Tag Archives: freedom

Memorial Day – and what it means, no matter where you are

Here in the States, today is Memorial Day. It is, as I have mentioned in previous posts, a day that we set aside specifically to remember all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice; those who have given their lives to secure the freedoms that we, as Americans, enjoy. In peace or in war, in battle or behind the lines, those who gave their lives are remembered and honored, today.

That doesn’t mean, though, that this is something that is particular ONLY to the US of A. No matter where you are, no matter where you may be reading this blog from, stop and think of those who have died to secured those liberties and freedoms you enjoy – and remember their sacrifice for you today. If you’re IN the States, don’t let it just be a day off from work and a day to drink and barbecue.

Remember them – and never forget – today, or any day.

God bless, my friends, and thank you, Father, for such men and women as those we honor today!

“And the children shall lead – ” and this one DID!

Sometimes you come across a story in the news that ISN’T one of gloom, doom, hate and anger; a story like this one. The link here is from Breitbart, but I have verified the story on other news sources as well. This one made my day, and may it make yours as well!

http://www.breitbart.com/video/2017/02/23/seven-year-old-left-line-for-red-sox-autographs-to-ask-army-reserve-for-one/

Young lady, all I can say is WELL DONE.  To her parents, I say, WELL DONE!

To the U.S. Army Reservist, and to ALL of our veterans and active duty personnel, I say – THANK YOU!

What more needs to be said?

God bless today, my friends!

 

Veteran’s Day. May we never forget that truly, “Never has so much been owed by so many to so few.”

At the end of what became known as “The Battle of Britain,” Sir Winston Churchill uttered the following words:
“Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.”

Although he was speaking specifically of those brave men and women who gave their lives as the Battle of Britain raged, I believe that those words apply equally to all those who have given their lives to ensure the liberties and freedoms that we enjoy here in the United States.

May we never forget their sacrifices, hardships, and what they gave and endured so that we could be free – not just today, but EVERY day.

its-the-veteran

God bless you today, my friends – and thank God for our Veterans!

 

We remember.

911_weremember

I can’t say it any better than that. Thank you to a dear friend who posted this image, and I now re-post here.

Never forget, no matter how the MSM or those with their heads in the sand try to cover it up, explain it away or minimize it that there IS an enemy out there – a real one, an evil one, and one that is simply waiting for another chance to strike – an enemy that hates us, and everything we stand for.

To all those who gave their lives, unselfishly, running INTO the buildings as others ran out; to those who died saving the lives of those on the ground by crashing Flight 93, to those who have, since, made sacrifices in an attempt to keep this kind of tragedy from ever happening again, I say a heartfelt and truly grateful “THANK YOU.”

Never forget. Always remember. “Eternal vigilance is the price of freedom.”

God bless you all today.

 

“Thank God that such men lived!”

Today, in the United States, is Memorial Day. For many it is a day of picnics, of friends and family, and a day of rest from the work and toil of everyday life. For many more, however, it is a day in which we remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be free; free to enjoy the freedoms we have in our country, and continue to enjoy.

The title for the post comes from a quote from General George S. Patton, Jr. The General said, “It is foolish and wrong to mourn the men who died. Rather, we should thank God that such men lived.” 

I know that I thank God for those men, those women and in some cases, those children who fought back against tyranny and against evil, laying down their lives to protect the freedom of people they’d never know. I’m with the General, and I thank God for them, today and every day.

Friends, remember something in addition to that. The media exists to push the negative, the sensational, the fearful. From reading the stories we would think that patriotism is dying, and that most of the people in our country hate the USA and all that it stands for.

THAT’S NOT TRUE. The majority still love our country and the principles on which it was founded. This Memorial Day, as we remember those who gave all for our freedoms, let us also remember that we’re not alone. A great many, indeed, I believe, a majority, will be doing it with us.

God bless today, my friends – and never forget!

 

Moral Equivalence just before Memorial Day. How “convenient.”

You know, it takes a lot for me to put a politically themed post on my blog. I tend to avoid them like the plague, namely because like many other subjects, politics can be a highly charged, highly emotional thing. However in this instance, I believe it is warranted.

