Adrienne Ross: Review of "Our Sarah: Made in Alaska"
Review of Our Sarah: Made in Alaska by Adrienne Ross I had the honor of reading an advance copy of Our Sarah: Made in Alaska, written by Sarah Palin's father and brother, Chuck Heath, Sr. and Chuck Heath, Jr. Below is my book review of their intimate story of the person who captivated America upon becoming the 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee. While many have only seen her through the biased lens of the mainstream media, the authors take us beyond that veil, allowing us to see who Sarah Palin really is and how that person came to be. - Adrienne Ross How often have you embarked upon a reading journey only to find yourself so captivated by the words on the page that putting the book down is not an option? If you're lucky, you might encounter such a scenario a handful of times throughout your years. During these experiences, we allow neither hunger, responsibilities, nor sleep to pull us away because we find ourselves glued to the words on each page. These moments, though refreshing, are extremely rare. Our Sarah: Made in Alaska was one such moment for me.When it comes to Sarah Palin, everyone has a narrative, an impression, an opinion--and most have expressed them. Indeed, the verbiage on the subject is without parallel. But who would you rather hear from--those who claim to know her, or those who know her well, who have seen her at both her weakest and strongest moments, and have shared a lifetime of memories with her? Chuck Heath, Sr. and Chuck Heath, Jr. have promised readers an intimate look into the life of this political lightning rod who has captured the minds, if not the hearts, of all of America. They delivered. While many view her, and thus refer to her, as the former governor of the remote state of Alaska, her father and brother's vantage point is much closer--so close, in fact, that they're able to do what most, even her most ardent supporters, cannot do: refer to her, in earnest, as "our Sarah." The magic they have performed, however, is that the pages of their book, which hold the chapters of Palin's life, convince us that we on the outside are in that same place of familiarity, or, at the very least, that it's well within our reach.I had been curious about the logistics of how Chuck, Sr. and Chuck, Jr. would co-author a book in which they shared family experiences. For example, how would they refer to certain people? Would Mrs. Heath be "Sally" or would she be "Mom"? Would Sarah be "my daughter" or "my sister"? Simple things like that grabbed my curiosity. The style they chose was perfect. Through alternating chapters, each author is able to share his own reflections and emotions surrounding a particular event, as he remembers it and as he feels it.Though she is the subject of the book, and not the author, Sarah's spirit is very much there, from the first page. She penned the foreword, and like a tour guide, she leads us as we set out on the journey. But then she withdraws, handing us over to the capable leadership of authors she trusts. Trusting them, however, did not shield her from feelings of apprehension when they decided to write the book, and she candidly tells readers why she was conflicted.I began the reading with the knowledge that the father-son team intended to provide stories of family adventures, Sarah's foundation of faith, and the influences that brought her to the place where she now stands. Yes, I found those things. What I also found was that Our Sarah is every bit their story as it is the story of their daughter and sister. The quotations they use to open each chapter provide evidence of that; while they highlight words that she has spoken, they also highlight their own. I grew to understand them more through the things they experienced--some joyful, some quite painful. Chuck, Sr., in particular, gives a heartwarming depiction of his upbringing and the regrets with which he's had to live. Palin refers to her brother, Chuck, Jr., in Going Rogue as "all boy." The sense of adventure he inherited from his father is evident in Our Sarah, as he continues to enjoy activities that he enjoyed as a youngster. By allowing readers to view them so intimately, they provide a closer view of Sarah. No doubt, both father and son would tell us she has impacted their lives, as she has the lives of many, but through the experiences they detail, it is obvious that she is who she is, in large part, because they are who they are. Chuck Heath, Jr. and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giluiani campaign for the McCain - Palin ticket in 2008 In Our Sarah, Chuck, Sr. and Chuck, Jr. give us a look into a family that worked hard, played hard, and loved hard, with details of each. Their portrayal of both Sarah Heath and, later, Sarah Palin confirm the belief that, should she ever choose to do so, she could walk away from political life, remain in Alaska, and be every bit as happy. Alaska is in her, just as the lessons she's been taught there, through the lifestyle she's received there, are in her. She doesn't need the national stage, but it has managed to get in her as well. She chooses to live the life she lives--not out of a need to be center stage, but out of a desire to make a difference. The authors inform the readers that even at a young age, big things seemed to be on the horizon for Sarah, and they tell us of people who, during the course of her upbringing, recognized her as someone "special," someone who just had a certain "something," and someone whose destiny called for greatness. They don't belabor the point, but it's certainly there.Our Sarah took me through the full gamut of emotions. In the span of neighboring pages, I found myself seething with anger, laughing uproariously, and weeping uncontrollably. I was riveted while reading just how close death was at different times, and moved at how far away answers to life's biggest questions sometimes were. I saw the