“You Can’t Please Everyone”

Community Forum

Take Back Enterprise held a community forum on Monday night, 8/24/15, attended by over 100 folks where the vision and purpose of the organization was shared and questions were asked and answered. Since the meeting was pretty well covered by local news media from Dothan and Enterprise I had not planned on writing about it.

Pretty well covered

Some in the media chose to actually report on the meeting while some didn’t. Some chose to report on it before they decided to un-report on it and post an opinion piece instead. Some chose not to attend because the media wasn’t invited. It was a community forum, not a press conference so press invitations were not sent to anyone.

See and hear what was said for yourself

There is no need for me to repeat any more about the content of this meeting. You can see the slides and hear the entire presentation at the Take Back Enterprise YouTube channel at TBE Presentation 2015 08 24. You can also learn more at their web site takebackenterprise.com or their Facebook page where the Likes are growing every day.

News Media Coverage

However the media coverage of this forum was interesting and provides an indication to me this group has already struck a nerve and it is going to be an interesting election year between now and next August. Because of that, I decided I would share a few thoughts on what I have observed.

Valencia Jones from WDHN covered the forum Monday night and then followed up with an interview with the mayor on Tuesday to get his response. Both stories can be seen at their web site at DothanFirst.com. The links to those specific stories are below. It’s refreshing when any story is covered this way. It’s sad this is now an exception in news reporting as editorial decisions are made based on what has the greatest shock value, will generate the most advertising dollars, and the ideological preference of the editor.

Take Back Enterprise hosts community forum, call for more open government

From her interview with Turner Townsend he said, “We’re not saying the City of Enterprise has burned to the ground, we’re not saying our garbage is not getting picked up. We’re saying we need access to information, and they need to present it in a way that it can be easily accessed.”

Mayor Boswell, resident respond to Take Back Enterprise Accusations

From her interview with Mayor Boswell Valencia Jones said, “Boswell said, as the old saying goes, you can’t please everyone. In terms of the next steps in further addressing the group’s concerns, he said there are no next steps on his part, stating it is up to those with concerns to come and be heard before city council to discuss the possibility of a formal meeting.”

Cassie Gibbs from The Southeast Sun covered the meeting in the article, Take Back Enterprise aims to educate citizens.

I did not see any coverage of the meeting in The Enterprise Ledger or on WTVY.

Opinions – Everyone has one

There were a couple of opinion pieces published on Sunday, 8/30/15. Curious they both came out on the same day. Hmm… Neither of the opinion writers attended the community forum. Neither of their articles were very well researched. Both took shots at a group just asking legitimate questions of public officials and trying to create more open government in Enterprise.

One was in The Enterprise Ledger by Kyle Mooty and the other was on a web site called RickeyStokesNews.com and written by Rickey Stokes. I have read and agreed with many of Kyle Mooty’s articles and thought some were well done but this was not one of his better efforts. He has done better. I am not a regular reader of Rickey Stokes News. A friend told me he had mentioned me in one of his articles the week before the meeting and then another friend told me he had mentioned me again in the most recent one below so I thought I would take a look and see if he had anything meaningful to say. I did not find much.

Here are links to the above-referenced articles, if they are both still up.

Who’s Trying to Take Back E’prise?

Enterprise is on a better path than it should expect

Things that make me go hmm…

Over the past two years I have been to as many, probably more, Enterprise City Council and School Board meetings as anyone other than the board, council members, mayor and those they require to attend. I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in these meetings and what doesn’t. I have rarely seen either Mr. Mooty or Mr. Stokes at either. The Ledger does normally have a reporter there, just not Mr. Mooty. I did notice Mr. Stokes at a city council meeting recently though. I didn’t see any article posted on his site about that meeting and didn’t think much about it until he started writing about Take Back Enterprise shortly after that meeting. Hmm…

Reported, then unreported

Mr. Stokes did have one of his people, Matt Boster, attend the community forum. He recorded it and wrote and published a pretty straightforward article about the meeting, including a couple of videos. However, that was all pulled down from his web site for some reason within a couple of hours after it was posted on the night of the meeting. Then, this opinion piece, written by Mr. Stokes, was published six days later on Sunday. Hmm…

Who are these so-called “bitter people”?

I know Mr. Mooty has been in the news business long enough to know there are at least two sides to every story. It seems to me as a journalist he would welcome more open government or ask more questions himself instead of simply viewing everything through rose colored glasses. Sometimes an apple is beautiful and glossy on the outside but when you cut it open you find a worm.

I do understand opinion columns are normally one-sided and are just opinions. This one fit that pattern. This blog is where I share my opinion.

I wonder if he has made any attempt to talk to these so-called “bitter people” he keeps referring to and listen to their side of the story or if he is just repeating references he is hearing from “someone else”. Who are these bitter people? Hmm…

Old Sayings

The mayor referenced an old saying in his interview, “You can’t please everyone.”   I do agree with and understand that saying and believe it is true; just don’t think it was appropriate in this context.

There is another old saying attributed to Abraham Lincoln I do believe is appropriate here, “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.” I guess everyone has to determine which group of people you belong to.

Lincoln_Fool some people

Next Step

It was reported in both the Enterprise Ledger and Southeast Sun and the Take Back Enterprise website that they did take the next step the mayor mentioned and did appear before the council in the council meeting on 9/1/15 and made several formal requests. Here is a link to the letter they read and presented to the council members and mayor. The next step now is up to the mayor and city council. I am interested to see how they choose to respond.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

My Community Perspective – August 2015

I wrote about the first Take Back Enterprise community forum a couple of months ago in Wake Up Enterprise. I just received notification a couple of days ago about the follow-up to that meeting which is now scheduled for Monday, August 24, 2015 at 6:00 PM at the Econo Lodge on Glover Avenue in Enterprise.

