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

Saturday, March 21, 2015

First, Laugh and Laugh First!

So I guess it is past time for a “funny post”. I probably should show y’all I still have a sense of humor. Yes, I said “still”.

I have a few stories to share of me as a waitress. Yes, that is about the funniest thing I can think of right now. Me? Waitress? I avoided it for 55 years or so, knowing I would never be good at it. And I was certainly right.

I finally gave in to the idea, when a friend from my church approached me about working in their new restaurant. She knew I had just closed my coffee shop and she thought I might need something to do.

It wasn’t a huge restaurant, so I thought maybe I could handle it. After gaining a bit of experience in that type of work from the coffee shop, I had gained a little confidence. Not much, but a bit. So I told her, “Sure, I will give it a try.”

I probably should have listened to my first instinct. I was not good at waitressing.  In fact, I think I was terrible.
For starters, I just am not a good conversationalist – never have been. And the truth of the matter, one does need to be able to talk to people to some degree if one wants to be good at that job. You know, a little "personality". Not me. I don’t like superficial conversations. I have always liked my conversations to be a bit more substantive. And I don't like to talk if I don't know you. Period.

People I know generally know I am not good at conversation, and if they are not a close friend they avoid me like the plague; fearing, I am sure, they will get themselves into one of those awkward silent moments. They are right. There will be some of those with me…and I ain’t gonna be the one to help out, or break the silence. It’s just the way of it.

Along with this drawback, I also am at the age where I really can have an issue with my memory! Especially when it comes to learning something new. Now if there is a second attribute that is key to being a good waitress, a good memory would be it.  Buzzz! Fail!!

Now, I can beat myself up about this, because I know well enough that I do have an excellent work ethic. I have had many bosses well-pleased with my work and I have appreciated them telling me so. Even the owners of the little restaurant appreciated me, but I am sure they could also see my downfalls.

So, I woke this morning with a specific incident on my mind, which is really what prompted me to write this post. The memory that came (for whatever reason) caused me to think of the many “fails” I had when I was a waitress.
I remember the first time, I had someone pay with a gift card. It was a table full of police offers, I think around 8 men. I was so pleased to be able to serve them. I wanted to serve well those who serve. I worked hard to get it right. I even was able to make a bit of conversation. Things went really well. When it came time to pay, they all paid individually which was to be expected in a group like this. One of the men had received a gift card he wanted to pay with. That should have been no problem for me, but being the new-be that I was, I blew it. The transaction paying for the meal and tip were just a little different than what I was used to with other types of payments. I ran the card, thinking all was well. The table of officers left the restaurant pleased. When it came time to adjust for the tips somehow I had ran the entire amount left on the officer's card. When I realized it, I called my boss to come help.

Please come check this, H. I think I made a mistake!! I think I took the whole amount of money left on his card!!

My boss checked it and calmly said, “Yep, you did. But don’t worry; we can fix it." He proceeded to make the correction.

“The only thing is,” he warned, “it will take a day or two for the bank to correct it. If he tries to use his card again it will be declined.”

I was heartsick!! If he ran that card before the bank credited his card, he would think I purposefully stole all his money! I told my boss my worries. I don’t think we had his name to contact him.

“Well if he calls I will explain,” H. sympathetically told me.

Ugh!! Never heard the outcome of that one! I prayed desperately he didn't have to use the card again until the money was credited back. Of all the people for it to happen to though. A cop! No, not for that reason!  I simply wanted to serve him well.

Then there was the time I served the elderly couple that chose to sit quietly, out of the way in the corner of the restaurant. I don’t think they were the type to go out often. They were certainly not the type to complain or draw attention to themselves. We were extremely busy that day, and except for the cook, I was by myself. For some reason, I kept forgetting they were there. I forgot to get their water, I forgot to get their order. I forgot to refill their coffee. I totally forgot they were there. Finally, I had forgotten one more thing! I don’t remember what it was. But I was at the cash register taking a payment from someone, and when I looked up, I looked directly into the eyes of that gentleman and his wife, who had been so patient with me. I audibly sighed! Oh my goodness, I forgot them again! I ran to their table to apologize one more time.

