10-21-2016-2-04-02-pmThis particular Publisher’s Point really is not intended for the people of North Alabama or Southern Tennessee, but for the national and international folks who read the online version at www.athensnowal.com. There is no doubt that Trump will carry Alabama, and I don’t think there are many in our fair state that could be swayed at this point to change their minds when it comes to who should be the 45th President of the United States of America. But just in case there are those elsewhere who are on the fence, I am going to wade into the poo and doo and put in my two shekels as to why I think the Donald is the only reasonable choice for POTUS. And, let the record reflect, I do so reluctantly.

Do I like him? Nope. Am I going to vote for him? Yep. Have I lost my mind? Hopefully not. Then, why would I vote for someone who at this point seems to be a bull in the china shop, and is on steroids? Because, from my point of view, he is the only one with the mettle, the money, and the moxie to stop the Clintons, and if we have a snowball’s chance in a very hot place of surviving as a culture, that is Job One.

It took an inarguably boorish Winston Churchill to overcome the damage of dilettante caused by the supposedly superior statesmanship of Neville Chamberlain. Neville, however, was no match for Adolph Hitler, just as Hillary is no match for Ayman Al-Zawahiri, let alone any heavy hitters from ISIS. And, I don’t believe it’s ugly to say that her health is not strong enough to “bow up” (pronounced b?, Southern slang for “resist”) to the beheaders.

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But, leaving the Land of Nuance for a moment, let us remember that Hillary, in her own words, is “in awe” of Margaret Sanger, who founded Planned Parenthood 100 years ago. In addition, Hillary was the recipient of their Margaret Sanger Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. What did Margaret believe, by her own admission? Well, for starters, here’s a sampling:
“Colored people are like weeds and are to be exterminated.”

“We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.”

“Slavs, Latin, and Hebrew immigrants are human weeds…a deadweight of human waste. Blacks, soldiers and Jews are a menace to the race.”

Ok, no one would ever call me a math maven, but even I remember some of my Algebra from close to 50 years ago: “If A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C.” So, applied to this piece, if Hillary is in awe of Margaret, and Margaret unapologetically wants to eradicate blacks, Slavs, Latins, Hebrews, soldiers and Jews, then should someone ask Hillary what it is that she truly wants, besides the Presidency?

And while I would like to give Donald a piece of my mind for his completely inappropriate comments, I am not so sure that the words of the women who are currently coming out of the woodwork as his accusers are to be trusted. And here I am, one who is trained at the graduate level in ministerial counseling, with years of experience dealing with victims of sexual abuse, having to take a hard look at the inviolate rule of therapy: always believe a child or a woman when they say they have been abused. To not believe in the absence of actual proof comes close to violating my conscience, and I am not at all happy about the prospect of considering the possibility that these women are lying about something so sacred.

Here is what I do know: what goes around comes around, and that applies to both Donald and Hillary. And here’s what else I know: on Donald’s watch there have been really embarrassing things said, and on Hillary’s watch people have died. But, if she truly admires Margaret, and Margaret thinks soldiers are a menace to the race, then the only reasonable thing to do is cast your ballot for Donald, even if you have to multi-task by pinching one of your nostrils while you fill in your black circles on the ballot at the polling station. Maybe you will have to full on hold your nose, but as the saying goes, “Just do it,” and trust that “What don’t come out in the wash, will most certainly come out in the rinse.” Until then, “Keep calm and carry on.” You’ll do Winston proud, and your vote might just save America as founded.
10-21-2016-2-04-26-pm

10-7-2016-11-18-48-amLest you think I am referring to Bear, Gene, Nick, or Gus, what I am referring to is a profession that is coming into its stride: life coaching. In the last edition of Athens Now, there was a special feature article showcasing the life coaching business of Charlie Wallace, and it was written from the standpoint of personal consumption. It is now two weeks later, and I can’t imagine being any happier with Charlie and her God-given wisdom, and the tangible progress I am making toward conquering clutter that has beaten my tail.

While doing my best to avoid sounding like a reality series, I have to be really secure in your love to let you in my garage. No, there aren’t any dead cats buried under 5,000 Barbie dolls that of course could one day make me rich if I were to sell them, but there is certainly enough shmutz (a completely clean and powerful Yiddish word for mess, garbage, clutter, and stuff) to sink a ship. It has shamed me, drained me, made me cry, and whatever other self-piteous labels you want to use. Sound familiar?

