Flashes – The Law of the Harvest

Exclamation MarkConsider a well-known truth that never appears to be fully understood, does a man sow thistles and reap strawberries?  Leo J. Muir’s book, “Flashes from the Eternal Semaphore,” lists this as the fifth semaphore, and of the six semaphores, this one is probably my favorite to discuss.  Not because I am sowing rocks and reaping corn and beans, but because I often sow rancid vegetables and reap garbage, then wonder why I cannot improve my harvest.  As the writings on flash four stated, “Thy speech betrayeth thee,” I am a slow learned and generally only really grasp things after experiencing some consequences that would kill others.  As we discuss the Law of the Harvest, please note I am not here to convince or convert, merely to help myself.  If you find value in this topic, join me, teach me, that we may both then learn more perfectly.

The law of the harvest is straightforward; many farmers know this law cold, “You reap what you sow.”  If you sow lima beans, you do not raise grapes.  If you are sowing carrots, you cannot harvest apples.  No matter how many times you plant them, Cheerios do not sprout a doughnut tree; I know as I planted a LOT of Cheerios.  Bubble gum, when planted, never grows into a bubble gum tree; my mother lied!

Yet, with this mindset, many people, myself included, become depressed, disconnected from reality, and mentally unstable.  Thinking, oh, I can sow gossip and truth, and equity and justice will be shown to me.  I can tell lies, cheat, steal, then become rich, famous, and never have any negative consequences.  I can take and plant some cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines, etc., in my body and remain healthy, strong, active, and never suffer mentally, emotionally, or spiritually.  The law of the harvest doesn’t work like this, yet, this remains the greatest living lie.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

From the eternal semaphore comes the following:

Be NOT Deceived!  [emphasis mine]”

Now, consider how many people drink alcohol and expect not to suffer a hangover.  Consider the people consuming vast amounts of sugar, in all its various forms, who think they will never suffer diabetes, become overweight, or suffer any consequences from all that sugar.  My aunt is a great woman, fantastic artist, amazingly kind and generous person, and a chocoholic.  She never thought about the consequences of consuming chocolate because the research shows chocolate is healthy; she never could overcome the mental illness she suffered from that the chocolate was a comforting influence.  Her family mourns her passing!

The law of the harvest is a stern warning and an incredible promise.

He that soweth to the flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.”

The pattern is evident for those struggling who sow goodness, kindness, and happiness.  Hold on; your harvest WILL come, and it will be glorious.  In the same breath, those sowing hate, envy, strife, malice, greed, and so much more, your harvest is also coming, and I feel awful for what your harvest will be.  For the law of the harvest comes with a profound sentiment:

God will not be mocked.”Frederick William Robertson Quote: "You reap what you sow - not something else, but that. An act ...

I promise, there is a God, an atonement IS available through His Son, and the Holy Ghost is real and powerful.  The enclosed sentiment in the Law of the Harvest remains my comfort when harvesting the bitter fruits my heart grows.  Yes, many times, I quake for the thought that I desperately need to find a way to raise a better crop on the stony ground of my heart.  Long have I prayed for a change of heart, for a line from Stephen King’s “Pet Sematary” rings forever in my mind:

The soil of a man’s heart is stony ground.  A man grows what he can, and he tends it.  ‘Cause, what you buy is what you own.  And what you own… always comes home to you.”

If you get nothing more out of this flash than the need to change fertilizers and seeds, all with an eye to improving your harvest, I have accomplished my goal.  Confucius is quoted as saying, “Our headstrong passions shut the doors of our souls against God.”  What great counsel, our passions are the seeds, the consequences are the fruit, and the law of the harvest governs whether we will have a harvest to enjoy or curse, and we choose how to value that harvest.

Bear with me a moment; I might have lost a few of you.  Let me explain.  As a kid, we often had gardens, and I was regularly on the working end of a hoe killing weeds.  I cursed those weeds; I despised every second I wielded that hoe in the garden.  My cherub-like demeanor was nowhere to be found working those garden rows!  Then came the endless days of harvesting, canning, storing, and eating that which could not be stored; I still was NOT a happy person.  Ever eat zucchini for weeks on end because that horrible stuff reproduces like rabbits in perpetual heat whose water is full of Viagra?You reap what you sow. #bible #liveBigly #life #affiliate #quote #inspiration #message #world # ...

That is the point; when the harvest comes, and a harvest always comes, we choose how we value that which is being harvested.  My father tried hard to teach me this lesson, but all I ever saw were the endless hours sweating in a kitchen preparing jars for canning, the blisters from hoeing the weeds, and the time spent doing that which we would eventually purchase in cans as winter dragged on and on.  I could not see any value in gardening, so the blessings of the harvest were lost on me.  Headstrong passions blinded my eyes to the blessings of the harvest, and I cursed the day I was conceived.  Confucius is correct, and I have witnessed the problems with headstrong passions interfering with the Law of the Harvest many times since.

I am also experiencing the truth from Cicero:

A youth of sensuality and intemperance delivers over to old age a worn-out body.”

I would add, an intemperate youth also yields a worn-out mind!  Having observed this as a youth, I thought I could escape the problems of being intemperate, and I can honestly proclaim, I was wrong!  Since my youth, I lifted objects heavier than practical; I gloried in the strength of my body and pushed it to the absolute limit many times.  What am I reaping; I was disabled by the time I was 30.  I am now older but not wiser.  I still want to push my boundaries without regard for consequences and wind up on the floor, in hospital, or mentally unable to think properly for weeks on end.  As a kid, when my parents were told of one of their kids being punished (a not infrequent occurrence), they regularly said, “Well, he brought that on himself.”  To quote Ray Stevens, “Yeah, I Did!”  I did bring on myself the harvest of intemperance and am delivering a worn-out body and mind to old-age.  There are lots of seeds we plant and many different types of harvests we reap.  When valuing the harvest, choose wisely how you evaluate the crop.#everything #you #do #say #choice #soon #later #quote #lessons #learned #life | Lessons learned ...

Pliny, more famously known as Gaius Plinius Secundus, also known as Pliny, the Elder,” was a Roman author, naturalist, philosopher, and naval and army commander.  He is quoted as saying:

Lust is an enemy to the purse, a foe to the person, [a] canker to the mind, a corrosive to the conscience, a weakness of the wit, a besotter of the senses, and finally a mortal bane to all of the body.”

Lust is regularly only thought of as an intense sexual desire.  This type of lust definitely fits what Pliny is warning about; however, lust is also an overwhelming craving, unassailable desire, and intense eagerness or enthusiasm.  Yet, many might not fully grasp the semaphore Pliny is flashing; Henry Wordsworth Longfellow might be easier to understand:

The blossoms of passion, gay and luxuriant flowers, are bright and full of fragrance, but they beguile us and lead us astray, and their odor is deadly.”

Henry Giles and John Howe are both flashing the same message, trying to capture our attention and teach the same lesson:

The passions are at once tempters and chastisers.  As tempters, they come with garlands of flowers on brows of youth; as chastisers, they appear with wreaths of snakes on the forehead of deformity.  They are angels of light in their delusions; they are fiends of torment in their afflictions.”

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

What do you regret from your youth as the first tastes of passion’s deadly fruits?  Let me speak plainer; of course, you remember your first time in love, the rush of passions start, and the heartbreak of closure.  Do you see the seeds of passion and the harvested fruits as beneficial or deadly?  I know my answers to this question and understand more fully why modesty, chastity, and virtue are to be honored, respected, and cherished.  You choose how you evaluate your experiences.You reap what you sow | Everyday quotes, Peace quotes, One word inspiration

I currently work with a person who curses their ex-wife in the vilest language imaginable, yet, they praise their child in the same breath and bless the day they came into their life.  What seeds are being planted in the child, the co-workers, and society?  Will the bitter fruit be understood and evaluated as good?  Time will tell.  Byron summed this semaphore perfectly:

Vice digs her own voluptuous tomb.”

Of all the advice given, I wish I had observed the following more perfectly, and while I do not know the author, many have semaphored the following message in one form or another:

Shun the obscene!”

A long time back, exactly when escaped me, I watched a comedian who told some off-color stories for the audience’s amusement.  Those seeds bore some of the most pernicious weeds in my mind, choking out life and pleasure, goodness, and all things clean and kind.  Killing those weeds is a constant exercise, some would classify as futile.  But, I have chosen differently and fought those weeds desiring something better, and the fight continues.  I do not find swearing, debauchery, lewdness, immorality, perversion, and such amusing anymore.  When I came to myself, I cleaned out a LOT of entertainment, removing books, magazines, music, movies, and more in an effort to cling to the good and shun the obscene.  I had to re-learn lessons from childhood.

