Friday, July 04, 2008


June Book Drawing Winner: Virginia B from Oregon.

My new co-authored book will be out Sept. 1. Check it out here.

Book Drawing: Leave a comment here or email me at and I’ll enter your name for the July book drawing to win a copy of The Stained Glass Pickup.


On the morning of July 4th, 2000, I fastened a Texas flag and an American flag into the pole brackets on my front porch. My two year old grandson, Jack, watched. I said, “Today is the United States’ birthday.”

Jack asked, “Will there be presents?”

Eight years later, his question haunts me. This country gives a lot—from the sea, the soil, and the government, and we enjoy specific freedoms. My toddler grandson planted an idea. Why not give back to the USA?

I know of a gift that each individual can give, even the poorest among us, one that can affect our culture and effect change like no other — the gift of loyalty. The virtue is not indigenous, but can be cultured.
Loyalty means faithfulness, devotion, trustworthiness, constancy, reliability, dependability — a Fourth of July picnic basket full of good characteristics. Just imagine the difference in government spending and dispersion if each law maker were truly trustworthy, looking out only for the citizens who voted them into office.

Envision the amount of revenue, to assist our citizens, if no one cheated on their taxes. Our friend Gail Curtis said about her dad, Leonard Martens, “When daddy did his taxes, he always added a little to his payment in case he’d forgotten something.” That’s the kind of loyalty and honesty I’m talking about, a high personal standard.

Picture the production level if every able bodied American worked with vigor, giving a full eight hours labor for eight hours of wages. What might happen in educational institutions, if teachers and students were all devoted to teaching and learning?

How might a family benefit if the husband and wife were committed to each other on paper and in person, and their children recognized them as dependable, constant? The family is the largest educational system in America, an important stage where loyalty can be modeled by adults.

Of course, the top model for loyalty is God whose rain falls on the just and the unjust (Matt. 5:45). God is constant and programmed the seasons to never falter “as long as the earth endures” (Gen. 8:22). God is faithful, dishes out hope. He is love.

Knowledgeable citizens have stressed that keeping freedoms and character compatible is a great challenge. A first step in not abusing freedoms is for each resident of the United States, citizen or alien, to check their loyalty quotient.

Today, sparklers glitter, children decorate bicycles, parades queue up, and watermelons chill in ice chips, American flags wave — all signs that it’s America’s birthday. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, citizens will enjoy city-wide bashes and backyard barbeques. Enjoy today and what you receive from the USA, and consider the thought provoking question: “Will there be presents?”

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