In Spring, we see the buds on the trees and then the flowers. In the Fall, we see the cycle of life once more with the trees going into a time of rest…just to begin the cycle of life once again. It is the same with other forms of life and in each case it is a miracle given from God, the Creator.
Much was said about the new birth of a king to be recently. It was as if the world stood still for a few days…waiting…waiting. There was finally rejoicing as the new parents showed this new, fresh life for the first time. Yes, his baby boy may make a difference to the world, but somewhere another of God’s creatures is giving birth with no fanfare at all. None the less, it is a beautiful thing to behold and we are once again amazed at the way the body can produce something that at first seems to be only a mass…but after the struggle, it slowly makes its way out of its protective enclosure. It then appears as pure elegance. The tender care of both mother and father…with quick adaption to a new life of fresh air and the effort to stand. Truly, it is the miracle of life.
One may even think of this miracle as a metaphor, in miniature, of our own life…with its glory and our own effort to live and “stand” until the end.
Turn on sound
We all want to be accepted. It really doesn’t matter who we are or what we have in common with someone else…just accept us for who we are and don’t worry about the rest! Is this true? It seems to be the socially and politically correct thing in the world today. Just accept everyone…or most everything. We can get philosophical and remind ourselves of some of the things that we think of as acceptance:
ACCEPTANCE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS:
- Catholic Christians.. Understanding beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church, acceptance is key to being a committed and devoted catholic. That may include family planning; going to confession; repenting of sins and church attendance. This also is true of the emphasis other Christian groups place on their particular brand of Christian faith and commitment.
- Jews… some similar beliefs in that they accept the Ten Commandments as a way to live and have a good and fulfilling life (Mcdowell and Stewart, 1983).
- Muslims.…acceptance of Allah as their higher being and the teachings of the Koran.
Whatever a person’s religious beliefs, they believe that acceptance of these parts of their faith is important to show structure and commitment in everyday life. Let’s look at some other types of acceptance?
PERSONAL ACCEPTANCE How people accept one another has a direct effect on the individual’s self-esteem and well-being. Does this have to be true? We are told that this need for approval will have a direct impact on a person’s life. Some may even cause psychological disorders. Examples are: approval by parents; acceptance by work associates; peer pressure in schools ; living up the religious up-bringing or teachings and many more relationships.
We have to ask ourselves a very important question.
Is total acceptance what we really want and is it good for us? On the surface, it seems to be a good thing…but maybe not.
- Is it best to be totally accepted by a peer group, whether work; at school, or socially? What are their values?
- Are there dangers to relationships that keeps us in bondage to a person… such as a battered wife who feels there is no recourse? We could elaborate on this where a male is concerned.
- Is staying true to religious tenants that do not bring us to a peaceful, loving God, what we really need or want?
All of this seems complicated…and often we make it so. The thing that is most important is the ACCEPTANCE OF ONE’S SELF. After all, we live with ourselves moment by moment. We are told that we should not be so self-centered. Why not? Of course, we do not mean self-centered to the neglect of others or so wrapped-up in ourselves that no one else matters.
“Self acceptance (or self-centered, as we mean it) is being happy with who you are now. It’s an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this moment.” If you find that things in your life need change, then work toward that…evaluating WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU.
ACCEPTANCE…NOT RESIGNATION People may asked how they can accept something or someone that has brought great pain in their life…death of a loved one; a divorce; sickness. All these things may not be able to be changed. They are what life has given. There is a difference between acceptance and resignation. Realization that one can not change the past or the sadness of the present has a lot to do with acceptance. This is living in reality…not in fantasy or wishful thinking.
“Accepting whatever the loss is, does not mean you are forgetting the loss or that you won’t ever feel sad again, but it’s a turning point that means better things are to come.”
All of this is just food for thought as you may be asking yourself how important is acceptance to you. You may also be thinking about relationships, beliefs, and what works for you in your life. Some things may worry you.
There is only One who fully accepts us just as we are and gives us the courage to face life daily. We are told in the Holy Scriptures ( Philippians 4:6) “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
In this video, we see that there are some unusual bonds of acceptance…and just as in humans…those bonds that seem like a good thing may turn out to give an outcome not anticipated. I watched this video several times and heard words that I think also have to do with human behavior when it comes to acceptance…and a need for a relationship. You will hear these words in the dialog: obsession, bonds, controlling, complex emotions and intimacy. All of these pull us into a need for acceptance…to our good or to our detriment. In your own life, you will have to be the judge.
On this MEMORIAL DAY, Boyer Writes honors all those who responded to the call of duty to country and all freedom stands for….especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
After viewing the slide presentation, you may want to look at the different wars throughout history where and when the United States has sent troops to fight. We are just one country. Multiply this country and all wars in its history by all countries in the world and their fighting history….to make us one big, warring globe.
There are reasons, of course. Some fight for their independence. Others fight to maintain their freedom. Many fight to rule over the weak, sick,and impoverished.
There are those who fight and murder in the name of God…religious wars. Read your history and you will not be surprised for it happened when Muslims fought Christians; Christians fought in the Crusades; nations have tried to rid the world of Jews.
The Holy Scriptures tell us that we will call for “Peace….Peace….but there is no peace…” Those who make predictions believe that before the coming of Christ to the earth a second time, there will be the greatest of all wars….in the Middle East. This is not something for optimism. Nevertheless, we are also told to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”….and the world. We cannot control governments, groups, or individuals who hate and destroy…but pray we can do.
General MacArthur, the great general of World War II made this statement about war.
” I pray that an omnipotent providence will summon all persons of goodwill to to the realization of the utter futility of war. We have known the bitterness of defeat, the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned that there is no turning back. We must preserve in peace, what we won in war.
The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery has in fact now reached a point that revises the traditional concept of war. War, the most malignant scourge, and greatest sin of mankind, can no longer be controlled, only ABOLISHED!
