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Friday, December 31, 2010

IT'S ONLY FUN UNTIL SOMEONE GETS HURT!

   I broke my beloved SWMBO! We were affectionately doing something we have done since the first day we were married! (Alright you sicko's, call the tow truck to drag your minds out of the gutter.)
   We were hugging each other. SWMBO is much shorter that I am. The top of her head comes to just under my chin. So, when we hug I have to crouch down a little. On this occasion she had her arms around my neck, I crouched down and put my arms around her. Then, I slowly straightened up as I had done countless times before. SWMBO's feet came off the floor and dangled about three inches off the ground as usual. She says that this gently stretches her back and really feels good. Then all of a sudden...POP! SWMBO yelled out and doubled over in pain grabbing her left side.
   According to competent medical authority SWMBO's rib cracked and separated slightly from her sternum. OUCH! It will take a long time to heal because of the nature and location of the injury.
   I feel really bad! I feel like I drowned a little fuzzy kitty! I know it wasn't anyone's fault and I know SWMBO knows it wasn't anybody's fault. I still feel awful!
    Anyone who knows me knows how much I love SWMBO! Anyone who knows us knows how devoted we are to each other! I am a gentle, non-violent person but I am capable of dispensing extreme violence under certain circumstances. Anyone hurting or threatening to hurt my beloved SWMBO would evoke such an outburst. I would defend her to the death...without hesitation. I would take a bullet for her! I would dive onto a live hand grenade to protect her. So now I have to go and kick my own butt! Fate is so cruel!
     It is impossible for two people who love each other to not hurt each other! SWMBO and I have been together for over 38 years. She is the love of my life! She is my sunshine! She is my Christmas Spirit! She is what civilizes me! However, we have hurt each other, sometimes very deeply, over the years. Yet, we apologize as needed...we forgive and we move on!
     How is this possible! How can one forgive so completely and move on? The answer lies in the example that God provides. He demonstrates such a forgiving love. It is written that God places our sins away from us as far as the east is from the west. He places them into the vast ocean of His forgetfulness and remembers them NO MORE!
    I broke my beloved SWMBO but she forgives me...how great is that?
    Is there someone who needs your forgiveness? I urge you to forgive them...and then move on!
    

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

SELF EVIDENT TRUTHS

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."


     These words were penned 234 years ago by Thomas Jefferson. These words appear in our Declaration of Independence from Great Britain. At the time they were written, most governments consisted of a King or Queen who wielded absolute power. King Louis of France is quoted to have said "LEtat, c'est moi!", I am the State!
     It was clearly understood that to speak out  publicly against the King meant imprisonment and possibly execution. The rights of the citizenry derived from the benevolence of the monarchy. Whatever that King bestowed benevolently He, or his successors, could just as easily revoke with or without just cause.
     What was so radical about what our founding fathers professed was that this paradigm was turned upside down onto it's head. Our founding fathers believed that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed.  They embodied these beliefs in our Constitution, the highest law in the land.
    Our founding fathers believed that the existence of "...their Creator" is self evident, in other words it is an established fact. No further proof is needed...it is true!
    They also believe that it was self evident that where the power of government expanded the liberty of the citizenry contracted.
     We can see this being played out in our country today. The United States recently passed a law that most of those those who voted for it did not read it and for the first time requires it's citizens to purchase a product against their will. The liberty of the citizenry is contracting!
     Our system of governance works only if the citizens become informed, become involved and hold our elected representatives accountable. This too is self evident.
     GOD BLESS AMERICA ! ! !

Monday, December 6, 2010

SO, WHAT'S NEW?

     Hello everyone! It's good to speak with you again. I have been away from the blogosphere for awhile. Don't fret, everything is okay. During the month of November I took a couple of weeks of vacation time and enjoyed some "Me" time. For the first time in many years I had Thanksgiving Day off and was able to enjoy it with family.
     Also here in God's country, you may know it better as New Hampshire, it is the annual deer hunting season. You may not know it but I am a terrific hunter. I know where to look for deer sign. I am an excellent marksman with a variety of small arms. I am an excellent hunter. However, I am a lousy finder. I hunt great, I find lousy. I have been hunting for about thirty years. I have 28 unfilled deer tags, meaning I have only been successful twice in all that time.
      You've heard it said that it's not the getting but rather it's the thrill of the chase. That's a bunch of deer droppings. I have had my share of the thrill of the chase and I'm here to tell you that it's not all that thrilling. It's frickin' cold!
      Fortunately for me I enjoy being out in the woods. I love the quiet. I love the wildlife. I love seeing how the hunting area changes from year to year.                  
      Every now and then I actually see a deer. Usually it's during the time when you may only shoot a buck, a male deer. It seems that the does, the female deer, disseminate a memo telling all the other does that it's "Bucks Only" and that it's safe to come out during the day. So, when I see a deer it's usually a doe.   
      Routinely they look at me, quietly chuckle to themselves a little bit, give me the "hoof" and then slowly walk away laughing. Can you imagine that, being dissed by a deer! I don't have to take it...I have a loaded gun...I could shoot them and no one would know! Oh well!
      Anyways, I am back and in the immortal words of General Douglas MacArthur, "I have returned!" So, what's new?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

I'M PROUD TO BE AN AMERICAN!

     Today is Veteran's Day! We owe a debt to our nation's military service veterans that we can never repay. Our history is replete with accounts of normal, average, non-descript citizens who have stepped up in times of national need and performed extraordinary selfless acts of heroism and service above and beyond the strict call of duty. Many have willingly paid the ultimate price as a measure of their devotion to their fellow citizens. Gentlemen and ladies...I salute you, today. Gentlemen and Ladies...I sincerely thank you, today.
      A few blog entries ago I asked "Where Do We Find These People?" I recounted an encounter I had with a single mother U.S. Army Reservist who had received orders to deploy with her unit to Afghanistan next year. She was willingly making such a tremendous sacrifice because she loves her Country. Let me tell you about a few other people who I greatly admire.
     During World War II there were two commanders in the Pacific Theater. One was General Douglas MacArthur. General MacArthur was the greatest American general ever. He had a natural ability to manage overall strategy that is unparalleled. His military campaigns resulted in fewer American casualties than any other commander. 
     However, the person who I admire and want to tell you about is one of General MacArthur's contemporaries...Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief Pacific Area Command (CINCPAC). He was not as gifted as General MacArthur but through hard work and devotion became Larry Bird to General MacArthur's Magic Johnson, if you'll excuse the archaic basketball reference. Admiral Nimitz came from humble means. He rose through the ranks and assumed command of the Pacific forces after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. You may recall the condition of those forces after the sneak attack on that day of infamy. Admiral Nimitz displayed a humble confidence and is in large part responsible for the success of the Pacific Campaign that lead to the defeat of Japan.
     Another man who I greatly admire is not as well known but like Admiral Nimitz came from humble beginnings. He answered his nation's call and served in the army during World War II. He participated in the campaigns in North Africa and in Europe following D-Day. He was a Medic. He used to entertain his children with stories of his experiences during the war. He spared them on the more graphic details, but he did have many interesting experiences. His devotion to his country was passed on to his children who also volunteered and served honorably in the armed services during the Vietnam War Era.  This man never rose above being a middle class, blue collar worker but he earned the respect of all who were fortunate to know him. I was privileged to call him "Dad!"
      Last, but by no means least, a third person who I admire greatly also rose from humble beginnings. This person never served on active duty in the military but was married to a serviceman who did. She created and maintained a home. It did not matter how financially strapped they were or where they were living, this person always managed to provide a comfortable, safe refuge from the stresses of the world outside. This person was a constant source of love, support and encouragement. This person often had to maintain the home by herself because her serviceman was away due to his military commitments. This person continued to make sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty over the years after military service during her husband's law enforcement career and continues to do so to this day.  I am blessed to call her SWMBO. She is my devoted wife of 38 years, Lynn Marie, who made all these sacrifices without complaint. 
      When you remember your special veteran, also remember the family members who supported them and served with them as well. Where do we find these people?
      I am so proud to be an American!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

