The TV has been buzzing with the news that the city of Jacksonville, Florida, USA and others have opened their beaches for certain hours after the complete shut-down due to the Coronavirus. People were asked to “social distance” and to “not group together.” After weeks of confinement and lost jobs and businesses, people took to the beaches like they had been caged animals. This could tell us something about the need to socialize…the need for fresh air and the beauty of nature. It could also tell us that we Americans really don’t like to be told what to do…even if it is for our own good.
This was evident, when groups of people went out in different cities to protest the “stay at home” mandate. Their main goal was to get America back up and running again so they could go back to work and feed their families, pay their mortgage or car payments. Nevertheless, most didn’t adhere to wearing a mask in public, as asked to do. They crowded together while they shouted their demands with little concern for their own health or welfare of others. They were willing to “take a chance.”
Americans like their freedom of speech and nothing is being said against that, but one would hope that there would be, along with the speech, common sense, dedicated carefulness, and a little less selfishness toward others. Nonetheless, “taking a chance” is part of the indiscriminate, so-called invincible young. “What could possibly hurt us?” they may be thinking. “Doesn’t that apply to the elderly or those sick? Hey, we work out! Even during the stay at home rule, we jogged miles each day. So, we’ll take our chances.”
Let’s just say, it is the American way…for life, sickness or death. The roots go back to the American Revolution, when we fought for independence and government control from England. Just as the people of Hong Kong are standing their ground against Communist dictatorship and oppression, Americans don’t sit still too long…for good or for bad. It is of great concern when a mayor or governor begins to tell the people to watch out for their neighbor and “report” any violation of the coronavirus mandates set up for general guidelines. Would we sit still for that kind of instruction?
It reminds me of the time I visited a place in Poland. I had taken American students to Europe under President Eisenhower’s program, Student Ambassadors. As we entered this large house that had been divided up into small apartments when the Communist took over, an older woman was peering out a small window in her door. I asked about this to our guide. She said, “Oh she is a left-over from the old Communist days when her duty was to report who was coming or going! She still thinks she has to keep watch.” Are we slowly moving in that direction in our country…or our world? This is certainly a chilling thought.
Unlike the protester holding the sign above, we know the Coronavirus is real and not imagined. That is most evident by the sickened and deaths. Life, however, is full of taking risks. The protester is taking his own risks. We make decisions everyday that will turn out for the good or the bad in our lives. This is what personal freedom is all about. Whether our government gives advice for personal protection, or family, friend or neighbor weighs in, it is still up to us to govern our activities. Some things will kill us. Our decisions might be made out of fear, which may kill us mentally and emotionally. Most people are like herds of sheep. They follow what others may be doing instead of thinking what is best for themselves or their family members not old enough to make decisions on their own.
What to do? Pray…be rational…act carefully…be considerate of others and yourself may be a few suggestions. As I contemplate on the famous words of President Roosevelt, “We have nothing to fear, but fear itself,” I believe he was right to warn the American people of this dilemma…FEAR.
The Holy Scriptures tells us in 2 Timothy 1:7:
For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind
Power is a word that we don’t often associate with ourselves. We think of powerful people in business or industry…or in the political realm. You are powerful over more things than you may imagine…your health, finances, professional choices, love relationships and more. This verse says God has given you power.
We have been told recently that many people are dying from the coronavirus because of their underlying health reasons. These may have been related to overweight, diabetes, heart-disease, drug addiction etc. which have put them in a weaken state. In many of these cases, it was personal choices to not care for their health which they could have had power to correct. In other cases, it was lack of proper nutrition.
Have you ever heard people say that God is punishing us with disease and our lives as a world or nation? I really cringe when I hear these comments because God is a God of love and concern for His creation…including men and women. He will not interfere in our own decisions , whether it is from lack of knowledge or carelessness.
Our world has a natural science…in our environment and our personal lives. If we eat too much, we get fat. If we ignore safety rules, we have accidents. Behind the obesity comes the health problems. We also learned about our own power through other tragedies, such as the Great Dust Bowl of 1930’s. Men had power to do the right thing for the land, but did not understand science or did not look into the consequences of their actions. In either case, the results were financial ruin and the spread of disease.
The Dust Bowl was not only one of the worst droughts in United States history, but is generally thought of as the worst and most prolonged disaster in American history…The prolonged drought was made much worse by a fundamental misunderstanding of high plains environment, and the utilization of methods which called for a thin layer of dust to be purposefully exposed on the surface for large parts of the summer. Dust transmits influenza virus and measles and combined with the economic depression, the Dust Bowl period brought a significant increase in the number of measles cases, respiratory disorders and increased infant and overall mortality in the plains. 11
God has given us love..from Himself and for each other. When difficulty comes, we find out what we are made of because we strike back at fear. The medical teams and first responders who move around the sick and dying are showing God’s love whether they realize it or not. Some may say, “It is my job.” Even here, a person could decide that taking the risk of their own lives is not for them and walk away from the challenge. They could turn their backs on the years they had put into preparing for their profession because of fear. Most do not.
The neighbor who reaches out to those needing help during the crisis is showing, not fear, but love…God’s love. We know that we are His Hands…and we are His Face of encouragement.
To have a sound mind is also to have self-control, which has its origin from a Greek word:
The Greek word for self-control is sōphronismos, which means “saving the mind” or “moderation”. Since the word SELF-CONTROL contains the word “self”, I am quick to interpret this to mean something I have to do. However, within the context of verse 7 of Timothy, we see that “God gave us a spirit of…self-control.” 12
We, then can depend upon God to give us these three things instead of fear, Power, Love, and a Sound Mind. It is His promise to you and me when we trust Him now and in the future. It is more than “Taking a Chance,” it is FAITH and good sense.
(This writing was taken from the book, Faith and the Pandemic by N.W. Boyer to be released soon by Amazon.)
FDR’s 1st Inauguration Address…A Voice from the Past, after the Great Depression… A message appropriate for TODAY. (From HistoryMatters.com The full text and a 3 minute portion of the speech. Roosevelt’s Speech
IN HONOR OF THE PEOPLE OF THE WORLD….ON THIS EASTER
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SPIRIT AND YOUR FIGHT AGAINST THE WORLD-WIDE PANDEMIC
CHRIST IS RISEN HE IS RISEN INDEED
This blog will be different. We are sharing several videos of real people …and in doing so…honoring the brave people around in the world who would like to be out in public, dancing in the streets or attending a great concert of Easter music. Even if this is impossible this year, we know that the day will come when we will laugh, hug, and be a part of an active, vibrant world again.