We are in a new era. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable means of settling disputes between nations, Armageddon will be at our door…“
A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE
( Click on arrow; turn on sound and enlarge picture for best viewing. Music by St. Olaf Choir)
Choose and click on a war listed to read information.
- 2.1 Colonial wars (1620–1774)
- 2.2 War of Independence (1775–1783)
- 2.3 Early national period (1783–1812)
- 2.4 War of 1812
- 2.5 War with Mexico (1846–48)
- 2.6 American Civil War (1861–1865)
- 2.7 Post-Civil War era (1865–1917)
- 2.8 Modernization
- 2.9 Banana Wars (1898–1935)
- 2.10 Moro Rebellion (1899–1913)
- 2.11 Mexico (1910–1919)
- 2.12 World War I (1917–1918)
- 2.13 Russian Revolution
- 2.14 1920s: Naval disarmament
- 2.15 1930s: Neutrality Acts
- 2.16 World War II (1941–1945)
- 2.17 Cold War era (1945–1991)
- 2.18 Post–Cold War era (1991–2001)
- 2.19 War on Terrorism (2001–present)
- 2.20 Iraq
- 2.21 Libyan intervention
- The on-going war on terrorism The War on Terror (also known as the Global War on Terrorism) is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign which started as a result of the Sept 11,2001 terrorist attack on the United States. This resulted in an international military campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda; other militant organizations and jihadi groups. The United Kingdom and many other NATO and non-NATO nations participate in the conflict.
BLOOD ON HIS HANDS and holding the weapon that he had used to kill a man in cold blood on a street in London. THIS IS A TERRORIST AND ISLAMIC EXTREMIST (Boyer Writes decided not to show this video for this is what he wanted…even asking people to video tape it. The news will show more than enough.)
We do want to show you the young man that they murdered: 25 year old Drummer Lee Rigby 2nd battalion of The Royal Fusiliers Our deepest sympathy to his family and loved ones.
People around the world were shocked when terrorists flew planes into the Twin Towers and the United States Pentagon on 9-11. Buildings came tumbling down,; planes crashed…killing thousands of innocent people…including people who died from the terrorists’ own country and their own religion.
Yet, there was a difference…these men were not only terrorist but fanatics…evil, misguided people who claimed their deeds would take them straight to paradise. How people can get this far from truth in the name of religion is totally unbelievable. No one can comprehend it.
Our British friends, across the great pond, have just experienced the same terror in miniature…a single soul murdered …walking on a street in daylight….minding his own business…hurting no one. The terrorist ask for people to make pictures…knowing that they would probably die when they planned to attack police as they come to the scene. (Thankfully, the police only injured them…keeping them from their journey to “paradise”…or eternal damnation. Perhaps their interrogation will shed some light on their sources.)
This is the picture of hate…Islamic extremist… evil. People must call it what it is and not dance around the issue in the name of political correctness. We would call on all peace-loving Muslim leaders to call press conferences and condemn these attacks; setting their congregations straight on what God wants for the people on earth as we live together. It is strange that there is so much silence in this area.
SHOCKING….DISGUSTING….EVIL…..at 9-11 in New York…at Fort Hood as well as other places…and in London this week. Extremism in the name of religion did not start…or will not stop here. History is full of it.
HOW MUCH DO YOU KNOW about TERRORISM?
I took a test, offered by the Christian Science Monitor, to see exactly how much I know about terrorism and history. Unfortunately, I failed miserably. You may want to see if you can do better. You will make your selections and get a score at the end. It is eye-opening.
A Thank you to our Armed Service
In the United States, Armed Forces Day is celebrated on the third Saturday in May.
First observed on 20 May 1950, the day was created on 31 August 1949, to honor Americans serving in the five U.S. military branches under the Department of Defense.
- U.S. Army
- U.S. Navy
- U.S Marine Corps
- U.S. Air Force
- U.S. Coast Guard
The first Armed Forces Day was celebrated by parades, open houses, receptions and air shows. In 1962,President John. F. Kennedy established Armed Forces Day as an official holiday. The United States’ longest running city-sponsored Armed Forces Day Parade is held in Bremerton, Washington. They will celebration 65 years this year.
Fly your flag this weekend and remember to thank our service men and women wherever they have served. They have given so much…time away from families….their health and their limbs and in many cases the ultimate sacrifice. They are the ones who are called upon when our country’s freedom is threatened. They are our Armed Forces. There are not enough words to thank them.
John Newton is well-known in Christian circles, but may not be someone you have heard of….or at least you think you haven’t. If you have ever been to a memorial or funeral, chances are you have heard the song he wrote about his life. Yet, you may not have known anything about the man himself. Here’s a summary of John Newton’s life in a few sentences:
- Newton was born in London July 24, 1725, the son of a commander of a merchant ship which sailed the Mediterranean.
- In 1744 John was impressed into service on a man-of-war, the H. M. S. Harwich. Finding conditions on board intolerable, he deserted but was soon recaptured and publicly flogged and demoted from midshipman to common seaman.
- Finally at his own request he was exchanged into service on a slave ship, which took him to the coast of Sierra Leone. Being a servant of a slave trader, he was brutally abused.
- Rescued later, John Newton ultimately became captain of his own slave ship, but his life was about to change.
- His mother died when he was a child and Newton had no real religious convictions.
- However, on a homeward voyage, while he was attempting to steer the ship through a violent storm, he experienced what he was to refer to later as his “great deliverance” which was his conversion to Christianity. He wrote in a journal ( May 10, 1748) that he believed “Lord, had mercy upon us.” This, he believed, was his moment of grace and God had begun to work in his life.
- He continued in the slave trade for a time after his conversion; however, he saw to it that the slaves under his care were treated humanely.
- He married and began educating himself; teaching himself Latin and other subjects.
- Newton also met and came to admire John Wesley, founder of Methodism. Newton’s self-education continued, and he learned Greek and Hebrew.
- From 1755 to 1760 Newton was surveyor of tides at Liverpool, where he came to know George Whitefield, deacon in the Church of England, evangelistic preacher, and leader of the Calvinistic Methodist Church. Newton became Whitefield’s enthusiastic disciple.
