Author Archives: thereishopemyson

BULLY-PROOF

Dude, you are the man! I so wish I could have been more like you at your age! Your mom told me that recently there have been kids at school who told you they think you look like a transgender person. When asked why do you think they said that, you replied with “I don’t know, maybe my hair?” It wouldn’t have mattered what they called you……you don’t care. That stuff doesn’t ever bother you. 

I so love how little you are concerned about what some of those punk kids think of you. You have been this way for as long as I can remember. Had I went through that when I was a kid, I would have probably asked your grandma to let me stay home for a week. I probably would have went right to get a haircut. I cared too much about what other people think, and I still struggle with that a little today.

I used to give you grief about cutting your hair. I remember even telling you “the Biebs” cut his hair and maybe it’s time for you too. You didn’t care, you are always you. Dang, I am so grateful (and you should be too) that you take after your mom! I will never tease you about your hair or anything else like that again. I am so proud of you!

I know I don’t have to tell you this, but being the popular kid in high school does not mean you will be successful or even liked after high school. A lot of so called “popular” kids end up at age 50 looking back at their years in HS as the greatest years of their life. That is not how it is supposed to work, you only spend 4 years there.

Again, I know I don’t have to say any of this to boost your confidence or make you feel better because you don’t care about that stuff. You are you and I’ve already seen how you respond to any so called friends who don’t treat you or others the right way.

You have no idea how proud I am of you! Thanks for teaching me a lesson for a change!

Love you bud!

Dad

ORDINARY IS EXTRAORDINARY

Hey bud, one of the coolest things about God is how He has no concern for a person’s social status or financial standing in life. He doesn’t care if you are as famous as Tom Cruise or as unknown as Bill Bruno. He doesn’t care if the world thinks you are as smart as Albert Einstein, or more like Larry the Cable Guy. He doesn’t give Bill Gates more time & attention than He would give the homeless guy we just passed on the street. Worldly wisdom, wealth, a notoriety mean nothing to Him.

All we have to do is look at the Bible to see what God considered important in a person. He didn’t pick out the highly educated PhD or those who spent their life studying religion in schools. He didn’t choose the rich people who lived on the hill to spread His Word. He chose the common ordinary folks. Do you know why? It’s because they were humble! They didn’t have anything that would get in the way of them relying on God. He knew that money and/or fame was a crutch and that people who had lots of it would put their trust in “things” more than Him.

Here are just a few examples:

King David was the smallest and youngest of all his brothers. When Samuel was led by God to David’s house, I imagine he was a little surprised when God had him pass over all of David’s big studly brothers for scrawny David who was relegated to working in the fields watching the sheep.

Another is Rahab who was a prostitute at the time she entered into the Bible picture. She saved the Israelite spies from being captured and ended up becoming a big part of the lineage of David and Jesus. It didn’t matter what her occupation was at the time, God knew she would put Him first.

Then there were the fisherman and the hated tax collector that Jesus called as apostles to hang out with and learn from Him. You would think Jesus would have walked right to the temple and found the high priests to witness His miracles and spread His word. Nope! He chose common ordinary people; humble hard working folks. The problem was most of the so called religious leaders were too greedy, hypocritical, and more concerned about impressing others than helping share who God is. (Sound familiar? It’s still happening today.)

There are many more examples I will share with you later. Very few people God used were who you would expect. Jesus loved and cared for the poor, he didn’t hang out and drink with the rich. He knew wisdom learned from this world was nothing compared to the wisdom He could teach them. It is just so hard for someone who everyone tells is great and smart to remain humble and see the need for God.

Son, my point in this is to make sure you don’t rely on the “things” of this world more that the “One” not from this World. Don’t discredit anyone because they are not credited by others as doing or being much here on earth. Stay humble and work hard. God can call even the least of us to great things.

Love you bud!

Bill
Philippians 2:3-4 “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others”.

FORGIVE AND FORGET

Hi son, I have to share something that you need to know….. I don’t always practice what I preach. I still struggle with stubbornness and it takes me too long to get over disappointments and much longer than it should to forgive and forget.
 
I tell you about what is in the Bible and how Jesus expects us to carry ourselves; but there are times when my pride gets in the way of doing what I know I should……what He is teaching me to do.
 
It’s times like this when I sit back in amazement at how loving and forgiving our God is! His love is unconditional; which is amazing considering he has been rejected and disappointed more than anything we will ever experience.
 
As humans our love ALWAYS has conditions: “Do they love me back”? “Do they do things for me”? “Do they make me happy and encourage me”? etc. etc…. God’s love doesn’t need these things. He loves us in spite of ourselves and how we feel about Him. He loves us so much He sent his Son to die on the cross for us even though most of the people at the time were just fine letting him be crucified.
 
The other thing I think about is how easily God forgives us. As long as we are sincere, He will forgive us and throw those sins so far away that they are out of the picture completely. He forgave me for acting like an idiot most of my life and he forgives me when I act like a hypocrite now.
 
I wish I could be more like Jesus and forgive and forget as quick and easy as He does. Heck, sometimes I have a harder time forgiving myself than forgiving others. All I can tell you is I am trying! It’s so great to have His Word and examples of His love for us to read and learn from.
 
We will never be perfect my boy, but it is worth every ounce of effort in our body to try and mirror Jesus in this aspect.
 
I love you buddy and promise if we ever have a disagreement, or if you ever disappoint me, that I will do my best to respond like Jesus would.
 
Dad
 
Colossians 3:13 “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you”.
 
1 John 4:16 “And so we know and rely on the love God has for us.
God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them”.

THE TRUTH CAN HURT

Son, there is a false belief held by some Christians that if you are a good Christian you will not offend anyone. In fact, a Christian who offends people is sometimes considered to be just one more arrogant, insensitive, narrow-minded Christian, because it is thought that “true” Christians are sensitive and considerate, and would never offend anyone.
 
It should never be our “wish” to offend anyone, but you must realize that the truth, even if it is presented in love, will offend some people. We each have the choice to either love people enough to tell them the truth, knowing that we might offend them, or we can choose to simply be quiet and not risk offending anyone.
 
