"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Courageous with Friends

We had a day in town running errands and following through with civic obligations. Finally finished with our duties, we were about to head home, when my son decided to use the drive home to follow through on a phone call to a friend to confirm plans they had made to go to a movie.

As I drove, I couldn’t help but hear his conversation as he sat in the passenger seat next to me.

“Hey, TB! We still on for tomorrow night?”  There was a distinct pause, letting me know Matt had made his connection and TB was answering his question.

“Yeah, the others can’t go after all.” (Pause) You’d rather go tonight?”  (Pause) “Sure, that’ll work.” (Pause)

As I listened, I could tell Matthew was really trying to get to the point and get things done. TB must have been at work or in the middle of something, because it was obvious he didn’t have a lot of time to talk. I could tell by Matthew’s responses that he understood TB was in a hurry and Matthew wanted to accommodate him.

“Ok, well I will call for tonight’s times and call you right back” (pause)

As the two men were about to finish their conversation, I heard Matt ask with surprise, “What?! What did you say, TB?”  (Laughter; hearty laughter) I was listening more intently now; I had a feeling I knew what had been said.

Courageous with Friends
“Did you just have a Courageous moment?!” Matt laughingly asked.

Bingo! Just as I suspected! TB had just expressed his affections, albeit accidentally, to the wrong person on the other end of the phone - in this case, Matthew.

I laughed, too. I loved this!  I loved that I knew Matt’s friend well enough to know exactly what happened.  I loved that I knew TB’s family well enough that I knew why it happened. And I love that my son, his friends and I all have enough in common that I understood everything simply when I heard the comment “Courageous moment".  Rather, I knew even before that comment!  I, in fact, knew (pretty confidently, at least) at “WHAT?!”

Most of you will know, too.  If not, I highly recommend the movie Courageous.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

America the Beautiful

Ok, so I finished Dr. Carson's book. I guess in some ways, it wasn't as good as I thought it would be. Maybe I expected too much. Don't get me wrong; I don't mean to make it sound like it wasn't worth reading; it absolutely was, but I did find myself disagreeing with him on more issues than I originally thought I would. That is to be expected; no one is going to agree totally on everything, that's for sure. In fact, that is actually one of the main points he discusses in his book and one of our important freedoms.

The doctor covered some very important topics, and he writes from a sincere heart, with a desire to better America and protect her from those that would seek to destroy her.  His faith is of utmost importance to him, and there is no debating the relevance of God in our lives.  I am thankful for that.

Dr. Carson's personality is very much revealed through his writings.  He is the diplomat, the peace seeker, the calm, practical man that wants to only find the best in mankind. He has not an unkind word to say about anyone. He talks about the sequence of events that brought changes in him throughout stages of his life and he does not withhold his opinions, which is uncommonly refreshing. That fact, is one of the more important things to me about this book. He is not afraid to state his thoughts and beliefs and even more than that, he argues we should discuss our opinions. He believes that because of "political correctness" we have lost the ability to civilly discuss controversial matters. That, I believe, is one of the most important lessons of the book.

Another lesson from the book, is that we have a nation that we can believe in and that we should do all we can to keep our country's foundation firm and strong the way our founding fathers intended.

At the beginning, Dr. Carson offers wonderful history lessons, that are well worth reviewing, and he has a firm belief in keeping our nation's history intact and correct. He is not a bit shy about correlating everything with Scripture, and that our founders faith in God is one of the most important aspects of our beginnings.  He points out that our founders were indeed Christian and not simply dieists as so many like to now try to say. These beginning chapters were, in my opinion, the best part of the book.

America the Beautiful is an easy read, filled with important truths. Dr. Carson keeps it all interesting by including  his own life experiences. I would recommend this book, but only with the disclaimer that I don't agree with everything he writes. There are some ideas I would not want to be viewed as promoting, but these are, for the most part, minor. To some degree, I feel I may even be wrong in mentioning that fact, because I do not want to pull anything away from the importance of most of what Dr. Carson has to say. The thoughts and truths that are the substance of this book are probably some of the most important issues I have read in awhile. This book is a wonderful reminder of all that we have been blessed with, not simply in America, but because of a Creator Who gave us America.
I sought for the key to greatness and genius of America in her harbors...in her fertile fields and boundless forests, in her rich mines and vast world commerce; in her public school system and institutions of learning.  I sought for it in her democratic Congress and in her matchless Constitution.  Not until I went into the church of America and heard her pulpits flame with righteousness did I understand the secret of her genius and power.  America is great because America is good, and if America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great.  ~Alexis de Tocqueville - 1831
Now, that is an idea worth holding on to and once again promoting!  I'm glad that Dr. Carson gently, but forthrightly, reminds us of our roots, and our place in history. Even more than that though, I believe he causes us to consider our place in God's plan through his heartfelt writings in America the Beautiful.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Hero in the Book Report

I’ve never thought much about people that I would consider heroes.  I do believe in the concept of raising a child with heroes; a nation that can point in its roots to heroes that did great things and made right choices.

