The Flag Flies High

On Fridays I plan to post origial poems. They may not be very good, but I enjoy writing them. It’s good to do things you enjoy even if you may not be very good.

The Flag Flies High

The flag flies high for
our sisters and brothers
who are serving with honor
away from fathers and mothers

Their training was thorough
minds and bodies are strong
families and friends are praying
for nothing to go wrong

Some are posted closeby
others are stationed far away
all believing they will make it
to yet another day

Giving of themselves through
difficulties great and small
with the knowledge deep within
that the flag flies high

For all

 

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Menu Options at Peyton Manning’s Restaurant

It has been reported that former University of Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning is planning on opening a western-themed restaurant called “Saloon 16” in Knoxville. If his restaurant is anything like Peyton was as a quarterback it will be fantastic, but still not as good as restaurants in Florida. If you didn’t understand that last sentence– Congratulations! You aren’t a long-time Tennessee Volunteer fan and, as a result, have been spared a lot of misery over the past couple of decades.

I have no idea what this restaurant will be like, but because I am a VFL (Vol For Life) and a Peyton Manning admirer I’m sure I will eventually check it out after it opens.

Until then, I have a few suggestions for menu options at Peyton Manning’s restaurant.

1. Forehead Fries. This menu item would feature the number of french fries that could fit on Peyton Manning’s forehead. If you know the size of his forehead then you know “forehead fries” could easily feed a family of 60.

2. Horseburgers. Manning started his career with the Indianapolis Colts before finishing up with the Denver Broncos. Colts….Broncos. Horses. Horseburgers.

3. Pop Tarts and Juice Boxes. For when his brother Eli comes to town.

4. Omaha Steaks. But you will have to order something else first and then do an audible. OMAHA! OMAHA!

5. Goat. Since Manning couldn’t be the G.O.A.T. (because of Tom Brady), he may as well let his fans eat goat. And no, I’m not a Tom Brady fan, but facts are facts.

6. Chicken Parmesan. Ordering this without singing the “chicken parm you taste so good” jingle should result in being forcibly removed from the restaurant.

Some of these menu options may not be very appealing, but I know there are at least a couple of good ones. And Peyton — If you read this, I’m just joking about your forehead. You have a lovely forehead.

No matter what is on the menu, I’m pretty sure this restaurant will be a success. Tennessee Fans are Peyton Manning fans and he has plenty of fans in and around Knoxville.

Including me. I’m a Peyton Manning fan. Which is fine as long as I remember to keep my fandom in check and healthy.

Some people obsess over certain athletes, entertainers, actors, and politicians. Some even go so far as being followers instead of just fans. I find this level of fandom dangerous because none of these people are perfect.

Jesus is the only one who is perfect.

Go ahead and be a fan of Manning and other people with talents and abilities you admire. But be sure you don’t follow them.

Follow Jesus. Only He is worthy of everything you have and everything you are.

 

What are some other possible menu items for Peyton Manning’s restaurant? Who are some athletes you admire? Tell us in the comments.

Guns N’ Roses and the Goodness of God

Last week I ministered to a young lady and her family after it was found out that her precious baby girl had died in her womb. Her death was sad and shocking, but the Lord was near.

Yesterday I went to the funeral of a 20-year-old young man who is the youngest son of a couple my wife and I have been blessed to know for about 16 years. His death was sad and shocking, but again the Lord was near.

I know the Lord was near because He has promised to be near the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18).

I also know the Lord was near because I could feel His presence in these times of tremendous sorrow.

Before the services for both of the departed, I tried to prepare myself and my emotions. I wanted to be strong for parents, families, and others who were mourning. This worked until midway through the funeral service yesterday.

That is when the deceased young man’s mother sang an unexpected song.

