Expanding background checks? This system as it has long existed through NICS has never worked as the anti-gun establishment would have you believe it will. Less than one percent of all background checks ever done under the NICS have led to a purchase denial. Due to the lack of the ability of our enforcement agencies at the grass roots levels of our country to fund and feed the system, the current NICS database is only a fraction of what it would be if it functioned half as well as our anti-gun brothers and sisters believe it would. To say it is grossly underfunded at all levels may not fix the responsibility where it belongs…the fact is that it is under-appropriated at the federal level. States don’t fund it adequately at all and have no real incentive to do so. A high percentage of States don’t report at all and in those that do, an overwhelming number of their local Governments do not. A system of background checks is only as good as the information that is fed into the database. Local Governments and Municipalities do not have the resources or funding to feed the system the kind of information that might give it some degree of effectiveness. Additionally, there is a limited fusion effort across the country to solicit, consolidate and manage this information on State and Regional levels, so how is it that background checks with an inadequate database of information is supposed to make us safer? The greater reality is that most bad guys will never obtain a weapon through legal means anyway and the mentally ill aren’t always walking around in their fatigues displaying homicidal tendencies…hindsight is 20/20 and no background check is going to fix that…never did and never will. NICS is and has always been a broke system and the idea of universal background checks, while looking good to the uniformed (courtesy of our liberal media) as a broad stroke, is really only good for checking one thing…the political block.
Have you ever asked God to give you a sign? Maybe you just wanted confirmation about something, possibly an opportunity that was presented or an idea but you were not sure if you should attempt it….and then you second guessed yourself until you finally talked yourself out of it completely. Maybe it was a life long dream that you wanted to fulfill, but could not seem to muster the courage to take the risks. If only you could see in to the future, maybe then you would know what to do, right? Of course but it doesn’t work that way. The only reasonable assurances you will ever have that you will achieve your goals is to have a vision of it, a plan for it and enough faith in yourself to go after it. It requires a heavy dose of faith… not just your spiritual faith but faith in yourself. How many dreams will remain dreams because we did not have enough faith in ourselves? Most of them and that’s what brings us to God asking for a sign.
As a man of faith who grows closer to God every day, I have begun to realize that those signs are all around us. Until you have faith in God, you will never see them and until you have faith in yourself, you will likely never pursue them.
(Proverbs 16:9 – A man’s heart devises his way: but the LORD directs his steps.)
I have never before in my life believed so much in what I believe in now. I have direction and a new energy that comes from it. Metaphorically speaking, I am still uncertain of exactly where it will end as the details are not clear, but the general direction is as clear as creek water. I don’t know what awaits, I just know which way to go as the signs have been more and more clear. Still, like most others, I must have more faith in myself, lest I stand here forever, knowing the direction to go, yet being unwilling to go there.
I have known for many years that God had a plan for my life. He must…Many times I should not have survived, yet I am here. I should not question it because over and over again I am reminded of it in ways that would be unbelievable to most people.
A few days ago I saw a video of a young boy who carried his little brother on his back for 40 miles. Many of you probably saw the same video. The younger was born with Cerebral Palsy and the pair sought to draw attention to this debilitating disease. I posted it to my Facebook page with a status that said, “When your mind tells you over and over that you cant, listen to your heart telling you that you can!”
Immediately the thought that popped into my head was something that I speak of often, yet seldom do myself, so later I thought…practice what you preach Ken…practice what you preach!
That was not enough to convince me that God was speaking directly to me until last night and though it was subtle, it was very clear.
I was listening to Youtube as I often do…John Mayer, Todd Pritchard and a myriad of others doing acoustic covers. By chance I saw a guy named Igor Presnyakov…another awesome finger style player. I play finger style as well (I rarely use a pick). Im not nearly as good as Igor, in fact, I am quite amateur, but I was fascinated with his technique. The first video I watched of him playing absolutely captivated me. I knew the song but had not heard it for years. I was absolutely blown away and listened to it over and over again before it occurred to me what I was listening to…and that’s when it sank in.
The name of the song…Listen to your Heart.
It may seem a coincidence to many but to me, it is a small example that only represents the many signs that I see around me everyday giving me direction in my life…signs that confirm my faith in God. With that faith comes a determination to have more faith in myself…because the truth is, there is not much I can not do and I am ready to prove it to myself!
In the wake of all of the recently publicized mass killings, the debate should not be whether guns kill people or people kill people. Most of us do not believe that the most common tool of the trade is the problem anyway but that is a matter of personal opinion. The question we should all be asking is this…What kind of maniacal movement is occurring in this country that so enthusiastically glorifies evil?