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I had prayed, purposed a kazillion times to tackle it, set aside whole days to go after it, and……nada. Then Charlie approached me regarding advertising in the paper and I thought affectionately, “OK, Missy, if you can help me conquer this without me having to self admit anywhere, you’ve got yourself a raving fan client for life.” Actually, the point of life coaching is not to have it be a permanent client-service relationship, it is intended to be goal specific. That being said, if one has a lot of goals, as I do, this could conceivably go on for awhile.

So, why in the world would you pay someone to hold you accountable, help you set manageable goals, identify obstacles and celebrate with you? Because it works, it gives you an education of inestimable value, the proof of tangible progress, and in the case of Charlie, a level of wisdom that is stunning and definitely from above.

Oh, and let’s not forget about the fact that she prays with you before and after each session, can see through your emotional schmutz with skill, offer suggestions that actually make sense, and never has to use shame to get the job done. Me likey!!

Why has life coaching become a profession that has gone from the category of sending away for ordination papers so that you can “perform marriages” to a highly trained service/skill that is freely and continuously touted by people who are already enormously successful on a number of fronts? Because the principles of goal setting and achieving those goals are not taught in school, in church, or in the community. Nature, along with the marketplace abhors a vacuum, and people who have allowed themselves to become overbooked, overlooked, and overcooked by everything from yard sales to social media are drowning. Hence, an industry that “indeed meets the need” is thriving, and I am deeply thankful to be blessed by it.

So, there you are, my friends. You have just been given a basic “before” picture of my garage as well as parts of my soul, and if I am feeling particularly triumphant, I just might take a picture of my garage when it is no longer a mine field and post it for you to see. Meantime, it’s Tuesdays With Charlie.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

9-16-2016-8-57-17-amWhen I was a kid, running, even barefoot, was about as natural as breathing. Then I got hit hard with seasonal allergies, and some of my running was curtailed. I took it back up again as a young bride when I taught P.E. at a private Christian school. However, there were times when the allergies literally did me in to the point that I had to teach P.E. from my Mustang, occasionally rolling down the window to wheeze out coaching commands to my students, and then rolling it back up. I replaced running with dancing as an expression of worship, and ultimately running became something that I didn’t know I was missing.

Fast forward to 2016. For reasons I can’t exactly explain, last winter I pretty much parked my keester on the couch, and other than the rigors of delivering Athens Now, I became a semi-permanent fixture there. I quickly put on “the freshman fifteen,” except I was no longer a freshman in anyone’s book. I found that I was caught in that Catch-22 of exercise and wellness: you need to move to have energy, but you are too tired to move. Then, my faithful Clean and Green columnist, Lynne Hart, who was recently honored for her volunteer efforts at the Tourism breakfast, submitted an article for her usual column in the paper, and it had to do with the national movement called “Couch to 5K.” Her sidekick, Leigh Patterson, who is married to Eric Patterson, himself a trained running coach, were starting another round of the training in anticipation of the annual Keep Athens Limestone Beautiful fund raising 5K race known as the “Duck and Run.” Couch to 5K was held at the Athens Parks and Rec Center three times a week, and it began in the early part of the summer.

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I had made a list of goals during my season of being ensconced on the couch, and one of them was to train for and complete a 5K. Had I lost my ever-lovin’ mind? I am 62 years old! Who did I think I was? I began walking the 3.3 miles at the urging of my digital nag, the Fitbit, on a regular basis, and then I set out to begin my training. Leigh had told me that one of the best parts of the training was the community that emerged from “sweatin’ as an oldie,” and as someone who has been profiled by one psych testing group as a “Tribe Member,” I was ready to rock and roll.

Early in our training, I mashed the daylights out of my toe. I think it’s a fair guess to say that I probably fractured it a bit, given how swollen, ugly and purple it was, and it looked like my nascent senior-citizen running career had been given the kibosh. Though I would stop by to say “Hi” to my fellow “Couchers,” I was put in the position of training on my own.

