To Arm, Or Not To Arm

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via To Arm, Or Not To Arm

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To Arm, Or Not To Arm

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Family, I have a question and could really use some feedback from my reading folks. Feel free to lend me your thoughts and opinions. I’m particularly interested in hearing what the Christian community has to say about the subject, but I invite all to chime in.

I’m leaning toward buying a compact pistol and applying for a conceal carry permit. As a child, I grew up with a gun in my home. There’s no dramatic reasoning behind the decision: I wasn’t threatened and I haven’t been robbed…recently.

I was twelve years old when my younger brother and I walked in on our home being robbed. One of the thieves actually took the time to wink at me, as he strolled through the front door carrying my mother’s jewelry box. I can remember how angry and powerless I felt. There was no fear; just rage. It hurts to have something that belongs to you taken away. My father went out that week and purchased a Glock 17. We were never robbed again.

As I grow older and continue to watch the state of the world, I don’t ever want my family to have to experience that violation of having something taken away by force. I’m responsible enough to treat a gun as the deadly force weapon it actually is, and not mistake it for a toy.

Family, I have to be honest: the thought of having to actually take another man’s life is appalling. With that said, I can’t imagine taking a late evening stroll in my favorite park alongside my wife, only to have a stranger attack us from behind, rob us both and shoot my wife to death. I would give my life for her–and any of our children–but would rather put down the attacker first.

I’ve chosen a small 9mm semi-automatic, 8-round hammer pistol as my first weapon. A 16-round double-stack weapon seems a bit too…90s action movie cliche for my wants. I’m talking personal and home defense; not Swiss cheese, mid-day shootout capable. I decided, if I’m going to buy a gun, I might as well go after a conceal carry. Plus, if I can be honest, I look forward to being able to go to a gun range for target shooting. Definitely NOT a toy, but I will want to learn how to proficiently use my weapon.

So, before I put this plan into motion, I would like to hear your thoughts on the subject. Share your comments, family.

Calling All Wordsmiths!

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Proverbs 16:9 (NKJV) – “A man’s heart plans his way; But the LORD directs his steps.”

I love to write. For those of you who actually follow my blog, this year may not have proven that to be a true statement given the infrequent number of times I’ve actually posted content. See, that’s part of my challenge in doing the thing I claim to love: inconsistency. I can think of a million different distractions to keep me away from the keyboard. But, in the end it all boils down to being consistent and purposeful.

I have a gift. Not everyone can sit down and crank out a couple hundred words to draw a reader into a personal connection. I can do that. Sometimes I do it well; sometimes, not so much. The gift can only get better with increased usage.

When I first started this blog a few years ago, I didn’t really have a plan for it. The thought was, “I’ll just use this as my internet space to put down a few thoughts here and there. If anyone follows me; great! If no one follows me; no big deal.” There was no set goal or focused direction for my blog, so it comes as no surprise when I learn that after a few years of internet space, roughly 120 followers stick by my side. It’s easy to let my pride tell me folks down follow because folks don’t get me. But that’s not the case.

I am a Wordsmith. My subject of choice is the LORD. As I sit here at the keyboard on November 14th, 2017 (at 5:35pm if you really want to get specific), I’m admitting that I want more readers to discover my gift. Not just that. I want more readers to hear what I have to say about God, His Kingdom, what it means to me and what it can mean to them, from my perspective based on my experiences. I have a limited number of followers because I haven’t actually thought about what direction I want my blog to follow. I haven’t come up with a plan.

My good friend Gus once said, “E, you’re fiction is really good. But, I think your non-fiction writing is what will get people to follow you. That’s what really touches people.” Even when that was said, I didn’t take the time to really think about it.

Recently, my friend Cassy asked, “Do you want to turn your writing into something full time, or are you just doing it as a hobby?” At the time, I couldn’t really sit and think about it, so I put it off. As I sit here thinking on it now, I think I would like to see my gift make room for a full time position in my life. I think in order to make that happen, I need to admit out loud that I have a plan to become a professional writer.

Proverbs 16:9 is my favorite proverb. I like the idea of God planting something in my heart; something that I desire to do. Then He orders my steps to see it accomplished. Does God want me to become a successful author? I have no idea. I believe he wants me to write for Him. Whether I become successful or not really doesn’t matter much as long as I’m fulfilling my purpose. I think that purpose is to write for Him and His kingdom. To that end, I want to have more readers.

I have to choose to be consistent with my posting. Consistency increases my chances of reaching more readers, and gaining more followers. The more folks read my blog, the more people I have an opportunity to share the gospel with. There are only seven weeks left in 2017. I’d like to end this year, and transition into the new year strong. I’m going to make a decision (right now) to post something at least once a week. Fiction or non-fiction doesn’t matter right now. I simply have to purposefully write and get back into the swing of truly loving what I do.

