Boston’s Braves


Jason BourneIn the wake of the horrific terrorist attacks at the end of the Boston marathon today, I want to dedicate this post I wrote a couple years ago to the first responders, firefighters, police officers, EMTs and runners who risked their lives to take care of their fellow men and women.

I didn’t see much of the coverage until I got home a couple hours ago, and by that time, the streets were clearing and we’re still waiting on information about who did this and why. All I know is someone will pay for this and the United States of America will overcome!!

I’ve been thinking about ideas for some new material for the blog, and encourage everybody to stay tuned the next couple weeks for some powerful inspiration, encouragement and hope for a new, better, brighter, stronger YOU!!!

Before I close, I want to encourage everyone reading this, especially if you have kids, to go grab them and give them the biggest hug you’ve ever given them. You never know when it will all be taken away in the blink of an eye. I know one of the first things I’m doing tomorrow: giving my best friend a really big hug and letting her know just how much she means to me.

My fellow Americans, LET’S ROLL!!!

New School Prayer


Since the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord’s Prayer are not allowed in most public schools anymore because the word “God” is mentioned, a kid in Arizona wrote the following:

Now I sit me down in school
Where praying is against the rule
For this great nation under God
Finds mention of Him very odd

If Scripture now the class recites
It violates the Bill of Rights
And anytime my head I bow
Becomes a Federal matter now

Our hair can be purple, orange or green
That’s no offense; it’s a freedom scene
The law is specific, the law is precise
Prayers spoken aloud are a serious vice

mom-praying1For praying in a public hall
Might offend someone with no faith at all
In silence alone we must meditate
God’s name is prohibited by the state

We’re allowed to cuss and dress like freaks
And pierce our noses, tongues and cheeks
They’ve outlawed guns, but FIRST the Bible
To quote the Good Book makes me liable

We can elect a pregnant Senior Queen
And the ‘unwed daddy’ our Senior King
It’s ‘inappropriate’ to teach right from wrong
We’re taught that such ‘judgments’ do not belong

We can get our condoms and birth controls
Study witchcraft, vampires and totem poles
But the Ten Commandments are not allowed
No word of God must reach this crowd

It’s scary here I must confess
When chaos reigns the school’s a mess
So, Lord, this silent plea I make
Should I be shot; my soul please take

Amen

Thoughts on 9/11…


On Monday there were people fighting against praying in schools. On Tuesday you would have been hard pressed to find a school where someone was not praying.

On Monday there were people who were trying to separate each other by race, sex, color and creed. On Tuesday they were all holding hands.

On Monday we thought that we were secure. On Tuesday we learned better.

On Monday we were talking about heroes as being athletes. On Tuesday we re-learned what hero meant.

On Monday people went to work at the World Trade Centers as usual. On Tuesday they died.

On Monday people were fighting the 10 Commandments on government property. On Tuesday the same people all said, “God help us all” while thinking “Thou shall not kill.”

On Monday people argued with their kids about picking up their room. On Tuesday the same people could not get home fast enough to hug their kids.

On Monday people picked up McDonalds for dinner. On Tuesday they stayed home.

On Monday people were upset that their dry cleaning was not ready on time. On Tuesday they were lining up to give blood for the dying.

On Monday politicians argued about budget surpluses. On Tuesday, grief-stricken, they sang “God Bless America.”

On Monday we worried about the traffic and getting to work late. On Tuesday we worried about a plane crashing into our house or place of business.

On Monday we were irritated that our rebate checks had not arrived. On Tuesday we saw people celebrating people dying in the USA.

On Monday some children had solid families. On Tuesday they were orphans.

On Monday the president was going to Florida to read to children. On Tuesday he returned to Washington to protect our children.

On Monday we e-mailed jokes. On Tuesday we did not.

It is sadly ironic how it takes horrific events to place things into perspective, but it has. The lessons learned that week, the things we have taken for granted, the things that have been forgotten or overlooked hopefully will never be forgotten again.

On Monday – pray and be thankful
On Tuesday – pray and be thankful
On Wednesday – pray and be thankful
On Thursday – pray and be thankful
On Friday – pray and be thankful
On Saturday – pray and be thankful
On Sunday – pray and be thankful

Author Unknown

Frequently Asked Question


I hope everybody had a very safe, relaxing and fun Fourth of July. This year was one of the most fun Fourths I’ve ever had, despite the fact it was about 95 degrees and about 200 percent humidity (at least it felt that way!!!). I took pictures at Marietta’s July Fourth parade and celebration and took a whopping 756 pictures!!! If we were playing baseball I just became the new HR champ, passing Atlanta Braves legend, Hank Aaron, who by the way should’ve had the stadium named after him, but that’s another story….

As I was rolling around taking pictures, I stopped at a table that had T-shirts, hats and books about Vietnam and started talking to the guys manning the table. One of them asked me a question I get asked at almost every July Fourth or Veterans Day parade, and it was if I am a veteran?