THE CHRISTIAN AND CONTROVERSY

     We live in a world full of controversy. The War on Terrorism, Abortion, Homosexuality & Marriage, Gun Control, Taxation, Government Policy, are just a few of the topics that give rise to very strong opinions on either side of the particular issue. Some of the people on both sides of a controversial issue have such strong opinions that it often gives rise to anger, hatred and in some cases even leads to violence against property and persons. I am certain that you have seen such instances in your own lives.
     As you know I am a practicing christian. I say "practicing" because I have yet to get it exactly right. I mean, I still am not perfect...not even close. Just ask anyone who knows me well. As you also know I am not afraid to express my opinions on a variety of subjects. I have sometimes offended people by what I have said, written or done. Sometimes it bothers me when I cause such offense because the offense is unintentional, other times not so much!
     As christians we have been given a "commission" by the Lord Jesus Christ. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you;" (Matthew 28:19,29) That is our only "commission" from God. No where are christians commanded to, given the authority to, or permission to engage in violence in carrying out our commission.
     Should christians express their opinions on controversial subjects? Should christians be involved in the political process? Should christians participate in efforts advocating one side or the other of a controversial issue?
      In my humble view, the answer is "Yes!" As citizens of this great nation it is the duty of all eligible citizens, including christians, to become educated about the candidates and the relevant issues of the day and vote.  All citizens, including christians, should read and understand the U.S. Constitution so that they understand how our republic is organized and what powers , and the limitations thereto, are vested in each of the three branches of our government.
     Also, in my humble view, it is the duty of christians, in fulfilling the aforementioned commission, to speak out on controversial issues. 
     Let me hasten to add that when a christian does chose to speak out on any issue they should do so lovingly, respectfully, calmly, intelligently, without anger or rancor and without fear. They should also speak out with the purpose of gently persuading people AND pointing them towards God in a manner consistent with out God-given commission.
     The Bible tells us that God is love and desires to have a relationship with all human beings. The Bible also makes it clear that each one of us gets to freely make the choice of whether or not we want a relationship with God and that God will respect that choice. Christians should respect that choice as well, even though some christians clearly do not.
     Anyone desiring to know more about how to have that relationship, there is a host of christians, including yours truly, who would be delighted to speak with you. Should you be an autodidact, find a copy of the Bible and begin reading the Books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John and the Acts of the Apostles to start. After you have done so and you want to speak with someone about what you have read or if you have any questions, there is a host of christians, including yours truly, who would be delighted to speak with you. 
     In conclusion, Christians enjoy the same civil rights as non-christians and ought to participate fully in the blessings of liberty, the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and speaking out on the issues of the day just as freely as non-christians. The difference should be as to how they do so.


     Thanks for reading this post. God bless you all and God bless America!

Monday, November 8, 2010

NOW WHAT? or WHAT NOW?

     This silly season that is the mid-term elections has come to an end. The people have voted and it appears that the American people have repudiated the liberal policies of the Obama Administration. Moderate democratic congressmen have been voted out of office. Pundits say that this is because of their support of the President's agenda against the stated wishes of their constituents. Ironically, several of the most ardent left leaning Congressmen have been re-elected by their constituents. I don't understand this phenomenon.
     So now what? The Senate will remain under Democratic control. The House of Representatives will be under Republican control. Several governorships and state legislatures will come under Republican control. What part did the Tea Party play in these elections? What does this bode for the future of these United States?
     One of the views put forward by the Tea Party is that our elected representatives who take an oath to support the constitution would actually know what the constitution says and what it means. There have been sitting members who have blatantly disregarded in the name of party loyalty or expediency what the constitution clearly says. Passing laws in the dead of night must also cease immediately. This is so wrong in a nation of laws. Our founding fathers would use much stronger language to condemn such things.
     I hope that henceforth any legislation, at whatever level of government, will be thoroughly read and understood before it is passed. I urge all lawmakers to ensure that any contemplated legislation complies with the relevant constitution, either the  U.S. Constitution or the applicable State Constitution before passage. I urge that all legislation be made public before it is passed to enable voters time to read it, digest it and to contact their elected representatives to express their support or opposition thereto. Finally, I would insist that legislative bodies could not exempt themselves from having to comply with any laws that they pass.
     What does the recent mid-term elections bode for our future? The Chinese have a curse..."May you live in interesting times!" I believe that this so called curse is about to be played out in our beloved nation. May our gracious God continue to bless and protect our nation.
     What do you think? How do you see it playing out?
       

Monday, November 1, 2010

ELECTIONS - YOUR CHANCE TO SPEAK

     Well, we are down to the wire, we the people get to exercise our franchise in less than 24 hours when we go into the voting booth and participate in the only poll that really counts. Maybe now we can get some peace from the incessant telephone polling. I have never been a big fan of polls. Polling results are affected by so many things such as, what is asked, how is it asked, who is asked, how many people are asked, and so forth. 
     Anyone who has been listening, probably feels the need to take a long shower to wash off to nasty mud that has been slung in copious amounts during this election cycle. I long for a time when candidates argue issues intelligently and reject ad hominem attacks. Dare to dream!
     A lot of people have spent tons of money telling you how you should vote. Let me suggest how you should vote. I don't care if you vote republican, democrat, independent, fringe party or whatever. I strongly urge you to vote for: (1) The person who will TRULY support, defend and uphold the U.S. Constitution; (2) The person who will vote against ANY piece of legislation that reduces, diminishes, weakens, or violates any of our God-given rights or liberties. (3) The person who has demonstrated their ability to perform the job by virtue of their past training, experience and accomplishments; The person who will truly represent the interests of their constituents.
     
