A Stone On Your Head

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In 1834 the following story was written by English historians who were compiling a review of County Crayke. It is the true account of a gentlemen named Simeon Ellerton.

“Simeon Ellerton died here, Crayke, North Yorkshire, England, January 3, 1799, at the advanced age of 104. He was a noted pedestrian, and was often employed by gentlemen in the neighborhood on commissions to London and other places, which he always executed on foot, with fidelity and diligence. He lived in a neat stone cottage of his own building; and what was remarkable, he had literally carried it upon his head!

It being his practice to bring home from every journey the proper stone he could pick up on the road, and place it on his head, until he had accumulated a sufficient quantity to erect his habitation, by which time, although the motive had ceased, this practice had grown so much into a habit, that he imagined he could travel the better for having a weight upon his head and he seldom came home without some loading. If any person inquired his reason, he used facetiously to answer, ‘’Tis to keep on my hat’.”

The article went on to say that local residents all thought he was a “curious fellow”, a bit touched in the head, or at the very least, a bit eccentric. Because of his practice, the term “rocks on your head” began to be used to describe anyone who acted out of the norm, or had behavior considered a bit strange. What is fascinating, is that the term is still in use today. It has come down to us in the form of “rocks in your head”. Yet the fact is, the man it was intended to mock,  actually lived an honorable life. He was trusted and respected by all who hired him, and lived to the ripe old age of 104, during a time when the average person died before the age of 50. Hardly the life of one who should be mocked!

For me this is such a great story. It demonstrates the value of quiet resolve, personal diligence and clear vision, which are so important if you are going to accomplish anything in life. Let’s face it, few people today would stop to ask why a man was walking the roadside with a rock on his head. Most would assume he was mentally unhinged, or an emotional prisoner to some trauma in life. He would most likely be reported to the authorities and locked in some psychiatric ward. Fewer still would have the diligence, fortitude and patience to carry out a practice everyone questioned. The mockery of others, and the sheer magnitude of the task at hand, would simply wear them out.

There is a powerful lesson to be learned from the humble determination of the man who carried a rock on his head. He is the model for all of us who think outside the box. We all live in a world that tries to conform us to it’s way of doing things. Dress like this, talk like that, think like this and act like so. Drive this car, use this makeup, live in this kind of house and dress in these clothes. Conform, or you are an outcast and will have no work! The point is, most people are nothing more than rats running in a social maze and they are too blind, or too scared, to see things for what they really are.

And so, those of us with a rock on our head, who carry this load along life’s road, are doing so because it secures our future.  We are carrying the stones of a place not yet built, where we will live free, think free and enjoy independence from that which influences and manipulates the rest of the world. Run like mindless lemmings, if you so desire, into the sea that this world offers. But, as for me, I will go against that flow every time, and much prefer to be the odd ball. An outcast in some circles, perhaps, but who cares! While they are running like gerbils on their caged-in treadmills, I am having amazing failures and wonderful adventures in the real world that take my breath away!

I, and those like me, are the curious ones that others wonder about, as we serve God, pray and live biblically principled lives. We gladly walk our road with a rock on our head, knowing that in time we will have a “neat stone cottage” approved by God. It may not be tomorrow, but one stone at a time it will be built. As this world goes it’s merry way, deeper into conformity and sin, laughing, mocking and looking at us with curiosity, we will be building a future that will not be shaken, one stone on our head at a time. My question is, what’s on your head my friend, and what future are you building?  If you don’t like what you see, let me invite you to join us on our journey into the presence of God. You won’t regret it! Now go find a nice stone….. and have a great day!

 

Life As A Priority

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In the early 1900’s, life in rural America was so much simpler than it is today. Many, like myself, think this was life as it should be. The steam locomotive, wagon and horse were the main forms of transportation. Every community had a hardware store and blacksmith shop. The general store, post office and barbershop were gathering places for local news. The sawmill and gristmill were centers of community commerce, and farmers brought their crops into town to sell locally. People were happy to depend on each other in times of crises, or to meet basic, daily needs.

