Monthly Archives: February 2014

Grateful For The Light We Have

We’ve written much lately about the importance of light, especially in dark places, including how little light we get, on average, here in the North Country of New Hampshire.

Remember that old saying about always being thankful, because there is always someone, somewhere, in worse shape than you.

I’d like to share a couple of links to 2 stories/slide presentations.
The first is a link to a story which a friend in Indiana sent me.
It is about a village named Viganella, a village in the Italian Alps, which sits at the bottom of a steep valley, and surrounding mountains cut off direct sunlight during the winter. The southern side of the valley is so sheer that on November 11, the sun disappears and does not reappear until February 2. Not a single ray of sunlight falls on Viganella in the weeks in between.
The solution? Install a giant mirror on the mountainside, to reflect the sun’s light into the village below.
Here are 2 raw links to the story:

First, from BBC News:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/6189371.stm

Another story, from Twisted Sifter:
http://twistedsifter.com/2012/02/village-builds-giant-mirror-to-combat-darkness/

Next … it’s called “The Coldest City in the World.” Winter temperatures in Oymyakon, Russia, average minus 50 C ( minus 58 F). The remote village is generally considered the coldest inhabited area on Earth.

Here’s a link to a slide show presented by The Weather Channel:
http://www.weather.com/travel/breathtaking-photos-coldest-city-world-20140128

So, it’s not so bad up here in the Great North Woods. According to information I just got from wunderground.com, here’s how it’s looked up here:
Our first snow of this Winter was on November 14.
In November, we had 14 days with recorded snowfall.
In December, we had 20 days with recorded snowfall.
In January, we had 15 days with recorded snowfall.
So far in February, we’ve had 20 days of recorded snowfall. This is through yesterday (Feb. 26). Yes … it is snowing now …

Our Temperatures so far this Winter:
Our first night with zero or below temperatures was November 29, when the low was exactly zero … the next night, November 30, it was -5.
In December, we had 8 nights with zero or below.
In January, we had 16 nights with zero or below.
So far in February, we’ve had 14 nights with zero or below.
Of course, the low tonight should be -2.

So far, we’ve had 5 nights where it was -20 degrees or colder.

Note these are not “wind chills,” but actual air temperatures.

For those with pellet stoves … we have used almost 6 tons of pellets this Winter, and should need one more ton to get us through …

And … just for my brother in North Georgia … and, other teachers across the globe … so far this Winter, we have had no “snow days” at School … however, we have had 2 separate “2 hour-delays,” where School started 2 hours late. Our School rule for going outside at recess is this:
If the temperature is Above Zero (And, this does include wind chill), the children go outside. And, yes, at times this Winter, there have been weeks where the children could not go outside for a single recess.

We haven’t gotten nearly as much snow this year. However, the snow is still piled us almost to the edge of the garage roof. And, I am grateful
that I have only had to shovel the roof of our home one time so far.

So … overall, a great Winter, and looking for the first robins
to show 
up in a couple of weeks.
Blessings,
Ted
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“Light Reflections”

Ever since we did the “A Little Light” series, I have added to my daily prayers the request for God to allow me to be a “light” to those around me. Every day. For me to be a light in a dark world, into which I, like all of us, walk every day. We wrote about how, if we will be that light, other people will notice-whether they like it or not. We have that Light inside of us, but do we “let it shine?”
Ouch!
We also wrote about, “God, Why did You put me here? In such a dark place?” Exactly! That’s the reason!

The darker the place, the more light is needed. And, the darker the place, the greater difference, even a small light makes. So, the answer to “God … What am I doing here?” is answered, as Jesus always did, in the form of a question: “What am I doing here?” As in … “What am I doing here?” Enough? Doing what He placed me here to do?” Being the light He put me here to be?
Ouch!

So, this past Friday night … somewhere around 6:00-7:00PM, we had a power outage. Way up here, in the North County, this is a rarity. Our power, our lights, just don’t go out very often. But, here, on the first night of School Vacation, the power went out.
Total Darkness.