All we have to do is look to the one who proclaimed the truth more than any other person on the planet. He offended people, divided crowds, made people uptight, and enraged the masses more than any other person who ever lived. Of course, this person is Jesus. His truth does not depend on, nor is it changed by, people’s opinions.
 
It is important for us to work hard to discover what is and what is not true. The only way we can find out the truth is by reading and studying the Bible. Most Christians will tell you that the Bible is indisputably God’s words given to man, but then they fail to accept it when it makes them uncomfortable.
 
A major tactic of the devil is to create a climate in our country where there is a lot of disagreement over truths from the Bible. That way, anyone who claims to have the truth is considered ignorant or high and mighty, and is therefore easily dismissed.
 
It is safe to assume that neither you nor I are going to come up with a way to present the Bible without offending some people. Many will reject us, and some will even try to stop our Christian activities.
 
What was good for Jesus and the disciples should be good enough for us. If our goal in life is to not offend anyone and to have everyone like us, then chances are good we are not real disciples of Jesus.
 
Of course I realize that if you want to fill churches and keep the money pouring in, then the way to go is to preach a man-centered and man-pleasing message. Churches that fall in to this category tell people what they “want” to hear, but not what they “need” to hear.
 
Telling the truth however will always alienate people, always upset people, and always offend people. How can this not be the response? When we talk about the gospel that Jesus and the disciples preached, we should expect to get the same reaction that Jesus and the disciples got.
 
All the great men of God who proclaimed God’s truth in God’s way got some negative responses. That is just how it goes I am afraid. Whether or not someone likes what the Bible says does not change the truth of the Bible.
 
Again, we should not be offensive just to be offensive, but we should not be afraid to speak the truth of God when the need arises. The gospel that offends no one is not the gospel of the Bible.
 
I love you my son!
 
Dad
 
Galatians 4:16: “Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth”?

Thank you Lord

Thank you Lord for always being available for me to come to you and for letting me give my worries and concerns to you! Thank you for consistently refining me through trials, disagreements, and mistakes I make. I promise to keep learning from you and my experiences trying to practice and teach others about your great love and your Word.

There is nothing like the feeling I get when I go into pray with deep concerns and ask you for help. There is never a time when you don’t help me come out of it with a new attitude and a way to grow from it.

I love you so much, and I owe you EVERYTHING!

Your adopted son

Dear President Trump

Dear President Trump. I heard your comments on Sunday to your staff: “We will face many challenges, but with the faith in each other and the faith in God we will get the job done.”

I also saw how your chief of staff read one of my favorite Bible verses: “it’s from Isaiah 40:31.’Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not be faint.’

Although I am very excited that in the short time you have been in office the Creator of “All” has been mentioned more times than I can recall it happening in the last 8 years from your predecessor…..as a Christian who is becoming more mature in my faith each day, I have some advice for you:

1. We have plenty of “Christians in name only”. It does no good to anyone to mention your faith if you don’t practice it daily. I pray you take that to heart and that God works through you to help this become a reality.

2. In the Bible Jesus teaches us to turn the other cheek and to always take the “high road”. I realize this may be hard for you (it was for me), but you can ask for help from Him. If I can do it with His help, you can too.

3. You have the ability to lead by example and show the world what the daily walk of a Christian should be like. The instructions are written in that book you swore on at your inauguration. My hope for you is that you continue to read and learn from it.

4. Remember, you may be the only example some will see of our faith. It is a huge responsibility, and should not be taken lightly.

I have been working hard these last 4 years to get rid of the hate, sarcasm, and dumb hurtful comments I used to have as part of my daily life. Please know that your actions can demolish the efforts I and many other Christians have put in trying to show what Christianity should look like.

Please, please take your responsibility seriously. A person in your position can cause more damage to our faith than a President who doesn’t believe in God. On the flip side, you have the chance to change people’s lives and give them hope knowing a better life is available to them. (I’m not talking about just our time here on earth)

I pray for you every day my brother! Remember God’s grace is deeper than any ocean. He will forgive the past if you commit to Him in the present and future. I am a good example of His grace in action……you can be too!

Let’s turn this place around!

Bill, an ordinary citizen (AKA….Zach’s dad)
#GodBlessAmerica #HopeMySon

HIGH ROAD HIJACKED

Hello my son!  I am so proud of you, and thank you for being such a kind, caring, & loving person!   Keep that with you for life, don’t let others ever change who you are.

People wonder why the Democrats who were so disgusted at the disrespect the Republicans gave President Obama are now doing the same thing to Trump. How can they be so outraged at that behavior over the last 8 years but now think it’s OK for them to act that way?

It’s not because they are hypocrites……..it’s because they saw how effective it was for the Republicans. The politicians have realized that taking the high road doesn’t win elections like taking the low road does. Nice guys finish last and aren’t news worthy.

Until we Americans change what motivates us; dirty, nasty politics will always trump honest hard working politicians who refuse to get into back and forth name calling and smear campaigns.

We created this monster, we can change it. Demand more from our politicians. Demand courtesy, respect and integrity even if it’s “boring”.

 

Love you son!

 

Dad

PASSION FOR PRAISE?

What’s up fella?

I saw an old Billy Graham crusade on television. There were celebrities and sports figures coming on stage to tell their story of faith in a big coliseum. He used to get thousands of people to come together to share and learn about Christ in peace.

I sure wish us Christians could pull together again like all the protesters do. Where is our passion?……shouldn’t it be much higher than those who oppose a president, a law, or a police shooting?

I love you bud!

 

Dad

IS IT A NEED OR A GREED?

Hey bud, first off I want you to know how much I love you! I’ve learned many important things from studying the Bible. One of the most important is to remember we must trust in God to provide for us. Also important is to know He will provide for all of our “needs”, but not our “greeds”.

If you are praying for something and you don’t get it, check yourself and make sure it is truly a need.

Have a great week!

Dad

NEGATING THE NEGATIVE

My boy, a great lesson for you:
Philippians 4:8 “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”
 
Paul is saying, keep your mind and your heart stayed on the good things of God. Christians should not be negative. We should always look on the bright side. There is more than enough despair in the world without the Christians adding to it. Be positive in this negative world; bring hope.
 