Life was slower, less distracted and more deliberate in those days, and each season had its own necessary preparations. There were family gardens and crops to be planted in spring, structures to be built in summer, wood to be cut, a harvest to be brought in and animals to be hunted in the Fall, and winter was used to mend, fix and prep everything for the next year. Front porches on every house were lined with comfortable wooden rockers that adults sat in during the evening and they shared a cup of coffee and good conversation. Best of all, neighbors looked out after each other on a daily basis and there was a sense of belonging that cemented things into that specific time and place.

The cars, bicycles and motorcycles were novelties, for the most part, and the average person viewed them as toys for the rich. People heated their homes with wood and lighted the night with kerosene lamps or home made candles. Hand made bi-planes crawled into the air under the guidance of inexperience daredevils, who landed them in empty fields that served as airports. Doctors made house calls and left the necessary medicine for their patients, all for a whopping price of $5. Milk and heavy cream were delivered in glass bottles to the front door by local dairy’s along with eggs, cheese and butter.

A “tab” was run up at local stores by most everyone, and this was paid off without interest, at the end of the month. Loans were made, and finances exchanged with nothing more than a handshake and a verbal agreement. No signed contracts were needed, and in many cases, no one wrote down how much was borrowed. People were basically honest, but beyond that, they knew their family name was on the line if they failed to honor their agreement. There was genuine trust and respect that people gave to one another, and nothing less was to be expected.

There was one school in each community and it had locally hired teachers who taught two elementary grade levels in a single room. Each high school grade had it’s own room and teachers specialized in two or three subjects. Elementary teachers stayed with the same class all day while those in high school rotated between classrooms and grade levels to be taught different subjects. Students all walked to school, there were no busses, and they either carried their lunch in a brown paper bag or ran home to eat at lunchtime. The average class size in these community schools was 8 to 12 students per grade level, and that was also the size of each graduating class.

It’s hard to believe, but this is very close to the world I grew up in. Our small village in the northern Adirondacks seemed to have a “Brigadoon” quality about it that resisted modernization. It disliked change of any kind, and each new decade took it further and further out of step with the world that was changing all around it. Quite honestly, we were proud of that fact, and in many ways I still am. Why? Because, I got to live in a world that was quickly vanishing away. I got to know some of the life my father had lived, in the early 1900’s, and it connected me to him and to our family history. I not only heard his stories of years gone by, but I was able to experience some of them for myself, which made them real.

Dad road in an open wagon, and I got to ride in the back of his 1954 Willies truck on summer nights. He swam in Sumner Brook on hot summer days, and 55 years later so did I. I attended the same schoolhouse he did, sat in the same desks and wrote on the same chalkboards. Our family ate breakfast and dinner together as a family every day, and life rotated around when those meals were ready. We adjusted our activities to our family mealtime, not our mealtime to our activities. Eating at my mother’s table was a constant that established our family life and time together.

Now imagine this; when I was 9 years old my father called Cohen’s Hardware Store, just down the hill from our house, and told the clerk to give me two “farmers helpers”. Dad was clearing stumps and rocks from our backfield and these made the job much easier. With $2 in hand I arrived at the store, handed the clerk the money, and he gave me two paper bags. One had sawdust in it and the other did not. He then gave me stern instructions to keep them separate and take them directly to my father.

What was in the two bags? One held two blasting caps with 10 inch fuses, and the other held sawdust that encased and two half sticks of dynamite, called “blanks”. Once a blasting cap was inserted into the “blank”, and the fuse was lit, you were in business to remove any stump or rock that might be in the way. Today people would be arrested for such a thing, but back them it was just everyday life. I had a respect for the power of what I held and I also respected my father. In addition I trusted the store clerk and they both trusted me to do exactly as I was told. Needless to say I did not let them down and the whole system worked fine. There were no permits, no laws broken and no harm was done. It was regulation free and worked for everyone.

We learned respect for authority, obedience to our parents and we accepted the wisdom of common sense. We listened to what would be dangerous, or wrong, and we kept that knowledge close at hand. We took responsibility for our actions and discovered the value of honoring the old ways that served past generations so well. The deep-rooted connection to the life that had always been, was embraced as truth, and it kept us safe, brought focus and connected us together as a community.