Memorial Day in the United States is a day in which we remember those who have paid the highest price – the giving of their lives – to secure the freedoms that we enjoy in our country. To many, it’s just another day. To far more, it’s a day to remember, and appreciate what we have, and why we have it. For that reason, if no other, it makes the timing of our current President’s trip to Japan; his “apology tour,” as many are describing it, quite suspect. He made it a point to speak at length about the “horrors” experienced by the people of Hiroshima, and how terrible it was for the nuclear bombs to be used. In his remarks, although he may not have been foolish enough to have said it outright, he equated Allied forces with Axis forces in a statement of moral equivalence.

Strangely enough, he failed to remember a lot of other horrors; horrors done BY Imperial Japan during the course of the war and the unimaginable suffering it inflicted on the people to whom it was done. He also failed to mention the reason why the US ultimately used the bombs on the Japanese empire; the attack on Pearl Harbor, which drew us in, and their government’s refusal to surrender. He also forgot to mention the millions of lives, on BOTH sides, that were estimated to have been saved by their usage.

I guess when it doesn’t “fit the narrative,” it’s not important, but I digress. The article follows:

http://www.breitbart.com/national-security/2016/05/27/war-crimes-imperial-japan-lesson-moral-equivalence-mr-obama/

Whatever you may think of the website in question, its veracity or anything else, please read the linked article and remember that these are not things you’ll hear a lot of, if anything, in our age of apology, revising history, and flat out ignoring what the realities of history. Remember it the next time you see a WW 2 movie in which the only bad guys are Nazis – because, well, the Nazis are safe and no one will be “offended” if you portray them as bad. Above all, remember that moral equivalency, a great many times, is a refuge for the lazy; for those who aren’t able or willing to stand and say, “No. What was done was right and just at the time, given what had gone before. You sowed the wind, and reaped the whirlwind.” It also is lazy in that it isn’t equally applied, all the time. Outage over the usage of atomic bombs, but zero over the 300,000 to 1,000,000 estimated killed in the sustained bombings of Japan prior to their usage. As mentioned before, zero outrage over the atrocities committed against others BY Japan.

See the pattern?

To our current President I’ll say this: must be nice to stand some, what, 70 years after the end of WW 2, in the comfort and security given to you by those who had the courage to do what you, in all probability would never have been able to do, and criticize them in order to make yourself look good, isn’t it?

This is one of the very few times you’ll probably ever “see” me be angry on this blog. I won’t apologize for it, but I do hope I haven’t driven anyone away. Please – feel free to not read the blog posting or article if you feel so inclined.

God bless today, my friends, and let’s all remember those who died so that we may be free.

 

An encouragement that “You are enough!” courtesy of The Minimalists

Today did not start off well. I was already stressed from an outside situation, and began a conversation with my wife that in reality, should never have taken place at that particular time.

Yeah – stop laughing, any of you out there who are married and have done the same thing with YOUR spouse. You know where this is going. 

Predictably, it didn’t go well, and resulted in (a) my being even more stressed and (b) a sincere apology from me to my wife for being a knucklehead. (Or, as I said to her, “I knew better but did it anyway. You couldn’t have said anything right then that wouldn’t have sounded wrong to me.” Hey, it happens. I have feet of clay, you know? Have I mentioned how much I appreciate the fact that my wife doesn’t take a blunt object to me, sometimes? 😉 ) However, after she left for work, I sat and ran over it in my mind with an attitude of “What went wrong?” and I realized that an old enemy had sneaked back into the picture – one that I thought I had vanquished and sent screaming off, wailing on his way to rotting Hell long ago – Mr. “Let Me Explain!”  (cue dramatic music) 

…well, that sounded bloodthirsty, didn’t it? I’ve been reading the original Conan the Barbarian novels, and I think it rubbed off a bit. I digress.

The conversation had gone downhill because, to me, she had not “understood” where I was coming from and so I began to try and explain. The more I tried to explain, the more muddled it got. The more muddled it got, the more frustrated I got, and the harder I tried. The vicious circle came around and bit me square on the backside, and HARD.

