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Punching back

January 20, 2020

Earlier this week, I compared Arizona Sen. Martha McSally’s response to CNN reporter Manu Raju (“You’re a liberal hack, buddy”) to Rick Gervais’ blistering speaking-truth-to-powerful-liberal-hypocrites monologue at the Golden Globes.

From Dow H:

Does Flynn need funding now? Is there a way to donate to help him out? A little bit from a lot of concerned citizens to defend and fund this patriot would be worth advertising. I have been amazed at how much Flynn was pivotal in exposing the illegal acts by our government under the Obama administration. Without his integrity and commitment to stand up against criminal acts, I doubt we would have ever known about the FISA problem, or the NSA contractors.

From the Gov:

Thanks, Dow. From what I’ve read, Flynn saw his new job as Trump’s national security adviser as an opportunity to clean up the abuses and inefficiencies that had plaguing the intel community. He was instrumental in calling attention to them. That appears to be one of the reasons he was targeted. (Another was his strong opposition to Obama’s Iran deal.) How sadly ironic that he was taken down through those very tactics.

I don’t know if lead attorney Sidney Powell is working pro bono or not, but even if she is, it’s very expensive to go to trial. There’s clerical staff, research and possibly investigative help to pay, along with travel and much more. And Flynn's ordeal has been going on for three years.  For information on donating to the Michael T. Flynn Legal Defense Fund, here is their website:

https://mikeflynndefensefund.org

American citizens and permanent residents only. And thanks for asking!

Buck Henry, RIP

January 9, 2020

By “Huckabee” writer/pop culture historian Pat Reeder (http://www.facebook.com/hollywoodhifibook )

As a fellow comedy writer who greatly admired Buck Henry, I’m sad to report that he has died in a Los Angeles hospital at 89 with his wife Irene by his side.

Henry was a familiar face to the public for his many movie and TV comedy roles as a bespectacled, unassuming everyman, but he was most known to fans of the early days of “Saturday Night Live.” It became tradition that he hosted the final show of each season. His ten shows held a record finally broken by Steve Martin. In his most famous sketches, he played the customer trying to get some product or service from John Belushi’s Samurai butcher, tailor, etc.  In one notorious sketch, Belushi’s wild sword swinging accidentally nicked Henry’s forehead on live TV.  He had to do the rest of the show with a bandage on his head to stop the bleeding. 

But Henry was actually best known behind the camera.  He wrote or co-wrote a number of movies, including “Catch-22,” “What’s Up, Doc,” “The Day of the Dolphin,” and a terrific black comedy with Nicole Kidman that you should definitely check out called “To Die For.”  In his early days, he wrote for such classic TV comics as Steve Allen and Garry Moore, and the pioneering topical humor show, “That Was the Week That Was.”  His most famous gigs were his Oscar nominations for co-writing “The Graduate” and co-directing Warren Beatty’s “Heaven Can Wait,” and to me, the thing that will forever cement his place in comedy history: he co-created “Get Smart” with Mel Brooks. 

Rest in peace to one of the genuine major multi-talents of 20th century entertainment.

https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/buck-henry-screenwriter-of-the-graduate-co-creator-of-get-smart-dies-at-89

Nancy Pelosi is feeling the pressure right now. Even a growing number of Democrats are calling for her to be done with it and send the Impeachment Articles to the Senate at long last. Truly, the impatience with her is something being felt on both sides of the aisle, albeit for different reasons.

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/congress/mounting-pressure-on-pelosi-to-hold-vote-on-impeachment-inquiry

Recall that I posted an open letter to Madam Speaker not long ago, and many thousands of you added your names. Now, there’s a slew of stories and even a website called PressurePelosi.com.   

On Wednesday’s HANNITY show, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz and New York Rep. Elise Stefanik had a lively discussion about the move to light a fire under Pelosi's stylish pumps.

"I just hope to find a woman that’ll hold me as tight as Nancy Pelosi’s holdin’ onto those impeachment articles,” Rep. Gaetz said. We all wish him well in that endeavor.

He also dropped what I would consider a blockbuster: news that representatives –- especially the 31 who are in districts won by Donald Trump –- were told if they didn’t vote for impeachment, they wouldn’t receive party funding. As Gaetz put it, Pelosi “actually used political money as a weapon to threaten a lot of these folks to vote for impeachment.”

"They were told if they did not vote for impeachment, they could not expect funding from the DCCC in their races,” Gaetz revealed. “This wasn’t a sincere effort to abide by the rule of law. It was a political hit job by Democrats because they have no substantive argument against the Trump presidency.”

"...Pelosi has been exposed and the impeachment dam is breaking,” said Stefanik. “We need to continue to keep the pressure up because she has no authority over the Senate, so it was absolutely audacious and outrageous that she has been willing to withhold this, after urging the American people and Democrats forcing them to take this vote on an arbitrary schedule.

"The real reason why I think she’s holding back," Stefanik said, "is she does not want to expose the coordination that we know happened between Adam Schiff and the whistleblower.”  I think that with this comment, Stefanik nailed it.  The curtain is going to be pulled back, big-time.  Can't wait.

Jordan pointed out that Pelosi didn’t imagine when she started down the impeachment road that absolutely no Republicans would join her and that one Democrat would vote against impeachment, another would vote “present” and still another would vote “no” and then switch parties.

In a Wednesday interview with Laura Ingraham, California Republican Rep. Kevin McCarthy reminded viewers that Nancy Pelosi, being from San Francisco, is actually Sen. Feinstein’s “hometown” member of Congress. And even Feinstein is getting impatient with Pelosi. “If we’re going to do it, she should send them over,” Feinstein reportedly said. “I don’t see what good delay does.”

https://www.thegatewaypundit.com/2020/01/feinstein-fed-up-with-pelosi-delay-tactics-demands-she-send-articles-of-impeachment-to-senate-as-speaker-clings-to-articles-refuses-to-let-go/

Ingraham asked McCarthy what would happen if the House decided, independently, to subpoena John Bolton, in hopes of getting information from him after the fact and somehow “backfilling” the impeachment case. McCarthy stated what is now the obvious: that the House had the opportunity to subpoena any witnesses they wanted, but they seemed to think impeachment was so urgent that they went with the information they had. “They know their case is so weak,” he said, “it’s almost like she doesn’t want to send it, like she’s embarrassed [about] it.” Indeed.

Sen. Lindsay Graham has been talking about changing the rules in the Senate to allow for them to take up the impeachment without actually receiving the Articles. He’s also crafted a resolution calling on Pelosi to send the Articles to the Senate. “The refusal by the Speaker to transmit the Articles is a flagrant violation of the separation of powers,” he wrote. (Well, that’s debatable, but it sure is a flagrant violation of protocol and common sense.) He calls on Pelosi to immediately appoint impeachment managers and transmit the Articles.

If Pelosi doesn't do this, it would take a simple majority to change the Senate rules, according to Bob Barr, former Clinton impeachment manager. He told Ingraham that “the Senate can do that any time it wants to…and they can do that pretty much any time.” Still, there’s one factor he didn’t mention, though Ted Cruz has brought it up: the possibility of a filibuster, which can happen without 67 votes to end it. In effect, Cruz says, it would take 67 votes to get the Senate to move forward.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said he has enough votes in the Senate to to begin the trial without calling witnesses. And though Democrats would like to see former national security adviser John Bolton and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney testify, “My Democratic friends are losing patience,” McConnell said. The implication: some of those votes he has come from the Democrat side.

https://nypost.com/2020/01/08/mcconnell-blasts-pelosi-for-shameless-game-playing-over-impeachment/

Former Whitewater deputy independent counsel Sol Wisenberg, also speaking with Laura, had an interesting take on the rules: that the Senate rules they have don’t even cover this situation, as they are supposed to be for handling the Articles of Impeachment once they’ve been delivered. Since they haven’t been delivered, they don’t apply. There are NO rules for this situation, in which the House has voted to impeach the President but hasn’t delivered the Articles of Impeachment. “In my opinion,” he said, “what are called the ‘impeachment rules’ in the Senate don’t cover the situation we’re in. And I believe that they could establish new rules by majority vote and say, ‘Look, this is what we’re gonna do in this situation, unprecedented, and we’re gonna move forward.”

Finally, just as Rep. Stefanik was saying, we can bet both Pelosi and Adam Schiff are nervous about Republicans calling witnesses in the Senate, because they’re afraid of what might come out regarding collaboration with the so-called “whistleblower,” a.k.a. Eric Ciaramella (yep, that’s him, and he's actually just a leaker who deserves no anonymity). This goes to the very reason for the investigation of Trump’s phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky in the first place. Schiff won’t release a transcript of Intel Community Inspector General (ICIG) Michael Atkinson’s closed-door testimony –- it’s the only transcript he refuses to release –- but Republican members of the House Intel Committee are now looking into Atkinson’s handling of the "whistleblower" complaint. According to Devin Nunes, they sent a letter to Atkinson on September 30, which was responded to “in an inadequate way” on October 8. This week, they’re sending another letter that will give him another week to respond. “Someone is not telling the truth here,” Nunes said to Laura Ingraham, “and that’s why they don’t want this testimony out.” There’s apparently more to this story; we don’t know it yet but Nunes does.

So what can the Republican minority do without subpoena power? Nunes says they have other means: getting other people to come in and testify, for one, and also hearing from other, REAL whistleblowers and informants who WANT to come in and talk to them. As for Atkinson, “essentially you have to either believe he’s in on it, or he’s incompetent.” The committee needs to see all the documentation and the changes made to the forms, rather than just taking his word that he made mistakes.

Here are more details; this article in AMERICAN THINKER is a must-read…

House Republicans are investigating the ICIG behind the Ukraine 'whistleblower'

All the caterwauling and hand-wringing from the media about President Trump standing up to Iran possibly setting off World War III suddenly reminds me of Groucho Marx's line in "Duck Soup": "We can't call off the war! I already paid six months' rent on the battlefield!"

And yet, World War III does seem to have been called off, since the severe retaliation promised by Iran was apparently all for show.  Word is that they even informed our intelligence agencies that the rockets they fired were aimed to do minimal damage, and now that they've "showed us" (and let that be a lesson to you, Trump!), they will go home now and seek no further escalation, oh, and, one other thing: please, please don't kill us!

Wait, so responding to an attack with overwhelming force DOESN’T make a bully want to fight you even more? It actually makes them back down and slink away?  So then, maybe it’s better for America to be feared by our enemies than to try to make them love us by appeasing them?  Why didn’t someone tell Obama, John Kerry and all those other exponents of “smart diplomacy” about this?!

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7865559/Iran-DELIBERATELY-failed-hit-military-targets-fear-escalating-conflict.html

It’s been said that President Trump has some sort of mystical, magical power over Democrats.  Simply by living in their heads 24/7, he forces them to do incredibly dumb things, like endorsing open borders and free health care for illegal aliens, calling for abolishing ICE and police forces, badmouthing dogs, and now, taking the side of Iran and mourning the man behind countless terrorist plots, including the Benghazi attack that killed our ambassador, Chris Stevens.

I’m sure they’ll say that’s not what they’re doing – they’re just calling for restraint, diplomacy, engagement, and all those other cherished State Department buzzwords that have helped persuade Iran to become the peaceful, open, friendly, America-loving, non-terrorism-supporting Utopia that it is today. But it’s kind of hard to see the difference when liberal news outlets are describing the late, unlamented Gen. Qassem Suleimani, the Iranian military leader responsible for the deaths of at least 600 US soldiers and tens of thousands of people across the Middle East, as a “revered military leader” (WaPo) and giving airtime to people who describe the Iran-backed militia that attacked our Baghdad Embassy as “war heroes.”

https://www.westernjournal.com/msnbc-airs-stunning-claim-iran-backed-attackers-war-heroes/

Pouring on the syrup, a New York Times writer tweeted video of the soft side of a terrorist mass murderer, showing Suleimani reading poetry about “friends departing & him being left behind” (did they “depart” when he killed them with IEDs?)

https://www.foxnews.com/media/new-york-times-reporter-sympathy-soleimani-poetry-fake-news-propoganda

We’re also being told how horrifying, vulgar and unseemly it is to cheer the death of a vicious enemy of the US, something that nobody seemed to care about when Hillary Clinton was laughing about the death of Muammar Gaddafi.  And that really did lead to a deadly, hellish chaos in Libya.  

https://pjmedia.com/instapundit/353600

The Democratic Presidential candidates also fell over themselves to voice disapproval of Trump’s action in killing Suleimani, calling it “reckless,” with several referring to it as an “assassination.”  So if you vote any of them into office and an attack is launched on American soil, as with our Embassy in Baghdad, now you know how they'll respond. Caveat emptor.

https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/ryancbrooks/trump-iran-soleimani-strike-democrats-reaction

https://www.westernjournal.com/biden-warren-sanders-issue-deplorable-responses-soleimani-strike/

We also had the spectacle of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Adam Schiff, among many others, giving the standard disclaimers about how awful Suleimani was, BUT Trump should have consulted Congress and gotten its authorization before launching a strike.

https://www.westernjournal.com/pelosi-schiff-complain-trump-didnt-consult-soleimani-strike/

A few points:

Trump was under no obligation to seek their permission, just as Obama didn’t tell Congress he was about to take out Osama bin Laden (he even ignored Joe Biden’s opposition) or launch any of his drone strikes (come to think of it, has any President ever had less concern for Congressional approval than Obama?)  These types of strikes are based on fleeting opportunities, and if you miss your shot by wasting time dealing with Congress, it may never come again.  Also, what are the odds that people like Schiff, who have demonstrated on multiple occasions that they hate Trump more than they love America and can’t be trusted, wouldn’t leak this to the media where Iran’s government would see it?  Judging by content, I assume the enemies of America and airport travelers are CNN’s target audience.   