Now I look back on those mistakes, those seeds planted carelessly, and the bitter and thorny weeds I now fight and wish I could help others understand the same lesson I learned.  Not shunning the obscene leads to problems immeasurable.  In the US Navy, I had a good acquaintance who went to a party, was slipped a mickey, and woke up having been raped by another female.  I counseled my friend to report this event and get tested.  My friend declined because she “did not know if she liked it or not.”  I mourned my friend that day and many days after as she experienced what happened after not shunning the obscene.  Before she revealed her true self, her rapist was a person I respected and who was removed from military service for other actions.  But the crime of rape went unreported, a sad commentary indeed!  John Howe was absolutely correct:

Sensual delights soon end in loathing, quickly bring a glutting surfeit, and degenerate into torment.”

Quotes You Reap What You SowMy friend’s experience in the US Navy always brings a poem to mind courtesy of Alexander Pope:

Vice is a monster of so frightful mien
as to be hated needs but to be seen;
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace
.”

The truth of the matter remains permanently etched upon our souls or consciousness, “You reap what you sow.”  We inherently know this truth, and then become sidetracked by temptation, which comes in the forms of misery, depression, beauty, emotions, and more; wrapped in shiny foil, the fruit inside is always bitter, but the first bite is a temptation that over time becomes that which we would have died to avoid.  Robert Southey, the English poet, semaphored this message thusly:

They who engage in iniquitous designs deceive themselves into thinking that they will go so far and no farther.  One fault begets another; one crime makes another necessary.  Thus downward they go into the depths of guilt, which at the commencement of their career they would have died rather than incurred.”

QuestionCan you relate to your experiences with planting and harvesting?  What are you teaching and semaphoring?  Dr. Johnson adds a comment worth remembering: “The chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too strong to be broken.”  While Dr. Johnson is correct, there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there are chain cutters available through repentance and a path back.  There is a reason to hope!  Not speaking religiously, nor am I here to convert anyone to any religious flavor, merely to alert those needing it that there is a way to clean your mind and heart, that your future may produce a better harvest.  Even if you might have to harvest garbage for a while as the ground cleans itself of the impurities dumped into it.  Mr. Muir quotes Simons, a reference unknown, regarding the path:

Impure thoughts awaken impure feelings, lead to impure expressions, and beget impure actions, and these lead to imbecility both of body and of mind, and to the ruin of all that is noble and pure in character.”

We who have survived youthful transgressions understand this path perfectly.  Note, we live in an age of severe iconoclasm, where every day, we are bombarded by attacks on established beliefs by institutions built for the sole purpose of tearing down others.  Who cannot replace their depravity and destruction with anything wholesome, good, pure, or worthwhile.  Where beliefs of religion, societal norms, and institutions representing the living and breathing were destroyed for the wanton pleasure of the iconoclasts.  The age of the iconoclasts began with the 1960s, and nothing built since is worth the pain and suffering we are experiencing now.  Worse, those iconoclasts from the 1960s are now teachers and professors, elected leaders, and their legacy of destruction stares them in the face while they laugh and take pleasure at your suffering.Quotes About Reaping What You Sow. QuotesGram

With each successive generation of iconoclastic behavior, the succeeding generations are a factor of 10 worse than their parents.  Think of how many generations have come and multiplied this abhorrent behavior into society.  Is it any wonder as a society we are in the mess we are in, where criminals get off, the victims are repeatedly punished, good is heralded as evil and evil for good.  But, I promise there is a “Balm in Gilead,” there is a path forward that leads back to life, growth, happiness, goodness, and a morally upright society.  Shunning the obscene is the first step!

Knowledge Check!We must be the generation that begins the repair job from the iconoclast’s destruction.  The ravages inflicted upon us will require re-learning, embracing hope, building faith, and acting charitably through faith and hope to act charitably first to ourselves, then to our families and friends, and then to the broader societies we all live in.  Whether you embrace a religious community or not, the imperative to “Shun the obscene:” the need to sow better crops to reap a more desirable harvest valued by others is universal.  Not to create fervor and fanaticism, but to create a people dedicated to improving ourselves and after improving ourselves to improve the world around us.

May we all enjoy a better harvest is my hope!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

#FreedomConvoys and the Authoritarians

Theres moreLong have I hoped that the government of Justin Trudeau in Canada would have listened and heeded the voices of the truckers, farmers, and citizens of Canada long before writing on this topic.  Unfortunately, Trudeau chooses to be tone-deaf to all voices but the ones in his head and those pouring money into his political coffers.  Trudeau’s craven, cowardly, and corrupted government remains a disgusting and deleterious mark against the history of freedom.  The history books will mark him the “Low-Water Mark” in Canada’s history, as I believe the people of Canada are fed up!  Time will tell.

Unfortunately, Canada’s closest neighbor to the south is in just as poor hands and is acting just as incorrigibly!  Yes, little Joey Biden, I am talking about you!  Using the Department of Homeland Security to quash the American version of the Canadian #FreedomConvoy is so detestable as to rank with Kristallnacht in Fascist Germany!  I do not make this comparison lightly.  Using the government to silence the speech of others is WRONG!

Angry Wet Chicken 2Trudeau, are you listening?  Using the tools (Police Officers) to steal fuel from truckers is the definition of theft and is illegal!  Encouraging those in government, who have always longed to be a Storm Trooper to act in a manner that removes liberty and freedom while threatening the lives and livelihoods of others, is NOT how to govern in any representative government.  Trudeau, Biden, pay close attention; you are authoritarians and have broken the social contract inherent in your ability to govern.  Lacking the authority to govern means your only way to escape is to leave power!

Israel regularly arrests old people who are not wearing masks in the name of “curbing the spread of COVID.”  Australia is still rounding up people and putting them in camps for “public safety during COVID.”  Taxing the unvaccinated, as proposed in Canada, and the vaccine mandates and COVID restrictions in every country is 100% anathema to good order and discipline.  While also being questionable legally and inherently immoral and unethical.  Yet, those in power want to cling to COVID as a “health emergency” to clutch impotently to government powers gotten through coercion and theft.

COVID is only the latest excuse for grabbing power that rightly belongs to the people, but the government lusts after.  While some laws can be drafted to steal that power, other powers must be given to the government to abscond with zeal and self-righteousness.  Consider the following, certainly not an all-inclusive list:

  • Taxes – These are legislated government demands forcing citizens to pay for the privilege of living in a society governed by that government.
  • Private Property – At least in a Constitutional Republic, personal property must be given away.
  • Individual Health Choices – If you live in a representative government with socialized medicine, the government CAN dictate what goes into your body, as you do not have the right to control your health.
  • Individual Health Choices – If you live in one of the few countries remaining without socialized medicine, you retain the right to decide. These governments are working overtime to steal this right from you, using incentives and legislation to remove your choice of governing your health.

Exclamation MarkLet’s say you do not like the vaccine mandates; in a socialized medicine country, the government says, “Tough!  Take the jab!”  Then use the power of Storm Trooper bureaucrats to ensure you do what they demand.  In a non-socialized medicine country, the government is as powerful and refuses to be idle.  As has been witnessed in America, the government continues to employ whatever means necessary to confuse, blind, and sow chaos to win the power to demand you get the jab.  Lusting after power that rightly belongs to the electorate has become a game for the government, and insufficient numbers of people understand what is happening and the long-term effects.  Worse, the enemies of freedom and liberty already know the long-term consequences and are salivating at the thought of controlling others for personal gain!

Pope Gregory I, around 600AD, provided the capital sins, cardinal sins, also known as the 7-Deadly Sins.  Lust, Gluttony, Greed, Sloth, Wrath, Envy, and Pride are the specific cardinal sins, whose curative opposites or virtues are: Faith, Hope, Charity, Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude.  Why do I believe people are fed up and ready to take action?  All 7-Deadly Sins are in such power in the representative governments that no excuse can justify their continued existence.  While simultaneously, anyone living by the 7-Virtues is castigated, derided, and excluded from power, being demonized and made into the enemy.Tax Burden

History has proved, multiple times, that when governments throw off all virtue and embrace the 7-Deadly Sins, that government is ripe for a hostile takeover.  NO!  In making this observation, I am NOT advocating violence for political purposes.  Let’s be clear; change occurs without violence, sometimes.  I hope for a violent free shift in direction in the global elected representative government crop.  Still, the realist in me has long understood that weak people execute violence to protect what they deem as theirs.  Trudeau and his ilk have already begun beating the drum calling for violence against the truckers assembled in Ottawa, and I hope and pray for a peaceful resolution.  Australia and Israel have executed violence to protect the political pandemic and keep powers stolen.  America is ordering violence against all who stand in opposition as the US Constitution is dismantled for private gain.

