Still ….. Living in the Promised Land

Still ….. Living in the Promised Land

Living in the Promised Land – a song written by David Lynn Jones and recorded by Willie Nelson in 1986

Willie Nelson

For those of you who have never heard of this song, I urge you to read the lyrics or better yet, listen to the song. This song depicts what America is all about. From the very start of it all – we are one nation…… “If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under”. (Ronald Reagan).

The “Promised Land” is a religious term, which can mean land promised to a people by God.

It has several Biblical lines, and is about an America that needs to continue caring about others, especially immigrants seeking the American Dream.  That there is room for everyone is a multicultural message.

One verse from the song says:

“So they came from a distant isle
Nameless woman, Faithless child

like a bad dream
Until there was no room at all
No place to run, and no place to fall”

“Give us our daily bread
We have no shoes to wear
No place to call our home
Only this cross to bear

We are the multitudes
Lend us a helping hand
Is there no love anymore

Living in the Promisedland.

These lyrics clearly identify with a people who have nothing – nothing to call their own. No one to turn to and no place to go. These people are looking for shelter, love and Hope! So we as a nation, offer them shelter and “a place” if you will, but with our rules and our regulations and on our terms.

helping hands

Another verse goes like this:

“Living in the Promisedland
Our dreams are made of steel
The prayer of every man
Is to know how freedom feels”

THIS is what we, as a Nation, have created. Although we have let it slip away and decay a bit, it is still ours – our creation and our land and what we still believe in today. YES we are the United States of the Offended and for the most part – we sometimes act like we are entitled but the truth of the matter is….. we are still ONE NATION. If you have come to America with no place to go and no one to turn to, we are here. If you were born here, your ancestors came here looking for “a place” and they found it and made it what it is today. We are not entitled, we worked hard to establish this Nation and why it is important to see past the Color and let the “past” be the past. Come together as One Nation  and help Make America Great Again.

“Leave us your broken dreams

We’ll give them time to mend

There’s still a lot of love

Living in the Promisedland”

Now I say this – I believe that we are STILL living in the Promised Land where everyone is welcomed with open arms (IN GOOD FAITH). In good faith, we open our doors (borders) to any and all with a need or a struggle. We nurse the sick, bury the dead, clean the wounds and rebuild the spirit. All with the expectation that they DO NOT disrespect us or our ways – we, after all, are helping them. They should submit and adapt to our ways, traditions and heritages and because of this, is why we are the Greatest Nation in the World. Yes we should all learn from one another but the core is still the same.

With that being said, as with any infrastructure, there has to be guidelines, there have to be rules. As quoted from Forbes “America was founded as a religious and a Christian nation. BUT there is one inescapable fact: at the time of the American founding, the reason why so many Englishmen had come to settle in the United States was for religious reasons. They were Puritans and other sorts of radical Christians whose religion had been oppressed in Britain and who came to the United States to practice their religion in peace.

It is this crucial fact that gave the wonderful balance that gave rise to America: because so many Americans were fervently Christian, the Nation would have a Christian culture and society; but because they had seen their religious freedom oppressed, and because they were so many denominations, the government would be neutral with regard to institutional forms of Christianity and with regard to specific denominations. It was seen as self-evident that in a country where most people were Christians, their democratic representatives would govern according to Christian values.

And of course, it is no coincidence that the Founders proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence that the reason why people had human rights was because they were so endowed by their Creator. (Even as they said nothing about the precise identity of this Creator, to protect religious pluralism.)

In short, it is totally correct to say that America was founded, yes, with a “secular” government, but as a religious Nation.”.

“There is a Winding Road

Across the shifting sands

And room for everyone

Living in the Promised Land…..”

“Leave It to Willie Nelson  – Only he can bring together Republicans and Democrats.”

 Willie Nelson once said in speaking of Texas (but I have to add that this applies to America as a whole) – “I know a lot of good people down there. I know more nice people than I do assholes. There’s a few of them down there also, but tell me a place where there’s not!”.

Statue of Liberty

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“Life” happens when you are making plans!!!!!

“Life” happens when you are making plans!!!!!