It is the responsibility of every Christian to be a bright light, reflecting the Light of Jesus to this lost world. You may be somebody’s only look at what Christ is all about. Give them hope, not more despair.
 
It won’t be easy……. there will be times you want so bad to say “I told you so”. Let it go, don’t get sucked in by everything you hear at school or see on tv or social media. God expects us to be different, to be above it all.
 
Love you bud!
 
Dad

BORN TO SAVE VOL 1

Luke 12:25 “And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit?”

You can exercise all you want…….you can even use a stretching machine; but no way can you add 18 inches to your height once you stop growing. A woman can put on high heels and appear to be taller, but it is just appearance; she is no taller than before.

Luke 12:26 “If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest?”

Since you can’t control your height, why worry about it? Worrying will get you exactly nowhere but in the hospital. You can worry all you want to, and it will not change one thing. Worry is akin to fear and is the OPPOSITE of faith. Fear is displeasing to God. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. 

Son, I have seen what stress does to people. I’ve felt it’s unrelenting pressure for close to 20 years of my life. Jesus told us everything we need to know in these two verses. He was born to save us, we just need to listen to his advice. There is: #HopeMySon 

Love you bud!

Dad

#BornToSave # 

THE HEART OF THE MATTER

THE HEART OF THE MATTER
Zach Bruno Hey bud, It is important for you to understand that God knows our hearts. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you say…….God knows if you really mean it.
 
This is great news! All the false preachers, misguided religions, and those who are Christian In Name Only will not deceive the Almighty. It also means those of us who in our heart believe the Bible is the TRUTH and try to live by His commandments will find grace even when we fall short. (I fall short often!)
Keep your heart focused on the Lord my boy! Remember you can’t fool Him, so don’t even try!
 
Dad
 
Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJV
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

Motivational Speaker or Christian Preacher?

Hey bud. Another thing you and your generation are going to have to figure out is how to avoid falling for the crap these guys and gals are shoveling out. The Bible has over 2,000 verses on money….yet these “preachers” ignore them all. 

Now, it’s more common than ever to hear preachers like these say “God wants you to have money. I can show you how. Just say these verses and ask out loud and God will provide. Just look what He has done for me. Now for only $49.99 I’ll teach you how to get what you want from God like I did! I’ll even give you a coupon for 10% off my latest book. 


The problem is that some non-believers will see these preachers and their behavior and it will cause them to stay away from God. Other believers will wait for their riches and health and blessings to come and once they don’t they lose faith. Zach, this life here on earth is not always going to be peachy. How would you learn if there weren’t trials and tests. These preachers failed the “worldly test”.
Dad 

REVIVAL FOR SURVIVAL

Hey high schooler. 

I know you’ve noticed that our country is a mess. The anger and hate has grown to the point of boiling over . It reminds me of this scene in Ghostbusters where the angrier the people get, the more the evil slime grew. Soon it was taking over……   https://youtu.be/1y8Rqvz-Jcg.      

 I have a cousin who recently disowned me; not because “I” support the wrong presidential candidate, but because a sister of mine does. (Talk about anger…..you should have seen the text he sent me). 

As a nation, we are stuck having to vote for the lesser of two evils. One candidate is a big bully who thinks two Corinthians is the name of a book in the Bible. He also claims to be very religious even after demoralizing women and calling them ugly dogs. The other is a documented liar whose faith somehow doesn’t discourage abortions. She preaches about income quality right after getting fitted for her $10,000 Armani suit.   

At this point son, I am at a loss…… Has our great country become so bad that these 2 candidates are the best we have to represent us to the rest of the world?  The current President ran on promises that he was going to bring the country together, but his words and actions have only drawn us further apart. The two candidates we have to pick from now are going to make it worse. 

Many have little hope, but fortunately I still have mine!   My hope comes from God. My hope comes from reading the Bible. My hope comes from the fact that in the grand scheme of things, our time here dealing with all this crap is very short. You see bud, when you compare eternity vs. the time we live on earth, our human life seems like a vapor. Poof and it’s over!  

When you put things in perspective you can see what is most important. Always remember the end of your time here on earth is the beginning of eternity in a place nothing like your life in Chandler, AZ, United States of America. It can either mark the beginning of forever somewhere much worse than you could ever imagine, or it could be the start of eternity in a place far better than you could ever earn or deserve.  Many will be lost, and some will find their way. The wide road to eternity is easy to drive, but it leads you to the wrong place. Choose the narrow less traveled road my boy!  

The only way we will turn things around and save the USA is through revival. As a nation, once the greatest nation on earth, we need to turn back to God and ask Him for help and forgiveness.  We need to turn back to the instructions He left us in his Word. I don’t have much hope that as a whole it is going to happen, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try!

This our our mission………..its up to you to choose to accept it. 

I love you son!  
Dad
James 4: 14: Whereas you know not what shall be tomorrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapor, that appears for a little time, and then vanishes away  

TRUST IS A MUST

Hey bud, I love you and sure did miss you these last 2 days!  I have to tell you over the last week that God brought to light more reasons why my life didn’t take the turns I thought they would. Another company I was turned down for a job at a couple years ago just laid off their entire sales force and shut down their Arizona operations. I admit it has been in the back of my mind since then, but I put my trust in Him and didn’t stress about it. I might not always get the answers right away; but in time the reasons are always given as long as my eyes are open to see.
 
Every day before I leave the house in the morning I pray. Before every appointment at work I pray and ask God to lift me up, energize me, help me be a good influence on those I come in contact with, and I ask for his light to shine bright through me. Most importantly I ask for His will to be done, not mine. I look for reasons why God has put me in front of certain people and I cherish every moment knowing I am exactly where he wants me to be today.
 
You have to trust that He is going to take you down the path that is best for you. The more you pray, the more your faith grows. The more your faith grows, the easier it is to sit back and trust His plan for you. The more you live to please God over pleasing yourself the better your life will be!
 
Remember that son.
 
Love
Dad

Psalm 9:10 “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.