     All wisdom does not reside in any one party or candidate, therefore, our elected representatives must of necessity work together to do what is best for our Nation regardless who gets the credit. 


     Read up on what your current representatives have done while in office. If they have done a good job, vote for them. If that have not done a good job or otherwise have violated the public trust, vote them out.


     In any event, please go to the polls tomorrow and vote. It is our duty as citizens to keep ourselves informed and to exercise our vote. GOD BLESS AMERICA! ! !

Monday, October 25, 2010

BEING GAY IS A CHOICE!

     "Being Gay is a Choice!" I posted this comment a couple of times in various media in response to the assertion that being Gay is not a choice but a function of Nature. It is not politically correct to hold this view. Judging from some of the angry responses that I have received, it's not okay to hold, much less to express, this view. If you have read my previous blog entry you know what I believe with respect to political correctness and free speech. Therefore, with all due respect to those who may take offense, let me explain why I hold this belief.

     First and foremost God, the God of the Bible, condemns homosexuality as being wrong and therefore sinful. Those who don't believe in God will probably dismiss this reason without giving it any further consideration. Those who do believe in God will find this point is quite compelling.
     There is a Supreme Being, God, who is the Creator of all things that have been created. He is the ultimate authority on ALL things in the universe. He has the authority and the power to establish what is morally right or morally wrong. He is the ultimate source of love, life, morality, justice, ethics, etc. He has shown Himself to be a God of love, grace and mercy. He has communicated with humanity through about 40 different authors over a period of approximately 1500 years in a library of 66 books we know as the Bible.
       God being just, holds us responsible for the exercise of our God-given free will. It is clear from a reading of the Bible that God does not punish people for things that are beyond their control, like getting sick for example. He does punish people for what they do.
       Therefore, logic compels me to conclude that: (1) God justly punishes us for things that we choose to do that are wrong/sinful; (2) God has declared the practice homosexuality is sinful; (3) God does not punish us for what is not our choice; (4) God declares that He will punish those who practice homosexuality; (5) homosexuality, being gay, is a choice.

      Next, consider the natural world around us. All animals on land, in the air and in the seas, with rare exceptions, are male or female. It takes a male and female to propagate the species.
      Human beings are male or female. It takes a male and female to propagate the human species. That is the natural order of things. Homosexuality is not natural. No one is born homosexual, they become homosexual later in life by choice. No one has ever gone to a doctor and after being examined was told by that doctor "You're a homosexual."
      There is no empirical scientific data that supports the proposition that being homosexual is anything but a choice of the person who declares themselves to be homosexual.

      If a person chooses to be homosexual it is their choice. They are entitled to make their choices just as we are entitled to make ours. They are entitled to be treated with the same respect everyone else is entitled to. I mean to say that it is morally wrong to harass, abuse, bully, physically assault, denigrate or mistreat them in any way. God will be their judge, and ours, not you...not me!

      It is proper to try persuade people and to "lovingly" point out where they stand with respect to God and the potential consequences of their choice. However, it is never proper to coerce them to your point of view.  It is never appropriate to use the Bible as a cudgel to beat anyone into submission. God never coerces us, He persuades us in love. He leaves the choice to us. We can do no more!

      Being Gay is a Choice!

Friday, October 22, 2010

CAN WE TALK ?

   " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (1st Amendment to the United States Constitution.) 


    One of our most cherished rights as a free people is our right to speak freely. The Government is expressly prohibited from passing any law that would infringe upon that right. Courts have consistently ruled that all speech, particularly vile and offensive speech, are protected by the U.S. Constitution.
     Some people sometimes try to expand this right to include "the right to not be offended." They seem to believe that they have a God given right to be "free" from being offended by another's exercise of their free speech right. This is incorrect as a matter of law! Various Courts that have addressed this issue have observed that it is precisely offensive speech that needs to be protected.


     Enter the concept of "Political Correctness." Expressions that can be perceived to exclude, marginalize or insult people who are disadvantaged or discriminated against. So according to P.C. gurus there are certain classes of people who may not, in effect, be offended. Who are these protected classes? Who decides who is a protected class? Who decides what speech is offensive to these classes? Who decides what is offensive?
     Political Correctness is an artificial concept with constantly changing parameters depending upon the subjective whims of the P.C. gurus. In short it is the stuff that is extruded out of the south end of a northbound bull.


     Ideas should stand or fall of their own weight, competing freely in the marketplace of ideas. No one should have the power to deny anyone of their right to speak freely.


     People who know me know that I do not seek to deliberately offend anyone. I have strongly held views and I can be persuaded by a cogent, logical, well-presented intelligent argument. I do not come by my views lightly. I do spend a fair amount of time thinking and re-thinking about my views, considering new information or re-considering old information.


     It is wrong to cause people to lose their employment, their freedom or their life because they have expressed an opinion that you do not agree with, especially if what they say is founded in truth.


     I WILL NOT ALLOW ANYONE, PARTICULARLY P.C. GURUS, TO DEPRIVE ME OF MY GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO SPEAK FREELY! ! !


     I HEREBY DECLARE that I reserve the right to express myself in ANY manner and/or by use of ANY words that I may choose at the time. If you find my speech offensive, let's talk.


    What do you think? Can we talk?


     

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

WHERE DO WE FIND THESE PEOPLE?

     I am one of those people who likes to people-watch. I'll sit in the mall and watch people walk by while SWMBO is inside a store shopping. When we travel and stop for lunch or for gas, I'll watch the other people who are doing the same thing. When I enter the places where I do business, i.e. stores, dry cleaners, restaurants, etc, I usually engage the employees in some light, jocular banter.


     I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the American people are a decent and noble people. When a disaster strikes anywhere in the world, our government is usually the first government to supply assistance. Above and beyond that, individual Americans are quick to dig deep into their own pockets and collectively send huge amounts of assistance to people in need. What impresses me about this is that individual Americans generously donate to people they do not know, may not agree with politically or religiously, and probably will never meet during their life time.


     The other day I went to get a haircut. The young woman who cut my hair on this occasion truly impressed me and made me proud to be an American. Here was a single mother, gainfully employed cutting my hair. She told me about her 14 month old son of whom she is very proud. What also impressed me about this woman is that she is an U.S. Army reservist. Beyond that she is being deployed to Afghanistan soon for 14 months. She was anxious to go and serve her country even though it meant leaving her son for such a long time. She said that "It's my turn." 


     Where do we find these people? She, like all members of the U.S. military are volunteers. We have the best military that the world has ever seen and they are all volunteers. Amazing! 


     I was truly impressed with this young woman and her dedication to our country. I thanked her for my haircut. I thanked her for her service to my beloved country. I wished her and her fellow soldiers well. I left the haircut place feeling blessed at having met her and privileged to be her fellow citizen. 


     Where do we find these people? I don't know! I am, however, very glad and thankful that  we do find them! 


     Have you met anyone who has impressed you as this single mother impressed me?

