No Apology from Me

The sun rose on a beautiful morning,
Clear blue skies, No weather warning,
It was Sunday in paradise, a lovely day.
Some relaxed, while others went to pray.
Off in the distance a sailor played the reveille call,
In that dreadful moment the bombs began to fall.
We were caught by surprise, we know too well,
That day paradise was turned into a living hell.
Many men were lost, So valiant they were,
Their lives destroyed in a volatile blur.
Now monuments and graves their ships have become.
Only boys they were, now heroic men every one.
On that day in Pearl we were badly out-gunned,
By the men who served with the ‘Rising Sun’.
But their own admiral knew America would rise defiant,
They had awakened the resolve of a sleeping giant.
So forgive me Sir if I don’t follow your lead,
And apologize to those who caused my brothers to bleed.
What is my reasons for not regretting Hiroshima?
The Arizona, The Tennessee, and ….The Oklahoma.
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A Memorial Day Poem

I heard his wheel chair coming. Creaking down the floor.
I wanted to say goodbye, so I met him at my door.
They were sending him to hospice, no need to ask him why.
A lump in my throat, and trembling hand I stood to say goodbye.
He asked the nurse for a moment to say a word to his new friend.
How to say farewell to a hero? I hardly knew where to begin.
We had shared a cup of coffee and spoke of our service call.
He had been in Korea and Vietnam, mine hardly worth mentioning at all.
I never asked if he had taken lives. I doubt he would have told.
He bottled those horrors far inside, deep within his soul.
The moment passed. He had to go. He reached to shake my hand.
No greater honor have I ever felt than to be acquainted with this humble man.
The hospital staff hardly noticed as they wheeled him down the hall.
But here was part of our history, a faithful son who answered the call.
More and more are lost each day. Men and women who did their part.
To spread freedom and liberty on distant shores, and vanquish evil hearts.
From deserts and jungles and treacherous seas, they proudly serve our flag.
Never to draw attention to themselves, nor boast, or strut or brag.
Motivated by duty and honor and love for those left at home.
They come from every walk of life, the finest people ever known.
I pray that on this Memorial Day Americans stop and pray,
And thank God for those faithful few who made possible freedom’s way.
Like my old friend on the second floor who’s heart was failing fast.
Without their selfless, sacrificial, gift…. Our liberty will not last.
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March 24, 2016

Todays Headlines

Police continue the search in Belgium for one of the perpetrators of the recent bombing in Brussels. It is also announced that there may be a second suspect on the run.

President Obama concludes his Latin America trip after a historical stop in Cuba and a visit to Argentina.

In political news, the wives of the two leading candidates on the Republican side have been drawn into the already adolescent slant of the present campaign cycle. The discussion sinks to a new low, along with the lessening possibility of the party regaining the Whitehouse.

On This Date in History

In 1989 the Supertanker Exon Valdez runs aground, spilling 11 million gallons of crude oil and bringing the World’s attention to the possibility of environmental disasters.

In 1958 the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley, became a private in the United States Army.

In 1998 two young boys open fire on classmates at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, killing 5, including one teacher.

Sports News…In 1976 on this date Peyton Manning is born.

Recent history….Last year on this date a Germanwing’s pilot  deliberately crashes his plane, killing 150 people.

Garden Tips

A late frost may have injured some blooms on fruit trees recently, but it appears damage was minimal in most places in the Southern US. Always check with local County Agents or Agri- centers for advice on when to plant. ‘MSU Cares’, a Mississippi Dept. of Agriculture division administered by Mississippi Sate University  has considerable information for garden plants. The link to the website is msucares.com.

Todays Quote

“Do not go where the path may lead, but instead go where there is no path and leave a trail.”                           Ralph Waldo Emerson

Todays Scripture

“The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God stands forever.”                                                                  Isaiah 40:8

Todays Funny

A few years ago I set out one evening to take my normal stroll. I had driven to a place and parked near a trail which led to an over-look of a creek bottom. I visited here many times in the past and had occasionally seen wildlife such as deer and had a rabbit or two scamper away.

Heading down the trail, I had not gone far when movement ahead caught my eye. The black and white markings of a small creature alerted me to a skunk headed in my direction. I never like crossing trails with skunks.  I froze….Knowing disaster was just a wrong move away. I thought to myself that if I remained motionless he may not see me and go on about his business…..Not to be.