It was then that I ran across this post, dealing with that very subject, which I now link here: http://www.theminimalists.com/explain/ What grabbed me, in particular, in that post were these two ideas:

1.The people who require an explanation probably won’t understand you, anyway. You can’t control what they think. (Emphasis mine)

2. The people who are close to you, important to you and understand you don’t need an explanation because they already get you – because you are enough.

It ended with a very freeing statement – “If you want to explain yourself, go ahead. It’s ok to do so. Just don’t feel obligated to. You don’t have to waste your time.”

Strangely enough, the more I looked into the subject, the more I found those same ideas expressed, time and time again. It hit home with me, mainly because I had dealt with this in the past, and then had gotten lazy and started doing it again. Friends, none of us, unless we are in a court of law, MUST give an explanation for our actions. (Though I would offer this caveat – if you’re dealing with your spouse, a law enforcement officer or your boss and they have a legitimate reason for asking, I’d do it. I’m not advocating arrogance, here.) The fact that someone doesn’t understand you, or what you do, or why you do it does not obligate you to MAKE them understand, or even try, for in fact you cannot do so. It goes back to not being able to control what others think. If they understand, then fine. If they don’t, then fine. Each of us is different. We are all on different journeys in life and, as such, there will always be things that we truly cannot understand about others, nor can they about us.

AND THAT’S ALL RIGHT. 

The Boot of Truth? You are not obligated to explain things to others, nor to make them understand. Be who you are. If you, like me, realize that you have a need/desire/want to always explain, always try and make sure others understand – take heart in the fact that you don’t have to, and let this be the first step. Do the research, do the checking, and free yourself. It may be painful, and you may lose people who aren’t willing to accept you as someone who sets a boundary and says, “No, I’m sorry but I can’t make you understand,” but in the end it will be worth it.

YOU are enough! 

God bless today, my friends!

 

 

Knowing when to say “Enough” – and why that doesn’t make you a bad person

I saw the quote that was used for the image on this post and thought it would make a good follow up to my blog post regarding the difference between “nice” and “kind,” mainly because I suspect so many people have fallen prey to the lie (and it is a lie) that drawing a boundary, saying “Enough” or even altering or ending a friendship is somehow an unkind or evil thing to do. I’m here to tell you that not only is that NOT the case, but in some cases, it can actually be the most healthy thing you can do.

The quote, in case it’s hard to read, can also be seen here.

I believe that the quotation speaks for itself clearly and well enough that I don’t need to give a whole dissertation explaining it. I will, however, say this. I have, only recently, begun to realize that all friendships are not the same. I know that for a lot of you that’s a no brainer but it hasn’t been for me. Falling on the autistic spectrum, I have had a linear way of seeing things; i.e., “Friends are friends. Friends do this, they don’t do this.” However, I have come to realize that there are friendships and people who are valuable and worthwhile, and there are “friendships” and people who are not. (**Note – I am not saying that the people themselves are not worthwhile, rather that the relationship with them is not, or traits of their personality make them not a worthwhile person with whom to pursue a friendship) 

The ones that are worthwhile are mutually beneficial in that they uplift and encourage, and they are a two-way street. Most importantly, they are either completely or relatively “drama-free.” They are the kinds of friendships that I know that when I speak to the person, as they do with me, that an honest answer to an honest question will be given, and that even if it hurts, a hard truth will be given rather than a soft, “nice” lie.

Those are the kinds of friendships to hang on to, because they will in all likelihood be very few and far between. (Remember – in terms of true friends, it’s QUALITY, not QUANTITY. Facebook can go pound sand with their ‘you’re my friend because you’re on my list’ nonsense)

Conversely, the other “friendships” do not possess those qualities. They are one way streets, generally only active when the person wants/needs something from you or you’re doing something they want to do. They can be toxic and demanding, in which one day you’re friends and the next day you’re not, or it’s a constant up and down of trying to figure out what to do to keep the person ‘happy’ so you stay ‘friends.’ In most cases, they are very superficial and less than honest, existing only to stroke the ego of one or both parties but dissolving as soon as either a better ego stroke is found, or one person in the relationship actually has the moxy to tell the truth and the other doesn’t want to hear it. (That happened in my case when a girl I grew up with, cared deeply for, and who had professed what a great friend I was and how much she loved and cared about me suddenly broke off all contact with me after I was honest enough to call her on a number of lies she had told me. She, unfortunately, died having never spoken to me again.) 

