The Serenity Prayer in Action

Serenity Prayer

I will likely be posting a little less than normal, even for me. To cut to the chase, I am currently in the middle of battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia, which is essentially bone marrow cancer.

So far the plan of treatment I am in seems to be working well, and I should know soon what the next steps are. I’ve been in the leukemia center at Northside Hospital in Atlanta for the last 2 weeks. I’ve completed the first round of chemotherapy, and I am tolerating it well.

What I really want to convey today, is the reality of God’s power and His love, as evidenced by events over the last 4 months or so.  I discovered I had this disease thanks to two bad sinus infections, and a family doctor who refused to take those on face value. There is obviously more to it than that, but that sums it up. I will try to explain it all at a future date.

I could have gotten angry, or done nothing, or panicked. Rather than do any of that, I chose to live this wonderful prayer.

God has granted me:

Serenity to accept the things I cannot change. I have leukemia; I don’t know how I got it, but I have it.

Courage to change the things I can. The medical team has a plan to beat it. I am in, doing what they tell me when they tell me, plus some.

Wisdom to know the difference. I can’t really explain this part. But it’s there. God is there. And His love and the love of my family and friends sustain me.

 

To avoid duplicate effort I am posting a lot on my Facebook page. Please join me there. For now, I welcome your prayers.

 

 

 

Thoughts on the Confederate Flag

Confed Flag

I was born in Georgia, which, for those born abroad or on Mars, was at one time part of the Confederate States of America. I had relatives on both my father’s and mother’s side of the family who fought for the CSA, and in fact, my mother’s grandmother’s uncle died in the war. But we never owned slaves, and no one in our family ever talked about the war being about anything other than defending our home.

Growing up less than a hundred years after “Reconstruction,” there was still quite a bit of attention given in my home town to this period in our history. In fact, playing in the woods behind our home, we came across wide ditches, which we found out later were entrenchments.

Now, it’s not like my family were living in some Olde South bastion, where we recalled the grand old days. It’s just that this was our heritage, and we thought about it, and talked about it. And some time growing up I acquired a Confederate Battle Flag. It wasn’t any symbol of defiance as I remember, I just got one.

It wasn’t a big deal.

Soon, I was studying chemical engineering at Georgia Tech, and I took the opportunity to join the Co-op Program, which allowed me to essentially work as a full time engineer every other quarter, then come back and study. My engineering job was at an oil refinery in Kentucky, and I spent 6 months a year away from home. Now, despite the southern heritage of our neighbors in Kentucky, there were not many Southerners participating in the Co-op Program, and to show my Southern ass heritage, I took to flying the Battle Flag draped over the curtains in my bedroom in the apartment where I stayed. The Yankees from Purdue and Michigan State and Ohio State all gave me hell for it, and I strutted even more my Southern Pride.

Then, one quarter, a strange thing happened. I had a black roommate, from nearby in West Virginia.

Soon he and I became friends, and we shared our faith, and he shared some really good food that his Mom would send back with him after a weekend at home.

But after a few weeks, he came to me one afternoon, and asked me why I had the flag in my bedroom. I told him, honestly, that I had it for a while, and that I displayed it mostly to confound the Yankees in the other apartments.

Then he, quietly, told me about what it meant to him. Segregation. Hate. Violence. He told me about growing up black, and how he knew what it meant to certain whites, who meant him and his family harm. He told me, too, that he suspected that I had it just because, and not as any symbol of hatred, because I never showed him anything other than respect and friendship. But, he still got those feelings every time he saw it in my room, and he felt he needed to tell me.

To be honest, I had heard that before, but to hear it first hand, from someone I knew, was different.

Jesus taught that we are to love one another as He loved us. And He taught us that, if our hand causes us to stumble, or to be an offense, then we are better off to cut it off, than to risk the offense.

So, I took down the Battle Flag, and I have never flown it again.