This was the life for me during the 1950’s, and when it began to disappear, something in me disappeared with it. The sense of permanence, historical family foundations and the knowledge of knowing where you belonged, began to fade away. Then my mother moved from our hometown at the age of 90, and a few years later Normans General Store closed, after being there for 120 years. With these two events, all connection to who we had always been was gone. Every tie to family history, and the reality that I could no longer go “home” was a shock. It set me adrift, and I felt like I was floating in a sea of uncertainty in a rapidly changing world that clearly would never be the same.

I was eventually able to get my bearings because the core values of that solid, grounded, generational life, served me well. However, many today live their lives with a directionless, rootless apathy. The need for job security often moves families across the country multiple times. Statistics show that people move, on average, every 5 years. Today, huge schools bus children in from miles around, and class sizes average in the hundreds. Millions of dollars are spent on sports programs, free breakfast and lunches and special clubs. Yet with all of this, more children are overweight, the quality of education continues to fall and students are less prepared for the workforce than ever before.

Where is the answer in all of this? Are we to go back to the horse and buggy, the kerosene lamp and the hand pump of 100 years ago? No, but we might do well to go back and revisit the values, the priorities and the heart of those earlier times. Imagine what it would be like to rediscover the art of human connection. Think of how wonderful conversation could be without the constant interruption of television, computer screens or cell phones buzzing and chirping invasively into every moment of the day. How grand would it be to sit around the dinner table and eat a well-prepared meal rather than rushing off to yet another event.

How in the world do you do this? One word: PRIORITIES! The priority you place on things always determines how they fit into the life you live. There is no exception to the rule, and no way to avoid the consequences either. You will always, and I mean always, find time for what’s really important. Tell me your kids are important, yet you are always working and never have time for them; YOU LIE! Say that family is important, yet you never take a vacation together, never do fun things as a family and rarely share your thoughts or feelings: YOU LIE! Say that saving for retirement is important but you constantly go into debt and buy things that you can’t afford; YOU LIE!

Let me challenge you to live a life of priorities. Set a standard that others will be blessed by. Set the wrong priorities and it will become a curse. Living a life of priorities is the only way to live happy and fulfilled. We may not be able to go back to what was, but we can get our priorities straight and capture a better way to live. If you want to recover some of what has been lost, let me encourage you to consider the above. If you will, you can change what is, and those who follow after you will be able enjoy the history you have created. Let me ask you, in the end, what’s that worth!

The Missing Pieces Of Time

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Time….. It is the subject of science fiction movies and multitudes of books. It is evidenced by the decay of everything around us. It shows up when we gaze into the mirror and see wrinkles and gray hair looking back. It becomes painfully real when we go through old photo albums and see people who have gone on to their eternal rest. It never stops, has no favorites it passes by, or special people it refuses to impact. The endless march of time comes to all of us, and how it touches each can be very different.

I mention the above because the other night I was watching a favorite show of mine called  “NOVA” which is on PBS. This particular show was about three girls who were born like every other girl on planet earth. However, they were handicapped and they all exhibited something that is considered to be the rarest of unknown, and unstudied diseases on earth. These three girls do not age. At one point in their early childhood development the aging mechanism within just switched off, and no one kn0ws why.

After a lifetime of study, one genetic researcher decided to use one of the worlds largest super computers to map the entire genetic structure of these girls. After months of pains-taking analysis, the team discovered the disorder was caused by a missing or misplaced piece of  DNA. This is the master blueprint for all life as we know it, so when a piece of it goes missing that is not a good thing. The protein that is produced by this missing material is not present in these girls and because of this missing genetic material they simply do not get any older. Strangely enough, no boy has ever been diagnosed with this same disorder. It is strictly a malady that afflicts human females.

One of the girls being covered in the story was 21 years old. Any person looking at her, myself included, would have concluded she was no more than 4 years of age. Her growth and physical development simply stopped at that point and she is forever held in “suspended time” as a post-toddler. Not one inch of height, not one sign of physical development, no hormonal changes and not one bit of mental maturation or development has happened in the past 18 years. She is for all practical purposes a young child, and will forever remain that way until she dies. Most baffling of all is that doctors have no idea how long she may live. She does not show any of the normal breakdown that happens to  all living things as they age, so her life span is totally unknown.

