Jerry M. White 
Books and More
Call Me at (404) 452-4738
 

 

Talk of the Day

is a reflection of thoughts on subjects in the daily news or events which captures my attention in other ways. It is an out growth of my first book called Moments of Mine.

As the title implies, Talk of the Day is a continuation of that thought as these too are Moments of Mine.

Please come often and enjoy your visit.

You can contact me with Moments of Yours if you would like. I have an open door.

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A recent group bible study discussion here in the Pacific Northwest on why we have difficulty, a reluctance really, of discussing biblical issues with others uncovered some interesting reasons. Among the reasons were our fear of rejection, our fear of exposing our core beliefs in a way that might bring ridicule or minimization, our fear of expressing our concern for others in an eternal context. All of these fall under the most resounding reason and most contextual reason of all – fear itself.

 

Albert Einstein once said, “If you can’t explain something simply you don’t understand it well enough.” So I knew I needed to do some additional reading and research on the subject of fear. The following is my simple way of approaching and discussing the subject of fear.

 

Let’s start with a definition of fear. There are many, some more simple and some more complex than others. The one I chose as the simplest in an Einsteinian way is used by Psychology Today. Their definition of fear is worded in the following way:

 

“Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger – if we didn’t feel it we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus we hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”

 

Another definition that is very simple to understand is form the online source called The Free Dictionary. It defined fear in the following way:

 

“A very unpleasant or disturbing feeling caused by the presence of or imminence of danger.”

 

Both are academic in nature and give similar explanations for our fear. In both cases the outcome of the fears we have can cause great anxiety, confusion, the impulse of fight-or-flight, and, in some cases, a paralysis to do neither. We freeze. How then do we overcome our fears and act?

 

One way is to respond to fear is as Eleanor Roosevelt suggested in her book entitled Eleven Keys to Living a More Fulfilling Life. There are many things suggested by her here but one of the simplest is as follows:

 

“We gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’

You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”

 

Another illustration is the life and exploits of Sir Edmund Hillary. On May 29th of 1953 he became the first to summit Mt. Everest. He was accompanied by a Nepalese climber named Tenzing Norgay on the ninth British expedition to Everest. When his efforts were finally successful he said, “It is not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” The translation to this simple writer is that there was a great deal of fear concerning the climb along the way.

 

Ultimately, the best answer to the question of how we overcome fear rests in the pages of the Bible. However, many do not turn toward this simplest of all answers. To do so we must have the courage to believe its contents to be the divinely inspired word of God. Let’s explore some examples God has furnished for us.

 

Isaiah 41:10, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

 

Joshua 1:9, “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

 

2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”

 

There are hundreds of other Biblical references to overcoming fear. Why? The simplest answer, again, is that if we are frozen or paralyzed or otherwise impaired we not only will not but cannot share our faith with others. In this way satan has removed us form the Christian battlefield. We no longer pose a significant threat to his worldly kingdom. We must do, as Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Do the thing we cannot do.” After all, just because something is difficult doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. It means we that we should try harder. It is the road block satan wants us to see and back away from to protect his realm, his control of us. It is his way of dividing and conquering the power vested in God’s people. The result is that fear drives our actions and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of “I cannot do this.”

 

This has been my simple look at fear and its result not only to us but to the people who surround us and need us to tell them the good news that fills the pages from Genesis to Revelations in God’s book. It is our command to do so in Matthew 28:19-20 which reads as follows:

 

19 therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

 

It is what seems a simple command but difficult to execute when in the grip of fear of what others think of us.

 

Finally, let’s end this simple view of fear with the words of another Roosevelt. On March 4th, 1933, during President Franklin D. Roosevelts first inauguration speech spoke a simple phrase to calm the fears and concerns of a nation trapped in the Great Depression. The words were as follows:

 

“The only thing we have to fear is …fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.”

 

 

 

Facing Fear

The pounding in your chest

The sweating of your palms

The shaking of your hands and knees

The audible quivering of your voice

Your sweating head

The nausea in your stomach

The total uneasiness of your biological core

Are all part of facing something fearful

Something you know you should do

Are often required to do

They are part of facing an audience

Putting your life on the line for others

Clearing your mind or heart to someone

They are all part of doing something fearful

They are all part of doing what you are unwilling

Or unable to do in the face of fear

In a way that is clearly understood

Impactful to someone else or yourself

In a way that you feel victorious

That you feel you won’t lose credibility

In a relationship, a position sought

Or your tenuous sense of invincibility

…we all fear or have feared something

We all fear what may be in our future

We fear the unknown, unexplained, or unexplored

But we must face these unsavory moments

We must face them to grow

We must face them to let go of the dock

We must face them to lose sight of the shore

If we don’t…

We will never know our possibilities

We will never know our true abilities

We will never know what life we might live

If we show courage and strength

In the face of life’s uncertainties

 

JMW

2/9/16

         

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Ash Wednesday and God’s Window

 

Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent occurred last Wednesday. It passed without notice from any media source of prominence. It passed without mention even by any concerned friends. It just went by, lost in the Star Trek warp-speed toward ecological, environmental, sociological, and most importantly, spiritual oblivion. The world has changed over the last few decades.

Our world now is of increasing narcissism, self-righteousness, personal isolation from the problems and concerns of others, and deeper into a secular humanist society. How did this happen? We let it happen! In just one generation, we have allowed our views of the world to be those of journalist, writers, speakers with a platform and money to proceed, and delivered through heavy handed and self-gratifying, or self-ingratiating, members of our society who have their own agenda or the agendas of others who have financed them to disrupt our view.

 

It is hard to see the truth through the smoke screen of the views of others who are diametrically opposed to our own. It seems that everyone is right but us in a marginalized Christian community. The group Buffalo Springfield released a song written by Stephen Stills called For what its Worth in 1967. The lyrics included a line that said “nobody’s wrong if everybody’s right.” Today, 49 years later we can say with some conviction that these words were prophetical and have come to fruition.

 


Who is right? Where is the truth? What should we do to clear our eyes and actually see what is happening in the world around us. Christians have become a vortex of criticism and pointed to as hypocritical and unfounded in truth. The problem with that is that even some Christians are believing the view of a growing number of unbelievers. What to do is the question of the day and the concern of many.

 

The opposition view is compelling and spoken of as a matter of fact and true. While the Christian view against all that is holy to the secular humanist, ie. Abortion on demand, gay marriage, and any number of others, is minimized and dispelled as fantasy and fanatical.

 

This is a call for Christians to wake up and crusade for the truth we know is the only real truth in a world of metaphysical perplexities. We must take a stand and embark on a mission, each of us, to teach one, to teach one, and to teach another, the truth laid out in our Bible and give it the spirit to grow.

 

That is just my opinion but I think it is shared by more than is willing to admit. I ask you to read and enjoy the following piece called God’s Window. I think it will help each of us who share the Christian view.   

 

 

God’s Window

 

Opaque and confused

Are the views through the windows of the

Opinions and considerations of the unsighted

By those offering wisdom to the world

Delivered with little or no validation

Decreed with little if any documentation

Then accepted with great confidence

With secular courage and resolve

But clear is the view through God’s window

Through His window to truth

Through His window to peace

Through His window to awareness

Through His window to discernment

Through His window to usefulness

Through His window to caring

Through His window to prayer

Through a window provided

For just this purpose

For discovery, for enlightenment

For a road to a better life

For a road to life everlasting

The window to God’s wisdom

Is open to all, it is clear and clean

It is waiting for your gaze

Come look, come see, come understand

It is clear to comprehend and clear to follow for life

Come look

It stands open for you everyday

Come look through God’s window

 

JMW

2/3/16

 

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December 13th of 2015 our Minister, Daren Overstreet, delivered a message about the personhood of Jesus. He spoke of his childhood and how God came to us not as a warrior but a helpless baby with nowhere to born. Jesus was a child as you and I were. This piece came to mind and I had to share it with you. Enjoy Only a Moment.

It is the Christmas Season. We are hurrying from place to place, fighting huge crowds nearly everywhere we go, and we are all enjoying the carols sung and played on the radio while stuck in traffic. We are all determining the best Christmas gift to convey our thoughts to those we love. We all are eating way too much seasonal food, both at home and at our offices, and enjoying every bite. We all have festivities planned for our home, or someone else’s home, over the next few days and are excited about the prospect. We are all also anticipating what gifts will be given to show us how much we mean to others. Don’t feel bad about it…it is all part of Christmas. It is hard to shake the Santa experience when we get older and I hope I never grow too old to be excited about the experience. It is Christmas! It is the gift giving season so just enjoy it.

Again, it is the Christmas Season. It is a seasonal flurry of spending which revitalizes an often stagnant economy. It is the season which serves as a life buoy to small businesses, as well as large businesses, and provides them with the hope of an expanded, or merely acceptable, profit margin for the year. Christmas is, many times, the salvation of our entire capitalistic system. Sometimes I feel, I even lament, that the season has been created simply for this reason alone and we all act like Pavlovian dogs by drinking the Christmas Kool-Aid offered us by commercial interests. In this context Christmas is about salvation…as it should be contextually considered.

As I said, it is the Christmas Season. I stand firm on my commitment of enjoying gifts and in knowing that Christmas is about salvation of a system and of us all. However, my premise is not what I have led you to believe. You see, it is Christmas. It is a time of year I like to reflect on the precious gift I received 2015 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem. I was not there but I get to open the precious gift left in that manger each and every day. I get to experience the joy of salvation, not of the economy, but, of my soul. I have been given these gifts because God saw me as someone worthy of a precious gift. What a season it is indeed. I feel sure that at sometime during the next few days that one of the houses I visit will be the house of God with my brothers and sisters who have also been found worthy of a precious gift. After all, it is the Christmas Season. Enjoy it. And, be sure to say thank you for the gift.

The accompanying poem is regarding the birth and humanness of our Savior and how our world was changed in the twinkling of only a moment in time. We were all changed forever by someone who loves us enough to give us a gift as meaningful as a small baby and large enough to fill an empty tomb. Enjoy. Merry Christmas to you all.


Only a Moment

It was only a moment
On the time line of eternity
From God’s merciful gesture
To Mary’s immaculate paternity

It was only a moment
In God’s universal rein
One grand and glorious moment
To relieve our everlasting pain

In only one small moment
Eternity’s great galactic play
Had drawn the final curtain
On Satan’s final say

In only one small moment
Beneath the sky of her hometown
Little Mary of little known Nazareth
Conceived a Child of great renown

A Child who grew and learned
Just as you and I would do
A Child who grew and gave His life
To cleanse all and make anew

Only a moment in the realm of time
Is all it took, it had finally begun
A beautiful new course was charted
By the conception of God’s only Son

12/28/05
JMW

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Corner People

It is autumn of 2015. We each have two to three cars per family. We have big screen, high-definition TVs in more than one room. We have cell phones with the World Wide Web in the palm of our hands. Answers to questions on most any issue without doing much more than pressing some buttons on our phones. They tell us anything we want to know. They tell us how to navigate from point A to point B. They will talk with us on the questions we ask verbally as well. We live oblivious to a world we do not know or understand.

 

The latest statistics from the census bureau, 2012, our median income in the comfort and safety of the United States of America is $50, 054.00. As great as that sounds it is 1.5% lower than 1996. We seem to be a land of plenty for everyone. However, a median income means as many people make less than the median than those who make more. The spiral dives more quickly downward than upward past the median.

 

As many as 15% of Americans make below the poverty level designated as $23,050.00 for a family of four. Think about that for a moment as you read this on your laptop or smart phone. We are becoming a land of haves and have nots more quickly than a land of prosperity and hope for a future better for our children than it has been for us.

 

Bellevue Washington is where I work and do what I can for those in my short reach. Bellevue has been determined to be, by more than a few surveys, the number one place in America to live. Can you say Microsoft? I pass along 148th Avenue each day, and on most weekends as well, and pass corner after corner for around a mile filled with the corner people. Those who have been left behind or left to their own demise. I’m sure in many cases corner people are there for reasons that are their own fruition of a life poorly planned and lived. However, I am not saying this as a judgement of them. I think they have a reason other than their own making at play in creating signs to garner money for food and clothing and medicine or a place to live. My responsibility is to tell their story and show others what 148th Avenue in one of the most prosperous of communities in our great land looks like on a daily basis. Many stop and help. Many do not care to look. Whatever the case is with each of us we can do something positive for some people who are so down that they print a sign and stand in the elements to gather needed pieces to a daily life we would not trade for.

 

If you are able to do so just stop and ask who they are and how you, or any of us, can help. Enjoy the following poem titled Corner People.

 

 

 

Corner People

 

Signs of the times we live

Signs reading “Please help”

Signs reading “Out of work,

Anything will help”

Signs reading “Family needs help,

Sick child and mother”

Signs held by weak grey hands

Dark circled eyes piercing the cars

Beaded faces searching for hope

Through the windows of passing cars

Signs bent with age

Bent by being used day after day in all weather

Bent by the weight of their messages

To the Tesla’s, Maserati’s, Porches

Volvos, BMWs, and even Bentleys

Passing with windows tightly shut

Passing with dry, clean cloths

Passing with full stomachs

Passing with their dreams within reach

Signs of the times speaking to those who have

Signs of the times speaking loudly

By those standing day in and day out

By those who have not

Occasionally whole families join the plea

They stand together as one

In need, in hope, in search of a new start

They stand in the weather

They stand in the rain, the wind, the cold

The heat of mid-day, and near the darkness of each day

They stand impervious to the elements

The elements of weather, embarrassment

Frustration, disbelief, and even horror

Signs of the times we live

Signs we cannot deny

Signs we must not ignore

Signs that just might

Find themselves being held by us

Because there but by the grace of God

Go I, go you, goes each of us

 

JMW

10/25/15

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Victory is Ours

 

Our hero’s games have been played on another football Saturday. Our daily battles with cohorts and employers during our past week have been fought and are quiet now. Our daily battles with our conscience and our motives and our quest for victory in our daily activities. Through it all we wonder how we can take it. We wonder how we can do a better job of maintaining our integrity in the face of such turmoil in our lives. Yet we live on and continue to wonder why we feel as we do.

 

The simple truth is that our battles have been decided and our tensions continue running fruitlessly and alarmingly and questions persist about our outcome with our battles outcome. Our fate was decided on a cross many years ago by a courageously unselfish act of mercy for us all. Our tensions were resolved so we could do His work to build His Kingdom, His Majesty. We have won. Our victory secured.

 

What will it take for each of us to realize the tremendous gift of peace we have been afforded by our adoption by our Father in Heaven. So do not fret the outcome of your daily conflicts, your battles, your motivations, your perceptions of your world. We have won. You have won. Stand and be counted among the victorious.

 

Please enjoy the new piece Victory is Ours.

 

 

 Victory is Ours

 

When our battles are done

When we have fought our last fight

When we wonder if we’ve done enough

What will our outcome be

What outcome awaits our constant battles

The daily battles with our actions and behaviors

The constant battles of our day with the temptor

What will our outcome be

The answer is simple

We have won

We are victorious

Our life’s competition with evil

Our life’s never ending battles

Have been ended for us all

No more worries about the outcome

No more tension, no more conflicts

We have won

Oh, what a victory

Oh, what a sacrifice

Oh, what grace and mercy

Was shown to us all

Was granted to us all

Through the courage shown

By Your only Son

It is through Him

That our battles have been won

It is through Him

That we have won

Thank You for our peace

Thank You for our victory

Thank You for the courage of Your Son

Thank you for guiding us through this world

Through Your word, through Your love and care

To our place of rest

We have won

Victory is ours

 

10/17/15

JMW

 

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Birthday Greetings!!!!!

 

Today is the 4th of October, 2015. Yes. If you have not checked your calendars lately it is, in fact, 2015. Now for us who were born in the early 50s of the last century, 2015 sounds like a big number. A number that we felt may or may not have ever arrived given the nature of the world political stage, the world’s economic woes from one decade to another, and all the little, isolated, but very deadly, regional wars which have had the opportunity to bring on Armageddon in our time, it is now the 4th of October, 2015.

I now stand, or sit, in this house in the Pacific Northwest wondering how 2015 arrived so quickly. Micki and I have navigated a host of daunting obstacles in this life we have had together all these years. Maybe it was just luck that we have made it to October 4th, 2015, or maybe not. Whatever the case, it is here and so are we. Our children, bless their hearts, range in age from 43 to 30. We have a whirlwind of grandchildren ranging in age from one, on October 6th, to 16 and graduating from high school next May. I am amazed it has gone by so quickly. We have lost many on the way however. We have lost our parents and many friends, as well, but the most painful to both of us came from the loss of two grandchildren, so unfairly, to a rare and fatal condition called CCHS. You can look it up if you like. There is not enough room here. Yet, we are still standing in 2015. Now, in 2016, we are expecting the arrival of grandchild number 13. My, oh my! Where does it go? Where DID it go?

Tomorrow is the 34th anniversary of my 30th birthday. Many things have happened since 1951 but they are as much a blur as all the other events encompassing a life fully, and, joyfully lived until now, October 4th, 2015.

Rather than ascribe a poem of my creation to speak to my day tomorrow I will concede this slot to a truly great writer of poems, songs, and words of all kinds. I’m sure you will know it and sing-a-long with me as the words hit the page or, in your case, the eyes. Please enjoy the piece that I have wondered for so long what it would mean to me personally when it arrived in my life so many years ago. The year was 1967 on an album called “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”   

We all loved it.

 

"When I'm Sixty Four"

When I get older losing my hair
Many years from now
Will you still be sending me a valentine
Birthday greetings, bottle of wine?
If I'd been out till quarter to three
Would you lock the door?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

You'll be older too
And if you say the word
I could stay with you

I could be handy, mending a fuse
When your lights have gone
You can knit a sweater by the fireside
Sunday mornings go for a ride
Doing the garden, digging the weeds
Who could ask for more?
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?

Every summer we can rent a cottage in the Isle of Wight
If it's not too dear
We shall scrimp and save
Grandchildren on your knee
Vera, Chuck & Dave

Send me a postcard, drop me a line
Stating point of view
Indicate precisely what you mean to say
Yours sincerely, wasting away
Give me your answer, fill in a form
Mine for evermore
Will you still need me, will you still feed me
When I'm sixty-four?
Ho!

 

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Southern Saturdays spent with family and friends watching your favorite school’s game day traditions. Whether on TV, radio, or, if lucky enough, in person, the day will proceed with great expectation. Thousands of your alumni friends will bind together to push and urge our team’s success from kick-off until the final whistle blows. Who will win hangs in the balance of the next three and a half hours of your life. It is football Saturday in Dixie and nothing quite compares. Enjoy the company, the food, and the final score, no matter who comes out on top. It is football Saturday and a day to enjoy all autumn long.

 

 

Football Saturday

 

Tailgating enjoyed at your favorite spot

Team colors worn with great pride

Spirits fly high with flags unfurled 

Team loyalty is too hard to hide

 

Friends enjoy food and great conversation

Beneath a tent and a beautiful fall sun

Awaiting another ensuing kick off

And hope when over we can say “we won”

 

But win or lose the day is a blessing

To enjoy friendships and another game day

There may be a better way to spend the time

But on game day you say “No Way”

 

When it nears the time for the coin flip

And you ready yourself for the walk

The air is still filled with the smell of food

And the sounds of avid game talk

 

We’ll win, we’ll beat ‘em, we will not lose

Team colors crush towards the gate

To hear the cheers, and see the great spectacle

To see your team’s game you just can’t wait

 

It is a long great southern tradition

Spread from one generation to another

It is Saturday at your great southern college

Where everyone today is your brother

 

Tomorrow will come far too soon

But memories of today will forever last

When the world seems to be getting the best of you

There will be game day thoughts of game days past

 

9/11/10

JMW

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Cafeteria Chaos is something experienced in every cafeteria in America’s middle and high schools. It is interesting to watch and experience the changing of the guard in the room. That includes both the students and the teachers on the prowl for the unchecked, undisciplined, and unknowingly watched students at the tables. This is a simple observation one day in a Georgia High School. Enjoy the poem and see if you can find yourself in the mix at the tables.

 

 

Cafeteria Chaos

 

The roar of conversation

The nervous laughter of delight

The long lines to find a meal

The teachers roam the room with clout

Friends enjoying friendships

Enemies enjoy a time of treaty

Authority reverberates throughout the room

Some with kindness and some with the clap of doom

Shift change is like the falling of leaves

Blown from outside to within

The line starts all over

And so too the nervous laughter of delight

The lines twist and turn while searching

All making their dietary choice

The tables are cleaned and re-cleaned

Before the next shift encounters its choice

Again and again the roar of conversation

An occasional shout or scream arises

But mannerly and orderly is the change

As new faces enter to the last person’s seat

The conversations remain mostly the same

School work, football, track and field

All matters for the blowing leaves to resolve

 

5/18/11

JMW

 

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Today is Saturday the 12th day of September, 2015 It has been 14 years and one day since the tragedy of what has become known as 9/11. The memories implanted are still vivid to each of us. Before reading the following piece please take a moment and remember those who were lost, especially the firefighters who gave their lives to make the event much less tragic than it could have been.

 

They Have Fallen

 

They approached from the Eastern sky

Near the break of an ordinary day

They changed our lives so completely

In so many everyday ways

 

Their were but four we know of

Maybe others who could not leave

Many perished in their piracy

Those left behind now simply greave

 

We were deeply changed as a people

On that early autumn day

We were completely changed as a world

As the smoke clouds filled that day

 

We were changed to our life’s core

While watching absolute horror unfold

We were changed in so many ways

While listening to what we were told

 

There were more than our grand towers

That hit the ground that day

We lost our sense of invincibility

Which was our inherent American way

 

We lost our caviler freedom

To move about the map with ease

It was snapped into patriotic compliance

From the state of Maine to tiny Belize

 

We lost our prideful arrogance

Of doing whatever whenever it arose

Regardless of the prices we were paying

We did whatever whenever we chose

 

We are now locked neatly within our worries

By the Homeland’s rainbow of fear

We were and are compelled to act

And defend what we hold dear

 

But the things which we lost

That we will never ever regain

Is not freedom or our desire to defend it

But those of us who do not remain

 

1/27/06

JMW

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Good Sense

 

Many of you, including myself, have often wondered if in fact you could actually knock some good sense into someone. Now, after my actual experiment and ample time between the incident and the examination of results, I can say that NO, unequivocally, no, you can’t.

 

The experiment, and you can perform your own as time allows, was to find a strong willed child, with above average strength, mobility, and agility. I will inject here that a child with autism is preferred. Once found allow the child to hold the sleeves of your sweatshirt, a long sleeve button up will do just as well, and, here is the part where you may have second thoughts about the whole idea, allow him to throw you head first at three and one half to four feet away into a cinderblock wall. I really think the cinderblock adds dramatically to this experiment, so find one of these if you can but if not any really hard surface will do.

 

I found that the impact is a little disconcerting but it was simply the first step and the first step to anything seems to be the hardest, I’m sure you will agree. The initial finding...not much enlightenment at all. In fact a sense of quit the opposite occurred. I was stunned! Not by the results but by the number of stars you can generate at that distance and at that speed.

 

The same day of your experiment you should already have secured a visit to your Primary Care Physician. This is another key step. This step, I feel, is of equal importance as the hard surface impact area. During the visit your PCP should develop a diagnosis that you in fact have a concussion.

 

At this point during my experiment I realized that there had been no elevation of my good sense quotient. I was in fact not a carrier of good sense at all. What followed was, to date, more than three and one half months of terrible headaches, acute dizziness and at times full blown vertigo, and the blurred vision which commonly is present after a blow to the head.

 

During the time described above there was no increase in good sense but an appreciable loss of short term memory. My experiment had somehow gone awry. Did I mention the short term memory loss? I discovered that I was not manifesting the gain of good sense that I had hoped for but the complete opposite. Also, just an offshoot of the concussion, was loss of work time. Also, there seems to have been a loss of short term memory. That seems important for some odd reason at this point. The fact is that the only real gain in the good sense quotient was a heightened sense of the medical community.

 

Here is what I mean about the medical community. I became intimately involved with my PCP, two Neurologists, an Ear, Nose, and Throat Doctor, a vestibular specialist, a chiropractor, an audiologist, and lastly, a great crew of physical therapists. I knew them all well but still felt no increase in the good sense I had sought in my experiment.

 

Although I am a great deal better here on August 30th, I still do not have clearance to return to work until September 10th at the earliest. So, from May 7th until September 10th the only marked improvement in my good sense was that the experiment was poorly timed, poorly executed, and my data was filled with flaws.

 

In conclusion, if you feel an aversion to the effects just described, I recommend allowing someone else perform the experiment in a more controlled environment and follow the guidelines of a successful experiment. I base this on the following: I can attribute no good sense as a result of the failed effort. Although I can’t remember the whole ordeal clearly, I do have some short term memory loss, I can say that my best advice is to not try this at home or school without proper supervision.

 

Good luck with your efforts if you choose to still experiment with the good sense test. Also, enjoy my poetic version of this ordeal.

 

 

The Accidental Unexpected Concussion Repercussions of 2015

 

The school colander had eased for us all

The school year was now entering May

The only holiday left was Memorial Day

Then the end of the year

Exciting anticipation, expectant relaxation

The work all done, the heavy lifting complete

No more teacher’s work days, no more IEPs

Only the soft patter of a Seattle Spring rain

The sought for conclusion of a school year

Was inching its way, day by day, onto our calendars

Vacations, summer cook outs, time with family

Everyone could smell it in the air

From the principal to the maintenance staff

Summer was almost here

Then - Wham! Like a thunder clap

Summer was no longer front and center

Summer was no longer what had been planed

The Wham heard in the hallway

The Wham heard in the art room, gym, and café

Was the sound of my head hitting an interior wall

Between the three rooms with a 7-year-old student

Lying in a pile of little cloths still holding onto my sleeves

Accidents happen, they happen to us all

They are always unexpected because…well…they’re accidents

The internal percussion was not truly felt until the next day

Then many concussion symptoms arose at once

Dizziness, blurred vision, and an “I have to sit down” head ache

Doctor’s visits, MRIs, CT Scans, physical therapy, Neurologists

ENTs, Vestibular Specialists, a new Neurologist, more Doctor’s visits

I was embedded in the Post-Concussion Syndrome protocol

Four months later I still find myself being embedded

I find myself still with only a 5 to 6 hour window of activity

I sleep, I do self-help therapy, I can’t read much

I can’t tolerate loud noises or bright lights

I’m not allowed to drive, I can’t work in the yard

I can’t bend over with my head down or I will stay down

My neck hurts, my back hurts, my feelings are hurt

I have been rattled to the core by a 7-year-old

The school year ended without me

The new school year will begin without me

The medical community has become a part of my day

Now four months later I feel somewhat better

Less often and less severe headaches

Neck pain has eased up considerably

Fatigue is less a factor than even a week ago

Vision returning to normal

But my memory is still an issue

What happened yesterday is still not clear

A month ago it was not remembered hardly at all

It is getting better, I’m getting better

Now I know I no longer want to play professional football

I know I no longer want to be a NASCAR driver

But I’m getting better because I find myself writing

That has been absent for the past four months

I am getting better and returning to health

My hope is four months will not turn to five or six

Accidents happen and we have no control of that

We can’t live our lives in a protective bubble

Seven-year-olds become eight, then nine, then ten

My job is to avoid the accidents and move on myself

My advice? Watch out for walls and keep your feet below you

That is the best way to stay off the concussion disabled list

Even if due to an accident it is not a fun place to spend your summer

 

8/21/15

JMW

 

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The Very last Place

 

You are late, people are waiting, and they all expect you to be there soon. But where, oh, where are your car keys. It is the only set you have because you lost the other set and they are over $400 to replace. So you hold on to them like a newborn child. They are your lifeline to the world of friendships, worship, work, shopping, and you can think of many other very real places these keys can link you to. They are valuable to you and your family and you cannot find them anywhere.

 

This is a scene from your life. Admit it and promise to yourself, again, that it will never happen again, but the fact remains it has happened to you. It has also happened to pieces of your favorite clothing, your favorite pen, your favorite magazine, your favorite gardening tool, your favorite… you fill in the blank. You have been there as clearly as you are reading these words in front of you.

