The American Dream – By Chrissy Jacobs – TNAM Opinion Column

The American Dream

July 4th – a date that over two hundred years has been a symbol of freedom and independence. My grandfather and great uncle, Frank and Rudy, loved to tell me stories of family heritage; endless hours have been filled with how my great grandparents made the trek from Poland and Slovakia to get to this Great Nation. Like many, they came over, often one at a time, with little more than the clothes on their backs – risking their lives and the lives of their families for the idea of freedom.Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to reach their fullest potential and not be held back by someone else’s ravenous desire for power, status and oppression. I feel a lump of pride rise in my throat as I think about the stories of triumph, hard work, dedication and the sheer drive for a better life that drove thousands upon thousands of immigrants to roll the dice and take a chance on America. Success stories floated across the ocean of people like John D Rockefeller and Andrew Carnegie, average guys until they hit American soil, enticing Europeans to get here at any cost. Those immigrants were my family, and they were yours too.It’s because our great grandparents and our great great grandparents said, “Freedom or nothing!” that I am typing this blog and you are reading it on your smart phone.

It’s for the very same reason that thousands of immigrants are overwhelming our borders and sending their small children, alone, to border patrol. They want freedom, they want the chance for a better life, they want their children to have more than what they were offered. They want their kids to be able to pass down the same stories we do. Can we as a nation truly be so hypocritical as to deny these immigrants the very same story that has us standing here today?

The problem with that however, is just how skewed the American Dream has become. A good day’s work and the ability to provide the necessities for your family is no longer enough. We all want more, and we deserve more and everyone deserves more regardless of how hard we are or aren’t working. So what if you work a minimum wage job, you deserve more! So what if you didn’t go to college or pursue some type of formal training, you deserve more! It’s this entitlement mentality that the government is fostering by trying to provide everything to everyone, that is essentially robbing America of her dream. We cannot continue the lie that we all deserve to have life handed to us, because quite frankly, we can’t afford to pay for it anymore and I for one, don’t want to pay for it anymore. Ellis Island wasn’t a welfare office in the early twentieth century and it isn’t one now. The one and only thing each of us deserves, American and immigrant, is the right to work hard for a living. After that, whatever happens next is up to the individual. Some will have the dedication, drive and follow through that it takes to become the next CEO of a major company, and others will simply scrape by with the bare minimum – but all of us will be okay with it, because it’s a simple result of what you chose to work for, or didn’t. Yes, at times in life, we all experience difficulties, and need to rely on others for support. But that support comes from family and friends, and certainly isn’t intended to last forever, just to get you through. When that support comes indefinitely from the government, where then is one’s incentive to move on and work past the difficulty?

This entitlement is what is driving illegal immigration to be such a huge problem. We have thousands of people coming into our country and trying to pull from an already well over-burdened system, and we cannot possibly maintain the expectations that are currently in place. Immigration in the early 1900s wasn’t a crisis, because people worked without the expectation of being coddled and America wasn’t expected to foot the bill for their entry or exit. The American Dream has never been free, nor was it intended to be. The true soul of the American Dream was opportunity, and people were willing to work hard for that opportunity. I’m not sure exactly when asking people to work for a living and to take care of themselves became politically incorrect, but it’s time to bring that notion back into vogue, to stop putting our hands out for things we haven’t worked for, and to realize that we are here to support America, not the other way around.

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Chrissy Jacobs:


Free Will – By Chrissy Jacobs – TNAM Spiritual Column.

I was 6 years old, and my cat had just died. My parents sat my sister and I down and tried to explain death the best they could to us, knowing we’d be heartbroken over the loss of our beloved buddy. Two adults, staring down at two tearful little girls. Everyone wishing there was something that would make us feel better. Perhaps some magic gem that would lift the mood and we would all know in our hearts that Fluffy was in a better place. My dad, searching for the right words to explain what is often the unexplainable, said to my sister and me, “you start dying from the day you are born.” (Long pause, wide-eyed stares in my mom’s direction.) I’m sure in his head that sounded a lot better than when he said it out loud, but as a kid, that was a lot to take in. I was having trouble understanding my cat’s death, let alone contemplating my own mortality. And I am guessing once he caught the look of horror from my mom, my dad was also immediately contemplating his mortality! Of course, as we got older, this became more of a family tagline and the butt of many jokes – I mean, who says that to little kids? It wasn’t comforting then, and I suppose it’s not a warm and fuzzy thought right now either. But as an adult, looking back, I can appreciate my dad’s honesty; blunt, but true.

So often in the face of tragedy and death, we look for clichés that will make us feel better. Something to make a situation less awkward, or even better,to make us all seem really wise and all knowing;
– God has a plan for this,
– It was her time,
– God needed him more than we did…
These are all phrases that run rampant in times of sadness and tragedy, and it’s also complete bullshit made up by someone on the fly, to give an explanation for something that no one could explain. Someone else heard it, and thought, well – better than nothing, and it got repeated over and over. At some point it got immortalized by Hallmark, and now it’s a commonly accepted explanation. My problem with these, (and others not mentioned) is that, while these are intended to comfort someone, they essentially place the blame for death and tragedy on God, and that seems pretty unfair to me. I am wondering if God had a chance to weigh in on this topic, if he wouldn’t just sit us down, look us in the eyes and tell it like it is: listen, you start dying from the day you are born.