Accompanied by a softly-played piano, she sweetly sang a rendition of the Guns ‘N Roses song “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” The only changes she made from the original were changing the “she” to “he” and slightly shortening it. Here are the lyrics:

He’s got a smile it seems to me
Reminds me of childhood memories
Where everything
Was as fresh as the bright blue sky
Now and then when I see his face
He takes me away to that special place
And if I’d stare too long
I’d probably break down and cry

Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child o’ mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Sweet love of mine

He’s got eyes of the bluest skies
As if they thought of rain
I hate to look into those eyes
And see an ounce of pain
His hair reminds me of a warm safe place
Where as a child I’d hide
And pray for the thunder
And the rain
To quietly pass me by

Oh, oh, oh
Sweet child o’ mine
Oh, oh, oh, oh
Sweet love of mine

I know these lyrics were written by Axl Rose about his then-girlfriend, but in that moment it transformed into a song from a grief-stricken mother to her much-loved son. And that is when my pent-up tears began flowing.

I never expected to cry while listening to a Guns N’ Roses song, but I should always expect the Lord to be near the brokenhearted.

Because His promises are always kept.

 

Feel free to share a comment and thank you for reading!

Nothing to Prove

This past Friday night I was challenged to a race. My 11-year-old daughter and I were in my Dodge Caravan stopped at a traffic light when a black SUV filled with teenage boys pulled up beside of us. That is when the driver began revving his motor and the punks in the SUV began looking and laughing in our direction.

I, a middle-aged man in a Dodge Caravan driving home with his little girl, was challenged to a street race by a group of boys at a traffic light.

I didn’t take the bait.

When the light turned green, the boys sped off and I slowly made my way through the intersection and onward toward home. I wasn’t aggravated by what happened and neither was I worried.

I’m a grown man who has been married for nearly twenty years. I have five children who I love tremendously. The Lord has blessed me more than I could ever be able to fathom. I am secure in who I am and in who God has called me to be.

I have absolutely nothing to prove to a bunch of guys at a traffic light.

Jesus Christ has saved me from my sin. He has redeemed me by His own blood which He shed on the cross. Jesus Christ took my sin and imputed unto me His righteousness. Because of Jesus I am just as secure before God the Father as He is.

I’m not worried about proving my worth by racing down the road. My worth is determined by the price which was paid for me on Calvary.

And for that I am amazingly thankful!

When is the last time you were challenged to a race? How thankful are you for Jesus? Leave a comment below!

We’ll See

“We’ll see” has become my go-to answer for the majority of questions I am asked by people in my househould.  And I am asked so, so, so, so, so (that’s 1 so for every kid I have) many questions.

Them: “Can I go to my friend’s house this weekend?”
Me: “We’ll see.”

Them: “Do you think we’ll go to an Atlanta Braves game this year?”
Me: “We’ll see.”

Them: “Are we going out to eat for supper tonight?
Me: “We’ll see.”

Them: “Can we continue to live here rent-free and mooch off of you and mom?”
Me: “We’ll see.”

Even though that last one isn’t real and has only taken place in my head, I think you get the idea. After pondering this for a while, I think I have come to a conclusion as to why I use this term instead of anything else I could say.

“We’ll see” is a hopeful way of saying “maybe.”

“Maybe” is a fine answer to many questions, but it doesn’t have the hopeful optimism of “we’ll see.” To my mind, “we’ll see” points the questioner toward a future of amazing possibilities. It’s not just a mundane, so-so answer. It is an answer that points the conversation toward a many-colored horizon of opportunity and potential. Or something like that.

You may think that I am overthinking this or that much pondering hath made me mad. You may be correct. I’m still going to use it, though, because you aren’t the boss of me.

Which gets me to the real reason for this post.

A few years ago, I blogged on this site every weekday. It was fun, encouraging, and enlightening as the site gained a little bit of a steady readership and I was given the opportunity to interact with people from all over the country.

And then I stopped and started back.

And stopped and started back.

A few times.

And now I think it’s time to start back.

Will I blog every weekday like I did before? Will I re-start some of the semi-popular regular features? Will I keep it up or once again abruptly quit?