- Deciding to become a minister, he applied to the Archbishop of York for ordination and was refused.
- Newton persisted in his goal, and he was subsequently ordained by the Bishop of Lincoln and accepted the curacy of Olney, Buckinghamshire.
- In 1780 Newton become rector of St. Mary Woolnoth church, in London. There he drew large congregations and influenced many, among them William Wilberforce, who would one day become a leader in the campaign for the abolition of slavery. Newton continued to preach until the last year of life, although he was blind by that time. He died in London December 21, 1807. Calling himself a “wretch” he was secure in his faith that God’s amazing grace would lead him home.
- BEST KNOWN FOR WRITING THE WORDS TO THE HYMN AMAZING GRACE which showed his feelings about his life and God’s grace toward him. (a portion of which is written here).
Amazing grace! How sweet the sound
That sav’d a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev’d;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believ’d!
Thro’ many dangers, toils and snares, I have already come;’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,And grace will lead me home…
Pain and suffering was part of John Newton’s life and pain and suffering is in our world today. Newton would probably be amazed at how many times his beautiful song, often played with bagpipes, has been sung and played at memorials of those we lovingly remember…..as shown below.
“Where in the world is Transnistria?” same may ask. Here is a map to help identify Transistria. It is the part shown in green. Does it have anything to do with terrorism?
Transnistria is a break-away Republic from Russia, located between Moldova and Ukraine. It is not recognized as a country. The people of Moldova seem to look at Transnistria, rightly or wrongly, as corrupt in various aspects, which may include arms and weapons being made available to terrorists. (The 25 minute video below gives more investigative facts by Date Line into this possibility.)
In the light of our recent bombings in Boston, with the bombers having connections to areas of the former Soviet Union, and the increased concern over chemical weapons being used by warring regimes, such as Syria, we can no longer bury our heads in the sand. Intelligence continues to investigate the connections, if any, of the brothers to the Russian underworld or religious extremists.
There are other concerns in Moldova, that some in Transnistria deny,…weapons or the training to make explosives could be available to world-wide traffickers and terrorists. . Our concern is that terrorists around the world may have access to this…and plan to use them in the USA and other countries. It may be that we in the West should wise up for extremists may be coming, or already be on our soil, from many parts of the world. It is not enough to think that once a person comes to America and experiences our freedoms; educational system; as well as social and welfare help that they will love us. What baffles so many is how people can murder in the name of religion! Yet, it has been done throughout history. In hind-sight, we cannot understand how the Nazis could murder millions during W.W.II Ideologies and fanaticism runs deep.
A friend of mine that I met in Ukraine has just returned from Transnistria. She went to orphanages on a Christian mission effort. Here is what she said about this unrecognized country, Transnistria, that she visited:
“I have always known that Transnistria was a poor country, but I could not fathom the sad state of the church there. How could I have guessed that a country, sandwiched between Ukraine and Moldova (both of which have a vibrant church) was so spiritually handicapped?
No other country I have visited moved me so much, but it was not the poverty of those dear people that pained me most profoundly, it was the struggling church and the dire state the children are in. That country of only half a million people has 80% unemployment rate, and of the 80% stated, many people go to Russia and Europe for work, often leaving their children behind. Of the people who choose to stay, many end up heavily drinking, again, leaving their children with no one to take care of them. The orphanages are full of kids who live in most deplorable conditions. These kids cannot be adopted internationally because the country is not recognized by the global community, and their own people are too poor to adopt. After they graduate from the orphanage, they are likely to end up in prostitution or drinking. Whoever heard of Transnistria? And consequently, there are no missionaries there. Many church leaders have left the country, and the church is struggling. Hopelessness is the word that best describes what I have witnessed….”
We at Boyer Writes try to bring uplifting blog writings. Our purpose is to bring inspiration to our readers. However, there are times when we, as patriotic Americans and committed Christians, need to bring writings of a more serious nature.
Below is a video made in 2008 by Date Line. The reporter is Australian. Those interviewed on the video make it appear that there were great improvements being made for the people…sports stadiums etc…but according to my friend who just came back from a visit, the people are in great distress. She also said “There may be some hope for change in Transnistria because they have a new President who is trying to get the country recognized by the global community and end the Sheriff monopoly.” (explained in video). However, we know that where there are great amounts of “black-market” money to be made, it is hard to make changes. Corruption then becomes a way of life.
This is a fascinating video…and somewhat chilling for we know more since this video was made about the religious radicals and terrorists. I would suggest, if you have 25 minutes to view this, that you do so with great thought about today’s world. It is not to be viewed lightly or quickly.
Psalm 46: 1-3
God is our hope and strength,
a very present
help in trouble.
Therefore will we not fear, though the earth be
and though the hills be carried into the midst of the
Though the waters thereof rage and swell,
and though the
mountains shake at the tempest of the same…
Prayer for Comfort and Hope
Grant unto us, Almighty God, in all time of sore distress, the comfort of the forgiveness of our sins. In time of darkness give us blessed hope, in time of sickness of body give us quiet courage; and when the heart is bowed down, and the soul is very heavy, and life is a burden, and pleasure a weariness, and the sun is too bright, and life too mirthful, then may that Spirit, the Spirit of the Comforter, come upon us, and after our darkness may there be the clear shining of the heavenly light; that so, being uplifted again by Thy mercy, we may pass on through this our mortal life with quiet courage, patient hope, and unshaken trust, hoping through Thy loving-kindness and tender mercy to be delivered from death into the large life of the eternal years. Hear us of Thy mercy, through Jesus Christ our Lord – Amen.
Prayer written by George Dawson
Concert Music in Honor of those whose lives were taken.
Today, Sunday, April 14. 2013 begins Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day . It doesn’t seem like any time since I took Student Ambassadors to Poland and we visited Auschwitz. None of us will ever be the same.
