New York City remembers those lost in the 9-11 terrorist attacks
September 11, 2001 is a date that we must NEVER forget. The world has known evil during World War II and the Holocaust and many other times when the innocent have been destroyed. The attack on the World Trade Centers in New York City is also one of those times.
These are the devastating facts:
- A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, DC and outside of Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
- At the World Trade Center (WTC) site in Lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 were intentionally crashed into the north and south towers, or as a result of the crashes.
- Of those who perished during the initial attacks and the subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York City firefighters, 23 were New York City police officers and 37 were officers at the Port Authority.
- The victims ranged in age from two to 85 years. Approximately 75-80% of the victims were men.
- At the Pentagon in Washington, 184 people were killed when hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed into the building.
- Near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, 40 passengers and crew members aboard United Airlines Flight 93 died when the plane crashed into a field. It is believed that the hijackers crashed the plane in that location, rather than their unknown target after the passengers and crew attempted to retake control of the flight deck.
- Because of illness since the attack, a number of the rescue and first responders have also died. Others, including the canine helpers, lived on but with some continued illness.
Brooklyn Memorial to the First Responders
Bretagne, the last known 9/11 rescue dog, is pictured with owner Denise Corliss
A Personal Note: The men who flew the planes into the towers probably walked or biked by our house many times as they trained at a small airport in Venice, Florida. A young pilot attending our church was in charge of training one of the men. He could not understand why the student did not want to pay attention when he tried to teach the landing techniques of flying. Finally, having enough of the attitude, he asked to be released from his duties as an instructor. The student was given to someone else. Later, the terrorists who had learned the basics in small aircraft went on to south Florida to learn more about flying large, commercial planes. Had our U.S. government officials been sharing information on persons of interest with the local police force, these men who trained here to do their horrible deed would have been caught. How tragic.
Just before 9-11, my husband and I went to New York to celebrate our anniversary. We took in a baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Sitting near us was a group of young firefighters, having a great time. Little did they know that evil was going to take some of their lives within days.
We rode the bullet elevator to the top of the twin tower to get a spectacular view of the city. It was a beautiful day and at around 9:00 am. We were the only ones up on the top except for a woman who offered to take our pictures. It was only from June until September that we could only imagine that there was probably another tourist standing where we stood to also enjoy the view….when the plane came in for the crash. How tragic and how evil.
There were a number of planes up in the air at the same time on 9-11. Two went into the towers and one into the Pentagon. Little did the terrorists flying over Pensylvania know that they had strong, American men on their airplane who loved American freedom and their lives. They were going to do anything to stop their plane from going into any other buildings where innocent people were living their everyday lives. We’ll never forget the bravery when the words “Let’s Roll” were shouted and the plane was brought down in Pennsylvania instead of their planned destination. Their bravery is beyond what we can say here. To the families of all those who lost loved ones that terrible day, we promise that they will never be forgotten…not this year or any year to come.
9-11 Memorial at Shanksville, Pennsylvania
Evening 9-11 Memorial at the Pentagon in Arlington, VA
In 2017, my husband and I went back to New York City to once again walk around the memorial and read the thousands of names etched in marble. With the sound of the water and flowers laid next to names with a birthday that day, it is beautiful. We also went to St. Paul’s Chapel which is situated next to where the twin towers stood. Amazingly, with all the buildings falling and debris everywhere, it was not destroyed. Even the steeple on the church remained. St. Paul’s Chapel took care of the first responders through their long hours of working in the rubble.
St. Paul’s Chapel with the new One World tower behind
The victims of 9-11 WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. We would urge all Americans and anyone making a trip to the USA to make this holy place a definite destination.
Men and women from many countries, nationalities and religious faiths were working in the buildings destroyed or riding on the planes on 9-11. With that in mind, it was also an attack on the people of the world. Those who might be tempted to turn a blind eye to what are the goals of terrorists should take a look at the video here as a reminder.
Video 1st video only from 60 minutes Over-time…”rare footage from Ground 0″ (turn on sound and give it a second or two to load) 1st video only Click link below:
Family members are the ones who know us best. There are often things that break families apart…even if it is not understood why. There could have been arguments or no argument at all. A decision was made to walk away…to go a different direction. Sometimes it is through the influence of others…or a decision is made by the one member who decides to leave. Whatever the reason…coming home is a difficult thing to do. It means facing the people that we have loved the most in the past. It may even be hard for those who were left. To take the step to go home again may be like a bitter pill. Swallowing the pill of the unknown…the hope for acceptance…or the possibility of rejection is even harder. We are human and we don’t like to admit we made poor decisions. We are also told that “forgiveness is divine.”
Someone reading my blog today is saying to his/herself that this sounds like my situation. You either have a person who has left you…or you have left those who love and know you the best. Life will go on even if you decide to never face your family again, but is it really what you want? Will you never know the warm embrace that is there waiting for you? The longer time goes on and you walk away in your mind and heart, will you ever have another chance?
Is it worth it to pick up the phone, show up at the door, or write a letter to those you have left behind? You may not really know how much it would mean to even one person that was always a part of your life. You may have never left your family, but have someone that you have avoided or have not spoken to in years. Reconciliation is a word not often used, but a very important word. Only peace and happiness can come when there is reconciliation.
Only you can decide. God will give you the courage if it is a “Yes”…and He will weep tears along with yours on the lonely nights if your decision is “NO”…but weep you will. Eventually weeping is assured because no one will force you to do anything you do not want to do…not even God.
In the Holy Scriptures, the Prodigal Son’s father did not run after the child he loved, but allowed him to leave and waited patiently until he finally saw the familiar figure approaching him from afar. His joy could not be contained! Who is waiting for you?
The video below shares not only the beautiful music of the choir, but a message within its drama. No, it’s not Christmas as the video indicates, but your decision may be the best present ever.
VIDEO (turn up sound)
Recently a friend of mine lost her Mother and I remember when my own Mother died. There have been other parts of my life that have held pain…as with most people. All sadness in this life moves along with us, but I believe there are things that help us “live through” those times.
My Mom and me
As an author, artist and photographer, I decided to set up my own art room where I could lose myself in a world of quiet and creativity. I also saw a person who visited Japan and experienced the Asian way of “Nature therapy”. The person was encouraged to actually reach down to a bed of moss…touch it and sniff the smell of it. They continued a walk through the woods, noticing all the different plants, leaves and trees. I live in Florida and we have amazing skies here. The sun rises over the lakes; clouds gather in the deep blue summer afternoon bringing the streaks of lightning and in the evening the setting sun streams through the hanging moss. Nature is truly beautiful here.