Now I get where they’re coming from, I’m in a wheelchair and could easily pass as a disabled veteran, wounded in the line of duty, serving my country. I try to always tell people I’m not a veteran, that I was born with spina bifida and am paralyzed below the waist. I try to make them feel comfortable around me, explain what the disability is and let them ask questions if they want.

I also explain that I am a big supporter of the U.S. military, and have a second and third cousin who’ve both served this country proud, in the first Gulf War and now in the war on terror. My third cousin was in Iraq or Afghanistan several months ago, and the Hummer he was riding in hit an IED that killed the driver. My third cousin is still dealing with some shrapnel issues, I think, and is the true definition of a veteran if there ever was one.

But while I’m not a war veteran, I think I fit the description of another kind of veteran, a veteran of the battle I call LIFE. What I mean is, I’ve battled adversity and overcome so much despite spina bifida, and I’ve accomplished so many wonderful things in my life, but there are some days like today when I get hit in the shoulder or punched in the gut and have to dust myself back off and hop right back on the horse.

Every day I feel like a veteran. Whenever I see an American flag or one of our service men or women, I feel a tremendous sense of pride and adrenaline to be a better American. Every morning when I wake up, I thank God for being able to see another day and look adversity in the face as if to say, “You want to challenge me today? Bring it on!!!”

One of the things that really humbles me and makes me get all warm and fuzzy inside is how many people come up to me, ask me how I’m doing and just want to talk. I almost feel like a veteran coming home from war from the response I get when I’m in public, around Marietta. While I was mingling around yesterday evening on the Square, taking pictures of the vendors and the concert, a woman saw me and grabbed my hand and started dancing with me. We tried to talk over the speakers, and she said she’d seen me earlier and shook my hand as she was walking in the parade. She asked me why I didn’t walk in it, and I mentioned I was taking pictures. She said, “Well next time just ask around and see if you can walk in the parade. That’s what I did!!” She even offered to let me walk with her the next time she’s in the parade!!! You know, some days can be a real pain in the butt, but when I think about the big picture and how incredibly blessed I am to work in a city where people actually want to talk to me instead of walking the other way, that means more to me than any Medal of Honor ever could!!!

Our Great Country


I got this in my e-mail sometime last year and was waiting for just the right time to post it. I think with the Supreme Court’s passage of President Obama’s health care bill (which by the way is a big piece of crap in my opinion), this is just the right time to share this. I am so angry that we will now be forced to buy health insurance, when most of us can’t even afford a tank of gas, groceries for the week or to pay a house or electric bill. I think it’s high time Americans stand up and vote to remove the dictators from Washington and take our country BACK!!!!!!

In my lifetime the thinking of the average citizen of the United States has changed dramatically. When I was a child, this was “the greatest nation on earth.” Everyone was absolutely certain that the USA was the best.

Compared to other nations, we expected to have higher scores when children were tested, have larger percentages of college graduates, maintain a higher standard of living for all and house the great majority of our citizens in their own homes. We expected to be taller, smarter, stronger and better fed than the citizens of other nations. On an individual level, we expected to have a good job and keep it and use the money to buy our houses and cars, pay for our food and school lunches. The great part was, in most cases, one full-time worker could provide a family with stability and enough wherewithal to acquire a nice standard of living.

Of course, you can see a great difference between that mindset and the real circumstances of fifty years ago and today’s realities and attitudes. We no longer hear a lot of drum beating about our great country. We worry about the ever-growing national debt. We know that our children are outscored on standardized tests by students of other nations. Today’s college graduates often end up with so much student debt that it prevents them from profiting from their higher education for many, many years.

Yes, our standard of living is still pretty good; but the dream of most Americans to own their own home blew up in our faces a few years ago, primarily because everyone wanted more than they could afford to own, and the banks obliged them in allowing them to overreach their budgets.

Fifty years ago we thought that when we helped other countries, we had a right to expect that we would also influence the life style of their citizens for the better and had the right to attempt to bring their citizens to Christianity and their governments to democracy. We now help and fight wars on behalf of other countries that have little respect for our way of life.

Healthy American children used to run and play. The “Yoo-hoos” of our mothers could be heard across the country as dusk approached on spring evenings. Now our youngsters play with gizmos and battle weight problems before they reach junior high. Increasingly, our citizens are living on food stamps. Large numbers of children receive subsidized meals at school, and with all the great things available to buy having become “necessities” rather than luxuries, one salary just won’t cut it anymore. Add to this the diminishing commitment to marriage, and you end up with a generation of children without fathers or with an assortment of fathers, stepfathers, mothers and stepmothers—family situations that often lead to rancor among the assortment of parents and to instability in the child’s life.

Freedom of religion used to mean we didn’t have to fight about it. Now it means everyone is free to fight against it. Freedom of religion has become freedom FROM religion.