366 days from this date, 8/23/16, is Election Day in Enterprise.

TBE_Community Forum_8-14-2015 8-18-06 PM

Add this to your calendar and get out and learn what Take Back Enterprise is all about. If you were at the first meeting come back and see the progress made in the last couple of months and bring a friend or two or three so they can learn too.

Meeting Format

If you were not at the first meeting there will be a presentation by Turner and Michael explaining exactly what Take Back Enterprise is and what it isn’t with updates since the first meeting. They will want to hear from you as well. YOUR questions and input are welcome. It will probably last about an hour, maybe an hour and a half.

Letter to the Editor

I posted the letter to the editor below a couple of weeks ago in the Southeast Sun but could not share the actual links there. Links don’t work in the hard copy of a newspaper, so I wanted to share them here so you can click on the link and go take a look at some of the new information now available at the City of Enterprise web site.


More City Information Now Available Online

This letter is to commend and thank the Enterprise City Council, City Clerk, website administrator and technicians and any others who had a hand in the improvements and additional information now available at the city website. If you have not visited the website lately go to http://www.enterpriseal.gov and take a look. You can now see both the formal city council meeting as well as work session minutes as far back as 2008. The 2014 City Audit is also available.

In reading the work session minutes for 5/13/15 Councilman Rhett Marques had indicated his constituents had requested the city provide more information including these minutes on their web site and it appears that request has been granted. Anyone who has read any of my blog posts know this is one of the things I have long thought would be beneficial for all. This is one positive step in that direction. I believe the information has always been available at City Hall but being able to access this online makes it much more freely accessible to anyone who wants to see it. With the negligible cost of hardware needed to make this available online there is no reason not to make all public city information available here.

I encourage all to browse, download, read and learn and become a more informed citizen.


Providing information and making it easily available is a huge part of transparency in government so any improvement in this area is welcome.

Some City Web Site Navigation Tips

Once you click on http://www.enterpriseal.gov you will see the home page as shown below (Keep in mind web sites are always changing so this is how it looks as of this date.)

Warning: The video is set to automatically start playing and does so every time you go to the home page. You may want to watch it the first time you visit the site but, if you are like me, and find this annoying, you will just have to pause it manually for subsequent visits.

EnterpriseAL.gov_Front page_top_8-14-2015 7-09-16 PM

 

 

If you click on the Departments tab you will see the page below.

EnterpriseAL.gov_Departments_top_8-14-2015 7-09-16 PM

You can click on the City Clerk/Treasurer Department from the page above or from the City Leadership tab as shown below. Here is where you will find the 2014 City Audit you can download and review at your convenience.

EnterpriseAL.gov_City Clerk Treasurer_top_8-14-2015 7-28-17 PM

Clicking on the City Leadership tab and then City Council from the home page will take you to the page shown below where you can see the buttons for Council Minutes, Work Session Minutes and Ordinances.

EnterpriseAL.gov_City Leadership_Minutes_top_8-14-2015 7-09-16 PM

 

 

Check it out for yourself if you want to see what is now available. It is much improved, although that Auto Play Video being turned off would be another improvement in my opinion.

My Hope, Your Choice

I hope you will choose to get involved and learn more about what is going on in our community. It is a choice and it is up to you, no one else. Checking out this information online and getting out to the Community Forum and learning more are two steps you can take now to accept your individual responsibility to become a more informed and involved citizen. Attending City Council Meetings is another way to learn. A large number of informed and involved citizens can collectively hold leaders accountable, and, if needed, make changes. You really will not know if any changes need to be made unless you are informed. My hope is you will make a choice you will not regret.

After my original publishing of this post I saw this quote in my news feed and it fits here so here it is.

Citizens Quote

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

What If?

When is the last time you looked for a job? I have been blessed with a job and career I love and haven’t wanted or needed to look myself recently. However, I have talked to several friends lately who are looking. Based on their experiences, times have changed which prompted these thoughts and questions from my own experience and peculiar perspective.

External Communication Matters

Has business etiquette changed so much that what was once common practice, courtesy, and professionalism in business communications been discarded? If you interviewed for a job at an organization and were told they would let you know their decision in a couple of weeks and that turned into two months, then three would that experience change your perception of that organization?

Would you even want to work there if they did call again?

What if they did call again after three plus months and said there was another opening (when they had not even notified you what happened with the original position you interviewed for)?

What if you did STILL want to work there and called them back and left a message that same day and they went dark again and did not return your phone call?

Would you tell anyone else you talk to about this lack of common courtesy and professionalism at this organization?

The question I would be asking myself is, if the organization does not care enough to treat me with respect during the hiring process (when they are usually trying to exhibit the positive reasons for someone wanting to work there) is there any reason to expect they will treat me with respect if I was working there?  How organizations handle their interactions with potential employees speaks volumes to those potential employees. They will talk to others about their experience.

Word of mouth is a powerful force and negative experiences travel much faster and farther than positive ones.

Internal Actions Matter

What if you worked for an organization for many years, had really grown and excelled at your job, loved your job and the impact you were having on your clients and those working with you, and you always received good reviews from your supervisors and your clients loved you?

What if an opportunity arose for you to move up to the next level in that organization and were hoping this would be a great career move for you so you followed the proper procedures to apply for that position?

What if you expected, or at least hoped, your organization would consider your loyalty, record of service and qualifications would make you a viable candidate for this new role?

What if you learned you were one of many qualified applicants of which NONE were even called in for an interview?

What if you discovered the “leader” of the organization had decided who they were going to hire before the job was even posted and never planned to interview anyone, making the job posting a farce?

What if this happened over and over again?

