Is Your Birthright For Sale?

Jacob replied, “First sell me your birthright.”

“Look, I am about to die,” Esau said. “What good is the birthright to me?”

But Jacob said, “Swear to me first.” So he swore an oath to him, selling his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau some bread and some lentil stew. He ate and drank, and then got up and left. So Esau despised his birthright.  (Gen. 25: 31-34 NIV) 

Those of you who have been to church or have grown up in church like myself are quiet familiar with this biblical story of Esau despising his birthright and selling it to his twin brother who was only seconds younger than him.  Esau thought he was going to die of hunger and thirst and Jacob caught him at a moment when he was most vulnerable and took advantage of him to get his birthright from him.  Some people claim that Jacob stole it from him but Esau didn’t have to sell it to his brother, he chose to give it to him for something in return.  Would you believe that a majority of Americans are not using their God-given birthright today? That is the right to vote.

The 26th Amendment was proposed and ratified on March 23, 1971 allowing anyone 18 years of age or older to vote in elections.  It was signed by then President Richard Nixon on July 5, 1971. It was the shortest time in which any proposed amendment had received the number of ratifications needed for adoption as an amendment (Approximately four months).  The majority of the Congress and Senate considered any young adult who turned 18 years old even while still in high school could be responsible enough to cast a ballot for who they believe was the best candidate for an office or position to serve the American people.  At the time they could go to war (Vietnam), fight and kill but they weren’t considered old enough and responsible enough to cast a vote for who they thought were the better Commander-In-Chief to lead them for the next four years.  There were some conflicting reports and statistics of that 1972 election almost all of them agree that around 50 percent or less of the 18 to 20 year old’s actually got out and voted and it had only declined since then until more recent elections.

I remember my high school history teacher teaching us students that we all as Americans have that right.  If you don’t use your God-given privilege to cast your ballot for your choice of candidate that is just like selling your birthright.  Esau despised his  and if we don’t get out and vote then we are despising ours.  A lot of blood, sweat and tears have fallen for the last 200+ years for this right and we all should be proud and honor our fathers of the past and take part in making the decisions for our future.

I’ve heard a lot of people ask the question, “What’s in it for me?” And I am sure there are many who would probably be willing to sell their vote to the highest bidder. Just like Esau who despised his birthright and chose to sell it, they are usually the very first ones to cry foul when things don’t go their way and the laws change.

My birthright is not for sale and in a few more weeks, November 6th, I intend to use it to the best of my ability and choose whom I think will be the best person to lead this great nation for the next four years.  No matter what candidate or party you choose I hope and pray you will use the birthright that was given you as well.

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Changes Are Upon Us

I remember an old Elvis Presley movie and song called ‘Change of Habit’. The lyrics started out something like this, “If you’re in old habits, set in your old ways, changes are upon us, these are changing days.” That’s the way it has been for my wife and I these last few months, a change of practically everything.

While we were coming back from our 25th anniversary vacation last December I told her that 2012 was going to be our year. I didn’t know how or what but I just knew it was going to be our year. I reiterated that again to her around January. I just felt like this year was going to be our year. I guess I had enough faith to actually claim it instead of just proclaim it.

The biggest change we’ve encountered thus far this year has been moving. After 25 years of marriage and living in the same location we finally decided it was time to pull up roots and get a change of scenery on the home front. She had lived in the same location a lot longer than me so it was an even bigger change for her. We have looked at homes in the past but we haven’t really been shopping. We came across a home that we both liked, made an offer, won the bid and the next thing we know we were buying a house. Of course I give all praise to God. We both feel like He was the one that had it picked out for us all along and it was time to move on.