How does one know when authoritarians have forsaken all virtue?

Observing the 7-Deadly Sins is easy; observing virtue is a lot harder, but at the same time is easy, and a simple test exists to help further the observation.  Look at their fruits; look at the results of the decisions, and judge for yourself the consequences.  When was the last time a political leader admitted they were wrong, apologized, and then worked tirelessly to reverse course publicly?  Did it take a judicial decision to initiate the process of repentance, or was the repentance process begun through self-realization?  If a judge ordered repentance and an adjusting of course, did the person act immediately or slow walk, or worse, refuse to honor the judicial decision?

I Don't Want to Hear Another Non-Apology | Foluke's African SkiesIn my youth, I watched the Monica Lewinsky debacle with abhorrence!  Watching President Bill Clinton use an apology, which wasn’t an apology, for political course correction and stave off impeachment proceedings sickened me!  How many times has the same non-apology tactic worked?  Let’s ask Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Governors Newsome, Grisham, and Whitmer, as well as countless others who have made non-apologies.  Are the fruits of the 7-Deadly Sins and 7-Virtues apparent; maybe not; let’s use another example.

Currently, the United States is suffering under inflation not experienced in 40-years.  While I fully believe Biden and his executive branch despots are to blame, not all of the blame rests upon Biden and his team of despots.  The US Senate and especially the US House of Representatives are just as responsible and deserve to suffer from the fruits of their poor decisions.  Under the US Constitution, the President is not in charge of the budget; the US House of Representatives controls the American Government’s checkbook.  Speaker Pelosi is more responsible for the inflationary disaster in America, which is having a trickle-down effect globally, and thinks she can continue to skate because, in her opinion, “Americans are ignorant.”  Look at the fruits of the government, and you will find all 7-Deadly Sins, but little to none of the 7-Virtues.

Let’s take a moment to revisit the 7-Virtues, which stand in stark and absolute opposition to the 7-Deadly Sins.

    • Faith – is defined as an action that inspires firm belief based upon confidence in authority and veracity (truth) of another, rather than upon one’s knowledge, reason, or judgment.
    • Hope – is defined as possessing confidence (trust) that the action taken is possible and there is an expectation of succeeding, eventually.
    • Charity – is all about actions that help others in need without caring for a reward.
    • Justice – is a concept that encapsulates moral rightness (decency), conforming to a moral code from a desire, not from a third-party executing authority. Governing self is the first step in putting more justice into the world.
    • Prudence – Acting without regard for self-interest, seeking knowledge from others, exercising caution and wisdom in practical matters, executing common sense in planning for the future, and being reserved in exercising authority.
    • Temperance – is all about how one conducts their business in moderation, with self-restraint and care.
    • Fortitude – is centered around strength of mind allowing a person to endure pain, adversity, and chastisement with courage and conviction.

Chivalric Virtues - renarts-designThose who uphold and honor the 7-Virtues in their lives do not plasticize words.  For example calling peaceful citizens gathered to importune the government for redress, terrorists, racists, and fascists.  Leaders who desire to be honored and kept in office do not spend the public’s money like drunken sailors on a 3-day port visit.  Elected representatives embody the 7-Virtues reflecting their commitment to living as an honor of the trust the public has invested in them.  These leaders do not take bribes, sell access, and do not execute a lavish lifestyle paid for by big donors to the detriment of the electorate electing them to office.

Look carefully at the leaders elected and ask yourself, are they embodying the 7-Virtues or the 7-Deadly Sins?  If they honor, through living the 7-Virtues, you are better off economically, and your children are not saddled by debt.  However, the opposite is true if those political leaders embody the 7-Deadly Sins, which means there is nothing but trouble, pain, chaos, and the division imposed by the leaders to pit neighbor against neighbor, all leading to destruction.

Knowledge Check!How do we change the government?  First, we, the citizens, embody the 7-Virtues, living better, learning, and choosing a different path.  Second, we change how and who we elect to office.  Third, we change the laws to protect our society from the vagrants, tyrants, and societal abusers to keep them from elected office: we, the citizens, control and own the government.  We must remember this fact and then teach the elected representatives to respect us!

© Copyright 2022 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Christmas and Other Holidays – A Frank and Open Discussion

I am unapologetically a Christian, I regularly attend church, and I exercise faith through daily scripture reading, prayer, and other works synonymous with being a Christian.  Being a Christian, I embrace freedom, especially freedom of religion; “Let [all people] worship how, where, or what they may.”  I am not smart enough to tell anyone, convince anyone, or try to force anyone to believe anything.  As a point of fact, my articles very specifically encourage you to find your answers, much as I have done, through study, learning, and faith.

Yes, this is a discussion!  I do not understand Christmas in any way, shape, or form; while this also applies to all accepted holidays, Christmas is my focus.  If you understand Christmas better or any holiday mentioned, feel free to teach me so that we both may learn more perfectly.  Christmas, as a child, was only once a time of wonder.  I remember that Christmas; I must have been 6 or 7 years.  I do not remember what I got for Christmas, but I remember how I felt.  I have not felt similarly since, and while I know why, I do not understand how to put the wonder back into Christmas.

Annually, Christmas, New Year, and the rest of the mid-winter holidays are a time for deep depression.  I struggle to feel anything from Halloween to mid-February; think London Fog as a mental condition, and your close to understanding what is happening between my ears annually.  As a child and teen, the holidays were always a time of stress, increased drama, and tons, and tons, of dishes.  The holiday season brought increased torment as parents’ stress (especially) resulted in increased violence (physical and mental).  Thus, I learned not to appreciate the holidays but loath the workload, violence, and abuse and view the holiday season as a time of greater pain and suffering.

Don’t even get me started on how to celebrate Mother’s and Father’s Day.  There are holidays, and choosing to celebrate or not is just as important as how to celebrate and whom to celebrate.  The biggest mistake society makes is trying to force everyone to celebrate the same holiday!

As an adult, mainly due to the depression, I avoid stores between Halloween and mid-February, like the plague!  The music of “Christmas” does not lift, and I find it difficult to hear.  To me, the people during Christmas are more challenging to be around.  I do not understand their choices and changes in attitude, their happiness, nor share in their wonder and excitement.  The pagan beliefs Catholicized into Christmas traditions blow my ever-loving mind!  I do not see Christ in a decorated “Christmas” Tree or other Christmas pageantry.  Simply put, every Christmas Tradition, generally accepted by Christendom, is stolen from mid-winter pagan holidays.  As I have studied the origins and beliefs inherent in Christmas, Easter, Halloween, All Saints Day, etc., I see more and more of the historical imprint of early Catholic Church leaders, and I stand aghast that these beliefs have turned into traditions that bind and hold fast the human mind.

Yet, to not wish someone else, especially another Christian, “Merry Christmas” is to be judged less a Christian.  I do not understand!  I believe in Christ; I believe in and have a knowledge of his reality, birth, life, death, resurrection, and visitation to all the Twelve Tribes of Israel after his resurrection.  I accept Christ as my Savior and advocate before the Father.  But, I do not understand Christmas celebrations or why these celebrations “speak of Christ, rejoice in Christ,” or promote Christian beliefs!  I understand the underpinnings of, and like the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.  I see Christ in this celebration of lights and appreciate those who celebrate this simple holiday simply.  But Hanukkah is not a holiday I can fully enjoy either, not for the lack of trying.

I have the same problem with Passover, not for the lack of trying, but I cannot celebrate this holiday, for I feel something is missing.  Easter, will someone please explain to me the lines of logical congruence between a bunny rabbit laying eggs and the resurrection of Jesus Christ!  None of the “traditions” of Easter make a lick of sense to me.  While I feel different at Easter than I do with any other holiday, I do not celebrate this holiday either, even though I respect and honor, follow and try to emulate Jesus Christ as my personal Savior, advocate, and hopefully friend.  While we’re on the topic of incongruent traditions, Santa Claus creeps me out!  The fear of being judged without an advocate or appeals process is anti-Christian, but Santa Claus continues to play a fearful role in Christmas.  Worse, the mysticism prevalent in a belief in Santa Claus fills my mind, not with Christ’s giving of himself, but of Halloween!  Tim Burton’s movie, “Nightmare Before Christmas,” is closer to how I see Santa Claus, put him in Halloween, and leave him there!

Yet, here we are, another Christmas celebration is upon the world, and I do not understand!  I like the lights of Christmas and enjoy them year-round, but they are not symbols of Christ lighting the world; they are just lights to me, with no particular holiday attachment.  I am a foodie, but food is just that, food.  No special holiday attachment; worse, as a diabetic, I have to watch how, when, where, and what I eat.  There is no fun in that, no holiday significance, and frankly, no joy in Mudville.

