Ivan Koloff: From Wrestler to Witness-From Title to Testimony

Hi Friends:

Today, I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Ivan Koloff.

Yet, there is an unexplainable joy I am feeling as I write this. A joy which comes from knowing about his life after wrestling, and the impact his testimony has made on me, and so many others. After growing up watching “The Russian Bear,” and then hearing, seeing, the sincerity of his testimony … I was so proud of him … Hearing his real voice, in his humble manner, talking about Jesus, and how Jesus changed his life … it’s just something I’ll never forget.

I was alerted to his passing by a friend, responding to a video of Ivan Koloff, which we featured quite a long time ago. The video is still one of my favorites, and among those I have been the most excited to share.

It was in July of 2013 that I first featured
“Special Video Testimony: Ivan Koloff.”

This will be the first time, ever, that I have repeated a video here. I just watched it again.
Here is part of what I wrote, as an introduction:

“Ivan Koloff, who accepted Jesus as Savior and Lord of his life in 1995, is now an ordained minister, and active in the ministry, traveling to share his testimony across the United States … how wonderful Jesus is, to take “bad guys”-like us, love them, save them, and deliver them. After all, we were all “bad guys” at one time. Funny how we forget that, sometimes … 
I just finished a story about someone at the end of their rope-and hope, calling out to Jesus, who answered their call, saved them … delivered them … and then, they answered His call …When I wrote the story, I thought about Ivan Koloff. How just listening to him, looking at him speak of Jesus, blessed me, and encouraged me so much.

I must be honest: I still sneak a peek at the old Wrestling Videos on YouTube … late one night, there was a video interview of Ivan Koloff, and It wasn’t the interview that grabbed my attention … it was the T-Shirt he was wearing. It said, “I Love Jesus.” WOW!

I checked it out, and, I am so proud of Ivan Koloff!
Here is Ivan Koloff’s personal testimony. I’ve seen it many times, and it still blesses me, still encourages me. He is able to reach many people that others can’t, and I hope this touches … blesses … encourages … and reaches you:”

That’s exactly the way I wrote it. I never had the privilege to meet Ivan Koloff … but, I will … one day. I can’t wait to hug him!
To look into those eyes. To hear his “real” voice.

For fans, I’m sure you’ve already gone to the news reports, detailing his real name, and his biography, including his battle with liver cancer. That’s why I didn’t include that here. I just wanted to share, again, what he would want you to remember

Here’s the link to the original post, which includes another video, and a link to the “Ivan Koloff” website, taking you directly to “My Testimony.”

“Special Video Testimony: Ivan Koloff”

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The Power of “Posts:” Part Three

I can’t wait to “turn the calendar!”
A new Scripture message, a new promise … however …

I must say, this time of year, right now … there is even more to be excited, expectant about … about just turning the calendar over to a new month …

As I write this, it is one degree above zero, with gusty winds. Which would put the wind chill well below zero … turning that calendar over … I can’t wait … We do get a break tonight: Instead of the originally forecast -15 … it will only be near -10 … We had a snow storm yesterday … the day before … with more snow tomorrow, Saturday … and, then, it gets serious for another storm expected to roll in on Sunday, and continuing until sometime early Monday afternoon … I read the forecast again … and again … and five words stand out: “Storm Total 1-2 feet.” I know, I know, don’t worry … we may, just, only, get a foot … I can’t wait to turn the calendar!

Next time, when I “turn the calendar,” there will be one word that stands out: “Spring.”
I can’t wait to turn that calendar … There is also another set of words which make next month greatly to be anticipated: “Daylight Savings Time Begins.” For those in the rest of the country, that means it won’t start getting dark at 3:30 …

By now, I must admit that I have fallen to the temptation to “turn the calendar” RIGHT NOW.
Thank God for the promise of Spring.
We’re making it through another “Tough New England Winter.”
Thank God … period …

The Scripture for next month, March, just happens to be from Psalms:
“The Lord is good to all: and His tender mercies are over all His works (145:9).”
Hey … that’s a good one!

