Posts by Janet

IS THE WORLD STEALING YOUR PEACE?

Posted by on Jan 10, 2015 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | 9 comments

When we listen to or watch the news and hear of tragic or sad events, it is easy to get discouraged. When we, or the people we love, are going through difficult times our hearts are heavy and we long to transform the circumstances. It’s easy to wonder where God is, and why He allows these things to happen.

We live in a fallen world where evil, disaster, disease, and death seem to have free reign, and those are the events that seem to get news coverage. It’s important to remember that there are also stories of courage, sacrifice, kindness, and generosity that are taking place all around us. These incidents could touch our hearts and lift our spirit just as powerfully, but they rarely command the same amount of press time. 

As Christians, we know Who is triumphant. The whole story has been written and we know the ending ― that evil, disease and death will cease and Jesus will reign over all.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Until then, we can center our hearts and minds on the Lord. A great way to sheet of musicdo that is to list all the things for which we are thankful. Listening to hymns, praise songs, and inspirational music can also inspire and lift us. These tools don’t alter the circumstances, but it changes us, and our perspective as we go through trials.

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:4-9

The Lord has given each of us a platform, and prepared places for us to be an encouragement to others. When we choose to be the light, and do His will in the localities where He has placed us, He blesses us.

  If you need a song to encourage your heart today, listen to one of my favorites, My Jesus My Saviour by Michael W. Smith

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mqSQvoinDE4&list=PLh9KTH-y7X5URgvGx6VKf2ePhrcEe-BLIRainbow

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THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING — A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORYI

Posted by on Dec 22, 2014 in Blog, Devotions, Uncategorized | Comments Off on THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING — A CHRISTMAS ALLEGORYI

It was almost thirty years ago that I first read THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING by Mabel Lee Cooper. I’ve heard this Christmas allegory read by Paul Harvey, the well known American radio broadcaster, famous for his “‎The Rest of the Story” broadcasts several times in the years since. I’m sharing it now with you.  I wish you a blessed Christmas.

THE PHILOSOPHER’S AWAKENING

It was Christmas Eve. Outside the wind howled and the snow was falling; a dreadful blizzard was on the way. Inside his little house by the side of the road, a great philosopher sat comfortably by his warm fire with his books for companions. This philosopher was very wise. Many people found their way to his door to seek his advice and help. Not only was he wise, but also very kind; he loved all living creatures, and for his great kindness and wisdom he was beloved by all who knew him.

As he sat this stormy night by his warm fire he thought of all who might be out in the blizzard. He arose, raised his curtains high, and put a bright light in his window, saying, “All who must be out tonight can find shelter and warmth and welcome by my fire.”

As he stood by the window, suddenly he heard the sound of many voices singing, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will among men!” It was the little band of Christians singing in their chapel nearby.

“This is Christmas Eve”, thought the philosopher to himself, “the night the Christians celebrate the coming of God to earth in the person of Jesus Christ.”

Now this philosopher, being in the habit of understanding the things he believed, had not joined the band of Christians. He thought the Christians’ way of life was the best way, but he could not understand the many mysteries of their faith. Above all, he could not understand the Incarnation. Why was it necessary for God to come to earth in the person of Jesus Christ? How could it be? Because he could not understand these things he would not become a Christian.

As he was thinking, suddenly he heard a noise at his window, caused by a flock of half frozen birds beating their wings against his window pane. The poor birds had been caught in the blizzard as they journeyed southward to a warmer climate.

The heart of the philosopher was touched, for he loved birds.  He opened wide his window, thinkBirds in the Snowing the birds would fly in where there was warmth. But the birds didn’t understand, and would not fly in. Putting on his warm fur coat, he went outside, determined to save them if he could. He tried to force them into his room, but they resisted. Several times he tried to clutch them in his hands, but they eluded his grasp. Then he took bread crumbs and scattered them on a little place he had cleared in the snow. The half-starved birds devoured the crumbs, and then, with renewed strength, tried to fly again.