Enter an invention for which I have developed a keen affection: the rebounder. Someone in our family had picked one up for a song at a yard sale, and I dragged it out into the living room. I did most of my scheduled runs on it, and that circle of aluminum, springs and nylon mesh kept my dreams alive. The date for the run was inching closer, but the question was, “Would my toe and I be ready?” I decided to do a practice run in anticipation of what Coach Eric calls our “celebratory run,” and with literal fear in my heart, I signed up for and completed the 9/11 Heroes’ Run held at the Vets’ Museum on September 10th. I did so with 300 of my “closest friends,” and I did it in 45:59. I was feeling pretty fancy until an award was given to an 80 year old man who did it in 40 minutes flat! But the point is, the log jam of limiting beliefs got broken, and that was worth the price of a mashed toe, as well as weeks of running solo. I can check “5K” off my list now, and I have a sneaky suspicion that I might just become a 5K fool…we shall see. All I know is that I want to express my thanks to Eric and Leigh as they cheered me on my way. My goal is to beat my time on Saturday the 17th, and my great hope is that I will be able to pay the whole thing forward real soon.
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9-2-2016 1-19-04 PMIn a few days, it will have been 15 years since the day that 19 jihadists changed life in America forever, and the media will probably be full of commemorative pieces whose questions are the same as this one: where were we on that beautiful almost-Fall morning, and where are we, individually and as a nation, headed as a result?

We moved here from Mexico in August of 2000. On the morning of 9/11, I was in New Mexico, and my husband was gravely ill. We were seeking medical care for him, and I was not sure he was going to live. It already was a rough and scary time, and I had many reasons to be on my face praying, which was what I was doing when a friend walked into the room and quietly stated what had happened. Like most Americans, I flipped on the TV, and could not believe what I was seeing. Just prior to this life changing intrusion, the following words had come into my mind: “Your family is all right.”

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You see, my sister, brother-in-law, nieces, and nephew lived in Manhattan. The two older kids were away at work and school, and the youngest was beginning her first day of the new school year. My sister was walking her to school, heard the first plane go in, and watched the second one go in. Those words re: their safety had been like a crawler that runs across the bottom of the screen of a cable news show, but until I turned on the TV, I didn’t know what to do with them.

Though I knew communications would be jammed, I called my sister and I believe providentially got through on the first try. “I’m all right,” she said, “Jay’s all right, and I have to go—Caitlin’s calling.” Never in all my life have I been more relieved to hear the sound of someone’s voice, and that is a morning and a prayer time I shall never forget.

For awhile, it seemed everyone sported patriotic memorabilia that has now been replaced with college football car flags, and church attendance was way up, which no longer is the case. And as could be expected, we slowly returned to our preoccupation with our own lives, and some became obsessed with the Kardashians.

While it’s true that no one can or should stay permanently in a post-disaster emotional state, we are reminded every time we go to the airport that there are some folks who want to kill us, and haven’t changed their minds on that score. And the rise of ISIS, beheadings and honor killings in our own country show us once again that we are vulnerable and must, as our Founders said so long ago for completely different reasons, be willing to, “with firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence…mutually pledge our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor,” if we want to have a snowball’s chance of surviving.

Some will do so out of a state of joyful preparation, others only as a last resort. Still others will demand that those in the first two categories take care of them or perish. Some will be so politically correct that they will not face down the reality of jihad, its nature, and its intent. Some will become so fear based and bitter that they will choose to forget that God’s got this, and become consumed with the very terror the terrorists tried to inflict upon us in 2001 and beyond.

Recently while on vacation with my family, I overheard a man claim that 9/11 never happened! I resisted the temptation to insert myself uninvited into the conversation and say, “Uh, buddy, my sister heard the first plane go in, and saw the second one, as did my niece.” I doubt that it would have done any good, nor do I think my boldness would have been appreciated.

I do know this: we have a job to do whether or not we lose our heads, so let’s get after it. And, on 9/11, do take a moment to pray for our country, and thank God for the first responders who gave all to stem the tide of jihad.
9-2-2016 1-19-26 PM

8-19-2016 8-27-16 AMWhat I mean by the question is not, how long ‘til every obstacle in the way of a Clinton presidency is removed, literally or figuratively. I mean how long will she be physically held up by men and doctors around her until she collapses? In the past two weeks, there has been a rising tide of concern over whether or not Hillary Rodham Clinton is neurologically and thereby physically fit to take on the most stressful job on the planet.