Many questions and possibilities were raised in my mind as this show unfolded, and what they finally uncovered in their research was quite incredible. Ageing is the result of the action of specific proteins that are made by specific genetic material. When that piece of DNA is not there, the ageing process just stops. So now comes the million dollar questions I had rattling around in my brain. Could this be the proof that those in the Book of Genesis did live eight or nine hundred years as the Bible states, because the genetic material for aging was not present in God’s early creation? Is this the source of the mythical fountain of youth that Conquistadors searchEd for?  Now that we know which genes control the ageing process, are we one step closer to extending human life indefinitely? For those who have enough money and the right technology, do we really want to do this?

It would seem that science fiction has once again become science fact, and it brings to mind a Biblical reality from Genesis 11:6. In this passage the people united under their own strength to defy God and build a tower that would reach up to heaven. That is, man wanted to ascend by his own strength and intellect to become like God. The scripture says; “The Lord said ‘Behold they are one people, and they have the same language. And this is what they begin to do, and now nothing which they purpose to do will be impossible for them'”. So, God confused their languages in that place of natural, man made unity. The personal and emotional desire to unify and build something of their own making was actually ended by God Himself! How ironic that God calls people to work together, but it always takes on a dark quality when that urge is motivated by something other than the Holy Spirit.

In the girls above, the missing pieces of DNA brought about something that looks like it has great potential, but it is actually harmful and detrimental to all who are touched by it. It is the same for those who try to bring about unity and change by misguided naturally and emotionally driven means. Pieces of the necessary DNA for a God-ordained unity are missing. Those missing pieces tend to bring about an aberrant cohesion of angry people that lack the focus and peace of something that will serve the purposes of God. This type of thing is going to fall into disorder, and will always do so in God’s appointed time.

Ephesians 4:3 says; “being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace”. In other words, when people are working together as directed by the Spirit of God, there is going to be a clear unity and peace present. When unity and peace are not part of a combined effort, the prophetic perspective is that this is a group of misguided, naturally and emotionally oriented people who are building another “Tower of Babble”.  Whatever they are united to create is doomed to simply become a painful  example of miscommunication, and it will ultimately collapse under the weight of it’s own confusion. All of this….. because of a few missing pieces!

Don’t let the natural or emotional disruptions in life cause you to lose any sleep. The rantings and chantings of unruly mobs or fake news will make you think that the world is in chaos and poised to go up in flames. However, nothing could be further from the truth. There are a lot of missing pieces in all of this, and what you see is not what’s real or lasting. Others may want to convince you they are reaching up to heaven in self-determined change, but it “Ain’t Necessarily So”, as the old song goes. There is a lot more to the story then any of them understand of are willing to admit.

The missing pieces and time itself are on our side. When we refuse to react, and we simply respond with the relaxed confidence that comes from living with a Biblical world view, the answers will eventually come. From that place of God-ordained unity and peace, the Spirit will fill in the missing pieces and bring every answer that has lasting value.

 I don’t know about you, but I am excited to see what will happen in the next few years. Expect the unexpected. Most of all know that prayer is what brought about the national change we so desperately needed, and it will only be prayer that can finish what God has now begun. Lift up your eyes and rejoice because God is about to do great things! The natural mind does not comprehend it, but those see beyond the natural will see it and rejoice! 

“Finding Your Dana”

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My wife and I have the great privilege of being the lead ministers of a wonderful, small church in a community in upstate New York. Our area is historically significant to the American Revolutionary War and it is located in the foothills of a vast wilderness area known as the Adirondack Mountains. The land is lush with vegetation, crisscrossed with rivers, covered with countless freshwater lakes and ponds. Most of all, the diversity of the people who live here, and specifically those we count as friends in our church, are the real stars in our universe. They are simply an amazing cross-cultural group that never ceases to put a smile on our face.