“I don’t know why I keep forgetting you! I am so sorry. You are stuck here kind of out of the way.” I tried to explain. Apparently I failed miserably at that, too. When they had gone, I saw they had "stiffed" me! No wonder, I thought to myself! I deserved that.

Another of the worst experiences I remember was when I was serving an old man coffee. We were extremely busy, and I was extremely inexperienced. The restaurant had just opened and my boss opted for a grand opening on the very first day, rather than a "soft opening" which would have given us time to get our footing, before hosting a very busy grand opening. UGH!! He had advertised, newspaper, radio and T.V. The opening day was one of the busiest days we would ever have. And it was one fail after another for me!! But here I was serving a wonderful, elderly couple. The man kept lifting his coffee cup for me, every time he wanted a refill. He was shaking so badly, I thought for sure he was faking it to make the coffee pouring difficult for me. I mean otherwise wouldn’t he just leave the cup on the table for me to pour it there? Besides he had a twinkle in his eyes like my grandpa's. I was sure he was teasing me. I told him to quit shaking like that and playfully slapped his hand. No. Wrong. Fail. His shakes were real and I had probably just offended a kind old man, trying to enjoy a relaxing meal out.

And then there was the time I asked the guy named Mohammed, if he wanted bacon on his sandwich...

Oh yeah; there's lots more, but you get the idea.

"Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can."

Monday, March 16, 2015

God, Country and Family

I just finished reading Jason Redman’s book The Trident. I posted a video about this American hero earlier. He is a Navy SEAL who was severely wounded in battle. The Trident is his story.

But this book isn’t simply a story about his service, and sacrifice. This is his story about “The Forging and Reforging of a Navy SEAL Leader,” just exactly as Redman states in the title of his book. This book confirmed my belief that in order to be a great American hero or leader, humility is at the top of the list of requirements. Jason was almost kicked out of the SEALs because of his arrogance and pride. The Trident is his story of how he came to the lowest place in his life, before he could actually do what he was called to do. It is an amazing story that I encourage all to read. Not only does it entail what it took to earn that Trident and keep it, it encompasses the seriousness of his injury on the battlefield and his long recovery from his wounds.
Really, for me, his road back to health was the secondary message of his book, though without a doubt the two stories are parallel in regard to what it takes to succeed in either endeavor. Both require a fighting spirit that I personally believe are innate in every hero.
I always love these stories from our American heroes. They are incredibly inspiring to me and there are always subtle lessons to be learned from what these men have written. In the end, it is never about them. It is always about a love of our God, our nation and our families.
Let me give you an excerpt from Chapter 10 that, for me, offers one of the most important of those subtle messages I was talking about. This excerpt is about a single al-Qaida survivor who had been wounded in a fire-fight and Jason’s team had found him pinned under a tree in the aftermath.
“What to do with him? If the tables had been reversed and it was somehow one of our guys that the Taliban had found, they would have promptly decapitated him and defiled is body in the name of jihad. Fortunately for him, the US military, along with some of our closest allies, still adhere to the Law of Armed Conflict and the Geneva Convention. Both state that an enemy combatant is entitled to medical care after the immediate conflict is over.
Fully knowing our enemy would not have provided us the same treatment, our BDA team freed him from the tree trunk, and our medic set about stabilizing him while we called in a medvac helicopter.  Once again, a Black Hawk thundered into the valley and dipped below the ridgelines. I watched the scene, remembering how this guy’s al-Qaida brethren had opened up on our helicopter yesterday morning after we first landed.  Maybe he was one of the trigger pullers.  Now this brave helo crew was risking their lives for him.
The Black Hawk pulled into a hover over the ruins of the Taliban bunker complex with a thousand feet of cliff wall looming above it. One fighter with an RPG, still alive and willing to fight, could take the bird down, but the crew did not hesitate. The winch lowered a stretcher to the ground. The seconds ticked by. The terrorist was carried to it and loaded aboard. A hand signal from the ground and the helo’s crew chief winched the stretcher upward.  A moment later, he was safely aboard, and the Black Hawk pulled up and out of the valley.
I don’t know what happened to that wounded, tree-smacked terrorist after he reached the helicopter. I don’t know if he even survived long enough to be treated at a coalition aid station. Or perhaps he made a full recovery at American taxpayer expense.
I do know this: in that moment despite the internal war raging in my mind, as I watched the Black Hawk disappear over a distant ridgeline, I felt honored to be a part of this scene and proud to be an American. We are a benevolent and merciful people who have rushed to the aid of people in peril all over this globe. That strength will always be our path to victory against those who know only brutality and murder.”
Now that’s heroic, and that is America! And in my opinion, that message needs to be shared. There are too many citizens these days, that have been blinded by a liberal media that continues to paint the American as the aggressor; the Imperialist country that wants to rule the world. And that could not be further from the truth. I am with Jason on this one, too. That scene stirs my heart with passion and pride.
Jason's story is one of answered prayer. It is one of redemption and healing. He believes in hard work and dedication. He defends the American Dream and knows it is all worth fighting for. His story is the American Dream.
Finally, Jason’s story is also a love story. He could not be more proud of his wife, Erica, and their kids. And he could not be more appreciative for a wife that stood by his side through it all. Jason married the type of woman that every mama wants for her son. She loved him in sickness and in health. She stood by his every decision, trusting him to do what is right for their family. She did what she could to strengthen him, rather than cause him grief, worry, distress when he was so many miles from home. It is a beautiful story of trust, encouragement and love. His love and appreciation for her was equally moving.
This is a book I could just not put down. I found myself wishing every young person could read this book before beginning their adult life. There were so many important messages for all. Jason’s story is one that will inspire, and encourage. He learned through incredible difficulties the real way to lead. He began a non-profit, Wounded Wear, to help wounded warriors and he speaks around the country encouraging others with the things that he learned through his own trials.
One thing I know, success begins and ends with humility and I have yet to see a real leader without it. And one more thing, it is men and women like Jason and Erica Redman that continue to be the backbone of our great land. This is indeed a love story...love for God, country and family and all that it takes to keep that.
 "Pride has destroyed more men than all wars combined." Jason Redman