He stopped …..Putting his nose to the breeze, which happened to be blowing in his direction, he seemed to realize something was amiss…..Then he saw me….I waited for the fumigation to begin….But…He did a strange thing. As I said he, he was acting as though he had winded me…. He seemed to grimace….Gave a shrug, and quickly found his way back into the dense brush.

I have never been so insulted in my entire life!!!!

Have a Blessed Day!

 

March 16, 2016

Headlines

The Presidential Primary schedule moves forward as five states held primaries yesterday. Donald Trump won three states outright and had a slight lead over Ted Cruz in Missouri. John Kasich won in Ohio. Trump holds a sizable lead in Delegates on the Republican side…….For the Democrats, Hillary Clinton won four states and stood virtually tied with Bernie Sander in Missouri. She holds a large lead in delegates and super delegates. 

The White House announced that President Obama would announce his decision on his nominee for Supreme Court Justice, to fill the vacancy left by the recently deceased Antonin Scalia. It is believed his nominee will be Justice Merrick B. Garland of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. Republicans have promised a rigorous fight to block any nominee, leaving the choice to the next president.

In Sports, March Madness is under way with a full slate of teams beginning play. Controversy arose over the weekend when the Selection Committee’s choices were leaked just hours before ESPN’s broadcast.  

On This Date in History

Many of us will remember the horrible event which became known as the My Lai Massacre. In 1968 a platoon of American Soldiers, part of Charlie Company, 1st Battalion of the 20th Infantry Regiment,  entered the village of My Lai searching for Viet Cong who were known to have infiltrated this sector. The men opened fire on the villagers, mostly women and children. Somewhere between 347 and 504 unarmed citizens were killed. In all, 26 soldiers were charged with criminal offenses but Lieutenant William Calley, Jr., the Platoon Leader was the only conviction. 

News of this atrocity led to World Wide outrage and was perhaps, the one event most responsible for opposition to the war on the home front. The cowardly acts of these men, over shadowed in large part the heroism and bravery of thousands of men and women who selflessly offered their youthful destinies in exchange for freedom for a nation they hardly knew.

Today’s Scripture

“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.”                                                      Colossians 3:12-13

Today’s Quote

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts.”                                   Winston Churchill

Gardening Tips

Burning off an old garden spot, kills weeds and intrusive plants and adds nutrients to the soil, when turned under. Choose a day of little to no wind, use utmost caution and stay alert with a water hose nearby. Planting dates for cool season vegetables are nearing for parts of the country. There is no table-fare more tasty than that you have grown and harvested with your own hands.

Today’s Funny

A Republican US Congressman was making his rounds campaigning. He stopped at an old farmer’s home in an area known for leaning more toward the Democrats. Introducing himself, he announced he would like to share his political views. The old gentleman said, “Hold on, let me get Maw. She’s never met a Republican.”….When the farmer stepped inside the Politician glanced around for a platform to give his speech. Close by was a large pile of cow manure, so he climbed on top and when the fellow returned with his wife in tow, the campaigner gave his speech.

When the Politician finished, the elderly farmer said, “That’s the first time I ever heard a Republican speech.”….The Congressman returned….”That’s the first time I have ever given a Republican speech from a Democratic platform.” (Borrowed from Ronald Reagan)

May your day be blessed!!!!

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March 11, 2016

The Cares of This World…

      An old friend pays a visit more often these days. His name is anxiety…better known as stress, worry, even fear. I do not know why it is that in the Autumn of my life there is so much uncertainty within…So much anxious concern for those things for which I have so little control.

      I sit in my make-shift study typing my thoughts on my HP, wondering if they will make sense to anyone else in the land of cyber. I raised  my window so that I might hear the sounds of morning and feel the refreshing mist of a pre-spring Mississippi day. The Wild Pears and plum trees have begun there annual ritual of harkening to the coming warmth and compelling the early honey bees to share in pollen…But this year few come…Fewer than last year and the year prior. 

      Blue Jays are annoyed by some intruder…Is it me I wonder? …Surely not for I am always here. They should have accepted me by now. Yet something has not been to their favor this morn…Or perhaps they are never content with their environment. I suppose in all my days of walking in the woods, I never truly met a Jay who was glad to see me. My departure seemed to be all that would brighten his day.

