Eat Cake

“I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news.

Luke 1:19

God speaks to me. This is not because I am special, God speaks to everyone. We only need to listen. Sometimes the conversation is started by me. You may call it prayer, but not in the traditional sense. I seldom kneel, close my eyes, or even bow my head. I just speak. I may speak out loud, or just in my head. God knows.

There are times when God begins the conversation with me. It is not a thunderous voice from heaven or a burning bush. It can be an idea that pops into my head, often subtle, a nudge. This nudge is then followed by other nudges and if I am paying attention they become a clear message that leads me to take a particular path.

The messages from God come from many sources. Something I have read, a song, a picture, other people. Other people are the point of this post.

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Matthew 19:14

Jax was 5. He was the same as any five year old except, Jax had a form of Autism. His ability to speak was limited to two words. “Eat Cake”.

Here in this little boy was the answer to some of our worries and woes. “Eat Cake”.

Jax’s parents were, of course, concerned about his health, his future, but Jax would answer “Eat Cake”

When I was first told of Jax’s story it spoke to me immediately. It came to me at a time when things were not looking good.

“Eat Cake,” tells me that no matter how hard your life may be, relax. Just “Eat Cake”.

Your life is too valuable to waste time with worry. “Eat Cake”.

Take the time to count the blessings you have. “Eat Cake”

Jax had a tonsillectomy and died less than 24 hours later. Little Jax left us all a message that I believe is from God. “Eat Cake”

Trust that God will take care of what you need.

God will show you the way.

God will provide you with cake.

Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.”

Luke 9:48

History is full of great men who have done great things. These men have left last words that inspire us. In five short years, Jax left a legacy that says more than any of these men ever could.

Eat Cake”

Blood Kettle

In 500 AD King Arthur defeated the Saxons at Badon Hill. Rome had fallen to the Barbarians. In Mexico, the great city of Teotihuacan had been occupied for 600 years. The Mayan city-states are reaching the peak of their prosperity. The Hopewell Culture of Eastern North America has risen and disappeared. The Sioux begin using the Pishkun.

 

The northern plains of the United States is a vast sea of short grass broken by towering mountains of rock and scoured with deep canyons. Rivers and streams cut through the land like the wrinkles on an old man’s face. Everything the tribes of the northern plains do, they do on foot, with dogs to help pull their supplies. These are the Dog Days of the Sioux. The Sioux will not acquire the horse for another 1200 years.

 

The Buffalo provides food, building materials, and tools that the Sioux need to survive. The Buffalo is fast and ill-tempered. As you can imagine this makes hunting the buffalo difficult and extremely dangerous. Humans have faced problems like this before and it has led to some very ingenious solutions. The Sioux are no different.

 

The Sioux realized that to survive they would need to use every advantage. Their weapons consisted of stone-tipped spears, arrows, and their knowledge of the terrain. An example of using terrain to your advantage is found near the town of Ulm, Montana. The land around the town of Ulm is broken by flat plains and sharp rocky hills A very prominent feature is a line of cliffs that are located between the Missouri River and the plains. The cliffs are from 30 to 50 feet high and when approached from the plains are nearly invisible until you are near their edge. A perfect trap, they called it a Pishkun.

 

The Sioux normally traveled and lived in small family units referred to today as Clans. When hunting the buffalo they would form into larger groups organized around a few leaders. The hunt counted on the leaders to coordinate the various stages of the hunt.

 

The first task was to herd the buffalo toward the Pishkun. This was done by using children who were dressed in animal hides to slowly circle the back of the buffalo herd. This would nudge the herd toward the Pishkun.

 

The fastest runner of the tribe would dress in a great buffalo robe and stay close enough to the head of the herd to be seen, but not so close as to be found out. The rest of the hunters would gather on either side of the herd and slowly nudge the herd tighter and tighter together.

 

On a prearranged signal the children behind the herd would begin to make howls like wolves and move closer to the herd. The hunters on either side of the herd would begin to howl and scream. The runner near the front of the herd would begin to sprint toward the cliffs of the Pishkun. The Buffalo, being a herd animal, began to stampede as fast as they could following the runner.

At the edge of the cliff, the runner would take cover just under the rim and watch as hundreds of buffalo would jump to their death. The Sioux would spend the next few weeks as a large group tanning the hides, preparing the meat, and cleaning the bones. When they finished they would return to their small clans.

The Ulm Pishkun was used by the Blackfeet, Shoshone, Assiniboine, Gros Ventre, Salish, Kootenai, Crow, and Cheyenne tribes from about 500 AD to about 1500 AD. I have walked the Ulm Pishkun many times and it is one of those places that has a special place in my heart and the inspiration for the painting I call “Blood Kettle”.  Pishkun is the Sioux word for “Blood Kettle”.

Software Review

Pixlr

(Free Online Photo Editor)

I am as far as you can get from a professional photographer. But I do like to take pictures and if you are like me, eventually you will want to edit them. Programs like Photoshop can cost hundreds of dollars and in the long run, you will probably not use all the features expensive programs provide. With this in mind, I went looking for a good FREE photo editor.