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Nothin' But A Memory - Spending Treasure

I love to drive down the streets of the neighborhood where I grew up. More often than not, I will take the back roads when I am off to visit my folks. I think about all the memories; I note the changes; sometimes I lament the changes.

On one particular day, I had a strong desire to drive the long driveway to my best friend's childhood home. I longed to go up to the back door, knock and say, "My best friend lived here, 50 years ago, when I was a kid. Do you think I could come in and just take a look. I have so many memories! She's gone, now. I just want to take a look."

But I didn't do that. I may have, if someone would have been with me.

Grandma's Joy
Years and years ago, my cousin and I did that for my grandma. We had taken a road trip to our beloved north country - taking Grandma along. The mission was to drive by the old ranch that my grandma and grandpa owned, see the changes and reminisce a bit. I will never forget my grandma's excitement. She was so happy to be there. On that day, we were bold enough to knock on the door, and say, "Do you mind? We lived here!"

I will never regret that. It is one of my fondest memories because of my grandma's joy.

Anyway, my folks are still in my childhood home. I am lucky enough all these years later to have that. Perhaps someday, I will miss it enough to knock on the door and say, "Do you mind?"

But for now, every time I hear Miranda Lambert's song "The House That Built Me" I think of that summer day and my Grandma's joy.

I love this song. The lyrics are so real and heartfelt. Miranda is mostly a wild child. Or at least likes to present that persona. But every once in a while she likes to show us her softer side, and that is who I believe she really is. Enjoy the video. And maybe think about the house that built you, as you listen.

Oh, and by the way, I was certainly glad I hadn't knocked on the door of my best friend's childhood home. Just a few days later I found out, friends of my niece had just bought it. Pretty sure, I would have felt extremely foolish when the people behind the knock was someone I knew. :-)

Friday, March 6, 2015

Head-Line Grabbers

Recently, Idaho passed the Parental Rights Amendment in the House of Representatives. I wanted to find out a bit more information, so I googled, “Parental Rights bill in Idaho”.

