Saturday, June 26, 2010

Meaning of the Flag-Draped Coffin

Those who think that America is an arrogant nation should really reconsider that thought!

Our founding fathers used GOD's word and teachings to establish our Great Nation; I think it  is time Americans get re-educated about this Nation's understand what the flag draped coffin really means.  Here is how to understand the flag that laid upon it and is surrendered to so many widows and widowers.

Do you know that at military funerals, the 21-gun salute stands for the sum of the numbers in the year 1776?

Have you ever noticed the honor guard pays meticulous attention to correctly folding the United States of America Flag 13 times?  You may have thought it was to symbolize the original 13 colonies, but we learn something new every day!

The 1st fold of the flag is a symbol of life.

The 2nd fold is a symbol of the belief in eternal life.

The 3rd fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing the ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of the country to attain peace throughout the world.

The 4th fold represents the weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting in God, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance.

The 5th fold is a tribute to the country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, ' Our Country, in dealing with other countries, may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong. '

The 6th fold is for where people ' s hearts lie. It is with their heart that they pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States Of America, and the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with Liberty and Justice for all.

The 7th fold is a tribute to its Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that they protect their country and their flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of their republic.

The 8th fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day.

The 9th fold is a tribute to womanhood, and Mothers. For it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The 10th fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of their country since they were first born.

The 11th fold represents the lower portion of the seal of King David and King Solomon and glorifies in the Hebrews eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

The 12th fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in the Christians eyes, God the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit.

The 13th fold, or when the flag is completely folded, the stars are uppermost reminding them of their nations motto, 'In God We Trust. '

After the flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for them the rights, privileges and freedoms they enjoy today.

There are some traditions and ways of doing things that have deep meaning.  In the future, you' ll see flags folded and now you will know why.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Our Father ... a Conversation With God

By Rowland Croucher

Our Father who art in heaven …”

“Don’t interrupt me. I’m praying.”
“But you called me.”

“Called you? I didn’t call you. I’m praying. Our Father which art in heaven …”
“There … you did it again.”

“Did what?”
“Called me. You said, Our Father which art in heaven. Here I am. What’s on your mind?”

“But I didn’t mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. always say the Lord’s Prayer. It makes me feel good."
“All right. Go on.”

“Hallowed be thy name …”
“Hold it! What do you mean by that?”

“By what?”
“By ‘hallowed be thy name’?”

“It means … it means … good grief! I don’t know what it means."

“It means honored … holy … wonderful.”

“Oh, that makes sense! I never thought about what ‘hallowed’ meant before. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

“Do you really mean that?”

“Sure, why not?"
“What are you doing about it?”

“Doing? Nothing, I guess! I just think it would be kind of neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.”

“Have I got control of you?”

“Well … I go to church.”

“That isn’t what I asked you. What about your bad temper? You’ve really got a problem there, you know. And then there’s the way you spend your money … all on yourself. And what about the kind of books you read?”

“Stop picking on me! I’m just as good as some of the rest of those people in church.”

"Excuse me. I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it … like you, for example.”

“Oh, all right. I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.”
“So could I.”

“I haven’t thought about it very much until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I would like to … you know … be really free.”

“Good … now we’re getting somewhere! We’ll work together, you and I. Some victories can truly be won. I’m proud of you.”

"Give us this day, our daily bread.”

“You need to cut out the bread. You’re overweight as it is.”

“Hey, wait a minute"! What is this … ?"

“Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed, you know. That’s what I’m trying to get across to you. You called me, and here I am."

“I’m scared to.”
“Scared? Of what?”

“I know what You’ll say.”
“Try me and see.”

“Forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us.”

“What about Ann?”

“See? I knew it! I knew you would bring her up! Why Lord, she’s told lies about me, spread stories about my family. She never paid back the debt she owes me. I’ve sworn to get even with her!”

“But your prayer? What about your prayer?”