Much like Abraham in the Bible when God told him to leave his homeland and family and go to a place that was picked out especially for him and his children as an inheritance forever. (Genesis 12:1)

There wasn’t anything special that I had said or done to win God’s favor except being faithful to Him. I feel like it isn’t what I’ve said or done but what I will be doing. I remember several years ago of an article I had written for a church newspaper titled ‘Just Do It’. Linda and I were working for a very small church nearly fifty miles from where we lived. We would stay all day on Sunday’s and go home that evening. There were several occasions we stayed all day then not a single person would show up for Sunday night service. I would be lying if I didn’t say I wasn’t discouraged but Linda was more verbal about it than I was. We were going home on one of those discouraging Sunday evenings as the sun was setting on the horizon. We both couldn’t help but wonder if we were doing the right thing. I told her to look at the beauty of God’s creation as the sun shone through the clouds giving us a very beautiful evening picture on our journey home. That’s when it came to me and I told her “all I want to do is to get to heaven and if this is the way I have to go to get there then I’ll just do it.” Just like the Nike commercial “Just Do It”.

I also knew when it was time to pull up roots from there and move on as well. I knew what I had to do to finish the task I was there for but I also knew after that task was done it was time to move on. There was no denying how I felt at the time. Now Linda tells me she knew it was time for that change for her, for us. I had already been there so I knew how she felt. We had minor, miniscule problems at closing on the home but in the end it all worked out. Now we are in our new home continuing to work on our new change.

Sometime change is good, sometime change isn’t so good. It really pays to know the difference. One thing I have always done was to really pray about it. Whether it’s a home, job, career or car I always prayed about it. Recently a dear friend of mine passed away and I remember one thing that he told me about making decisions. When you do make your decision move on in the direction of your decision and don’t look back with regret. That’s why it really pays to pray first.

We’ll come to many crossroads in life and we’ll have to make a decision whether to turn left or right or just go straight. We know with the direction of this big, momentous change for us and the ones we make tomorrow will be a new journey but the most important thing is we will do it together as we follow God’s guidance and direction in our lives.

THE LAST WORD

As some of you may know, recently we lost a very close relative.  My wife’s only sister passed away back on October 6th.  We lived next door to each other and she nor my wife worked but both were a stay at home wife and mother.  For Mary Ann she was a stay at home grandmother as well.  She loved her grandchildren and took very good care of them.

 Whenever you saw one most of the time you saw the other. Linda and ‘May’, as most people called her, were almost always together. She would call Linda and ask her to go with her somewhere or Linda would call her.  Linda would walk to her house to check on her or she would come to our house and sit on the porch with Linda and share a cup of coffee on some mornings.

We always get emails about friendship and love and it would say if you love me send it back to me or send it on to the ones you love or don’t want to lose.  Just like everyone else I don’t want to lose any of those I love. Generally I don’t forward many of those emails.  Mainly because I have gotten them hundreds of times in the past, maybe even thousands of times and after awhile it starts to get old, boring and annoying.  So I’ll read it and then delete it.

There is one thing that I always do and for those of you that do know  me is that I always tell people that I love them.  I always say if that is the last time I see or speak to them I want them to know that I love them.  That’s why I always make it a point to tell those I love that I love them. My mother used to tell us that she loves us then she would say, “I just wanted you to know that because I may forget but you won’t forget.”

In times like these we always reflect on words of those that have gone before us.  Little words or comments that are burned into our memory forever. Over the weekend I thought of my father, he would always tell me to always wear a suit and tie. I thought of one of Linda’s uncles, we called ‘Uncle Jim’.  He would put his arm around you and say, “Well shug, we all got to go sometime. It’s all part of life.”  I thought about one of my own uncles before he passed away his word were, “I’m settin’ on ready.”  And of course my mother’s favorite phrase was simply, “Praise the Lord!”  She even used that phrase one time at a rest area that had one of those new high-tech automatic flush toilets.  Linda came out of the restroom red faced and in tears laughing trying to tell me and of course in a restroom even a whisper would carry a echo.  

What is my last word? I love you.  Because one day I may forget but you won’t never forget and if we never meet or speak again you’ll always know that.  What will be your last word?