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Let’s face it – we all have plans for the future – whether it be the immediate future or the long-term goals that we so dream about. Marriage, children, buying and or building a home, buying a car, you get my drift. Anyway, just when you start dreaming of what you want to do – “Life” steps in and changes are made. Just look at the current weather situation in Florida. We are planning a vacation to the Keys in the near future but what if it would have been this weekend or next weekend? Monies would have been paid, time taken off of work, “plans” made all for what? Just to be rearranged, cancelled, or even lost. The fact remains that yes we make plans but plans are made to be changed. Just because you get pitched a curve ball doesn’t mean that your life is over or that it is the worst thing in the world. Think about all of those people in the Caribbean that were planning on – well – tomorrow! Their tomorrow will never come and their families will be asking themselves “what could I have done different”?

I have a very dear friend that, on and off over the years, we have kept in contact with each other and from the very first day that I met Mike Holland, I knew there was something different about him. Something strange! Strange in a good way though – the type of strange that you don’t see any more in this day and age. I was working as a Rent-a-Cop – a Security Officer at a local Mall in Henderson. This was all before I went to the Police Academy in 1990 to become a real Police Officer. I had been working there for over a year and was tasked with training all of the new hires and getting them acclimated to their surroundings. Mike Holland was hired on and he and I were assigned onto a shift together. Over the course of the next few weeks, he and I worked together and I learned a lot about him. For one, he built and worked on computers and from what I remember; he was quite brilliant at it too. Secondly, he had a religious upbringing and was very family oriented. Mike was an avid firearms nut and had a sense of self-sufficiency about him. He and his father later opened a towing business in the Lickskillet Community and ran that for some time.

Mike later joined the Marine Corps and served his tour of duty with them and learned many valuable lessons and skills which he transitioned into his civilian life when he got out. I am proud of and thankful to him for serving our country and doing his part for “our” freedom. Now Mike had this “thing” about him – he carried himself as “just a dumb ole country boy”  NC Redneck and never tried living above his means. Always treating others with respect but if you ever crossed him or done him wrong, you would definitely know about it – he has always been a straight shooter. You see, Mike is very intelligent and very well-educated but he interacts with people on their level. He was able to speak to the average person so that they would understand exactly what he was saying and he had a way of explaining himself to where you could understand it.

Mike married his high school sweetheart Kim and they had 4 beautiful children together. Since the beginning, he has always been the spiritual leader of their home and they have always, and I do mean always, helped out others in need. Since day one, he has lived his life to serve God and his fellow-man. After the military, Mike has held many jobs, some at the same time, but he has always worked in serving people in some form or fashion. From being a Law Enforcement Officer, a Licensed Private Detective, a Pastor, a counselor, a chicken farmer and countless other jobs,

Mike has learned a thing or two about people and he tries every day to teach you about what it means to be a servant of God. He truly lives what he preaches and leads by example. No – he is not perfect and he will be the first one to say it but at the same time, he knows what it takes to be highly favored by God. We have all been exposed to the “Instruction Manual” – Gods Holy Word – at some point in our lives – he just happens to follow it to the best of his ability.

Mike and his wife Kim are always taking in people in need of shelter, heck he even volunteers his services to the homeless shelters and other places in the area. He has taught his family how to be self-sufficient, growing their own gardens, raising their own chickens and farm animals; he is even a licensed beekeeper and harvests his own honey. His children help him in every task required and he does his very best to teach them what it means to help others. peoplehelpingpeople

Now I have given you a good example of what Mike and his family do on a daily basis but what I need to explain to you is what he does aside from all of that. Mike is always going around to the elderly and making sure they have what they need to survive, he constructed a food truck to feed the homeless and hungry, he has cut and donated firewood to those who needed heat in the winter, he has Pastored to the lost in the prisons and he has traveled out of state to help others – all at his own expense. Just this past week in the wake of the Texas flooding – he, along with his family and friends, drove a caravan of supplies out there to donate his time, money and supplies to those in need. All to what end? Not for the fame or fortune but for the Glory that God himself will reward him with. Salvation and that leading others to God is the way that it was meant to be. You see Mike believes in the Bibles’ teachings not as a suggestion, but as a commandment from God. A requirement and guide on how we are to treat one another.

Holy Bible on wooden table.

Now to ask you this – is your life worth more than anyone else’s? Is how you live your life now able to help anyone other than yourself? What about those who were planning on but never got the chance to see their tomorrow? What if that was your Mother or your brother? What could you have done different? What will God think of you now?

God gives a good chuckle when you are making plans. After all – He has the final say-so in these matters!