Monday, October 11, 2010

HAVE A BAD DAY, I'M HAVING A BAD MONTH!

     Did you ever have a day when you thought the universe decided to come after you with a vengeance? I'm having a month like that! Please bear with me while I have a little pity party.

     The first nickel to drop was our TV cable went out. Next, our telephone service went out. We get our telephone service through our cable company. Next, our clothes dryer went kaflooey! These things happened while I was away on a business trip. Next, some idiot backed his wife's car into the garage door breaking the garage door. Next, the starter went kaflooey in our pick-up truck. Next, and hopefully last, the battery in the pick-up truck gave up the ghost and had to be replaced.

     I am not a rich man! I do not have a lot of surplus disposable income. The above attacks by the universe has / will cost a fair amount of money to repair or replace. UGHHHH!

     Why me? What have I done to deserve this ? I'm not such a bad guy! My wife loves me and has done so for the better part of forty years. I have a reputation of being kind, helpful, compassionate and generally a nice guy. So why me?

     The fact of the matter is that despite the above vexations I have it pretty good! I am lavishly blessed by God! I am reasonably healthy. I have a wonderful marriage to a terrific woman I do not deserve. I have the necessaries of life - shelter, clothing, food, drink, warmth, etc. I have gainful employment. I worship with people who are loving, compassionate, and dedicated to living as Godly a life as possible. So, like I said I don't have it bad at all and I have been lavishly blessed by God.

     We are all blessed in this country. For the most part when we wake up in the morning the odds are very good that we will live to see another day. We are a nation that has obese poor people. Think about that, obese poor people! We have access to great medical care.

     There are countries in this world where the phrase "Give us this day our daily bread" has real meaning. There are countries in this world where death is ever tugging at the populations sleeves. Consider the people of Haiti who struggle daily just to survive. Many have lost everything! Consider the genocidal conflicts in Africa. Consider the religious intolerance in numerous countries around our globe where adherents of the majority religion hunt down and kill the adherents of the minority religion. We don't have to contend with such man-made and natural disasters.

     When life comes crashing in on you and you feel that life is not fair, remember how really tough other people have it. Also, remember that life is fair in that it is unfair to everyone. Remember that a loving God is always nearby, ready to listen, ready to give comfort and to help. HE IS FAITHFUL!

     Are you having a bad day? Be of good cheer for this too shall pass! May God bless you all!

      

Friday, October 8, 2010

THE BLESSINGS OF FAMILY

      Tonight I had the distinct pleasure of meeting my niece's soon to be in-laws. They're from San Antonio, Texas. They are Bill and Mary. Bill is a retired pilot from the U.S. Air Force. They seem like real nice people. I really enjoyed meeting Bill and Mary and getting to know them a little.


    I got to thinking about my family. I have an older brother. You can blame him that I'm still around. Even though I gave him ample opportunity and reason to remove me from the planet while we were growing up, he chose to let me live. I can't tell you how much love and respect I have for him. He is really a terrific person and a great big brother. 
    
    The family is the bedrock foundation of society. It has been well said "As the family goes, so goes the society." Those of us who are middle aged remember the examples of traditional family; Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, June and Ward Cleaver, The Anderson's (Father Knows Best). Each family had a strong male at the head of the family, a strong female partner/helpmate, raising children in the security and context of a loving relationship.
     The families of those halcyon days lived according to similar moral values. There were things that were viewed as being clearly right and there were things that were viewed as being clearly wrong. 
     The "right" things such as truth, integrity, self reliance, hard work, and responsibility, were encouraged. The "wrong" things such as falsehood, dishonesty, dependency, laziness, irresponsibility, were discouraged.
     When a family member ran into hard times, the other family members would rally around them and support them. No government program needed...or wanted.


     In modern times many believe that there is no such thing as objective truth. Many also believe that there is no standard of morality. They believe that everything is relative, dependent upon what you "chose" to believe is right or wrong. Take a look around you and take a close look at what is going on in the world today. How's that working out for us?


     What is "Truth?" What is "Moral?" What is clearly "Right?" What is clearly "Wrong?" Are there any standards? Think about it! 


     

Monday, October 4, 2010

I'M BAAAACK!

     It has been a while since my last post. The annual Ganderbrook Men's Retreat has come and gone. Also, I was away on business for a couple of days. 


     The Men's Retreat was excellent! F. LaGard Smith is an excellent speaker and has a gift for thought provoking lessons. He spoke about passion, or rather the loss of passion in the Church of today. He lamented the lack of passion at worship. 


     Mr. Smith also decried the dearth of passion when it comes to observing the Lord's Supper. LaGard opined that the Lord's Supper, of primary importance at worship, has become more ritual than worship. He also seemed to express the opinion that today's "mega-churches" bear no resemblance to the Church of the first century. Controversial stuff!


     I don't know if I agree with LaGard but it provide grist for contemplation. I think it behooves all those who call themselves Christians to examine themselves from time to time to see what evokes their passion.


     I also had the pleasure of meeting new people and getting to know a little about them. When two Christians meet for the first time there seems to be an immediate bond between them. I experienced this a few times at the retreat. It is one of the highlights of the retreat for me. I find it fascinating to see people from such diverse demographic backgrounds come together in such unity, harmony and acceptance. 


     Men, if you have never experienced a Men's Retreat you owe it to yourself to attend one. You will be better off for having done so. God Bless You! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

WHY MEN RETREAT!

     Every year in the fall, men from the Churches of Christ from all the New England States drive to Raymond, Maine, and meet at Ganderbrook Christian Camp. The purpose for this annual migration is to "retreat" from the world to focus upon spiritual matters.  This is a time to forget about all the responsibilities of life; work, home, family and anything else that occupies us on the daily journey that is our lives. It is also a time to renew acquaintances with brethren from all around New England who you had met at retreats over the years.


     The retreat begins on Thursday afternoon and adjourns at about noon on Saturday until the following year.

     Every year a noted speaker from one of the Churches of Christ or affiliated Universities and Colleges nationwide presents a series of lessons over the course of the retreat, following a theme. This year's speaker, F. Laggard Smith, will be bringing thoughts on the Old Testament Book of Malachi, the last book of the Old Testament.


     Some of the things that bring me back, year after year, are... (1) The natural beauty that surrounds the camp; (2) The peace and quiet of the Maine woods; (3) The chance to get away by myself and spend time in prayer, quiet reflection, or thinking about the future, uninterrupted by phones or other noise; (4) Spending time in prayer, in song, in conversation, with other like-minded men; (5) Making new acquaintances and getting to know them; (6) Hearing how the work of the Church is going in the various states.


     I am a Christian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, is God incarnate. I believe that His death on the cross of Calvary was for the purpose of redeeming sinners, like me and like you, from eternal damnation. I believe that by believing that Jesus died for me in my place, by repenting of my sins,  by confessing that Jesus is God and by being baptized in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, I now have eternal life.