Much to my dismay, the first link that was listed on the Google page was an article from “Raw Story” that basically bashed the Parental Rights efforts in Idaho. They used an extreme head-line to grab attention and the article appeared to be from a conservative source. This is the page that came up: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2015/02/idaho-gops-extreme-parental-rights-bill-opens-door-to-sharia-law-republican-warns/
I was irritated, but I wasn’t really surprised. I have seen this type of thing before. This is a classic example of what is happening in media and over the internet to deceive people. “Raw Story” is a tabloid website that says proudly they are a progressive outlet, which is promoted and supported by liberal media.

Let me show you from Wikipedia, to prevent an appearance of bias:
“The Raw Story is an American online tabloid publication founded in 2004 by John Byrne. It covers current national and international political and economic news and publishes its own editorials and investigative pieces. The Raw Story describes itself as progressive, bringing attention to stories that it sees as downplayed or ignored by other media outlets. It is owned by Washington, D.C.-based Raw Story Media, Inc.
The Raw Story has been reported on and featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, LA Weekly, the New York Post, the Toronto Star, The Hill, Rolling Stone, The Advocate, Roll Call,[1] and Mother Jones.[2] With an average 2.5 million readers per month (2013),[3] the site is described by Newsweek as, "Muck, raked: If you're looking for alleged GOP malfeasance, the folks at rawstory.com are frequently scooping the mainstream media."[4] 
On August 4, 2008 the Online News Association announced that RawStory.com was a finalist in the 2008 Online Journalism awards in the "Liberal, Small Site" category.[5]  
The Raw Story's original reporting has also been referenced by MSNBC's Ed Schultz and Lawrence O'Donnell,[7] The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Real Time with Bill Maher and Countdown with Keith Olbermann. It was also referenced in 2011 by The Telegraph newspaper, as being the news website that first revealed a contract had been awarded to Ntrepid by United States Central Command as part of Operation Earnest Voice, intended to deploy operatives to create fake online personas abroad.” *
What this website did with their article is intentionally try to sway the electorate with false statistics and fears. They make it look like a conservative backs a certain idea to try to dissuade true conservatives from supporting a certain bill or political effort. They come up with some conspiracy theory they know conservatives tend to be fearful about, or something that will cause them concern, or perhaps become outraged over. They then succeed in swaying people’s feelings, ideas or attitudes about a certain piece of legislation.

I found this same tactic used several years ago, in a group from Montana that claimed to be pro-2nd Amendment, when in reality they were supported and endorsed by liberals that were seeking to destroy the conservative base of 2nd Amendment supporters in Montana and Idaho.
I have seen it with the pro-life issue. I have seen it used with the vaccine issue. And I have seen it used to attack certain conservative candidates or politicians

We really need to research the sources from anything we read on the internet. It is easy to do. Just google the source and see what you find out. If there is still some confusion, google the author or administrator of the site. Check to see who is supporting it through funds or other articles.
Another really good thing to check if you are unsure what a piece of legislation means – the wording can get so confusing! – is to check to see who supports and who is against the legislation.  If you are conservative, look to see how your representatives voted. If you are liberal, do the same. That alone will tell the story. Here is a link to those that supported this bill in the Idaho house: http://www.legislature.idaho.gov/legislation/2015/H0113.htm

One can see from this link that it is the conservative representatives in the House that supported this bill; and NO one is worried it is going to bring about Sharia law as the article implied. Someone was used and probably misquoted or their words were taken out of context.
Just about any topic one wants to consider is being hi-jacked by the left. This is just one example. Though most are probably already aware this is taking place, it is my hope to call some attention to what is happening as it is increasing in frequency. Abusers seek to put a spin on issues to make it look like it is coming from conservative sources, but they are actually promoting a liberal agenda.. They are playing us all as fools. We need to be alert; use our common sense and check things out fully for ourselves.


*All emphasis is mine.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Israel Will Stand

I woke early; at the break of morning light.  I woke in anticipation; excited; and curious as to what exactly would happen. I wanted to make sure I missed nothing of the history-making event that was about to take place.

Sounds corny, I’m sure. But I actually felt anticipation in the air. The Prime Minister of Israel was about to address our nation. That is a history making event any way one looks at it. For some reason, with this administration it created all kinds of controversy. It wouldn’t have at any other time in history, but we have a President who doesn’t think like other Presidents.