As you watch the videos, think of Christ being in the crowd. Think of His ministry among the EVERY-DAY PEOPLE. Christ went out to be with people where they were in their everyday lives. Whether we ride the underground, shop in the grocery, dance in the streets or sing and play in an orchestra, He is with us in the 21st century.
Christ is with us in our homes now and with those ministering to the sick in the many hospitals around the world.
This may be a different Easter, but one of thanksgiving to God for His mercy and healing power. It is also a time of spiritual healing. The WORLD has been given a chance to draw close to God and know His love, forgiveness and healing power.
Form BOYER WRITES….BLESSINGS AND HAPPY EASTER
Germany works by Verdi, Wagner and Bizet
England Handel’s Zadok the Priest
Copenhagen playing Griegs Peer Gynt.
Ireland Joining in to the Irish fun and music
South Korean Gracious Choir Hallelujah Chorus by Handel’s Messiah
(The Messiah, 260-page oratorio, written by Handel in 1741, in just 24 days He was in his 50’s and had suffered two strokes. Later, he went blind.)
It seems that each night in the news, the reporters not only bring the devastating news of the sick and dying, but also show the large refrigerated trucks that are lined outside the largest hospitals. There is certainly no assurance in seeing these trucks. The public knows that those who die must also be taken care of in some orderly way. Yet, we see it over and over…and we are made to feel even more concerned about our own safety…whether in life or death. The heart-breaking stories of loved ones who can not be with their families in their last moments on earth is almost too much to hear.
Sometimes it is good emotionally, to remove ourselves, at least temporarily, from the continuous news of despair. Perhaps this Sunday is a good time for quiet music instead
or as we turn to our TV to listen to remote worship services.
(We have enjoyed the National Cathedral services in Washington, D.C. at 11:15 EST and special music at 4 on YouTube)
So what or who can we turn to in this time of waiting and confinement? I’d like to share with you, and the ones you may know who have family members who are sick or who have died, my writing, in part, on the ETERNAL PROMISE:
The word “eternity” seems so far away. It is an unknown time or place and the human mind can’t comprehend its actual meaning. Most people have some anxiety about dying and perfect peace may not be part of their thinking on this subject.
It may not be just about entering eternity, but needing peace when making some of life’s greatest decisions. This was true of Bob Dufford as he struggled with his becoming a priest. He thought of the Mother of Christ, who may have been fearful as she followed what God had in store for her. This gave him inspiration to write these words:
Be Not Afraid
You shall cross the barren desert, but you shall not die of thirst.
You shall wander far in safety though you do not know the way.
You shall speak your words in foreign lands and all will understand.
You shall see the face of God and live.
If you pass through raging waters in the sea, you shall not drown.
If you walk amid the burning flames, you shall not be harmed.
If you stand before the pow’r of hell and death is at your side,
know that I am with you through it all.
Blessed are your poor, for the kingdom shall be theirs.
Blest are you that weep and mourn, for one day you shall laugh.
And if wicked men insult and hate you all because of me,
blessed, blessed are you!
Be not afraid.
I go before you always;
Come follow me,
and I will give you rest. 27
Promises are made and many times broken because we are frail in our human spirit. No bride or groom goes to the alter believing that their lives will come shattering down with a divorce. Little children may say, ” Please let’s go today. Will you promise?” Sometimes the parent must change the plans, but somehow in a child’s mind the promise has been broken. This is why they beg us to “promise.”
There is an eternal promise that will never be broken. It is God’s promise that all will be well in eternity. He is going to make a special place for us. He even says that he is telling us the truth. “There are many rooms in my Father’s house, and I am going to prepare a place for you. I would not tell you this if it were not so”. John 14:2
The Holy Bible is made up of many eternal promises. Some people memorize these verses. It is a good idea because what you hide in your heart can never be taken away from you. A few of these are listed below, but only make a dent in what we can believe from God in the Holy Scriptures:
- Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
- James 1:17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
- 2 Samuel 7:28 Sovereign Lord, you are God! Your covenant is trustworthy, and you have promised these good things to your servant.
- Nahum 1:7 The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life.
…There is an old hymn, Standing on the Promises, that was written by Russell Kelso Carter. This hymn was published in the book Promises of Perfect Love, Philadelphia, 1886
Some of the words are these:
Standing on the promises that cannot fail,
When the howling storms of doubt and fear assail,
By the living Word of God I shall prevail,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises I now can see
Perfect, present cleansing in the blood for me;
Standing in the liberty where Christ makes free,
Standing on the promises of God.
Standing on the promises of Christ the Lord,
Bound to Him eternally by love’s strong cord,
Overcoming daily with the Spirit’s sword,
Standing on the promises of God.
We have the eternal promises of God to lead us through our lives. His promises are true and will never fail. May God be praised!
HOLY SCRIPTURES: Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you. Isaiah 54:10
PRAYER: Thank you, God, for your promises. I trust in You and pray for all those going through our difficult times . In Christ’s name, Amen
(Taken from Rain on the Roof by N.W.Boyer)
Christ has given His life for Us, Rose from the Dead and promised us eternal life. Where there is suffering, we turn to Him as OUR VISION of HOPE. Below is a video of a church and a singer, with his accompanist. The church is empty…as are ours today, but the promises of God are the same and He is with us wherever we are.
Turn up your sound
People have heard the music of great hymns of faith, but may not know what was the story behind the writer and why it was written. For you, as promised, I bring 5 hymns that will give you the message of comfort and courage needed at this time. These are stories of lives changed as they found Christ as Lord and Savior through the difficulties or joys that they experienced.
from Boyer Writes May you be blessed.
Turn up your sound.
Since so many were unable to get to worship services today, I am pleased to put on a wonderful sermon of hope in this time when many could use some hope for the future.
The sermon is brought to us from the Episcopal National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. by Bishop Marianne Budde.
Mariann Edgar Budde serves as spiritual leader for 88 Episcopal congregations and ten Episcopal schools in the District of Columbia and four Maryland counties.