There is no excuse

Son, I wonder what people  would think of their church if they actually read and studied the Bible themselves? Will there be rules and beliefs they practice that are mentioned in the Bible as false or not listed at all as requirements to go to heaven? Salvation is nothing to mess around with, you can’t take a chance. The only way you know for sure is to read the Truth. I’m not sure God will accept “that is what I learned in Church” as an excuse if you haven’t read His Word he left for us.
For centuries churches have strayed from the Word of God. Some think Christ dying on the cross was not enough and that you must earn your way with man made rules and practices.  This radically minimizes the sacrifice God made by sending His Son to die on the cross.  I am not trying to point fingers.  I am trying to help others ensure they are saved.  My eyes have been opened and I am in shock at how many things the Bibles says are wrong that our major religions are preaching as right.  It’s not good son!
Don’t trust what anyone tells you, find out for yourself.  Read the Bible!
I love you my boy!
Dad
Gal. 2:16, “nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we may be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified.”

MY ANSWER

Hey bud. You asked me if I would still say I’m a Christian if I had to go through the horrible experience the kids at the college in Oregon did. There are also many of our brothers and sisters in the Middle East facing this question every day. Here is my answer:
 
YES!
 
I can’t say I would have been as positive about it a few years ago, but here is why I am so confident now.
1. My faith is strong. I have been studying The Bible for about 2 1/2 years now. I have learned a lot, and I am sold on Jesus. I know he would help me answer “YES” under any circumstance.
 
2. I have no regrets in life. Although I have had some setbacks along the way, I have lived my life to the fullest these last few years. I have mended relationships and I have shown everyone I love exactly how much they mean to me.  I have told you most everything you need to know; and what I haven’t told you, I have left for you in writing. I feel good about the example I have given you to follow.
 
3. To be persecuted or even martyred for loving Christ is to be blessed. Many people have died in the name of Jesus. Many more will die in your lifetime. The Bible gives us many examples of the past as well as truths about what is still yet to come. Read it and find comfort.
 
4. When I die, I get to go to heaven!  I get to meet Jesus!  I get to see all my lost loved ones and worship God in his true temple. Heaven is so much better than this place. I would much rather be there now, but God has a plan for me here. He isn’t finished teaching me what I need to pass on to you.
 
Yes, I would miss you for what would only seem like a blink to me,
because I know together we will be chillin for eternity!
 
I love you son!  Don’t be scared.  Lean on Him always and your courage and strength will be strong.
 
Dad
2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

YOUR DAD IS A CHUMP

Kiddo, I don’t get it. I complain about all the crap on the news; yet I spend at least 2 hours a day reading or watching it. I don’t like what I see on TV; and who knows what kind of [CENSORED] you have seen or read on the internet.

I complain about how far downhill we as a country have come, but I don’t do anything about it. I try to block out how hypocritical and self centered I am while I just sit there on the couch playing games on my Ipad,

Nothing will change without action.

I recently told you there are a lot of “good people” still left in this country and that is the truth. Heck, I would even consider myself in that category these last few years.

The problem is that good people who don’t do anything are useless.

What difference will it make if I complain about something but never act to change it? You think someone else will fix it?

We tolerate too much in this country. I just #HopeMySon that It isn’t too late. I hope it won’t be long before I get so sick of it all that I get off my butt and act.

Sorry bud. I’ll keep trying!

Dad

Romans 7:15
I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.

GOOD PEOPLE 

Son, I am friends with a lot of really “good people” here on The Face Book. My friends have a wide variety of opinions and beliefs about what should or shouldn’t be done with this country, and who should or shouldn’t run it. There is one overwhelming thing I’ve noticed that runs through them all however……..THEY CARE! 
I guarantee you I could get them all in a room and we could be amicable and talk through our differences. We could agree to disagree and still like each other. Sure, sometimes frustrations can get the best of us, but you can’t hide a kind heart. 
I think we are going to be ok. There are way too many good people out there. (Especially them Chandler folks!)
Don’t just surround yourself with people who agree with everything you say. 

You will find out in life you won’t learn anything that way. 
Love you buddy!  

NEVER FORGET

Son, my dad/your grandpa sure is corny; but one thing he taught all of us is to love our country. By the time you get to be grandpa’s age, you might not be allowed to fly the flag in this country. Please try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

Grandpa will never forget what happened on this day 14 years ago, and neither will I. Please try to make sure you NEVER forget!

Dad

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HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF?

History repeats itself?

Hard to not see the similarities between what I just read about in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel & Daniel and what is happening today. Today,in Michigan, there is a temple for the Devil and they have now set up some huge goat idol downtown, This is happening in our country! You can’t turn on the TV without seeing murder and hate everywhere.  

It would be a pretty depressing time if my faith wasn’t so strong. If there wasn’t a book that tells me what is going to happen and how to avoid it; I might be worried. If I didn’t have my eyes open and my heart full of trust in his plan, things would be different.  

How long do you think the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is going to be patient with this country, this world?  

Dad
“See how Jerusalem, once so faithful, has become a prostitute. Once the home of justice and righteousness, she is now filled with murderers. Once like pure silver, you have become like worthless slag. Once so pure, you are now like watered-down wine. Your leaders are rebels, the companions of thieves. All of them love bribes and demand payoffs, but they refuse to defend the cause of orphans or fight for the rights of widows”. Isaiah 1:21-23 NLT

IT DOESNT TAKE WEEKS

IT DOESN’T TAKE WEEKS

God doesn’t use a certain number of weeks to determine if a baby is an actual “person! He knew us before we were even the size of a peanut.

Son, we are killing about a million unborn children in the USA every year. Since 1973 over 50 million abortions have been performed in the USA.  

I wonder if any of them might have been your friends if they were given a chance to live. Maybe some would have been the next great leader, pastor or humanitarian. We will never know. 

God must be so ashamed of us right now! Please, please Zach, don’t follow in our footsteps!  

You are EVERYTHING to me son!  

