Happy Anniversary Darling

Darling, in Hebrew, one meaning is, to take delight in. Today my darling, Ashley and I celebrate nine years of marriage. What fascinates me, is the wonderful  layers nine years have added.

The fascination is still there, but as wonderful as it is, the familiar layer, often less regarded, is even more so. It’s not that her actions are predictable, but that you know what each other are thinking, feeling, and facing. You’re joined together in matrimony, but you grow into each other’s minds over time.

That is why the amazement of their strength becomes more incredible. You’re not seeing an invulnerable acquaintance, you know their scars, and you watch in amazement as they run towards the battle.

I’ve watched this woman face surgery after surgery, disappointment, and heartache, with a massive faith, elegance and grace, and a kind and loving heart. Solomon was truly right when he said when you find a wife, you’ve found something good! I can’t wait to see what she does in the next nine years!

They Made Them Laugh

Jack Benny, while Bob Hope received well deserved recognition for entertaining the troops, Jack was a close second. In fact, it’s my understanding that only Mr Hope had more performances than Jack’s for the troops, both reaching into the thousands. 

These men recognized the quality of laughter, and it’s need on the battlefield. I’ve heard people criticize the publicity received for these performances, but I don’t recall the critics doing so from the frontlines.  Which brings me to a quick point.

Neither man tried to make themselves appear as scholars, they were comedians. They didn’t mind getting laughed at, or criticized. I’m sure they didn’t like it, but they looked past it to the need. The need will always be greater than the criticism you face. An the voice of those you help, will always drown out those who complain about your efforts.

As Beautiful As A Flower

“As beautiful as a flower…” That’s what the city of Canton, China said of our flag in 1784. Benjamin Franklin and John Adams described it as having a new constellation. It flew monumentally above Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Jefferson, before they were ever committed to granite at Rushmore.  

It is a glowing, and growing light, flying ahead of great men and women, pointing towards a better future. That has always been the truth, from thirteen small colonies to fifty states, I love the history of our country.  When I think of it, I visualize a cold Valley Forge, a solemn Gettysburg, France’s Argonne Forest, and D Day.  

Heroes, some well known, others known only by their actions. My heart swells at the thoughts those American GI’s opening the doors of Auschwitz, making hope a reality.  I also think of a tea party in Boston, a harbor in Hawaii, and two towers in New York. 

Each generation would have challenges to answer, hardships to endure, and tragedies to overcome. Many of which, had not been faced by those before them. America, named for an Italian mapmaker, has always been a trailblazer. 

She strives to be as noble as the lady in her harbor. As brave, as those men at Iwo Jima. An as wise as the bearded gentleman from Kentucky, Illinois, or Indiana. 

Like Lincoln, all of America’s children, have little bits of each part of our country in us.  Each of us, can hear, in our mind’s ear, our favorite singer’s renditions of the Star Spangled Banner. All go to some lyric, person, or event that causes patriotism to swell in our hearts on this day.

I’m reminded of Cohan and Cagney, and those Yankee Doodle Boys. A red haired comedian, of great articulation, Mr Skelton, and his Pledge Of Allegiance. Or two other baggy pants comedians, Benny and Hope, who both entertained more troops than any other person.

I think of statesmen and soldiers first, but then those civilians who risked their lives, fortune, and future traveling to entertain those soldiers in far flung regions of the globe. Men and women, not in uniform, did what they could, to make other Americans’s lives a little better. 

They did so, because they recognized the greater sacrifices those they were serving were making. During sad days, they paired laughter with bravery. Our country, like all, has its valleys, but oh how beautiful our mountains. Flaws are only final, if we don’t rise above them.

We continue to climb, planting the seeds of freedom. Working to shine liberty’s torch into new areas, and keeping in our minds what this banner means.  For it is more than a symbol of what was, or a promise of what could be. It’s something that is always with each American.

It is a constant reassurance, that if they did it, we could grow into it also. It’s a consistent star charting us to new endeavors. An finally it’s a monument to the fact that God has blessed this land, and it’s our duty to seek His providence on it for many years to come.

July 3, 1775

On July 3, 1775, George Washington took command of the Continental Army.  We talk a lot about July 4th, but we don’t always appreciate July 3.  Leadership made tomorrow a reality, it laid the foundation of freedom, through sacrifice.

There was no guarantees when Washington accepted this post. He faced obstacles, people trying to take his position, impossible odds, and a massive foe.  Why did he accept, because since 1767, he had taken a stand against tyranny. 

Washington certainly did not accept for the position, it was more a target than an honor. He said yes because America needed him. He said yes, because he believed he could make a difference. He said yes, because he believed in what he was fighting for.

General Washington began the hard work of training and preparation.  If you read the accounts of the war, it was anything but easy.  It was truly a miracle that thirteen colonies stood fast against an empire, to form a republic.

Our country was founded by men called to liberty, beginning the journey of freedom, which we continue. Tomorrow we will listen to anthems penned as promises. Patriots,  propelled to better the lives of those around them. Providing America the possibility of not just a better future, but a future at all.

This week we celebrate freedom, today let us celebrate the leadership and sacrifice of those who chose to make it possible. They said we will fight today, so tomorrow we could say it’s Independence Day!