The philosopher thought of his barn where the birds would be safe in the warm hay. He placed a ladder leading to the door of the barn and covered each round of the ladder with bread crumbs. He succeeded in attracting the birds to the ladder. They ate the crumbs on each round and reached the open door of the barn. But they wouldn’t fly in! How hard the philosopher tried to force them inside, but they didn’t understand; and in spite of his efforts he saw the birds drop, one by one, frozen to death, with a haven so close at hand.

The philosopher looked sadly at the birds he had tried so hard to save. “The great difference between the birds and myself,” he thought, “is that I know where a haven is; they did not. They did not understand that I was trying hard to save them, and I could not make them see that the haven was close by. There was only one way I could have saved them ― only by becoming a bird could I have made them understand!”

As he mused, suddenly he heard again the Christians singing: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!”

Then a great light seemed to come to the wise philosopher. “O God,” he cried, “there was no other way for You to make men understand ― no other way that even You could lead them and make them understand, save by becoming one of them!”

And then, in the drifting snow, he fell upon his knees and uttered from the depths of his soul, “I believe! I believe!”

Holy Family

 

 

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MEET ELAINE MARIE COOPER, AUTHOR OF BETHANY’S CALENDAR

Posted by on Dec 12, 2014 in Blog, Book Reviews | 8 comments

Author and friend Elaine Cooper has written some wonderful historical novels that take place during the Revolutionary War. After reading Field of the Fatherless, a gut-wrenching story about a battle that takes place on the same day of the battles of Lexington and Concord, I commented to Elaine that it must have been a very stressful story to write. That is when she told me that she was in the early stages of writing Bethany’s Calendar, the story of her family’s journey through her daughter’s symptoms, diagnosis, and later death from brain cancer.

I was profoundly moved by Elaine’s courage, faith, and

Author, Elaine Marie Cooper

               Author,                   Elaine Marie Cooper

stamina to take on such a project, and told her I would be praying for her throughout this work so close to her heart.

Welcome Elaine. I believe that Bethany’s Calendar is your first non-fiction book. Please tell us a little about Bethany and what motivated you to write her story?

Thanks for having me, Janet. Yes, Bethany’s Calendar is my first non-fiction book and it definitely was the most difficult to write. I call it “the book I never wanted to write,” yet I felt the Lord clearly prompted me to put fingers to the computer and tell my daughter’s story. Once I asked friends to pray for me and I began the book, the words just flowed.

Bethany was an amazing young woman, so bright and full of life. She had so many plans and aspirations to do great things in the world—yet her life was cut short by the unforgiving disease of brain cancer. It wrought so many changes in her emotionally and physically. Yet the cancer could not destroy her faith in Christ. Her life and death reminds me of the verses in Romans 8:38-39. “For I am

Bethany Cooper

Bethany Cooper

convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  NIV

 

Bethany’s Calendar is so personal because it deals with your daughter’s illness and death. How did your family react when you told them you wanted to write a book about it, and did they contribute to it in some way?

I first told my husband because I needed to know that it was OK with him. I also asked permission from my two sons to include them in the story. They were both very supportive and gave me the green light. Occasionally I’d ask for input from my husband and he would help with recollections.

Eventually I revealed my plans to others and really didn’t get much input from them because, for the most part, they were not here. Most of my family lives a distance away so they weren’t privy to the day-to-day events. But most were very supportive of me writing this memoir.

 

Writing this book made you re-live such a difficult time in your life. How did you prepare for this task, Elaine and face it day after day?

I always begin my day with prayer and definitely included prayers for strength, wisdom and discernment when writing Bethany’s Calendar. Since it’s a memoir involving real people, I had to be very careful how I worded things and had to keep the identity of some individuals private. When it’s a memoir, you have to be aware of possible litigation.

Mostly, I wanted to please my Lord with each and every word that I wrote and keep Bethany’s memory untarnished.