These are the kinds of friendships that I believe are so eloquently spoken of in the last stanza of the reading in which the author speaks of not getting mad, not being spiteful but instead, being smart and changing the person’s role in their life – because when they’re done, there’s no looking back. Sometimes, some relationships need to change. Distance needs to be added. People need to not be an integral part of your life. In some cases, they need to end, and you need to go on. There’s nothing evil, or morally wrong about that. It’s part of life. Don’t let people guilt trip you into staying in a friendship that is all about them, and nothing about you, or one in which they take whatever liberties they want with you whenever they choose, and then go on as though nothing happened.

You’re better than that. You have more self-worth than that. Life is too short.

Learn to say “Enough!”

God bless today, my friends.

 

“Nice” vs. “Kind” –

Did you know that there is a difference between nice and kind? I know, it may be difficult to believe, given that our society (and society in general) uses those terms interchangeably, but trust me when I say that there is not only a difference, but there is a large one. Discovering that has not only been a tremendous source of encouragement to me, but it also has served to free me from burdens that, in some cases, I didn’t even know I was carrying. I pray that to whatever degree, this post may do the same for whomever reads it.

I have, as of late, been blessed with the opportunity to be a listening ear/mentor/source of input for two friends of mine who are recently married. They have had their share of headaches right out of the gate (as all married couples do, I am sure) and I am thankful and honored that they value my input to whatever degree, and have allowed me to step into their lives as they begin their journey together.

During one of our conversations I relayed a point to them that my sister, a counselor in Pennsylvania, made to me; namely that there is a difference between being “nice” and being “kind.” She said it this way: “Nice is a social construct. Kindness is not.” It was after that conversation that I began to research and read on the subject, and came across an article done by one Marcia Sirota, a psychiatrist who is a columnist for the Huffington Post. If you like, you can read her article (found here) but I will touch on the pertinent points in the blog. The main differences, it is pointed out, come in the motivation and mental state of the two actions. The comparison goes like this:

Nice People

Sound familiar? God knows it did to ME. I can remember many years of my life in which I spent time being “nice” to people and could tick off almost every one of those (except being careful not to offend anyone – offending people I did with glee and relish, let me tell you!) and yet never would have admitted to myself, let alone to anyone else, that I had anything but the most altruistic motives in mind. It wasn’t until many years later that I realized that although I may indeed have been a “nice” person, I surely wasn’t a “kind” person, many times.

It also makes the saying “Nice guys finish last” ring quite true, unfortunately. With that kind of outlook, you will definitely finish last, eventually.

Now let’s look at kind people.

Kind people

Wow! What a contrast, eh? When you look at the two, it really begins to show that they are nothing alike – and even more obvious is why one of them, being “nice,” would be more highly praised and favored over being “kind,” particularly in our society. I mean, really – how DARE anyone set limits or boundaries? Decide who “deserves” help and who doesn’t? (This one is especially onerous in Christian circles, where so many believe that there’s a verse that says “And Jesus said ‘Thou shalt give to anyone who sticks a hand out, because I told you to.” Never mind that there’s nothing like that in Scripture – but I digress) Take responsibility for your OWN self-care? That’s practically blasphemy today. Not care whether others like or approve of your caring for others and your compassion? I mean, this is HERESY! You MUST have the approval of others or you are NOTHING!

Right?

Yeah.  Moving on.