If you get the chance – check out Mike Holland’s efforts and life at giftedfaithful.org

You just might be glad you did!

Durham, Charlottesville – Hatred, Racism and YOU…..Part Two

Durham, Charlottesville – Hatred, Racism and YOU…..Part Two

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In the United States of America, we have so many different ethnic groups and by rights, we should embrace our heritage. I understand that the People of Color went through a period of Slavery, yes it was an awful time for their ANCESTORS! From the time I was about 10 years old, I have lived in the South. So by rights I am a Southerner. But does that make me a Racist – does that make me responsible for Slavery? Does that make me hate Black people? No it certainly does not! I choose to respect others, and love all people. And in my faith – as we all stand before The Judgement Seat of Christ – we are all one and the same – His children created in His image who must answer for our own actions – not the actions of our family members.

I have attended Black Churches, White Churches and the Preachers and Pastors all preach the same thing. Now I get it – I am but one person. I cannot and do not speak for all of the White people. But I can tell you this – there is just as many Racists in each Ethnic Group as the other. Skin Heads, Panthers, White Supremacists, Black Live Matter, White Lives Matter, Chicanos, and Latinos,

All People have some sort of Heritage that is associated with them. It should not define us as people. In this part of the world it is Southern Heritage.  Perceptions of the Confederate flag depend upon context. At a national cemetery or national battlefield it is seen in the historical context of the American Civil War. At popular re-enactments of that war’s events, or in films like “Gettysburg” or “Gone With the Wind”, it is seen in a theatrical context. In the television series “The Dukes of Hazzard” the flag on top of Duke boys car has been seen as a symbol of a non-racist Southern spirit by millions of viewers internationally. To those 70 million of us whose ancestors fought for the South, both Black AND White, it is a symbol of our family members who fought for what they thought was right in their time, and whose valor became legendary in military history. This is not nostalgia. It is our legacy. The current attacks on that legacy, 150 years after the event, are to us an insult that mends no fences nor builds any bridges.

confederate flag died for this flag

It is obvious that some racists have appropriated and desecrated the Confederate battle flag for their pathetic causes but we must never lose sight of our Heritage. As Christians we fly the Christian Cross – does that make us Racist? We as Americans fly the American Flag – does that make us Racist? So where does it start and where does it stop – It begins and Ends with You. You and only You can choose to love or hate. You choose to like and dislike, to hear or be heard. You choose to start or Stop. Where do you fit in?

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued a statement Tuesday calling for the removal of more Confederate monuments. He also said that “I don’t pretend to know what it’s like for a person of color to pass by one of these monuments and consider that those memorialized in stone and metal did not value my freedom or humanity,” he said. “Unlike an African-American father, I’ll never have to explain to my daughters why there exists an exalted monument for those who wished to keep her and her ancestors in chains.”

Furthermore, Cooper said that “he will also urge the legislature to defeat a bill that grants immunity from liability to motorists who strike protesters”. Really?? What the Hell are you thinking Roy Cooper? I mean that is a BS way of copping out. Talk about Not Standing up for what is Right. You are supposed to be our States Leader. Enforce the enforceable, defend what is right. Clearly, what these people are doing and have done is illegal. They should be arrested, charged and held responsible for their actions. Instead of bowing down and trying to be popular so that you may win another election, take the high road, do the right thing and do your job. These people need to realize that there should be a time in their life that they have to grow up. Realize we are not who we were 100 years ago and that the people of today have learned a thing or two over the years. I’m sorry if you are offended that I don’t like you – but wait – you don’t like me either – it’s just a fact of life. Get over it and get on with it! Try to rush my vehicle and beat me out of it and watch what happens – you will get run over. I’m not going to stop my car, let you break my windows and pull me out, beating me to near death – and neither would you Mr. Cooper! Our Government needs to quit being an “Enabler”.

Racism exists in every Ethnic Group in the USA. Red, Yellow, Black, Brown and White. It is not just something White people or Black people do. Sadly it is something that unites us. We share this in common. But again, shave off all of our skins and see if you can tell the difference.

Ok, so now if you have read all of my last two posts, I’m sure that you have already formed your own views and opinions about me – you probably think that I’m a racist, a hater, an activist. Well you would be sorely mistaken. I love Black People, I have Black people in my family. I love Mexican People, I have Mexican people in my family. I love White people, I am white. I love me and I love you! So what? If you peel off your skin and peel off my skin – we are just the same! We are people – we are the Human Race!