In my opinion, the one thing that can lead this nation back to greatness is a rededication of our citizens to personal responsibility. The best thing the government can do for us is let us live like adults rather than children who need to be cared for and told what to do.

Anonymous (Over 65)

Choose the Title


Hey guys,

Just a quick note to let you know I’ve decided to let YOU, my loyal readers, help choose the title of my book. Keep in mind it’s a fictional account of my life with spina bifida, so I’d kind of like the title to reflect some aspect of living with a disability.

I’ve already got several ideas in mind, which I’ve included below, but would LOVE to hear your ideas. I’ll keep the voting open until July 4, so invite everybody you know to pick their favorite or suggest one not on my list.

  • Magnolia (in tribute to my grandmother)
  • American Made
  • The Bourne Resurrection
  • Incredible Overcomer
  • The Impossible Dreamer
  • Everyday Warrior
  • Family Man

These are what I’ve come up with so far. Let me know what you think. Thanks, and don’t forget to tweet this out, post to Facebook or mention it on your blogs. I really appreciate it!!

Rescue Them


“Normal’s dead and buried underneath Ground Zero. I’m just trying to make sense of what’s left above ground.”
 
So states Tommy Gavin from the FX drama series “Rescue Me.” This intense production follows the fictitious lives of firefighters in the FDNY who were first responders to the September 11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers. In a nutshell, Tommy Gavin is a courageous and even heroic character who is beset with deeply troubling internal issues.  Not that we all don’t have our own problems that cause difficulty in our path, but Tommy has the majority of us looking pretty stable.
 
He’s an alcoholic, a womanizer, and carries on a perpetual wrestling match with severe mental and emotional issues. But despite all the baggage, Tommy Gavin saves lives. There is something within him that triumphs over his selfishness and emboldens him to risk his life to save people in need of rescue.
 
What “makes sense” to Tommy Gavin is that sometimes folks are in deadly situations, and they need help to survive – so it’s his passion and calling to save lives – even in the midst of his self-destructive path in life.
 
I know we are talking about a conjured up drama with actors and actresses, but “Rescue Me” makes a strong case for art holding up a huge mirror to real life – especially the life of a Christ follower.
 
Not that most of us (including me) could make it for one day as a firefighter, but in a very real sense, anyone who has trusted in Jesus Christ for salvation has been rescued, which then automatically makes us rescuers in a spiritual sense:
 
Rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment (Jude 1:23)
 
Just a little verse tucked away near the end of the Bible…so small in fact that many believers miss one of the most obvious and unmistakable responsibilities with which we have been charged by God Himself. We are rescuers, and we are firefighters, but to our shame, many who claim to follow Jesus Christ are content to sit back and watch the fires burn.
 
Is this you? Perhaps you believe you have messed up or are too messed up to be a rescuer? If so, notice what the Bible verse didn’t say:
 
If you are living an awesome Christian life, rescue others.
 
If you are brave enough, rescue others.
 
If you are confident in sharing the Gospel, rescue others.
 
My brothers and sisters in Christ, please hear this. The command is to “rescue others by snatching them from the flames of judgment” no matter what. The only qualification for this firefighting task is the ability to share the simple message of the Gospel – period. You may be like Tommy Gavin – carrying around addictions and dysfunctions, but take a lesson from his character – when the fires start and lives are threatened; his focus is directed solely on the rescue.
 
Perhaps even more importantly, there is another parallel in “Rescue Me” that is worthy of mention. Tommy Gavin is haunted by the ghosts of the people he couldn’t save. The faces of those he couldn’t snatch from the flames have burned a permanent image into his psyche, because his commitment to his calling in life carries the liability of regret when people don’t make it out alive.
 
And shouldn’t it also with us? Is it possible that we will be haunted with the memories of the people God placed squarely in our life’s journey who were headed for judgment, and we sat in the fire station and worried about staying safe and clean? I know this sounds harsh, but if we refuse to share the Gospel and live out THE Cause, aren’t we guilty of failure in our firefighting? I know at least one person who agrees with this concept:
 
“You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of everyone, for I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God.” (Acts 20:20-21; 25-27).
 
This is the farewell speech that the apostle Paul gave to the people to whom he was called to preach the Gospel, and clearly he indicates that if he had failed in this duty, there would be blood on his hands. Yet because he never hesitated to share the good news about Jesus, he could walk away innocent concerning their destiny.
 
The fact that people die every day apart from a relationship with Jesus Christ is one of the most tragic realities in the world. That’s why it is incredibly critical that Christians take the calling and the command to share the Gospel as seriously as a firefighter who is at the scene of a burning building.
 
Jesus, we are surrounded by people who need to be rescued from the flames of judgment that engulf their lives. Holy Spirit, fill us with the fire of passion that gives us the boldness to speak the truth of the Gospel into their lives. Help us see our unsaved friends as You do and give us a passion for extending your message of grace to them.
 
Romans 1:16: “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”
 
For more stories like this, visit daretoshare.org