Really,… it all boils down to free will. We either have it, or we don’t. It can’t be both ways;
– Free will when we want to make our own choices,
– But not when it’s painful, or too difficult.
So then it’s all either fate or chance then? No,…I’d say it’s free will all the time. We all make choices, some are better than others, some are mundane and routine, some are reckless, some are careful and pointed, but all have the potential to put us in the wrong place at the wrong time, no matter how calculated we try to be. Bad things will happen, disasters will occur, people will go crazy, and occasionally a bear will get loose from the zoo. The point is we have to just make the best of the time we have, and hope that our loved ones do too. Instead of being afraid of free will and timidly hoping that life just works out, grab it and ravish it like it’s the last candybar in the snack drawer! To ignore it, is to bury a winning lottery ticket. It’s a chance! It’s an opportunity; to be something great, to conquer your fears, to take control of what’s in front of you and change the course of your life forever, because we don’t have forever.

It’s time to make changes. It’s time to be the driving force in your own life. The risk of course, will be having no one else to blame if at some point you give up. The reward will be a life filled with passion, joy, and people who empower you. I encourage you to give my dad’s wisdom some thought, let that thought affect your decisions, so that when the time does come – no trifle explanation will be needed, no conflict of emotion, just a simple acknowledgement that you grabbed life and lived it like you were dying from the day you were born.

Please leave your comments below, or toss me an e-mail:
Chrissy Jacobs:
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Judge Me Not – By: Chrissy Jacobs – TNAM Spiritual Column

Judge Me Not – By: Chrissy Jacobs

I always get annoyed when people make random, harsh judgments of others. We are all guilty of it, myself included, but I find as I get older that I am trying more and more to remind myself that we are all different. Not one of us is experiencing the exact same situation, from the exact same perspective.
I had been thinking about this, but then I saw a post on Facebook (post date on Facebook is May 14, 2014) that spurred me to the keyboard. It was a post by a fairly well-known individual, Jake Hamilton, who makes his living in Christian music. His posts and messages are all faith based and claim to be about love and humility. So when I saw his post, it angered me even more that it was coming from a “Christian.”

“Divorce is asking your children to carry a burden that you yourself were not willing to carry.”

I don’t even have children, and I immediately was taken back to a moment in my life where I felt like filing for divorce was my only option. I was overwhelmed with shame, & sadness. I felt all of those old memories start to descend on me like a wet blanket. Then, just before completely taking the bait and falling into the depths of despair, I thought, wait a minute,… This guy has never been divorced! What does he know about it and who is he to pass this judgment on me? I started to read the comments on the post and they were equally divided between those who saw a great opportunity condemn divorces ("God hates divorce", "divorce is for the weak", my personal favorite; "if you're in an abusive marriage, stay married just separate from each other.") and then those like myself who felt hurt and judged by the comment. It was a comment that stirred judgment and sadness, and did not promote the message of the Bible that he claims to be all about. Do I believe that divorce is God's favorite reality show? No. Do I believe my divorce makes me unredeemable? Absolutely not. And so, my bold statement and belief:The church is losing members and not attracting the people who are lost and hurting, because too many Christians (Catholics, Protestants, Baptists, Lutherans, Non-Denominational, Insert your religious brand here) are using the Bible as a weapon to judge and hurt others. Put your Bible down, throw your stones into the river and stop judging situations that aren't yours to judge. Here’s a shocking revelation: it’s none of your business. Whoa. That’s crazy talk. The Bible’s first commandment to us was to love one another. Let me ask you, when was the last time someone judged you and it made you feel really loved? When was the last time someone judged you, and as a result of that judgment, you changed your mind or actions for good? When was the last time someone judged you and it made a positive impact on your life? Judging others is weakness, in that someone feels insecure and/or threatened by something they either disagree with or don't know enough about and so they use judgment as a defense mechanism to make themselves feel better. "I'm obviously better than that person, because I don’t do —-" instead of taking the time to get to know the person or learn more about his or her situation.

One of my all time favorite arguments is gay rights. Ultimately, anyone who has strong opposition to gay rights has an argument that is based on the Bible. It’s an argument that spurs heated debates, protests,and slews of angry words on social media. “God hates gay people.” “Homosexuality is a sin.” “Gay marriage is ruining the sanctity of marriage.” Um, is it? Does He? Before you put words in Jesus’ mouth and regardless of your feelings on the legitimacy of the Bible, let’s look at this logically for a moment. The Bible mentions homosexuality roughly six times in 1,900 pages (give or take depending on your version). Divorce gets approximately 18 mentions, and loving your neighbor gets 80 mentions! 80 times Jesus instructed us to love each! Yet, as a society of “loving” Christians, we condemn anything that doesn’t appear in the Nativity scene and we wonder why no one wants to go to church anymore. Kids these days… I beg to differ. Adult Christians these days…

The next time you are tempted to grab your Bible and head to a rally, let me ask you – when was the last time you saw picket signs outside of a divorce lawyer’s office? When did divorce make national news, aside from the 50% failure rate? When was the last time someone who’s been divorced, was refused the right to get married again? Yet, it’s in the Bible 3 times as much as homosexuality! If you’re a Christian, you can’t pick and choose which rules are the most comfortable to follow and which will work nicely as a weapon, and if you do, well that makes you a hypocrite and that’s in the Bible as a sin too. Quite the conundrum isn’t it? Instead, as you journey on in your search for significance and purpose, let’s focus in on the 80 other messages to love each other. Perhaps if we could master than one concept, to accept others for who they are, right now in this moment in time; we could stop using Jesus as a source of condemnation, and try Him out as a source of love and purpose.

Please leave your comments below, or toss me an e-mail:
Chrissy Jacobs:
& Follow me on Twitter @chrissyjacobs31