Would it raise any red flags or questions in your mind as to the motive behind these actions?

Would you have any reason to expect to be treated fairly in that organization in the future?

Would you apply again when another career opportunity was “posted”?

Morale Matters

Treating employees with this level of disdain and disrespect does have a negative affect on employee morale wherever it is practiced. It works every time it is tried.

I don’t know how that display of arrogance, disdain and disrespect would make you feel but can give you a few thoughts about how it would make me feel. It would make me rethink the regard and respect I previously held for that organization. It would be a demotivating experience, to put it mildly, and force me to seek and consider other opportunities where my efforts would be appreciated.

I would expect my co-workers and colleagues to hold similar feelings.

I would expect this low morale to affect the quality of service ALL employees would be able to provide to the clients of the organization.

It is just human nature. If you are not happy in your job you cannot perform up to your potential.

I would also expect the number of clients to decrease over time as those with more experience leave the organization and less experienced replacements are hired.

I would expect word of mouth to spread the word about what it is really like to work in this organization (see word of mouth above).

I would expect all of these factors to have a negative and damaging effect on the integrity of the organization.

Once integrity is lost it is very difficult to re-establish.

What if these practices were allowed to continue? The organization would not be hiring and promoting the best candidates for available positions. The reputation of the organization would suffer. Future best candidates would no longer bother to apply. Employee morale would be low. All these factors would be detrimental to the long-term success of the organization.

What if all these “what ifs” were real and existed in your organization? What would you do? Sadly, I suspect this scenario is not hypothetical but reality for more people than you know.

You Don’t Build Organizations

An expectation for any organization to treat its employees and potential employees with respect should not be an exceptional expectation. It should be the norm. Organizations are made up of people. Those people make choices. Once those choices are made the consequences or benefits of those choices are realized.

You don’t build organizations. You build people and the people build the organization. The opposite also holds true. You destroy your organization when you degrade, disrespect and tear down the people who helped build it.

There Is Hope

Working in an oppressive work environment with an obvious lack of organizational leadership as described above reminds me of the story of Joseph. One of my favorite scripture verses from his story that might provide some hope for you if you do find yourself in such an environment is Genesis 50:20. Joseph was speaking to his brothers, who had sold him into slavery many years before, as they were reunited.

Genesis50_20
“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” Genesis 50:20

God has a unique plan for us all even when we are walking through trying times. His plan for you may be leaving your current organization for a better opportunity elsewhere or it could be staying right where you are and continuing to provide exceptional service to your clients in spite of the circumstances. Both are valid choices.

My hope and prayer for you, if this is your current situation, is for God to grant you both perseverance and wisdom.

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

 

 

 

 

Reality, Biblical Correctness and GQ

I ended my post called Don’t believe Phil…or me either published on January 9, 2014 with the recommendation,

“If you really want to understand what Phil Robertson believes get his book unPhiltered, which was published after this article and controversy.”

IMG_20150711_113402.242 (3)I recently finished reading unPhiltered by Phil Robertson myself and am glad I followed my own advice. I enjoyed it so much I decided to share a few details about the book as well as provide a postscript to the GQ article controversy that encouraged me and I hope will do the same for you. I made the picture of his book black and white because Phil still believes, as I do, right & wrong as well as good & evil still exists. The fact that popular culture does not subscribe to this belief has no bearing on that truth.

Love God, Love Other People

If you want an executive summary of unPhiltered here it is:

Love God. Love one another.

Everything Phil Robertson believes and says flows through this filter. It is an amazingly simple, yet profound, summary of what Jesus Christ tells us, as Christians, to do. Phil is not the source for this thought or philosophy. It is a very concise paraphrase of what Jesus said in Matthew 22:34-40.

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

The Way Phil Sees It

The subtitle of the book is “The Way I See It” and that is what you get; Phil’s opinion, wisdom and common sense formed in 28 years BJC and 40+ years AJC. This is not his life story. If you want that Happy, Happy, Happy is the book you need.

unPhiltered is presented in three sections, Personal Lifestyles, Hot Topics, and Faith. It is written in a conversational style as if you were sitting with Phil at his kitchen table listening to him describe the way he sees life and making a pretty good case for you to come around to his way of thinking if you are not already there. I found myself agreeing with his views and common sense and think many of you will too.

It is, as the title alludes to, unfiltered. Don’t be fooled by his appearance and slow talking Southern demeanor. Phil Robertson is a very wise man.

Personal Lifestyles

The topics of Spiritual Dieting, Money, Social Media, Family, and my favorite in this section Biblical Correctness are covered in this section.

He starts with a quote from the preface of the first edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language, published in 1828 by a man named Noah Webster.

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all our civil constitutions and laws. All the miseries and evils which men suffer from, vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery, and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.”

Phil believes this statement is true and does his best to live according to the precepts in the Bible. He captured my sentiments exactly when he said,

“The way things are going, it’s okay to have an opinion in America, as long as you don’t offend anyone and don’t quote the Bible.”

Biblical Correctness

Phil has decided to be biblically correct instead of politically correct and I think that is a wise decision. Here are a couple more highlights from this topic that give you a flavor for his perspective. These are even more true today than when this book was published.

“Biblical correctness has never changed. Conversely, political correctness is constantly changing and evolving. There has been a constant erosion of biblical correctness in our country. Political correctness is constantly morphing into a dark maze of nonsense. It keeps getting more and more nonsensical.”

“Today’s truth is based on what is socially acceptable, and biblical correctness has somehow become hate speech.”

Hot Topics

In section two Phil discusses Politics, Race, Entitlements, Government and Gun Control.

Gun Control

On the topic of gun control Phil points out murder is sin and has been so “2,700 years before guns were introduced. You can’t blame sin on the device one uses; you blame the person committing the sin.”

