Hoosier Army Mom’s Weblog

Conservative Views

Time to rest and re-focus.

During a snow storm 3 days ago,  2 young men ages 27 and 28, were killed on the interstate, in a pileup of about 60 vehicles. This got personal for me when I realized, my very best and dearest friend of 30 some years was the aunt of the 27 year old, and I had watched his father grow up (my friend oldest younger brother!) and him as well.  He had grown up and married a wonderful young woman who happened to be the niece of a wonderful friend I had known since high school.  So, the tragedy has reached out and touched my heart in may ways and I am not in much of a mood to post anything.  Life kind of goes in these cycles where one must cling to the lessons in life, figure out what is truly of value and take time to reach within to rest the restless soul and allow it to heal.  Needless to say, I have had way too much going on and will take a break for a few days.

May God comfort Dusty’s family and loved ones with the memory of how terrific he really was, may his children always have the wonderful memory of him and his boundless love for them, and may his memory help give them all the strength for get through this time and move on till the time comes for them all to be together again in the kingdom.  May the smiling, blue-eyed boy turned wonderful father, husband and man,  find his way to heaven and God’s comfort and may he never be forgotton.

angel

February 7, 2009 Posted by | In the News | | Leave a comment

Music and memories…on a TGIF morning

OK, today I am working on the details of life and thought I’d share some music that is fitting with my mood.  My favorite blues/rock musician of all time, who is no longer with us, but lives on through his awesome music, is  Stevie Ray Vaughn.  “Little Sister”  and  “Pride and Joy”.

And who better to bring out the old memories of carefree nights cruising your favorite places and talking about hopes and dreams with your friends than Bob Seger!  “Against the Wind”  and  “Still the Same”.

Enjoy!

January 30, 2009 Posted by | Commentaries | , , | 3 Comments

Native American version of Amazing Grace – In Cherokee

One of my dear friends in Texas, a PGR brother, Navy veteran and Christian with a proud Mexican/American heritage,  knows of my Cherokee heritage and blessed me with this this morning, so I decided to share it here with a few facts.  My blog contributor shares the same heritage (Cherokee) and is going through some diffucult issues right now, so I would like to share this with him, as a departure from my usual devotions;  a unique look at faith and honoring God in America.

Certain facts about those of us who have Cherokee blood:  The Cherokee were monotheistic long before the European’s ever stepped on American soil.  They lived in dwellings built in a cabin style, hunted and farmed and their roles were determined by which of the seven clans they were born into.  The Clan was determined by their mothers clan, rather than their fathers clan.  They had a central form of government, a council house in each community where the leaders of each clan met to determine tribal policy and laws.  They were the only native American tribe to have a written language and published their own newspaper.  As far as I have been able to ascertain in my limited reading, they also were the only monotheistic tribe.

In this video, though the art is beautiful, it mostly reflects the appearance and traditions of the plains indians, but the words are in Cherokee.  It is a peaceful and enjoyable way to start the morning, and I say, Gracias por compartir el amor mi amigo Miguel.

January 27, 2009 Posted by | Commentaries, Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , | 15 Comments

Sunday humor and reflections that are fun

I read this in my email and had to laugh.  It reminded me of the way my father was when I prematurely, at age 11, evolved into full fledged physical womanhood.  My father had a great heart and a legendary sense of humor that unfortunately for many unaware young men at the time, did not extend itself to his “baby girl”.  I laughed myself silly as I read this one.  Thanks Tailgunner, I needed a good laugh and the memories of my youth this morning.  What a rich legacy of memories and joy we have to reflect on when we take the time to do it.

Rules For Dating a soldier’s Daughter

(or Marine’s, Airman’s, or Sailor’s daughter for that matter!)

Rule One:

If you pull into my driveway and honk you’d better be delivering a package, because you’re sure not picking anything up.

Rule Two:

You do not touch my daughter in front of me. You may glance at her, so long as you do not peer at anything below her neck. If you cannot keep your eyes or hands off of my daughter’s body, I will remove them.

Rule Three:

I am aware that it is considered fashionable for boys of your age to wear their trousers so loosely that they appear to be falling off their hips. Please don’t take this as an insult, but you and all of your friends are complete idiots. Still, I want to be fair and open- minded about this issue, so I propose this compromise: You may come to the door with your underwear showing and your pants ten sizes too big, and I will not object. However, In order to ensure that your clothes do not, in fact, come off during the course of your date with my daughter, I will take my electric nail gun and fasten your trousers securely in place to your waist.

Rule Four:

I’m sure you’ve been told that in today’s world, sex without utilizing a “barrier method” of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

Rule Five:

In order for us to get to know each other, we should talk about sports, politics, and other issues of the day. Please do not do this. The only information I require from you is an indication of when you expect to have my daughter safely back at my house, and the only word I need from you on this subject is “early.”

Rule Six:

I have no doubt you are a popular fellow, with many opportunities to date other girls. This is fine with me as long as it is okay with my daughter. Otherwise, once you have gone out with my little girl, you will continue to date no one but her until she is finished with you. If you make her cry, I will make you cry.

Rule Seven:

As you stand in my front hallway, waiting for my daughter to appear, and more than an hour goes by, do not sigh and fidget. If you want to be on time for the movie, you should not be dating. My daughter is putting on her makeup, a process that can take longer than painting the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead of just standing there, why don’t you do something useful, like changing the oil in my car?

Rule Eight:

The following places are not appropriate for a date with my daughter: Places where there are beds, sofas, or anything softer than a wooden stool. Places where there are no parents, policemen, or nuns within eyesight. Places where there is darkness. Places where there is dancing, holding hands, or happiness. Places where the ambient temperature is warm enough to induce my daughter to wear shorts, tank tops, midriff T- shirts, or anything other than overalls, a sweater, and a goose down parka zipped up to her throat. Movies with a strong romantic or sexual theme are to be avoided; movies which features chain saws are okay. Hockey games are okay. Old folks homes are better.

Rule Nine:

Do not lie to me. I may appear to be a potbellied, balding, middle-aged, dimwitted has-been. But on issues relating to my daughter, I am the all-knowing, merciless master of your universe. If I ask you where you are going and with whom, you have one chance to tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. I have a shotgun, a shovel, and five acres behind the house. Do not trifle with me.

Rule Ten:

Be afraid. Be very afraid. It takes very little for me to mistake the sound of your car in the driveway for a chopper coming in over a rice paddy outside of Chu Lai. When my Agent Orange or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) starts acting up, the voices in my head frequently tell me to clean the guns as I wait for you to bring my daughter home. As soon as you pull into the driveway you should exit your car with both hands in plain sight. Speak the perimeter password, announce in a clear voice that you have brought my daughter home safely and early, then return to your car. There is no need for you to come inside. The camouflaged face at the window is mine, and I am not afraid to go to Leavenworth.

January 25, 2009 Posted by | In the News | , , | 3 Comments

From The Higher Calling.org

Daily Reflection and Prayer
by Mark D. Roberts
Laity Lodge Senior Director and Scholar-in-Residence

God Is Thinking of You

READ Psalm 8:1-9

What are people that you should think about them,  mere mortals that you should care for them? [Psalm 8:4]
I can’t read Psalm 8:4 without remembering how it sounds in the older translations: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him?” (KJV).  And I can’t hear the classic translation of this verse without thinking of Emerson Hall at Harvard University. That’s where the philosophy department was located, so,  as a “phil” major,  I spent hundreds of hours in Emerson Hall.  This center of humanistic thinking, where most teachers and students were at best agnostic,  if not atheistic,  had carved into stone on the outside of the building this line from Psalm 8.   Inside it could have been, “What is God that thou are mindful of him?”  Yet, outside, it said in permanent stone: “What is man that Thou art mindful of him.”  (For a photo of this inscription,  check my website.)

Increasingly, our society is filled with people who look upon God with arrogance. Their haughty pride is about as far from the attitude of Psalm 8 as one can get.   Yet for those of us who know God, we are amazed that God thinks of us and cares for us.  More amazing still is the fact that God loves us so much he took our sin upon himself in his Son, so that we might have relationship with God forever. Amazing!

God is thinking of you today because he cares about you.  He has created you like him and has redeemed you so that you might live your life with him and be a partner in his work in this world.

QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION:  Do you ever stop to think that the God of the universe is thinking of you?   How does that make you feel?   What difference might this truth make in your life?

PRAYER: O Lord,  how easily I can take all of this for granted.  Of course you are thinking of me.  I’ve known this pretty much my whole life.  It’s old news. But then I step back for a moment from my presumption.  I think of the fact that the God of the universe cares about me.  Me?  Me!  Astounding!  This may be old news, but it is still good news.
Thank you, awesome God, for thinking of me. Thank you for paying attention to me and for desiring relationship with me.  Thank you for opening up through Christ;  a way for me to know you and live my life with you.  How wonderful you are to me!   Amen.

