Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Respect for Your Elders

For as long as I can remember and before that for as much of history as I am aware of, old age has most often been equated with esteem, honor, and integrity.  Until now.

Old is out. We are thought of as useless. If we don’t have something to give them, like money or stuff - and if we don’t have something they can take from us, to the youth of today, we are useless.

I remember a time when showing kindness and courtesy to the previous generation was commonplace and expected. Even if there was a great divide between our interests and theirs, practicing proper manners was what we did. Practicing good manners was reflective of a good upbringing and was a badge of honor we wore proudly.  

What kind of manners did we practice? 1) Not speaking unless spoken to. -2) showing regard for the elderly in offering them a seat, bringing them things, anything really that could be seen as needed and helpful to them at the time. -3) offering them something to eat or drink. -4) always asking permission before using someone’s property – it was considered rude and inconsiderate to help yourself freely to anything that does not belong to you. -5) I remember being taught to not speak out of turn and to hold my tongue, at the risk of saying something stupid or hurtful. -6) I remember always saying “thank you” “please” "yes sir" "no sir" and so on. This was a great part of being polite and we were taught how this sort of thing helped to create warmth and compassion. -7) We would never address a person older than us with anything other than Mr. or Mrs., using their last name, Uncle or Aunt, that sort of thing.

The way you choose to present yourself to the world is a personal choice. Being a genuinely respectful person is a sure fire way to feel good about yourself. But the way you behave, the manners you practice or don’t practice, is a personal choice.

And you know, your reputation matters. People are watching you and wouldn’t your prefer to be known as the nice respectful person? Treating the elderly with the utmost respect will leave a memorable impression on them of you, and a memorable impression on those watching your behavior.

If nothing else, being a respectful person allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment that comes with knowing you did the right thing. And, being respectful, just makes the object of your respect feel good, feel important and valuable. It shows that person that you think they are important. And who knows the karma effect this can have.

I don’t get it really. I see so many young adults today who don’t seem to be able to show respect for anybody or anything and that is just sad. I realize now that some people are just no good and would like to use you or see you hurt. I realize that some people will dislike you for no particular reason at all. No amount of kindness will change their minds. I try to be kind to everyone, but that does not mean I can give what I don’t have or make undue personal sacrifices.

I have to ask myself, does this person respect me? When is enough, enough? Eventually what is comes down to is self-respect. You have to have self-respect. If someone disrespects you, let them know. Give them a chance to apologize. They will make things right if they want to. If they don’t then cut them out of your life. After a while you will no longer have to tell people to fuck off, because you will be surrounded only by people who don’t treat you like a doormat. You will be surrounded by happy, healthy, friendly people who know how to treat you with the respect you deserve.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Crisis Management

Suddenly you are faced with a crisis. What do you do? Most importantly you must keep the faith. This is the most vital ingredient of the resilience we need to cope with any personal crisis. Faith fosters hope. Prayer reminds us that there can be a design for our lives that we may not grasp but that we can live up to if we move with events as they evolve. No one has ever suffered more than Job. He was devastated beyond belief, but refused to turn against God. With our faith and our God we have everything we need to move on.

After that, you have to take stock of the situation. You can’t ignore hard facts. Prioritize. Determine what you have to do now and what can wait. Many things can wait. What do you have to do today? You may need to ask for help. Don’t be afraid. They can’t help if they don’t know about it. And then, do what you can. Take some action. It could mean making some changes.

In the blink of an eye everything can change. But no matter what happens your faith can sustain you. You will never be spiritually bankrupt.” Life is troubles” someone said. That is just true. Even the strongest of families will have problems to deal with. But like the strong families you can survive any crisis by focusing on the positive, being skillful in communication, relying on your personal spiritual resources and throw into high gear your tool of adaptability.

Also, learn to think happy. Think of the people and things you love. Turn to those thoughts rather than the ones making you sad and angry.

With Jesus I have no fear. I have no fear of the storm, whatever the storm. I have a divine confidence, confidence in my Lord’s love for me and a confidence rooted in my relationship with my Father in heaven.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


1             12/12/12 is the last of the consecutive type dates for 100 years. This is a once-in-a-century date. The lucky couples who have succeeded in booking 12-12-12 are amongst a very select few in the world with such a memorable wedding anniversary. It is interesting to learn why the number 12 has such deep significance to our lives. The number 12 is a number of perfection and completeness. I thought I would take a minute to discuss the number 12 and the great significance of this number.