Founded With Knowledge

No, our country was not founded by perfect men, but they were praying men. While people debate whether General Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge, we have his prayer book, written in his own hand. Whether he prayed in the snow, or whether he prayed by the fire, we know he prayed.

Our country was founded with knowledge, the knowledge of their own limitations, and the belief in a God not bound by man’s frailties. On the Fourth of July week, I choose not to seek out their faults, I have enough of my own. I don’t have to look anywhere but the mirror for those.

What I look to General and President Washington for, is how he, and our other founding fathers, looked for God’s help in crafting something unique in human history. A country founded on the principles of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In 2018, we seek, in every season, regardless of the weather, we ask, like the surveyor turned soldier, for God’s help and guidance.

May we do, as they did. May we add to America’s story great adventures, noble deeds, and a foundation for our children to build on. Because 1776 happened, in 2018 we can still ask for God to bless America, may that forever be the case!

Happy Flag Day 2018

Yes Mr. Cohan, she is still a Grand Old Flag! Thank God we live under a banner, tested, tried, and true. Things may not be perfect, but they weren’t in 76, 18, or 45 either. Regardless of our troubles and our differences, she’s a Grand Old Flag!!!!

Memorial Day 2018

After the Revolution fought to win our freedom, they remembered those who marched against tyranny, but marched to a higher home before General Washington became President Washington.  These who fulfilled the pledge, of life, liberty, and sacred honor so completely.  Hearts remembered their sacrifice, and built thereon.

After the dark days of conflict in the Civil War, how many sacrifices were made. So much so, it even claimed the voice that gave us the Gettysburg Address. We heard his words, their deaths, his death, was not in vain.

From the great emancipator, we walked into France in World War 1, liberating it.  Some stayed behind, on French soil, giving all, so that more than America could be free.  This would be a pointer, to an even greater fight.

There is s noble war. One fought for the rescue of people hunted, and hated. One fought against a mad man who wished to annihilate, not just a race of people, but the treasure they had brought into the world. We stood with the world against Hitler, and paid a great price, to destroy the nightmares of Auschwitz and Dachau.

Other mad men have risen, and our soldiers have stood to stop them.  This Memorial Day, we don’t evaluate the battle, or the decisions behind it, we honor the soldiers. Men and women, who in every generation, made it possible, for us to live freely.  

We honor, salute, and embrace the heart, love, and hope their sacrifice purchased for us. May God bless their souls, their memory, and their legacy. May God bless the United States Of America!

Teacher Appreciation Day 2018

To teach, is to cause someone to learn or understand something by example or experience.  Today is Teacher Appreciation Day. I am so thankful for the many teachers in my life.

My first teachers were my parents, and the lessons they taught me I hold to this day.  I can remember my teachers in school with admiration and gratitude.  Then their is a long list of people who have spoken into my life in countless ways.

In my Christian walk, I am blessed to have some of the greatest teachers ever. The Apostle Paul called them instructors in Christ. These men and women led by word and example.

In business, I learned from the good, and the bad. The right principles taught me to reject the wrong ones. I even learned how to do tasks that at first intimidated me. What had once seemed daunting became daily routine.

All of this was because of teachers. An there have been other things, from the trivial to the important where a little instruction made an impact.  To every teacher in my life, I would like to say thank you.

To everyone reading this, whether you’re a teacher by profession, or by impact, I’d also like to say something.  Don’t underestimate the power of small actions. I patterned much of my Ministry by the way one man stood when his Pastor was speaking.  

The way I I paint is because of how someone else taught me to hold a brush.  As a husband, though not always brilliantly, I follow the pattern of how someone else smiled when their spouse was upset.  Others notice what you think is discarded. Your efforts are never wasted, but always invested, thank you!

Happy Birthday Israel

Seventy years ago this week, the modern state of Israel was established. It became once again a physical country with borders, but it’s reach continues to be borderless. The nation of Israel, and the Jewish people have given the world amazing gifts.

As a Christian, first and foremost, is the gift of my Savior, The Lord Jesus.  As well as Abraham, David, Moses, Isaiah, and Elijah. From Spiritual matters, to the Ten Commandments, and it’s influence on the legal systems of history, to military campaigns it touches every corner of society. The strategies of the Bible, have won many battles by faith, by law, and by skill.

Other more recent names, such as Einstein, Heifetz, and Perlman. Science, classical music, and culture all have been enriched by the sons and daughters of Israel. Like many other countries, America has many Jewish descendants who have added to our story.

From statesmen, scientists, musicians, and entertainers, Jacob’s descendants have impacted the world.  To celebrate Israel, is a celebration of history, revelation, and exploration.  From David, to David Ben-Gurion, the versus Goliath story resounds with us all.  

It gives us hope that, we can face, and defeat the things which tower over us.  Each family of the Earth, every race, every culture holds riches. Today we celebrate the family of a man who heard the call of God to leave a city to found a nation.

We owe so much to Abraham, the father of Faith. So this week Israel, we celebrate you. Your hardships, your journey, your successes, and your triumphs during setbacks, never accepting defeat.  Happy Birthday Israel!