It’s time for another exciting and down right thrilling life update. 😉
This summer was like any other summer with me getting up and going to work every day. No exciting vacation as travel plans are not in my budget.
A cousin from Texas visited for a few days. It was great to see him as it had been several years since his last visit.
The most exciting and blessed event was my youngest niece giving birth to a healthy and happy baby boy.
The second most exciting thing was my neighbor releasing his first album on Spotify – Mango Man and The Funketeers. If you like jazz you will love this album. They are just beginning to make their mark on the music world.
At work, I was chosen for a special logistics project and won serveral Amazon gift cards due to attendance and performance. One of the items I bought was a telescope.
Even Rommie is having fun learning how to use it and find objects in the sky. It also came with an attachment so I can take pictures with my phone. Once I get the hang of it I will share pictures with you.
Speaking of winning, I also won $127 dollars in free jewelry as a mystery hostess at a jewelry party. This jewelry junkie almost passed out from sheer joy.
A good time was had by all in my small group. Work interfered with me attending the third meeting and a pulled knee muscle prevented me from attending this month’s meeting.
Did I experience God this summer – yes. He showed up at work one day and the 5 or 6 of us that were working functioned so well as a team handling a situation none of us ever dealt with before – and never want to deal with again.
It was so stressful and the adrenaline pumping so hard and fast that I decided I was not fit enough to drive somewhere and eat a hearty meal – so I ordered pizza. Yes, I know it is called emotional eating and in that situation I had zero guilt and zero regrets.
If I could tell you what happened, you would understand.
I’ve read Max’s book Anxious For Nothing; Finding Calm in a Chaotic World and enjoyed it. Therefore, I am confident Happiness Happens will be a good read as well. A review will be posted as soon as I finish the book. I will also update you after I complete the one week Happiness Challenge.
In addition to the review of Happiness Happens, there will be posts at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve.
There may be a couple extra posts if I have a thought or adventure to share.
Ending on a Patriotic Note
I leave you with a video of Ray Charles singing America The Beautiful from game 2 of the 2001 World Series.
12 I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live. 13 That each of them may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all their toil—this is the gift of God.
Dear American worker, I. Believe. In. You.
This is your day.
A day to rest, relax and spend time with family and friends at a beach, a backyard barbecue, or a local park’s picnic shelter.
I believe in you because you are not afraid to do the dirty and dangerous work such as steel mill, road construction, electrical lineman etc. You do these jobs because dirty jobs built and keeps America rolling on and on from generation to generation.
I believe you in because you do the thankless repetitive jobs such as waitress, store clerk, fulfillment center worker, and call center representative. You are the foundation of the company. Without you waiting on people, processing t-shirt orders, or answering customers questions, the company would not exist.
I believe in you because your work ethic keeps you faithfully showing up every day, even on the days when you wonder if it is worth it. Deep inside you know that even on the messy days, God is with you.
I believe in you and your willingness to serve others even after a long hard day. You understand that people sometimes need a helping hand after stumbling or falling down. Your job may bring you happiness but volunteering brings you joy.
I believe in you because I am one of you.
This non-morning person gets out of bed every day, stumbles across the hall and sits for 8+ hours listening to customers vent and helping delivery drivers find their way.
To all my fellow workers – enjoy your day of rest and relaxation. For tomorrow you rise again to the challenge of toiling at the dirty, routine and dangerous jobs that are the trademark of American exceptionalism.
Thank you for being the backbone of this country and a carrying the weight like a rock. May you always believe in your dreams, stand firm in your beliefs and stand tall and proud.
Ever since Joe’s passing I’ve been rediscovering and/or reinventing who I am. The first step was upgrading from film to a DSLR camera, the next step was reading books, then came unemployment followed by LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and blogging. That is what widowhood is all about – moving forward with creating a new life while not forgetting the old one.
History always fascinated me and was my best subject in school. Once I got out in the working world, my love of history did not occupy much of my time. My interest was slowly been rekindled over the past few years but has intensified this summer. History brings me joy.