Ok, so why post this? What’s the point? The point is this – being nice is a trap. It’s a burden, and it’s ultimately self-defeating because until you are truly happy with yourself, you never will do enough, give enough or be approved of enough by others to make you happy. It leads to anger, frustration, and in my case, a lot of bad choices and broken friendships when I finally decided I’d “had enough” and started to do my own thing. As a friend of mine so eloquently put it, “Oh, ‘Jeremy the doormat’ isn’t here any more?” No, he wasn’t – and when he wasn’t, he wasn’t with a VENGEANCE. I was one VERY angry man, and it showed. It took a lot of hurt and eventually counseling to help me deal with it, and I’m grateful the opportunity was there to do so. I wish I could say that I have arrived, and that I am totally “kind” now, and never deal with any of the things under the “nice” category, but I’d be lying. I’m still VERY human, and that’s not the point, anyway. The point is this – what drives you, ultimately? At the end of the day, although you’d LIKE the approval of others for what you do, can you live without it, knowing you’ve still done what was good and right? Can you care for others even if no one sings your praises or pats you on the back? Can you understand that not everyone is going to like you, and what’s even more important, that when that happens, it does not always indicate a failure on YOUR part? Can you care for others and express it, unafraid, even if some may snicker or even object, so long as your expression is appropriately done? – and what’s more, realize that the problem isn’t yours; it’s theirs?

If you can, you may be more kind than nice. If you can’t, then it will be my prayer that by reading this, you may be able to begin to start your own search, your own journey toward shrugging off the burden of being “nice” and entering into the realm of joy that comes from being truly kind.

Believe me when I tell you – IT CAN BE DONE.

God bless today, my friends.

 

 

Hey! I’m back again, with an update – we “CUT THE CORD”

Hello again, all! My apologies for the length of time in between posts, but unfortunately, Life stepped in just when I thought I had things nicely under control and gave me a quick Belgian Takedown (look up the move if you don’t know what it is! It should also look familiar, as it’s the name I used for my blog, right?) just to remind me that I’m NOT all that and a bag of chips, as the saying goes! Graduations, vacations, trips, and assorted other things – including a wedding of some friends this weekend – have been going on, keeping me hopping. However, things have calmed down again and so here I am.

For those who have hung around and are now coming back with the posting of a new blog, THANK YOU! As I have said before, my blog would be nothing without you. I hope you continue to do so, and may even encourage your friends to check it out as well. For those who are new, THANK YOU for deciding to give it a try! Unlike many blogs, you won’t find mundane, everyday things here. I only post when I feel I have something worthwhile to post about. Upon reading the blogs, I pray you feel the same way, too.

And now, without further ado –

This past week, my wife and I sat down and had a long chat. At the end of it, we decided to join the increasing numbers of people who have decided to “cut the cord;” i.e., drop everything from our cable provider with the exception of our internet connection. (Which is convenient, since it would be MUCH harder to post this blog without it!)  We did it for two reasons: (1) We realized that we were, as one person put it, “paying for 40 channels we DIDN’T watch for everyone 1 that we DID) and (2) we were tired not only of the overall quality of what TV is becoming but also TV venues stepping into the political/social arena to push an agenda when really, it’s not their place to do so. (i.e. ESPN commenting on social issues/trying to appear “with it” by giving Bruce Jenner the ESPY and ignoring others more fitting of the spirit of the award, or a yogurt commercial not only using sex to sell yogurt, but featuring lesbians as well – two things which have approximately zip to do with yogurt and everything to do with using a segment of the population in a blatant attempt to try and raise sales)  Also, a great amount of what little TV we do watch we did through streaming, such as Amazon or Netflix, which allows us greater control over what we watch and when. In the end, we saved over $100 a month, and still are able to watch what we want, when we want, without all the nonsense that goes along with having a cable subscription. It was worth it to hear the person on the other end of the phone literally do anything they could to keep us. It sounded like we were taking food away from their children, they sounded so desperate.

Is it for everyone? I would neither say nor advocate that; it’s a personal decision, just as so many things in life are. For us, however, it’s been a great decision, and one we haven’t regretted for a moment. Incidentally, if the day comes that you DO decide to “cut the cord,” let me put in a suggestion to do some research and look into a neat little device called a “Roku.” We did, and we’re glad we did. It allows us to access all of our streaming sources, as well as other channels and such from one source, which is very convenient.

Until next time, God bless my friend!