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…so you can pull a seat up and sit a spell.

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Blood Flowed, Tears Fell, and Souls Rose

Yesterdays’ shooting in Oregon has left the country stunned, yet again, due to the warped thought process of one individual’s idealization of how things are supposed to be. As furious as I am over his cowardly actions, I refuse to enhance the fame of any such character. Instead, I want to praise the victims on their firm stance of faith.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now about the gunman asking each student to stand and state their faith. If the answer was “Christian” they were shot in the cranium, whereas those who said nothing were shot in the leg. Given the situation there’s no telling how any of us would have responded with a gun pointed in our direction.

Before I proceed, allow me to make one proclamation, I am a Christian! I say that with pride, vigor, and sincerity.

Mark 8:38 states, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

Now stay with me for a second. As each victim stood declaring their Christian faith, others in the room watched as the gunman took their life. After the second or third person was shot the students probably noticed a pattern being set as to who was shot where. However, no matter what answer was given, they undoubtedly knew they would be shot… and they knew it!

Starting with the second student and those thereafter, anyone who claimed Christianity as their faith knew their fate. With that said, those who said nothing, which I’m sure was out of extreme fear, did not deny God, instead the terror they endured dictated their silence no matter what higher being they believed in, if any at all.

Just as the victims’ family, classmates, faculty, country, and president wrench in true heartfelt pain over the deaths of these and every victim of domestic terrorism, I also feel that pain. Not only do our hearts cry out in pain, our entire being yearns for a stance to be taken to stop the annihilation of innocent people.

As a result of the chaos, both yesterday and in the months and years before … blood flowed, tears fell, and souls rose.

May Your Souls Forever Rest In Peace!


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Christmas Begins with Christ…

The title I’m using, “Christmas begins with Christ,” was copied from a message that appeared on my face book wall and has stuck with me for so many reasons. It touched me so much so, I chose to use it as my wallpaper for the month of December. But it’s also a message that I feel Christ wants me to share with each of you.

With Christmas around the corner, the public’s being lured to retail stores like herds of cattle being steered toward a slaughter house to wreak havoc on their very lives. The only difference between Christmas 2013 and those before and after this year is the level of intense advertising and means of enticing us to buy from each store. Think about it, the hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping appears in songs, movies, or any where it can be fabricated to look like the “in” thing to do because, after all…”Tis the Season.”

Stained glass at St John the Baptist's Anglica...

Stained glass at St John the Baptist’s Anglican Church, Ashfield, New South Wales. Illustrates Jesus’ description of himself “I am the Good Shepherd” (from the Gospel of John, chapter 10, verse 11). This version of the image shows the detail of his face. The memorial window is also captioned: “To the Glory of God and in Loving Memory of William Wright. Died 6th November, 1932. Aged 70 Yrs.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Christmas season gets more frantic as years pass, and with it comes the price one puts on another’s worth, or so some think. Now, who hasn’t uttered these words or overheard them from someone else, “Well, I know Junie usually spends ten to twenty dollars on our presents so I’ve got to spend as much on hers.” Or how about this one, “We have to buy a present for ______ because they bought us one last year,” a phrase notoriously heard by many.

Well, let’s slow down a minute and think about this. “Christmas begins with Christ.” Hmmm. We could take that a few different ways. There’s:

1. Christmas
2. We celebrate Christmas because Jesus Christ was born
3. Honestly our first thought, our day, our very existence should start with
praising Christ.

Let’s focus on #2, celebrating Christmas because Jesus Christ was born.

Matthew Chapter 2:11
11. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.

Just as it says in Matthews Chapter 2, the three wise men went and saw Jesus who was with his mother, Mary. They brought him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. The bible doesn’t say they brought Joseph and Mary gifts; only Jesus. (Hence, Jesus, a child, is the reason for the season).

Christmas should be celebrated by both adults and children, with Christ at the center of the celebration. However, giving presents should be more so for children than for adults. Hopefully, everyone has had a wonderful childhood where both their wants and needs were met by either their parents or the fictional character, Santa.

Christmas gifts

Christmas gifts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not saying adults shouldn’t exchange gifts with one another; after all, giving is more enjoyable than receiving. But let’s be honest with ourselves, how many of us have blown our Christmas budget (if you had such a budget set aside) to accommodate funding for all the gifts needed for any given year? Or are you still paying for 2012’s Christmas gifts, or quite possibly gifts from one, two, or even three years before that?