Turn up your sound, click picture below and do not move the red line. This will start at the sermon.
Recently I read a blog written by Stephen RM. It spoke to me and I felt that I’d like to add some of my own notes to the specific suggestions made by him. I have entitled my part of this blog as FORTITUDE AND LIVING LIFE. It is my hope that you enjoy this and give it some serious thought:
The Oxford Dictionary defines FORTITUDE as follows:
Fortitude refers to strength in the face of adversity or difficulty. … People who have fortitude are described in an admiring way for their courage and this word comes from the Latin word fortitudo, meaning “strength.”
There are some things in life that give us the ability to press on and enjoy life. Yes, it does have to do with the heart because how we think about life is our heart-felt desire to enjoy it.
Here are a few things that are suggested as things to do before getting to the elderly age of ____. You notice that no particular age was put in this space! Age is only a number since your birth. Pay little attention to it or what other say about being of a certain age because people have always put restraints on age….such as: “You are too young!” or “You do that at your age?” etc etc. Therefore, the advise of this writing is to think about these things before you get too much older to experience some of them.
Suggestions for a happy and fulfilled life:
1. Travel the World Together
Traveling with someone you love can bring you closer together and makes for scrapbook-worthy memories. (The nice thing about scrapbooks is that you get to enjoy these experiences over and over without whipping out your phone and trying to find the pictures you took somewhere! nwb)
2. Travel the World Alone
But hey, if you don’t have anyone to travel with right now – that’s okay too! Traveling alone is a completely different and rewarding experience that you should definitely do at least once. ( I knew a lady who was definitely a senior who traveled alone and she would find where the young people were bunking on a ship and mix and mingle. Good for her! nwb)
3. Be Mentored by Someone
Any successful person will tell you that they wouldn’t have gotten to where they are now if not for the help of a mentor. Take the time to find the right one for you and you’ll reap lifetime benefits. (A mentor might even be a teacher of something you have not tried. I had never tried throwing clay for ceramics, but my mentor taught me how. Now, I am proud of the little dishes that I use for myself or guests. nwb)
4. Mentor Someone
Pay it forward!
5. Leave a Legacy
Leave something behind that will outlive you – a non-profit organization, a movement, a sustainable business – your imagination is the limit!
6. Go Skinny Dipping
I’m not certain I would want to find a nude beach in America, but If you visit Japan, they have wonderful springs…No swimsuits and separate areas for male and female…who bring their children. An eye-opening experience for someone from a different culture. nwb
7. Give Back
Living for something beyond ourselves gives us a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Bless others with your blessings!
8. Start Journaling
Write down your thoughts now, reread them years later, and you’ll be amazed to see how far you’ve come. ( You have a story…tell it! It will be a joy to those you love to read after you are heaven-bound. nwb)
9. Fall in Love
Seriously, anyone should definitely fall in love at least once. Even if doesn’t end in happy ever after. (Our first love will probably not be the love of our life. I personally found my TRUE LOVE after I was a single parent with three children. After 38+ years of marriage, I am eternally grateful! nwb)
10. Attend a Religious Event (that’s not your own)
Whether you’re religious or not, try exploring other faith denominations and get different perspectives on spirituality. (Not everyone will be comfortable in a place of worship outside of their belief. It is important to look at what you believe in your worship of God and find joy in true faith. It will be your comfort on your death-bed. However, to be aware of what others believe is important to our understanding of life. As a Christian, I have had opportunity to travel and learn from the Buddhist students that I taught. It was a good experience, but in the long-run, it strengthened my love for Christ, my Savior. nwb)
11. Build Your Expertise
Be an expert at something. If someone mentions your name, there should be a skill that they can always count on you for. (I trained to be a teacher. After retirement, I became a writer and now this is more a part of my identity than that of an educator. Interestingly, as I write, I still believe that some things written are a form of teaching. nwb)
12. Live or Travel in a Developing Country
If you’re from the western part of the world, the best way to understand cultures different from your own is to immerse yourself in it. Live in a handful of developing nations and see their world through their eyes. ( How true this suggestion is! Nothing can top my experience of traveling in Mongolia, Ukraine, and Guatemala. All had different cultures and languages. At first it is somewhat intimidating, but in hind-sight, an excellent experience. nwb)
13. Be Happy Alone
Learn to love yourself and find happiness in your own company. It’s one of the most freeing things you could do for yourself. (How very true!! nwb)
14. Commit to Healthy Habits
Start building healthy habits as early as you can and you’ll find more things to do as you grow older.
15. Become a Multi-Hyphenated Individual
With our fast-evolving world today, it’s absolutely possible to have more than one career. Be the doctor-lawyer, or award-winning author-speaker you always wanted to be. (Taking on another interest does not always mean a change of career, especially if it requires great expense or time-consuming study. It is a broadening of interests that keep us alive and young in thought and mind. Try, as I did, to go to an art class with very young students. I could have been their parent, but I was accepted by them and learned that having a nose ring wasn’t the end of the world! nwb) Thanks Stephen RM
Be happy in your heart because it brings about great FORTITUDE as life moves on.
VIDEO OF BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR YOUR DAY:
Everything in advertisement these days is how to stay young and beautiful. Who wouldn’t want to do that?! Well, not so fast, perhaps those that have lived a good, long life have a few things to say about aging. We will explore the subject that no one wants to write about, talk about, or experience…aging. We all grow a little older each day…each hour…each minute. Some tell it better with the graying of the hair, a larger mid-waist, or a few wrinkles…or alot as the case may be.
I live in Florida and all the billboards for senior living look like this:
Yet, many older people are finding a life filled with wonderful memories and FEW, if any regrets about their lives.
It is not all downhill as some would like to think.
The funny thing, however, is that we rarely think of ourselves as getting older.
You notice that I never say OLD, but OLDER because it is the natural part of life for everyone…from crib to the knee replacement!
My next 31 Day Devotional Book will be published soon,. Hopefully, you’ll take a look when it comes out. Rain on the Roof. (booksbyboyer.org)
I’d like to share a portion of one chapter which relates to this topic:
“What exactly is the meaning of “grace” or doing something with “grace”?” We would all like to think that we can be that kind of person when it comes to seeing our lives slide away and we can begin a possible countdown on two hands. There are those who might make it to the 100 mark, but the quality of life in these people is usually limited. There are exceptions, however. Some Centenarians have some real words of wisdom for all of us.
