Monthly Archives: November 2011

Thanksgiving Column from Annie’s Mailbox

Here is one of Ann Landers’ favorite essays, which we feel is quite appropriate for Thanksgiving:

I Asked God (author unknown)

I asked God for strength, that I might achieve.

I was made weak, that I might learn to obey.

I asked for health, that I might do greater things.

I was given infirmity, that I might do better things.

I asked for riches, that I might be happy.

I was given poverty, that I might be wise.

I asked for power, that I might have the praise of men.

I was given weakness, that I might feel the need of God.

I asked for all things, that I might enjoy life.

I was given life, that I might enjoy all things.

I got nothing that I asked for — but everything I had hoped for.

Almost despite myself, my unspoken prayers were answered.

I am, among all men, most richly blessed.

Dear Readers: This was written many years ago by Judy Vekasy, a registered nurse and director of activities in a nursing home in Savannah, Tenn., and it appeared several times in Ann Landers’ column. It originally appeared in the Memphis Commercial Appeal. For those with some spare time this week, please stop by any nursing home and volunteer:

You say you can’t do anything. Can you read? Good. Read to me. My eyes aren’t what they used to be.

Can you write? Good.

(Billy’s Thoughts>> Read more of the above column from Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar.)

Adoption group honors Nelson but Why Does He Support a Group Which is Anti Adoption

A special-needs adoption advocacy group this week named Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., “Legislator of the Year.”

In giving Nelson the award, Voice for Adoption singled out his efforts to extend and expand a federal adoption tax credit as part of last year’s health care overhaul. Nelson worked to get the value of the tax credit increased and to make it refundable, thereby helping more middle-class and working-class families adopt.

“I am proud to be an adoptive parent, and my two grown children are proud of the fact that they are adopted,” Nelson said. “The joy of creating a family is so special that I believe we should do everything we can to encourage adoptive families.  (Adoption group honors Nelson)


(Billy’s Thoughts>>> I am glad Sen. Nelson has given two children a home who needed a home and I 100%  support  adoption, I just wish Nelson would stop supporting Planned Parenthood which is against adoption since they are in the abortion business. Thanks to Planned Parenthood  other children won’t be blessed with a good home like Nelson’s  children are.)

God Used a Coach Named Ron Brown and the Sin at Penn State for Good

(Billy’s Thoughts>>> The story below from the Omaha, Nebraska newspaper  goes back some weeks but how God used the sinful acts and crime at Penn State is an item  that you need to know about no matter where you live in the world.)

Enlarged photo

They played a football game here on Saturday. There was a winner and a loser and some thrills at the end. But nobody here will ever remember it.

And nobody here will ever forget it.

Sports met humanity on Saturday, and the man in the middle was a fellow named Ron Brown. You may know him.

Brown has been on the Nebraska football coaching staff for 21 years, including 17 straight from 1987 to 2003. He’s coached receivers, tight ends and running backs. He’s been part of three national championship teams. He’s worked for three head coaches.

He’s had offers to leave, go pro, and stayed. A big reason is his calling. Brown is deeply religious, a man with missions in life. He’s had radio and TV shows and he’s been controversial at times. Mostly, he’s like a rock. You know what you’re going to get with Ron Brown. He’s like a steady hand.

On Saturday, when a community, a sold-out stadium and two teams needed it most, the steady hand was there.

Of all the things Brown has done his career, this is how I’ll always remember him. This was his signature moment. And it nearly brought a congregation of 107,903 to tears.

It was going to be a day of emotions. But nobody knew how it would play out. This was the first time since 1949 that Joe Paterno had not been part of a Penn State football game. There had been rioting, disturbances, whatever you wanted to call it, on Wednesday night. A lot of people here were on edge. How would this go?

Just before kickoff, we found out.


The Penn State and Nebraska teams — players, coaches, trainers — walked to midfield. They shook hands. They embraced. It lasted awhile. The crowd stood and applauded. It was very moving.

Then they gathered in a circle. And Brown stood in the center and prepared to deliver a long, passionate prayer.

“Wait a minute,” said Penn State interim coach Tom Bradley. “Where’s Bo? I want coach Pelini next to me.”

The two coaches knelt together.

One of the biggest stadiums in college football fell silent. For nearly a minute, or two, the stadium was deathly quiet. You could see the image of Brown talking, down on the field, and the thought of what he might be saying to two teams brought goose bumps. It’s a scene that will be frozen in time.