Nearly 4 years ago we asked for help in a fundraising initiative for the young children and grandchildren of two of my close colleagues who were killed in Afghanistan. These two men both served their country and their communities in and out of uniform and were playing a vital role in ensuring peace, stability and security for the Afghan people and the United States. We didnt just ask friends, family and co-workers to help, we asked the public to look into their hearts and do whatever they could do. In the end, we raised nearly $30,000. It wasnt my charming personality that made that happen, but rather a sense of solidarity and compassion that came through and took on a life of its own. I knew then as I know now that it wouldnt be the last time we would ask for help for a fellow citizen.
In the wake of the worst flooding on the Florida Panhandle in more than 30 years a natural gas explosion at the Escambia County Central Booking and Detention Center in Pensacola killed two inmates and wounded more than a hundred inmates, corrections officers and staff. Among those on duty that night were Christopher and Shannon Hankinson. Shannon managed to escape without injury. Christopher was not so lucky and though he has survived, his injuries are very serious and he will require long term care and rehabilitation. Expenses for this family will be significant and they cant do it alone. We cant let them do it alone. I know alot of good people who serve Escambia County in Patrol and in Corrections. I dont know the Hankinsons but that doesnt matter much to me. What matters is that they need help and the Lord leads us to help where we can. It doesnt take much…better a little from a lot of people than a lot from only a few people. Dont look at it as helping someone you dont know, but rather as helping someone in need…a family in service to a community. Maybe it is not simply by chance that you are reading this. Click on the picture or the link below to help.
Every journey has its bumpy roads, flat tires and hills to climb, none of which matter much when you get to where you are going.
People often refer to their wedding day as the happiest day of their life. I guess that means that a marriage starts out on the highest of highs which suggests that everything else is downhill. We told each other before we got married that this was not the way it should be nor is it the way it is. The wedding is symbolic of a commitment to love one another, grow with each other and not give up on each other. In each successive day, week, month and year, that commitment is the mountain that we climb together. So our wedding day is truly just the beginning of our journey, and every step we walk together from that point on is an accomplishment…every anniversary is a major milestone. One day we will reach the top of that mountain…it will be the last day we share in these earthly bodies…and on that day we will be on highest of highs. Happy Anniversay! I love you Valerie.
It was early March of 1991 and the war had just ended only days before. I think that when we first heard that it was over we all had visions of going home. Home for us was back to Germany and to our families. There was a euphoria that hit and we carried it around for several days but eventually it gave way to a more bitter reality…that we weren’t going to simply pack up and go home. These were still the days of snail mail and pay phones and in the middle of the desert in the wake of a war, there wasn’t much of either. Continue reading
In January of 1990, I was a young Army Sergeant assigned to an Infantry Battalion at Warner Kaserne in Bamberg Germany. We lived on the first floor of a private home in Hirchaid, a beautiful Bavarian Village just off the Autobahn and about 8 miles south of the base. I loved it there and the family we rented from was very quiet and respectful of our space as we were of theirs. By this time my wife and our oldest daughter had been there for nearly a year and were about to welcome a new member into the family. I had adopted my oldest when she was already in grade school and I have never seen her as anything other than my daughter, but I had never experienced what it was like to bring a new life into the world. Continue reading
Tonight my nephew Troy, brave Warrior and Hero in the fight against Cystic Fibrosis, is back in the hospital in Jacksonville. Please keep him and his Mother in your prayers.
Why don’t he answer my prayers? I have prayed and prayed and nothing seems to change or get better in my life. I work more hours of my day than anything else I do and the days of my week are engaged more with survival than living. Consumed by debt, I push and I pull and still never seem to make ends meet. My job is a sentence, not a career and I am more dependent on it than it is on me. There is nowhere to go from where I am. The benefits are few and no opportunities exist for promotion or bonus…no reward for longevity, performance or vision. I have long given up on my dreams and have resigned myself to a life with no purpose, to simply trudge my way along in this unforgiving world, a place where the means of life is defined by the immediate environment in which I am bound to exist. Continue reading
Actions speak louder than words, they say, but sometimes a few words is plenty loud enough…so just in case my actions don’t say it clearly enough this year, let me throw this out there for you. Its been a wonderful year in more ways than one. I can say proudly and with confidence that the Lord is the spiritual center of my life and I am finally at peace. You have helped me with that in more ways than you know. You are, without exception, my favorite person…the physical and emotional center of my life. I love you with all my heart, and despite the thousands of miles and month after month of separation, we continue to learn each other and grow closer and closer every day.
It is an incredible thing to love so much. Some don’t understand it, some don’t want to and others never will. There are those who allow it to bring out the worst in them, while for many it brings out the best. But the really incredible part and the only thing that really matters is this…I have you, you have me and we both have the Lord to praise for it! So on the day that we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ, I reaffirm to you that through this sometimes dark and rugged exterior there is a Godly man that absolutely adores his wife.
Merry Christmas to the Mrs…’cause I love you. ;)
Once again it’s Christmas Eve and I sit by myself in deep thought,
A season, so true, has become much ado, not of Jesus, but of the presents to be bought.