     By claiming to be a Christian I am NOT saying, in any way, shape or form, that I am perfect or that I don't sin anymore. I do, everyone does! That doesn't excuse me, it is just a fact. Every person who claims to be a Christian is in the same boat, not perfect...just forgiven.


    So, in a way, the Men's Retreat is kind of like a support program for sinners. We are not alone in this world. Those of us in the Church are blessed to have like-minded brothers and sisters who support and encourage each other for no other reason than...it is the right thing to do.  


     So, my friends, this is why Men Retreat. If you have any questions, if you want to know more about salvation or the Gospel please do not hesitate to ask. If I don't know the answer, I'm sure I know someone who does! May God richly bless you.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

HOW I DRIVE WOMEN CRAZY!

     I drive women crazy! Well, I drive one particular woman crazy! Last night I was sitting on the couch watching TV minding my own business. SWMBO walks up to me, looks out the picture window and tells me " You need to close the curtains. " Then assuming that she had achieved communication, that is, that I comprehended that she wanted me to close the curtains, she turned, walked down the hallway and went to bed.




      Of course I did understand. You don't live with a person, even if she is female, for 38 years and not pick up a few tidbits about how they express themselves. 


     However, for some strange reason I fixated on the word " need. " I began to think, focusing on the word "need." I began to make a list of some of the things that I need. Interestingly enough closing the curtains never made the list. I need water to drink. I need food to eat. I need air to breathe. I need shelter to protect me from the elements. I need clothes to keep me warm. I don't need to close the curtains.


     As I continued my ruminating it occurred to me that I could live a complete, happy, fulfilled life without closing the curtains. I really do not need to close the curtains but it also occurred to me that it might be in my enlightened self interest to close the curtains. I foolishly dismissed this concept out of hand.


    So I went into the lion's den, AKA the bedroom, and confronted the lioness, AKA SWMBO. I presented my thesis on the things that I need and that closing the curtains was not one of them.  I presented a well reasoned, cogent thesis and made my point with great panache. 


     SWMBO was not overly impressed or persuaded with my rhetorical skills. She also had a well reasoned, cogent argument to make. She told me that I was dangerously close to becoming the first man in history to have listed as a cause of death on a Death Certificate, "Open Curtains." She suggested that perhaps I should spend some time thinking about her thesis.


     As I closed the curtains, I saw her point! I realized that she really does have excellent and persuasive rhetorical skills! Who Knew!



Monday, September 20, 2010

A WHIRLWIND VACATION, PART FOUR

     When we last left our intrepid travelers they were attempting to gain entry into the United States after being deported from Canada. Well, the United States Government, through it's border agents, graciously granted us re-entry into the nation of our birth. We winded our way south on I - 90 from Buffalo.

     There was a ferry crossing across Lake Champlain that lasted an hour. The last ferry left the New York side at 4:50 p.m. It was also about noon. Not to worry though, if we missed the hour long ferry ride there was a ferry crossing further north that operated 24-hours per day, 7 days per week.

     It was a nice day for a drive, partly cloudy and mild. We stopped for gas at a rest area. While SWMBO was walking Becke, I reloaded my firearm, put it back into my right front pocket and looked at a map to plan our route.

     Just for laughs I programmed our "Tom Tom" navigation aid to also plan our route. The route Tom Tom planned would have us in Plattsburgh at approximately 7:30 p.m. I thought following Tom Tom's route would be much quicker than remaining on the interstate. Therefore, I decided to follow Tom Tom's route to save some time.

     As it turned out, this was another in a series of poor choices that I had made since we began our vacation trip. Tom Tom's route brought us over mountain passes and through every podunk one-horse town in upstate New York. At one point we were negotiating a mountain pass and I noticed that we would need to stop for gas soon. The only problem is that there are not a lot of gas stations in podunk New York. I had visions of becoming stranded on the side of a narrow mountain pass at the mercy of the weather and the indigenous wildlife...Black Bears in particular.

     We pressed on, listening to some CD's we brought with us and we sang along to help pass the time. We had to stop a couple of times because Becke the wonder dog needed to empty her tank(s). Still no gas stations in sight.

     We arrived just south of Plattsburgh and found a gas station. YIPPEE! SWMBO availed herself of the use of the plumbing while I refueled the car. It was after sunset and I thought that we should pick up some food for supper. We picked up a salad and a sandwich then we hit the road again. We arrived at the ferry crossing at about 9:30 p.m. A short ferry ride across Lake Champlain followed by a short drive and were were checked into our hotel by 10:00 p.m.

     After a good night's sleep we awoke, had a cup of coffee and hit the road again...destination Quechee, VT, and Dana's Restaurant. SWMBO and I love Dana's because they serve a magnificent fruit cup and other breakfast and dessert fare. Dana's Restaurant is one of the reasons that we like Quechee, VT.





     We arrived at Dana's at about 11:30 a.m. We walk up to the door and just our luck, there's a sign on the door that says the restaurant will be closed on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, today being Thursday. "And the hits just keep on coming!" So, we went up the street to the Shepherd's Pie Restaurant. After lunch we went the the Quechee Gorge Ice Cream Stand for dessert.









     The next thing on the list of things to do was a walk across the bridge over the Quechee Gorge. We took a number of photographs and remembered our 25th Wedding Anniversary which we celebrated in Quechee. Next stop...Scotland by the Yard.

     Scotland by the Yard sells tartan material for kilts, tartan material sashes and neckties and Scottish bric-a-brac. We found some chocolate flake and a key ring with SWMBO's Clan tartan and crest on it. SWMBO found a silver friendship clatch ring that she just had to have. A few more photographs...next stop Quechee Village Shops.





     At the shops we bought some Maple Butter for me. A Christmas gift or two for friends. It was getting to be about 3:00 p.m. We needed to be home by 5:00 p.m. so we hit the road again, next stop Goffstown, NH.

     We arrived in home in Goffstown at about 4:30 p.m. Despite everything that went awry, we still had a wonderful time together. Was the trip worth all the trouble and grief? You bet it was! SWMBO is really a great traveling companion whether we are traveling on the road or just traveling through life.

Friday, September 17, 2010

A WHIRLWIND VACATION, PART THREE

     I awoke in our hotel room to find SWMBO tapping away on the laptop and Becke the wonder dog lying on the floor next to her. Yesterday was an exhausting day. It began at 3:00 a.m. and ended around 11:00 p.m. Today is beginning around 9:00 a.m. after a good night's sleep. The first order of business....coffee!

     Our morning ablutions completed...luggage repacked...vehicle repacked..we checked out of the hotel! Our plan is to drive to Buffalo and visit the Duty Free Store there. After that we plan to drive to Plattsburgh and take a ferry across Lake Champlain to Burlington, VT, where we plan to spend the night. That was the plan!