Society has jumped on a train that is moving way too fast; similar to the Polar Express, if you will. The only difference between us and the characters on the Polar Express is we’re not going to the North Pole; we’re headed straight to financial destruction while retailers smile and wave as we go by. We need to slow down. Spending is not the reason for the season, Jesus is!

Earlier today I watched a program that gave some great ideas for gifts, its gifts of time. Examples include: offering to cook dinner for your friends or family, or drop the neighbors’ children off at school even if your children are grown up and on their own. What about volunteering to sit with your neighbors’ grandmother who’s in the nursing home to give your neighbor a break? Or go watch television and spend quality time with someone who just lost a loved one and hasn’t had time to adjust to being alone.

Here’s a thought…
If stores are able to lower their prices for “Black Friday,” which turned into “Thrifty Thanksgiving Thursday” this year, then can they not lower their prices the rest of the year if we show them what’s important? It would take time, and it’d be a ripple effect, but personally I’m getting tired of paying $13-15 for paper that’s being flushed down the toilet, aren’t you?

In closing, I just want to reiterate that society needs to slow down, to get back to the simpler times, and that Christmas isn’t about “keeping up with the Jones.” Christmas is about reflecting on Jesus’ birth and the miracle of birth in itself. For those of you with children, you were given the ultimate gift from God. We all have family. Whether it’s your biological family, a friend, or your lifetime partner, smile and know in your heart that you are loved.

That love began with Christ!

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As we celebrate Mother’s Day, I’m reminded of a mother who has more than her precious child on her mind, more than a wonderfully handcrafted card she’ll get as a keepsake. No, this mother has a murder charge hanging over her head that technically, she’s not guilty of. If you’re thinking about the Arias case, she’s not the one, as a matter of fact; I don’t think she’s a mother.

I’m talking about a young girl in N.C. who was in her kitchen preparing dinner one day when she heard someone calling her name from outside. Her three year old girl was busy helping her mom fix dinner for the family of three as well. To find out who and why her name was being called, she went out her back door to see who it was. When she looked across the way, she saw a rival of hers that appeared as if she wanted to fight for reasons unknown.

Walking out into the street, the mom was surrounded by her rival and two others, all with the intensions of ganging up on the young mother. After a swing of her fist, the rival made contact with the mother’s face. Acting on reflex, the mother swung her arm around toward her rival. Unbeknownst to her, the knife she held in her hand made contact with the rivals throat… slashing her juggler vein. Hearing the young rival scream out, “You cut me,” the young mother runs. Where? No one knew. Within two minutes the 19 y.o. rival was dead.

In a split second the young mother and her rival’s life had changed forever. As it turns out the two girls were set up. A third person, a 40 y.o. woman, had gotten in an argument with the young mother earlier that day. In turn she beckoned the 19 y.o. over to do her fighting for her. After it was all said and done, friends and family members of the two girls put two and two together and knew who should shelter the blame.

Unfortunately, the local deputy’s didn’t see it that way. No, they got their girl… the one who swung the knife. Once the police found her, she got her one way ride to the county jail. While in route, I’m sure she thought of her little girl’s future. She thought of her daughter while the 19 y.o.’s body lay on the lawn getting colder by the minute.

So… what happened to the 40 y.o. woman?

Well, while the news cameras were in her face she tried her best to conjure up tears over her “best friend;” referring to the young girl who by now, was in the morgue. Later, as the detectives interviewed everyone in the vicinity, they were quickly pointed in the 40 y.o.’s direction, but to no avail. No matter what was said or who said what, the very person who should have gotten charges filed against her walks free to this day.

It’s been two years since Kadi lost her life, and Dakota has found herself in a nightmare that has yet to end. Weeks after the incident, the judge set Dakota’s bail at the lowest the law would allow because he himself said, “It’s obvious there’s more to this case than what’s presented before us.” With any luck, and hopefully a lot of acknowledgement from those who are willing to back the truth, Dakota’s case will be thrown out of court.

To date, the 40 y.o.’s guilt shines through when she comes face to face with those of us who know her. She cowers away in hopes of not being held accountable for the actions she set into play.

With the help of a dear friend of mine, Annmarie Lockhart, a poem was co-created titled, “Accountability.” It tells of the lack of accountability from a supposedly adult woman guilty of this entire crime and loss of life.

Published by: Vox Poetica