Thursday, December 30, 2010

Old Love Letters - Chap. 4

July 14, 1945

Dearest Marge,

So I've had my first letter from you and sure enjoyed it.  Of course, you would have to go back to work, we all do, but vacations are nice, till they end.  And being in Chicago was a vacation for me and meeting you was the nicest thing that could have happened to me.
But I'm back in the old groove again and sure feel good for I'm flying again and is sure feels good to be in the air again.  You spoke of me gaining weight and I have, for my exam last week I weighed 162 lbs and was sure supervised, for when I left here for Chicago I only weighed 154 lbs, so that's doing pretty good.  And I know that you have brought me good luck for I would never have made the grade, except for you.  Of course, I enjoy doing my work and as we have all the new stuff to work with, it is really a pleasure.  I would volunteer for overseas service again if I thought I could get to go, but I know they wouldn't let me, for they say I'm doing more important work here.  I hope you don't mind me telling you about the things I do, but I do believe that I help a little in my small capacity and am rather proud that I can still do something.
Two months ago I thought I was all washed up and would be driving a truck for the duration, but then I met you and I've sure had good luck ever since.
I'm sorry to hear that your brother has to go overseas again.  I wish that I could take his place.  And my brother Donnie is doing fine in Denver and Mother is staying with him.  She says he is very cheerful, although was a lot worse than they let her know.  He must have been pretty bad, for they flew him back from the Netherland Dutch East Indies and really rushed him home.  Mother says he will be home in six weeks or two months and I'm sure glad.  Although he will never take an active part in the ranch again, it will sure be good to have him at home.
Darling, I hope you don't mind me telling you all about my folks, and if you do, just let me know and I will find something else to say.  Just as long as you will let me write you.
I sit around in the evenings and study and when I get tired of that I like to write letters, and even if they don't make good sense, sometimes it helps pass the time away.  I'm studying quite a bit and trying to improve my use of the king's english, but think it is sort of hopeless because I've lived on a ranch all of my life and missed most of my schooling.  So if I make a mistake now and then, I hope you will overlook them and know that I mean well.
Do you remember me telling you about Wanda, the girl I was almost engaged to?  I had a letter, or rather a note from her today, and she has married a marine from California.  I thought she would when I was at home the last time, but didn't say anything for I never like to borrow trouble.  So that is really a load off my mind.  At least I feel better now for I sometimes wondered if she was the right person, and now I know she wasn't, but I know who the right one is, if I can only find some way of telling her.  Of course, she doesn't know me very well, but I'm hoping to see her again soon, and maybe she can help me a little.  I hope so.  
But now it is getting late and I want to get up early in the morning and go to church, and I think it will be the Catholic services, for we have a wonderful chaplain there and I seem to get more from his messages than I do from the Protestant services here.
So my Dear, I hope I haven't bored you with my long letter and I do hope you write soon.  And please don't say good bye in your next letter, just....

Adios My Dear,

July 19, 1945

Dearest Marge,

I've just got back from a nice trip and although I'm sort of tired, I'm feeling fine and happy.  I've been to Denver, Colorado and got to spend all day with Mother and brother Donnie.  The way it happened, I was talking to Col. Jordan, our pilot on the ship I'm assigned to, and told him about Donnie and he asked why I didn't go see him.  Well I told him why, and then forgot about it, but then he called me to the line (?) on Monday morning at 3a.m. and told me to check the ship for a cross country trip and have it ready by 5a.m.  I never gave it a thought and was ready on time and took off at 5:30a.m.  Everything went well and we landed in Denver at 4:40p.m. that evening and he said, "If you're going to see that brother of yours, you had better go and I don't want to see you till Wednesday morning at eight, so scat".  Boy, it didn't take me long to scat either.   I called Mother at the hotel and grabbed a cab and went to the hotel and then to the hospital.  Was I ever glad to see them.  We sure had a good visit, even if I didn't have any clothes with me.  Just my coveralls and not even a razor to shave with.
But enough about me.  What about you?  What are you doing now?  I've not had another letter from you and I'm just a little disappointed.  And how is Chicago?  I sure would like to be there and see you.  Maybe we could walk in the park again.  Quein Sabe?
Have you heard from your brother again?  I do hope he is O.K. and doesn't have to stay over there very long.
I've been hoping I would hear from you and that you would enclose a snapshot or small picture of you so that I might carry it in my billfold, and have something more to remind me of you than just the memories of walking through the park and talking to you.  Or maybe you think that I am asking too much.  Am I?  If I am, I'm sorry, but I think of you so much and wonder why I couldn't have met you long ago and have known you a lot better than just those few hours we spent together.  
I had a good talk with Mother about you and she thinks it would be fine if you could visit us this fall.  And she also told me about some other things that happened at home while I was away, so now I'm completely free and have no ties, except for the family and the ranch.
This is what I'm trying to say, and I know that it is not the way to say it, but in the few hours we were together, I learned to love you.  I wanted to tell you when I called you that last day, but was afraid, for I know it was much too soon, as it is now, and I'm using very poor taste to tell you in this way.  But my Darling, I can't wait any longer to tell you and I hope you don't mind too much, the crude way I've said I love you.  It seems that it has always been you that I've looked for and dreamed of, and as soon as I saw you, and while sitting on the steps that afternoon, I wanted to tell you.  I don't know what you will say, but I'm just going to hope for the right thing to happen.  If there is any way that I can see you in the near future, I'm going to get up there and see you, if you will let me.  And Darling, as little as I have to offer, I love you and hope you will let me see or hear from you soon.  With my hopes in the sky and you, I love you.


P.S.  Write as soon as you can   

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Old Love Letters - Chap. 3

July 11, 1945

Dearest Marge,

I hope you don't mind me writing to you so much, but since I've met you I can't seem to think of anything else, so I'm hoping I don't bore you. 
Yesterday I went up for a physical exam to see if I was fit to fly again and passed with a good margin, so today I'm starting to take a refresher course in Gunnery and will be going to school for a couple of weeks.  So I'm writing this in the classroom, for the stuff we're getting today is all about how to care for our guns.  Being used to caring for them, I'm not studying very hard, so I have plenty of time.
We went up for awhile this morning and it was my first flight in a B-29, so I really looked the ship over and learned a lot.  Tomorrow we're to make an altitude test flight to see how far up we can stand to go without oxygen, then test our reflex actions against a simulated attack.  So it's just like training all over again, only what I learn here I will pass on and teach to the kids that are really going.  It's lots of fun to be going through it all again and when I feel the kick of the 50's it makes me think of the days when we played for keeps.  Although we know this is just practice, it sure looks like the real thing.
I wish you could be here and see some of the wonderful ships (aircraft) we have.  The one I am assigned to is a new one just from the factory with all of the latest features and it flies like a dream.  They have a new system of training now that is really good.  They have P-47's to use to "attack" us and we fire on them with frangible ammunition that flies apart on contact and is harmless against armour plate.  Each hit is registered in the cockpit of the 47 so that we may know just how many hits are made with so many rounds spent.  It's so much like actual combat that sometimes it looks as though it were.  But I don't suppose you're very interested in all of this, and if I do bore you, just tell me to quit writing and  I will.  But I like to think that you are interested and will let me keep writing even though my letters are dull.
I would like to hear from you as often as you can write and will promise to answer every one.  I will never forget those two glorious days we had together and have hopes of seeing you again some day.
Mother wrote to say that Brother Donnie was improving and that Brother Louie had gone back to the ranch and that everything was fine at home and that she was expecting me home for Thanksgiving.  I only hope that I can make it.
So Darling, I will close now and will hope to hear from you soon.  I hope your sunburn is all right now.  Please write soon, for I really want to hear from you.