Dad

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart”. Jeremiah 1:5

CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE 

Son, I am sure you have heard by now about the county clerk who was arrested for not complying with the law to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Here is what Martin Luther King had to say about it:

“Some of our critics complain that our non-violent method fosters disrespect for the law and encourages ‘lawlessness.’ Nothing could be further from the truth. Civil disobedience concludes that the non-violent resistor in the face of unjust and/or immoral law cannot in all good conscience obey that law. His decision to break that law and willingly pay the penalty evidences the highest respect for the law. … Thus it is, when the non-violent resistor refuses to cooperate with a law that is out of harmony with the laws of God and the laws of morality, he must break the law—but in so doing, he practices civil disobedience and accepts the penalty, thereby practicing moral obedience and transforms the jail into a haven of liberty and freedom.”

My boy, do you think it is a coincidence that not long ago others in government positions broke the law and were not arrested? Just one example is those who issued marriage licenses before the law was changed. They cited their conscience and belief in what is wright and wrong as to why they disobeyed the law. These are the same reasons the county clerk cited. Why do you think things were so different for her?  

Zach, whether someone believes gay marriage is right or wrong; without “civil” disobedience our country wouldn’t be here. Respect everyone’s opinions and beliefs, even if you disagree. Never demoralize or belittle someone just because they think differently from you.  

Stand up for what you feel is right, but do it in a peaceful, civil way. 

Love you!
“Be on guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be courageous. Be strong. And do everything with love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 NLT

BROKEN 

Very proud of my brother.  He put Baltimore and Ferguson and so much of what is wrong with our great country in perspective. Way to go Benjamin Watson, TE for the saints. Now that we know the root cause of our problems, what are we going to do about it?  (See Benjamin’s insight below). 
We have major problems as a nation. Yesterday Ferguson burned. Tonight ‪#‎Baltimore‬ burns. Tomorrow it will be another city in our homeland. Watching the coverage I’m hearing yet another version of a nauseatingly familiar narrative. Violence by police reciprocated by violence by the community, reciprocated by violence by police reciprocated by…. 

It seems fruitless to continue to analyze, condemn, and respond to these dreadful episodes. “Frustration, anger, tension boiling over, upset and unfortunate” are words we hear from Baltimore residents. When it comes to law enforcement, race, poverty, education, immigration we always talk about fixing “broken” systems. We resolve to legislate for education, job creation, and systemic overhaul. These are helpful and definitely needed BUT we have done all of these things ad nauseum and look at us!! Without a change of heart these attempts fail us. So what can we say? What can we do? Systems are broken because people are broken and if systems are fixed without hearts being changed the result will be a legalistic attempt that will lack long term results. Our problems are wholistic and common to the human heart. Hatred, prejudice, exploitation, pride, self righteousness, secrecy, and rebellion, manifest itself in the explosions we’ve seen over the last year, the last century, and the last millennia. 
Tonight I see so much entrenched pain without remedy. Most are handling it without violence while a few are committing the unacceptable.

Tonight I see young children, asking like my daughter did earlier, “What’s happening daddy”, in desperate need of parents to walk them through these disturbing scenes. 
Tonight I see “smoke,” but we must address the fire. The response that we are watching is just “smoke” from years of hopelessness. After each situation the more I am convinced that the love of God for our fellow brothers and sisters who were created in His image, is our only hope for reconciliation. But the only way we can even see him that way is if God illuminates our view and changes our thought process. I’m not talking about holding hands and singing. Love is an action that compels one to treat another with dignity and respect even if they don’t deserve it. It pushes for education and opportunities for those in poverty. It gives identity and self worth. It administers justice without abuse. It honors authority and promotes peace. It is not weak, but strong for what is right!
Tonight I see a brokenness that only Christ can give us the wisdom and power to mend. 

We pray for every disaster that happens to us. Bombings, natural disasters, cancer and outbreaks. What we’ve seen in our country lately deserves that same attention. Our attempts to fix this have fallen short. 
We, and most importantly, the body of Christ, must stand for justice in all areas, for all people. We must set the standard for the correct way to treat people. 
Tonight I pray for the pastors, leaders, police and community of Baltimore. 

Tonight I ‪#‎PrayForAmerica‬.

SHUT IT OUT

Son, don’t believe what you hear and see in the media.  All they show is death and hate.  I can tell you we are still a great country full of kind decent and loving people.  The problem is the good stories aren’t newsworthy. Don’t lose hope in us.  You and your generation won’t have to do it alone!  

Love you bud!
Dad

Such people will not be overcome by evil. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the LORD to care for them. (‭Psalms‬ ‭112‬:‭6-7‬ NLT)

WHAT’S NEXT? 

Son, I love you so much!  I am so incredibly proud of the young man you have grown into!    We are at a big crossroad in our country and in  our towns. The decisions we make over the next 10 years will either make or break us.  Will we continue to choose hate over love?  Will we continue to stay silent about how we really feel because speaking out and taking a stand is too much work?  Will we start practicing what we preach?  Will we start to give with glee instead of “it’s all about me, me, me”?    Will we learn how hope works, or will we continue to be too afraid to leave our house?  Will we take advantage of the time we have with all these great generations and figure out a real plan for our future?  

I have grown immensely. My eyes are wide open.  My mind is sharp.  

Money.  People want to give.  People don’t trust where their money is going when they give.  Our federal programs spend over half of what we give them on things that don’t reach the people in need.   How do they know where our money should be spent?  Bring it back local.  I have an idea…

A rallying cry.  Americans are scared.  We need something to believe in as the resurgence of super hero movies and the surprising increase in “Christian” themed films demonstrate. We obviously don’t realize how much we can do together; because we grow farther apart every day.  I have an idea…

Not alone. How do we get out from in front of our electronics and see what is happening in our world?   How do we stop ourselves from going down the road where we lose almost all interpersonal communication?  How do we let others know they are not alone?  I have an idea..

Growth.  They only thing growing is our technology, our waste lines  and our debt.  Our federal government is leading by a great example.   What can we do to stimulate our brains and train ourselves to learn?  How can we turn that learning into growth?  I have an idea…

Big things are ahead my boy!  Let’s start kicking our journey into high gear!

Dad 

  

Bake me a cake as fast as you can?