“Trust me, the murder rate in this country would drop dramatically if we started to love God and love one another. It is the solution to all of our country’s ailments, as well as the ailments of the entire world.”

There he goes again – love God and love one another. I told you that is THE central theme in how Phil sees the world.

Sin Control

“It was a love problem when the law was written – do not murder – not a weapons problem. It is a love problem now. We need sin control and self control.”

Faith

In this last section the topics are Intelligent Design Or Blind Chance, Good VS. Evil, Sin, Death and Good News.

In this last section the first chapter, Intelligent Design Or Blind Chance, Phil makes a solid case for why evolution does not make any sense and is not supported by the “evidence” evolutionists claim exists. He knows this subject very well and makes arguments you could use in discussing this subject with others too.

Sin

In the chapter on Sin he covers the GQ article interview and his description is not too far from the one I provided in my blog post Don’t believe Phil…or me either published a little over a year and a half ago. That was encouraging to me and proved the old adage even a blind hog can find an acorn every now and then.

He encourages you to read the source, the Bible, for yourself as I did.

“The gospel is the same, Jesus is the same, and the response is the same. I’m not saying anything that you can’t document, read, and verify on your own by simply picking up a Bible and reading it. I strongly suggest you do.”

GQ Article Controversy Postscript

In the aftermath of the GQ Article controversy and Phil’s suspension from Duck Dynasty you will learn how Phil felt about the whole situation and might be surprised. You will also be reminded God is always in control of every situation. He can and often does use the most unlikely situation for His glory. He did that again with this situation.

Phil gives two examples of people who learned about the GQ article controversy and, as a result, now have their eternal reservations confirmed in Heaven. Their lives were changed forever by what many only see as a controversy or even hate speech. You will have to get the book to learn the details. These are just two examples at the time he wrote the book of people who actually visited White’s Ferry Road Church in West Monroe, Louisiana, where Phil worships and teaches a Sunday School class. I am confident there are many more both before and since who have made similar decisions Phil is not aware of. God knows and the people whose lives have been changed forever know and that is all that really matters.

In light of this controversy and A&E’s response to it Phil’s perspective is probably not one Hollywood would share or promote but it is true.

“Who would have ever thought that Hollywood, through a reality TV show, would be financing the gospel being preached all over the United States and world?”

Good News

In closing here are a couple more thoughts from the book that most who condemn Phil for his beliefs ignore or refuse to understand. They are not unique to Phil Robertson but are shared by all who believe and live as Christians.

“I condemn no one, and you don’t have to judge anybody. Just go forth and tell people about Jesus. The power to save people is in the story. Just tell the story.”

“Just remember this–even if you hate me, I love you anyway. So does God.” 

Check it out for yourself

There is no way I could really do justice to this book here. I only scratched the surface. I hope I have shared enough to generate some interest and you will get your own copy and read it for yourself. Click here and order unPhiltered online or pick it up at your local book store. If you do I am confident you will be glad you did.

It might even make you Happy, Happy, Happy!

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

 

With a Firm Reliance on the Protection of Divine Providence

The words below are what set our course for the Independence we now celebrate annually on the 4th of July every year in America. In the midst of barbecues, beaches, family, friends, parades and fireworks as you celebrate the anniversary of this declaration take a few minutes to read these words. They remain profound in wisdom, boldness, courage and are still today quite revolutionary.

This is The Declaration of Independence declaring independence from the King of Britain but it is also a Declaration of Dependence as these men pledge to each other their Lives, our Fortunes and sacred Honor “with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence.” This document is

God Bless the United States of America!


 declaration_of_independence_stone_630

IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

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, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.

  • He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
  • He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
  • He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
  • He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
  • He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
  • He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
  • He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
  • He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
  • He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
  • He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
  • He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
  • He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
  • He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
    •  For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
    •  For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which    they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
    •  For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
    •  For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
    •  For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
    •  For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences:
    •  For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province,  establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries    so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the  same absolute rule into these Colonies:
    •  For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and  altering  fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
    •  For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with  power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
  • He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
  • He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
  • He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
  • He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
  • He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.


The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:

Column 1
Georgia:
Button Gwinnett
Lyman Hall
George Walton

Column 2
North Carolina:
William Hooper
Joseph Hewes
John Penn
South Carolina:
Edward Rutledge
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Arthur Middleton

Column 3
Massachusetts:
John Hancock
Maryland:
Samuel Chase
William Paca
Thomas Stone
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Virginia:
George Wythe
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Jefferson
Benjamin Harrison
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Carter Braxton

Column 4
Pennsylvania:
Robert Morris
Benjamin Rush
Benjamin Franklin
John Morton
George Clymer
James Smith
George Taylor
James Wilson
George Ross
Delaware:
Caesar Rodney
George Read
Thomas McKean

Column 5
New York:
William Floyd
Philip Livingston
Francis Lewis
Lewis Morris
New Jersey:
Richard Stockton
John Witherspoon
Francis Hopkinson
John Hart
Abraham Clark

Column 6
New Hampshire:
Josiah Bartlett
William Whipple
Massachusetts:
Samuel Adams
John Adams
Robert Treat Paine
Elbridge Gerry
Rhode Island:
Stephen Hopkins
William Ellery
Connecticut:
Roger Sherman
Samuel Huntington
William Williams
Oliver Wolcott
New Hampshire:
Matthew Thornton

 

 


There are numerous places online where you can get a copy of this document if you want one. Here are a couple for your convenience.

The Charters of Freedom

The Heritage Foundation

Until next time…

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Epic

350px-boll_weevil_monumentHistorical, unique, encouraging, refreshing, epic – not words I would normally use to describe a school board meeting in Enterprise. Historical could always be used because the minutes are recorded for history. However, the other adjectives are not normally applicable.