     We ate breakfast at the local Denny's restaurant. After breakfast we took a couple of photographs of the Motel 6 for SWMBO.  Buffalo here we come! The Duty Free Store is near Exit 6, off I-190 at Peach Tree Plaza, a ten minute drive or so. It seemed simple enough to find. W R O N G ! ! !

     We explored downtown Buffalo. Some of the architecture is quite intriguing. We also explored other urban areas and ended up along the Lake Erie waterfront...no Peach Tree Plaza! Our "Tom-Tom" navigational aid led us on a wild goose chase. Ironically, there was a gaggle of Canadian Geese grazing along the waterfront. We did not plan to explore the city of Buffalo, but we did.

     SWMBO was becoming more agitated as I determined to maintain my manhood by finding our destination without resorting to the indignity of... "asking for directions." These three little words cause men everywhere to shudder. I can't explain why...they just do!

    So I pull up to a road construction crew and asked for directions. It turns out that we were less than three blocks away from our destination. The store is located on the American side of the "Friendship Bridge." Once the pain of my indignity began to subside, we drive into the parking lot of the Duty Free Store. We planned to shop, purchase some chocolate items and continue on our journey to Lake Champlain. A simple enough plan, right? W R O N G ! ! !

     Apparently, you cannot drive away from the Duty Free Store without driving across the "Friendship Bridge" between Buffalo and Canada, into Canada. Purchases at the Duty Free Store are for export only...Who knew? I cannot believe that we are the first people on the planet to make this mistake. So, Canada here we come! However, there is a number of "little" problems with our driving into Canada: (1) We do NOT have passports; (2) We do not have our birth certificates proving our citizenship; (3) I am carrying a concealed, loaded firearm. 

     We drive across the bridge and pull up to the Canadian Border Agent's booth. He asked a number of questions that were not a problem...Q - "Do you have a Passport? A- "No, all we have is a driver's license." Q - "Where are you going?" A - "We are trying to get back to the American side of the bridge. We came into Canada by mistake." We hand the Border Agent our licenses. We explained what happened. The Agent types on a keyboard, presumably checking to see if we were terrorists or drug smugglers or something like that.

      The Border Agent then turns to us and asks THE problematic question Q - "Are you carrying any firearms." A - "Yes, I am. I am carrying a loaded five-shot .38 caliber revolver."  The Border Agent stared at me, processing what I just told him. He nervously asked "Do you have it on you, now?" I told him "Yes, I have it in my right front pants pocket." I added that I also have five spare rounds in a cartridge pouch. He instructed me not to move unless he instructed me to. I acknowledged my understanding and placed both hands on the steering wheel with my fingers spread. He told me to          S L O W L Y hand him the firearm. I meticulously followed his instructions and removed my revolver, holster and all, from my pocket and slowly handed it to him. He hands it to another Border Agent who takes it, unloads it, and then huddles with a few more Border Agents showing them my revolver like it was some kind of trophy.

      The Border Agents confer with each other for several minutes. The decision is made to return my revolver to me and deport us immediately. Parenthetically, I asked myself..."How much of a jerk do you have to be, that even Canada won't let you in?" So, the Border Agent hands me back my unloaded revolver, holster and five rounds of ammunition. He then directs me back across the Friendship Bridge to America, Home of the Brave, Land of the Free...or at least so I thought.

     We drive across the bridge to the American side and pull up to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (I.C.E) Agent's booth. I was thinking that we would identify ourselves, show him our licenses, explain why we went to Canada and then we would soon be merrily on our way. A simple procedure, Right? W R O N G? 

      The I.C.E. Agent asked the same innocuous questions "Where are you going? Where are you coming from? Anything to declare? May I see your passports?" I handed the Agent our licenses and explained how we inadvertently ended up in Canada. I further explained that we were sent back across the bridge by the Canadian border officials. To save time and conversation I also told the Agent that I was carrying a firearm. 

"Why are you carrying a firearm?" Several answers came to mind: (1) Because I'm a police officer and I usually bring a firearm with me when I travel with my family, for protection; (2) The bad guys carry firearms, so I figured that I would too...to make it fair; (3) The 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution; (4) Better to be judged by twelve than to be carried by six; (5) Because I couldn't fit the bazooka in my pants! (6) To protect the drugs and explosives that are in the trunk; I opted to go with answer #1! I figured that it would cause the least anxiety for all concerned.

     The I.C.E. Agents huddle continued for a few minutes. An Agent, who I took to be a supervisor, leaves the huddle, comes up to my window, and asks if I have my police credentials with me. I show him my badge and my department identification card. He also asked me why I am carrying a firearm. I quickly review the aforementioned six answers in my mind. I stay with answer #1. After several more minutes we are directed to the interstate and are allowed to proceed on our merry way.

     We were delayed several hours being lost in Buffalo. Were delayed another 30 minutes at the Canadian border. We were delayed at the American border another 30 minutes. The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray! Don't they ever!

     To be continued....



Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A WHIRLWIND VACATION, PART TWO

     I was sound asleep, minding my own business when I felt a hand on my shoulder gently shaking me awake. "Gerry, time to wake up. It's 3:00 a.m...Time to get dressed and hit the road." I grunted as I usually do, opened one eye and considered my words before saying them. The words that I was thinking would not have been conducive to a pleasant car trip.

     I slowly arose, performing a functions check of my anatomy. Most systems were operating within normal parameters. Once I became upright I got dressed. I then sleepily went about the business of finishing any last minute packing and configuring the house for our absence. 

     We left the house at about 3:20 a.m., keeping within our estimated departure time. We withdrew travel funds from an ATM, refueled the Kia and then hit the road in earnest at 3:50 a.m., ten minutes ahead of schedule. All systems are go...Becke the Wonder Dog is hunkered down in the back seat. SWMBO is comfortably ensconced in the "shotgun" seat. Destination, Niagara Falls, NY.

     Everything was going great! We were southbound on the Everett Turnpike approaching the first of what would be several toll booths. A simple enough concept. You drive to the booth, give the attendant the toll and go on your merry way. Unfortunately, this was not to be.

     This particular toll booth has "Cash" lanes at the far left travel lane and the far right travel lane. The lanes in between were "E-Z Pass" lanes. We don't have an E-Z Pass transponder so I was in the far left lane approaching the toll booth with my cash at the ready. As I neared the toll booth I saw that the far left lane was now an E-Z Pass lane.  I had two choices...(1) Drive through the E-Z Pass Lane without paying or (2) Drive across several lanes to get into the far right lane creating a traffic hazard. I chose option #1 and stiffed the State of New Hampshire out of a dollar toll.



     A few hours later, on the Massachusetts Turnpike, we were approaching another set of toll booths just before crossing the state line into New York. What do suppose the odds are of me doing the same thing and being in the wrong lane again? Yep...it happened again! In my defense though the signage was confusing and I was prevented by traffic from safely changing lanes into the proper lane. This time I stiffed the Commonwealth of Massachusetts out of about eight dollars. Hey, at least I'm consistent. 