This President, since coming into office has shown obvious disdain (to be polite) for Bibi Netanyahu – Israel’s Prime Minister. This President does not seem to understand our long-time friendship with Israel and need to support one another. I will even say, this President’s allegiance seems to be elsewhere. Our President refused to meet with the leader of this great nation and has dissed him on other occasions.
Even if not for the Biblical reasons, it is imperative our nation stands with the only democracy in the Middle East. I simply do not understand any other thought.
So along with my excitement, I worried just a bit. Maybe “wondered” would be the better term. I wondered if the Prime Minister would get the security and protection that he needed. I mean, this administration has not been the most careful administration we have ever had in that regard - even for our own leaders’ security. I was moved at the end of the speech, when Netanyahu left the podium. His security guards surrounded him and escorted him out. I am passionate about things like that. The strength of their demeanor, the serious looks on their faces; the determination of their goal brought me to tears. And I knew they were the Prime Minister's own detail; I could just tell. Certainly, he had the protection of America’s Secret Service, too, but I was struck by the dedication of these who serve in that way.
There were many similar moments like this for me as I watched the speech. I enjoy observing and taking in all. So much so, that I wanted to write about it. I know; I promised I wouldn’t write any more about politics on this blog. I created another blog for that to avoid feeling the need to write it here. But this really isn’t about politics; this is about history; and for me, this is about Biblical prophecy. This is my heart; this is who I am…and I like to write. No one has to read.
In my opinion, Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the strongest leaders of our time. Not even “one of”, but probably the strongest. He has been compared to Churchill in regard to this speech and I found that interesting. I had thought that myself, even before the television news commentators began making that comparison.
Netanyahu was here in defense of his nation. That is what great leaders do. He has seen the weakness in our President and Obama’s tendency to believe we can negotiate with our nation’s enemies. The Prime Minister did an excellent job presenting his case. I won’t go into all of that, but the speech is on video below, which we would all be wise to view - we just lived history!!  Suffice it to say, he pointed out that while our nation’s belief is “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”, Iran’s belief is: “death, tyranny and the pursuit of jihad”. It was a powerful and accurate comparison.
We are hungry for great leaders in our nation. We desire to see strength in action. It has been missing in our own government far too long. In an unusual sort of way, Bibi filled that need of ours for just this moment in time. Despite what liberal media would have us believe he was widely received and openly appreciated. 58 Democrats didn’t show; our President and Secretary of State did not show. This fact is despicable and shameful. It was disrespectful not only to this leader, but to the entire nation of Israel, our ally and friend. Those that did show, did so with utmost respect to honor the ally we have in Israel.
Ok, well there were reports of at least one Senator acting up and being disrespectful. It was reported that Nancy Pelosi stood and turned her back to the Prime Minister every time he received a standing ovation. I saw her do it. But in all honesty, I couldn’t tell if she was purposefully being disrespectful and rude, or simply turning to talk to the person behind her. I’m not going to waste my time to validate the story. I think we all have a pretty good understanding of Pelosi’s views.
I have followed the Prime Minister for years. I followed him when he was in office, out of office and then back in office. I know he is a leader. I believe he is God’s leader for Israel “for such a time as this”. He is always the same. Respectful, strong, passionate, classy and deliberate. He is what a leader should be. He is of the same integrity and principled character our leaders used to be. Our nation is starving for that. I think even to the degree that many of us do not realize or understand. This will get worse, however. In my opinion, it is going to get bad enough that this desire for a great leader will lead to the acceptance of one who “will save us" from the chaos. There may be a reprieve or two, before then. I don’t know. But ultimately, the world will eventually accept one that will bring the final chaos to the world.
Anyway, I am getting off on stuff I didn’t intend to get off on with this post. I simply wanted to write about the passion revealed in this address to the Congress of our nation and the feelings I felt as I watched. Netanyahu said that he appreciated the opportunity to address the “most important legislative body in the world.” He thanked Obama, he thanked the Congress, and he thanked the citizens. He reminded us of our decades old friendship that has always been above politics and should always remain that way. That was an important point and it stirred my appreciation for all. Well, almost all.
Netanyahu was here to remind of us so much.