As long as I brought up Obama taking out Osama, another reminder: even Republicans who staunchly opposed Obama praised him and didn’t try to find ways to spin that raid as a negative or a "provocation." 

https://www.westernjournal.com/desoto-libs-fume-soleimani-killing-remember-conservatives-cheered-bin-ladens-demise/

Also, Joe Biden has previously admitted to advising Obama not to okay the bin Laden raid, but now claims he did approve of it while at the time claiming Trump should not have okayed the raid to take out Suleimani.  But in 1996, he said a bombing by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (run by Suleimani) was an act of war that gave the US the right to respond in any way it wanted. Are you as confused as Joe Biden yet?

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/biden-denies-telling-obama-not-to-launch-bin-laden-raid

https://freebeacon.com/issues/in-1996-interview-biden-called-iranian-bombing-act-of-war-called-for-tough-response/

You know, it’s really not that hard.  You can voice legitimate concerns about the consequences, the heightened tensions, the potential danger to the soldiers, or the possibility that it will lead to another quagmire war.  In fact, Sen. Rand Paul did just that…

https://www.foxnews.com/media/sen-paul-says-diplomacy-is-dead-now-in-the-middle-east-with-iran-fears-escalation

But note how he questioned Trump’s strategy without sounding like he’s rooting for Iran, apologizing to Iran, or eulogizing a mass-murdering monster as some kind of sensitive, poetry-reciting folk hero? 

The Democrats, by assuming everything Trump does is wrong and evil and they have to take the exact opposite side, are making themselves look as if they’d rather align with America’s worst enemy that show any support for a President they oppose politically. Their unthinking, kneejerk opposition to Trump even at a time like this is not only making them look foolish and unpatriotic, it’s also making the jobs of the satirists at the Babylon Bee even easier.

https://babylonbee.com/news/democrats-call-for-flags-to-be-flown-half-mast-to-grieve-death-of-soleimani

"Al Green is a gift from God,” said Trey Gowdy to Ed Henry on Thursday’s THE STORY, “and we should buy him time during the Super Bowl so he just keeps talking.”

Rep. Green filed an impeachment resolution against President Trump two years ago, long before the special counsel investigation was completed and the tepid Mueller report was released. But that didn't matter.  As Trey Gowdy pointed out, 60 Democrats in Congress actually joined with him. Evidence, shmevidence, who needs that? And all these months later, they still have no evidence and still push for impeachment.

But one thing about someone with as big a mouth as Al Green’s: he can be counted on to occasionally and unwittingly spew a little truth, as when he said the President had to be impeached or he'd get re-elected. (He also said a President could be impeached more than once.)  Thank you, Rep. Green, for unthinkingly admitting what Democrats are really up to with this impeachment business. They’ve been working on this nonstop ever since Trump was inaugurated --- even before he was. They know they can’t get this Senate to convict Trump --- especially with ZERO evidence and a ridiculous case based on hearsay and “presumption” --- but they can try to use the issue as a wedge to defeat some Senate Republicans.

Their reasoning, as Gowdy pointed out: if Republicans don’t hold the Senate this next time, Trump will be rendered essentially impotent even if he wins re-election. He won’t be able to get any nominations through, especially Supreme Court nominees. (My belief is that all this has more to do with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s imminent retirement than just about any other factor.) This is the dream that keeps Democrats working overtime to make fools of themselves.

One reason the Democrats have been in such a hurry to get their impeachment vote and call more witnesses in the Senate –- never mind Nancy Pelosi’s pathetic attempt to use the Articles of Impeachment as a bargaining chip –- is that they need a stronger-looking case against Trump before U.S. Attorney Durham comes out with his report. They essentially have NO CASE, while Durham is sure to uncover “very problematic findings” about the counterintelligence probe into Trump’s campaign. That’s what Rep. Mark Meadows had to say in an interview Thursday on Steve Bannon’s WAR ROOM: IMPEACHMENT.

Especially troubling, he said, is what Durham is learning about what the FBI was still doing in January of 2017, after Trump had been elected President. They were still trying to take him down, even though by this time, they knew they had no case against him. I’d call what they were doing to him a hideous bluff, designed to “get” him by going after his associates and also trying to goad him into any action they could call obstruction.

I mentioned yesterday that Attorney General William Barr, who appointed Durham, is focusing on former CIA Director John Brennan’s communications regarding the January 2017 Intelligence Assessment which concluded that Vladimir Putin worked to help elect Trump and damage Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election. Recall that Adm. Mike Rogers, now a cooperating witness for Durham, disagreed with Brennan and then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on that point, but that didn’t stop them from writing it up that way in the report. Rogers had also disagreed with them on the reliability of the Steele “dossier,” which Brennan pushed to include in the report.

Meadows called the impeachment debate a matter of both policy and power, with emphasis on the power. He said, “This is all about ‘are we going to let the American people, along with their representatives and the President of the United States, establish foreign policy, or are we going to let the intel and national security apparatus continue to do whatever they’ve done for years, which is not effective?’ That’s the reason why there was such a big pushback with Brennan and Clapper.”

In other words, who gets to run things: the duly-elected President and representatives, or unelected and essentially unaccountable bureaucrats who think they know best? We got a taste of that arrogance during the House impeachment hearings, when State Department bureaucrats put their elitism on display. How dare this "President" Donald Trump go his own way instead of doing what we want him to do in Ukraine!

Here’s the whole Bannon podcast with Rep. Meadows’ interview. It gets going at around the 19-minute point. His message: “Their day is coming, I promise you.”

https://www.zerohedge.com/political/their-day-coming-i-promise-you-warns-meadows-says-durham-probe-may-contain-very?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+zerohedge%2Ffeed+%28zero+hedge+-+on+a+long+enough+timeline%2C+the+survival+rate+for+everyone+drops+to+zero%29

Something else of interest that Durham surely has seen right in the IG report (though it’s buried in a footnote on page 176): British ex-spy Christopher Steele testified that he was “absolutely flabbergasted” when BuzzFeed published his Trump “dossier” after a staff member for the late Sen. John McCain shared it with them against Steele’s wishes. He’s not named in the report, but McCain staffer David J. Kramer has testified that he invited a BuzzFeed reporter to meet with him at the Washington DC McCain Institute office about this highly imaginative piece of fiction and that the reporter took pictures of it without permission when Kramer left to go to the men’s room.

And how did Kramer get it? The WASHINGTON POST reported last February that after McCain had expressed interest in the (salacious and unverified) dossier, Fusion GPS had delivered it directly to Kramer. Just like that.  Recall that Fusion GPS had been paid by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC (same thing) by way of the law firm Perkins Coie. According to the IG report, McCain provided then FBI Director James Comey with five separate reports relating to unsubstantiated allegations of Trump/Russia “collusion.”

Isn’t it amazing how much interest and credulity was generated by such a steaming pile of unverifiable hearsay? (I would add that in a way, this is similar to the interest and credulity given to the worthless “hearsay” testimony in Schiff’s impeachment hearings. Anyone who might be able to damage Trump MUST BE BELIEVED.) This all smells so bad, I have to hope that both Barr and Durham are equipped with industrial-size nose clips.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/01/02/u-k-spy-steele-claims-john-mccain-aide-leaked-pee-dossier-to-buzzfeed/

Finally, the refreshingly outspoken attorney Joe diGenova had plenty to say about accountability –- all the way to the top –- in an interview Tuesday on One America News. “There’s no doubt that Brennan was the primogenitor of the entire counterintelligence investigation,” he said. “It was John Brennan who went to James Comey and basically pummeled him into starting a counterintelligence investigation against Trump.” Brennan and Comey led the coup, he continued, adding, “People do not have the beginning of an understanding of the role that John Brennan played in this. He is a monstrously important person and I underscore monstrously important person. He has done more damage to the Central Intelligence Agency. It’s equal to what James Comey has done to the FBI.”

"You have to be an idiot” to think this was not a coup d’etat, he said, which, come to think of it, brings us full circle to the impeachment musings of Rep. Green.

DiGenova: Comey and Brennan 'Are The Coup Leaders' and 'Obama Knew All About This'

Evening Edition - December 31

December 31, 2019

On this last day of the year (and the decade!), many people are looking back at 2019.  I would hope that a lot of them, particularly on the left, would reflect on how unbelievably well-off America is – unemployment at all-time lows, wages rising, stock markets booming, gas cheap, trade deals being renegotiated in our favor at long last, violent crime down, terrorists on the run, no new wars (and soldiers finally coming home from seemingly endless ones), food healthier and plentiful, and even the environment much cleaner than a few decades ago (unless you live in a Democrat-run city and have to dodge poop and typhus) – and ask themselves one question:

“Why exactly am I constantly complaining about how horrible everything is?” 

In fact, can you imagine what a Golden Age 2019 would have felt like if we hadn’t had to endure the constant whining, sniping, screaming, cursing, crying, protesting and “resisting”?  What are they even resisting? Happiness?

As we stand at the crossroads, assessing the recent past and reflecting on the future, I thought I’d share a few of the more interesting commentaries, the ones you aren’t likely to see in the mainstream media.

I’ll start with one that I’m sure pains the talking heads at CNN, MSNBC, etc., to report: Gallup reports that there’s a tie for the title of Most Admired Man of 2019 between Barack Obama and Donald Trump. 

https://www.newsmax.com/politics/gallup-poll/2019/12/30/id/947695/

The vote was heavily partisan, of course, but among Independents, it was evenly split.  Pretty amazing considering Obama routinely gets the kind of media coverage you’d expect if Julia Roberts found the cure for cancer, while everything Trump does or says is spun as negatively as possible (if the story was that Trump ate wiener schnitzel for lunch, the media would say, “Do you know who else ate German food? HITLER!!”)   

Imagine how fantastic a job Trump must be doing to tie with Obama for Most Admired Man when he gets 94% negative media coverage.  It would like the Businessman of the Year Award going to the president of a tobacco company. 

Meanwhile, Michelle Obama was named Most Admired Woman again, but her share of the vote dropped from 15% last year to 10% this year, despite massage fawning coverage for her book tour and an adulatory media declaring her “First Lady for Life.” Yet, in second place was our real First Lady, Melania Trump, whom the media treat with either snotty disdain or by ignoring her existence.  She came in ahead of such liberal media darlings as Oprah, Hillary Clinton, Greta Thunberg and Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

My prediction for the future (and my hope) is that someday soon, the people in charge of all those women’s magazines that have shamefully (and from a business standpoint, idiotically) shunned Melania Trump and refused to put her on their covers will be kicking themselves with pointy-toed Italian boots for acting so lobotomized by political partisanship. 

Moving on, the American Thinker revealed its choice for Most Irritating Person of 2019.  Yes, there were many contenders whose names you’ll surely recognize.  But their #1 choice might surprise you.  At least until it’s explained that like Time’s “Person of the Year,” it might not mean what you think it means. In this case, it’s a positive, since the winner irritated all the right people for all the right reasons. 

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2019/12/the_most_irritating_person_of_2019_is.html

Taking the coveted title of “Rudest City in America” for 2019 in a Fox News poll was…(I’m trying to build suspense, but what’s the point?)…New York City!  At the link, New Yorkers react to being called rude (Warning: contains language likely to offend anyone not from New York!)

https://www.foxnews.com/us/f-k-off-new-yorkers-react-to-being-named-rudest-city-in-america

Marta Hernandez of the Victory Girls blog counts down the biggest “fake news” media fails of the year (as they say at Instapundit, “you’re gonna need a bigger blog.”)

https://victorygirlsblog.com/media-year-in-review-the-fail-is-real/

For instance, this one sneaked in past the deadline but still made it into 2019, but it will likely keep being repeated in 2020.

https://www.westernjournal.com/turns-regretful-trump-voter-swing-state-ad-never-even-voted-2016/

In a related story, from the movie “Unplanned” to Jussie Smollett, Newsbusters lists the Biggest Cultural Winners and Losers of 2019.

https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2019/12/28/bozell-graham-column-cultural-winners-and-losers-2019

To help end 2019 with some much-needed laughter, here’s Dave Barry’s annual “Year in Review” column.  A favorite sample quote, from March:

“The Iowa state legislature considers a bill that would fund construction of a border wall around the state to stop the influx of Democratic presidential hopefuls, now estimated at several dozen a day. ‘It’s a humanitarian crisis,’ says one legislator, his voice rising in alarm. ‘They’re swarming all over the state barging into pancake breakfasts. Many of them die within days from pancake bloat but THEY JUST KEEP COMING.’”

https://www.miamiherald.com/living/liv-columns-blogs/dave-barry/article238523668.html 

And Frank Miele at RealClearPolitics takes a bemused look back at “The Year the Democrats Went Off the Rails.”

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2019/12/30/2019_was_the_year_that_democrats_went_off_the_rails_142041.html

For a no-holds-barred look ahead, Kurt Schlichter predicts what will happen in 2020:

https://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2019/12/30/heres-what-is-whats-going-to-happen-in-2020-n2558641

Finally, if you’ve still got a few minutes to kill before the ball drops, here’s a column I wrote about how it’s true: people really do have to be paid to turn on CNN.

https://dailycaller.com/2019/12/29/huckabee-cnn-airport-news/

Happy New Year! May your 2020 be even more terrific than a lot of people didn't realize 2019 was!

 

 

Today's Edition

 

--------------------------

On this last day of the year (and the decade!), many people are looking back at 2019.  I would hope that a lot of them, particularly on the left, would reflect on how unbelievably well-off America is – unemployment at all-time lows, wages rising, stock markets booming, gas cheap, trade deals being renegotiated in our favor at long last, violent crime down, terrorists on the run, no new wars (and soldiers finally coming home from seemingly endless ones), food healthier and plentiful, and even the environment much cleaner than a few decades ago (unless you live in a Democrat-run city and have to dodge poop and typhus) – and ask themselves one question:

“Why exactly am I constantly complaining about how horrible everything is?” 

In fact, can you imagine what a Golden Age 2019 would have felt like if we hadn’t had to endure the constant whining, sniping, screaming, cursing, crying, protesting and “resisting”?  What are they even resisting? Happiness?