We lit candles. And, it was beautiful. It always takes me back to when I was growing up, and we lost power, especially during an ice storm. We used wood for heat, and we had plenty of candles and lanterns, so when the power went out, we were, sometimes, the only house on our road which had heat. It was so warm. It was always a reminder of the “old days,” when there was no electricity. Since we were too young to remember how it was “back then,” our only glimpses of that life were from watching the “Waltons” and “Little House on the Prairie.”

So, here we were, just Carol and I, and the lights were out … no telephone … no internet … We don’t watch much TV, if ever, but, it still seemed like a “loss” of some kind not to have it available … no radio either … even though we listen less to radio than we watch television …
It was so awesome, just sitting there, both in our rocking chairs, just talking (remember that?)
There is still no one else I’d rather talk to, or rock with, than Carol. She rocks! And, the candlelight in her eyes … matched only by the glow of just being with her …

It was 9:00PM when we figured that, even if the lights went back on, it was too late to cook supper. So, we made the decision to go to McDonalds (in the next town over). Keep in mind that we don’t go to restaurants often, and, for us, McDonalds is a real treat. I always joke if we should call ahead to let them know that we were coming, and that, “This evening, we’ll be ordering from the Dollar Menu.” Call me whatever … but, and after working at McDonalds for two different periods in my life … I still love going there, and I had just as soon go there as any fancy restaurant anywhere … We are thankful for everything, so we are not hard to please.

Anyway, as we were leaving, blowing out one candle at a time, it was amazing … amazing … how much light just one candle made. God reinforced it again for me … just one candle … one light … makes such a difference … And, the darker the surroundings … the more of a difference just a small light made …

I thought about something I write about every day … how I thank God for the (what we call) “simple things” of life … like electricity … and heat … the things we take for granted every day … I thought to myself, “Did I thank God for Electricity this morning???”

We got our order at McDonalds, and then went to our “usual table,” which, even months between visits, we go directly to. At our booth, me on one side and Carol on the other, we joined hands, across the table, and prayed. Said “Grace.” Regardless of where we are, we don’t eat until we pray. Even if one of us is away from the table, neither one of us starts to eat until we pray. That’s just what we do. Don’t you? Anyway, it seemed like just seconds after we prayed, that a young man who worked there, in full uniform, appeared between our table and the soda machine. He got our attention as he walked over, both arms outstretched, and exclaiming how wonderful it was to see what he had just seen … two people praying “in public,” and how rare a sight that was. And, most of all … what it meant to him, personally, to see this.

I tried to answer him, as best I could, with “We do it because we are thankful,” and that’s why we do it. We are thankful. Man! Even at McDonalds, on a cold, windy, and dark night … you just never know who is watching. Just know that people are watching you … every minute of every day. Even if you aren’t at work! But … he was …

It reminds me of a time when Carol and I were at the airport in Philadelphia, PA. We literally spent the day at the airport, as weather had halted air traffic all across the eastern seaboard. We’ve spent a lot of time in airports, and rarely eat a meal there (no Dollar Menu in Airports!). We had ordered from one of the “fast food” restaurants, and had taken our seats at a table near a window, as I still love to watch the planes come in and out. Once seated, Carol on one side of the table and me on the other, we joined hands across the table and said a prayer over the food. From out of nowhere, a lady came over and introduced herself to us. I’ll never forget what she said:
“I knew, when I first saw you, that you were Christians. When I saw you pray, that just confirmed it.”
We have met some great people at airports.

You just never know who is watching. Just know that people are watching you … every minute of every day. Even if you aren’t at work! But … she was …

Lord Jesus, help me to be that light to others … at home, and away … to reflect Your Light … always …
Even on dark days … where it’s needed most …
And, help me to remember, most of all, that it is not only them who are watching …
But, You …

Blessings,
Richard.Vincent.Rose.

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Personal Bureau of Inspiration: Carol’s Cards

Finally … back to the dresser … to again remind you how important it is to place Scripture where you can see it-and read it-every day.