One man said, “I enjoy robbing the government by continuing to get my pension!” Another Centenarian said about getting older and reaching 100, “It is only a number. You live for the day and a little shot of whiskey occasionally helps,” he said with a smile.
Fond memories seem to play a great part of enjoying the end of life. We all have the heartaches, but it is the happy times that we can and should reflect upon. Building another good memory at any age is the key. It is a great thing to be able to say, “I really did so many things, knew so many people and I believe I mostly did everything that I wanted to do.”
If you are growing older, it is not only the physical body that begins to become more frail, but the mind and emotions can also take a toll. Some of this is genetic or poor health or a disease that is not avoidable. Nevertheless, for those of us who are fortunate enough not to have some of these disabilities, it is up to us to feed the brain with optimism and good thoughts. It is too easy to complain or become “an old fogy” that no one wants to be around or that is old-fashioned or intellectually dull.
Doing the things that make us happy is most important as we age…whether that is writing, as I do, or watering a beautiful flower that has been grown and nurtured by your own hands.
An English lady maintains her wonderful memories of her family as if they are all still around her. With a laugh, she says that sometimes people will hear her talking to herself…but it isn’t really to herself…but to the children that she remembers and cared for through their lives. “They think I am crackers when I talk to myself, but I’m not…just remember the ones I love.”
If you have been in a nursing home for the aged, it is quite depressing, at times, to see so many elderly sitting and doing nothing. Often they are sleeping from medication given to them that can take away quality of life. This is when an advocate is so important to keep watch over a parent or grandparent who may not be able to fend for themselves when it comes to care. Years ago, the elderly stayed in the home of the children until their death. Because of this, they had someone with them who truly cared about them and their welfare. How important it is to speak to those sitting in the Assisted Living facilities and let them know that they are recognized as a special person who has lived a very long life. Each of them have stories to tell if we will take time to listen.
Taking time to listen is exactly why my husband and I interviewed veterans of past wars to write their stories in the book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge. 30 Most had never had an interview and were most appreciative to know that the service they gave to their country would live on in a book. This was especially true of an elderly man who fought in Korea with frozen feet. His miracle was that just before surgery to remove his legs, the blood flow came back. Our veterans are quickly passing away, as are the Holocaust survivors of World War II. With grace, many have shared their lives and stories of courage with us. In our present day, those who now sit in wheelchairs, will soon be gone from us. Some have made the trip back to the places where so much happened in their lives to preserve freedom for future generations. Never forget to thank them “for their service.”
Asked if the Centenarians “have any regrets,” most had only a few. Some wished that they had told someone they loved them more or worked harder at a vocation. Time moves swiftly as we grow older. We look back at a full-time career, a number of children in the home, pets to care for and after retirement it is hard to imagine how we fit all that into one 24 hour day! We should want to live those hours as gracefully as possible at any age.
The word ‘grace’ literally means ‘favour.’ In Hebrew, it is CHEN from a root word CHANAN – to bend or stoop in kindness to another.
In Greek it is CHARIS and has the idea of graciousness in manner or action. It comes from a root word CHAIRO to be cheerful, happy. 31
Perhaps this is the key to those who have lived life longer than most…to accept each day with gratefulness and cheerfulness. It is a lesson for all of us to learn to live in GRACE.
On a spiritual level, it is to LIVE and MOVE and have our being (or EXISTENCE). Acts 17:28 It is the GRACE of God that saves us.” N.W. BOYER
It spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow,one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change,insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in a small way. (Quote by Edith Wharton (An American novelist and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921.)
VIDEO Turn up sound
As a Christian author, it is my joy to share a book that I have recently written. My latest devotional book is called Around the Corner.
The reason for that title is because throughout my life there have been surprises “around the corner” that have given me inspiration and understanding of people throughout the world. These stories, events and thoughts are what I want to share with my readers.
Divided into 31 days, the daily reading has not only stories of adventures, joys and “Things that I have learned”, but also Scripture readings and prayers. It also includes some of my original art and photography, which also are my creative thoughts.
It is my hope that you will enjoy Around the Corner, in book form or on Kindle, for your inspirational reading. If you like either, please pass this blog post onto your friends and family.
Click here: Around the Corner…paperback edition
Holocaust Remembrance Day is a time to remember and proclaim “NEVER AGAIN.”
Having just posted about the horrors of Syria, which may be another Holocaust if a solution is not found to bring peace to the area, it is fitting to think about World War II and all those who perished under the Nazi dictator, Hitler. It is estimated that over six million men, women and children died in the death camps. Memorials can be found around the world. One special one is the children’s memorial, Yad Vashem, in Jerusalem. The day my husband and I visited this memorial, there were little lights on the ceiling and the name of each child was read aloud continuously.
It doesn’t seem like any time since I took Student Ambassadors to Poland and we visited Auschwitz, one of the death camps. None of us will ever be the same. I, as a Christian, walked beside a young Jewish student who laid flowers at the very wall where so many were executed. I noticed that he wore his shorts but respectfully put on a tie and sports jacket as he approached the wall.
As we traveled, this same young man also wanted to find the apartment building where the Israeli Olympic team had been murdered by terrorists. We looked and looked; finally finding a small plaque outside an apartment building to remember the event. Given the gravity of this terrible tragedy, it seemed far too small.
Our student group spent time looking at the ovens where the bodies were burned. One amazing fact was that the home of the military commander and his family was right next to the grounds of Auschwitz. We saw the place where he was executed after the war by hanging. Eye glasses, shoes and suitcases were piled high in glass cases. One could see the torture chambers where a cross was scratched into the wall…indicating that not only Jews were interned there, but political prisoners and Christians.
Steven Spielberg has made it his mission to record the lives of survivors so that future generations will understand what hatred, prejudice and war can do to people. Once the people who fought WWII and the Holocaust survivors have died, their voices will be silenced forever….except for these recordings. Just as our World War II veterans are passing away by the hundreds each day, so are the survivors of the Holocaust.
