My father, Newt Gingrich, ran for congress in rural, west, middle Georgia in 1974. At the time, Georgia was dominated by the Democratic Party, there were few Republicans in the state and Watergate was in full swing. Somehow, against this headwind, he managed to garner 49 percent of the vote. He never stopped running, waking up the day after the election to shake hands at the Ford Factory as their shift changed.
Our two children are into the second week of their final quarter of the school year. Warm weather, longer days and budding plants are pushing their thoughts toward summer. For them, summer equates to vacation, travel, sleeping late and the absence of homework, quizzes and tests.
As a mother, I often dwell on my role and that of my husband in influencing our children. I also think about the roles their peers and their environment play in affecting their growth.
Georgia may appear at first glance to be a red state, solidly Republican, but its history is more complex. Those unfamiliar with its political history might be surprised to learn that, for 90 years, the Democratic Party so dominated Georgia that no Republican would run for the governor's office.
Almost two decades ago, heartbroken and single, I wrote out a list that described the man of my dreams. Less than two years later, my husband and I married, proving that dreams do indeed come true. (Yes, he met and even exceeded all criteria).
As Americans, we have the unfortunate habit of thinking about others by seeing their actions and reactions from our point of view. We put ourselves in their figurative shoes, i.e., we know about their situations, constraints, advantages and options, but we don't know what is going on in their minds. This may be due to our relative lack of diversity, the geographic size of our nation or our relatively insular upbringing.
The first two months of 2014 are all but done, and there is only a little more than eight months left until the midterm elections. The House is projected to remain Republican. In the Senate, the seats up for election are currently split between 21 Democratic seats and 15 Republican seats. This difference in open Senate seats, combined with a midterm election, a sluggish economy, and the decline of President Obama's international performance creates an opportunity for the Republicans to potentially pick up the Senate.
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Transformation is fascinating, especially when the change is dramatic and you can see it happen before your very eyes. That point was underscored to me this week by "Body Evolution," by Global Democracy, a video that was released two years ago, but went viral last week, when the model was identified publicly.
Last night, my husband Jimmy and I were talking about how fast time, at least as it pertains to our children, has flown. Our 14-year-old daughter, Maggie, is planning her first Halloween trick-or-treating adventure away from home and out with friends. She spent her first Halloween dressed as a pumpkin when she was less than a month old, too small to even hold her head up by herself. The next year, she was an angel, and we pulled her around in a little red wagon to gather treats.
When our oldest child was an infant, I talked to her nonstop. It was an ongoing monologue, a narrative of her life in progress. Topics included what we were doing, where we were going, what I was dressing her in, what the weather was like and what was happening next.
The news this week of two arrests in the case of a 12-year-old suicide is a reminder of how middle school drama can go awry.
The current budget impasse might have made you a bit blue. Ups and downs are normal in life, but when the potential of a debt default is the news, it's easy to forget the ups.
Yes, it is frustrating. The government should run smoothly and efficiently, going about its business and getting things done without much pomp and circumstance.
At times it can be discouraging, with all the news out of Washington focusing on the negative, partisanship and gridlock.
Serendipitous events do not a strategy make.
Out of the corner of my eye, as I was passing a television, I saw a plane fly into a building. The sound was not on, and I thought, it must be a small plane and a small building. An errant pilot or a plane with failing equipment apparently had crashed when it intended to land.
Good parents eventually learn that lines in the sand are useful only if enforced. Inevitably, red lines will be stepped on or, more often than not, jumped over. If the lines have no meaning, children will realize that their parents are full of bluster and either lack the ability or the determination to carry through with punishment.
My favorite place in Washington is the Lincoln Memorial. Its grand size, pivotal location and sweeping view of our capital city are a backdrop for the inspirational addresses inscribed on its walls. Lincoln's second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address are there for all visitors to read.
Last week, our two children started back to school. The prep work included buying new backpacks, books and school supplies, along with a few new clothes. Binders were labeled and organized, new textbooks were bought and thumbed through, and, for our daughter Maggie, the first day's outfit was carefully thought through and laid out the night before. Schedules were printed and reviewed.
This past Saturday, Dr. Steve Davis gave the message at my mother's funeral. As pastor of First Baptist Church of Carrollton, Ga., he recounted that, during a recent visit, she told him that she was the luckiest person on earth.
Editors Note: Jackie Battley Gingrich passed away on Aug. 7. Her daughter, Jackie Gingrich Cushman, wrote this column about her mother in May 2011.
It's been a strange week. My sister and I passed the coursework and pool portion for open-water scuba diving, my son turned 12, and my mother ended up in ICU. You can plan as much as you like, but oftentimes life happens, and not as you might have planned.