 

Here is the odd thing that you have also HEARD in the past regarding these things that were lost and, possibly, are now found. That is of course if you continued the search long enough and ambitiously enough to claim victory over this all too often recurring phenomenon. They are always, every time, in the very last place you look. That is a fact that is undeniably true and guaranteed to be true regarding every single search for every single thing you have ever lost. Why? Because the search ends when the object, whatever the object, is finally found. It is just a clever witticism to say that is was in the last place you looked. We all know the physical truth of the statement but most of us will continue to unwittingly say the words anyway.

 

This phenomenon is not solely regarding things. It pertains to professional positions, relationships, educational opportunities, lifetime partners, and, again … you fill in the blank. We are human and we lose things. We are human and we blame the loss on anything but something we are responsible for. It could not possibly be our fault. After all we, as I said earlier, hold onto these things like a newborn child. So, obviously, it is not our fault. It had to be during the last storm, the last hurricane we were in, the last earthquake (excuse me here because I live in the state of Washington and apparently we are about to disappear at the hands of ether the quake itself or the following tsunami), the last time we were foolishly inebriated, the last time, well, again … you fill in the blank. Truly! Was it really your fault? Could it have been your foolishness? Could you possibly have been so forgetful that you really could not remember where a thing was? YES! We are, after all, human.

 

So don’t be so hard on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t, definitely don’t, blame someone else. Especially do not blame a spouse, a son, a daughter, or any in-law, that just exacerbates an already strained relationship. Just suck it up and keep looking. It will turn up in the darnedest places. It will, in fact, turn up in the last place you look. I guarantee it. Enjoy the poem The Very Last Place.

 

 

 The Very Last Place

 

I’m looking, looking

Looking all around

I’ve looked in yesterday’s pockets

I’ve looked in the glass jar on the drawers

I’ve looked in all the places

I am familiar with losing things

Where have I put this last lost thing?

I have looked everywhere

I have done this and I know you have too

Where are our letters?

Where are our keys?

Where are the nails and hammer?

We need the curtain rod rings

We have misplaced items almost everywhere

But what about the other items

Misplaced in our lives

Where are the opportunities

That never seem to return?

Where are our relationships?

We misplaced along our way

Where are the keys

To our expected future happiness?

Where are these things?

Where have we put them?

Will we ever see them again?

Have we looked, have we tried

Every possible place?

Have we extended true effort?

Have we ask for the help

We needed so badly?

Well…no! I don’t want to appear

The absent minded fool I seem to be

Most things lost are easily replaceable

But some things hurt

Some things seem irreplaceable

Where is the surety of an enjoyable childhood?

Where is the rewards of my education?

The fact is some things are just hard to replace

But whether things, people, places, or ideas

Physiologically these things are in plain view

No matter how long the search may have been

No matter the geography covered

No matter the size or importance of the lost thing

It is always, always, always

Pleasantly always

In the last place that we look

So don’t stop looking for all these things

Whether a thing, a job, or a past relationship

You will find it I am certain

In the last place, the very last place

That we, any of us, care to look

 

7/4/15

JMW

 

 

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Biblical Questions

Inquiring minds want to know the answers to questions that scream for answers. This relates to everyday things in our lives like when will gas reach a price we truly can’t afford, and dose a tree make a nose when falling in an untraveled forest,  and another is who was the second gunman on the grassy knoll, of course, but also to biblical questions we come across in our bibles as well. These questions range from why did people live so long before the great flood, and why didn’t Adam kill that snake like any other husband would have done for his wife? Also, was the world created in 7 actual days or were they figurative days, unlike the length of days today? But there are so many more.

 

Here are some biblical questions that I think we all share. Did anyone else see the bush burning? What did the visiting vast array of the angles of the bible look like? There is some real room for explanation here. Where did Goliath come from, really, and why? How many people made up the entourage that followed Jesus during his ministry? After the stoning of Stephen, how many more followers of Christ were martyred by Saul? Who would have claimed their bodies since they would have certainly been seen as followers of Jesus themselves? What is a Leviathan? How many other encounters with the Sanhedrin did Jesus have that we are not aware of? There are so many other questions like these.

 

Some of the more intriguing questions I have are how was Phillip snatched up by the Spirit of God and transported from a conversation with the Ethiopian Eunuch after his baptism to a location more than 40 miles away in an instant? There is some real room for exploration here as well. There is very little spoken of on this matter. How about the fate of the unequally yoked? Is there even a burden in this situation? Then there is this, the Jews messed up and abandoned God so many times and he always came back to rescue them with a judge, a King, and finally the messiah. One question is will God ever give up on us as Christians? I guess if we get to ask that question the question will have already been answered because we are there asking the question. Then there is the subject of the following poem Words in the Sand. What did Jesus write in the sand during and after the attempt to carry out the Law of Moses and put to death the harlot of the story?

 

We all have questions we would like to ask but won’t we already know the answer to the question because we will be transformed into something other than the person with a inquiring mind. We will be truly different. I can’t wait to see what is in store for each of us. Whether we have an inquiring mind or not.

 

Enjoy the poem and, in the words of a favorite character of mine in the now out of circulation series Lost, I will see you in another life brother.

 

 

Words in the Sand

 

A crowd had gathered to see for themselves

Is this man or prophet speaking these things?

The Law of Moses is the law of the land

Who is this who says this law will not stand

The woman selected for this lawful test

Was a women who was caught in a lawless regress

This woman must be stoned

The Law of Moses clearly cries

Yes that is true said the Nazarene man

As he bent and scribbled some words in the sand

Let he who among you is sinless this day

Be the first to cast a stone her way

This woman who you think must pay

The target was ready to die this day

But the crowd moved slowly

One by one

Slowly leaving the gathering

The woman was stunned but not by a stone

The woman was stunned because they left her alone

Again the man or prophet kneeled to the ground

And scribbled once more a few words in the sand

He stood and ask “where are those who condemn you”

The woman said nowhere do I see them

The man stood erect and said

Neither do I, now go and sin no more

The woman left with her life in tact

To reflect on the words and the actions of the day

Of the man or prophet who stood up for her

He stood against a mob that wanted her blood

He stood against a law that was now past its date

He gave a new law of forgiveness and mercy to obey

What were the words in the sand that day?

That is a question we will know one day

Without a word or question to the writer in the sand

We will know by his mercy cast by his very hand

 

JMW

6/17/15

 

 

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Unlike our founding fathers, unlike our grandparents, unlike the parents who raised or are raising us, our world is different. They grew up in a country where as recently as 1990 86% of Americans identified themselves as Christian. However, the latest real survey taken, which was 2012, only 73% made the same claim. The differential of 13% in just the latest 12 years surveyed is striking.

 

Some claim that we now live in a post-Christian America. While I don’t believe that to be totally the case I do believe numbers and if the numbers have held constant of a 1.8% drop each year as happened from 1990 to 2012 the  number  of Americans now claiming Christianity as their faith is now 69.75%. Now that gets my attention.

 

The theme of our government and especially our Supreme Court do indeed point us toward a post-Christian direction. The Christian community finds itself fighting fights we feel are central to our countries continued status. We find ourselves being minimalized, maligned, and our transgressions being magnified. We don’t know whether to fight these fights from the center of the culture with the majority view or fight from the edges of controversy as a fringe, fanatical portion of the population. Certainly the media, Hollywood, and anyone with a podium to speak from will diminish the Christian view as one of non-acceptance and even bigoted. We are at war with the views of the post-Christian world we live in. Many times we find ourselves at war with each other. Surely that is not what God intended.

 

So…what can we do? First and foremost we can pray for our faith and pray that the things we say in the opportunities we have are words of love to our fellow man and not of judgement. We must pray that our relationships will be founded in Christian thought and seen as positive regardless of what is projected by a mindlessly minimalizing media. We, you and I, have friends who are not believers. Will we win them to the side of Christianity by constantly fighting against the government? I think, and it is only my opinion, we should do as Jesus did. Jesus never assaulted the government of state or church that sought to destroy him by lashing out at them as a militant revolutionary. He in fact said give to Cezar what is Cezar’s and to God what is God’s.  Jesus sought to change the hearts of those he met and interacted with. That was the heart of His ministry.

 

Unfortunately we can’t hold court on a hilltop and feed thousands with the food of two small baskets. We can however lovingly teach another the word of God, the thoughts of God, and the intended end for each of us that God seeks. We can do that by simply expressing the word and life of Jesus. What He did, what He said, and especially, how He said it and to whom it was said.

 

We may in fact be in what is called the post-Christian age but it does not separate us from our mission. It does not preclude us from speaking the truth to those who wish to listen. I understand that it is harder to find that listening ear than it used to be. We simply need to endure and vanquish the roaring lion of 1 Peter 5:8 who wishes to devour us and everyone else.

 

Whatever you think of these few words let there be no doubt that we are being watched by our enemy. We are being watched for inconsistencies, we are being watched to be shown as fanatical and marginalized in the big picture of our own country. Let’s all dedicate ourselves to pray that we can make a difference and stop the erosion of our Christian faith.

 

 

Watchers

 

Our secular world watches

It hovers over our every action

Like an Eagle circling to strike

The least sign of weakness

The least flaw in our flight

Their cynical sight keen and sharp

Their talons sharp for the strike

Their intent clearly seen and felt

They know we will misstep

They know we are human

They know we will let someone down soon

It will happen as surely as the sun rises

When it is seen

When it is heard

Our secular world watches

Our flaws make them strong

They make them sure and bold to attack

We are caught as the sinners they know we are

Jubilantly justified in their watchfulness

We are minimized and maligned

We are subjected and sentenced by our wrongs

We are held accountable and captured

Our spirituality spoken of as hypocrisy

Our secular watchers have won again

But while the watchers are rejoicing

Our wrongs are forgiven

Our paths made straight again

We have mercy upon us

But our secular world relentlessly watches

In judgment and condemnation

Our secular world watches and is lost

Judged as they judged

Forgiven as they forgave

Our secular world in the end

While correct that we have been caught in our sin

Will be lost in the end

In their own harsh judgement of others

In their own unforgiving heart

They are lost

 

JMW

6/14/15

 

 

 

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  I am doing something today that I hardly ever do. I am going to repeat a piece done in 2009 but I think reflects the thinking of a minority pushing its weight around to advance a cause that certainly flys in the face of the majority. That is just my thinking but I think you will agree with me. I refer to the latest coup by the Supreme Court of everybody by forceing the issue of same sex marrage into law for everybody. I think it was wrong and will cause many negative vibrations through our history from this week forward. What would the world of our greatest generation, as depicted in this blog say about the 5 to 4 decision reached for us all to deal with. I am not a homophobe. I am disappointed by the misguided views of 9 men who wanted to satisfy the desires of a much smaller minority than the current writers of history truly want us to know. Here is the repeated blog. My number is on the home page of this site along with my email. If you think I am as misguided as our illustrious lifetime appointed 9 in Washington let me know.

 

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Talk of the Day                                                                           October 23rd, 2009

 

Today is the 23rdof October, 2009. Why do I state the obvious so auspiciously you may be asking? I say the date to establish a timeline in this dialog. Many things have changed in our great country through the years. In my opinion there has been no greater change than the change in attitude from the generation of my parents, and perhaps yours, who were born between 1915 and 1925 and the generation now.

 

          The 1915 to 1925 generation has been called the greatest generation of our nation’s history. This is said for valid reasons. This generation was raised in the great depression of the 1930’s. They watched their own parents scratch and survive in deplorable conditions as they were being taught their life lessons. They fought and won a great world war from 1939 – 1945 at a cost in lives lost of, although estimates vary, between 62 and 78 million people world wide. By far the deadliest war ever fought. This generation then turned around and produced, produced and produced even more making the United States of America not only the hallowed victor of WWII but the economic colossal that became the country we live in today. This generation knew how to work diligently towards a goal, sacrifice mightily for a cause, and appreciate greatly things earned. This was the generation that raised me and those I know and grew up with. Since then there has been a change.

 

          Now let’s go back to today’s date, the 23rd of October, 2009. There is a nationally syndicated drive-time radio program I listen to that on every Thursday afternoon produces a segment called Man on the Street interviews. An interviewer located at Grand Central Station in New York Citycalls people randomly to the mic to talk with the radio host. These interviews vividly paint the picture of attitudinal change in their exchanges with the interviewer. Invariably they proceed to outline what they feel are legitimate expectations for the populace to expect from our great nation’s coffers. They expect the government to provide housing, education, transportation, and of course health care. They seem to expect it as a guarantee to them for being in this country. These are the same things which the generation we spoke of earlier sacrificed for, worked for, and died for.

 

          More personally I can attest to the change. My adult life has been spent working with young people on several levels. I have been involved with youth athletics as a coach, a youth worker in church activities, and involved as a public school teacher on the Elementary, Middle School, and High School level, and now work with young adult students at the largest aviation maintenance training facility in the country. We have had a change in attitude. It started with my generation, raised in the 50’s and 60’s, and continues to deteriorate even further today, the 23rd of October, 2009. Expectations for personal guarantees and satisfaction are off the charts. Our last election in 2008 also points in that direction.

 

          Change in this attitude begins with the next few words out of each of our mouths to others. It begins with each of us to make a difference in this and the next generation.

 

          Enjoy the attached piece and pay attention to what we say and do as examples to those around us. I personally can do a better job.  

 

          Narcissinia

 

There was once a land of great promise

To deliver one from hopelessness to prosperity

Then oddly the land took a turn toward indulgence

Which brings us to today’s conundrum of disparity

 

The population exploded with personal satisfaction

From their cloths to their cars to their homes

Their eye was diverted from bettering society

To relieving themselves of whatever they bemoaned

 

I need, I desire, I’m compelled to have my way

No matter the expense to those they held in loving clarity

They needed, they desired, they absolutely had to have

No matter the cost to the great land or its severity

 

I want a big house, I want a new car, and I need silken finery

I deserve it, I’m entitled to it, and I will have it

These thoughts ran rampant through the great land

Until momentum magnified the mantra "I have to have it"

 

No thought of repercussions to the great land that they lived

No request from the great land’s bounty of plenty

Seemed too bold to desire or too shameful to have

To not expect the request to be their land’s top priority

 

Now with no one producing the things others desire

Only those who make requests with gainful expectation

There is a confused look of questioned completion

On the faces of an ever growing narcissistic population

 

Why can we not have at very little cost the things that fill our heart

What is the problem when all I want are the things that make me happy

Who will now tell us that these things are no longer there

When without them I am frustrated and truly unhappy

 

Now the once strong and fearless global commercial giant

Has the new name of Narcissinia at the behest of its once loyal occupants

The name was changed not long ago to the shock of a small minority

 A majority wanted to stake their claim to their very own opulence

 

8/14/09

JMW

 

 

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Father’s Day 2015 is this coming Sunday. It is a day when we can pay our honor to the fathers of our lives. They served our country in many ways. They worked when they didn’t feel like it to support our family. They took trips to places they may not have wanted to go because the family wanted to visit. They kept the exterior of the house presentable by mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, racking the leaves, painting the house, and patching the roof. It was a tireless job with no accolades because that was the job. However, the biggest job was to watch over the family for its safety, security, and future. They walked downstairs in their skivvies to make sure the noise they heard was truly only the cat. They made sure there was gas in the cars, air in the tires, the oil was changed, and everything else was operational. They watched for disruptions in the daily activities of the family. They watched with a keen eye and seemed to know what was going on in all aspects of our family’s life. The job was to watch, protect, secure, and encourage the rest of us to do the same.

 

The jobs of the mother and the father in a family are similar in many ways but not in every way. While the mother nests and loves to cook the meals and keep everything functioning at top efficiency in the home the father is gone more than he is home. He is hunting the resources to secure the family stability.

 

I remember as a child the trips I made with my father when he was on the hunt for our family stability. I didn’t see it as that then, but, now from many years away, my vision has cleared. I remember being thrilled if I saw him in the stands during a baseball or football game…watching me. I remember the few times we were able to actually play in the yard together and how I always wanted to impress him with my fielding ability with a baseball glove or with my speed…because I knew he was watching me. I always remembered his presence and the familiar feeling I was in his site. I knew he would be there for me if I needed him even if I could not see him because I knew he could see me from a vantage point I could not find. He was watching and I knew it.

 

Watching me turned into a lifetime duty. He watched me date and wanted to meet the girls. He watched me find friends and wanted to meet them and see their character. Sometimes he missed the mark on that but still cared and tried to convince me of the difficulties bad friends would lead to. He watched me through middle school, high school, and would have watched me through my military years if he could have. He watched me marry and raise a family. He watched my children grow and know him as I did. He always watched and was nearby and willing to help in any way he could. I truly miss him now. He died in 2002.

 

Love and honor your father and the tireless ways they watch or watched over you and your family. They may have seemed superhuman while growing up but they are, after all, mortal men who will not last but a while. But, while here and near you…they watch. If you are able this Father’s Day a word of thanks and a genuine embrace of gratitude will be much more meaningful than the tie you picked out. Let him know you love him now as you did as a small child. Just love him…that is all he has ever wanted.

 

Fatherhood

 

I waited and watched

As my wife writhed in childbirth pains

I held her hand and gave her ice

I could do nothing really more than watch

Until the event had passed and my child was born

Then I watched as he was cleaned and weighed

And returned to the arms of his Mom

And I watched as their eyes met for the first time

It was an electric moment in time

Later while playing on the floor with my son

Enticing him to roll over, sweet-talking him to crawl

Coaxing him to lift himself up and helping him take his first step

I watched with the joy of a father

Later while playing ball in the house then outside

Persuading him to roll it then throw it then catch it

I watched with the joy of a father

Later while guiding his first attempt on a bike

I coached him to stay balanced and then to peddle

I begged him to not hit a bush or a tree

Then I watched as he was off and gone on his own

I put him in a pool and taught him to swim

One stoke, two strokes and the method was learned

He floated and swam for his very first time

I watched him with the joy of a father

I saw his first swing from a tree, his first swing of a bat

His first notes sung aloud, his first talk to a crowd

I saw his very first date while driving them around

He was growing and I watched with the joy of a father

We were soon off in a car to teach him how to drive

He weaved and jumped and stalled and started again

He soon mastered the process and was off on his own

And I watched with the joy of a father

He soon walked across the stage of a leading university

Wearing the experience so well deserved

He spoke with friends and family of his accomplishments

And he was soon off on his own for good

I watched it unfold before my eyes

And I could hear what my father had said to me

“It goes by so fast it is hard to believe

But it is gone before you know it”

I watched it happen just as his words described

Now I watch as his children begin the cycle for my son

I now watch him watch his own children

I watch as I always have but now from a distance

I watch and wonder… where has the time has gone

 

5/19/12

JMW

 

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The month of May is Autism Awareness Month. It is the month on our yearly calendar, like so many other special months designated on our calendar, for a moment to consider others. I especially like the month of February because it is National Black History month. It is powerful to me because black history has touched so many Americans in so many ways. Some very positive and some not positive at all. But, unlike February, May points to a segment of our population that does not garner the same level of attention. Yet according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention it affects 1 in every 68 children today. It affects 1 in every 42 boys and 1 in every 188 girls in our society and is currently growing. These estimates are 30% higher than similar estimates in 2012. But, still the majority of our fellow citizens remain largely ignorant of its impact on not only the families it involves but our nation as a whole.

 

There is no medical detection of Autism and, to date, no known cure. In most cases the family is not aware of the Autism Spectrum Disorder in their child until the age of 2 to 3 years. It appears in a number of ways including speech, reactions to stimuli, and many other ways and then only if witnessed and diagnosed by a professional in the autism arena. The myriad of ways of a professional diagnosis are too many to detail here. However, it is, and remains, a symptomatic sequence of events challenging a child with no ability to control emotions regarding the triggered symptoms which are visibly unarguable. The reaction of the child who is in question reacts to stimuli in so many different ways that it is often missed or simply labeled and put into any number of different behavioral boxes then dealt with accordingly. I dare not go any further with this line of thought because I am simply not equipped to do so.

 

What I will do at this point is to name some of the acronyms constituting the alphabet soup of autistic terms. They are 1) ASD – Autism Spectrum Disorder, 2) EI – Early Intervention, 3) IFSP – Individual Family Service Plan, 4) IDEA –  Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 5) IEP – Individualized Education Program, 6) FAPE – Free and Appropriate Public Education, 7) LRE – Least Restrictive Environment, 8) ABA – Applied Behavioral Analysis, 9) PECS – Picture Exchange Communication System, and 10) ART – Autism Response Team. I mention these terms to enhance the attention of the group of professionals dealing with your child. Mention any of these terms and the ears of those listening to you will open wide to hear what you have to say about your child.   

 

My intention in the next few lines is to draw your attention to the many people who work in the arena of special needs children and the task of being both friend and foe of the children they service. It is a daunting task and a delicate dance between the two to the most specialized in the field and more times than not dealt with by the least trained in the field. The best way to utilize the funds that are available to the field personnel is for the field personnel to develop personal and meaningful relationships with those they service. My personal antidote to provocation and elevation of tantrums and episodes of extreme anxiety is to demonstrated genuine love and care for the students and to maintain their integrity in the most extreme conditions.

 

The amount of words that could be used in this small space and time is limitless. So I will leave you with the plea to honor those who work in this environment and continue to do so at great risk to personal safety and mental stress. It is a hard job and not one for the fearful or those who are looking for immediate positive results. It is a long road and one traveled by only the bravest and most sensitive among us.

 

The following poem was written and submitted to our faculty on the first day on the job in a new school as a worker in the special education arena. It was not meant to bring shame to the students but to show their lack of understanding and control of their emotions. Enjoy the poem and give a worker in this arena a kind work of encouragement.

 

 

Challenged Childhood

Emotions are sometimes hard to control

From the brightest beginnings

To the challenged life

And for any and all in between

But for some it is more of an issue

It is more difficult to focus

It is more difficult to transition activities

It is more difficult to understand consequences

It is more difficult to act appropriately

In almost any social situation

Outbursts

Refusal

Disobedience

Confusion

Are more a part of their life than the rest

These are the students at risk to fall

From success to far, far less

It takes a special hand wearing velvet gloves

To soften life’s daily frustrations

To clear their dimly lit reality

That they are the sound in the room

That they are the distraction for others

That they must find their peace

With their life’s thorn in the flesh

To find the acceptance they seek to receive

For them help is near

If they are able to hear

Through their disquieting screams

Through their daily fear

That we just can’t comprehend

Or Conceive

Let the velvet gloves touch

The lives in their path

And clear the obstacles

That hinder these challenged students way

 

JMW

7/30/14

 

 

 

 

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D-Day, June 6th, 1944 

These are only a few words describing the events of June 6th, 1944. It was the largest amphibious landing of men and equipment on hostel ground in history. The invasion included 5,000 ships, 11,000 aircraft, and over 150,000 men. There had been many armadas of forces throughout history attempting to do what was accomplished on this day 71 years ago. The battle of Salamis pitted the Persians against the Greeks in 490 BC. The Greeks were grossly outnumbered but  claimed a massive victory. The Persians lost 6,400 men to only 192 Greeks. The Spanish armada in 1588 saw the glorious Spanish fleet defeated by a smaller English fleet and sent home with many of their number at the bottom of the English Channel. There were others but D-Day, June 6th of 1944 was the most ambitious. The efforts of the men involved led the allied forces into fortress Europe, held by Nazi German forces since the late 1930s. This day was the beginning of the end their regime.  

Below is an excerpt from the History Channel page on the events of June 6th, 1944. I can add nothing to the amount of words already describing these events in a way far better than I could in this small blog. The poem at the end is called simply June 6th, 1944 and is seen through the eyes of an anonymous soldier making way to the battle ahead.

Although the term D-Day is used routinely as military lingo for the day an operation or event will take place, for many it is also synonymous with June 6, 1944, the day the Allied powers crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, beginning the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. Within three months, the northern part of France would be freed and the invasion force would be preparing to enter Germany, where they would meet up with Soviet forces moving in from the east.

With Hitler’s armies in control of most of mainland Europe, the Allies knew that a successful invasion of the continent was central to winning the war. Hitler knew this too, and was expecting an assault on northwestern Europe in the spring of 1944. He hoped to repel the Allies from the coast with a strong counterattack that would delay future invasion attempts, giving him time to throw the majority of his forces into defeating the Soviet Union in the east. Once that was accomplished, he believed an all-out victory would soon be his.

On the morning of June 5, 1944, U.S. General Dwight D. Eisenhower, the supreme commander of Allied forces in Europe gave the go-ahead for Operation Overlord, the largest amphibious military operation in history. On his orders, 6,000 landing craft, ships and other vessels carrying 176,000 troops began to leave England for the trip to France. That night, 822 aircraft filled with parachutists headed for drop zones in Normandy. An additional 13,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover and support for the invasion.

By dawn on June 6, 18,000 parachutists were already on the ground; the land invasions began at 6:30 a.m. The British and Canadians overcame light opposition to capture Gold, Juno and Sword beaches; so did the Americans at Utah. The task was much tougher at Omaha beach, however, where 2,000 troops were lost and it was only through the tenacity and quick-wittedness of troops on the ground that the objective was achieved. By day’s end, 155,000 Allied troops–Americans, British and Canadians–had successfully stormed Normandy’s beaches.

For their part, the Germans suffered from confusion in the ranks and the absence of celebrated commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, who was away on leave. At first, Hitler, believing that the invasion was a feint designed to distract the Germans from a coming attack north of the Seine River, refused to release nearby divisions to join the counterattack and reinforcements had to be called from further afield, causing delays. He also hesitated in calling for armored divisions to help in the defense. In addition, the Germans were hampered by effective Allied air support, which took out many key bridges and forced the Germans to take long detours, as well as efficient Allied naval support, which helped protect advancing Allied troops.

Though it did not go off exactly as planned, as later claimed by British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery–for example, the Allies were able to land only fractions of the supplies and vehicles they had intended in France–D-Day was a decided success. By the end of June, the Allies had 850,000 men and 150,000 vehicles in Normandy and were poised to continue their march across Europe.

The heroism and bravery displayed by troops from the Allied countries on D-Day has served as inspiration for several films, most famously The Longest Day (1962) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It was also depicted in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers (2001).

The 6th of June

 

The ship rose and fell

At the whim of the sea

Throwing men and equipment

From here to there

But despite the convulsions of the sea

The deck hands and soldiers

Prepared for history

Prepared for battle

Prepared for the worst

Prepared to die

The sea mist washed the deck

It washed every inch of every inch

It washed thoughts of victory and defeat

It washed through the thoughts of family and friends

It washed through every man’s fears

The sea tossed them about with great ease

The Higgins boats awaited alongside for their cargo

One man over then two then three

I watched those I knew descend from the ship

They slipped effortlessly over in the churning sea

The wind slapped garments worn for war

The wind swept the deck with a mist of fear

I wondered what to expect

I had trained, and trained, and trained some more

But the sea didn’t care

It tossed us all to the deck at least once

I was ready to disembark to the Higgins

Awaiting to take me ashore

To an unknown fate from this sea pitched view

The rattle of our big guns thundering

Was heard landing on the beach targets

Of concrete emplacements filled with heavy weapons

All awaiting our arrival and march to the beach

The airplanes whistled their way to the shore

Dropping their fire on the cliffs I could not see

The smoke was dense and the water even more

I was ready, I was able, I was ready to go

My turn came to crawl over the ships edge

To a rope ladder leading to my Higgins

For its journey to hell

The sounds, the smell of gun powder spent

The sight of everyone doing what they knew to do

I was ready, do my job, make a run for the beach

It was easy I told myself

I was ready

We tossed freely from starboard to port

Water swept in making my journey wet

Water everywhere and then some more

The Higgins crept on at the pace of a snail

Get us to shore, please get us to shore

One Higgins then two were hit and on fire

Ours maintained the slow pace of a funeral barge

Slowly we heard the guns subside

The planes continued to fly low and fast over head

The mist, the smoke, the water within

All expected, spoken of, and ruled necessary to suffer

I was ready, as was the man on my right, and my left

I was ready, as the man ahead and the man behind

We churned and burrowed our way to the beach

Then the Higgins door opened to terror

The boat door opened into another world

So harsh, so hopeless, into the relentlessly firing by the enemy

Defending their positions as they said they would

I was ready, one man out, then two, then three

Then the sound of something I can never explain

The sound of my flesh ripping to expose my fear

As I watched my brave friends plow further

As they made their way to the beach by the thousands

Then I felt the mist, smelled the burned powder

Felt the wet clothing and tasted the sea

I fell to the floor of my Higgins boat

I fell, and the world fell silent

I was ready for running across the beach

Now I knew I was ready to die

The mayhem fell silent as I tasted the sea

A taste of death on a Higgins boat near the beach in France

I was prepared and I was gone

 

JMW

6/5/15

 

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Christian Compass

 

Our worship service on Sunday, September 16th, 2012 consisted of an explanation of, and what the allegory is, of “lost” is in our, hopefully, note filled bibles. The illusion most often used is of sheep. One of God’s most helpless and one of His less than stealer intellectual creations serve as His chosen example. They wander off from the group and find themselves lost when they are out of range of the Sheppard. The Sheppard’s voice is what guides them and holds them within the group and on task.