It was my privilege to have the veterans and survivors come to my classroom of 5th graders and talk to each one of the students about their experiences. Because each person’s story was different, the students took notes that they wrote us and presented orally to the class the following day. Those students are adults now. Many have finished college and have families of their own. I pray that they have not forgotten that experience and are passing along what the Holocaust was and why we can never let this happen again.
After returning from that trip, I felt that the students in our Florida county needed to know as much about the Holocaust as possible. With financial help from the community and parents of students, we raised enough funds to place in every school library tapes, books and age-appropriate material about the Holocaust.
I read about a grave-digger who was told to bury all the Jews in the woods. These were those shot on a death march. Instead, he buried them in St. Anna’s Roman Catholic Church in Swierklany, Poland. This is only after he had carefully copied all the numbers from each victim’s arm. Some seventy years later and with research from Yad Vashem in Israel, some relatives now know that Christians carefully buried the bodies of their loved ones. A new memorial has been erected with a cross. The new plaque at the previously unmarked grave in Swierlany, Poland now reads:
“In memory of the death march victims from Auschwitz-Birkenau”
and lists the victims’ concentration camp numbers or names. The caring of one grave digging man, who believed differently from those he buried, made all the difference over 70 years later to a family who simply wanted to know what had happened to their loved one.
Today on Holocaust Remembrance Day, as the sirens wail, in some places people will stop in the streets and cars will stop on the highways …wherever they are…to remember again. We too must never forget!
It is not our purpose here to try to re-create the horrors that went on here. Probably the closest to that would be to watch Schindler’s List, produced by Spielberg, about a Christian businessman, Oskar Schindler, who saved many Jews by taking them to work in his factory.
Oskar Schindler (28 April 1908 – 9 October 1974) was a German industrialist and a member of the Nazi Party who is credited with saving the lives of 1,200 Jews during the Holocaust by employing them in his enamelware and ammunitions factories in occupied Poland and the Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia. (Wikipedia)
VIDEO: This music is played in honor of John Williams and his contribution to the telling of this story of the Holocaust and the saving of many lives. (Turn up sound)
The Music from Schindler’s List, written by John Williams.
When we are in Virginia, we receive an email telling us when the Space Station will be flying over our home and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Because we have no street lights, it is quite clear and the Station can be seen moving on the path above our heads.
The video I’m sharing with my readers today shows a working relationship between the U.S., Russia and Japanese astronauts. It is a good thing that they are professionals and want to do their work and experiments without political interruption. Hope you enjoy this as much as I did.
The tour of the Space Station is given by Sunita Pandya Williams, an American astronaut and U.S. Navy officer of Indo-Slovenian descent. She formerly held the records for total spacewalks by a woman (seven) and most spacewalk time for a woman (50 hours, 40 minutes). Sunita was assigned to the International Space Station as a member of Expeditions 14 and 15. In 2012, she served as a flight engineer on Expedition 32 and then commander of Expedition 33. (Wikipedia)
Thank you, Sunita Williams, for your great tour. As we watch from the ground, we know better what the crews in the Space Station are experiencing amid the stars. Long live international cooperation!
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
The Election of 2016 is over. Instead of burning the American flag or beating up people because they chose to vote differently, those involved should think seriously about those who have fought to make America free. The American flag represents that freedom.
We must never forget history and the bravery of those who fought for our rights…even the rights to peacefully protest. Most of all, we must not forget those who bravely fought to bring the battles to an end. We continue to honor those who are still in harm’s way throughout the world.
World War I….was to be the War that ended all wars. Unfortunately, that did not happen.
Some of the great battles of World War II: The Battle of the Atlantic, The Battle of Britain, The siege of Leningrad, Pearl Harbor, The Battle of Stalin grad, The Invasion of Normandy, The Battle of the Bulge, Battle of Okinawa, The Battle of Berlin
What was victory like for those who fought?
Victory Day, also known as VJ Day, marks the anniversary the Allies’ victory over Japan during World War II.
VJ Day in Honolulu Video….the real thing. Compliments of Richard Sullivan’s father who was there on August 14, 1945 and shot this film.
Names to Remember: Iwo Jima, Saipan, Midway…Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Omaha Beach…and others we have not mentioned. Thank you, Veterans, for your dedication.
Omaha Beach invasion was when the Germans killed about 5,000 men. They were so young and lives cut short. Truly, WAR IS HELL.
This beautiful music has great meaning to me personally. I was trying to decide if I should leave the U.S. and go for about two months to Mongolia. Every time I heard this song and the words, tears came to my eyes and I knew somehow God was saying “Go”. I did go and He blessed me in so many ways that I ended up returning again the second time.
I’d like to share the music and words with you as you may be asking God if He would have you do something that may be out of the comfort zone…but you can’t get it out of your mind. Listen carefully to the words of the song and then pray.
The video is music sung by boys ages 10 to 20+. They are in the Dunblane Cathedral in Scotland.
This is only one incident of a policemen going the extra mile for someone they can help. With all the publicity of a few cops who didn’t do the right thing, it is a privilege for Boyer Writes to give honor to Officer Robinson who did.
It seems that a young, African American man whose sister had died was trying to get to his family’s side, but did not have a car. He asked a friend, who had a warrant for his arrest and a suspended license to take him. Actually Mark Ross had a warrant himself and his license was suspended also. Speeding down the road together, Officer Robinson stopped them. Ross believed he was going to be arrested.
After hearing why they were trying to get to the family, you will hear the genuine concern in the officer’s voice when he offers to help them. As a Christian, the office prayed over the young man before taking them in his patrol car for about a 100 mile trip to find the family of the sister who had been killed in a car accident.
Here is the video with the entire story. One thing that Mark Ross had to say after the incident was that he had “always hated police, but this man gave him HOPE.”
Stop and think before criticizing all police. They have a job to do and most do it well. Most also have good, understanding hearts. This story could have gone a different direction if the men in the car had tried to flee or pulled a weapon…or even had a bad attitude with the policeman, seemly trying to resist his instructions or questions. See what actually happened. Video of Policeman and Mr. Ross
( You may also want to see a previous video that was shared on Boyer Writes on what to do when pulled over. )
(What to do if you have a permit to carry a firearm and are pulled over. Extremely important because a policeman must be certain you will not harm him…and you do not want a mistake to happen because you do things the wrong way. See video
God’s plan for creation is more than the mind can handle. That is because we do not have the mind of God. Only the Holy Scriptures explains it for us…at least to some degree. We were wonderfully made…every tiny part….as is the universe in its vastness.