One of these is a “spiritual daughter” that God rescued from a life of welfare, poverty, sin and brokenness. By God’s grace she went from being an uneducated single mother, struggling to hold her head above water, to the store manager of a nationally known company who provides her with a good income, a retirement plan, health insurance, company benefits, job development on company time, company travel and recognition for her excellence as one of the youngest store managers at the ripe old age of 25. She is just a fireball of energy, encouragement and enthusiasm. In short, she is a walking miracle whom we love deeply.

Adding to her life of God-given blessing is her son, our “spiritual grandson” named Dana. Dana is a 6 year old whirlwind with a razor sharp mind that is all his own. He talks in an endless stream of insightful statements, makes keen observations and asks honest questions that are just infectious and arrest everyone’s attention. He moves at the speed of light, but never misses a thing. When Dana comes into a room, he looks around, his face lights up and very quickly his presence becomes known to all. He is an old soul in a child’s body that is filled to overflowing with the electricity of life and the endless curiosity of Leonardo Da Vinci. I just love this little boy to pieces because he is me 57 years ago!

The other day Dane saw me, ran up, gave me a big hug aground the legs, and looked at me with those big, wonder-filled eyes. His childlike expression told me the wheels were turning on the inside, and that could mean anything, good or bad. What I mean is, his words can be funny or filled with a painful honesty that can unnerve the bravest soldier. Once he hugged me on the neck and then, pulled back, looked right into my face and, with his cute little-boy nose all puckered up, said “Pastor, your breath smells”. I am sure those I prayed for that day were eternally grateful he had spoken that little revelation to me!

When our eyes met I knew something was bubbling up from his amazing little brain, and it would soon be flowing out of his mouth. So, I braced myself for his next insight on life, and sure enough, in a moment of paused silence, there it was in all it’s unrefined glory. He tipped his head to one side and I bent down near him. Then he put his hands on both sides of my face, looked deep into my eyes and said with an absolute childlike declaration: “Pastor, you are very thinkative”. The moment was soon over and he simply sped off to his next adventure.

Dana left me standing there holding back laughter, but still somewhat stunned and amazed. He had invented his own word that summed up my very essence in his mind. He had put all his keen observations of my adult life and ministry into that incredible child brain of his, and boiled them down to a single three syllable word. The funny thing is, he was absolutely right. Ask any of my friends, my colleagues or my wife and they will all tell you it’s true. There is no denying it. I am “thinkative”!

I believe we all need a Dana close at hand. We need that one person who has miraculously held onto their honesty and their sense of awe and wonder at just being alive. In these people, the invasion of this world, and it’s deadly lies, have not stolen the God-given innocence they were born with. They have not lost the joy of living and have refused to be warped by the pain inflicted upon them by this broken, selfish world. These people are like rare, perfect, flawless diamonds. They catch every ray of life-light that comes their way and have an ability to somehow reflect it back to us in a million beautiful colors. They grab our attention and take our thoughts away to grander things.

I have a number of such people in my life, and foremost among them are my beautiful wife Esther, Dana and Dana’s mother. These people bless and strengthen me when others have given up. They get my eyes off the hard times and move me past the broken promises. They walk with me beyond the disloyal people who pierce my heart, and they support me when others have left my side, and their assignment, for their own thoughtless purposes. They lift me up when I stumble, and they carry me when I can no longer walk. They are the real jewels in any crown I may acquire in this life.

In whatever phase of life you are going through right now, let me encourage you to look for your Dana’s. They are the one’s who hold onto childlike faith for you. They have an innocence of vision that can see right through your adult veneer. They are the ones who are excited to tell you what they see in you, and are honest enough to tell you both the good and the bad. The truth is, they don’t’ care if you are busy, rushed, hurt, pressured or distracted. They always look for you, and you know that when they see you, they light up and so do you.

Find your Dana’s and cherish them. These are the people who keep your heart tender, your life honest and your vision of yourself clean. It matters not that they are 57 years your junior or 50 years your senior. They are God’s gift of love and authentic life to you, and you must hear their words, and hold them close. Open your arms, your ear, your heart and your life to these treasured people, and you will never be the same. Push them away, and you have pushed away the hand of God that came to refine you. So my question is, will you push your Dana’s away and miss the wonders God is holding in reserve for your life? Hold your Dana’s close, and you will find the truth you need. More than that, you may also find your destiny as well!