Steven Spielberg has made it his mission to record the lives of survivors so that future generations will understand what hatred, prejudice and war can do to people.Once the people who fought WWII and the Holocaust survivors have died, their voices will be silenced forever….except for these recordings.
In this same group of Student Ambassadors, there was one young Jewish man who wanted to find the apartment building where the Israeli Olympic team had been murdered. We looked and looked; finally finding a small plaque to remembered the event. Given the gravity of this terrible tragedy, it seemed far too small. This was the same young man who had impressed me with his sincerity and dedication to the memory of over 6,000 Jews and some Christians, who lost their lives in concentration camps, death marches and more during World War II. Gently he laid a wreath of flowers in the spot at the base of a wall where hundreds had been shot in this one concentration camp called Auschwitz.
After returning from that trip, I felt that the students in our Florida county needed to know as much about the Holocaust as possible. With financial help from the community and parents of students, we raised enough funds to place in every school library tapes, books and age-appropriate material about the Holocaust.
Recently I read about a grave-digger who was told to bury all the Jews in the woods. These were those shot on a death march. Instead, he buried them in St. Anna’s Roman Catholic Church in Swierklany, Poland. This is only after he had carefully copied all the numbers from each victim’s arm. Some seventy years later and with research from Yad Vasham in Israel, some relatives now know that Christians carefully buried the bodies of their loved ones. A new memorial has been erected with a cross. The new plaque at the previously unmarked grave in Swierlany, Poland now reads: “In memory of the death march victims from Aushwitz-Birkenau,” and lists the victims concentration camp numbers or names. ’ The caring of one grave digging man, who believed differently from those he buried, made all the difference over 70 years later to a family who simply wanted to know what had happened to their loved one.
Today as the sirens wail, they stop in the streets and cars stop on the highways …wherever they are…to remember again. We too must never forget!
If you have not seen Auschwitz in Poland, the film below gives a walk-through with Rick Steves of what is left and what visitors can see today. It is not our purpose here to try to re-create the horrors that went on here. Probably the closest to that would be to watch Schindler’s List, produced by Spielberg, about a Christian man who saved many Jews by taking them to work in his factory.
My husband was a chaplain in the Navy for many years. He is still called upon to do military funerals and this means a great deal to him. He often stops by a table in a restaurant and thanks an older veteran or a young service man for their “service to our country”. A dear friend of ours has served on a number of tours to Afghanistan and other areas of the world as a Christian chaplain. Some chaplains, however, who served faithfully and given more than could be expected, have never received the highest honor our nation has to offer, but one will finally have that honor….62 years late. ..thanks to fellow soldiers who are senior citizens now.
Writings by Sharon Cohen and Lawrence Grayson tells us the story of Chaplain Emil Kapaun in what is called the “Forgotten War”…Korea. In the light of recent events of North Korea’s threats, it would be good to not forget what our troops suffered there and sacrificed to make what is now South Korea the vibrant nation that it is today.
“On Easter morning, March 25, 1951, the Catholic priest mounted the steps of a partially destroyed church, and turned to face his congregation, some 60 men – gaunt, foul-smelling, in tattered clothing.
Fr. Emil Kapaun raised a small, homemade, wooden cross to begin a prayer service, led the men in the Rosary, heard the confessions of the Catholics, and performed a Baptism. Then, he wept because there was no bread or wine to consecrate so that the men could receive the Eucharist.”
After all these years, with pressure on Washington and so many hundreds of Korean veterans dying, the honor due this chaplain is finally happening.
This brave chaplain will finally receive this country’s Medal of Honor. Two lieutenants who served with him, now age 85 and 86, will join in the ceremony to honor Chaplain Kapaun. “What he did and what he meant is so important,” Dowe says. “It’s worth finding a way to carry that forward. … I can only say I’m glad it’s happening. It’s a shame it couldn’t have been sooner.”
The aromas are almost magical…spices simmering in large pots of onions, mushrooms, and sausages. Today we visit the International Food Market in York, England. Located close to the famous Shambles District of the city, people mill around with their families deciding which delicacy should be theirs….breads, chocolate-covered donuts, olives and much more from every ethnic part of the world.
The Shambles, for hundreds of years, had been the place of meat butchers. Even then, people would have come to this area to find their fresh meat. The narrow, cobble-stone streets are now shops with a historic sign or place of some main event that had happened here….such as the martyred young wife and mother, Margaret Clitherow (shown below), who refused to give up her faith that was not sanctioned at the time.
In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harboring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and therefore being subjected to torture. As a result she was executed by being crushed to death, being the standard punishment for refusal to plead, on Good Friday 1586. ( I will write more about her another time.)
Now, enjoy the special International Market of York, England.
The author of the article below made an amazing statement that caught my attention after the tragedy in Connecticut. She said, “ I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help” Being a teacher for many years and a parent, my heart was sick that such a thing could happen to innocent, little children. That is why I want to share this article below taken from the Blue Review, a nonprofit journal based at Boise State University. Help must come and our country must heal with help from God as we deal with those who have mental disorders.
The complete article below:
Friday’s horrific national tragedy—the murder of 20 children and six adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in New Town, Connecticut—has ignited a new discussion on violence in America. In kitchens and coffee shops across the country, we tearfully debate the many faces of violence in America: gun culture, media violence, lack of mental health services, overt and covert wars abroad, religion, politics and the way we raise our children. Liza Long, a writer based in Boise, says it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
“Three days before 20 year-old Adam Lanza killed his mother, then opened fire on a classroom full of Connecticut kindergartners, my 13-year old son Michael (name changed) missed his bus because he was wearing the wrong color pants.
“I can wear these pants,” he said, his tone increasingly belligerent, the black-hole pupils of his eyes swallowing the blue irises.
“They are navy blue,” I told him. “Your school’s dress code says black or khaki pants only.”
“They told me I could wear these,” he insisted. “You’re a stupid bitch. I can wear whatever pants I want to. This is America. I have rights!”