I want to be reminded … I love to be reminded … and, yes, I need to be reminded that “The Lord is good to all.” I love to read, and see, in writing, words about His tender mercies.
Since this series all started with what was going to be one, simple “post” about last year’s calendar, I can’t resist looking for what the quote was for last March’s calendar.
It was a quote from Nikos Kazantzakis:
“In order to succeed, we must first believe that we can.”
That’s pretty good to hear anytime.

By the way … I cleaned the pellet stove last February 24 … I look ahead to last year’s calendar, the month of April, and guess what? It features a scene with mountains, and yes, there it is … a lake …

God has just impressed upon me how a calendar is a microcosm of our lives, in direct relation to His promises and His Word: Yes, there will be Winter, but Spring is promised to come … Summer is promised to come … Some Winters may be harsher than others … but, the promise of Spring, of Summer, is always there … Sometimes, even Summer can be harsh … but, it will only last for a “season.” Even Spring can have its bad moments, but, just look ahead … And, it’s not just looking ahead … How about behind? Here it is, February … Storms coming … Storms just left … Didn’t God just pull us through January? We made it through January. Yes, we did. Proof that God is with us, helping us every step of the way.

Guess what? God ordained the seasons. Yes, He did. So, Who better to lean on? He was the One who put Spring, and Summer … directly after Winter …
Guess what? God even gave us the Autumn … the Fall … to get ready for the Winter ahead. If we’re not prepared for what’s coming … well … whose fault is that???

So, the calendar can serve as a daily reminder of what God has done, what He has brought us through, and then … also … at the same time … regardless of how rough a season we are going through … He reminds us of the promise of what is to come … Isn’t Heaven just like that? The promise of Heaven? God certainly, yet again, knew what He was doing, in just setting up the seasons …

I enjoy looking at the history of certain phrases we use in our everyday language. I tried to find out the origin of the phrase “turn the calendar,” but I couldn’t find anything about how that got to be such a popular phrase.

For reasons I can’t explain, the words of the classic Byrds’ song came to my mind … I can’t explain it, but there they were …
“To everything there is a season … turn … turn … turn …”
This song was quick (and unashamed) to give Scriptural reference to Ecclesiastes 3:1.

I love the idea of a calendar being an example of our lives as God’s children. The look back at what He’s already done. The look ahead of future promises. Both just as sure. Both just as true.
And, the realization of what He is doing now. Below zero, and all I can do is think about how blessed I am, right now. What He is doing for me, in my life, right now.

Yet, because of God’s Word and His promises, I can “turn the calendar,” even now … even with “1-2 feet” on the way … I can sit here, warm and safe … and, turn the calendar to what lies ahead in March … in April … in May … in June … in July … in August … God is there, on every date … regardless of what the date is … regardless of what the season is …

All seasons hold the bounty of God’s blessings.
All seasons hold the promise of God’s Word.

I hope this helps. I know that many of our friends would be happy to just have a simple snow storm to go through, instead of the weather they have gone through.
I hope this helps, in some way, to encourage you. That this will fulfill the words of Proverbs 15:23, that “a word spoken in due season, how good is it!”

I continue to encourage you to, every day, especially first thing in the morning, as you “turn” your daily calendar, to read your Bible, and pray:
“The Lord GOD hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned (Isaiah 50:4).”

Blessings to you, and your family,
Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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The Power of “Posts:” Part Two

Hi Friends:

There is just no way to understate the significance, every day, day-to-day, day-by-day, of “posting” God’s Word around the house … where you … and, others, visiting … will see it … You just never know …

How often I have caught a glimpse of a profound message, even a bumper sticker on a passing car, which seemed to be “just what I’ve needed to hear” … Needed to see … at that exact moment in time …

One of the great things about “posting” these messages around the house is that, not only does it encourage you, but, it can also be a “witness” to someone visiting your home. Don’t ever … ever …. forget the power of that.