January 25, 2009 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

We need GOD today – more than ever

Nothing is impossible for you

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

41 Years Ago Today – The Battle of Khe Sanh began

This post is in honor of the Marines, (Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen as well) who fought in, and the many who died, during the part of the Tet Offensive known as the battle of Khe Sanh. Reading about the battle sends shivers of pride through me as our brave Military honored their code and gave their best, in this battle. No one at that time knew that the North Vietnamese had the resources to mount such a huge offensive, so our troops were caught completely by surprise. Those who fought had to rise to a huge challenge and give everything they had to push the enemy back. My compliments to all our Viet Nam veterans who fought this battle, and thanks be to God for all who survived. Please feel free to comment here, and speak your mind and reflect. God Bless the US Military and all our military heros, past, present and future. Thanks and Welcome Home to all.

marines-at-khe-sanh Links to the detailed story and sites dedicated to telling the facts about this battle, challenges, memories and the heroism as told by those who were there:

The Battle of Khe Sanh – 1968 by Peter Brush source Vanderbilt University Library

Khe Sanh Veteran’s Homepage

Mahalo Answers info sheet

A quote from the KS Vets HP that caught my attention, as it gives the truth that still applies today:

“Let us understand: North Vietnam cannot defeat or humiliate the United States. Only Americans can do that.”

Richard M. Nixon, television broadcast, 3 Nov. 1969.

Khe Sanh video documentary via YouTube:

Warning: Anyone posting anything disrespectful to any Veteran who comments here will be humiliated or deleted. That’s a promise.

January 22, 2009 Posted by | Commentaries, In the News | , , , | 25 Comments

The Final Victory from God’s Daily Word

Some time ago, when I was feeling down and dealing with many of life’s trials, one of my very best friends sent me this Steve Troxel devotional that lifted my spirit and imprinted in my heart.  Now my friend is travelling a rocky and difficult road, and so I’m “regifting” this wonderful devotion back to him in hopes it keeps the chain of truth and Christ’s love moving forward.  God Blesses us with our Final Victory.

The Final Victory

Today, all over the world, there are people facing situations which threaten to send everything they hold dear crashing to the ground.  It may be the result of bad decisions or circumstances out of their control; but  either way, they awoke in the middle of a whirlwind and cannot determine which direction to turn.  There are many others who awoke tired and discouraged, and don’t even know why.  Today is much the same as any other,  but they are questioning the usefulness of continuing.

I can make this bold prediction about today, not because I have any insight into this particular day or period of history, but because that is the nature of life. We live in an imperfect world filled with imperfect people.  The result is a bunch of imperfect circumstances!  Even when we begin to walk with Jesus we struggle with these imperfections which distract us and steal our joy.

Why begin a message on such a depressing note?  First, we need to understand we’re not alone.  Many more people are struggling than we can possibly imagine.  The need for encouragement is huge and will increase as the time of our Lord’s return draws near.   Next, we need to know how we can live a life of peace and how we can pass this peace to others.

When we place our faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we don’t receive the promise of a trouble free life – we receive the promise of an Eternal Life in the presence of God.  Many of our troubles here on earth will remain.  But an understanding of our eternal promise should encourage us as we shift our focus from life in terms of days and years, to life in terms of eternity;  “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all”  (2 Corinthians 4:17).

Jesus saw these same struggles in His disciples.  He wanted them to live a life of peace and contentment, but He also knew they would face many difficulties.  After a night of teaching His disciples about their relationship with the Father through faith in His Son,  Jesus gave these words of encouragement:

John 16:33
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

Jesus came to conquer sin and death through His sacrifice on the cross: the battle with the true enemy has already been won!  When we come to Him in faith and receive the transforming gift of His Spirit, we ought to keep this life changing truth at the front of ALL our thoughts.  As we climb into the ring day after day – even as we grow weary, lose a few rounds and want to quit – let’s always remember that through our risen Lord we have an eternal hope.  Let’s continue with the peace and assurance that in Christ we have been granted the final victory.

January 21, 2009 Posted by | In the News | , , , | Leave a comment

From the Higher Calling this week – by L. L. Barket

It never ceases to amaze me how little understanding of exactly what faith is about,  is demonstrated by the non-believers who seem to feel so threatened by it, that they have to insult and persecute the believers.   It’s as if they believe the only way to not be labeled hypocrites is to totally remove the part of man’s nature that makes a man or woman human.   Being made a “new creature” does not mean you wake up perfect like Jesus,  you just have the connection, grace and hope.   But also the passion to get closer to God and his will.   I cannot tell you with scientific factoids and certainty why I have faith.   Faith is not based on things found on our worldly plain of existence, but rather on a personal inner experience.   Faith is believing in something you cannot prove with science, but your personal experience tells you it is there.   Jesus never said we would be perfect in our pursuit, only blessed with grace and forgiveness when we fall down or make mistakes in our chosen path to him.   This article written by Mr. Barket makes the point in a very special way, so I am posting it here to help further the understanding.

Just Plane Faith

1.18.09 BY L. L. Barkat

I despise flying. Sorry for the strong word, but it’s true. From the moment I step on a plane, I get this queasy feeling. When the aircraft rushes down the runway and shudders into the sky, I feel faint. The whole time we’re airborne, I feel weightless, but not in a good way. More like I’m being dangled over a pit of tigers—and the air between my toes and their teeth is far too thin for my liking.

Imagine the torture it is for me to fly to my annual business conferences. New York to Chicago is bad. New York to California? Unspeakable. All those hours suspended over the tiger pit. If only I could sleep, I could ignore my fears. But no. I fidget. I snack. I get up and go to the bathroom too many times. It’s all enough to make me want to stay on the ground.

That’s all in a year’s work. But there are days, weeks, even months when my faith also feels like a flight to California. I hurtle down some theological runway, and I’m sure this time I’ll crash. I fuss and fidget and worry that everyone is going to know I really can’t do this faith thing . . . I’ve got insurmountable spiritual problems, too many doubts to qualify as a Christian.

This is one reason I love the Bible so much. I love the honesty of the people who wrote about faith giants who seemed likely to be disqualified. This honesty makes it possible for me to go to Moses and hear him say, with chutzpah, “Enough already, God. You birthed this people. I don’t want to lead them anymore.” Or I can listen to Abraham accuse, “Are you really going to destroy the good people of Sodom and let everyone think you’re just a bully in the sky?” I can get out of the boat with Peter, having trusted Jesus, only to realize that in fact I’m about to drown. I love the Bible for giving me permission to be afraid or angry or doubtful about faith.

I say the Bible gives me permission, because it’s not silent on these matters. Rather it speaks plainly about people who didn’t want to get airborne, were afraid of tigers (both real and hypothetical), didn’t have enough courage to sit in the exit row and open the door in case of emergency. And I see that faith is not the complicated business I sometimes make it out to be. Instead, it simply requires that I take the trip, step in, stay on, listen for instructions.

Fidgeting is allowed.

Find the whole article and The High Calling Website here.

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Commentaries, Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , , | Leave a comment

In memory of Jett Travolta

I would like to express my deepest sympathy and condolences over the loss of John Travolta and Kelly Preston’s oldest child Jett.  I cannot imagine how diffucult it would be to deal with this kind of loss.  May Jett take repose in the arms of angels until his family is together again.  God Bless you and your family during this sad time.

To All Parents
Written By: Edgar A. Guest
(from “All In a Lifetime”–Copyright, 1938)

“I’ll lend you for a little time a child of Mine,” He said,
“For you to love the while he lives and mourn for when he’s dead,
It may be six or seven years, or twenty-two or three,
But will you, till I call him back, take care of him for Me?
He’ll bring his charms to gladden you, and shall his stay be brief
You’ll have his lovely memories as solace for your grief.

“I cannot promise he will stay, since all from earth return,
But there are lessons taught down there I want this child to learn.
I’ve looked the wide world over in my search for teachers true
And from the throngs that crowd life’s lanes I have selected you.
Now will you give him all your love, nor think the labor vain,
Nor hate me when I come to call to take him back again?”

I fancied that I heard them say, “Dear Lord, Thy will be done.”
For all the joy Thy child shall bring, the risk of grief we’ll run.
We’ll shelter him with tenderness, we’ll love him while we may
And for the happiness we’ve known forever grateful stay;
But shall the angels call for him much sooner than we’ve planned,
We’ll brave the bitter grief that comes and try to understand.”

