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So Help Me God

April 17th, 2015

So Help Me God

"So Help Me God".

The last four words of a oath that many of us have taken for our country.
A oath that says that we will defend what we are proud of and will fight
for, if need be. For those who have raised their hand and made
the decision that, for at least a portion of their life, their defending our rights
and freedoms were or is their highest priority, please know your actions
holds our respect.


"Standing Duty" for one's country can be considered one of the most
honorable actions that a person can ever do. Know that your actions are
worthy and remembered and that we back here at home keep you in our prayers.
Just as the soldier standing beside you has your back, those of us who have
"been there" stand behind you and support your actions.

It does not matter where, when or to what capacity you have or are giving to our
country. It is just the fact that you were willing to step forward and say "I will go"
that brings you our trust, respect and appreciation. Know this, that when your
"Duty" is complete you can come home, stand proud, and know that there are
many of us who feel your actions as a member of our military will and should
always be held in our country's highest regards.

War, is not a pretty thing. War hurts, destroys, and cripples and I wish that
God would take the act of making of war away from us. But as long as there
is the possibility that our rights lifestyles here in the United States of America
are jeopardized by wrongful acts of others, then I am happy, proud and
comfortable in knowing that you are there to defend us.

To Each and Everyone One of You.

God Bless You and Keep You Safe.

Petty Officer John C. Glass. United States Navy, Veteran

By a New Light

April 15th, 2015

By a New Light

Someone asked me the other day how and why I choose my subject matter for my writing and my photography. I tried to explain it this way.

In most cases, how a person views or interprets a "work of art" will be determined by their pre-existing perspective or knowledge of the subject matter.

If a artist presents the subject in a different way other then the "norm" they are only trying to give the opportunity for others to either accept or reject the different thoughts behind the shot. Whether the viewer/reader likes or dislikes the new "twist" is totally up to them, all the artist is doing is opening a "different door".

I try to offer "Life Lessons" through my works in many cases via the description that goes with the photograph. Sometimes the photograph will speak totally for itself. Yet at other times, the story that goes along with it is needed to explain the "whole" story or helps to convey the idea.

I guess what I'm trying to get across to others is that we don't have to travel far to enjoy what is being offered to us. What I'm suggesting is that we need to do just slow down, look around and notice what is, in many case, right in front of us.

I tried to expain it to a friend once long ago I took her out into my back yard on a bright and clear late afternoon and I asked her what she saw. She pointed out the beautiful sunset, the birds going by and how the trees swayed in the light breeze. All very good observations.

A few hours later, I took her back out into the same backyard, back to the exact place we had stood before, but was now encased in darkness and I asked her again what she saw. This time she pointed out the beautiful stars, the lights of the homes across the lake from us and the darkness itself. Again, all good observations.

I then pulled out a small pen lite.

I showed her via the "new light" the bird's nest in a bush that sat less then ten feet away from us in both times of the day. Inside were two small, beautiful sparrow chicks which had gone un-noticed by her until I introduced her to them. Over the next week she returned to watch their growth and was there to see their departure from the nest to each find their own ways out into the world.

My friend is now a avid bird watcher and has also found the love of photography itself, where she is able to share her love of them with others.

That... is what I try to with my artwork., use it as a tool to show others how lucky we are to be given the chance of enjoying life by our God and everythng he offers us.

Note: The Power of Suggestion: The picture of the leaf will be seen by some as a leaf with a hole through the middle... Others will see a leaf with a drop of water clinging to it's underside. What do you see at first glance. Tell me what you see and I will then share the truth. Thus the Power of Suggestion..

Country Boy Game

October 6th, 2013

Country Boy Game

Note; This story is what rekindled my love of writing and gave me the idea for the name of our group.

COUNTRY BOY GAMES

Growing up on a farm and ranch along the Colorado River below Austin in the 50’s and 60’s a young boy can only described it as a true never-never land . All one had to do was let one’s imagination go and use the many natural resources that a Texas summer offered to keep from getting bored. There along the banks of the river, in the shadows of the large pecan trees and down the long rows of cotton, maize and corn, it was our farm and ranch itself that offered to keep us entertained.

You have to remember the timeframe. Back then, there were no, Pc’s, cell phones, quads or even mp3 players. The telephone was a party line where at least 3 other families shared the same line. And television, television consisted of three channels starting at 6am and shutting down with the Star Spangled Banner at midnight.

