Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Leadership... "American Soldier: General Tommy Franks, Commander in Chief - United States Central Command" is an autobiography published in 2004. General Franks was the head honcho in Afghanistan and Iraq during and after 09/11/2001. For more info, just click on the picture. Or you can read this book, but it is not a quick read. I won it as a door prize at one of the Cooke County Republican Women (CCRW) meetings. I found it very interesting because in 2001 I was doing college things. I wasn't paying attention to current events. I remember when we went into Iraq TWO YEARS later, and it felt like "REALLY, why has it taken us SO LONG??" But of course our troops were in Afghanistan only about 4 months after 09/11 happened. Of course the big issue that we all remember about Operation Iraqi Freedom is the issue of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) and how there didn't turn out to be any, and President Bush got blamed for chasing after oil interests instead of the possible WMD. General Franks makes a very solid argument for why the intelligence on WMD in Iraq was solid. He also makes clear that it wasn't all about WMD. Unfortunately, his argument for the Iraq War takes over quite a bit of the book because I guess he felt that he needed to defend his actions and those of our country in general. Other than that, it's a very interesting book which covers a time in my life when I was not yet engaged in political matters.

I am certainly engaged in political things these days!! Of course I will be an Election Judge on Tuesday for the Presidential Election. I was fairly new at the job during the last presidential election. It's always fun to see everyone in Precinct 18 come through the doors, and the turnout in my town is very encouraging. I wish that every citizen in this country would understand how important their vote is. Also on the political involvement topic, I don't know if you heard that I'm set to be the President of the CCRW for 2017. This ain't like being class president or 4-H president. I'm actually going to have to work...and LEAD!! I'm actually quite terrified. It would be better if I wasn't President of the Saint Jo Riding Club (SJRC) at the same time, but I try to see these positions as opportunities for greatness. You're supposed to take those when they come along. And you're supposed to be grateful!! I'm working on that part. Leadership is tricky. They try to groom all young people to be leaders. I personally think that being an honorable follower is equally important - the type of follower who isn't just a lemming who goes along with the crowd, but a person who will help other soldiers along in the battle that is life. But leadership...I saw an excellent example of leadership yesterday at the SJRC meeting where we elected new officers for 2017. The incoming Parade Marshall said, "I just want our group to glorify God." Amen and Amen. And that's what was missing from General Franks' book. He wasn't lacking in faith - he had it in his wife and in his army, but he never mentioned a higher purpose. I pray, and I ask you to join me in praying, for our leaders (including me!) who will be trying to glorify God with our lives in 2017. We heard that in church just this Sunday: "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior..." (1 Timothy 2:1-3).

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Grandma gave me this book to read. "The Iron Marshal" (1979) by Louis L'Amour is not too believable, mostly because the Marshal is a teenage kid who thinks and speaks with the wisdom of someone much, much older than that. But the story is alright. I don't have much else to say about it, I reckon. My life is not nearly as interesting as the Marshal's. I wish I had something interesting to tell you, but there's just nothing worth telling. I hope you're having a good Summer.

Saturday, June 04, 2016

I have been working on this project for about 10 years - my 2nd reading of the Bible cover to cover. My regular reading Bible is "The New American Bible" which is a Catholic version including the apocrypha, although I prefer the New King James version. Anyhow, yes, I just finished reading the Bible for the second time. This time I read the whole thing out-loud. I normally read a chapter from the Old Testament in the morning and one from the New in the evening. Reading it out-loud has made me slow down and stay focused. Unfortunately, I'm not entirely sure that I started the out-loud policy in Genesis, so I'll be starting all over again now, and at some point I'll come full-circle. Obviously I haven't been very "religious" about my daily reading. Since there are 926 chapters in the OT (without apocrypha), at a chapter per day, I should technically finish the whole thing in...a little over 2 1/2 years. But I've been a little more consistent with my daily reading here lately. I guess I'm looking for God's will for my life.

My life...there's not much new to report. After 3 years and 1 month of Weight Watchers, I am down to only needing to lose about 27 lbs. I am really trying to make it happen this year. And I guess that's really the only goal I have in mind these days. I guess another goal is to get to September without smoking because that will be the one-year point. I keep being surprised by the fact that I CAN say "no" and by the fact that the temptation never goes away. Okay, maybe I can't say "never" since it hasn't even been a year yet. Goals...both health-related. But they both have spiritual implications. I know I can't achieve either one of them without God's help or without the help of the people that God has placed in my life. I am truly blessed, and I hope that you are feeling blessed, too.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

This book was sent to me by WORLD Magazine as a gift for giving a gift subscription. As a gift for a gift... "One Nation: What We Can All Do to Save America's Future" (2014) by Ben Carson, MD, is the typical pre-campaign book by a candidate. Okay, I can't really judge that because I'm pretty sure that this is the only one I've ever read. No, I did not vote for Dr. Carson in the presidential primary election because I believe that Ted Cruz was the better choice for the job. As far as the book goes, the content is pretty solid, but I found it amusing how it felt just like listening to Dr. Carson - long rambling sentences without using any contractions. I could almost hear him saying all of that stuff in his slow, deliberate tone. Thinking about who might be our President next year makes me a little sad, so I will move on to a new topic now...