I just want to pen a few words about how large an impact, such a “small thing” as just having a calendar with Scripture verses, can have. There is a multiple-blessing potential here. It blesses you, and it blesses your visitors. Plus … I can’t think of a better gift you can give someone, than a calendar … something they will actually use-and see-every day of the year. Yes, a calendar with Scripture verses. Another set of multiplication comes into play: You bless them, the fact that you have blessed them blesses you, they have a constant Scripture reminder in their home, and their visitors will see the verses, too! Think about the power of that! You just never know.

Every year, I am blessed to receive a calendar with Scripture verses. As soon as January 1st hits … it goes on the wall. Now, I know that puppies and horses are cute … and a ton of other calendars are available … but, I look forward, every year, to getting that calendar. Often, it is a calendar featuring Psalms. Awesome! Sometimes, it is a mix of Scripture verses and inspirational quotes. Both “hit home” for me. Plus … they always have a beautiful background.

For example, my new calendar, for January, has a beautiful mountain scene, with snow-covered evergreens in the forefront, huge mountains in the back, and has this verse from Psalm 65 (verse 11): “Thou coverest the year with Thy goodness.” That’s a good one! Perfect for every day … day-to-day, day-by-day …

Whoops! That reminds me: I still have January’s calendar showing, and, here it is, February 3. That’s ok. It’s a beautiful scene, with a beautiful verse. OK! OK! I’ll turn the calendar over:

Beautiful! A lake, surrounded by mountains … with, you guessed it … the reflection of the mountains … in the lake!!! “Posted” above the mountain peak on the left is 1 John 3:1: “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.” Hey … that’s another good one. Yeah, I could go all month looking at that … reading that … being reminded of that … being blessed and encouraged by that … Get the idea?

Man, I never get tired of the old “mountains reflecting in the lake” scene.

I never get tired of reading how much God loves us.
Get it?

Boy, am I tempted to look at March …

Well, the whole idea for this series came from a message I read from the back of last year’s calendar … looks like I’m not going to get to that right now …

Man, I never get tired of the old “mountains reflecting in the lake” scene.
I never get tired of reading how much God loves us.

By the way, this calendar is the one I use in the office, here at home. It’s the one I am “posted” in front of, for so many hours a week. It’s the calendar I write in front of, including this. It’s the calendar we use to note important appointments … even a “pay-by” date of certain bills … it is the “go-to” calendar. It’s the calendar I sit in front of as I work on “the business.” It’s the calendar I sit in front of as I check the weather, online. It is the “office calendar.” I’m glad it has Scripture verses. When I am doing all of these things, here in the office, I am glad I always have something so beautiful to look at. Things like mountains, lakes, snow-covered trees, and, later, sun-drenched landscapes and sunny scenes. Things like God’s Word. Things like God’s promises. His love. His grace. His mercy. So, it’s not just today … but, every day, in the future … every day of this year … I have all of this to look forward to …  

By the way … I have a dental appointment, I see, on February 22.

I need God’s Word. I need to be reminded of His promises.
I want God’s Word. I want God’s promises. After all, they are for me, too. Every day.

After a long day at work, sitting here, I sure love looking at that calendar. I sure love God’s Word. I sure love looking at the beautiful world He created. By the way … He created it … by His Word …

So far, upon returning home from School, to “the office,” I’ve done business in Washington State, in Utah, and on the East Coast. And, it’s early, yet. I have also worked on two loads of laundry. I’ve swept the snow off the deck … I can’t remember how many times … I go back in, I work a little, go back out, and I have to sweep the snow again … Are you sure I can’t look ahead to June???

I look now at the calendar. I see the beautiful scene, with the mountains reflected in the lake. That never gets old, does it? I look up and read God’s Word. I behold God’s beauty … I behold his love … I “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us.”

I have proof … I see it every day … many times a day …that God covers the whole year … every day … with His goodness …

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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The Power of “Posts:” Part One

I try to not miss an opportunity to encourage you to remind yourselves, every day, of God’s great promises, by simply putting up Scripture verses around the house. In places where you will see them every day. Because, let’s face it … we need encouragement, every day … need reminders, every day, of God’s great love, and promises He’s made to us …

Yes, places like the refrigerator, on top of the dresser (you may call it a bureau), yes, by the bathroom mirror is always a great place … the sun visor of your vehicle … in front of you on the computer desk … etc.

