Iron Wil on Gratitude and Family

Thanksgiving is officially my favorite holiday! Had a wonderful time with my In-Laws and Sister’s families. It is important to express our gratitude, it helps to shape our mind and it helps to world.

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.”


As today is the first day of November and Halloween is behind us, many people will do the twenty X days of thankfulness and post about the things they are thankful for. I just wonder how many of us express our gratitude during the rest of the year? I personally have been working on doing better at this for many years. It isn’t that I am not grateful, it is that I don’t express it as quickly as I should. I have a brother that is really good at doing this, for many years he has set a great example for me and our siblings.

I do look forward to the holidays each year with hope and excitement because many people seem to be filled with joy and kindness. The world seems to become a better place even for these next 2 months as the year ends with Christmas and New Year’s. These 2 months seem to rekindle our connection to each other and remind us that not only are we not alone, we are connected. Something that continues to impress me about several homeless people I have met is their gratitude for the smallest kindness or service.

I have a friend that is homeless and so I don’t see him very much, nor do I hear from him very often. Our friendship has made me more aware of the homeless community within my county and how I might be better able to help them as a group and individually. I know that it is going to get colder with fall in full swing and winter coming on soon; the homeless shelter in town recently underwent some renovations and now can sleep 78 (?). Which I have learned in a community of 110,000 people, that is not enough to help out these individuals.

In our nation today, with all the wealth and resources we have, this continues to be an issue. It is also a very complicated issue from what I have witnessed. I don’t have an answer on how to solve this problem … I don’t know if it is a problem we will ever solve in a way that truly helps our fellow citizens. I know that many of them have lost hope and their dignity. I hope one day that we can solve this problem for our nation … especially because we are better than this. We are a great nation and one that has and can do hard things.

Gratitude, such a plain and unassuming word that is filled with love and depth. May each of us allow our hearts to be turned a little more to our neighbor and reach to lift the head that hangs down and strengthen the feeble knees. May God bless our nation that we can again lead the world in goodness and hope for a brighter future.

iron wil

Pain leads to Hope

The hope has turned to pain, tears fill my eyes;
the past is awash in mistakes;
enough to drown a man in sorrow,
hope for a better tomorrow seems like a candle in the wind.

No hope of staying bright, no hope of finding the light;
yet, there is One who shines in these times …
One who walks, whispers, and guides me.

My weaknesses He knows,
my heart He has held;
pain is retreating,
when His arms are around me.

Healing comes like the dawn after a storm;
bright and clear, clean and warm.
My heart heals and blessings are known;
with His blood all wounds are sown.

iron wil


Today is Thanksgiving. Today is a day of reflection and rejoicing.

The story of Thanksgiving in America is one built upon the founding of our country. When Pilgrims and Indians celebrated the first harvest in America in 1621. It didn’t become an actual holiday until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln. Since then, it has grown in its scope and has become, in many ways, overshadowed by football games and Black Friday. This holiday has not changed for me. I still participate by watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and what ever football game is on; however, the main focus of the day is family, food, and fun. I spend the day with my wife and boys and our extended family. We have turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potatoes, an apple cranberry crisp, green bean casserole, corn, apple pie, pumpkin pie, banana and chocolate cream pies, hors d’oeuvres, and much more. I typically call my parents on Thursday morning or on Friday. We sometimes video call so the boys can see their Mimi & Papa.

When I was a kid we played football in the morning with our church group and then came home to clean up and feast, lay around and watch holiday movies such as Holiday Inn and White Christmas (2 of my favorites). We often would have single GIs over since most of them couldn’t travel to be with their families. I didn’t realize how much of a difference it made to me to have others in our home. It wasn’t until I moved out of my parents house and that I realized how much serving others and expressing my personal thanks to them meant to me personally. I loved celebrating this day of Thanksgiving with others who were thankful that someone thought of them. My whole world changed and I grew because of the service rendered by my family to those men and women who served my country. I now miss having them in my home for the holidays.

Today there has been a movement across America to express our gratitude more and to get out and share with others. A movement to be thankful.

This Thanksgiving we are going to do something different to help us remember that it i a day of prayer and thanks giving. President George Washington said in his first Thanksgiving Proclamation.

Issued by President George Washington, at the request of Congress, on October 3, 1789

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

Please remember why we celebrate this late November and do something to memorialize it. Make it more than just food, football, and family.

iron wil