Most board meetings you can look at the agenda, note all items to be voted on, assume they all passed unanimously and you would be accurate almost all of the time. I don’t remember seeing a dissenting vote in the meetings I have attended since the board was reconfigured about two years ago. A City Divided describes that reconfiguration if you need to catch up.

Epic – Really!

The meeting held on June 11, 2015 at 12:00 noon, however, was definitely unique based on my experience of observing meetings over the past 2 years. It was also encouraging, refreshing and might even approach epic status. I did look that up before I decided to use it and I think it fits. Epic is defined as extending beyond the usual or ordinary. This meeting met that standard.

The meeting had proceeded as usual up until after the personnel list was read and approved. That is when Dr. Wright submitted her candidate for Director of Elementary Education, Katrina Bowling, to the board for approval. Prior to today approval would immediately follow, which is what I expected.

New Board Member Reporting for Duty

Oh, there was one more new item in this meeting. It was the first meeting for new board member Dr. Daniel Whitaker and his presence and participation was welcomed, noticed and appreciated by this observer.

Doctor to Doctor

After a motion and a second, discussion was asked for, before the vote in this instance. That is when Dr. Whitaker asked several questions regarding how this candidate was chosen. Here are those questions and Dr. Wright’s answers from my notes.

How many people applied for this position? 70

How many of those who applied met the qualifications for the position? 50

Did you interview anyone else? No. We are not required to interview, just to post the position. Her experience with Pre-K was important. Consistency with what we are doing here in Enterprise was the most important criteria.

Do any of the other candidates work in this role now or have experience in this role? If so, were their results or test scores better than ours? I don’t know. Since we have had so many changes over the past year, the superseding need was consistency. 

If you are interested in changes over the past year you can take a look at An Eventful Year in Enterprise. Change has been a constant over the past year.

Process Not Personalities

These are common sense and practical questions for any open position, especially that of a Director of Elementary Education. None of this has anything to do with the qualifications of Ms. Bowling. She could very well be the most qualified and experienced candidate. I do think she is starting this new position at a disadvantage now because this has been brought to light.

How can we know we are getting the best candidate for any position if none of the other applicants are vetted and interviewed? I can answer that one. We can’t.

Is it unreasonable to expect when positions are open the best candidate for that position is the goal of the selection process? Isn’t that what makes any organization better and on the path to being the best it can be?

Should consistency be the overriding criteria?

A Rare No Vote

After these questions were asked and answered the vote was called for.

Dr. Whitaker voted No.

It was really the only logical vote he could make as the questions he asked illustrated the fact the selection process was short-circuited at best. Everyone else voted for the recommendation so it did pass 3-1.

So what does this mean?

What it means to me is we have a board member now who thinks for himself and when he has questions is not afraid to ask them AND when those questions are not answered to his satisfaction not afraid to cast a dissenting vote. That sets him apart from most of the other board members immediately.

Why did no one else ask these questions?

Do I expect to see this at every meeting?

No. Of course not. I do hope we see it when it is appropriate based on common sense and the oversight role I believe the board is charged with fulfilling.

This is only one meeting but it is a positive and encouraging sign for me and I suspect many others.

I do hope Dr. Whitaker continues to speak out, ask questions, and vote his convictions. I know he will be discouraged from doing so by the Alabama State Board of Education and others. The ceremonial-no discussion-unanimous vote meetings are what the State Board wants. I don’t agree with that philosophy and don’t believe it serves the public well. That promotes What Works 100% of the Time and not transparency.

I will pray for Dr. Whitaker as I do for all board members that he will make all decisions in his official capacity as board member based on what is best for those he serves and nothing else. Based on today’s meeting I am encouraged he will do just that.

Welcome Dr. Whitaker and thanks for making today’s meeting unique, encouraging, refreshing and, yes, EPIC!

Until next time…

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Wake Up Enterprise!

Take Back Enterprise – Informational Meeting

A couple of weeks ago I attended an informational meeting for a new group in town. I have written about Take Back Enterprise before but at this meeting I learned more details about their vision, purpose and goals and the progress they have made so far working toward their official media launch later this summer. This post is an attempt to share some of the highlights of that meeting and how YOU can participate and help. There was far too much information shared for me to try to cover it all here.

However, Turner, Michael, Reid or Mark will be happy to come speak to your group and share their purpose, vision and goals if you have one that is interested. Just get in touch with them and ask them and work out the details. 

Not an Official Spokesman – Am an Official Supporter

In case there is any confusion regarding my affiliation with Take Back Enterprise let me clear that up here. I am not an official spokesman for Take Back Enterprise. I am an official supporter of Take Back Enterprise and the goal of Open Government in Enterprise. I wrote about open government in my last post What Works 100% of the Time.

I do have a blog where I often write about local issues. As this is a local issue I will likely write about it from time to time in the future. I will share what I know when I do so. However, the board members are the final arbiters and source of information regarding Take Back Enterprise.

I was able to get a copy of what their logo and bumper stickers will look like and am proud to display them here. Here is the bumper sticker.

TBE_Logo_bumper sticker

I hope you see a lot of these around town later this summer and on into 2016. If you share the goal of creating an open government in Enterprise you will have the opportunity to display your own. You can expect to see and hear more about and from them very soon via their web site, social media, window decals, bumper stickers, billboards and print media.

TBE_Main Street_6-4-2015 11-56-55 AM

I love this picture they chose, and I borrowed, that shows the Boll Weevil Monument and Main Street Enterprise. Anyone who knows me or has read many of my blog posts knows I love most all things Disney and Main Street USA at Walt Disney World is one of my favorite places to just hang out and watch people.