I am not talking about idols. We are strictly forbidden that in Scripture.  And heroes, in my opinion, are distinctly different than that, when viewed in the correct manner.  Heroes, rather, are someone that we as a nation can look to; or that we as a parent can point our child to for an example of someone that represents actions and behavior we can all emulate and respect.  I believe heroes are an important facet of society, teaching and showing its citizens a higher and better way; qualities for which to strive. Most celebrities therefore, would not fit into this category. We live in a society today, that is entirely too much without true heroes.  I will probably post more about my belief of the importance of heroes to a society, at a later time.

For this post, I guess if I really stopped to think about it, there are a few people I would classify as my heroes.  I am thankful to say my parents and grandparents would all be in that category.  They have all lived a wonderful life, striving for excellence and love; serving God and teaching their children in that manner to the best of their ability.

I would consider George Washington one of my heroes, because of the way he led this country; and because of his strong, principled, Christian example…his bravery in battle, and his sincere concern for his troops. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel is a modern day hero of mine, because of the strength and courage he has had to have as leader of probably the most hated nation on earth at this time. He has been heroic in the efforts he has taken to show grace and consistency in the face of adversity and attack. What a dramatic example of devotion to his God and country this man is to whom one could point their child.  Billy Graham is also a hero of mine, because of his steadfast devotion to our Lord and commitment to the Great Commission. I admire this man most for not disappointing or letting down his nation and fellow Christian, with bad behavior; but more importantly he never gave the non-Christian who many be watching him, a reason to condemn his behavior.  One more: George W. Bush makes my hero list. YES, I said George Bush, the President that left the White House with a 26% approval rating. Don't care about that; I never have been one to follow the crowd.  Read his book, Decision Points; you will understand why. Quite simply, he makes my list because of the strength and grace and LEADERSHIP he revealed after the attacks to our nation on 9/11. He also makes my list because of the class he showed during all the vicious attacks he received from liberal media bias during his administration.

Of course the Bible is full of great heroes; the Heroes of the Faith chapter - Hebrews 11 - is of course, the easiest and quickest place to begin a search for a hero. Part of that title would come to be because of what these men and women came out of, but then demonstrating magnificent things for God because of their faith.  The Apostle Paul is a classic example of a Biblical hero. But my personal favorite has always been Peter – that is for a whole other post as well.

Not entirely like the Apostle Paul, but the hero that set this whole post in motion made my list because of where he came from and the position to which he rose.  Dr. Ben Carson came to my attention around 12 or 13 years ago.  Dr. Carson has a tremendous testimony that is nothing short of a modern day miracle.  I first saw him on 700 Club being interviewed by Pat Robertson.  This compelled me to buy his book The Big Picture and his first auto-biography Gifted Hands.  What a story!!  

Dr. Ben Carson
This man was raised in a poor community by a single mom. He was not a good student, and was often made fun of by his classmates.  His mom, was a strong Christian mama, and only wanted the best for her young son, but she was illiterate and without means.  Not knowing how to help her son with his studies, she turned to prayer. She prayed that God would show her what to do to help her son do better in school. She did not want to see him failing and she certainly didn’t like seeing him hurting. In her quiet moments, God gave her an idea. She felt that He had told her, to go to the local library, let her son make his selection of books and then require him do a weekly book report.  It worked!  This sparked his interest in learning, when he realized he could go to just about any place in the world he wanted to go through reading.  He would write his weekly book report and bring it to his mama.  She pretended to read it, never telling her son, she didn’t know what the words on the paper said.  Sometimes she had young Ben read his paper to her. Ben’s grades improved remarkably. As he continued through his grade school years, he improved from being in the lowest tier of the class to the highest. By the time he finished high school, I believe he was the high school valedictorian. To make a long story short, Ben Carson became one of the most famous neurosurgeons in the world; with an impressive career at the prestigious John Hopkins University.  He gained notoriety as the first surgeon to be successful in separating Siamese twins. 