With love,

July 12, 1945

Hi Darling,

It's been a pretty rugged day so far, as we went up this morning at 5a.m. and flew till 11a.m. and sure got up high, but this afternoon we're sitting here in the classroom sweltering in the heat and trying to soak up a little knowledge.  But that's kind of hard for I'm sleepy after getting up at 3a.m. this morning.  I guess that I'm going to make the grade though, for tomorrow I'm to take my exams, so keep your fingers crossed for me.  I'm still a little dizzy from going up so high this morning, so if you can read this, you're doing good.
It's started to rain so it's a little cooler now, but has sure been hot.  How's your sunburn?  I hope it's better now. 
Oh yes honey, I sent your wings and I do hope you like them.  They are smaller than mine but are exactly like them every other way.  You know you promised to wear them, so I hope you do, and when I see you again, I would like to give you something more than just a pair of wings.  Would you mind?  Do you know that I keep thinking of you all of the time and I can't keep my mind on my studies, for your face comes between me and my books, and I find myself daydreaming, and although it's very nice, I do have to study some.  Honey, you probably think that I'm "ticked in the haid" (I'm not sure if I could make out his handwriting on this or have the words right but it appears he's trying to say something like he's crazy.  He continues....), but I can't get you off my mind, and I'm not sure that I want to at all.  I just keep remembering that day in the park when we sat there on the grass and talked, and you were so nice and let me ramble on and on.  But maybe it was just a nice dream after all.  Was it?  I'll just keep on dreaming anyway if you don't mind, for you're the first really nice thing that has happened to me for a long time.
Of course, you can tell me to quit writing to you, but you can't take back the nice things you did to me and I will always remember them and you.  So I hope you don't mind too much, for I really want to hear from you.  You will write, won't you?
I will say good night now and will keep looking for a letter from you and hope it has a picture of you in it.

(Then he signs off in Spanish.  I will try to copy and type it, but I'm still getting used to his penmanship.)

Hasta Linguia La Monana
Querido Mio  (?)


(So he's sent letters to my Mom on July 7,8,9,11 & the 12th so far and it appears she hasn't written him back yet....but there's more to come!  Stay tuned!)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Old Love Letters - Chap. 2

Every now and then I'll interject some of my own commentary on these love letters, that will be in parentheses, and also I'll occasionally provide some links and/or information about what he's referring to.  In the previous letter, Tom mentioned heading for Buckingham.  I wasn't familiar with that name so I googled it and found a listing saying Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields: Florida, Ft. Myers area, which I clicked on and found this link that gives some historical information about it

His next letter, dated....

July 8th, 1945

Dearest Margie,

We arrived here at 11:00p.m. last night so tired and dirty that we hardly cared what happened next.  But after a good bath and shave and a night's sleep, we feel pretty good.  It was sure a tiresome trip and I'm sure glad it is over with.  We made wonderful time but had to ride on a bus for the last 150 miles.  I haven't even moved today except to get up and go to chow and check in at Headquarters, and am going to loaf around and rest up for awhile, then see what will happen for the next few days.  It's so hot here today that it is miserable and after the nice cool weather in Chicago, it seems warmer than it really is.  I wish that I were up there today so that we might go swimming or for a walk in the park again.  But of course, you are glad that I'm not there, for I know that I talked too much and bored you, although I enjoyed every minute I was with you.  I would like to spend a lot of time with you and I know I would love every minute of it.  I only hope you won't forget me and that you will write soon and as often as you can.  And Dear, I know it is asking a lot of you but I wish you would send me a picture of yourself so that I might have one to remember you by and always think of you as the sweetest and nicest girl I have ever met.  Although I only knew you for a few hours, I feel that I have known you for years, and if I stay in the Army forever I will always know I will never meet another girl as fine, sweet and good as you.
Dear, I will send you my wings just as soon as I can find a small box to put them in and I hope you will wear them and think of me sometimes.
So sweetheart, I will be waiting to hear from you and hope you write soon. 

Yours with love,

(I'm imagining that she had been out for a walk in the park and he was maybe there in Chicago for a furlough or lay over.  He might have been wearing his uniform and the two of them must have struck up a conversation in the park, making small talk at first.  My Mom would have been the type that if she had been approached by a serviceman during that time where the whole country was focused on winning the war, and he had spoken to her, she would have been kind and considerate enough of him, to give him some of her time, out of respect for his service.  She may have viewed him as being kind of lost or lonely and just in need of someone to talk to.  She obviously gave him that gift of her time and it seems to have had a great impact on him.)

July 9th, 1945

Darling Marge,

Another day has gone and all I've done is rest and think of you and do a little sleeping, but it's too hot to sleep good.  How is your sunburn now?  I hope it isn't as painful as it was while I was there.  The next time you go to the beach you will have to be more careful.  I wish you were here to go to the beach with me this evening, for I know you would like it here.  Of course it is too hot to go in the daytime, so we go in the evening while it is cool and have lots of fun watching the waves come in to shore.  Did you ever swim in the ocean?  I like the salt water better than I do fresh water because I can swim in it so much easier.
Well I found out this morning that I am to be an instructor of Gunnery tactics and will go to work tomorrow and will have to be on duty for four hours a day, and the rest of the time I have to myself.  That's not so bad and its not a bit hard, so if I can stand the noise, everything will be fine.  Some of the boys here are being discharged and maybe I can be sent to a better field that this, where it isn't so hot all of the time.
I'm going into town this P.M. and try to send your wings and if I can, will have that picture taken and send you one if you would like me to. 
I had a letter from Mother and Brother Louie today telling me that Brother Donnie is in Denver, Colorado in the hospital there, and is not expected to live.  But if he does go on, it is good that he could be near home and see Mother and his family before he goes.  I don't know why I tell you these things, only I feel that I have known you for so long and want to say so much, but have no right to say them.  I hope you understand what I am trying to say, and what I wanted to say that last evening we were together, and I hope I don't make you angry with me, for I want you to write as often as you can.  When I first saw you in the park that day I wanted to speak to you and was afraid you would be mad if I did, but I just felt that I had to know you, no matter how I did it, and now I'm glad for I wouldn't have missed knowing you for anything and I hope some day to see you again and renew our friendship.
I've already written to Mother about you, and I hope she invites you to go to the ranch for a visit when I get a furlough next fall. 
I have hopes of being home in time for Thanksgiving and the fall roundup, and if you were only there I know it would be perfect.  Would you come if Mother writes you?  I would love to have you there for a month or so (!) if you could get away.
Well Darling, I will close now and hope to hear from you very soon.

With love,

(He mentions in a later letter that his family's ranch is in Utah.  I thought it was a little much for him to ask her to consider staying at his ranch for a month, after they barely knew each other.  Is he sounding a little desperate?  I also believe their time spent together was mostly talking.  My Mom was the type that she would have never cheapened herself to become a one night stand for this soldier.  Not that it didn't ever happen back then, but I believe it was no way as prevalent and accepted, unfortunately, as  it is nowadays.  Keep in mind that she was also exchanging letters with my Dad at this time, who was in the Army also and stationed in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska. I've also changed this Tom's brothers names and the one that he said was in the hospital in Denver was hospitalized from a war injury, I believe.)

