ANNIVERSARY: LOVE SONG & HOPE

A couple may think of a certain song as being a happy reminder of their relationship. They think it relates to their personal love story better than any other. Through their years together it holds even more love-filled memories. They enjoy listening to it together and fondly refer to it as “our song.”

Written by Irving Gordon and recorded by Nat King Cole, one love song has held special meaning for a particular couple for more than three decades. Many artists have sung the song, but Cole’s smooth voice is an indelible part of their memorable song. With or without a song I think this many good years together gives hope for more in the future.

For this couple their song really is memorable. The lyrics are presented below in honor of our 33rd wedding anniversary, which is today so… “Happy Anniversary, Darling! Here’s to another year together — one that will be unforgettable!”

UNFORGETTABLE

Unforgettable, that’s what you are,
Unforgettable though near or far.
Like a song of love that clings to me,
How the thought of you does things to me.
Never before has someone been more…

Unforgettable in every way,
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay.
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too.

Unforgettable in every way,
And forever more, that’s how you’ll stay.
That’s why, darling, it’s incredible
That someone so unforgettable
Thinks that I am unforgettable too.

(Irving Gordon)

“But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
(1 Corinthians 13:13)

100 YEAR OLD VETERANS: FLAGS & HOPE

Earlier this month I participated in a parade to honor a local World War 2 veteran on his 100th birthday. It was a privilege to join the surprise celebration for one of our Greatest Generation.

Decades ago he served and sacrificed to preserve freedom against tyranny and oppression. Today he maintains a model attitude and expressed well his appreciation for the unexpected honor.

Blue lives mattered, as the local police escorted the motorcade that consisted of many vehicles, motorcycles, and American flags. Surrounded by family and friends, the honoree enjoyed 20 minutes of the parade’s waves, smiles, and honks — all representing love and respect from many well-wishers.

I thought the prominence of so many flags spoke well of our American small town and its patriotism. It made me proud and gave me hope. I saw evidence of many patriotic Americans as flags waved all along the parade route.

With sadness I recalled the lack of respect shown in recent months by some athletes who refused to stand in honor of our flag that waved so proudly while brave individuals fought for our country so many perilous times. I cannot help but think that those who withhold honor due are woefully unknowing or just fail to understand the meaning and significance for which our flag stands.

It is right that we pledge and salute our American flag if we are grateful for our freedom and liberty. Our country is not perfect since imperfect citizens make up its populace, but I challenge anyone to find a better one!

I am thankful for one man who remains a proud American even at age 100 years. Birthday blessings to you, Mr. Hamilton!

Today I remember another birthday…. Today is my father’s birthday, and he would be 100 years old if he were still living. He was also a WW2 veteran and a patriotic American. I appreciate learning to respect and honor our flag from his example.

Thinking of my father’s generation gives me hope. Happy birthday, Daddy!

As long as I am physically able to stand, that is how I will respond to our Red, White, and Blue. Long may Old Glory, the Star-spangled Banner wave in freedom for all. May the hope that I feel when I view our flag spread to others along with peace and unity throughout our post-Christian nation.

I believe that God will bless America as America blesses God. That understanding gives me hope as I recall the following Scripture from the Old Testament.

If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”  (2 Chronicles 7:14)

MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY: PRAYER & HOPE

For years I have appreciated Henry Van Dyke’s literary works that touch my heart and often offer hope. One of his beautiful poems is entitled, “A Prayer For A Mother’s Birthday.”

Today is my own mother’s birthday. Although she no longer lives on Earth, her love and influence remain with me. One of the greatest blessings in my life was to have a mother who prayed for me.

I present the poem below in memory of my beloved mother. I am thankful for her consistent love, Christian character, and teaching of Biblical hope.

A PRAYER FOR A MOTHER’S BIRTHDAY

Lord Jesus, Thou hast known
A mother’s love and tender care:
And Thou wilt hear, while for my own
Mother most dear I make this birthday prayer.

Protect her life, I pray,
Who gave the gift of life to me;
And may she know from day to day
The deepening glow of Life that comes from Thee.