300travolta2010409

January 6, 2009 Posted by | In the News | , | 4 Comments

A Baby’s Hug

I know this has made the rounds a few times, but I think it serves as a reminder to leave judgement to God and defines why the scriptures say we must be “as little children” to enter Heaven.

baby-hug


~ A Baby’s Hug ~

We were the only family with children in the restaurant. I sat Erik in a high chair and noticed everyone was quietly sitting and talking. Suddenly, Erik squealed with glee and said, ‘Hi.’ He pounded his fat baby hands on the high chair tray. His eyes were crinkled in laughter and his mouth was bared in a toothless grin, as he wriggled and giggled with merriment.

Nobody thought the old man was cute. He was obviously drunk. My husband and I were embarrassed.  We ate in silence; all except for Erik, who was running through his repertoire for the admiring skid-row bum, who in turn, reciprocated with his cute comments. 

We finally got through the meal and headed for the door. My husband went to pay the check and told me to meet him in the parking lot. The old man sat poised between me and the door. ‘Lord, just let me out of here before he speaks to me or Erik,’ I prayed. As I drew closer to the man, I turned my back trying to sidestep him and avoid any air he might be breathing. As I did, Erik leaned over my arm, reaching with both arms in a baby’s ‘pick-me-up’ position. Before I could stop him, Erik had propelled himself from my arms to the man.

Suddenly a very old smelly man and a very young baby consummated their love and kinship. Erik in an act of total trust, love, and submission laid his tiny head upon the man’s ragged shoulder. The man’s eyes closed, and I saw tears hover beneath his lashes. His aged hands full of grime, pain, and hard labor, cradled my baby’s bottom and stroked his back. No two beings have ever loved so deeply for so short a time.

I stood awestruck. The old man rocked and cradled Erik in his arms and his eyes opened and set squarely on mine. He said in a firm commanding voice, ‘You take care of this baby. ‘ Somehow I managed, ‘I will,’ from a throat that contained a stone.  He pried Erik from his chest, lovingly and longingly as though he were in pain.  I received my baby, and the man said,  ‘God bless you, ma’am, you’ve given me my Christmas gift.’  I said nothing more than a muttered thanks.

With Erik in my arms, I ran for the car.  My husband was wondering why I was crying and holding  Erik so tightly, and why I was saying, ‘My God, my God, forgive me.’

I had just witnessed Christ’s love shown through the innocence of a tiny child who saw no sin, who made no judgment; a child who saw a soul, and a mother who saw a suit of clothes.  I was a Christian who was blind, holding a child who was not.  I felt it was God asking, ‘Are you willing to share your son for a moment?’; when He shared His for all eternity. How did God feel when he put his baby in our arms 2000 years ago.

The ragged old man, unwittingly, had reminded me, ‘To enter the Kingdom of God , we must become as little children.’

If this has blessed you, please bless others by sharing it. Sometimes, it takes a child to remind us of what is really important. We must always remember who we are, where we came from and, most importantly, how we feel about others. The clothes on your back or the car that you drive or the house that you live in does not define you at all;  it is how you treat your fellow man that identifies who you are.

‘It is better to be liked for the true you, than to be loved for who people think you are…….’

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , | Leave a comment

The 12 Days of Global Warming

hat tip to Hot Air, Jawa Report , and Dan Cleary

December 28, 2008 Posted by | Amusing Funnies | , , | Leave a comment

God’s Daily Word

Off The Throne

After the birth of Jesus, Magi (wise men) came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the One who has been born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2). When King Herod heard about this he became greatly disturbed. Herod had been appointed King of the Jews by the Roman government; but he was only partially Jewish and not well accepted by the people.

King Herod knew of the Jewish scriptures and how the people were waiting for the Messiah; “The government will be on His shoulders” (Isaiah 9:6).  He heard the words of the prophet which told where the new ruler would be born; “Out of you {Bethlehem} will come for Me one who will be ruler over Israel” (Micah 5:2).  Herod viewed the news of this new ruler as a great threat.  How would this affect his right to be king? Would he lose power? prestige? control? …comfort!?

The potential harm was unbearable so Herod decided to take action.

Matthew 2:16
“He gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under.”

Many people today are not much different than Herod.  Even when we recognize Jesus and clearly see our need, we fear the loss of our ability to direct our own path.  We may not actually take steps to destroy Christ, but the thought of releasing control seems unbearable.  Somehow, we’ve been taught that submission equates to failure. But the reality is that true “success” is only found in Christ, and true comfort is only obtained by being set free from the power of sin and the entanglement of this world.

Jesus was, and always will be, very threatening to those who insist on sitting on a throne.  It’s foolishness to think Jesus will accept the position of Co-King.  Those who attempt to enter a relationship with Jesus while trying to maintain their “right to rule” will never really know Him, and certainly never experience His peace.

Jesus will give Himself to “whoever believes in Him” (John 3:13).  But in return, He asks for our total devotion: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30).  We give Him proper worship – the worship He deserves – only as we submit and exalt Him above all else; “He must become greater, I must become less” (John 3:30).

During this season of celebration, let’s ensure our relationship with Jesus is aligned with God’s plan. He is the rightful Ruler and King – the Savior and Lord! Let’s trust and worship Him with all our heart, and refuse to be threatened by His right to lead.  Let’s decide once and for all to relinquish control and get our pride-filled self off the throne.

Have a Christ Centered Day!

Steve Troxel
God’s Daily Word Ministries

*****************************************************

Verses and Psalms: http://www.gdwm.org/verses

Scripture references: The Holy Bible: New International Version.
Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , | Leave a comment

Donors to the Presidential Inaugural Committee

My friend Bob sent me this link this morning with the following comment:

“You’d think these liberals would rather use all this money for the homeless, hungry, and ailing rather than for a party. But maybe it’s more important to TALK about helping people than actually doing it.”

Donors to the Presidential Inaugural Committee

With so many American citizens facing job loss and the rape of their retirement dreams with the economic issues, Bob’s comment poses a valid question.  Was the liberal agenda to help those who have the least in our society for real?  With all the talk about Hope and Change, what ever happened to setting an example first in the White House?  Just a logical question seeing that these organiztions and benefactors aren’t contributing these excessive dollars to green energy research or charities.  There seems to be a problem with what they claim to be the number one priority and what the agenda truly is.

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, Government, In the News, Politics | , , | 4 Comments

New Years Angel!

angel16

To all my readers and friends:

I hope this New Year’s Angel will watch over and guide you throughout the New Year. May she bless and point you in all the right directions…May God bless your life in the coming year and crown you with success and happiness.

God Bless All Throughout the New Year!

December 27, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries | , , | Leave a comment

A little enjoyment on Christmas Day!

Who doesn’t remember hearing this one as a child?  In fact one Christmas I wore out a 45 on my little record player.  My parents were overjoyed, I’m sure, when it was OVER!  LOL!!!

And for the contempory touch:

Those who know me well… the Johnny Depp photos in the selection did influence my choice!

From Andie’s Isle: “The First Christmas Gift”

December 25, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries | , | 1 Comment

Carnival of Christmas on CatHouse Chat

christmas-stockings

Kat over at CatHouse Chat has put together the 2008 Carnival of Christmas on her blog, and I must say, if you haven’t been there before, it is simply amazing.  She provides the best of the best in Holiday Spirit and Heart from all over the conservative blogsphere, and it is a must read, mull over and enjoy piece.  Kat has managed to put a lot of work and time into finding delightful Christmas posts from all over the blogsphere, so it is worth scooting on over and checking out.  Thanks to Kat for honoring me with the the Pride of place this year along with Gayle at Dragon Lady’s Den.

Pride of place this year goes to Hoosier Army Mom, who reminds us of the men and women in our armed forces. These brave and unselfish citizens volunteered to serve our country in a time of war, and many are far away from home and family. Please remember them in your prayers, and go over to buy them some phone cards at the Online Military Exchange.Our second pride of place entry goes to Gayle, who writes of Christmas Lost and Found. Truly, this is a wonderful post about how God can – and does! – turn mourning into dancing, and works all things together for good to His called. Gayle is a perfect example of this year’s REJOICE! theme!

Thanks to Kat for a wonderful presentation on the theme Rejoice!

To everyone, have a wonderful, safe and memorable Christmas and joyous New Year.

December 25, 2008 Posted by | God / Jesus Christ | , , | Leave a comment

Cutting your teeth in battle – then getting them kicked out at home.

The Wall

Not to long ago, my son asked me a question. It got me thinking about every conversation I ever had with a Viet Nam Veteran over the years, in as much detail as I could remember. He wanted to know why so many of the Viet Nam era vets were so angry and frustrated, so son, I am dedicating this post to you.