Wherever we live, we see life around us…but do we see it…really? I think our souls need that interaction with God’s world if we are truly to have peace and joy with what is around us. It takes only the time we are willing to give to it.
Below is a picture of my art and writing room. I’m fortunate to have a space dedicated to these activities.
My husband has turned the garage into his wood-working space. Often he will call me out there to see the beautiful grain on a piece of wood that he is making. Nature…even after the tree is long gone…lives on in his beautiful wooden trays.
My Uncle Archie loved nature and carved the beautiful bird that you see below. Our dear friend, Tom, passed away recently, but he was gifted beyond measure in the turning of bowls shown below on my husband’s tray. These are treasures to be kept always and reminders of those who have gone through hard times, but through their faith in Jesus Christ have “passed through” with great courage and honor.
The young woman featured below is Zaria Forman. She is a true artist and shares her feelings about nature and loss. It is worth listening to and a reminder that there is much beauty in the world. We must seize the day that has been given to us.
VIDEO Turn up sound and click link given (credit National Geographic)
Every year the U.S. celebrates Father’s Day. It is a time to recognize all those fathers who have spent time with their children…passing along the values and traditions of the family.
BLESSINGS TO ALL from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia Have a relaxing day!
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
It’s a subject no one wants to approach. Why? It’s too final… too disturbing…too somehow “unreal”. Yet, everyday someone is saying to his or herself, “I just can’t go on. It is just too overwhelming!”
It is real to them, but probably not to those around them. How could they do such a thing? How could they even think such a thing?
When a high-profile person with everything to live for, such as Anthony Bourdain, commits suicide, the news media gives out briefly a phone number (listed in this title) and begs the watcher to call “if you feel that you are having dark thoughts.” This is good advice, but reaching out for help is usually before a person gets to the place of extremely dark thoughts which leads to irrational thoughts.
Mental health and how to deal with depression as well as other problems needs to be readily available and taught by parents, schools, churches and other institutions. The afflicted person needs to see the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel. Mostly, they have to be given HOPE and support.
So often those who don’t think there is a light or can’t see there will be something better waiting for them just around the corner need intervention before it is too late. Families who suspect dark thoughts have to reach out. Parents may think that their teenagers are “just going through a growing up stage.” All phases of mental anguish should be taken seriously. When you see a problem, give the person the opportunity to talk and know there is help and most of all… that they are loved by you and by God.
Conversations and questions cannot be too late. According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, these are some of the statistics that we would rather not think about…but should!
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Almost 45,000 Americans die of suicide each year
- Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
- On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016….highest in middle-aged white men
Mental illness and depression can hit all people regardless of age or skin color. We all know this is true and that statistics will not fix the problem.
- Based on the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 8.6 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
- Girls attempted twice as often as boys (11.6% vs. 5.5%) and teens of Hispanic origin reported the highest rate of attempt (11.3%), especially Hispanic females (15.1%) when compared with white students (6.8%) and White females (9.8%)
- Approximately 2.8 percent reported making a suicide attempt that required treatment by a doctor or nurse.
What are the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal?
- Talking about suicide, hurting themselves, death, or dying
- Seeking access to firearms or pills
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Having severe mood swings
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping all the time or having issues with sleep
- Uncontrolled rage or agitation
- Self-destructive and risky behavior
- Giving away personal belongings
- Telling people goodbye for seemingly no reason
People who suffer from a mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, history of trauma or abuse, terminal illness, chronic pain, social isolation, or a traumatic life event such as loss of a loved one may be at an increased risk for suicide (credit: Jenae Sitzes)
There is help for you or someone you know. Believing in the LIGHT at the end of the tunnel is God’s way of showing you that He has something good for you!
God has a plan for your life. Reach out for the help you need!
NEED HELP NOW? CALL1-800-273-8255 or CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR CRISIS TEXT LINE and Information
Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are small towns with people who will never forget those brave men and women who left their farms and home places to fight for our country and freedom in the world. Throughout the rolling countryside and along the blue colored ridges of the mountains… filled with cattle, fields, and beautiful wildflowers, one will find small family graves with an American flag. This will always indicate that the person buried there served in an American war.
Military Memorial at Galax, Virginia
On this Memorial Day, the young Military Science students and the older men and women of this Blue Ridge area remember the Fallen of all wars and pray prayers for the many POW-MIA’s who are still missing. (Slide show below)
As my husband and I joined in this day of Remembrance, I’m in the midst of writing a new book about American military veterans, entitled Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge, which should be on Amazon by July, 2018.
My interviews with those who went to serve during World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and more recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been eye-opening. These are people of great courage and fortitude. Millions did not return, but for those here in the Blue Ridge, these men forged new lives and continued to make our FREE America an even better place.
One chapter in my book will feature the Childress family in the Blue Ridge who had four men in the military at once during World War II. Paul (upper right picture and with wife and baby) served in Patton’s Command in France.
The women of the Blue Ridge served as well, including Francis Childress, a cousin to Paul. Other chapters will take notice of a female military nurse who was awarded the Bronze Star. The Bronze Star Medal is a decoration awarded to members of the United States Armed Forces for either heroic achievement, valor, heroic service, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service in a combat zone.
As I read memoirs and listened, I learned that fighting on Heart Break Ridge in Korea with legs frozen, slipping out of camp at night in France during World War II to find food for hungry soldiers, spending weeks in the confines of a submarine, fighting off boredom and jungle heat in Vietnam or losing limbs in Afghanistan or Iraq were difficult and in most cases horrible experiences. It was their part of life that they were willing to share with me and I am grateful because I will never look at a veteran again in the same way.
This is why I write this blog to encourage you to take an hour or so on Memorial Day from your interest in sports events, picnics or other activities to give our military the honor they so deserve. Your freedom today is what they did to keep us free. It is important that our children and grandchildren are taught history and the meaning of our national Memorial Day. I was amazed to see that since the last Memorial Day ceremony of 2017, in the small town of Galax, VA. that 90+ people had died who were veterans in this part of the Blue Ridge. We are rapidly losing those who fought in World War II and their stories should be told.
To those whose lives and deaths were the ultimate sacrifice….there is not enough thanks in heaven or earth to give to you…but we will try.
To the gravely wounded warriors who have come home and forged new lives, we give you honor. We have contacted this brave warrior for an interview that will shed light on all those who have suffered so much.
On April 7, 2011, J. B. Kerns, a combat engineer, and fellow Marines moved into the notoriously dangerous Ladar Bazaar in Afghanistan to attempt to clear it of improvised explosive devices. A soldier near Kerns stepped on a pressure plate and triggered an IED. (Credit to Roanoke Times full story)
Thank you to all veterans…men and women. We give tribute to all the wives and families that were left behind to faithfully live and wait for their loved ones to return home.