I know we are supposed to “hide” (that means “deposit) God’s Word in our heart, so that it is always there, which should always be the first place we “have” God’s Word … but, there is a special power behind seeing God’s Word by our eyes, by reading His Word … And, not just doing your “daily Bible study” (which you should always do), but having God’s Word “posted” around your home, where you will see it, read it, be reminded of it … even when you are not in a “Bible Study.” There is power in that. Real power.

It strikes me now, the command of the Old Testament, of placing God’s Word, not just in your heart, but physically placing it … in places where you will see it … where it will be “posted” for you to see. Why? To be reminded of God’s Word and His promises. I’m specifically thinking of “the door posts,” the “lintels” of your home. Perhaps it meant placing something, something you could clearly see, that would serve as a reminder of God’s promises, and His provision … Yes, I am thinking of the first Passover also … that it was important for … not only you to be able to see something that symbolized God’s Word, provision, and promises … but … placing something which He would be able to see … something that symbolized His Word, His provision, and His promises … He would be able to see … as He “passed by” … He would be able to see something which you specifically placed … on purpose … for one reason, and one reason only … to serve as a “Testament,” if you will … as a reminder … as a visual symbol … of His great love, His great mercy, His promises, and His Word …

That is powerful!

So, this idea of “posting” things which will remind you of God’s love … His promises … His provision … is not really such an original idea at all is it? Yet … it still carries Power … real Power … the Power of His Word … His Promises … displayed, yes, “posted,” throughout your home … visual reminders to all … not just for you and your family … but, to also serve as a witness to all who may visit your home … or, just pass by …

Just think: If “Someone” had the ability to see inside your home … even as they just “passed by,” would they see reminders of God’s love … His provision … His promises … Would they see constant reminders of God’s great faithfulness … reminders of His promises … reminders of His Word …? Yes, this idea of having reminders of God’s Word, even if Someone was “passing over” your house … seems to go back quite a ways …

Still a great idea, don’t you think?

I must say, that in all the times I have written about how important it is to have God’s Word “posted” around the house … even in your truck … or van … or car … I have never, ever, not even once, been given the comparison which we’ve just shared. It had never occurred to me, until I sat down now, and began to write …

Frankly, this revelation strikes me so deeply that I can’t add to it …
So … I’ll “page up,” and, type a “Part One” in the title … I sat down to write a different message, a different title, and a different series …

Something else:
It now just “hit me” that, when we share a message with you through our online ministry …
it is called a “post.” Or, by doing that, it is called, “posting.”

Oh, boy … I am just reminded that in the “early days,” when an important message was sent, it was called a “post.” Even our everyday means of sending communication today, is through the “post” office … Oh, man … I am really getting this … a “post” required a sender … and a receiver … if an important “post” was sent … it could mean life or death …

Because of the world we live in, I just feel compelled to add, in reference to this “life and death” scenario … in recent years, a new phrase has become part of our language, and it strikes me now, in light of this: The phrase, “Going Postal.” Just think about it.

In many cities, the important news of the day, written on paper … a “news” paper … many of these publications carried the word “Post” in their title … And, not just on “Saturday Evening.”

The word “post” and “important message” have been related for a long, long time.

If Someone sees what I have “posted” throughout my house, even on my truck visor, I want them to know that I am aware of … and, fully believe … God’s promises, His provision, and His Word.

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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Prayer Returns to Public Schools

Hi Friends:

This is another one of those times when I ask you to place the title in context.

There is a thought which says that prayer isn’t allowed in Public Schools.
There is also a thought which says that God isn’t allowed in Public Schools.
Both are just not true. Why?

I go to School every day.
I pray in School every day.
I bring God with me to School every day.
I am reminded of a story told by Evangelist R.W. Schambach:
A man enters a church, sits down, and remarks to the lady sitting next to him, “God is in this place.”
The lady turns to the man, and in a voice which only Rev. Schambach could replicate, says, “How do you know that?”
The man answers, “Because I brought Him with me.”