“Carpe Diem”

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The phrase “carpe diem” is a Latin phrase that is literally translated as, “pluck the day”. However in English it is better translate as “seize the day”. Used in a variety of ways, “carpe diem” has both a positive and a negative application. On the negative side it describes an attitude or philosophy of life that says, “live for today, do what you want and don’t be concerned about the consequences in the future.” Carpe diem in it’s highest form means, “grab hold of the day you have been given and make the most of it”. I really like that!

The positive application of this phrase is the one I have been inspired by throughout my life. The word “carpe” means to grab hold of, or to grab something by the neck and hold it up. Don’t you just love the word picture that conjures up in your mind? It’s not some wimpy, limp wristed, fear filled thing that is overpowered by hesitancy. No! It’s a bold declaration that says, “ Everything needs to take notice that I am here, I am on this thing and I am giving it my full attention.” It’s a way of living that declares, “I am grabbing this thing by the neck and holding it up for all to see, and I am going to come out of this way better than when I went in.”

Man I love that kind of an attitude when it comes to every part of life, and I mean real, authentic life. It reminds me of a billboard I saw not long ago. There was a muscular military guy in boot camp and he straining to pull himself over an impossibly high wall. The caption underneath it said, “Pain… it’s just weakness leaving your body!” This is the mindset that says, “I will NOT let this situation overcome me, but I will use this situation to my advantage. This difficulty will not define me, it will refine me.” In case you missed it, those who tend to succeed in life understand this aspect of “carpe diem” and walk it out on a daily basis.

So, my question today is going to be right up in your face. I want to know something and your honest answer could be the thing that changes everything. Are you a wimpy whiner who feels life is tough and you are it’s constant victim? You may very well be in a hard situation, or be discouraged. I am not downplaying the pain you might be feeling right now. What I am saying is that you don’t have to let it define you and rule your life. Choose to face it, own it and then grab hold of it by the neck. Look for how you can use this “thing” to become stronger, more aware and more equipped as a person. Once you do that you can move out of your self-imposed, self-centered prison and start to help others.

“Seize The Day”! It’s the only way to really live your life in this fallen, broken, disconnected world. Stand up, look up, get shook up but refuse to give up. Defy the tendency to be ruled by mistakes, or what others have done or not done, said or not said. Begin to captain your own ship and learn how to take things where you want them to go. I was told by a wise old man some time ago, “Bill, if you let others drive, you have no right to complain about where they take you.” I say it’s your time to seize the day, take a risk, grab every issue by the throat and hold them up into the light!

Go live gloriously in the mistakes you will make and learn to enjoy the experience of failure so you can delight in the joy of victory when it finally comes. Refuse the meaningless, undeserved trophies of mediocrity life hands out to everyone. Embrace your magnificent failures, and in the process you will find the pleasure of living the life you always wanted. “Carpe Diem” my friends… anything less is not life at all. Now get out there and go seize the day!

When Planes Fall

On Apr 30, 2013 a huge civilian cargo plane had a deadly crashed at Bagram Air Field in Afghanistan. The incident was actually caught on a dash camera. In the footage the aircraft can be seen climbing at a steep angle, then it appears to slow down, slide back and to the left, begins to drop straight down and then goes nose first into the ground. It explodes in a ball of fire killing all on board. This incident, though horrific to watch, is by no means an isolated event. Over the years numerous planes of every size and shape have experienced the same thing. The question is, why?

While studying to fly several years ago, I learned there is something called “angle-to-lift” ratio and also “speed-to-curvature” ratio. That is, the angle at which an aircraft can be tilted upward can only be so steep, and that is based upon it’s speed and the amount of curvature the wing has. Once it exceeds specific ratios, the air flow over the wing curvature is not sufficient to give the aircraft a thing called “lift”. At an angle that is too steep, no amount of engine thrust, (at that point called “false thrust”), can overcome this lack of airflow over the surface of the wings. This causes the plane to “stall”, and it simply begins to fall downward in mid flight.