This is back to the series where we detailing how so many people we know and have read about, post messages of inspiration, especially Bible verses, at various “focal points” around the house. Places where they are sure to be, places where their eyes and attention are sure to be … every day. We talked about mirrors, refrigerators, the car visor, etc. And, of course, the bureau, or dresser, in the bedroom.

I just can’t get that “children’s” song out of my head:
“Be careful, little eyes what you see …
Be careful, little ears, what you hear …”

However … what really strikes me about that song … and, I mean, hits me hard … is how much more important it is to be careful what we see and hear … after we are “all grown up.” It is important what you read … what you see … what music or language you hear …
That’s why it’s so important to read your Bible every day … speak to God every day-and listen to God every day … and, yes, look at those inspirational messages every day.

I wrote about the cards on my dresser/bureau, and those on Carol’s dresser/bureau, which, since her dresser is the one with the mirror … I find myself in front of at least once or twice every day. And, every time … I glance down, and read at least one of the six note cards, neatly arranged, she has placed at the center of her dresser. Three on the left, and three on the right. Of course, mine are in a single stack, on the left side … where I rotate them, day by day, bringing a new verse to the top.
 
Here is an amazing “coincidence” which I discovered:
I can’t remember exactly when I started doing this, but, every single time, in my early morning prayer time (my first official act every morning), I ask God to specifically forgive me of my wrong thoughts, words, and deeds (actions). I ask Him to help me think the right thing, to speak the right thing, and to do the right thing. I ask Him to control my thoughts, my words, and my actions. To think right; to speak right; to act right. I don’t know about you, but these are the three areas where I need the most help … and, I fail in, the most. As you read this, I hope you notice something very important: I need God in every area of my life. I need forgiveness in every one of these areas, and I need help in all three. Again, I don’t know when I really started to concentrate on these three areas, as they have always been important, but it seemed that, one day, these three areas just took prominence at the beginning of my prayer time.

It was when I began this series (PBI) that I looked at Carol’s cards closely … as I intended to fulfill my promise to share their contents with you … that I noticed that the three cards on the right side, each individually, addressed a certain area of our lives:
They were, in the order of appearance, top to bottom:
Thoughts
Words
Deeds

All this time, I had been reading the Scriptures on the cards, but had not noticed this designation for each card. I did notice how straight my tie was … if my shirt was wrinkled … how my hair was … etc. … but, I hadn’t noticed this on the cards, and I read these cards every day.

I have since asked Carol where she “got” these particular Scriptures from, meaning were they part of a particular lesson or study she was involved in. They were. This is another reason it is so important to participate in a scheduled Bible study … Even without my knowing, God was using HER cards to change me … Another reason I encourage Christian men and women, who have unbelieving spouses, to place these kinds of cards on your own personal bureau/dresser. Because … trust me … if you have notes on your dresser … your spouse will read them!

So, as promised, here are “Carol’s Cards,” and I am copying them exactly as I hold them now:
The three cards on the right address the three areas of which we have spoken. The three cards on the left address general areas of need and concern in our daily lives. Here goes:

Top Right:
PSALM 139:23-24 (THOUGHTS)
SEARCH ME, O GOD, AND KNOW MY
HEART: TRY ME, AND KNOW MY THOUGHTS:
AND SEE IF THERE BE ANY WICKED
WAY IN ME, AND LEAD ME IN
THE WAY EVERLASTING.

Right Center:
PSALM 19:14 (WORDS)
LET THE WORDS OF MY MOUTH
AND THE MEDITATION OF MY HEART,
BE ACCEPTABLE IN THY SIGHT,
O LORD, MY STRENGTH, AND MY
REDEEMER.

Bottom Right:
PSALM 15:1-2 (DEEDS)
LORD, WHO SHALL ABIDE IN THY
TABERNACLE? WHO SHALL DWELL IN
THY HOLY HILL?
HE THAT WALKETH UPRIGHTLY, AND
WORKETH RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND
SPEAKETH THE TRUTH IN HIS HEART.