Yes, there are two distinct problems surrounding this “prayer in Public School” issue.
My Pastor once said that he sent his kids to School to learn about Science, Math, English, etc. Not to learn about God. Again, think of the context. They were supposed to learn about God at home. From Godly parents. I think you can see the problem there.
Then, let’s go back to this “I bring Him with me” issue. The ones who have learned about God, even know God … don’t act like it, once that bell rings. Again, this won’t fit everyone, but please understand the context here.

So, here it is, today. January 20, 2017. Inauguration Day here in the United States. What I wish is that everyone in the United States would learn about how governments are in other countries around the globe. That every American citizen would learn about what is happening “everywhere else.” Again, context. How so many nations are in political turmoil. How Christians are being killed, just because it was “found out” that they were Christians. How, in so many countries, it is illegal to convert to Christianity … how much suffering is going on … and, hopefully, everyone would realize how “good we’ve got it” over here. How many countries have their media “state-run.” Etc.

What I am getting at, is how blessed we are, to have a day like today. Something we’ve heard so many times, but take for granted: “The peaceful transition of power.” The peaceful transition of power.

I am hopeful that many Schools … I would think that all Schools … carried the Inauguration today. I’m not speaking about the Inaugural Address here. I’m writing about the ceremony. Boy … governments love ceremony … Anyway, I would hope, because of the great opportunity to see history, right in front of our eyes … that many Schools carried the Inauguration ceremony today.

Let me get this one out of the way right now: I’m not speaking as a Republican, or a Democratic. I am speaking as an American. An American citizen.

Here goes: I remember, back during the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan, as the President was being prepped for surgery, President Reagan looked up at the doctor, which was getting ready to operate. President Reagan said, “I hope you’re Republican.” The doctor answered, “Today, Mr. President, we are all Republican.” I heard this from President Reagan himself.

That’s what I mean. Today, we are all Americans. A remarkable thing has happened. And … it happened right in front of our eyes.

Back to the School … I’ve written how, in our Library, we have a large-screen television, which I use, sound muted and CC on, to carry news, weather, slide shows, and, especially, important news coverage of events happening “right now.” Certainly, an historic event like the Presidential Inauguration, qualifies for “live, streaming” coverage … with sound …

So, that’s what we did today. First thing this morning, I tuned the television to continuous, live coverage of the events, with sound … I must admit, I learned a lot, and was captivated by the historical tidbits the news anchors shared … I learned a lot …

If what I saw, and heard, happened in every Presidential Inauguration, then I may be saying too much about something that happens every Inauguration. But, for some reason, this one seemed different. The amount of prayers. The mention of God. And, especially, the mention of “the name of Jesus.” I mean … I heard Jesus mentioned a lot. Even “the powerful name of Jesus.” Somehow, it seemed like God was mentioned more this time … there were more prayers … the name of Jesus … more than any Inauguration I can remember.

So … innocently … and, I do mean innocently … there I was, with the television on, loud enough to be heard throughout the Library … and, as the ceremony got underway … time, and again … I heard a prayer … I heard Scripture being read … live on television, beaming out to the world … including Schools … prayers … Scripture being quoted … God being mentioned … a lot … Jesus being mentioned … a lot … the name of Jesus … being called on … in front of me … in front of the School … in front of audiences all around the globe … the name of Jesus … “in the name of Jesus” being said on many occasions … right in front of me … on television … in public … at a government ceremony … right in front of me … on television … in Public School … my School … it seems like there were three separate prayers before the Inaugural Address, and three prayers after the Address …