My first experience with a Nam vet was my former brother-in-law, and the father of my nieces. He never spoke of any of his experiences, but I instinctively knew they were difficult, as his emotional lockdown in life truly bore the evidence. He mostly talked about his bitter hatred for Jane Fonda and the way the government had ignored the needs of the vets, after they returned home again.

Then at nineteen, when I married my first husband and my first neighbor turned out to be a drafted, Army vet, who spoke some, but only about the better aspects, such as his friendships with others who shared the experience. Dave was a wonderful friend, but over the years I saw him descend into drug and alcohol abuse, the symptoms of what has happened to so many who were never given the help dealing with the mindset and memories of an ugly war.

Dave was a good man, he did his “duty”, did not shirk from it, and he returned to a society that was not only ungrateful, but totally unprecedented in its expression of hatred and loathing for those who served.  I have heard many a veteran talk about returning home to strangers and even people they knew well, and being spit on at airports and being called “baby killers”.

Remembering VietNam

Our government many times left the “wounded vets”, who were physically and mentally scarred, to their own devices to  recover on their own.  The numbers of vets returning that were allowed to “self destruct” is a statistic we will never know exactly and mostly because of all the ways and means that the destruction of their lives occurred.   But I know of two cases where one vet died running his motorcycle into an embankment and it was called an accident, and another who broke his wife’s neck while sleeping (he had a nightmare / flashback) and ended up dying in a prison/ mental hospital, probably from a broken heart and spirit.  Those are the casualties of war that are never reported as such.

One thing I do know is that many of these vets were left alone to deal with the post-traumatic stress disorder, the severe depression, and the ordeal of constantly living with the physical pain from their wounds, without any rehabilitative aide available for their minds and bodies. We were the “mental health and therapy for awareness” generation, and yet, we could not see that these vets were struggling, just to get back into being able to live and work normally?  I think their struggles were infinitely more important than someone coming to grips with their “inner child, dysfunctional upbringing or sexuality”.

And thus, the “Me and I Generation” marched on over the bleeding souls of our vets, in my humble opinion.

VietNam Vet

While spending time with many of these vets, during my time with the PGR, I came to understand that many have found their own healing in making sure our military today knows that they are supported and honored here at home. The largest amount of support organizations for troops today have come from and been inspired by, our very same socially shamed, Viet Nam Veterans, as well as the family members of those currently serving and families of fallen troops in the War on Terror. The mantra I hear and see acted upon by my honored Nam Vet friends is “Never Again”.

Overall, there has been a great healing brought on by these hero’s of old by seeing to it that no returning vet today will feel what they felt or be treated the way they were treated, just because they answered their country’s call to duty and served selflessly and with honor. To these troops of the past, I salute you and vow to honor you and your service to my dying breath. Thank you all and Welcome Home to every soldier, sailor, marine and airman who ever served this country!

In the coming months, you will probably see a swing in my blog posts. It is all well and fine to debate politics, but for the most part, there are plenty of good reads on the web, done by people who know their facts and present them intelligently, and in some cases, on the extreme level. This is not where my heart is leading me.

VietNam Memorial

One of my dear blog friends, GM Roper has served, is from a military family, and has also been involved with psychiatry and counselling  for most of his adult life.   He has brought to my attention a service organization that is trying to fill in the gaps in mental health care for returning vets, by lining up professional volunteers to help,  by donating one hour a month to veterans returning today, and I want to get involved.

The Wounded Warriors Project, as well as,  other troop support organizations, have long been near and dear to my heart.  The only “Real Change” comes from work and dedication, not from arguing, insulting, and whining about things you are not empowered to alter. I will continue to honor my Savior here as well, since all I do and all that I’m capable of accomplishing in this life, I owe to Him, who gives me the resolve to get it done.

Coming from an environment where service to your country is honored and if one disagrees with a war, the blame is firmly placed where it belongs, with our leaders, not our troops, I’m sure my son had a hard time understanding this part of our history. I hope this post answers that question for him and many who were born after all this happened.

God bless this country and unite us all in peace and freedom always.

December 23, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, God / Jesus Christ, Government, Our Military | , , | 10 Comments

The danger of taking things out of context.

All things being fair, I am going to explain why these people, in accordance with the Bible, are simply wrong.  This is from my perspective and I will go through the story and add my little notes and then comment at the end.  Forgive the color coding, but you are dealing with an ADHD blogger.  It’s the only way I could “disect” the story.  And note this is my humble opinion, and I’m open to other thoughts on the subject.

Woman Says Church Threatening To Make Sins Public

POSTED: Monday, December 15, 2008 – Source:  Jacksonville News

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A divorced Jacksonville woman said her former church has threatened to “go public with her sins” and tell the congregation about her sexual relationship with her new boyfriend.

Let’s look at Matthew 18:12

12″What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off?  13 And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off.  14  In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should be lost.

How happy do you think Jesus would be about a church “persecuting the lamb that wandered off” rather than doing something to help her see the light and return restored?

Rebecca Hancock said harassment from Grace Community Church in Mandarin over her sex life caused her to leave, but she said that didn’t put an end to the problem. She said she received a letter from the church’s elders telling her the church plans to make her personal life very public.  “I’m basically run out.  I’m the church harlot,”  Hancock said.

1 Corinthians 5:11
But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat.

1 Corinthians 7:2
But since there is so much immorality, each man should have his own wife, and each woman her own husband.

Ephesians 5:3
But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these
are improper for God’s holy people.

Hebrews 13:4
Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

These scriptures, and there are many more, refer to what Christ taught about how Christians are supposed to behave sexually.  God’s design is that sex should be part of marriage.  If you are having sex, even with someone you love, you are sinning.  Suck it up Rebecca, you are acting as a harlot and not a Christian when you engage in sex with a man who is not your husband.  But, I believe your sin is between you and God.

The 49-year-old said she has been dating a man for a while and she said members of the congregation at Grace Community Church haven’t been happy about the relationship.  “Because I have a boyfriend that I’m involved with … to not be married to that person is a sin,” Hancock said.

She said the issue caused her to leave the church. However, she said the church has not let go of her.  The letter Hancock received from the church states that because she has refused to end her sexual relationship with her boyfriend, “you leave us with no other choice but to carry out the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ” … “In accordance with Matthew 18:17 we intend to ‘tell it to the church.'”

“On January 4, my sins will be told to the church, publicly, with my children sitting in the church and my friends,” Hancock said.  The pastor of Grace Community Church, Dr. T. Scott Christmas, told Channel 4 he had no comment.

Pastors with whom Channel 4 spoke on Monday said announcing a sin to a congregation is not abnormal. They said it’s written in the Bible to punish sinners who continue to sin.  The difference in Hancock’s case is that she has left the church, and the pastors said that’s is usually where punishment ends.

Despite the church’s letter stating its biblical backing, Hancock said she has backed out of the church and they should leave her alone because she is no longer a member.  “I am a Christian, and that will never change.  My relationship with Jesus has to do with me and Jesus, and he knows my heart,”  Hancock said.

Yes Rebecca, he knows your heart, but you are engaging in sin.  You can’t be “Christlike” (Please note, I’m not saying a Christ clone, I am saying Christlike, which is what a Christian should strive for)  and break the fundamental rules of the God.  To Rebecca’s credit, she left the church in question and this is where I have issue with what this Church is doing.

The book of Matthew does have three steps that the church talked about in taking action against a member who is in sin.  Hancock said she is now attending a different church, and said she is planning to send a letter to Grace Community Church to make sure it’s understood that she no longer a member.

This is the passage in question:

A Brother Who Sins Against You

15″If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. 16But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.'[c] 17If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.18″I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be[d]bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be[e] loosed in heaven.19″Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Please note that is says “if a brother sins against you”.  This is important, because it is not saying “if a member of the church sins against God”.  The entire passage is about public sin that hurts the body of Christ (members of the Church).  If she was having sex with a  man in the church who was married to someone else, that would be a public sin that would hurt the entire church once it was known.  Or members that engage in gossip about one another would be committing a public sin.  Those sort of sins are the petty bickering  and immoral behaviors that can destroy a church.  In this passage, Matthew is trying to give Christ’s instruction on how to defuse these situations so healing and forgiveness can take place or the offending sinner can be called out.  When this woman left the church, she is no longer a member, but more importantly, the nature of her sin is between her and God.  What she does in her own home is not a “sin against any person but herself”.  By not following God’s  plan and the laws he has given us through Christ, she drives a wedge between her and God.