Now, it is true that FDR was physically propped up at times, and helped to stand when he made addresses, but that was due to the after effects of polio, which withered his limbs. Here is what we do know: Hillary has had several falls, some notably reported on the mainstream evening news. We know she was in the hospital for nearly a year. We know she has debilitating coughing fits. We know she has been caught on film making very strange, Parkinson-like movements. While I am not a medical person, I will tell you that she reminds me of Michael J. Fox, especially when he is not on medication to subdue his movements, and she mimics the movements of a childhood friend, also a Parkinson’s sufferer, who I had to help feed at Christmas a few years ago.

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Then there is the picture of the lesion on her tongue, as well as the crater that is there now. More subjective are the outbursts of anger, the maniacal, inappropriate laughter, and the telling absence of any venue which would by necessity have the presence of flashing cameras. What in the world is going on with this woman? Rumors range from stroke to Parkinson’s to tongue cancer to HPV to blood clots to mental illness.

Secret Service members, who simply do not talk about this kind of thing, have anonymously broken their silence and reached out to the media. They are allegedly going to make an announcement at the end of August, and we shall see what happens with that. Julian Assange claims to have more emails. Could the supposedly non-essential communiqués reveal that she is terribly ill?

Then there are the bodies that are stacking up on Hillary’s watch. The latest count from the last six weeks is 5, all with strong ties to Hillary. That makes the total body count of people who have mysteriously died during the Clinton regime close to 50. More tellingly, the deafening silence on the part of the media says more than if they were reporting it nightly.

There is another development, something that is just never done during a presidential campaign, and that is to have a sitting member of the Executive Branch co-present a campaign speech. Vice President Joe Biden is speaking in concert with Hillary, and then the unthinkable happened: Joe Biden, in the process of bashing Donald Trump and claiming he’s not fit to have access to the nuclear codes, pointed at the guy whose full time job is to follow Joe Biden around with the codes in the event that, God forbid, we have to use a nuclear solution to a problem, and exposed him. Is this a demonstration of being “fit” to have the nuclear codes?

My husband was the one to tell me about the Biden blooper, and he was met with stunned silence. Is it possible that Joe Biden is easing into the position of the Democratic Party nominee for President, and the “big announcement” will be that Hillary will step down? We shall see, and may the truth not only come out, but speak to power.
8-19-2016 8-27-39 AM

8-5-2016 10-48-28 AMAnthony Lindner moved here from Tennessee about six years ago to be nearer to his family. He had retired from a successful insurance business which he had built from the ground up, and this was actually his third professional career. Anthony was born in post WWII Germany in 1947. His father was murdered in Heidelberg when Anthony was three, and his mom eventually married an American. They moved to America, and during Vietnam, Anthony enlisted. It was on his induction day that he was naturalized as an American citizen. He flew Huey helicopters in Vietnam, and asked specifically to be a medevac pilot. This was one of the most dangerous jobs possible; Anthony was permanently bitten by the “flying bug,” and spent 20 years flying “birds” as well as fixed wing crafts. Upon retiring from the service as a CW 4 (Chief Warrant Officer), he flew for Eastern Airlines for three years, until the company went under. Beginning as a rookie insurance agent in his early 40s, he worked hard, and retired at the age of 57. It is ten years later, retirement has been good, and of the ways Anthony spends his time these days is to volunteer at the Alabama Veterans’ Museum. It was on his way to his volunteer shift that our story begins.

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“I live in a subdivision off of Newby Road,” he told me, “and we put our garbage out on Tuesday night. It was Wednesday morning, I had one more thing to put in the garbage can before I went to the Vets’ Museum, and I put my wallet and cell phone on the trunk of my car. I drove out of the subdivision, turned onto Hwy 72, and didn’t even know I had left them. I got to the museum, realized what I had done, told Yvonne Dempsey in a panic mode what had happened, and turned around to backtrack my route.”