A large stalled aircraft at high altitude can drop thousands of feet per minute, and an inexperienced pilot might never recognize what is happening. With no reference point to help, a pilot can quickly get disoriented. When seeing the altimeter drop while believing they are still moving forward on course, confusion will set in. One deadly crash showed the copilot increase the angle of ascent and crank up the engines producing nothing but “false thrust” without lift. Unfortunately both of these are the wrong thing to do in that situation. Thinking the problem was solved, and the altimeter was malfunctioning, the aircraft continue it’s deadly drop and slammed on it’s belly into the ocean. All on board were instantly killed.

A situation like this can end with disastrous results or it can be corrected within a few seconds. It all depends on what the pilot does once the plane has gone into a stall. When an aircraft stalls, no matter how much thrust the engines put out, or how much the angle of ascent is increased, the aircraft will never stop it’s downward drop. The solution is really quite simple. All the pilot has to is point the nose of the plane in the direction of fall and the laws of physics and aerodynamics immediately take over. Air will begin to flow over the curve of the wings, and as it does air pressure above the wings goes down while air pressure under the wings goes up. This literally pushes up on the wings which produces the necessary “lift” for the aircraft to fly.

Think about the life implications of that for just a moment. The solution is found by pointing a stalled aircraft into the direction of fall. In other words, once the plane faces into the problem, it gets what it needs to be lifted out of the situation. A don’t know about you but that little revelation just makes me want to shout. Facing the problems at hand, not pointing yourself away from them, is what brings the solution you need. What a great truth to uncover as you being a new year!

Is your life stalled out right now? Do you feel disoriented and left wondering why in the world you are not making any real progress? Are you losing altitude, and no amount of effort on your part seems to be making a difference? Let me suggest that it’s time to face the things you may have been trying to avoid. If your life has stalled out then you need to go nose down ane fly right into the thick of it. Begin to work through the turbulence at the lower altitudes until you will feel the lift under your wings.

Your best destination is still out there and your ability to reach it is still within your grasp. All you need to do is learn the lesson provided by every plane that soars overhead. The right thrust, the right angel with enough airflow and you are good to go. Let 2017 be your year to reach the high place, fly through the low place and obtain the prize that awaits you. It is time to start you engine, because you have just been cleared for take off. Now go fly into that high place and begin to see the world from a more heavenly perspective. 

The “EDAT” Harvest Is Here !

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A number of years ago I was teaching a 12th grade health class and I had a rude, and very unexpected, awakening. I had given incoming students a basic survey to test their ability to sequentially and logically think. I was walking them through an exercise called “Logic And Critical Thinking”, and this was their introduction to the material. The survey was quite simple. Students were given a piece of paper with a specific task written on it. They were to write out a set of instructions explaining exactly how to do that task. The paper was then given to another classmate who read the title aloud and actually followed the instructions exactly as written, before the entire class.

The tasks ranged from very simple things to those that were more complex. They included; take off a shoe, put on and zip up a coat, walk to the front of the room and face the class, lock the classroom door, open a window, get a glass of water, turn on the classroom lights, water a plant, draw a stick figure of a woman on the chalkboard, stand side-by-side with someone in the classroom, turn on a water faucet or unplug an electric cord from a wall outlet. All of these seem simple enough when we think from a holistic point of view. We mentally see the whole process and then just automatically flow through it to make it happen. However, when we start to think sequentially, and have to organize a logical set of steps to get the task done, this involves a very different kind of skill and a much higher level of thought process.

To my shock 14 out of the 15 students in my class got frustrated, and some wanted to quit as they tried to follow the instructions. Others felt embarrassed and uncomfortable when they were unable to follow the instruction as written, in order to successfully complete the task. A few laughed it off, but the vast majority were left unsettled and unable to cope with the “stress”. These wanted an alternative exercise of their own choosing, or they wanted to just end the task right in the middle of the assignment. In that moment I realized I had uncovered something about the generation sitting before me, and it was shocking.

The facts were clear and quite disturbing. These students were more tech savvy and social media oriented than any previous generation. However, they clearly lacked the basic emotional skills, the clear thought patterns, the sequential communication skills and the emotional fortitude to cope with situations that made them uncomfortable. In other words, the “Everyone-Deserves-A-Trophy”(EDAT) generation was about to come into it’s own, and the results were not very pretty.