The people in this church are taking this passage out of context to justify abusing a lost soul.  If she remained in the church, was participating in active roles and refused to repent and turn away from her sin, they would have the right to call her out on it, but that is not the case.  This is the kind of fundamentalism I have never cared for.  Having been a Christian in a state of sin for many years myself, I know how long it takes sometimes, for a some people to “get it”.  Running them out of the assembly is not the way to enlighten them and help them grow in faith.  This kind of treatment of people, even if they are “weak brothers/sisters”, is not part of the love our Savior exemplified.  We don’t become all knowing or mature in our faith within 24 hours of the commitment to the Lord, it takes time to grow in faith and mistakes sometimes have to be made to bring us where the Lord wants us. This is my personal opinion and I welcome any comment or thoughts on this.  God Bless.

December 20, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, God / Jesus Christ, In the News | , , | 2 Comments

Congratulations Grandpa George!

The world is a better place due to the arrival of Cullen Gabriel Roper.  The much loved first grandchild of our dear friend and fellow blogger, GM Roper of GM’s Place arrived on December 13, 2008 at 9:14 pm in Austin, TX to a packed house!  May your grandson and you have many happy hours teaching each other all kinds of cool stuff.  Congratulations to GM and his entire family on their wonderful little blessing.

cullen-gabriel-roper2

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries | , , | 1 Comment

Blue Star Mothers Ask Hoosiers to Help Support the Troops

bluestar_logo

I recently met a military mom, Denise Young from Kokomo, who handed me her business card. On the back it read, “We military moms share a special bond that can’t be explained. When it happens to one of us, it happens to us all.” After one meeting with Denise and two other chapter presidents of Indiana Blue Star Mothers, I began to understand this bond and the reasons why they need Hoosiers’ help to support our troops.

Blue Star Mothers is a non-profit national organization of mostly mothers whose sons and daughters are serving, or have served, in the military. They provide support to families and mothers, so that their sons and daughters serving in the military can focus on the task at hand. With five chapters in Indiana, they work hard to ensure that our troops and their families receive the support that they deserve by connecting them to other families and mothers going through similar circumstances. We all understand the toll it takes on families when loved ones are absent from their daily lives. It’s a toll that I’m familiar with. I’ve got an Army wife, a Navy officer, an Air Guard Reservist and the girlfriend of a National Guardsman on staff in my office, and they all tell me that the support of their fellow Hoosiers is needed and appreciated.

We have more reasons than ever before to support our Hoosier military mothers and families. I recently attended the largest deployment our state has seen since WWII. 3,400 Indiana National Guardsmen and women were deployed. This brings the total of Hoosiers serving on active duty to 4,515, and no state, including large states like California, is represented more than Indiana.

Blue Star Mothers encourages everyone to care for the troops on active duty by sending letters of encouragement and care packages. They need our help with these letters and packages. Postage to send these items, especially overseas, can be costly, and donations are appreciated. Indiana Blue Star Mothers are also asking for toys for the troops to pass out to Iraqi children, who in return point out improvised explosive devices or IEDs.

Blue Star Mothers also actively support the needs of military families and veterans. Monthly meetings and one-on-one meetings provide a support network for military families. They also visit injured soldiers in hospitals and educate soldiers and their families about the signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Blue Star Mothers assist in veterans programs and connect veterans to needed services or items.

If you are interested in donating or volunteering, or if you have a loved one serving in the military and would like the support of this organization, please visit the Blue Star Mothers Web site at http://bluestarmothers.org/in.php for chapters in Indiana.

Sincerely,

lgov_sig

Naturally, being a Blue Star Mom, I feel compelled to get this message out to my fellow Hoosiers… HoosierArmyMom.

December 17, 2008 Posted by | Our Military | , | Leave a comment

Gates: More brigades to Afghanistan by Summer

 I got a call from my soldier this morning… he didn’t want me to be surprised, but he has been reassigned from being with the XVIII Airborne Corps (his original unit) to being assigned as an auxillary to the 82nd Airborne.  What this means is the chances are pretty high he will be deployed as part of the 20,000 troops.  I asked him long ago about what “parachute riggers” do when on deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan?  Convoy Security… they man the guns on trucks and armored vehicles.  I am as proud of him as I can be, but that is not to say I won’t be sending up some serious prayers along with sending out care packages when and if he deploys.  Time to prepare myself mentally for this one.  And my youngest son is talking Air Force… there really is never any comfort zone for a Mom. 

 

Gen. McKiernan sits in his office at ISAF headquarters in Kabul. "I don't like to use the word 'surge' here because if we put these additional forces in here, it's going to be for the next few years," he said. "It's not a temporary increase of combat strength."

Gen. McKiernan sits in his office at ISAF headquarters in Kabul. "I don't like to use the word 'surge' here because if we put these additional forces in here, it's going to be for the next few years," he said. "It's not a temporary increase of combat strength."

Commander sees ‘tough fight’ in Afghan war

 

By Tom Vanden Brook USATODAY

KABUL — The top commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan said Sunday that 2009 will be a “tough fight” in Afghanistan and the United States will need nearly twice as many troops for up to four years to stabilize the country.

 

In an interview with USA TODAY at the International Security Assistance Force headquarters, Gen. David McKiernan said increasing U.S. troop levels from about 32,000 to 55,000 or 60,000 is “needed until we get to this tipping point where the Afghan army and the Afghan police have both the capacity and capability to provide security for their people.”  “That is at least three or four more years away,” he added.  The Afghan army has 78,000 troops and is building to 134,000.

McKiernan said he has asked the Pentagon for more than 20,000 soldiers, Marines and airmen. He also called on NATO nations to increase their commitment of troops to Afghanistan and to remove restrictions on how and when they can fight. There are about 31,000 troops from other nations in Afghanistan.

 

U.S. troop levels probably will need to remain at elevated levels for “several years at a minimum,” depending on the stability of the Afghan government, the training of its troops, and cooperation from tribal leaders and neighboring Pakistan, according to Andrew Krepinevich, president of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

 

McKiernan said his request for more troops differs from the escalation in Iraq last year. The addition of more than 30,000 troops there, combined with a new strategy, helped improve security.

“I don’t like to use the word ‘surge’ here because if we put these additional forces in here, it’s going to be for the next few years,” he said. “It’s not a temporary increase of combat strength.”

McKiernan declined to say whether he expected next year to be more deadly for U.S. troops. Through October, 129 U.S. servicemembers were killed in Afghanistan this year, compared with 83 combat deaths in all of 2007.

 

He acknowledged the Pentagon’s ability to field more troops depends on reducing its forces in Iraq. There are 148,000 U.S. troops there. “There’s certainly a linkage,” he said. “The availability of the forces that we’ve asked for here — that’s directly connected to force flow in Iraq.”

 

Despite the challenges, McKiernan said he remained optimistic.

 

“I believe that over time, with the support of the international community, Afghan institutions will grow and develop and this insurgency will be contained and defeated,” he said. “I am firmly of the belief that the vast majority of the people in Afghanistan … don’t support the Taliban. They don’t support the other radical insurgent groups.”

December 11, 2008 Posted by | Commentaries, Government, In the News, Our Military | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Post from the heart of a troop on Hello Iraq.

billowing-usa-flag

Every time I read a post on a military blog I feel so much pride that we have such fine young men and women serving our great country, I could burst.  This is an excerpt from a post that was written this month by devildog6771 and I recomend you click this link and read the entire post.  It does America proud!

Our military is not just an instrument of war — Blogpost From: Hello Iraq

Since the early days when the first settlers came to America and founded our great nation, brave men and women have defended our nation from enemies, both foreign and domestic. When enemies attacked the early settlers men and women stood toe to toe, side by side, fighting off the attackers. Later, militias were formed. Though there were no women in the militias as far as I can determine, the women still looked after the home front while their men defended them in battle. They established undergrounds and performed many great deeds of  courage.
From the very inception of our nation, we Americans, a hodge podge nation of European poor, indentured, wealthy, educated, and uneducated, all walks of social and economic life, came to America; and, did what Europe and no single nation previously could, united as a single body of people under one flag, one constitution, and one common ideal, democracy, and
became the great nation we are today.

by devildog6771 from the heart on 11/12/08

A quote from Mohandmas Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others”.

I think that quote best describes what happens when our young people enter the military!

November 30, 2008 Posted by | In the News | Leave a comment

Christmas Thoughts and Ideas…

troopschristmas

Update:  12/22/08  –  Just a reminder, it is not too late to give a gift of love and support for our troops.  Please log on and give a troop in harms way the gift of hearing the voices they love on Christmas Day!  No gift can fill more hearts with joy for just $18!!!

Now that “Black Friday Sales” are happening, I would like to suggest how to put “the spirit of Christ” back into Christmas.

As we all know, with a tough economy it is going to be a rough time this Christmas Season.  So this is my plan.