What he didn’t know is that his “Good Samaritan” neighbor, who wishes to remain anonymous, saw what happened, followed Anthony’s path in his own automobile, looked for the phone and wallet as cars were whizzing by at 60 mph on 72, and miraculously found them both. “Sam” didn’t know where Anthony had gone, and kept an eye out for him to return. Now here is a bit of background on Sam. He lives in the next part of the subdivision over from Anthony, one that is newer and only has a couple of houses in it. He and Anthony had never met. Sam is married, a father, happens to be African American, and when he saw Anthony pull in, he waved to him with the found items in his hand, came over, returned the stuff, and introduced himself.

Anthony wanted to reward him, Sam wouldn’t hear of it. “You deserve something,” Anthony said to Sam. “No, I would do that for anyone,” said Sam. “I was taken aback,” Anthony said. “Not everyone would have stopped, searched, and risked their own life to help someone,” he added. Anthony wanted to have me interview them both, but Sam didn’t want the spotlight. “There’s got to be something I can do,” Anthony thought, and so, he asked Sam if he would accept some veggies from his garden. Sam agreed, and when someone else, (who had also heard what Sam had done), found out that he was willing to accept veggies, she brought tomatoes from her garden.

My fond hope for Sam is that he has to deal with the discomfort of having more veggies than he knows what to do with, and now that he and Anthony are friends who play Trivia together, that their story will spread.

Being a Good Samaritan never goes out of style, and Sam, you are one classy dude. Thank you from all of us.
8-5-2016 10-48-53 AM

7-16-2016 8-57-56 AMDear Chief Brown,
I have literally cheered this week as I have watched you handle an impossibly tragic situation, one whose heartache cannot be borne alone, and one whose weight has clearly been shouldered by the support of citizens and the prayers of people of faith all over our great nation. I live in a marvelous small city in North Alabama named Athens, and in the wake of the assassinations that occurred in your town, our Police Chief, Floyd Johnson, wrote a beautiful letter to help all of us, blue or any other pigment, get through what are deeply troubling times. I would like to quote him, and then tell you what has been happening here as a result.

It is somber to think how officers in Athens have been enjoying the smiles and laughter of children while in Dallas, officers and the community are in mourning.

As your police chief, I will continue to work with you to seek opportunities for positive interaction with officers and citizens. I will continue to have public meetings to help guide the future of our department. In closing I ask our community to keep your public safety officials in your prayers. If there is a concern, let us know. Although public safety is our prime responsibility, we also need your cooperation to be most effective.

I ask that when you see an officer, simply offer a thank you. The quick gesture takes only seconds but creates a moment the officer will cherish for much longer.

It is somber to think how officers in Athens have been enjoying the smiles and laughter of children while in Dallas, officers and the community are in mourning.

As your police chief, I will continue to work with you to seek opportunities for positive interaction with officers and citizens. I will continue to have public meetings to help guide the future of our department. In closing I ask our community to keep your public safety officials in your prayers. If there is a concern, let us know. Although public safety is our prime responsibility, we also need your cooperation to be most effective.

I ask that when you see an officer, simply offer a thank you. The quick gesture takes only seconds but creates a moment the officer will cherish for much longer.

It is somber to think how officers in Athens have been enjoying the smiles and laughter of children while in Dallas, officers and the community are in mourning.

As your police chief, I will continue to work with you to seek opportunities for positive interaction with officers and citizens. I will continue to have public meetings to help guide the future of our department. In closing I ask our community to keep your public safety officials in your prayers. If there is a concern, let us know. Although public safety is our prime responsibility, we also need your cooperation to be most effective. I ask that when you see an officer, simply offer a thank you. The quick gesture takes only seconds but creates a moment the officer will cherish for much longer.
Athens Police Department
951 Hobbs Street, East
Athens, AL 35611
Phone (256) 233-8705
Email: fjohnson@athensal.us
Op-Ed for The News-Courier by Athens Police Chief Floyd Johnson – July 8, 2016

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I am heartbroken to see stories from communities across this country where animosity and distrust have developed between citizens and officers. I, like many others, am highly concerned with this situation. Along with other Americans I watched news reports describing the horrific shootings in Dallas. My heart ached to see police officers who were protecting and serving their community being shot and gunned down.

