Always Be Grateful and Thankful

On the eve of Thanksgiving, let us use this occasion to show our continual thanks every day of the year.

Many Americans have lost sight of what it means to truly be thankful and grateful. I, for one, am grateful for my family, my friends, and my freedom. These are things to be cherished, and I hope you similarly have these things to cherish. One day is not enough to give and receive thanks. In fact, we should aspire to do this beyond Thanksgiving.

 “Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you’ll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you’ll find that you have more of it.” –Ralph Marston

Pimp joy if you can. Spread happiness, not wealth. Give back through private means.
Here are several things to keep in mind this Thanksgiving and every day:

1) Be grateful to live in the U.S.

Given all the political and social turmoil our country is in, it’s certainly easy to put the blame on something to fit one’s narrative. The most popular scapegoat? The United States of America. Do you believe that the cards are stacked against you in America? (Maybe the government, not free enterprise, is holding you back and diminishing your potential to succeed.) Do you complain about America being an oppressor but still reap the benefits of living here? (Perhaps you fail to understand how good you have it here and the freedom afforded to you.) Do you feel entitled to things? (We tend to better appreciate things we earn over things given to us.) Perhaps this is cliché, but America is the last best hope in this world. Our Constitution gives us innumerable rights and privileges unseen throughout the world. If you live here, count your lucky stars. You will never be as empowered as you are here. (Thanks for legally immigrating to the U.S., mom and dad!)

2) Thank those who protect us on a daily basis

One of the important things Americans continue to gloss over is the fact that countless men and women –whether in the armed forces or those in law enforcement–protect us on a daily basis. A lot of them are demonized by those who are quick to paint broad strokes. While few bad individuals fall through the cracks, it’s important to remember that many people sacrifice their livelihoods each day, domestically and abroad, to keep us safe. Thank a vet or a cop if you see one. They are just like us–regardless of position in life.

3) Whatever family you have, BE GRATEFUL YOU HAVE THEM

No family is perfect. You may have political or personal disagreements with some relatives, but family is family. Love them or hate them, blood is thicker than water. Your family will come to your defense when you need it and least expect it. They will always be there for you. Alternatively, you should always be there for them. Love and cherish your family, however big or small it is!

4) Give thanks to god

If you are the praying or religious type, give thanks to God. Even if you’re not spiritual, continue to give thanks to a supreme higher being  beyond our control. The man upstairs certainly has your back–even when you least expect it.


I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the company of loved ones and eat plenty of turkey.

What are you thankful for? Weigh in below!

Happy Constitution Day!

On this day in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was signed. (Still a momentous accomplishment!)

However, it’s becoming increasingly alarming how few people truly cherish the freedoms and rights guaranteed to them by this sacred document. Too many people, especially fellow Millennials, complain about “privilege” and being “systematically disadvantaged” by scapegoating this founding document. They bemoan America for being evil, racist, and oppressive all the while ignoring countries actually mired by tyranny or countries that have recovered from tyranny. For example, what other country allows its citizens free speech or the right to keep and bear arms? The right to privacy? The former USSR didn’t. Cuba doesn’t. North Korea doesn’t. Heck, most European countries’ constitutions don’t offer rights comparable to ours. Ours is incomparable to the rest of the world. Why else have so many people come here in search of a better life?

Yes, there are people currently in government who are defiling the Constitution–and sadly, they exist in both parties. Those who seek to control us by means of governmental control are foes, not friends, of liberty. (Be weary of any candidate who fails to discuss how important this document is.)

You hear me say or write this often, but I’m truly grateful and honored to have been the first person in my immediate family born in this country. I couldn’t imagine growing up with or being subjected to the USSR Constitution. Glad my parents afforded my sister and I the opportunity to not be subjected to it, but instead, be born and raised in a country genuinely vested in freedom.

Talk is cheap; let’s hope our political leaders start to respect and/or continue to reaffirm their dedication to this sacred document.

Happy Constitution Day!

Assimilation Isn’t Criminal; It’s American


The Washington Post published a mind-numbingly bizarre article on Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal suggesting he’s not Indian anymore because he assimilated to the American way of life. Jindal, 44, is the 13th Republican to jump into the 2016  presidential race.

Here’s what WaPo wrote:

Jindal’s status as a conservative of color helped propel his meteoric rise in the Republican Party — from an early post in the George W. Bush administration to two terms in Congress and now a second term as Louisiana governor — and donors from Indian American groups fueled his first forays into politics. Yet many see him as a man who has spent a lifetime distancing himself from his Indian roots.