There are stockings to be filled up with candy and under the tree will be toys,
And we’ll revive a miracle, not of Jesus, but of Santa, who brings joy to all good girls and boys.
Last minute shoppers out searching for deals will spend hours and hours at the mall,
To be the first one to get all the best and the latest, and they will spare no expense at all.
They pull and they push and they make a mad rush when the doors to the stores are unlocked,
It’s a scene of sheer chaos and of greed, even blasphemous, these crazy ideas we concoct.
The houses are lit up all down the streets with incredible shows of bright light,
And though, even then, at the most, one of ten has a manger scene even in sight.
And how many among us will actually pause for moment before dinner is served,
To say Grace to our Lord for giving us more than any of us ever deserved.
So many will think that my thoughts will confirm me a Grinch of the most miserable kind,
But in my mind it’s clear, that the thoughts that I fear are the falsehoods of Christmas I find.
Though the sights and the sounds of the holiday season promise seemingly endless delights,
It’s the spell of the indulgence that compels us to see our real gifts not as gifts but as rights.
Somehow we manage to pass it all off as the most wonderful time of the year,
But we have not much to say about Jesus’ day, at least not of what I can hear,
I wish someone would tell me with some sort of certainty how Christmas became just a word,
And how it became nothing less than insane, something totally and utterly absurd.
I hope and I pray that we all will, one day, see Christmas for what it is really worth,
That the reason we even have Christmas at all is to celebrate Jesus’ birth.
And that peace that we feel when we give Christmas morning is the true gift he’s given us all,
It’s a spirit of love that goes far and above any gift you can get from the mall.
This morning as I was driving into work I heard something pretty disturbing: “Duck Dynasty star suspended for anti-gay remarks.”
Obviously, the news did not go on to tell the whole story, just that ‘Duck Dynasty’ star Phil Robertson had been indefinitely suspended from the A&E show. My curiosity was piqued.
As soon as I was able to look up the news article, I did.
It is inconceivable to me that in this great country, nearly two and a half centuries after the founders declared independence “with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence”, that a man of faith must consider political fallout lest he be labeled a bigot, a zealot or even worse…a Christian. It’s a good thing that Phil Robertson is not a politician. If he was, he would very likely be making apologies for his faith and strong Christian values. Continue reading
It was the second time her mother called. She was always slow to rise from her perch in the mornings.
“Hurry now, your breakfast will evaporate and you will be late for school!”
“Coming mother.” She replied with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
Lexi was a strong fairiality. She was very independent and a bit of a tom-fairy. She had heard tales all of her life of she-humans being powerful warriors and though she had never seen a she-human before, she aspired to be one.
As she made her way down from her perch to the breakfast branch, she overhead her father, a respected council member of the Chinderlings tribe, talking to her mother about the ceremony that was planned for that evening.
“Today, my dear, is a historical day. We have assessed many candidates and today we will select the best warrior from our tribe to flush the Gryphon from his lair on the Mountain of Caan.” Continue reading
Today I saw a post on Facebook by someone I know…a youngster having to grow up fast. “I may not have everything I want,” she said, ” but I sure enough have everything I need in life…” She was expressing appreciation to those who have supported her, obviously very thankful. Continue reading
Less than two months ago, my beautiful bride Valerie, lost her Mother. She died much too early and though there were contributing circumstances, it was her lifelong smoking habit that was responsible. Valerie makes a strong case for caring for the “vessel” you have been lent to navigate this life to the next…not just for you but for your loved ones. Read on >>
After my first marriage ended, I had time to think about whether or not I did the right thing. Its natural I think…not necessarily to second guess but to measure the consequences to everyone involved and ask yourself if it was worth it. I wondered if my ex-wife would be able to make it on her own. She is the mother of my children and though we would never be together again, I needed to know she was able to take care of herself. I wondered if I would be able to support myself, pay alimony and all our other obligations…kids and college and everything we had accumulated. I wondered how my kids would handle it. Continue reading
The Warrior sits all by himself,
alone but in deep thought,
inside, his heart is broken
but outside he’s hard as rock. Continue reading
For weeks, God the Father listened to the earnest, relentless prayers of seven-year-old Brian. I heard him pray for six to eight weeks every breakfast, every lunch, and every dinner, and of course, every evening prayers in the living room with his sisters.
“And God, I want a bicycle. Please, God, give me a bicycle.” Continue reading
We are all imperfect humans. And the one thing we struggle with the most is humility whether we want to admit it or not. Its one of the greatest obstacles to building a relationship foundation. God would tell you that there is someone out there for everyone who would be willing to put in the time and effort, no matter what you think of the ones you have encountered. Maybe you haven’t been selective enough with your choices lately but the worst thing you can do is let cynical self-centered thinking dictate the rest of your life. God doesn’t make mistakes.