May the Blessings of 2009

Be yours in abundance! It's hard to believe that we are at the very end of 2008--seems like just yesterday we were all fearing "Y2K" and everything on the planet coming to a "stand still."

Of course, that didn't happen...and we are all very grateful--at least I am.

Tomorrow we embark upon a New Year....with the challenges, tasks, appointments, and blessings this New Year will bring.

I promise to "blog" more in 2009.

Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas from my Alma Mater

Lee University is one of the finest Christian universities anywhere in the world.!

And their music is the best! Take a listen..

And have a Happy Holiday season!

Here's some humor...

A sixteen year-old boy came home with a new Chevrolet Avalanche and his parents began to yell and scream, 'Where did you get that truck???!!!'

He calmly told them, 'I bought it today.'

'With what money?' demanded his parents. They knew what a Chevrolet Avalanche cost.

'Well,' said the boy, 'this one cost me just fifteen dollars.'

So the parents began to yell even louder. 'Who would sell a truck like that for fifteen dollars?' they said. 'It was the lady up the street,' said the boy. I don't know her name - they just moved in. She saw me ride past on my bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a Chevrolet Avalanche for fifteen dollars.'

'Oh my Goodness!,' moaned the mother, 'she must be a child abuser. Who knows what she will do next? John, you go right up there and see what's going on.'

So the boy's father walked up the street to the house where the lady lived and found her out in the yard calmly planting petunias! He introduced himself as the father of the boy to whom she had sold a new Chevrolet Avalanche for fifteen dollars and demanded to know why she did it. '

"Well,' she said, 'this morning I got a phone call from my husband.. (I thought he was on a business trip, but learned from a friend he had ran off to Hawaii with his mistress and really doesn't intend to come back). He claimed he was stranded and needed cash, and asked me to sell his new Chevrolet Avalanche for whatever she could get for it and send him the money."

"So I did."

Happy 26th Anniversary to Chris and Andrea Fabry

Even though I've never met them, I feel as though Chris and Andrea Fabry are long-term friends of mine. They will be celebrating 52 years of marriage tomorrow---26 years for Andrea and 26 years for Chris!

Nine children later, this couple is still actively serving Christ, and loving people in His name.

I first became acquainted with them through the ministry of Moody Broadcasting Network, when I was a student at Lee College (now University) in Cleveland, Tn. We received the Moody programs over WMBW-FM in nearby Chattanooga. WMBW is still my very favorite Christian radio station....

Now, I try to listen to "Chris Fabry LIVE!" every day at 2 p.m. Central Time. I also listen to them, along with Dr Gary Chapman, every Saturday evening on "Building Relationships" on the Moody Broadcasting Network.

I feel like I know these two...and nope, we have never met.

Maybe, someday we will.

Anyway, Happy Anniversary to the Fabrys.

It's snowing here...

And we are supposed to get between 6 and 8 inches of snowfall today, before it "slacks off."

It's been more than a week since I've "blogged"...but I've had so much going on here in my life.

Last weekend is now a "blur" for me, simply because of the FURY of activities in which I involved myself:

An "Evening in Bologna" Christmas celebration in Wheaton for my friends, The Brucatos
Supervising/Coordinating the Men volunteers for the Women's Ministries Christmas Luncheon at the Moody Church;

Preparing a homemade meal for 35 volunteers at the Church for Sunday afternoon;

Participating in the International Friends luncheon
Assisting some friends in preparing for their Reception of 100+ people at the church;

Making sure the caterer delivered the ordered food for the 200 people involved in the Christmas Festival this past Sunday evening.

I'm tired...but God helped me through it all.

"Righting the Wrong" for General Eric Shinseki

As President-Elect, Barack Obama has made another stellar choice for his Administration, and for the American people.

In a rare Sunday press conference, Obama named retired Army Chief of Staff, General Eric Shinseki to be the new Secretary of Veterans' Affairs. This is a brilliant move on the new President-Elect's part. No one knows the anguish and heartache better associated with the current military forces than retired General Shinseki.

Shinseki rose to famous when he was basically dismissed by the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld regime back in late 2002/early 2003 for telling the truth to the Senate of the United States concerning the numbers of troops that would be needed to stabilize a soon-to-be wartorn Iraq. He very accurately stated that 'several hundred thousand' troops would be needed...

In less than a blink of an eye, the Rumsfeld machine made sure that General Shinseki--the Army Chief of Staff, was forced to retire. He told the absolute truth to the Congress and the American people--and the watching world--and was summarily punished for doing so.

History and unforgiveable tragedy has proven that Shinseki was "spot-on" with his information. The failed Rumsfeld machine could not have been further from the truth, or more dangerous. Now, more than four thousand American lives later (and countless Iraqi lives), we regret, rightfully so, not listening to this brave military man.\

General Shinseki brings great credentials to the table:

First Asian - American Four Star General in the United States Military
Viet Nam Veteran, Injured, losing part of one foot.
Former Chief of Staff, United States Army
Truth Teller.

As a military veteran (with considerably LESS credentials than Eric Shinseki), I am delighted beyond words that Obama has selected this truly great American for this position.

While the Bush Administration was very quick to release a statement saying that the "President's support for veterans has been unprecedented"---I can agree to a point: NO ONE has dismissed and ignored veterans' concerns in modern day more than the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld regime.