I heard “America the Beautiful.” I heard prayers. I heard Scripture being read. I heard our National Anthem. Ok, I’ll say it … when was the last time you heard these two songs during the same program? Yes … I heard our National Anthem many times last weekend … Football, remember?
I heard … yes, I heard and saw … the Mormon Tabernacle Choir … When was the last time, on National Television, you heard the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Quickly, allow me to mention this: One of my teacher colleagues, who is not a Donald Trump fan … I heard him proclaim, after the Republican Convention, “If he gets elected, I’m moving to Canada” … this same teacher, as an American citizen, could not believe that there were government officials who were not going to the Inauguration … this same teacher, who understands the importance of this “peaceful transition of power,” regardless of political beliefs … joined me, in the Library, during the Inauguration Ceremony … when the announcement was made to “please stand and honor our country during the singing of our National Anthem” … this same teacher, stood with me, side-by-side, during the singing of the National Anthem … I’ll never forget it … I also have made the decision, during televised sporting events, regardless of how comfortable I am, to stand during the Anthem … and, Monday, I plan to just walk up to him … and shake his hand … because he “gets it;” it’s not about “me,” but about “us,” as in United States …

So, today, there is a School-wide event, so I leave the television on in the Library, lock up, and head to the gym … When I left the Library, the Inaugural Address and benedictions had ended, the former President and First Lady had left the ceremony, and the Parade would follow … I lock up, again, leaving the television on, and enjoy the School event in the gym … When I return to the Library, as I enter, I can hear the television … but … it’s not coverage of the Parade being covered … it’s rioting, taking place, just a couple of blocks from the White House … rocks are being thrown at police … businesses have been damaged … a riot is taking place …

I don’t know what to say, or think … this is the United States, this is Inauguration Day, and this is less than 2 blocks from the White House … I hear, and see, reports about rocks being thrown at police … rocks being thrown at police …

Boy, does our country need prayer. Need to hear the Scripture. Need Godly examples. As I write this, I don’t know how all this turned out. I do know this: Many people can’t handle freedom. Even “the peaceful transition of power.” There are people who don’t have “peace within;” didn’t have it then, don’t have it now … won’t have it later, until they know this “Prince of Peace,” this “Jesus;” the One of whom so many heard the name of today … in the Library … in Public Schools … all across the globe …

Here goes: The Inauguration happened in Washington, D.C. If it had been held in any other city, yes, any other city, there would have been people to “show up” there as well … there will always be “those people” who can’t wait to throw rocks at police, or throw a brick through a business window … they’ll even travel for the opportunity … if this is a “demonstration,” it certainly is … let’s say that again … if “making your point” involves the destruction of property, or throwing projectiles at police … it certainly does “demonstrate” something …

Just 4 days ago, we celebrated the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, who said, “The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral; begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it … Never succumb to the temptation of bitterness … War is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow.”

God, help us. As I heard in the Inaugural Address, as all the world heard … as Schools all over America heard, from our President, the most important “help” we can get … is from God …

Blessings to you, and your family.
And, God, please, bless America

Richard. Vincent. Rose.

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A Beautiful Life with Beautiful Words: Hee Haw Gospel Quartet

Hi Friends:

Well … This may be the first time in recorded history in which a video by Elton John is followed by … The Hee Haw Gospel Quartet …

Yet, it confirms the fact that, many times, it is only the words of a song, the words of a poem, which can comfort us, can encourage us, and can help us, in those most difficult times of our life. The power of a song, the words of a song, just can’t be under-stated. And, it seems, the more difficult the time … the more a particular song can, and will, comfort and encourage us … To illustrate this further, just think about the “best times” of your life … how hearing a song, from “that time,” can “take you back” and bring a smile. In the same way, a song which ministered to you, during a difficult time, can make you think back to how God “got you through it,” and, how, just hearing that song, maybe even years later, can bring to remembrance how faithful God was then … and, is now …

I think back to an interview I heard, years ago, on Public Radio. It was in the months following the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States. The interview was with a singer from Canada. It was a major point, at the beginning of the interview, to bring up the fact that the first song this singer sang, as she greeted the audience, was a Gospel song … even though she wasn’t known as a Gospel singer … The song she sang was “The Old Gospel Ship,” which begins with the lines,
“I have good news to bring
And that is why I sing”
She explained how the audience just needed to “hear good news;” they were just so anxious to hear “good news.” I’ll never forget that statement.

