United States of America.

My personal advice, don’t take these freedoms for granted.

Tuesday: Take Time to Say Thank You

6 Nov

Regard your soldiers as your children, and they will follow you into the deepest valleys; look on them as your own beloved sons, and they will stand by you even unto death.
Sun Tzu

Today, I am grateful for my freedom, my life, my family and friends. We often have the opportunity to thank our family and friends for their love and support, but how often do we thank those who ensure our freedom? There are so many men and women defending our country, far from home, far from their loved ones, who won’t be home for the holidays. What can just one person do? Well, they can share this with all their friends, then hundreds, perhaps thousands can participate. When I saw this post on my Facebook page, I decided that I should share this info with as many people as I could. Spread the word…let’s be heard!
From my friend Chaplain Jim:

Family Matters- Christmas is Coming!

Christmas is just around the corner! Well, maybe not…UNLESS you are trying to put together Christmas Stockings for thousands of Soldiers-THEN it starts sneaking up real quick! This will be my third deployment over the Christmas season (I made it back JUST in time to have Christmas itself on American soil the first time around), my third time being involved with some version of an Operation Christmas Spirit. I’d like to invite you and your church to be a part of supporting Soldiers who won’t be coming home for Christmas this year, from Ohio and across the country, through a simple project of sending Christmas stockings and stuffers for our troops.

Christmas CAN be a challenging time in the Christian family, when all the culture around us and our kids is in countless ways, telling our kids that Christmas is about THEM, and that their worth and their families’ love is measured in how much stuff the kids get. But I thought it was JESUS’ birthday, right? So whatever we can do to get kids out of themselves, and thinking of the Jesus heart of Christmas–and this Christmas Stocking project for Soldiers that can’t make it home for Christmas is a good example– will be a great way to help our kids see and LIVE the CHRIST of CHRIST-mas.

The numbers should be a bit easier this time around– we’re looking at needing only about 1,500 stockings to care for our troops this year. While that may sound like a lot, our people have a lot of groups and churches eager to help, so it should be an exciting, yet easily manageable project. In order to keep it manageable, PLEASE restrict your Christmas Cheer to just what is on the list so that Santa’s Elves in uniform can have a manageable job of sorting things and stuffing the stockings!

Christmas away from home can be hard, and I’m hoping that this project can help bring a little of the comfort of the Christmas Spirit to our Soldiers whom I doubt will get a “White Christmas” (that song was also a Solders’ Christmas project)! With your help, we can make it happen, and make it memorable. Thank you for all you do!

Keep being a blessing-
CH Lewis

Operation Christmas Spirit Stocking Stuffer Ideas:

(Please remember in ALL your items that this is a CHAPLAIN sponsored RELIGIOUS SUPPORT program. I don’t mean that we can’t have any fun with it, but be mindful of what kind of fun would be appropriate for this kind of program. Also, as these Stockings will be given to ALL Soldiers under our the care of the 371st, we need to be respectful of the “religious pluralism” that is essential to maintain in order to ensure continued Chaplain ministry. I will be putting together a carefully worded CHRISTMAS (not “holiday”) card to go with each to point to the Star of Christmas, and the real meaning of Christmas, but this must be carefully worded, so let me take care of that end.)

* DVDs/BLU Ray-preferably Christmas themed movies, cartoons
* CDs-preferably Christmas themed; the Christmas comedy types will be great, but be careful with them, as some can be inappropriate for a CHAPLAIN sponsored project
* small nativity scene/projects, whether complete or pocket crafts they can put together
* a small and memorable, UNBREAKABLE Christmas tree ornament
* SMALL travel/office/desk games, brain-bender puzzles
* Gift cards for books, movies, music download, etc. for internet use (unfortunately none of the eating establishments here accept gift cards)
* SMALL bottles of flavored syrups for coffee
* Pocket packs of tissue
* Gum (a GREAT winner that we never get enough of!)
* Christmas soaps
* Slim Jim, beef jerkey
* INDIVIDUAL Tooth brushes and holders
* Hard candy
* small bags of nuts
* Baggage name tags
* Puzzle books- Suduku, word games
* White CREW length socks, no logos
* mini-lego gift sets
* a small toy like a koosh ball, key ring, D ring, etc

PLEASE keep your gifts within these categories to simplify our process. For security purposes, send UNSTUFFED stockings, and the stuffing items in BULK, preferably in commercial packaging (but toothbrushes should be individually packaged!). Packages take about a week to get here, but don’t wait too long so we’ll have time to sort and stuff! Send us an email address of your church or group that you would like us to send pictures and our thanks to.

Our address here is:

CH (MAJ) James Lewis
Operation Christmas Spirit
371st SUS BDE
APO AE 09366

Thank you SO much, and Keep being a blessing!
CH Lewis, Camp Arifjan, Kuwait

Chaplain (Major) James R. Lewis
371st Sustainment Brigade
Brigade Chaplain
DSN: (318) 430-4106
NIPR: james.r.lewis1.mil@mail.mil
SIPR: james.r.lewis1@swa.army.smil.mil

Friday, Freedom, and Just a Few Words

2 Nov

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
Winston Churchill
A little freedom goes a long way, but the lack of freedom goes nowhere.


People that know me well know that I am NOT a person of few words. I like to talk…to friends…to family…to strangers. Today, I don’t have a lot to say, so I’ll follow Mr. Churchill’s advice and sit down and listen. I had a good day and hope you did too.

Now, I need to learn to fly.


12 Jan

TGIF! Friday means the end of a long exhausting work week for many people. For others, it’s just another day. Today, while I was trying to think of an interesting, yet alliterative theme for a story to share, I decided that Friday means freedom to me. Friday is pizza and movie night at our house. It means no setting the alarm clock and staying up late. And when you get old like me, late usually means around 11:30.

I am especially delighted with my new found freedom of expression here in the cyber world. Now, I have the ability to share my thoughts, stories, poetry and artwork. Let’s face it, writers need to write and artists need to paint, but if there is no one out there to share it with, well, it really doesn’t mean anything.

The original acrylic painting below entitled, (you guessed it), FREEDOM, is an acrylic painting on canvas. I was inspired by the beauty of a horse running free in an open field. I very often write a poem to accompany my paintings, but I’ve also had this desire to start an interactive poetry blog. I thought it would be interesting to write an opening line for a poem, and ask people to finish the poem, or just add a line or two. Or, my painting might inspire someone to create a poem of their own? It would be fascinating to read other people’s responses. So…here goes! Please feel free to add your thoughts. Thanks!


A timeless gift where freedom reigns