Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 ~ The Year in Pictures

Although 2012 was filled with a lot of tears, and fears, and nights without much sleep, beauty often appeared among the clouds. Here are a few beautiful things I experienced in 2012.

 January - New Year's Day was simply spectacular.

 February  - A tiny girl with a big ball put a smile on my face.

 March  - A beautiful girl with a big dog warmed my heart on a cold day.

April - My beloved mother celebrated a milestone birthday with family and friends.

 May - Twin sister and I witnessed a majestic sunrise on Galveston Island.

 June - I posed with Daddy on Father's Day.

 July - Three sisters went shopping in cowboy hats.

 August - A flowerbed makeover brought loads of good cheer.

 September - Time with my daughter and granddog brightened a weekend.

 October - Hearing the heartbeat of my grandchild made my own heart beat a little faster.

 November - A glorious sunset welcomed me home after difficult days with Daddy in the hospital.

 
 December - I was blessed to spend another Christmas with my family at the old home place, and...

...my beautiful daughter turned 27.

♦ ♦ ♦

I hope your year brought good things, and I hope 2013 is filled with promise and peace.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Exploiting Tragedies for Political Gain is Wrong

This afternoon, while waiting for President Obama’s initial remarks regarding the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I told myself that he would not politicize this heartbreaking event so soon, but I couldn't have been more wrong. Within a few sentences, he was talking about us “coming together” to take “meaningful action” to “prevent more tragedies like this.”

MSNBC’s, Alex Wagner, said, "Hopefully, this shooting will result in political capital to reform gun laws."

CNN’s Piers Morgan tweeted: "Nothing happened after Aurora. Now it must."

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said we need “immediate action” against guns.

Boston Mayor Menino said, “Now is the time for a national policy on guns.”

And here we go again, exploiting horrific tragedies in order to advance a political agenda of gun control. It is shameful at best, and the argument is totally ludicrous.

The fact of the matter is: Gun laws don’t work.

Take the Brady Bill for example.

When the Brady Bill was signed into law on Nov. 30, 1998, it was heralded as a meaningful step toward a “safer, saner society.” In essence, this new law replaced the already failed Brady Act, and required a five-day waiting period to purchase a handgun.

At the time of the signing, James Brady—for whom the bill was named—said the new legislation would bring “the end of unchecked madness.”

Perhaps Mr. Brady believed the words he spoke, but as evidenced by the slaughter in Newtown, Connecticut today, “unchecked madness” didn’t cease with the signing of the Brady Bill. And it won’t cease regardless of how many bills are signed into law. Legislation can't cure the morally diseased, after all.
 
I contend that if we're really concerned about the out-of-control violence that is happening in America, we should take a long, hard look at what is being promoted as entertainment these days.
 
Movies are violent. Music is violent. Video games are violent. Yet, when a violent act is carried out, nobody on the left points fingers toward Hollywood. Oh, no. They are way too busy pointing fingers at the NRA, speculating if the shooter is a Republican, or a Tea Party member, or a Sarah Palin fan or a Rush Limbaugh listener, or a Bible-thumping believer with a rifle in his truck. Sad, but true, and you know it.
 
Don't misunderstand, I would love to have a safer, saner society—God knows we need one—but more gun laws won’t bring that about. As Thomas Jefferson once said, "Laws that forbid the carrying of arms...disarm only those who are neither inclined nor determined to commit crimes." He went on to say, "Such laws make things worse for the assaulted and better for the assailants."
 
Today's shooting was an unimaginable tragedy. Unimaginable. Exploiting it for political gain is disgusting and wrong.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Sustaining Grace

Most of you who read my blog already know that crisis knocked on my family's door the day before Thanksgiving, when my 85-year-old father fell from the roof of our home while hanging Christmas lights. His ladder broke, and his injury was grave. A pilon fracture. An open break. All the things that can cause even young men to lose their legs.

Some say that "believers" aren't supposed to ask why, but I did. Not once. Not twice. I asked it numerous times over the course of the next few days.

Why, God? Why did such a violent thing have to happen to my daddy. He's 85. He was in great shape, walking a mile every day except Sundays. It seems so cruel, God. So unfair. So wrong. I'd just like to know why.


Being the perfect Father that he is, God understood my need to knowI am human, after allbut he didn't answer my question.


One evening, after an exhausting day of keeping vigil at the hospital, the injustice of it all overwhelmed me again, and I raised the question to my mother, the wisest woman I know. Why, Mother? Why did this happen to Daddy?


"It's the law of gravity, baby."


No, I'm serious, Mother. Why now? After all these years? I mean, how many times has Daddy been on that roof, hanging those lights? Umpteen times. Umpteen times, Mother. And this time, when he's nearing the end of his life, he falls and may never walk unaided again. I'd just like to know why, Mother. Can you tell me why?


"Because the ladder broke, sweetheart. The ladder broke."


Matthew 5:45 tells us that God allows the sun to rise on the evil and on the good. He allows the rain to fall on the just and on the unjust. Corrupt men win, and honest men lose. We can whine and moan till the cows come home, but as long as we are imperfect people in an imperfect world, tragedy will visit us all in some form or another. Daddy fell because his ladder broke. Nothing more; nothing less.


I can either allow God's grace to sustain me during this time of personal despair, or I can become angry and bitter and keep asking why. The choice is mine to make, and after an ocean of tears and a million whys, I'm making my choice today: Goodbye, questions. Hello, grace. ♦


grace  - noun \ˈgrās\   a: unmerited divine assistance given humans


"My grace is sufficient for you." 2 Corinthians 12:9