“What struck me was how quiet it was,” Brown said. “It was real quiet. It was so quiet I thought everyone could hear me.”

We couldn’t. But afterward, Brown was asked to relate what he said to the players. It sounded like the pep talk of his life.

“I said ‘Why us? Why us, lord? Of all the years. Joe Paterno left Brown University and came here in 1950. Nothing changed here forever. Then all of a sudden, it all changed this week. Why this week? Why Nebraska? Why this Penn State team?

“We can’t control those things. What we can control is our attitude, our spirit, that we bring to this game.

“There are a lot of little boys out there, watching this game, trying to make sense out of life. They are asking, ‘What is manhood?’ May we demonstrate to them what manhood is, to come out and play the game of football, with ferocity, with passion.

“I thanked God for choosing our teams to play this game. We were the little boys who grew up playing football. This was our moment to show the world. There are a lot of issues out there, a lot of questions, regarding child abuse. What we can do, on this field, is show them what respect is, respect for each other, respect for God.

“And then I asked God for his hand of safety. A lot of people didn’t know what was going to happen today. They saw people rioting the other night. They wondered what might happen today. They thought this place might explode.

“I felt like God held his hand of healing over the stadium today. I know some people may not understand that, but I think there was a reverence in the crowd today. A respect for one another, for the players, for the game.

“I think that’s what we saw today.”

There was an unmistakable spirit in the atmosphere. There was an air of sportsmanship that we have become too cynical to expect. Afterward, you heard Penn State fans thanking Nebraska fans for their class. And Husker fans thanked them right back.

That was the coolest thing about this game. A lot of people expected chaos. Instead, the schools rallied together on the same field, in the same stadium. There was a banner that read, “Stand As One.” That could have been said for both sides.

It was one of those special days in college football, in sports. To think, some didn’t want the game to be played.

“Personally, no, I didn’t think we should, in my opinion,” Brown said. “I had mixed feelings all week. I know coach Paterno. I used to attend the Penn State camps when I was at Brown (late ’70s, early 1980s). I know Jerry (Sandusky) and all those guys. I’m very familiar with the Second Mile foundation.

“On the other hand, there was this deep darkness that occurred. I felt bad for the young boys. I felt bad for all the young men who had been impacted by this. If there was a game, I thought we should do something to try and help.”

Brown said he and a friend who works with Athletes in Action in State College spoke on the phone Friday night. There was talk about a special meeting at midfield between the teams. Penn State assistant coach Larry Johnson, an old friend of Brown’s, spoke with Brown on Saturday morning and suggested Brown speak to the teams. Pelini and Bradley gave their blessings.

(Please read the rest of this column by clicking here.)

Being Thankful

Eventually social science works its way around to confirming eternal verities. So it is with gratitude.

An article in a psychological journal a few years ago noted that “throughout history, religious, theological and philosophical treatises have viewed gratitude as integral to well-being.” Psychology has recently worked to quantify the wisdom of the ages and confirmed — sure enough — it was correct.

A raft of recent research has established that grateful people are happier people. They are less depressed and less stressed. They are less likely to envy others and more likely to want to share. They even sleep better. As the journal article put it, empirical work “has suggested gratitude is as strongly correlated with well-being as are other positive traits, and has suggested that this relationship is causal.”

Gratitude has long been a neglected quality. A decade or so ago, the Encyclopedia of Human Emotions didn’t include it. (For that matter, neither did Bill Bennett’s affirmatively traditional The Book of Virtues.) As the New York Times reported back in 1998, “Psychologists rarely think much about what makes people happy. They focus on what makes them sad, on what makes them anxious.” They were more likely to study, in other words, the miseries of a Woody Allen than the wellsprings of joy.

(Billy’s thoughts- The above is part of a column written by Rich Lowry. Those of us who base our lives on faith in God of all people should have a thankful attitude. )

(Being Thankful

Court School Ruling

With a federal appeals court ruling that a Wisconsin school district can hold its graduation ceremonies in a church, Americans United for Separation of Church and State is demanding that the case be re-tried.

The organization is appealing the decision concerning the Elmbrook School District to the full Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, hoping for a different answer. And according to Liberty Counsel founder Mat Staver, some justices on the court would like to see the ruling reversed.