No administration, that I can remember anyway, has sent our brave military personnel to war without the proper equipment, and without adequate supplies of the same proper equipment. No one has ever UNDERESTIMATED the cost of war like the outgoing administration has done.

So yes, the Bush administration is right in one point--and one point only--their "ignorance" of the military needs and concerns has been unprecedented.

Hopefully, the incoming Administration will do it's best to "right the wrongs."

This appointment is a very good start.

We have much to be thankful for in these United States

As much as we gripe and whine and moan and complain about all the "stuff" going on around us, we Americans have much for which we can be thankful.

I want to list a few things:

1) Freedom of religion. Any person abiding within the boundaries of the United States has the privilege/right/responsibility to worship as their conscience dictates...or not worship at all.

2) Freedom of speech. This one tends to get people in a lot of hot water....but we are free to speak our minds (and sometimes such "speech" shows how empty our minds may be).

3) Freedom of Assembly. Yep, even the illegal/undocumented folk can congregate in these United States. They can even hold up amateur signs telling how "unfair" and "inhumane" we Americans are to those who were not born here....whether it's true or not....and normally it isn't true at all.

Thank You, President Bush...

Mr President,

It is no secret that I didn't vote for you in either 2000 or 2004. My conscience would not allow me to cast that ONE ballot for you in either election. However, on the first occasion the voice of the Supreme Court declared you should assume the Oval Office, and the second occasion, the majestic voice of democracy declared that you should remain in that office for another four years. Now, you are preparing to return to "private life." I wish you the best.

You come from a fine heritage. Your father, George Herbert Walker Bush, is one of the finest men to ever live in Washington DC. I was privileged to serve in the United States Air Force while your father was the Commander in Chief. I voted for him in 1988, and again in 1992. We all know the results thereof.

Your mother, Barbara Pierce Bush, has been my hero for as long as I can remember. She reminds me of one Clara Elizabeth Hoover (my paternal grandmother) who raised me. As a matter of fact, she is the "spittin' image" of my grandmother! Her quiet strength, great sense of humor, and devotion to family are a tremendous example to this nation in so many ways.

Your wife, Laura, is the epitome of grace and character. It has been wonderful to have a schoolteacher/librarian at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for the last 8 years. She has been the voice of "reason" and "common sense" to a lot of us Americans, when we've most needed her to be just that. She is not only a beautiful woman, but also a great woman.

And while I have disagreed with you on so many issues--tax policy, and your Iraq non-strategy--you have represented your heritage in a good man. You have the reputation of being a fine husband, a loyal and faithful son, and a great father. In the long run , that is all that really matters.

In our Sunday School class, we've been studying the life of King David, verse-by-verse, from 1 and 2 Samuel. We have seen all that has occurred in David's life: from the field where he was tending his father's sheep to the throne of the nation of Israel. David was a great warrior, but a miserable father.

You, Mr President, have been a great father--from all the accounts we have on record. And in the long run, even though I have disagreed with most of your policies, I fully applaud you for the way you have loved your wife, your parents, and your extended family.

That means more than anything else, in my opinon.

President-Elect Obama, I am very impressed already!

Months ago, I said that whomever won the Presidential race should keep Secretary Robert Gates as the Pentagon chief. This very morning President-Elect Barack Obama has announced that Secretary Gates will be asked to stay at the Pentagon.

A simply brilliant move! Brilliant beyond brilliant, in my opinion.

After the six-year disaster of Donald Rumsfeld, I would have been happy with just about anyone. I have been absolutely thrilled with Bob Gates--who has had a royal mess to clean up once he was confirmed.

Senator Hillary Clinton's nomination as the next Secretary of State will guarantee that a well-known face is on the world stage, and that world leaders will have a "tough woman" and a courageous woman representing these United States. While I have disagreed with many of her policies, I have always been impressed with Mrs Clinton's intelligence and abilities.

Another brilliant choice in a key position.

Retired General James Jones, a former Commander in Chief of the NATO Supreme Allied Command is being named as the White House National Security Advisor. His family has served this nation in the military uniform since the late 1930s. He has a long heritage of serving this nation. He is a retired Marine, and will be a terrific national security advisor.

So, yes, I am very impressed with the national security choices of our incoming President.

A Prayer for the "Stressed Out" Christian

I am adapting this from an article I found in the weekly newsletter of Holy Name Cathedral here in Chicago:
Heavenly Father,

Help me remember that the jerk who cut me off in traffic last night is a single mother who worked nine hours that day and is rushing home to cook dinner, help with homework, do the laundry, and spend a few precious moments with her children.

Help me to remember that the pierced, tattooed, disinterested young man who can't make change correctly is a worried 19-year-old college student, balancing his apprehension over final exams with his fear of not getting his student loans for the next school year.

Remind me, Lord, tha the scary looking bum, begging for money in the same spot every day (who really out to get a job) is a slave to addictions that we can only imagine in our worst nightmares.

Help me to remember, Father, that the old couple walking annoyingly slow through the store aisles and blocking our shopping progress are savoring this moment, knowing that, based on the biopsy report she got back last week, this will be the last year that they can go shopping together.

Heavenly Father, remind me each day that, of all the gifts You give us, the greatest gift is love. It is not enough to share that love with those we hold dear. Open my heart, dear Lord, not to just those who are close to me, but to all humanity. Let me be slow to judge, and quick to forgive, show patience, and empathy, and love.