“I didn’t mean it.”

“Well, at least you’re honest. But it’s not much fun carrying that load of bitterness around inside, is it?

“No, but I’ll feel better as soon as I get even."

“You won’t feel any better. You’ll feel worse. Revenge isn’t sweet. Think of how unhappy you already are. But I can change all that.”

“You can? How?”

“Forgive Ann. Then I’ll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Ann’s problem and not yours. You will have settled your heart.”

“Oh, you’re right. You always are. And more than I want to revenge Ann, I want to be right with you. Ann, I want to be right with you … (pause) … (sigh). Alright! Alright! I forgive her! Help her to find the right road in life, Lord. She’s bound to be awfully miserable now that I think about it. Anybody who goes around doing the things she does to others has to be out of it. Someway, somehow, show her the right way.”

“There now! Wonderful! How do you feel?”

“Hmmmm … well, not bad. Not bad at all. In fact, I feel pretty great! You know, I don’t think I’ll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can remember. Maybe I won’t be so tired from now on because I’m not getting enough rest.”

“You’re not through with your prayer. Go on.”

“Oh, all right. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

“Good! Good! I’ll do that. Just don’t put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.”

“What do you mean by that?”

"Don’t turn on the TV when you know the laundry needs to be done and the house needs to be picked up. Also, about the time you spend having coffee with your friends … if you can’t influence the conversation to positive things, perhaps you should re-think the value of those friendships. Another thing, your neighbors and friends shouldn’t be your standard for “keeping up with.” And please don’t use me for an escape hatch.”

“I don’t understand the last part.”

“Sure you do. You’ve done it a lot of times. You get caught in a bad situation. You get into trouble and then you come running to me. “Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you I’ll never do it again.” You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?”

“Yes and I’m ashamed, Lord. I really am.”

“Which bargain are you remembering?”

“Well, there was the night that Bill was gone and the children and I were home alone. The wind was blowing so hard I thought the roof would go any minute and tornado warnings were out. I remember praying, ‘Oh God, if you spare us, I’ll never skip my devotions again.”

“I protected you, but you didn’t keep your promise, did you?”

“I’m sorry, Lord. I really am. Up until now I thought that if I just prayed the Lord’s Prayer every day, then I could do what I liked. I didn’t expect anything to happen like it did.”
“Go ahead and finish your prayer.”

“For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.”

“Do you know what would bring me glory? What would really make me happy?”

“No, but I’d like to know. I now want to please you. I can see what a mess I’ve made of my life. And I can see how great it would be to really be one of your followers.”

“You just answered the question.”

“I did?”

“Yes. The thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love me. And I see that happening between us. Now that some of these old sins are exposed and out of the way, well, there is no telling what we can do together.”

“Lord, let’s see what we can make of me, okay?”

“Yes.... let’s see.”

Happy Father's Day, God!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

... Perchance to Dream

So, I once knew a lady who used to cajole her sons (to) "Just taste" the brussel sprouts.   She'd read somewhere that our body cells are constantly mutating, evolving .... ergo, if you disliked something a year ago, your "new" tastebuds might enjoy it now.  (I'm thinking, "ya .... right.")

So what promped this recollection?  A dream, actually.   No, make that an out-of-body experience!

It's a given, I'm not particularly fond of fruit.   But one species(?) I regard as "evil" -- juice .... orange-flavored/scented anything.

Why then, did I dream about consuming fresh-squeezed orange  juice?  And lovin' it!?    Can't get enough tongue practically caresses each bit of pulp.  

As these things go, I became aware this was a dream -- but began fretting in earnest how to get my hands on some real OJ -- at 3 in the morning ... a good 5-6 miles from the nearest  convenience store ... without waking DH.
Sleep was out of the question. I rolled out of bed, brushed my teeth and gargled (with vigor).  Whew, the craving ceased!