This picture reminds me of that in a lot of ways. I grew up in Enterprise and Main Street Enterprise will always hold a special place in my heart and memories. I remember riding my bicycle downtown, jumping the curbs, going to the Toy Store, Dime Store, Western Auto and many others. Main Street Enterprise is nostalgic for me in the same way Main Street in Marceline, Missouri was for Walt Disney.

Consequently the intent of anything I write here, say or do regarding Enterprise is only to make Enterprise better. I believe that goal is also at the heart of Take Back Enterprise and most of the citizens of Enterprise as well.

Pardon my nostalgic digression…now, on to the highlights!

Council Meetings

At the State of the City presentation earlier this year, when recognizing the city council members, the mayor said they don’t always agree on every issue. I remember that statement because it seemed odd to me. That is not the perception I have after attending many city council meetings over the past couple of years. I have never seen a No vote on any issue. When the voting records of the city council were shared at this meeting I was very interested in those numbers.

During the period of 2006-2014, there have been 237 council meetings with 12,189 Yes votes and 3 No votes.

One can reasonably perceive from these numbers they do almost always agree on almost every issue. We can be told they don’t agree on every issue but the voting records do not support that statement.  Obviously there is a disconnect here that more transparency could minimize or eliminate. I suspect if you asked your councilman he would tell you they do disagree in private as well. That could be true but it is not the perception I get.

Gathering Public Information

Turner shared the hurdles he had to jump and cost Take Back Enterprise incurred in obtaining the information obtained so far, which is supposed to be public information. In contrast to this experience, he shared examples of other cities of similar size and how they freely share information online to illustrate how easy this could be. They have done their research. It should not be this difficult or expensive to gather public information which does belong to the public.

Charts, Graphs, Tables (Not included here)

Some of the other data shared were in charts, graphs and tables and would be hard to describe adequately here. I do not want to misrepresent any of this information but did want to make you aware it is already available. I encourage you to contact any of the board members for details if you are interested. The data for these tables and charts came from the city audits for the past several years acquired as mentioned above.

Historical population and sales tax revenue growth, and how those trends seem to follow each other were included.  Based on these historical numbers future growth projections were shown. They also showed the cumulative needs of the city along with cumulative actuals and the resulting cumulative difference for the past 5-6 years and projected out to 2020.

What do YOU want to see?

YOU have seen highlights here of some of the information they already have and can share now. Take Back Enterprise wants to hear from YOU regarding the type of information YOU want to see on their web site when it is launched later this summer. They cannot be advocates for government to be more collaborative and open without practicing the same themselves. If they are not in tune with what people want to see both the web site and group will be of little value. The only way they will know what YOU want to see is for YOU to tell them. I hope YOU can sense a theme here.

YOU can do that in several ways. Talk to them when YOU see them around town. Send them YOUR comments, suggestions and contributions to them at

Take Back Enterprise

P.O. Box 310372

Enterprise, AL 36331

Or via email at takebackeprise@gmail.com.

Here are a couple more examples of logos you will begin seeing soon. I think they are very well done.

TBE_Logo_Enterprise_5-28-2015 9-11-50 AM

TBE_Logo_No words_5-28-2015 9-15-02 AM

Here is the Take Back Enterprise Mission and Vision.

TBE Mission_5-30-2015 9-46-50 PM

TBE Vision_5-30-2015 9-47-39 PM

I end this update with a few quotes from Clint Eastwood I think relate well to this discussion. He was talking about his decision to speak out politically.

He spoke of how Jon Voight asked why no one in Hollywood ever spoke up. 

“And I thought, you know, he’s right. We are kinda chicken,” said Eastwood.

“We’re sitting here going, ‘we’ll let somebody else do it.’”

And he came to this conclusion…

“If it makes the right people angry, then good. Maybe it will wake them up!” ~ Clint Eastwood

Don’t sit back and expect “somebody else to do it” regarding pushing for open government in your city of Enterprise. Don’t be “kinda chicken.” Do YOUR part. Get involved. Remember, YOU can support this group anonymously if YOU don’t feel comfortable doing so publicly. 

Enterprise is doing well but can do better. Whether that happens or not depends, in large part, on YOU and what YOU choose to do over the next 12-14 months.

Wake Up Enterprise!

Until next time…

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What Works 100% of the time?

350px-boll_weevil_monumentOpen Government

Do you know what open government is?

What about transparency in government?

Participation/Collaboration?

Accountability?

I know you are familiar with what these words mean but have you seen your local representative in government (or any other level) operate this way lately? Would you like to?

Let’s take a closer look at these concepts as they relate to those elected to serve in any governmental capacity. These can be applied to any level of government service.

Transparency

The word transparency has been used a lot in politics the last few years. Barack Obama promised his administration was going to be the most transparent administration in history.  You can be the judge of whether he has met that goal or if just stating the intention was as far as that went. My take is crystal clear on this one.

In my opinion, the word transparency has been overused and misused to the point of being irrelevant when mentioned by a politician.

If someone elected to serve is really being transparent as they fulfill their duties they will not need to tell you. You will know.

Diana Oreck, the Vice President of the Ritz-Carlton Leadership Center, when talking about transparency said,

Leadercast Quotes_001

How active is the rumor mill where you work?

Participation/Collaboration

Would it make sense for those elected to serve you asked for your input periodically, more often than every four years during the election cycle, to get a sense of what you are interested in, your concerns and your ideas? If there was collaboration between you and those you hired with your vote to serve in leadership roles would you have more confidence in all decisions they make?

I understand we elect officials to make decisions so taking a poll or asking constituents what they think about all decisions is not practical or desirable. However, shouldn’t taking a pulse of what your constituents have on their minds more often than during election season every four years be a reasonable expectation? They do work for you, not the other way around.