VIDEO Turn up sound (Credit “American Soldier” by Toby Keith)
Moke is born at Smithsonian Zoo
Perhaps you missed the arrival of Moke at the Smithsonian Zoo in Washington, D.C. Who is Moke, you may ask, and why is this birth important?
Western lowland gorillas are critically endangered with only an estimated 100,000 left. Calaya, a western lowland gorilla, who has just given birth to her first offspring, a male named Moke, at the Smithsonian National Zoo in Washington, DC. The arrival of Moke, which means “junior” or “little one” in the Lingala language of Africa, is the zoo’s first such gorilla birth in nine years. (Credit BBC news…Smithsonian)
This is what we learned from two videos posted below. Be sure to watch both. In fact, I would recommend to gather around your young children and let them see the miracle of birth…for it should not be a mystery.
Video 1: History of Calaya and the silverback gorilla who is the father of Moke
Video 2: The actual birth of Moke
As I watched this birth video, it was impressive to see her so gently clean her newborn and tenderly lay it in the hay. It appears that she will be a good mother.
We wish the new mother, Calaya, and her new baby, Moke, the best of health and long life.
Put down your phones…and give this some thought. This post is especially for the young people of our country.
When you look at older people in a restaurant or some other place, what do you see? Would it occur to you, as a young person, that this person may have made it possible for you to sit there playing with your phone? Yes, I know all the Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin (and more) founders are young. However, I’m not talking about them. I am talking about those who didn’t become rich, but gave their all for us and liberty.
What do I mean? I’m going to tell you because it is possible that you have missed knowing some of the greatest people in the world because you have not learned the art of asking questions. What kind of questions? Something like….”What did you do when you were my age and didn’t have cell phones?” That person with the grey hair and a limp may have something very interesting to share with you. In fact, it could change your life more than anything you might see or learn on social media.
Another thought ran through my mind as I began to write this post. A neighbor’s husband had passed away. She had a set of encyclopedias that belonged to a distant relative who would have experienced World War II. They were written in German. When asked about them, I heard a story of a family who emigrated to America after the horrors of that war. She said that none of her children wanted any of the things that were part of their history.
I have been hearing this statement many time recently…that the young families don’t want anything that belonged to Grandma or Grandpa…or even their own parents. Why? It is “old stuff.” Is family history not as important to our youth and their parents as their cell phones?
You will notice that I have mentioned electronics several times. This is because more often than not families who have gone out to spend time together are rarely doing so. The children are playing their games or texting. The parents are checking emails or answering their phones. Little time is actually spent talking to one another. Don’t get me wrong. Cell phones have their place, but I would encourage you to put them down for a while and experience life around you. If you know an older person, ask a few questions that will give you special insight into life. They are often the brave who left everything to keep us a free nation.
When I took students to Auschwitz in Poland, the one thing they learned was this…“Those who do not remember history will live it over again.” Too much was sacrificed to let that happen. Young people, there have been many sacrifices for you. I hope you are asking right now…what do you mean?
- Men and women fought and died to prevent aggression into our country. They are still doing that.
- Men, such as Dr. Martin L. King Jr., fought to give all people civil rights.
- Mothers and fathers have worked hard to give you the things of life that you need. That may include your cell phone…but food and a warm bed are more important. Remember that you are not entitled, but blessed.
By the way, if you see a person wearing a uniform or a hat that reads where they served, don’t be shy. Go right up to them and say, “Thank you for your service.” That will make their day…especially coming from a young person. This also includes policemen, medics and fire fighters.
In the video below, you are going to hear a song about an Old Army Hat. There may be one in your house or it could be an American flag neatly folded and displayed in a wooden box. Ask about it. There is a story there. Then, if you must, use your phone and tell someone about what you have learned…or better still, tell them face to face. That way they can see you smile and point to something important to you and your family history. If your family member with the grey hair is still living, let fly the questions. I bet you’ll get amazing answers that could change your life.
VIDEO (turn up sound)
Photo by Douglas Graham/Congressional Quarterly/Getty Images
Neighbor friends of mine have said, “I’m not watching it!” Other elected officials from various states have decided to “boycott” the State of the Union address also…even if they have not asked those who elected them whether it was a good idea and did they approve? Some Congress members have already decided that they will not stand or applaud even when what is being said is for the good of all Americans…simply because they are determined to be oppositional. That may be why many Americans see the Congress as a “do nothing” organization.
We ask at Boyer Writes the question: Is the State of the Union Message of any importance to Americans…the rich, the poor, the small business person and economists, the elderly, those who receive government aid, environmentalists, our military, the immigrants…legal and illegal, who may be hoping to be citizens of the USA and all others who would put themselves in any category?
We will address first the meaning of the State of the Union and its history…in case some should not know:
It is a Constitutional Duty.
“Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution provides that the President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
- The Address is to be informative to the Congress and to every citizen of the United States…whether listening or not. (Any elected official who does not show up to hear probably should be close to a T.V….just to be “informed”.)
- It is a part of our established history. The President of the US has been giving this message in person to the Congress and the American people for 105 years since 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson, the 28th President. With the advent of TV and the internet, it has been easier to reach the average person. (Some may even ask why the average person should not be able to hear or know the direction of our country…just as the elected officials are informed?)
The Early history: George Washington delivered the first annual address to Congress in 1790. Thomas Jefferson discontinued the practice because he felt it was too monarchical, as similar to the “Speech from the Throne”. He wrote it out and sent it to be read by a clerk.
There was controversy in 1913 when President Woodrow Wilson planned to reestablish the speech. (Oh my, “controversy” also has a long history!) There have been only a few exceptions by the U.S. Presidents of delivering the address in person to the Congress and to the American people, with the last being President Jimmy Carter in 1981.
- Important enough to designate a SURVIVOR: Whenever Congress meets together to hear the President speak, there is a designated survivor appointed. What does this mean?
“Since the ’80s, a designated survivor has been selected for the State of the Union. This is a member of the president’s cabinet who does not attend the event, in case a disaster or attack kills the president and everyone in the line of succession. The first designated survivor was Reagan’s Housing and Urban Development secretary, Samuel Pierce. The two cabinet positions most often selected to serve as designated survivor are the secretary of the Agriculture Department and the secretary of the Interior Department; both positions have been selected six times each. The only person to serve in the role more than once was George W. Bush’s Commerce secretary, Donald Evans.” (taken from PBS News)
photo credit BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Does history or tradition mean anything to the American people today? Is it too old-fashioned to spend an hour before our TV sets or online to hear what the President has to say?
