A Puritan Prayer of Praise and Thanksgiving

By Shane Vander Hart

“The First Thanksgiving at Plymouth” (1914) By Jennie A. Brownscombe

Happy Thanksgiving! I thought it would be appropriate for this Thanksgiving to share a Puritan prayer of praise and thanksgiving. The Pilgrims that landed at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts were in actuality separatists, the Puritans themselves were not. There were many similarities, however, and I can imagine a similar prayer said at the table of those early settlers. Life was hard, but they still found reasons to be thankful to God and worthy of praise.

If you are not sure what to be thankful for today, let your heart echo the Puritan author of this prayer from The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers & Devotions below:

O My GOD,

Thou fairest, greatest, first of all objects,
my heart admires, adores, loves thee,
for my little vessel is as full as it can be,
and I would pour out all that fullness before thee in ceaseless flow.
When I think upon and converse with thee
ten thousand delightful thoughts spring up,
ten thousand sources of pleasure are unsealed,
ten thousand refreshing joys spread over my heart,
crowding into every moment of happiness.
I bless thee for the soul thou has created,
for adorning it, sanctifying it,
though it is fixed in barren soil;
for the body thou hast given me,
for preserving its strength and vigour,
for providing senses to enjoy delights,
for the ease and freedom of my limbs,
for hands, eyes, ears that do thy bidding;
for thy royal bounty providing my daily support,
for a full table and overflowing cup,
for appetite, taste, sweetness,
for social joys of relatives and friends,
for ability to serve others,
for a heart that feels sorrows and necessities,
for a mind to care for my fellow-men,
for opportunities of spreading happiness around,
for loved ones in the joys of heaven,
for my own expectation of seeing thee clearly.
I love thee above the powers of language to …read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education

(Video) Chuck Grassley on Thanksgiving 2017

By Caffeinated Thoughts

U.S. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) shared a video message for Thanksgiving.

“Despite the trials and tribulations the pilgrims faced to be free, they took time to be thankful for the blessings they had. On this day of thanksgiving, let’s follow their example and take time to count our own blessings. I’m grateful for the bountiful harvest brought to us by farmers, for the family and friends joining my wife Barbara and me for Thanksgiving dinner and for the opportunity to represent the people of Iowa. Let’s thank the generations who came before us to ensure our liberty and freedom. Happy Thanksgiving,” Grassley added.

…read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education

A Thank You to Iowans

By David Young

As we approach the end of the year and the Thanksgiving holiday, I want to express my thanks to the folks of Iowa’s Third Congressional District. I’m thankful I have the great honor of representing you in the United States Congress. There is nothing I enjoy more than traveling to each of the 16 counties in the Third District every month and speaking with you, your friends and neighbors from all walks of life.

Across the district, there are everyday Iowans doing extraordinary things. There are young people investing time and money into efforts to fix up a local park and small businesses owners donating profits to a local food pantry. There are families volunteering at an animal shelter and teachers going the extra mile to help their students.

When I meet with my fellow Iowans, I listen to their thoughts, hear about their struggles and successes, and I value their insights ideas. Iowans consistently work together and come up with commonsense solutions to the challenges facing our communities. Folks share their ideas with me and I strive to take them to Congress so we can apply this common sense to our federal government.

I am thankful for all of the folks who reach out to me by phone, email, letters, and fax. I’m thankful to those who come to my town halls and open office hours. The folks of the Third District are my bosses and I listen to what you are saying and sometimes we don’t always agree. But whether you are a Democrat, a Republican, or you don’t choose to identify with a party, I value our dialogue and conversations.

Recently, I held my 10th Annual Youth Leadership Summit in the Iowa State Capitol building. One of the students said the best ideas come from listening to and engaging with folks …read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education

Episode 15: Myths and Facts About the Gun Control Debate

By Caffeinated Thoughts

With the renewed call for gun control after mass shootings in Las Vegas, Texas, and Northern California we wanted to discuss:

The gun control policies proponents advocate for and if they will work.

What does the current gun laws state, and is it as easy to purchase a gun as some claim?

The false information that has been floated by gun control proponents and the media.

Shane Vander Hart and frequent Caffeinated Thoughts contributor, Pat Nicklaus, discuss this issue. This is Pat’s wheelhouse as she is a former Election Volunteer Coordinator for the National Rifle Association and was on the Board of Directors of Gun Rights Across America.

Listen to the podcast:

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The Caffeinated Thoughts Podcast can only exist due to the generosity of our sponsors.