A friend declared, Christmas is about love.  What is love?  I know from significant study what love is not.  Love is not sex!  Love is not punishment, abuse, torment, and throwing all the dishes out of the cupboard and forcing a young child to wash every dish in the house repeatedly until that dish somehow passes an arbitrary level of cleanliness, with frequent beatings for failure to meet that level of cleanliness!  Love is not inflicting pain, causing tears, and being violent.  It has been easy to identify what love is not.  But defining what love is, what it feels like, and how to share love, I have no clue!

Often, I am referred to as a “Cold-Hearted, mean, bastard,” many times, other adjectives are thrown in to describe me.  I wear a “bar-sinister” proudly; I am a bastard!  I fight this nature of myself every single day; sometimes I win, more often I lose.  Sometimes I have thought, maybe this aspect of my character is why I cannot fathom the meaning of holidays, find wonder, or experience joy as readily as others.  Sometimes I think the method of how I was raised is inherent in being that bastard I despise.  Yet, I am a survivor because of the ways and manners of my childhood upbringing, and I have gratitude for being a survivor.  Meaning somewhere in there is gratitude for how I was raised and being a bastard.  I fully appreciate how paradoxical that thinking is.  Remember, a paradox is where two points that appear contradictory at first glance but in deeper understanding are closer than they are apart.

What does being a bastard have to do with Christmas and celebrating the birth and life of Jesus Christ; thankfully, I can answer that question.  Only in and through Jesus Christ can my nature change.  That single hope is precious to me, remains an impetus in motivating me to change, and powers my striving.  Without the birth of Christ, there could not be a death and resurrection.  Without the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Christ, man could not change his nature, understand and possess freedom, or comprehend the higher laws of giving of self, choosing a different method of living, and rising above the natural man and comprehending why man has to rise above his natural beliefs into a higher understanding.

Yes, I celebrate Jesus Christ!  Make no mistake; I am grateful for my Savior; but, I do not understand Christmas!  I cannot fathom a celebration of Easter as currently celebrated and understood in Christendom.  I long for further light and knowledge to more appropriately commemorate the birth, life, reality, resurrection, and example that is Jesus Christ!  I know that only through the merits, mercy, and justice of Christ can I eventually gain the further light and knowledge I seek.  Please don’t think I do not celebrate when I wish you the happiest of holidays; it is an honest expression of a heartfelt desire for you to celebrate and worship how, where, when, and what you may.  Please understand, though, I am not participating, not because I do not believe, but because I do not understand.

A well-intentioned person told me to “Fake it until you make it.”  I have tried following this advice, and while it worked in other aspects of life, I learned more, and faking it stopped working.  Where holidays are concerned, I cannot “Fake it, hoping to somehow, make it.”  Faking it requires a method of belief with a hope.  I have hope and knowledge; thus, I do not have a belief, or reason to believe.  In possessing knowledge, my belief can take wing with confidence, and in that understanding, I can no longer “fake it.”  As a respecter of religious belief, and as a seeker of light and knowledge, there have been times I have thought how easy it could be to be an atheist; but, in possessing knowledge, I understand I cannot live without the belief and knowledge of a Savior, a Heavenly Father who had the sense to hand man laws, cover his mind with a veil of his past life, and tell man to live by faith.  The atheist cannot understand the value in living by faith, for they choose not to believe, even when presented with evidence.

C. S. Lewis is one of my favorite authors, speakers, and characters from history. He understood the chasm between choice and the consequences of choosing not to believe and live according to beliefs. Mark Twain is another character, author, and speaker who I deeply admire and appreciate, for many of the same qualities exhibited by C. S. Lewis, are found in Mark Twain.  Thus, we find both an exemplar of the principles discussed and another issue with the holidays.  Knowing what I know regarding the origins of the holidays, the traditions adopted and Christianized, and the chains which bind from traditions, I struggle with celebrating holidays.

As a child, I asked why do we decorate a Christmas Tree?  After removing all the religiosity, the answer was because their parents did it that way.  Why did we feast; remove the religiosity, and we find it’s because everyone else celebrates holidays (peer pressure and traditions) with feasting.  In the movie and play “Fiddler on the Roof,” the primary character sings, discusses, and lives under the iron fist of tyrannical tradition, and I am left with one question, “Why?”  Why do something just because it is tradition?  Jesus Christ brought freedom of conscience; believe how, when, where, and what you may, act and live according to your beliefs, and you are exercising freedom and liberty.  Where does tradition fit into belief and living according to choice, freedom, and agency?

Bringing the conversation back to principles of freedom, choice and showcasing how decisions determine destiny.  Again, I am not casting aspersions, nor trying to convince anyone to do something they are not comfortable with, nor am I denigrating or deriding anyone’s beliefs, traditions, or methods of worship or celebration.  My intent is not to cause a crisis of faith but to understand for myself.  Please, embrace your freedom to choose to worship, and celebrate, how, where, when, and what you may.  In possessing this freedom, allow others to worship and celebrate how, when, where, and what they may.  Enjoy your holiday traditions and celebrations.  But, please do not judge me as less because I do not understand, believe differently, and live according to my beliefs.

Santa Claus coming to town fills me with dread and despair, not hope, wonder, or joy.  A white Christmas is not a dream for me but a symbol of more snow to shovel, even though I LOVE watching the snow fall and playing in the snow.  Christmas trees do not thrill me but represent a ton of work to put up, more work to maintain, and more work to take down.  Food is not a celebration but represents more work, time, effort, and sacrifice, for momentary pleasure.  While I enjoy food, eat food, and talk about recipes to make food, I do not worship at the altar of food or see any connection between food and traditional celebrations.

I totally get it; the Children of Israel fled Egypt the Passover is a sacred remembrance and should be celebrated; but, Christ showed a better way, and through that better way, the bitterness of fleeing is swallowed up in joy.  Why eat bitter herbs and unleavened bread as part of the tradition and celebration?  Joy is knowledge with aspects of painful experience encapsulated in achievement.  Thus, to me, the flight of Israel shows how faith, painful experience, and achievement are possible, and I want to shout and sing for joy.  I have always thought of Passover as a time for glorious celebration.  Strike up a band, sing, shout, and make merry, for we survived the Passover, escaped Egyptian slavery and harsh bondage, and now are free!  The same goes for Hanukkah, the resurrection of Christ, the birth of Christ, and every other holiday.  The holiday, to my understanding, represents, or signifies, a reason to make merry because those who came before achieved something through enormous difficulty, suffered dreadful pains, and achieved a better place.  They have joy, and we share in that joy.

Bringing up the final aspect of the holidays, sharing joy.  How do we share in the joy those who suffered experienced?  This is the crux of holiday celebrations.  How we answer this question determines the traditions we embrace; the decisions and consequences produce a destiny.  Consequences are neither good nor bad, simply natural actions formed from a choice an agent made.  How we choose to place a value on those consequences immediately determines how often we will make the same choice again, leading to determined destiny over time and repetition.  Using this understanding of choices and consequences, we revisit the question, “How do we choose to share joy?”

I do not know how to answer this question!  Worse, I feel this single question forms the crux of all holiday celebrations, and I am flummoxed!  Some have suggested I perform more service to share joy.  Others suggest giving gifts.  Others have offered well-meaning opinions, ideas, and suggestions that I cannot fathom as connected to a holiday—leading to a need to understand why.  Why act differently leading up to a holiday when you act in an opposing manner the rest of the year?  Why not act the same year-round?

Again, there is no judging, no aspersions cast, no denigration of actions and choices here.  I am not your judge!  But, these questions are the questions I struggle with living, understanding, and connecting to holiday celebrations.  If you have answers, please share them with me, help me understand how you share joy, celebrate, and feel.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

Faith or Confidence, Faith and Confidence, Either or, Both – A Question

A recent question surfaced, “What does it mean to have faith but not confidence?”  Some atheist friends immediately will consider this a religious discussion is turn the entire question off.  Yet, faith and confidence are not solely the province of religion, and thus, fair game for a discussion, and America needs this discussion today!  For those well versed in the definitions and etymology of both words, feel free to skip ahead of the next couple of paragraphs, or stick around for the discussion and feel free to add to the discussion.  I welcome your thoughts!