There were very few store bought games, or plastic guns emitting the rat- tat- tat sounds of those found in the city. Your gun was a stick and the sound effects came from deep within a boy’s throat and his imagination. We didn’t have sidewalks to ride a skateboard on even if you had made one. But there were other sports that had been passed down or made up that could be used to keep us happy.

The Tractor Tire 500; The object, stuff two, possibly three boys, depending on their size, into the innards of a tractor tire at the top of a hill. Straps consisted of usually everyone’s T shirt or an old sheet that had been snuck out of the house and ripped into strips. Now in most cases the “test participants” were usually the youngest kids available but only after being chased down kicking and screaming, while they were stuffed and tied into the tire and sent down the hill before they could escape. These trips lasted usually less than 30 seconds with the large tire finally wobbling in a large circle and settling on its side in a cloud of dust with the riders scrambling out now screaming to do it again. In defense for the game, we only hit the barbed wire fence at the bottom of the hill once.

The Hay Barn Tunnel of Terror; Objective: To design and build a tunnel along a 200 foot long and 20 foot high stack of hay bales. Then dare your friends, cousins and neighbors to try to best your best through the tunnel of total darkness. Now picture this, completely dark tunnel, trying to complete the timed trip not knowing if there are turns, pitfalls or other “things” in there with you, which there all were. It was only at that first touch of something furry and that banshee scream that you remembered someone mentioning that there had been a skunk found in the tunnel before. I don’t know which was scared more the participant or the cat, which had been dropped into the tunnel ahead of you after you went in. But we did have one city cousin who never came to spend the summer with us after that.

River Campout: Object, for at least five boys to campout on the banks of the river for no less than one week without outside sources. This included hunting, fishing and trapping all food supplies. Except of course for any marshmallows, graham crackers, bread and bolgna and other odd snacks that were found sitting in a box once every other day along the fence line leading into river bottom. (Thanks Mom).

Upon completion of the trip, Mom did have certain stipulations regarding being able to return into our house. Step 1; Take bath, using soap, in river within one hour before returning home. Step 2; Take water hose shower, with soap, prior to entering back door of house. Step 3; Go directly to bathroom, take indoor shower, again with soap and adding shampooing hair. Step 4; Report to Mom for inspection with the strong possibility of repeating Step 3. Years later we found out that Mom and Dad had their own name for this game which was “Mom and Dad’s Vacation”.

There were many other games such as Nighttime Jack Rabbit Hunting out of the back of a moving truck, Chinaberry Fights, War, Kick the Can, Playing baseball with a Crocket Ball, (I will never be the pitcher again and maybe that’s why I am the way I am.) Aluminum Sled Pulling and 50 gallon drum swimming parties. But, those are all stories in themselves.

For years these country boy games continued until the hormones started kicking in and the lure for the hunt for girls took their place. Boys grew into teenagers then into men and the games are no longer played, at least not physically. But get my brothers, cousins and old friends together and the games will always continue, only now, sitting in someone’s living room reliving the past.

The Man and the Mule

September 17th, 2013

The Man and the Mule

Early one morning several years ago, I was passing through a small town in the Hill Country of Texas which over the past few decades, has turned into a small craftsman’s village.

Very few “outsiders” had found their way into town yet that morning, so only the shop owners and a handful of “locals” who made this area part of their normal daily treks were seen or heard there. They called out to each other by first name and threw to each other open ended questions such as; “how’s the wife?”; “ Hot enough for you?” or,” Seen Joe lately? “ It was obvious these questions were not really important but just a way to let each other know that they each recognized the others presence.

In the middle of the town shopping area the main street crossed a creek and below the bridge was a small natural park area. As I crossed the bridge I found myself looking down at a very out of the ordinary sight.

Twenty yards or so up the creek stood a man, knee deep and about half way across the creek. Wrapped once around his buttocks was one end of a long rope which led to a large haltered mule which was standing at the edge of the creek. The rope between the two was pulled tight as the man tried to coax the mule into entering the shallow creek.

I couldn’t help but stop to see how this dilemma was going to be resolved. For several minutes the man continued to adjust his position in the creek, cursing under his breath or at least sending insults toward the animal for its stupidity as he continued to try coaxing the animal into its clear yet shallow water. Each time, the mule would stand firm, waiting patiently while the man tried to show him who was boss.

