The Bells

I heard the bells on Christmas Day

Their old, familiar carols play,
and wild and sweet

The words repeat

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And thought how, as the day had come,

The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along

The unbroken song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Till ringing, singing on its way,

The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime,

A chant sublime

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
Then from each black, accursed mouth

The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound

The carols drowned

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
It was as if an earthquake rent

The hearth-stones of a continent,

And made forlorn

The households born

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!
And in despair I bowed my head;

“There is no peace on earth,” I said;
“For hate is strong, And mocks the song

Of peace on earth, good-will to men!”
Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:

“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The Wrong shall fail,

The Right prevail,

With peace on earth, good-will to men.”

by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

I don’t’ know when this song first had an impact on me, it’s meaning has changed over time as I have heard it year after year. In the last few years, it has changed from a song of dispare to a song of great hope and joy! I love to hear it and in my church, the organist really makes it wonderful and uplifting!

In my own life, I have moved through this opinion of the world and mankind in it. I remember a time when I was not interested in the affairs of those around me. It was typical of me to avoid others and not care what happened to those around me. At one point I didn’t even care about my siblings. Over the course of several years, my life took me into hard times and an actual and spiritual all desert.

It took a a few small acts from friends and family to soften my heart. Then I was presented with a choice … the choice between dark and light. The choice between walking the path of faith of the path of rebellion.

I was attending church with a very dear friend of mine, a guy who was and is an example to me. During the sermon, the pastor spoke about making New Year’s Resolutions. I don’t remember most of his sermon, at the very end, he said; “If there is only. one resolution that you make this year, make it to become more like Christ.” It was in that moment a decision had to be make. I was acting like the Israelites and halting between 2 decisions. It took me 3 days to make a decision about what path I would take.

As this year comes to a close, the twentieth year since that day, I have reflected upon the path my life has taken. I have often reflected on the decision I made and all the good things that have come from that day. I am ever so grateful for my wife – Lauren, my 4 boys, the faith that has developed, my education, the experiences, the books, the friends, my home, and job. All the good things that have come into my life, have come from that day.

The relationships with my siblings and parents have improved, my friendships have grown and more friends have come into my life. My gratitude abounds and my desire to share that gratitude and abundance continues to grow the more abundance and blessing flow into my life!

My hope and desire for this New Year is that you will be able to see and experience the blessing and abundance that is there for each and every one of us!

iron wil

Iron Wil, the Mighty Freight Train

“My brother, William asked me to explain where his nickname Iron Wil, the Mighty Freight Train came from.  This is a two part name and has separate stories combining the name and clarifying who he is.

It all started when we moved to Texas, he was preparing to go on a two year mission for our church, we watched a Disney movie call Iron Will and then we realized that that is what made our brother Wil different from so many others, he would push through adversity no matter what the cost or the reward as long as it was right or the principle true. Determination would growl out of him as he pushed on to be more than he was or to move past an issue in front of him.

Then after his mission we played a friendly game of tackle football on a Thanksgiving morning, something that was a favorite pastime of ours. During one play Wil had the ball and was pumping down the line with three younger men clinging to him, he was a freight train rolling by me. He did finally get taken down when the fourth man came in for the final tackle and the entire group came down as a train would blow off a track.

I remember stopping in the middle of my action to stop and watch him push forward despite the others clinging to him.  I at first was awed, then I remember thinking the others were just hanging on with a hope that they could do something, but my brother defied their desires by chugging forward.

A train with its movement slowed or not must press forward and can only change course by a small change initially, Wil is also like this, but when he changes course know he will keep the same speed and determination he had before. Don’t get in his way because you won’t slow him down.”

A Bite of History

My oldest loves history, so when our church announced the new temple open house in Philadelphia. We say it as an opportunity to see the new temple and take in some US history. My wife and I then planned a 2 day trip to Philly. We started to look forward to the experience and our boys started to get excited and talk about it. We made our plans and booked a hotel.

The temple was a wonderful experience and both our boys found it very interesting. We enjoyed seeing the liberty bell and Independence Hall; we took the big bus tour the around the city several times and really enjoyed the history of the city we got to see! It was a beautiful opportunity to reaffirm our boys belief and love of our country. They asked questions and my oldest was even able to tell us some things he has learned from school and from his reading.

The time we spent in Philly was not sufficient to really get into all the fun and the many different activities available to us. So a return trip is planned and I have a feeling it will include many more of the historical sites and events!