frustration of both a protective brother, as he realized that there were battles he could not fight for his younger sister or shield her from, and a dad, as he observed his daughter so viciously wronged. Sarah's brother and father show us their lives and her life, so ordinary that as I read of their regrets, challenges, and questions, I thought of my own. Though we're all so very different in background and experiences, it's all quite familiar. The range of emotions, therefore, is only natural. Readers who have fixated on how different they are from Palin should be prepared to come away realizing something else altogether.Sarah Palin's father, whose love for the great outdoors took him and his growing family to the Last Frontier, was eager to find rewarding work, satisfying adventures, and robust competition. Their family of athletes learned to push themselves to the limits, and they reaped the rewards of perseverance and hard work. As I turned the pages of Our Sarah: Made in Alaska, I became increasingly aware that Palin did not arrive at such heights of personal and professional achievement by accident. Chuck, Sr. and Jr. show us how Sarah grew up with a competitive spirit, a stubborn streak, and dogged determination. Concerning sports, it was tenacity, not just talent, that brought her the success she enjoyed. She refused to give up. This didn't dissipate as she got older and faced bigger challenges. She enjoyed greater successes with seemingly insurmountable odds. Her own self-determination and hard work, coupled with her ability to garner the support of others, propelled her into a career of public service that eventually propelled her onto the national stage. Her faith in God, though it was misrepresented and ridiculed on the campaign trail, remain at the forefront of her life, something she inherited from her mother, Sally. And this is the first time, at least as far as I know, that Chuck, Sr. opens up about faith, as he transparently tells of the impact of God and church on his wife and children.Never before have I read a book that so passionately details the events of a life that it made me want a do-over. These authors stirred that within me. As I read, I began to feel that I had been cheated as a child. An upbringing in the cold wild of Alaska is not what I'm talking about. Snowmachining, hunting, and hiking sound wonderful, but that's not what I'm talking about, either. What the authors manage to do is adequately describe how they view the world around them, which they see in a way that I could not fathom as a child. Admiring mountains and lakes and the history contained in them never dawned on me when I was a kid. Getting up before school and hunting was certainly not something I ever did. Neither did it ever cross my mind that others were doing it. Even as a youngster of faith, I never led a group of my peers at school in prayer. Reading their details of this kind of life, the kind that Sarah enjoyed, made me wish I could go back and do it again, do childhood again, and do it the Heath way this time--with the adventures, the expectations to work, and the deep family bonds. Granted, it wasn't all fun and games in their family. There were hardships, too. There were risks, estrangement, discovering dead bodies--and almost becoming one. But their account of their upbringing sounds like truly living to me. Their book makes me want to love deeper, dream bigger, and run faster--literally and figuratively. I already knew much of Sarah Palin's fascinating life story, and I didn't think there was room to grow in my respect for her, but this intimate look, through the distinct perspectives of two of the closest people in her life, made me respect and admire her all the more. I do not know if that was the authors' intent, but they certainly accomplished as much.Of course, Chuck, Sr. and Chuck, Jr. take us through the 2008 vice presidential candidacy. Where were they when they learned she was Senator McCain's running mate? Did she ever drop a hint before then? What stood out at the start of her RNC speech? These answers are all in Our Sarah, along with deeper things like what causes resentment to build in a father and what causes it to melt like the snow at the end of an Alaska winter. Turning pages, I recognize names of people in the grassroots and blogosphere who have made an impact on Sarah and her family, promote her cause, and continue to provide support since the 2008 election, and I am reminded that she, like they, never forget even the little people who help along the way.Our Sarah helped me understand the humility that Palin exemplifies, as well, in spite of her fame and success. Chuck, Jr., having been a gifted football player, relates one of his favorite lessons from his father: "When you get to the end zone, act like you've been there before." Sarah epitomizes that type of grace. Never one to toot her own horn, you get the distinct impression that she takes everything that has occurred, particularly since 2008, in stride--the instant celebrity, the fortune, the opportunities. She's made it into the end zone, but she never spikes the ball. She acts like she's been there before. She acts like she belongs. Through the stories relayed by her father and brother, we see that she has been there and she does belong. With every early morning hunt, every basketball practice, every mile run, every child born, every sign-waving gathering, every campaign, and every speech she stepped into that end zone, and she learned how to handle it well because of her character, which was carved out of those lessons taught, people encountered, and experiences lived.Our Sarah: Made in Alaska lives up to its promise as an intimate look into the various adventures, challenges, and influences in the life of Sarah Palin. I couldn't put the book down. It inspired me, it fed my curiosity, and it left me wanting more. Glancing at the cover, before reading a word, I sensed the aura of