As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth.  For the wind passeth over it, and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. (Psalms 103:15,16) KJV

Rivals United

Down south in Alabama we learn one of two things early in life, it is either “Roll Tide” or “War Eagle”. There has not and probably never will be an in between. You root for one and loathe the other. Anywhere else someone could ask you your sign and you would probably give them a sign of the zodiac of your birthday. In Alabama there are only two signs. It is a big “A” for Alabama or an “AU” set in one another for Auburn.

Another thing people down south know not to do is to jump in the middle of a fight between two brothers. If you take sides eventually you’ll wind up fighting both of them and you turn out to be the enemy.

I know a family of brothers several years ago that would play softball together. They would argue among themselves and you would think that they were going to get into a knock-down-drag-out fight before the game was over.  But yet somehow they would almost always beat their opponents.  I don’t know if that was a psychological approach they had to get opponents off guard and beat them or if they just really argued that much among themselves. Some years later I found out that they really argue that much among themselves. But most importantly they still looked out for each other.  And just like those brothers that fight among themselves it goes the same for almost all other Alabamians.

When the truth came out about the man, someone who claimed to be an Alabama fan, poisoned the oak trees at Toomer’s Corner in Auburn, it was true Alabama fans who rose up and started the Facebook page ‘Tide for Toomer’s’. Not only that, thousands of dollars were raised to help save the trees. Some people say they are only trees but to Auburn fans they are a heritage. And “heritage” is a very big word in the South. Alabamians came together to try to save that heritage. I for one also joined and hope and pray the trees can be saved.

Then the storms and tornadoes hit West and North Alabama back in April. It was true Auburn fans who rose up and started the ‘Toomer’s for Tide’ Facebook page. Auburn players, coaches and fans went to help their fellow Alabamians in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham. They treaded into what is generally considered enemy territory. But yet they weren’t there to gloat or brag about beating Alabama in the Iron Bowl and winning college football’s national championship last year. They were there to help and console them any way they could.

Personally I grew up an Alabama fan. My wife and I both are still Alabama fans and there are a lot of homes in the state of Alabama that is considered a house divided. My home is worse than that. My daughter-in-law is a big Auburn fan and my son is a big Texas Longhorn fan. You wouldn’t believe the funny looks and comments we get when we go Christmas shopping and our buggy is full of Alabama, Auburn and Texas shirts and hats. My wife and I are also big Troy Trojan fans. We would attend games at Troy University so I chose to root more for the Troy Trojans than the others. I tell people I’m still an Alabama fan but if they ever play Troy I’ll be rooting for the Trojans. I love to see our home teams win. We all do. Whether it’s Troy, Auburn or Alabama. And when the two big rivals play each other this fall I’ll be rooting for my Alabama Crimson Tide to win. I may be one of the few that roots for the other team after the Iron Bowl when they have an opportunity to win a bigger prize like Auburn did last year. 

Even though my heart was broken for those affected by the storms it also swelled with pride to see two big rivals put aside their differences and help one another out.  So always remember if you’re not part of this big Alabama family please don’t jump in the middle of the fight.

Farewell To A Legend

I’ve had a lot of people ask me how can I remember certain dates.  All I can tell them is that I try to associate it with something or someone else.  I’m not really sure how I do it but there are some things that are burned into my memory that I can’t seem to forget.  But then again why would I want to?

Before I got my cell phone with all the speed dial numbers next to someone’s name I was the phone book at home.  My wife could ask me for someone’s number and I could blurt it out, even if we haven’t called the number in a long time.  I still remember some numbers of friends and relatives and even some old home phone numbers but I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t remember as many as I used to.  It’s easier to scroll through my list of names in alphabetical order and hit the call button.  

One problem I do have is that if I haven’t seen you in a long time I may walk right by you and not say a word.  If that happens don’t be mad or hate me thinking I’m stuck on myself or I’m ignoring you, it’s just that I may not recognize you.  It does amaze people I’m around all the time that I can remember their birthday or anniversary.  I made a comment on the Tadlock Family Facebook page that back on January 17th Grandpa, or “Pop”, Tadlock would have been 120 years old if he was alive today.  January 17, 1891. 

I asked several people if they knew where they were 28 years ago this day, January 26, 1983.   After I told them what happened they could remember.  It is amazing that we can associate an event with a certain date.  

It was today 28 years ago that America lost one of its legends, Coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.  At the given time he was the winningest coach in college football.  After you realized that it was today, you may say, “Oh yea, I remember where I was at and what I was doing when I heard about his passing.”

I try to remember certain things and try to take it in as a part of history that will never be repeated.  I watched the last game that Bear Bryant coached with his Alabama Crimson Tide beating the Illinois Fighting Illini 21-15 in the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee.  Last year I watched the last game that Bobby Cox managed for the Atlanta Braves.  I watched the last episode of the Late Show that Johnny Carson hosted. (You younger people ask your parents who Johnny Carson was.)   I watched the last football game coached by Florida State’s Bobby Bowden.  And yes, when Joe “Papa” Paterno decides to step down or aside I plan on watching that game and rooting for Papa Joe’s Nittany Lions to win the last one for the legend.

There are a lot of things in our life that we just assume to forget.  But there are some things we don’t ever want to forget.  There is history making events happening every day all around us and we want to be a part of it even if it is just in our living room in front of the television set.  We can look back and say, “I remember that.” Or “I remember when that happened.”

Where Are Your Wings Angel?

Ever got that email where it says that friends are only angels without their wings?  I like to think there is some truth to that.  We all are the angel that is sent to someone else, whether we know it or not. 

I heard the story told one time of how a woman always bragged about what God has done for her.  Once a neighbor who was an atheist went and bought a bag full of groceries and laid them down on her doorstep in the middle of the night.  The next day she was bragging about how God brought her some groceries when she didn’t have anything to eat in the house. The atheist called her an old fool and then revealed that he was the one that bought the groceries and put them on her doorstep. She turned and said, “I prayed to the Lord to supply my need and He sent the devil to do it.”

If you don’t believe in Divine intervention maybe this true story will at least make you think about it.  I usually travel one or two ways to work even though there are more than a half-dozen ways to go.  There are only one or two gas stations that I ever stop at to get gas or a drink or anything else I may want or need.

One morning on my way to work I decided to take a route I never travel. I decided to stop at a station I never stop at to get gas.  Nothing out of the ordinary you may think, just a different route to break the monotony of seeing the same scenery every morning.

As I pulled into the station to get my gas I noticed what you and I would call a bum standing at the outside faucet washing his hands and face and getting a drink of water. He had a big backpack with him so I presumed he might have been traveling. We made eye contact and I quickly turned focusing my attention to the gas pump. My thought was I hope he doesn’t come over here and bum me for some money.  While I pumped my gas sure enough he came to where I was. But ironically he didn’t ask for any money or anything else.  He made a comment of how good the water was when he didn’t have any.  One thing my father always taught us children; if you want someone to leave you alone all you have to do is agree with them and let them go.  That’s what I did. I just agreed with him so he would go on his way. 

I went into the store to pay for my gas and the conversation between the employees was the bum outside.  I simply paid for my gas and went back out.  But as I sat in my truck and fastened my seatbelt it was that little voice that spoke to me so clearly.  Give him all the money you’ve got.  No. I wasn’t being held at gunpoint. I was being held at Spirit point.  Either way if we don’t do what is being told then there will be consequences to pay.  He was nowhere to be found but without hesitation I reached into my wallet and took out all the cash I had.  (I’m a poor man so I never have much cash to carry, if any at all.)

As I drove around the back of the station I saw him sitting on a curb resting. I pulled up and handed him the money and told him it wasn’t much but it would help him on his way. He told me he appreciated it and if he saw anyone in need he would help them as well.  I guess that is what you call, ‘Paying it forward’. 

Some may say that was only coincidence, maybe it was. But as I began contemplating it I asked the question: what made me on that particular morning go that particular route? What made me stop at that particular station? There were others, I could have stopped at any of them. 

We all are somebody else’s angel. Everyone holds a key to someone else. You just may be the difference maker in someone’s life when no one else can or could.  That’s why it is important to make everyone around you no matter where you are at to feel loved.  Because we never know whose key we hold and whose door we may unlock.

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. (Hebrews 13:2)

There Is More To Being A Hunter Than Hunting

My son and I recently went to the Buckmasters Expo in Montgomery, AL. To say the least it was very crowded.  We had to walk along with the flow of people just to be able to go from one booth to the next.  It would remind you of heavy traffic during rush hour but the traffic weren’t cars and trucks but people. And speaking of traffic we had to circle several blocks before we actually found a place to park.  We decided to go on my little car instead of one of our bigger trucks and it was probably a good thing we did. We found a parking spot on a corner where only a small car or motorcycle could park. Then we had to walk for a few blocks to get to the Convention Center downtown where it was being held.

All they asked for in admission was one can of food that would be donated to the Montgomery area food bank.  We have always taken several cans of different items and we usually would have a bag full. Besides it does go to a very worthy cause, it helps feed the hungry.  I stood in the lobby for a few minutes before we left coming home and watched people bring only the one required can to get in.

As we walked around we didn’t see a bunch of bearded men at every booth trying to sell some foul-smelling deer lure, or trying to sell you a camouflage outfit with a rifle and cartridges. And there wasn’t a bunch of bearded men dressed in camouflage walking around to each booth looking at the latest thing on the market. I honestly thought you could only make so many different kinds of camo. 

But what was there was a lot of families enjoying quality time together. Women looking at guns and rifles, ammunition, sizing the toddler up with their own hunting clothes and gear.  They had baby clothes, blankets, and toys for children.  Husbands and fathers were spending time with their families. It wasn’t just about the man. I saw several husbands showing different kinds of guns to their wife’s they thought would be a good fit for her. Father’s were sizing up their son or daughter with a gun along with the help of representatives from companies like Remington, Marlin and Winchester. 

Hunting can and has become a family affair. I was there with my son. There were many times we would go hunting and not see anything but we were together. It was quality time for a father and son enjoying the great outdoors.  When fathers take their sons or daughters hunting it builds a bond between them.  We all know statistics show that when a father and mother is involved with their children, the children are less likely to get into any kind of trouble as teens or after they’re grown. My son and I didn’t buy anything and just like those days when we didn’t catch a fish or kill a deer and others think that it was a waste let me tell you it wasn’t. It was worth every minute of spending time with my son. 

As the title of this blog, there is more to being a hunter than hunting. Buckmasters is only one of many different hunting organizations that are a prime example. There is more to being a hunter than hunting. It is also about respect. Respect of other people, their property, respect for the outdoors, respect for firearms, teaching and learning responsibility and the list goes on and on. Above all things, Buckmasters is very instrumental in taking handicap children and adults out on a hunt, as well as many other hunting organizations and individuals. We were impressed when we looked at a shooting house that would be for a handicap hunter in a wheelchair. 

I had the privilege to meet one hunting celebrity, Travis ‘T-Bone’ Turner. He wasn’t there gloating and bragging on what he killed while out on a hunt. He was there endorsing and promoting of all things. Air rifles. Guns catered more to children. He talked to, autographed and had pictures with the future generation of deer hunters.

So you see there is more to hunting than just being a hunter.  There is so much that we as hunters can share with others.  It is priceless for a child who has never had an opportunity to go hunting or a handicap person who would have never had an opportunity to hunt or fish can go home and have that memory to share for the rest of their lives. And to think that we had a part in making someone else’s life that much more memorable. 

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