The AAFES (Online Military Exchange Store) is making it possible to buy phone cards for deployed troops at the PX discount rate and tax free!!!  You can go here and look at all the great things you can do for our troops at the website. www.aafes.org

So, what is my plan?  Every gift I buy will come accompanied with a card telling the recipient that a soldier, sailor, airmen or marine will be recieving $20 worth of gift minutes on their behalf to talk to their loved ones over the holiday season!  My Christmas gift to me will be as many minutes as I can afford and as many prayers as I can offer to families who are waiting for their trooper to come home safe and sound.  What better way to say thank you to our troops and their families who support them.  I think I may well get excited this holiday season.  Thanks to our Dept. of Defense for making the discount, tax free minutes so easy to get over the holiday!

Merry Christmas to our Troops!  yellow_ribbon1

November 28, 2008 Posted by | Government, In the News | , , , , | 15 Comments

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Where Are You

All over the world, people are asking how to strengthen their relationship with God.  Many have wandered from His path and become entangled in the weeds.  We never plan to leave God’s path and become entangled; rather, it seems we simply take a wrong turn and then drift through small steps of compromise.  How does this happen?  And once we’ve drifted, how do we return and guard against drifting once again?

Man first wandered from God’s path in the Garden of Eden.  The devil deceived Eve and caused her to disobey God’s command; Eve ate fruit from the forbidden tree and gave some to her willing husband.  As soon as they ate the fruit, they became aware they were naked and covered themselves with leaves.

Genesis 3:8-9
“Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden.  But the Lord God called to the man, ‘Where are you?'”

The very first sin caused the delusion that it was possible to hide from God.  This delusion continues today!  We sit among the weeds and think God doesn’t notice – that He doesn’t see us in the midst of our sin.  But the all-knowing Creator of the Universe knew exactly where Adam was hiding.  God wasn’t searching through the bushes trying to find His lost creation.  No, God was speaking directly to Adam: “Adam, why are you in this condition?  Do you even know where you are and how far you have drifted?”

Adam’s willful disobedience caused him to tremble as he answered: “I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid” (Genesis 3:10).  Adam was lost.  Somehow, even in their garden paradise, Adam and Eve had wandered in their relationship with God.  The devil had found them alone – not walking with their Father – and began his great deception.  Now, sin had caused shame, fear, and separation.

ALL sin has its beginning in our wandering from the presence of God.  No one “falls” into sin by a momentary slip; rather, sin is the result of a long slow drift away from intimate fellowship with God.  Drifting from His presence causes us to become more susceptible to sin, which continues the cycle of even further separation.  Soon, we have become entangled and completely lose sight of His path.

The way back always begins with a humble and repentant heart.  We must confess we have strayed, admit our straying as sin, and ask for the strength and guidance to return.  God will immediately shine His light, strengthen our steps, and ask us to simply focus on loving Him with all our heart.

Let’s return to the presence of God and be determined to never leave.  Let’s continually examine our life and make sure we’re walking right by His side whenever God asks, “Where are you?”

November 27, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , , | 1 Comment

Diamond Rio – “In God We Still Trust”

The song you are about to listen to is from a Las Vegas  Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate resounding standing  ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it!

Everyone who loves America should be thrilled to hear this song!  Although, Diamond Rio has never before done a statement song,  they felt compelled to record ‘In God We Still Trust.’
But sadly, major radio stations wouldn’t  play it, because it was considered ‘politically incorrect’ …  consequently, the song was never released to the public.

So America , see what you think, and grab the youtube link and share with everyone you know.  It is a beautiful and meaningful song.

November 23, 2008 Posted by | In the News | 14 Comments

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

Highly Valued Mist

In the message “More Than Grasshoppers” we considered the spies who were sent into the promised land to evaluate the enemy.  We saw that without a proper understanding of God and how we fit into His plan, the enemies in our life will always appear as undefeatable giants.This sense of walking among the giants causes many of us to struggle with insecurities, low self esteem, and general feelings of inadequacy.  While it’s true we are called to, “in humility consider others better than ourselves” (Philippians 2:3), we also must walk with a sense of identity, purpose, and worth.  And while it’s true that in the context of eternity we are “a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes” (James 4:14), this seemingly insignificant “mist” is dearly loved by the Creator of the Universe.

Our real sense of identity, purpose and worth, will only be realized as we understand that our value is never attained through the things of this world which all pass away; it only comes from our Heavenly Father who has adopted us as His child and made us an heir of His Kingdom!

Romans 8:15-17
“You received the Spirit of sonship. And by Him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ.”

The eternal inheritance we receive through this adoption makes everything of the world seem extremely insignificant.  We are a child of God!  This is our identity.  While we walk on this earth, we are being “conformed into the likeness of His Son” (Romans 8:29).  This is our purpose.  And in our adoption, we are made “co-heirs with Christ.”  This is our worth!

As this world tries to pull us down, let’s remember our Father owns ALL; “Every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills” (Psalm 50:10).  He owns it all, created it all, and nothing is beyond His reach.  As others try to continually show us our faults and put us down, let’s remember that Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us – one day we will be made perfect and walk down streets of “pure gold, like transparent glass” (Revelation 21:21).

Let’s pull these truths together into a victorious Christian life.  Let’s hold on very loosely to anything of the world which artificially determines our worth and passionately cling to our worth in Christ; “For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18).  Let’s live our life as a “vanishing mist” while remembering we are co-heirs with Jesus in the Kingdom of God – let’s live as an honored, protected, and highly valued mist.

To further understand our value to God, read this wonderful post on Social Sense which states our Source of Strength … from the book of Phillipians , chapter 4

November 22, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , | Leave a comment

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

More Than Grasshoppers

After Moses led the Israelites out of Egyptian slavery, they were guided by God to the edge of Canaan – the land promised to Abraham.  God instructed Moses to send twelve men to explore the land; “See what the land is like and whether the people who live there are strong or weak, few or many” (Numbers 13:18).

The twelve “spies” traveled through the entire length of Canaan and brought back their report.  All twelve traveled the same path, but only Joshua and Caleb saw the land and its inhabitants through the promises of God: “The land we passed through and explored is exceedingly good. If the Lord is pleased with us, He will lead us into that land” (Numbers 14:7-8).  The other ten saw great danger and an enemy who was too big to be defeated.

Numbers 13:31-33
“We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are. The land we explored devours those living in it. All the people we saw there are of great size. We seemed like grasshoppers in our own eyes, and we looked the same to them.”

The promised land was truly a land flowing with milk and honey, but it was also a land with many enemies.  Joshua and Caleb saw the same enemy as the other ten spies, but they had a much clearer view and understanding of God.  They knew if God was on their side, the size and strength of the enemy didn’t matter – God would provide the victory.

We often face the same fear as the other ten.  God wants us to enter into His promised land, take possession, and reside there for the rest of our days; but there are often enemies which fill us with fear and make us feel small and insignificant.  Enemies may come in the form of addictions, choices of entertainment, finances, or worldly priorities.  We may even face more tangible enemies who threaten to cause us physical or emotional pain.  All these enemies keep us out of the promised land, all appear to be undefeatable giants.  But with God on our side, ALL can be overcome!

Without a clear understanding of who we are in Christ, every enemy appears to tower over us; “apart from Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). Apart from Him we ARE but grasshoppers.  But when we place our trust in God and allow Him to work through us, our posture before the enemy is greatly strengthened; “In all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).

God’s land of promise – the contentment of His presence – is waiting for us to enter in and take possession.  God did not create us to be fearful insects, but an image of the Most High!  Let’s know the One who gives us strength and victory in battle.  Let’s better understand that when God leads, we are much more than grasshoppers!

November 19, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | , , | Leave a comment

Thank you Veteran’s and Active Duty Military!

vetsday Thank you all who have served and all who are serving our country.  May God always bless each and every one of you for your selfless service and sacrifice and bless your families and loved ones for supporting your service.  You are all Great Americans and I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Thank you American Military and Veterans!!!

November 11, 2008 Posted by | Government, In the News | , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

John 11:11-16 – Lesson #113

[Note: This is the verse by verse devotional series on the gospel of John.  My original plan was to send out a new message in this series every Friday – but I’ve not been very consistent with this plan.  All the previous lessons in this series are located on our web site.]

One of the mistakes I believe we are making in the church today is our rush to focus Christianity on the cross.  Now please understand what I mean.  The cross is absolutely essential – without the cross there is no forgiveness of sin, no Christianity.  But isn’t it also true that Christianity is something more.  Didn’t Jesus live among us as well as die for us?  And in His living didn’t He teach us truths and show us how to live and mature in our faith?

