Giving

I am confused.  We just finished Thanksgiving,  a time when we as Americans supposedly express our thanks for all that we have….family, friends, good health, prosperity, etc.  Then we went into a frenzied cycle of spending….Black Friday (that actually started on Thanksgiving evening), Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday (that turned into  Cyber Week in some cases).  Then finally we celebrated “National Giving Tuesday”.   What is wrong with this picture?  Don’t we have it backwards?  Shouldn’t we give first….and then spend?  It would seem to me that we should give thanks on thanksgiving….and then give to those folks less fortunate than us.   I recently gave a high school commencement address.  I told the graduating seniors that I hoped that they woud be successful, but for the right reasons.  I hoped that they would be successful because (1) they would reach positions where they could touch more lives and be more influential, and

Happy Thanksgiving

We all have so very much to be thankful for.  We must take the time this Thanksgiving to pause and reflect on what those things are, and give thanks.  Sometimes it's easy to feel sorry for ourselves.  Maybe things are not going exactly the way we would like them to, but that is life.  Let’s concentrate, at least for one day, on the good things we have and should be thankful for.  And let’s dedicate ourselves to helping those less fortunate.   We should all be thankful that we live in America.  With all the problems we are having today, we still live in a free society.  We can express our opinion, worship where we want, vote for who we want…. all the things guaranteed in our Constitution and our Bill of Rights.  Many folks take those freedoms for granted.  Sarah and I had many opportunities to be with folks who

What to do about the Syrian Refugees

We as a Nation are struggling to determine what we should do to assist the Syrian refugees as they flee the Assad regime in their home country.  There are tens of thousands of people who need our help.  Remember that they want what we want….freedom from fear.  They want to be able to raise their families in a safe and secure environment.  They want to be able to provide for their families.  There is a humanness dimension to all of this.  We cannot turn our backs on them.   We built on Nation by helping others.  The poem on the Statue of Liberty says it all:   Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp! cries she With silent lips. Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!   This has become our National heritage. 

The Future of our Nation

It is clear to me that the future of our Nation lies in the hands of our children and their children.   We have an obligation to ensure they are prepared to pick up where we leave off.   I am very concerned about what I am seeing these days in our some of our youth, primarily in the area of respect for authority.   When I hear stories about what is going on in the classrooms, I cringe.  We see numerous instances where children are being disrespectful of their teachers.  They are being unruly, causing problems, and just not paying attention.  What is going on?  I remember when I was a kid; if you acted up at school you got a whooping there…and then another one when you came home.  I knew that respect for teachers was non

What is Truly Important!

Throughout my career in the US Army, I distributed a quote from W. Peter Blitchington.  It reads: “No one is indispensable or irreplaceable at work….anyone from the lowliest yard worker to the highest executive, could easily be replaced and few tears would be shed.  The most important person in the US---the Presidency---is rotated every four years with little mourning.  But try replacing a son or daughter, a mother or father, a husband or wife without grave psychological damage.  For it’s in our homes that we are needed; it’s to our family that we are important.”   That quote was widely distributed thru out my commands.  I think it made people stop and think about how they were living their lives, and to ask themselves how were they doing with their priorities.   I tried to ensure that everyone that worked for me understood my personal priorities.  My priorities have always been (and remain

Honoring Our Defenders

Sarah and I spent time last week with the Gary Sinise Foundation (GSF).  We are on Gary Sinise’s Advisory Board and Ambassadors for the Foundation.  Gary Sinise is an amazing humanitarian.  Folks know him as an accomplished actor.  We know him as a great human being who always focuses on taking care of others.  He places service above self, everyday.   It is amazing what the GSF has accomplished in four short years.  They focus on honoring our Nation’s defenders, veterans, first responders, their families, and those in need.  Gary always says we can never do enough for our Nation’s defenders, but we can always do a little more.  It is wonderful to be part of the Gary Sinise Foundation and I urge you to see what you can do to help them in their efforts.   Calvin Coolidge, our Nation’s 30th President said “A Nation that forgets it’s defenders will soon itself

Gun Control

I am not sure what is going on in our Nation now with the random acts of violence.  I can’t imagine why someone would go into a school and slaughter innocent people.  I pray daily that these attacks will stop, but they continue at an ever increasing frequency.   As I write this, someone out there is planning an attack on innocent people.  Is it because they want the notoriety?  Is it because they truly hate folks and want to kill them?  Is it because they have a mental disorder?  Who knows?  One thing is for sure, they are out there, and they have access to weapons and ammunition.  They want to hurt us and our Families.   What you call these bad folks seems to confuse some folks.  People get uncomfortable using the word terrorist.  I am convinced that bad people out there want to do bad things.  Whether they are doing

Spending time with the elderly

I am currently in Ohio spending time with my Dad.  He is now 88 years old.  My Mom passed away in 2009 and he has been by himself ever since.  He lives in the home that I was born in, and refuses to leave.  We would love to have him come to Texas and live with us, and be surrounded by Family, but he refuses.  Every three months I return to Ohio to spend time with him and check on his condition.   Many of us are dealing with aging parents and other elderly folks.  Sometimes we get frustrated and overly concerned.  Over the past 7 years of dealing with my Dad I have learned a  couple of  things.   The first is that he wants control.  He does not want to be dependent on anyone.  He wants to set his own schedule and do what he wants to do.  He continually refers

Heal our Land

I tell folks in my public presentations that if they slept well last night, they are not paying attention.  We are a Nation at risk.  We are at risk from external threats (ISIS, Russia, Iran…) and internal threats (domestic terrorism, lack of respect for law enforcement, divisive elements).  We must acknowledge this, and then take actions to protect ourselves, our Families, and our Nation.   I believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  In 2 Chronicles 7:14 it reads: If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.   As this scripture says, the first thing we must do as a Nation is to humble ourselves and pray to God for His strength, courage and wisdom to do the right things.  
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