Son, I am still trying to understand this whole religious freedom controversy here in the U.S.A.  We have the bakers who refuse to bake a cake for a gay couple.  We also have the flower lady who refuses to provide flowers for a gay wedding. There are many more examples like these.

I have a few questions first before I get into this:

What if the gay couple were Christians?  Does that matter?

Do these business owners ask what a person’s religion is before they offer their services?

What about Atheists?  Do they get the cake and flowers?

Divorced people who are seeking to get re-married, are they ok?

What about the customer who just moments before entering the flower shop lied to their boss about being sick and needing to miss work?

What about the straight couple who wants to get married, but already had pre-marital sex?  Do they get their cake and eat it too?

If faith tells you to not serve homosexual couples, does your faith also tell you not to serve ANYONE who believes in God and the Bible but lives a life contrary to their teachings?

I keep trying to think of what Jesus would do. I think he would show compassion.  I think he would take any chance he could to help people understand who He is, what He has done for us, and how we can get closer to Him.   Yes, like the story of the woman caught in adultery in the Bible that was about to be stoned to death, Jesus would forgive and tell them:  ”go and sin no more”, even though he knows that is impossible for them or any of us. (John 8)

I think if Jesus the man was still walking the earth today and just starting his ministry he would go straight to the LGBT people to let them know there is a place for them.  Just as in the Bible, Jesus didn’t go to the priests and religious people first; he went to the poor and needy and the sinners.  I think if Jesus were here, he would say something like “They have it wrong.  How can someone who sins everyday against me and my Father also condemn you who sin?   I think Jesus would assure them that there is room at God’s table for them if they believe and repent of their own sins; whatever sins those may be.

Jesus wouldn’t  turn anyone down.  Do we really think God looks down from heaven and says:  only help those who are blameless and sin-free?   If that was the case, there would be no one to help.   I get that the Bible says homosexuality is unacceptable and a sin.  However, it also says lying is a huge sin.  It also says having sex before marriage is a sin.   It also says knowing God, but not living the life he expects from you is a sin.  Can you imagine how horrified the people were when they saw Jesus touch the leper?  (Matthew 8) They were probably disgusted by people like that, but Jesus wasn’t.  He loved him, accepted him, and made him clean.  In fact, many people that others found repulsive or annoying Jesus made a point to help and tell us about in the Bible. There weren’t many people who thought anything was worse than being a tax collector back then, and Jesus made one a disciple.

When I think of tyranny and lack of freedom of religion, I think of the Christians being beheaded and thrown in jail just because they believe in God.    I think of what happened to Daniel when he was told anyone caught praying to any God other than the King of Persia was to be thrown in the lion’s den.(Daniel 6)  I think of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.  They were 3 believers who were thrown in the fire because they did not bow down to the gold statue of the King of Babylon.(Daniel 1-3)  These are acts of real religious persecution.    By forcing someone to make that cake, or arrange those flowers, how are we losing our freedom of religion?

Adultery used to lead to death.  Does it anymore?  Working on a Sunday would lead to your banishment from your people, does that still happen?  Women who became pregnant before marriage were disowned and stoned to death, does that still occur here?  Are we to believe we are sinning by allowing our services to be used by anyone who considers themselves LGBT?  The money they pay us and we use to help others, would God blame us for that?  Does putting the flowers together for them drag us away from God?  Will God punish us for making that cake?  I say NO!

I believe from what I have read in the Bible that all sin can lead to death.  I believe God sent Jesus to die on the cross as a sacrifice for our sins; knowing we could not conquer sin ourselves.  In doing this He assured those who believe in Him and ask for forgiveness  will not die, but have everlasting life in heaven.

As I stated before when I wrote about this a year or so ago; my position has changed from how I thought most of my life.  Through God’s word (the Bible) and prayer for understanding, I have completely reversed the way I used to think about this issue.  How could I ever point a finger at someone else when I have lived the way I have?  I am grateful enough that God forgives me every day I admit my own sins to him.  I couldn’t imagine trying to condemn someone else for what they do.  All I can do is continue to learn more about how Jesus lived and always try to figure out WWJD!

I believe he would want us to show compassion and let his light burn bright in us for EVERYONE to see!

I love you son!

Dad

It’s on.

Woke up this morning feeling already defeated.
Dreamt all night I was starving, and how I felt cheated.

I woke up to hunger pangs all throughout this body of mine.
“There is no way you will make it”,my brain decided to chime.

I went to a quiet space and decided to pray.
“Lord, you are powerful, can you help me this day?”

As soon as my eyes opened a sense of joy filled my soul.
I didn’t even glance at the lucky charms in Zach’s cereal bowl.

How amazing is He who knows exactly what I need.
He took away my desire to open the packed fridge and feed.

“So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer.” (Ezra 8:23 NLT)

BENT ON LENT

Son, in my spiritual walk I started to read up on Lent.  It is known most commonly out here as the 40 days (not including Sundays) before Easter when Christ arose from the dead.  It is  a time to fast and bring one closer to God.  Although there is no mention of Lent in the Bible, there are stories in the Bible when 40 days and 40 nights worth of fasting occurred. There was the 40 days and 40 nights Christ spent in the wilderness being tempted by the devil; devoid of any food or water. Moses also spent 40 days and 40 nights on Mt Sinai without food or water while he spoke with God and received the 10 commandments.  When the prophet Elijah escaped from Jezebel he traveled 40 days and 40 nights without anything to eat or drink.

 

I have also been studying up on fasting after reading about it so many times in the Bible.  I even heard our pastor talk about it a few Sundays ago.  Nowhere in the Bible does it say fasting is something you are “required” to do, but the effects of it when done right, are something we should all “want” to do.  There are many wonderful stories of fasting in the Bible, and the main purpose is to help us focus on worshiping and getting closer to God.   Fasting isn’t always giving up on food and water.  The Bible also tells us fasting can include giving up anything you find is taking up time that could be devoted to God.  Different religions fast from different things over these 40 days of Lent, but the main reason is to get rid of stuff you normally spend or waste time on and devote that time to worshiping, reading the Bible, praying, and helping others.
Well, how can that be a bad thing?  Fasting is a way to bring us closer to God; something I have been striving for over the last 2 years.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, the start of Lent.  It ends the Saturday before Easter.  (Sunday’s don’t count).  I am going to fast. To kick it off I am going to abstain from eating food for 2 days. I am also  going to give up my games. No more poker, blackjack or bingo.  Neither will be easy, but I plan to replace these hours per day with prayer, Bible study, and helping others less fortunate.