Top Left:
ROMANS 6:6
KNOWING THIS, THAT OUR OLD MAN
IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, THAT THE
BODY OF SIN MIGHT BE DESTROYED,
THAT HENCEFORTH WE SHOULD NOT
SERVE SIN

Middle Left:
2 CORINTHIANS 2:14
NOW THANKS BE UNTO GOD,
WHICH ALWAYS CAUSETH US TO TRIUMPH
IN CHRIST, AND MAKETH MANIFEST
THE SAVOR OF HIS KNOWLEDGE
BY US IN EVERY PLACE.

Bottom Left:
PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7
BE ANXIOUS FOR NOTHING; BUT IN
EVERY THING BY PRAYER AND SUPPLICATION
WITH THANKSGIVING LET YOUR
REQUESTS BE MADE KNOWN UNTO GOD.
AND THE PEACE OF GOD, WHICH
PASSETH ALL UNDERSTANDING, SHALL
KEEP YOUR HEARTS AND MINDS
THROUGH CHRIST JESUS.

I hope this blesses you as much as it does me!


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George Washington: Providence, Prayer, Protection, and President

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States.”

“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the Invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States.”

“The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.”

“Almighty God. I yield thee humble and hearty thanks that thou has preserved me from the danger of the night past, and brought me to the light of the day, and the comforts thereof, a day which is consecrated to thine own service and for thine own honor. Let my heart, therefore, Gracious God, be so affected with the glory and majesty of it, that I may not do mine own works, but wait on thee, and discharge those weighty duties thou requirest of me.”
From the Prayer Journal of George Washington

“Give me grace to hear thee calling on me in thy word, that it may be wisdom, righteousness, reconciliation and peace to the saving of the soul in the day of the Lord Jesus. Grant that I may hear it with reverence, receive it with meekness, mingle it with faith, and that it may accomplish in me, Gracious God, the good work for which thou has sent it.”
From the Prayer Journal of George Washington

“Bless my family, kindred, friends and country, be our God and guide this day and for ever for His sake, who lay down in the Grave and arose again for us, Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.”
From the Prayer Journal of George Washington

George Washington experienced a miracle early in his military career. This account is widely known and was included in most school history textbooks, until recent changes caused it to be deleted from many books.

During the French and Indian war at the Battle of the Monongahela, young Colonel Washington was engaged in a fierce skirmish with the Indians. An easy target in his bold red coat, he crisscrossed the battlefield carrying General Braddock’s orders to the troops. The Indian warriors later acknowledged that they were targeting all officers–and particularly Washington–in the bright garb. Yet Washington survived. There were eighty-six British and American officers involved in the battle; sixty-three of them died. Colonel Washington was the only officer on horseback who was not killed, and later, the Indians testified that they repeatedly shot at him, and were surprised that he never fell. They believed he was protected by an invisible power and that no bullet, bayonet, arrow or tomahawk could harm him.

Years later, the Indian chief sought Washington out in order to tell him what had happened in the battle. The Chief said, “I am a chief and ruler over my tribes. I have traveled a long and weary path that I might see the young warrior of the great battle. [On that day] I called to my men and said, ‘Quick, let your aim be certain, and he dies.’ Our rifles were leveled, rifles which, but for you, knew not how to miss-’twas all in vain, a power mightier far than we, shielded you. I am come to pay homage to the man who is the particular favorite of Heaven, and who can never die in battle.”

Washington himself later wrote to his brother John, “By the all-powerful dispensations of Providence, I have been protected beyond all human probability or expectation; for I had four bullets through my coat, and two horses shot under me, yet escaped unhurt, although death was leveling my companions on every side of me!”
washington in snow praying

“The disadvantageous circumstances on our part, under which the war was undertaken, can never be forgotten. The singular interpositions of Providence in our feeble condition were such as could scarcely escape the attention of the most unobserving; while the unparalleled perseverance of the armies of the United States, through almost every possible suffering and discouragement for the space of eight long years, was little short of a standing miracle.”
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From “Modern-Day Psalms”: “Don’t Weep For Me (Mama Version)”

When I read “Don’t Weep for Me” at a memorial service, I always change the paragraph about military service, to fit the life of the one to whom the service is being given for, always leaving the “bosom of Abraham” reference to close that personalized paragraph.