However, in school I do not recall getting much of an education about Christianity’s role in our founding. My teachers may have casually mentioned it. So I did some research on Amazon about Christianity and our founding. Dr. Stackhouse Jr’s book was one of the search results and I found the title intriguing.
His book is packed or should I say stacked with quotes from and information about the founding fathers and their faith. There is so much information I found this post hard to write because I want to include everything.
Here is my best shot at a general overview with some quotes scattered through out.
The title of the book comes from Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson proposed seal for the United States, which is on page 98 and the book’s cover.
They Had A Dream
The founding fathers had a dream, a dream of a country where man was not under the rule of tyrannical leaders imposing taxes on it’s citizens. A country of the people, by the people and for the people where man was free to choose and create his own destiny.
They Had Faith
But bringing this dream to life was in going to be what most would say is an impossible dream. However our founders had the faith to know that nothing is impossible with God.
But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
Matthew 19:26 King James Version (KJV)
Their faith in God is the one thing that I quickly noticed when reading in the book. It was a strong faith, a passionate faith, a faith unlike what we see and experience today. These men KNEW their Bible and applied it to everyday life.
Our faith today is sterile, sanitized and bleached out. It’s too formal, to routine, to bland in fact it is down right too establishment-like. But that is a subject for another post.
The Apostle Paul talks about submission to those in authority in Romans 13 as God put them there. It is generally interpreted as blind obedience to whoever is in authority.
However, Puritan minister Johnathan Mayhew (1720-1766) of the West Church in Boston gave a sermon on Romans 13 where he stated obedience to whoever is the ruler applies ONLY when the leader is being kind to his people. If he is imposing things, like taxes on tea, he is not being kind. Since he is not doing God’s will, we have a duty to rebel against the tyrant.
If it be our duty, for example, to obey our king, merely for this reason, that he rules for the public welfare, (which is the only argument the apostle makes use of) it follows, by a parity of reason, that when the turns tyrant, and makes his subjects his prey to devour and to destroy, instead of his charge to defend and cherish, we are bound to throw off our allegiance to him and to resist.
Johnathan Mayhew Rebellion To Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH. D. pg. 13
Mayhew’s sermon was given on the 51st anniversary of King Charles I’s execution after the English Civil war of the 1840’s.
Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. (emphasis mine)
Matthew 22:37-39 King James Version (KJV)
Obviously imposing taxes or other nasty things on people is not loving your neighbor as you love yourself. Therefore we the people have the right to rebel against tyrannical rulers.
There were even sermons about politics preached from the pulpit in the pre-revolutionary war years. Sermons about God being almighty, powerful and the ultimate ruler. Understanding this puts into the power of kings and queens into perspective as they are mere mortals like the rest of us.
Knowing God is the almighty gave them courage to boldly proceed with the fighting for our right to be free from England and the tyrannical rule of King George III.
The Country’s One Foundation
American historian Henry F. May best explains the answer as to why Christianity played a role in our founding:
A great many people believed throughout the period that the religion of the Bible, understood best by simple people, was the safest foundation for all essential truths.
On the whole, various forms of Protestant Christianity served the emotional needs of most Americans better.
Henry F. May American Historian and Margaret Byrne Professor Of History University of California, Berkeley Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D. pg. 43
Christianity is about a loving God who wants a relationship with all of us because we are his children. However, we have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. He sent Jesus down to rescue us because God knew we would never be able to work our way up to heaven. Our good deeds towards others prove we are saved by God’s grace.
It is that simple. And that is how I like my religion – simple. No fancy, foo-foo, frilly religion for me. Foo-foo belongs on evening and wedding gowns. Life was hard back in the 1700’s and is still hard now, therefore religion needs to be simple.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…
The Declaration of Independence Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D. pg. 60
The words were discussed and discussed until everyone could agree upon them because:
The Declaration had to be acceptable to all of the American People “if Congress expected them to live by it and die for it.” wrote Rod Gragg.
Forged in Faith – How Faith Shaped the Birth of the Nation 1607 – 1776 by Rod Gragg Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D. pg. 60
Dr. Stackhouse, Jr. points out that while Thomas Jefferson (writer of The Declaration) did not acknowledge a personal salvation experience, he agreed with Jesus’s teaching. He was also suspicious of religious institution and their leaders.