 

The lesson began, however, with the illustration of a “lost” hiker or explorer in a heavily forested and unfamiliar area. When the lost hiker is finally found, the average distance from the last known point of origin has been calculated to be 12 to 13 miles off course. This is due primarily to taking the paths of least resistance in a direction determined by the lost traveller to be the most trusted and accurate way to continue. We see through the statistic just amplified that this is not a good plan. Moreover, the plan of a pathway of least resistance spiritually is equally mistake prone. We are bombarded by the percussions of secular humanists to be humane and compassionate to those who also find themselves off course and lost in a 21st Century world of deafening suggestions to do the thing, or incorporate the thing, that is inaccurate into our psychological compass. The pathway of least resistance has led us on a path of weakly held spiritual beliefs and weak resistance to things which we know in our hearts is wrong.

 

How do we find our way back to the correct spiritual heading? How do we clear our own path, however resistant, to where we should finally be on a true heading? I offer this simple poem of few lines as a possible antidote to the poisonous proclamations so clearly heard in our present world of provocative positions held by the lost guides of this world.  I invite you to share this thought with others if you agree.

 

 

The Whirlwind

Quiet in the whirlwind

Silence our daily storm

Still the shrieking madness

Make quiet now our norm

 

Listen to the Father

Through the noises that we hear

Heed the Spirit’s guidance

Belay our fruitless fears

 

Quiet in the whirlwind

Hide our spirit’s jeers

Quiet in the whirlwind

Help us hold to what is dear

 

Hear our Father calling

His voice is very clear

But only if the whirlwind

In not so very near

 

JMW

6/22/03

 

 

 

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Memorial Day 2015

The end of every spring brings with it the opportunity to honor those who have given themselves to the fullest measure in defense of our country. It was first called Decoration Day in May of 1862 by John A. Logan. He was a member of an organization called the Northern Civil War Veterans. It was in this capacity that he created a day on our calendar to commemorate those who had fallen in battle during the Civil War. That number would swell to over 750,000 before the war ended in 1865.

 

The name Decoration Day was chosen by the people due to the practice of strewing flowers or other decorations on the graves of the fallen. By 1865 many cities, and even whole states, had embraced the day near the end of May to say thank you to the brave souls who had given their lives to the war.

 

The first official Decoration Day speech was given by General James Garfield, a Civil War veteran, at Arlington National Cemetery near our nation’s capital. Ironically Mr. Garfield became our nation’s 20th President and was assassinated by a disgruntled supporter named Charles Guiteau not far from the site of his speech that day, not quit 4 months into his term as President. Guiteau had gone to great lengths to make himself known and had even written a letter to Commanding General of the United States Army, William Tecumseh Sherman, for protection from the mob after he had committed the act. General Sherman did not take him seriously and did not tell those within President Garfield’s circle. Garfield became the second of four U.S. Presidents to die at the hands of an assassin. He was killed by a $15 .44 Webley British Bulldog Revolver.

 

World War I and the total carnage created by new and more destructive weapons of war gave rise to the notion of commemorating all military deaths during war on what would become known as Memorial Day. In 1971 Congress passed legislation to make the last Monday in the month of May the official federal holiday known as Memorial Day.

 

Monday May 25th brings another opportunity for each of us to celebrate the heroism and courage of those willing to die for our country in Her defense. The list now includes the American Revolutionary War, the War of 1912, the Mexican-American War, The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and finally the ongoing War on Terror. In all the total has grown to 1,354,064 and counting.

 

This is a special day on the American colander due to the humble honor we give those who have fallen in duty to our country. Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine, and Coast Guard alike have all contributed to this number and continue to stand ready every day of every week of every month of every year. They are the ones on our wall of defense and are willing and ready to pay the cost for each of us to enjoy the cook-outs, ball games, picnics, and just time with our family doing nothing much at all on Memorial Day.  

 

I have chosen a poem with the perspective of a Confederate Soldier at the battle of Gettysburg to convey to you the courage and finality of the sacrifice of those on the wall. I felt its appropriateness due to the birth of Memorial Day during that great and costly war.

 

 

Reposed at Gettysburg

 

Reposed within the quiet grove

Drifting from the here and now to then

I listen to the tree frogs and crickets sing

As I remember horrors from the battle’s din

 

I hear the constant fire of muskets

As I lie here this quiet night

I hear the whistle of their discharges

As they make their targeted flight

 

I hear the cries of those unlucky souls

As their limbs seem to break and tare

I remember thinking I was so lucky

And how their outcome seemed so unfair

 

I see the smoke hover over the landscape

Like death harvesting the fallen field

I see young sons and fathers falling

Because their loyalty would not yield

 

I feel the fear of young men charging

Running gallantly up a hill

I feel the thrill and chill of knowing

I fight a blue wave and my will

 

I smell the odor of burnt powder

And the bark bare trees at hand

I smell the odor of burned grey cotton

Once worn and seemed so grand

 

I repose this night under treetops

I rest on this sacred ground

I drift in and out of now and then

And wonder where tomorrow…

I wonder where I’ll be found

 

8/30/09

JMW

 

 

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A couple of weeks ago I was asked, along with others, why are we here, what do we see as our destiny. Are we doing what God wants us to do with the talents that He has so graciously granted us? The question seemed pointed directly at me. I know it wasn’t because there were others in the room with looks of confusion as well.

 

We all find ourselves at the barrel end of this question waiting for it to go off without our ever knowing what our true calling is. However, we never will know what our true destiny is if we are not dutifully doing the work God has given us to do by placing us in the spot we find ourselves professionally, or as a retiree. Our work goes on a life time, not just while we are engaged in our professional endeavors. Our paths cross many people every day. Our direction seems never to be pointed exactly where we thought our trajectory to place us. But here, in this place, is where we find ourselves. The question remains, are we doing everything we can to make our spot in life meaningful to ourselves and to others? Are we being all we can be?

 

With this short commentary on this thought I want to submit to you a piece that has been gathering dust for a long time. It speaks to what we are doing and what impact to we have, or can we exert, on the lives of others. It might just be the loving kindnesses we show toward the reward of us as parents, our grandchildren. It is a reward we need to see as a blessing to our grandchildren and to our children. They have not been where we have been so, consequently, we have knowledge of situations they don’t yet have. It could be a number of different things as you sit and meditate on what your calling is and are you doing what God wants you to be doing.

 

We may not have found our calling or transcendent duty in this life yet and that is OK too. We are all just waiting and wanting something to do with our life that resonates with those lives we come in contact with. I must admit, it is easier for us to see clearly what we are to be doing as we pass the 60s mark on our birth line.

 

I have room here for one of my life’s mantra’s that comes to mind regularly. It is that the successes or failures, the actions or inactions of our lives do not preclude us from acting positively now or in the future. Fear sometimes, no, many times limits our possibilities to be what we are called to be, do what we are called to do, or simply to find what we are here to do.

 

Good luck with finding you spot in life no matter what your age, or stature, or health. We are all here for a reason. What is yours?

 

 

 God’s Waiting Room

 

My thoughts I conveyed to God today

But He knew them before a word was said

My dreams I have made fully known today

I choose now by God to be led

 

My rudderless dreams have led me astray

Without the compass I have mislaid

My misguided misadventures in life

Have led to my family’s unacceptable dismay

 

It is time for me now to relinquish control

Of the course my life has made

I give it to God to lead my way

With little or no further delay

 

I find myself now in God’s waiting room

Surrounded by those just like me

We have all been lost near the rocks of doom

Now we each wait for clear sailing at sea

 

With God at the helm of my life’s ship

I can’t wait to see where my life is charted

But today I rest in God’s waiting room

It is here that my new course will be started

 

5/26/04

JMW

 

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Mother’s Day is past and we move forward. The legend of Mothers everywhere expounded to all within hearing distance or even the more sprawling writing distance. Our Mothers are indeed legendary to each of us. They transcend the possible, they overcome all obstructions, and they heal all wrongs, if not for all time, then certainly for a short time in order for us mere mortals to recover from life’s wrongs. Through it all our Mothers persisted and continued the next day, and the next, and the next until their last day. They are, or were, legendary.

 

Sports is another animal entirely. Although legend is sought, it is seldom if ever found. I will give you a few excruciating teams from our past and our not so distant past to consider what I mean.

 

I can only speak of events in my lifetime but they are numerous. They were before the mentioned few here and will be after this is read and forgotten. But, legend is what the ultimate goal was, is, and will always be in a competitive world.

 

First I submit to you the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950s. Always close but only grabbing the sought for prize once. The New York Yankees would break their heart again and again and again. The 1960s gave us the Baltimore Colts. They were always close to the ultimate prize but walked away with only two titles in 15 long years of a great team. Always losing out to the Packers of Vince Lombardi. The 1970s gave us the Baltimore Orioles. Always good and many times great but only walked away with the prize twice. Also in the 1970s we had the Minnesota Vikings. Again, always good and sometimes great but never held the ultimate prize high over their heads. The 1980s gave us the ultimate in frustration, legendary frustration in fact. But that is not the legend they sought. Four consecutive appearances in the big game brought frustration upon frustration to the city of Buffalo and their Bills. The Atlanta Braves were the team of frustration in the 1990s. Great team after great team won enough games to be legendary but only once did they grasp the Golden ring. The 2000s gave us any team who played the Boston Red Sox in baseball or the New England Patriots in football for the big game, the title, the last game of the year. The teams from Boston would overcome. They were legendary. Beyond the 2000s and into the 2010s I will let you pick your own sorrowful, forgotten suitor for the title. Whatever title that happened to be for you.

 

Legend is hard to come by even with the best team on the field. That is why the games are played. Legend is elusive. It is legendarily elusive.

 

The poem that I give you now is on these matters or others that you can place it on. It is three years old and has never seen the light of day. It has sat in a three ring binder accumulating disregard from its writer in legendary fashion. Its title is Almost Legend.

 

Almost Legend

 

Elusively leaning farther from reach

Legend is difficult to find in the end

It slips from the grasp of its pursuers

Elusively, compelling, for what it portends

 

Great tasks, great victories, great stories to tell

Great glory, great fame, great delight in the end

But many, so many, leave sweat and blood

Much work, much pain, they now defend

 

Waiting and biding for time to act

Few are the times it flashes to capture

When the moment arrives to assail the prize

Few are those who can secure its rapture

 

When lost the time slides by so slowly

Until the conversations of life are filled with grief

When won life changes and moves so quickly

To a life that succeeded there is great relief

 

Compelled we reach to our farthest limits

Grappling with ambition and time’s investment

The worth of the prize of fabled legend

Surpasses all of it un-won painful discouragement

 

Compelled to compete at the highest level

Confidence exudes from all pours

Until defeated, dismayed, and bewildered

We find ourselves depleted and deluded on all fours

 

So close was the prize sought so intently

So close was the fabled truths told

Now lost in a moment’s unfathomable site

As the fable was too far out of reach to hold

 

12/24/12

JMW

 

 

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Motherhood 

 

Mother’s Day is swiftly approaching and I once again find myself exhausted by what I see as the mother’s duties in our families. Of course, I’m unable to speak to the duties of all mothers but I can speak to what I have seen as the duties of the mother in our family. They are extensive and invaluable to the completion of just one day, let alone the seven days of a week, the 30 days of a month, the 365 days of a year, or a lifetime. I want to show you what a normal mother’s day looks like for a mother with a family of five grown children with, what will soon be, ten grandchildren. As I said earlier, it is exhausting to watch.

 

The day begins at 6:45 AM. Not 6:35 or even 6:46 but precisely 6:45 AM. She has her morning coffee waiting for her on her bathroom counter. She showers, brings herself into focus with her morning application of various creams, tonics, and potions, and readies herself for her day which includes a home lunch awaiting her in the kitchen on her way out the door. She will then sit at her desk and staff an 800 bed hospital with the nursing needs for the following days of the week and upcoming weekend. It is exhausting work.

 

This day allows her the opportunity to spend time with her youngest grandchild who is visiting, along with his mom, from their home in Seattle. The mother of the story smiles, plays, and laughs with our cherished visitors from the west coast and bids them a good day until she returns at around 5:30 PM.

 

The day includes text messages from her oldest daughter regarding the difficulties of her laborious last days of a pregnancy with her fifth child and all the traumas of her day as a teacher. Not just any teacher, but a teacher of severely autistic children. The conversation lasts long enough for a little respite for them both and then it is off to the classroom activities for the daughter and the phones again for the hospital nurses.  

 

Not long after the text conversation with the daughter is a phone call from the middle son. He has just taken over as store manager for a Sears Department Store in Brunswick Georgia. It is his second day on his new job. He and his wife are suffering from the stress of a depreciating housing market and the difficulty in selling their home in Jacksonville Florida. The sale would allow relocating his wife and daughter to Brunswick which is over a hundred miles from Jacksonville. Without being able to completely resolve all his issues she must return to the nurses and providing care for the patients.

 

Not long after the conversation with the middle son is a phone call from the visiting daughter with the sound of our small guest laughing and playing in the background with a blow-by-blow description of the day she is missing with her grandchild on behalf of the hospital nurses.

 

Not long after the conversation with the visiting daughter comes a call from the youngest son. He is stressed over his upcoming weekend’s trip to Denver for his interview for a new job. He is a jet mechanic. His abbreviated title to the world is A&P, which stands for Airframe and Power plant mechanic. He is stressed that his girlfriend, who lives, you guessed it, in Denver, and he had an argument the night before and he is looking for the calming effect only his mother can provide. One more challenging telephone call completed and back to the nurses.

 

This day will not bring a call from the oldest son of our family because he is serving as a Major in the Marine Corp in Afghanistan. This is his third tour of duty in the 10 year old war. He and his wife and three little girls live in San Diego. He will, as I said, not be calling today. However, that does not absolve the mother of the story from worry about his condition or his safety. The day does not allow for too much consideration because the hospital still needs its nurses.  

 

Not long after all the chaos of the day is completed and she is home there is dinner for the household to provide. It will be nutritional and very good tasting because she is an excellent cook. Her cooking ability has developed over many years of providing these tasty meals for her family. Her cooking acumen has been honed and is still used for what she still feels is a house full of people. She is still cooking as though everyone is still at home. However, it makes for great left overs.  

 

The relationship’s she has with her grown children is not a relationship that is a given and granted to all. It is earned over a lifetime’s service to them all. It is earned through many, many hours of care, concern, counseling and worry about their decisions and choices. This has been a brief look at a current day in the life of this mother. The following is a look at what days gone by have been like to earn the relationships I just described. It is only an estimate.

 

Diapers - 70,000 – an average of 7,000 per year per child x 2 years

 

Bottles – 27,375 – an average of 5 bottles per day per child x 2.5 years

18,250 –an average of 5 bottles per day per child x 2 years

 

Naps – 7,300 – an average of 2 naps per day per child x 2 years

First Days of School – 78 first days of school from K-16, or, through college

 

Doctor Visits – School Visits (Counseling, Conferences, Take and Pickup)

 

Extracurricular Activities (Baseball, basketball, Football, Softball,

Track, Cheerleading, Clubs, Plays, PTA, Fund Raising Projects, etc.

Etc., Etc.)

 

Consecutive Years of Someone Being in High School = 17

 

Graduated from Post-Secondary Schools = 4

 

Currently Attempting to Complete = 1

 

This type of activity can only be driven by something more powerful than the human body can possibly have the energy for. The following bible verse closely approximates what I am referring to:

 

Romans 12: 9 – 13 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

 

As I said, the type of relationship she enjoys with her grown children and the involvement that represents from each of them is earned. It is exhausting. Now looking back from the north side of 60 I see this job of being a mother very differently than I did many years ago. She has danced and darted around these people like a honey bee pollinating everything in her path while she, I know, looks at my involvement in all of this like that of a home-breed, house-bound tom cat wandering around the neighborhood doing as he pleases.

 

The job and duties of a mother are, as I said earlier, exhausting. This is a look at one mother in the world of mothers. This is the mother in our family and I love her dearly. Tell your mother if you still can how much you love her and appreciate all she does and has done for you.

 

 The following poem was written with my beautiful bride in mind. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 

 

Motherhood

 

As I looked with joy at your spotless face

I knew the pain was worth the wait

I knew my life would never be the same

I knew I loved you more…

More than I had ever loved anything before

I knew the joy my mother once knew

I loved you because I was your mother

I knew a love like no other

As I watched your first staggered steps

I knew the floor was no longer for you

I knew my life would never be the same

I knew you would grow and find your balance one day

And I knew your need for me would then forever change

I knew the thoughts my mother once thought

I knew the things to you I had so diligently taught

I knew they would soon be a smaller part of what you knew

I knew these things because I was your mother

A love in life so much different from all others

As I watched you wave and were off to school

I knew the fears my mother once feared

How would you deal with the long days in school

Who would you find to be your friends

Who would help you when you needed the right thing to say

Who would love you as I had loved you

I knew these fears because I was your mother

Through a keen intuitive awareness like no other… I knew

I knew through the pain of watching you grow into adolescents

I loved you through pimples and pathway perils

I loved you through the drama of middle school

I loved you through the judgments of high school

I loved you as you were choosing your life’s mate

And I loved you when you were confused with your life’s direction

I loved you because I am your mother

I still love you today because you are a part of my soul

I love you now as my mother still loves me

And I now know how deep that love for me is

Because I am your mother as she is mine

Now the next step in life as a mother has come

I now love your children as I have always loved you

I now know what my mother knew

I know that your children make my life complete

I know this because I am your mother

And I see you in your children as my mother saw you

I know this because I too am now a grandmother

Still your one and only loving mother

Always linked by my love for you

Always loving you as my spotless faced child

I always will… because I am your mother

A love in life like no other

4/28/12

JMW

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Dependable Certainties

We come into this life as a helpless babe and taken care of by parents and friends who love us. We are so vulnerable to so many things and so dependent on the love of others for survival. Will we get enough to eat, or anything to eat at all? Will we have good health or be at risk? So much of this is directly related to those in our life who take care of us.

When we are adults we face storm after storm that seem dedicated to our destruction. At these times we depend on those who love us once again. Our lifeline to security is dependent on those who surround us and have given us the impetus to move our lives in one direction or another. Some avenues produce successful, fulfilling lives and others nothing but despair and discouragement. It is uncertain which we have chosen until it may be too late to make a change. The uncertainties of whom to trust for these decisions is precarious at best.

The final analysis of success or failure is dependent on how we perform or how much passion we bring to the endeavor. Have we made the right choice? Are we sure we are where we are supposed to be even if we perceive our life as a failure.

The truth is that the certainty of our decisions is reflective of where God has chosen our lives to go. When we allow Him to be at the helm our ship seems to navigate to where we are most needed. If not for a long time then just for a short time. Our impact will have left an impression on those lives we touched on our journey.

The other major question is where we are headed when this life is over. Where is our ultimate end? The answer to this question is dependent on us. Do we believe the Bible and have we put its words in our heart? If so we have certainty. Unlike the uncertainty we felt with are we doing the right thing. We have certainty as to where our final destination is and we look forward to it with certainty.

I hope you enjoy a new piece to the world that has been gathering dust for a few years. I hope you find solace in the words and a new dependence on where our certainties are found.

 

 

Dependable Certainties

 

The uncertain affection from others

Often causes great internal unrest

Because we are so uncertain of their affection

Until the day it is put to the test

 

But God’s affection is certain

It is shown every day, every week, every year

He wants nothing but the best for each of us

He loves us and He holds us dear

 

This truth is true no matter how we feel

Whether we love God or whether we don’t

His feelings for us remain forever genuine

He loves us whether we will love Him or we won’t

 

There is so much uncertainty we feel

About the reason we are here at all

Because so many things in our lives go wrong

We wonder why life is sometimes just a brawl

 

But God’s reason for our existence

Is for Him and Him only to know

But His reason will be clearly given

When we reach where we are destined to go

 

This truth is true no matter how we feel

Whether we allow Him to lead us or not

Our reason remains what He has determined it to be

Doing many things that over time we forgot

 

There is so much uncertainty of where we are going

What kind of place is this spoken of place of rest

Because we only know what we see, touch, and feel

God’s grace, mercy, and love we simply cannot protest

 

But God is creator of the universe

He can make of Heaven whatever he please

But we must know with His love for each of us

Transition will be with certain and uncommon ease

 

This truth is true no matter how we feel

God’s absolute love for us will be revealed

 

7/05/11

JMW

 

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Vibrations

We have great influence over many things and people we encounter on our life’s journey. There are those we know very well and make a point to connect with every day and there are those we encounter as we simply travel our daily path. Both cases present a myriad of opportunities to affect change.

 

An oddity to our world around us is that we see things in its great connected form for eyes to make sense of the world. However, if we study what we are looking at, we discover that all things share a common element. Everything is a tight fitting world of atoms. Each atom is made up of a center, called the nucleus filled with electrons and protons. The nucleus and its neutrons and protons are surrounded by a spinning world of electrons which all together make what we call the atom. If fact, everything we see is made up of a collection of atoms that actually do not touch. If a fly lands on a piece of metal there is the smallest of indentations on the metal surface created by the slight weight of a common fly. It has made its impression on the world around it. Sometimes the impact of one object and another is so powerful we can see its effects. An example of this is located in your local automotive junk yard where the impact of one object and another has created an irreparable mark. 

 

Likewise, when we step on the ground, wave our hand, throw a ball, or simply sit and breathe, we are making an impression on our world every moment we are in it. These come in the form of vibrations. Vibrations that will change some things dramatically and others very little but change we have caused. When we help someone move from one house to another or a weak person move from one room to another, we have made an impression. When we bake food for those who are sick, help those who can’t help themselves, or do the least we can for the shortest amount of time, we have made an impression. We are changing the world through the imprint of our actions. Whether we have acted negatively or positively we have changed the dynamic of the world around us.

 

We have a choice to act positively or negatively to those people or things we come in contact with. We can change the direction of someone’s life with the things we do or say and we change the world by the things we do or do not say or do. Vibrations are carried forward until the subatomic particles of the atom cease to function. Wow! What a bizarre world this is.

 

What kind of impact are you making on your world, positive or negative? We Christians are always wanting to do good things and be a positive impact on the world around us. However, we are human. Paul addresses this concept in Romans 7:15-25, and speaks directly of this concept in Romans 7:19-21 which reads as follows:

 

“For the good that I wish, I do not do; but I practice the very evil that I do not wish. But if I am doing the very thing I do not wish, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. I find then the principle that evil is present in me, the one who wishes to do good.”

 

However, we are not doomed to do evil. In Galatians 5:16-26, Paul spells out the way to resist acting negatively thereby creating a negative impression on others. He gives us a clue to acting positively and creating a positive impression on others. Galatians 5:16 reads as follows:

 

“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh.”

 

We can not physiologically think of two things similtaniously. Either we are thinking of positive actions or negative actions. This war in us goes on every day. It is relentless.

This is a complex subatomic world we live in but simple to live in following Christian concepts to create positive impressions on those around each of us and on the entire world. We have been commanded to do this. We can each create positive vibrations in the world that only we can affect. Enjoy the following poem called Vibrations.

 

 

Vibrations

 

We have sinned

We do sin

And for those we can be forgiven

If we but simply ask

But each sin of our past

And each sin of today

All have their unique vibrations

They ripple through life

Travelling in all directions

Each touching aspects of our day

Each touching aspects of our life

Each touching aspects of the lives of others

These rippling rings never stop

These rippling rings move quickly

Racing through the canvas of our lives

These rippling rings are life’s true sting

Of our forgiven sins

Of our forgettable past

The price we pay even though forgiven

There are consequences to actions

There are consequences to our inaction

To the many things we have done

To the many things we have not done

Whether rippling rings of righteousness

Or the heaving rings of regret  

The vibrations persist and move forward

Long after we are gone

Long after we are forgotten

Long after their impact is seen in the future

Whether from a joyful thing

Or something sad

While forgiveness is good

It is best to know

Our ripples in the lives of those we know

Each so unique to only our behavior

Have made someone happy or glad

Have made someone successful

Have made their ripples good

Have made their vibrations positive

Our vibrations are due to our choices alone

We own them whether good or bad

 

1/19/12

JMW

 

 

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Continuing with Boldness as a theme 

If Not Now When?

 

There is so much to be done in this life. So many opportunities await those who are bold enough to emerge from the thinnest of lines of bold people. Who will it be who steps up to challenge the medical world with a new method to end disease? Who will it be who steps forward to lead compassionately and definitively in a world of tranquil lethargy? Who will emerge to take center stage in life’s play, life’s story to the rest of time to come? Who will it be?

 

What does it take to step forward from the crowded field of those doing nothing to enhance man’s fortunes, to build new concepts of working together in peace and honor and real progress? What does it take to be the one looked to for guidance in an unguided world? What does it take to be the one to drive through life’s wall of confinement to our past, our constraint to act when others were not accustomed to the criticism, insipid fear, and renowned failure at the worst and renowned victory at the best? Questions to be asked over and over again of each of us.

 

We all have the capacity to change the world in which we live. We all have the ability to become the person, the one person to make a change that will be freeing to the changed and create exhilaration in ourselves. What is the factor that will make the difference? What is the Capra like factor that we lack to build from today what we see as tomorrow? The simple words “I believe.” These words built a small band of believers into the largest force in the modern world to crate change, create hope, and create a positive pathway to the promises of tomorrow.

 

I believe we can do anything. Jesus Christ believed the world could be changed and it was. In more recent times John F. Kennedy believed we could put a man on the moon in the decade of the sixties when we had not accomplished much to date at all. Martin Luther King believed we could build a world where the color of our skin did not determine the contribution of the achiever. These are not simple tasks but ones requiring boldness and an absolute determination to eventually succeed.

 

The following piece was written eighteen years ago but holds the magic of these words above. Without the feeling emitted from these simple words boldness would not be attained. Victory would still be an elusive butterfly of dreams. We must act and act boldly to do any work of value in the world in which we live. This is simply a call to act in ways we may not have been energized enough to entertain let alone accomplish. Look at these words as your words. Look at these words as a way for you to overcome the things that have held you back and turned you away from the victory that awaits the bold.

 

The Only Day

All I want to find tomorrow

Is the end of yesterday

Each day a new beginning

To a brand new today

 

There may be no new tomorrow

There may be no brand new start

I must give each day my best day

I must give each day my heart

 

This day, this time

Is the only way

I can ride

Life’s ups and downs

 

This day, this time

Is the only day

I can turn

My life around

 

I must always know tomorrow

Is what I made of yesterday

So with no remorse of sorrow

I will meet my only day

 

This day has only one way

I cannot, must not, rest

Today there is but one way

I must make today my best

 

2/27/97

JMW

 

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Boldness and Blunder

 

Each of us are engaged in an activity we feel is worthy of our time and energy. We feel it is the thing we are to do and make our impact on life through. We are, in fact, in love with the thing we have chosen and hold to it with every ounce of strength we have. We feel complete.