Do the personal opinions about the particular person elected to the office of President cloud a more important aspect of being American? We must all remember that we are in it together for at least the 4 years the President will serve. Decisions made by Congress will effect us all…and might be why they should be listening rather than protesting at this point.
Free speech (and opinion) is part of our right guaranteed in the Constitution. The President is following the requirements of the Constitution to make this address. That is why it is my opinion that we lay aside, for one hour, to check out what we may be up against for years to come…for good or bad. Those who say, “I hate him and everything he stands for”… should remember that the State of the Union message is important for this reason. It is not a State of the Union on a Personality, but on our country and the future of our country. If we don’t like the things said or the things proposed to follow in the next year or the next three years, try our other right…your VOTING RIGHT! At least you will be able to say you’re informed.
Yes, We still have elections and the leadership choices are still made at the ballot box and not at the end of a gun as they are in some nations. Thank God! Therefore, in Honor of the office of the Presidency...whether you approve of the sitting President or not…here is HAIL TO THE CHIEF performed by the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own”.
Some information is taken from Wikipedia. For more information on the State of the Union
In January 2018, I wrote about Ellis Island where so many of our Immigrants saw the new land of hope and promise for the first time. I thought it might be a good thing to look at them again and their struggle. I highly suggest that if you have not seen The Emigrants featured on PBS, that you settle in for a long, but fascinating presentation. If you are a descendant of one of those immigrants, you will never think of them the same.
TO ELLIS ISLAND: The trip was terrible in most cases as the ships came into the New York harbor. Isolated on an Island called Ellis was a building of hope for freedom from about every imaginable circumstance. Yes, this was my relative and possibly yours unless your relatives were brought by force on a slave ship.
The following pictures are from the New York Public Library, photographed by A. Sherman.
Herded off the ships and onto Ellis Island, where they had to answer questions and be examined for diseases, the people were part way to a new life.
What exactly is the history of Ellis Island? (Taken from History by Evan Andrews)
“On November 12, 1954, the once bustling immigration inspection port at Ellis Island was shut down after more than 62 years in operation. Opened in 1892, the small island in New York Harbor served as the processing center and point of entry for more than 12 million new arrivals to the United States. The island has since become a storied and often controversial symbol of the plight of the immigrant, and it is estimated that more than one-third of all Americans can trace their lineage to someone who passed through its doors.”
Greek Orthodox Priest
Even after arriving and allowed to enter the city and the country, living conditions were harsh. Many died. Others faced persecution from others who did not understand them, their language or their culture. For those who managed to adjust to a new way of life, generations would follow them.
A Couple facts of interest about Ellis Island:
- Used for Hangings: Long before it became a way station for people looking for a new beginning, Ellis Island—named for its last private owner, Samuel Ellis—was known as a place where condemned prisoners met their end. For most of the early 19th century, the island was used to hang convicted pirates, criminals and mutinous sailors, and New Yorkers eventually took to calling it “Gibbet Island” after the wooden post, or gibbet, where the bodies of the deceased were displayed. It reverted to the name “Ellis Island” in the years after the last hanging in 1839, and later served as a Navy munitions depot before being repurposed as a federal immigration station.
- Three unaccompanied children were the first immigrants: Ellis Island accepted its first new arrivals on New Year’s Day 1892, when the steamship Nevada arrived with 124 passengers from Europe. The first would-be immigrant to set foot on the island was Annie Moore, a teenager from County Cork, Ireland who had crossed the Atlantic with her 11 and 7-year-old brothers en route to reuniting with family in New York. A U.S. Treasury Department official and a Catholic chaplain were on hand to welcome Moore, and Ellis Island’s commissioner awarded her a $10 gold piece to mark the occasion. Today, a statue of Moore and her brothers is kept on display at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum.
Moore became the public face of the immigrants who had passed through Ellis Island, but it turned out that the face put forward was a case of mistaken identity.
For years it was thought that Moore had married a descendant of the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell, moved to New Mexico and met a tragic end in a 1923 streetcar accident in Fort Worth, Texas, that left her five children orphaned. For years, the woman’s descendants were invited to ceremonies at both Ellis Island and Ireland. (from History)
Take a look at these pictures and the faces of those who came from all over the globe:
Today we live with concern over illegal immigrants who have not come here legally. We worry that they have a belief that they should overthrow the very country that welcomes them or destroy the American belief of freedom of choice. It is a difficult decision on how and where to limit those who come. It probably was also difficult in the early 1900’s when so many fled persecution, famine, and no future.
Those who first came had to prove themselves that they truly wanted to be Americans and live by the laws of this country. Nothing was perfect in receiving these previous immigrants. Some slipped through and did not contribute to society. Even today we are being forced to make difficult choices concerning the future of many.
Those in charge of immigration during the early years took a chance. Our country and the people of Europe in modern times have taken a chance with some difficult results. It sometimes takes years for people to assimilate into the American way of life and our society. They have to want to do so. It can be done, however, if those who come want to truly be American and give their best efforts and talents to being a part of a free nation even with all its blemishes. Had there not been those in charge of receiving the first immigrants…our ancestors.. and taking a chance on them, we would probably not be living here today.
The American values are not often the values of people of other countries. We may ask ourselves many questions with mostly unknown answers.
- Do the immigrants of today look at the Statue of Liberty or the meaning of Ellis Island the same as those who first came?
- Does it truly stand for Liberty for All?
- Will they be willing to immigrate legally and follow those who do so?
- Will they be grateful for a land of opportunity and contribute to society?
- How do we protect our borders from drug dealers and criminals?
Probably the hardest question of all for us today is: What about the children born here or brought here by illegal means? What to do about the young people who have known no other life but living in America and were taken by the hand to cross the border by an adult who knew they were breaking our laws?
Difficult… most difficult decisions will be coming to our nation. Prayers are needed for our government leaders to have wisdom as we struggle with these issues here in the United States and abroad. Is the Immigrant struggle today different from those of the past?
Click on this link: Tells of the making of the film, The Emigrants
If asked how we should love, one may quote “Love your neighbor as yourself”. This is a good thing to do, but rarely do we love a neighbor as we truly love our own selves. Having said that, there may actually be someone who will care for and show love to a neighbor more than they love themselves. It seems a bit paradoxical, but if we are honest with ourselves, this could be a truth.
What does it truly mean to “Love Thyself?” We know that love is a heavenly trait and that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16) This is divine love. Can we actually love ourselves in a divine way? If our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and our bodies also include our minds and emotions, then we should so love ourselves as God would love us. Maybe that sounds too lofty to some readers, but taking a hard look at our lives and what we do to and with ourselves mentally…or even physically may be the route to self-love.