     The next leg of the journey took us to the New York Thruway. This was the first time either one of us had been in Upstate New York. It is a lot like New Hampshire. There are picturesque farms scattered across the country side. It made for a pleasant drive.

     At the end of the thruway I was able to pay the toll, surprisingly enough,...three times the charm!

     We made it to Niagara Falls without further incident. We checked in to our hotel room. We stayed at a Motel 6 on one of the main drags of Niagara Falls. The room was clean and comfortable...Becke the Wonder Dog liked it...but most important SWMBO liked it. We settled in the room. SWMBO tried the WiFi. God forbid that we should travel without our electronic devices. Becke and I took a brief nap.




     After the brief nap we talked about whether it was worth trying to see the falls. Some of the brochures made it seem that we needed to purchase a "Discovery Pass" at a cost of $33.00 per pass to enter the State Park and view the falls.  We left the hotel to find the famous falls. It was just a ten minute drive down the road. 


     We found the Niagara Falls State Park without any trouble. We found a place to park. It cost $5.00. We walked to the Visitor Center and I worked up the courage to ask the officials working the desk if it cost anything to view the falls. I almost did a jig when I was told "No, just take the stairs to the ground level and follow the path to the railing." I apparently mis-read the brochures. I am so glad that we were able to see the falls. 


Two of Nature's Wonders!
Spectacular!
     I have got to say that the falls are spectacular. SWMBO and I were impressed by the power and natural splendor that is Niagara Falls. It is well worth the trip. 


     To be continued...

Monday, September 13, 2010

A WHIRLWIND VACATION, PART ONE

My next few Blog entries will report our recent vacation adventure to the Empire State, New York. We had a number of experiences that were unforeseeable and somewhat comical at the same time.

SWMBO and I decided that we needed to take a week off together. We decided to take that week off the first full week in September.

Labor Day weekend was a good start to our vacation week. We attended the annual Church Barbecue. We enjoyed good food...good music and great fellowship. At the barbecue we were asked what we were going to do for the rest of the week. We told our friends that our tradition is to decide these thing as we go along and not make definite plans.

MY IDEA - Day #1: Drive  to the seacoast and drive along the coast in NH and Maine, stopping at some of the beaches along the way; Sampling some of the local cuisine.

                   Day #2: Drive up to Quechee, Vt, and spend a day hiking along the Quechee Gorge;  Then we would visit Scotland by the Yard and other local shops; We would spend the night in a pet-friendly hotel.

                    Day #3: Drive to Lake Champlain and ride the ferry into New York; drive to the Duty Free shop near the Canadian border; drive back to Lake Champlain for a return ferry ride. Drive home.

When I presented my idea to SWMBO she said that she had always wanted to drive to Niagara Falls and asked if maybe we could add that to our itinerary. She also said that we had to be back by 6:00 P.M, Thursday, because she had to teach a class and could not make other arrangements for coverage.

I balked at the idea, having a nodding acquaintance with geography and knowing that Niagara Falls was at least an 8 - hour drive. I did not see how we could leave Tuesday, September 7th, drive to the falls, upstate NY, Lake Champlain, Quechee, VT, and make it back home by 6:00 P.M, Thursday, September 9th.

Later, on Labor Day evening, I was searching the Internet for a hotel room. All of a sudden I had an epiphany. I thought that if we left early enough on Tuesday, between 3:00 - 4:00 A.M, we could be  in Niagara Falls, NY, around noon. I also learned that there is a Duty Free Store in Buffalo, NY, a short drive from the falls.

MY REVISED IDEA - Day #1: Wake up at 3:00 A.M, leave the house by 4:00 A.M; Arrive Niagara Falls, NY, early afternoon; Check in at Hotel; Visit the falls, take pictures; Sleep.
                                    Day #2: Wake up around 9:00 A.M; Breakfast; Check out of hotel; Drive to Buffalo to the Duty Free Store; Drive to Lake Champlain; Take ferry ride to Burlington, VT; Check in at hotel; Sleep.

                                    Day #3: Wake up around 9:00 A.M; Check out of hotel; Drive to Quechee, VT; Eat at Dana's Restaurant; Visit the Gorge, Scotland by the Yard, Quechee Gorge Village; Drive home arriving in time for SWMBO to teach her class.

You have no doubt heard the old quote " The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray! " Stay tuned for further postings and you will see this quote come to life.

To be continued....

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Women Vs Men

   As anyone who knows me will attest to, I am still madly in love with my wife of lo these many years. Everyday we make it a point to tell each other "I love you!" Every day she causes me to smile or laugh out loud. However, through the years I have learned to be very afraid whenever I see my wife holding either of the items depicted in this Blog.

Home Tool Box


The common tool box...Whenever I see my wife with this tool box, or any item from this tool box, it sends chills of fear up my spine, a fear experienced by men all over the world. A few of the reasons for this rational fear is...(1) Because it often results in time consuming re-repairs for me to do or; (2) It results in me having to drop what I'm doing to complete the sure-to-be time consuming task that she has in mind or; (3) A tool that I'm sure to need later falls into our home's equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle...never to be seen again. Please note the empty space in the tool box approximating the shape of an adjustable wrench. That's why men shudder at the sight of women holding a hammer or other tool.




The television remote control...sometimes my wife comes to me and in her little girl voice says "You love me...Right?" "You like helping me...Right?" "Even when I do somethin?" Of course when this happens I know that I have to fix something.

I don't know why women, particularly my wife, have such a hard time with TV remote controls. We have a universal remote control that controls our TV, Cable Box and DVD Player. She is forever re-configuring the audio-visual setup rendering it inoperable. She relies upon me to figure out what she did and then to fix it...no small task! It's kinda like divining the future...when you get it right it is usually due to pure dumb luck.

Therefore, as the duly appointed lord and master of my domicile I have declared the remote controls and the immediate area around them an estrogen-free zone. Violation of this zone will result in severe penalties. So let it be written...so let it be done!

Now...if there are any men reading this Blog who believes this works, I've got news for you...There is No Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny does not exist and trying to enforce this rule won't hurt you one tiny bit.




Enjoy your day!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Ideas Have Consequences!