Here’s more:

As a child, he announced he wanted to go by the name Bobby, after a character in “The Brady Bunch.” He converted from Hinduism to Christianity as a teen and was later baptized a Catholic as a student at Brown University — making his devotion to Christianity a centerpiece of his public life. He and his wife were quick to say in a “60 Minutes” interview in 2009 that they do not observe many Indian traditions — although they had two wedding ceremonies, one Hindu and one Catholic. He said recently that he wants to be known simply as an American, not an Indian American.

“There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal,” said Pearson Cross, a political science professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette who is writing a book on the governor.

“There’s not much Indian left in Bobby Jindal.” WHAT??

Governor Jindal is Indian and always will be. I reckon he’s very proud of his heritage, as he should be. So what if he’s Catholic and has adopted an Americanized name?  That doesn’t make him any less Indian. He should be applauded for pursuing the American dream, honoring his family, and realizing his individual potential. Why can’t we just judge people on the content of their character and not their skin color?

Commentary Magazine brilliantly counters WaPo’s assertion that Jindal isn’t Indian enough:

Jindal, whose boilerplate stump speech focuses extensively on his parents’ backgrounds in India and the trials they endured in order to provide him with the opportunities that he made the best of in the United States, has committed what the left regards as the unforgivable sin of rejecting identity politics altogether. The Pelican State governor called those who preoccupy themselves with prejudging their fellow Americans based on their skin colors “dim-witted” and added that his family has refused to consider themselves “hyphenated Americans.”

“My dad and mom told my brother and me that we came to America to be Americans. Not Indian-Americans, simply Americans,” the governor has said. “If we wanted to be Indians, we would have stayed in India. It’s not that they are embarrassed to be from India, they love India. But they came to America because they were looking for greater opportunity and freedom.”

What could possibly be wrong with assimilation? Everything, according to the Left.

Leftist logic suggest when people reject identity politics and don’t tow the line, they’re traitors who boast self-hatred. To them, playing off one’s race, gender, etc., is politically expedient and beneficial to to their cause. (Unfortunately for them, when their policies are implemented, they fail miserably and leave people worse off. Look at the former Soviet Union, Cuba, and other places ravaged by democide and cradle-to-grave government.)  If someone doesn’t subscribe to a leftist worldview, pejorative slurs and insults are hurled their way. So much for civility…

Why can’t we be individuals all the while revering our heritage? It doesn’t matter if you’re white, black, European, Asian, African, etc. If someone wants to advance themselves as individuals, they should be celebrated–not demonized. We can’t stand for this demagoguery anymore.

I’m convinced the only immigrants our counterparts on the Left celebrate are those who come here illegally or those who don’t assimilate to the American way of life. If immigrants choose to assimilate, they are self-hating. Who less finds logic so contorted today?

Like millions first-generation Americans out there, I’m proud of my immigrant parents for assimilating to the American way of life. My parents came here in 1986 from Lithuania when it was still occupied by the Soviet Union. They came here virtually penniless with our relatives and feared for their lives in the process of fleeing Soviet rule. (They are grateful to have received political asylum.) Both my mom and my dad learned English, worked in their respective industries, launched businesses, and gave my sister and I a good life. Are my parents any less Lithuanian for becoming American? Hell no. My parents still retain their accents, customs, and Old World wisdom. It’s physically and biologically impossible to erase one’s heritage.  Though I’m American born, I can proudly tout my Lithuanian heritage all the while being American. Bobby Jindal touts his Indian heritage and is a proud American.  The values instilled in us by our families, regardless of our origin, are uniquely American. And that’s a beautiful thing.

Assimilation isn’t criminal; it’s American.

Agree? Disagree? Weigh in below.

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Summer Food Bucket List: Woodbridge Food Truck Festival

Gabriella Hoffman:

My sister and I will be partnering with Eventbrite this summer for our food blog A Taste of Patriarchy! How cool is that? We’ll be profiling the Woodbridge Food Truck Festival.

Originally posted on A Taste of Patriarchy:

This summer, we are participating in Eventbrite‘s Summer Food Bucket List project–an opportunity to blog about food festivals or events we’re planning to attend this summer. After looking through Eventbrite’s list of food festivals in our area, we will be attending Woodbridge Food Truck Festival on July 11th, which will take place in Manassas, Virginia, at the Prince William County Fairgrounds.

Food trucks are a revolutionary enterprise in America today. In an era of big government, it’s encouraging to see an explosion of food trucks here in the Washington, D.C., metro area and across the country. Why are food trucks so controversial, you ask? Their existence aggravates those who seek to control and restrict competition. Not only do food trucks provide a variety of products, but they also offer consumers quality food for an affordable rate. These small businesses are certainly making customer satisfaction a high priority through creativity and affordability, and…

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Happy 25th Anniversary of Reunification, Lithuania!


Credit: LTUWorld

Credit: LTUWorld

On this day 25 years ago, the Baltic Republic of Lithuania broke away from the Soviet Union. (It was the first Baltic to do so.)