 

Some of us are involved with a romantic attachment we feel is the best and most rewarding part of our lives as we live our days out one after the other. We are attached to not only the romantic feelings but the feeling of belonging to this person as well. We have found the love of our life no matter how much disagreement there is in the relationship. We are in love with the quest to do all we can to perch this person on a pedestal for all to see. They are ours.

 

What if, and this is just a question, this activity is not the one we were meant to be filling our time and taking our energy from what our real and true calling may be. But the fact that we love this activity blinds us from seeing anything else.

We are, in fact deaf blind, to any other endeavor or any other relationship or enterprise available to engage in. We are blinded.

 

What if, and again, this is just a question, the love interest we have chosen and have fallen into deaf love with is not the person we should spend the rest of our lives with. What if we have chosen poorly and remained in this poorly chosen relationship until there is nowhere else to go. What if we have chosen poorly?

 

If the activity or personal entanglement is the one it will survive wave after wave of near bankruptcy, near total ruin, constantly near the end in divorce, or worse, staying in the wrong relationship because we feel it is the one when it might not be.

 

We were bold in carving out these opportunities and bold in holding onto them due to commitment and personal need. What if we have done so to the ruin of both you and the commitment? What if we have become so deaf blind that we see nothing else? Then, consequently, we will have no opportunities to correct our mistakes and allow employees to migrated to a better environment and allow a loved one to follow other avenues of love and romance more sustainable and fulfilling. We are blinded by what we are ardently engaged in by defense of our decisions or fear of claiming another. We just may be blundering the opportunities and not seeing any other opportunities as they pass us by. We are in deaf love with our eyes closed tight.

 

My hope is that we each have chosen wisely and would not trade what we have occupationally or romantically for anything else in the world. That is the perception we live in and it is hard to change.

 

I neither encourage closing a business and opening another or ditch a romantic relationship and begin fresh with another. I simply pose the question “what if.”

 

This is a new piece. It is preceded by what could be construed as negative ramblings of an unhappy writer. That is not the case. I am the happiest and most fulfilled ever. However, is it true for you? You are the only one who can decide and remain or remove yourself. Again, I encourage neither. My task is to allow room for possibility and opportunity to blossom in your life and that may entail a loss of something. Test yourself to see if you’re right or deaf blind to what you have.

 

Enjoy the poem of the same name, Boldness and Blunder. We can’t be sure until you wake up one day and just know.

 

Have a great month.

 

 

Boldness and Blunder

Time passes so quickly

As we press on into our days

We forget to remember some things

While we remember to forget others

Other memories that haunt us

Memories that hound our every day

Things unsaid, things undone

Opportunities not taken

When they were perfectly ripe for the taking

When they begged to be plucked

From the vine of our time line

And enjoyed to the fullest with abandon

Opportunities taken that should have been left alone

When they suggested an unsuccessful end

When they screamed STOP! DANGER!

But were taken, misused, over appreciated

And missed completely by the pursued

Opportunities unseen while reaching for the unattainable

Unheard when spoken in the ear of a love deaf disease

Seeing things not as they were

Seeing things as we thought they were

Perception paralyzed by what was regarded as true

While opportunities swept past on the river of life

Even swelling over the shores of our emotions

While blinded by the parading perception

Of life as we wished it was to be

As we thought for sure it would be

Only to be left lying limp and lifeless

On the shoreline of our life’s course

Finally awakened by the breaking of the damn

Watching our false perception float off into tomorrow

Still more time for opportunities wasted

As we grieved the loss of what we did not even have

We never had it at all, not even with all the daydreams

Not even with the commitment to a false perception

Slowly the pain subsided

The paralysis of false perception removed

With real opportunities floating past with great speed

And we, still blinded by grief, could not see

As it made its way down stream and out of sight

We never saw it coming and didn’t know it was gone

Opportunity sometimes has no knock at our door

We only know something has passed us by

Something of worth will not be ours

Who or what it was we will never know

The river of our life has swallowed it

Swallowed it to the bottom of our perceived pathway

Our future, our quest into tomorrow

If we had only seen it coming and reached for it

Our lives might have been so very different

But we were love deaf and blinded

We never saw it come or know when it was gone

 

4/7/15

JMW

 

 

 

 

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Unfound

 

Many things lost are usually found. They can be found by one person, two people, or a group of people if need be, in the case of lost children, missing persons of all kinds, and even precious gems. However, sometimes they remain in the unfound category. It is claimed that the items or persons were just nowhere to be found. We accept this as a condition of the search usually. The police didn’t look long enough. The volunteers didn’t look close enough. Whatever the excuse we assign the unsuccessful search we accept as genuine.

 

We enter Palm Sunday weekend 2015 with a historic search still underway. Of all the magnificent events of Jesus’ life and ministry this final event was the pivotal event in world history. It seems that neither a Roman Legion nor a frantic Sanhedrin could successfully locate the body of Jesus when His tomb was found empty. The guards of the tomb couldn’t say because they had been sleeping or cast into some blind spell so that a huge round stone sealing the tomb was able to roll quietly from the entrance of the tomb clearing a path for the exit of Jesus. This was to be the final resting place for the King of The Jews. The sign on His crucifixion cross clearly declared Him as such. His kingship was declared in not one, not two, but in three different languages, Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. The world gathered for the Passover Feast in Jerusalem was to know who hung from the middle of three crosses on the hill called Golgotha. They were to know His Royalty was self-fabricated for his own benefit and self-absorption. Still, where was the body of this Jesus of Nazareth? Why was the powers of two separate and powerful forces unable to locate the body of this King of The Jews?

 

Meanwhile, Mary Magdalene, on the first day of the week, was privileged to see Him and report His risen body to the disciples. They were not convinced. Jesus actually appeared to two of the disciples on their way into the country who did not believe Mary’s story. Then He visited the eleven while they reclined at a table during mealtime. Jesus reproached them for their unbelief of those who had told of seeing Him. Jesus seemed to be all over the territory without being found because he always appeared as someone other than Himself. When asked by the disciples not long before in Galilee what was their work to be, Jesus said “believe in Him whom He has sent.” This all became a thundering reality, crashing into the room with the discovery that He was who He said He was. The risen unfound body of Jesus the Christ was alive as prophesied so many times by the Old Testament prophets and by Jesus Himself. He was alive. He had risen on the third day just as He predicted. He was in the room with his most trusted and beloved companions who did not believe of His resurrection until confronted by Him in this upper room. Their proof was standing among them. He could not be denied.

 

The unfound body was just one thing separating Jesus from all others claiming deity. There are 14 other reasons that give His life even more definitive reality to us today. The disciples were given their assignment at the end of Matthew’s account of the gospels with their discharge into service by Jesus Himself. Matthew 28:18-20 reads, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on Earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

 

How the Apostles died tells us a story of graphic belief as Jesus suggested for them to demonstrate while with them in Galilee. Look at how their lives ended:

 

1)   Matthew was slain with a sword in Ethiopia

2)   James, son of Zebedee was beheaded at Jerusalem

3)   James, brother to the Lord, was thrown from the pinnacle of the Phrygia

4)   Bartholomew was flayed alive at Albahapolis, in Armenia

5)   Andrew was martyred on a cross at Patre, in Archaia

6)   Thomas was killed with a lance at Coromanded, in East Indies

7)   Thaddeus was shot to death with arrows

8)   Simon Zelotes was crucified in Persia

9)   Peter was crucified head downward

10 Matthias was stoned, then beheaded

11 Paul was beheaded in Rome

12 Judas hanged himself after his betrayal of Jesus

13 John, the care taker of Jesus’s mother died of natural causes

 

Why do the Apostles deaths make a profound statement to the risen Jesus? Because all they had to do to live was deny the truth of what they had seen with their own eyes. He feed the hungry, healed the sick, raised the dead, and on the third day after his passing, as he said He would, He arose from the dead, appeared to them all, and spoke of what they were to do from that point forward in the face of religious zealots out to destroy them or change their story.

 

An empty tomb and the deaths of the disciples are hard to refute or debate. Sometimes the unfound is found in the most obvious places – in our hearts.

 

 

The Empty Tomb

 

Passion Week and Passover were over

Three men had breathed their last

The earth had shaken and shocked

Those watching in either horror or awe

The Temple vail was torn, the way now clear

The world would never be the same

Tears were shed

A mother was led

From her horror to a safer place

Her Son was taken by a Jewish friend

Ally to Romans and to Jews alike

He placed her Son in an unused tomb

Guarded day and night to prevent removal

King of the Jews

Son of God

Prince of Peace

Would not leave without permission

If he were taken they could say

“He left on His own”

To fulfill His resurrection prophesy

They stood day and night and vigilantly guarded

The entrance to this doorway of hope

They would devotedly do their duty or die

But on the third day the guards

Were relieved of their task

The stone door was rolled free

The Son of man had arisen and left

Through powerful Godly and angelic authority

He left the tomb empty of its stored remains

Save the now folded garments worn to His passing

But with the tomb’s open door

The world had hope and a portal to peace

Three crosses, three days, the Holy Trinity reunited

The world would never be the same

The empty tomb screams loud and clear

Jesus the Son did not disappear

Jesus arose to hide our sins and our fears

Many things from His ministry

Speak directly to this new world’s beginning

But none more directly than this empty tomb

Vigilantly guarded by Rome’s military might

Empty to the stunned Jewish chief priests and elders

The clarion sound of quiet hope echoed in the prophecies of Judaism

Now wafted from the door of an empty tomb

No remains were found nor confederates bound

On this day when the tomb was found bare

Nothing was found by the Romans or the Jews

But the sound of the world changing from oppressiveness to hope

It is empty, He is risen, make a joyful cry to the Lord

We are now all saved, delivered, protected by invitation

From the cruelty of a sinless life’s punishment by His love for us all

 

12/09/14

 JMW

 

 

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Betrayal Accomplished

 

Betrayal had been planned and completed with the payment of 30 pieces of silver by the chief priests and elders. The recipient, Judas Iscariot, the keeper of the money for Jesus and the disciples. He was trusted. He kept the money. He was the betrayer of Jesus to the religious leaders, the chief priests and elders, the closest thing the Jews had to aristocracy. They then plotted how to abduct Jesus and kill him in secrecy.

 

The disciples found the suitable place to observe the Passover Feist just as Jesus had described. They would have peace there and enjoy fellowship with one another. They ate the Passover Feist. Afterwards, Jesus washed the feet of the disciples in order to show them in a demonstrative way during this final opportunity his magnanimous humility – His servanthood to them all. Then Jesus said that one of the disciples was going to betray him. They all wondered who and Jesus offered them their clue by offering Judas a morsel to dip in the olive oil. Judas left the gathering with the devil in his heart.

 

The group then traveled to the garden of Gethsemane for the reason only Jesus knew. They stood watch while Jesus prayed that God take this cup, His capture and crucifixion, from him if it were possible by any other means to accomplish what He was to do. Jesus was to die for the sins of man, everyone’s sins, even those who sought to capture Him and destroy Him. Even mine and yours who read this, and everyone else’s as well. Even those who treated Him so badly over the next few hours before His passing. Even those who treat Him so badly today through their unbelief and oppositional fervor for all He stands for. He was going to sacrifice Himself for all mankind. The disciples did not understand fully even in the garden.

 

The arrest was made and Jesus spent the remainder of the evening and early morning hours in mock trials, facing false witnesses, and spiritual questioning by the spiritually lost. Jesus kept silent. Jesus kept silent before the Sanhedrin and spoke only briefly to the Roman Governor, Pilate. To Pilate’s question are you King of the Jews Jesus answered, “It is as you say.” Finally being given a chance to live rather than die by asking the crowd to free Barabbas or Jesus the crowd, at the behest of the chief priests and elders, chose Barabbas to be freed and Jesus was sealed to death.

 

The next few hours were brutal for Jesus. He was scourged by the Roman cohort. For those who are unfamiliar with scourging it entails being flogged with a leather whip. The strips of the whip is imbedded with bone and metal fragments. Scourging was usual punishment for murderers and traitors. They then placed a crown of thorns on his head and said “Hail King of the Jews” and spit on him, beat him on the head and placed a robe on Him. Jesus was exhausted from being up so long and by His tremendous loss of blood due to the scourging. He then was demanded to bare his own cross to Golgotha, the place of His crucifixion. When His strength failed Him a man of Cyrene named Simon was pressed into hauling his cross to the site to crucify Him.

 

Now nails were driven into His wrists and feet to hold him on the cross and then He was slammed into the ground between two robbers suffering the same fate, one on His left and one on His right. The scene was surreal to those who watched. There were women who had followed His ministry there at the foot of the cross. Also there was His mother Mary, His mother’s Sister Mary, the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. Also there was His most beloved disciple, John.

 

On the cross was a plaque made by Pilate which read JESUS THE NAZARINE, THE KING OF THE JEWS written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek due to the different cultures who were in town for Passover.

 

Jesus spoke few words while on the cross but they were meaningful. He told one of the Robbers that on this day He will see him in paradise. The other was not given that opportunity. He introduced His mother to her new son, John, who would take care of her for the rest of her life. Finally He simply said, “It is finished.”

 

The last two days were filled with pain and humiliation for our Lord. Those last two days gave each of us a new pathway to travel. He had claimed He would be raised on the third day.

 

His body was taken to be entombed by Joseph of Arimathea in his unused tomb. A request granted by Pilate. The day was done. The veil of the temple cracked with the passing of Jesus, the day darkened and all were astonished at the events of the moment Jesus breathed his last. The world would never be the same.

 

Jesus was taken to his resting place, but not his final resting place.

 

 

Friday’s Cross

 The mission was done

 The cross stood tall on the hill

 The world would change forever

 With this one day’s Roman deed

 King of the Jews

 The sign read above his head

 Son of God and master teacher

 Loved by many feared by more

 How could they not see and know

 The mission was done

 Three crosses slammed into the ground

 Three sons awaiting life’s end

 One sentenced

 One saved

 One savior to us all

 The crosses stood tall in the ground

 This was no ordinary Friday

 These were no ordinary three men

 Their destiny hanging in the balance

 Speaks to each of us today

 One sentenced

 One saved

 One savior to us all

 The choice is ours to make

 Accept, believe, and live forever in bliss

 Reject, ignore, and live forever in far, far less

 The choice is ours to make

 The crosses stood tall for all to see

 Even from the past until today

 We stand at the cross of history

 Watching life change us for evermore

 Are we sentenced?

 Are we saved?

 By our savior to us all

 What will our choice now be?

 

3/28/13

 JMW

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The Beginning is Near

 

Spring is near, this 14th day of March, 2015, and with it comes new growth, new life and warmer weather. Spring also brings the vivid memory of the short but powerful ministry of Jesus of Nazareth. The messiah was near, the hoped for redeemer of the Jews, the coming King they wanted so badly to take away the imposition of Roman rule in Jerusalem and salvation to them all. He had arrived but was not seen clearly for who He was. He had walked among the masses for three years. He had fed those hungry for both food and for hope and inspiration, He had healed the sick, He had raised the dead, He had established himself as a more than a believable figure of messianic power to those close to him – but convinced too few.

 

The leaders of the Jewish nation was looking for a figure who was powerful and could reestablish the Jews as their own free and relevant people. They looked for a righteous warrior who could lead them. They looked for these things so long they had missed previously delivered prophesy of Isaiah in Isaiah chapters 62 and 63. The majestic one was coming but not just yet. That messiah would come later. Jesus’ ministry was filled with power, as the believers had looked for, but it was filled with the power of changing people at their core rather than exchanging blows to regain power and prestige for the Jews through mortal combat. The foe this warrior would face, and defeat, was Satan and his minions. This Messiah defeated Satanic reign and power in their lives and ours. The Jews were looking for an illusion of their own misjudgment. They held to an illusion so tightly that they missed the messiah completely.

 

Illusions can fill our minds today with what we think we see, what we hope to see, what we have dreamed of, and make it a reality so murky a view that we miss things entirely. We are in a battle every day of our lives. We can be deceived so easily. How? As Paul tells us in Ephesians 6:12, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.” We fight a fearless foe who will stop at nothing to deceive us, mislead us, confuse us, and convince us we need nothing more than ourselves. An illusion of epic proportions and eternal consequences. 

 

Through this battle we can, and are, misled to believe that our path is up to us, our destiny is determined by what we say and do and by us alone. We are led to believe we can handle any misfortune, any assault on our spirit, and can defeat our spiritual insurrection through our strength alone. If that is the case…we have been deceived by the unseen powers that want us to believe this fallacy. If we believe this we have taken ourselves out of the battle. We are right where Satan wants us…on the sidelines with our self-righteous thoughts alone and vulnerable to his illusions in our life. We must all remember we are at war with the forces of another world. Through the power of Jesus and the help of the Holy Spirit, we can defeat the foe of all foes, and be spared the pain of our self-imposed illusions. Paul again sets us on our path to victory in Romans 8:31 when he says, “What then shall we say to these things, If God is for us, who is against us.”

 

This is the first piece of three pieces regarding the Easter Season. This first installment addresses how we can be fooled into almost anything, especially into believing we can do it ourselves. That Jesus was a powerful man but just that, a man only. There is so much more that we could talk about here but let’s move forward to my feeble attempt to demonstrate our audacity of our power to win by ourselves. Look for the next installment which deals with the crucifixion and the last installment which deals with His resurrection.  

 

 

Illusions of Life

 

 The tempter alters our perception

 Of what we see, touch, and feel

 To misunderstanding the truth

 And hiding from us what is real

 

 The illusion of joy…

 As winning games and success

 Overpowers our true joys

 Of living each day as our best

 

 The illusion of security…

 As having funds for tomorrow

 Overpowers our true security

 Of being convicted by true Godly sorrow

 

 The illusion of salvation…

 As being saved from daily stress

 Overpowers our true salvation

 Of belief in God and nothing less

 

 The illusion of wisdom…

 As holding many college degrees

 Overpowers our true wisdom

 Of being what God truly wants us to be?

 

 The illusion of strength…

 As being measured by physical power

 Overpowers our true strength

 Of resisting the tempter by the hour

 

 The illusion of eternity…

 As being that place we can’t see

 Overpowers our true serenity

 Where we can be finally fully free

 

 The tempter will trick us

 He will twist, block, and turn

 Put your illusions behind you

 And find what God wants you to learn

 

 7/19/10

 JMW

 

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Spring is Near

 

Saturday the 7th of the month of March, 2015, erased an otherwise dreary month before by providing the Pacific Northwest with a beautiful first taste of spring. A full moon hung high in the sky until near mid-morning on our trek to the area’s welcoming iconic peak – Mount Rainier.

 

Our vehicle whispered its way quietly up the winding tree lined National Park road to the 5,400 foot landing spot called, fittingly, Paradise. Here, visitors can read the history and enjoy the alpine view from the Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center. Also, here is where climbers contemplate the remaining 9,010 feet to the top of our nation’s second tallest peak. The 14,410 foot high summit falls just 88 feet from the tallest of the lower 48 state’s peak of Mount Whitney in California.  

 

The striking beauty and the cool 38 degree atmosphere of the Paradise landing points sweetly toward spring and the new beginnings for plant life and wildlife alike to begin blooming and bustling around. This cloudless, sun filled day did nothing but remind each person lucky enough to be at this place on this day that God is alive, vibrantly active in our environment, and so thankful for those who see this scene and knows that “I Am.”

 

The snowcapped beacon of the area welcomed each with a superlative supernatural view. Mount Rainier speaks to all those who listen and prods all to see its creator while there.

 

Downward on our homeward route I could do nothing but marvel at its beauty, its relevance to the Pacific Northwest’s history, and, of course, its dormant volcanic power beneath its beautiful and peaceful surface.

 

Spring could be seen on our way home in the blooming of trees, the tips of determined growth rising from the ground in search of the sun, and by the beauty of the day. Spring is near and will be appreciated by, I think, everyone.

 

Enjoy this spring with a trip to Mount Rainier for a treat beyond these 350 weak words. It has to be seen and experienced to comprehend and fully appreciate. It will welcome you like spring welcomes warmth. Enjoy the poem below and think of your spring wherever you are.

 

 

Spring Eternal

 

 Jonquils and Jasmine

And the Bradford Pear

All blooming with beauty

Soothing much winter despair

 

Blue Birds and Cardinals

Hummingbirds and Wrens

Where were they all winter

Where have they all been

 

Cool air in the morning

Winter’s last attempt at dread

Fades to midday warmth

Putting winter to bed

 

Spring rains for the Dogwoods

And corn in the field

Saying move on now winter

To me you must yield

 

This Symphony is the same

With each spring season’s start

As we mere mortals who watch

Find it so pleasing to our heart

 

It is spring once again

With all our flowering dreams

The warm sunshine delivers

Wholesome heartwarming beams

 

3/13/11

JMW

 

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This was written a few years ago. It is in my second book Until Today: Life as I Know It. The baby mentioned near the end, Lila, is a healthy baby girl born May 12th, 2012. She is adorable and very self-confident. But that is just the tip of the story she is a part of. The following is a recap of the events leading to her birth.

______

 

Our daughter Ashley is a strong 36-year-old (now a little older) woman and mother of four (now five). She holds a particular place in medical history that she would rather not have had the opportunity or circumstance to hold. She would rather have lived a normal life without the complexity that the medical community has sent her way. She would rather have had healthy children able to live a complete life of fulfilled dreams and children of their own.

That is not what life had in store for her. She had a difficult pregnancy with her third child. A child named Andrew Reagan Cochran. He lived a brief but eventful life of 19 months leaving a world of concentrated prayer and concern by people he never met nor knew. They did, however, know him and loved him. He died of cancer. The cancer was a complication associated with the true villain in this story which was Congenital Central Hypoventilation Syndrome. There were, at the time, fewer than 100 patients with this disorder nationwide and only 2 in the state of Georgia. Most of the progressive research into CCHS was, and is still done, in Chicago, Illinois.

Our daughter is a strong woman as I said. The marriage she was in dissolved, just as the counselors said it would, due to the traumatizing loss of a young child. A couple of years later she met a young man named Joseph and after a courtship he actually asked me if it would be acceptable for him to ask Ashley to marry him. I said that would be great. He surprised her at a city carnival with the help of one of the game operators. It was a game called Whack the Mole. When a mechanical mole stuck his head up through a hole the idea was to whack it with a padded hammer and send it back into the hole. If you were successful you won a prize. With the help of the operator the game was rigged and Ashley won. The prize presented her by the operator was a diamond engagement ring. When she opened it Joseph went to one knee and asked her to marry him. She accepted the offer. It was, as you may expect, romantic and unique.

Not long after that memorable day Ashley found that she was pregnant with her fourth child. There was great excitement and expectations. When in February Mitchell Short was born it was determined he too had the CCHS gene. He too would now be subjected to the medical community in the same way Drew had been. There was nursing care at home every day, medical equipment sounding alarms and running constantly, and the constant care and treatment of their son Mitchell. 

Ashley was told not long after the birth of Mitchell that she had become only the second mother to deliver a sibling with the same disorder. After a genetic test it was determined the she has a gene lying folded in her DNA model. The doctors told her that any child she delivered had a 50% chance of having CCHS. She had delivered four and two were now affected. The odds were true.

Mitchell’s experience with CCHS was a little different from Drew’s. Mitchell was not as fragile. He seemed from the start to be much stronger. Ashley recognized this very quickly and proceeded to vest herself into Mitchell and determine a different outcome for him. She was knowledgeable of the disorder, the equipment, and procedures that were necessary for Mitchell’s survival. She was also determined for his experience to be different.

The doctors were convinced that the ventilation system and his tracheotomy enhanced breathing must not be disrupted. Ashley was convinced otherwise. She began at an early age to begin separating Mitchell from his equipment during the day a little while every day. By age two Mitchell could be off the vent almost all day long and was able to play with his brother and sister and his grandparents as well. He was a strong little boy and had a huge spirit. He had defied the odds doctors had given him and was living a life unattached to his equipment for entire days at a time with no ill effects. He only used the equipment during the evening hours when the apnea aspect of the disorder truly surfaced. Everyone was amazed and pleased with his development.

One morning at around 4AM we received a phone call from a frantic daughter who was crying uncontrollably and probably in shock. Mitchell had suffered a heart attack during the night and was gone. Mitchell was taken as his brother had been…far too soon.

During the months of mourning that followed the family suffered shock of its own. There was the inevitable ciaos that ensued within the family after the loss of another family member so young taken so soon. There was the detachment from the spiritual forces that guide us all. Why was the prayers not heard. Why? Why? Why? Answers to these questions will have to wait for the day when we arrive where an answer can be given if He chooses to do so even then. But through it all Ashley and the family grew. The dad, Joseph, was baptized and became the spiritual leader of the home that God had designed him to be and the family now rests in a wonderful congregation of believers in Marietta, Georgia. We all worship with the same group of people and it has made our lives so much better.

Ashley is a strong woman. She now is carrying her fifth baby. Her name is Lila Grace and we have been told through a amniocentesis that she is a healthy baby girl to be added to our family in May of 2012.

The following poem is connected to this chain of events. It is dedicated to Mitchell and what we miss. Following the poem is an excerpt from Mitchell’s Memorial Program. I wrote it as Mitchell told me what to say. At the top of the page was a photo of Mitchell with his hands lifted up and out as if he were accepting you closely for a hug. It was the epitome of Mitchell Short.

 

A Miracle with Ferries

 

The Warmth of my mother’s womb

Kept me safe, secure and bare

But when forced into an awakened world

I found I could not take in enough air

 

Many masked figures then helped me

Make my change from my mom to the world outside

From the safety of my mom’s warm harbor

To the world my family’s fears reside

 

The masked people with their eyes staring down

Did their best to usher me in alive

I found myself attached to yet another cord

That gave me aid and a way to survive

 

I would hear the cries and the prayers for me

To live my life void of all this equipment

I could feel the love that surrounded me

And I certainly feel their level of commitment

 

I could see my friend my Heavenly Father

Always standing near but mostly just out of sight

I overheard my mom once say I was counting

She said, “He is counting his ferries in flight”

 

Between the love and belief of my mother

And the Father’s watchful and guiding hands

I only need my equipment at night

That was my little body’s only real demand

 

I am so thankful for all the love provided

My Mom, my dad and Grandma and fuzzy too

And all my nurses, brothers and sisters, and friends

I lived and survived because of you

 

12/9/11

JMW

 

Mitchell’s Memorial Program

Hi. My name is Mitchell Short. I was born the 12th of January, 2007. I was blessed from the very start with a family who really liked to play. They were always bouncing me, making strange faces and noises at me, and I thought they were so funny. It was so easy to see that they loved me a lot and I really enjoyed the attention. I had somebody with me all the time in fact. If it wasn’t my mom or dad, Alec and Katie, it was someone just sitting with me and watching to see if I was okay. That was strange because I just wanted to play. Sometimes I would have to unhook the stuff I was tied to and walk away. Finally mom just let me stay loose during the day every day. It seemed like someone was always with me even then. Now I can watch them all the time like they used to do me. I’ll miss all the playing and laughing and sitting with my dog, but I can be with all of them now all the time and I like that because I love them a bunch. Just remember, I will always be with you…always. 

 

 

 

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There are innumerable ways to change our present. We can have facelifts, we can get false teeth, hearing aids, new eye glasses, hair transplants, breast implants, now, if you are so inclined, we can have extra meat put in our buttocks’ to make them bigger and, I guess, more appealing to some people. The list is endless.

 

There are also innumerable ways to change our future. We can change jobs, retire, get more education, have more children, which will change it for you for sure, we can move and make new friends in a different city. Well…fill in your change for your future. It is easy to do. Go on a diet and change your wardrobe, change your hair color, read a new book that will alter the course you are now on. It is really up to each of us to change what we want to about today and tomorrow.

 

So, there are really many ways we can change our present and our future, but, what can we do about our past? Not much, right?

 

I have considered my past a lot over the past few years and thought about things done and undone. I don’t know which is worse for me, things done that I shouldn’t have or things undone that I should have. We each can think of things in our past I’m sure.

