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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

I See Heroes

There has been a lot of talk about heroes lately. We have seen many actions throughout our nation that would classify someone as a hero:  The marine jumping on a grenade to save his buddies; the cop that took a bullet while protecting the community he took an oath to serve; a missionary bringing the Gospel to the Sudan, or a pastor sharing in the slums of New York; even the fireman that rescued the little kitten from the drain should be classified as a hero.

But when anyone refers to any of these men as a “hero”, much of the response has been negative. Some people, for whatever reason, simply do not like the thought of identifying anyone with this label. I was recently in conversation with someone like that. Boy! Was he adamant!! That prompted me to write this post.

You see, I believe in heroes. I believe they are necessary for the health and success of our society. Please allow me to explain. Let me start with a dictionary definition.
Hero – “any man noted for his special achievements.”
Heroic – “1. Of, or appropriate to a hero or heroes. Courageous; noble. 2. Calling for heroism involving risk. 3. Impressive on size or scope; on a grand or grandiose scale.”
So says the American Heritage Dictionary in their concise and clear definition. Pretty simple, isn’t it? That certainly doesn’t sound threatening or dangerous in any way to me. Neither does it sound like anyone is making idols or gods out of “heroes”. Just a plain simple definition of what a hero has always been understood to be in our society. We are not worshipping them. Though I am sure there is plenty of that going around too. That is nothing new. That has occurred since time began. People can be guilty of worshipping things, money and even their beliefs! Worshipping idols, doesn't have to be the case when it comes to respecting heroes. And in a healthy society, it isn't!

We are not saying heroes are perfect. A hero is simply someone whose actions are worthy of respect. Why the recent attacks on defining someone as a hero?

Well, my dad taught me (those of you that read my blog frequently, had to have known that he would be my premier source) clear back in the ‘60’s that heroes are important to any society and especially important to a society’s children. Heroes make us better. Heroes give us something to look up to. Heroes give us something to emulate and try to aspire. They give us goals to attain. That’s important for a child!! Children must have role models! And they must be decent, moral and courageous role models.

I mean, come on!!! Who would you like to have as your child’s television role model for a mother? Rosanne Barr or June Lockhart? For those of you too young to know, June Lockhart was Timmy’s mom in the 1950’s show Lassie. She was just about perfect as she cared for young Timmy and her family. And of course Rosanne Barr, was the sarcastic, flippant, beast of a mom in the sit-com Rosanne. 

Whether we like to admit it or not, television and movies influence our society. Something as simple as the portrayal of a mom can affect what we expect out of our mother’s and thereby, mom’s actually become that. More often than not, it simply gives some women an excuse to act out. “Well, Rosanne did it, so I can, too”, is the thought pattern that then invariably leads to that same action. You doubt that? Pay attention for a bit. Watch behaviors and how they form and play out in copy-cat fashion after something becomes popular on television. Individuals become whom they admire. Individuals become and make-up our society. This is why it is so important to have someone we can look up to, value, and honor.

Did you know that many generations ago, books that were written for school children about public figures had no negative comments included…at all!! Biographers only wrote about the good things done by the person of whom they were writing. I had always been told that that was the case. Then upon reading a few books from A Beka Publications while homeschooling my son, I found that it was indeed true. There was nothing negative or untoward written in these biographies from the 1800’s. Those generations knew and understood it wasn’t necessary for children to learn things that were not beneficial to society, or a child’s upbringing. It wasn't until the last half of the 20th Century that we began to see more and more of a degradation of those whom once would have been considered heroes for our children. Indecency and unseemly behavior was all of a sudden flaunted in books and television.

But let me get back to my “premier source”. How did my dad know what he knew? Why did he teach his children this truth? Well for one thing, he raised his children during the tumultuous years of the 1960’s. Out of all of the changes that our young nation has endured, I believe the 1960’s was the most pivotal. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty.” “Cops are pigs.” “Make love, not war,” was the mantra continually be spieled to our youth. Any chance of considering any one a hero from anyone within government or an authoritarian position would have been quickly and boldly shunned within this movement that was infiltrating our schools and even our churches.

My dad saw it. He had read what the Communists goals were to take over our nation, and he could see what they said they would do, they were doing. All of it was clearly taking place in communities across our entire country.

But more than that, my dad also knew writing, producing music, making television shows and movies about bad things is not Scriptural. Think about it!

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Philippians 4: 8 should be the way we teach our children.