 

Did you find writing Bethany’s Calendar brought additional healing for you and others?

I can’t speak for others but for me, having Bethany’s story told keeps her legacy of faith and courage alive. It is a joy to have been able to reveal to the world just a small glimpse of the inspiring, fun and unforgettable young woman who we knew and loved. And to write tips that might help others on a similar journey with a loved one, adds extra meaning to her life. To turn our pain into a means of hope and help for others is a comfort. And I think she would be pleased.

 

One might think a book on such a painful experience would be overwhelmingly sad, but Bethany’s Calendar, while bittersweet, is incredibly uplifting as well as instructional. Please tell us how you framed the book to be such a helpful resource.

It must have been the Lord prompting me to peruse her diaries and pull out excerpts from her own writing. I found it amazing that nearly every excerpt I selected became the perfect introduction to each chapter’s topic.

The “Notes to Self” and “Notes to Others” that finish each chapter just seemed the perfect reflection on what I’ve learned in the ten years since everything happened. Sometimes the tincture of time clarifies and sorts through the darkness to find light. I pray these tips will minister to many.

 

I remember thinking as I finished reading Bethany’s Calendar, that in its publication, some of Bethany’s hopes are being fulfilled. 

Yes. She is now a published author with her diary journals. That gives me great joy. 

Thank you, Elaine. Where can people find your books?

Bethanys Calendar CoverRight now, Bethany’s Calendar is available at Amazon and select bookstores.

Link to Amazon:  http://buff.ly/12izRBy 

Bio:

Elaine Marie Cooper has released her first non-fiction book, Bethany’s Calendar. It is a personal memoir of her daughter who died of a brain tumor and how the Lord was their strength during the darkest journey of their lives.

As a novelist, Elaine Marie Cooper has written Fields of the Fatherless and the Deer Run Saga. Her passions are her family, her faith in Christ and the history of the American Revolution, a frequent subject of her historical fiction. She grew up in Massachusetts, the setting for many of her novels. Visit her website at: http://www.elainemariecooper.com

 

Book Blurb:

 

In January of 2002, Elaine’s world flipped upside down. What started out as a beautiful New Year for the mom of three, turned into a living nightmare when her 23-year-old daughter, Bethany was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor.

 

In the months to come, Elaine not only used her nurse’s training, she learned to recognize the hand of God on her daughter’s life. Bethany’s Calendar tells the story of Elaine and Bethany’s journey and the many ways God helped their family to survive.  It is a story of fear and faith, commitment and compassion, told with gut-wrenching honesty while sharing unwavering faith in God.

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SALUTING AN UNCOMMON HERO

Posted by on Nov 11, 2014 in Blog, History, Uncategorized | 6 comments

FlagOn this Veteran’s Day, I want to give homage to Alex, a World War II hero, a United States Navy fighter ace and Medal of Honor nominee. Alex and I worked in the same Wells Fargo Bank office for six years back in the early 70’s. He worked upstairs in the Trust Department and I worked downstairs in the bank. I would see this man’s smiling face every day as he walked through the lobby and up the stairs. We would exchange pleasantries and at times chat in the lunch room. When my parents wanted to open a trust account, I set up the appointment and introduced my father, a retired Navy Captain, to Alex Vraciu, the Trust Officer.

By the mid 70’s I had relocated to the east coast and never saw Alex or most of my former coworkers again. One evening in the 80’s, I happened to be watching a program about World War II on Navy Seal 2television about the “Great Marianas Turkey Shoot”. Since I had visited the Marianas chain of islands, I was particularly intrigued. They were telling the story of the famous Navy fighter pilot, Alex Vraciu, already designated an ace because of his previous kills. But on June 19, 1943 he destroyed six Japanese dive bombers in a period of eight minutes. My eyes were glued to the screen watching the film footage as they detailed Alex’s many victories and illustrious career. I was stunned. Alex knew I came from a Navy family, yet he never mentioned he had served in the Navy.