Are you holding them accountable?

If you have expressed your concerns or suggestions to your councilman were they responsive to your questions and concerns or dismissive?

Accountability

Did the officials you elected to serve follow through with what they promised or commitments they made when they asked for your vote? Are the results of their decisions and actions what was promised? Do they measure their success only by their intent or by the results of those intentions when implemented? Do their actions match their words? Are they accountable for the actions they take and decisions they make in their official capacity? If not, shouldn’t they be?

Open government includes Participation/Collaboration, Accountability and Transparency and with your support open government will be coming to Enterprise in the very near future. Exactly what that will look like will depend entirely on your actions or inaction AND that of your elected officials between now and August 2016.

Coming in my next post

I do plan to continue this discussion in my next post next week with an update on what Take Back Enterprise has been up to since I last wrote about them in March and April. They shared an update in an informational meeting held last month and my next post will share some highlights from that meeting I believe most of you will be interested in seeing.

A Final Question

Is Open Government alive and well in Enterprise or does it need tweaking or full scale changes to make it so?

How each of you individually answer this question should help you determine what you need to do, if anything, between now and August 2016.

I contend wherever Open Government is implemented and practiced, it will work almost 100% of the time too. That includes Enterprise, Coffee County, Alabama and these United States of America. It will work for those in office as well as those they serve.

Until next time…

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7 Words

Is John 11:35 really the shortest verse in the Bible?350px-holy_bible-300x216

If you are familiar with the Bible I’m sure you’ve heard the shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept” in John 11:35.

I had always thought that was the only verse in the Bible with only two words but recently learned that was not true. There is another verse with only two words.

You have to count characters to determine which is shortest. John 11:35 has two words and 10 characters. I Thessalonians 5:16 has two words and 14 characters.

So there you have it, John 11:35 is the shortest verse in the Bible but you have to go to a character count tie-breaker for confirmation.

Contrasts are interesting

In addition to just the number of words I find the contrast in these two verses interesting.

In John 11:35 Jesus shows us He loved and felt grief just like we do. Lazarus, a close friend of His, had just died and a wave of grief just passed over Him like it does us when we grieve, so Jesus wept.

In I Thessalonians 5:16 we are told to “Rejoice always.” That seems to be in direct conflict or contrast with John 11:35, but is it really?

This does not mean to pray continuously but to pray persistently and consistently. Don’t just use prayer as a crutch or your “help line” when you have exhausted all of your own great, or not so great, ideas. Try it as a first resort. His ideas are greater than ours and prayer helps us learn what those are.

You Can Memorize Scripture

Three very short verses, seven words, and you thought you couldn’t memorize scripture. I am confident if you will just read these three verses a few more times you will have memorized three verses today.

7 Words Verses

 

God Does Not Do Coincidences

God does not do coincidences. He knew what He was doing when he inspired these verses as He did with all the other verses in the Bible. I am not an expositor of scripture and did not stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night but I can draw a couple of thoughts from these three short verses of scripture that make sense to me.

As Christians, if we would practice praying without ceasing that would increase our chances of rejoicing always. If we rejoice always we will even be able to rejoice when a brother or sister in Christ leaves this world and takes up residence in their final home with Jesus. We know they are rejoicing and that helps us to rejoice. However we will also shed a few tears because we are sad they are no longer here with us and we do grieve.

In the end, as Christians, we do have the hope and promise we will see them again one day when we get home.

Do you share this hope?

If you don’t share this hope and would like to learn how you can visit Peace With God and satisfy your curiosity. What you learn there can allow you to begin rejoicing always. You just may be weeping for joy and praying without ceasing will become a real possibility.

Until next time…

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Unlike Any Other

CBS announcer Verne Lundquist, stationed in the TV tower at No. 16, made the call that day. That day was April 10, 2005. In case you are not a golf or sports fan and haven’t seen that shot by Tiger Woods on No. 16 on Sunday afternoon at The Masters on April 10, 2005 you can see it and read about it at the link above. The Masters is known as a Tradition Unlike Any Other and this is one of the most famous shots in that event. Since this year is the 10th anniversary of that shot it has been getting a lot of air time the past couple of weeks.

I didn’t see that shot when it happened…or when I expected. I do remember that day and night though.

This Tradition Has Been Part of My Life

The Masters has been one of my favorite annual traditions for many years. For me, it marks the official beginning of spring. I often watched it with my father growing up and in later years when he could no longer play so it brings back good memories of spending time with him. I forced my children to watch it as they were growing up if they watched anything on Masters Sunday. They probably didn’t like it very much at the time but I think they have all come to appreciate it, if for no other reason, they know what it means to me.

I remember that Sunday for a different reason…

On this particular Sunday evening Sharin was working 2nd shift in the blood bank at the hospital and I had gone to church with the kids. I had a deacons meeting after church so I had set the VCR, yes it was a VCR back then, to record the rest of the golf tournament and I planned to watch it when I got home.

After church, Sarah and Amy went to Dairy Queen, the traditional after church place to go eat and visit. Rachel and Thomas wanted to go too but I made them wait at the church for me. I wanted to get home to see how The Masters ended and I had to be at the airport for a 5:30 flight the next morning so I still needed to pack for that trip too. I was just about to sit down and watch the end of the Masters…

Then, the phone rang…

It was a little after 9:00 and I received one of those phone calls a parent never wants to receive. It was Amy, telling me she and her sister Sarah, had been in an accident. Amy was 14 and Sarah 17 at the time. Her voice was a little shaky because she was understandably shaken up and worried about her sister still trapped in the car on the side of a hill. She wanted me to get there as soon as I could. I am pretty sure I yelled at Rachel and Thomas, 10 and 9 at the time, to get to the car and to pray for their sisters and we hit the road.