[Christ’s] system of morality was the most benevolent and sublime probably that ha sever been taught, and consequently more perfect than those of any of the antient philosophers.
Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly Rebellion Against Tyrants Is Obedience To God Daniel S. Stackhouse, Jr. PH.D pg 62
Guess it is a good thing you are not alive today, Thomas. There are a lot of preachers and religious leaders that you would cause you to raise an eyebrow. (By the way, antient is an archaic variation of the world ancient per Merriam Webster.)
“But Wait, There’s More!”
There is more information in this book than I can cover in this blog post – freedom of speech, the Great Awakening, and separation of church and state (spoiler: it does not mean what you think it means) are just a few topics I did not cover.
Yes, you read the title right – I got a “love note.” It has been over a decade since my last one from Joe.
However, this is one I NEVER want to get again.
Last week I found a “love note” from my city taped to my door. The note stated I had 15 days to replace my broken sidewalk.
I am not able to pull that kind of money out of thin air. Who do you think I am Jeff Bezos? Warren Buffet? President Trump?
My neighbor is a contractor and last evening we discussed the situation as they got a “love note” too. There’s is in better shape than mine and they still got a “love note.” He will fix theirs and the 3 broken spots on my sidewalk.
So all is under control.
Check with your city and see who is responsible for the sidewalk.
Then save up thousands of dollars in a sidewalk fund so if / when you have to replace it, the money is there – especially if you happen to be a one-income widow when a “love note” is taped to your front door.
By the way, they even used red tape. 😀
Hey!, wait a minute…what’s my city doing using my hard-earned tax dollars to buy colored tape? Plain old grey duct tape should be sufficient and cheaper.
watching 4 hours of angry Democrats saying “This Country Sucks!” (Those are not there exact words but they easily could have been.)
Rush Limbaugh’s recent rant about how the left is anti-American and wants to rip this country to shreds. (I take my cell phone and sit on the deck or the front steps and listen to the replay on the app after work.)
I. Believe. In. You.
Despite being made up of flawed humans, you are the most unique and exceptional country on earth.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
There is no other country like you. God has richly blessed you.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people whom he has chosen as his heritage!
Psalm 33:12 ESV
Your founding was a political event but it brings out the patriotism in all citizens.
…look down in mercy, we beseech Thee, on these our American States, who have fled to Thee from the rod of the oppressor and thrown themselves on Thy gracious protection, desiring to be henceforth dependent only on Thee. To Thee have they appealed for the righteousness of their cause; to Thee do they now look up for that countenance and support, which Thou alone canst give.
You are the land of opportunity for those who are willing to work for it, those who understand that you get what you get only when you are bold enough go for it.
A land where anything is possible, whereanyone can be elected President not just some career politician in Washington D. C. who is out of touch with the reality of his constituent’s everyday life.
You are a land who welcomes immigrants seeking a better life and believe America is the best place to build that life. People like my great, great grandfather Augustus who immigrated from Germany through the port of Baltimore, Maryland.
“In the first place, we should insist that if the immigrant who comes here in good faith becomes an American and assimilates himself to us, he shall be treated on an exact equality with everyone else, for it is an outrage to discriminate against any such man because of creed, or birthplace, or origin. But this is predicated upon the person’s becoming in every facet an American, and nothing but an American…There can be no divided allegiance here. Any man who says he is an American, but something else also, isn’t an American at all. We have room for but one flag, the American flag… We have room for but one language here, and that is the English language… and we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people.”
Just as the church consists of people and not a building, you too, America are made up of people young and old, rich and poor, the employed and the unemployed, the fat and happy and the skinny and miserable.
People whose careers are:
talk show hosts
gas station clerks
call center representatives
stay at home moms and dads
butchers, bakers and candlestick makers
It takes all these people and so many more to make and keep this country the greatest one on earth.
I. Believe. In. You., America!
Therefore, I commit to pray for you at 7:14 a.m. and 7:14 p.m. every day in hopes that God will answer all my prayers for you now and for centuries to come.
14 if my people who are called by my name 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 heal their land.