“You can’t wear whatever pants you want to,” I said, my tone affable, reasonable. “And you definitely cannot call me a stupid bitch. You’re grounded from electronics for the rest of the day. Now get in the car, and I will take you to school.”
I live with a son who is mentally ill. I love my son. But he terrifies me.
A few weeks ago, Michael pulled a knife and threatened to kill me and then himself after I asked him to return his overdue library books. His 7 and 9-year-old siblings knew the safety plan—they ran to the car and locked the doors before I even asked them to. I managed to get the knife from Michael, then methodically collected all the sharp objects in the house into a single Tupperware container that now travels with me. Through it all, he continued to scream insults at me and threaten to kill or hurt me.
That conflict ended with three burly police officers and a paramedic wrestling my son on to a gurney for an expensive ambulance ride to the local emergency room. The mental hospital didn’t have any beds that day, and Michael calmed down nicely in the ER, so they sent us home with a prescription for Zyprexa and a follow-up visit with a local pediatric psychiatrist.
We still don’t know what’s wrong with Michael. Autism spectrum, ADHD, Oppositional Defiant or Intermittent Explosive Disorder have all been tossed around at various meetings with probation officers and social workers and counselors and teachers and school administrators. He’s been on a slew of antipsychotic and mood altering pharmaceuticals, a Russian novel of behavioral plans. Nothing seems to work.
At the start of seventh grade, Michael was accepted to an accelerated program for highly gifted math and science students. His IQ is off the charts. When he’s in a good mood, he will gladly bend your ear on subjects ranging from Greek mythology to the differences between Einsteinian and Newtonian physics to Doctor Who. He’s in a good mood most of the time. But when he’s not, watch out. And it’s impossible to predict what will set him off.
Several weeks into his new junior high school, Michael began exhibiting increasingly odd and threatening behaviors at school. We decided to transfer him to the district’s most restrictive behavioral program, a contained school environment where children who can’t function in normal classrooms can access their right to free public babysitting from 7:30-1:50 Monday through Friday until they turn 18.
The morning of the pants incident, Michael continued to argue with me on the drive. He would occasionally apologize and seem remorseful. Right before we turned into his school parking lot, he said, “Look, Mom, I’m really sorry. Can I have video games back today?”
“No way,” I told him. “You cannot act the way you acted this morning and think you can get your electronic privileges back that quickly.”
His face turned cold, and his eyes were full of calculated rage. “Then I’m going to kill myself,” he said. “I’m going to jump out of this car right now and kill myself.”
That was it. After the knife incident, I told him that if he ever said those words again, I would take him straight to the mental hospital, no ifs, ands, or buts. I did not respond, except to pull the car into the opposite lane, turning left instead of right.
“Where are you taking me?” he said, suddenly worried. “Where are we going?”
“You know where we are going,” I replied.
“No! You can’t do that to me! You’re sending me to hell! You’re sending me straight to hell!”
I pulled up in front of the hospital, frantically waiving for one of the clinicians who happened to be standing outside. “Call the police,” I said. “Hurry.”
Michael was in a full-blown fit by then, screaming and hitting. I hugged him close so he couldn’t escape from the car. He bit me several times and repeatedly jabbed his elbows into my rib cage. I’m still stronger than he is, but I won’t be for much longer.
The police came quickly and carried my son screaming and kicking into the bowels of the hospital. I started to shake, and tears filled my eyes as I filled out the paperwork—“Were there any difficulties with… at what age did your child… were there any problems with.. has your child ever experienced.. does your child have…”
At least we have health insurance now. I recently accepted a position with a local college, giving up my freelance career because when you have a kid like this, you need benefits. You’ll do anything for benefits. No individual insurance plan will cover this kind of thing.
For days, my son insisted that I was lying—that I made the whole thing up so that I could get rid of him. The first day, when I called to check up on him, he said, “I hate you. And I’m going to get my revenge as soon as I get out of here.”
By day three, he was my calm, sweet boy again, all apologies and promises to get better. I’ve heard those promises for years. I don’t believe them anymore.
On the intake form, under the question, “What are your expectations for treatment?” I wrote, “I need help.”
And I do. This problem is too big for me to handle on my own. Sometimes there are no good options. So you just pray for grace and trust that in hindsight, it will all make sense.
I am sharing this story because I am Adam Lanza’s mother. I am Dylan Klebold’s and Eric Harris’s mother. I am James Holmes’s mother. I am Jared Loughner’s mother. I am Seung-Hui Cho’s mother. And these boys—and their mothers—need help. In the wake of another horrific national tragedy, it’s easy to talk about guns. But it’s time to talk about mental illness.
According to Mother Jones, since 1982, 61 mass murders involving firearms have occurred throughout the country. Of these, 43 of the killers were white males, and only one was a woman. Mother Jones focused on whether the killers obtained their guns legally (most did). But this highly visible sign of mental illness should lead us to consider how many people in the U.S. live in fear, like I do.
When I asked my son’s social worker about my options, he said that the only thing I could do was to get Michael charged with a crime. “If he’s back in the system, they’ll create a paper trail,” he said. “That’s the only way you’re ever going to get anything done. No one will pay attention to you unless you’ve got charges.”
I don’t believe my son belongs in jail. The chaotic environment exacerbates Michael’s sensitivity to sensory stimuli and doesn’t deal with the underlying pathology. But it seems like the United States is using prison as the solution of choice for mentally ill people. According to Human Rights Watch, the number of mentally ill inmates in U.S. prisons quadrupled from 2000 to 2006, and it continues to rise—in fact, the rate of inmate mental illness is five times greater (56 percent) than in the non-incarcerated population.
With state-run treatment centers and hospitals shuttered, prison is now the last resort for the mentally ill—Rikers Island, the LA County Jail and Cook County Jail in Illinois housed the nation’s largest treatment centers in 2011.
No one wants to send a 13-year old genius who loves Harry Potter and his snuggle animal collection to jail. But our society, with its stigma on mental illness and its broken healthcare system, does not provide us with other options. Then another tortured soul shoots up a fast food restaurant. A mall. A kindergarten classroom. And we wring our hands and say, “Something must be done.”