As we stand at the crossroads, assessing the recent past and reflecting on the future, I thought I’d share a few of the more interesting commentaries from my website over this past year, about stories you aren’t likely to see in the mainstream media.

With gratitude,

Mike Huckabee


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Our Top 5 stories in 2019

Trojan Horse Bill passes in the Senate

Dec. 20, 2019

By Mike Huckabee

I mentioned yesterday that while the media were distracted with covering (and in some cases, celebrating) the impeachment vote, other important stories were being ignored. For instance, you might have heard that the House passed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 (NDAA 2020), blandly described as a “national defense bill” to keep the military funded, protect the homeland and give a raise to our soldiers. Naturally, President Trump is expected to sign it. But he might want to read carefully first.  It's a textbook illustration of the need for a line-item veto. 

 READ MORE AND COMMENT HERE>>>

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WE HAVE ADDED A FEW MORE SPOTS TO OUR SPRING 2020 ISRAEL TRIP.  LEARN MORE HERE.

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An open letter to Nancy Pelosi

Dec. 19, 2019

By Mike Huckabee

Dear Madam Speaker:

I read the six-page letter sent to you by President Trump on the eve of his impeachment and thought that as long as letters are flying around, I would send you one myself, just as someone trying to help.

The biggest question for you now is what to do next as you contemplate what action might be taken in the Senate. Your follow-up strategy is very important, I know, to your goal of damaging the President as much as possible before the 2020 election, but right now you and your Democrat colleagues are busy celebrating --- behind closed doors, of course --- and it’s hard for people who are giddy with merriment and even perhaps a bit hungover to chart their next steps. (You’ve tried your best to look somber and be discreet about the celebrations, but some news accounts have slipped out. You know how it is with leaks.) The impeachment of President Trump is your long-awaited Christmas gift to yourselves, and now that you have finally unwrapped it, you naturally want to play with it a while. Goodness, you’ve worked so hard and have come so far. And you must all be very proud of yourselves, considering you got this done completely on your own, with not one single vote from the Republican side. Who needs those Republicans, right? You made up your own rules and accomplished the deed all by yourselves.

READ MORE AND COMMENT HERE>>>

Breaking News: FISA Court says FBI lied to them, illegally spied

April 25, 2019

By Mike Huckabee

On Wednesday night’s “Ingraham Angle,” there was a magnificent discussion about the sham Trump investigation with Rudy Giuliani, Joe diGenova and former Whitewater independent counsel Robert Ray that absolutely must not be missed, and I say that not because I was subbing for Laura Ingraham at the time.

After being on defense –- with his hands legally tied –- for the first two years of his Presidency, President Trump is finally able to go on offense, as he can no longer be accused of “interfering with the Russia investigation.” But something else is afoot as well, according to deGenova, and here is the tremendous breaking news: The FISA court has been looking into abuses of the FISA system and has communicated with the Justice Department about its findings. Their chief judge has already determined that for more than four years before the election of Donald Trump, there was an illegal spying operation (yes, SPYING –- and, yes, ILLEGAL) going on by four FBI contractors to break the law to steal personal electronic information about American citizens and to use it against the Republican Party.

READ MORE AND COMMENT HERE>>>

Roger Stone's wife and security cameras tell the story of FBI ambush

Feb. 10, 2019

By Mike Huckabee

The following is excerpted from an email sent by Roger Stone’s wife Nydia on behalf of the Roger Stone Legal Defense Fund. Though I am not personally involved with raising money for that fund, I decided to share a portion of her letter not directly related to their financial situation because it gives such a powerful perspective on what it’s like for an innocent person to be caught up in a “home invasion”-style raid...

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By now, I'm sure you have heard about the terrifying pre-dawn raid on the house in Ft. Lauderdale where I live with my husband, Roger Stone.

A little before 6 a.m., 29 assault-weapon-wielding FBI agents in full tactical gear and wearing night-vision goggles surrounded our home. Because I am hearing-impaired and I was sleeping, I did not hear the commotion when an FBI agent pounded on the door demanding my husband open it, and I did not know he had been handcuffed and taken into custody.

READ MORE AND COMMENT HERE>>>

IG refers Comey for prosecution, but Barr assembling larger case

August 1, 2019

By Mike Huckabee

This week brings an avalanche of breaking news concerning bad actors at the FBI and Justice Department. Let’s start with one of the baddest actors of them all, former FBI Director James Comey.

According to investigative reporter John Solomon in THE HILL, Inspector General Michael Horowitz is close to completion on his report, and his assessment of Comey’s conduct is scathing. He reportedly has concluded that Comey leaked classified information –- which is a violation of the Espionage Act –- and showed “lack of candor” (translation: lying). The IG even referred Comey for possible prosecution, but Solomon reports that Attorney General Barr is declining to move forward on that.

READ MORE AND COMMENT HERE>>>


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I wanted to make sure you also read this comment from December 19th:

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when parents across America crowd into churches to watch their kids perform in the Christmas Nativity play. Countless nine- and ten-year-olds are donning bathrobes and head towels, gluing on fake beards and standing in front of cardboard mangers to play Joseph, the Innkeeper and the Three Wise Men. 

And no matter how charmingly amateurish they are, all of them are more convincing in their roles that Nancy Pelosi and the House Democrats, who on Wednesday wrapped themselves in black, stood in front of cardboard American flags and tried to convince us that they are sincere defenders of the Constitution. Of course, they’d be equally unconvincing in the roles of Wise Men, but I digress.

(At this link, David Harsanyi of National Review echoes what I recently wrote about the nausea induced by having to listen to people who are waging war on the First Amendment and want to abolish the Second Amendment and the Electoral College drone on about how much they revere the Constitution as they impeach a President for invoking his due process rights:)

https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/impeach-him-if-you-like-but-for-the-love-of-god-stop-pretending-you-care-about-the-constitution/

The absolute nadir came when Speaker Nancy Pelosi compared the Democrats’ anti-Trump political jihad to the World War II Battle of the Bulge, where 100,000 American soldiers were killed or wounded.  Did any House Democrats suffer by even missing a cocktail party during their assault on Trump and the Constitution?  That comment was as offensive as it was self-aggrandizing.

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/18/nancy-pelosi-compares-impeachment-to-battle-of-the-bulge-against-nazi-germany-wwii/

The Democrats’ endless impeachment theater flop finally limped to its weak finale (let us pray) yesterday, as the House voted to impeach President Trump along the very same partisan lines that Pelosi said would be divisive, destructive and unacceptable (she was right then, but they did it anyway.)  The only “bipartisanship” came when several Democrats defected and Tulsi Gabbard disappointingly wimped out and voted “present” on both counts.

https://www.foxnews.com/politics/several-democrats-defect-impeachment-gop-holds-together

Having unearthed no actual evidence of wrongdoing and cobbled together laughably weak “articles” of impeachment, the Democrats tried to shore up their rickety case with a “throw spaghetti at the wall and see if anything sticks” tactic.  They repeated “nobody is above the law” more times that the word “baby” appears in a Justin Bieber song (if it's true nobody is above the law, why is Hillary still walking around loose?)  And they regurgitated every out-of-context Trump quote, fake news story and anti-Trump Facebook meme of the past three years to try to justify their impeachment vote. All this did was remind us that the claim this is based on a phone call that happened last July is transparently bogus, and that they’ve been calling for Trump’s impeachment since Election night of 2016.  Some have already voted for it multiple times on similarly feeble “grounds.” 

One of my favorite soliloquies came from Texas Rep. Al Green, who would call for impeaching Trump if he found lumps in his oatmeal. He hauled up a debunked Internet meme of a crying three-year-old allegedly separated from her mother at the border, apparently to prove Trump deserves impeachment for being a big meanie who enforces immigration laws (funny, I missed that in the Articles of Impeachment.)  

https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/12/18/democrat-al-green-uses-fake-news-photo-of-migrant-child-in-impeachment-debate/

Problem: The kid was never separated from her mother (who, by the way, had been previously deported, and brought her child on the dangerous journey to reenter the US illegally without even telling her father where they were.)   That child was merely crying for the same reason Democrats have been crying ever since Trump won the election: because she has the mentality of a three-year-old. At least she has the excuse of actually being three years old.

And when the bad impeachment theater finally reached its anticlimactic end, like many bad amateur actors, the performers dropped character and started high-fiving and celebrating before the curtain came down all the way.  

https://us24news.com/blog/2019/12/19/watch-pelosi-furious-as-democrats-cheer-and-take-selfies-after-solemn-impeachment-vote/

I know the Democrats think they’ve accomplished something by putting a “stain” next to Trump’s name in the history books, but they’re dead wrong. The closest analogy I can make is to the stories of hate-filled jihadist bombers who set out to blow up an infidel and accidentally detonated themselves – or as I call those, “feel-good stories.” Trump will sail right along, his approval ratings buoyed by their unfair attack on him, and I predict, win reelection comfortably.  (His Gallup approval rating has risen 6 points just since this impeachment pageant went into rehearsals in September: https://www.westernjournal.com/trump-approval-rating-rises-6-points-higher-impeachment-inquiry-began/ )

Even as the vote was being taken, Trump was leading a rally in the once reliably Democratic blue collar state of Michigan, where thousands of people waited in long lines in freezing weather to see him. That’s got to put a chill into the DNC.

Long after this Congress is a bad memory, the talking heads are forgotten and the newspapers that vilify him daily are discarded bird cage liner, Trump will be judged by his many accomplishments.  The stain in the history books will be on this childish, viciously partisan House, for wasting the taxpayers’ time and money on a political vendetta that has cheapened, demeaned and weaponized one of the most serious responsibilities of Congress.

It’s the same thing that happened under Obama to the FBI, the DOJ, the IRS and other agencies that once had the respect of the public as nonpartisan professionals, and are now so tarnished, nobody trusts or believes a word they say.  All I’ll say to the House is, “Welcome to the Disgraced Club.” 

Bible Verse of the Day (KJV)

"All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works."

- 2 Timothy 3:16-17

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Evening Edition - December 30

December 30, 2019

Here’s an insightful letter from reader Craig:

Can you imagine the bad precedent –- If both houses were controlled by one party and the Presidency the other, then they could do just exactly this: impeach both the President and the Vice President because they do not like the results of the election and the Speaker of the House becomes President (in this case Nancy Pelosi). How can anyone not realize this is a coup of the executive branch of government by the legislative? This is an attack on the Constitution, our Republic and the American people and our way of life. Horrible !!!!!

From the Gov:

Thanks for writing, Craig. You are correct, and yes, it is indeed horrible. It’s exactly what the founding fathers feared about impeachment. If Chuck Schumer were running the Senate right now, I’m afraid this is exactly what would happen --- or would have already happened. (Result in this case:  Nancy Pelosi would be sworn in as the UNELECTED President, Justice Ginsberg would retire, and the UNELECTED Pelosi would immediately nominate the next justice, whom the Democrat Senate would rubber-stamp.  It would actually constitute a coup against the judiciary as well.)

This is why it’s so important to show this effort to be what it is and smack it down hard, with no negotiation whatsoever. It’s also why we need to keep the Senate and get the House out of Democrat hands, as they would take a machete to the Constitution if it meant they could stay in power.

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From the Gov:

I love this reader response to my open letter to Nancy Pelosi:

From Judy:

Brilliant! I’m not sure if she is smart enough to know that you just handed her head to her! Well...bless her heart??

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Some comments of mine that you might have missed:

 

Interesting story about how, despite more than $1 billion in spending to eliminate homelessness, Seattle’s homeless problem just keeps getting worse. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that “progressive” officials are spending most of the money on fighting “oppression” and “(interrogating) the current structures of power” in order to “examine the legacies of structural racism in our systems, and co-design a path towards liberation with black, indigenous, brown and other marginalized communities.”

https://www.city-journal.org/seattle-progressive-municipal-employees

Silly me, I would have spent the money on shelters, drug and alcohol programs, mental health care and job placement.  Let’s hope that the next increase in the homeless population comes from those officials being thrown out of office and into the street. 

 

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Well, this isn’t at all suspicious: surveillance tape of wealthy and well-connect pedophile Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide attempt in a Manhattan jail has somehow gone “missing.” Oh, just to be clear: this isn’t the video that got turned off when he did “kill himself.”  This is the video of his earlier suicide attempt, the first time that he didn’t kill himself.  Oh, sorry, I mean, the first time he TRIED to kill himself…

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-7807919/Jeffrey-Epsteins-suicide-attempt-video-gone-missing.html

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I said that only urgent news would make me interrupt my family holiday before the New Year, but I think it’s urgent that I ask you to please join me in praying for the victims of a string of attacks on Jews in the New York/New Jersey area over the past week, and of Sunday’s shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, west of Fort Worth.  In Texas, two people are dead, including the shooter, and one injured.  The latest anti-Semitic attack in the Northeast happened in Monsey, New York, when a man walked into the home of a rabbi and stabbed five people who were celebrating Hanukkah.  This rising tide of anti-Semitic violence has many Jews voicing concerns that it is scarily reminiscent of the days before the Holocaust.

https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/jewish-leaders-urge-action-after-senseless-hanukkah-attack

Fortunately, Texas recently passed a law allowing concealed carry permit owners to have their weapons in churches, so it did not turn into the kind of mass church shooting we’ve seen before. The service was being live-streamed on the Internet, and less than three seconds elapsed from the first shot to an armed guard stopping the shooter. 

https://pjmedia.com/trending/two-dead-in-texas-church-shooting-highlighting-the-need-for-good-guys-with-guns-in-places-of-worship/

The video also showed several members of the congregation pulling out weapons and pointing them at the shooter, so if the guard hadn't been there, half a dozen "good guys with guns" were. Contrary to predictions, they didn’t start firing wildly and hitting bystanders. They acted responsibly and were prepared to stop the shooter, if need be.  Who knows how many victims there might have been if they’d had to wait 15 minutes for the police to show up?   

