Happy Memorial Day!

Our flag does not fly because the wind moves it...It flies with the last breath of each Soldier who died protecting it

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry

No man thinks more highly than I do of the patriotism, as well as abilities, of the very worthy gentlemen who have just addressed the House. But different men often see the same subject in different lights; and, therefore, I hope it will not be thought disrespectful to those gentlemen if, entertaining as I do opinions of a character very opposite to theirs, I shall speak forth my sentiments freely and without reserve. This is no time for ceremony. The questing before the House is one of awful moment to this country. For my own part, I consider it as nothing less than a question of freedom or slavery; and in proportion to the magnitude of the subject ought to be the freedom of the debate. It is only in this way that we can hope to arrive at truth, and fulfill the great responsibility which we hold to God and our country. Should I keep back my opinions at such a time, through fear of giving offense, I should consider myself as guilty of treason towards my country, and of an act of disloyalty toward the Majesty of Heaven, which I revere above all earthly kings.

Mr. President, it is natural to man to indulge in the illusions of hope. We are apt to shut our eyes against a painful truth, and listen to the song of that siren till she transforms us into beasts. Is this the part of wise men, engaged in a great and arduous struggle for liberty? Are we disposed to be of the number of those who, having eyes, see not, and, having ears, hear not, the things which so nearly concern their temporal salvation? For my part, whatever anguish of spirit it may cost, I am willing to know the whole truth; to know the worst, and to provide for it.

I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past. And judging by the past, I wish to know what there has been in the conduct of the British ministry for the last ten years to justify those hopes with which gentlemen have been pleased to solace themselves and the House. Is it that insidious smile with which our petition has been lately received? Trust it not, sir; it will prove a snare to your feet. Suffer not yourselves to be betrayed with a kiss. Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love? Let us not deceive ourselves, sir. These are the implements of war and subjugation; the last arguments to which kings resort. I ask gentlemen, sir, what means this martial array, if its purpose be not to force us to submission? Can gentlemen assign any other possible motive for it? Has Great Britain any enemy, in this quarter of the world, to call for all this accumulation of navies and armies? No, sir, she has none. They are meant for us: they can be meant for no other. They are sent over to bind and rivet upon us those chains which the British ministry have been so long forging. And what have we to oppose to them? Shall we try argument? Sir, we have been trying that for the last ten years. Have we anything new to offer upon the subject? Nothing. We have held the subject up in every light of which it is capable; but it has been all in vain. Shall we resort to entreaty and humble supplication? What terms shall we find which have not been already exhausted? Let us not, I beseech you, sir, deceive ourselves. Sir, we have done everything that could be done to avert the storm which is now coming on. We have petitioned; we have remonstrated; we have supplicated; we have prostrated ourselves before the throne, and have implored its interposition to arrest the tyrannical hands of the ministry and Parliament. Our petitions have been slighted; our remonstrances have produced additional violence and insult; our supplications have been disregarded; and we have been spurned, with contempt, from the foot of the throne! In vain, after these things, may we indulge the fond hope of peace and reconciliation. There is no longer any room for hope. If we wish to be free– if we mean to preserve inviolate those inestimable privileges for which we have been so long contending–if we mean not basely to abandon the noble struggle in which we have been so long engaged, and which we have pledged ourselves never to abandon until the glorious object of our contest shall be obtained–we must fight! I repeat it, sir, we must fight! An appeal to arms and to the God of hosts is all that is left us!