Obviously, when I first heard his testimony, I knew it would be one I would never forget. I have repeated it many times to help young mothers trust their ability to homeschool their own children. Both of Dr. Carson’s books were inspiringly moving.

I saw Dr. Carson once again, today.  He was again being interviewed by Pat Robertson on the 700 Club.  Today, he was once again promoting a new book; but today, he made the number one spot on my “Heroes List”.  As I listened, I couldn’t help but be impressed by his gentle spirit; I couldn’t help but be ministered to by his godly attitude; and I couldn’t help but be thankful for his obvious humility as he shared his thoughts and feelings. It was so clear to me, that the characteristics and calm demeanor he was demonstrating in this interview would absolutely be necessary to excel at such an occupation as critical as a brain surgeon.  It was all very thought-provoking.

In this interview however, he was expressing his love and devotion to God for the nation that gave him the opportunity he most likely would never have had in any other country. His book, America the Beautiful, provides insights into the things that are taking place in our nation that should be bringing us to our knees.  He shares the dreams of the Founding Fathers, and impresses on us that yes, we are indeed a Christian nation, and it is to our demise to let that title be stolen from us. He explains that remembering what it was that made our nation successful in the first place, is what it will take to make us great again. The answer is in our Godly heritage.

Everything he spoke of, that gently flowed from his heart, are the very things that have been recently filling my heart.  During the interview, Pat Robertson asked Dr. Carson to name one thing that he believes has caused the degradation of our nation. The doctor calmly and convincingly answered, “We have left out God”.  He then continued by saying, ‘It is our Christian heritage that has made us good.” It is those roots and those beliefs that set us on the path of greatness," he told Pat. Then he quoted what Alexis de Tocqueville said after coming to our country in the 1800’s to study what it was that was special about America.  “America is great because America is good. When America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great,” was de Tocqueville final analysis.

Dr. Ben Carson’s life story helps us understand the real American Dream. The one that our founders intended every American should have.  His testimony demonstrates the power of a praying mama, regardless of circumstances.  And with his new book, I am sure he will help us understand what is meant when we hear “American exceptionalism" - and why this belief is important as to why we have always been the greatest Christian nation on earth.

Yesterday, before I saw this interview, I had started a blog post about the very things Dr. Carson was saying today. Rather than finish that post, I knew instead, I wanted to write about the wonderful message of this man who seems to be filled with wisdom that could only come from God. I can’t wait to read that book!  I know it will be filled with encouragement and truth.  He is sharing his life walking in an American dream that brought him to a place that God would have him be for this very time. His testimony, his service, this message, in God's wisdom that he brings to those that will listen, for now. Because Dr. Carson has used his gift from God wisely, and because he has used his God-given platform to bring his powerful message of encouragement to citizens of a hurting nation, this man tops my list of heroes, and I’m sure he will be there for a very long time.

Book report coming!

You can watch his story here.

Friday, February 10, 2012

A Visitor For a Night

We were blessed with a visitor last night.  The pictures tell the story.  When I viewed the things that our guest brought for his stay, it warmed my heart beyond telling.

"Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart."
~William Wordsworth

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Good Thing and Smiles with Life

My niece and her family were here visiting recently from out of state.  They were able to come for Christmas and stayed for about 3 or 4 weeks.  Before they left, my sissie, (my niece’s mom) took several “good-bye” photos for everyone.  She posted them on facebook, today; and oh my! How it warmed my heart to see them!

I have to admit, when I first spotted the photos, the first one to catch my eye was the one of my niece, me and my brother.  Viewing it just out of the corner of my eye, and only for a split-second, I thought my sister had posted a photo of my mom and dad when they were young. Yes, I’m laughing!  But it was very apparent to me, a resemblance between me and my mom, and my brother and my dad is absolutely there!

When I looked at the rest of the photos, I couldn’t help but find a few tears. My niece and her family have again been gone long enough, now, that I really miss them.  It was a good visit while they were here. I’m sure they saw lots of friends, visited favorite places and warmed many hearts simply by their presence.  I saw a smile on my sissie, that always seems to be there, no matter what she is going through; but her smile had that little extra bit of life which may have been missing to a degree with her youngest daughter away.

I love my family.  I love families in general. I love heritage, and roots; family resemblances; and smiles with lots of love and lots of life. I love the generations, and family bonds - the “ties that bind” though miles apart. I’m very thankful for my family - every part of it. Families are an amazing thing. The Creator did a good thing, when He thought that one through.  ;-)