Faith

A common definition for faith is “things hoped for, but not seen.”  For example, we hope that when we turn on a light switch, electricity, something we cannot see, will light a lightbulb.  Dictionaries hold an almost standard definition for faith as “derived from Latin fides and Old French feid, meaning confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept.”  Faith can also include a system of beliefs codified into a religion, strong feelings that become personal beliefs, or absolute trust.  For example, consider the trust placed upon the government to act in a specific manner, e.g., for the benefit of the majority of society and for personal interest or the select of society who pay the most in donations.

Interestingly, most people would guess these definitions of faith and stop there with their guessing.  However, in stopping, they miss crucial aspects to the etymology and missions of the term faith.  Consider that faith also denotes allegiance and loyalty, or individual duty one owes to another, as well as the sincerity of intentions.  Finally, we reach a pinnacle or the crux of faith without question; actions are undertaken without question.

Consider for a moment in school; we studied French history, specifically Joan of Arc, nicknamed “The Maid of Orléans.”  She is considered a heroine of France for her role during the Lancastrian phase of the Hundred Years’ War, and was canonized as a saint, but only after being burned at the stake for her faith.  At nineteen, Joan of Arc went to her death, an action taken without question, in complete confidence, knowing the outcome, on faith, or rather the power of her conviction she was right.  While highly simplified, we see the power of faith, backed by confidence.

Confidence

The feeling of confidence has led many a person to leap off a ledge into a river, from a cliff into a raging sea, or, as stated above, to go calmly to one’s demise in the face of tyranny and oppression.  Confidence is defined as a feeling or belief that something can be achieved, success can be obtained, that ability can overcome obstacles, and good will come after a struggle.  Confidence includes certitude, trust, intimacy, reliance upon others, support from others, the ability to keep secrets, but most of all, confidence is a firm belief, or faith, that someone will act in a right or proper manner.  Interestingly, confidence is a double-edged sword for those who swindle, lie and cheat, use confidence to beat their victims for their money and precious resources.

The etymology of confidence holds the key to why confidence is crucial to the discussion on faith.  Confidence derives from Middle English confydence, borrowed from Anglo-French & Latin; Anglo-French confidence, borrowed from Latin confīdentia, from confīdent-, confīdens “trusting in oneself.”  Consider this for a moment, when man needed to trust something, the first thing he trusted was himself, and communicating that trust to others was paramount to building a society, an economy, and a government.

America’s failure of confidence is traceable to the partisan issues in a dual-political party system where both parties have proven themselves useless in protecting the citizen from the other party and the extremes inside their own party.  When discussing confidence, it cannot be stressed enough; we must discuss money, for we do not spend money.  We traffic in confidence in the government issuing paper labeled as currency.  Money is the tangible goods valued in trade for a product or service.  How tangible is that credit card in your wallet, and how much value does it have if you wanted to trade the card itself for a tank of gas?

Discussion

What does it mean to have faith but not confidence?  The questioner doubts his confidence, places faith in hope and desires to know that they know their confidence and faith has been placed in a sound source.  Now, a religionist, at this point, would point to a supreme being, and the discussion would shift in that direction.  There is nothing wrong with placing faith and confidence in a supreme being.  I advocate finding hope, placing faith, and building trust with a community of believers.  I am not here to point a person to a community of believers; that is your journey to take, and if interested, I can recommend a few in your area if you are further interested offline.

The intent here is to reflect does faith and confidence work together, separately, independently, cojoined, or in a different relationship altogether?  I firmly believe that when we understand the intimacy of the relationship between faith and confidence, we possess the power to know why and what we are placing our faith and confidence upon.  As a child, it intrigued me that confidence listed faith as a synonym in the thesaurus, but faith does not list confidence as a synonym in the thesaurus.  Why?

The answer lies in the etymology of the words: confidence is all about trusting in oneself, whereas faith requires exercising confidence in someone or something other than oneself.  Thus the relationship of trust opens, and in the opening, we find the need for duality in communication, a duality in action, and duality in intentions.  For when we put our faith in another, we expect reciprocation.  Confidence in oneself has no duality; faith possesses a need for duality, a partnership, and, if you will, a return on your investment.

Why are Americans so angry right now?  Some may ask, how do you know Americans are angry?  I cannot see signs of anger in America.  To these people, I say, look closer, get outside the cities, read the signs, and pay more attention to your neighbors.  How do I know people are angry; well, the popularity of “Let’s Go Brandon” is a good indicator.  The screams and shouts, the capturing of media attention at every opportunity to harangue the president, the subtle backlash the president faces everywhere he goes in America; yeah, these all indicate America is not pleased and very angry!

Returning to why is America angry?  Confidence was invested, faith was placed, and the return on investment is not forthcoming.  A lesson often quoted in these articles is a powerful lesson learned from reading classical literature.  However, the source escapes me even now, “The most dangerous person is an honest man betrayed.”  Where was confidence invested; the voting booth.  Where was faith placed; when the oath of office was taken and sworn before God to be upheld.  What is the return on investment; it is not “free stuff” from the government,” it is the fair and equal treatment of all before the law.

Failing to see faith upheld means people fall back to questioning faith being invested in the core of society, that which makes us Americans.  When this faith is lost, we are left with confidence, but confidence is selfish; confidence only looks after personal interests; confidence is all about me, myself, and mine.  What is the danger in confidence; confidence is what the charlatans in government dragged America into in the first place to get us to this dangerous edge.  Who is Jill Biden looking out for; it certainly is NOT Joey, but only Jill!  Who is Joey looking out for; it certainly is NOT the common citizen or the US Constitution he swore to protect and serve.

Is it any wonder that people would ask questions about faith and confidence?  How do we know that we know our faith and confidence have been invested properly when the return on our investment is so bitter, so terrible, and so detrimental?  We have not been taught the relationship between faith and confidence, so trust, belief, caring, and compassion are the victims, and America as a society suffers, bleeds, and dies a little more every day.  We do not support each other as Americans because the media harps incessantly about every line that is supposed to separate us first.

The political leaders accepted the job, took the pay, swore the oath, and are responsible before God for their actions, and are accountable before us, the citizens, for how they act in our name.  That is faith and confidence in action.  The relationship becomes tangible when we take the time to understand the relationship and then enforce the relationship as a dual tool in building the core of America.

© Copyright 2021 – M. Dave Salisbury
The author holds no claims for the art used herein, the pictures were obtained in the public domain, and the intellectual property belongs to those who created the images.  Quoted materials remain the property of the original author.

President Trump – Diligence, Faithfulness, and Prayers of Faith

Bobblehead DollPlease excuse me; I am branching out a little today.  However, I am not entering into the realms of religion, even though prayer and faith will be discussed.  I make this clear at the beginning so as to ensure no misunderstanding occurs; I am not here to tell you how, where, what, when, or who to worship; all I expect is the same courtesy in return.  We can discuss sensitive topics without causing problems and individuals choosing to be insulted.  There is a phrase (verse) in a book considered scripture by The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints that appears in the writings of Moses, somewhat differently worded as counsel to Joshua.  The same idea appears in the Old and New Testaments, and while in slightly different verbiage, it is available in various religious texts, dogmas, and belief structures.

All victory and glory is brought to pass unto you through your diligence, faithfulness, and prayers of faith” (D&C 103:36).

Hence why I am branching out a little today.  On 9/11, during a speech, President Trump called for 21 days of prayer for the nation.  It was one of President Trump’s better speeches, in my opinion, and the action resonates well with his other pleas, counsel, and instruction for the American Nation from his presidency.  President Trump’s counsel brought this phrase to mind, and I thought, maybe it IS time for America to rediscover an essential truth.Religion Quote 2

What is diligence?

The dictionary often details diligence as being heedful, careful, and showing constant and earnest effort to accomplish a task.  Other definitions include constancy in the performance of duty or the conduct of business and the persistent exertion of body or mind.  One of my favorite definitions includes unflagging effort with constant personal attention.  Hence, when I define diligence, these are usually what I am using, close personal attention combined with unflagging effort to accomplish a task or fill a role.Apathy

I like an Indonesian proverb that proclaims the potential of diligence and encapsulates the possibility of diligent efforts.

Diligence is the beginning of brilliance.”

As a child, Samuel Johnson’s words were often quoted:

What we hope to do with ease, we must first learn to do with diligence.”

Like the Indonesian proverb, Samuel Johnson’s words explicitly declare a truth; diligence is not observable in a single day or interaction.  Diligence requires observation over time.  Whether you like or dislike President Trump, was he diligent in performing the job as president; Yes.  The media hounded him so severely that even on his vacations, he couldn’t catch a break.  Whether you like or dislike President Biden, has he been diligent in performing the role of president; no, for he never fulfilled the role of Senator, unless you count selling influence as part of the role of being a senator.Angry Grizzly Bear

I distinguish between two people that are regularly in the news.  If you disagree, point to specific actions and their consequences to reflect a lack of diligent effort in performing the role of president.  Critical thinking requires evaluation and honest appraisals of situations.  Of the presidents I have observed, only President Reagan was more diligent than President Trump in fulfilling the role of president.  Agree or disagree, but use the definitions of diligent and diligence to support and defend your judgments.  The reverse is also true; the least diligent president to date is Biden, with only Obama and Carter rounding out the top three.

