Wednesday, April 21, 2010


If you have read my blog before you may have picked up on the fact that I dearly love my nieces and nephews. They bring such a joy and light into my life. I have moments when I just absolutely fall in love with these little guys, and moments when I fall in love all over again. They just have a way of getting a hold of my heart.

I forewarned that I would likely be blogging about the next newest one when they come along. So, today my brother and his wife welcomed a new beautiful baby girl into the family, and I'm just grinning ear to ear. Sadly for me her family lives quite a distance away, so I'm not sure when I'll get to hold her for the first time. But, with little Anna-Elizabeth that moment of absolutely loving her has already happened.

Several months back my brother and his wife learned that there was a possibility that Anna-Elizabeth had a condition which had she tested positive for would have meant that her chances of surviving until birth were not great, and chances of long term survival were slim to none. That was wrenching news for me to hear, and I'm just an aunt. I can't imagine how it was for her parents.

In my worry and anxiety over my nieces’ welfare I turned to God in prayer. The answer I received was the tremendous blessing of a sense of who Anna-Elizabeth is. I got to sense her goodness and to know that for her family, including good ol' aunt Sarah, that she would bring a unique and sweet spirit. She is simply lovely. She is equipped with one of the most powerful things the world needs right now, peace. From that moment on I felt like I already knew her.

The testing for that particular condition obviously turned out great. This sweet little girl looks to live a long happy and blessed life. It is such a blessing to know she is here safe and sound. I feel like when I do get the chance to hold her and spend time with her it won't be a first meeting, it will be more like a reunion.

Life is full of sweet reunions, sweet memories and tender mercies. The Lord blesses us with reminders of who we all truly are, His. We're all connected. Days like today are the days that I can see more clearly that we really are each others' brothers and sisters and should in reality treat our meetings with each other as reunions. Wouldn't it be cool if everyday everybody saw each other more clearly? Should not these sweet reunions reinvigorate within us the reality of our compassion for one another? The connections we have should motivate us in a great and real way to give goodness, to stand for what is right and true and precious, to protect virtue and morality, not just for our own sakes but also for our precious loved ones. To hold a loved one with an assurance that your love has been manifest is a sweet reunion indeed. And we ought to seek for those as often as we are able.

Life is good and blessed. I'm grateful for days like today to remind me of that, and to be able to recall later. God bless us, as He continually and faithfully has. God bless the good people and the good families of the earth. May we see more clearly His love for us, and see more clearly the love we already possess somewhere within us for each other.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Yet Another Charge

Racism, Violence, and now Sedition all charges leveled at the people who disagree with the current direction of the government. Sedition? Really? We have a divine right, which is protected by our Constitution, to speak out. We have a right to tell our government when we are opposed to their actions. It is "We the People" not 'we the government'. The government and especially the Constitution belongs to the people. We have a right, maybe even a duty to correct the government. Its not sedition its us exercising our rights.

These pundits claim that to pronounce that our government is acting in tyranny is seditious. Well, the definition of tyranny is absolute power (no napkin required its an easy definition). I and many others recognize that the rights of the people are being undermined by our own government who were sent to represent us. Understand that to take away the rights guaranteed by the Constitution is to grant the government more and more power. It is heading towards tyranny. If I have to find myself charged with a crime for saying so, well than I'll probably have good company. To level charges at us like racism, violence and sedition is an attempt to silence us from exercising our rights. It is an attempt to squelch the voices of dissent against a government. It will not work.

There were some other people who spoke about tyranny.

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of men." Thomas Jefferson.

"Tyranny like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." Thomas Paine

"Of those men who have overturned the liberties of republics, the greatest number have begun their career by paying an obsequious court to the people, commencing demagogues and ending tyrants." Alexander Hamilton

Like I said I'll be in good company. If that company includes the likes of Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin well that doesn't sound so bad.

To those who are leveling those charges of sedition I say to you now: I will stand and defend YOUR right to speak. I will stand and defend YOUR right to gather. I will stand and defend YOUR right to vote and to encourage others to exercise their rights as well. In doing so I understand that you and I will disagree. But, it is your right. It is time you recognize that it is mine as well.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Fulfilling Our Motto

A couple of days back I heard an intriguing question asked that really got me thinking. If you could wave a magic wand and change something in D.C. what would you change? It didn't take long for me to come up with an answer but once I got the answer I started thinking about how it could be brought about. If I could change something I would get rid of the corruption, I would have a return to morality.