How we choose to see ourselves is very important.
The following are some good quotes and advice from Dr.Melanie Greenberg in an article written for Psychology Today:
To Your Ownself be True:
“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Value and Love Yourself:
“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Malcolm S. Forbes
“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting”. William Shakespeare, Henry V.
Let’s look at the practical side of Loving Oneself. I’ll list these for your thoughts:
- You have just spent hours and hours cooking for Christmas guests. Now, take yourself out for a treat if possible and let someone else serve you.
- Your house guests or family might show little appreciation for your efforts over the years. Do what you do because you are a giving, caring person who is not looking for praise, but self-enjoyment and gratification. Let your grown children off the apron strings.
- Perhaps you look around you and you think to yourself, “I must be a pack-rat. Look at this mess!” Get 2 big boxes. Label them KEEP and GOODWILL (Charity) It will be surprising how good you will feel about yourself after you have accomplished this simple task. Accomplishment leads to self-appreciation.
- When your feelings are hurt because of the “drama” caused by others, decide that the drama makers won’t take over your life.
A good New Year’s Resolution to say (or pray) is this:
“I am strong; I am weak. I am flawed; I am broken. I am vulnerable. I am human. And despite these flaws, I give myself permission to love myself unconditionally. I am a growing, evolving being, who uses past mistakes as a fuel for my journey of growth. I accept myself as I am, and I set an intention to become the person I want to be.”
A “Love Letter” written to us through the Holy Scriptures can give you the confidence and ability to love yourself through God’s love. He will be your greatest Encourager.
My Mother holding me
Alta at 93
This blog is in the honor of my Mother, Alta. If she had lived longer than 93, she would be 100 years old on December 6, 2017. We miss her so much, so on her birthday, our son, Steve and husband, Bill, and I will take a red poinsettia to her grave site. It’s also appropriate for Christmas because this was also a holiday that she loved.
What does one say about a life that was lived so long? My Mother was a lovely lady who grew up in North Carolina. She was Alta Ellis West Barker Bishop. Such a long name, but each part of the name was almost a life within a life. As Alta Ellis, she was the daughter of a farmer in N.C. Her Grandfather was a country doctor who ministered and saved lives during the American Civil War. Alta grew up with five siblings. Now there is only one of them with us today… my Uncle John who will soon be 95 and still playing golf. Hopefully I have some of their Ellis genes. My mother’s mind was sharp even until the day she died. So was her ability to laugh and make jokes. Her heart doctor came into her room to check on her and said, “Mrs. Bishop, you are looking great!” As he walked out, she turned to me and said, “Boy, is he a salesman!” Just that week she had consulted with her financial advisor and made her own decisions to enter Hospice for care if it was necessary. She died a few hours later.
There are so many details in remembering the life of my Mother.
- After graduating from high school at the age of 16, she left home to pursue a career in hair design and care.
- She married and had her only child at the age of 21. (That was me.)
- Alta was a patriot. During WWII, she worked in a munitions plant to help the war efforts.
- Always beautiful and glamorous, she opened her own hair styling business to give other women the same opportunity.
- During those years as a single parent, she worked hard to support me and better our lives.
- Two of her husbands died from illness and Mother always kept strong when facing adversity. I have tried to learn this value from her in some of my own difficulties.
- As an older woman, she lived with my husband and me for a number of years and was a loving Grandmother to our children and proud to be a great-grandmother. She always expected them to be loving, honest, appreciative and a part of the family.
We only have one birth mom. Alta was the one who gave me life. She saw me through some difficult times… never blaming or demanding…letting me, as an adult, make my choices for good or for bad. Perhaps that is why I have followed the same policy with my own children. In the end, I would never have knowingly hurt her. This is why I honor her today with these few memories for they are too many to count.
Thank you, Mother, for all that you have meant to Bill and me…as well as all of our family. I pray that my soul may be happily united with yours when the time comes. We miss you.
Slide show of Alta : Her love of the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina and Virginia, her garden, the Florida beaches, her time cooking great meals for the family.
These words may describe her best: caring, consistent, giving, genuine. Just before her death, she asked my husband, Bill, to give her Holy Communion for she was ready to meet God. He did this and prayed with her. Her Christian faith was strong. We should all live our lives so that we may have this peaceful transition from this life to the next.
Probably her favorite scripture verse was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believed in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”
My Mother, Alta, wanted others to know the love of Christ that she knew…and the peace and joy knowing Him brings. We lift up her memory and the Cross that she cherished.
(Turn on sound)
It would be easy to listen and see the catastrophes in the world and become distressed…even asking “Where is God?”
Today we are going to focus on PEACE within our hearts. Take a few minutes to listen and reflect….and pray for those who have lost so much. The people of an American small-town, Sutherland Springs, Texas, are in our prayers.
GOD HAS NOT FORGOTTEN YOU
Children of Sutherland Springs Church: Ryland Ward with Joann Ward in the back and sisters Emily (8) far left, Ryland Ward (5) 2nd from left, Brooke (5) 2nd from right, Rihanna (9) far right. (online Courtesy photo)
In God’s Holy Word, a warning about harming a child:
Matthew 18:6 – But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone was hanged about his neck, and he was drowned in the depth of the sea.
Romans 12:19 – Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (International version)
(picture by H. McLaughlin)
Now rest your minds and soul: VIDEO Turn up sound
The couple you are going to meet has decided to meet life head-on. They have faith that could have been shattered, but they didn’t allow it to happen. Serving his country, the unthinkable happened. He would be blind for the rest of his life. Hear his story and the words of his beautiful wife. Be inspired and realize that at times the joy we receive in life has to be worked for. This is how they are finding their joy.
CLICK THIS LINK FOR A VIDEO OF INSPIRATION
(Detroit Free Press)
Once there was a little boy who lived in a far away place with many Golden Retriever dogs. They were his best friends besides his mother, father, and little sister. One day he saw that his big mama dog had nine little pups. They were all squirming together in a blue box. This little boy’s mother took very good care of them. They were so furry, warm and little. He loved holding them and watching them being fed by their own mother. Out of all the puppies, the little boy had a favorite. The name that the family gave her was “Blossom”. She was the lightest color of all the pups and they put a little pink collar around her neck to identify her from all the other pups.
The puppies grew and grew. The little boy played with all of them, but Blossom kept coming to him and laying around the family’s feet. She definitely was his favorite. Sometimes she would get really sleepy or she did the puppy thing and wet her bed or did other unmentionables, but he still loved her. Blossom would lick his fingers and sometimes his nose. Her little nails were razor sharp. She would jump and play, making him laugh. She would try to climb up on him, making him her best friend also. Then she would lay her head on him and settle down… nice and calm like. He would rub her belly that was warmer and smoother than anything he had ever felt. However, the calmness did not last long for Blossom wiggled to get free. She had to explore the world and tussle with the other eight puppies in her litter.