On a more positive side, I saw where reporters interviewed many who had been exercising their constitutional right of free speech in a peaceful and lawful protest. I saw officers protecting these citizens and their freedom of speech. In a couple of reports, I saw officers posing for pictures with the protestors. Most interviewed were saddened that what they intended to be a positive event evolved into a negative tragedy. In days to come we will learn more about the shootings. We will see wives, children and other family members of the officers in churches, in funeral possessions and at cemeteries, saying good bye to these public servants who were doing their job.

These families and the fellow officers in Dallas and across our country need our prayers. Your Athens Police Department needs your prayers as we work with you to have an open and respectful
relationship between the City of Athens and her officers.

7-16-2016 8-58-19 AM

I believe public safety is the backbone of any community small or large. It is an essential part of our society as we know it. Your Police Department and those around the country are depended on to keep the streets, neighborhoods and communities safe. We are the first line of defense against evil. I want to let our citizens know we are devoted to you and our city, and we will continue to do the best we can to serve Athens.

Our department desires to work in and with our community. We have worked with youth and citizens of all ages and backgrounds through community meetings and activities to give us the opportunity to understand needs you have and to explain different aspects of our job. Over the Fourth of July weekend, your Athens police officers began distributing sports balls with our department logo and phone number and playing with the children of our city. The Athens Police Department initiated this program to show our youth that officers are part of this community and are here to help them, and to teach them how they can contact us in an emergency.

It is somber to think how officers in Athens have been enjoying the smiles and laughter of children while in Dallas, officers and the community are in mourning.

As your police chief, I will continue to work with you to seek opportunities for positive interaction with officers and citizens. I will continue to have public meetings to help guide the future of our department. In closing I ask our community to keep your public safety officials in your prayers. If there is a concern, let us know. Although public safety is our prime responsibility, we also need your cooperation to be most effective.

I ask that when you see an officer, simply offer a thank you. The quick gesture takes only seconds but creates a moment the officer will cherish for much longer.

“It is somber to think how officers in Athens have been enjoying the smiles and laughter of children while in Dallas, officers and the community are in mourning. As your police chief, I will continue to work with you to seek opportunities for positive interaction with officers and citizens. I will continue to have public meetings to help guide the future of our department. In closing I ask our community to keep your public safety officials in your prayers. If there is a concern, let us know. Although public safety is our prime responsibility, we also need your cooperation to be most effective.

I ask that when you see an officer, simply offer a thank you. The quick gesture takes only seconds but creates a moment the officer will cherish for much longer.” Since last week, the “quick gesture” referred to above has nearly taken on a life of its own. People have brought food to the station, there have been cakes, cookies, and someone ordered “pizza for the police”. There have been cards, the phone has been positively ringing off the wall with positive messages for those who form the thin blue line, and Chief Johnson told me recently that “the response has been unbelievable.” He also told me, “We are planting seeds that won’t be seen for awhile,” and like you, the man is in it to win it.

What’s the “it?” It is the chance to make a difference, to lead by example, to leave a legacy of true justice. Here in Athens, Alabama, we believe that all lives matter, and that was proven 2,000 years ago when Someone showed His love for all lives by dying for all lives, irrespective of the amount of melanin in their skin. Chief Brown, your life matters, your example stirs us, and we are with you. Thank you, sir, for your service.
7-16-2016 8-58-32 AM

7-1-2016 1-28-23 PMOn June 22nd, 2016, around 125 people gathered in the upper floor of the Center for Lifelong Learning to celebrate the courage of one man, Judge James Horton, as he stood against the tide of Depression era Jim Crow racial hatred, and set aside the conviction of Haywood Patterson. Patterson, along with several other black teens, had been accused of raping two young white woman in Scottsboro.

The case was legendary, and I grew up knowing about it, having learned about it in social studies in the 1960s. Somehow, for many years after moving here, I had missed the fact that history was made with the stroke of a pen on the second floor courtroom of our own Limestone County Courthouse. I’ll never forget the day I was in that very courtroom for a reception, and happened to look at the modest brass plaque commemorating the event. It was both surreal and pleasantly stunning, and I “felt proud,” as we say in the South.