I agree that something must be done. It’s time for a meaningful, nation-wide conversation about mental health. That’s the only way our nation can ever truly heal.
God help me. God help Michael. God help us all. “
Music for Advent: Rhema Marvanne is a 7 year old with a talent from God.
The beautiful voices of choir boys
This writing does not propose to have the answers to that problem or hurt that you have …whether emotional, mental or physical…. that may be planting the thoughts of suicide in your mind. My life has been given to Christ, with its ups and downs…disappointments and joys…but I know that not all have found this rest.
I write because I am led to write. Who knows why I awake at 3:00 am and know that for some reason I need to write about this subject. It is the last thing that I would want to tackle. Nevertheless, I write today, not as a counselor or a psychiatrist, but as a person who cares.
Someone will read this who needs to know that their particular pain has an answer. The answer is not in suicide. The answer may be as close to you as your breath. If one simply gives up…they will never know what would have or could have been. One does not know what is around the corner. You must live to find out.
There are two stories that I know of that may help: A man had decided he did not want to go on. He went up stairs and looked out the window. Across the top of the houses was a steeple of a church. It was that cross rising high into the sky that made him stop and truly think about what he was thinking of doing. A simple thing….but it was his turning moment.
Another man felt that he had lost everything. His wife was leaving him and taking his life flashed across his mind. The thing that made him stop was the thought of what would his death do to his son. He had not actually lost everything for he had his son.
When things seem the darkest….when you just want to go to sleep forever….forget the word “forever” and just go to sleep. Rest the mind….rest the heart….and after the rest, look for a new beginning. Focus on the little things that matter and reach for something bigger than you have known.
Simply ask for God to give you that one ounce of strength that you do not think you have. Psalm 139:8 “If I go up to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, you are there.” No matter what we do, we will face God. This may be a terrible thought…but one worth thinking.
I am not going to “preach” to you, but here are THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER:
(Nehemiah 8:10 )Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
This verse did not say “your joy” for you may not feel any joy at all. It said, “…the joy of the Lord” which will be your strength in anything that is in your life too difficult to handle.
Colossians 1:11-14 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
My suggestion would be to go to a quiet place…maybe the shower….or another spot…and call to God to help you to know that you are loved by Him. Ask Him for peace. Ask Him for grace and forgiveness. Ask Him to give you the strength you need. He will hear you….and then rest. Harming yourself is not the answer. Giving up is not the answer. It never will be.
One never knows when an emergency will happen. It may be a fall….a heart attack…a car accident…or an intruder. We all want to be prepared, but exactly what to do to get help is sometimes illusive. Recently, I was sent two good ideas that could save my life or yours. I want to share them with you.
Let’s start with an intruder in your home. Many of us have burglar alarms, but those may not be on 24 hours a day. Get several cans of wasp spray and have them around close at hand throughout the house or in your office. Of course this should be out of reach of children. What advantages does this simple, inexpensive can of spray have?
The cans typically shoot 20 to 30 feet; so if someone tries to break into your home, “spray the culprit in the eyes”. “That’s going to give you a chance to run from the house and call the police.”
Put your car keys beside your bed at night and carry them in a pocket during the day.
How will this help?
If you hear a noise outside your home or someone trying to get in the house, just press the panic button for your car. The alarm will be set off. The horn will continue to sound until it is turned off. It’s a security alarm system that you probably already have and requires no installation. Test it. It will go off from most everywhere inside your house. It is also useful going through parking lots to your car. However, one must have it in hand and not buried in a purse or pocket. Anyone trying to bother you will probably not stick around if the car alarm is going off.
It has also been suggested that carrying car keys in a pocket can be used in an emergency when someone can not reach a phone. Should this be a heart attack or some other sickness that calls for immediate help, it would be good to remember the panic button on your keys. Usually someone will take notice.
All of this may seem like common sense. If one consciously remember these things, it may be a life saver. Pass them along to friends and family. Be safe and smart. (Footnote: A reader wrote in that he preferred pepper spray to wasp spray, giving other sites that agree. One thing is certain, it is easier to carry pepper spray in a purse or pocket. The main reason for this blog is to help each of us consider how to be safe. It is up to you about choices. )
Boyer Writes sends prayers and thoughts to all those who have lost much in the storm. Hurricane Sandy was a storm that skipped Florida and ended up in the north mixed with snow and ice. Throughout the hurricane season, Floridians know to be prepared for any storm that may come. For this hurricane season to be almost over, those living up north would have never guessed that they would have to deal with such a monster.
For all of our readers outside of the United States, this is some of what is happening here.
Water entered the New York subway system.
Millions without power.
Fires burn homes amid the storm.
Winds up to 90 mph and a storm surge of water.
A number of deaths .
First Responders, Fire and Rescue Workers, move in to help.
Blessings on all of them!
New Jersey was hard hit as the storm moved north toward the Great Lakes and Canada. The lasting results of this storm is not known at this time. A video below gives some of the news reports.
Some people go down in history because they have been the best at what they have accomplished. Others go down in history because they have not given the world anything good. Good is all that can be said about this man….Neil Armstrong. Those of us who remember his walk on the moon and the day he died, can be especially grateful. The moon will never look the same to us.
Here are the pictures that you may not have seen. ( Friday, Sept. 14, 2012)
A footnote: A Reader wrote to me this information which I did not know: “ I’m pretty sure the urn used for Neil Armstrong was made of salt. They are designed to decompose rapidly….”
Arthur P. Hilbish L.F.D.
Pictures by NASA/Bill Ingalls
We will always remember those who perished. We should never become complacent about those who killed these people and what their mission was that day.
2,976 victims will not be forgotten!