Many of us will remember a rather famous quote from Ben Franklin given outside Independence Hall when the Constitutional Convention of 1787 ended. A Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin,” Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?" His response was, "A republic, if you can keep it." It is a great quote, but I recently ran across the rest of the conversation. Mrs Powell asked Franklin what he meant by that. His response was "This Republic, which we have given you with this Constitution, will end in despotism, as other forms of government have done before it, when the people become so corrupt that they are incapable of any other form of government."

Corruption and immorality are absolutely seething in Washington D.C. and in far too many places across the country. There are way too many examples to really begin to cover them all. Corruption and immorality are bipartisan. Make no mistake if we are going to return to more freedom than we are going to have to root it out of the political machine on both sides. The solution to this is going to have to be bipartisan as well. I have to believe that most people regardless of their political persuasion and preferred ideology will agree that corruption must be done away. I know that there have been a lot of politicians and their ilk who believe that the ends justify the means. That is nonsensical. Corrupt means will always corrupt the ends. We cannot have an honest debate about any of the issues until the underlying corruption that clouds every act, and debate is taken out.

Right now it seems as if we are in a very real fight to retain freedoms in America. There are few things more beautiful and resounding than a freedom loving soul who is willing to stand and fight for freedom, not just for themselves but for the benefit of others including those who would stand against them, and especially including future generations. Our soldiers are perhaps our best example of this. But, its time we are willing to follow suit. We need to engage in this battle to return to morality and to rid out corruption because our very freedoms and our Republic depend on it. In order to accomplish the great task of rooting out corruption and bringing back morality, we must first do it ourselves individually. We must turn to God in full trust and commitment.

We are imperfect, and bound by human frailties. But, the cause of freedom goes beyond any of that. The cause of freedom existed before the world was and it still exists in every heart. Our task is to embrace it, to nurture it and use it to better ourselves and to serve one another. In the end there is nothing that can conquer freedom, for it was divinely bestowed and freedom and its guardians will be divinely upheld. Because of that reality before we can fully engage in the battle to rid out corruption and bring back morality we must turn back to God.

As in any time, and perhaps more than any other age we absolutely must turn to God. He is freedom's greatest ally for He is the giver. We need His peace, we need His strength, and we need His freedom. He and His ways have been rejected time and time again. But, He is persistent in His loving ways; He will not give up on us. Now in the dispensation of the fullness of times as we ready for all of Scripture and prophetic hope, faith and words to be fulfilled we must fulfill our motto, "In God We Trust."

We have no illusion of ease. But, we know the final outcome. The time for apathy, indifference and fence sitting is over. Choose your side

I have no idea what the battles will be like. I hope with all my heart that it can remain a battle of words and ideas. We must do our utmost to prosper peace by being at peace ourselves, than with our families, than with other loved ones, radiating outward to larger and larger spheres of influence as best as we are able.

The path to freedom and the path to peace are the same, whether personal or on larger scales. The path is only with our God. He has given us the proper measures to follow. We must commit to following and keeping His commandments. There may be heartache. There may be pain, but overshadowing all of that is the freedom, peace and joy promised to the faithful. If we stand with Him, He will stand with us.

This all is not just a question of our country. It goes beyond that. It is a longer, eternal view. Our course for eternity is set by the paths we choose in mortality. If we truly believe in God, we need to take a stand for Him. If we truly believe in freedom, we need to take a stand. If we truly love our families and friends and others we need to take a stand.

It is an hour of not just decision, but actions. May God continue to bless this bastion of freedom and its citizens. May His grace continue to be shed. We ask this knowing He will keep His promise, for He is ever faithful, ever kind and ever graceful. The final measure is whether or not we do our part.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Walk

Several years back I had the blessed opportunity to spend several months in Israel. I've written here before about some of my experiences. When I come upon a religious holiday I cannot help but to have some sweet memories come flooding back to me. At this Easter season I again draw inspiration and hope.

Last Sunday was Palm Sunday. I remember clearly gathering on the streets of Jerusalem, palm frond in hand, with a crowd of fellow Christians. We began a walk down into the Old City where we would join together in a worship service. It started raining buckets as we slipped along down the cobbled streets. But, nothing could dampen the joy of that occasion. How amazing it was to walk through the city as Jesus had done on many occasions. On Palm Sunday He rode into the city triumphant and welcomed, though soon so many would turn on Him. It was an honor to walk there that day.

One of my favorite places on the planet is the Garden of Gethsemane. I was able to spend time there sitting in the shade of an olive tree. There I pondered the magnificence of His Atonement. I marvel at the love, and mercy that He has shown to me and to all of us.