Notice that the words below says that after the creation of man and woman, “He blessed them.” We really have no idea how much we are blessed and how grateful we should be. As we leave this life and depart to the great beyond there will more than enough to be shown to us for eternity.
If you have had someone you love pass away, as I have, it is comforting to think of them being shown by God the Father and the Son the secrets of the universe. How wonderful and exciting that must be. ( See video at the end for the full meaning of this blog.)
The Holy Scriptures Genesis 1:3 -31
- Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light.
- God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
- God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
- Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
- God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
- God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
- Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
- God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
- Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
- The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
- There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
- Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
- and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
- God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; He made the stars also.
- God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
- and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
- There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
- Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
- God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
- God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
- There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
- Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
- God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
- Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
- God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
- God blessed them; and God said to them, “ Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
- Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
- and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
- God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.”
VIEW VIDEO and be AMAZED (turn sound low and click off of any advertisements that pop up on video. Unfortunate that you will see them.)
Whatever happened to SS. General Hans Kammler?
This is the question that many history readers are asking and will enjoy THE SEEDS novel that attempts to answer it.
THE SEEDS, a historical fiction novel by N.W.Boyer
THE SEEDS originated from a blog that I have written for a number of years called Boyer Writes. One post on World War II and the Nazis, who fled to Argentina and other places, seemed to be of great interest to my readers. I was amazed that one particular post called What Happened to General Hans Kammler? received hits every day for years. Some readers wrote me that they knew where General Kammler had lived or that he was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution. Readers even started to make comments back and forth to one another because they were certain that they knew the answer to the question of the General’s whereabouts.
Who was General Hans Kammler?
General Kammler, as portrayed in this book is entirely fiction. The accounts of him, based on historical facts is that Kammler, from 1944, was head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project.
This fascination about General Kammler also led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and thus, this novel evolved.
First, I gave it birth online with the help of pictures and videos found on the web. Many of the places described in the novel, as the World Seed Vault in Norway, sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault” or the people, places and cultures of the Middle East, are generally not known or understood by other parts of the world. This only increased the mystery behind the writing.
I hope you will follow or return often to this blog site to see what other books I have written. Thank you for reading.
See further information on THE SEEDS: Available on Amazon in paperback or on Kindle.
Yesterday was National Dog Day in the U.S.A. We would like to honor our dog, Gracie, who has been the most wonderful dog one could ever imagine. Now, she is old…13 years old…not walking well, going blind and still trying to do her best to please us.
All dog owners will relate to this blog. We are also thankful to all dogs who love us and service so much in our communities. They helped find the victims of 9-11; train as service dogs to the disabled; give encouragement to the elderly in nursing homes and provide love and protection.
See the training of our security dogs video below. Thank you also to our police.
The question is have you read it? In this world of learning, libraries and book stores are filled with more than anyone could read in a life time. Yet, we as Americans have probably never read one of the most important documents in history. Yes, I’m talking about the Constitution of the United States.
Recently, we heard a convention speaker ask if a candidate had “ever read the Constitution of the United States?” This was a very good question, especially coming from someone who was not born in this country but immigrated here.
My question is have you read any part of The Constitution? If you are not a citizen of the U.S, you probably have not. You are not alone because The Constitution, which is our most precious document, is rarely taught or discussed in our schools and what parent is going to encourage their child to read it? Probably very few.
I thought the challenge was a good one because I have not read the entire document even though I was a teacher for many years. Bravo to those of you who have. My students discussed it in the context of studying history, but we never read it in class.
Nevertheless, I think it is important to know some facts concerning it. Therefore, I found (on history.com) some excellent questions and the answers, that might be of interest to my readers. If you read carefully the answers you do not know, you will be smarter than you were before reading. Perhaps you can even pass this along to some young person who would like to show some real intelligence in the classroom should the subject of The Constitution ever arise. (Just for fun…close your eyes after reading the question and see if you can answer it.)
- What is the Constitution of the United States of America?
The U.S. Constitution established America’s national government and fundamental laws, and guaranteed certain basic rights for its citizens. It was signed on September 17, 1787, by delegates to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, presided over by George Washington.
- How many amendments to the Constitution are there?
- Which amendment to the Constitution was to lower the voting age from age 21 to 18 and who was President at the time?
It was the 26th amendment and Richard Nixon was President in 1971 when the amendment was passed.
- Which document begins with the words “We the people of the United States…”?
- What is the preamble to the Constitution?
- Did George Washington sign The Constitution. If not, why?
He did not sign The Constitution because in July 1776 he was in New York preparing to defend Manhattan against the British.
- How many states had signers of The Constitution. Was your state representative one of them? (After checking this out, be sure to return for the video below, which is on the lighter side but great to know.)
All Americans should take pride in one of the most treasured and excellent documents in the world. Perhaps you may take the challenge to read more…or all of it. Americans should also remember that during the Continental Congress, the leaders were not afraid to pray about their decisions.
Here is a quote of interest concerning this: “In the Continental Congress somebody wanted to know which one was General George Washington. He was sitting up in the gallery. And a friend said, ‘Well, if you want to see which one Washington is, when Congress goes to prayer, he’ll be the tall man who gets on his knees.’
You may be interested also in James Madison, who wrote most of The Constitution, but he rose above many disadvantages in life and accomplished much! He also wrote our Bill of Rights. He should be an inspiration to all of us.
Life is complicated. Often people find themselves in situations where they begin to believe that there is no way out or no way for things to be different. This may be a personal habit or addiction that has brought life to screeching halt. It could be a time when one finds himself (or herself) in a situation that they had no control over. This can often lead to depression or a feeling that God does not hear or that He does not care.
We are reminded in the Holy Scriptures that He does care and will make a way out for us if we seek Him in our concerns.
1st Corinthians 10:13
“The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.” (New Living Translation)
I saw a video of a Pimpalgaon Siddhanath village in the Junnar division of Maharashtra, India. A leopard had fallen into a 60 foot well with no way to escape. As I watched the video, I was struck with how similar this is to the desperation of many people in their own lives.