When my beloved Mother went to be with Jesus, it was early on Valentine’s Day … February 14, 2013. During the period of mourning that followed, I wanted to re-write “Don’t Weep for Me” in honor of Mama.

I went in and added words that detailed what she most loved in her life: Jesus, and her family. Mama loved the Psalms; it was her favorite book. I also could not leave out the fact that, when Jesus came and got her, it was Valentine’s Day.

Something else about Valentine’s Day: February 14th is also my mother-in-law’s birthday, who passed away on Good Friday, in 2003. Let’s just say that neither of those days will ever be the same again.

Please allow me to comfort and encourage you with these words:
As a parent, when it comes to your children, there are three things you most worry about when they are away from the house, gone with friends, etc. These would be:
1. Where they are.
2. Who they are with.
3. When will you see them again?

Now, as a loving son … when Mama left us … so much of the pain and agony was taken away, because:
1. I knew where she was.
2. I knew who she was with.
3. I knew that I would see her again.

Don’t Weep For Me
Mama Version

Don’t weep for me
If you could see
What I now see
You would not weep … you would shout “Victory!”

I know that only sadness now you feel
But, you need to know that Heaven is real
If you could only see the streets of gold, the pearly gate
You would not cry, you might even envy my fate

The skies are always sunny, bathed in God’s own light
There is no more rain, no clouds, and no more night
I’ve left behind sickness, heartache, and pain
No more tears, broken dreams; for now, all is gain

For, here, there is no more sorrow, poverty, or lack
I can tell you now-I don’t ever want to go back
Back to the earth, and the trials every day …
No, I’ll take Jesus, and peace … right here I will stay

Don’t weep for me now
You don’t know what you do!
Don’t wish I was there
For if you only knew!

On Thursday, February 14th, at 2:45
It was not that I died, I became alive
I have no more sickness, no more pain
There will be no more clouds, no thunder, no rain

It was no coincidence
That it was Valentine’s Day
When the One I most loved took me away
Waiting for you
Here I will stay
The Lord is my Shepherd-Trust Him today

I fought the good fight
The good race I ran
And now I’ve landed safely
In the bosom of Abraham

For, here in eternity I will forever rest
And walk down these streets with the one called “Blessed”
For I have reached my eternal reward
With the chorus of saints I join in one accord

I don’t have time now to shed just one tear
I can only hope that one day, you too, will be here
My body I’ve left, but why should you grieve?
I’ve traded it all for this new body I’ve received

I’m singing right now, and laughing out loud
If you could see me right now, I know you’d be proud
I trusted in Jesus, and Jesus alone
I traded my hospital bed to sit on God’s throne

There should be only one reason for you all to cry
And that is to not know where you’ll go when you die
For one day you’ll die and you’ll be right here
But, if you’ve trusted in Jesus, you’ll have nothing to fear

I’ll wait, and I’ll wait for you to decide
If you don’t trust Jesus, then I’ll be the one who cried

So, don’t weep for me
You know the gospel is true
Follow its course
Lest, from above, I weep for you

So, just remember, if you start to cry
Instead, just look up at that big, blue sky
I’m looking down to tell you again, just like days gone by,
That “God loves you … and … so do I …”
Richard. Vincent. Rose.
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Special Video Presentation: “The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln”

Well … for long time now, over on our blog, we have been waiting to feature a certain photo montage of Abraham Lincoln … then, today, I decided to feature this video, called “The Wisdom of Abraham Lincoln.” It features lots of photographs, yes, but it provides a real glimpse into the mind, and heart, of President Lincoln.