It is 2017 – don’t you think it’s time we all grow up and learn to get along. Yes we all have different views and opinions but this is exactly what Martin Luther King once preached about. Equality, Love, Understanding and Forgiveness. God Bless the USA and God Bless its People!….. which hey – includes YOU!

Peace Love and Understanding

Update on Mom…..

Update on Mom…….

Mom2

As you may have read, my Mom has recently been diagnosed with Colon Cancer. In this last week, she has just undergone a Goiter Surgery on her neck. Now again, my Mother is 72 years old so you can imagine how worried we were about her and the surgery. Not the procedure itself, but the anesthesia and recovery part. I have to say that the Nurses and Doctors at Rex Hospital in Raleigh were great. The Anesthesiologist was awesome and even explained that they were going to do an arterial main line in order to monitor her level of consciousness more closely during the procedure. On the day of the procedure, we met with the Doctor and several of the nurses who explained everything in detail and then asked if we had any questions and they actually gave us time to ask them. Wow – we are not used to that level of care and service around here.

So, the procedure took just a little bit longer than expected mainly due to the amount of time required in recovery. I guess she had one of the best sleeps that she has had in a long time. Either way, the surgery was a success and she is now back at home recovering. We are waiting on pathology to let us know for sure if there was anything that the doctor had missed in his diagnosis and to make sure that there is no cancer involved with the Goiter – fingers crossed and praying.

Colon-Cancer-Ribbon

Now onto the Colon Cancer part – Mom had a full CT Scan done of her chest and stomach area and they indicated that they did not see anything unusual in the scan. All of her blood work came back just fine so they are pretty confident that they have caught this thing early enough to prevent it from becoming something more terrible and devastating. With that news, they have given Mom a surgery date of May 3rd to go in and remove about a foot or so of her colon.It seems that there were 3 polyps in her colon – two on the ascending and one in the transverse. The Doctor explained that they had to remove a section below and a section above the Polyps to potentially get all of the cancer out. Now this means they have to take out the entire Ascending and about half of the Transverse sections of the colon.

It’s a pretty big surgery and we are on high alert as to her wellbeing. As before, we are not so much worried about the procedure itself because Mom is and has always been one tough lady but this is a 4 to 5 hour surgery and the risks are much greater due to the fact that she has COPD from previous years of smoking. (Mom hasn’t smoked for over 20 years now).  I guess it really hit home at the severity of this when Mom asked me to fill out her Advance Directive and appoint me and my Sister Brenda as her Care Providers in her Healthcare Power of Attorney.

So now it’s just a waiting game – that and putting all of our trust and faith in God that she will come out of this in good health – keep her in your prayers if you feel inclined as all prayers and good thoughts are coveted as blessings.

Praying

The Krail Legacy – A letter to the youngest generation of the Krail family……….

The Krail Legacy – A letter to the youngest generation of the Krail family……….

building-a-family-legacy

What started out as a chance meeting between teacher and parent and then what transpired from that became a small town local friendship. We learned more about that gifted teacher, that friend, in such a short time and what clearly comes to mind is a Passion for others. We learned that life is short and in that short life, we must live – and love – to the fullest. Not only was he a Teacher, but he was a Friend. Thanks Dave!

Shortly thereafter, what we thought was a sudden and unexpected tragedy, was soon found to be a selfless act of trying to protect others and not wanting to burden them with his impending suffering. Through great sadness and uncertainty, we were thrust into a family’s anguish, and emotional turmoil. As Christians and as a friend to Dave, we stepped up and provided anything and everything that we could do to ease the pain and help out in those trying times. That is where this story takes a wonderful and amazing turn – We met the Krail Family. The Mother, the Father, the brothers and sisters were all devastated at what had happened but even in those sad times, there was a bright light that seemed to shine through.  We were there when they came to take him back home, we were there when they said “farewell”, we were there for the late night phone calls, and we were there to discuss the details and the sharing of memories. We were there to share with the family our side of the story and what an impact that the “Teacher” had on his “students”.

After a very short period of time, we became more embedded into the Krail Family, and we learned just where that Teacher had received his gift. As an outsider looking in – One of the first things that I immediately noticed about the Krails is the family bond. Sure every family has its arguments, its disappointments and bumps in the road but one thing that always remained – that Family Bond of Love.