One day some people came to see the puppies. They told the boy’s mother that they wanted a sweet dog for their very own because their Golden Retriever named Gracie, who was fourteen years old, had gotten sick and gone to be with God. The lady said they would never forget their Gracie girl, but hoped they could find another special girl puppy to take home with them out of the nine pups at his house. He thought that they could find a girl because there were four of them and five boy dogs…but he hoped it would not be his Blossom. The man picked up Blossom very carefully and then he handed Blossom to his wife, who let Blossom sleep on her shoulder.
It made the little boy sad to know that maybe they would pick his favorite dog. If his Blossom had to go away, he wanted her to have the very best family in the world. The way the man and lady handled her made him think that they would love her….maybe as much as he did. They would not get her that day because she was too young and had to stay with her mother for some more weeks. She also had to get shots from the doctor who was called a Veterinarian. When the boy’s mother put all nine puppies in her car to see the doctor, it was a fun time at his office because everyone wanted to see the adorable, new pups.
Finally the day came when the man and woman came back to the boy’s house. They lived a long way and had to drive many miles to get their new pup. His Mother had told him that Blossom seemed to be the right one for them and would go to a far away place and live with them. She told him that she was certain that Blossom would be taken care of and loved in her new home just like they had loved their other dog, Gracie, for so many years. That made him feel a little bit better. He learned that Blossom would not have her name they had given her, but would be called Fancy. She would now be their Fancy girl. Her real, long name would be Fancy Continental Girl because her new family lived near Fancy Gap, Virginia and their house was on the Continental Divide. He was not certain what all that meant, but probably would learn someday.
He heard the car coming and the man and woman walked in the door. They had a big bag in their hand. The lady said it was a surprise for the family and needed his help in handing out some nice things for everyone. She let him give out the surprises to his father, who got a big jar of home-made pickles from Peggy down at the Mayberry Country Store. His sister got a very little dog that looked something like his Blossom. His mother had a package of little blankets for the new baby expected at their home. In fact, the new baby was going to come live with them on August 27 which was also the lady’s birthday. She thought that was really great! He wondered if there was anything for him. She handed him the bag and he opened it to find a big stuffed dog that looked a lot like his nine dogs. Hugging it close to himself, he gave the lady a big smile. He knew it would not chew on his fingers with the little, sharp teeth like Blossom did and maybe he would sleep with it that night to make him feel a little better.
The lady and man put his Blossom in the car and everyone waved “Goodbye”. That night the little boy did go to bed with his furry dog that looked so much like his favorite dog, Blossom. Just like the couple that came to his house, Jackson knew he would never forget his special dog, Blossom, who was now called Fancy. Maybe he would find another favorite dog someday that would stay with him forever. If so, he would probably call her Blossom.
The story above is true and we at Boyer Writes are glad to share that Blossom (now Fancy) is in her new happy home….that is when everyone gets enough sleep after the 2 am whimper says, “Don’t forget I’m just a pup who needs to hit the grass outside. If you don’t listen, I will hit the blanket in my bed.”
We definitely listen to her and hope the day will come when we all get enough sleep, especially my husband who always takes her out at night. He’s not afraid of the bears or other animals, like skunks, around our mountain house. Needless to say, they sack out together a good deal of the time.
As I am writing this at my computer, Fancy is sleeping again, curled up at my feet, just as she did at the little boy’s house.
When not sleeping, Fancy is eager to play with the ball, chew on her bone and ride in the truck. We went to see our dearest uncle John, who is 93 and still plays golf. Fancy took to him right away but decided not to go in the house with my cousin’s two big cats.
We hope you have enjoyed our journey to find our new puppy and the adorable little boy and his family that we will never forget. Here are a few pictures of life with Fancy Girl:
We often hear about this group or that group that “matters”. Have we forgotten the people that should matter the most to us?….the Family. Yes, we encourage our children grow up and go out into the world, to find their way, and become good citizens. That is all well and good, but we should also be telling them, by our actions, that they are never forgotten and that Family Matters. If they want to “forget” us, then that is another story and there is not much one can do about those decisions that harm and hurt the family we care about. What we say in front of our children gives them knowledge of what values should be. Often, but not always, they follow those examples in their adult life.
It is heart breaking to see a family with young children come into a restaurant and most of them, including the adults, pull out a phone to either text someone, read messages or play a game. One has to ask, is this what we are teaching our children about family time?
What about Grandparents? Does divorce or growing older keep children away from the grandparents who are related to them? We, as parents, make these decisions also. Remember that children cannot help where there are problems between adults. They can learn a great deal from getting to see their Grandparents. How about telling our children to make a phone call or write a thank you note to let them know that they too, as Grandparents, are not forgotten and are an important part of the family.
Take a look at this video that our son sent us from Australia. It speaks volumes.
It is hard to describe what it is like to be a Mother. A Mother carries the new life with her for nine months. There is the anticipation of a life time of love and joy between her and this new human being. Many times this happens and the Mother is blessed, but for some Mothers there is disappointment and sadness. Nevertheless, a mother is always the one who gave life to this child and without her there would have not been life at all.
Her hopes and prayers never fail that this little one that was and is so much a part of her will experience the best things that life has to offer. She presents her child to God and prays He will look over this one as he or she grows. When the child is no longer young and needing her care, she is proud of accomplishments and prays, as she grows older, that this special child will know her love has always been there and will always continue.
Recently I received an email from Dave Davis who shared this with me about his dear Mother and Grandmother. He has given me permission to print it here for my readers. I think it is very special for Mother’s go through many situations when rearing a child.
“My Grandma Elliott was a very loving and happy woman. She died in 1994 at age 104. 15 years later I went to my Mom’s in Naples, Fl. for CHRISTmas and in the closet that had been my Grandma’s, I found an envelope addressed to me!
There were a couple of items inside and one was this poem called My Mother. I began to read it and thought wow, this is very well written! Then towards the bottom of the page the flood gates opened….I had given my Mother many scares from accidents such as falling in quicksand when 15, getting hit by a train when 18, falling 3 stories onto a stone terrace in New Orleans when 20, 21 breaking my leg in 3 places parachuting, 21 again, I was hit by a car on my motorcycle, and calls such as in 1973 ; “I am in Israel (Yom Kippor War) to fight as I believe in Israel’s right to exist, 1975 Mom, I’m ok but I just climbed the Matterhorn but I am down now, and 2005 Mom, Lil (my wife) has died I am so lost and broken…
My gentle Mother loved me through all the trauma and all the heartaches.