But I don’t want to politicize these attacks because there are too many people already cynically and self-servingly doing that.  I’ll talk about some of the responses after New Year’s Day.  In the meantime, let’s concentrate on what’s really important and pray for those who were killed, for the swift and full recovery of the injured, for comfort for their loved ones, and for a miraculous cure to the sickness in the hearts of anyone who would defile a house of worship with violence or assault their fellow human beings just because of their religious faith. 

 

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Pray for the victims

December 30, 2019

I said that only urgent news would make me interrupt my family holiday before the New Year, but I think it’s urgent that I ask you to please join me in praying for the victims of a string of attacks on Jews in the New York/New Jersey area over the past week, and of Sunday’s shooting at the West Freeway Church of Christ in White Settlement, Texas, west of Fort Worth.  In Texas, two people are dead, including the shooter, and one injured.  The latest anti-Semitic attack in the Northeast happened in Monsey, New York, when a man walked into the home of a rabbi and stabbed five people who were celebrating Hanukkah.  This rising tide of anti-Semitic violence has many Jews voicing concerns that it is scarily reminiscent of the days before the Holocaust.

https://www.fox10phoenix.com/news/jewish-leaders-urge-action-after-senseless-hanukkah-attack

Fortunately, Texas recently passed a law allowing concealed carry permit owners to have their weapons in churches, so it did not turn into the kind of mass church shooting we’ve seen before. The service was being live-streamed on the Internet, and less than three seconds elapsed from the first shot to an armed guard stopping the shooter. 

https://pjmedia.com/trending/two-dead-in-texas-church-shooting-highlighting-the-need-for-good-guys-with-guns-in-places-of-worship/

The video also showed several members of the congregation pulling out weapons and pointing them at the shooter, so if the guard hadn't been there, half a dozen "good guys with guns" were. Contrary to predictions, they didn’t start firing wildly and hitting bystanders. They acted responsibly and were prepared to stop the shooter, if need be.  Who knows how many victims there might have been if they’d had to wait 15 minutes for the police to show up?   

But I don’t want to politicize these attacks because there are too many people already cynically and self-servingly doing that.  I’ll talk about some of the responses after New Year’s Day.  In the meantime, let’s concentrate on what’s really important and pray for those who were killed, for the swift and full recovery of the injured, for comfort for their loved ones, and for a miraculous cure to the sickness in the hearts of anyone who would defile a house of worship with violence or assault their fellow human beings just because of their religious faith. 

Evening Edition - December 29

December 29, 2019

The first school in which we enroll, and the most important in shaping our future, is our home.  A casual view of modern TV shows might lead us to believe that parents don’t matter.  I contend that nothing matters more.

When Benjamin West was a boy, his mother left him in charge of his younger sister, Sally. Benjamin found bottles of colored ink and painted Sally’s portrait.  When his mother arrived home, she discovered spilled ink and ruined paper.  But before she had the chance to scold Benjamin, she saw the picture.  Then she planted an encouraging kiss on his cheek. He would grow up to become of the greatest painters of historic and religious artworks, a teacher of many other famous artists, and a major force in launching Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts, for which he served as president. Benjamin West would later say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

Every child’s life is like a book of blank pages waiting to be written on. Something is written each day. A parent who exposes a child of hours of television, video games, unsupervised time on the Internet, and an occasional trip to church is not likely to raise a child whose value system will mirror that of the parent.  The child will probably reflect the value system of the entertainment industry.

While researching for a book I co-wrote on juvenile delinquency (“Kids Who Kill”), I became aware that children need parents who are informed, involved and (yes) invasive in their children’s lives. There is no single fact that will explain why a child as young as eleven would commit mass murder, but one thing seems certain: the likelihood of this taking place decreases drastically when children have a stable home, good role models and parents who are clearly more afraid for their children than afraid of their children.

Too many parents fear angering or alienating their children.  They convince themselves that love means avoiding asking their children questions about how their time is spent and who their friends are.  They fool themselves into thinking they’re being good parents when they don’t hold their children accountable for their schoolwork and other activities.  On the other hand, we shouldn’t be “helicopter parents” who are so overprotective that our children turn into a generation of “snowflakes” who cannot learn through their failures or develop a healthy maturity and independence.

The requirement of parents summed up in Ephesians 6:4 is simple yet profound: “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Children should not be driven to exasperation by parents who make demands that are so difficult to achieve that the children are prevented from succeeding.  There’s a vast difference between breaking a child’s rebellious will and breaking his or her spirit.

As parents, our goal should be to channel the energy of our children, rather than destroy their creative and curious natures given by God that motivate them to discover their unique purposes. We are further admonished to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” By both example and exhortation, parents are to nourish their children.  Most values are caught and then taught. Our children are more likely to imitate what they see us do than what they hear us say.

We live in a world where a meal can be microwaved in seconds, and an Internet message can be transmitted around the world almost instantly (another reason why it would be nice if they were fact-checked before hitting “Send.”) But part of the legacy we must leave is raising children who understand that some things can’t be rushed.  Patience is a virtue as well as a pathway to victory.  Things of great value take time. 

If the thing to which you ascribe the greatest value in your life is your children, then don’t they deserve the greatest amount of time, nurturing and guidance you can possible give?

(Adapted from the book, “Rare, Medium or Done Well: Make the Most of your Life.” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/168397302X )

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Feel-Good/Huck's Hero Story of the Day (and we could really use one): Actor Gary Sinise and his Foundation, in partnership with American Airlines, just sent Gold Star Family children and their surviving parents on his annual “Snowball Express” flights to Disney World for a five-day, all-expenses-paid vacation.  The Gary Sinise Foundation says that "the holidays can be especially challenging for grieving families," so they provide "a therapeutic retreat with a blend of fun and inspiring programs."

https://pjmedia.com/vodkapundit/gary-sinise-takes-1000-gold-star-kids-to-disney-world/

And they’ve provided it to a staggering number of military families: 1,000 children and 750 parents this year alone -- and it’s their 14th year! Sinise was inspired to start the program when he read of a letter written by a soldier to his wife, saying he wanted to take the family to Disney World when he got home – but he was killed in action and never made it home. 

This is a reminder that there are still some patriotic good guys left in Hollywood.  If you’d like to help Gary’s many efforts to entertain the troops and to help active duty military members, veterans, first responders and their families, visit https://www.garysinisefoundation.org/

And if you’d like to learn more about why Gary is such a tireless supporter of our military (he’s been called “the Bob Hope of our generation”) and why he’s so grateful to be an American, you can hear it in his own words in this terrific interview he gave us on “Huckabee” on TBN.

https://youtu.be/dXr0QulxMnQ

 

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We are finishing the year 2019 and I’m glad.  This has been a grueling year if you have to follow the news as I’m required to do as a TV commentator and publisher of a daily newsletter.  I’m frankly sick of the never-ending serial attempts to overturn the election results of 2016.  Remember when it was all about Russia and collusion?  And then the Mueller report fizzled even though taxpayers spent about $35 million for a desperate effort to implicate President Trump.  Then we heard obstruction of justice, until that “bombshell” became a dud; then it was quid pro quo, then extortion, then bribery, then obstruction of Congress.  Frankly, given how recklessly irresponsible Congress is, obstructing it ought to be grounds for a prize, not an impeachment.  But Democrats in Congress clearly are frantic because they have a weak field of candidates and they fear not one of them can defeat a President who has juiced the economy, jobs, the stock market and wages and who has pushed back against bad trade deals and  America getting sucker-punched by foreign governments.  We were once content to let the US pay the bills for NATO, trade deficits, and endless wars in the Middle East.  Granted, President Trump isn’t always artful in what he says or how he says it, but he is disrupting the deep state of globalism, institutionalism, and bureaucracy.  And the powers of government, media, and big business is fighting back—not to protect your interest, but theirs.

So next year is 2020, and I’ll attempt to give you 2020 vision into what we can expect for the coming year, which of course will be a Presidential election year.

I predict that Joe Biden will slightly edge socialist Bernie Sanders and will be the nominee for the Democrats-not because he’s a good candidate but because he will be viewed as not as crazy as the others.  The media will ignore his daily verbal gaffes and he will be presented as a seasoned and ready captain, even though Bob Gates who served President Obama and President Bush 43 as a cabinet member said of Joe Biden, “He’s consistent in that every single position he’s taken on foreign policy is wrong.”

I predict that Democrats will pay a heavy price for having wasted a year of do-nothingness and millions of taxpayer dollars chasing down a reason to impeach President Trump.  They constantly use the phrase they can “walk and chew gum at the same time,” but they tend to drop their gum on the ground and then get their shoes stuck on it.  Voters in their districts have been benefited far more by the economic policies of President Trump than by the phony and hateful efforts by the Democrats to impeach him. 

In other areas, I predict that Tom Brady will announce his retirement from the NFL—effective in the year 2045, and that the World Series will feature the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.  Not because I have any reason to actually believe that, but they are my favorite teams in their respective National and American Leagues and I just want that to happen.  The Oscars will be canceled because no one wants to hear whiny Hollywood actors lecture us on their worthless political views.  CNN will lose so many viewers that it will cease operations as a News Channel and will become a television safe space where triggered liberal snowflakes can sit in a dark room and watch a blank screen, which will vastly improve the programming they currently offer.  And finally, the Huckabee Show will win 6 Emmys and 10 Golden Globes for being the best show in television!  And that would truly be 2020 vision!

Morning Edition - December 29

December 29, 2019

Melvin from Oregon wrote to share a very special Christmas memory about a small gift that made a very big impression on him:

“Christmas 1945.  I am five years old, and we are still staying with my grandparents… My father was in Japan in the Second World War, his two brothers were in the European theater.  All three came home OK. I thank God for that and for all of the men that have gone before.

We are trimming the Christmas tree. Grandpa comes in, and he has all of these walnuts that he has painted silver and put a yarn loop on to hang them with. Well I think they’re neat, but that’s about it.

Christmas morning, I come down and start opening my presents. Grandpa says, ‘Why don't you open one of those walnuts?’ I say ‘Naw, I got to open my presents’… Well grandpa keeps after me. Finally, I say, ‘Okay!’  So I crack a walnut open, and a penny falls out. Well, NOW, I'm opening walnuts!  There's dimes, nickels, and pennies.  When I get done, I have about a dollar fifty, and that’s big money in 1945

…My grandfather thought enough of me to take the time to cut the walnuts open and take out the meat for grandma to cook with. Then he put a coin in and glued each one back together, just to make a little five-year-old boy happy on Christmas morning.

Sixty-five years later, I don't remember anything else I got that Christmas.  But I remember the walnuts and the love that went into making them. That might be something for young parents to think about... It really is the little things that count the most.” 

Thanks, Melvin, for giving us all something important to remember before we go frantically hunting for whatever the latest “hot” gift is.   

 

* * * * *

Nobody is more excited about Christmas Day than children, and sometimes, it inspires them to come out with some real gems.  For instance, Mona from Kentucky wrote:

“When I was a child, we had a coal stove. One of those potbellied stoves. Of course with those stoves, there was a small pipe that went out the ceiling so the smoke would not get in the house. I remember wondering how Santa got down that skinny pipe.  So one day I asked Mom how he got down that pipe.  I guess I really put her on the spot because she replied, “He has a house key!”  And that satisfied me.” 

Thank you, Mona, and Merry Christmas to your mom, who I bet had to answer a lot of tough questions before you grew up! 

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Here’s another story of a Christmas miracle that started with the words of a child.  Tom from Louisiana wrote that he used to volunteer for the park district in Calumet City, Illinois, in a low income area.  One year, the man playing Santa was ill, so Tom filled in.  It was a hard job, listening to the Christmas wishes of hundreds of children, knowing most of their parents were too poor to make them come true. 

One day, a little 5-year-old girl, as beautiful as a china doll, hopped up in his lap and didn’t say a word.  He asked her if she’d been good and obeyed her parents.  She said yes.  So he asked what she wanted for Christmas.  She replied, “Nothing.” 

Tom was dumbfounded.  He asked if she was sure she didn’t want anything.  She said not for herself.  But could Santa give her daddy a job?  He needed a job.  Well, Tom didn’t know how to answer that.  So he just said he’d try his best, but that was one wish Santa might not be able to fill.

But, Tom wrote:

“God works in great ways.  At the time the young girl was sitting on my lap, (a local reporter) was there taking pictures and…overheard the child’s conversation with Santa. The next day, the paper (ran a photo) of the little girl sitting on Santa’s lap with the caption ‘All she wants for Christmas is a job for her daddy’…The next day, the little girl’s father received a call and was offered a job. A day or so later, the little girl came back to see me with my favorite chocolate chip cookies and a thank you for Santa…

Till this day, and it’s been at least twenty-five years, I still tear up thinking about that little girl and her unselfish wish. Christmas is truly about miracles.” 

Thank you, Tom.  I bet that little girl was the best gift her daddy ever received. 

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We are finishing the year 2019 and I’m glad.  This has been a grueling year if you have to follow the news as I’m required to do as a TV commentator and publisher of a daily newsletter.  I’m frankly sick of the never-ending serial attempts to overturn the election results of 2016.  Remember when it was all about Russia and collusion?  And then the Mueller report fizzled even though taxpayers spent about $35 million for a desperate effort to implicate President Trump.  Then we heard obstruction of justice, until that “bombshell” became a dud; then it was quid pro quo, then extortion, then bribery, then obstruction of Congress.  Frankly, given how recklessly irresponsible Congress is, obstructing it ought to be grounds for a prize, not an impeachment.  But Democrats in Congress clearly are frantic because they have a weak field of candidates and they fear not one of them can defeat a President who has juiced the economy, jobs, the stock market and wages and who has pushed back against bad trade deals and  America getting sucker-punched by foreign governments.  We were once content to let the US pay the bills for NATO, trade deficits, and endless wars in the Middle East.  Granted, President Trump isn’t always artful in what he says or how he says it, but he is disrupting the deep state of globalism, institutionalism, and bureaucracy.  And the powers of government, media, and big business is fighting back—not to protect your interest, but theirs.