Fast forward to the election of November 8th, 2016. In case you missed it, this is exactly what we all have endured since the night President Donald Trump was elected. The “EDAT’ generation erupted in shock, anger, depression and unbelief when their candidate, the liberal media’s choice, was soundly defeated. That night in Hillary’s camp, the news cameras caught grown woman curled up on the floor in the fetal position, writhing in pain. There were groups of men and women holding each other, tears streaming down their faces, sobbing as if their only child had just been killed by a drunken drive. The entire room was acting like an emotionally unstable teenage girl who just got dumped by her first boyfriend. The agony, anger, grief and shock festered in depression and the sound of weeping that filled the room.

Even more shocking was the editorializing that was happening out on the street. All honest reporting was abandoned as left leaning reporters somberly announced the decision. Andrea Mitchell stated history was once again stopped from moving forward. Huh??? Talk about a vile miscarriage of media reporting. History had just been made and she missed it! For the first time in American history a successful businessman, who reveled in his lack of any political ties, did what the liberal media declared was impossible. He became president of the United States in a landslide of electoral votes that currently stands at 306 votes! One of the largest margins in our history.

Since that night riots have broken out in some liberal strongholds, flags burned, people have been dragged from their cars and attacked. Some communities have been set on fire by agitators and paid protesters. They have blocked traffic, broken windows, smashed cars and even the presidential losers have demanded an expensive and pointless recount the public will pay for. Those in the electoral colleges of Michigan, Florida and Pennsylvania had their addresses and emails publically posted on the Internet. The news has reported they and their families have been threatened, harassed and deluged with emails by the liberal left in an attempted intimidation to make them change their vote to Hillary.

My questions are simple. Why are we seeing this shocking disregard for our laws and our political process? Why have we never seen such a display of unbalance and inappropriate behavior in any past election? After 40 years as an educator, 44 years as a voter and 62 years of life experience, I can only come up with one answer. It’s because this is the first time we have actually seen the “EDAT” generation come into action. This is the outcome to be expected from those who have not been educated but have been fully indoctrinated. This is the generation that says “I-must-feel-good-about-myself,” “I-must-have-my-own-way”, “I-must-be-kept-from-feeling-bad-about-anything”, “I-must-have-dog-therapy-for-every-little-life-drama-I am- going-through”, “I-must-be-emotionally-coddled”, “I-must-be-carried-and-provided-for”, “I-deserve-a-trophy-for-every-mediocre-half-hearted-crappy-thing-I-ever-do”.

When those in the “EDAT” generation have a reality check, and realize they are no longer shielded from real life, it is temper tantrum city. As the truth comes to those who have always lived in an emotional greenhouse of protection and special treatment, it is quite a shock, quite a sideshow and tragically entertaining to behold. Honestly, I must admit I enjoy the show that the “news” outlets provide every night. It’s better than a reality TV because there are different actors daily, and few are cashing in on the endless drama that is available. But, just like the spoiled children of “occupy wall street”, they can only throw a tantrum for so long, and people eventually get tired of it. Once the weather gets cold, ….that’s not very fun. Once the media moves on,…. the free publicity will be over. And of course, once the free meals are gone, …so are they.

So where do we go from here? We press on in support of President Trump and the breath of fresh air he is bringing to Washington and to the nation. We hold him accountable for campaign promises he made. Namelt,  to rebuild our military, create new jobs, start national energy exploration and revitalization, build the AMX  Wall (American/Mexican Wall) to secure our borders, deal with so called “sanctuary cities” and with illegal aliens, create tax cuts for business growth, repeal and replace the disastrous unaffordable health care, encourage US businesses to return to the US and return education back to the state level. We need to encourage him to drain the political swamp that has stagnated Washington. Most of all we need to pray for Him. May he really be the kind of strong, honest and exemplary leader our nation can follow into a new area of prosperity and strength.

God Bless America Which Is And Always Has Been One Nation Under God, And May God Bless Our New President Donald J Trump.