Tomorrow is Good Friday. I've had the blessing to walk down what is called The Via Dolorosa, the Way of Suffering. It was the path He walked as He carried the cross, symbolic of our weight that He took upon Himself. What a blessing it was to walk down that same path.

I've seen Golgotha, the place of the skull. I again marvel at the sacrifice He so willingly gave for you and for me.

I've walked in the Garden Tomb. It is quite possibly where he was laid. I rejoiced as I received the message, "He is not here, for He is risen." In that message is hope and life and joy forever.

It remains a blessing in my life to have those precious memories. But, although those have served as powerful reminders of my testimony, my real testimony of the Savior Jesus Christ has not come because I walked where He walked, its because He walks with me. Along my journey He has been there ever faithful, ever merciful and ever with open arms waiting to receive me. I love Him dearly and will thank Him eternally for all He has given. My greatest hope is that I can one day be in His sacred presence and be able to kneel at His feet and express my gratitude.

The only thing that I can imagine greater than being in the presence of My Savior, is being there with the people that I love. To all of you I wish a very Happy and Joyous Easter season. I've learned much of Christ, from the people I know. Thank you and God continue to bless.

Sarah Emily Jordan

I happened upon this excellent video, a rendition of Chris Rice's amazing song "Come to Jesus" sung by Kenneth Cope. It captures some of my feelings about the Savior Jesus Christ.

If We Only Had a Brain

I don’t mean like each one of us individually. We all have brains. I guess I could make all sorts of statements about that, but will leave it alone. I’m talking about if we were able to just take a look at America’s brain. I am a Counselor by profession and one of the modalities that I use most frequently is Biofeedback and specifically, Neurofeedback. Biofeedback employs technology to help people consciously self-control body activities and symptoms which they may have thought were involuntary. Neurofeedback is biofeedback for the brain. Basically we hook up a client via an EEG encoder to read brain wave activity and than use a behavior modification protocol to alter unhealthy brain wave patterns.

Brain wave frequencies are determined by how fast they occur within a second. The following identifies the common names of groups of frequencies and the general characteristics associated with that group. It comes from John N. Demos book Getting Started with Neurofeedback.

Delta 1-4 Sleep, repair, complex problem solving
Theta 4-8 Creativity, insight, deep states
Alpha 8-12 Alertness and peacefulness,
readiness, meditation
Beta 13-21 Thinking, focusing, sustained attention
SMR 12-15 Mental alertness, physical relaxation
High beta 20-32 Intensity, hyperalertness, anxiety
Gamma 38-42 Cognitive processing, learning

Okay, got it? Good. I know the question, what the heck does that have to do with the nation? Well, if I could get a hold of the nation’s brain I think it would be kind of clear cut what kind of treatment course I would set out on.

Let me give you some examples, using some of the reaction the brain often gives to circumstances. The slowest brain wave activity, Delta, is often present when someone has experienced some kind of injury. This is because Delta is where the brain goes in order to heal itself and the whole body. Delta can be a perfectly healthy reaction. If you get sick or have an injury, you get sleepy so your body can heal. More traumatic events produce more Delta. Trauma can be physical such as a traumatic brain injury, but it can also be mental and or emotional. Particularly if a person has repeated trauma the Delta activity can be even more present, and harder to get unstuck.

Theta is also a common reaction to trauma. Theta like Delta is appropriate and healthy in some circumstances. But, sometimes people can get stuck in this pattern when they are trying to escape unpleasantness. Producing a lot of Theta can be associated with a kind of “fogged out” feeling. Individuals with ADD/ADHD often produce a lot of Theta.

Alpha rocks. It is the frequency where people are able to self-sooth, and resolve some of the negative experiences they have had. It is a place of meditation and clarity.

Beta is the thinking brain wave group. It is predominantly present as we are problem solving and focusing on mental tasks. But, if we are thinking too much than it crosses over into High beta.

High beta is overactive when people are ruminating, and than can lead to anxiety.

A common situation that I will come across is an individual who has experienced some serious trauma and so their brain has gone into slower wave activity, Delta and Theta. At the same time the brain knows that it needs to be alert so it figures out a way to wake itself up quickly when needed, often times that means kicking up the High beta. So, a person can be anxious while at the same time have a fogged out feeling. Its akin to driving down the freeway with your emergency brake on. It’s pretty uncomfortable to say the least. The treatment protocol for this situation is pretty simple we have to train the brain to decrease Delta, Theta and High beta activity. At the same time we also train the brain to increase Beta activity, including SMR. Also, we need to teach the brain to produce a healthy amount of Alpha.