So next year is 2020, and I’ll attempt to give you 2020 vision into what we can expect for the coming year, which of course will be a Presidential election year.

I predict that Joe Biden will slightly edge socialist Bernie Sanders and will be the nominee for the Democrats-not because he’s a good candidate but because he will be viewed as not as crazy as the others.  The media will ignore his daily verbal gaffes and he will be presented as a seasoned and ready captain, even though Bob Gates who served President Obama and President Bush 43 as a cabinet member said of Joe Biden, “He’s consistent in that every single position he’s taken on foreign policy is wrong.”

I predict that Democrats will pay a heavy price for having wasted a year of do-nothingness and millions of taxpayer dollars chasing down a reason to impeach President Trump.  They constantly use the phrase they can “walk and chew gum at the same time,” but they tend to drop their gum on the ground and then get their shoes stuck on it.  Voters in their districts have been benefited far more by the economic policies of President Trump than by the phony and hateful efforts by the Democrats to impeach him. 

In other areas, I predict that Tom Brady will announce his retirement from the NFL—effective in the year 2045, and that the World Series will feature the St. Louis Cardinals and the Texas Rangers.  Not because I have any reason to actually believe that, but they are my favorite teams in their respective National and American Leagues and I just want that to happen.  The Oscars will be canceled because no one wants to hear whiny Hollywood actors lecture us on their worthless political views.  CNN will lose so many viewers that it will cease operations as a News Channel and will become a television safe space where triggered liberal snowflakes can sit in a dark room and watch a blank screen, which will vastly improve the programming they currently offer.  And finally, the Huckabee Show will win 6 Emmys and 10 Golden Globes for being the best show in television!  And that would truly be 2020 vision!

 

Melvin from Oregon wrote to share a very special Christmas memory about a small gift that made a very big impression on him:

“Christmas 1945.  I am five years old, and we are still staying with my grandparents… My father was in Japan in the Second World War, his two brothers were in the European theater.  All three came home OK. I thank God for that and for all of the men that have gone before.

We are trimming the Christmas tree. Grandpa comes in, and he has all of these walnuts that he has painted silver and put a yarn loop on to hang them with. Well I think they’re neat, but that’s about it.

Christmas morning, I come down and start opening my presents. Grandpa says, ‘Why don't you open one of those walnuts?’ I say ‘Naw, I got to open my presents’… Well grandpa keeps after me. Finally, I say, ‘Okay!’  So I crack a walnut open, and a penny falls out. Well, NOW, I'm opening walnuts!  There's dimes, nickels, and pennies.  When I get done, I have about a dollar fifty, and that’s big money in 1945

…My grandfather thought enough of me to take the time to cut the walnuts open and take out the meat for grandma to cook with. Then he put a coin in and glued each one back together, just to make a little five-year-old boy happy on Christmas morning.

Sixty-five years later, I don't remember anything else I got that Christmas.  But I remember the walnuts and the love that went into making them. That might be something for young parents to think about... It really is the little things that count the most.” 

Thanks, Melvin, for giving us all something important to remember before we go frantically hunting for whatever the latest “hot” gift is.   

Parenting children

December 29, 2019

The first school in which we enroll, and the most important in shaping our future, is our home.  A casual view of modern TV shows might lead us to believe that parents don’t matter.  I contend that nothing matters more.

When Benjamin West was a boy, his mother left him in charge of his younger sister, Sally. Benjamin found bottles of colored ink and painted Sally’s portrait.  When his mother arrived home, she discovered spilled ink and ruined paper.  But before she had the chance to scold Benjamin, she saw the picture.  Then she planted an encouraging kiss on his cheek. He would grow up to become of the greatest painters of historic and religious artworks, a teacher of many other famous artists, and a major force in launching Britain’s Royal Academy of Arts, for which he served as president. Benjamin West would later say, “My mother’s kiss made me a painter.”

Every child’s life is like a book of blank pages waiting to be written on. Something is written each day. A parent who exposes a child of hours of television, video games, unsupervised time on the Internet, and an occasional trip to church is not likely to raise a child whose value system will mirror that of the parent.  The child will probably reflect the value system of the entertainment industry.

While researching for a book I co-wrote on juvenile delinquency (“Kids Who Kill”), I became aware that children need parents who are informed, involved and (yes) invasive in their children’s lives. There is no single fact that will explain why a child as young as eleven would commit mass murder, but one thing seems certain: the likelihood of this taking place decreases drastically when children have a stable home, good role models and parents who are clearly more afraid for their children than afraid of their children.

Too many parents fear angering or alienating their children.  They convince themselves that love means avoiding asking their children questions about how their time is spent and who their friends are.  They fool themselves into thinking they’re being good parents when they don’t hold their children accountable for their schoolwork and other activities.  On the other hand, we shouldn’t be “helicopter parents” who are so overprotective that our children turn into a generation of “snowflakes” who cannot learn through their failures or develop a healthy maturity and independence.

The requirement of parents summed up in Ephesians 6:4 is simple yet profound: “Do not exasperate your children; instead, bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord.” Children should not be driven to exasperation by parents who make demands that are so difficult to achieve that the children are prevented from succeeding.  There’s a vast difference between breaking a child’s rebellious will and breaking his or her spirit.

As parents, our goal should be to channel the energy of our children, rather than destroy their creative and curious natures given by God that motivate them to discover their unique purposes. We are further admonished to bring up our children “in the training and instruction of the Lord.” By both example and exhortation, parents are to nourish their children.  Most values are caught and then taught. Our children are more likely to imitate what they see us do than what they hear us say.

We live in a world where a meal can be microwaved in seconds, and an Internet message can be transmitted around the world almost instantly (another reason why it would be nice if they were fact-checked before hitting “Send.”) But part of the legacy we must leave is raising children who understand that some things can’t be rushed.  Patience is a virtue as well as a pathway to victory.  Things of great value take time. 

If the thing to which you ascribe the greatest value in your life is your children, then don’t they deserve the greatest amount of time, nurturing and guidance you can possibly give?

(Adapted from the book, “Rare, Medium or Done Well: Make the Most of your Life.” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/168397302X )

 

 

 

 

Christmas and children

December 29, 2019

Nobody is more excited about Christmas Day than children, and sometimes, it inspires them to come out with some real gems.  For instance, Mona from Kentucky wrote:

“When I was a child, we had a coal stove. One of those potbellied stoves. Of course with those stoves, there was a small pipe that went out the ceiling so the smoke would not get in the house. I remember wondering how Santa got down that skinny pipe.  So one day I asked Mom how he got down that pipe.  I guess I really put her on the spot because she replied, “He has a house key!”  And that satisfied me.” 

Thank you, Mona, and Merry Christmas to your mom, who I bet had to answer a lot of tough questions before you grew up! 

Here’s another story of a Christmas miracle that started with the words of a child.  Tom from Louisiana wrote that he used to volunteer for the park district in Calumet City, Illinois, in a low income area.  One year, the man playing Santa was ill, so Tom filled in.  It was a hard job, listening to the Christmas wishes of hundreds of children, knowing most of their parents were too poor to make them come true. 

One day, a little 5-year-old girl, as beautiful as a china doll, hopped up in his lap and didn’t say a word.  He asked her if she’d been good and obeyed her parents.  She said yes.  So he asked what she wanted for Christmas.  She replied, “Nothing.” 

Tom was dumbfounded.  He asked if she was sure she didn’t want anything.  She said not for herself.  But could Santa give her daddy a job?  He needed a job.  Well, Tom didn’t know how to answer that.  So he just said he’d try his best, but that was one wish Santa might not be able to fill.

But, Tom wrote:

 

“God works in great ways.  At the time the young girl was sitting on my lap, (a local reporter) was there taking pictures and…overheard the child’s conversation with Santa. The next day, the paper (ran a photo) of the little girl sitting on Santa’s lap with the caption ‘All she wants for Christmas is a job for her daddy’…The next day, the little girl’s father received a call and was offered a job. A day or so later, the little girl came back to see me with my favorite chocolate chip cookies and a thank you for Santa…

 

Till this day, and it’s been at least twenty-five years, I still tear up thinking about that little girl and her unselfish wish. Christmas is truly about miracles.” 

 

Thank you, Tom.  I bet that little girl was the best gift her daddy ever received. 

 

When I was growing up, my bedtime ritual always included a fairy tale that started with “Once upon a time...” and ended with the comforting words we all remember: “And they lived happily every after.” As a child of the optimistic 1950s, I dreamed that life might be like that: whatever obstacles, dangers or perils might come my way, in the end, I would live happily ever after.

There were certainly plenty of struggles along the way, but I have to say that things did eventually work out even more happily than I could have imagined, from a career that I love to a wonderful family, including the world’s greatest grandkids. But sadly, for many people, “living happily ever after” does seem like an unobtainable fairy tale. Why is that happy ending seemingly out of reach for so many people?

Of course, there are always factors beyond our control, like health problems and accidents. None of us can ever know if our birthday or Christmas celebration was the last we’ll ever enjoy. We have no way of knowing when it will all end, only that someday, it will (that’s why it’s said that the only certainties in life are death and taxes.)

Well, I can’t help you with your taxes, but I do have a bit of advice that I think will make death less frightening and greatly increase your chances of living “happily ever after.”

For decades, our nation has been focused on personal pleasure. The message drummed into everyone by pop culture is “If it feels good, do it.” It’s fostered a culture of self-centeredness that led to Baby Boomers being nicknamed “The Me Generation.” Today’s young people have been dubbed “iGen” because many are so fixated on self and selfies that even their gadgets’ names all start with “I.” Advertising bombards us with the message that life is all about me and all about now. Such messages of immediate self-gratification may sell products and services, but they cause us to sell our souls if we follow this philosophy to its logical conclusion.

At some point in life, we all experience events that shake up our routine, much like the agitator in a washing machine shakes loose the grime in our clothes. We may not want or enjoy such experiences, but they’re necessary to force us to focus on the frailty of life and the certainty of death. They also force us to begin asking what really matters and why.

If we react to setbacks based solely on what feels good right now, we greatly lower our chances of enjoying a happy future. But if we believe there is even a remote possibility that our actions have lasting implications beyond the immediate, both within and beyond our lifetimes, it should cause us to think differently, live differently, and leave a different kind of legacy.

Without apology, I believe that the spiritual side of our lives really does matter. To believe otherwise is to define humans as little more than animated protoplasm, going through the motions of life for no particular purpose. I prefer to believe there’s more to us than flesh and blood. If we possess a soul capable of living beyond our lifetimes, then the seeds we plant in this life will yield fruit forever. If you believe those things, the ultimate becomes more important than the immediate.

When we decide to live beyond our lifetimes, our responsibilities to the next generation will outweigh our roles in our current jobs. More important than the money we’re paid for our work is what we will become as a result of our work. Our character will become more important than the careers we follow.

For all of us, life began “once upon a time.” Unlike the fairy tales, however, it’s up to us to make the choices that determine whether the last line of our life stories will read, “And they lived happily ever after.”

(Adapted from the book, “Rare, Medium or Done Well: Make the Most of your Life.” https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/168397302X )

The story of Christmas

December 28, 2019

The story of Christmas is, at its heart, the story of the world’s joy at the birth of a baby.  So it’s no wonder many people develop a deeper appreciation of Christmas after having children of their own. 

Rod and Amy from North Carolina recalled that over 25 years ago, they were filling out paperwork to adopt a child from Korea.  They wrote:

“Our then-3-year-old prayed every night that her baby would be home for Christmas, and she told everyone who asked that she was getting a little sister for Christmas. When Christmas came and went and we still hadn't heard from the adoption agency, we feared our little one's faith in a God who hears our prayers would be weakened.

But then, in February, we got the long-awaited call telling us about a gorgeous little girl named Joo Bin.  Imagine our amazement, joy, and awe when we heard her birthday was…December 24. We had NO DOUBT she was ours!” 

Thank you, Rod and Amy.  And I’m sure you’ve never had a doubt in all the years since.  Now, here’s another story about a baby that proves the best Christmas gifts come in small packages.

Mary B. Walsh of the nostalgic and inspiring “Dear Baby Boomer” blog (I highly recommend you check it out at http://dearbabyboomer.blogspot.com) shared this special memory of another child who appeared at Christmas.  It was 1956, and Mary was five years old.  Six glittering stockings were hung on the mantle.  The kids circled the piano and sang as Dad played “Joy to the World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Mary wrote:

“Snow was falling silently, draping our familiar world in soft flannel...It would be a white Christmas for sure!  A muffled voice broke through the darkness. The playing stopped as we stood motionless, hoping to hear it once again.

‘It's a BOY! We have a BOY!‘

Dad threw open the window and a gust of chilly winter air swept in the joyous news. Our neighbor leaned out the window, waving her arms ecstatically, heralding the birth of her great grandson. Jimmy John would be a welcome addition to the family of three daughters! Waiting hot chocolate topped off the excitement before heading up to bed.

As I lay awake, gazing out at the full winter moon. I pondered the words we had sung... ‘Joy to the world...The Lord is come...Let earth receive her King...’  An only son had been born tonight, bringing joy which could not be contained. They wanted to share it with the world...Kind of like the angels so long ago. God's only son, born on a night such as this...Yet more than just a babe He was...

I thought back a year, remembering my oldest brother pointing out the silhouette of Santa's reindeer crossing in front of the moon out my window. I was sure I saw it too! How could I sleep? But this year was different. I closed my eyes and slept so peacefully... I was not looking for reindeer...for I had heard the angels sing!”

Thank you for sharing that beautifully written story, Mary.  And I wonder if one more coincidence occurred to you? That the person who gave us this inspiring story of a precious child born on Christmas Day was named…“Mary.” 