Pixlr is a free online photo editor. It allows you to edit your pictures with multiple layers and comes with some pretty cool effects. As a quick demo, I edited a picture of a tiger.

With one layer holding the tiger’s picture I added a second layer for a black border. Then a layer for text. The editing screen is easy to navigate.

You can upload and save images directly from or to your computer to use later.

Check them out a pixlr.com/editor.

Adios!

Bunker 051

I am a retired United States Air Force Security Policeman.  The history of the USAF Security Police is full of men and women who sacrificed their lives in the defense of this nation.  This is one of those stories.

January 31st, 1968,  Tan Son Nhut Air Base, South Vietnam.

0320: Call Sign Echo 37, bunker 051 calls in and reports and reports mortars and grenades are being fired at the western perimeter, but are falling short.  Security Forces are dispatched.

0327: Echo 37, Sgt Fischer, who was badly wounded reports that several hundred men were attacking the bunker and heading toward the airfield.  Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) ran away and left Sgt. Alfonzo Coggins, Sgt. William Cyr, Sgt.Louis Fischer, Sgt. Roger Mills and Sgt. Charles Hebron to attempt to hold the defensive bunker.  It was discovered that 12 North Vietnam Army companies were attacking the base from eight directions.

0330: A Helicopter Light Fire Team under the control of the 53rd Bn, 3rd  Company was dispatched to strafe the areas where the enemy was concentrated.

0340: Bunker 051 (Echo-37) reported two injured. one hit by a mortar or rocket and that mortar or rocket rounds were landing on base. CSC dispatched an ambulance to the 051 Bunker to evacuate the wounded. The ambulance, however, was unable to reach the bunker due to the heavy enemy fire.

0344: The 051 Bunker (Echo-37) reported the west perimeter fence was being breached near 051 Gate (75 meters north of the 051 Bunker) and that enemy forces were coming onto the base. The Echo Quick Reaction Team and two platoons of Task Force 35 were dispatched to the area and deployed as the initial blocking force.

0354:   Echo-37 (Sgt. Fischer) reported: ” They are completely inside the base, they’re all around this position, we’re running low on ammo, one man dead and two badly injured”.  

0354:, Security Control: 10-20 “What’s your call sign?”

0354: Echo 37: Echo 37

0355: Security Control: “Copy Echo-37”

0355: Echo-37: “That’s 10-4”

This was the last transmission from Sgt. Fisher. Of the five Security Policeman whose post that night was bunker 051, only one survived. Sgt. Alonzo Coggins either emerged or was found at approximately 1100 Hours. After his comrades were dead and running out of ammo, he lay severely wounded and survived throughout the night, even during the 10 hours that the North Vietnamese had control of bunker 051, Sgt. Coggins remained inside. He was eventually airlifted for medical treatment. Six months later he was discharged and was awarded the Silver Star as were his four comrades that fell.

Bunker 051

 

The Patriot


Definition: Noun: A person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

There once was a warrior who fought for his country without question. He was a Patriot.

There once was a citizen that fought against war without question. He was a Patriot.

There once was a student that fought for social justice without question. He was a Patriot.

In today’s world, these examples of a Patriot seem to contradict each other. In truth, they do not. Though they may have differing world views, the intent of supporting and defending the interests of their country is equal. As I observe conversations in the media and social websites it becomes obvious that the word Patriot has been altered to mean only conservative points of view. However, this is not true. Liberals can also claim to be Patriots.

Supporting your country is totally different from agreeing with its government. If you take this down to a personal level, you support a friend by pointing out where they are making mistakes. Patriots left and right, do just this.

Defending your country does not mean ignoring what it has done wrong, but fighting to make sure it does not repeat those mistakes.

Love for country does not mean being blind. It means you are aware of the promise that your country has, and you want to move it to that promise.

A Patriot is Defined by Intent.

Security Sunday 20161106

Security Sunday 20161106

Security is a mindset. It is not paranoia, it is being aware of the dangers that exist, and taking action to reduce your exposure. If you take nothing else from this series of articles, the message of awareness is the most important.

There is an aspect to security that has not been discussed. Personal self-defense methods. These methods, though important, are not something you can read about, or watch a video to learn. The use of open hand (no weapon) techniques and use of weapons can only be successfully taught hands on. It will take a few days to weeks to learn how to employ the proper level of force based on the situation.

One of the first things any self-defense instructor will teach you is to be aware. Staying out of situations that may force you into a life or death fight is the goal. A search of the internet will yield hundreds of local self-defense courses. Investigate them before plopping down money.

Krav Maga is a system that I would suggest you look into. It is used by Israeli special forces, and you can find a training center in most cities. Again, investigate before spending time and money.

Be Safe

Photographs and Memories

A picture, they say, paints a thousand words.

They can help us see what things were like before we were here.

How they dressed differently.

But inside they were the same as us.

They had dreams of a better life.

They acted just as goofy.

They suffered the ravages of disease.

They tried to be “Different”.

They played games.

They worried about today.

They worried about tomorrow.

They fought for what they believed.

They died by the evil of others.

For all of the bad they endured.

They kept right on living.

To the very end.