As once upon her breast,
Fearless and well content I lay,
So let her heart on Thee at rest
Feel fears depart and troubles fade away.

Her every wish fulfill;
And even if Thou must refuse
In anything, let Thy wise will
A comfort bring such as kind mother’s use.

Ah, hold her by the hand,
As once her hand held mine;
And though she may not understand
Life’s winding way, lead her in peace divine.

I cannot pay my debt
For all the love that she has given;
But Thou, love’s Lord, wilt not forget
Her due reward — bless her in earth and heaven.”

(Henry Van Dyke)

BOLDT CASTLE: LOVE & HOPE

In 1900 there lived a wealthy man named George Boldt, who loved his wife, Louise. He hired the best architects and hundreds of construction workers to begin building a “castle” for her to commemorate his love. Its setting was a heart-shaped island — Heart Island — in the Thousand Islands area of New York.  This may sound like a fairy tale beginning, but it is a true story without an ending of “happily ever after.”

Sadly Louise was frail physically, and she died of heart failure in 1904 before the castle was completed. George was broken-hearted. He ordered work to stop on the castle and never set foot on Heart Island again. He would never see his dream of a six-story 120-room modern-day castle become reality. His dream of sharing a grand home almost beyond imagination with his wife that He adored and his plan of spending the remainder of his life with her would never be his reality.

Even without his romantic love story, castle dream, or tragic loss, George Boldt’s story is interesting. He had arrived in America as a penniless 13-year-old Prussian immigrant, who became a self-made millionaire because of hard work, personal moral character, wise business practices, and hotels that included Waldorf-Astoria and Bellevue-Stratford. Unfortunately his great wealth could not buy the life and love that he lost.

Boldt’s story brings more sadness than hope. However it reminds me of a true story that does give hope. There are other mansions built because of love. There is a love even stronger than George Boldt’s love for his wife. There is a work that will not be stopped because of life’s losses or tragedies.

Jesus Christ Himself is the Architect, Designer, and Builder. He promised a dwelling place prepared especially for His true followers. That promise and His other promises motivated by and given in love offer me hope today.

Do not let your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.
In My Father’s house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am there you may be also.
And you know the way where I am going.”
Thomas said to Him, “Lord, we do not know where You are going, how do we know the way?”
Jesus said to him, “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.”   (John 14: 1 – 6)

JULIE HERSH: FROM DEPRESSION TO HOPE

Depression is a real problem that can have devastating effects to many individuals and to their loved ones. Today in a world of pandemic concerns and social-isolation, symptoms of depression may develop or worsen in those who already struggle with it.

Too often those who suffer do not seek help. This is unfortunate, because it is possible to move from depression to hope. Today’s post features an important resource that candidly shares how its author learned to move from depression to hope.

One author is living proof that mental illness can be managed. Her informative book offers hope. She genuinely wants to share help and hope and knows from personal experience with clinical depression that hope is possible.

An advocate for mental health, Julie Hersh is well-credentialed. She earned a BBA at the University of Notre Dame. Her blog, Struck by Living, is a feature on the Psychology Today website. Hersh is a guest blogger on the Menninger Clinic website, ”Say No to Stigma.” She was awarded the Mental Health America Ruth Altschuler Community Advocate Prism Award and is President of the Hersh Foundation.

Thankfully Hersh has authored STRUCK BY LIVING: FROM DEPRESSION TO HOPE and is donating proceeds from book sales to help programs on, research in, and victories over mental illness. Hersh shared, “Despite medical advances, too many people die by suicide, because they are afraid to seek help.”

I agree with this author’s statement and am sharing about her important book. Now it’s your turn. If you or someone you know may benefit from STRUCK BY LIVING, then please check out this book that has been called a story of courage, love, hope, and victory. Do it today, because hope may be desperately needed now. Tomorrow may be too late.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (24-hour crisis hotline):  1-800-273-8255

Confidential online chat is available @ suicidepreventionlifeline.org

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”  (Psalm 34:18)