      A squirrel paid a visit earlier and sat for some time in my Raccoon/ Bird Feeder pine. He perched on the upper-most platform watching me intently it seemed, for the better part of an hour. I wondered what dreadful deed he might be planning, owing to the fact I had left the feeders untended….I can only imagine…He left finally…No doubt headed back to pals, telling them of my heartlessness…So sorry little buddy. I’ll try to do better.

      Two days ago a pair of Wood Ducks drifted in to alight in the nearest pond. I had hoped they might return today but so far no luck. I did hear their call earlier but they flew to another pond out of my line of sight. I am hopeful that they may stay close and raise their brood,… so that I may be able to get some photos. Fingers crossed….Nikon at the ready.

      Across the way, wafting down the slopes of the low hills between my window and town, the chimes of the Methodist Church reach my ears. Their soothing melody like a balm to a wound. A reminder that ….He….is in control. I do know that… I always know. I am your Child, Lord, …Your stubborn child.

“Therefore know that the Lord your God…He is God….The faithful God, who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations…”                                                Deuteronomy 7:9

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March 8th, 2016

On This Date in History;

      In 1862 the CSS Virginia sinks two Union ships and ushers in the age of the ‘Ironclads’.

      In 1917 the ‘February Revolution’ begins in Russia, an uprising of workers that would eventually lead to Communist control of the nation.

      Recent history, In 2014 a Malaysia Airlines flight disappears with 200 people onboard. It has not been found.

      In Sports History, On this date in 1971 Muhammed Ali fights Joe Frazier in what was deemed ‘The Fight of the Century’. Frazier retains his Heavy Weight Title in an unanimous decision.

Political News;

Four states hold primaries today, choosing the nominee for the Republican Party Presidential candidate. Michigan, Mississippi, Idaho and Hawaii. A total of 150 delegates are at stake. For the Democrats primaries are being held in Michigan and Mississippi with 166 delegates to be won. 

Gardening Tips;

This is a good time to begin fertilizing fruit trees with a recommended mixture for your particular trees. I learned the hard way to go easy with Nitrogen around Apples and Pears. Be sure to prune dead and injured branches and others that may be causing problems. Now is the time to apply oil based sprays to trunks of trees in order to kill pesky borers and insects hidden under bark. Check with your local feed and seed for sealant to spray on injured parts and where limbs have been removed.

Backyard Wildlife Tips;

Now is a good time to bring in Hummingbird feeders for cleaning. Feeders should be sterilized and kept clean to protect our little friends from bacteria. March is a tough time for birds as a whole. Most grass and weed seeds have been depleated and new sprouts have not yet come on. A little extra seed in bird feeders will help them prepare for the coming nesting season. The same goes for our bushy tailed buddies. Their stash of nuts and buds are just about gone. A few kernels of corn or peanuts will help them have better days.

One last note on Wildlife….I have noticed Owls and other night creatures being more active in recent nights. The sounds of tree frogs fill the night air and I have even heard a pack of Coyotes. For a break in your nightly routine, sit out sometime and listen to the night sounds of God’s beautiful creation. It will help you sleep more soundly.

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Todays Quote;

“Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”                                                                                       Mark Twain

 

Todays Scripture;

“Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart; Wait, I say on the Lord.”                               Psalm 27:14

 

Today Funny;

One day a self described Philosopher sat down at dusk, watching the sun set on the western horizon. He was determined to stay there until he had answered the question of where the sun goes after setting…..Finally…..It dawned on him.

Final Thoughts;

Remember today will not pass your way again. Let us enjoy God’s gift of life to the fullest. Perhaps in our daily walk we might cross the path of someone who could use a kind word or a hug. By bringing a smile to someone else’s face we might lift our own spirit from daily anxiety.

“GO GET ‘EM GANG!!!!”

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March 7th, 2016

On this Date in History;

     Alexander Graham Bell records a patent for the telephone. Beating his nearest competitor by only two hours and giving birth to the age of telecommunications.