“Train up a child in the way he should go, and he will not depart from it.” “IN THE WAY HE SHOULD GO”!  A child does not need to learn evil in order to know how to behave righteously – contrary to today’s popular teaching! In fact, quite the opposite is true. Children need to learn “good” and have Biblical guidance in order to know how to act in order that we might have a successful society.

God was removed from schools in 1963! Of course He had to be removed to convince our society that the whole world is really like Rosanne Barr and not June Lockhart. It isn't!!

But it clearly is having an effect!  As for me, I am going to stick to believing in heroes. People that inspire me and give me hope. People that let me know God is still at work here, as we wait for His return. I want to admire those that will enable me to say, “That is how I want to do it”. “That is the kindness I want to show.” “That is the generosity I want to give.” “Those are the morals I want to see displayed throughout our society.” “That is the bravery and courage that is going to keep us the strong and benevolent nation we have always been.” “Those are the heroes that have fought and died in every war to keep freedom alive.”  These are the things I want to look to and focus. It is in these things we find heroes. That is what we need to teach each generation; especially in generations that have now wavered from respectful behavior and righteous examples.

Those that have a problem with heroes - like the “friend” I mentioned earlier - seem to have bought into the dangerous rhetoric of the 1960's. Whatever! Call these note-worthy men and women examples; ensamples; or call them role models! We just need to make sure we aren't degrading their character and actions by cautious re-labeling of a word that seems to frighten or disgust some, because in the end, that does more harm than good. They are all heroes to me.

We need heroes! We succeed with them! We become like them! Somebody knows that simple fact! And that is why we have a blatant campaign against heroes, today. And that is why I will continue to fight to commend and bring attention to heroes i.e. “any man [or woman] noted for [their] special achievements.”

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Is it really that bad? I see no idols. I see heroes.



Friday, May 8, 2015

The Saga of the Navajo Princess

She came to us about 2 years ago. It was November to be exact. I remember clearly the day my husband brought her home. I wasn't too sure about this. I thought the story of her life had gotten in the way of my husband's judgment. Someone my husband worked with couldn't care for her anymore and had just given her to him if he promised to take good care of her. And now here she was.

"Tennessee Walker" he had told me over the phone before they arrived. And I thought about my childhood friend and the horses they had raised when we were kids. "She's a pinto," he had informed me.
"Well then, her name must suit her," I thought in my storybook mind.

As he and his friend unloaded her, I watched eagerly to see how she behaved. She was perfect.
"Ugh", I thought to myself, "she is not the prettiest horse I have ever seen...but maybe she will grow on me."

She did.
The only advice she came with is, "She will run at you when you start to feed her. Just put your hand up in a stop motion and she will stop."

It was true. She was an aggressive eater from the get-go.

As we got to know one another, I found this horse had excellent ground manners and was very easy to love. Matt being the youngest of us, and now the better rider, rode her first. I don't really remember how she did, so it must have been fine. What I do remember, is coming home one day, (driving without my glasses) I saw a cowboy on a beautiful horse riding up the road toward me. They looked so handsome together, and I thought to myself, "There is one lucky cowboy." It really struck me for some reason, and that picture is forever engrained in my mind. I slowed down; the rider had control, but I could tell this horse had spunk. As I got closer, I saw it was our son on our beautiful Navajo Princess! What a fine pair they seemed to make.

I also learned that day, that at my age, she was probably a little too much for me to handle. I hate to admit it, because there was a time I would have loved to ride a horse like this, but I have opted not to ride her. One simply can't do the things one used to do, nor does one get it all back at 60 years old. I will leave her to the men of our household. My husband found the same thing; she loves to run and it is a bit of a challenge to hold her back. The rider gets a work-out as well as the horse.
But my not riding her has not kept me from loving her any less. In fact, she is one of the horses at the top of my list.

We have also learned she is not an "easy keeper".  Not horribly difficult, but she has required more care than any other horse we have had.
I remember the first time the vet came to look at her. They had asked her name, when we made the initial phone call. When the vet arrived, he asked me, "What do you call her, Navajo or Princess?

"Navajo." I responded, and I caught a wry smile from the doctor.
He and his associate exchanged looks. Then he laughed as he explained, "I told M. if they call her "Navajo", we are good; but if they call her "Princess", we could be in for a challenge."