Seeing me, he yelled out. “Well, do you have any ideas? I’m trying to train him to crossing the creek for when he’s pulling a wagon I have for Hay rides.” But he’s so dang stubborn.”

“ Does he know what the water feels like that you are trying to get him into entering?” I asked. Has he ever stood in water before?

“No this his first time” came the reply.

I thought for a second, and then shared with him what I thought may help.

“I think the problem is that he doesn’t know what is ahead of him. He see’s you out there but without actually knowing what the water feels like for himself, maybe he is afraid of what it will do to him. I would stand beside him and splash water onto his front legs a little at a time so that he can feel comfortable with the feel of the water. Then, I would try walking him into the water while walking beside him, not out in front of him trying to pull him in.

“I’m willing to try anything at this point in time.” he said. I watch as he followed my suggestions and after a few minutes tried to bring the mule into the water with him.

At first the mule balked, but with a little more coaxing and the man staying calm and reassuring the animal, the mule finally took its first steps into the creek. They worked their way across and out onto the far bank of the creek.

Immediately, the man turned the animal back into the creek for the return trip with the mule hesitating only slightly before entering the water. The return trip went uneventful and the man finally allowed himself to show a smile as they approached the near bank.

Tying the mule to a fence rail he came over to me and we introduced ourselves. He asked how I knew what I had offered would work.

“I’m not one of those Know it All’s, I promise you, I just remembered that sometimes, you don’t realize that just because something is easy for you to do, it may not be easy for someone else” I said.

“I can remember when there were times when I was in his place and was lucky enough to have someone show me the way.”

He smiled then asked me how long I had been watching him working with the mule from the bridge before he had seen me there?

Only a couple of minutes, I replied not wanting to embarrass him.

Hmmm. Cause if it would have been me. My question would have surely been “So, which is more stubborn here, the man or the mule?

I hid the smile by turning away to look at the Mule one more time.

“Naw, I would never have thought that.” And we walked up the hill to have a nice breakfast, courtesy of my new friend.

His Sign

September 15th, 2013

His Sign


His Sign…

By John C. Glass


Not long ago, I was sitting on my patio having my early morning coffee. I had spent a sleepless night tossing and turning thinking about bills, work, and what the future held for my family. It had seemed that no matter what I did lately, there was a grey cloud hanging over me that just wouldn’t go away.

I was confused over why my life had taken such an awful turn for the worse? I had been “raised right”. My parents had instilled in me the good basic traits of honor, loyalty, caring that are the foundation our family had always felt were needed for a person to live a life of worth. But lately it seemed that no matter what I did I felt I was being punished for something. So much so that I was starting to second guess my beliefs towards the existence of an all powerful God.

I didn’t understand. If there was a God with such an understanding and love for His people, what had I done to seem to make Him turn His back on me? I had been taught that no matter what, He was there and that He was always listening. I had been told that no matter what happens I should keep my faith in Him. I had been raised to follow His commandments, which I always tried to do, even though I knew I had faltered like most men do from time to time. Still, I considered myself and hoped that others also saw me as a kind, considerate and loving man.

I dropped my head, closed my eyes and for the first time in a long time, I prayed to my God. I told Him of my worries, my concerns, my fears and finally my grievance that it seemed He had forsaken me to the point that I was questioning His existence.

Then, I challenged him. I asked Him to give me a sign that He was still there for me, it didn’t have to be a big sign, no parting of the seas or window rattling earthquake. Just something to tell me that He was still there and that what I had been brought up to believe was true. I was not asking or expecting it to happen immediately. I told Him that I would try to be patient and prayed that I would recognize His sign when it did come to me.

Returning from my prayer, I thought of what I had just done. Did I deserve asking God for proof of His existence? I thought of the old adage of being a “God Fearing Man”. Had I pushed Him too far? Where did I think I had the right to question His existence? I opened my eyes and looked around. So far the world had not stopped spinning nor had it opened and swallowed me up. Actually I, for some reason, seemed to feel a little more at ease.

Before I knew it, my mind had shifted into neutral and I sat enjoying the warmth of the morning sun. I heard giggling and the shuffling of children’s feet on the sidewalk in front of my house then slowly they seemed to drift away, allowing me to slip farther into a light nap.

Then, I heard “You…,“ No You”….. from my driveway and as I was trying to figure out if this was for real or a dream there came the sound of light feet approaching my patio gate.