We learned of the childhood memories and stories depicting the simple acts of kindness, the constant sharing, the competiveness – striving for greatness, the eternal love and forever companionship that this family had for each other as well as for the ones that were fortunate enough to share in this time and experience. Now I am not trying to sugar coat any of this and like I said before, every family has its issues but in the grand scheme of things, you would have to admit, that it truly has been a blessing to be a part of such a wonderful family.

We have been able to look at pictures and hear stories of the family just doing simple ordinary family stuff, we have had the chance to be a part of and make memories with some of you as well. We have watched the sadness and pain and we have seen honor, pride and integrity shine through. We have also learned that through loss, there can be a sense of achievement. There can be a strength that comes from that type of loss. I am a firm believer that “What doesn’t kill you, will make you stronger”.

Looking at the big picture, we really didn’t “lose” anything – we received a great blessing instead. We all know that our time on this earth is limited and we never really know just how long we have here. We must concentrate on what we have, not what we wish we had. Everything has its season. Everything and everybody has its own time. We must make the best of the time that we have. Live Strong, Love Freely, and forgive often.

So to the youngest generation of the Krail Family, my greatest wish for you is to remember where it all started. Remember the Family Bond, the Love and the compassion for one another. You come from greatness and to greatness you will ascend – not just in life but through living. There is truly nothing that you cannot achieve if you simply follow through.

The legacy continues…………………….with you!

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Mom – What did you just say to me ??

 

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I stopped by my Mothers’ house for a quick visit this past week while my Wife and Daughter went on to Volleyball Practice. As usual, I walked into the kitchen and my Mom greeted me with a big hug and kiss to say Hi and thanks for stopping in. Since I am the baby and all,  I get special brownie points for popping in –  or at least she makes me feel like I do. After a few minutes of regular chit-chat, we sat at the kitchen table playing and talking with her 5 little dogs when all of a sudden and out of the blue – – –

Today I was confronted by three words that totally upended my whole world. My Mom started out by saying, I have something to tell you – I don’t want to – but I have to. As calmly as I could, I looked at her and smiled and waited patiently trying to prepare myself for some off the wall response.  Her, being 72 years old now and being totally independent, she often likes to joke around at times, she replied with a pause and then———-  “I Have Cancer”………… Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah – that’s all I heard afterwards. I actually had to stop her while I refocused and said “Wait – What”? She began to slowly repeat herself – through her tears she tells me that they had found three polyps in her colon during a recent Colonoscopy and through a biopsy the Doctors found that it was in fact malignant.

Now let me tell you – I utterly hate to see my Mother cry, I mean it tears me to pieces to watch her pain – because when my Mother cries, she truly feels it. It hurts her so deeply when something affects her to the point that it makes her cry. You can look at her and see in her eyes that it physically hurts her. And me being the “Mommas’ Boy” that I’am, I want to take it all away and make it stop – for her and for me.

Mom and I have been through so much together and I have watched her succeed and fail at life and love. I have seen her ecstatically happy and I have seen her devastated and torn down and apart. Even through a 35+ year relationship and divorce, my Mother has always prevailed over any obstacle and come out on the other side stronger and worrying about us kids rather than herself.  She loved me first and I know that no matter what, no matter how bad things are, no matter how far I stray, I know that she always has my back. Even me, as old as I am, she tries to be my rock.

The next two hours went by faster than I could have imagined and we had such a good time despite the devastating news. I knew that I had to stay positive for her and for me and we joked around and I made her laugh so much during our time together that evening. The highlight for me was the “Preaching” part. We talked about Salvation and Gods’ Grace. We talked about treatment options and we talked about “what if”. For what seemed like an hour or more, I felt like I was preaching to her about Gods’ word, His expectations and what she needed to do to ensure her place with God.

To fuel the whole conversation, Mom asked me “What makes you think that I am not going to Heaven”? Stunned – again, my Mother was many things during my childhood, one of which, for a short time, a Preachers’ Wife. She knew where her faith was but what I was more concerned with was the lack or loss of her salvation. She being a Methodist and I being Pentecostal we had a little different view of salvation. She allowed me to make my point and she seemed to agree with what I had to say without rebuttal.  I felt good that I was able to talk to her about God and I know in my heart that in the end, whenever God takes her away, I know that I was able to put in her mind the importance of living her life according to Gods plan and that time is an unknown factor in this life.

…….. more to follow

 

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