Be Prepared, Part 12 – Keeping the Get Home Bag Up to Date

Be Prepared, Part 2 - Getting Home

 

This past Sunday was beautiful here in Kennesaw, and I took the opportunity to clean out and check our Get Home Bag. In this case, I took heed of some family changes in the last couple of years that have changed the needs of the bag somewhat.

First, my wife normally is the one away from home, although certainly on a family trip we would all be involved. In any case, we both went through it and agreed on what to include.

Second, we took into account last year’s snow storm, and what my wife might want to use from the bag.

Here is what we have in the bag, with the changes indicated in bold:

  • Granola bars (we are going to find some energy bars or fruit bars as well)
  • Water
  • Change of clothes (2 shirts, sweat pants, and 2 pairs of socks )
  • Work gloves
  • Ball cap and sock cap and woman’s ear covers
  • Poncho
  • Shoelaces
  • Bandana and shemagh 
  • Rubber jar opener (to make a makeshift sink drain plug if needed)
  • Cell phone battery charger
  • AA Batteries
  • LED flashlight
  • Light sticks
  • Ammo
  • Lighter
  • Candles
  • Purel
  • Germicidal wipes
  • Bedroll and fleece blanket
  • A towel
  • Space blanket
  • Hand Warmers
  • Entrenching tool
  • Multitool
  • Trash bags
  • Map
  • Compass
  • Whistle
  • Pen & paper
  • Rope
  • Drugs – Aspirin, Immodium, Sudafed, Antacids

In addition, I have a first aid kit and fire extinguisher that would be added.

Of course, we did the usual maintenance – fluffing the blankets and towels, and replacing the granola bars.

Now we are all set for the winter to come!

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Epilogue:

See other GHB posts from Linoge and Erin.  Good stuff.

 

Retiring A Flag On Flag Day

flag2bday2b2011Today is Flag Day in the United States, in which we honor the symbol of our country. It is also the anniversary of the founding of the US Army in 1775.

I wanted to share with you a story that involves both.

I fly two flags at my home, most of the time. The largest one I started flying on September 11, 2001, and has flown continually since then, lighted at night. I will always fly this flag.

The other flag is a smaller flag, attached to my mailbox post. It is flown to honor my brother, SFC Michael Lindsay, who has served in the US Army since the fall of 1991.

Mike

The flag flies on my mailbox whenever he serves in harm’s way in defense of me, you, and our country. As you can imagine, he has had his share of such assignments. In fact, in his almost 22 years of service, I think he has served only about 6 years where he wasn’t in a combat unit – 3 in the Old Guard, performing funerals at Arlington National Cemetery, and 3 as a drill instructor, jump school instructor, and Pathfinder instructor at Fort Benning. So, I have had a flag on my mailbox for most of the last 22 years.

Whenever I need to replace the smaller flag, I keep the old one as long as it isn’t too torn or faded to display. In 22 years I’ve kept 8 or so to display in my yard on national holidays. They are in my yard today, as you can see by the photo at the top of this post.

This is a special Flag Day for me, because I get to retire the mailbox flag, probably for good. My brother returned from his third tour of the middle east recently, and has been reassigned to the training brigade at Fort Dix, NJ, where he will prepare group troops that are deploying. Hence, he won’t be in a unit that could be deployed, barring a zombie apocalypse. His next assignment, we hope, will be to teach ROTC at a college in Florida, which would be an awesome thing for future reserve officers, as much as it would be for him and his family. That will likely be the post from which he retires.

My brother went in the Army in 1991, to get money for college. He scored well enough in the entrance testing to get into the Airborne, and he found out, to the delight of our whole family, that he enjoyed the work. You see, my family has a gene that, if untreated, makes us highly susceptible to being huge assholes. As it turns out, this isn’t such a  bad thing in the army. My brother found out that, in his words, being an asshole saves lives in combat. In fact, he is most proud of the fact that his commanding officers have actually used the word “asshole” in more that one of his annual reviews.