 

My past is filled with running and children. For 20 some odd years I ran 2000 miles a year. That sounds like a lot but it is relative. I now know someone in their 60s who still runs 5000 miles per year. Wow! I know. That is a lot! In my case that was one and one half times around the circumference of the earth. Why? It may have been about all those children and all those responsibilities. We had someone in High School for 17 consecutive years. Wow! I know...As I said earlier I have been thinking a lot about my past lately and I have come to the conclusion that I was trying to outrun it. The past is something we cannot change but my hope was to distance myself from it the best I could.

 

I am presenting a piece in this blog that may sound sad or melancholy but I was shooting for reflective. I might have missed, but I tried.

 

My past has not been as tragic as the poem sounds. I have had a wonderful life with many wonderful friends and a wonderful family to be a part of. But, there were so many things that I could have done differently. Those things began long before High School and certainly included all those years from ’64 through ’78 in particular. What a wild 14 years those were. There are others as well but those always come to mind for some reason. In fact I ran through those years as fast as I could. Still didn’t change a thing.

 

Contemplation is a wonderful way of making our todays and tomorrows better than ever. So cheer up and do something that will change tomorrow for you. It will be good therapy. Enjoy the poem

 

 

The Past

 

The past is behind me

What can I do to reshape it?

What can I do to relive it?

What, in fact, can I do

To change one single moment

Of one single day?

The past is behind me

But it has a life of its own

It has a powerful influence

On anything and everything

I do today and tomorrow

It flexes its shape in the closet

Of my memory

But still….The past is behind me

What does that mean?

What and who has it effected?

What and how can it be quieted?

How can today be enjoyed

When there are so many yesterdays

That didn’t measure up to what I expected

And yet….The past is behind me

Shut it down

Shut it off

Ship it to a hole in the ground

In perhaps Idaho,

There are few people there

Who know me, who care about me

Who want to relive or reenact it

So be gone….The past is behind me

When can I be resolved of it?

When can I be forgiven for it?

When will it become

A very long fuse into my powder keg mind

My acting, my ability to care or achieve

Yet I know….The past is behind me

I will celebrate its good days

I will cherish its great days

I will seek those who were a part of them

I will think of ways to make tomorrow better

And more like the days to cherish

I will live my life as if today too is in the past

I will sidestep it, jump over it, and evade it

It is, all of it, behind me

I must remember what made it disfavor me

I must remember what things made it forgettable

I do not want to be punished for it anymore

I must remember the times and people of my joy

I will not allow it to ruin what time I have left

Because….The past is behind me

I will cherish the days ahead

 

JMW

2/15/15

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The first of three poems regarding Black History Month spoke to where the movement had to move from. The atrocities of a culture from reconstruction into the 1940s. The second of the three will speak to where the movement for true emancipation occurred. In December of 1955 Rosa Parks, a local department store worker in Montgomery, Alabama, refused to give up her seat in the colored section to a white man after the white section of the bus was filled. She, along with the pastor of a local Montgomery congregation, Martin Luther King, Jr., and an army of working black women in Montgomery fought a battle with the city of Montgomery for over a year before it ended. This next poem talks about where we have come since the 1955 Bus Boycott and what it has changed. This piece has been published many times in many journals and publications over the years and remains one of my personal favorites.

 

The Road from Montgomery

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have we put segregation in our past

Have we built a bridge of peace and understanding

Have we built a spirit that will truly last

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have the buses equaled out

Have we really changed the seating order

Of those in Montgomery moving about

 

Are we far from Montgomery

What is the color of those we’ve jailed

Have we changed the social structure

Against which Montgomery once railed

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Is the racial tension still in the air

Have we opened doors of opportunity

Have we truly made things fair

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have we truly, truly changed

Have the standards that we use today

Been so drastically rearranged

 

Are we far from Montgomery

Have we made progress toward the goal

Have the gunshots and tears

Changed the young one’s future roles

 

Are we really far from Montgomery

Have we all done the best we can

Have the leaders of the ones at risk

Taught the free man to be a man

 

4/27/04 

JMW

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Greetings from the great Pacific Northwest. It has been far too long since I presented you with a new piece. Our move to Seattle in January of 2014 has been a hectic one with a year to forget just behind it in 2013. My muse had left me and I was writing very little of any value or worth so I kept it to myself. This new piece I hope to have published in the King County Chamber of Commerce Membership Directory that comes out once a year in July. It is my way of describing the area in which we have landed and started a new life. We are very happy and prosperity seems to have landed on our shoulder both spiritually and physically.

 

This is a special part of the world with so many things to see and be a part of it is very hard to keep up. One thing I can say for sure is that Seattle is much more that rain, and coffee. It is also Boeing, Microsoft, Amazon, Tweeter, T-Mobil, and many other things that has seemed to cloister this area in a bubble of untouched progress and, again, I use prosperity.

 

It is such a beautiful area that researchers have indicated this to be the most unchurched area in the country. One reason is the vast array of things to do. It is one of the only places in the country that you can water ski on Lake Washington in the afternoon and snow ski near the Snoqualmie Pass in the late afternoon. It is truly remarkable. Everywhere you look there a mountain range, either the Cascades or the Olympics on the Olympic Peninsula on the far side of Puget Sound. Due to this contrast and verity the inhabitants seem to worship the created rather that the creator.

 

So this is my first piece to you in around 2 full years. I was stimulated by an old friend to write something. Thank you to my restored friend. You know who you are. The piece is called Emerald Empire due to the area being called the Emerald City. Imaginative – yes? Enjoy the poem and I hope to see you all soon as our door is always open here in the mountains along the Snoqualmie River in the Cherry Valley region of Eastern Seattle.  

 

 

 

Emerald Empire

 

Our Olympic and Cascade Mountain peaks

Are always white from the latest snowfall

As they reach majestically

And magnificently skyward

Come enjoy….

Our evergreens reach splendidly and slenderly for the sun

With little to hinder their upward flight

They are aimed like arrows

Into the Northwest sky

Come enjoy….

Our Salmon make their annual up stream struggle

Guaranteeing their next generation

While our rivers fall through fishing Bears

And race towards the unsettling sea

Come enjoy….

Our Puget Sound teems with its sea life

With many fish, and seals, and whales

While birds of prey, and gulls, and singers

Fly effortlessly and gracefully sail

Come enjoy….

Our Cherry Trees bloom in early spring

With visitors from far reaching places

While our Tulip fields are filled with blooms as well

Creating many welcomed and smiling faces

Come enjoy….

Our western slopes are sharp as razors

Near our mighty Pacific coastline

While their faces tumble down

And fall toward the seashore tide

Come enjoy….

Our beach front buffet invites wildlife

To feast as long as they like

And for as long as they may

Without resistance from locals at hand

Come enjoy…

And through all the rest

There is our beacons

Mount Rainier and also Mount Baker

Reaching miles and miles

And seemingly always in view

Come enjoy…

Our Pacific Northwest is lovely

From our coastline

To our Eastern ranges

Our invitation to you

Is to visit, to live

And enjoy our beauty

Year after year after year

Come enjoy…

 

JMW

7/30/14

 

 

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There is More to the Story

There is more to add to Black History Month content than the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950’s through the 1970’s. These years were filled with courageous acts by members of the black community and we now honor those efforts as stepping stones to a more civilized society we now occupy. However, the period of Reconstruction in the south, a period reaching well into the 1950’s, there were many who could not speak out due to their certain and final demise at the end of a gallows. The Tuskegee Institute figures on lynching victims during the period 1882 to 1951 records the total as being 4,730. Not all were black victims but the overwhelming majority was.

These crimes were perpetrated mostly in Southern or Border States to the Southern States but not exclusively. In fact every state in the country with the exception of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont had lynching casualties. These crimes were not exclusively perpetrated against blacks. The best facts available say that 1,293 of the victims were white.

Standing at the top of this mayhem both in the South and the Nation as a whole is the state of Mississippi. The states of Georgia and Texas stand at second and third on the list.

These victims had little or no defense against these crimes because, in most cases, the local protection agencies were part of the mob that perpetrated the crime. It is an ugly side of our nation’s history. The first scholarly effort to document this part of our history was done by a gentleman named James E. Cutler. His findings may shock you. He determined that lynching was sadly a historical phenomenon of American origin.

The honor we give people like Homer Plessy, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Rosa Parks, and thousands of others is genuinely earned and given. However, there were others who were forced to stand and watch as atrocities were committed against both family members and friends. Many others were forced to grovel and show their disingenuous respect to those who could, and would, drag them away to a high limb on a lonely road in rural Mississippi, Georgia, Texas, or any other state where vigilante law prevailed for many, many years.  

My eyes were opened to this by one of my college history professors in 1976 and they have been pried open to injustice ever since. Take your own look into this if you can and let’s remember during this Black History Month 2013 those who could not defend themselves.

 

Lynching of the Innocent

 

It seems so long but not too long

To remember the brutal nights

When the hooded cowards of twisted convictions

Would live lives with no restrictions

Would live lives without personal consequences

Only the desire to live with those who would not think

To be with those who could not see

To be a member of brutality anonymous marauders

To be a part of life lived among us

Unseen in the light

Unknown in the light

Living unbelievably among us

Living tragically only for a dishonorable fight

To ruin lives lived on prosperity’s edge

To ruin lives separated by more than a centuries’ old wedge

To not think but simply act

To not consider others as equal

To not consider others as even human

But to deliver a blow to an unequal family

To render them timidly tamed

To render them horribly maimed

To render them simply afraid

Afraid to fight back

Afraid to move forward

Afraid to live life as intended

All by the cowards in the hoods at night

Who would paralyze the survivor’s soul

Nothing more than fragile timid victims of hooded veracity

To see a father dragged from his home and his family

To be hanged till lifeless from a tree

It seems so long but not too long

To remember the brutal nights

And to now know that the truth was there

But the cowards would not see

The cowards just saw the victim hanging from the tree

And that the victim was not to be freed

Not then, not the next day, not ever

The blind cowards were wearing hoods

And could not see

 

11/23/12

JMW

 

 

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The Veil of the Bride

By

 

J. M. White

 

          Darkness surrounds me. Ominous clouds twist and roll above the broad flat field ahead. Harsh winds bend the thorny underbrush and drive stinging pellets of rain deep into my skin. Deafening thunder and the mournful song of wind through the reeds sing their endless song of hopelessness in the shadow of the storm. It is relentless.

          The path was not clear. My appointment with the other side, however, seemed inescapably clear. A duty I sensed everyone must meet as a humbling hurdle to clear. Still, the way was littered with those who could not complete the task before them. The field seemed too unmanageable and the journey far too difficult. The sight of so many sorrowful souls that had failed lying in and along the path before me brought tremendous doubts and dread to me.

          A feeling of helplessness and despair overwhelmed me. My indecisiveness was insurmountable. It was so intense that my path became mixed with many paths. I had taken my eyes off my way too long in the raging storm and had become lost. I was doomed by my own reluctance to remain focused on my journey. I was too involved in the immediate concerns of those lying silently suffering near me. I was too confused by my own fears. I was alone and afraid of what trials my next move might bring.

          I lay sobbing in the tall tangled growth of the unfamiliar path…sure that my journey would end as those of the unsuccessful souls who lay near me. Fatigue and a feeling of finality struggled for my emotional control. Each was meaning to make me the loser in my fight in the field of forgotten souls. They were each compromising my ability to deal effectively with the relentless storm.

          Suddenly, above the confusion, I noticed in the distance a light. It seemed to be approaching me as I sought and fought to approach it. As we neared each other I felt my misery lift slightly. My attention was now on my search for the light. My concerns were focused on how this light could appear in such an unmerciful storm. How could it be present? Where could it be from? Why was it approaching me? I could not determine from my distance if it was good or bad. I only wondered where it was coming from and where it was going. I saw it as a buoy in the sea of confusion in the field. I wondered if it saw me.

          Driven from side to side by the strong wind I struggled to free myself from the tall underbrush that clutched my feet to prevent me from moving forward. I stumbled and staggered toward the light. It was brighter with each step I took.

          Now, closer, I could make out an enchanting image. I could see through the stormy darkness what appeared to be a bride. A radiant bride dressed in white. She beckoned me closer with her outstretched arms. My lost path was no longer a concern to me. My concern was the beauty of the bride in the briars. My attention was now riveted on her and no longer on the sad surroundings of the field.

          I approached her cautiously and as I did I could make out figures surrounding her that I had not noticed before. There beside her were many people. They were people dressed, as I was dressed. They were people who looked as I looked. However, they were people who were much more focused than I. They seemed attentive to the needs of the bride.

          The bride’s attendants appeared very loving and cared greatly for what they were doing. Some brushed her hair. Some seemed to constantly straighten the garment she was wearing. Some fought with the terrain to clear a path for her to approach me. Some held the ends of a large cover, like a veil, but thicker. Under the veil there seemed stillness and calm as if the storm had ended. My emotions and my eyes both told me that the bride was looking for me. The peacefulness of the veil was being offered to me as a wonderful shelter in the undying storm.

          In front there were many that had the task of reaching out to me and bringing me into the shelter with them. It was then that I noticed the bride was not moving at all. She was standing with her motionless bare-feet planted firmly on a large elevated rock. Many people, they at least appeared as people, were eagerly engaged in the constant cleaning and care of the rock. It was to them an event. It seemed a duty and tremendous responsibility to be performed with great diligence. It was a sight that had taken my mind and attention far from the storm that still raged around me.

          The underbrush constantly grabbed me and held me from the hopefulness of the sheltering canopy around the bride and made difficult the efforts of the people trying to bring me under with them. Standing there in the wind and rain and darkness I felt a vicious battle with the storm and the surroundings. Their grasp seemed too tight to escape. I felt wary of the struggle. My energy was being drained by my efforts to escape the grasp of the underbrush. Without the hope of the shelter before me I would surely fall as so many before me had. I would also become a victim to the storm’s power to portend helplessness and uselessness in my struggle. I would remain lost in the storm that seemed to never quiet. It was deafening, distracting and disastrously close to victory.

          The people who had the job of bringing me under the canopy, however, would not give up. Many reached wildly into the storm without finding me. Many stumbled from the protection of the veil to grab me from the grip of the field without success. Always when they faltered and returned to the veil there were others to take their place. It was an amazing effort to save me by people I did not know. It was extraordinary.

          Only then did hope and purpose replace my feelings of despair and sadness. My fatigue was lightened as well. As I considered the bride, her shelter, and the people attending to her needs, the darkness seemed not as commanding. The sheer determination of those out of the veil’s protection to reach me was heroic. Their valiant efforts to bring me under the canopy seemed to overpower the storm. Finally, with every ounce of energy I had…I reached for those trying to reach me. Following a great tug, at last, I found myself under the shelter of the veil. Wounded and wary I lay in the tranquility of the peace and calm of the bride’s veil.

          I was astonished to find many others with me. Some had been under the canopy for a while and others had just arrived or were being pulled under at that moment. Also, as I had suspected earlier, there was no trace of the storm under the veil. I could see the storm still raging outside and I could see others lost as I had been. Some of the lost were seeking help but most had succumbed to the misery imposed by their surroundings. Only the ones who reached for the help of rescuers outside the veil could be saved.

          There were many of us now as we traveled through the storm. We remained together for our own protection from the force outside. There was the bride and her attendants, the diligent souls who risked their lives to rescue me before I became a victim to the storm and there were the others who came in after me. We remained together. It was imperative to stay together.

          We remained together for what seemed a very long time. Much like a ferry would cross a bay or stream with its cargo, the bride and her attendants crossed through the storm outside with me as theirs. I was inspired by their gentle care for me while inside and their vigilant efforts to rescue and then protect me. I was truly grateful to be with this emboldened band of fearless fighters for lost souls. Without them I would not still live. I was grateful.

          Although the storm was ever present, occasionally I would be tempted to throw myself back into the chaos for some bewildering reason for temporary satisfaction. It made me ashamed of myself, of my desires. Only through work under the veil was I able to stay focused on the things that I knew were good and not on the things which tempted me to return to the tempest. My faith in that and those around me kept me from my own worst enemy…me!

          Sometimes my rescuers assigned me to tasks within the veil that required great preparation and energy to complete. The bride’s companions, however, always seemed to be helpful. They seemed always ready with a kind word and encouragement in times when my judgment of responsibility was not clearly focused. Sometimes I was still disturbed by the storm’s power of intoxication over me. I needed those around me to defend myself from the elements that they had saved me from. Their example of being able to stay under the veil themselves while in the grip of temptation was a great encouragement to me. Everything seemed to be a lesson of some sort that was applicable to almost any circumstance. The education I was receiving regarding choices and which to make was proving beneficial to remaining rescued. I was grateful.

          I seemed to now be getting the same treatment as the rock foundation of the bride. I found this curious. The care was warm and loving and almost always in my best interest. I listened to what they were telling me about the veil, the storm and how to respond to each accordingly. A joy filled my spirit that I had never known before. A joy I wanted to share with others. I was grateful.

          I looked across the field of forgotten souls and could not help feeling that I should be doing more to bring them in. Some I knew I alone could reach to save. I had been there. Now I knew why so many risked so much to save so few that wanted the freedom from the field. The ones who did not want the freedom would ultimately destroy the rescuer. Some had surely perished themselves in the attempt. I was grateful they had reached for me.

           The calm and peace of the protective veil was so different from just outside the edge of the canopy. The storm still raged. Others still were coming inside to join us all. I now thought of myself as an attendant to the bride and that gave me great satisfaction. I greeted them now as I was greeted myself when I first slipped over the edge from doom to peace. I was a part of the group and I was grateful.

          Now, from this side of the thorny field, I see the preserving protective presence of the bride. She is Christ’s bride. She was sent by Him to us as our protector and shelter from the stormy confusion of life’s treacherous journey. She was sent as our guide through the tangled fields of temptation and all the other distractions between where we are and our eternal destination as an heir to Him. We choose a destination of eternal bliss or we choose a destination of eternal suffering. All we need do is choose to reach for a hand in the storm.

          The bride’s function is to guide us into the narrow gate of salvation from the storm. She is a haven between where we are and our final Home. She shepherds us away from the many avenues of temporal pleasure and personal satisfaction. She allows us answers to the mystery we seek. She allows us into a world of duty and service to others. She allows us full comprehension of personal responsibility and accountability for our own actions and not the actions of others. It is by these things that we find the shelter and direction the bride takes us. It is by these things also that we maintain our connection to the bride, the canopy and its shelter. She allows us to learn for ourselves and become a part of the care giving corps.

          It is eternally important to find the bride and then stay with her while crossing the field of forgotten souls. The storm is relentless and raging always. We can choose to leave the canopy and the loving, caring companionship it provides; however, we then fall prey once more to the elements and the confusion that persecuted us before the wonderful, guiding, protective light of the bride was seen. The choice is ours and ours alone to make. I made mine… and I am grateful. 

 

The End

March of 1994

           

    

 

___________________________________

The Dagger of Division

 

Today is October 20th, 2012. We are sixteen days from our opportunity to elect the next man to represent us in the White House and throughout the world for the next four years. We stand just two days from the third of three Presidential Debates between our incumbent Democrat, President Barack Obama, and our Republican challenger, Governor Mitt Romney. We have been allowed to see behind the curtains of not just two candidates vying for the office of President of the United States but behind the curtains of two dramatically different and polarizing ideologies which threaten the continuation of what these men wish to be President of. The dagger of division is dangerously close to making its final partisan plunge into the heart of our American experiment in freedom.

 

We somehow, over the last 66 years, lost the unity and solidarity of this great country required to win two wars on two fronts from 1941 to 1946. We have lost the focus required to bring the Great Russian Bear to its knees in just 42 years after the great wars were over. We have lost the ingenuity and imagination required to put men on the moon within the decade President Kennedy made the seemingly preposterous pronouncement to do so. We somehow have allowed our country to be aligned within one of two colorfully divisive components: One red and one blue. We have allowed the American Civil Liberties Union, Political Action Committees, lobbyists, detractors of this and proponents of that to run rough shod on the freedoms which allow their very existence to do so. We stand clearly divided. We should hear a clarion alarm bell to this political problem and we will surely fall if we allow this alarm bell to go unanswered.

 

As I reflect on the precipice we find our United States of America perched upon I see powers and principalities not of this world at work in its destruction. Subtle at first and now more brazen in the quest to divide our views on what is normal and expected and abnormal needed to be wary of. The national views of foundational principles on religion, marriage, family, upward mobility, how to accomplish compassion for others as well as capture the American Dream of home ownership, self-reliance, and independence has been under attack for quite some time. We are close to the edge of falling into a narcissistic hole too deep to climb out of before the grave is filled by those who wish to lead us in their crippling direction. However, if we look more closely behind the curtains of the two ideologies at war within our country we should be able to see the dysfunctional dissatisfaction and disunity of our fundamental inspiration to do good things and be good stewards of all we have. We have been driven by separatists, naturalists, the scientific community, the educational community, the entertainment industry, the acceptance of atheistic views, and the covert attempt to take God out of our national equation entirely. We have each seen the dagger coming but have done little or nothing at all to deflect the blow.

 

Our nemesis, our great enemy, Lucifer, Beelzebub, Satan, the devil, or whatever else you wish to call the principality pitted against each of us and our America is hard at work daily to continue the plunge of that dagger. It all, I think, depends on how unified we can be, not as a political community, but, as a Christian community to seek what God wants and not what the people behind the curtains on the stage of our Presidential debates have in mind for us. God is ultimately in control of what happens but His power comes from our feet on the ground and our attempts on His behalf. We must somehow unify because united we stand and divided we fall. That is a phrase often heard in our lifetime and one that rings with alarming clarity at this crossroads of our American experiment.

 

Enjoy the poem Dagger of Division.   

 

 

 

Dagger of Division

 

United we stand

Divided we fall

God’s desire for each of us

Is to be one with all

 

Divide and conquer

Is Beelzebub’s plan

Separate each from another

All sons and daughters of man

 

Paul tells us plainly in 1st Corinthians 3

It matters by whom you are called

Were you called by Apollos

Or the simple words of Paul

 

Neither has the power of conversion

Only God has that thunder

We must find the right answers

Or our search is a blunder

 

How many truths can there be

Ephesians speaks plainly in chapter four

Paul tells us there is only one way

For each and all to reach Heaven’s door

 

The story of Phillip and the eunuch

Submerged simply by truth he gleamed

By bible words simply spoken and clearly read

Whose was he when emerged from the running stream?

 

When we are finally united

In the cause of our God

It is then and then only

He will provide us His favoring nod

 

United we stand

Divided we fall

Remember this phrase

Then we will unite standing tall

 

10/13/13

JMW

 

 

Hoped for Improvement 2012

 

The 2012 Presidential Election is only weeks away on this October morning. There are unemployment numbers flying around both party election offices and both saying the other is wrong. There are no congressional representatives in Washington at the moment because they are on vacation. That is a word many of these same congressional representatives constituency can’t use in a sentence because they can’t afford one. Partisan politics has taken the effectiveness out of our government and has rendered it to be parties arguing over Big Bird, Chick-Fil-A, and anti-Islamic videos.

 

No matter what the numbers of either party present to the American people on unemployment the hard fact is there is not enough jobs to go around for all the people who are looking for full-time employment to support themselves and their families. Take a look at a report done by a non-profit, non-partisan company called General Opportunity. The hard numbers are these: Blacks aged 18-29 years old have an unemployment rate of 21%; Hispanic aged 18-29 years old have an unemployment rate of 12.1%; Women aged 18-29 years old have and unemployment rate of 11.6%.  As you can see jobs remain an issue for those who are raising families and attempting to construct a life for themselves for the next 30 years. These numbers have not improved in several years. They remain the blight on our otherwise wonderful country.

 

A job is not just a way to earn income for yourself and your family. A job represents a prideful ability to support yourself and your family. A job means the difference in having the things of life to make it enjoyable or not. According to the GO survey pointed to earlier these are some other factors a jobless life effects:

 

  • ·         51% reduced their entertainment budget;
  • ·         43% reduced their grocery/food budget;
  • ·         43% cut back on gifts for friends and family;
  • ·         40% skipped a vacation;
  • ·         38% driven less;
  • ·         36% taken active steps to reduce home energy costs;
  • ·         32% tried to find an additional job;
  • ·         27% sold personal items or property (cars, electronic appliances, or other possessions);
  • ·         26% changed their living situation (moved in with family, taken extra roommates, downgraded apartment or home);
  • ·         17% skipped a wedding, family reunion, or other significant social event;

 

These things may seem trivial to those of you who are reading this but if you will look into your circle of friends you will find more than one or two families who are suffering the same fate, or worse, that these young Americans are facing today. I personally know of at least four people who have been looking for work over 2 years. One of these people has decided to call it quits and drew his retirement. The others are no longer counted on the official unemployment figures because they are not on unemployment benefits.

 

Just today there was an article in the Wall Street Journal that Bank of America is cutting 16,000 jobs to be more profitable. Also, American Airlines has reported cutting 11,000 jobs to conform to their bankruptcy restructuring plan. Also, per the U.S. Labor Department, there are still 5.9 million Americans who are currently receiving benefits and the figure would be much higher if many states had not run out of money to supply benefits.

 

As you can see Big Bird is not the issue – it is jobs, or more importantly, the lack of jobs being produced in an economy going nowhere fast.

 

I wanted to bring the jobs issue to the forefront this morning to reflect the impact it has on many who do not enjoy the hope, even in a sour economy, to improve our lives and be prideful of what we can provide for our families. Many do not enjoy this same hope we enjoy.  Enjoy this new poem which points to the underbelly of society which is not being accurately reflected in the biased, partisan, political debates during this Presidential election season. The issues are not Big Bird, Chick-Fil-A, or an unseen video. The issue is jobs, jobs, jobs.

 

 

Ghetto Nights

 

The labor-less lost lose their optimistic view

As gun shots ring through the chaos at night

Patrolmen are late as they usually are

Another lost soul has died in a fight

 

The plight of the pride-less is hard to quell

No strength from the family lost long ago

Their fight is bitter with their future no better

No father to guide them with what they know

 

Another day of shuffling the streets and corners

Brings chest thumping quarrels with others lost

As cold empty eyes look into a future with mourners

Because the night is coming and lives will be tossed

 

Discarded and forgotten are those on life’s edge

No future to speak of or a hope for change

No escape from the bitterness or from others in pain

Only the peacock banter of lives rearranged

 

Their children from many witness the day’s events

And see the ways of daily just staying alive

With no personal contact from the hurt prideful male

The children are shown how for a lifetime to survive

 

The labor-less lost with no hope in sight

Only know the honor and terror of a nightly fight

The gun shots will ring on this very night

And the prideful, the victor, will have his delight

 

The witness, the mourner, will tomorrow see

The patrolmen were late on another blood filled eve

The children, the family, can only grieve

Because the children, the families, have no way to leave

 

Hope is a horrible thing to misplace

Hope is a devastating thing to erase

No hope is like being sprayed with stinging mace

A hopeless life brings only death or disgrace

 

9/1/12

JMW

_________________________________________

How Does The Holy Spirit Work?

 

Marietta – 15 July 2012: Church of Christ Minister Scott Franks of the Burnt Hickory Church of Christ in Marietta, Georgia spent more than 40 minutes challenging his congregation to think of The Holy Spirit in scripture as a relevant, still vibrant, and still active and living member of the Holy Trilogy. He, The Holy Spirit, still manifests himself in the lives of believers, albeit not as flamboyantly as His actions of the first century. The power maybe not as openly seen but certainly still as fervently felt as in the days of the Apostles. Mr. Franks closed with many questions still unanswered but not beyond the comprehension or contemplative discernment of his congregants. The Holy Spirit continues to be with us today in many, many ways.

 

_________

 

So went the sermon and the fervor of the lesson. It was a lesson on the edge of what was not spoken of much, if ever, at all in our brotherhood in years past. Scott brings verve of a non-preacher, a lay minister with a gift of conversational reflection as two brothers discussing an issue in the parking lot of the building. It is refreshing. The lessons over the past three weeks on The Holy Spirit have been compelling which has caused the attempt of this writing to express my opinions on The Holy Spirit issue and what I feel it means to the everyday person in everyday ways.

