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“Bloom where you’re planted.”

I don’t know who said it first, but I’ll never forget who said it first to me: my mother. It was an admonishment to look around me at the opportunities and needs within my grasp – and to embrace them. Her message was clear: If you bloom where you are planted, beautiful, unexpected things can happen.

This is the story of Gov. Sarah Palin. What makes her absolutely appealing to ordinary citizens across the country – both young and old – is that she didn’t go looking for greatness somewhere “out there. Instead, she sought to make a difference in the lives of the people in her path – and in so doing, greatness found her.

What an amazing story – from part-time high school basketball coach to PTA member to small town and state government leader to having the second-most powerful position in the free world within her grasp. Unlike others who have come before her, calculating and planning their every step to the top of the ladder, Sarah Palin did what was right and one day woke up to find that she had been elevated to the pinnacle of power.

Sarah Palin not only bloomed in her personal circumstances, she also refused to wilt when faced with intense private pain. When given the news that her preborn child would be something less than perfect, she loved and nurtured the growing son within her recognizing that in God’s economy, every innocent life has limitless potential and infinite value.

And, once again in the same year, as a sitting governor and rising star, when faced with a now too-common reality of a teenage daughter’s pregnancy, she again chose principle over expediency.

Because Sarah Palin was true in her own life to the values she preached, she is now a national champion of the downtrodden, the “disposable,” the helpless and the downcast. And she has shown the world the power of hope, forgiveness and redemption.

America is filled with Sarah Palins who give, sacrifice and surround their communities and families with love and support even in the toughest of times. Very few of you will be plucked from your hometowns and given a national mantel of responsibility, which has been entrusted to her. But all of you will add color and beauty and fragrance in the fields in which you grow. May Sarah Palin’s story remind all of us that God honors those who love and serve others. May her success inspire us to look first in our own neighborhoods for opportunities to change the world.

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