They tell us, sir, that we are weak; unable to cope with so formidable an adversary. But when shall we be stronger? Will it be the next week, or the next year? Will it be when we are totally disarmed, and when a British guard shall be stationed in every house? Shall we gather strength by irresolution and inaction? Shall we acquire the means of effectual resistance by lying supinely on our backs and hugging the delusive phantom of hope, until our enemies shall have bound us hand and foot? Sir, we are not weak if we make a proper use of those means which the God of nature hath placed in our power. The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us. Besides, sir, we shall not fight our battles alone. There is a just God who presides over the destinies of nations, and who will raise up friends to fight our battles for us. The battle, sir, is not to the strong alone; it is to the vigilant, the active, the brave. Besides, sir, we have no election. If we were base enough to desire it, it is now too late to retire from the contest. There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! Our chains are forged! Their clanking may be heard on the plains of Boston! The war is inevitable–and let it come! I repeat it, sir, let it come.

It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!

Story shared from the following website: http://storiesofusa.com/give-me-liberty-or-give-me-death-by-patrick-henry-march-23-1775/

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Good Deeds Never Go Out of Style!

How Far that Little Candle Throws His Beams So Shines a Good Deed in a Weary World Williams ShakespeareI am sooo very grateful for the good deeds of others – both from those I call friends and from those I call strangers. My life has been abundantly blessed by their care, concern, and service! My post must be short today as my IP service is being less than reliable!

I hope that your life has been blessed by good deeds! I also hope that you will pay those kindnesses forward! We all are blessed by the goodness in this world!

I hope you enjoy today’s story!:

Friday morning, after I dropped my son off at school, I had a phone meeting with one of my favorite colleagues, mental health advocate Gina Nikkel of the Foundation for Excellence in Mental Health Care. Suddenly, there was a loud crash; I abruptly ended the call. A car had rear-ended me.

I was okay, and the other driver, she was fine, too — physically at least. My car was only slightly affected, but the woman’s car was in bad shape. Her hood was completely damaged and bright, yellow-green fluid had started to pour out from underneath the car. I asked for her insurance information, but the woman said she didn’t have any; when I asked for her driver’s license, it turns out that she didn’t have a valid license either.

The appropriate thing to do was to call the insurance company and, maybe, the police, but I couldn’t.

The truth is that this easily could have been me in her spot. This week, I’ve worked 14-hour days, fallen asleep on the couch in my clothes, and have had bouts of insomnia as I prepare for four events on the East and West Coasts. I have been tired and stressed and functioning on less than a full cylinder. I have also been very openhearted and hopeful these past few days, as I’ve been working with the Fountain House, an inspiring mental health organization who we are collaborating with this weekend for Good Deeds Day. I was tired, but more importantly I was also inspired as we worked towards our shared mission of filling Herald Square with post it notes with messages of #flawlesslove to the world on social media and specifically to the members of Fountain House.

I remember another time in my life like this. It was a few years ago on a day that happened to be a spiritual double header — Good Friday and the first night of Passover. I was confronted by a man, who was not in touch with reality, in a dark corner of a gas station. Another person might have been scared, but because of how I frail I was feeling in that moment, my guard was down and I saw the perfection in that man: Our humanity connected us, and I’ll never forget the tender exchange that followed when he broke down and cried with tears of gratitude when I gave him the money he had requested.

Today was the same. Immediately I sensed that this woman was struggling, and with just a few questions, I found out that she was a retired veteran, that her husband had just left her, and that her license had been suspended because she didn’t have the money to pay for the tickets. She’d been driving to a doctor’s appointment at the VA hospital when she had crashed into my car.

All of the logistical questions — like what to do about the damage to my car, what to do about her lack of insurance and her suspended license — melted away in the rush hour traffic as we just stood together in a moment of pure connection on the side of the highway. I told her that I run a mental health organization and, after I gave her my card, I put my hand on her shoulder as we stayed locked in a powerful glance of affection and said goodbye.

Should I have called the police? Perhaps. Did I do enough to help her? Probably not. But in those few minutes, when time stood still, by seeing the perfection and light in this woman, I made space for this one, small, good deed, acknowledging our common human frailty. After all, it turns out I know just how important it was for her to get to her appointment at the VA hospital. I pray that she made it.