What is faithfulness?

Faithful is a word we should use more often and not when describing the actions of dogs!  According to the dictionary, faithful includes aspects of truth, loyalty, constancy, and a character of being exact and reliable.  Consider something faithful: being steadfast in affection and allegiance, being firm in your promises and observances of duty, and finally being true to facts, standards, and laws.

Mother Teresa is quoted as saying:

Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies.”

Pink Monarch ButterflyLike tiny stones that fill gaps and plug holes in an earthen dam, the faithfulness of small things empowers the dam to remain strong.  Consider the story of the Dutch kid with his finger in the dam, it was a small thing that broke, and it was a small thing that plugged the hole.  Faithfulness is not about grand actions, large token gifts, and glorious virtue signals.  Faithfulness is all about the small daily acts of charity, the defense of a friend when gossip comes, and the day-to-day carrying out of duty.  Have you ever seen a butterfly’s wing under a microscope; little tiny feathers.  Each little tiny feather being faithful allows the butterfly to fly.  There is power in being faithful!

Detective 4Consider two examples and determine which is faithful to their cause, even if you do not support their cause.  Congresswoman A. Ocasio-Cortez went to the MET Gala event wearing a “Tax the Rich” message on her dress.  Tickets cost upwards of $35,000, and other costs are always exorbitant for these affairs.  Al Gore and the man-made climate change political machine demand that everyone else change their behavior, but not those directing the movement.  Personal lives do not reflect the public image created, personal conduct does not reflect public demeanor towards the issues advocated, and individual lifestyle does not meet minimum standards to match words.  By definition, is either of these two faithful to their causes?  Why are they followed?

Never forget critical thinking requires observation and decision-making, using the best information available.  More to the point, when critical thinking, you will always be asked to defend your positions logically.  Emotion has no place in critical thinking, observation, and discernment.Life Valued

What are prayers of faith?

A prayer of faith is a prayer that is made iwith complete confidence in God’s power.  Consider the New Testament and instructions left by the master instructor.  Jesus talked to His disciples repeatedly about prayer. He told them to pray for God’s kingdom to be represented on earth and for His will to be done; He told them to pray for their daily sustenance, for forgiveness, and strength against temptation. He also said to them that anything they asked for in His name, for God’s glory, would be done for them, and He assured them that God knows how to give good gifts to His children.  Hence, prayers of faith are part of all Christian religions and sects, and you find similar teaching in Judaism and Muslim faiths and denominations. Therefore, when we discuss this particular topic, all people can look to the prayers of faith, confident that solutions will come.  Yes, you are included atheists and other non-traditional religions, and whether you call it prayer, self-reflection, or becoming centered, please participate in prayers of faith.

Knowledge Check!I am not here to tell you what to pray for.  I think President Trump asking for us to petition for more honest, transparent, forthright, and constitutionally sound leadership in elected officials is an excellent first step for America.  I genuinely think having a knowledgeable, informed, and capable electorate is more important, and petitioning heaven’s help to achieve an informed electorate is critical.  However, the first steps in improving the electorate are found inside each of us.  Are we willing to be diligent and faithful in our actions, decisions, and lives publicly and privately and support the good in others?  If we are not willing to be faithful and diligent, what good is keeping America alive?

I know my answers; how do you choose?

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Hope, Faith, Confidence, and Your Money

Life ValuedImagine you are going about your daily duties and visit the grocery store.  Where for a specific amount of confidence and hope, you complete an exchange for a product groceries.  Another trip sees you investing hope and faith in retirement using confidence to help protect against the vagaries of the future.  April 15th is fast approaching, where confidence in the government is measured through tax revenue, and government officials then spend your confidence on various projects where you hope the investment will be rewarded by improved roads, better economic conditions, and safety inside defensible and sovereign boundaries.

What is Hope?

Hope, according to Webster, is a feeling of trust, as an extension of an expectation, and desire, that something will occur.  For example, I hope for my diet to work, as I desire to lose weight, an expectation that exercise will aid in losing weight, and trust that my weight will reduce over time.  Does this make sense?

Wasting TimeI ask, because too often, when hope is mentioned, people immediately tie religious expectations and connotations to the word, then plasticize hope into being something it is not.  Hope is not an end goal but the journey to an expectation born of desire and bounded by trust in a system that supports a person’s hope.

What is Faith?

As detailed by Webster, Faith is both an expression of religion’s doctrines and complete trust or an expression of confidence.  Faith is the launch process of hope.  Going back to my desire and expectation to lose weight, I have trust that the doctor was correct in ordering me to lose weight.  Hence, my conviction in the doctor’s words is an expression of faith, and my action is putting faith and hope to work actually to lose weight.

Never Give Up!Complete trust is observable all around us daily, from inserting the key into the car ignition to start a car to the hours spent working where we trade our time (a precious resource) for a tangible item (paycheck) and in so many other ways and means.  Consider grocery shopping; we make selections using our best judgment, with complete trust that the products purchased will not make us sick from food-borne illness or the ignorant or malicious actions of other people.  Why does spitting in a police officer’s cup of coffee make us mad; because it breaks that complete trust that the same will not happen to us.

What is Confidence?

Detective 4Confidence is a unique term, and Webster spends an inordinate amount of time trying to capture the power of, and reality is confidence.  Confidence is “a feeling of self-assurance arising from one’s appreciation of one’s own abilities or qualities; firm trust, a specific feeling  regarding the truth of something, a feeling or belief upon the reliance of someone or something.”  The key to confidence is your own self-assurance.  For example, you are assured through past transactions that your employer is not kiting paychecks.  Your confidence in receiving a salary drives you to be motivated and return to work each day.  When that trust is broken, you will leave and find new employment.  Hence, people do not work for companies, but for managers and leaders, they like.

Confidence is a reality when many people all have trust in the same thing, which creates societies, social standards, and governments.  Confidence in the government is expressed using the government’s monetary system to trade for products and services you would not have if you had less confidence in the government system.  Firm trust in the “value of the US Dollar (insert your own currency here)” leads to gains and losses in economic values.  Consider the events of the Christmas Holiday, which is fast approaching.  The individual expresses confidence, faith, and hope in holiday shopping.  The government uses the data of the volume of trades of confidence as a measuring stick in how well they are doing in government to improve a person’s return on investment.  Shopkeepers, stores, and others selling products and services represent a two-way street of faith, hope, and confidence as they trade with customers and with other suppliers, government, and stakeholders in conducting business.

ResilienceConfidence is never an unconscious decision!  One cannot have firm trust, faith, or hope, in something without being consciously aware and possessing experience and knowledge in that someone or something.  Hence, confidence is the conscious use of trust as a destination in the journey of hope, launched by faith.

What is spent when money exchanges hands?

Confidence, faith, and hope.  But, you claim, “That was my money.”  Really, what value does your money have?  The answer is nothing!  If I give you a piece of cloth/paper stamped with a 20 symbol on it, you interpret this as a $20 bill, having the value of 20 dollars, pounds, euros, etc.  That which we call money is nothing but faith, hope, and confidence in a governing system where products and services are exchanged for time and faith and hope through our individual confidence in the government.  But the reality is that the piece of paper/cloth is nothing, has no value, and can do nothing without the express faith, hope, and confidence of the one trading services or products for that value statement.

Dane-GeldBy removing the Gold Standard from money, we stopped trading in a fungible and tactile substance (Gold, Silver, Grain, Salt, Animal Hides, etc.).  We began trading in a measured system of confidence as provided by the government.  Your “money” is nothing but your faith and trust in the government sponsoring your system of confidence be that confidence called a US Dollar, a Rial, a Pound Sterling, a Euro, etc., you deal in nothing but confidence.  Raw products with tradable value, grain, precious metals, oil, etc., are all injected into the monetary system through investment and speculation markets, not the individual farmer, rancher, miner, etc.  Who receive their wages not through trading their products but by trading their efforts and time with their confidence in an employer-supported by a functioning government system.

Your Money!