Evening Edition - December 28

December 28, 2019

This time of year, one of the many great holiday songs we always hear is the late, great Glenn Campbell’s “Christmas Is For Children.” That sentiment was also on the minds of many of my radio listeners whose most treasured memories of Christmas were tied to childhood – either their kids’ childhoods or their own.

Some were of the “Kids Say The Darnedest Things” variety.  For instance, Joe from Georgia recalled when his son was 7, their church had a pancake breakfast with a “Happy Birthday Jesus” cake for the kids, and the Lord’s Supper for adults during the Christmas Eve service.  His son tugged his sleeve and asked, “Dad, why am I allowed to eat the Lord’s Breakfast but not His supper?” 

An eternal theological question, my son!

There's something about the excitement of Christmas that makes children even more hilariously discombobulated.  Cleve from New Mexico wrote, "At our house, we always opened our presents on Christmas morning. I remember the first year my daughters were really, really, really looking forward to Christmas.  On Christmas Eve morning, they jumped out of bed, ran into the kitchen, and hollered, 'Today's the night we get up in the morning!!'"  Well, they were right: it was! 

Dolores from Texas recalled that during the Depression, her parents gave her and her sister Betsy Wetsy dolls, and made a little suitcase and a whole wardrobe for them.  Dolores said it was the “best Christmas ever!”  The girls were so excited, they didn’t even realize until years later that those were actually their old dolls, all cleaned up.  The moral: To a child, a gift doesn’t have to be new…just new to THEM.   

Claudine from North Dakota shared this:

“When my kids were little, the church was getting together some toys, gifts and food items for a poor family who had just moved to our area at Christmas time.  While looking in the pantry to see what we might have extras of, I asked my children what they would like to give. My daughter - then six years old - went to her room and brought down her Barbie doll complete with Barbie outfits, that she loved to play with. It was her only one.  When I said, ‘Oh, honey, you don't have to give your favorite doll’, she said to me, ‘Mommy, if you just give what you don't want, it's not really giving, is it?’” 

When you “give till it hurts,” as some people put it, it can actually feel pretty good. Thank you, Claudine, for reminding us that sometimes, parents can learn from children.

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BettyJean from California had a favorite childhood Christmas memory that reminds us not to look a gift horse in the mouth.  She wrote:

"I was born in 1928 in a small town in Montana. My mother died in 1929... (and) we were very poor...One Christmas my friend, Rex, whose parents had a restaurant in town, gave me a beautifully wrapped present. I was SOOOO EXCITED! Christmas Eve, my brother and I unwrapped our two presents. My brother watched me unwrap mine: a box of candy.  And I can still hear him, 70 years later...yelling out, "DAAAAAD! THERE'S A PIECE GONE!!!!!"

I guess that proves little boys haven't really changed much in all these years! 

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Of course, Christmas is also a time when many of us former children experience the sadness of memories of parents who are no longer with us. I received many stories from people who were rocked by a flood of emotions at something as simple as coming across an old family decoration that their dad made, or the smell of a favorite family dish that mama used to cook. You never know what unlikely things might trigger overwhelming emotions. 

For example, Linda from Texas recalled that her grandfather’s last Christmas gift to her dad just before he died was a shirt.  He never wore that shirt.  But he kept it hanging in his closet for the rest of his life, carefully preserved as a reminder of his dad.    

Ellen from Oregon would understand that feeling.  Her mother died of a brain tumor that had scrambled her thinking and sometimes made her a little exasperating.  Just before Christmas, she made a big production of being driven to the post office to buy Christmas ornament postage stamps.  She debated at great length before settling on the design, which she insisted on calling the “Jingle Bell stamps.”  The postal clerk put three sheets of stamps in an onionskin envelope for her.  Her mom proudly took them home, wrote “Christmas stamps” on the envelope, and displayed them on the windowsill for all to see.  It seemed a little silly to Ellen at the time.

One month later, as she and her sisters were cleaning out their late mother’s house, Ellen came across her mom’s beloved Jingle Bells stamps in the onionskin envelope with her handwriting on it.  She wrote, “I took them into the bathroom and cried.”  She took the envelope with the remaining stamps home with her.  Long afterward, when her husband needed a stamp, she opened the stamp drawer, saw them again, and cried again. 

She began calling them the “Jingle Bell stamps,” too.  There are only three stamps left, and there always will be. Ellen said she could never use them.  She wrote:

“It’s almost as if when those stamps are gone, one more thread will be cut…But somehow I know I will never give up that little onion skin envelope. Whenever I buy stamps, it will always be in sheets, and I will always tuck them into that little onion skin envelope.” 

Thank you for sharing that, Ellen.  And please know that you are not alone.  Many of us treasure things that might seem silly to others, but they hold value beyond gold to us.  There’s no reason to be embarrassed about having a reminder of your mom in the stamp drawer.  But it’s even better to know that we’ll always have memories of our loved ones who’ve left us tucked safely away in our hearts. 

 

* * * * *

 

Christmas is a time for prayers and miracles, and one often follows the other.  Rosalin from Virginia shared a story that proves God sometimes shows a very personal interest in us, if we’ll just ask Him into our lives.  She wrote:

"Years ago, when our children were younger, we ran into hard times. It was a Wednesday morning, and Christmas was on Saturday.  We had no money for Christmas gifts and no savings in the bank. My husband was home without work as a carpenter.  He suggested we join hands and pray, which we did.

Three hours later, friends of ours called from New York to tell us that they'd received a large Christmas bonus from work, and God put our family on their hearts. They told us they'd sent us $350 through Western Union...not knowing of our situation. We picked up the check and went Christmas shopping.  It was a GREAT lesson my children will NEVER forget!" 

Thank you, Rosalin.  That's a great story that none of us will ever forget! 

 

* * * * *

 

Dorothy from North Carolina wrote:

“It's been a few years ago now, that through an unusual set of circumstances I met a dear Christian lady named Hilda N-----.  Hilda had endured many hardships in life…Now, in her later years… she lived in abject poverty with…crippling arthritis.  It was Christmas and I had a gift for Hilda. Mark and I were dating at the time and I asked him to go with me to Hilda's humble home…  But it wasn't my gift that I've remembered all these years...it was HER gift, given liberally out of her poverty, that I will never forget.

She and I had exchanged gifts, her gift to me a small ceramic bell with a cross at the top from the dollar store. And then came the moment I cherish yet today. She looked at Mark apologetically and reached down into the cushion of the chair…fumbling until she finally retrieved a small, zippered change purse. Her gnarled, misshapen fingers (terribly twisted from the arthritis) moving slowly and with painful effort, she managed to open the purse… Finally, she turned to Mark and, pulling out a folded, crumpled $1.00 bill, she held it out to him.

Her soft, quiet voice and loving manner gave eloquence to the gesture. ‘I didn't know YOU were coming so I didn't have a gift for you.  Here’, she handed him the dollar bill, ‘Merry Christmas.’

Tears sprang to my eyes as I knew what a sacrifice was represented in the giving of the dollar bill. Her heart of love and her desire to share the little she had gave her gift more meaning than a purse full of gold.” 

Thank you, Dorothy, and Hilda, for reminding us that Christmas isn’t about what we get, it’s about what we give.  

 

 

* * * * *

 

 

 

A story for us all to remember

December 27, 2019

Isaiah 11:6 tells us that "a little child shall lead them."  That's what the Christmas story is all about.  And the miraculous connection between children and Christmas goes far beyond toys and Santa.  Jennifer from Arizona wrote:

"When my son was about 2-1/2, I noticed he took a pair of his flip-flop shoes and placed them under the Christmas tree. I asked him why. (He said,) "They are for little Jesus. He doesn't have any shoes, and I am giving Him my shoes."   I asked him who 'little Jesus' was, and he told me, 'God's son.' 

Now, mind you, we hadn't, at that point, taken him to church yet.  I had no idea where he got this story...It just goes to show that the little ones have more vision and hope than most adults when it comes to Christmas."

You're right, Jennifer.  And I have another miraculous Christmas story to prove it.  Gerald from Alabama wrote:

"My Dad was stationed at England Air Force Base, Louisiana, in 1962.  In mid-November, he got orders to go to Spain for 90 days. I was 8 at the time. My mom and I went to the base to watch them take off in cargo planes. She said "I wish he didn't have to be gone during Christmas." 

Some of the planes had already taken off, and there were about three or four waiting to leave.  According to my mom, I said, "They are not going to go," and I pointed to one of the planes that hadn't taken off and said "Daddy is in that plane," as it began to head to the end of the runway. I said, "It is going to stop at the end of the runway, turn around and come back and park right there" as I pointed to a place.

The plane stayed at the end of the runway about 10 minutes, turned and came back and parked at the place I pointed out. My mom got chill bumps all over her when this happened and she was really surprised when the Airmen started to get off, and there was my Daddy. The other planes started to land...The orders had been cancelled.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas that year...I remember some of what I said and especially the part about the plane turning around and coming back to park. But my mother was in awe that everything I said actually happened. This is the most memorable Christmas ever in my lifetime." 

I'm not surprised, Gerald.  That is definitely a story for us all to remember! 

The holidays we remember

December 27, 2019

All the emphasis on shopping and consumerism that’s grown up around Christmas tends to remind those of us who grew up poor that we didn't feel deprived because, as kids (not being “lucky” enough to have social media to tell us), we didn't realize we were poor. 

Ginny from Alabama had the perfect story to illustrate that.  She wrote:

"I am 83-years-old now, but I remember this like it was yesterday. It was during the Depression...My daddy had gotten a job with the CCC (the Civilian Conservation Corps.)  We lived in two rooms we rented in a big old house and shared the bathroom with the family we rented from. One room served as kitchen and my parents' bedroom, and the other was the living room, and guess where I slept.

Our Christmas tree was a holly tree my daddy had cut in the woods where he was working...I was probably four or five. I was sitting in my mama's lap while she rocked me in front of the fireplace. She was crying. I remember asking her why she was crying, and she said 'because we couldn't get you much for Christmas.' 

I can remember being confused by what she said because I had gotten the clay modeling set I wanted. My aunt had sent a doll, but...the doll to me was extra.  Since I got the clay modeling set, that seemed plenty...

Several years later, when things got easier, the place under the Christmas tree was filled.  But the Christmas I remember the most was that one Christmas when I got the clay modeling set."  

Thank you, Ginny, for that important reminder that the holidays we remember best aren't necessarily the ones when we got the most lavish gifts but the ones where we felt the most love. 

 

Jim in Alabama shared a story that reminded us of how the Christmas season brings everyone together.  During his time in the military back in 1973, Jim was stationed near Nuremberg, Germany.  He wrote:

“Being born and reared in the South, I had never met people from Puerto Rico.  But we had four guys from Puerto Rico and Queens, New York.  Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” would play on Armed Forces Radio and these guys made us all start to dance and sing along.  They sure knew how to have a good time.  They helped us all not be so homesick.” 

Thank you for that great memory, Jim.  I can’t think of anything more American than guys from Alabama, New York and Puerto Rico all joining the US Army and celebrating Christmas in Germany listening to Jose Feliciano sing “Feliz Navidad!” 

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Next, what might be a close encounter with the real Santa Claus.  Margaret from Washington wrote that her 60-year-old sister Liz lived in an adult home.  She had cerebral palsy and autism, the mental capacity of a six-year-old, constant pain from two broken hips and her spine, and limited speech due to her medication.  She didn’t have much joy in her life, but she loved Christmas and still had an unwavering belief in Santa Claus. 

Liz had a great caregiver named Crissie who told Margaret that Liz and her deaf housemate Alice saved up $20 from their meager support checks, the price of a photo with Santa at the mall.  So Crissie agreed to take them. 

After waiting an hour in line, they finally got to the front to discover the photo price was $23.  The “elves” wouldn’t budge on the price. Crissie called the home but was told she wasn’t allowed to spend her own money on residents.  So Crissie reluctantly signed the news to Alice and began pushing Liz’s wheelchair away.  Margaret said her sister began throwing a fit as only she could, and Crissie started pushing as fast as possible, with Alice trotting behind and Liz’s screams echoing through the mall.   

As they reached their car, they heard someone shout, “Liz, wait!”  They turned around, and there was Santa, out of breath.  He’d been running after them. Liz stopped screaming immediately.  Santa gave them all candy canes and said he’d love to pose for a photo with them, no charge.  Santa hugged Liz and Alice, and said, “HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” as Crissie took a cell phone photo.

Now, here’s where the story takes a magical turn.  The photo turned out great.  You could even tell that Santa’s long white beard was real.  Margaret was so touched by his kindness that she went to the mall with a thank-you card and the photo, so they could identify the mall Santa who performed that special act of kindness. 

She showed the photo to the mall manager’s secretary, who took it back into the office.  Margaret wrote:

“The manager came out and told me she thought it was a great photo…but that was NOT their Santa.”

They had no idea who that kind, jolly man in the beard and red suit who magically appeared out of nowhere in their hour of need could have been.  I’ll leave it to you to decide. 

Evening Edition - December 27

December 27, 2019

Jim in Alabama shared a story that reminded us of how the Christmas season brings everyone together.  During his time in the military back in 1973, Jim was stationed near Nuremberg, Germany.  He wrote:

“Being born and reared in the South, I had never met people from Puerto Rico.  But we had four guys from Puerto Rico and Queens, New York.  Jose Feliciano’s “Feliz Navidad” would play on Armed Forces Radio and these guys made us all start to dance and sing along.  They sure knew how to have a good time.  They helped us all not be so homesick.” 

Thank you for that great memory, Jim.  I can’t think of anything more American than guys from Alabama, New York and Puerto Rico all joining the US Army and celebrating Christmas in Germany listening to Jose Feliciano sing “Feliz Navidad!” 

 -------------------------------------

Next, what might be a close encounter with the real Santa Claus.  Margaret from Washington wrote that her 60-year-old sister Liz lived in an adult home.  She had cerebral palsy and autism, the mental capacity of a six-year-old, constant pain from two broken hips and her spine, and limited speech due to her medication.  She didn’t have much joy in her life, but she loved Christmas and still had an unwavering belief in Santa Claus. 