family, home, and love that I also found waiting once I opened the book and began reading. Chuck, Jr. is not pictured on the cover, which I admit I find a questionable publisher's decision for a book that pictures both his co-author and his subject. However, on the cover or not, Chuck, Jr. is very much present within the pages of the book, as is his father, and, of course, as is his sister. The more I read, the more I connected with Sarah Palin and her family. The more pages I turned, the more deeply I understood who she is, not through the ill-intentioned--or even well-meaning--words of someone who doesn't really know her, but through the words of two people who have known her all her life and whose book has helped to make their Sarah our Sarah as well.Our Sarah: Made in Alaska will be released on September 25, 2012. The People for Palin thanks our friend and colleague, Adrienne Ross, for sharing her book review with our readers. We highly recommend following Ms. Ross's blog, Motivation Truth.
Tick-tock Tick-tock ... Do You Know What Time It Is?
“And of the children of Issachar, men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…” (I Chronicles 12:32) Never would I describe myself as a great theologian, a professor of God fascinated with historical events of Biblical proportions. I’m far from it. My faith is rather simple. God said it. I believe it. Jesus did it. I receive it. That settles it. But somewhere along the way of my private personal pursuit of God and all things Holy, the twelve tribes of Israel and their various identities caught my interests. One tribe in particular had a unique identity. The Tribe of Issacher were men who understood the times which gave them great wisdom and knowledge (I Chronicles 12:32). They were aware of what was going on in their day and in their lives, but they also knew what to do about it. The timing of God is KNOWING and DOING. Once you know His plans and purposes for your life, you can confidently go forward putting them into action. He will make you time sensitive so you can cooperate with His guidance. I remember reading a story that came out of the hippie era at Haight-Asbury in San Francisco about an overdosed young man who wrapped an alarm clock around his arm with duct tape. All it had was twelve numerals and a face but no working parts. People would stop him and say, “Hey, what time is it”? He would stare at the clock and say, “It’s RIGHT NOW man, that’s what time it is!” The time is RIGHT NOW for we who support Governor Palin. Like the Tribe of Issacher, we are aware of America’s time and we know what to do about it. We know what is taking place on Capitol Hill, and We the People are the voices (and votes) needed to steer our nation toward conservative principles such as smaller government and energy independence. It is 2010… a new year, a new day, a new beginning. We have the opportunity this year to stop that out-of-control liberal socialist machine during the mid-term elections. Purpose in your heart to stand up for our nation alongside Governor Palin by letting your voice and vote be heard. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Get in the game! The time is NOW.
Kristen Vander-Plas: Palin in Texas "Good Family Values Produce Patriots"
by Kristen Vander-Plas Please note: Kristen Vander-Plas is the Founding president of Lubbock Christian University College Republicans. Kristen is not a spokesperson for Lubbock Christian School but an interested student and attendee of the school's January 24, 2011 fundraiser featuring Governor Sarah Palin. Last night, I attended the private fundraiser for Lubbock Christian School, headlined by Gov. Sarah Palin. LCS is a pre-K through 12 private Christian school that services the South Plains of Texas providing caring, Christian and one-on-one support to the students enrolled. LCS put on a great event, and all of the attendees enjoyed themselves.Gov. Palin spent a majority of her time speaking about how important the family is to the restoration of America. She reiterated that our founders did not mention family in the Constitution because they considered it to be a given - that good family values produce patriots and, in her words, "small 'r' republicans."Additionally, Gov. Palin touched on the importance of education. When asked what she would have changed about her school career and time in college, she responded that she has always wished that she had continued on to law school or somewhere to further her education with a master's degree. She commended the teachers, parents, and mentors associated with LCS and encouraged them to continue the great work they are doing of touching and affecting lives for Christ and country.As a junior at Lubbock Christian University and the Founding president of the College Republicans on campus, I thoroughly enjoyed the "Conversation with Sarah Palin." She was every bit a polished speaker and compassionate guest. From recognizing the members of the military in the audience to agreeing to even come to the event after numerous threats were made against her (from across the country), Gov. Palin was an excellent choice to represent the values and core beliefs that we as Texans hold dear. She reminded us that Texas and Alaska are so very similar in the fact that we encourage our children to grow with God and in grace, and teach our young people to value hard work and patriotism. It was gratifying to hear one that I admire so much speak words that resonate with me - as they are the same words my parents taught me to hold dear to my heart.Well done, Gov. Palin! Thanks for standing up for the American people! Kristen Vander-PlasPresident, LCU College Republicans The People for Palin graciously thanks Kristen Vander-Plas for sharing her personal account of "Conversation with Sarah Palin" as an attendee at the Lubbock, Texas event. Kristen and the LCU College Republicans are the future of America leading us on to that "shining city on a hill".
