Monday, August 27, 2012

The Blue and Gray


well my dear ones,


Each year, on her birthday,

I take my wife wherever she wishes to go.


One year, she chose the Navy UDT*-Seal Museum

(* Underwater Demolition Team)

located in St. Lucie, Florida.

When the former Navy Seal who ran the museum

found out that she could have gone anywhere,

yet chose "his" museum,

my wife got the red carpet treatment

(while I sort of got shuffled aside *lol*),

the grand guided tour,

along with free books and videos.

I learned a valuable lesson that day;

if someone dedicates their life to something,

the best thing you can do for them is

not to contribute money to their cause,

but rather just to show appreciation

for what they have done and are doing.


Anyway, this year, my wife chose

to go to Fitzgerald, Georgia,

specifically to an attraction known as

"The Blue and Gray Museum."

(yes, my wife is big on history,

 especially that of the Civil War)


The place has an odd logo, a drawing of

a Union and a Confederate soldier shaking hands.

When I first saw it, I was like,

"Yeah, right, like that ever happened."


As it turns out, I was way more wrong

than I could ever have guessed.


In 1895, a former drummer for the Union Army,

now turned newspaperman and philanthropist,

wanted to help impoverished war veterans

in his native state of Indiana;

he proposed to start a colony for

Civil War veterans somewhere in the south.


The Governor of Georgia liked his plan

and said he would personally tour the state

with P.H. Fitzgerald until they found a site

which would be suitable.


A logging camp for turpentine production

in the town of Swan was chosen,

land was purchased,

and the town planning began.

However, long before the planning was done

people started pouring in;

they put up temporary shacks

(so many that the place was called Shacktown

 before being later renamed to Fitzgerald).


Veterans poured in from all over the country;

in a short time, there were 5000 people,

mostly Union veterans, but one third of them

were former Confederate soldiers.

The one thing they had in common

was a determination to make this thing work,

to form a colony with the men

who had been their bitter enemies.


The War Between the States

was one of the nastiest wars ever.

The three million participants

in the Civil War

were using Napoleonic tactics

that were unsuited to

the advances in their armament;

hence, the high casualty rate

which was the largest percentage

of any war;

600,000 people killed,

two percent of the U.S. population at the time.

It was a close-in and bloody conflict

and the tensions were still high,

even 30 years after the end.


Yet despite the bitterness,

the colonists were determined

to work things out.

Nothing showed this better

than at the town's first big celebration

where a band was supposed to play

while first the Union

and then the Confederate soldiers

were to march separately.


But on their own,

the two groups changed the plan

of the organizers

and marched out together as one,

which is how they said

they wanted to face any future conflicts.

Now that's what I'd call

a real spirit of forgiveness.


I came away really impressed

with the background of this town

and I hope the next time

I come across someone who needs forgiveness

I'm able to recall what these guys accomplished.

Have a great week!

grace, peace, and love to you,


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

the List

well my dear ones,

Many apologies; time flies.

What have I been doing for the last month?

Well, I can tell you what I haven't been doing;

I haven' been working on my List,

what people commonly refer to these days

as "the Bucket List,"

as in the list of things people make

of activities they'd like to do

before they "kick the bucket."

I know there was a movie (2007)

of the same name,

but I never bothered to see it,

despite that it stars two of my

favorite actors.

That the movie exists doesn't bother me as much

as the existence of and

the rest of the similar sites

that seem to have been spawned by the movie.

No offense to any of you who have such a list;

but in my book, it just doesn't compute.

I know that God loves each one of us

more than we, in this lifetime, anyway,

can ever possibly believe;

AND, God has better plans for each of us

than we could conceive of for ourselves.

That being the case, it seems to me,

if I were to make a bucket list,

it would appear to be like me saying,

"Hey God, I know you made me,

however, now, I'M gonna do things my way;

first, I'M gonna do A;

then, I'M gonna do B, C, D, etc."

Seems a bit presumptuous if you get my meaning,

especially for someone like me

who can't even add a second to his own lifeline.

I tend to focus more on praying for God

to reveal the stuff that God would have me do.

I pray (if it be God's will) that I might

live to see my wife totally cured of M.S.

I pray that I might get

a new heart and a new spirit

that I might better determine God's will

for my life

and better help those placed in my path.

I hope and pray that

if everyone my wife and I are trying to help

no longer needed any help,

and if every animal in the sanctuary

took off for greener pastures,

that, rather than be sad about that,

I'd merely say,

"The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away,"

and then I'd go out and seek out

other people who needed help

(for there will always be such)

and find other animals in need of rescue

(no shortage of those either).

In short, I have no need of a bucket list;

each day,

God leads me to new and cooler things

that I ought to be doing

(while giving me the free will to choose

 to be in alignment with God's will

 or to follow my own [which, by the way

 never works out all that well *lol*]).

A bucket list would be OK

for one who wishes to live like they were dying

(more on that one another day);

I choose to live like one who will never die,

but rather see eternal life

(i.e. will inherit Deep Heaven).

One thing I can guarantee you is this:

if you choose to adopt a path

similar to mine,

God will pour into your life

more blessings than you can believe;

you will work good works

that have been prepared for you

from the foundation of the world;

and you will surely have no need at all

for a bucket list.  =)

Have a great week!

grace, peace, and love to you,


"For I know the plans I have for you,"

declares the Lord,

"plans to prosper you and not to harm you,

 plans to give you hope and a future."

            --- Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)