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Years ago, not long after we moved here in 2000, I had the chance to become acquainted with Judge Horton’s grandson, John, but never knew the depths of his granddaddy’s courage until I heard John speak at Calvary Assembly in Decatur. How stirring and refreshing it was to hear the story from the standpoint of waging spiritual warfare, and it was a joy to see John again at last week’s celebration.

7-1-2016 1-28-49 PMI was reminded of what can happen when one just man chooses to stand for the truth, and it strengthened my resolve to do so, even when it costs me. At the celebration, there were young, old, black, white, and Hispanic people, as well as Judge Horton’s progeny, all gathered together to hear the reading of all manner of letters, both in support as well as condemnation of Judge Horton’s actions. It was a “glad day,” one that made me feel so honored to be a part of this community.

And then, on Wednesday, June 29th, we had what I would call a “sad day.” The newly restored Pincham-Lincoln center at the historic Trinity school site was vandalized, with more than a score of windows broken, and other damage done to the building. The vandals were fairly young, and thankfully, at least at this time, there is nothing that suggests that this was racially motivated.
I looked hard at the picture featured here of Richard Martin gazing out the broken windows; an elderly white man who has publically talked about what it was like to be raised on racism, and then what it was like to make a conscious decision to come away from such a despicable and dysfunctional personal philosophy. He has turned away from the beliefs of the past to the point that he has worked tirelessly to rebuild and restore not just Trinity, but the legacy of relationships that were broken as a result of decades of segregation.

It is difficult to see the wistful pain in his face, and it is indeed a sad day. But this I know: even though I have only lived in Alabama for 16 years, broken windows will be replaced, broken glass will be cleaned up, and vandalism will be repaired. And, we as a city will continue to do the work to heal more than a building. We will prize even more deeply our history, continue to walk the path of true restoration, and we will have many more glad days real soon.
7-1-2016 1-28-58 PM

6-18-2016 9-02-30 AMAs is fitting, the massacre that occurred at the Pulse in Orlando on June 12th is dominating the media, our minds, and as conservative columnist Star Parker said so well, we need to “mourn with one eye open.” Paul Foreman did a splendid job of both asking the question, “Why didn’t anyone fight back?” as well as remind us of common sense options if we find ourselves in a live shooter event. His column, Foreman’s Forum, can be found on page 23. Mayor Ronnie and I discussed public safety and situational awareness in his column, What Makes Ronnie Roll, and the need to continually remind the “average citizen,” whatever that is, of the need to stay alert and know how to act responsibly in any situation. The Mayor’s comments under “What Makes Ronnie Roll.”

6-18-2016 9-02-45 AM

However, my intent in the course of this Publisher’s Point is to educate our readers as to the all-encompassing nature of jihad, as well as some of its targets and strategies. I am not a professional, I simply earned the right to speak to this by virtue of living in Baghdad amongst the experts, and having to deal with the aftermath of successful jihadist acts that killed people I cared about.

My husband told me of an account written by a first responder who was on the scene to deal with the bloody aftermath. This man had always wondered what it would be like to be at what in the military is known as a “mass cal,” which is Army speak for a mass casualty event, and technically includes both injuries as well as fatalities. He expected the eeriness or the “surreality”, (if I may be allowed make up a word), to be the utter silence from being in a location where death abounds and all movement has ceased. Instead, what was unexpectedly unsettling to the first responder was the cacophony of cell phones that seemed to be utterly frantic as they chirped, rang, spoke, played music, or whatever the customized ring tone sounded like in the desperate desire of friends and loved ones to make contact. The sound was heartbreaking.

The LGBT community is both understandably alarmed as well as poised to leverage the carnage in order to parlay an act of jihad into a violation of civil rights. For the record, I am someone who has dearly loved gay friends and family members, I do not agree with the lifestyle, am not a hater, and personally know way too many people who have “come out” of the lifestyle and become spouses and parents to think that you are “born that way.”