A Stretch of Road Unlike Any Other

The section of Highway or Route 21 between Hillsboro, where we lived, and DeSoto, where we went to church, is a 2 lane stretch of road called “Blood Alley”known as one of the most dangerous in Missouri. As we neared the accident site traffic was backed up as it was stopped in both directions due to the accident. I got as far as we could and parked the car and told Rachel and Thomas to stay in the car. I didn’t know what I would see when I got to the accident.

Church Family – Unlike Any Other

Our church family from First Baptist Church DeSoto was already in motion doing what a church family does – taking care of its family members when they are in need and we were in need. Sharin had called William, our Minister of Music, and he was on his way from DeSoto to pick up Thomas and Rachel and take care of them for us. Pastor Jeremy was on his way to Jefferson Memorial, where Sharin was working and waiting and where Amy would be going soon. After Amy was checked out he drove Sharin, Amy, Tyler and Gene, our Youth Pastor, to St. John’s Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, the destination of Sarah’s Air Evac helicopter ride.

An Accident, Unfortunately, Like Many Others

Upon reaching the scene I first saw Amy, who was understandably shaken up, upset, and worried about Sarah who was still in the car. The car was sitting precariously on the side of the hill facing back toward DeSoto, where they were coming from. It was being supported by cables attached to the fire truck parked on the road to keep it from rolling further down the hill. The paramedics were working to get her out of the car.

Rachel & Thomas looking at Sarah's Mitsubishi Mirage
Rachel & Thomas looking at Sarah’s Mitsubishi Mirage

I talked to Sarah briefly in the ambulance before she was taken up the road a short distance to a helipad for her flight to the hospital. She was worried she had done something wrong. I assured her she had done nothing wrong. There was nothing else she could have done. She told me and Sharin, who was on the phone with me at the time, she was sorry and she was going to be fine.

I talked to the officers and learned they were hit head on by a drunk driver who was in their lane as they came over a hill. We would learn later he was in the process of trying to pass 4 cars at once and, obviously, didn’t make it. There was nothing Sarah could have done as there is no shoulder on the road, just a hillside.

Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence in our society 

After both ambulances left I made my way back to the car and talked to William and made sure he had Rachel and Thomas and began the drive to the hospital where Sarah was headed, about 45 minutes away. I’m sure I broke some speed limits to get there. I also had to call Ramon, my boss at the time, along the way and let him know I would not be able to fly out to California the next day for work as had been planned. I was blessed to work for someone who was very understanding and supportive. He told me to do whatever I needed to do to take care of my family and not worry about work.

I don’t remember much more about that drive except I was doing a lot of praying.

At the Hospital

When I arrived at the emergency room or shortly thereafter I was greeted by several of Sarah’s friends and two former youth pastors, Jimmy and Jeremy. The church was there. This was just a small indication of the impact both Sarah and Amy had made, up to that point in their lives, on those around them.

When Pastor Jeremy arrived I remember him telling Sarah that God was watching over her and the reason she was still here is He still had big plans for her life. I believe that was true then and is still true today. They stayed with us praying and waiting most of the night while Sarah was in the first of many surgeries. I don’t know what we would have done without their support.

The Church – His Hands and Feet

In the following days and weeks we had meals prepared and delivered and prayers prayed and delivered for all of us as we walked through this ordeal. Russ and Chris built a wheelchair ramp for our house so we would be able to roll Sarah in when we got her home. To say we were blessed and cared for by our church family is an understatement.

I realize this happens in churches across the country every day. Maybe some of you reading this don’t. Some think of a big building with a steeple as the church. That is a false belief. 

Until you are on the receiving end of this kind of love you never really know what it means. It is overwhelming and humbling. We will be forever grateful for how our church wrapped its arms around us.

We also had Sharin’s mother, Rennie, with us for a few weeks after the accident. Ronnie, Sharin’s brother, made the 12 hour trip to bring her up. She helped with everything around the house as I was going back and forth to the hospital. Sharin only left the hospital twice during the two weeks Sarah was there. She can be strong-willed at times. That might be where our children get that trait from.

Meanwhile…back to The Masters

I am not sure when I saw that shot on No. 16 at the 2005 Masters and the remaining holes and playoff won by Tiger Woods but I am sure I did at some point. The next few weeks were quite busy.

I can tell you whenever I do see that shot replayed I am reminded of something that has nothing to do with golf or the Masters. Those memories do help remind me of what is important. I wish I could say they made me a better person but I am still working on that. I am a work in progress.

I can also tell you we all (except for Sharin) made it to The Masters for the first time in 2007 and Sharin did finally make it this year and got to experience it with Amy.

Masters-Mon_CX7430038

Priorities change…

The Masters is called a Tradition Unlike Any Other. At the same time it IS just a golf tournament. It ranks far below Serving a God Unlike Any Other and being part of two Families Unlike Any Other. I expect I will continue my annual tradition, probably like millions of others, of watching a golf tournament in Augusta in April called The Masters. However, when they do replay that shot, and they will, my thoughts will go elsewhere. Now you know where.

I thank God for my many blessings every day. I hope by sharing this experience and some of the blessings in my life it might remind you of some of yours and you will count yours every day too…

Until next time…

If you like what you read here or just want to see what comes out of my warped mind enter your email address in the sidebar on the left and subscribe. This is the only way to ensure you will be notified immediately whenever a new post is published.

P.S. If you want to know more about the accident and recovery from Sarah’s perspective you can read more at the links below on her blog. She wrote about it as only she can do in a series of blog posts last year that are very well done in my opinion.

Be Careful What You Pray For

April 10, 2005

The Hospital

Hospital Life Lessons

A Change of Heart