Liz had a great caregiver named Crissie who told Margaret that Liz and her deaf housemate Alice saved up $20 from their meager support checks, the price of a photo with Santa at the mall.  So Crissie agreed to take them. 

After waiting an hour in line, they finally got to the front to discover the photo price was $23.  The “elves” wouldn’t budge on the price. Crissie called the home but was told she wasn’t allowed to spend her own money on residents.  So Crissie reluctantly signed the news to Alice and began pushing Liz’s wheelchair away.  Margaret said her sister began throwing a fit as only she could, and Crissie started pushing as fast as possible, with Alice trotting behind and Liz’s screams echoing through the mall.   

As they reached their car, they heard someone shout, “Liz, wait!”  They turned around, and there was Santa, out of breath.  He’d been running after them. Liz stopped screaming immediately.  Santa gave them all candy canes and said he’d love to pose for a photo with them, no charge.  Santa hugged Liz and Alice, and said, “HO! HO! HO! Merry Christmas!” as Crissie took a cell phone photo.

Now, here’s where the story takes a magical turn.  The photo turned out great.  You could even tell that Santa’s long white beard was real.  Margaret was so touched by his kindness that she went to the mall with a thank-you card and the photo, so they could identify the mall Santa who performed that special act of kindness. 

She showed the photo to the mall manager’s secretary, who took it back into the office.  Margaret wrote:

“The manager came out and told me she thought it was a great photo…but that was NOT their Santa.”

They had no idea who that kind, jolly man in the beard and red suit who magically appeared out of nowhere in their hour of need could have been.  I’ll leave it to you to decide. 

 

* * * * *

Isaiah 11:6 tells us that "a little child shall lead them."  That's what the Christmas story is all about.  And the miraculous connection between children and Christmas goes far beyond toys and Santa.  Jennifer from Arizona wrote:

"When my son was about 2-1/2, I noticed he took a pair of his flip-flop shoes and placed them under the Christmas tree. I asked him why. (He said,) "They are for little Jesus. He doesn't have any shoes, and I am giving Him my shoes."   I asked him who 'little Jesus' was, and he told me, 'God's son.' 

Now, mind you, we hadn't, at that point, taken him to church yet.  I had no idea where he got this story...It just goes to show that the little ones have more vision and hope than most adults when it comes to Christmas."

You're right, Jennifer.  And I have another miraculous Christmas story to prove it.  Gerald from Alabama wrote:

"My Dad was stationed at England Air Force Base, Louisiana, in 1962.  In mid-November, he got orders to go to Spain for 90 days. I was 8 at the time. My mom and I went to the base to watch them take off in cargo planes. She said "I wish he didn't have to be gone during Christmas." 

Some of the planes had already taken off, and there were about three or four waiting to leave.  According to my mom, I said, "They are not going to go," and I pointed to one of the planes that hadn't taken off and said "Daddy is in that plane," as it began to head to the end of the runway. I said, "It is going to stop at the end of the runway, turn around and come back and park right there" as I pointed to a place.

The plane stayed at the end of the runway about 10 minutes, turned and came back and parked at the place I pointed out. My mom got chill bumps all over her when this happened and she was really surprised when the Airmen started to get off, and there was my Daddy. The other planes started to land...The orders had been cancelled.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving and Christmas that year...I remember some of what I said and especially the part about the plane turning around and coming back to park. But my mother was in awe that everything I said actually happened. This is the most memorable Christmas ever in my lifetime." 

I'm not surprised, Gerald.  That is definitely a story for us all to remember! 

 

* * * * *

 

Joe from Oklahoma shared a special Christmas memory that sounds like something the dad in “A Christmas Story” might have pulled.  Joe still vividly recalled when he was seven, and he and his two siblings rushed downstairs expecting to find stockings and gifts.  Instead, they found mayhem. A toppled glass of milk, chairs thrown around, and the tree on its side. 

They rushed to wake their parents, who came downstairs with crafty smiles.  Joe’s dad was a police officer.  He told them Santa had spilled the milk, refused to clean up after himself, and was rude to him.  This had sparked a tussle that spilled out into the back yard.  Then he pointed out a pile of dirt in the back yard the size of a fresh grave.  Joe assured the kids that Santa escaped alive…but he said, “Rudolph will never (relieve himself) on our roof again.” 

Well, I must admit, that’s one original way to create a lifelong Christmas memory for your kids! Or maybe just to scar them for life.  Either way, it was unforgettable!

-------------------------------

Annette from Texas also shared a funny Christmas memory that’s taken on serious meaning over the years. 

Around the time she and her twin sister were teenagers in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in the late ‘50s, a tradition started in their small Baptist church to create a living Nativity scene.  Members would dress up as all the characters of the Nativity, so that cars could drive by in reverence and awe and see the Christmas story in 3D.  It took months of work, part of which was coaching teenagers on how to “be still and know God.” 

However, they never could teach the live animals to be still and know God, so it could be pretty nerve-wracking, trying to stand motionless next to a live camel or goat with some less-than-reverent ideas of its own. 

Luckily, Annette was given a very special role that didn’t require any animal wrangling, but it had its unique hazards.  She wrote:

“I was the angel on high – 20 feet high to be exact…When the angel climbed rickety, dark stairs at the back of the makeshift manger stall, the act itself took such fortitude and perseverance that the spotlight on her was snuffed every 15 minutes and a new angel would appear as fast as she could safely make that climb.

I prayed for all I was worth: not to fall, not to faint, and not to freeze to death…a few blocks from the Gulf, we never knew if we would have freezing cold or temps so hot at Christmas we could have worn bikinis under our angel attire – IF that would not have been a sin…But I digress. We were told that angels could not move a muscle. Even if the nose itched (or some other place), or if we felt a sneeze coming on, we HAD to remain perfectly still...Being 20 feet off the ground with arms outstretched for 15 minutes and a thin wooden support-cross hidden behind me in my white robe, I couldn't help but know—or pray for—God's presence.”

Annette said she didn’t remember having any epiphanies back then.  But time and again over the years, when she needed guidance or to trust that things would work out, or to know that stillness can bring a peace that passes all understanding, she’s thought back to what she learned from her scary job, dangling over the Nativity Scene.  As she put it:

“God reveals Himself to us in His son through His Holy Spirit.  And I don’t need angel wings or a halo to fly to His presence.  Just that hidden cross of support.”

 

* * * * *

 

All the emphasis on shopping and consumerism that’s grown up around Christmas tends to remind those of us who grew up poor that we didn't feel deprived because, as kids (not being “lucky” enough to have social media to tell us), we didn't realize we were poor. 

Ginny from Alabama had the perfect story to illustrate that.  She wrote:

"I am 83-years-old now, but I remember this like it was yesterday. It was during the Depression...My daddy had gotten a job with the CCC (the Civilian Conservation Corps.)  We lived in two rooms we rented in a big old house and shared the bathroom with the family we rented from. One room served as kitchen and my parents' bedroom, and the other was the living room, and guess where I slept.

Our Christmas tree was a holly tree my daddy had cut in the woods where he was working...I was probably four or five. I was sitting in my mama's lap while she rocked me in front of the fireplace. She was crying. I remember asking her why she was crying, and she said 'because we couldn't get you much for Christmas.' 

I can remember being confused by what she said because I had gotten the clay modeling set I wanted. My aunt had sent a doll, but...the doll to me was extra.  Since I got the clay modeling set, that seemed plenty...

Several years later, when things got easier, the place under the Christmas tree was filled.  But the Christmas I remember the most was that one Christmas when I got the clay modeling set."  

Thank you, Ginny, for that important reminder that the holidays we remember best aren't necessarily the ones when we got the most lavish gifts but the ones where we felt the most love. 

Christmas memories

December 27, 2019

Joe from Oklahoma shared a special Christmas memory that sounds like something the dad in “A Christmas Story” might have pulled.  Joe still vividly recalled when he was seven, and he and his two siblings rushed downstairs expecting to find stockings and gifts.  Instead, they found mayhem. A toppled glass of milk, chairs thrown around, and the tree on its side. 

They rushed to wake their parents, who came downstairs with crafty smiles.  Joe’s dad was a police officer.  He told them Santa had spilled the milk, refused to clean up after himself, and was rude to him.  This had sparked a tussle that spilled out into the back yard.  Then he pointed out a pile of dirt in the back yard the size of a fresh grave.  Joe assured the kids that Santa escaped alive…but he said, “Rudolph will never (relieve himself) on our roof again.” 

Well, I must admit, that’s one original way to create a lifelong Christmas memory for your kids! Or maybe just to scar them for life.  Either way, it was unforgettable!

--------------------

Annette from Texas also shared a funny Christmas memory that’s taken on serious meaning over the years. 

Around the time she and her twin sister were teenagers in Pascagoula, Mississippi, in the late ‘50s, a tradition started in their small Baptist church to create a living Nativity scene.  Members would dress up as all the characters of the Nativity, so that cars could drive by in reverence and awe and see the Christmas story in 3D.  It took months of work, part of which was coaching teenagers on how to “be still and know God.” 

However, they never could teach the live animals to be still and know God, so it could be pretty nerve-wracking, trying to stand motionless next to a live camel or goat with some less-than-reverent ideas of its own. 

Luckily, Annette was given a very special role that didn’t require any animal wrangling, but it had its unique hazards.  She wrote:

“I was the angel on high – 20 feet high to be exact…When the angel climbed rickety, dark stairs at the back of the makeshift manger stall, the act itself took such fortitude and perseverance that the spotlight on her was snuffed every 15 minutes and a new angel would appear as fast as she could safely make that climb.

I prayed for all I was worth: not to fall, not to faint, and not to freeze to death…a few blocks from the Gulf, we never knew if we would have freezing cold or temps so hot at Christmas we could have worn bikinis under our angel attire – IF that would not have been a sin…But I digress. We were told that angels could not move a muscle. Even if the nose itched (or some other place), or if we felt a sneeze coming on, we HAD to remain perfectly still...Being 20 feet off the ground with arms outstretched for 15 minutes and a thin wooden support-cross hidden behind me in my white robe, I couldn't help but know—or pray for—God's presence.”

Annette said she didn’t remember having any epiphanies back then.  But time and again over the years, when she needed guidance or to trust that things would work out, or to know that stillness can bring a peace that passes all understanding, she’s thought back to what she learned from her scary job, dangling over the Nativity Scene.  As she put it:

“God reveals Himself to us in His son through His Holy Spirit.  And I don’t need angel wings or a halo to fly to His presence.  Just that hidden cross of support.”

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the One who told us, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  But on holidays like this that emphasize parties and socializing, many people feel lonely or abandoned.  They may not realize how many people around them really do care about them. 

Linda from North Carolina wrote:

 "Several years ago, we had a family up the hill who were having a very rough time. They had broken glass in their windows, no heat and no prospects for a nice Christmas.

We got neighbors together and one day when they were gone, the men went up and put in new glass, bought heaters and warmed up their trailer and went to get them a Christmas tree. The ladies and kids made ornaments, went to stores and got donations of toys and clothing, food and electric blankets. We all met at the trailer, cooked, decorated, put up the tree, wrapped packages, and made beds with the new blankets then went to our home to wait for them to return.

A while later, the family came running down the hill in the snow and flew into our house, trying to tell us through tears what someone had done.  The mother couldn't believe that so many people cared about them. She didn't realize it, but being able to do that for them made Christmas very special for all of us.”

Thank you, Linda, for that perfect story to remind us that the gifts that give us the most satisfaction aren’t those we get, but the ones we give to others.

 

* * * * *

 

When you’re making out the guest list for your holiday family get-togethers, please don’t forget that “family” doesn’t just mean blood relations, as Mario from Indiana reminded us:

"I grew up in Mexico in an orphanage with 40 brothers and sisters. My mom and dad, as we called them, were missionaries for 28 years.  When we celebrated Christmas we had toys and clothing, but the best gift was that mom cooked breakfast for each child according to what we wanted to eat on Christmas day.

When I asked mom why she did that, she said, "This is my gift for you guys.... Something I can do with my own hands for you."  I love my mom and dad for giving us love when our real parents didn't."

Thanks, Mario, for that great reminder that it's important at the holidays also to remember and include the people who are like family to us. 

 

* * * * *

One of the hardest jobs a parent faces is answering all those questions kids ask that sometimes force us to think about things that hadn’t occurred to us as adults.  Mary from Ohio wrote:

“Our 6-year-old grandson, Isaiah, who was adopted from Guatemala, posed this question to his parents: ‘Was Baby Jesus adopted?’  Wow! The answer is so deep, and leads to so many other Biblical references to adoption.  Joseph wasn't Jesus' father - God was, but Joseph raised him here on Earth. When we accept Jesus, we're adopted into His Heavenly Family, so we're all brothers and sisters. When we become a member of Jesus' family, we're also adopted into the Family of His chosen people, the Jews.  So...it seems to me, not only was Jesus adopted, He was the author of Adoption.  From the mouths of babes.”

Thank you, Mary.  I have a feeling that as that special little boy has grown up, he’s given your family a lot to think about and a lot to be thankful for. And here’s a story that highlights another aspect of adoption, from the other point of view:

Tia from Kansas wrote that Christmas was always the hardest time of year to face, until she discovered a very personal connection to the true meaning of Christmas:

"When I was 16, I was alone and scared on Christmas -- having a baby that I decided to give up for adoption.  For years afterward, I didn't like Christmas and never did much during the season.  But the Lord changed my heart, showing me that I gave a beautiful gift to some family, my only son, just like He did. I've enjoyed and celebrated Christmas ever since." 

Thank you, Tia.  I know your son's adoptive parents would thank you a million times over, if they could, for the greatest Christmas gift they ever received. I’m sure Mary from Ohio would agree. 

 

* * * * *

 

These days, too many people are trying to take religion out of the Christmas season.  It sometimes makes me think, “Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do…or what they’re missing.”  Maybe this letter will make it clear. 