All that I am and will be is because of My Mother. She literally chose me to be her son when she received the call from Catholic Social services that they had a 4 month baby boy available for adoption. She hung up and called Dad to say come home, “we are driving to Peoria to bring home a son.”
My Mother died December 20, 2014 at age 99. Love you Mom!”
(The poem called “My Mother” that Dave found.)
Special Music for all Mothers:
In our lives, we play a role that others see, even though we may not be aware of it. People see us as teacher, parent, clergy, store-keeper, policeman, neighbor and much more. The real person is defined by something other than name. We are often what we represent. Sometimes that is the best part, for people may need, at a certain moment, what you represent more than who you are.
I read a real-life story recently that may be the best Christmas…or worse…that Eric Schmitt Matzen can remember. He had been an army man with the 75th Rangers, but after retirement had grown his beard and for over 80 times took on the role of Santa for many children. This particular day Eric found that his role was desperately important to one little boy.
“All a terminally ill Nashville boy wanted for Christmas was to meet Santa Claus — and he did, and then died in Old St. Nick’s arms. The 5-year-old was minutes away from death when a nurse at the Tennessee hospital where he was being treated called Eric Schmitt-Matzen, a 300-plus-pound mechanical engineer who looks like a real-life Kris Kringle. The 60-year-old, who slips into a Santa outfit for about 80 gigs a year, didn’t even have time to change into his regular getup. He rushed to the hospital 15 minutes later in only his Santa suspenders — though he still looked the part with his long, white beard and prodigious belly. The nurse handed him a gift she had ready for the sick boy.
‘When I walked in, he was laying there, so weak it looked like he was ready to fall asleep. I sat down on his bed and asked, ‘Say, what’s this I hear about you’re gonna miss Christmas? There’s no way you can miss Christmas. Why, you’re my number one elf,’ he told the Knoxville News Sentinel.
The unnamed boy perked up, using his last burst of energy to unwrap the toy. “They say I’m gonna die,” the boy told Schmitt-Matzen. “How can I tell when I get to where I’m going?”
Schmitt-Matzen replied: “When you get there, you tell ‘em you’re Santa’s number one elf, and I know they’ll let you in.” The boy then gave Santa a last hug.
“I wrapped my arms around him. Before I could say anything, he died right there. I let him stay, just kept hugging and holding on to him,” Schmitt-Matzen told the paper. The boy’s mom ran in moments later screaming, “No, no, not yet,” which caused all the nursing staff to break down in tears — and left Schmitt-Matzen devastated.
“I spent four years in the Army with the 75th Rangers and I’ve seen my share of [stuff],” he said. “But I ran by the nurses’ station bawling my head off. I know nurses and doctors see things like that every day, but I don’t know how they can take it.”
Schmitt-Matzen said the moment happened several weeks ago, and it almost made him give up playing Santa. But he managed to attend one more event.
“When I saw all those children laughing, it brought me back into the fold. It made me realize the role I have to play — for them and for me.”
(Credits New York Post …Sophia Rosenbaum)
Hug a child today…Christmas is coming soon. Your role today may be as a “hugger” to someone who needs it. Thank you, Eric, for being available to this precious child.
Video (Turn on Sound) Jackie Evancho
Jackie Evancho, known for her beautiful singing voice, as a child. Here is Jackie today.
Since you may be thinking of a book for your favorite person or a friend who may be interested in historical fiction or culture in the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am going to give you some shopping ideas from the books that I have written this year. They are all available on Amazon and if you act now, they will be to you before Christmas.
Click on book title for description and price
Children’s Books are also available. Great books for Grandparents to give or for parents to read with their children with questions for discussion at the end.
All children’s books by Nancy W. Boyer (for elementary students or early teens)
Once a year, we as a nation stop to say we are “Thankful”. It may be a time of family sharing a carefully prepared meal or watching the parades or games on T.V., but we also stop to thank God for the many blessings given to us…especially our personal freedom to worship God.
To our readers around the world, Boyer Writes wishes you a blessed Thanksgiving and our thanks to you for being a Boyer Writes reader.
Video (Turn up sound)
America was built by the courageous who wanted freedom. It has been continued by the courageous who have shed their blood and lives to maintain freedom. Americans must decide on being courageous if freedom will last. Don’t forget from where we have come and remember that the future depends on the now.
The subject of immorality is out in the open. Perhaps the first thing we need to do is to identify exactly what we mean by immorality. We are not always talking about sexual immorality. God’s law does say “Thou shall not commit adultery.” That seems clear, but in essence, we are talking about wrong behavior. This could range from evil and wicked acts such as stealing, murder, adultery, lying and corruption in many forms. Any way one looks at it, it is always associated with doing wrong and being offensive. Wrong behavior is a way of living avoided by most people who want to live good, honorable lives and teach it to their children. For those readers who may be unfamiliar with what exactly the 10 Commandments are, this picture gives the list that was given to Moses.
Probably everyone has broken one or more of these Holy Laws at one time or another. We may ask ourselves, however, in modern interpretation…what have we made our Gods? Have we never used God’s name in vain? Do we honor a special day to worship? How many truly honor our Mother or Father and show them that they are honored? We may not have killed, committed adultery, but saying something false or repeating a gossip against someone…or even stretching the truth is probably something we have all done. You get the point.
How is all this relevant to us in this time of electing our next President of the United States? What responsibilities do our candidates have in this matter of immorality or morality? What about the press that labors on the off color or inappropriate comments because that is what they think we, the people, want to hear?.. or do we?
Let’s come straight to the point… disgusting and inappropriate words and behaviors are being aired into our homes day and night. Most of us allow it. Our children are watching and hearing our reactions to whatever we are seeing. We have friends who limit T.V. or do not have TV at all in their homes. The reason? They are protecting their children. Children, at early ages, hear and have to deal with the obscene statements made on T.V. Unfortunately, they are often made by political candidates and others. Sometimes they are hearing their own family saying things that are offensive. They watch women who are willing to go on T.V. and give in the most descriptive, detailed way inappropriate sexual behavior toward them. The young are most observant and hear more than we think. They wonder what is the meaning of words like racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic…or may ask who is “deplorable” or what does “irredeemable” mean? It is too much…too young…too depressing. Could we even say it is immoral to poison the minds of the innocent? In this world of cell phones, computers, TV, video games and movies, is it any wonder that young people are often suicidal? We worry about mental health and instability in our society. How much are we contributing to this? Children need to have a child’s life because adulthood will come soon enough. Giving them freedom to watch and see everything and anything is not responsible parenting. Hats off to those parents who place boundaries. Maybe it is time for adults to do the same for themselves.