The video below is difficult to watch. Evil is evil and should not be called anything differently. Gallant rescuers did their best and gave their lives. They, too, will not be forgotten. Those who fought in the aircraft were brave beyond belief. In doing so, they most likely saved the Capitol of the United States. September 11 is a terrible day, as are all days, for those who lost loved ones. They will never be forgotten!
Boyer Writes dedicates this video presentation to the life and memory of
Astronaut Neil Armstrong
American -First to Walk on the Moon- July 20, 1969
The heavens declare the glory of God;
the sky displays His handiwork.
(For best viewing, turn up sound and enlarge video picture)
IT IS FINISHED
As I walked outside the main gate of Auschwitz in Poland, a man sat by the roadside. He carefully held a piece of wood. It was a part of a birch tree and carved in the middle was the face of Christ. Large, sharp thorns had been placed across the forehead. This man looked at me with the hopes that I would buy this from him, which I did. The workmanship was extraordinary, even though crude. It said so much about this man and what he had made, but more so about this place where he sat.
Just inside these gates, millions of innocent Jews had been put to death. This man had made the carved face of a Jew Who was put to death and no one could find any wrong in him. As Pilot said, ” I find no case against him.”
THIS WAS A SUFFERING JEW CARVED ON A TREE OUTSIDE THE GATE OF SOME OF THE WORST OF HUMAN SUFFERING.
Jesus also sat outside the gate where he would be taken before a mob, mocked, and put to death. He prayed for the people of the world who would believe in Him, saying His hour had come and His work on earth was finished. Even though He knew the suffering that He was to endure, His thoughts were of protection and love for those who believed the words He spoke and saw the miracles He performed. Jesus said:
“Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me so that they may be one, as We are One….
I have given them Your word and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world…I ask not only on behalf of these but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me…
Father, I desire that those also whom you have given Me may be with Me where I am… to see My glory which You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”
Inside the gate of Auschwitz, just a few feet from where the man was sitting…many years before… horrors happened. One of the things that I saw in one of the torture chambers was a wall where someone had scratched a cross. We know that Christians suffered and died there also. Nothing in Auschwitz can be romanticized. Neither can the crucifixion of Jesus.
Even though great art masters have painted beautiful portraits to inspire us, the crucifixion was real torture given perfection by the Romans. The preparation for a glorious Easter Sunday when Christ rises from the dead is a solemn time. This is why the altars of the churches are stripped bare of all ornamentation or flowers. There was nothing lovely about death.
The video below is realistic with the music asking a question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Perhaps we need realism when we actually consider what Christ endured.
If we asked ten people what is meant by the word, “Hope”, we would probably get ten answers. It seems illusive….something that we can’t get a handle on…but we still hope.
Norman Fried writes about hope and concludes, ” Through hope we discover faith and the pursuit of redemption. Hope sets us on a path toward attaining our goals; it helps us determine strategies for living and it transforms our will into action. And when all hope seems lost, faith asks us to look inward and to think differently. Faith teaches us to look for new ways to live in a life filled with pain. It guides us to develop new pursuits; to achieve new victories. And through our pursuits, we encounter God’s ways and we are challenged to unite with Him; only to find ourselves cleaving to both. In the end, we learn that religion is the confluence of two parallel forces; man’s wish to create a livable world, replete with the hope of grace and dignity, and man’s need to honor and accept what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.”
Some words that he uses stand out to me.
- “…pursuit of redemption” In the long run, we all want to be redeemed. We look for an eternity of bliss with an eternally loving God. Redemption, however, is the moment we put our trust in the Savior. Redemption does not just start in the future, but is a daily existence. God sent His only Son to redeem the world.
- “…determine strategies for living” Hope is all important to the very way we live. None of us want to come to the end and be filled with regrets.
- “…challenged to unite with Him” Many things are important to us: family career, dreams and goals. Perhaps the most important thing that we can hope for is to feel His presence with us moment by moment. In this season of Lent, we ask God for that presence and to be united with Him.
- “what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.” We look at the tragedies of the world, past and present, and wonder how people did live through the unlivable. Truly it was the ability to hope even through harsh struggles.
Job spent hours listening to his friends who brought no comfort. I wonder at this patience! (Through most of the Book of Job) Yet, this man of faith continued to believe in the one strength he had and the hope that he knew to be God’s gift to him during a terrible time of his life
Even in more modern times, history tells stories of hope under the worst conditions. One such battle of WWII would appear that there was no hope. “The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest battle on the Eastern Front and was marked by brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare, with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army made it a turning point in the war. After the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces never recovered their earlier strength, and attained no further strategic victories in the East.”
The film, Enemy at the Gates, has some dialog between Nikita Khrushchev and Danilov, the soldier who believed that if they published fliers for the Russian people to read about heros of the motherland, it would bring hope. In particular, he wrote of the Russian marksman, Vassili Zaitsev, who became the center of the writings. Danilov told Khrushchev the following:
“Here, the men’s only choice is between German bullets and ours. But there’s another way. The way of courage. The way of love of the Motherland. We must publish the army newspaper again. We must tell magnificent stories, stories that extol sacrifice, bravery. We must make them believe in the victory. We must give them hope, pride, a desire to fight.”
Without hope, men have little for which to live. Regardless of the country from which one comes, the politics of the time, or the belief system that they hold, the human race must have hope. It is not enough to use the word, but to actually believe in a hope that is greater than our understanding.
The video below is in honor of all who had hope where there appeared to be no hope.
Omer Meir Wellber and Russian National Orchestra. Pietro Mascagni – Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana”.
( A response from my friend, Mark. Thanks. Romans 12:12 from the Holy Scriptures: “Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in AFFLICTION and faithful in PRAYER.”)
Most anyone will do anything to save their skin. We hear, ” It is no skin off my nose!” or “He gets under my skin.” We refer to it so much because it is important.
What is it about skin? It is the very thing that holds one together. The bones and all the organs have to be covered with skin. Skin has its own value. It is a waterproofer; gives us skin tone; regulates body temperature and permits the sensation of touch, heat and cold. In fact, the skin, totaling about 20 sq. ft., is the largest organ of the body.