“I think it’s very clear, however, from a constitutional standpoint that a public school looking at all of the criteria — ease, comfort, cost, and location — can easily pick a church over a secular venue if that is the better facility,” he contends. “And it does not raise a First Amendment Establishment Clause case.” (court ruling)

ACLU Defends Faith Student Believe it or Not

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas is taking an unusual stance and defending students’ rights to wear religious symbols at school.

The liberal legal firm is looking into whether the Brownsville Independent School District policy that prohibits students from wearing rosaries and crosses is a violation of the First Amendment. Though this action is not standard for the ACLU, Jeff Mateer of the Liberty Institute says it is not unheard of. Read more

Happy Thanksgiving and today’s Thanksgiving Posts

A Cuban Exile Story Among America’s most thankful

Every Cuban-American family has the following black-and-white picture hanging somewhere on a wall: Grandfather and his many brothers, dressed in smart suits with thin ties; wives and sisters in floral and pastel dresses; everyone crowded together, some kneeling, others standing, all beaming broadly. That was Cuba in the 1950s. That was the country that Fidel Castro ruined.

For those of us in my generation – the first to be born in the United States – the memory of our families’ exile begins with that old black-and-white picture. It is the backdrop to the family history we were raised on, which all Cuban exile families share, stories of upheaval, loss, and salvation. ( A Cuban Exile Story )

The challenges of exile kept our families close together, long after they settled here. In theMiami house I grew up in, my grandparents lived in the third bedroom. Many of my grandmother’s sayings still ring in my ears: Ay chico, si el diablo sabe más por viejo que por diablo (“The devil knows more because he’s old than because he’s the devil”). Our grandparents and parents spoke Spanish to us growing up but, almost as soon as I learned to read, my mother surrounded me with books in English. We were expected to excel in school.

One thing that keeps the Cuban-exile community close is the intimate knowledge of how depraved Castro really was. Our families felt lucky to find so many Americans opposed to Communism in principle, but most of those Americans had little notion of Fidel’s taste for cruelty. Ask Huber Matos, formerly Fidel’s comandante for Camagüey province, who early on in the revolution dared to write a letter urging Fidel to hold elections as promised. He was summarily convicted of treason and sedition and sentenced to 20 years in prison. The best part was Fidel’s personal touch: He specifically ordered Matos’s best friend to arrest him.

Virtually all our families supported Castro at first. They wanted an end to the dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista and a return to democracy. They believed Castro’s rhetoric of democracy and liberty and had little reason to believe he intended anything else.

My family fled Cuba in May 1961, in the midst of a massive exodus. Castro had been in power barely two years, and he had already canceled elections; forced non-Communists to resign from the government in disgrace; worked out secret arms deals with the Soviets; carried out mass summary executions live on television; shut down the free press; attacked the Church and confiscated its property; summarily detained and tortured critics; criminalized private commercial transactions; and blanketed all of Cuba with the enduring terror of his dictatorship.

Happy Thanksgiving Featuring Red Skelton

Happy Thanksgiving Featuring Red Skelton

by Hollywoodland

Thanksgiving — a chance to serve

One Christian who ministers to the homeless on the streets of inner-city Los Angeles is urging believers to first serve the forgotten on Thanksgiving and include them in holiday celebrations.

Although she has walked the streets of Los Angeles’ Skid Row for over half a century, Willie Jordan, president of Fred Jordan Missions (FJM), says the need is greater than ever this year. And she asserts that Christians must remember that the holidays are an opportunity to serve — not to be served.
“As we sit down to our Thanksgiving tables, groaning with food, be sure the poor have been served first, and I guarantee when you eat your turkey, it’ll taste a lot better if you know you’ve served someone else first,” she insists.

Willie Jordan (Fred Jordan Missions)On Thanksgiving Day, the mission will hold its annual event, where more than 2,500 homeless men, women, and children who live on the streets of Skid Row will be honored guests. FJM will provide turkey “with all the trimmings,” live music, and it will share the gospel. (Thanksgiving — a chance to serve )

(Billy’s Thoughts>>>> When I was going to missionary training school with Youth With A. Mission  there in LA. I did some work at the LA. mission which is pretty close the FJM.  I also helped with a kids club at the FJM. The people there truly need to be shown Jesus. Bless God for the good work that followers of Christ are doing there. )