     I believe, without any equivocation, that God exists. I believe that the God of the book known as The Bible is the one and only God. Everyone who is born will be presented with a choice to (1) believe that God exists or (2) to NOT believe that God exists. How one chooses to believe has serious consequences for him and the world in general. Ideas do have consequences.
     Looking back over the history of mankind we can observe some of the consequences of this choice that has been made by others. It seems to me that whenever one chooses to believe in God the results are generally positive and life affirming. When one chooses to not believe in God it seems to me the consequences are generally negative and life denying.
     In the twentieth century man declared that "God is Dead!" All that man is and all that he might become can be found inside him. Man intrinsically possesses all the tools that are necessary to make his world a utopia.
     Adolph Hitler believed in the superiority of the German race and the inferiority of all other people. His form of National Socialism resulted in the extermination of millions of Jews, Christians and other peoples. Hitler's ideas ushered in a period of suffering such as the world had not known.
     Joseph Stalin believed that a strong central government controlling all the elements of society, manufacturing, farming, housing, education, religion, etc. was the path to a communist utopia. The result was millions of his own people being deliberately starved to death by the State. Millions of other peoples were killed for the good of the "State" on the orders of Stalin.
     Chairman Mao in China was responsible for the deaths of millions of Chinese people. His brand of communism was ruthlessly totalitarian.
     When the founding fathers began discussing the formation of a new form of government, the existence of God was self evident to them. They recognized that men were flawed and had a bent towards evil. They crafted our government with the intent that it would be limited because they feared the evils that governments perpetrate. That is why they established checks and balances in our Constitution so that no part of government could usurp authority over the others, thereby protecting the God-given liberty of the citizenry to the greatest extent possible. They believed that our rights derive from God, not from the governments of men.
     John Adams once observed that our form of government would only be successful for a "moral people."  A fair reading of our history shows that as we choose to move away from a belief and reliance upon God, and as we choose to move away from the morals that were once commonplace, we are beginning to see the consequences of that choice.
     It was God fearing men and women who worked tirelessly to eradicate slavery. It was God-fearing men and women who strove to insure that no one was disenfranchised from their civil rights. It is God-fearing men and women who work tirelessly to affirm the value of human life. Why do they do this? They do this because God greatly values human life.
     I believe that God exists and that He is good. I believe that God fearing men and women seek to do good because they believe God exists and that God is good. Ideas have consequences. How do you choose?
  

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

LOVE IS A CHOICE, NOT A FEELING!

     I am a strong believer in the Institution of Marriage. Marriage was established by God and consists of a man and a women living in a covenant relationship. Marriage is not a contract...it's a covenant. A covenant os stronger than a contract.
     I am so blessed to be in love with and to be loved by the most excellent woman I know. No, I don't mean Stevie Nicks. I mean my Immortal Beloved, my soul mate, my best friend...my wife. We have been happily married for over 38 years now. I still find her to be an amazing person. I feel privileged to be able to share her life. I still like to hold hands and cuddle wherever I have occasion to sit next to her. I still love going out to a restaurant and sharing a meal and conversation with her. I love seeing the woman she has become. She's an excellent wife, wonderful mother and a terrific Grannie. Yeah, I'm the lucky one. I got the better end of this deal!
     How did this happen, you ask? Well, it started a long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away. The evil empire had just...No, wait, that's another story! 
     In 1971 my wife and I attended the same high school, Manchester Memorial High...home of the Crusaders. During that summer my family moved to New Hampshire from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I was a new kid on the block.  
     After getting settled in my new school I became infatuated with my wife's girlfriend. We were lab partners in Chemistry Class.  However, she was engaged to be married to some jerk-faced-dweeb who was in the U.S. Air Force and for some reason she failed to see that I was the far better choice. Maybe it was the greasy shoulder length hair, (mine not hers.) Maybe it was my poor sartorial choices. Maybe it was because I did not have access to a car. My theory is her engagement blinded her to a better option.
     Anyways...Thanksgiving 1971 we had a northeaster hit the area with a vengeance. Also, it so happened that Memorial High was playing Central High in the annual Turkey Bowl football game at Gill Stadium. I showed good sense by staying home and keeping warm. My future wife went another way...she went to the game and froze her butt off. 
     After the game, as she was thawing out her re-attached butt, she called me on the telephone. We spoke for over three hours. We spoke about everything and about nothing in particular. By the end of our conversation I knew that she was the woman I was going to marry.   I don't know how I knew, but deep down inside me I just knew!
     We graduated High School in June 1972. We were married in July 1972. I went on active duty with the U.S. Air Force in August 1972. We moved into our new apartment in November 1972. I was stationed in Albuquerque, N.M.
     There we were, a pair of newlyweds who had no clue what being man and wife really meant. We were a couple of scared, naive kids far away from home, family and friends who had no clue about how to build a life together. Over the past 38 years we learned.
     One of the most valuable lessons I learned through the years was that "love" is a verb, a word denoting action.  I learned that I had a choice "to love" or "to not love." Yeah, I know that there is an emotional kind of love, that warm gooey feeling that we men try to suppress...but, true love is a choice.
     One of the reasons I am a Christian is that I learned about God's love. The Bible tells us that God is Love (I John 4:8 - 16). I learned over the years that God loves me more than I can imagine. As I explored the love of God for me and experienced firsthand His love for me, I learned how to love my wife.
     There are times when I am not particularly Christ-like or loving. God still loves me during those times when I am not lovable. The Bible says that nothing can separate me from the love of God (Romans 8:33 - 39). God, in effect, chooses to love me no matter what! 
     Once I learned that lesson, I go and do likewise to my Immortal Beloved. There have been and there are times when she does things that annoy the heck out of me, that really makes me angry...I know!...I know!...It's hard to believe!...but it's true! It's during those difficult times that I choose to love her. Please note the conspicuous absence of the word "Easy." Sometimes it is not easy, but I choose to do so nonetheless. It does not matter if she chooses to love me in return, I choose to love her...no matter what!
     Love is a choice, not a feeling!

Monday, August 16, 2010

The Cost of Liberty!

   The founders of our great nation observed that it was self-evident that we were endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights. They went on to say that among those rights is Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. Some of their writings warn future citizens that they needed to be vigilant in safeguarding their liberty. Thomas Jefferson stated explicitly that the cost of liberty is eternal vigilance. 


   Americans have been known for their rugged individualism. Americans had a reputation for live and let live, I mind my own business and you mind your own business. Americans are also known for their compassion and generosity. Though we don't want to intrude into other peoples' lives uninvited, we are eager and willing to help in times of trouble.


   In recent years some people have taken it upon themselves to use the full force of government to intrude into and control other peoples' lives. They pass laws affecting people's use of legal products, like tobacco for example. They make laws that mandate the use of bicycle or motorcycle helmets because it safer to ride with them than without them. I believe that this runs counter to the principles espoused by our Founding Fathers. I believe that such laws infringe upon our God-given liberty.


   Each of us has a duty to live our lives responsibly. Should we fail to do so we should be allowed to experience the natural consequences of our actions...in short we should be allowed to fail. People argue that by implementing laws as mentioned above we are more secure and therefore happier. "Anyone who would exchange liberty for security will have neither security nor liberty." Benjamin Franklin


   We gain access to other people's live by invitation only. So long as my exercise of my liberty does not infringe upon your exercise of your liberty, what I do, how I choose to live is no one's business but my own. I will answer to my Creator for how I choose to live my life. Incidentally, you will too. Government govern best that governs least. The cost of liberty is eternal vigilance!