So, anyway, a few weeks ago, I had one of those “really, really bad days.” We’ve all had them, and this was “my day.” I was frustrated, angry, upset, etc. Bad day. I sat down at the computer, and pulled up a folder on my computer, which I use to put everything into, which I am storing to use later. I have many videos in there, and all videos I share, including this one, come from that folder. Anyway, on that day, of all the videos to choose from, this was the video I chose to listen to, first. It just blessed me, comforted me, and gave me hope. Now, I know that I had hope “when I walked in,” that I was already so blessed-regardless of the day I was having … I know all that …. But, listening to this song … well, on that day, at that time, when I needed “a little good news” the most … it was this song which helped. Before the song was over, I had forgotten my troubles, and, just smiled … yes, smiled, in the midst of despair, as I “heard” what this song was saying …

Here we go: It’s the Hee Haw Gospel Quartet … Tennessee Ernie Ford, Granpa Jones, Stringbean, and Roy Clark … and, oh yes … I see George Lindsey and Gordie Tapp …
and, I still feel the words to the song …

One more thing:
I had a great day today … but, many didn’t. On that “bad day” I referenced above, many were having great days. I think the true power of a song is when the same song can touch your deepest emotions … on either a bad day … or a good day. I’ll write more about the show, and the singers, later. For now, here are the words to “A Beautiful Life,” written by William Golden.

A Beautiful Life
William M. Golden

Each day I’ll do a golden deed
By helping those who are in need
My life on earth is but a span
And so I’ll do the best I can

Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun

To be a child of God each day
My light must shine along the way
I’ll sing His praise while ages roll
And strive to help some troubled soul

Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun

The only life that will endure
Is one that’s kind and good and pure
And so for God I’ll take my stand
Each day I’ll lend a helping hand

Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun

I’ll help someone in time of need
And journey on with rapid speed
I’ll help the sick and poor and weak
And words of kindness to them speak

Life’s evening sun is sinking low
A few more days, and I must go
To meet the deeds that I have done
Where there will be no setting sun

While going down life’s weary road
I’ll try to lift some trav’ler’s load
I’ll try to turn the night to day
Make flowers bloom along the way

The song: 

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The Passing of Time, Years, and Diana, Princess of Wales

Hi Friends:

Amazing how time just goes by … seems like just yesterday … Is it just me, or do these two phrases automatically become part of our vocabulary as, well … time goes by. Anyway … it seems like just yesterday …

I’m going to share a video I had planned to share just after the 2016/17 football season began, prior to NFL week 1, and now, here it is, just after the New Year. Amazing how time just goes by … it seems like just yesterday …

It was the first week in this past September when I came across an article on ESPN about how, coming up, it would be the first time a football season would open without both Tom Brady and Payton Manning starting at quarterback … The article then went on to “take a look back” at what was happening on that opening weekend, August 31, 1997. Believe it or not, August/September 1997 was 19 years ago. 19 years ago … Amazing how time just goes by … seems like just yesterday …

Of all the news going on, on that weekend, 19 years ago, it was the news of the sudden death of Princess Diana which I remember the most. The events of that Saturday night, the week that followed, and the funeral held in London on Saturday, September 6, are still clearly etched in my memory. 19 years. The strong emotion I feel now, and felt while researching the facts to share in this writing, and then in putting this together, have surprised me, at their strength-and vividness. I will just never forget that week, in 1997, 19 years ago.

I write often about the power of a song, or a poem, really, any type of writing, to reach “deep down” within our very souls and beings; the ability to reach our deepest emotions. It is the beauty of such a gift to “bring this out,” even, yes, if it hurts.

I can’t fully explain why I, and so many the world over, felt such a personal connection with Princess Diana. In my case, maybe because we were close to the same age, and her story is so remarkable. When Lady Diana Spencer, at the age of 20, married Prince Charles, I was in broadcasting, and it was the biggest news event, up until that time, that I had been exposed to. And, this was after the hostages were freed from Iran. I still remember the special “commemorative” materials supplied by ABC news, covering every minute detail of the wedding, and the participants.