I’m not going to go into too much more detail. Check out Demos’ book which I referenced earlier if you’re interested in learning more. Its cool stuff and I’m grateful to include it in helping people.

But, I was thinking about if I was going to apply a treatment protocol to America’s brain it would be very much like the one I described above. So many people describe America as “waking up” right now. What is it that we are waking up from, well from what our Founder’s described as “repeated injury.” People have become far too accustomed to entitlements that are literally bankrupting us like Social Security and Medicare. They have also become accustomed to government corruption and sleaze. Its happening anyway, so people just shut down and hope it will go away. Every once in a while we get shocks to the system that are like that High beta, think of something like September 11th. Boy, did people wake up then to the danger we are in. But, eventually a sleepiness, a fogged out kind of feeling resumed.

What we really need is to go into some of those more healthy type activities. We need to encourage thinking through rationally. We need to encourage a calm alertness. And we need to get back to encouraging more Alpha. America needs to feel good about itself. We need to realize that it is within ourselves that we can find the solution for problems. Instead of pretending that there are no real injuries, or threats of injury, we need to be awake to the fact that they exist, and that solutions also exist. We can be solution oriented instead of just reactionary. The more that we can encourage the positive activity the less likely it is that we will fall back into the old stand-by of falling asleep.

Maybe this is a corny post, but I think if America had a brain this would work. And if we treat the nation like it is a brain, it just might go a long way in healing things up and moving forward.

A Great Society

This might be a little controversial but I’m going to write it anyway. A Great Society is possible. A society in which there are no poor, and everybody is truly equal can actually happen. We have a prescription for making it come to pass. It would mean every individual fully embracing the commandments of God. That’s it, that’s the solution to the nations and in fact the worlds problems. We just need to follow the path that Our Creator has outlined for us. If people individually made the decision and the commitment to follow the Gospel of Jesus Christ we would be absolutely enveloped in peace and safety.

Tell people that the true path to freedom and peace is living the Gospel of Jesus Christ and boy will you get shot down in our society today. The thought of encouraging people to live the commandments fill the leftists with horror. They would say that you cannot force people to do that. To that I say *Ding Ding Ding* you got it! To force people to live a certain way is antithetical to God’s way. He has given us life, and He has also given us the sacred gift to direct our lives. That is why a Great Society could only be achieved by people CHOOSING to follow the path God has laid out for us.

So, yes I agree it cannot be forced. But, than I need to point out, that while many on the left balk at the idea of forcing people to be religious at the same time they would attempt to try to force their agenda on the populace. The leftist ideologues preach their own “enlightened” prescriptions for societal greatness. They know that in order to push through their agenda they have to mandate it to the people. In a real sense they believe themselves to be better than God, and in their arrogance they are driving society to the brink of failure, slavery and destruction. In their arrogance they look to themselves as the answer for perfection, denying the truth that that kind of miracle would only be possible through Divine help.

People have been taught and now embrace the teaching that freedom means escaping responsibility and consequences. Our society today is propping up bad behavior by trying to absolve people from the consequences of that behavior. Abortion is the most glaring example of this attitude. The result of teaching that freedom is to be free from consequence is that excuse after excuse and escape after escape has to be put in place to try to cover for all the unintended consequences that follow. Those excuses and escapes come in the form of more control from those in power, laws mandating what people must do, laws that redistribute property, including money, laws that do away with life in order to make way for more irresponsibility.

Our government attempts to perfect society and yet is turning its back on the principles that if individually applied would actually create a wonderful haven. Honoring and keeping the commandments would go farther than can now be imagined in making this society great. The leftists crave the result, but deny the method. They crave the power to do it by their own means, which history has proven again and again is an impossibility. The result of freely choosing to live God’s commandments is more freedom and peace and equality and charity towards one another. The result of forcing equality of wealth and property is apathy, indifference, anger and a dependence on government to the point of slavery.

A truly great society requires the humility to rely on someone other than ourselves, and other than some political power. It takes relying and truly trusting in God, not just saying it but acting on that trust, following His lead and His word. I would never presume to tell anyone how to live their life. But, I will point out the obvious. Keeping the commandments would solve society’s problems. I invite others to consider this reality and to take a stand with Christ. The essential element of a good society is good people. Our Founders knew this, and thus made absolutely sure that freedom of religion was secured. Christ can sanctify us to be our best selves, through Him and walking in His way. I invite you individually and this nation to turn to Him and live.