The disciples walked with Jesus hour after hour and day after day.  Jesus could have focused all His teaching on His future sacrifice for sin, but He didn’t.  Sure, He often demonstrated He was the Son of God; and He made sure His claims were clear;  “I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish” (John 10:28). But His technique for discipleship usually required wrestling with issues of trust and prioritized values.  It seems there are steps of maturity which can only be taken as they are lived out through various struggles.

Jesus received word that Lazarus was sick but then waited two days before saying He would return to Judea.  The disciples were content to wait because the Jews in Judea had already tried to kill Jesus – safety and comfort are good, aren’t they?  But Jesus taught that true safety is only found by walking in His light (John 11:9-10).

John 11:11-16
“These things He said, and after that He said to them, ‘Our friend Lazarus sleeps, but I go that I may wake him up.’ Then His disciples said, ‘Lord, if he sleeps he will get well.’ However, Jesus spoke of his death, but they thought that He was speaking about taking rest in sleep. Then Jesus said to them plainly, ‘Lazarus is dead. And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, that you may believe. Nevertheless let us go to him.’ Then Thomas, who is called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, ‘Let us also go, that we may die with Him.'”


Jesus waited for Lazarus to die and then was glad He had not been with Lazarus to stop his death. Why?  Because Jesus was committed to the long and painful process of discipleship.  The disciples already believed, but they needed the deepening belief of a maturing faith.  The disciples were learning lessons on facing their fears, trusting God’s timing, and the glory of His power.  And these lessons could not be learned from a sermon.

The disciples had no idea what Jesus had planned.  But when Thomas realized that Jesus was resolved to go to Lazarus in spite of the danger, he too resolved to follow…even unto death.  This seems to be the method by which Jesus led His disciples.  Over a period of several years they were allowed to struggle with what it really meant to follow, what it really meant to believe.

Today, the plan of discipleship is much the same.  We are often led down paths we do not understand.  We ask questions and receive confusing answers.  We wrestle and become weary.  And still He calls, “Let’s go!”  And I suppose that’s the point.  We just don’t need all the answers.  We are simply called to follow and live out the life we have been given in Christ.  This is a life which loves God and reaches out to others at every opportunity.  Let’s learn to trust Him with all our heart and follow intimately close every hour of every day to the very end.

November 9, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | | Leave a comment

Happy 234th birthday USMC on Tuesday Nov. 10th

This is last years post, but it had some good information about the Marines and I thought I’d stick it at the top and wish the United States Marine Corps a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TODAY!!!!!  YOU ROCK!!!!!

few-proudiwojima

BRIEF: Marine Corps Plans Birthday Celebrations
Source: Journal-World
Publication date: 2008-11-06

By Journal-World, Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 6–Lawrence area Marines and former Marines will gather on Monday to celebrate their corps’ 233rd birthday.

The annual Marine Corps birthday party will start at 10:30 a.m. in Kansas University’s Dole Institute of Politics. Those attending will see a video recording of a speech by Marine Commandant Gen. James T. Conway.

The guest speaker attending the event will be retired Maj. Gen. David A. Richwine, a 1965 KU graduate.

He is a Vietnam veteran who went on to hold a variety of positions and commands throughout his career.

When he retired, he was serving at Marine headquarters in Washington, D.C., as first chief information officer, the assistant chief of staff, command, control, communications, computer and intelligence and the director of intelligence.

The Lawrence High School a capella choir also will perform at the party.

Happy Birthday Marines!

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Happy Birthday to the Marine Corps
Source: Greensboro News Record
Publication date: 2008-11-09
Arrival time: 2008-11-10

By HARRY THEFORD

Marines gather around the world to commemorate their 233rd birthday on Nov. 10 by “calling to mind the glories of a long and illustrious history.”

The Marine Corps Commandant’s birthday message will unnecessarily remind some Marines that they “have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and every corner of the seven seas.” “Marine has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue,” Marines 13th Commandant, Gen. John Archer Lejeune, said in 1921.

Older Marines will appreciate that recognition, younger Marines will accept the challenge to carry on. And just before the oldest Marine and youngest Marine are issued the first pieces of birthday cake, the commandant reminds them by paraphrase, “So long as this esprit de corps’ flourishes, Marines will be found equal to every emergency — as they have in the past.”

The namesake of the North Carolina Camp, Maj. Gen. John A. Lejeune, was often said to be “the greatest of all leathernecks.” He was Marine Corps Commandant from 1920 through 1929. Camp Lejeune, comprising 156,000 acres along the Atlantic Ocean, is the largest Marine base in the world.

Lejeune was born in Pointe Coupee Parish, La., on the Mississippi River. He received a bachelor’s degree from Louisiana State University and graduated from the Naval Academy. He chose to accept his commission as a Marine second lieutenant and began a 40-year career.

Interestingly, Pointe Coupee’s French-Creole plantation area was first scouted by a party of explorers sailing from Brest, France, in 1698. Keep that point in mind. Lejeune served in the Spanish-American War and in skirmishes in Panama, Philippine Islands, Cuba and Vera Cruz. In 1918, Brig. Gen. Lejeune sailed for Brest, France, completing the cycle begun when his French-Canadian explorer antecedents sailed from Brest in 1698 to explore Pointe Coupee, La. The French were probably happier to have America’s help in World War I than the Pointe Coupee folks were to see French explorers coming up the Mississippi River.

U.S. Army Gen. Pershing wasn’t all that happy, however, and first relegated Lejeune and his Marines to less than front-line duties. But Lejeune was quickly promoted to major general in July 1918 and took over the U.S. Army Second Division, the first Marine to command an Army Division. In 1919, Gen. Lejeune marched his men into Germany and became Marine Corps Commandant the following year.

Not surprisingly, Lejeune chose Nov. 10 as his Marine Corps retirement date in 1929, at which time he became superintendent of Virginia Military Academy. In retirement, he was advanced to lieutenant general in February 1942 but died in November of that same year.

Not only did Lejeune inspire Marines over the ages, he must have influenced his family as well. Buried with him in Arlington National Cemetery are a grandson, Col. James Blair Glennon, USMC, and a daughter, Maj. Eugenia P. Lejeune USMCR. Ellie Murdaugh Lejeune must have had quite a career herself as a Marine spouse, mother and grandmother. She died on the Marine Corps Birthday in 1953 and is interred at Arlington as well.

Now, for the rest of the story.

Lejeune founded the Marine Corps League in 1923, and the League’s National Convention has never been in North Carolina. That will change Aug. 8-14, 2010, at the Koury Convention Center in Greensboro. Would you venture a guess as to whose memory and service we will offer tribute? Great guess. Lt. Gen. John Archer Lejeune, “the greatest of all leathernecks.”

Who would have thought he would have been so big on birthdays?

By order of the commandant: Happy birthday, Marines!!!

November 6, 2008 Posted by | In the News | , , | 3 Comments

In Memory of one of the Few and the Proud…Semper Fi!

few-proud

usmc colorsgratefulnation

I cannot let the passing of this brave, selfless American hero go without offering my Condolences and Gratitude to his family and loved ones and expressing the debt of Gratitude owed to him by the Nation and Corps of men he selflessly served.  Heaven today is joyously recieving another fine, proud Marine and great citizen of our country.  Rest in Peace Retired Marine Col. John Ripley, your duty is done and it is time for your rich reward in heaven.  Thank God for men such as this one.  Thank you!

Vietnam War Hero Dies at Home at 69

Source: Virginian – Pilot
Publication date: 2008-11-04

The Associated Press
ANNAPOLIS, Md.

Retired Marine Col. John Ripley, who was credited with stopping a column of North Vietnamese tanks by blowing up a pair of bridges during the 1972 Easter Offensive of the Vietnam War, died at home at age 69, friends and relatives said Sunday.

Ripley’s son Stephen Ripley said his father was found at his Annapolis home Saturday after missing a speaking engagement on Friday. The son said the cause of death had not been determined but it appeared his father died in his sleep.

In a videotaped interview with the U.S. Naval Institute for its Americans at War program, Ripley said he and about 600 South Vietnamese were ordered to “hold and die” against 20,000 North Vietnamese soldiers with about 200 tanks.

“I’ll never forget that order, ‘hold and die,’

” Ripley said. The only way to stop the enormous force with their tiny force was to destroy the bridge, he said. “The idea that I would be able to even finish the job before the enemy got me was ludicrous,” Ripley said. “When you know you’re not going to make it, a wonderful thing happens: You stop being cluttered by the feeling that you’re going to save your butt.”

Ripley crawled under the bridge under heavy gunfire, rigging 500 pounds of explosives
that brought the twin spans down, said John Grider Miller, a former Marine adviser in
Vietnam and the author of “The Bridge at Dong Ha ,” which details the battle.