2             Do you realize how often we see and use this number? There are 12 eggs in a dozen. There are 12 months in a year. 12 people in a jury.  When you give roses how many do you give - 12 of course. An octave in music has 12 pitches.  A deck of cards has 12 face cards.  Donuts and Sodas come in a group of 12 at the store. Beer, most commonly packaged in a 12 pack. A perfect game in bowling is 12 strikes in a row.  Is it a coincidence that the greatest football player ever wore no. 12? (Roger Staubach)

3             The human body has 12 cranial nerves. And twelve pairs of ribs. Our body has 12 openings. (you have to count the belly button and nipples for those trying to check me on that) The human vertebral column or spine has 24 vertebrae. Counting them is almost like counting the hours in a day. And then of those 24, there are 12 central vertebrae making up the spine.

4             There are twelve signs of the Zodiac - 24 hours in a day, the hours are numbered 1 to 12. The basic units of time, 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours, all units of 12. There are 12 inches in a foot.

5             The number 12 is a most dominant number in the Bible. As you will see, twelve is the perfect number, both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

6             Old Testament:

-There were 12 sons of Jacob, whose families formed the 12 tribes of Israel.

-The high priest’s breastplate, used for judgment, had 12 stones representing the 12 tribes.

-The showbread was always on a specially dedicated table in the temple in Jerusalem as an offering to God and consisted of 12 loaves.

-Solomon appointed 12 officers over Israel.

              New Testament

-At age 12, Jesus appeared at the temple.

-Jesus ordained 12 apostles, who were sent with authority to preach the Gospel and to be witnesses of His resurrection.

-The Book of Revelation speaks of the coming of Christ in the last day and we find the number 12 over and over.

            -At Christ return the number of the Sealed will be 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel,         
            totaling 144,000.

            -A second 144,000 are gathered from the earth to serve the Lamb and follow Him.

            -The bride of Christ is pictured with a crown of 12 stars.

            -The New Jerusalem has 12 gates of pearls, 12 angels at the gates and the names of the 12 tribes 
            of Israel over the gates.

            -The wall of the city has 12 foundations of precious stones; in them are the names of the 12 apostles.

            -The wall is 144 cubits high (12 x 12). The city is 12,000 furlongs square.

7             In the beginning, when God created the world, there were 12 steps. The creation story outlines how he carefully created one after the other:
            1. Heavens and Earth
            2. Day
            3. Night
            4. Sky
            5. Land
            6. Sea
            7. Vegetation
            8. Lights in the sky, that would mark sacred times, and days,
            seasons and years.
            9. Every creature of the sea.
           10. Birds of all kinds.
           11. Livestock and animals of all kind.
           12. Mankind in his image and likeness

8             The numbers 1,2 and 3 are all prime numbers and are symbolic of creation through the holy trinity. The number 12 would be reduced in numerology as 1+2=3, which means that the number 12 is also symbolic of the trinity.

9             The number 12 is our Lord’s number of completeness. And with careful analysis you’ll notice that Man, a Divine creature, is linked to Heaven both spiritually and physically, even eternally, through the number 12.

10            And then, there are of course the 12 days of Christmas.

11            All successful endeavors should be crafted around the number 12. If you are writing a book, it should have 12 chapters. If you are releasing a CD, put 12 songs on it. If you are making a documentary, divide it into 12 episodes. If you start a rent-a-car business, start out with 12 cars. Divide a difficult work into 12 phases. If you are forming a committee or board, try to choose twelve members. Everything a group of twelve does will become important. Their activity could even change history, at least within a certain micro-world. If a group of 12 stands up against you, you have to know that it is impossible to break down such a group and you should take their activities very seriously.