 

Security Sunday 20161030

Security Sunday 20161030

Travel Security

The premise of this series of this post is that there have been no threats directed at you. If you have had a threat by a former boyfriend, girlfriend, or Mafia contact your local city or county attorney.

Depending on where you live, you will travel by a privately owned car, taxi, train, or bus. Most of our travel is so routine that we give it little thought. In fact, you can probably do it with your eyes closed. It is just another routine. That is about to change.

You will need some supplies.

          1. A map that includes the places you frequently travel.

          2. A Red, Blue, and Green highlighter.

          3. A pencil.

          4. A note pad.

We will deal with travel by privately owned car. Since this is the method that provides you with the most control over your travel.

Using the map and the green highlighter mark the route you take on a daily basis. Now using the note pad we will do a little reconnaissance of the route. What we are looking for are Danger Areas.

A danger area is any point where your car is stopped. This obviously includes stop signs and traffic signals, but it also includes high traffic areas. Another group of danger areas is bridges and tunnels. Typically a bridge and a tunnel restrict your ability to maneuver. On the note pad make a list of the danger areas by address.

Why do we want to be aware of places you stop or your movement is restricted? Car-Jacking, kidnappings, and robberies are more likely in a place where you are stopped. The whole purpose of this exercise is to make you aware of these dangers. Being aware is a large part of personal security.

Before you begin travel you must make sure your vehicle is capable of making the trip. Purchase a road service, just in case.

Being armed with a firearm is not always possible, but you should have other means such as pepper spray. Check your local laws to ensure you are in compliance with the carrying of pepper spray.

Keep your windows rolled up, and doors locked.

Know where all of the police sub-stations and hospitals along your route are located.

With the blue highlighter mark an alternate route that is significantly different from your main route. As with the main route make note of danger areas, and police sub-stations/hospitals.

Use the red highlighter to mark emergency routes. These routes are to hospitals, police sub-stations, fire departments, and evacuation locations. Practice driving these routes.

This is all about awareness. Being aware of your surroundings enhances your security. There are other actions you can take such as driving courses, self-defense courses, etc… Don’t be paranoid, be aware.

Security Sunday 20161023

Security Sunday 20161023

Security Systems and Monitoring Services.

This series has been dealing with measures you can take to improve the security of your home. Many of these required you to do the work, but that is not always something that is feasible. Obviously paying for these services are not inexpensive. You can spend anywhere from a few hundred dollars to tens of thousands. And the service you receive will vary accordingly. This blog will not endorse any company or product. What it will do is provide you with what to look for in these products and services.

Security Systems

Intrusion detectors with an alarm is a must. Every window and door should at the very least be equipped with a mechanical switch type intrusion detector. This really is nothing more than a magnetic switch that lets you know when a door or window has been opened. The alarm must be LOUD and annoying. These systems cost in the low hundreds. Unfortunately they typically only cover a couple of doors or windows. To have real value look for one that in expandable to cover all of your windows and doors.

When possible include other types of detectors, such as infra-red motion detectors. When armed these detectors will pick up movement within your home. This is important since a well-versed burglar knows how to circumvent mechanical switches. Cameras that can operate in low light conditions are also helpful.

Wireless or wired is the question. Wireless is easy. Typically you just peel and stick the detector and alarms and you are all done. The drawback is that each detector and alarm will need a battery and when the battery goes dead you will either wake up to an annoyingly loud alarm, or you will find that someone stole all of your stuff.  This can also be a plus since the alarm will continue to function during a power outage. Wired systems do not suffer from battery issues since they are wired to your home’s power. If you buy a system that has a battery backup they will even work during a power outage. The drawback to this type of system is, they are not easy to install.

Wireless and wired systems are both vulnerable to hackers.

Monitoring Services

Monitoring services are easy. They will in most cases install an alarm system in your home for low or no cost, as long as you buy their monitoring service. There are some very good services out there, but they all have drawbacks. Chief among their drawbacks is cost.

Monitoring companies use terms you need to understand. Response time is a term that they use. Their reference to response time is the time between an alarm in your home being initiated and the monitoring service taking an action.

These actions typically include calling you to determine if the call is indeed a break-in and not a malfunction. The monitoring company will attempt to call you based on a notification tree you have set up with them. For instance, you can have them call your home number first, then your cell number, then a trusted agent you have established with them. The number of calls they will attempt before calling the police varies. Why not call the police first? The police may, and often do charge for false alarms. Your local police department can advise you on these charges.

Summary

Regardless of how you proceed with a home alarm system keep in mind, these systems are the last line of defense, and typically will not do much to stop a determined burglar. To depend on these systems alone will do little more than provide proof to the insurance company that you at least tried to protect your stuff.

Consider this. The average response time to a life or death situation by the police is 10 minutes. For a burglar alarm, the time is as high as an hour. The time it takes for a skilled burglar to take your valuables is 8 minutes. The good news is, burglars like the easy mark with the highest payout. If you have followed the Security Sunday series of posts to this point you increased the difficulty for a burglar, and protected your valuables by keeping them out of sight.

In the next series of Security Sunday posts, we will deal with personal security while traveling.