Monday, December 27, 2010

Old Love Letters - Intro and Chap. 1

 Today I decided to clean and organize one of the drawers in my bedroom dresser that normally holds my stockings.  I hadn't worn any of them in years because, like most women, if we don't have to, we will avoid the struggle of having to put on pantyhose.  But because I had chosen to dress up for Christmas Eve Mass, the drawer had become a jumbled mess while I had frantically searched for the appropriate hosiery, because the outfit I had planned to wear required it (I was wearing a skirt instead of pants). 

In my rush to get ready, I had the drawer's contents strewn about, while searching for that "right" pair to wear.  So today I decided to sort and organize my pantyhose drawer, which also included many pairs of knee highs, and yes, even thigh highs.  It was then that I found a stack of old letters, tied neatly together with a blue ribbon, stuck way in the back of the drawer, underneath the jumbled mess of hosiery.  I had forgotten all about having them.  They had belonged to my deceased Mother. 

I had had them since 1998 or so, when we had merged our two households and started a related living set up with my parents, after my Mom became too much for my Dad to handle after she developed Alzheimer's.  We had lived together for about 5 years until her death in 2003.  Actually both of my parents died in 2003, within six weeks of each other.  My Dad died first, after surgery from a broken hip.  We had never told her he died, because at that point in her disease, she was very frail and confused and I felt she wouldn't have understood or been able to handle the demands of a long visitation/wake and funeral.  Yet, in her confusion, I believe she still must have known he was gone.  At that point, she had lost her ability to speak, but she would point to his empty recliner and then look at me, as if to say "Where is he?"  

Despite my Dad's drinking problem over the years, I believe she always loved him.  When looking at old photos of them in their youth, they were a good looking couple, in my humble opinion.  He was tall, dark and handsome, with beautiful blue eyes.  She was very cute and had a sweet smile that reflected her disposition.  She was a petite 5'2".  But little did I know that when my parents had gotten married on Dec. 1st, 1945, after he was discharged from the Army at the end of World War II, she actually had another solider who was very smitten and serious about her at that same time, too.  These letters were not from my Dad.....I realized they were letters from a different soldier who was very much in love with her!  Well, it appeared that she had to make a decision between the two of them.  I know she loved my Dad, but she had kept these old love letters from the other guy anyway.  

Like I said, I knew I had these stack of letters that were hers from when we moved in together, and if I remember correctly, I originally thought they were from my Dad.  But when I found them today, I realized they had a different name on the return address.  I had always planned on eventually reading them, but at that time I was totally busy and absorbed in taking care of her.  We also had 3 sons who got engaged and married, so I was busy planning showers and shopping for mother of the groom dresses.  Then my husband got an early retirement and we decided to fulfill his dream of having a house on a lake.  So then we were busy with that move and getting settled in.  Grandchildren started to be born into our, once again, growing family. 

So during the last decade we had happy times with marriages and births, and sad times with the passing of my parents.  So those old letters in the back of the drawer were forgotten for awhile.  But now, I would actually have some quiet time to sit down and read them.  I was hooked with the first letter.  It was dated July 7th, 1945 and it was from a fellow named Tom Griffin.  I've changed his name because I don't know if he's still alive, but I rather doubt it because he states in one of his letters that he's 35, so that meant he must have been born in 1910.  So that would make him 100 years old now.  Some people do live to be 100 or more, though.  So to be on the safe side, I will make the name change, because I am taking the liberty of publishing his private letters to my Mother. 

I do so because I found them fascinating.  Many of us have lost the art of letter writing.  Also, women tend to be better at it than men.  But for soldiers who are away from home and missing their loved ones, they can rely on writing down their thoughts, maybe not realizing that it can be good therapy for them.  These letters aren't all mushy, but I thought he did have a good way of expressing his feelings....for a guy, that is.  Many women would LOVE to hear the things he said to my Mom.  Some cynics would say guys will say anything to get in good with a girl, but to me, this guy came off as sounding very sincere.  He also had other interesting things to say about his service too.  I will bet once you start reading them, you won't be able to stop.  

Before I begin, I want to mention that for the last several years, my husband and I have been lucky enough to get away for a couple of months in the winter.  Mostly we've headed down to Florida, but one year we went out west to Arizona and California.  Last winter we were in Fort Myers Beach, Florida.  Lo and behold, this is where these love letters were postmarked from.  He had been stationed down there in 1945.  Just a little coincidence, I thought I'd mention.  During our own winter travels, I would try to keep in touch with family by sending out e-mails which came to be known as my travelogues.  I tried to make them funny and interesting.  This winter, it looks like we will not be traveling to a warmer climate.  So instead, I am going to treat you to these wonderful letters from a solider who was once in love with my Mom.  I have a feeling you'll like reading them as much as I did.  Everyone who reads these, and knew my Mom, will know what a sweetheart she was, as he did.  

I'll probably post one, two, maybe three letters a day.  They're not as long as my intro here, ha ha!  There's a total of 27 letters and 1 postcard. that he sent during a 5 month span, right up until about two weeks before my Mom's wedding.  Knowing this, I figured at some point she was going to have to tell him about my Dad.  I couldn't wait until the last letter to see how she (and he) handled the fact that she would end up marrying a different guy.  It's amazing to learn about a time in my Mom's life that I was never aware of.  Also, these letters show how most of those from that "greatest" generation treated their women.  Here's the first letter, which will give you a hint of what I'm talking about!   

July 7th, 1945

Dearest Margie,

So far we have had a very tiresome trip although have made good time for a troop train.  We left Chicago at three Thursday and arrived here at 2 a.m. this morning and will lay over here till about 10 a.m.  We will be in Buckingham (airfield) some time tomorrow and I will sure be glad to get off the train.  I really hated to leave Chicago after meeting you and having those few wonderful hours with you.  But all good things must come to an end so, although I felt as though I have known you for a long time, I really hated to say good bye.  I do hope that you will write as often as you can and will let me write.  But if you can read this you will be doing more than most.  I forgot to give you my address before I left and I hope this reaches you soon so I may get your answer.  If I were to get to Chicago again, I would like to have the honor and privilege of seeing you again.
Maybe we could get better acquainted and have some nice times.  But just to walk in the park and have you near me would be like heaven.  I know that we have lots more in common than that.  Even though I am just a cowboy and soldier, and the city is strange to me, I never met anyone I could talk to and have them understand more than you have.
Now, Dear, the train is moving and I will have to close for it will be too rough to write more.  I hope you will consent to write soon and often as you can.

With love,

P.S.  Please excuse the scribbling and I will do better next time. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

I cannot vouch that the following e-mail I received is true. I might have been able to notice if this was correct, had I watched the White House Christmas tour that was on one of the cable channels recently, but I did not bother to watch it.  Sadly, the thought of it completely turned me off.
I've added a few comments of my own to this forwarded e-mail that are in parentheses.
And for any skeptics....don't roll your eyes! Take a moment to see and hear what's going on. Stand up for your beliefs (if you are a believer, that is), or they'll slowing keep chipping away and eroding those beliefs and freedoms!  While you've been busy and preoccupied with making preparations for Christmas, they've been making some changes in our nation's capital that will affect all of us. 

----forwarded message----


White House will not do "Christmas" trees!

Thought you might be interested in this information from the White House. This isn't a rumor; this is a fact.

A very talented artist for several years has painted ornaments to be hung on the various White House Christmas trees. The WH sends out an invitation to send an ornament, and informs the artists of the theme for the year.
She got her letter from the WH recently. It said that they would not be calling them Christmas trees this year. They will be called Holiday trees. And, to make matters worse, they also asked that they please do NOT
send any ornaments with a religious theme painted on them. She was very upset at this development and sent back a reply telling them that she painted the ornaments for "Christmas" trees, and would NOT be sending any for a display that left Christ out of Christmas.