This show is sponsored in part by American Principles Project, a conservative political think tank in Washington, D.C. American Principles Project believes that human dignity should be at the heart of public policy. They work in all 50 states and in Washington, D.C. to promote life, religious freedom, local control over education, authentic economic progress for working Americans, and a return to constitutional principles, such as federalism. Want to help American Principles Project? Visit their website today. Sign up for e-mail updates, send a small (or large) donation their way, help them out. They are a great group.

Also, be sure to check out Travis Risvold of Modern Woodmen of America. Call Travis at 515-883-0029. He can help you find the life insurance YOU need.

Please consider partnering with us by becoming a sponsor of Caffeinated Thoughts.

…read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education

Online Charter Schools in North Carolina Petition to Go From Pilot to Permanent - Charters & Choice - Education Week

The state’s two virtual charter schools have earned poor marks from the state’s accountability system in the few years they’ve been operating. …read more

Source: Education Week Accountability

Where Does Michigan's ESSA Application Stand? - Politics K-12 - Education Week

The Education Department appears to think that Michigan’s application is now thorough enough to review. That could be a signal that Betsy DeVos is likely to approve her home state’s ESSA plan. …read more

Source: Education Week Accountability

Pro-Life Message Receives Icy Reception at Historic Christian College

By Shane Vander Hart

Draper Building at Berea College in Berea, KY
Photo credit: IMCBerea (CC-By-2.0)

Students for Life over the weekend brought their “Stop The Violence” display to Berea College, a historic Christian college established in 1855 by abolitionists and “radical reformers” in Berea, KY. The school that boasts a “tuition-free pledge” for all its students located in the Bible belt should be a receptive venue for a pro-life message. Sadly, that wasn’t the case.

Brenna Lewis, the Appalachian Regional Coordinator for Students for Life, reported on the organization’s blog:

In order to reach the largest audience possible, our student leader decided to host the display during their Homecoming weekend. All appropriate procedures were followed, and the space was approved by the administration. About five minutes after finishing setup, an older couple stopped in front of us and asked, “Is this an anti-choice display?” We explained why we were there, to which the woman responded, “This is disgusting. I am a labor hall nurse and I am very pro-choice.” We invited her to dialogue with us, requests which she rudely shot down repeatedly until angrily stomping away.

This behavior was dishearteningly common throughout the day. Not long after this altercation, two administrators approached us, pulled our student leader aside for about 10 minutes, then returned asking us to move our entire display to a back hallway. At a private school, students basically check their free speech rights at the door, and we had no choice but to comply. One of the administrators even helped us move our things…

…. During our last half hour of the display, the Head of Alumni Relations approached us and insisted that we needed to censor the portion of our banner that depicts medical diagrams of abortion. She was far less polite than the other administrators …read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education

Kramer Appointed as Advisor to Iowa Senate to Improve Workplace Culture

By Shane Vander Hart

(Des Moines, IA) Iowa Senate Majority Leader Bill Dix (R-Shell Rock) announced that he appointed former Ambassador Mary Kramer as an advisor to the Iowa Senate in order assist in Senate Republicans’ efforts improve the workplace culture. Iowa Senate Republicans over the summer lost a harassment lawsuit filed against them by former communications director Kirsten Anderson to the tune of $2.2 Million. They later settled for $1.75 million.

Kramer, 82, a Republican who served as an Iowa State Senator from 1990 to 2003 representing Clive, part of Des Moines, and West Des Moines. She was elected as President of the Iowa Senate in 1997. In 2004, Kramer was appointed by President George W. Bush as U.S. Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Carribean. She served in that role until October of 2006.

Dix appointed Kramer as an advisor after initially announcing a joint Director of Human Resources with the Iowa House of Representatives and then backing away from that decision.

Kramer will serve in a voluntary capacity.

“I was proud to serve in the Iowa Senate and to help lead Senate Republicans for many years. It was with much dismay I have watched the current situation unfold and have concluded there is serious need for culture reform in the Iowa Senate. I have accepted Senator Dix’s invitation to serve as an Advisor because, as a result of my conversations with him, I am convinced he is sincerely committed to ensuring that employees of the Iowa Senate work in a safe and healthy environment,” she said in a released statement.

“I want to thank Ambassador Kramer for accepting this appointment as an Advisor to the Senate. Mary spent her career as a human resources professional and is known as a tireless advocate for women in the workforce and …read more

Source: Caffeinated Thoughts Education

ESSA Pushes State Schools Chiefs to Scrap Business as Usual - Education Week

Those overseeing state education departments cope with staff and budget pressures even as they welcome new flexibility under the Every Student Succeeds Act. …read more

Source: Education Week Accountability

Hundreds of Comments Pour In on DeVos' Priorities for Education Grants - Politics K-12 - Education Week

More than 1,000 people and organizations had thoughts for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her team on the department will decide who gets competitive grant money. …read more

Source: Education Week Accountability