They were good.
What I have come to know about this horse, is that she loves to be cared for. She loves to love and she loves to be loved. She is the sweetest thing and will patiently let you do anything you want.
It was a month or so ago, when we had a very frightening experience. I wrote briefly about it. Navajo had choked. Now I had never had a horse choke before, and I have to tell you it is NOT fun.
When it first happened, I was pretty sure it wasn't colic. She had just eaten well, and pooped and did all the normal things. We were very lucky that I was still out with the horses when it happened. If choking occurs when one is away, it can cause some dangerous complications. The horse won't die, because they can still breathe, but they will suffer throughout the day, which can later cause a restriction in their throats. This will lead to a history of continual choking due to a build up of scar tissue. Not attending to the choke quickly can also lead to pneumonia, because of getting fluid in their lungs as they lay on the ground with their throat constricted.
To make a long story short, the vet arrived in about 45 minutes, and took all the necessary steps to ensure Navajo's passage way was no longer clogged. She instructed me to moisten her hay and her grain for about 3 days and she gave me some pain medicine to give to her for 3 days.

We were lucky to have caught it early, the Dr. told me. She did not expect any further complications, but be sure to call if there were any.
I was hopeful. Maybe everything would be ok. Three or four days, later I was finding it necessary to continue watering her food. But I had run into another problem, she didn't like it moistened and wasn't eating. I had also noticed some stumbling, and something else that concerned me, ( I can't remember what that was right, now.) so I called the vet to come again for a further check.

He came in good time, and took some blood to check her kidneys and liver. He also gave her a neurological exam and checked her teeth. I told him they had just been floated a year ago, but he decided to file down a couple that he could see would be the beginning of what is called wave mouth, if he let them go. I was very appreciative of that care. In the end, all turned out clear. Phew!
However, a month or so later, baby girl still wasn't eating right. I was no longer moistening her food, because she seemed to be able to handle it and she seemed to have learned to eat more slowly. This aggressive eater is her own worst enemy when it comes to causing herself not to be able to swallow properly. The green grass had finally come up in the yard, but not yet in the pastures. I had started to let her into the yard to gradually get used to eating the green grass. Too much green grass all at once, can cause problems, too, but the tender new grass was what she seemed to most easily be able to handle.

Unfortunately one evening, without explanation, she choked again. I prayed and prayed, and massaged her neck as I beseeched the Lord in whispered prayer. Let me tell you, this horse knows Jesus' Name. Because of time and money, I didn't want to have to call the vet again. God answered! I was able to massage the blockage down. She was calm through it all.
Then a few days later, it happened again. I had to call the vet this time. He was on his way, but he was an hour out. So I continued with my routine that had worked before - massage and prayer. I was once again successful, and I am convinced this horse loves to hear the Name of Jesus. ;-)

The vet got here just as she was starting to eat again. He didn't have to do anything, because he knew when he saw her eating, she was no longer choking. He talked with us a bit, and gave us some advice. I am so happy with all the vets we have had from the clinic we use. I appreciate that my animals are in good hands and I love making sure they are well cared for.
But what I came to realize, is I have a decision to make. We will need to put a good deal more money into her, or we will need to put her down.

We have had at least one more incident of choke, since the last time the vet came. I am losing count, but I believe it has been one or two. I have been successful in massaging/praying the blockage down. I have now begun to leave her full time in the yard. She doesn't eat the entire time. She even gets tired of the green grass, seeming to prefer some dry hay once in a while. The dry grain that she loves to inhale is gone forever, I think. She instead has to eat it in a soggy mash. She has yet to finish a feeding of that. She just doesn't like it. Well truthfully, I guess she has finished one over night a few times. I have gone out in the mornings and found the mash entirely gone. And just today, as I went out to feed her, I convinced myself that she actually seems to be gaining some weight back.
So that is the saga of my Navajo Princess. I am pretty sure I can get her through the summer. We have sprayed the pasture, and will put a fence up today which will allow me to leave her there full time. With our cross-fencing, she should be able to eat green grass throughout the summer. And there is always the lawn, that will be available to her, if need be, though she has already destroyed a couple of my bushes and my dwarf cherry tree. That's ok, the Navajo will come first.

Regretfully, come fall, if not before, we will need to decide what to do. Sometimes there is just no other choice the vet had told me, as he explained the incident of an expensive colt, he had had to put down at one time due to a history of choke. Ahhh life. It is just never easy. But for now, I will let the saga continue and watch it all carefully, with apprehension, but moreover with love and prayer...in Jesus' Name.