(They know this is originally a Christian holiday. It was declared a national holiday years ago. Not acknowledging Christ at Christmastime is like NOT acknowledging our independence on the 4th of July and ruling out fireworks, if you ask me!
Just thought you should know what the current residents in the WH plan for the future of America. If you missed our president's past statement that "we do not consider ourselves a Christian Nation", it just might explain this development.
This should confirm the progressive mindset that he endorses, which plans to move us away from our religious foundation as quickly as possible. Watch what he DOES, not what he SAYS. Actions speak louder than words!
In their minds, all of this religious stuff interferes with their distorted belief of what social justice means. According to them, there should be no mention of religion or Jesus, UNLESS it fits their agenda, such as with healthcare and taxes.
They'd rather incite class warfare and hatred of the rich....the rich who've actually achieved some sort of success in this country, and who are actually the ones funding most, if not all, of their big government
programs. They should not "bite the hands" that feed them. Nor should they put a guilt trip on the ones who are, for the most part, the most charitable among us! A study showed that conservatives give way more to charity.
Liberals, on the other hand, are commonly known for loving to take (tax) and spend everyone else's money
but their own, as a sign of their so-called "compassion". I call it the modern day Robin Hood Syndrome. It's really all about power and control, and making as many people as possible dependent on them - the government, that is. You know I'm right!

We should shout to the highest hills that the White House is ours - not the Obama's, and 85% of Americans believe in keeping Christ in Christmas, even in Hawaii where he's golfing now! Well, he needs a break from all the bills they've rammed through during this lame duck session! Whew!

And another word of advice.... Mr. President, you shouldn't give up the podium to former Pres. Clinton so that he can handle the difficult questions for you at that recent press conference, because you don't want to keep Michelle waiting. Can't be late for another CHRISTmas party!!

Some may say this is not very Christian of me to be talking about the President like this, but I'll use a quote from Jesus Himself, while He was hanging on the cross, when He was referring to His persecutors, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  He taught us to be merciful, and that we should "turn the other cheek".  But, there's one exception to that rule, however, and that's when it comes to us defending Him.  In that case, I believe He wants us to "step up to the plate".  He doesn't want us to deny Him, or His exsistence, especially during this special and holy season.... Christmas!!)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sunday's Message for 11-14-10 - The Here and Now and the Hereafter

The first reading is from Malachi 3:19-20a

Lo, the day is coming, blazing like an oven, when all the proud and all evildoers will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire, leaving them neither root nor branch, says the LORD of hosts.
But for you who fear My Name, there will arise the sun of justice with its healing rays.

The second reading is from St. Paul, 2 Thessalonians 3:7-12

Brothers and sisters:
You know how one must imitate us. For we did not act in a disorderly way among you, nor did we eat food received free from anyone.
On the contrary, in toil and drudgery, night and day we worked, so as not to burden any of you.
Not that we do not have the right. Rather, we wanted to present ourselves as a model for you, so that you might imitate us. In fact, when we were with you, we instructed you that if anyone was unwilling to work, neither should that one eat.
We hear that some are conducting themselves among you in a disorderly way, by not keeping busy but minding the business of others. Such people we instruct and urge in the Lord Jesus Christ to work quietly and to eat their own food.

The gospel according to Luke 21:5:19

While some people were speaking about how the temple was adorned with costly stones and votive offerings, Jesus said, "All that you see here--the days will come when there will not be left a stone upon another stone that will not be thrown down."
Then they asked Him, "Teacher, when will this happen? And what sign will there be when all these things are about to happen?"
He answered, "See that you not be deceived, for many will come in My Name, saying, 'I am He,’ and 'The time has come.’ Do not follow them!
When you hear of wars and insurrections, do not be terrified; for such things must happen first, but it will not immediately be the end."
Then He said to them, "Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be powerful earthquakes, famines, and plagues from place to place; and awesome sights and mighty signs will come from the sky.
"Before all this happens, however, they will seize and persecute you, they will hand you over to the synagogues and to prisons, and they will have you led before kings and governors because of My Name. It will lead to your giving testimony. Remember, you are not to prepare your defense beforehand, for I Myself shall give you a wisdom in speaking that all your adversaries will be powerless to resist or refute.
You will even be handed over by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will put some of you to death. You will be hated by all because of My Name, but not a hair on your head will be destroyed. By your perseverance you will secure your lives."

Sunday's Message for 11-07-10 - Life After Human Death

A shortened reading from 2 Maccabees chap. 7 where some were suffering religious persecution.

Even the king and his attendants marveled at the young man's courage, because he regarded his sufferings as nothing.
When he was near death, he said, "It is my choice to die at the hands of men with the hope God gives of being raised up by Him; but for you, there will be no resurrection to life."

The second reading is from 2 Thessalonians 2:16 - 3:5

Brothers and sisters:
May our Lord Jesus Christ Himself and God our Father, who has loved us and given us everlasting encouragement and good hope through His grace, encourage your hearts and strengthen them in every good deed and word.
Finally, brothers and sisters, pray for us, so that the word of the Lord may speed forward and be glorified, as it did among you, and that we may be delivered from perverse and wicked people, for not all have faith.
But the Lord is faithful; He will strengthen you and guard you from the evil one. We are confident of you in the Lord that what we instruct you, you are doing, and will continue to do. May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the endurance of Christ.

A shortened gospel according to Luke 20:-34-38

Jesus said, "They can no longer die, for they are like angels; and they are the children of God because they are the ones who will rise.
That the dead will rise even Moses made known in the passage about the bush, when he called out 'Lord', the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; and He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

All Soul's Day Message on11/02/10 - The Promise

The first reading is from the Old Testament's Book of Wisdom 3:1-9

The souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them.
They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace.
For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of Himself.
As gold in the furnace, He proved them, and as sacrificial offerings He took them to Himself.
In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; they shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the Lord shall be their King forever.
Those who trust in Him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with Him in love: because grace and mercy are with His holy ones, and His care is with His elect.

The second reading is from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans 5:5-11

Brothers and sisters:

Hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us. For Christ, while we were still helpless, died at the appointed time for the ungodly. Indeed, only with difficulty does one die for a just person, though perhaps for a good person
one might even find courage to die.
But God proves His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. How much more then, since we are now justified by His Blood, will we be saved through Him from the wrath.
Indeed, if, while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, how much more, once reconciled, will we be saved by His life.
Not only that, but we also boast of God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

The gospel from John 6:37-40

Jesus said to the crowds: “Everything that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to Me, because I came down from heaven not to do My own will but the will of the One who sent Me.
And this is the will of the One who sent Me, that I should not lose anything of what He gave Me, but that I should raise it on the last day.
For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have eternal life, and I shall raise him on the last day.”

Friday, November 12, 2010


If you want to make a conservative angry, tell a lie.
If you want to make a liberal angry, tell the truth.
-Rush Limbaugh

Monday, November 1, 2010

Sunday's Message 10/31/10 - He Loves You!

The main message for this week is that God is loving and merciful to us all.  Jesus came to save what was lost.

The 1st reading from the Old Testament is from the Book of Wisdom 11:22 - 12:2
God loves everything He's created!