The biggest event in Christian history is only 40 days away!  What better way to prepare than by abstaining  from things that get in the way of worshiping Him.

No comparison

http://www.cnn.com/2015/02/15/middleeast/isis-video-beheadings-christians/index.html

Lord, please forgive me. I am sick, and although that is not an excuse, I feel like I am about to lose it. If I hear another person compare my faith to that of these barbaric monsters I am going to explode. I know even those ISIS fools are your creation and you have told me not to hate. I can’t help it right now, I hate them. I hate that our president used these scumbags in the same sentence as Christians. I hate the fact a young beautiful soul from my own state was killed by these wicked people when all she was trying to do was help others. I hate that we haven’t done anything about it.

No one can ever justify this type of behavior, and no one can ever compare what they are doing to to what Christians are doing. Those people who honestly think Christians are just as bad, I feel sorry for. Hopefully Lord, you will open their eyes someday as they are truly lost.

My heart hurts Lord!

A Political Pickle

Son, in the past on days like this after a whopping Republican victory, I would have bragged and gloated for hours.  Now, I just wish someone (I don’t care which party) would get it right.  We shouldn’t have to keep going through these cycles.  One party takes control, screws it up, then the other party takes over, screws it up and so on and so on.

I think it comes down to the fact we really don’t know these people until they get elected and we see how they work with others.  We don’t really know their agenda until they get in office, because campaign promises have become a joke.  Campaigns are about popularity contests and how good you are at throwing others under the bus.  They are not based on merits or proven successes.

Do all Democrats want to give away the farm and support people who don’t deserve it?  Are all Republicans rich white people who don’t care about anything but money?  That type of thinking is what contributes to people voting for the wrong candidates.  Instead of voting party lines we need to elect the right people. How the heck do we do that though?  We know more about Snookie and Honey boo boo than anyone running for political positions.

Zach, your generation is going to have to figure this out if you ever expect to get our country back to the “UNITED” States of America.  Compassion, kindness, generosity, integrity and teamwork are what we need in our political leaders.  Let’s try to figure out who has these traits before election night two years from now.

Love you boy!

Do two walk together unless they have agreed to do so? (Amos 3:3 NIV)

Pass it down

“He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, just as his father David had done.”

Son, imagine being surrounded by enemies everywhere. Imagine having to build monster high walls to protect you. Imagine going to war against armies that are triple your size.

This happened to the Israelites after God rescued them from Egypt. When you read the books of Joshua through Chronicles you will see one overwhelming theme:

Those who trusted in God and did what was right in the eyes of The Lord were taken care of and given peace during their life. God gave them wisdom and riches. The ones who did not try to please God were always met with disaster. Their lives stunk big time!

Same rule still applies today bud. Think about that verse in 2 Chronicles 29:2 when things aren’t going well in your life. Are you living like David, or like one of the foolish kings?

Dad

Play Ball!

Son, I know it’s not fun doing something you are not good at. I know you have heard me tell stories about what a natural athlete I was. I didn’t tell you the story about my volleyball days when I was called the giant or baseball tryouts where I was one of the only kids to hit the baseball from the pitching machine because I wanted to brag. I told you because I want you to know you have it in you. I passed it down to you. It’s there, but you have to practice to bring it out.

It was tough for me to see you cry this morning because you had PE and you don’t know how to hit the softball. I wanted to go to PE with you and show those little punks that they are wrong for teasing you. But, then I thought about it. How could you be good at any of these sports when you never wanted to play any of them? You never wanted to go out with your dad to play catch. Heck, our basketball hoop hardly ever gets used. You can’t expect to be good at something you never play.

I am sorry the kids are making fun of you, but you can change that. For one, you need to not let it get to you. Laugh at yourself; that always worked for me. Two, let’s get out and play some ball. I guarantee you will like sports once you get better at them. If you don’t try, you have no one to blame but yourself if you don’t get better.

You are a natural athlete. The balance and skill it takes to ride that skateboard is much more than the skill it takes to hit or shoot a ball. I tried for years to ride a skateboard but I never got anywhere close to as good as you are now. You have the height and length I never had. I was the smallest kid on almost all of my teams. I sat on the bench in 9th grade basketball at a school that only had about 50 kids. You don’t have anything holding you back but yourself.

Maybe it is my fault for not pressing you to play organized sports. I didn’t want to push you, but maybe I should have. You might have appreciated it now.

We can change it all. Let’s play this weekend. Love you my boy!

Dad
Philippians 4:13
I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

P.S. I asked my Grandpa Bruno to help you today. I think either he or my Grandma Landis is going to be there with you today. Let me know how it goes.

Thanks for letting me go

Mom and dad, I figured out the plan you had for raising me. I figured out why you didn’t say much when I was 18 and ran as fast and as far away from your house as I could. I know why there wasn’t some sort of intervention to force me back into church or lectures to get me to straighten out in my early twenties.

You did what God wants you to do as Parents:

1. Love your kids enough to let them go
2. Love God enough to trust him in the hurt
3. Love your kids enough to never give up hope
4. Love your kids enough to maintain communication. (Mom, thanks for this).
5. Love your kids enough to celebrate a reconnection.

Thanks for doing your best to raise me with strong Christian values, then letting me go to experience life on my own! Thanks for having trust in God’s plan for me.

I love you both!

Your son

God’s not dead!

“Sometimes the devil allows people to live a life free of trouble because he doesn’t want them turning to God. Sin is like a jail cell except it is nice and comfy and there doesn’t seem any need to leave. The door is wide open until one day time runs out, the cell door slams shut, and suddenly it’s too late”.

Son, I can’t believe it took so long for me to see the movie these words above came from: “God is not dead”. I can’t believe I didn’t get this movie for your birthday, as it would have been a gift you could use for many years to come.