I love this phrase!  Rather, I like asking the question, “What does ‘Your Money’ mean to you personally?”  The answers never cease to amaze and horrify me.  I asked a 20-something this question and was told it was what they spent on college.  So, I wondered does your education and academic success provide the value of the investment of money?  To which, the 20-something had no coherent answer.  Let me be clear, the value of an academic gamble is not found in the money made with an employer but in the power of changing how you think and approach the world. Educational costs have far exceeded the value of the academic experience.  The connection between the value and cost of education is warped and twisted, and the only people winning are governments, unions, and the controllers of educational experiences.

Detective 4If I hold a piece of paper/cloth with 100 stamped upon it, I could claim I have money.  Except, I do not have money; I have a bit of cloth/paper with ink declaring that piece of cloth/paper had value, but only if I trust that government.  Consider the trouble Venezuela is currently in, the thin ice of economic problems Mexico, Greece, France, and so many other countries exist presently.  The confidence in those government systems is shaken.  The value of that currency is weak compared to other currencies.  If a blacksmith in Ohio produces a sword, and similarly skilled blacksmiths create the same sword in Saudi Arabia, China, Vietnam, Peru, and Cuba, why does the value of that sword change?  Are the sweat and efforts of the blacksmiths different; no!  Does the value of experience change; no!  Did the cost of gaining that knowledge, experience, and talent change; no!  Is the steel cost to mine different; only because the governments’ currencies are different.  Does the value of the sword adequately represent the value of the currency exchanged; more than likely, No!

What is “Your Money?”  For when we lose confidence in the government, the value of the currency slips, which leads to expressions of fear, a lack of faith, and a refusal of the citizens to hope and trust.  Recently, I had a statement arrive declaring I had XX thousand dollars in a retirement account.  Is the value of those funds found in the report received; no!  The value of those “retirement funds” is located in the government system’s future, invested with faith, on a journey of hope to the time that I can remove those funds without being taxed to death.  If the value of the dollar goes down, those retirement funds are useless.  If the dollar’s value goes up, more faith, hope, and confidence are being invested in the government operations over time.

LinkedIn ImageA “Liberty FIRST Culture” understands their money relationships to government, is engaged in preventing government abuse as that leads to lower values of currency, and the lower the value of a currency, the more expensive products and services become.  Kate, the blacksmith from the (2001) movie “Knight’s Tale,” is absolutely correct, “Each drop of sweat has a price!”  But the price of that sweat is not always competitive with the currency used to remunerate that effort, all because of hope, faith, and confidence in the government managing the currency.  Think about that the next time you are asked to vote!

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Hope the Role and the Power

Never Give Up!Too often, I find the most underrated tool is the power of hope.  The role hope plays, the importance of hope, and the necessity of hope continue to fascinate me as an Industrial and Organizational Psychologist, people-watcher, and person.  My goal here is to help those struggling with hope find for themselves the value and power of hope.

What is hope?

Hope is closely linked to trust or a feeling of confidence.  Hope has connotations to feelings of expectation, desires for events to occur, and hope closely tied to appetites and passions.  We hope for love.  We hope for good food when visiting a restaurant.  We remain closely tied to hope as a people during election cycles, natural disasters, and academic pursuits.  Gamblers, stockbrokers, and first responders use a lot of hope in their daily efforts to maintain mental awareness and positive outlooks.

The role of hope!

Scott Kaufman, writing for Psychology Today, opines on hope to help professional psychologists help patients understand the role of hope.  Using the analogy of a car, if the wheels are academic achievement, knowledge, experience, and talent, then the engine is your ability to hope.  If you cannot imagine and feel hopeful, the psychological vehicle will not carry you to your destination; heck, it won’t even get you out of the driveway.

Reading - A JourneyNot going to lie or rose tint the topic, hope gets a bad rap.  Hope carries a lot of baggage that is unfair, unjust, and false.  Hope is a method of thinking, using the principles of agency and agentic action as a power to think differently on the subjects that concern you.  Hope involves both will and imagination in understanding where you are going and how you plan to obtain your goals.  Hope is often the snowplow on the path to your destination.

Let us be clear, hope is not just a “feel-good emotion,” hope is a dynamic conscious choice that forms the underpinnings of motivation, impetus, and action in a person.  Those people possessing hope choose learning goals as methods for growth and development.  Those people not possessing hope choose mastery goals which are easier, but if failure happens, they quit instead of pushing on.

Hope can be tied to situational factors and social awareness factors that change the power and role of hope in distinct ways and means.  Performance improves the greater the person hopes, which plays significant roles in academics, sports, and professional pursuits.  One of the reasons why performance improves before a vacation is that hope of time off changes the chemicals in our brains, and we perceive the work differently.  Science is on the side of hope, and hope is powerful!

CourageThe power of hope!

In a recent study, researchers looked at the role of hope among athletes. Athletes had higher levels of hope than non-athletes. Hope also predicted semester GPA over overall GPA and overall self-worth. Among female cross-country athletes, in particular, the state of having hope predicted athletic outcomes beyond training, self-esteem, confidence, and mood.”

Hope powers will, and will is a component that towers above every other measurable emotion, including attitude, self-esteem, self-efficacy, and optimism, to name a few.  Hope is a multiplying factor to these other emotional vehicles that help push a person’s mental state to goal achievement.

Kevin Rand and his colleagues found that hope, but not optimism predicted grades in law school above and beyond LSAT scores and undergraduate grades. Interestingly, LSAT scores were not even a significant predictor of law school GPA. It seems like if you want to predict law school performance, a 12-item measure of hope is more predictive than looking at a person’s LSAT scores!

Hope has the power to predict success in such a challenging degree program better than the standardized test explicitly designed to indicate success or failure in law school.  I cannot help but wonder how many other degree programs would reflect similar results, that hope is more powerful than the standardized tests.  Consider the implications that hope could achieve if we taught people how to hope, improve their understanding of hope, and challenge them to put hope to work in their lives.

ResilienceAbility is important, but hope even trumps ability.  With hope, I can learn that which I do not know and want to become skilled at.  Without hope, those dreams never have a ladder built to the sky where the dreams reside.  Potential is important, but without hope, potential cannot be achieved.

Hope is the belief things will work, especially when it seems otherwise. It helps you stay calm and peaceful when something less than desirable emerges. Hope believes you will get through it. Hope remembers the times you made it through. Hope teams with faith and believes in the impossible.”

Detective 3Hope is not a religious action, theme, or tool.  Hope is not limited to or restricted by believers but by individuals choosing to hope or not.  Hope is the power that is missing in democratic societies worldwide and is one of the first positions that liberal leftists and militant, angry people attack because they refuse hope, and in refusing hope, deny the best of themselves for a façade that is nothing more than water and gluten pressed into toilet paper.  Every time they experience failure, these people become angrier and less inclined to hope, building more facades, and losing more of themselves daily.

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS:  Desires – Understanding Begets Action

Utah Supreme Court Justice Dallin H. Oaks is quoted as saying, “Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. The desires we act on determine our changing, our achieving, and our becoming.”

Tank Man - Tiananmen SquareWhat is desire?

Klondike - Home | FacebookResearchers named 16 basic desires all humans share: Acceptance, Curiosity, Food, Family, Honor, Idealism, Independence, Order, Physical Activity, Power, Romance, Saving, Social Contact, Status, Tranquility, and Vengeance.  While I have reservations about several of these listed desires and being disabled, I would also add a couple to my own list.  Regardless, these items form basic impetus towards motivation.  For example, the desire for food will move a person from sitting to walking, running, preparing, and then finally to eating food!  We all have heard the commercial for Klondike Bars and the question, “What would you do for a Klondike Bar?”  (Admit it, you just sang the jingle.)

As a kid, I was regularly in charge of getting something ready to feed 8-16 people.  In a cupboard bare of essential ingredients, imagination, and hunger invented recipes that I continue to use today.  Hence, food is an intense desire that promotes actions; thus, establishing the pattern for living.

What is it about desires that are so powerful?

Niranjan Seshadri provides evocative imagery for describing desires: “Desire functions like the banks of a river, guiding mental energy along a specific path towards preset aspirations.”  One might ask, is the journey along preset aspirations a voyage of discovery, or a trip along known paths to a predetermined destination?  YES!  Discovering what our desires are, is both a journey of discovery and a journey along known paths.  The work is deciding whether to voyage and discover something new about yourself and your desires or remain in the safe, known waters and hope new desires are discovered.  Both paths can open new doors, new adventures, and new discoveries.

2012-08-13 07.37.28But, is the power of desire found in traveling the known and familiar, sometimes.  For example, I have one single burning desire.  When I compare all other desires to this one burning desire, I found the others all lacking.  My voyage of discovery to this one burning desire has had me travel paths in the unknown and the familiar.  Evaluating the banks of the river, my mental and physical energy flows, to discover change, inspire decisions, and backtrack when a poor choice has led me away from my burning desire.