Before the LORD the whole universe is as a grain from a balance or a drop of morning dew come down upon the earth.
But You have mercy on all, because You can do all things; and You overlook people's sins that they may repent.  For You love all things that are and loathe nothing that You have made; for what You hated, You would not have fashioned.  And how could a thing remain, unless You willed it; or be preserved, had it not been called forth by You?  But You spare all things, because they are Yours, O LORD and lover of souls, for Your imperishable spirit is in all things!
Therefore You rebuke offenders little by little, warn them and remind them of the sins they are committing, that they may abandon their wickedness and believe in You, O LORD!

The 2nd reading is from the second letter of St. Paul to the Thessalonians 1:11 - 2:2
Let God work His goodness through you....and be wary of false prophets!

Brothers and sisters:
We always pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling and powerfully bring to fulfillment every good purpose and every effort of faith, that the name of our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you, and you in Him, in accord with the grace of our God and Lord Jesus Christ.
We ask you, brothers and sisters, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling with Him, not to be shaken out of your minds suddenly, or to be alarmed either by a "spirit," or by an oral statement, or by a letter allegedly from us to the effect that the day of the Lord is at hand.

The Gospel is from Luke 19:1-10
God hears and answers the prayers of the repentant sinners, instead of those who are filled with pride.

At that time, Jesus came to Jericho and intended to pass through the town.
Now a man there named Zacchaeus, who was a chief tax collector and also a wealthy man, was seeking to see who Jesus was; but he could not see Him because of the crowd, for he was short in stature.  So he ran ahead and climbed a sycamore tree in order to see Jesus, who was about to pass that way.
When He reached the place, Jesus looked up and said, "Zacchaeus, come down quickly, for today I must stay at your house."  And he came down quickly and received Him with joy.
When they all saw this, they began to grumble, saying, "He has gone to stay at the house of a sinner."
But Zacchaeus stood there and said to the Lord, "Behold, half of my possessions, Lord, I shall give to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone I shall repay it four times over."
And Jesus said to him, "Today salvation has come to this house because this man too is a descendant of Abraham.  For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save what was lost."

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Church Sign

It is wise to follow the One who knows the way.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sunday's Message for 10/24/10 - The Righteous Will Prevail

The first reading from the Old Testament is from (Sirach 35:12-14,16-18)
God doesn't play favorites, but He knows our hearts, and hears the prayers of those who love and humbly respect Him....and His judgement. 

The LORD is a God of justice, who knows no favorites. Though not unduly partial toward the weak, yet He hears the cry of the oppressed. The Lord is not deaf to the wail of the orphan, nor to the widow when she pours out her complaint. The one who serves God willingly is heard; his petition reaches the heavens. The prayer of the lowly pierces the clouds; it does not rest till it reaches its goal, nor will it withdraw till the Most High responds, judges justly and affirms the right, and the Lord will not delay.

The second reading is from a letter from St. Paul to Timothy  (2 Timothy 4:6-8,16-18)
Against all odds, trust that the righteous, and their mission will prevail.

I am already being poured out like a libation, and the time of my departure is at hand.  I have competed well; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith.  From now on the crown of righteousness awaits me, which the Lord, the just judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me, but to all who have longed for His appearance.
At my first defense no one appeared on my behalf, but everyone deserted me. May it not be held against them! But the Lord stood by me and gave me strength, so that through me the proclamation might be completed and all the Gentiles might hear it. And I was rescued from the lion's mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil threat and will bring me safe to His heavenly kingdom.
To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen.

The gospel according to (Luke 18:9-14)
Which is more righteous...pride or humility?

Jesus addressed this parable to those who were convinced of their own righteousness and despised everyone else.
"Two people went up to the temple area to pray; one was a Pharisee and the other was a tax collector.
The Pharisee took up his position and spoke this prayer to himself, 'O God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of humanity -- greedy, dishonest, adulterous -- or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week, and I pay tithes on my whole income.’
But the tax collector stood off at a distance and would not even raise his eyes to heaven but beat his breast and prayed, 'O God, be merciful to me a sinner.'
I tell you, the latter went home justified, not the former; for whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and the one who humbles himself will be exalted."

Translating political speak - Is the War On Terror the main cause of our debt?


Sure, and the Republicans were in charge when that devastating day of  Sept. 11th happened. However, this was not the first time our country's people and interests around the world had been attacked by radical Islamic jihadists (is that specific enough?).  We all know there are some moderate Muslims. 

When Pres. Clinton was serving back in the '90's, he had a weak response in dealing with this threat when Al Qaeda bombed the World Trade Center for the first time in '93, not to mention the other U.S. embassy bombings around the world, and the U.S.S. Cole attack in Yemen, just to name a few. So Pres. Bush ended up going on offense after 9/11 with the subsequent war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, by taking the fight to them. Debate will continue as to whether or not this policy was a good idea or not.  Time will tell. 

No doubt, this has been a huge cost in blood and treasure, but those servicemen and women who did pay the ultimate price for protecting us, need not to have died in vain.  How can you put a price tag on our own national security?  Taking the fight to them on their turf, routing out the bad guys and advancing freedom around the world, comes at a huge cost.  Many believe it is a necessary expense, for our own safety and security.  Some have a different opinion on this and have said our presence over there just increases Muslim anger towards us and helps them recruit even more radicals.  However, others believe a "cut and run" strategy, or giving them a timetable for our departure makes us look weak.  We've invested this much so far, so why not plan to finish the job?  If we call it quits, will that improve our safety?  Will it change our image?  Will the rest of the world, and even the radical's opinion of us improve once we leave?  Don't we have to make them realize their murderous actions against us will not stand?  Our cause is righteous.  Taking out the radical leadership, all while winning over the hearts and minds of the good people who want peace, will and should prevail.

As we all know, this mission comes at a price.  Our struggling economy and our ever increasing national debt is affecting this effort. Even Hillary, as Secretary of State, has said we are so indebted to the Chinese and other nations, it is interfering with our government's national security and affecting the tools we use to negotiate with other nations. We are at the mercy of those we are indebted to. This is not a good position to be in!  All the more reason that we need to get our debt under control, before it controls us!  The clock is ticking.  Tough choices and sacrifices will have to be made.  Are you ready?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Translating political speak - Who actually ran our economy into the ditch?


Most of us realize it was the rise in gas prices back in '07-'08 that put a great strain on many American's household budgets.  Then, foreclosures started piling up and the housing bubble burst.  It's been documented that it was Pres. Bush and other Republicans in Congress who raised the red flag and warned of the looming housing bubble that was about to happen. Yet it was the Dems who denied there was a problem (Barney Frank and Chris Dodd), and voted down any attempts to prevent it. They probably thought it was just the GOP's attempt to ruin or discredit one of their wonderful and benevolent programs, the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).  They needed to protect those at Fannie and Freddie too. 

There's still disagreement on who caused that housing bubble in the first place. It depends on which side of the aisle you're on. The GOP blamed the Dems which promoted the loosening of the bank's lending standards with the passing of the CRA.  Regular folks also got carried away with the easy credit that was available to them at that time too.  Buying second homes, flipping homes, and using up every bit of equity they had, was partly to blame also. 

The Dems blamed Wall St., who bought those mortgages and sold them worldwide as investments. But, how did Wall St. end up with a bunch of "toxic assets" in the first place? Was it like a game of Hot Potato for them, where they had to pass off those investment instruments of "bundled" bad assets mixed in with some good ones, to the next person (or group)? Unfortunately, they reacted in an unfavorable manner by trying to make lemonade out of lemons, (or making the most out of a bad situation). But wasn't it all due to the coercive government mandates on the mortgage bankers with the CRA (ala Clinton) in the first place?  Those government mandates for easy credit interfered with the private mortgage lending market.  So, who started driving our economy into the ditch?  Was it the ones who came up with these unrealistic government policies that ended up having a devastating "trickle down" effect, which ended up being felt not just here, but around the world too? You make the call on that one!