I have to see the perfection in my choice which may not have been logical in this situation but in my heart felt like the right thing to do. Not holding this woman up on her way to her appointment at the VA Hospital was my good deed. As we celebrate Good Deeds Day worldwide tomorrow, what will you do to spread the #flawlesslove?

Story shared from the following website: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janine-francolini/a-crash-of-flawlesslove_1_b_9651552.html

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Cynicism is an Intellectual Cop Out…There is a Better Way

Cynicism is an intellectual copout, a crutch for a withered soul, a thin excuse for inaction and retreating commitment. Do not become cynical; be appropriately concerned and actively involved.

Cynicism is an intellectual cop out,a crutch for a withered soul, a thin excuse for inaction
and retreating commitment. Do not become cynical; be appropriately concerned and actively involved.    Jeffrey R. Holland

There is a lot of cynicism being thrown around in our country right now. I believe in the quote by Jeffrey R. Holland. That is why I used it for today’s meme.

I understand concern. I understand differences of opinion. I understand a desire for leaders to see the world as we see it. I also understand that the solution to every problem, concern or care in this world is God.

I wish that I could share the memories of my near death experience with the world. In it, everyone would be blessed to see that God is real and His love is perfect and ever enduring. Everyone would see His infinite and complete perfection and understand that the key to all happiness, joy and true success is to make God an integral part of all we do and align our choices and actions with His unchanging truth.

The world is imperfect and we are imperfect but the greater the effort of mankind, as a whole, to choose light in this world, the more we will receive peace, safety, and joy. As Dieter F. Uchtdorf said: “When God works through us, No One and Nothing can stand against us.”

I hope you enjoy today’s story which was shared by Hugh Downs!:

Hugh Downs on Overcoming Cynicism

One morning on our Today show we reported on a group of teenagers whose demonstrations had shocked their community. In the faces of the young people pictured on the screen I saw a total rebellion against authority.

“That could have been me 25 years ago,” I said to myself.

It started me thinking back to the age of 14 when the change within me occurred. Up until then I had accepted without question the patterns my parents had set. Then slowly I began to see things through a haze of contempt and rebellion.

Perhaps it was partly because I stood first in my class and took great pride in my pseudo-intellect and glib tongue. Success, I concluded, was all that mattered.

As captain of my own ship, I decided that I needed help from no one. Sensitivity to need and concern for others were, to me, signs of weakness or guilt. I had a theory for everything.

Since a great percentage of those in my home town of Lima, Ohio, were church-going people, I divided them into two neat groups: the ones who used church once a week as a cleansing ritual, and the others who attended church with the thought, “I want to be on the winning side in case there is something to all this.”

So I argued that all churches should be abolished because they stood in the way of faith. I theorized that a man can worship God as he sees fit—where and when he chooses. And if he doesn’t choose to, that is his privilege too. (I didn’t choose to, by the way.)

My name for this theory was “Reverse Piety.” It sounded very smart to me.

But as a working philosophy of life it was to prove more and more unsatisfactory. Actually I should have known better.

My father was a Methodist, my mother a Baptist, but in a spirit of early ecumenicity they became Episcopalians when they were married. Time after time they showed their concern for others.

For a while, my father and a partner ran an auto accessory store. When they went into the red, the partner declared himself bankrupt. My father and mother decided that there was a moral as well as a material obligation involved. He took a job and over the years paid back every penny he owed.

I resented it since it meant there was no money for me to continue college. I had to quit after the first year. My bitterness increased when I applied for 26 jobs in a row and didn’t get one.

Then one day I stopped at the radio station in Lima with the halfhearted hope that there might be some kind of job open. They gave me an audition—and to my surprise I was hired as an announcer. The pay was $7.50 a week.

There was hardly any direction to go but up. I was married and a father when one of those experiences occurred which, in retrospect, you can call a turning point.

The radio station where I worked had to cut costs. My job was in danger. Thinking that my boss was looking for a good excuse to let me go, I built up a real dislike of him.