Rivers always follow the path of least resistance, even if this means doubling back on itself, carving new branches, exploring new potential ways, or pushing ahead along familiar routes.  Our minds are the little boats on that river of energy, and our job individually is to inspect the banks, keeping an eye on our desires, and navigating through life to our desires.

Justice Dallin H. Oaks provides us the pattern for moving forward, “… Desires dictate our priorities, priorities shape our choices, and choices determine our actions. Our actions and our desires cause us to become something, whether a true friend, a gifted teacher or [anything else].”  What is it about desires that are so powerful, they move us along!

How do I know my desires?

Religious ThoughtFunnily enough, religion has many answers to this question, and I would encourage you to embrace a faith mechanism that inspires you to self-discovery.  However, religion is a tool in the path of self-discovery towards discovering and understanding your deepest desires.  Some desires are easy to find; for example, as I type this, I am dreaming of food!  Especially a maple-bacon cake, three layers, thick icing, bacon strips down the side.

How did I discover my deepest desire; much to my friends and acquaintances’ disbelief, my deepest desire is not food!  My voyage of discovery towards my deepest desire was launched during some terrible trials, honed in the fires of adversity, and sharpened in the daily struggle.  My deepest desire originates in two other connected desires, freedom and independence.  While my deepest desire is mine to explore, the two supporting desires, freedom and independence, find me motivated to keep the liberties and freedoms I inherited and ensure their survival to my children’s grandchildren.  Thus, I write imploring help in preserving the US Constitution and the Republic of the United States of America.

A question that helped me discover my desires, “What do I desire?”  One of the reasons I like The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints is the belief in personal revelation that everyone has the power to access the heavens and gain knowledge.  To know your personal and deepest desires is a path of individual revelation.  Now, individual revelation is also called self-discovery, individual acknowledgment, and more, but always the approach to that information is the same.  Examining the banks of our mental energy, exploring branches of possibilities, working towards a goal, and evaluating the consequences.  When you discover your burning deepest desire, it will become fixed, like the northern star, for you to navigate the rivers of life through.

What does this have to do with NO MORE BS?

Religion QuoteDo you realize how much stronger you are when surrounded by people as committed as you are towards a common goal?  To fulfill my deepest desire, I must aid America’s survival, or I cannot be satisfied.  Hence, my desire has everything to do with improving government functions, decreasing government size and injuries, and sundering, forever, the abuse of power witnessed in government at every level from the school board to the presidency!

Let us clarify our desires, band together against the tyranny for mutual support, and win the day freeing America from the bloated government’s tyranny and the bureaucratic stain that survives only in a bloated government.  Let us know ourselves, be faithful to the heritage left us, and keep that heritage bright for future generations!

Military Crests© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.

NO MORE BS: Loyal Opposition – Our Job Starts Today!

Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear.”
[Special Message to the Congress on the Internal Security of the United States, August 8, 1950]” ― Harry S. Truman

I am an American!  I am a patriot by choice.  As of today, I am the Loyal Opposition to the Biden/Harris fraudulent presidency.  I am asking for you to join me in being the Loyal Opposition.

What does “Loyal Opposition” mean?

It is less that you are an adversary and more that you are someone with an opinion that (although frightening to me) might in some way enrich my own. And if I raise myself to being a partner with you on this mutual journey of ours, and if I refuse to bow to the posture of being a frightened adversary as you intersect my journey with a journey different than my own, we can profoundly change what we would have otherwise both died wrestling over.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

Loyal Opposition means you are loyal to the US Constitution as the Republic of the United States of America’s premier law.  Webster defines “Loyal Opposition” as “a [person] whose opposition to the party in power is constructive, responsible, and bounded by loyalty to fundamental interests and principles.”  As a loyal oppositionist, we support and defend the US Constitution; we constructively offer services in support of the US Constitution, but scrutinize elected officials’ actions to meet their elected responsibilities.  Even if we are ever in a position of power, we, the loyal oppositionists, stay cognizant of our actions, responsible and accountable to those who supported us to power. We remain true to the fundamental principles embedded in the US Constitution.

LinkedIn ImageLoyal Oppositionists never use violence to control the thoughts of others.  We refute ideas with more potent ideas.  We employ words, conviction, and confidence.  We love the freedom found under the “Rule of Law.”  We are constructive in our comments, truthful, and we research and report, even if it means we must improve our individual actions to meet the US Constitution’s ideals.  Now, more than ever in American History, America needs loyal oppositionists to step forward, answer the call, and defend liberty against the tyranny that has been thrust upon us.

You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone.”
― Henrik Ibsen, An Enemy of the People

What are my duties as a “Loyal Oppositionist?”

Opposition can be your friend. Opposition can be the fire that tempers the better sword, as well as the ice that cools a fiery temper. Don’t ever run from it; learn from it!” ― Jack R. Rose, The Cedar Post

The word loyal shows that the non-governing parties may oppose the sitting government’s actions while still being devoted to the formal source of the government’s power, the US Constitution and “We the People!”

      1. Learn the US Constitution. Read the US Constitution.
      2. Open your mouth in support of the US Constitution. Calling out tyranny when tyranny is enacted—supporting people who are being stripped of their freedoms.
      3. Be actively engaged as a loyal oppositionist.
      4. Strive for personal improvement while helping others to improve.
      5. Focus on local politics, policies, and politicians. The Federal political world is supported by the actions of the tyrannical few in local politics.  Know your city, county, and state government’s actions.
      6. Choose to be an agent for change through constructive, responsible loyalty to the US Constitution.

From General George Washington:

“Citizens by birth or choice of a common country, that country has a right to concentrate your affections. The name of American, which belongs to you, in your national capacity, must always exalt the just pride of Patriotism, more than any appellation derived from local discriminations.”

From President Thomas Jefferson:

      • Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.
      • On matters of style, swim with the current, on matters of principle, stand like a rock.
      • Honesty is the first chapter of the book wisdom.”
      • We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate.”

From President Abraham Lincoln:

      • We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
      • We should be too big to take offense and too noble to give it.”
      • If there is anything that links the human to the divine, it is the courage to stand by a principle when everybody else rejects it.”
      • Honor to the soldier and sailor everywhere, who bravely bears his country’s cause. Honor, also, to the citizen who cares for his brother in the field and serves, as he best can, the same cause.”

Who am I accountable to as a “Loyal Oppositionist?”

As a loyal oppositionist, you are only ever accountable to yourself.  While many people will surround you, you are the most important and fundamental person in your sphere of influence for good and ill.  Be the main character in your own life story.

Great spirits have always encountered Opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.”
― Albert Einstein

Where do I find support to be part of the “Loyal Opposition?”

When you start to experience opposition, your power is growing
― Bangambiki Habyarimana, The Great Pearl of Wisdom

Support is found by opening your mouth, engaging in the work, and learning and improving yourself.  In twenty years, do you want to say that you answered the call when your country needed you?  Get moving!  Start learning!  Be the patriot you want to stand next to and that your children and friends will be able to rely upon.

It’s not about going around trying to stir up trouble. As long as you’re honest and you articulate what you believe to be true, somebody somewhere will become your enemy whether you like it or not.” ― Criss Jami, Killosophy

Duty 3Our duty to be loyal oppositionists begins now!  We must be faithful to the US Constitution but oppose heart and soul the radicalization, weaponization, and government’s terror.  That the liberal leftists have corrupted our neighbors into aiding and abetting the destruction of liberty is not new.  But ending the rot, fixing the problems, and rising to the challenge is where we focus.  We do not have a rear-view mirror as loyal oppositionists; we have a windshield as we move forward.  We build, we support the good where we find it, we dig in against the enemy that would tear us apart, and we find strength from the cause of liberty.  As we do this, we will discover America is strong.  America is great.  America can survive!

The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppose.”
― Fredrick Douglas

The following is especially true.  Regardless of your religion, consider the following as a source for strength.  Do we have faith sufficient in ourselves and the life of the US Constitution to stand?  I do; Join Me!

“…President Thomas S. Monson said: “Of course we will face fear, experience ridicule, and meet Opposition. Let us have the courage to defy the consensus, the courage to stand for principle. Courage, not compromise, brings the smile of God’s approval. … Remember that all men have their fears, but those who face their fears with [faith] have courage as well.” President Monson’s counsel is timeless! … Day after day, on your path toward your eternal destiny, increase your faith. Proclaim your faith! Let your faith show!
― Russell M. Nelson, Accomplishing the Impossible: What God Does, What We Can Do

© 2021 M. Dave Salisbury
All Rights Reserved
The images used herein were obtained in the public domain; this author holds no copyright to the images displayed.