My answer is….

We’ll see.

What are your go-to answers to common questions? Do you think “we’ll see” is better than maybe? Feel free to leave a comment!

Handsome Joseph Smith

I have never thought of past world or religious leaders as handsome or beautiful. As a general rule, my interest in these types of folks has nothing to do with whether or not their bone structure is rugged or if their hair is on fleek (or whatever the kids these days are saying). Apparently, not everyone is like me in this regard.

I found this out after a trip to McDonald’s where my 14-year-old daughter and her friend were talking about the cuteness level of Joseph Smith. Yes, that Joseph Smith. According to them, the founder of Mormonism was cute.

This revelation led to an interesting exchange:

Me: “You really think Joseph Smith was cute?”

My daughter: “Yes. And do you know who else thought he was cute?”

Me: “Who?”

My daughter: “His 40 wives.”

I laughed way harder than anyone ever should in a McDonald’s. Usually that kind of laughter is reserved for someplace fancy, like Chick-fil-A.

And she might be right. According to this article from the New York Times, after denying it for many years Mormon leaders in 2014 finally admitted that “Joseph Smith, portrayed in church materials as a loyal partner to his loving spouse Emma, took as many as 40 wives, some already married and one only 14 years old.”

Of course there no way to know for sure that they all thought Joseph was cute, but it’s certainly possible.

What is absolutely certain is that Joseph Smith and the religion he founded have led people into error and away from God.

To spare those of you who agree with time, I won’t go into the details of why I believe this way here. However, if you disagree with me, a good place for you to find a little of why I believe this way is this 2012 post by Joe Carter.

Really, though, it should come as no surprise that Joseph Smith is seen as handsome. Satan has a way of making that which is wrong look not only right, but appealing. Adultery, gossip, pride, an insatiable thirst for power – all of these things and so many more are indeed as wrong, even evil. But to so many they can be made to look so good.

Being aware of this tactic of our enemy is a good start. Setting up safeguards to prevent us from falling into his crafty hands is also important.

Perhaps the best strategy, though, is seeking to look at things through God’s eyes. Then we might be able to see that Joseph Smith wasn’t handsome; he was wrong.

And so is so much else of what our world sees as right. Or handsome.

 

Learning to Smile

If my wife’s dogs were children Honey would be the middle child. She’s a Chihuahua like the older two; she’s not a Doberman or a Siberian Husky like the younger two.

She’s a sweet dog except for that time she bit the seat of a church member’s britches. (It’s been a long time since I typed the word “britches.” It felt good.)

It isn’t like Honey doesn’t get any attention. She does. It just isn’t as much as she used to get when she was a puppy. Back then it was just the three Chihuahuas with Honey being the youngest. She was carried back and forth, talked to incessantly by my kids and named one of People Magazine’s most eligible Chihuahuas.

That last one isn’t true, but don’t tell Honey. She believes everything we tell her.

Ever since we acquired Beulah (the Doberman) and Sasha (the Husky), Honey’s circumstances have changed. The younger two have stolen her thunder and erased some of her attention.

What’s a Chihuahua to do? I’ll tell you what Honey did: she learned how to SMILE! I don’t know how she did it and I’m pretty sure she didn’t know the impact it would have, but Honey learned to smile.

I’m a sucker for dogs who smile. Seeing one makes me happy. If it doesn’t make you happy you probably also frown at rainbows and fat babies. A smiling dog is amazing. Honey (probably inadvertently) found a way to get back some long-lost attention.

Sometimes when people fail to get what they want or they grow stagnant, they try to change their circumstances. Honey wasn’t able to do that. Instead of changing her circumstance, she changed herself. She learned to smile.

Her smile isn’t perfect. It’s really more of a half-smile. But it was enough.

Stagnancy is bad, but it may not be a reason to make a major change. All you and I may need to do in some situations is learn how to smile.