Then one day he called me into his office. To my surprise his manner was kindly. He was concerned about me. And he worked out a plan for me to stay on the job.

Something happened inside me at that point to chip away at the crust of cynicism I had built up around myself. I thanked him for his thoughtfulness, then said impulsively, “You do this for me when all the time I have been hating you because I didn’t think you wanted me here?”

My boss said calmly, “Why don’t you try to get outside of yourself, Hugh? If you do, you’ll tap a source of spiritual and physical energy that will make you feel inexhaustible.”

I chewed that thought long and hard. The words were certainly not new, but now they had meaning.

For a time I had been examining other faiths, from Judaism to Buddhism and Islam. Each has much to offer. Inevitably I came back to a reexamination of Christianity.

While pondering questions of faith and systems of philosophy, I was moving from radio to television, from Ohio to Chicago and then to New York. The years passed. I worked with Kukla, Fran and Ollie, with Sid Caesar, Jack Paar and the Today show.

As success came I followed the pursuits I liked: astronomy, boating, flying, celestial navigation, music. They can satisfy body and mind, but they leave the spirit unfulfilled. Yet, answers to my quest for faith were coming and piece by piece, like putting together a mosaic, the picture was taking form.

An actor contributed to it. I don’t even know his name. But he was in a very successful play and he was asked how he could possibly remain fresh after giving the same performance, day after day, 700 times.

“The audience hasn’t seen the play 700 times,” he said. “It’s a new play for them every night. If I thought only of myself I’d be stale by the 10th performance. But every night I think of the audience instead of myself and they renew and refresh me.”

Last year I sailed across the Pacific in a small boat. It was immensely satisfying to navigate that distance, even though I had a fall during the voyage that injured my spine. Back home, doctors said it required surgery.

I was taken to the hospital in a wheelchair. The operation was a success and I walked out without any help. Yet the experience added something to me.

First, the ordeal was neither fearsome nor intolerable though from the outside it seemed so. Second, there was always someone along the corridors whose troubles and pain were worse than your own. Cheering them was not depressing or morbid, but just the opposite. You got outside yourself.

At one time I served on the Citizens’ Advisory Committee of the New York State Mental Health Association. That committee was scheduled to make one of their regular visits to patients.

I would have ducked going, if I could. I couldn’t. In our car pool the driver of our auto was a rabbi whose sense of compassion interested me.

At the hospital we walked through the clean, neat rooms. Two very disturbed boys caught our attention. One was 13, the second, perhaps two years older. The older one said very little. The younger one said nothing at all.

As the rabbi talked with them I asked a nurse, “What hope is there for these boys?” She shrugged her shoulders. “Very little,” she said.

As we were leaving, I looked over my shoulder and saw the younger boy sitting on an oak bench, all alone, staring into nothingness, the picture of endless despair.

“That boy,” I said to the rabbi, “looks very much like my own son. I can’t help it, but I’m glad—” I was starting to express thankfulness for the fact that my son was normal.

“I know how you feel,” he interrupted. “That boy is my son.”

It was days before I got over the shock of that experience.

The picture of the rabbi not only ministering to his own son, and to all the afflicted in that institution, but also moving to save me embarrassment is still vivid before my eyes. For in his agony he had learned to lose himself in his concern for others.

This was what my parents were trying to tell me as they scrimped and sacrificed to pay off a debt that was moral, not legal. It was what my boss at the radio station was saying to me when I was 22; and it was what the actor meant when he talked about playing one role 700 times.

Different people were getting the message to me, but it took a long time before I really heard and embraced as the heart of my faith the words Christ uttered to His disciples: He that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.

Shared from the following website: https://www.guideposts.org/better-living/positive-living/emotional-and-mental-health/guideposts-classics-hugh-downs-on/page/0/2?nopaging=1

 

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Love is the Most Powerful Force in the World…

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., I wanted to share one of his quotes today.