Wildlife Watching;

      Time to put out Blue Bird nesting boxes. These may be purchased from local ‘feed and seeds’ or you may build your own. Plans for DIY boxes can be found at several sites. A few are the  Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (agfc.com), the Missouri Dept. of Conservation (mdc.mo.gov), the North American Bluebird Society (nabluebirdsociety.org), and the National Audubon Society (audubon.org)

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Todays Scripture;

     “Search me oh God and know my heart; Try me and know my anxieties; And see if there is any wicked way in me, And lead me in the way everlasting.”                                            Psalms 139:23-24

Todays Quote;

      “I never had a policy; I have just tried to do my best every day.”                                                                        Abraham Lincoln

Todays Funny;

      A pastor passing through the church’s large vestibule, between services noticed a little boy looking intently at a framed memorial which contained photos of several men in uniform. “Hi Jimmy! Good to see you!”…The little guy said “Hello Pastor. Who are all these men?”…The pastor obliged…”These men were members of our church, who died in the service.”…The little guy still looked puzzled…”Which service?…The first one or the second?” 

Daily Headlines;

      In Politics, the race for the White House continues with weekend primaries and caucuses in 5 states. Overall Donald Trump still leads Ted Cruz in the delegate count, but the lead has narrowed…..On the Democratic side Hillary Clinton still holds a commanding lead in the delegate count over Bernie Sanders.

      In Market News, Stocks opened somewhat higher with news of a slight rally in oil futures. Investors still face uncertainty.

       In Sports, Peyton Manning retires after 18 years in the NFL and holding numerous records, causing some to label him as the greatest quarterback of all time.

      In National News, the Nation mourns as the Reagan family makes plans for the funeral of former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

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The American Crisis

     “These are the times that try men’s souls….” Opening lines of Thomas Paine’s famous Revolutionary War novel written in 1976. These words are pertinent and descriptive of today’s America. I swore to myself when I began this blog, I would refrain from political posts and thoughts. Unfortunately I can not in good faith refrain any longer. There is far too much at stake and the situation too dire…..We are in a crisis here in my country as great, if not more so, than that faced by our founding Patriots.

     While the World teeters on a precipice of self annihilation, America wallows in the mire of political humiliation. Recent debates among the two party’s prospective nominees have taken on the appearance of a playground scuffle or a Romper room temper tantrum. One can only sit and wonder….”Is this the best we can do?”….No doubt there is a crisis of integrity. Somehow, somewhere ….the political community has decided to throw integrity to the far winds and in doing so traded the will of the people for self seeking appetites , and the best interests of their constituents ….to oblivion.

     There is a crisis of morals. The founding fathers and the authors of the Constitution knew in their hearts that this Grand American experiment would have no chance at survival, if it were not sustained by a population of moral citizens. By moral I do not merely mean to imply proper behavior in marital situations but also within business and governmental authority. Sadly, we live in an age when the lies and misleading comments of our leaders are somewhat excused because ….”after all they are politicians.”….How then do we offer instructions to our children in regards to honesty when a lack thereof is so prevalent among those seeking office.

     There is a crisis of respect…No doubt this has been obvious in the reports of several towns being torched by unruly mobs and those crying for relevance due to real or perceived social slights. It is uncertain if this crisis of respect is an outgrowth of the notion of entitlement or a serious lack of discipline in the family. Whatever the cause, it reaches despicable levels when law enforcement officer are assaulted and some even killed. I dare say Americans of even a short while ago could not fathom that these things would become a daily occurrence. 

     There is a crisis of gratitude….It is my belief that one of the greatest shortcomings of modern society is that we fail to be grateful for what we have. This attitude was wholly on display in the most recent Academy Awards Show. Not by all perhaps, but by some of the big winners. Rather than show gratitude for the award to those who made it possible, some spent their time on stage promoting their own selfish causes. One such participant railed against the problem of ‘Global Climate Change’ , no doubt caused by greedy Capitalists who refuse to cut emissions from fossil fuels…..Then this same actor sailed away on his luxurious yacht, burning thousands of gallons of fuel…Perhaps such behavior goes back to integrity more than gratitude or perhaps it is interconnected.

     Thomas Paine continued his thought which I alluded to in my opening line when he said….”The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of his country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”….Perhaps we who have reached this Autumn Season of life have done so for a reason. At a time when America too has reached a maturity of sorts, and yet still labors to find it’s true identity as a nation, perhaps it was our destiny or God’s will to be more precise. That we arrived here at this point in time… at the same time.