Satan said to God about Job, “Skin for Skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said, “He is in your power, only spare his life.” ( Job 2:4-13) So Satan inflected sores on Job from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a written history of the fate of those who were willing to lay down their lives for their Saviour , is the story of what was done to the skin of men. It was burned and tortured in many ways.
Satan was wrong. They did not curse God. They did not always understand why this was happening to them, but they were willing to stand firm and endure the pain.
Throughout Christian history, the tribulation and persecution of believers came in many forms. Sometimes it was a political motive. It was often done by the very church that the believers honored. Other times it was simply evil and Satan demanding his pound of flesh.
They believed that what they knew deep in their hearts was more than anything that could be done to them. Job knew this. The apostles knew this. Joan of Arc knew it also, as was depicted in the film Joan of Arc starring Ingrid Bergman. She said because God spoke to her through voices that only she could hear, “ I do what I can without knowing how.” In the end, she was burned at the stake for heresy because she would not deny what she heard from God.
The martyrs often had to listen to their own souls even though family or friends counseled them to surrender to popular thought or authority rule. They were humble. They were not proud. Often they were ordinary people, like you and me. They simply believed. Skin was not all important…God was
VIDEO Joan of Arc The struggle to listen to and obey God. (Turn on sound)
A friend, John O’Neil, whom my husband and I met recently shared with me a most moving video clip that had won First Place in the “Tell it Your Way” contest out of many entries. Having written a number of stories in this Boyer Writes on the lives of those who lived through World War II and the Holocaust, I felt it would be appropriate to present this story of two people and how their meeting changed their lives.
This article written in the New York Times by Stuart Elliot gives the details:
September 24, 2010, 2:30 pm
Director Selects Winner of Philips Consumer Contest
By STUART ELLIOTT
“Ridley Scott, known for directing movies like “Blade Runner” and “Gladiator,” has chosen the winner of a contest to create short films that was sponsored by Philips.
Mr. Scott picked a film called “Porcelain Unicorn” as the winner of the Tell It Your Way contest. The name, echoing the long-time Burger King slogan, “Have it your way,” underlines the nature of the contest, which is in the genre known as consumer-generated or user-generated content.
“Porcelain Unicorn,” which can be watched on YouTube, was the brainchild of an American director, Keegan Wilcox. Mr. Wilcox, a producer and director at ELA Advertising in California, wins prizes that include a week working at Ridley Scott Associates and the promotion of his short by Philips in venues that include a section of the Philips Web site.
Mr. Scott selected the short from among more than 600 entries in the contest, which was inspired by online commercials for Philips, under the title “Parallel Lines,” created by the London office of DDB Worldwide, part of the Omnicom Group.
A People’s Choice Award was also presented in the contest, to a short called “Baby Time,” by a French director, Cedric Petitcollin. “Baby Time” can also be watched on YouTube.
There is also a YouTube channel devoted to the contest. The entries were winnowed to 306 semifinalists, which a panel of judges narrowed to 10 finalists. The public then voted on YouTube to select five of those 10 shorts for the final round of judging, during which Mr. Scott chose “Porcelain Unicorn” as the winner.”
Readers around the world may not understand some of the rituals of the Christian Church. Because today is called Ash Wednesday, it may be good to help in this understanding. The observance even varies from one Christian church to another.
“Ash Wednesday is a day of repentance and it marks the beginning of Lent. Ashes were used in ancient times, according to the Bible, to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent’s way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults.”
I think there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that we all have faults, even if we do not always call them sins. Most people know when something is considered a real sin. So, why in the modern world… when we are asked to think on the positive, should we set aside 40 days for reflection, prayer, and being sorry for things done? As mentioned, this day begins the forty days of Lent. Some take it lightly and joke about giving up candy or a latte for this period of time. To others it is much more a serious matter.
Job, who had suffered so many unbelievable things, said the following:
. “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)
The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes” (Jer 6:26).
The prophet Daniel recounted pleading to God this way: “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3).
Jesus spent 40 days praying and fasting in the wilderness to His Father in heaven for the people of the world.
How does Ash Wednesday get its name? It comes from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of believers as a sign of repentance before God. These ashes typically are gathered from the palms used the year before at Palm Sunday, which is a celebration of Jesus riding into Jerusalem. The palms are burned to make the ashes. Some think of this as only a Roman Catholic practice, but it is also celebrated each year by those in the Episcopal and Anglican churches, as well as Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians and some Baptist denominations.
Does this Ash Wednesday, or any other Christian observance, forgive sins?
No, of course not, for it is not what we as believers do that forgives and gives eternal life. Only Christ, our Savior, who died for our sins…taking our place…can forgive. He said on the cross, “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do.”
Jesus Christ was not just another prophet as some of the major religions believe. His resurrection from the dead makes Him different. His disciples who observed Him die on the cross also saw Him three days later very much alive. Thomas, who was much like any of us, wanted to see proof. He asked to actually see the nail prints in His hands and the scar on His side. Yes, the resurrection, which is celebrated by Christians at Easter, is the only hope for our own resurrection. The Apostle Paul said, “To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.”
By the way, for anyone who has not studied Paul’s writings in the New Testament, I would suggest that you do so. Paul, first known as Saul and a powerful member of a Jewish group, had persecuted the Christians and actually held their robes while they were stoned. God had other plans for him and later he found Christ as his Lord and Savior.
Hopefully, this writing has helped our non-Christian readers understand better some of the rituals of the Christian church. Persecution of Christians is happening around the world today, especially the Coptic Christians.
It is important to pray for peace and understanding. I am certain there are those in cyber-world who are searching for the truth. You are wrestling, but God also has a plan for you. Like it or not, we must remember that we are dust and to dust we will return. It is important to be ready.
If you have any questions, please feel free to write to us at Boyer Writes. firstname.lastname@example.org We will try our best to answer any questions.
VIDEO FOR ASH WEDNESDAY AND THE BEGINNING OF LENT