He has mostly spent his time in the 82nd Airborne Division, and he’s been places and done things that we’ve all heard about, like Kosovo, Haiti, Iraq, and Afghanistan. As an example, when Jimmy Carter and Colin Powell were in the office of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1995, trying to convince him to leave by pointing out that the 82nd Airborne was in the air coming his way, that was my brother they were talking about, flying their way in a big can of whup-ass.

Too, he has done things, and trained for things, that he’s told me about, on the back porch over a beer, that never made the papers. Some of it happened, and some of it was called off. Suffice it to say that, as an American, I am proud of the things our leaders have done, and have been willing to do, for our freedom. I’m also proud of the things they planned but decided not to do. Maybe, one day, these things will make the papers, or someone will write a book.

In any case, one day soon, when my brother’s family finally moves into their new home at Fort Dix, I am going to take a bunch of American flags in a box to the post office, and ship them to him. I don’t have to fly them on the mailbox any more. They are his now. They always were. He’s earned them, and he’s earned my thanks and respect.

Teaching the Next Generation

The Dauphin, ca. 2010

The other night at dinner, my son, the Dauphin, told me that, after giving the subject a lot of thought, he would like to take up competitive pistol shooting.

Needless to say, I am pleased, and excited. We talked about the different sports – GSSF, USPSA, IDPA, Steel Challenge – and which he would like to try first. Our conclusion was that GSSF would be a great start, given that it doesn’t require drawing, reloading, or moving.

However, there are only 3 GSSF matched in my area in any one year, and the next one won’t be until next February. It became clear that he really wanted to get into shooting quickly, and USPSA, with 3 matches per month in our area, gave the best opportunity for that.

So, we talked about what skills he would need to learn, and we came up with a training plan to get him competing the quickest. There are basically two phases – dry fire and live fire – and the two phases may naturally overlap depending on how fast he learns.

The skills he will need to learn include drawing from a holster, changing magazines, moving between shooting positions, and shooting on the move. Here’s how we saw him training and learning:

Dry fire Live fire
Drawing
Trigger control
Moving
Magazine changes

He can even do a lot of the moving-and-shooting training using his air-soft gun.

Next, I will post about the specific drills and skills he will be practicing.

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I will admit a certain caution in taking on this training program. Some time ago, my wife and I were learning to snow ski, and I tried to teach her what I knew. It was not pretty. Suffice it to say that, once I exhaust what I know about drills, I may skip the drama and go straight to paid instruction. Fortunately, in my area there are a lot of good teachers.

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Some day, soon, he will score better than I in a USPSA match. I’m not sure how I will feel when that happens.

Stay tuned.

Family Matters

Picture unrelated, mostly.

It is a time of change here in the FYH household.

My daughter has her first serious boyfriend, and he has come to visit several times. Last time, I happened to need to clean guns, so I made that announcement and left them on the couch, crouched over their laptops, and set off for the workshop.

Of course, I watched for the young man’s reaction, and there was none to speak of. He didn’t seem to cringe from the idea, nor did he offer to come help, or even ask what kinds of guns I was going to clean.

Nevertheless, as a good father, I’ve thought about what this could mean, and here are my possible conclusions, in order of highest probability to least probability:

> He didn’t hear me, being too engrossed in Facebook or studying civil engineering.

> He heard me, but my daughter had warned him of the possibility of my gambit, and convinced him that he had nothing to fear.

> He heard me, but he comes from a family where cleaning guns is a normal weekend thing, and he was afraid to ask, worried that I might try to get him to clean AR gas tubes all afternoon instead of doing the Facebook thing, or studying civil engineering.

> He heard me, but he comes from a family that is indifferent to guns, and it wasn’t enough to steal him from Facebook or civil engineering.

> He heard me, but he comes from a family that is actively anti-gun, and he decided to wait for another time to bring it up.

> He heard me, but he also saw the 4 or 5 shovels I have in the garage, as well as the 20 acres of woods behind my house, and decided to play dumb.

In any case, I will try to actively engage him next time on the subject, maybe even invite him and my daughter to go shooting with me.

More to come . . . .