The New York Times is 'Right' About Gov. Palin
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! It seems The New York Times finally discovered what Governor Palin’s supporters have known all along: Her intelligent and intuitive ideas have built a bridge across the proverbial political aisle and linked the great divide known as ‘left versus right’. Times contributor, Anand Giridharadas, lamented with chagrin in an article published on September 9th that, “Something curious happened when Ms. Palin strode onto the stage last weekend [September 3rd] at a Tea Party event in Indianola, Iowa… she delivered a devastating indictment of the entire U.S. political establishment — left, right and center — and pointed toward a way of transcending the presently unbridgeable political divide.” At least one lamestream media outlet was paying attention to Gov. Palin’s wise words. Whether this “discovery” by the Times was flashbang or a three alarm wake-up call to the devastation wielded upon Americans by one Barack Hussein Obama is anyone’s guess. The article is worth a read as Mr. Giridharadas even goes as far as to briefly synopsize Gov. Palin’s “interlocking points” made during her speech to the thousands gathered in an Iowa cornfield while peppered by a driving rain. Will the Times continue traveling this bridge-to-somewhere or follow the signs leading to the left exit detour? Buckle your seat belts; it’s going to be a bumpy ride. Photo source: Getty Images; Gov. Palin speaks in Indianola, IA on 9/3/11.
Ain't No Mountain High Enough
Known by its Athabascan name “Denali”, meaning “Great One”, majestic Mount McKinley is located in Alaska’s Denali National Park. With a peak at 20,320 feet high, Denali is the tallest mountain in the United States. History tells us that the first settlers are believed to be nomadic hunters and fishermen who developed villages and fish camps on the rugged terrain, and by the early 1900s, settlers came to Denali for the prospect of finding gold and striking it rich. President Eisenhower signed the Alaska Statehood Act on July 7, 1958 which made Alaska the 49th state of the United States of America, and Old Glory was proud to boast seven rows of seven stars. Despite the destructive earthquake and subsequent tsunami that struck south central Alaska on Good Friday in 1964, hard working Americans with pioneering spirits from the Lower 48 continued to pack up their belongings and move north to Alaska in search of adventure and a better life. Chuck Heath, Sr. and his family from Sandpoint, Idaho were no exception. Can you imagine what the Heath family thought as they soared above the Rocky Mountains and the Yukon in a Grumman Goose marveling at the lofty summits and snowy peaks of the Land of the Midnight Sun? Never becoming dismayed at the enormity of their challenge or the uncertainty of their future, the young family pressed onward to Skagway via Juneau when others would have turned around and headed back home. Just as the Heath family encountered physical mountains upon their move to Alaska, our nation today is confronted with figurative mountains: energy dependence, illegal immigration, socialized healthcare, record-high unemployment, disregard for the unborn, the debt crisis, and the war situation. These troubling issues can seem daunting and permanent. Never learn to live with a mountain of difficulty. Instead, like the Heath family, move forward in faith without fear or intimidation. As Chuck, Sr. moved his family into a small house in the tiny town of Skagway, he had no way of knowing that his infant daughter, Sarah Louise, would grow up to be a city councilwoman, a mayor, a governor, a vice presidential nominee, a best-selling author, and a serious contender for the American Presidency. Fast-forward to Fairbanks on July 26, 2009, as the infant daughter is now Governor Sarah Palin bidding farewell to the Alaska governorship by wholeheartedly thanking its citizens for allowing her to serve and challenging the media to respect freedom of speech and honor the American soldier by, “Quit making things up.” Governor Palin may have walked off that Fairbanks stage into an unknown political future, but she had mountain-moving faith in that, “The steps of the righteous are ordered by the Lord.” (Psalm 37:23) Governor Palin stepped out of one realm and into another as she has effectively endorsed common-sense conservative candidates like Alaska’s Joe Miller, Washington’s Clint Didier, and California’s Carly Fiorina, who are ready to take the U.S. Sentate by storm, and gubernatorial candidates like Iowa’s Terry Branstad, South Carolina’s Nikki