As if to settle the question, very quietly I heard a boy’s voice “Excuse me… Say Mister”. There stood three young boys about ten or eleven years old. Two of them stood side by side holding between them a large sack. Directly in front of them stood the third, his feet planted firmly and his arms folded across his chest holding two objects that I could not quite make out.

Still not sure if I was up to or wanted to listen to whatever it was they wanted, I contemplated ignoring them. Yet, there was something about the way this young boy that reminded me of another young boy who had been hell bent on taking on the world about fifty years ago. I acknowledge their presence and asked what I could do for them.

Surprisingly, he answered that it was not what I could do for them, but what they could do for me and with that, he started his magic.

“Sir, we are here to offer you the opportunity to buy from us these fine pine cones” thrusting one forward to show me.

Walking to the gate I looked down at the boy and the pine cones. In one hand he held a cone that was still tightly closed and rock hard. In the other hand was a fully opened cone oozing pine sap and shedding its seeds on my sidewalk when he shook it. Obviously, I had no need for their products, but I couldn’t help wanting to see how strong the salesmanship in this young man was.

“Yes, I must say, those are fine looking pine cones but tell me, just how could I use them, son?” I asked. Without hesitation his comeback was “Why sir, you can grow your own pine cone tree! Trying to catch him off guard, I responded “But that would take a very long time and I may not be around to see it grow tall. What else could I use these pine cones for?

"They’re great for throwing at noisy dogs or cats” as he reached through the gate and pitched the still closed, rock hard cone to me. Instinctively I caught it, and by doing so, I had become the “possessor” of the cone. This would make it harder for me to give it back if I chose not to buy his product. It was obvious this young man had learned the tools of a true salesman at a very early age. I was impressed.

Stalling for time to figure out my next remark, I rolled the cone around in my hand then acted as though I was checking it’s aerodynamics by tossing it up in the air a few times. I answered with “Hmmmmmm, yes I bet they would, but… I don’t want to make my neighbors angry at me for throwing pine cones at their pets. Could there be anything else I can use these pine cones for?” For the first time he seemed to be caught without an answer, he stood looking at his feet deep in thought, as he rolled the other pine cone between his palms.

The two friends behind him nervously shuffled the almost full bag which surely held every loose pine cone for a two block radius. Guessing that this sale was not going to happen, one of them started to thank me for my time when suddenly the salesman jerked his head up with a big smile, looked me straight in the eyes and said,

Sir, If you were to take and tie it to a stick you would have a very nice Pine Cone Back Scratcher."

He had me. I mean it was quite obvious, it only made sense. If I were to tie this fine pine cone to a stick, he was right, I would surely have The world’s greatest back scratcher and probably the world's only pine cone back scratcher.

Well, I had to have it. “So son, you’ve sold me. How much do you want for these pine cones? Again without pause his answer was, “For you sir, I will let you have these fine pine cones for only 50 cents each, or four for two dollars, then turning to look at his two best friends with, I have no doubt. a wink in his eye he threw his last pitch at me. Or give us ten bucks Sir, and you can have the whole bag.”

I called out to my wife to bring me two dollars. The others two boy’s eyes lit up like they had just hit the lottery. I proudly paid for my four World’s Greatest Pine Cones, thanked the boys for giving me the opportunity of buying such wonderful items and watched as they scampered down my sidewalk. As they left, the bag carriers slapped their #1 salesman on his back as he looked around for the next customer.

The last thing I heard him say was, “It’s simple guys, ya just gotta believe, if you believe, there’s just about nothing that can’t happen”. Then he turned back to me, threw me that smile one more time and we waved to each other.

I sat back down and thought about what had just happened. I smiled to myself thinking about the confidence the young boy had shown and his strong belief that he was not going to be turned down, no matter what. This young boy who had made the decision before he even reached my gate, that if there was anyone there to listen to him, he was going to sell that person at least one of his pine cones.

He had not known what or who was around that corner but that didn’t matter. He was going to get his message across to whomever he met, no matter what. There was no second guessing that, because, there was no second guessing his beliefs.

It was only then did I realize that God had brought this boy to my gate to give me the answer to my prayer. Stunned and yet at ease, I realized that I need not worry, nor ever again second guess the existence and the power of my God.

I closed my eyes and prayed again, thanking Him for His sign that I “just gotta believe” and that if I do, He’ll always be there for me.

Lord…. Show me your way.