 

The first century was a time of great change in the world. The introduction of the teachings of Jesus Christ was the bedrock of this change. Jesus attacked the teachings of those who had taught for so long that their teaching was considered more important to the Jew than what scripture intended. It became a time of dogmatic doctrine and flashes of miraculous acts needed to be applied to break through for the truth to emerge. The Holy Spirit had so much to do with this change in producing in others powers there to fore unknown. For the sake of this discussion we will look at the varieties of gifts bestowed by The Holy Spirit to others for the sake of allowing others to see them openly and dramatically. They are listed in 1 Corinthians chapter 12 verses 4 through 11. They are there enumerated as wisdom, knowledge, faith, healing, the effecting of miracles, prophecy, distinguishing of spirits, tongues, and interpretations of tongues. It is quite a list but certainly not an exhaustive list.

 

The question is if we are granted these gifts by The Holy Spirit today. Let’s look at some of these in 21st century eyes, a time of not needing to count on a showcase of miraculous display now that we have the written text that gives us the instructions for how we are to live more fully than during the 1st century.

 

Wisdom is first so let’s look at it first. We all know someone who we feel is wise. Most often this person is of the clergy. They don’t have all the wisdom or answers but more than most I believe. Did The Holy Spirit not guide this person onto a path of study to become wise? We all know someone who has a vast amount of knowledge in a particular area of study.  Did The Holy Spirit not, in some way, guide this person onto a path of acquiring this knowledge? We all know someone of great faith who just seems to know the right way to do things or the right way to live but be not seen as wise or knowledgeable in other avenues of life. Do we not all have a personal physician or have, at one time or another, been subjected to invasive surgery to heal us or a friend? Do we not see the myriad of transactions in the world of science whether it is developing a new drug or designing prosthesis for walking without legs or speaking with no, or useless, vocal cords? Do we not see these as miracles in some way? Do we not know those who are prophetic? How many lives were saved in April of 2011 because weather prognosticators were able to accurately pinpoint the time and location a tornado would touch down? Those emerging safely from their hiding places will tell you how prophetic these men were to them. Tongues is a little more difficult except when you are a guest at the United Nations and your words are heard by all present in their own languages by interpreters. Tongues go even farther than that. When we as Christians are talking with someone who has no working knowledge of spiritual things, as we do, are we not seemingly speaking in tongues to this person who has countless doubts of our credibility? We then actually have the opportunity to ourselves be an interpreter if we have not run the poor soul off with what they have construed as gibberish.

 

These are only my words. Understand that these are my words and not the words of Scott Franks who I started this off invoking his sermon on this past Sunday. These are my words. My interpretation of what I thus far been exposed to. I merely ask that you consider that The Holy Spirit is in fact very much at work in our world in the 21st century. He seems to choose a less audacious way of demonstrating His power to us.

 

I will end this with one of many poems I have written in my therapy as a writer. It is pointed to an unseen force in my life that is discernible but unexplainable. I now see you running through the street looking for a place to hide from me. However, it does exist to me. Again, it exists to me. Try to understand what is being conveyed. Many writers of words have experienced this phenomenon. I have, on several occasions, tried to define it in a poem. This is one of my latest efforts.

 

Lost Charm

 

Inspiration is so fleeting

It boils and bubbles within

Until it bursts upon life’s surface

Then I know just where to begin

 

But it sleeps, it hides, it will not obey

And wanders completely out of sight

It plays games within my mind’s games

To begin anew will surely be a fight

 

Oh why do you play these games you play

I want to sit and quietly write

Wake up and sit here next to me

Your company is such a delight

 

Inspiration has been such a friend to me

Giving insight to truth and lies

Steering my thoughts on both of them

And just as quickly seems to die

 

Where do you go my companion

Where do you stay when I can’t hear your voice

Where are you when life is eventfully charged

Where are you when I can’t make a choice

 

Come back and sit here next to me

I need a small dose of your inspiring charm

I will not take more than you’re willing to give

I promise to do you no harm

 

7/1/10

JMW

 

 

__________________________________________

Home Alone - Together

 

July 6tth, 2012 is a day that will not fade quickly into the montage of dates we all remember for one reason of another. This date will live a life of its own because this is the date our last child left home without the slightest reservation of coming back within the month. He left with a 16 ft. Penske moving truck with his 2004 red Jeep in tow on a trailer. He moved to Denver Colorado to continue his aircraft mechanic career working on helicopters for an international air ambulance service there.

It is so different around our house now that our five children are now all relocated around the country. The oldest son lives with his wife and 3 daughters in the San Diego area at Camp Pendleton California. He is currently serving in Afghanistan with a return date of early to mid-2013. The oldest daughter lives in the Atlanta area with her husband and 5 children. The middle son lives with his wife and daughter in Jacksonville Florida. The youngest son, our Denver resident, is now too far away to come gather a jug of tea from mom for the evening’s consumption. The youngest, our baby girl, lives with her husband and son in Seattle Washington. The possibility of dropping by on them on the way to the store is nonexistent save of our oldest daughter who still is in the Atlanta area with us. It is a different feeling.

We are happy for each of them and hold all the memories dearly. It is a hectic adventure raising one child…but this was very hectic indeed. And now it is quiet. It is deafeningly quiet as a matter of fact. Whenever anything is seen out of place or broken…we know who did it. If dirty clothes are strewn about the room…we know who did it. If the lights are left on downstairs overnight…we know who did it. We will be making the adjustments for many years to come I’m sure but for right now…we know…we are home alone together.

The following poem is my first attempt to put it into words but I am sure more will surface. However, for now, it is all I have to express the feeling of whatever this is we are experiencing. Enjoy the poem.

 

Home Alone – Together

 

Many different names are attributed

After much time and money is contributed

And your travel and freedom are inhibited

By those who your house inhabited

 

Years have been spent in edification

Whether at home or on vacation

There were many, many variations

To the theme of their education

 

It was a joy to watch it all unfold

Even when they did not do as they were told

But if I may this once be so bold

Watching them develop never grew old

 

Their sleepless nights with illness

The situations I never thought I would witness

From their current physical and financial fitness

To their familial and social togetherness

 

Their joy to take on any situation

Without the slightest hint of hesitation

Brings us now to our families gestation

Of each child’s voluntarily permanent relocation

 

Many different names over the years have been used

To describe the family that has been defused

By separation, growth or being bemused

The names empty nesters or alone seem abused

 

But that is what we are after all these many years

After raising good kids with very few fears

And watching them leave us for their social peers

We watch with joyfulness and not sad tears

 

We are now home alone … but still… very much together

 

7/8/12

JMW

____________________________________________

Warless World Utopia

 

Reading is such a joy. My last reading material, just finished in the past couple of days, was a book titled Leatherneck Legends, written by Dick Camp and published through Zenith Press in 2006. It is the account of five of the United States Marine Corp’s old guard. Their carriers were followed from WWI through Vietnam. It is not just a story of them, however, but a story of the men they led, the fights they fought, the heroes that were their privilege to lead, and the Marines that were always by their side. It is an amazing and compelling story of bravery, tragedy, victory, and of loss. It is here hardily endorsed as a book to read if you are the least bit interested in military history. I now have even more respect for my oldest son and what he does. He is a USMC Major who is now serving his fourth tour of duty in the Middle East…Afghanistan this time.

 

The United States Marine Corp is so far removed from what daily lives we live. They are built to be a cohesive unit to instill what is called esprit de corps. The USMC is the best trained fighting machine known to man. They are a unit, they are committed to the safety of their fellow Marines, and have the utmost respect for individuals within their gun sites, and advance. They attack, attack, attack, and never retreat. They are honed to be completely effective in the mission at hand without reservation, without hesitation, and without social reflection. They simply perform the duties that a free world needs to retain its freedom from those who wish to take it away.

 

Why do I write this today, July 7th, 2012?  Maybe I have a July 4th hangover of patriotism or maybe it is the upcoming political season we are entering. I don’t know exactly why. However, I awoke this morning before 5AM knowing that this needed to be written and addressed in some way.

 

We need our Marine Corp because; in the immortal words of Jack Nicholson in the movie A Few Good Men he clearly states a national truth that sometimes, many times, we do not speak of. We need them on that wall of freedom around the free world. There are few who will do it. We need them. Why? Because someone always wants more in the way of territory, prestige, money, power, or whatever else drives those who want to destroy what is in their way of attaining any of those things. Wars are being fought all around the world at this very moment, whenever it is that you will find yourself reading this.

 

The utopian society we have read so much about over the past 50 years of a world without war and peace through appeasement and negotiations will never satisfy the insatiable need to conquer those in the path of despots, of all varieties, all over the world.

 

I have included a poem which first appeared in my first book Moments of Mine: A Collection of Thoughts in Poem, 2009, and has its place today in honor of the decisions which will need to be addressed later today, tomorrow, and as long as there are men who want what another man has.

  

Warless World

 

In a blissful world of warless ways

There would be no loss of blood or pain

But in a blissful world without ways of war

There would be no measure of loss or gain

 

The world as we know it was built with blood

By those who aggressively sought to win

It is filled with blood and tears untold

By those defending their homes to the end

 

A world without war would be different indeed

It would be one person, one land, one thought

There would be no change in governmental philosophy

There would be no way change would be bought

 

A world without war would surely be grand

To the wife who called her man brave

But a world without war would be too high priced

For the vanquished, the defeated, the enslaved

 

To resolve the wrongs created by greed

The warless world cannot exist

For the perpetrators of life’s raging wrongs

Would perpetually, permanently, persist

 

The world at war is a balancing blade

Engaging the world’s lands to comprehend

That a world at war is brutally inhumane

So hopefully the wars will never begin

 

Just know that the warless world of appeasement

Is one fought by those with words alone

But war of change and global rearrangement

Is fought by warriors whose skills have been honed

 

4/20/09

JMW

_______________________________________________

Another Election Cycle Call to Think

 

This first appeared on my website blog on July 21st, 2010.

Today is July 21st, 2010, one day past the last Democratic Primary and Republican Primary elections. It was the day to choose which candidate is allowed to represent each party in their given field of interest in the General Election of November. Those fields include races for state representation of our views in both local and national concerns. It was easily seen if you squinted through the reflective glare of aluminum road-side election sings for each candidate. It was the day we were able to choose. Yesterday was the day.

 

Today is the day we are either happy with our choices or we are concerned about how the choices of others will affect our lives. It always surprises me to see how few registered voters turn out to make these choices. For that matter, it always surprises me to see how few eligible voters actually register to vote. I won’t attempt to report the numbers but I will direct you to the website of the U.S. Census Bureau for the most accurate data available. I imagine it will surprise you as well.

 

Why so much voter apathy is unclear but voter uncertainty and a gradual erosion of trust in the process has much to do with it I think. There are checks and balances in place that are not being used to their optimal effectiveness. These checks and balances include many ingredients of an informed and motivated democratic republic. We simply need to know the truth about daily decisions, both locally and nationally, that truly affect our lives in the most personal ways. We need to be able to trust the information process in particular. Unfortunately our long time trusted information outlets are no longer able to deliver a message of what decisions are made and how they truly affect us. Deliberate or not, the messages are becoming less and less believable to a discerning and educated population. The job is not being done.

 

These thoughts led to the following poem, done yesterday, about what I think the issue is. I have served in the fourth estate myself and have had the opportunity to interview those in the process of government. At some point in the past, I can’t pinpoint exactly when, the process changed into an Orwellian chapter of our republic and I find it disturbing. The following poem is meant for you to read and enjoy. It is also meant to be a call to think and discern rather than be fed what others want you to believe about current events and how they affect your life.

 

 

The Fourth Estate

 

Officially there are only three

On the governmental power tree

Executive, Legislative, and Judicial

As you can see there are plainly only three

 

These three keep government running

Two will say almost anything to keep returning

Every six or four or two years while the other is secured for life

As you can see the election cycle is stunning

 

But there are truly four legs to the table

And until lately this system was very stable

Not elected but trained as writers

Who must pass tests to show themselves able

 

The job of the fourth is to watch over the three

To show we readers what we are unable to see

The good, the bad, of the economy and more

But recently their words and other’s actions don’t agree

 

Without someone to tell us the truth of the day

We have no way to know what our votes should say

Each two years as we all go to the polls

We have no way to know who must leave or stay

 

It is a sad day in this land when the truth is twisted

To keep those in power from being resisted

It is a sad day when those who are not elected

Get to say whose voice is spoken and persisted

 

It is even sadder that we all watch and read news

From those writers hypnotized by administration views

Never saying what the consequences could possibly be

As they choose to pass pure fabrications to us as news

 

Awake and witness the table’s fall to the floor

Because there is simply no longer a leg number four

 

7/20/10

JMW

 

 

 

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Fatherhood

 

Father’s Day 2012 is tomorrow. It is a day when we can pay our honor to the fathers of our lives. They served out country in many ways. They worked when they didn’t feel like it to support the family. They took trips to places they may not have wanted to go because the family wanted to visit. They kept the exterior of the house presentable by mowing the lawn, trimming the shrubs, racking the leaves, painting the house, and patching the roof. It was a tireless job with no accolades because that was the job. However, the biggest job was to watch over the family for its safety, security, and future. They walked downstairs in their skivvies to make sure the noise they heard was truly only the cat. They made sure there was gas in the cars, air in the tires, the oil was changed, and everything else was operational. They watched for disruptions in the daily activities of the family. They watched with a keen eye and seemed to know what was going on in all aspects of our family’s life. The job was to watch, protect, secure, and encourage the rest of us to do the same.

 

The jobs of the mother and the father in a family are similar in many ways but not in every way. While the mother nests and loves to cook the meals and keep everything functioning at top efficiency in the home the father is gone more than he is home. He is hunting the resources to secure the family stability.

 

I remember as a child trips I made with my father when he was on the hunt for our family stability. I didn’t see it as that then, but, now from many years away, my vision has cleared. I remember being thrilled if I saw him in the stands during a baseball or football game…watching me. I remember the few times we were able to actually play in the yard together and how I always wanted to impress him with my fielding ability with a baseball glove or with my speed…because I knew he was watching me. I always remembered his presence and the familiar feeling I was in his site. I knew he would be there for me if I needed him even if I could not see him because I knew he could see me from a vantage point I could not find. He was watching and I knew it.

 

Watching me turned into a lifetime duty. He watched me date and wanted to meet the girls. He watched me find friends and wanted to meet them and see their character. Sometimes he missed the mark on that but still cared and tried to convince me of the difficulties bad friends would lead to. He watched me through middle school, high school, and would have watched me through my military years if he could have. He watched me marry and raise a family. He watched my children grow and know him as I did. He always watched and was nearby and willing to help in any way he could. I truly miss him now. He died in 2002.

 

Love and honor your father and the tireless ways they watch over you and your family. They may have seemed superhuman while growing up but they are, after all, mortal men who will not last but a while. But, while here and near you…they watch.

 

Fatherhood

 

I waited and watched

As my wife writhed in childbirth pains

I held her hand and gave her ice

I could do nothing really more than watch

Until the event had passed and my child was born

Then I watched as he was cleaned and weighed

And returned to the arms of his Mom

And I watched as their eyes met for the first time

It was an electric moment in time

Later while playing on the floor with my son

Enticing him to roll over, sweet-talking him to crawl

Coaxing him to lift himself up and helping him take his first step

I watched with the joy of a father

Later while playing ball in the house then outside

Persuading him to roll it then throw it then catch it

I watched with the joy of a father

Later while guiding his first attempt on a bike

I coached him to stay balanced and then to peddle

I begged him to not hit a bush or a tree

Then I watched as he was off and gone on his own

I put him in a pool and taught him to swim

One stoke, two strokes and the method was learned

He floated and swam for his very first time

I watched him with the joy of a father

I saw his first swing from a tree, his first swing of a bat

His first notes sung aloud, his first talk to a crowd

I saw his very first date while driving them around

He was growing and I watched with the joy of a father

We were soon off in a car to teach him how to drive

He weaved and jumped and stalled and started again

He soon mastered the process and was off on his own

And I watched with the joy of a father

He soon walked across the stage of a leading university

Wearing the experience so well deserved

He spoke with friends and family of his accomplishments

And he was soon off on his own for good

I watched it unfold before my eyes

And I could hear what my father had said to me

“It goes by so fast it is hard to believe

But it is gone before you know it”

I watched it happen just as his words described

Now I watch as his children begin the cycle for my son

I now watch him watch his own children

I watch as I always have but now from a distance

I watch and wonder… where has the time has gone

 

5/19/12

JMW

  

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Another Election Cycle

 

It is the 11th of June, 2012. How we got here so fast I will never know. I wanted to share a piece written during the 2004 election cycle between George W. Bush and John Kerry. It seems only a few weeks ago. However, much has changed. Many lives have been spent in the sands of the Middle East. Many tears have been shed for their loss. We have suffered financially as a nation and, more importantly, at home. We have been through the distasteful election cycle of 2008 and continue to reel as a result. But, here we are at the outset of another bitterly contested Presidential election cycle and we face the same divisive rhetoric as we have since…well…I can’t put a finger on when things changed but I’ll bet you have a particular election in mind that it did. The poem below is just a comment of mine on things that are and things that should change. I have put this out into the world before…it is not new. It is, however, still an issue we need to address before we can move forward as a nation, as a people, and as individuals. Enjoy the poem and pass it along if you agree with the sentiment it explores.  

Hues of Reds and Blues

 

The national pitch of politics

Bodes ill for the times to come

Some residing in the blue states

While the reds are home to some

 

There is evil in the banter

So much hostility in the tone

I fear the opposing viewpoints

Will leave America all alone

 

We must recognize the differences

In what hue each state takes

Is controlled by the disposition

Of the statements politicians make

 

Tone down the seething rhetoric

For what the other states believe

If an amicable coexistence

Is what we from this point receive

 

We all call ourselves Americans

Under one flag we all now live

But if that is to continue

We must all learn how to forgive

 

3/3/05

JMW

_________________________________________________________________

My Grandfather, Home, and Table Manners

 

My extended family had lived in the old house, as I said earlier, for many years. During that time my grandfather served as first Tax Commissioner then Treasurer of Cobb County for nearly 47 years. He was a politician who always said the right thing with wit and flare. He was to me a charm. However, he was a southerner of the old school. Although I never heard the “N” word come from his mouth and I never viewed him, then, or now, as anything other than fair to other people, he did, however, have quirks.

          One such quirk surrounded our yard man and handy man named Homer. This quirk was more generational than simply an individual quirk but a quirk nonetheless. My grandfather was born in 1883 and brought a lot of baggage in through the generational window. Anyway, Homer was around on weekends and some weekdays doing odd jobs and working sometimes in the garden and sometimes in the yard. He was a well-known figure to our family and to me. I remember being at Homer’s house talking with his family and playing with their dog. This was as I was growing up in the fifties and sixties and all the social issues that evolutionary trail entails even to an adult. I was just a kid.

          As I was saying, my grandfather had a quirk. Our family noon meal was always an event with meat and vegetables and all you could ask of a meal. It involved the kitchen table, and always wearing a shirt and having clean hands. But dinner ritual, the noon meal, never involved Homer being seated at our kitchen table. He was relegated to the picnic table near the edge of the lot in back. We talked there often at lunch because sometimes, at his protest, I would eat with him. I always found it strange until I grew older and memories of my conversations with Homer finally came home.

          Rather than talk about the negative nature of these events I will say that my grandfather did his best to teach me honor, trust, loyalty, and a good work ethic. His idea was not to paint a picture of racism in the old south at the apex of the civil rights movement in our county but to paint a picture of humanity, no matter how separated by race or gender, not of hatred. I learned a lot from him. He was another father figure in my life that is now often spoken of with my family and my friends. His influence on me was deep and impactful. I hope you enjoyed the same from your grandfather and I hope if you are a grandfather now that you are doing your best to paint pictures people want to see and talk positively about later in life.

          This is about my grandfather’s friend Homer, home, and table manners. 

 

 

Table Manners

 

Homer was leisurely eating

At the back-yard picnic table

I sat down with my plate to eat

But he said I was not able

 

It’s just not right was his reply

To my question as to why

I wondered why he felt that way

As I walked away with a startled sigh

 

I went back inside my house

To get the reason I was sent away

Just eat inside with us

Is what my grandmother had to say

 

I often wondered to myself

If homer does so much around here

I wondered for a long time

What did Homer have to fear

 

Now with years behind me

I finally know what was going on

I now can see what Homer saw

Me at his table cost too many groans

 

I knew Homer as a man of honor

But the problem that he faced

I now know with years behind me

Our picnic problem was his race

 

5/11/04

JMW

 

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A Father for Life

 

I loved my father, my dad, my daddy. That is what I called him until the last time I saw him alive. He was a patient in Kennestone Hospital in Marietta, Georgia at that time in 2002. He would be moved into an assisted living facility only to die the first night he was there. My wife and sisters and I met around his bed the next morning paying our respects to him and for what kind of person he was. I was not sure then, nor am I now, that my sisters shared the same relationship with him as I did. He was a kind man with a gregarious sense of humor and a flare for telling stories of his youth. I enjoyed them all.

 

He was raised in Cobb County and hardly ever left. He did spend a year or so in Buffalo, New York, during WWII building B-29 aircraft for Bell Aircraft Company. He also spent time in Wichita, Kansas during the same conflict doing the same thing. It was a job he enjoyed and spoke of often during his life. He was proud of his participation in the war in this capacity. He was always listed as 4-F due to asthma. Ironically it was complications due to leukemia, pneumonia, and asthma that finally overtook him. He regretted leaving the aircraft industry and regretted never having been able to serve in the military. I truly think his life, and mine, would have been different if he had not been listed as 4-F.

 

When he returned to Marietta after the war he, after turning down a job to stay with Bell Aircraft, took a job as a milk man with Foremost Dairies. While with them he saved enough money to open his first grocery store. He would later add 5 more but without the necessary business acumen or the family to support him his business finally collapsed from lack of proper care. He was in the grocery business before 24-hour a day Kroger or Wal-Marts were on every corner. He did however have a few innovations to his grocery theme. He had a meat cutting shop, a bakery, and a fish bait shop. It was all just a wonderful thing to see for a 10-year-old boy. To me he could lift any weight, be on the same level with anyone he spoke with, and could do anything he wanted if given the opportunity. I loved him and I called him daddy. I still do.

 

He taught me kindness, love, the importance of family, and that I am loved as I love. I continue to be hounded by the love thing with my sisters. He was very close to his and I could not be more distant from mine as he was close to his. He also gave me a wonderful example of hard work that I have not employed in my work life as fervently as I should have. He was a wonderfully loving man. I will work on my relationship with my sisters because that is what he would want me to do now at this late juncture in my life.

 

Everyone has limitations and my dad was no different. He had very little formal education so was unable to give me the thirst for education that I had for sports. I later developed the thirst for education on my own. He was so proud that his son had accomplished something he thought was so great…a college education. I will honor him with that because I truly wanted him to be proud of me. He was my daddy.

 

Father for Life

 

The one special gift

For a man is his son

One look on his face

A man’s heart is won

 

The gift is a wonder

Enjoyed every day of every year

Instilling faith and wisdom

Teaching courage and fear

 

But a misplaced gift

Brings joy to no one

Be it a material thing

Or a father’s son

 

Keep them close to your heart

Keep them part of your life

Show them your love

By loving your wife

 

It is a joy to your soul

Enjoyed every day of your life

And remember, remember

You’re a father for life

 

8/9/06

JMW

 

__________________________________________________

Life's Vibrations

 

This is Memorial Day 2012. It is a day of remembrance of those who have fallen in military service to our Nation.  We enjoy the blessings of freedom we so often take for granted through their sacrifice. It is a day to honor their choice to serve and expend themselves for each of us. We owe them a great debt of gratitude for what they did on our behalf. It was their choice to do so.

 

Another aspect of the choices we make is sometimes our choices create issues we simply can’t live past. As I write this I think of all the recent high school and college graduates who are celebrating their accomplishments. That in itself is a good thing but it can be twisted into choices made under the influence of negativity and a sense of numbness to the ramifications to their actions. I can assure you that their actions will have long and sometimes bitter consequences. I suffer from this myself and I am here to tell you they are always near and always raising their ugly heads for me, and anyone near me, to see. They are a blight on an otherwise beautifully woven tapestry that God has provided me.

 

Good choices bring a lifetime of blessings in the form of who we are, who our children have become, and what each of us has accomplished to the betterment of our community and our own lives. Bad choices erode the memory of the good things accomplished. We seem to be oblivious to the ramifications of causing pain to God and our family for a temporary enjoyment of temptations. Then we wonder why we are suffering in life from anxiety, depression, and disconnection to what we want to be able to do. Our past choices get in our way. I choose today to move into the next days of summer and try to block out the things my Father has been so gracious to forgive me of. I will try to do better today and tomorrow in making my choices. However, although I am forgiven of my bad choices I can never be absolved of their effect. Oh, to be able to go back and choose again and choose a better route. I can today and everyday hereafter and pray to be able to do so. May your summer be days of good choices and positive vibrations through your life.

 

 

Vibrations

 

We have sinned

We do sin

And for those we can be forgiven

If we but simply ask

But each sin of our past

And each sin of ttoday

All have their unique vibrations

They ripple through life

Travelling in all directions

Each touching aspects of our day

Each touching aspects of our life

Each touching aspects of the lives of others

These rippling rings never stop

When one stops two move forward

When two stop four moves forward

These rippling rings are life’s true sting

Of our forgiven sins

Of our forgettable past

The price we pay even though forgiven

There are consequences to actions

There are consequences to our inaction

To the many things we have done

To the many things we have not done

Whether rippling rings of righteousness

Or the heaving rings of regret  

The vibrations persist and move forward

Long after we are gone

Long after we are forgotten

Long after their impact is seen in the future

Whether from a joyful thing

Or something sad

While forgiveness is good

It is best to know

Our ripples in the lives of those we know

Each so unique to only our behavior

Have made someone happy or glad

Have made someone successful

Have made their ripples good

Have made their vibrations positive

Our vibrations are due to our choices alone

We own them whether good or bad

 

1/19/12

JMW

 

__________________________________________________

Who Do You Trust?

America is undoubtedly the best place in the world to live. If you doubt this ask any of the millions of people who are here illegally and constantly face incarceration and deportment to their former locals. They will tell you a different story than the friend who grew up down the street. We have far more opportunity to grow financially, physically, or spiritually than those who live almost anywhere else on the globe. Just look around the room you are in right now and reflect on the prosperity you see. Is it exactly like you want it to be? The answer is probably no. Can it be improved on? Sure. But, look around the room. Would you swap it for anything in 90% of the rest of the world? Again, the answer is probably no.

 

However, we do have problems. Our biggest problem, I think, over the last 25 to 30 years is too much opportunity. There has not been a level playing field for the nation’s financial institutions and they just could not help themselves but to loot the bank and our people. They could not stop themselves from disgracing the longstanding integrity enjoyed by the financial institutions of our country. They could not stop themselves from robbing our future generations of the same opportunity to succeed that they enjoyed 25 to 30 years ago. It has been disgraceful.

 

Another aspect of the disgrace exhibited was the failure of the American press from screaming from the rooftops of every newspaper office in the land to tell us what was being done in the name of capitalism in this country. We have been raped and left with no avenue of recourse but to pay for the privilege of having been raped by those who were supposed to be trustworthy men with a high degree of integrity. It has been disgraceful.

 

The last piece in Until Today is regarding the failed banking and mortgage industries in our country. There has been much said about this insult to our futures and I can add little else to what already stands as record. I will lead you to three recent films which in different ways say the same thing about this collapse of honesty and integrity in these institutions. The three films are Too Big to Fail, Margin Call, and the documentary style film of Inside Job. They are all good and any of the three tell more than our nation’s press told us of the issues in 25 to 30 years. It has all been so disgraceful. It has all been a true blight on the otherwise beautiful landscape of America. I hope you enjoy the poem.