Love is truly the most powerful force in the world! It is also very misunderstood. Many people believe that love can overcome anything. The truth is that it can’t. I saw a battle in heaven during my near-death experience and if love could overcome anything, that battle would have never taken place.

There is no being or person more loving and more perfect than God and there is no place more infused with love than heaven. If God’s perfect love could not overcome in heaven – love cannot overcome everything on earth either.

However, having said that, I do not wish to diminish the power of love in any way. We all need love and we all need the joy of loving. Love can turn enemies into friends and it can heal terrible wounds. Love can melt cold hearts and love can revive lives, communities, and countries. Love is a gift and should always be cherished!

In that light, I share today’s story, I hope you enjoy!:

Making Friends, Losing Enemies

About five years ago I started at a new school, when my family moved to Iowa. I was just a little excited, but I worried I would never fit in with the other sixth graders.

Lucy, a girl in my class, who I thought was not ready for change, didn’t like me from the start. In fact, I was pretty sure she hated me. I would ask her a question, and I could tell she thought I was a total idiot.

My teacher made us sit by each other for the last semester. Lucy was horrified.

I didn’t wear make-up, and I didn’t wear those awesome bell-bottom pants. I didn’t exactly look like the coolest girl. But, I kept smiling at her, though she rolled her eyes, and I kept telling her she looked beautiful, even if she sighed in irritation.

Eventually, Lucy let me talk to her, even in sight of her ‘cool’ friends. She started telling me how beautiful I looked. I still remember that first time when she smiled at me saying that, and I smiled right back, telling her thanks. Lucy invited me over to her house for sleepovers, and talked to me all the time instead her other friends. Lucy, the girl who hated me, called me her best friend. After that, we still were good friends a whole year later.

I may have moved to Arizona after that, but I will never forget Lucy. It’s funny– I still remember her birthday. She was a great friend. And to think, she considered me her enemy at first. Though it was hard, and it felt like I was wasting my time, and losing my dignity, I still smiled at Lucy when she made fun of me. I’m not stupid, I didn’t think she was right in doing those things, but I still put up with it. And we became great friends. We became inseparable.

Story shared from the following website: http://www.values.com/your-inspirational-stories/230-making-friends-losing-enemies

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Making a Difference in the World – We Can Be the Difference!

The Difference between what we are Doing and what we’re Capable of Doing would solve most of the world’s problems

Can you imagine how dramatically our world would change if we all recognized and believed that WE CAN BE THE DIFFERENCE!

It’s true! We can be the difference that the world needs! Change does not happen overnight but we are the only beings on earth that God has entrusted to be the change that the world needs!

Every positive choice we make makes a difference! Every mind aligned with truth becomes the catalyst! Every positive action makes the world a better place – no matter how small!

We have been born to create! Ours is the power to transform!

Just think of the difference one positive, hopeful, person with faith in God can make – then realize the synergy of hundreds, thousands and millions choosing to live a life of difference!

It you are willing to make the world a better place, think about what you can do:

  • Share a sincere compliment
  • Say thank you to everyone who provides service to you (even if they are getting paid for it)
  • Smile and say hi to everyone you meet (even strangers)
  • Give a hug to your loved ones!
  • Be courteous in all of your interactions
  • Laugh and share a blessing that is a part of your life
  • Give yourself a pat on the back for doing something right rather than berate yourself for something you didn’t do just right
  • Volunteer to give someone a ride or to sit with an invalid so their family member can run errands
  • Express your love to a family member or someone special in your life

Everything we do and everything we say makes a difference! What difference are you going to make today?!!