I’m going to challenge some of my fellow Wordsmith’s to dig deep and finish the year strong. Let’s share some great stories, inspirational blog posts, and encouraging words between us and with new followers. Are you up for the challenge Cary, Lindsay, Doug,  and Sheldon (just to name a few)? I’m calling all Wordsmith’s! Let’s finish 2017 strong in our craft.

 

Hello November

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Ah, my friend. It’s always nice to see you come around. I love your decorative tastes. The way you blend oranges and yellows together in perfect concert with a clear blue-sky backdrop, make any scenery picturesque. I love the lingering aroma of a wood stove burning logs.  Fall foods like Hot dutch-apple pie and cider; cinnamon doughnuts and milk; roasted juicy turkey breast and cranberry sauce are my favorites, while we celebrate your time.

There is beauty in the death of seasonal leaves. The crunch under foot is your trademark sound. If I were blind and without the sense of smell, the resonating sound of thousands of trampled leaves would still alert me to your presence. That and your breath. Crisp mornings of  heavy dew covered fields and frosted windshields bring out the warmth of downed coats, light scarves, maybe thin gloves.

Late sunrises and early sunsets show a beauty unmatched by any other month of any given year. Squirrels work frantically in droves to stock up before winter’s arrival. Robins are long gone. Field mice scurry with a sense of urgency. They know your time is short.

Swimming pools are closed for the season. Motorcycles are winterized. Short shorts and tank tops are only reserved for the occasional visit to the gym. Barbecues grills are cleaned and stored. Patio furniture is covered. The seasons yield to you; it is your time to shine.

November.

For Pryce

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Pryce,

You don’t know me. You’ve probably never even heard the name Ennis Smith cross the lips or roll through the voice of your dad. That’s because he and I never hung out together. Despite that fact, I think there was respect between the two of us because we were friends. Whenever we did see each other, in or outside of school, there was nothing but love: a pound; maybe a fist bump; a, “What up, Ennis?” in that trademark voice of his, followed by my own, “What up, Whimp?”. There was never any animosity between your dad and I. He was one of the coolest, most down-to-earth cats I ever knew. A testament to that will be the shear number of friends who will–and have already–paid their respects to your family, in his honor.

One memory that comes to mind is my senior prom. On the night of prom, your dad and I–along with our dates for the evening– shared a white limousine, to the Pontchartrain in Downtown Detroit, where legendary DJ Waxtax-N Dre would cut the Ones-N-Twos all night long. The four of us were all decked out in white and ready to celebrate. As soon as we arrived, the two couples split up to enjoy the atmosphere and the music. It was a good night. I can also remember bumping into him one or twice in Downtown nightclubs, back in my 20’s, when I would come home from college to party. He was a good brother, and judging by the many photos I’ve seen of you two together, he must’ve been an awesome dad.

Cancer is no respecter of persons, Pryce. It doesn’t discriminate. There was nothing your dad did to bring this beast into his life. It does what it does, and leaves a hole in our hearts after its damage is complete. I know personally, because 10 years ago I watched it take my Mom away from me. Eight months between diagnosis and death. There are no words of true comfort that can ease the pain of your loss, young brother. Folks will try their best. You have to understand they will genuinely want to help you through the difficult time. They will mean well, so try not to get angry at any of the well-wishers that pass through your life in these following days. I tell you that, because I really do understand what you’re going to face. I know about the different emotions you’ll struggle with.

I can promise you this, Pryce: the brokeness; that hole in your heart will mend in time. For me personally, I cursed God for allowing my Mom to die at a young age. But, somehow, in spite of my anger and rage at him, he walked me through that pain and actually drew me near to him for healing. I would probably still be mad today, if not for his love and patience. I don’t know if you’re ready to hear or process that, but what I want you to understand is that in time, the pain of loss will dull. You’ll have that one piece of your heart that will forever belong to your dad, but it just won’t hurt so much. We never forget our parents, when we lose them, but in time the pain goes away and is replaced by all the great moments, laughs and memories we shared with them.

My bible teaches me that Fathers are the spiritual heads of the household, so I’d like to think that you and your Mom are going to be okay, young brother. Pryce, I’d be willing to bet that your dad prayed for you and your Mom while he was with us. And men don’t pray unless they believe in God. So, I’d like to think he’s living peacefully with the Lord. The bible teaches that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. It also teaches that Jesus wipes away every tear, in heaven. I hope the day will come when you realize that he’s not gone forever. He’s waiting, young brother. That’s the encouragement I want to leave with you. He’s waiting, Pryce; waiting to see you again.

Pryce, on behalf of the Smith family, you have my condolences and my deepest sympathy for your loss. Your dad was a good man, who has my respect to this day.

Sincerely,

Ennis