After his speech, I even enjoyed hearing the thoughts of certain commentators. Charles Krauthammer, is one I always especially enjoy listening to. He is a Jew, himself, who has always stood passionately for Israel. He is a liberal who saw the light and became conservative after seeing liberal politics just didn’t work. He is a smart man. I loved it when I heard him say one of the highlights of the speech for him was that the Prime Minister invoked a standing ovation for Queen Esther 2500 years after the fact. Krauthammer was interjecting some humor into the dialogue, but his point was, it took the Prime Minister of Israel to bring the Bible back to Washington. And the Prime Minister did it twice. Not only with the story of Esther on the eve of the Jewish holiday, Purim, but the Prime Minister also reminded us of Moses, whose portrait is in a prominent place in the chamber where they were gathered. “Moses, who led the Jews from slavery to the Promised Land”, Netanyahu stated, and “who has steeled our resolve for thousands of years.” And then he spoke in his native tongue which for my own little idiosyncrasies stirs passion in me every time I hear that beautiful language. “Be strong and resolute, neither fear nor dread them.” 
A good reminder for us all.
Toward the end of his speech the Prime Minister introduced Elie Wiesel one of the last Holocaust survivors alive today. Elie stood from the balcony and waved. Fragile with age, but strong with understanding and endurance, he remained standing through a lengthy ovation. I wept. This, in my opinion, led to some of the most poignant comments of PM Netanyahu’s entire speech.
“But I guarantee you this, the days when the Jewish people remained passive in the face of genocidal enemies, those days are over. We are no longer scattered among the nations, powerless to defend ourselves. We restored our sovereignty in our ancient home. And the soldiers who defend our home have boundless courage. For the first time in 100 generations, we, the Jewish people can defend ourselves.”
I got chills as this great leader said that. There was a passion and determination in his voice that only hardship brings. This is a leader.
And then he finished his speech with a prophetic line that I don’t think even the Prime Minister fully understood.
“This is why - this is why. As a prime minister of Israel, I can promise you one more thing: Even if Israel has to stand alone, Israel will stand.”
I thought of the Scripture verse that tells us every nation will turn against Israel. Zechariah 12:3 and Zechariah 14:2. I thought of all they will endure until the Messiah returns again.
I see movements (both secular and faith-based) within our own nation that will allow for this very thing to happen – the isolation of Israel. And I remembered the verse “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee.” Psalms 122:6. By praying that prayer, we are ushering in the return of our King.  I recited under my breath Isaiah 62:1: “For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.”
 I believe I have a pretty accurate understanding of what all of this is about. I don’t understand it fully probably, I don’t have to. But I will continue to say with the Jew: “Never again”. Not on my watch. As long as there is something I can do; I will do it.
I have often wondered to myself, why so many in our nation, are so opposed to fighting this age-old enemy who seeks to destroy Israel as the Little Satan and America as the Big Satan. I have often wondered, how can we just stand by and do nothing. I am not in the majority on this, I know that. Most people do not want to risk the lives of anymore American soldiers. I get that. I don’t want to either, but I do believe as long as there are those willing to go, we must send them. Listening to these young men that go, I believe it is actually a calling. Do we really want to be the generation that another generation looks back on and says “Why didn’t someone do something?” Exactly as my generation looked back and pondered how the Holocaust could ever happen, it is nothing different today. But it isn't only the Jew, today; it is also the Christian who is being violently attacked. With our nation’s strength, and wealth and power and understanding how can we NOT do something? That is for a whole other post, I guess.

One more thing I believe, the Prime Minister was right to warn America about the mistake in allowing Iran to get nuclear weapons. For in warning America, the world has taken note. The controversy brought more attention than ever before. That’s God’s way, more often than not. I smile at that. And the Prime Minister’s speech has brought more dialogue and awareness in 24 hours than we have had in our nation for the last six years. I smile at that, too.
"You are wonderful. Thank you, America." he humbly stated, and I could hear the sincerity and emotion of his words. I firmly believe he was glad to have done what he knew he had to do. I think he was surprised the acceptance from the Congressional body went as well as it did. He had to have wondered beforehand how he would be accepted. But he was strong and resolute. He showed nor fear, neither did he dread them. He simply did what he felt was necessary. That is what great leaders do.

One thing is certain; Israel will stand.

Isaiah 60
Romans 11:25-32
Revelation 22: 3-5

Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.