Times like those in the movie are here right now. What will you decide to do?

I love you son!

Dad

Son, take a look at this picture. It would be hard for anyone to believe this man just tragically lost his son a few weeks ago.

This is what the power of God in your life can do. Even if for a moment, this day there was extreme joy!

What I have seen this great friend of mine accomplish over the past month has been nothing short of amazing! I hope you will understand that it is easier to cope with a loss when you know that person is still with you. It helps so much to know we will get to spend eternity with them as well.

Feel bad for the atheists out there who think our time on earth is all we have.

Faith my boy. Faith!

Dad

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Alive and kicking

When I was in college, (or when I was supposed to be in college) I used to tell my buds that I would be lucky to make it to 40 with what we put our bodies through night after night. I made a bet with Abe, my good friend’s dad. He said he was going to live longer than me. I thought he was nuts, kind of.

I am still here! I know why. I have a purpose. There is a plan.

This week I was reminded that life is in the journey, not the prize I was seeking as a result. I realized I started getting back into bad habits by thinking and stressing about tomorrow.

Then, the switch flipped. I started to remember how great every day was when I was living in the moment. I woke up the next day and started over.

You can’t worry about tomorrow. Stress is a killer. That is probably the reason that deep down I am surprised I made it to my 40s. Deep down I wasn’t going to be surprised if Abe won the bet. I put my body through a lot of stress from age 18-40something.

Live each day like it is your last. All it takes is consistent prayer and faith. Then, sit back and watch God work in your life.

Read my blog if you want to see what it has done for me.

Happy to be alive!

Bill

Nothing is by chance

Nothing is by chance

Zach Bruno
I was trying to figure out what we could do this weekend to help others. It has been a few weeks and I have to get out of this house! I opened my Facebook page and saw a message from a good friend I recently connected with on Facebook. I haven’t seen her in a very long time. She has seen my posts and knows that you and I have been giving out water bottles and food. Her church has some leftovers from feeding the homeless and she offered them to us.

We now have something to do! Time to make some burritos!

Watch for those signs buddy!

Dad

food1

foodz

Programming error

Your mind is very powerful. It can be programmed to think or do whatever you want it to. Be very careful though, it can be extremely difficult to de-program or re-program it if you wait too long. The longer your brain is programmed in a certain way, the harder and longer it will take to change it.

Feed your brain with good stuff every day. Be very consistent. 

We have a problem in this country because the balance is off. We are being fed more bad depressing sad stuff than we realize our brains are taking in. What little good our brain consumes is way overshadowed by the negative.

Our brains are working fine, they have just adapted. When you feed your brain with crap all day, you are going to act and feel like crap all day. However if you feed your brain with THE WORD, even just a little each day, your brain will have something nourishing to eat and it will thrive and grow.

Dad
Matthew 4:4
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”

Not missing out

Son, when I get hard on myself for sitting at home all weekend, it is because this is what I am missing out on.  This weekend I got to see some really old friends. Some  I have not seen in at least 15 years.  We were able to help a few people, and we finished it off with a great birthday dinner with the family.  

 

I’ll take that over poker any day!  

 

Dad

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Refreshing help

Son, thank you for always going with me, and never ever complaining about it. You are a great kid, destined for great things!

Dad

Isaiah 58:10
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

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Life Lessons at 25

Son, I wrote this poem when I was 25.  It’s strange, but now that I think about it, this was right about the time things really started to go well for me with that tall drink of water you call your mom.   I am sure there was a reason I wrote this poem.  I would bet anything that if I dig through my pile of papers I call my book, I will find something bad that  happened right before I wrote this.  I probably quit my job or just got in a fight with your mom.  Those are the two things that could stress me out enough to get me to write back then.

 

That is how I operated.  I only sought HIM when I needed HIM, it wasn’t every day like I am trying to be consistent doing now.  I was right about everything in this poem. I just wasn’t ready at the time to live my life that way, especially on a daily basis.  

 

Love you my boy!

 

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LO SIENTO POR SU PERDIDA

Sometimes it is hard to understand God’s plan,
especially when our loved ones are snatched from our hand.

Losing a child is never something we expect to go through.
The pain and guilt of the loss can be unbearable too.

“Everything happens for a reason” is something I usually would say,
but that isn’t always enough to get you through this tough day.

I am heartbroken to think a man I so respect and adore,
would have to go through this tragedy and suffer even more.

Mi familia suffered a huge loss, but there is one thing I know.
You will all pull together and the love and support will overflow.

Nana and Tata were there to meet Briar as he went on to that magical place.
I can see them now, greeting him with a hug and a smile on their face.

“mijo, we are here”, I can hear them say as he reached them in the sky.
“You will love it here, and we will always be nearby.”

I know a little poem like this won’t take away the pain you all feel.
But I do know when you sense him near you, that it is so very real.

Tio Alex you will see him again, but until then you can say;
anything you want to him as he is not far away.

I love all of you so very much, please know you are in my thoughts every day and in my prayers. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for any of you.

Luke 23:43
And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”

I’ll miss you Martha!

I love you Martha I wish I could be there today.

You were an amazing woman who I looked up to in every way.

 

Your kindness spread to others and you were always full of glee.

What great memories I have with you, Dan, and me.

 

Remember the time Tommy and I spent the weekend at your house?

Dan bet us that we couldn’t live off pizza and nothing else.

 

We all loved to go swimming in your awesome pool.

Your pond with the fishes we all thought was cool.

 

You were always so happy when we would come over to see you.

I regret that it wasn’t very often, and it had been more than a year or two.

 

I know Dan was there to meet you as you passed on to that special place.

I know you are not alone, and you still have that incredible smile on your face.

 

You were a very special lady and one who had a big impact on my life.

I am so glad that you got to meet Zach and my wonderful wife.

 

If I could be like you in just one way,

it would be to mirror your generosity in every day.

 

Someday I will see you again, this I know is true.

Until then I will try to live my life to be just like you.

 

Thank you again for all the love you and Dan gave so many of us! I love you Martha, say hi to Dan for me! 

 

Billy

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