Alex was nominated for the Medal of Honor for his actions at the First Battle of the Philippine Sea, but it was later downgraded to a Navy Cross. By the time the war ended, Alex was the US Navy’s fourth highest ranking ace. After the war he became a test pilot and played a part in forming the post-war Naval Air Reserve program. He was promoted to Commander and led squadron VF-51 from 1956 to 1958. In 1964 he retired and went into banking.

Commander Alexander Vraciu in front of an FJ-3 "Fury" like the one in which he won top honors at the 1957 Naval Air Weapons Meet in El Centra, California. - U.S. Navy Photo

Commander Alexander Vraciu in front of an FJ-3 “Fury” like the one in which he won top honors at the 1957 Naval Air Weapons Meet in El Centra, California. – U.S. Navy Photo 

Alex Vraciu was a hero, not only for his naval exploits, but also because of his remarkable humility. I suspect he and my father probably shared some Navy stories, but my father was also a man who did not believe in calling attention to one’s success, so he never shared what he knew of Alex with me.

Alex Vraciu is now 96 years old.  

“Fair Winds and Following Seas” Alex.

 

A note on a webpage set up to honor Alex states “ALEX VRACIU HAS NO DIRECT CONNECTION WITH THIS WEBSITE. THIS IS AN EFFORT BY HIS FRIENDS AND ADMIRERS, NOT BY ALEX HIMSELF. HE IS TOO MODEST A MAN TO PETITION FOR REDRESS.”

http://www.alexvraciu.net/Alex-Vraciu-Bio.html

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The United States Navy 239th Birthday

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 in Blog, History | Comments Off on The United States Navy 239th Birthday

The American War for Independence gave birth to what is now the United States Navy.

In late May of 1775, the Second Continental Congress began meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to push back against the British King’s coercive acts. April battles in Massachusetts brought the colonies into open warfare with British troops, so in part the function of this Congress was to establish and manage the war effort.

Until that time each of the thirteen colonies had their own militias made up of part-time citizen soldiers. Now, a unifying army was needed. In June The Continental Army was established to coordinate the military efforts between the thirteen colonies.

Britain not only had the world’s most powerful army, but their navy dominated the seas. The British navy was providing material support to the British forces in the colonies and hindering colonial trade. John Adams, among others, was advocating for an American fleet needed to defend coastal towns from British raiders, and protect the import and export of goods. Many of the Delegates to the Congress were initially reluctant and hoped for reconciliation with the Crown. They viewed the establishment of a navy a step towards independence, and a foolhardy attempt to take on the strongest navy in the world. 

On October 3, 1775, resolutions and arguments were made regarding the establishment of a fleet. By October 5, word had come of more English supply ships en route to Quebec. Delegates from New England were far more vocal advocates for a navy than their mid-Atlantic and Southern counterparts, and fortunately they made up the committee that came up with a plan.

On October 13, the Second Continental Congress voted on legislation authorizing two sailing vessels to be armed and manned by crews of eighty. These ships were to be sent out for a period of three months to block British transports from carrying munitions and re-supplying the British forces in the colonies. Fortuitously, that same day, a letter from George Washington was read in Congress indicating that he had acquired three schooners to cruise off Massachusetts to intercept enemy supply ships. This seemed to provide all the motivation needed to develop the Continental Navy. Congress soon established a Naval Committee charged to establish and equip a fleet.

Maritime ships were recruited and refitted with armaments to serve as war vessels.  During the war, ultimately more than fifty armed ships made up the Continental Navy. They seized enemy supplies, and transported munitions and provisions from Europe. The new Navy captured nearly 200 British ships, some near the British coast, which diverted part of the British navy from protecting their own ships and

The Navy Seal

The Navy Seal

trade routes.

After the Revolutionary War, the Navy ships were sold and the seamen and officers let go. The Constitution of the United States, which was ratified in 1789, empowered Congress “to provide and maintain a Navy” which it has done ever since.

“The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.”

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