 

Pillaged

 

A pitiless apathetic forceful wind

Howls through our financial fidelity

Unseen, unheard, we are unaware

Of the lost integrity of a financial fraternity

 

But fortunes are made by the unscrupulous

Their millions now securely vaulted

With homes in the Hamptons and Park Avenue

While our pillaged America stands defaulted

 

They have leveraged our nation’s future

On worthless overexposed subprime debt

Creating in the common man a skeptical mind

Leading our pillaged America to hedge all financial bets

 

The dishonesty displayed by those who we trusted

Feeds on the carcass of our dying democracy

They will destroy us, bury us, and lead us astray

And replace our government with a financial aristocracy

 

We stand now at the precipice of what course to take

As the wind continues to howl and profits grow

For the Wall Street Barons with finery unsurpassed

While the common man fails and has no place to go

 

The pillager purges and mines our fortunes

As we Americans watch with our lives defaced

And the pillager still plunders markets entrusted with

Until we are all, even them, financially disgraced

 

The system still works is what we so often hear

But only if we return to where this all started

But for now most of our American families

Are in default, defeated, and bitterly broken hearted

 

Who do we trust from this day forward

With retirement funds on which we depend

This question is best served to our elected officials

Who must regulate what we expect in the end

 

The time has come now after 30 plus years

Of unchecked capitalism at its worst

For fiduciary investment from those we should trust

To put their customers and not their profits first

 

1/17/12

JMW

___________________________________________________

Motherhood 

Mother’s Day is swiftly approaching and I once again find myself exhausted by what I see as the mother’s duties in our families. Of course, I’m unable to speak to the duties of all mothers but I can speak to what I have seen as the duties of the mother in our family. They are extensive and invaluable to the completion of just one day, let alone the seven days of a week, the 30 days of a month, the 365 days of a year, or a lifetime. I want to show you what a normal mother’s day looks like for a mother with a family of five grown children with, what will soon be, ten grandchildren. As I said earlier, it is exhausting to watch.

The day begins at 6:45 AM. Not 6:35 or even 6:46 but precisely 6:45 AM. She has her morning coffee waiting for her on her bathroom counter. She showers, brings herself into focus with her morning application of various creams, tonics, and potions, and readies herself for her day which includes a home lunch awaiting her in the kitchen on her way out the door. She will then sit at her desk and staff an 800 bed hospital with the nursing needs for the following days of the week and upcoming weekend. It is exhausting work.

This day allows her the opportunity to spend time with her youngest grandchild who is visiting, along with his mom, from their home in Seattle. The mother of the story smiles, plays, and laughs with our cherished visitors from the west coast and bids them a good day until she returns at around 5:30 PM.

The day includes text messages from her oldest daughter regarding the difficulties of her laborious last days of a pregnancy with her fifth child and all the traumas of her day as a teacher. Not just any teacher, but a teacher of severely autistic children. The conversation lasts long enough for a little respite for them both and then it is off to the classroom activities for the daughter and the phones again for the hospital nurses.  

Not long after the text conversation with the daughter is a phone call from the middle son. He has just taken over as store manager for a Sears Department Store in Brunswick Georgia. It is his second day on his new job. He and his wife are suffering from the stress of a depreciating housing market and the difficulty in selling their home in Jacksonville Florida. The sale would allow relocating his wife and daughter to Brunswick which is over a hundred miles from Jacksonville. Without being able to completely resolve all his issues she must return to the nurses and providing care for the patients.

Not long after the conversation with the middle son is a phone call from the visiting daughter with the sound of our small guest laughing and playing in the background with a blow-by-blow description of the day she is missing with her grandchild on behalf of the hospital nurses.

Not long after the conversation with the visiting daughter comes a call from the youngest son. He is stressed over his upcoming weekend’s trip to Denver for his interview for a new job. He is a jet mechanic. His abbreviated title to the world is A&P, which stands for Airframe and Powerplant mechanic. He is stressed that his girlfriend, who lives, you guessed it, in Denver, and he had an argument the night before and he is looking for the calming effect only his mother can provide. One more challenging telephone call completed and back to the nurses.

This day will not bring a call from the oldest son of our family because he is serving as a Major in the Marine Corp in Afghanistan. This is his third tour of duty in the 10 year old war. He and his wife and three little girls live in San Diego. He will, as I said, not be calling today. However, that does not absolve the mother of the story from worry about his condition or his safety. The day does not allow for too much consideration because the hospital still needs its nurses.  

Not long after all the chaos of the day is completed and she is home there is dinner for the household to provide. It will be nutritional and very good tasting because she is an excellent cook. Her cooking ability has developed over many years of providing these tasty meals for her family. Her cooking acumen has been honed and is still used for what she still feels is a house full of people. She is still cooking as though everyone is still at home. However, it makes for great left overs.  

The relationship’s she has with her grown children is not a relationship that is a given and granted to all. It is earned over a lifetime’s service to them all. It is earned through many, many hours of care, concern, counseling and worry about their decisions and choices. This has been a brief look at a current day in the life of this mother. The following is a look at what days gone by have been like to earn the relationships I just described. It is only an estimate.

 

          Diapers - 70,000 – an average of 7,000 per year per child x 2 years

          Bottles – 27,375 – an average of 5 bottles per day per child x 2.5 years

                         18,250 – an average of 5 bottles per day per child x 2 years

           Naps – 7,300 – an average of 2 naps per day per child x 2 years

           First Days of School – 78 first days of school from K-16 through college

           Doctor Visits – School Visits (Counseling, Conferences, Take and Pickup)

           Extracurricular Activities (Baseball, basketball, Football, Softball,

                   Track, Cheerleading, Clubs, Plays, PTA, Fund Raising Projects, etc.

                   Etc., Etc.)

           Consecutive Years of Someone Being in High School = 17

           Graduated from Post-Secondary Schools = 4

           Currently Attempting to Complete = 1

 

This type of activity can only be driven by something more powerful than the human body can possibly have the energy for. The following bible verse closely approximates what I am referring to:

 

Romans 12: 9 – 13 – Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.

 

As I said, the type of relationship she enjoys with her grown children and the involvement that represents from each of them is earned. It is exhausting. Now looking back from the north side of 60 I see this job of being a mother very differently than I did many years ago. She has danced and darted around these people like a honey bee pollinating everything in her path while she, I know, looks at my involvement in all of this like that of a home-breed, house-bound tom cat wandering around the neighborhood doing as he pleases.

 

The job and duties of a mother are, as I said earlier, exhausting. This is a look at one mother in the world of mothers. This is the mother in our family and I love her dearly. Tell your mother if you still can how much you love her and appreciate all she does and has done for you.

 

 The following poem was written with my beautiful bride in mind. I hope you enjoy it.

 

 Motherhood

 As I looked with joy at your spotless face

I knew the pain was worth the wait

I knew my life would never be the same

I knew I loved you more…

More than I had ever loved anything before

I knew the joy my mother once knew

I loved you because I was your mother

I knew a love like no other

As I watched your first staggered steps

I knew the floor was no longer for you

I knew my life would never be the same

I knew you would grow and find your balance one day

And I knew your need for me would then forever change

I knew the thoughts my mother once thought

I knew the things to you I had so diligently taught

I knew they would soon be a smaller part of what you knew

I knew these things because I was your mother

A love in life so much different from all others

As I watched you wave and were off to school

I knew the fears my mother once feared

How would you deal with the long days in school

Who would you find to be your friends

Who would help you when you needed the right thing to say

Who would love you as I had loved you

I knew these fears because I was your mother

Through a keen intuitive awareness like no other… I knew

I knew through the pain of watching you grow into adolescents

I loved you through pimples and pathway perils

I loved you through the drama of middle school

I loved you through the judgments of high school

I loved you as you were choosing your life’s mate

And I loved you when you were confused with your life’s direction

I loved you because I am your mother

I still love you today because you are a part of my soul

I love you now as my mother still loves me

And I now know how deep that love for me is

Because I am your mother as she is mine

Now the next step in life as a mother has come

I now love your children as I have always loved you

I now know what my mother knew

I know that your children make my life complete

I know this because I am your mother

And I see you in your children as my mother saw you

I know this because I too am now a grandmother

Still your one and only loving mother

Always linked by my love for you

Always loving you as my spotless faced child

I always will… because I am your mother

A love in life like no other

4/28/12

JMW

________________________________________________________

The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book entitled Until Today: Stories and Poems on Life as I Know It which is due out the summer of 2012. I hope you enjoy the poems.

Since Christmas was our point of demarcation for Until Today: Stories and Poems on Life as I Know It lets move to more thoughts of the season. Not only is the Christmas Season a point of great joy, it is also a point of great frustration to many as well. It is a spot pointed to on life’s tapestry and scarred with hypocrisy. In fact, for many nonbelievers in the world, it is the very thing that drives them farther and farther from the port of salvation of their souls.

Even to believers it is clear to see disconnection between the virtues of what the season means and the startling reality to which it has eroded. The nonbeliever sees pain in the world. They see injustice in the world. They see self absorption in the world. They wonder why, or how, the Christian community continues to show itself as virtuous in the face of such hypocrisy. This position makes it very difficult for the nonbeliever to become open to any conversation on the subject thereby excluding themselves from any formal study of the Bible at all. It is, as the following poem aptly describes, the Christmas conundrum. How we relieve the Christian community from this scar is up to each individual member of the community. It is in fact our duty.

The point of this view is that if nonbelievers are more apt to not engage in discussion due to hypercritic actions then we need to change our actions to more closely resemble what we profess to believe. It is up to each of us. It is up to each of us independently to be the Fifth Gospel of the Bible because we may just be the only part of the Bible that a nonbeliever will ever read. It is a weighty position and another aspect of the Christmas conundrum.  

The following two of poems will attempt to show in another form what I am referring to. I hope you see the meaning and share it with those around you in many ways. Share the joy of the Christmas Season as a point in the year to stop and reflect on what exactly we have been given as believers. Share the Christmas Season as evangelism’s ground zero in the war that rages between the eternally opposing forces we face daily. Share the Christmas Season to be an honest reflection of your true nature and not simply a seasonal costume. I will pray for you, as I hope you will pray for me, to act accordingly. Enjoy the poems.

 

 

 Christmas Conundrum

 

Christians await the seasonal celebration

Veiled in a world of hypnotic hypocrisy

We believe in the actual reason for the season

Yet live in an increasingly un-Christian democracy

 

We say we believe and attempt to abide

In obedience and faith in who we hope we are

We try to live life as a worthy example

Of life lived under the rule of a Bethlehem star

 

We say love your neighbor and don’t covet his wife

We say turn the other cheek to aggressive behavior

We say loving one another is the number one rule

Yet flinch when asked questions regarding our Savior

 

We say peace, love, and joy throughout the world

We say it is better to give than it is to receive

We say outreach and fellowship are best at this time

Yet do our actions say that we truly believe

 

We say words like honor, integrity, and truth

We say happiness is found only by looking within

We say glad tidings to all and to all a good night

Yet we don’t know where or when to begin

 

The Christmas Season brings a golden opportunity

To make right what once was not wrong

To finally spend time with family and friends

No matter how short the time or how long

 

To know that the season is all about giving

To a friend, to a son, to a daughter, to a wife

And remembering the gift set aside for us all

For the Son gave to all the gift of his life

 

12/22/08

JMW

 

 Time For Reflection

 

The Christmas Season

Is here again

Buy this, buy that

And so it begins

 

Decorations are placed

All through the house

There is much to do

For myself and my wife

 

Holiday parties

Fill the end of the year

When our weight increases

We know Christmas is near

 

Activity swirls

Around each family we know

In fact we know the season

By the places we go

 

To the mall, to tree lightings

To the houses of friends

With cards and packages

To the post office to send

 

All of these things

Are how we know the season

But none of these things

Are the season’s reason

 

Without the birth of The Lamb

In a distant manger

The Christmas Season

Would be a stranger

 

12/12/02

JMW

 

 

 

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Talk of the Day – It’s a Miracle!

Do you remember where you were on February 22nd, 1980? I do. Many people do. That is the day Al Michaels of NBC Sports delivered into the American lexicon “do you believe in miracles?” as the US Olympic Hockey Team defeated the undefeatable Soviet Union Team in Lake Placid, New York. Many hockey fans around the world thought Al Michaels was right…it was a miracle.

 

We used the phrase “it’s a miracle” long before February 22nd, 1980, of course, and we will use it long after you read this today. It is used many times each day as both a jocular comment to friends and as a pious comment from the world’s clergy toward all unexplainable events. We have become desensitized to the phrase. It is simply another phrase used in our language just as “nice day today” or “that’s a wakeup call” or, you fill in the blank _______. The phrase “it’s a miracle” has lost some, if not all, of its oomph. It has become passé if not meaningless altogether to the listener.

 

During the ministry of Jesus He performed miracles of many kinds. They were seen by many and used as tools to provide proof of His status. His apostles held the power themselves after Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection in order to call attention to Christ’s soul-saving power and His relationship with God. There was no mistake in recognizing the incidences as what they were…miracles. Today, however, we have a tendency to explain away the unexplainable through logic, science, or simply coincidence.

 

What exactly am I saying? Are all unexplainable successes in life to be viewed as miraculous? No. Some things do just work themselves out. However, each and every person reading this today can look back and see something in their past that is, in fact, unexplainable. We should need to look no farther back than our own birth or the birth of our own children. However, if we need more evidence, look into the night sky and witness the universe in its symmetry and collective cohesiveness. We can also look into the depths of the sea where there is no discernable light but the fish themselves who glow to create their own light. Or, we can simply look at the person to our right or to our left and know that many wonderfully unexplained events in their life, just as in our own, have transformed them in some way to make them and each of us what we are today.

 

Miracles are, in fact, all around us to see and to marvel at. A conversation with a friend led me to write this today. Our conversation reaffirmed to me the importance of miracles around us and our acknowledgment of them. Some things cannot be explained away through logic, science, or coincidence. They just can’t. I challenge each of you to explain away the event you thought of earlier that you deemed miraculous in your past. With that thought I ask that you read and enjoy a poem from the past called It’s a Miracle.

 

It’s a Miracle

Miracles are all around us

But do we agree on what they are

We all agree on childbirth

But what about the light of a star

 

We all know that the mountains

Are miraculous in themselves

But can we agree on the written word

And their ideas upon our shelves

 

We can probably agree on migration

As a miracle for us to see

And what about a snug cocoon

And the struggle within to be free

 

But some are hard to classify

And put into a miracle vein

Like the devastation of a dreadful drought

And the answered prayer of rain

 

Like the turning of an attitude

Of once a very close friend

Or an episode favorably resolved

When you prayed for a favorable end

 

Miracles are all around us

Sometimes they are hard to see

But the sight of them we know

When they happen to you or me

 4/15/04

JMW

 

 

 

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Talk of the Day – Things Were Different Then

 

I am a very lucky guy. Why? Because I now stand on the other side of the 21st century with some great family traditions received from the 19th century. That makes me a very lucky guy indeed.

 

The house I grew up in was the home where my grandmother and grandfather raised their family and where my mom and dad raised theirs. When my oldest sister married and delivered her first son she and her family moved in for a brief stay making the house home to its fourth generation of the same family.

 

The house was, and still is, located 2 and ½ miles from downtown Marietta, known locally as the Square. It was there that during the summer I could take a dollar bill, see two movies at the Strand Theater, have a hot dog and a coke, and have change left over for caramel popcorn at the store next door. I could then walk across the square to the Cobb County Court House and visit my grandfather at his office. He was in the process then of serving what would become 47 years of service as the county Treasurer. His secretary, Miss Peggy, and I would sit and chat about the movie I had seen and if I was lucky it was court day and I could sit in and listen to the debates of those involved in the cases. Things were different then.

 

The house was new when my grandparents moved in. It had a fireplace in every room. They were all, however, systematically changed over time to first coal, then to natural gas. It was still cold in the winter but with blankets it was not an issue. The kitchen had a pot bellied coal stove for heat and for cooking. I have a scar on my upper right forearm where I fell into the stove and it burned and branded me for life. It was hot in the summer with no air conditioning but with the 7 foot windows open and the screen doors there was always a breeze through the house. At least I thought there was before I had experienced air conditioning for the first time on a regular basis. Oh yeah, and we only had one bathroom and I really never thought anything was wrong with that. Even with all the people in the house. Things were different then.  

 

Summer lunches were called dinner and dinner was called supper. Each had food provided by our property in some way. There was the half acre garden behind the house for vegetables and an apple tree for pies and grape vines for jelly. There were pigs for…well… I just know we had a smoke house as well and there was meat in it. There was a milk cow and I can remember churning butter in the kitchen. There were many chickens for eggs, and for Sunday lunch. My grandmother or grandfather would take the ring to the lott, where the chickens, pigs, and cow was, and take the chicken’s head off. My grandmother would then pluck the chicken, cook it, and eat it for dinner, which was lunch. Things were different then.

 

Summer afternoons I would ready myself for my 2 mile walk to baseball practice or a game at Perry Parham Field. The walk wasn’t bad. Generally my friends and I would walk the railroad tracks across the street. We followed the tracks around the curve and then down the long straight over the bridge crossing South Cobb Drive. When a train came we would jump to the side and wave, especially if it was a passenger train. We could almost touch the people in the cars as they passed. From the bridge it was only a little more until we were all able to stop and throw rocks through the windows of the abandoned Glover Manufacturing Plant which was almost entirely made of glass. At least that is how it appeared to a rock thrower. They used to make trains there so it was a long, tall building with railroad tracks running into it and out the other end. Then on to the field for practice and the walk home again afterward. Sometimes the return trip was near or past dark. If it got too dark I could stop at the Whorley’s house,  The Marietta Lumber Company, Mr. Brown’s store, the Spur gas station, Owen’s Flower Shop, the Brown’s house, the Britton’s house, or the Mulkey’s for help. The trip was familiar and never a threat to my safety. Things were very different then.

 

At night my family would all watch the same television in one room – together. I don’t know how we survived. My sister closest to my age would be practicing her clarinet disrupting the mojo of Andy and Barney or the Beaver. We would awake the next morning to the one bathroom and also breakfast. We had breakfast every day. It was always scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. And yes, you know where most of the breakfast came from. Things were different then.

 

I say all this because we have lost so much in the process of growing and developing as a nation and as people. We have somehow lost each other. We find ourselves floating unmoored on the lake of life and we wonder why things have changed so much. Things were different when I grew up.

 

Enjoy the new poem What Have We Done? and ask yourself if your life has changed too much to recognize.

 

 

What Have We Done?

 

Years ago when times were different

We had family to share our good times and bad

We all had precious little else

When we were joyful, or jobless, or sad

There were parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts

Living life with our children and children of theirs

The work was shared and diligently engaged and enjoyed

Because they were all family and all family heirs 

The children grew and later married

Raising their family two rooms down the hall

Now sadly the family who once shared the home

Is simply a likeness hanging proudly on the wall 

The grand child’s cries are heard when visiting

We see them play games upon a field

When once the play was with the grandparents

It is now with others and we sadly just yield

Growing old was once a reward

Of the life given and shared for years

Now at the end we are discarded, and forgotten

Living life with strangers to see our sadness and tears 

The security of our extended family homes

And growing old while rocking on our deck

And feeling the warm embrace of loving conversation

Has been replaced by a Social Security check

If we have been lucky enough to prosper in life

We live in well equipped and maintained facilities

But so many times and now so often we live

With family-heirloom seeking greed and hostilities 

We can change the course of our next generation

By simply making family unity and extension the norm

Or sadly the cherished generation we have raised

Will live in sad, soft green, and lonely, affordable dorms

 

9/7/10

JMW

 

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Talk of the Day – Attrition

At one time in my past I found myself a passenger on commercial jets more often than I ever thought I would. Something about sitting next to someone in the cabin of an aircraft brings out one of three alternatives: conversation, reading, or a need to sleep. My personal appetite most often was to read. Occasionally, however, I found the taste for conversation. Since my reading was largely historical subjects I found my conversations gravitated toward anything historical.

One flight found me sitting next to a native of the Commonwealth of Virginia. I noted, in my most historical reference I knew of Virginia, that Virginia was home to more of our nation’s Presidents than any other state. In fact, it was the home state of 4 or our first 5 Presidents and 7 or our first 12. All 7 serving their terms before 1850. The only other Virginian serving as President, number 8 from the Commonwealth, was Woodrow Wilson, who held office during WWI. I always found it odd that there were so many prior to the Civil War and only one afterward. My friend on the flight that day said something that struck me as so obvious. He said that the Civil War had taken most of the best and brightest as casualties of war, either by death or physical hardships. As a history buff I knew that 60% of the Civil War’s battles took place within the borders of the state of Virginia but never put the two features together as my traveler had been able to do. It made sense.

We have lost so many of our nation’s best and brightest in defense of it. The Civil War alone took more than 618,000 souls. Throughout our nation’s 235 year history the total cost of American lives lost to war exceed 1,315, 800. While that is a large number indeed, it pales in comparison with the world’s cost. The best, or most legible, figures available on world lives lost can be found at www.rationalrevolution.net. It tells a horrific story of great and tragic loss.

Why do I bring this up on Labor Day weekend at the outset of fall? I have no good reason other than it was pressing me. My love of history compels me to report what history has to say and those are the hard numbers of our cost of freedom here in The USA. How many great leaders have been lost you must ask yourself now. It is like looking at the finite number of seeds in an apple and counting them but never knowing how many trees, or future apples, lie hidden in the seeds you are able to count.

There is more to this story however. Now that we are in the right frame of mind, let’s look at another component to the loss of our best and brightest. I think I am safe in saying we have all heard the saying that the pen is mightier than the sword. How true that is now hits me like the Virginia Presidents issue did many years ago.

The US Supreme Court, on January, 22, 1973, in a vote of 7 to 2, set into motion a true national carnage. Over the next 37 years, only 37 years, our nation lost, according to the Center for Disease Control, 49,551,703 lives at the hands of the 9 Justices’ pens and the signatures of many attending physicians around our country. Legal abortion had arrived with a seemingly insatiable appetite.  

I thought this might be a good weekend to bring this to my blog. It is Labor Day weekend. Many chose not to go through the labor part of the birthing plan. This new poem Nameless Numbers came from this thought this past week. Enjoy it if you can.

 

Nameless Numbers

 

In the wake of our wild-eyed Asian war

We memorialized our fallen on foreign fields

We commemorate their dutiful sacrifice

And the posthumous honor it wields

 

We commissioned a wall of remembrance

Made of provocative reflective marble

We wrote books and stories and worthy songs

All holding them as subjects to marvel

 

They are our lost generation

Their contributions to our land now deprived

Our loss we now pine as a painful scar

Of loved ones when they were alive

 

But our nation has another lost generation

That continues from that time to now

Not lost in war but by the words of a court

Leading to many regretfully furrowed brows

 

Now ten times the number lost on Asian fields

Our nations wound continues to bleed

Treating the lost as no more than a number

Leaving no honor to praise for the bereaved

 

The courts decided by a seven to two vote

Clouding the issues or one’s rights and what’s wrong

The nameless numbers continue to mount

Chronicled in books and stories and song

 

No wall of remembrance or our nation’s honor bestowed

For the millions of our young now betrayed

We simply argue with slogans in our election cycles

While those who can’t argue are lost day after day after day

 

But if they could argue or cast a vote

They would surely reverse their plight

With words or votes or even weapons of war

The lost would surely lead an honorable fight

 

8/30/10

JMW

 

 

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Talk of the Day – The Deep, Dark Sea

 

 “He makes the deep boil like a pot: He makes the sea like a pot of ointment. He leaves a shining wake behind him: One would think the deep had white hair. On Earth there is nothing like him, which is made without fear. He beholds every high thing: He is king over all the children of pride.”

                                                                   Job 41: 31 – 34

 

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with the great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat: Both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up.”

                                                                   2 Peter 3:10

 

Since man first looked upon the sea, man has wanted to cross it and see what is on the other side. Since man first looked into the night sky, man has wondered what there is to see once in the sky. Exploration, in fact, has been the catalyst for determining where we are in relation to everything else we see around us. We have always wanted to seek, knock, and open the doors of understanding. It seems to be our nature.

 

However, while two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered with water to explore, the ocean remains mostly as unexplored as it was when we first wanted to cross to the other side. Meanwhile, the night’s sky has been a much different matter.

 

Sputnik’s successful launch in October of 1957 set into motion, to date, 53 years of exploration. The United States alone has launched into orbit 178 manned space flights in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and STS programs since 1961. The USSR was equally, and possible more, aggressive during the same period of time. Between them there have been 496 people who have reached 50 miles above the earth's surface and the number continues to grow. We have even had 12 men who actually walked on the surface of the moon. It seems to be our nature to explore the unknown.

 

While all this activity was happening above our heads there was far less exploration activity below the ocean’s surface. Not since the 1960 exploration of the Mariana Trench has man been lured to the bottom of the sea. The Mariana Trench, seven miles below the surface, is still the deepest known depth of the ocean. The dive of the specially made Trieste into the Trench remains the only attempt to go that deep. It settled on the bottom and remained there for less than twenty minutes at a depth of 35,810 feet. Conversely, time spent on the International Space Station alone exceeds 3,582 days at a height maintained between 173 and 286 miles above the earth.

 

What lurks at the bottom of our world is not clear. We have not been there nearly long enough to know. Why? Who knows? We do know that the ocean’s surface is vast. It could also be the subterranean cover for the vehicle of God’s ultimate plan for the end of our world as we know it. Lying hidden and undiscovered at the depths of 7 miles or more, in the deep, dark, sea, rests Leviathan. He awaits his marching orders. Unknown to man he is not a threat. He is not real in any sense of our definition. However, chapter 41 of the book of Job tells another story. Read it if you have not in a while. Then contemplate the possibilities. Whose definition of what is real or not really matters to what is actually real anyway. Leviathan awaits God’s command to show himself once more to man. This will be possibly on our last day.

 

Is this simply fiction? You decide. Enjoy the poem Leviathan. It precedes a future longer work to explore this very idea.

  

Leviathan

 

All that is created is part of His plan

We all play our role every woman and man

It is not our destiny to fully understand

But to do whatever that God will demand

 

We are told in the Bible the end will not be the same

It will not come with water but the heat of a flame

If God is unhappy with what we became

He will smite His world of what defiantly remains

 

How will this happen when it is time for the end

Will it be by our own hands as our lands we defend

On what course of our history will all this depend

To what moral depths will the world’s people descend

 

It is said that it will be as a thief in the night

When we hold our children or while turning off a light

When we’re sleeping, eating, or hold our spouse tight

God will do it Himself and show His glorious might

 

The agent of destruction is at this moment roaming free

He hides in the depths of our unexplored seas

Eight miles to ten miles cause a deep diver’s unease

And for this reason he lives where no one sees

 

God tells His story in Job forty one to the end

Of the creature Leviathan living untouched by the wind

Untamed by man with his life so easy to defend

God created Leviathan to live where no man will descend

 

The fire from his nostrils and the earth’s smoke-filled air

Will bring cries from earth’s corners and much despair

The end will come as a thief in the night as declared

God sees His world again beyond even His repair

 

Mighty Leviathan roams the depths our land

Awaiting word from God to fulfill His plan

That Leviathan be used as his destiny demands

To end the Earth with His one mournful command

 

8/21/10

JMW

 

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Talk of the Day - The Mosque

 

Long ago, our nation was formed with religious freedom as its cornerstone. We have the right, in the United States of America, to observe religious services of a wide variety of disciplines including such things as Satanism, agnosticism, and paganism. We are virtually limitless in our pursuit of religious freedom.  

 

Today, this religious freedom is being used to manipulate the building of an Islamic Mosque at 45-47 Park Place, New York, New York, 10004 – just four blocks from history. The location’s significance goes beyond its Lower Manhattan geographic location to being literally located in the hearts and minds of all Americans who remember September 11, 2001. I know where I was and what I was doing and I am sure you remember where you were and what you were doing as well. It is much more than a street address.