This is not saying that everyone should have their heads in the sand about what is going on in the world or in the political world, but as the young grow up, there will be time for discussions on topics they don’t understand. How much poison are we bringing into society because most are glued to their T.V. sets. Is our nation going down a slippery slope with no way to return to the normal and the decent? Even many adults have had enough. Yes, God knows our hearts and what is happening to our nation. There is need for transformation, just as there is a need for protecting our young. We, as adults, need to take control of our lives or we may be dragged down into the muck and the mire.
The highest honor in America is to be the President of a free country…following Lincoln and other great leaders. In recent years, the people of our nation seem to ignore immoral ways. People who believe in being moral and following the commandments for living are criticized and branded as “old fashioned” or “out of touch.”
One may be interested in how “out of touch” our founding fathers were when they wrote the Constitution and our great Washington monuments were built with inscriptions that announced the beliefs of out nation. Do you know the following?
- Walking up the steps to the U.S. Capitol Building, which houses the Supreme Court, set into the top of the building is a row of the world’s law givers who are facing Moses and the Ten Commandments.
- As one enters the Supreme Court, the two large oak doors also have the Ten Commandments engraved on the lower part of the door. Inside the courtroom is another display of the Commandments where the judges are seated.
- There are Bible verses etched in stone over the Federal Buildings and are displayed in state capitals.
- James Madison, our 4th President and Father of our Constitution said: “We have staked the whole of all our political institutions upon the capacity of mankind for self-government, upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.”
- Patrick Henry, a Founding Father and patriot said, “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded not by religionists but by Christians…not on religions but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
- Every session of Congress begins with a prayer by a paid preacher…whose salary has been paid by the taxpayer since 1777.
Were these men backward and out of touch? After reading these facts about men who worked to build our nation, one may ask how far away from morality have we come? Many in our country do not seem to trust what any member of Congress or the President has to say. Truth and trustworthiness is at its lowest ebb. Political correctness and their next election are in the forefront. Cooperation between parties in order to get things done for the benefit of all seems non-existent.
It does not appear to matter, in modern days, that a President was impeached for his immoral ways and then reelected. Those who have the option of leading this country into a better, higher, and more moral way also demean those who teach that immorality is not acceptable, whether one is in office or simply a citizen.
This came to light when a leaked email called the Catholic faith “severely backward” and hoped that Catholics would “demand the end of a middle ages dictatorship.” (article by Eric Scheener) It is assumed that those writing the emails are aware that the Christian faith, whether Catholic or Protestant, takes their so called “backward” views from the commandments of the Bible. Concerning these emails, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York said, “Were it any other religion…Jewish or Muslim faiths…there would be an apology…”
Apologies may not be the answer for no one seems to take apologies seriously. The hearts of the people and the country’s leaders need to be changed according to the Reverend Billy Graham. Now in his 90’s, Reverend Graham has been teaching what the Holy Scriptures has to say about being moral or immoral for over 60 years. It is estimated that Reverend Graham has given God’s message of forgiveness and salvation to about 2.2 billion people in 185 countries on 6 continents. This is what he had to say just a few years ago, still holding the same view today. Some would say he has not “evolved” enough. Others would say that he is being true to the principles of morality within the Christian faith and is a voice of warning to our nation.
“Our early fathers led our nation according to biblical principles. ‘Hope and change’ has become a cliche in our nation, and it is daunting to think that any American could hope for change from what God has blessed. Our country is turning away from what has made it so great. But far greater than the government knowing our every move that could lead to losing our freedom to worship God publicly, is to know that God knows our every thought. He knows our hearts need transformation.” Dr.Graham
To be transformed is to be changed in our spirits and souls. Psalms 139:2 and 26:2; Isaiah 64:8
“The man with a conscience fights a lonely battle against the overwhelming forces of inescapable situations which demand decisions. . . . Some who seek to escape from taking a stand publicly find a place of refuge in private virtuousness. Such a man does not steal. He does not commit murder. He does not commit adultery. Within the limits of his powers he does good. He must be blind and deaf to the wrongs which surround him. It is only at the price of an act of self-deception that he can safeguard his private blamelessness against contamination through responsible action in the world. Whatever he may do, that which he omits to do will give him no peace. Either this disquiet will destroy him or he will become the most hypocritical of Pharisees.” Derrick Bonhoeffer
No one was musical…not in his family or his town. Where did the ability plus hard work come from? No one knows except to believe it is a gift from God. The hard work part come when dedication makes practicing 5 hours a day a necessity. The gift from God is when it is so natural and the love and desire to be the best at what one does is deep in the heart.
I partly envy this young man, but fully understand the love he has because it was my desire at his age and even younger to play the piano well. At the time, I was a country girl who went off to a boarding school. It was a school in a small country town in North Carolina. I can still remember my piano teacher’s name….Mrs. Tollison. Because it has been over fifty years since I was there, she has long ago gone to heaven. Mrs. Tollison was a heavy set little lady. She never made her pupils feel anything but confidence. The other students at the school used to say, “If you can’t find Nancy, she is practicing the piano.” Unfortunately, when I left the school to rejoin my mother, who was a single parent, we lived in an upstairs apartment. No piano could be brought up the steps and the smaller versions were not available during this time. That was the end of piano lessons…so I took up art. After school, I would walk a very long distance to a large house where some Catholic sisters lived. They taught me art and practically a “hundred years later”…I still have the deer picture my art teacher taught me to draw. Did I have talent? Possibly….for my husband gave me a piano and said, “Maybe you will remember something.” Well, I’m not playing the music of the Old Masters, but my husband says he can identify most pieces. I’m sure if I practiced as much as I should the music would improve. Now, I work hardest on my writing….novels, books for young people and other subjects of interest. (See the right side of this blog.)
So today I share with you a young man on a 10,000 acre farm in Utah. His family now knows he has a special talent that is being cultivated through their support…starting with a generous grandfather who bought him his first piano. Blessings to you, Heston, keep up the good work. Never forget your teacher’s name….yes, the one fifty miles from your home and the professor of music. Someday when you are playing at Carnegie Hall, you need to put those people on the front row as your guests…and introduce them to your audience.
One thing further…
Heston plays as guest of Utah Governor
YES…your parents are proud of you and you are not letting them down by following your God given talent. (At the end of the video, you’ll see Heston’s tender heart toward his parents.) Thank them and God everyday for their support and the talent God has given you.
Video in Heston Warr’s own words: