Saturday, June 20, 2009

What Great Dads!

"A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society." 
-- Billy Graham

As I was looking over the family websites, with all their wonderful pictures, I could not help but think, “What great dads this Barnett family has!”  This is encouraging, because growing up; we did not have a father present.  My parents divorced when I was three, and my father died when I was thirteen. My brothers and I did not have a father figure to show us the way.  Father’s Day was not a holiday in our house.  As a matter of fact, I don’t think I even knew there was such a thing as Father’s Day until I got married and had my daughter, Shannon.

Great Dad, Dan Barnett

Despite this my brother, Dan, works had at being a good Dad. A proud father, Dan, gave all his sons the middle name of Danielson. His four children are all grown up now, but they spend a lot of time together even still. His daughter Jodi is an interior architect. His son Scott is an ex-Iraq Vet Marine, taking pre-med at the University Of Nevada. His son Patrick is currently in the Army. His son Jacob is a student at the University of Oregon. With all these college students, I bet Dan received many letters from college over the years similar to this:

Dear Dad,

$chool i$ really great. I am making lot$ of friend$ and $tudying very hard. With all my $tuff, I $imply can't think of anything I need, $o if you would like, you can ju$t $end me a card, a$ I would love to hear from you.

Your $on

The Reply:(to the above)

Dear Son,

I kNOw that astroNOmy, ecoNOmics, and oceaNOgraphy are eNOugh to keep even an hoNOr student busy. Do NOt forget that the pursuit of kNOwledge is a NOble task, and you can never study eNOugh.


Of course Dan had a lot of help from his wife, Robin.  This letter from a daughter might rightfully explain it:

One evening a little girl and her parents were sitting around the table eating supper. The little girl said, "Daddy, you're the boss, aren't you?" Her Daddy smiled, pleased, and said yes. The little girl continued "That's because Mummy put you in charge, right?"

Below are some recent photos of Dan & his Family.

Happy Father’s Day, Dan.  I think you ARE a GREAT Dad!

Great Dad, Christopher Barnett

My nephew, Christopher’s father passed away when he was only seven years old.  He had a great dad, my brother Don.  Don’s grandmother raised him, after his mother’s death.  Don absolutely loved and adored his six children. It is hard to lose a father. Don understood that, and would not have wanted that for his children, but cancer won its battle. I admire how Christopher is fathering his own children, and I think his father would be very proud of him. Christopher recently graduated from Oxford with a doctor’s degree in Divinity.  Both Christopher and his dad, raised family’s while working their way towards their doctorates.  Don had a doctorate in Aeronautical Engineering.  Life father, like son.    Christopher has a wonderful wife, Stacy. They have three sons, Luke, Caleb, and Paul.  I have just recently reconnected with Don’s children, as thousands of miles and many years have separated us. I am so excited to see how well they are doing. Below are some pictures of Christopher’s Family:

After looking over the Stacy’s web site, full of their family pictures, this little cartoon seems to echo Christopher son’s concept of their dad.

Happy Father’s Day, Christopher.  I think you ARE a GREAT Dad!

Great Dad, Bert Newton

My niece, Joanna, is Christopher’s little sister. She was only three when her father passed away. She married this wonderful man, Bert Newton, and he is another great father. I was privileged to attend their wedding several years ago, but I do not know either of them very well.  However, after looking over their family web site, I can tell that Bert is a great father. Bert is a high school coach.  Joanna & Bert have two children, Reese and Owen.  Owen is named after my brother, Don, whose middle name was Owen.  Below are some pictures of the Newson family.


Happy Father’s Day, Bert.  I think you ARE a GREAT Dad!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Red Pop and Watermelon

Juneteenth, June 19

There is a common misconception among Americans that Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves with a stroke of his pen. Yet the Emancipation Proclamation, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 1863, did no such thing — or, at least, it didn't do a very good job of it. Two and a half years later, on June 19, 1865, Union soldiers sailed into Galveston, Texas, announced the end of the Civil War, and read aloud a general order freeing the quarter-million slaves residing in the state. It's likely that none of them had any idea that they had actually been freed more than two years before. It was truly a day of mass emancipation. It has become known as Juneteenth.

In recognizing the history of American freedom, advocates say, Juneteenth is as deserving of recognition as Independence Day. "We may have gotten there in different ways and at different times," says Meyers of blacks and whites, "but you can't really celebrate freedom in America by just going with the Fourth of July."

Abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote "Juneteenth should be more important to Black people than the 4th of July because when the Declaration of Independence was signed, the words did not apply to Black people."

The other day a black friend came by while I was researching to write this post and asked what I was doing.  When I told her she asked, “Could you please tell me what Juneteenth is about?  Is it just about having a picnic?  She was serious and I was surprised. I just assumed that all black people knew what Juneteenth was about.  Later that night I did a search on Tweeter to see what people were saying about Juneteenth, and once again I was surprised to find about one in four black tweeters where asking what Juneteenth was about.  I felt sad because I agree with Frederick Douglass’ view that this holiday should be more important to black people than the Fourth of July.

Juneteenth celebrates the struggles of black Americans to free themselves from bondage, it celebrates and encourages self-development, respect for those ancestors who came before, and to acknowledge and never to forget their sufferings, for young people to never forget their roots, and to take pride in their place in this society, this country, this world, as well as to develop a respect for other people’s cultures.

Most Juneteenth celebrations include Juneteenth parades and festivals usually held in parks. The festivities and food of the early Juneteenths involved a range of activities that still continue to this day:

-Prayer services

-Guest speakers, which involve community elders who recount the past

-Singing and dancing

-Barbecue (meats such as chicken, pork and beef)

-And always the ever-ubiquitous strawberry-red soda (”Big Red” soda)

So all I can say to my friend is, Yes, Juneteenth is about more than having a picnic!  And yet, red pop and watermelon seem like refreshing ways to celebrate the day.  Just as freedom must have been refreshing after all those years of slavery. So have a picnic, drink your red pop, eat your watermelon and enjoy your freedom.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do Not Despair, God Is Holding It All Together

Galatians 1:15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Last year I viewed this little video by Louie Giglio on Laminin.   I viewed it with my mouth wide open in wonderment.  This year has been a very trying year for me.  There were many days when it seemed that everything was falling apart.  It was at those times, I became mindful of this video and Galatians 1:17b, “in him all things hold together.”  I would like to share this video with you, hoping that when you go through rough times, it may also encourage you.  Be prepared to be amazed!


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