Haley, and New Mexico’s Susan Martinez who are principled leaders and know what is right for their state. Encountering mountains--- difficulties, problems, hardships, the unknown – in life is inevitable. Like the Heath and Palin families, we all come across them. Some of our “mountains” are big like the Rockies, and some are as intimidating as Denali. The secret to moving mountains is to never become separated from our statement of faith. We must keep our words connected to our faith as we stand alongside Governor Palin to take our country back in the 2010 mid-term elections. America’s best days are ahead, and there ain't no mountain high enough that can't be conquerored as we move toward conservative victory in 2010!
Respect Is Valuable But Must Be Earned by Bill Ponath
Bill Ponath meets Gov. Sarah Palin in AZ Respect Is Valuable But Must Be Earned written by Bill Ponath I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Governor Sarah Palin on November 23 at Barnes & Noble in Phoenix. I gave her a signed copy of my book and she allowed me the honor of posing for a photo with her; a copy of which is now posted on my Facebook page. I sincerely express my thanks for her allowing me that privilege and for her accepting my gift. I hope that she reads it, appreciates it's content, and uses it as a minor authority for her service to our nation. This alerts us to what many members of the media may claim to be an "issue" concerning Ms. Palin's possible candidacy for President of the United States in 2012. Her recent slip of the tongue by using the word "North" instead of "South" in reference to Korea has caused political pundits to question her qualifications to serve as leader of the United States of America; despite the fact that she immediately corrected herself after doing so. It is actually pretty funny that her attackers are grabbing this slight error and running with it; which is another way of their saying that they are hunting for some kind of an angle on her every day but they simply can't find anything. Her recent neighbor left his temporary abode frustrated that it was a waste of time scouting her to look for something to write about and he came up with nothing. Who knows? Maybe her saying "North" instead of "South" was part of her "strategery" to lead the liberal media down a wild goose chase. That sounds pretty smart to me! At this time there is a long list of potential candidates for the Presidency in 2012. I have great respect for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, Mike Huckabee and Tim Pawlenty. I assume there will be a few other hats in the ring as time passes; but I have made an absolutely final decision that my vote is going to Sarah Palin. The reason for this is quite clear: she has proven that she can do a phenomenal job by her work as Alaska governor. She has absolutely no baggage based on comparatively less experience because she has proven that her primary goal is serving her country rather than herself. She is the person that will grasp any challenge and work until it has been completely overcome. I truly believe that she will never shrug her shoulders and give up. If you want the job done right; she is the one we need to hire. Yes; lack of experience will always be the angle used by her opponents. But ask yourself a question: If you need open-heart surgery are you going to hire the doctor with forty years of experience who doesn't really care if you live or die; or are you going to hire the one with five years of experience that has already done miracle surgery on a patient named "Alaska" and who wants desperately for you to live. I will take the second doctor and I trust that most of America will agree with me in November, 2012. The People for Palin graciously thanks Bill Ponath, author of "Verdict For America" The Common Sense Judge, for sharing his thoughts on meeting Governor Palin and her possible 2012 presidential candidacy. Bill Ponath, J.D., B.A., the Common Sense Judge, is a skilled attorney with more than 26 years of experience and has served for seven terms as a judge pro tem in Maricopa County Justice Courts in Arizona since 2001. His analytical skills are well-known; he gained the highest scores in the nation on two uniform mathematics examinations, and has issued rulings directly impacting the criminal court system. For more information, including how to order "Verdict for America", please visit www.VerdictForAmerica.com. Also please follow Bill Ponath on Twitter at http://twitter.com/CommonSenseJudg and join his Facebook Fan page at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=128321940521474.