Today’s story touched my heart – I hope it will touch yours as well!:

Making a Difference

Here is a story of an elementary teacher that happened many years ago. Her name was Mrs. Thompson. And as she stood in front of her 5th grade class on the very first day of school, she told the children a lie. Like most teachers, she looked at her students and said that she loved them all the same. But that was impossible, because there in the front row, slumped in his seat, was a little boy named Teddy Stoddard. Mrs. Thompson had watched Teddy the year before and noticed that he didn’t play well with the other children, that his clothes were messy and that he constantly needed a bath. And Teddy could be unpleasant. It got to the point where Mrs. Thompson would actually take delight in marking his papers with a broad red pen, making bold X’s and then putting a big “F” at the top of his papers.

At the school where Mrs. Thompson taught, she was required to review each child’s past records and she put Teddy’s off until last. However, when she reviewed his file, she was in for a surprise. Teddy’s first grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is a bright child with a ready laugh. He does his work neatly and has good manners … he is a joy to be around.” His second grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is an excellent student, well-liked by his classmates, but he is troubled because his mother has a terminal illness and life at home must be a struggle.” His third grade teacher wrote, “His mother’s death has been hard on him. He tries to do his best but his father doesn’t show much interest and his home life will soon affect him if some steps aren’t taken.”

Teddy’s fourth grade teacher wrote, “Teddy is withdrawn and doesn’t show much interest in school. He doesn’t have many friends and sometimes sleeps in class.” By now, Mrs. Thompson realized the problem and she was ashamed of herself. She felt even worse when her students brought her Christmas presents, wrapped in beautiful ribbons and bright paper, except for Teddy’s. His present was clumsily wrapped in the heavy, brown paper that he got from a grocery bag. Mrs. Thompson took pains to open it in the middle of the other presents. Some of the children started to laugh when she found a rhinestone bracelet with some of the stones missing and a bottle that was one quarter full of perfume. But she stifled the children’s laughter when she exclaimed how pretty the bracelet was, putting it on, and dabbing some of the perfume on her wrist.

Teddy Stoddard stayed after school that day just long enough to say, “Mrs. Thompson, today you smelled just like my Mom used to.” After the children left she cried for at least an hour. On that very day, she quit teaching reading, and writing, and arithmetic. Instead, she began to teach children. Mrs. Thompson paid particular attention to Teddy. As she worked with him, his mind seemed to come alive. The more she encouraged him, the faster he responded. By the end of the year, Teddy had become one of the smartest children in the class and, despite her lie that she would love all the children the same, Teddy became one of her “teacher’s pets.”

A year later, she found a note under her door, from Teddy, telling her that she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Six years went by before she got another note from Teddy. He then wrote that he had finished high school, third in his class, and she was still the best teacher he ever had in his whole life. Four years after that, she got another letter, saying that while things had been tough at times, he’d stayed in school, had stuck with it, and would soon graduate from college with the highest of honors. He assured Mrs. Thompson that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had in his whole life.

Then four more years passed and yet another letter came. This time he explained that after he got his bachelor’s degree, he decided to go a little further. The letter explained that she was still the best and favorite teacher he ever had. But now his name was a little longer. The letter was signed, Theodore F. Stoddard, MD The story doesn’t end there. You see, there was yet another letter that spring. Teddy said he’d met this girl and was going to be married. He explained that his father had died a couple of years ago and he was wondering if Mrs. Thompson might agree to sit in the place at the wedding that was usually reserved for the mother of the groom.

Of course, Mrs. Thompson did. And guess what? She wore that bracelet, the one with several rhinestones missing. And she made sure she was wearing the perfume that Teddy remembered his mother wearing on their last Christmas together. They hugged each other, and Dr. Stoddard whispered in Mrs. Thompson’s ear, “Thank you, Mrs. Thompson, for believing in me. Thank you so much for making me feel important and showing me that I could make a difference.” Mrs. Thompson, with tears in her eyes, whispered back. She said, “Teddy, you have it all wrong. You were the one who taught me that I could make a difference. I didn’t know how to teach until I met you.”

(Contributed by Dr. Andrew Jenkins, Central Washington University)

Story shared from the following website: http://www.pelinks4u.org/articles/inspire/ins102599.htm

 

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