Here’s more about this important historical event from LTUWorld:

Lithuania marks the 25-year anniversary of the restoration of its independence.

We Believe in Freedom. We always did. For centuries from the beginning of Lithuanian statehood to the present day.

Having restored Lithuania’s independence 25 years ago two out of three Lithuanians personally remember that thirst for freedom and how comforting the first gulps were. We remember how good it felt to return to Europe, to be back home where freedom is an underlying value.

11th March 1990 was the day when Lithuanians became free to choose, to grow, to be themselves. And we try to do our best.

If you are interested in how the world press reacted to the restoration of Lithuania’s Independence in 1990, check out this source:

Grateful to have immediate roots in a country that prizes faith, freedom, and free markets.

Happy Reunification Day, Lietuva!

Planning to Travel in 2015? Visit Lithuania

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Who else is digging the love Lithuania is getting lately from travel blogs and similar publications?

The Baltic nation of Lithuania has a special place in my heart. For those who know me personally, I often boast about my Baltic roots and showcase delicious food from my ancestral homeland. I can’t help that I appreciate my Lithuanian roots! (Last Friday marked 29 years since my parents and relatives left then Soviet-occupied Lithuania for the U.S.)

For those of you shaking your head questioning whether or not Lithuania is a real country: Yes, it’s a real country with a rich history. It’s also a freedom-loving, rebellious, deeply Catholic (socially conservative) country giving Russian oligarch Vladimir Putin massive headaches. (And rightly so!) Moreover, I’m proud to say that my Lithuanian heritage has tremendously aided me in advancing conservatism.

What is Lithuania known for? In short, basketball, beer, and beautiful women. The first written mention of Lithuania dates back to March 9, 1009. It’s also the largest and most populous of the Baltic Republics. Additionally, Lithuania was the first Baltic Republic to declare its independence from the Soviet Union on March 11, 1990. (How cool is that?)

Need a reason to visit the Baltic Republic?

Lonely Planet listed Lithuania as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2015:

Rebellious, quirky and vibrant, Lithuania (Lietuva) is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Though the country rarely makes it into newspapers outside its borders (and when it does, it’s for some basketball exploit), the southernmost of the three Baltic countries holds a bag of treats.

Lithuania joined Singapore, Namibia, Nicaragua, Ireland, Republic of Congo, Serbia, the Philippines, St Lucia, and Morocco on Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015 list.

And Forbes also listed Lithuania as a top travel destination in 2015:

It’s also home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the old town of capital city Vilnius, a Baroque masterpiece and one of the largest old towns in Central and Eastern Europe; and the Curonian Spit, a 60-mile peninsula of spectacular beaches stretching south into Russia’s Kaliningrad exclave. Once heavily forested, it’s now the pride of the country and backed by Europe’s largest moving sand dune.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve certainly caught the travel bug. Last time I was in Lietuva was in August 1999. (I was eight at the time.) Hoping to pay a visit in the near future, especially sometime later this year!

Would you want to visit Lithuania this year? Weigh in below!

Happy 29th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!

On this day 29 years ago, my parents arrived in the United States in search of a better life.

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[Aren’t my parents adorable? They’ll be celebrating 33 years of marriage in April.]

I often brag and boast about my parents because, well, they’re awesome. Not only that, they are the best [naturalized] Americans I know! They came here virtually penniless from the now-defunct Soviet Union in search of a better life. (Soviet attitudes still thrive in Russia today.) Their first home, Lithuania, was sadly ravaged by Soviet policies. Thankfully the country is now free.

I recently watched “Moscow on the Hudson” (1984) which starred the late Robin Williams. In the film, there is a profound scene featuring a swearing-in ceremony for soon-to-be naturalized Americans. Here’s a relevant quote from that scene:

 …Today you will become citizens of the United States of America. No longer are you an Englishman, Italian, a Pole or whatever, neither will you be a hyphenated American. From this day you are no longer a subject of a government, but an integral part of the government, a free man. May you find in this nation the fulfillment of your dreams of Peace and Security, and may America in turn never find you wanting in your new proud role of citizen of the United States…

This scene will certainly have an impact on you. Becoming American used to be lauded. Now, it’s “xenophobic” and “insensitive” to suggest people should assimilate to the American way of life. My parents retain many aspects of Lithuanian culture, but understand that success in America comes with blending into society. Without a doubt, American citizenship is a great privilege. Cherish it more!

I’m proud to be a daughter of legal immigrants from Lithuania. My parents sacrificed so much to come here to achieve the American dream. My sister and I are eternally grateful to them for giving us a good life here in the U.S.

Happy 29th Freedomversary, Mom and Dad!