It is important that we connect with our nations history! The study of our founders and the events leading up to the Revolution and the Constitution really show how blessed we are to have the nation we have today! No other nation has done or come close to what was born here on this continent 240 years ago! I would invite each and every one of us to study American History by reading and watching the material published … from both sides. We also need to approach this with an open mind and then spend the time learning the truth. Yes, I am even saying that I need to have an open mind.

iron wil

Principles are Immutable

“If a principle exists it must be immutable, for that is what a principle is – a truth standing apart from the mood of the times” Jeff Cooper, Principles of Personal Defense (1972)

I have been trying to express this concept in this blog for several months. It seems the world continues to push “new values” that have through time continued to fail. The traditional or Judeo-Christian values have been under fire since the 1960’s when drugs and free love, a reaction to WWII and the Korean War, became a cause celeb among the youth of America. While other powerful movement’s also happened during these years, few have caused so much trouble for our nation. The attack on values, morals, and religion has severely hurt our country. I know that some feel we are better off with less religion; which is funny since 89% of Americans say they believe in God. (1) Oh, not as many attend or affiliate with a church as we have in the past; however, when 9/11 landed in our face there was a brief revival and uptick in people attending church again.

We are immortal beings having a mortal experience and this life is a place of testing and trials to see if we will grow and overcome our weaknesses and faults. Church is not a place for the healthy, for in God’s eyes we are all sick. It is a hospital where we minster to each other. To often we let our mortal selves get in the way of our immortal selves since we are not perfect and we are constantly failing/sinning some way. Now, don’t get discouraged. I have been practicing and striving to improve for 20 years and I know that while I have made good progress I still have a long way to go to meet the standard that Jesus Christ set. Our problem, is that we want the perfection now … and it doesn’t come until the next life.

We do not join Christ in His glory until after we die and are judged. Heaven is the only “country” where one has to learn to live the “law of the land” before we can enter the kingdom. The beautiful thing about living a life of principles is that when we are making progress and improving; we are living those laws or commandments to the best of our ability … which is what we are being asked to do. Christ makes all the difference, He paid the price for our freedom and only by applying to Him can our balance be paid in full. While I am a firm believer that my faith is the correct one and the we have the most pure doctrine; I also know that everyone living to follow Christ is just as blessed and benefits by His divine intervention in their lives. He loves all of us, no matter who we are or what we do.

We show Him that we love him by living a life grounded in the traditional principles and values that are taught in many faiths. If you look and study you will find that many of the same doctrines and principles are shared among many faiths. I encourage you to live a life of principles for surely we will be able to stand before God one day and know that we have lived the best life possible.

Be your best self and then you will begin to see the difference between a principled life and an unprincipled one.

iron wil

1) U.S. Public Becoming Less Religious

Service in Disaster

WVFlood.02 WVFlood.01Some people know and some don’t know that here in WV we got hit with some pretty bad flooding in central WV. There are thousands of people without homes and (by last count that I saw) 24 deceased. From the reports, some towns have been completely wiped off the face of the earth. While this is very sad, I wanted to focus on what a few members of my community did starting the day after the flooding began.

There is a business here called Tannerman’s. It is a small business that was started about 14 years ago, if I remember the story correctly. The business owner has a big heart and he really has shown it. Travis Bishop, helped to organize donations and relief trucks and trailers to take the supplies down to the areas being flooded. I had been busy working that day and had no idea what had been going on in my state or my community. Paul, one of Tannerman’s employee’s, and a friend of mine hit me up on FB Messenger and asked me to help get the word out. I was shocked to see the initial flooding that I saw in the pictures. I must have spent 20 minutes looking at all the pictures that were posted and reposted by Tannerman’s and Eastern Panhandle Working Fires. I reposted to my church group and then started texting friends that I knew would be interested in helping out.

Now, I was amazed and impressed with the response from the Berkeley County community. On Friday after the flooding started 3 pickup trucks towed 3 trailers down to the Clendenin, WV area. WVFlood.Help 01 WVFlood.Help 02Saturday 2 more trucks and trailers went and then on Sunday another truck and trailer went. After that, I lost track. I know other supplies have been collected and taken down and are still being collected. I took something over today. Part of the sales floor was covered with cases of water, trash bags, cleaning supplies, and many other things.

This is how a community comes together, this is how a community builds the ties that will bind it together and help it work through it owns problems. It is the type of activity that shows how much we care about our fellow man and that we are willing to help out.

Scout MealsAnother friend of mine took his Boy Scout troop down to one of those communities hit by the flooding and they cooked and served breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a whole Saturday. This is service on a level I have not seen for some time. Service that makes me proud that I participated and proud on my friends and neighbors here in Berkeley County!

iron wil