Diana’s wedding to the Prince of Wales, on July 29, 1981, was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral. The wedding was held there, instead of Westminster Abbey, because the Cathedral would hold more people. Over 750 million people watched the wedding on television. 600,000 people lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the couple on their way to the ceremony.
For generations, this was, truly, considered a “fairytale” wedding.

Princess Diana seemed to always be in the public eye, and she was considered “the world’s most photographed woman.”

It was Saturday night, August 31, 1997. I had turned on the television, a small black and white portable TV which had something like a 6” screen. I didn’t watch much TV, even then, but, because it was the only “live” show on television, I always tried to watch Saturday Night Live. It was around the 11:30 mark when NBC News broke in with a special news bulletin. There had been a car crash in Paris. No confirmation yet … but … then, the news broke:
What had been feared was officially confirmed:
Princess Diana was fatally injured in a car crash in the Pont de l’Alma road tunnel in Paris. With her in the car, also killed, was her companion, Dodi Fayed. The driver, Henri Paul, acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, was also killed in the crash.

The news hit me hard. And, yet, I couldn’t exactly explain why. I also knew how big a world-wide event, and story, this was. Yet … I had no one to call. I felt like, so many others around the world, after hearing this news, that I had suffered a personal loss. I can’t explain it, but, something inside me shattered. How personally did this affect me? It was around 11:45PM, and I called my Mother. Yes, I did. I mean, I had to call someone, right? Yes, I woke her up.

Princess Diana’s funeral took place in Westminster Abbey on Saturday, September 6, 1997. Using that same little black and white television, I watched it all. Several hours of global coverage, and I still remember a lot of it.

Two thousand people attended the ceremony in Westminster Abbey. More than one million people lined the streets of London. I spent hours watching the procession.
The British television audience totaled 32.10 million, which was one of the United Kingdom’s highest viewing figures ever. Worldwide, two billion people watched the funeral, making it one of the most watched events in history. That’s 2 billion people: The earth’s entire population at that time was 5.8 billion people.

According to news reports, a set of rosary beads was placed in Diana’s hands. Those beads were a gift she had received from Mother Teresa.

Mother Teresa died on September 5, 1997 … just 1 day before the funeral of Princess Diana.

Originally, it was planned for Princess Diana to be buried in the Spencer family vault in nearby Great Brington. However, Lord Spencer was concerned about public safety and security, with the number of visitors which could overwhelm Great Brington. It was decided that Princess Diana would be buried where her grave could be easily cared for, and visited in privacy, by members of the family. Princess Diana’s grave is on an island within the grounds of Althorp Park, which has been the Spencer family home for centuries.

I remember the procession, the crowds, the Royal Family.
I remember Prime Minister Tony Blair reading 1 Corinthians, chapter 13.
I remember the quote regarding the irony of “The Hunter” becoming “The Hunted.”

I remember Elton John.
During the service, Elton John sang “Candle in the Wind,” which had been re-written in tribute to Princess Diana. Elton John had contacted his writing partner, Bernie Taupin, and asked him to revise the lyrics of his 1973 song “Candle in the Wind,” to honor Diana.
This singing of the song is the only time the song has been performed in public.
Just a month before Princess Diana’s death, it was Diana who had comforted Elton John, at the funeral of a mutual friend, Gianni Versace.

Here is what Bernie Taupin was quoted as saying, about writing the lyrics for “Candle in the Wind 1997: “I thought it was very important to project it from a nation’s standpoint. I wanted to make it sound like a country singing it. From the first couple of lines I wrote, the rest sort of fell into place.”

The song, “Candle in the Wind 1997″ was released as a single in 1997, with the global proceeds going to Princess Diana’s charities.
I am holding a copy of that Cassette Single in my hands right now. Clearly on the case is written: “In loving memory of Diana, Princess of Wales,” along with the information regarding the proceeds donated to the charity.

Now, back to Saturday, September 6, 1997.
Here is the BBC feed of Elton John’s arrival at “the Abbey,” and his live performance.
Note that, arriving with Elton John, is George Michael.
Here is the BBC’s coverage of Elton John’s arrival, and performance, of “Candle in the Wind:”

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