     It is our duty to compel those who’s lives we touch, who’s daily travels intersect with our own, …to adhere to the principles espoused by our founding fathers… at a time when our existence as a nation of free citizens was very much in doubt. For in as much as they were willing to offer themselves as sacrifices if so required, we too must be willing to do our duty. No matter the cost in personal stature or embarrassment, we must be willing to stand alone even against those we love…So that America might survive this crisis of Spirit.

“Have not I commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

 

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A Wednesday Smile

     A gentleman once thought it was time he should buy himself a pet of some sort, to give himself an outlet from the day to day hum-drum of life. Visiting a local pet store he noticed a small parrot sitting in a cage, singing, and speaking a few phrases he had learned.. The store keeper recommended that this little fellow would make an excellent pet….And so off our friend went, parrot and cage in hand. Within a short time the little fellow acclimated to his new surroundings and his singing and jabbering filled the home.

     All was well, at least for a few days…..The songs which the little guy had been singing stopped, the excited little phrases stopped….. and he seemed to be getting depressed.

     Knowing something was wrong the man went back to the pet store and told the proprietor how the bird was acting. The store asked….”Does he swing on the little swing?”….”I didn’t know about a swing.”….said the parrots  owner. Oh the store owner assured him….”He must have a swing! He needs that to keep up his enthusiasm.”….So purchasing a swing for the birdcage, the concerned pet owner headed back home, happy to have an answer for his sad friend. When the swing was installed in his cage, the parrot jumped on it and happily swung back and forth singing his songs and soon jabbering away.

     All was well for a few days then once again the singing stopped….The depression returned and the little guy seemed to be getting weak…..His concerned owner headed back to store once again….The store proprietor asked….”Does he peck the little bell? He needs one for entertainment.”…..Of course the man had not purchased a bell so having done so, he headed back home once again hopeful he had the answer to his sick bird….After installing the bell in his pet’s cage, the parrot jumped on his swing and then learned to peck the little bell….Soon he was swinging and ‘tinking’ away…All was well for a couple of days then the singing and ‘tinking’ stopped and the little guy seemed to be getting more depressed and weak.

     Heading back to the pet store the troubled man was told his friend needed a wheel in his cage for exercising. Purchasing a wheel the man headed back home where he installed this apparatus in his sick birds cage. The parrot seemed to be very sick but he jumped over on his swing and swung back and forth. He then went over to his bell and pecked a few ‘tinks’. Next he jumped on the wheel and though he was very weak he gave it a few spins…..The poor little guy then fell on the floor of his cage, with his little feet sticking up into the air.

     With his last words he looked at his sad owner and said….”Doesn’t that pet store sell birdseed any more????”

     Daily routines, enthusiasm, entertainment and exercise are necessary, especially in our latter years. But… don’t let the cares and excesses of this world rob you of the sustenance and daily food of His word. It is a necessary part of everyone’s life and the one ingredient for finding true joy in our golden years.

“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'”

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“Unconditional Surrender”

     In February of 1862 the Union Army under Major General Ulysses S. Grant had positioned his forces against the  Confederate garrison at Fort Donelson, on the Cumberland  River in Tennessee. Soon after capturing Fort Henry on the Tennessee, he was now poised to capture this last bastion between his army and the very important depots at Nashville. After an unsuccessful escape attempt by the Confederate occupants under General Floyd, command had now passed to General Simon Bolivar Buckner who agreed to seek the terms of surrender with General Grant.

     General Buckner dispatched a note to Grant requesting terms and expecting some benevolence perhaps due to the fact he and the General had once been comrades. Grants terse reply became one of the great quotes of the war and help to label him as one of the great tacticians of all time….His reply was….”No terms except immediate and unconditional surrender can be accepted.”….From that day forward US Grant would come to be known as “Unconditional Surrender Grant.” 

     For those of us in advanced years, I believe we can see the wisdom in such a philosophy. No matter the obstacle, ailment or stronghold, there is no recourse but unconditional surrender. In the battle of wills there is no other alternative but that His Will, meaning God’s Will be done. For that to happen, we must remove ourselves from the equation….We must surrender our will….Easier said than done, I know by experience….After years of being witness to His guidance and blessing, it is still within me to try to act on my own…To breakout…Escape….Of course it never works.

     My friends total reliance is necessary. Unconditional Surrender to His Lordship is the only way. It has been well stated that if… ‘He is not Lord of all. He is not Lord at all’. 

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up” ~~ James 4:10

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