Recently Pres. Clinton has been bragging about how he left office with a budget surplus, but it was not because of his fiscal responsibility! However, he did actually moderate and move to the center after the Republicans eventually won back the majority and took control of Congress during his tenure. It was thanks to that Republican majority.  They are the ones who gave Clinton that budget surplus bragging right, but you may notice, he won't give the GOP credit for it.

Hopefully, the GOP will gain the majority in Congress this time around. They will be the ones who will once again have to make the hard choices (and get the blame from the left for the cuts that will have to be made) in order to get our fiscal house back in order, after the largest expansion of government has taken place since Obama took office. The truly scary part is, they are predicting Obama will not moderate and move to the center, like Clinton did, once the Republicans get the Congress back. But the GOP will have to play the role of the strict, "just say NO" common sense parents who will have to deal with the Dems, who are like a group of teenagers who wanted it all, but now have maxed out their credit cards, and don't have the money to pay for it, or don't even know how to "earn" it (see tax revenue history post)!

We must find the proper balance of when, and when not, it is necessary for government to get involved with the private sector. Their regulating can either help, hinder or even wreak havoc with our economy. Smart, common sense people are needed in government to make these important decisions, because it can have either a wonderful or a devastating effect on all of us....and yes, even the whole world.

Be ready to continue to make some sacrifices.  It needs to be done, but in the end, we should be better off for it in the long run.  And take the credit card away from those Democrats, before their own fiscal policies drive us into the ditch again!

Translating political speak - Taxing the Rich


The Dems are banking on the idea that raising taxes on the top 2% will produce "X" amount of dollars of revenue for the government.  I don't know how they come up with these "fuzzy math" numbers.  Taxes are based on profit margins/income.  But how can they predict what a company's profit will be, especially in these questionable times?  That's why I call it fuzzy math.  It's similar to the numbers the CBO (Congressional Budget Office) used in the healthcare debate.  They are only predictions, about as reliable as a weatherman's predictions! 

Well here's a history lesson which has proven that overly burdensome taxation on the so-called "rich" has quite the opposite effect on government revenue. The paradox is....that increasing taxation on businesses has decreased expected revenues for the government. Even a Democrat, New York's Governor Patterson, admitted this happened in his own state when they raised taxes on businesses there. It forced many businesses to leave and relocate to more business-friendly states...and yes, unfortunately, some even moved their operations overseas, in order to remain viable. Also, unrealistic demands from labor unions have been known to sometimes force businesses to make cut backs, such as reducing their workforce (lay-offs or firings), using non-union workers or outsourcing jobs. We don't want that, right? The workers demands are pricing themselves right out of a job!

So, history has proven several times over in the past that increasing taxes on businesses equals less revenue for the Federal government. Instead, wouldn't it be better to lessen their tax burden, to where government revenues, over time, will actually increase!

This is known as the Laffer curve, named for Dr. Arthur Laffer, economist and professor who advised Pres. Ford and Reagan. Business owners, who are the ones taking the risks, that were able to keep more of their profits, more often than not, used it to reinvest in their companies, using it to expand, thus hiring and producing more.  Everyone benefitted from that "trickle down effect".  The Dems may characterize this as going back to the old way of doing things.  Sometimes, getting back to the basics, which have been proven to have worked in the past, is not such a bad thing, is it?!  Learn from history!

Translating political speak - "Transforming America"

Pres. Obama said during his 2008 presidential campaign that "we live in the greatest country in the, help me transform it".  Hope And Change! Yes We Can!


The transformation we've seen over the last couple of years involved the rare steps that were taken in the form of government intervention in order to save our economy, which included monetary bailouts of private companies, and stimulus money used in an attempt to save or create jobs, and jump start the economy. Included in with all of this was the largest expansion of, and/or creation of more new government regulations and programs, such as healthcare reform.

Liberal/progressives see all this as a good thing. But these moves are also seen by many others, as a government take over of the banking, auto and healthcare industries. These are major changes to our country, and are quite opposite of how capitalism is supposed to work. Letting companies be allowed to either succeed or fail, weeds out the bad and allows the best to survive. The market is allowed to self-adjust, even bottom out as needed in order to reset itself. Capitalism is NOT a one size fits all, equally distributive "social justice" notion, where your personal investment of time, expense, experience and effort doesn't matter. It does! It fosters the best and brightest of ideas and innovation that are successful....and the fittest survive. Capitalism is a "game" of winners and losers. Even if you're one of the losers, you still have the chance to try again. This is unlike Marxist/socialism. That is the type of "game" that provides everyone with a trophy, no matter if, or how they performed. Sooner or later, however, they will eventually run out of trophies to give out, because there are no wealth producers left in the game anymore to pay for all those trophies. Capitalism, may seem unfair to some, but there's no dispute that this economic system has provided so many individuals the opportunity to lift themselves out of poverty....or even the middle class!

The passage of healthcare reform will impact 1/6th of our nation's economy. Also, claims were made that more departments would be needed to service and enforce these new programs. The proponents of this plan claim it would be "deficit neutral" because paying for these costly programs would be accomplished by bleeding the taxpayers dry, taking it mainly from those "rich fat cats". They've not been shy about stating their distaste for them. But isn't this what makes America exceptional? That is, that an average person, given the right circumstances and effort, can have the ability to reach true wealth and prosperity here. Liberals and progressives seem to want to punish those that have become successful in reaching those dreams. They incite class warfare and envy. We were warned back in 2008 of their "Spread the wealth around" mentality. Not all of us listened, or seemed to care about what this "transformational change" really meant. "Yes We Can" take from the successful risk takers, and give it to the less fortunate. Sounds noble, but isn't that what charities are for? No, they want the government to mandate burdensome taxation on the achievers, in order to create more costly government entitlement programs. Thus, their well-deserved nickname "Tax and Spend" Democrats.

They also claim they want to improve the economy and create jobs, but wouldn't their ideology actually hurt the true job creators? Doesn't their government "help" just result in more people becoming dependent on the government? Isn't being self-reliant and having the ability to provide for yourself and your family, give you more control and satisfaction? Many do not want to be "transformed" into a country that is dependent on government hand outs AND bureaucrats who have control over how it's spread around. Some will argue, people are happy with their Social Security and Medicare benefits. The difference is, these people paid into these programs with their own hard-earned money. It was not given to them, at the expense of others.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sunday Message for 10/17/10 - Keep God On Your Side

The first reading from the Old Testament (Exodus 17:8-13)
Praying to God with a little help from your friends!

In those days, Amalek came and waged war against Israel.  Moses, therefore, said to Joshua, "Pick out certain men, and tomorrow go out and engage Amalek in battle. I will be standing on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hand."
So Joshua did as Moses told him: he engaged Amalek in battle after Moses had climbed to the top of the hill with Aaron and Hur.
As long as Moses kept his hands raised up, Israel had the better of the fight, but when he let his hands rest, Amalek had the better of the fight.
Moses’hands, however, grew tired; so they put a rock in place for him to sit on. Meanwhile Aaron and Hur supported his hands, one on one side and one on the other, so that his hands remained steady till sunset.
And Joshua mowed down Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

The second reading is from the New Testament (2 Timothy 3:14 - 4:2)
Our Christian mission is to spread the Good News, using the power of the Word!