- The leopard hung on to a few sticks bundled together.
- He struggled; fell off the sticks and struggled some more
- Even when the men of the village tried to help by lowering a box for him to get into, he fought back with a loud snarl and practically made things worse when his claw caught on the box.
How does this seem similar to human situations? When in a desperate situation, one may refuse all help…or not even recognize that it is help being offered by those who care. One may struggle to work things out alone, knowing that there is the possibility of staying in the same quagmire. (An awkward, complex, or hazardous situation)
- Finally, the leopard sees things differently. He stops slapping at the box lowered to him and makes a decision to take the only way out.
- The box, being lowered by those who cared, had become his answer to a chance at living instead of drowning.
Read this scripture…and know that God has a purpose that you should live and give you hope and rest in your life. He will make a way for you if you ask Him to do so. Reach out to those around you who have your best interest at heart.
” For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” New International Version
With so much sadness and darkness in the world, we must lift up our voices and “Shine”to dispel the gloom and doom. Look at the faces, on the video below, of Christians in the Royal Albert Hall in London. They represent every age, race, and gender. Multiply their voices and faces of all Christian people world-wide who can bring light into the world. It is our duty and joy to share our voices of hope. As He has said, Christ is our only hope and redemption. Our only cry should be for all nations and what God wants for His world and His creation.
An Invitation to a new FOCUS: Join Boyer Writes with a new daily focus and see what it does to your life. We certainly understand that this may not be easy.
What is this new focus?
- Decide if you want your minds and life to be changed from a daily bombardment of darkness or to light and joy, where you can reach for inner peace and calm.
- This may mean deciding to switch off the TV news and discussion groups for a period of one month or longer.
- Even though this is not Lent, many times during the season of Lent, Christians choose to restrict themselves from certain things in order to draw closer to God.
- This invitation is to do a similar thing.
- Choose your own New Focus
- If you make this decision, please use the “Comment” on this post or write an email to Boyer Writes and let us know of your choice in order that we may pray for this new focus in your life. email@example.com (copy email and paste)
Fill our lands with your glory, Lord! Dispel the darkness. Shine on Us!
Turn on sound
On the week of the 4th of July…2016, we thank God for our freedoms. We celebrate our Independence Day…fought and won from one of our present day strongest allies, the United Kingdom. We honor the men who had the vision for a place to live, worship, and govern as we wanted ..and for those through the years who have died to keep that freedom.
So how did it exactly happen? When were we first able to criticize our government? Perhaps this video gives us a little understanding of the history of our Declaration of Independence and the cost to make this a country of freedoms.
Whether you are an American or live elsewhere, we at Boyer Writes wish a HAPPY 4TH TO ALL OUR READERS! Long live freedom!
The innocence…quality…and tenderness of the voices of children is what I am sharing with you today. As we grow older, the voice changes…as do the qualities of childhood. It is a beauty that is lost to age, but nonetheless a joy forever when captured before it is no more…as in this video.
One of my favorites is Going Home. (Lyrics shown below.)
The boys singing are from the U.K. and are called Libera. The singers are aged seven to sixteen and attend many different local schools in South London and come from a variety of backgrounds. Libera thinks of themselves as more than choirboys, but also as a boy band. Don’t miss the beautiful song that calls for God’s Mercy (Salva Me) and Abide with Me.
I leave you with this thought.
Ask God for mercy, and to know that He gives mercy and forgiveness. Certainly feel safe with Him. This song is about being saved from the darkness, chaos, from things that harm. To fly away and be saved from this darkness. To feel calm within the grace of God.
Sit back and quietly listen and enjoy in the frustrations of the day and in busy lives. You will not be disappointed. Lyrics to Going Home by William Arms Fisher, Music by Antonin Dvorak
Goin’ home. Goin’ home. I’m a-goin’ home.
Quiet-like some still day, I’m just goin’ home.
It’s not far, just close by, through an open door.
Work all done, cares laid by, goin’ to roam no more;
Mother’s there ‘xpecting me, father’s waiting, too,
Lots of folks gathered there, all the friends I knew.
Morning star lights the way, restless dream all done.
Shadows gone, break of day, real life just begun.
There’s no break, there’s no end, just a-living on;
Wide awake, with a smile, going on and on.
Going home. Going home, I’m just going home.
It’s not far, just close by, through an open door.
The Composer’s Story:
William Arms Fisher was a pupil of famed composer Antonin Dvorak, studying under Dvorak in New York City. A native of Prague, in 1893, Dvorak composed his most famous symphony, the Symphony No. 9 in E Minor “From the New World”. It was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and was an homage to the United States, which had just passed its 100th anniversary of being a country.
Contrary to popular belief, Dvorak did not base the symphony on any existing folk songs. Rather, he wrote original themes based on what he’d heard of Native American and African American music in the United States. The symphony was met with immediate success at its premier on December 16, 1893 at Carnegie Hall.
In a newspaper interview, for the New York Herald in 1893, Dvorak challenged American composers to look at their own country’s rich heritage of native music to draw their inspiration from. His full quote: “in the African American melodies of America I discover all that is needed for a great and noble school of music. They are pathetic, tender, passionate, melancholy, solemn, religious, bold, merry, gay or what you will. It is music that suits itself to any mood or purpose. There is nothing in the whole range of composition that cannot be supplied with themes from this source. The American musician understands these tunes and they move sentiment in him.” William Arms Fisher took up the challenge, starting by penning words to the Largo melody of the second movement of Dvorak’s symphony.
There are many voices saying what is right or wrong with the United States. These voices come from every walk of life. They are strongest often during an election year. The worst and the best come out in the candidates for the highest honor in our government and in those who would speak for or against those candidates. Regardless of this, there are also spiritual leaders within our country that speak out with warnings that many will reject. This warning is that our nation must be healed or it has dire consequences to follow.