 

Ttoday, our religious tolerance is being asked to accommodate the exploitive gesture of an intolerant religious arm who tells our leaders that it is simply a street address for the exercise of their religious freedom. So far that is all the New York City’s third-term Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, and anyone else within shouting distance of a multitude of opposing voices, has needed to grant permission and construction permits. We all hear many voices of opposition to this project. Too many voices, in fact, to list in this limited space. However, they continue to oppose this venture ardently.  

 

Today, the compounding issue of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism grappling for control of the religious world’s ground zero at the site of the Golden Dome in Jerusalem threatens to move ground zero to New York City instead. Our nation does not need to be involved in the volatility of this issue. It is a religious problem with so many, many political ramifications. All of these issues focusing attention on terms like Jihad, Hamas, Hezbollah, Hagannah, and acronyms like PLO, JDL, and ACLU instead of terms like humility and forgiveness.

 

Today, I suppose the common denominators of the events we are witnessing in 2010 are religious issues indeed. All three of the religious groups accept the same God but not the avenue of approach to God. Some are still waiting for their Messiah, many have accepted Jesus and the Cross, and others have Muhammad. All three see the Golden Dome summit in Jerusalem as the focal point and something to claim as their own.

 

Today, all three look to 45-47 Park Place, New York, New York, 10004 as a battlefield for the bastion of religious freedom. This freedom is one to be exercised and not simply used for political purposes. New York is a big city with lots of street addresses for use in exercising religious freedoms.  

 

Today, I give you my humble answer to the dilemma as I see it. It is simple, and, yes, religious in nature. After all, it is the common denominator…isn’t it? The poem was written ten years ago but still, as poems should, resonates today.  

 

Truth Is Truth

 

Our sought after Savior

Our looked for redeemer

When finally had come

Was thought a deceiver

 

The truth is the truth

We need not look too far

The Messiah was found

Beneath a bright shining star

 

But…

Many times truth is hard to see

It surrounds us and holds us

Many times hard to perceive

 

But…

The truth is still truth

And in this simple fact

Truth was miraculously conceived

 

So don’t look for what we think

Our Messiah should be

We must seek what God

Has said He would be

 

From cover to cover

The Bible spells out

Who the Savior is

And leaves no doubt

 

1/25/00

JMW

 

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Talk of the Day - Employment and the Labor Line

When looking at the year 2010 over forty years ago I saw something far different from the reality I find myself in. There is unrest in the government, in our schools, in almost all aspects of our lives, but especially in our families. The coup de grace to any stability left from a much more stable time was swept away with the barren, cold- winds of a crashing economy, joblessness, and the very real brutality of unemployment. How, I ask myself, have we allowed ourselves to have fallen to lows across the economic board since, as writers like to say, the great depression, and, certainly since the mid to late 1970s.  

 

Although I am not an economist, even I can see some things which are contributing factors to all of this. Businesses are fearful of strategically making new hires due to the unstable future seen in higher taxes and the unfamiliar ground of health care reform. It is the perfect storm: fewer jobs, less expenditures by families, less tax revenue, consequently, fewer dollars to spend by cities and states on social and government services such as schools, fire, and police services. The storm clouds continue to build. The most recent statistics from the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics show that jobs in the Atlanta area alone are down 1.6% from July of 2009. That is far greater than the fall of jobs nationally of 0.4%. Neither is favorable to a sudden bolt upward over the coming weeks.

 

There are many people around the country screaming alternatives, or at least voicing different ideas, on how to proceed. The answers are difficult to see in the storm. It literally clouds the view of those capable to chart a new course. But, I pray they persist and overcome a most critical time in our nation’s history. I am convinced that we have the capacity to change the current situation and grow from it. There has been much to learn from over the past 3 to 4 years that can be applied to the future to prevent circumstances from spiraling downward as they have again. Yes, as I said earlier, the view is quite different than I expected forty some years ago.

 

Why such a depressing piece even though the Braves are in first place, football is in the air, and fall and cooler weather is just around the corner? Honesty with my blog compels me to say that this is day 178 of my own jobless story. Outside of a few contract assignments over the past few months, which certainly helped, my tale persists. I ask for you to pray for me as well as the others in my same situation. It is cold out here in the storm. I need clear vision to find my way.

 

The following poem was written in the local office of the Department of Labor on July 27th. It was staggering to see the crowded office. It reminded me of those attempting to escape a sinking ship by boarding life boats to safety. People were vexed by the line and their impatience was in full view. The name of the poem is Labor Line. As you have heard me say, my poetry is my therapy. It helps me. I hope you find something in my words you can use yourself. 

 

Labor Line

 

Day 176 since being released

Finds me, sadly, still in a very long line

I see many others walking my same path

Each viewing solvency fall farther and farther behind

 

Interviews come and interviews go

Each teasing the relief they could bring

But younger, more educated, more qualified

Is the song each stop seems to sing

 

There has to be a place I can make my way

There has to be a place they ask me to stay

There has to be a way to hold debt at bay

Same song, sung day after day after day

 

Yet hopefully I look into tomorrow’s next day

And know things will change for us all very soon

But the last written line as I now reflect

Seems like words merely howled at the moon

 

I must recapture my optimistic capacity

To know the labor lines will surly soon end

But I know that this outcome is out of my hands

Because the economy is on what it depends

 

But wait…I can make a difference

Some words from my past I now remember

It is my rite and my citizenship duty to VOTE

And my next chance is the second day of November

 

Change is good sometimes and sometimes it’s not

Hopefully the next change will loosen the knot

 

7/28/10

JMW

 ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Talk of the Day - Election Day, 2010

Today is July 21st, 2010, one day past the last Democratic Primary and Republican Primary elections. It was the day to choose which candidate is allowed to represent each party in their given field of interest in the General Election of November. Those fields include races for state representation of our views in both local and national concerns. It was easily seen if you squinted through the reflective glare of aluminum road-side election sings for each candidate. It was the day we were able to choose. Yesterday was the day.

Today is the day we are either happy with our choices or we are concerned about how the choices of others will affect our lives. It always surprises me to see how few registered voters turn out to make these choices. For that matter, it always surprises me to see how few eligible voters actually register to vote. I won’t attempt to report the numbers but I will direct you to the website of the U.S. Census Bureau for the most accurate data available. I imagine it will surprise you as well.

Why so much voter apathy is unclear but voter uncertainty and a gradual erosion of trust in the process has much to do with it I think. There are checks and balances in place that are not being used to their optimal effectiveness. These checks and balances include many ingredients of an informed and motivated democratic republic. We simply need to know the truth about daily decisions, both locally and nationally, that truly affect our lives in the most personal ways. We need to be able to trust the information process in particular. Unfortunately our long time trusted information outlets are no longer able to deliver a message of what decisions are made and how they truly affect us. Deliberate or not, the messages are becoming less and less believable to a discerning and educated population. The job is not being done.

These thoughts led to the following poem, done yesterday, about what I think the issue is. I have served in the fourth estate myself and have had the opportunity to interview those in the process of government. At some point in the past, I can’t pinpoint exactly when, the process changed into an Orwellian chapter of our republic and I find it disturbing. The poem is meant for you to read and enjoy. It is also meant to be a call to think and discern rather than be fed what others want you to believe about current events and how they affect your life.

 

                                                  The Fourth Estate

 

Officially there are only three

On the governmental power tree

Executive, Legislative, and Judicial

As you can see there are plainly only three

 

These three keep government running

Two will say almost anything to keep returning

Every six or four or two years while the other is secured for life

As you can see the election cycle is stunning

 

But there are truly four legs to the table

And until lately this system was very stable

Not elected but trained as writers

Who must pass tests to show themselves able

 

The job of the fourth is to watch over the three

To show we readers what we are unable to see

The good, the bad, of the economy and more

But recently their words and other’s actions don’t agree

 

Without someone to tell us the truth of the day

We have no way to know what our votes should say

Each two years as we all go to the polls

We have no way to know who must leave or stay

 

It is a sad day in this land when the truth is twisted

To keep those in power from being resisted

It is a sad day when those who are not elected

Get to say whose voice is spoken and persisted

 

It is even sadder that we all watch and read news

From those writers hypnotized by administration views

Never saying what the consequences could possibly be

As they choose to pass pure fabrications to us as news

 

Awake and witness the table’s fall to the floor

Because there is simply no longer a leg number four

 

7/20/10

JMW

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 Talk of the Day - 4th of July, 2010

Greetings to all my old friends, it has been far too long since we talked. There has been an awful lot happen since January. An awful lot to talk about indeed but I wanted to stick to some thoughts I had over the 4th of July holiday we just celebrated.

 Independence Day, our birthday as a nation, signifies a great leap for freedom loving people the world over, now, and in 1776. At the risk of death, our founding fathers put their names on a document leaving little doubt of their intentions or direction they wished to steer this land we all have grown to love.

Some of the things that have happened since last we spoke have been disturbing to say the least. Some of them have been treasonous to the founding fathers intentions at the worst and dumbfounding, to present day citizens, at their best. Almost all of these events over the last eight months have been done in the name of change. It should be said that the events leading to the writing of our document of independence were also done in the name of change. Looking at the series of events leading to the courage of our founding fathers writing our Declaration of Independence then and the series of events leading to today, since the inauguration of our 44th President, seems ominously like looking in a mirror.

There seems to be a storm brewing and the winds will soon howl once again for the same cause as our forefathers put their lives on the line. My hope is we all come to our senses and resolve the issues that are driving us farther and farther apart before a cataclysmic event that could render us impotent and helpless fruit for a scavenger nation to attempt to take us over for their own. We have talked about this before. There is always going to be a war of one kind or another. I hope it remains a war of words and resolved by men of words and reason. This rift of philosophy can also be resolved by voters in the upcoming November 2010 elections. It is undoubtedly one of the most important elections of my lifetime as well as yours. There is much at stake. Peace in our politics, our states, our cities, our streets, and our homes to name just a few. Enjoy this new poem and see if it touches a nerve of action to resolve the rift before it resolves to spin out of control. After all…It has happened before.

 

Reconstitution

It is the fourth of July the year 2010

And I wonder …will we do it again

We wanted unwanted taxation to end

We wanted self rule to begin

And I wonder…will we do it again

 

We have faced many changes the last 234 years

And I wonder…are we now too full of fear

We wanted a vision of our own…very clear

We wanted to face death to hold it dear

And I wonder…are we now too full of fear

 

Change is often good, it keeps us awake

And I wonder…have we had all we can take

We wanted changes that we could make

We wanted change but not for change’s sake

And I wonder…have we had all we can take

 

We still hold truths to be self evident

And I wonder…is that true of our President

We wanted self rule and States rights in government

We wanted fewer framers and fewer departments

And I wonder…is that true of our President

 

That was all then and this is all now

And I wonder…dare we do it again

 

7/4/10

JMW

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 Talk of the Day - Martin Luther King, Jr. Day - 2010 

Today is January 18, 2010. It is our newest national holiday in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and his efforts to confront the blight on our social landscape of bigotry and racism. His efforts on behalf of racial equality between 1955 and his assignation in April of 1968 have made him not only a national icon but a worldwide symbol for free thinking people everywhere. His leadership in a time of unprecedented social upheaval is what we celebrate today. His message of unwavering disapproval of the status quo of the segregated world to which he was born is what we celebrate today. His bravery and courage under hostile fire from a nation which he loved and called home is what we celebrate today. It is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

 

How important he was to this nation we are only now fully appreciating. In fact, President Reagan signed into law the MLK holiday in 1983 but was not officially observed until 1986. However, the same groups and mentality that railed so voraciously against his message during his lifetime postponed a complete celebration of MLK day until the year 2000 when all 50 states fully embraced it. Now, in 2010, some are still not in full observance of the day or the impact of one man’s life.

 

The height of Martin Luther King’s influence could arguably be the August 28th, 1963 speech delivered to over 200,000 people on the Mall in Washington D.C.from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. It has become known simply as the “I Have a Dream” speech day. Although, in my mind, the height of his movement came in March of 1966 during a Voters Rights Acts march on Montgomery Alabama. Just as George Washington’s crossing of the Delaware River in the dead of winter in 1776 marked the beginning of a new nation’s claim to freedom to the world, Martin Luther King’s crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge near Selma, Alabama on the Jefferson Davis Highway leading to Montgomery signaled the end of unfair voting practices across the country and the emergence of a new nation of equality. This may have been his finest hour as the leader of the Civil Rights Movement in America.

 

It is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in America 2010. Take note of the change that has occurred since 1955 for everyone, not only black America but for all America. One man’s voice in opposition to unfairness can, and will always, make a difference to those who are being treated unfairly or unjustly.

 

The following is a poem which is running next month, Black History Month, in a publication called The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.

Dedicated to Coretta Scott King’s memory of MLK

 

Oh Martin! 

 

Oh Martin…

…I have missed you so.

There is so much I want to share.

I know you saw what was happening

But I so wanted you to be there. 

We have made so much progress

In every social and political way.

In fact as you know dear Martin

You have many statues and even a day.

There are black mayors of many cities

There are blacks now as heads of state.

There is so much more I wanted to tell you.

I almost could not wait 

 

Oh Martin…

…You would have looked so strong

Standing on the new world stage.

I am so angry that was stolen

By a by-gone culture's rage.

The schools are all desegregated.

The home run king is now new.

Apartheid died in Johannesburg

And that changed many national views. 

There are so many of us now successful

In so many walks of life.

And I think the anger now is gone

For the color of another man's wife. 

 

Oh Martin…

…You missed so much change in our world.

Fewer now reside in the grip of fear.

But I know in my heart dear Martin

It would not even have happened…

…If you had not been so defiantly here. 

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Talk of the Day - Merry Christmas - December 23, 2009

It is the Christmas Season. We are hurrying from place to place, fighting huge crowds nearly everywhere we go, and we are all enjoying the carols sung and played on the radio while stuck in traffic. We are all determining the best Christmas gift to convey our thoughts to those we love. We all are eating way too much seasonal food, both at home and at our offices, and enjoying every bite. We all have festivities planned for our home, or someone else’s home, over the next few days and are excited about the prospect. We are all also anticipating what gifts will be given to show us how much we mean to others. Don’t feel bad about it…it is all part of Christmas. It is hard to shake the Santa experience when we get older and I hope I never grow too old to be excited about the experience. It is Christmas! It is the gift giving season so just enjoy it.

Again, it is the Christmas Season. It is a seasonal flurry of spending which revitalizes an often stagnant economy. It is the season which serves as a life buoy to small businesses, as well as large businesses, and provides them with the hope of an expanded, or merely acceptable, profit margin for the year. Christmas is, many times, the salvation of our entire capitalistic system. Sometimes I feel, I even lament, that the season has been created simply for this reason alone and we all act like Pavlovian dogs by drinking the Christmas Kool-Aid offered us by commercial interests. In this context Christmas is about salvation…as it should be contextually considered.

As I said, it is the Christmas Season. I stand firm on my commitment of enjoying gifts and in knowing that Christmas is about salvation of a system and of us all. However, my premise is not what I have led you to believe. You see, it is Christmas. It is a time of year I like to reflect on the precious gift I received 2009 years ago in a manger in Bethlehem. I was not there but I get to open the precious gift left in that manger each and every day. I get to experience the joy of salvation, not of the economy, but, of my soul. I have been given these gifts because God saw me as someone worthy of a precious gift. What a season it is indeed. I feel sure that at sometime during the next few days that one of the houses I visit will be the house of God with my brothers and sisters who have also been found worthy of a precious gift. After all, it is the Christmas Season. Enjoy it. And, be sure to say thank you for the gift.

The accompanying poem is regarding the birth and humanness of our Savior and how our world was changed in the twinkling of only a moment in time. We were all changed forever by someone who loves us enough to give us a gift as meaningful as a small baby and large enough to fill an empty tomb. Enjoy. Merry Christmas to you all.


Only a Moment

It was only a moment
On the time line of eternity
From God’s merciful gesture
To Mary’s immaculate paternity

It was only a moment
In God’s universal rein
One grand and glorious moment
To relieve our everlasting pain

In only one small moment
Eternity’s great galactic play
Had drawn the final curtain
On Satan’s final say

In only one small moment
Beneath the sky of her hometown
Little Mary of little known Nazareth
Conceived a Child of great renown

A Child who grew and learned
Just as you and I would do
A Child who grew and gave His life
To cleanse all and make anew

Only a moment in the realm of time
Is all it took, it had finally begun
A beautiful new course was charted
By the conception of God’s only Son

12/28/05
JMW

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Talk of the Day - Veterans Day                                              November 11, 2009

 

            We are truly indebted to those who have given so much for each of us. We would not be doing whatever we are doing today without the sacrifice of those willing to give of themselves on our behalf. They gave of themselves yesterday. They will give of themselves today. They will give of themselves tomorrow. We are truly indebted.

 

          Who are they? They are those who will do the unthinkable for a friend in more than trouble. They are those who bravely defend the opportunity to be criticized. They are those who watch for the unseen while we sleep. They are those who will walk where return may not be possible. They are our fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters. They are soldiers, airman, seaman, and marines. They are the veterans of more than service to our country but of service to us as individuals. They are veterans of bravery and of fear, of self discovery and of self doubt, they are truly who we are so indebted to this 11th hour of this 11th day of this 11th month of the year of our Lord 2009. We are truly indebted.

 

          Who are they? They are those who will face absolute horror faithfully, defiantly, bravely, sacrificially, and with dignity and integrity of character never ask for our own sacrifice in return. We are truly indebted.

 

          The poem below was written not long ago about a southern soldier who was in the process of this service that we are so indebted to. His battle with the odds was many years ago but holds true today. There are trees out there somewhere serving the same purpose as those on the field of Gettysburg. This frightened soldier from a field long ago speaks today of the sacrifice paid today as then on our behalf. We are so indebted.

 

Reposed at Gettysburg

 

Reposed within the quiet grove

Drifting from the here and now to then

I listen to the tree frogs and crickets sing

As I remember horrors from the battle’s den

 

I hear the constant fire of muskets

As I lie here this quiet night

I hear the whistle of their discharges

As they make their targeted flight

 

I hear the cries of those unlucky souls

As their limbs seem to break and tare

I remember thinking I was so lucky

And how their outcome seemed so unfair

 

I see the smoke hover over the landscape

Like death harvesting the fallen field

I see young sons and fathers falling

Because their loyalty would not yield

 

I feel the fear of young men charging

Running gallantly up a hill

I feel the thrill and chill of knowing

I fight a blue wave and my will

 

I smell the odor of burnt powder

And the bark bare trees at hand

I smell the odor of burned grey cotton

Once worn and seemed so grand

 

I repose this night under treetops

I rest on this sacred ground

I drift in and out of now and then

And wonder where tomorrow…

I wonder where I’ll be found

 

8/30/09

JMW

 

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Talk of the Day                                                                           October 23rd, 2009

 

Today is the 23rdof October, 2009. Why do I state the obvious so auspiciously you may be asking? I say the date to establish a timeline in this dialog. Many things have changed in our great country through the years. In my opinion there has been no greater change than the change in attitude from the generation of my parents, and perhaps yours, who were born between 1915 and 1925 and the generation now.

 

          The 1915 to 1925 generation has been called the greatest generation of our nation’s history. This is said for valid reasons. This generation was raised in the great depression of the 1930’s. They watched their own parents scratch and survive in deplorable conditions as they were being taught their life lessons. They fought and won a great world war from 1939 – 1945 at a cost in lives lost of, although estimates vary, between 62 and 78 million people world wide. By far the deadliest war ever fought. This generation then turned around and produced, produced and produced even more making the United States of America not only the hallowed victor of WWII but the economic colossal that became the country we live in today. This generation knew how to work diligently towards a goal, sacrifice mightily for a cause, and appreciate greatly things earned. This was the generation that raised me and those I know and grew up with. Since then there has been a change.

 

          Now let’s go back to today’s date, the 23rd of October, 2009. There is a nationally syndicated drive-time radio program I listen to that on every Thursday afternoon produces a segment called Man on the Street interviews. An interviewer located at Grand Central Station in New York Citycalls people randomly to the mic to talk with the radio host. These interviews vividly paint the picture of attitudinal change in their exchanges with the interviewer. Invariably they proceed to outline what they feel are legitimate expectations for the populace to expect from our great nation’s coffers. They expect the government to provide housing, education, transportation, and of course health care. They seem to expect it as a guarantee to them for being in this country. These are the same things which the generation we spoke of earlier sacrificed for, worked for, and died for.

 

          More personally I can attest to the change. My adult life has been spent working with young people on several levels. I have been involved with youth athletics as a coach, a youth worker in church activities, and involved as a public school teacher on the Elementary, Middle School, and High School level, and now work with young adult students at the largest aviation maintenance training facility in the country. We have had a change in attitude. It started with my generation, raised in the 50’s and 60’s, and continues to deteriorate even further today, the 23rd of October, 2009. Expectations for personal guarantees and satisfaction are off the charts. Our last election in 2008 also points in that direction.

 

          Change in this attitude begins with the next few words out of each of our mouths to others. It begins with each of us to make a difference in this and the next generation.

 

          Enjoy the attached piece and pay attention to what we say and do as examples to those around us. I personally can do a better job.  

 

          Narcissinia

 

There was once a land of great promise

To deliver one from hopelessness to prosperity

Then oddly the land took a turn toward indulgence

Which brings us to today’s conundrum of disparity

 

The population exploded with personal satisfaction

From their cloths to their cars to their homes

Their eye was diverted from bettering society

To relieving themselves of whatever they bemoaned

 

I need, I desire, I’m compelled to have my way

No matter the expense to those they held in loving clarity

They needed, they desired, they absolutely had to have

No matter the cost to the great land or its severity

 

I want a big house, I want a new car, and I need silken finery

I deserve it, I’m entitled to it, and I will have it

These thoughts ran rampant through the great land

Until momentum magnified the mantra "I have to have it"

 

No thought of repercussions to the great land that they lived

No request from the great land’s bounty of plenty

Seemed too bold to desire or too shameful to have

To not expect the request to be their land’s top priority

 

Now with no one producing the things others desire

Only those who make requests with gainful expectation

There is a confused look of questioned completion

On the faces of an ever growing narcissistic population

 

Why can we not have at very little cost the things that fill our heart

What is the problem when all I want are the things that make me happy

Who will now tell us that these things are no longer there

When without them I am frustrated and truly unhappy

 

Now the once strong and fearless global commercial giant

Has the new name of Narcissinia at the behest of its once loyal occupants

The name was changed not long ago to the shock of a small minority

 A majority wanted to stake their claim to their very own opulence

 

8/14/09

JMW

 

Talk of the Day
October 4th, 2009


The Piedmont Road Church of Christ in Marietta, Georgia, my home congregation, thrust itself into the matrix of infamy on Sunday, October 4th, 2009. The congregation’s evangelist, Neil Richey, had the audacity to discuss morals as they pertain to political correctness and each Christian’s responsibility to adhere to the high ground of the former. We, as a nation in the late 20th century and early 21st century, have lost our way. Our moral compass has been pulled hard to the left instead of north. Our moral integrity has been compromised by an over zealous left-leaning media, an over zealous left-leaning educational system, and an over zealous left-leaning judicial branch of the federal government. The result is not pretty nor is it congruous with the strong spirituality that guided this nation through wars, depressions, and social upheavals of all kinds. We, as a nation, have lost our way.

Our direction can be reclaimed by crusading in the not so foreign land of liberalism, effemination, and subjectivity. The crusaders are us. They are you and I. We can make a difference in so many ways leading our nation back toward a nation of spiritually based decisions. We can lead our nation away from politically correct decisions of appeasement to fragmented groups with their own socially retooling agendas. We simply need to say no. Say no and mean it in ways that will demonstrate resolve toward the more spiritually based goals of our founding fathers and our fathers of our own families in the not too distant past. We must simply stand and be accounted for.

The following poem is from my book Moments of Mine, 2009 through PublishAmerica, and I hope it resonates with you and creates a sense of empowerment to make changes for our future generation and adjustments in the way our current narcissistic generation views the world you and I live in, work in, and raise our children and grand children in. Enjoy and pass along what you feel is worthy.

States of Separation

Our forefathers landed on these foreign shores
To right the injustice of an over zealous few
They were resolved to remove religion as a state
And create something governmentally new

The Church should not say who is jailed or hanged
Their mission is salvation not litigious mitigation
And our forefathers saw our new land as a start
To rid the world of this intrusive governing situation

Now three centuries have passed and minds have changed
The governing pendulum has made a full swing
From the forefathers elimination of the Church State
To one of separating the Church from almost everything

No prayer in the schools, no prayers in public halls
In fact no prayers of any kind anywhere at all
No concrete right or absolute wrong
No sanctity of life or to a family to belong

Our forefathers never dreamed that their great experiment
Of creating a nation which was not a Church State
Would have ever evolved or descended as it has
To a nation lost on the path of having a Churchless fate

We need to pray in our schools and in all our halls
In fact we need to pray within any and all our walls
That we know right from wrong and to what to belong
Or our great nation we have will most certainly fall

We need to pray for the courage of our experimental few
Who saw what needed to change and what they should do
We need to pray for us all to have the courage of the few
To know exactly what we need and what exactly to
do

JMW
6/11/07

_________________________________________________________

Talk of the Day

Date: 9/22/09

Atlanta has seen record rainfall over the past 72 hours approaching 30 inches causing massive flooding problems, major road closures, and 7 deaths. Rescue efforts have been launched to find those missing or stranded due to floods. The weather has been unprecedented in both intensity and duration. Contrast today with days in our not too distant past. All this rain is on the heels of what has been a 3 year long drought in the area causing issues of water shortages and restricted use.  It is interesting to observe how we react when what we have needed for so long is given, especially in such massive quantities as in the rainfall of the past few days. These events and the contrasting days of the past reminded me of a poem written not long ago relating to what we are experiencing now. We need the rain. Don’t we?

 

 

We Need Rain

 

Chard, hard ground with spider-web cracks

Tells the tale of what a thirsty earth lacks

No smell of summer rain and no muddy tracks

No warm rainy weather to bring everything back

 

A stem with no flower is an incomplete sight

A farmer’s land too hard makes a very poor site

The reality of these things we can not fight

Too much sunshine is simply too bright

 

Like our cradle the earth, life needs a good rain

Our world without it creates nerve cracking pain

We need soft summer showers for our dreams to reign

We need rain for true growth…is our life’s refrain

 

We need rain to remember how sweet the sun

We need rain to remember all our outdoors fun

Like a walk in the park or a family picnic just done

We need rain to remember what makes these things run

 

Use all the flowers, just give them away

Rain helps the farmers to have another new day

Use the days filled with sunshine in a prosperous way

We need the rain to remember…how sweet the day

 

5/21/09

JMW

________________________________________________________

Talk of the Day

Date: 9/16/09

Yesterday was a very special day for some. At 1600 hours on September 15th, 2009 on Briscoe Field in Lawrenceville Georgia, a fallen airman from a foreign field returned home. He and his chartered jet were greeted by his grieving family, an Air Force Color Guard, the Patriot Guard Riders, many from local area VFW Lodges, many law enforcement officials from several different communities, a couple of hundred patriots who just wanted to be involved, and a cool, light September rain. The Patriot Guard Riders, around 60 strong, all held flags in reverence for the occasion. The aircraft landed and taxied to a 90 degree angle formed by those in attendance. The airman was taken to his transportation home in Morrow, around 40 miles away, and his entourage left. There were TV cameras there to document the ceremony. The family wanted no part of the coverage and asked that they please not film the event. They did not. Reporters from local newspapers however did. When the assembly disbanded and went their separate ways the rain continued as did the conflict from which our fallen airman had returned.


September Rain

There are many things I do not know
About this day in mid September
But one thing I can surely tell you
It will always be remembered

Kalitta Charters slowly descended
From the darkened clouds off to our west
Greeted by an Air Force Color Guard
And many patriots displaying their best

Patriot Guard Riders and many VFW
Local Lawmen from the airman’s city
All viewing with a solemn reverence
The airman’s family now with pity

Flags unfurled and whipping in the wind
Everyone now standing in the rain
As our airman finds his homeward end
No longer feeling separation or any pain

Duty called and duly served
This September day now closes
One airman returning home at last
Soon to lie with cared for loving roses

9/15/09
JMW



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