Remain faithful to what you have learned and believed, because you know from whom you learned it, and that from infancy you have known the sacred Scriptures, which are capable of giving you wisdom for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.
All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for refutation, for correction, and for training in righteousness, so that one who belongs to God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingly power: proclaim the word; be persistent whether it is convenient or inconvenient; convince, reprimand, encourage through all patience and teaching.

The gospel from (Luke 18:1-8)
Pray frequently, because as the old (non-Biblical) saying goes "The squeaky wheel gets the grease!"

Jesus told His disciples a parable about the necessity for them to pray always without becoming weary.
He said, "There was a judge in a certain town who neither feared God nor respected any human being.  And a widow in that town used to come to him and say, 'Render a just decision for me against my adversary.'
For a long time the judge was unwilling, but eventually he thought, 'While it is true that I neither fear God nor respect any human being, because this widow keeps bothering me I shall deliver a just decision for her lest she finally come and strike me.'"
The Lord said, "Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says.  Will not God then secure the rights of His chosen ones who call out to Him day and night? Will He be slow to answer them? I tell you, He will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on earth?"

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Endangered Species

Fact - A landowner in the lower 48 states can receive from one to five years in jail and/or a $20,000 to $100,000 fine for harming a single American bald eagle, any of it's eggs, or even altering it's habitat.

But are the ones who would send you to jail for destroying the eagle's egg, the same ones who ironically say the destruction of the human fetus is just fine and within your legal rights?

Shouldn't the human "egg" have legal rights and protection also, just like the eagle and it's eggs? To take away a human's choice to live, but protect and save the eagle's life is hypocritical, isn't it?

Many will argue, saying you can't compare the two because the human race is not an endanged species....
or is it? Have we become so hardened as to not give any value to human life, especially in it's earliest and most vulnerable stages?

God never promised us a rose garden. He knows we will be faced with difficult times in our life. But He did promise to give us strength to get through these trials and tribulations....and we will be the stronger for it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sunday's Message for 10/10/10 - Say Thank You to God!

1st reading is from 2 Kings 5:14-17
Naaman was healed of his leprosy through the help of a man of God named Elisha.  In thanks, he wanted to acknowledge God by giving Naaman a gift. 
Naaman refused saying "As the Lord lives whom I serve, I will not take it," and despite Naaman's insistence, he still refused.
Naaman said, "If you will not accept, please let me, your servant, have two mule loads of earth, for I will no longer offer sacrifice to any other god except to the Lord."

2nd reading is from 2 Timothy 2:8-13
St. Paul, while he was in jail, wrote a letter to Timothy, urging him to press on despite the difficulties.  Preaching the Good News was risky business and you could be persecuted for it.  Yet the Word has survived for more than 2,000 years, thanks to the early Christians who took those chances to spread it.
Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, a descendant of David: such is my gospel, for which I am suffering, even to the point of chains, like a criminal.  But the Word of God is not chained.
Therefore, I bear with everything for the sake of those who are chosen, so that they too may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus, together with eternal glory.  
This saying is trustworthy:  If we have died with Him we shall also live with Him;  If we persevere we shall also reign with Him.  But if we deny Him, He will deny us.  If we are unfaithful, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself. 

The gospel reading is from Luke 17:11-19 
Jesus performed many miracles during His ministry here on earth.  This story tells us about the 10 lepers who were cured, yet only one thanked Him.
As Jesus continued His journey to Jerusalem, He traveled through Samaria and Galilee.  As He was entering a village, ten lepers met Him.  They stood at a distance from Him and raised their voices, saying, "Jesus, Master! Have pity on us!" 
And when He saw them, He said, "Go show yourselves to the priests."  As they were going they were cleansed.
And one of them, realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice: and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked Him.  He was a Samaritan.
Jesus said in reply, "Ten were cleansed, were they not?  Where are the other nine?  Has none but this foreigner returned to give thanks to God?"
Then He said to him, "Stand up and go; your faith has saved you." 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Church Sign

What you go after here, determines your hereafter

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Are you holding a grudge?

I do not claim to have a degree in psychology, only that I feel I have lived long enough to be an experienced observer of humans and their relationships. With the fall and winter holidays fast approaching, there is one worrisome thing that really troubles me....that is, how many people are out there who are choosing to estrange themselves from a certain family member or a friend, because they're clinging on to a long held grudge? This, unfortunately, is not an uncommon phenomenon. I am sorry to say that I believe many people can identify with this. Sometimes these splits are partly due to misunderstandings. If someone has chosen to cut off contact with another person and they aren't willing to talk with one another over the reason why, they deprive themselves of being able to air their grievances, and thus never get anything resolved. Maybe a mediation has been tried, but ended without any positive results because tempers flared, and neither side ended up being heard. Sadly, it might have been made even worse, because more hurtful things were said.

It may be that people haven't learned to fight fairly. Using the word "fight" is not the preferred word to use, so instead I could say that you can increase your chances of making yourself heard during a disagreement, and having your points better taken, if you learn to debate and negotiate in a calm and fair way. Some may feel they have a righteous reason to be upset with the other person, but if you let your anger get the best of you and start name calling, assigning blame, or use potentially unfair or exaggerated accusations, and/or belittle the other, it is not a good way to patch things up. It just puts them on the defensive and makes them dig their heels in even more.

But sometimes, the split is not just a misunderstanding. Some may feel the split was necessary because the words or deeds that caused injury were done intentionally. We may not ever want to excuse or forget what that person said or did to us in the past....and I'm not saying excusing it or forgetting it is necessary.  It depends on what the offense was, but does the chosen punishment fit the crime? 

However, you may decide to break the deadlock (end the grudge) because you feel this relationship may be worth salvaging.  You could choose to do this for several different reasons.  It could be either for your own sake or for both of yours, but at least realize that it just might also be welcome news  for the rest of the other people around you who may have been affected by the uncomfortable situation that your dispute caused.  If you can "bury the hatchet" with each other, it can make planning for family and/or friendly gatherings a whole lot easier for everyone. We should be able to deal with the problem in our own minds first, and then decide if there's a need to resolve it, even if it's just for the sake of your friend's or family's unity and harmony.

On the other hand, we may resist the idea of making up, opting to not deal with it at all. You may still have no interest in salvaging the troubled relationship, and choose to continue to avoid any contact with them. You could rationalize it as being a self-preservation measure. You may be saying, "Who needs the aggravation? Why put myself through it?"  That's one way of dealing with it. But once again, you also have to realize how this decision can affect your other relationships, especially with other family members. In this case, we're all connected, whether we like it or not!  Some may agree with you, some may not, but it is ultimately up to the ones initially involved to decide if they want to resolve it or keep holding onto that grudge.  

If you eventually decide it is better to get these grudges resolved, not just for yourself, but for the sake of family and/or friends, one way to do this (and it's not always easy) is to forgive those who offended and hurt you. "What?!"  Well, yes. What I've learned is that it's one of the only ways people are able to free themselves from the ongoing anger and spitefulness they're holding onto. If it helps, try to think of forgiveness as the self-preservation measure for yourself! Yes, you could even consider it as being a selfish way for you to get yourself back into a better state of mind. You're not just doing it for their benefit, you're doing it for yourself! The hardest thing to overcome is that people convince themselves that if they forgive their offender, then they actually think they're doing them a favor, by granting them this. This is normally the last thing you want to do when you're mad at someone! But instead, the opposite can be true. Think of it this way....You don't have to excuse or forget their bad behavior....but by forgiving them, you're helping yourself to enter into a better frame of mind. There's no need for you to continue to drag yourself down by holding on to grudges.  It's a waste of time and energy to be filled with animosity and bitterness. Looking at it in a vain way, holding on to that negative energy, which is held inwardly, is not good for your health, and it's not very becoming in how you project yourself outwardly....and it can age you! If you choose to hang onto the grudge, know that it can wear on you.  Don't continue to be the victim, even though you may believe you are deserving of this title, because you were the injured party.  Instead, free yourself by letting go of this role and become a better person for it!  You have overcome it!  On the other hand, if you are perceived to be the oppressor or offender, free yourself from the hidden guilt you may be secretly harboring because of pride.  Admit your mistakes, forgive yourself, even if you can't receive forgiveness from the injured party, and resolve to make amends and do better in the future.