6-18-2016 9-02-51 AM

The gun control folks are predictably calling for more gun control, Chick-fil-a (the supposed haters of gays) opened up the local store on a Sunday to give away food to people helping at ground zero as well as those giving blood, and the NRA has made some folks angry by saying that “terrorists are not deterred by gun laws”, and, “law-abiding gun owners are tired of being blamed for the acts of madmen and terrorists.” I agree. A well-armed citizenry should never be painted with the same brush as a murderer. If you disagree, do your homework on Switzerland, where every home is required to have a gun, and the weapon is issued by the government. Many historians believe that the reason the Nazis didn’t invade Switzerland is that they knew they would lose for this very reason. The Swiss only “appeared” to be neutral.

Here is what needs to be understood: if you are not a follower of Allah according to the standards of a jihadist, you are fair game for what happened at the Pulse. It was a superb psy-ops move to target a gay bar, but if you are a Jew, a Christian, a Buddhist, a Hindu, an atheist, an agnostic, a woman who dares to go for a walk by herself, a Westerner of any kind, or a fellow Muslim who is not functioning as a true believer from the perspective of the jihadist, you deserve to die, period. There is absolutely no concept of innocent civilians, armed or unarmed. And, the only assurance of heaven for the one who “dispatches” you is to self-martyr; hence, the “inspiration” to take yourself out and as many others as you can while you are at it.
Therefore, the quicker we understand that we understand that this was not a hate crime, but true jihad, it is a global campaign, and the only way to deal with it is to come together in firm response as well as love, the better off we are going to be. To “steal” from FDR, the only thing we have to fear is that we give in to fear, and allow ourselves to be scattered and silenced.
6-18-2016 9-03-02 AM

6-6-2016 8-55-22 AMDo you have a “why?” Do you know why you should have a “why?” What in the world is a “why,” anyway? Briefly stated, your why is what makes you get up in the morning and sticking to “it,” until it’s done, no matter what. On the surface it can be that a guy’s why is that he knows if he doesn’t get up and go to work, his family won’t have food on the table. Yet, deeper than that, his why is a mixture of love and purpose that will cause him to lay down his life for them in a heartbeat.

Some folks say that you have not gotten to your why until you cry, or at least have a knot in your throat. If the guy who gets up every morning were to imagine for a moment the prospect of one of his kids getting kidnapped or going missing, chances are he would cry. Your why is knowing and walking in the core reason you were made and put on this Earth. It is more specific than “wanting to make a difference.” There’s nothing wrong with that, but it will not keep you when it looks like you are not, in fact, making a difference. Truly walking in your why helps you take the position of doing a specific activity with no attachment to the outcome. You do it because it’s right, you do it because you can do no other, you take care of “it” before you can let yourself go to bed at night.

6-6-2016 8-55-37 AM

Maybe on the surface Rosa Parks wasn’t walking in her why the day she refused to give up her seat on the bus in Montgomery over 60 years ago. The story was that she was tired and just had had it with not being treated like a lady. But I can guarantee you that much more than that gave her the courage to stick to her guns. Way down inside she had a passion for justice that was stronger than either her fatigue or her outrage; that and God’s grace sustained her.

Athletes might start off with a goal centered why that is tied to winning a gold medal in Rio this summer, or beating Auburn or Alabama, depending on which “house” you live in. But, athletes age, and if they don’t have something deeper that lasts past lobbing their last pass, they come up empty. I think that might be why we see such a high incidence of crash-and-burn lifestyles, especially amongst professional athletes, after they are no longer in the stats or the sports shows. They never got a hold of their why.

You’ll read in this edition about Will Haney, who passed away from cancer. Interestingly, while Will worked hard, served his country, “never met a stranger,” he did not get in touch with his why, (which was to go to nursing school) until he was near the end of his life and battling cancer. Why didn’t that come for him earlier? I don’t know, but I have learned this from talking to his family: Will was a “live-er,” and I have the impression that he was quite a nurse himself to the nurses who were taking care of him.

It is said that when you are able to distill your purpose down to six words, you’ll have a short-hand of sorts that serves as a hand hold when you are slipping. Mine has changed over time, and might change again, but it is this, and it is on purpose crafted in the continuing action form of the three verbs because the whole point is to never stop: “Choosing life, doing good, doing well.” The walk-out of that is the “what”, and all of it is pointless if at the end of the day I have not checked in with my boss, the Jewish Carpenter. Find your why, love the One who gave it to you, show it to the world.
6-6-2016 8-55-50 AM