Miller said the North Vietnamese advance was slowed considerably by Ripley.  “A lot of people think South Vietnam would have gone under in ’72 had he not stopped them,”  Miller said.

Ray Madonna, president of the U.S. Naval Academy’s 1962 graduating class, served in Vietnam as a Marine at the same time and said his classmate saved countless U.S. and  South Vietnamese troops.

“They would have been wrecked” if the tanks had crossed, Madonna said. He said Ripley also coordinated naval gunfire that stopped the tanks from crossing at a shallower point downstream.

“He was a Marine’s Marine, respected, highly respected by enlisted men, by his peers and by his seniors,” Madonna said.

Miller said Ripley, who was born in Radford, Va., descended from a long line of veterans going back to the Revolutionary War.  He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1962, after enlisting in the Marines out of high school and spending a year in naval school in Newport, R.I.

He earned the “Quad Body” distinction for making it through four of the toughest military training programs in the world: the Army Rangers, Marine reconnaissance, Army Airborne and Britain’s Royal Marines, Miller said. He was also the only Marine to be inducted in the U.S. Army Ranger Hall of Fame. Ripley earned the Navy Cross and Silver Star for his service in Vietnam. He later served on the Joint Chiefs of Staff and was regimental commander at Camp Lejeune, N.C., among other postings.

After retiring from the Marines, he was president and chancellor of Southern Virginia College in Lexington. Stephen Ripley said his father had a deep and tenacious love for his country, the Marine Corps and his family. “My Dad never quit anything and never went halfway on anything in his life,” he said. “He just was a full-throttle kind of person and those people that he cared about, he really cared about.”

Ripley is survived by his wife, Moline B. Ripley ; sons Stephen,Thomas and John; a daughter, Mary Ripley ; and eight grandchildren. Funeral arrangements were pending.

Update: Nov. 17,2008

EDITORIAL: John Ripley
Source: Richmond Times-Dispatch
Publication date: 2008-11-17

By Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.
Nov. 17–A child of Radford, John Ripley enlisted in the Marines after high school and attended the Naval Academy. He graduated in 1962, was commissioned a second lieutenant, and in 1965 went to Vietnam. His career forms the stuff of legend.

If the nation had not grown anemic, he would have been as well known as the heroes of ancient wars. Ripley never sought fame — he scorned mere celebrity — so the condition did not bother him. A roll-call of his medals suggests the nobility of his person. Navy Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit (twice), Bronze Star (twice), Purple Heart. We could continue. Modesty defined the man.

During the Easter season of 1972 the Vietnamese communists descended in full force upon the South. Village after village fell as troops pressed ever on. Saigon itself seemed under threat. Capt. Ripley and his unit, which included about 600 South Vietnamese, received an order to halt an advance of 20,000 North Vietnamese, who were supported by 200 tanks. The bridge at Dong Ha was designated Ripley’s Alamo.

Amid enemy fire, he swung under the bridge to plant the explosives that brought down the span; the attack stalled as the fragments splashed into the waters and were strewn upon the ground. Historians believe that if the defense at Dong Ha had failed, South Vietnam might have collapsed there and then. The North eventually won the war, yet while the Vietnamese endured great sufferings an abject defeat in 1972 likely would have proved more costly not only to Vietnam but to the United States. A questionable involvement pursued by a dubious strategy by often ignominious leaders and undermined in the streets at home detracts not a bit from the courage of individuals such as Ripley.

Ripley’s post-service years included stints as president and chancellor of Southern Virginia College in Buena Vista and as president of Hargrave Military Academy in Chatham. As director of the Marine Corps’ History and Museums Division, he played a crucial role in the development of the National Museum of the Marine Corps that opened in 2006 in Quantico. The site is his shrine.

Last month Ripley died in Annapolis at 69. “O Judge of all nations, we remember before you with grateful hearts the men and women who in the day of decision ventured much for the liberties we now enjoy.” A Marine is always a Marine, and for generations hence Col. John Ripley will live in the remnant’s fond memory.

—–

To see more of the Richmond Times-Dispatch, or to subscribe to the newspaper, go to http://www.timesdispatch.com.

Copyright (c) 2008, Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

November 4, 2008 Posted by | In the News | , , , , | 3 Comments

The Seed

The Seed

A successful Christian business man was growing old and knew it was timeto choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his directors or his children, he decided to do something different.  He called all the young executives in his company together.

He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of you. “The young executives were shocked, but the boss continued.” I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you.  I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO”

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed.   He went home and excitedly, told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted the seed.  Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had grown.

After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by–still nothing in Jim’s pot.   He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues, however. He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil – He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot.   But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick at his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful–in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great plants, trees, and flowers you have grown,” said the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”   All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the financial director to bring him to the front.   Jim was terrified.   He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure!  Maybe he will have me fired!”

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened to his seed – Jim told him the whole entire story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim.  He looked at Jim, and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive! His name is Jim!”  Jim couldn’t believe it.  Jim couldn’t even grow his seed.  How could he be the new CEO the others said?

Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But, I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow.   All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers.

When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you.   Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it.  Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive!”

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust,

If you plant goodness, you will reap friends,

If you plant humility, you will reap greatness,

If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment

If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective,

If you plant hard work, you will reap success,

If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation,

If you plant faith in Christ, you will reap a harvest,

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.

Two thousand years ago Paul wrote to the church at Galatia the same story but with fewer words, “What you sow, so shall you reap”. (Gal. 6:7)

We are grass that will wither and die but the incorruptible seed of Gods Word will live forever – sow it daily into the life of your family! (1 Peter 1: 23 – 25)

November 2, 2008 Posted by | In the News | 2 Comments

God’s Daily Word by Steve Troxel

A Famine of Hearing

Like most of the Old Testament prophets, Amos was chosen by God to deliver a message of repentance and judgement; “Seek the Lord and live, or He will sweep through the house of Joseph like a fire” (Amos 5:6).  God was calling His people to return, but they had wandered far from His presence and showed no interest in a life of worship.  The economy of their day was thriving and the people had few needs which went unfulfilled; they were content and saw little need for God.

Through Amos, God sent a strong warning.  Although He promises to answer all who respond to His call, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Joel 2:32), and He promises to be VERY patient, “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9), God also warns that the opportunity to hear His Word may not always be available.

Amos 8:11-12
“‘The days are coming,’ declares the Sovereign Lord, ‘when I will send a famine through the land – not a famine of food or a thirst for water, but a famine of hearing the words of the Lord.  Men will stagger from sea to sea and wander from north to east, searching for the word of the Lord, but they will not find it.'”

When we hear the Word of God, the door is open and we are in the middle of a God-directed opportunity.  At that moment we have the opportunity to respond to the truth and draw closer to our Heavenly Father.  But when we reject His Word, we begin to close the door and harden our heart – the opportunity begins to fade: “So, as the Holy Spirit says: ‘Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your heart'” (Hebrews 3:7-8).

We have been blessed to live during this time in history.  Yes, we face the unrelenting pressures of an over-indulgent, self-consumed society; but we have also been blessed with a wonderful abundance of the Word of God.  In most parts of the world we have the freedom to worship with other believers and full access to truth-filled teaching.  In fact, God’s Word has become so readily available that many of us take it for granted.

In the midst of our overflowing blessings, we are becoming complacent and no longer treasure His precious gift.  But what would happen if His Word was taken away?  What would the world be like if no one was allowed to speak or hear the Word of God?  What if we searched for His Word and it could not be found?

Our Heavenly Father loves us dearly.  He “wants ALL men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4); and He wants those who believe to be “conformed to the likeness of His Son”(Romans 8:29).  Our Father continues to call us to know Him with a greater and more intimate love.  Let’s make the most of this awesome opportunity by receiving the Word of God, in all its forms, with a hungry anticipation, and then by obediently responding to His call.  Let’s shake off ALL forms of complacency and rejoice that we do not yet live during a famine of hearing.

October 29, 2008 Posted by | Daily Devotions, God / Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

My deepest sympathy to the Hudson Family.

I cannot even fathom the intense grief so much senseless loss could cause this family, but my heart and prayers go out to them.  May God bless and comfort them all during this time of such intense sadness.

FBI says body found is that of Hudson’s nephew, 7

CHICAGO – A top FBI official said Monday that a body found in an SUV is believed to be that of Jennifer Hudson‘s missing 7-year-old nephew, the focus of a desperate search since the Oscar winner’s mother and brother were found shot to death in their home three days earlier.

While the body has not been positively identified, FBI Deputy Director John S. Pistole said authorities believe it to be that of Julian King, who also lived in the home.

The rest of the AP story is here.

October 28, 2008 Posted by | In the News | 2 Comments