As bad as anything is though, I have to hope that eventually we can all be willing to patch things up somehow, but you have to have the desire to put in the time and effort to get it done. It takes courage to take the first step.  Be hopeful that it might possibly have a positive outcome. It's well worth it, if you find out both of you are willing to forgive each other.  If you do get rejected, know that the world will not come to an end.  What matters is that you swollowed your pride, and made an attempt to make things right again.  People will take notice and presumably in most cases, they will appreciate that you put forth the effort. 

Another tough thing to do is to be able to accept people as they are. Those offensive people you're mad at may never change their ways.  Understand that we can't control them, or expect to force a change in them for the better, even though it would be great if that happened. Actually, the one exception is that parents should have some control over their young children. Teach and admonish them, in order to encourage better behavior. Demand respect from them. But when you're dealing with adults or grown children, that's another story. It's never too late for adults to learn to change their ways, but they have to be willing to make that change themselves. We can try to influence it, but we can't control what the result will be with the grown ups. In the end, we can only control how we behave and react towards them.

You must know, however, I'm not encouraging anyone to repair a relationship that was ever threatening or caused anyone to be in harm's way. I'm talking about grudges that are held onto because of perceived slights or being on the receiving end of hurtful words or mean spirited deeds.  This turmoil may have also caused tension within your own extended family or circle of friends.

Of course, if you're treated wrongly, you're mainly thinking of your own hurt feelings, and it's only natural to hold some resentment towards the offensive one. But at the risk of sounding repetitive, I'd also like to repeat how important it is to realize how your actions and reactions towards your perceived offender can affect others....not only directly, but indirectly with people who were never involved in the original incident in the first place. An example of this is dragging other people into it and expecting them to show their loyalty to you by taking sides. Not good! Why? Here's an example. If you break a law, and subsequently are arrested and brought to trial, your claims are heard by a jury of your peers. But in personal disputes between two people, their family and/or friends should not be put in a position to become your judge and jury. We're not usually objective anyway! The best case scenario would be that the two of you should attempt to work it out and resolve it among yourselves. Jesus tells the story of a man who tried to draw Him into a personal family dispute, one that he was having with his brother. He asked Jesus to decide in his favor and tell his brother of this decision. Jesus said, "My friend, who appointed Me the judge or arbitrator of your claims between the two of you?" (Luke 12:14)

As I've said, the preferred method is that personal disputes can, and should, be resolved between the two involved parties and shouldn't be something that simmers indefinitely and goes on, unresolved for years. People normally don't want to be put in the middle, or be forced to take sides.  We've learned that God doesn't want that either.  Many believe He will however, judge us by observing how we end up handling our own individual disputes with one another. We can't expect Him or anyone else to step in and resolve all our issues for us. He gave us our own free will, and I'm sure He hopes we can use that free will to work things out with each other. It's up to us.  However, what God did do was give us some guidelines in the Old Testament, such as when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments.  For Christians, we also believe God so loved the world that He also sent us the Messiah, His Only Begotten Divine Son Jesus, who dedicated and ultimately gave His life, according to His Father's will, as the perfect sacrifice for all mankind.  He paid the price for our sins, and He tells us that He is the only One who can provide us with the true path to salvation and our own eternal life.  Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me." (John 14:6)  He also said, “I am the Alpha and the Omega—the beginning and the end," says the Lord God. “I am the one who is, who always was, and who is still to come—the Almighty One.” (Revelation 1:8)

Jesus also left us with many parables (stories) that contain useful life lessons concerning what God Our Father expects from us, in addition to His command to love Him and one another.  He set an example for all of us to follow.

We should all realize none of us are perfect. We are all sinners in some way, shape or form. Jesus said in another gospel story, "He who is without sin, cast the first stone" (John 8:7) and then what did they do? They stopped and thought about it. Eventually they all dropped their stones and slowly walked away, because everybody knew they were sinners too. What did He then say to the woman when she saw everyone was leaving the scene, thus saving her life? He told her, "Go forth and sin no more."  (John 8:11) 

He also told us if we expect forgiveness for our sins, we must also be ready to forgive others if they've sinned against us. Hopefully, we're all on a continuous journey, striving towards forgiveness, repentance and self-improvement, like the woman who was saved from being stoned to death.

If it helps, just consider the ways below, on how deal with personal attacks.....whether you were the cause of it, or were on the receiving end of it....






Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Are the Dems anti-family?

Why do some accuse the liberal/progressive wing of the Democratic Party as being anti-family?

Three quick things come to mind....their usual stances on abortion, welfare and traditional marriage.

Simply put, current abortion law allows a mother to choose to deny her own unborn child the right to his/her own life.  Ironicly, why is it that if a pregnant woman is the victim of a murderous crime where she loses the unborn child, the perpetrator can be charged with a felony?  I guess it all depends on the value we put on that life.  It depends on the circumstances.  But should it be that way?     

As far as government welfare, many believe it gives men the opportunity, and an excuse to abandon their responsibilities of fatherhood.  Why should they take responsibility if the taxpayers are providing for their children?  It obviously helps the mothers who choose to have their babies, but knowing this government help is provided gives the fathers an easy out and destroys the family unit that each child deserves. 

The link below is an interesting article that will go into the reasons why the homosexual agenda is trying to chip away at the core of civilized society as we've known it for thousands of years, the basic foundation and understanding of what the family unit is supposed to be. 

How have we become duped into believing all of the above is okay?  They will come up with all their usual rationalizations, but down deep we all must know it's taking it's toll on society and the human condition.  They say they're the forward looking progressives and the old ways are ancient history, but many times new ways of thinking on morality aren't always right.  Oh, they'll try to convice you they're right, and then they'll even accuse you of being intolerant and uncompassionate if you don't agree with them.  Don't be intimidated into not speaking out for what you believe is right.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

This is one Muslim who was a former jihadist, who has the right idea! We need more like him speaking out. He's courageously written an open letter to Osama Bin Laden.

This Muslim would be better received by skeptical Americans instead of the Imam in New York who wants to build the mosque near Ground Zero, and who's also getting paid by our State Dept. to be a "bridge" of understanding between the U.S. and Muslim countries. He needs to speak the truth, like this fellow Muslim.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's been a crazy, busy spring and summer for me.  I really want to get back into the swing of things with this blog and give it another good ole college try, as they say.

The main message with the readings at church today were about money, selfishness and gaining dishonest wealth. 

Also, just like we tell our little children that Santa is watching them....well, so is Jesus watching all of us too!

Instead of typing out all of the readings, I will just list them and select a line or two as a highlight....

Amos 8:4-7   The Lord has sworn by the pride of Jacob: Never will I forget a thing they have done!

1 Timothy 2:1-8  It is my wish, then, that in every place the men should pray, lifting up holy hands, without anger or argument.

Luke 16:1-13  If therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth?  No servant can serve two masters.