A few hours later, DH was more than a little amused by my story.  Still, I never expected he would pick up a half-gallon of "Florida's finest" later that day.  "Uh ... thanks."
What's a gal to do?  Not surprisingly, I couldn't take more than a few sips without grimacing.   

Is that the craziest thing?   I wonder what provoked the "attack"?   'Suppose this is akin to techniques used by hypno-therapists?  

Ah! I know one person who'll understand:  My BFF has similar issues with french fries.

Do you experience any food phobias?  I'd really like to know!

Meanwhile..... sweet dreams!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Terms of Endearment

Reflecting, it had been a pleasant day.  Exiting the office, I wished a co-worker, "Good evening" -- then stopped in my tracks at his response:  "Ma'am, good evening, ma'am."

Instinctively (foolishly), my head swivels around.  Who is he calling "ma'am"?

My bad.  Poor Henry's practically stuttering, "Miss.  I mean, good evening, miss."

Stifling the urge to giggle, I paused to consider.  Surely he's not intimidated?  By me?  A recent hire, this man - a boy really - is not yet accustomed to our "behind closed doors" informality.

On the other hand ...
Since my Southern "grands" could form a sentence, they're addressed their parents and grandparents -- all adults as "Sir" or "Ma'am."

Methinks it's touching; a lost art, if you will.  What a difference from the acquaintance who calls her parents by their first names!

'Sounds old-fashioned, but I'm still loathe to address "certain folk" by their first names -- unless invited to do so.    Don't get me wrong, I'm no "Miss Manners" .... rather, terrified of making a spectacle of myself.

Somedays it's a sticky wicket!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

True Colors?

Did you ever have your "colors done" back in the 80's? 
I misssed the boat!

'Finally took a long hard look at my wardrobe the other day .... it's not a pretty sight, my friends!  For whatever reason, I'm instinctively drawn to neutrals -- variations of browns and blacks -- which do nothing for my complexion.  While there's little I can do to turn back time, I don't need to further my image as an understudy in a Dickens' production!

So, I'm not a what-cha-call-it .... a "clothes horse."  When I bother to take the time to shop, it's usually out of necessity ... preferably done solo.

This time I solicited DH's good-natured participation.   We came away with a few brightly colored tops and a melon-hue pantsuit.   And sure enough, a few people have made "nice noise"  -- save the unfortunate pantsuit.  Since it's debut a few weeks ago, I can't shake the feeling I resemble a Giant Canteloupe... an impostor.

Maybe it's better paired with Attitude?  I'm thinking to channel the late, great Rue McClanahan.

.... or not.
Somedays there's Real Comfort to be found in acting the caterpillar.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spiritual Sundays

In her book, Lessons in Truth, Dr. H. Emilie Cady says, God is not a guy up in the sky who makes us do stuff.    (OK, she says it a little better than that, but that's the essence I recall.)

There are no puppet strings hanging down from the clouds.   If I am going to grow, who's going to do it?  God gives me everything I need to do it, but I have to be willing.   I can't blame misfortune, missed opportunity on somebody else; I can't pretend my prayers are not heard.   

Dr. Cady says, "No parent can grow for their child" -- and all of a sudden I know what that means.  All of a sudden, it isn't what other people are saying or doing. 

One example Dr. Cady gives is so wonderful: 
She talks about a wagon wheel.  Imagine that in your mind's eye!  She says, Imagine you're one of those spokes.  It doesn't do you any good to think about the distance between you and the other spokes.  It doesn't help you be a good spoke, and it doesn't help get you where you want to go.  It doesn't help to think about distance and difference and "how are we going to do it?"    All you have to do is focus on finding your center, that hub which is God.  The nearer you get to the center, guess what?  The smaller the distance between the spokes!

What matters is what I do about it, using what God has given me "in here" .....and that has everything to do with my thoughts, my words and my actions.

It is time to ask, what can I do as a child of God?   Every day is a Gift!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mama said there'd be days like this ...........

 .... oh yeah! :)