Recently an article was written by Michael Chapman,who quoted The Reverend Franklin Graham, son of the renowned evangelist, Billy Graham. Franklin Graham has been leading open-air prayer meetings throughout the United States called Decision America. He has seen the cross-section of Americans and what they believe. During these trips, Rev. Graham reports that over 2,021 people have indicated that they have decided that they needed a spiritual awakening and have made a decision to follow Christ. He is asking them to not only pray for themselves, but for our nation. Here are a few of Rev. Graham’s words worth paying attention to as we face the future:
“They come to Decision America because they are angry or dissatisfied with the way things are going in our country. Then they hear the Gospel ( of Christ) preached, fall under conviction, repent of their sins, and turn to Christ. Praise God!….There is no doubt that the tens of thousands who have attended know that America is in deep trouble and on the verge of total moral and spiritual collapse—unless God intervenes. …They know our only hope is in Almighty God. In this secular age, the influence of Biblical principles and values has diminishing impact upon education, government and politics. More young people than ever before claim no religious affiliation at all. We Christians are not just simply tolerated—we are under constant, unrelenting assault for our beliefs and practices.”
Rev. Graham continues, “We are a people and nation in imminent danger,” said the reverend. “We mock God, ridicule His Word and His ways, and flaunt gross immorality.”
In conclusion, said Franklin Graham, “Only Almighty God can deliver us, and it is our fervent prayer as we go across America in the months to come, that He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”
Rev. Graham wonders if the handwriting may be on the wall for America as it was in older days for the Babylonian king, Belshazzar, that foretold a doom unless the people changed their ways.
He added that the United States may be in a situation like that of the Babylonian king Belshazzar, who saw the mysterious handwriting on the wall foretelling his doom but did not change his ways. They did not and his kingdom was handed over to a new world order.
As for politics, Rev. Graham has stated that he has been greatly disappointed by both the Democrat and Republican parties. This is why he refuses to endorse any candidate. He knows that the people throughout the United States must turn to God in order for our country to be healed.
“I think Americans across the board are fed up with the shenanigans that go on, politicians who go to Washington to benefit themselves, who promise one thing and deliver another…..Only Almighty God can deliver us, and it is our fervent prayer as we go across America in the months to come, that He will hear our prayers and heal our land.”
Rev. Franklin Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and also heads up Samaritan’s Purse, which ministers to the needs of people around the world through relief. “Samaritan’s Purse stands ready to respond at a moment’s notice whenever and wherever disaster strikes. We specialize in meeting critical needs for victims of conflict, disaster, famine, and epidemics throughout the world, often working through ministry partners on the ground. We provide food, water, shelter, medicine, and other assistance in the Name of Jesus Christ.” These acts show the love of God and the healing of nations.
Franklin Graham’s father, Rev. Billy Graham is now 97 and lives in North Carolina. The video below is what Rev. Graham would like to say to the nation, calling it his last address to our country.
It is how to be healed…individually and as a nation. It is the story of how God takes individuals and makes them new. This is the message that people in our country and throughout the world need to hear. This is how our nation can be healed one person at a time.
What would make a prominent judge spend the night in jail with a man he hardly knew? The only answer to that is a compassionate heart for those who have served and served well…but have problems.
Sgt. Joseph Serna of North Carolina was a Green Beret. He had four combat tours in Afghanistan as a Special Forces soldier. His army career had stretched over two decades. Because of a roadside bomb and a suicide bomber, he almost lost his life three different times. In Kandahar, his armored truck careened into a canal and his fellow soldier, Sgt. James Treber, saved him.
“I felt a hand come down and unfasten my seat belt and release my body armor,” Serna recalled. “Sgt. Treber picked me up and moved me to a small pocket of air. He knew there was not enough room for both of us to breathe so he went under water to find another pocket of air.” Unfortunately, Sgt. Treber died and Serna survived.
Sgt. Serna earned three Purple Hearts, but returned home suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. This led him to drinking to excess and was picked up for driving while intoxicated.
This event landed him in the Cumberland County, N.C. court of Judge Lou Olivera. The Judge spent numerous times with Serna to evaluate his progress with these problems. Finally after being untruthful about one of his tests, the Judge sentenced him to a day in jail.
The next part is why I am writing this blog because there could be numerous writings on the problems that our Veterans have with stress after serving their country. Here enters the Judge and his compassion for this young soldier. Judge Olivera drives Serna to the jail.
“Where are we going?” Serna asked the Judge. The reply was, “We are going to turn ourselves in.” What Serna did not know was Judge Olivera had decided that this prisoner would not spend the night or 24 hours alone. He decided to spend the sentence with the prisoner. Judge Olivera is also a veteran of the Gulf War and he was so concerned about Serna that he did not want the isolation to trigger Serna’s PTSD.
As Serna sat down on the cot in his cell, he heard the door rattle open again and saw Judge Olivera standing before him. Olivera sat down beside him. Someone came and locked the door. This was a one-man cell so we sat on the bunk and I said, ‘You are here for the entire time with me?’” Sgt. Serna said. “He said, ‘Yeah that’s what I am doing.’”
“They have worn the uniform and we know they can be contributing members of society,” Olivera said. “We just want to get them back there.”
(Taken in part from an article by Yanet Yang of the Washington Post)
If you or someone you know has these symptoms along with alcohol or drug abuse, seek medical help immediately. The sooner the help, the better the results.
Driving from Florida to Virginia, it was evident that winter was almost over. The snow is gone in the sunny south and Spring is just around the corner. The tiny buds on the trees make a sea of different shades of green. Driving up the Blue Ridge mountains, just over the North Carolina border into Virginia, the trees become less green with the change of altitude. Nevertheless, the trees show their leaves are breathing to be free… bringing into view their glorious shades of color and new growth.
It is hard to imagine that not so many years these mountains were stripped bare by logging. It might be good to remind ourselves that magnificent trees throughout our country were cut with no regards to the multitude of years that it took for them to grow. An example are the redwoods shown below.
The beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of VA and NC
Trees are probably the most resilient of living things. Their life cycles go on and on with some into the hundreds, if not thousands of years, until one day they crash onto the carpets of the forest bed.
They breathe life to everything around them. They bring rain and moisture to the earth. Birds love them as do the tiny creatures that make them their homes.
In fact, people love them so much, they build homes in them.
Trees provide shade, a place to rest and food.
Further up the mountain, the dogwoods are starting to fan out their pink or white crosses of Easter, which we know is to be a continual spiritual season.
Under the trees are wildflowers blooming along the roadsides. God’s beauty is certainly upon the earth. Take time today to have a good long look at the trees around you.
Your life will be calmer and happier than it was before you looked.