12            You will soon discover how much better your life is because you took time to attune yourself to the number 12. You will take great satisfaction in these choices and that all your work emerging from such a start will be much more successful if centered around the number 12. I urge all to think of all the many ways you can start incorporating this great number into your life. If you make a list, make sure that list has 12 items. I made sure this article had 12 paragraphs. The number 12 can be a great great blessing in your life. God used the number over and over because it is significant. We can do the same in our life. And a wedding on the date of 12/12/12 has to have special blessings for sure.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Pearl Harbor Day

2,335 American servicemen and 68 civilians were killed that day. 1,178 were wounded. Of the casualties, 1,104 men aboard the Battleship USS Arizona perished.

Many men and boys answered the call, enlisted, and served their country in the war. It was a great generation of great men. Like the sailor pictured, I salute them all. God bless you veterans one and all.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

The day Levi was born

How blessed am I? How grateful am I for the people and things in my life? Have you ever tried the George Bailey Technique?

George Bailey learned to be thankful. He was made to see the great impact he had had on his world. George Bailey, if you recall, is a salt-of-the-earth kind of guy who constantly has his dreams thwarted because he’s always looking out for his friends and family. Ever since George was knee high to a grasshopper, he wanted to travel to exotic locales and build big things like skyscrapers and airstrips. Just when it seems he’s about to get started on making his dreams come true, some crisis happens that causes him to put them on the back burner so he can take care of other people.

Things come to a head one Christmas Eve when George’s absent-minded uncle misplaces $8,000 of the Building and Loan’s cash funds. Losing the money would mean bankruptcy for the Bailey Building and Loan and criminal charges for George. At the end of his rope, George decides to commit suicide so his family can cash his $15,000 life insurance policy and pay off the $8,000 debt.

Just before George leaps from a bridge to his icy, watery death, his guardian angel, Clarence Odbody, jumps into the river and pretends he’s drowning. George, being the big-hearted guy that he is, saves Clarence. While they’re drying off, Clarence tries to talk George out of killing himself. When George bitterly wishes that he’d never been born, Clarence sees a way to convince him not to commit suicide. Through angelic powers, Clarence is able to show him what his family and Bedford Falls would have been like if George Bailey had never existed.

It’s a hell hole.

George’s younger brother dies because George wasn’t there to save him, quaint Bedford Falls turns into sleazy Pottersville, his mother is a bitter widow, and people are living in slum apartments instead of the nice homes George’s Building and Loan funded. Worst of all, George’s wife is an old maid and none of their beautiful kids exist.

As you can guess, George sees the light and begs to live again. His wish granted, he runs joyously through the streets yelling “Merry Christmas!” to everybody. He arrives home to find the authorities with a warrant in hand for his arrest, but George doesn’t care. He’s just happy to hold and kiss his kids. His wife comes in shortly after, followed by what seems like the entire town. The townsfolk all donate enough money to save George and the Building and Loan, George’s old childhood friend Sam Wainwright (hee haw!) lends George $25,000, and George’s war hero brother arrives to declare George “the richest man in Bedford Falls.”

Among the giant pile of cash, George finds a copy of Tom Sawyer that Clarence carried around with this inscription: ”Dear George: Remember no man is a failure who has friends. P.S. Thanks for the wings! Love, Clarence.”

It’s at this moment that George realizes what a wonderful life he really has. By seeing what the world would be like without him, he comes to a greater understanding and appreciation for the true richness of his blessings.

I gave the George Bailey technique a try by thinking about the ways in which I might have never met Michelle and what my life would be like if I hadn’t met her and didn’t have her in my life. No Michelle would also mean no Adam, no Audrey, no Travis and no Jenna and Brandon….and no Levi. It goes on and on, a rabbit hole you can get lost in. When you play this “what if” game you quickly come to see the blessings all these people have had on your life.

And today, just hours before Levi is born, I see this day and his birth as one of the great great blessings of my life.

I can’t help but wander what influences he, Levi,  will have in this world. How many lives will be changed and impacted because he was born? It will be many, I’m sure, including mine and Michelle’s. Today I am very emotional. I am amazed and humbled and spiritually brought to my knees for the great blessing being delivered today. God loves me and he once again shows His love for me with one of the greatest blessings he can give. He blesses me and my family, especially Jenna and Brandon and I am amazed. The God I love and serve is the greatest and today I am most thankful for His love and blessings in my life.

James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Psalm 127:3-5 Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them! He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

Psalm 139:13-16 For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you,when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.