How have YOU been?? I feel like I've been a bit isolated in my own rodeo world. The rodeo happened two weeks ago, and I'm still winding down from all the stress and "fun". The President of the Riding Club holds that office for 2 years according to the bylaws, so I guess I get to do this for another year yet. It's still a year and a half, really. Maybe it would be okay if that was my only extra-curricular activity. But my days are already plenty full. Maybe I'm living the American Dream?! I actually don't feel free AT ALL. Oh well...no complaining...

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Hello dear friends. Recently I finished reading "Panic Room: Living Beyond Fear" written this year by Curt Simmons, the pastor of Friendship Church which I have been attending. The editing wasn't spectacular, but the content is very good stuff. It is a very encouraging book. I have more fear to deal with than usual right now with less than a month before the Saint Jo Rodeo, and only TWO WEEKS before the Riding Club's first playday of the year. I want everything to go well. I want everyone to be happy and have fun. But is that realistic? Some things will likely go wrong, and some folks are bound to get upset about something, so I just need to not be afraid.

I experienced a little fear of the unknown last weekend when I went to San Saba to visit my friend Marcy at the TDCJ unit there. It's a 4-hour drive, and after getting down there in time for church at Hill Country Bible at 10:30 AM, I went over to the jail to find all of the visitors out in the parking log. Long story short, there had been a gas leak in the new boiler in the laundry room, and some of the inmates and guards had gotten carbon monoxide poisoning. The warden told us that she hoped to have it all resolved in time to let visitors back in (visitation only happens Saturday and Sunday from 8 to 5), but after sitting there for a couple hours watching the ambulances and firetrucks rolling in and people going out on stretchers, we were told that visitation was cancelled for the rest of the day. Of course they couldn't tell us any details about what we really wanted to know - were the people that we came to visit okay?? So I had to drive the 4 hours back home without seeing my friend and without knowing if she was one of the ones who needed medical attention. I don't think that's really the kind of "Panic Room" situation that Pastor Curt was really talking about, but I do know for sure that the whole ordeal would have been pretty much impossible to get through without some faith that God had it under control. In church that morning, Pastor Russell was preaching from Ephesians 1:3-6 about how God has blessed us with EVERY spiritual blessing. We are as blessed as we can possibly be - that is impossible to comprehend - and how we have been chosen, predestined and adopted. I heard all of these great and encouraging words, and was immediately worried when I saw all the drama going down at the prison. But I did not need to worry. I'm not sure that I believe that God had a purpose for my 8-hour drive without getting to see my friend, but maybe His reason will come to light eventually. I'm always looking for the deeper meaning in things when sometimes the reason is very simple. And simple can be beautiful.

The next day she called and told me that she was okay except for a headache and a long, uncomfortable day of sitting in the gym waiting for their living area to air out. I hope we can all learn to live beyond fear. Faith really does change your life.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

And a couple of months later, I finally finish reading a book that probably only takes 4 hours to read. But, hey, I'm a little proud of myself for finding the time at all considering all of the Netflix shows that I HAVE to get through! I should spend that hour or two in the evenings reading instead, and hopefully I will start doing better. This one, "Protector" by Diana Palmer (2013), is another one that Momma G passed down to me, and I have to say, "Eh." It never really got me engaged with the story. I do find it fascinating when female writers try to create male characters... I dunno, Hayes Carson falls a little short of the ideal man, if ya ask me. Not to mention the fact that he's just not all that manly. Anyhow, it's just supposed to be for fun, and I didn't hate it.

In other news, my life has been incredibly busy lately. When 2016 hit, the workload seemingly tripled. Being busy isn't so bad, but when you add the work with my Secretarial duties for the CCRW and my Presidential duties for the SJRC, I'm wondering how I'm going to keep all of the plates spinning. But today is fairly worry-free. I'm about to head to church, and then I get to make a quick trip to Allen to take Syd home since Mel is down in San Saba. It seems like I was just down in the Big City yesterday...but, no, it was Friday - I went to pick up John & Donetta and Nick from Dallas Love Field. But I guess tomorrow it'll be back to business as usual.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

I borrowed this book from my mother quite a while ago - maybe at the beginning of Summer - and it has taken me a long time to finish. "The Last Addiction: Why Self-Help Is Not Enough" was written by Sharon A. Hersh in 2008. The main premise is that the last addiction is our thought that we can fix it ourselves. The book is written with a Christian perspective, but it doesn't stay in the spiritual realm the entire time. I did like this book, and the author's own story of her battle with an alcohol addiction is quite interesting. Folks probably would assume that I have no addictions since I seem to be functioning relatively well in my little world, but I would consider #1 my struggle with eating more than I should. #2 would be an addiction to a particular way of thinking in my mind - the despair and hopelessness. Even this book that covers a wide range of different addictions doesn't consider how depression is simply a series of bad mental habits. At least that's how I see depression. It's an addiction to a certain way of thinking. But I am going deeper here than I intended. I am happy that I have finally finished another book and that it only took me about a week to get around to writing my review this time. I also finished another book - something about Minnie Mouse and waiting for puppies to be born - but I can't quite remember the title. It was just as good as this addiction book, so that's my double review for you. Two for the price of one.