A Reverend wrote to me from Malawi:

“After having been raised up in urban North American culture, it was refreshing, but also a bit disorientating, to spend my first Christmas in Africa in 2009. There was a Baptist Church of course, but no Christmas Trees and no caroling in the streets, and no mad dash to the Mall to buy presents. The mixed congregation of ex-pats and nationals who attended the Christmas Sunday service sang the carols we were accustomed to, but there appeared to be far less excitement…

This is the ‘Hungry Times’ when most folks, aside from us ex-pats, are living off of the stored up remnants of last year’s harvest, with an eye to how little there is left and how long until the next harvest comes in. Nevertheless, on the morning after Christmas, we were all called to return to the Church and bring food and clothing and the Word of God and prepare to visit Zomba Central Prison to distribute some hope and good cheer.

This Prison is a daunting facility built by Colonialists in the 1930's that, today, houses twice as many inmates as it was designed for. We shared the goods and the Gospel with inmates, in both men's wing and women's wing. And so, for me, began a ministry of Prison Chaplaincy in the Prisons of southern Malawi.

…It’s ‘Hungry Time" again, but I thank God that the inmates are hungry for the Gospel.  In the six Prisons and Prison Farms where we work, we have seen over 240 decisions to accept Christ (including many from Muslim backgrounds) and 160 inmates Baptized and inmates are being transformed by the power of God. Some of those counseled before release are eager to return to their villages and tell others of the one who came as our Savior that first Christmas morning.  And for that, I'll forever enjoy a different kind of Christmas.” 

Thank you, Reverend, for sharing your unique Christmas experience with us.  If you’d like to learn more about the fine work done by Emmanuel International Mission in Malawi and elsewhere, you can read about it online at www.EIM-US.org

 

* * * * *

-------------------------

Recently, police officers have become targets of hatred, assaults and even deadly violence.  Right now is a perfect time to stop and reflect on the many ways in which police officers and other first responders such as firefighters and EMTs give up their holidays so that we can enjoy ours in safety.  Many officers also go above and beyond the call of duty by performing incredible volunteer work.  One of those was a listener of mine named Randy, a retired police sergeant from Wyoming.  He shared a memory of a time when playing Santa Claus should have come with hazardous duty pay. 

Randy wrote:

"For many years, it was my distinct pleasure to assume the role of 'real Santa' at Christmas time. Though my sleigh was still a black and white sedan, my uniform changed from dark blues to a genuine Santa suit. I appeared on Christmas Eve, right at bedtime, delivering toys to needy children as well as my fellow officers…who had small children. What made this all work was the 'understanding' of the parents to make sure the kids were close to the front window upon my arrival, that they were not allowed out on the porch (where I left their gifts) until I was out of sight, and under NO circumstances were any pets to be loose.

All the parents were following Santa's instructions to the letter...until I got to my Chief's house. I gently placed (his sons') gifts on the porch (and) began to shake the bells, anticipating three squashed, tiny faces peering into the frosty night, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. To my surprise...No faces. I shook the bells harder and added a hearty ‘HO, HO, HO!’ Still, no faces.

Now in mid-‘HO,’ I heard the front door open and a small dog barking. 'For cryin' out loud,' I muttered, as I jumped toward the driveway. If only I'd remembered the small wire fence surrounding his wife's flower bed. There was no time to pick myself up, as I heard high-pitched giggles floating on the cold night air.  A quick double combat roll placed me out of innocent eyes' way, underneath my boss's pickup truck."

Then Randy heard a noise that seemed to be very close: "I smelled the dog food on his breath a scant millisecond before he yapped out the alarm. The 'WHOA!' that jumped from my lips was cut painfully short as I rammed my head into the pickup's driveline... The thought crossed my mind to reach out and pinch off his little windpipe, but that seemed a bit ugly for Christmas Eve."

A pair of cowboy boots suddenly replaced the dog: "I recognized my boss's voice as the words, 'Merry Christmas, heh, heh, heh," settled onto the cold concrete... 'Merry Christmas, Chief,' I replied as a solitary drop of black engine oil struck me dead center in the forehead. 'THANKS FOR NOT TURNING ON THE PORCH LIGHT!'

I continued on my rounds, a black greasy racing stripe running from my white curly beard to my belt, a well-lubricated lump on my forehead. I finished just as a soft snow began to fall, covering everything in a glistening blanket of white. It seemed the perfect punctuation mark to end another Christmas on Patrol."

Thanks again for that great story, Randy.  And thanks to all the police officers and other first responders and military members who go above and beyond, and sometimes even roll underneath, to keep us all safe during the holidays and all year ‘round.

* * * * *

One thing we all learned from “A Charlie Brown Christmas” is that it’s not how fancy your tree is that matters, it’s the love it represents.  A radio listener of mine named Vicky from California sent me a beautiful story that illustrated that as well as Charles M. Schulz did.

Vicky recalled a time years before, when her young family was desperately poor and struggling to provide Christmas for their three small children.  Her husband brought home a tree, but was so exhausted after working 14 hours, he hadn't noticed it was dead and brown on one side. 

A neighbor tried to help by giving them a little 18-inch, lighted tabletop tree.  Vickie thought it was so small and ugly, she began to cry at the thought that this shrunken thing would be their family's tree.  Just then, her little daughter began to cry, too, and hugged her. But she was crying for a very different reason.

The little girl said in awe, “That is the most beautiful tree I have ever seen. Do we really get to have that as our tree this year?" 

Vicki wrote, “I had a permanent attitude change.  That night, I couldn't stop thanking our Heavenly Father enough for His blessings.”  

So you see, it’s true: A little child shall lead them. 

************

On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of the One who told us, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.”  But on holidays like this that emphasize parties and socializing, many people feel lonely or abandoned.  They may not realize how many people around them really do care about them. 

Linda from North Carolina wrote:

 "Several years ago, we had a family up the hill who were having a very rough time. They had broken glass in their windows, no heat and no prospects for a nice Christmas.

We got neighbors together and one day when they were gone, the men went up and put in new glass, bought heaters and warmed up their trailer and went to get them a Christmas tree. The ladies and kids made ornaments, went to stores and got donations of toys and clothing, food and electric blankets. We all met at the trailer, cooked, decorated, put up the tree, wrapped packages, and made beds with the new blankets then went to our home to wait for them to return.

A while later, the family came running down the hill in the snow and flew into our house, trying to tell us through tears what someone had done.  The mother couldn't believe that so many people cared about them. She didn't realize it, but being able to do that for them made Christmas very special for all of us.”

Thank you, Linda, for that perfect story to remind us that the gifts that give us the most satisfaction aren’t those we get, but the ones we give to others.

Evening Edition - December 23

December 23, 2019

A few years ago, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show to share their own favorite Christmas memories.  Last year, to let my staffers and myself enjoy some time off with our families, we dug into the archives to share some of those wonderful stories with my newsletter/website readers.  Since we have many more subscribers now, I thought I would share them with you again, along with some more that have never run before. I hope they’ll add some extra joy to your holiday season!  
 
If you have a treasured family Christmas story you’d like to share in the comments, I’d love to read it.  Please be advised that by doing so, you grant us the right to share your story in the future in various media.  For instance, if you have a great story like the ones I’m sharing this year, I might lift it out of the comments and share it with everyone next year. 
 
We’ll be back with updates on the news after the holidays.  Don’t worry, if anything major happens, I’ll put down my Christmas ham or stop playing with my grandkids to comment on it (but it will have to be EXTREMELY major!) 
 
Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year! 

--------------------

Recently, police officers have become targets of hatred, assaults and even deadly violence.  Right now is a perfect time to stop and reflect on the many ways in which police officers and other first responders such as firefighters and EMTs give up their holidays so that we can enjoy ours in safety.  Many officers also go above and beyond the call of duty by performing incredible volunteer work.  One of those was a listener of mine named Randy, a retired police sergeant from Wyoming.  He shared a memory of a time when playing Santa Claus should have come with hazardous duty pay. 

Randy wrote:

"For many years, it was my distinct pleasure to assume the role of 'real Santa' at Christmas time. Though my sleigh was still a black and white sedan, my uniform changed from dark blues to a genuine Santa suit. I appeared on Christmas Eve, right at bedtime, delivering toys to needy children as well as my fellow officers…who had small children. What made this all work was the 'understanding' of the parents to make sure the kids were close to the front window upon my arrival, that they were not allowed out on the porch (where I left their gifts) until I was out of sight, and under NO circumstances were any pets to be loose.

All the parents were following Santa's instructions to the letter...until I got to my Chief's house. I gently placed (his sons') gifts on the porch (and) began to shake the bells, anticipating three squashed, tiny faces peering into the frosty night, trying to catch a glimpse of Santa. To my surprise...No faces. I shook the bells harder and added a hearty ‘HO, HO, HO!’ Still, no faces.

Now in mid-‘HO,’ I heard the front door open and a small dog barking. 'For cryin' out loud,' I muttered, as I jumped toward the driveway. If only I'd remembered the small wire fence surrounding his wife's flower bed. There was no time to pick myself up, as I heard high-pitched giggles floating on the cold night air.  A quick double combat roll placed me out of innocent eyes' way, underneath my boss's pickup truck."

Then Randy heard a noise that seemed to be very close: "I smelled the dog food on his breath a scant millisecond before he yapped out the alarm. The 'WHOA!' that jumped from my lips was cut painfully short as I rammed my head into the pickup's driveline... The thought crossed my mind to reach out and pinch off his little windpipe, but that seemed a bit ugly for Christmas Eve."

A pair of cowboy boots suddenly replaced the dog: "I recognized my boss's voice as the words, 'Merry Christmas, heh, heh, heh," settled onto the cold concrete... 'Merry Christmas, Chief,' I replied as a solitary drop of black engine oil struck me dead center in the forehead. 'THANKS FOR NOT TURNING ON THE PORCH LIGHT!'

I continued on my rounds, a black greasy racing stripe running from my white curly beard to my belt, a well-lubricated lump on my forehead. I finished just as a soft snow began to fall, covering everything in a glistening blanket of white. It seemed the perfect punctuation mark to end another Christmas on Patrol."

Thanks again for that great story, Randy.  And thanks to all the police officers and other first responders and military members who go above and beyond, and sometimes even roll underneath, to keep us all safe during the holidays and all year ‘round.

 

 ----------------------------

This story shows us that Dr. Seuss was right: Christmas is not something that comes from a store.   Christmas means a whole lot more.  

Tina from California wrote that she was a struggling single mom for many years.  She managed to keep a roof over her daughter and son's heads.  But there was no money for the Christmas extravagances many families enjoy.  They had to be creative and "make do." 

Instead of buying cards, they'd call relatives and sing carols to them over the phone.  And instead of buying fancy Christmas treats, they'd go into the kitchen and make donuts out of Pillsbury biscuit dough, and sweeten and decorate them with cinnamon and sugar.  Tina said that for years, Christmas wasn't a good memory for her.  All she remembered about those Christmases was being poor.

Then, Tina wrote:

“When my son was 20, he said 'Mom, remember when we used to make donuts and sing to everyone for Christmas?'

Sulking, I replied, ‘Yeah.’ 

He said, 'That is one of my BEST Christmases. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love to give.'

I have since changed my opinion...(Now), it is one of my best Christmas memories also.  My heart grew 3 sizes that day!...Ever since, I make it a point to make a homemade gift for the people in my family.  Last year, I made everyone throw quilts. Christmas is more than a day... It is a memory!”

Thank you, Tina for that precious memory and a valuable lesson for us all.  It’s not the presents you spend money on that stay with your kids for a lifetime, it’s your presence spent with them that they’ll cherish forever. 

 

A few years ago, inspired by my book “A Simple Christmas,” I asked listeners of my radio show to share their own favorite Christmas memories. Last year, to let my staffers and myself enjoy some time off with our families, we dug into the archives to share some of those wonderful stories with my newsletter/website readers. Since we have many more subscribers now, I thought I would share them with you again, along with some more that have never run before. I hope they’ll add some extra joy to your holiday season!

If you have a treasured family Christmas story you’d like to share in the comments, I’d love to read it. Please be advised that by doing so, you grant us the right to share your story in the future in various media. For instance, if you have a great story like the ones I’m sharing this year, I might lift it out of the comments and share it with everyone next year.

We’ll be back with updates on the news after the holidays. Don’t worry, if anything major happens, I’ll put down my Christmas ham or stop playing with my grandkids to comment on it (but it will have to be EXTREMELY major!)

Have a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy New Year!

---------------------------

This story shows us that Dr. Seuss was right: Christmas is not something that comes from a store.   Christmas means a whole lot more.  
 
Tina from California wrote that she was a struggling single mom for many years.  She managed to keep a roof over her daughter and son's heads.  But there was no money for the Christmas extravagances many families enjoy.  They had to be creative and "make do."  
 
Instead of buying cards, they'd call relatives and sing carols to them over the phone.  And instead of buying fancy Christmas treats, they'd go into the kitchen and make donuts out of Pillsbury biscuit dough, and sweeten and decorate them with cinnamon and sugar.  Tina said that for years, Christmas wasn't a good memory for her.  All she remembered about those Christmases was being poor.
 
Then, Tina wrote:
“When my son was 20, he said 'Mom, remember when we used to make donuts and sing to everyone for Christmas?' 
 
Sulking, I replied, ‘Yeah.’  
 
He said, 'That is one of my BEST Christmases. We didn't have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love to give.' 
 
I have since changed my opinion...(Now), it is one of my best Christmas memories also.  My heart grew 3 sizes that day!...Ever since, I make it a point to make a homemade gift for the people in my family.  Last year, I made everyone throw quilts. Christmas is more than a day... It is a memory!”
 
Thank you, Tina for that precious memory and a valuable lesson for us all.  It’s not the presents you spend money on that stay with your kids for a lifetime, it’s your presence spent with them that they’ll cherish forever.