On our blog, still today, one of the most viewed posts we’ve done is one from several months ago, entitled “Abraham Lincoln’s Road to the White House,” in which I quoted directly from a poster I have hanging prominently in our office. It has to do with perseverance.
Here’s a direct link to that Post:
Abraham Lincoln’s Road to the White House

I know that so many of us love to collect quotes, so I’m sure you’ll enjoy this presentation. I just sat back, relaxed, and thought … as I read along … hope you will too!


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Our National Anthem: When … Where … and Whitney

… It all started when I was thinking about our National Anthem … How often do we hear it? When do we hear it?

Really, what I was thinking was this: If it wasn’t for sporting events … when would we hear our National Anthem? In the middle of this, I had forgotten that a presentation of the reading of our Declaration of Independence was included as part of the pre-game festivities surrounding the televised Super Bowl, which “constituted” our last post.

Anyway … the whole idea was, how often do we see, hear, or read these great documents, from which our nation, and, yes, our way of life, sprang?

So, back to our National Anthem. When do we hear it? If it wasn’t for sporting events, would we ever hear it at all?
Yes, I agree that some schools do include the singing of our National Anthem as part of a daily or weekly schedule, usually placed around the reading of the “morning announcements.” I have worked in schools where the Pledge of Allegiance (another post coming up) was featured every day,
and then, the National Anthem would be featured once a week. I know, every school is different in how they do all of this.

So … as adults, if we didn’t go to live sports events, or didn’t watch sports on television … when would we hear our National Anthem? Where would we hear our National Anthem?

As adults, here in the United States, if we didn’t go to sports events, or watch them on television … would we ever hear our National Anthem?
Ever?

I did considerable research on this. As an American author, including being the author of “The Eagle Still Flies (Under Star-Spangle Skies)-A New Anthem For America,” and having been honored to write many works with a patriotic theme, I am very much interested in all things patriotic …
I discovered that, yes, there is an existing “official code” for the
National Anthem of the United States of America. It was adopted by “The National Anthem Committee,” on April 2, 1942. Here’s what it says:

“The Star-Spangled Banner will be presented only in situations, programs, and ceremonies where its message can be effectively projected … it is of paramount importance that emphasis be placed upon the singing (italicized) of the Nation Anthem … Our National Anthem is customarily sung at the opening any any program … care should be taken to establish the correct pitch … The National Anthem should be sung at a moderate rate of speed … The statements herein relate to every mode of civilian performance of our National Anthem …”

Now … enter Whitney Houston:

I must be honest … yes, I must … ever since I got the idea for this post, I have had a particular version of the Nation Anthem saved … but, won’t, I can’t, use it here … I know, I know, when we think of the great versions of the Nation Anthem we’ve heard, we think of Whitney Houston … and, now, I know why …

You are thinking of the Super Bowl, back in 1991 … well, here is Whitney Houston singing our National Anthem, in Norfolk, Virginia (one of our favorite cities) … in front of the soldiers … at her “Welcome Home Heroes” concert … I had a lot of renditions of our National Anthems to choose from, but this one … from the first moments, I “felt” … enjoy!

 

Now … here is the performance, perhaps most known, from Super Bowl 25, on January 27, 1991 … It was the Buffalo Bills vs. the New York Giants, at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida … but, it (along with a certain kick) is most remembered for this:
As Wikipedia records:

“Because of the Gulf War situation, this marked the first time the Super Bowl would be telecast in most countries around the world. Outside of North America and England, this Super Bowl was broadcast for the first time in such countries as Australia, Russia, and most other countries. Whitney Houston performed “The Star-Spangled Banner,” backed by The Florida Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jahja Ling. With America involved in the Gulf War,the positive response to the rousing performance was overwhelming, and it was released as a single and a video. It reached the number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 – making her the only act to turn the National Anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude.Houston’s rendition was critically acclaimed and largely regarded as one of the best renditions of the U.S. National Anthem in history.”


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