“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” (Anais Nin)

Happy New Year Everyone. Welcome to 2017. As we begin to think about our goals for the coming year I would like to offer a suggestion. Let’s all be encourageous. It’s a new word for a new year and my goal is to make it the word of the year. It means simply to be outrageously encouraging. I’m done with being discouraged, beaten down and giving up. I intend to spend the rest of my life sharing encouragement with everyone I meet. Here’s how I will spread the gospel of being encourageous.

To be encourageous we must act. Words are not enough. Every day we share our lives with others. How we interact with other people is all on us. Let me give you one example of how easy it is to be encourageous. I was in the grocery store recently when I noticed an older woman using one of the store’s scooters. She was clearly struggling to find an item that was on a shelf she couldn’t reach from her seat. I walked over and asked if she needed help. She told me what she wanted and after much searching and reaching to the far back corner of the shelf, I found the box she needed. She thanked me profusely and I said I was happy to help. She smiled and her eyes lit up with the joy that comes from a shared moment of humanity. I was equally happy and left her with my most sincere wish that she should have a wonderful day. It doesn’t get any easier than that. One minute of my life was all it took to be encourageous.

We all need and want encouragement and the more the merrier. And I’m not talking about that “Every kid’s a winner” nonsense. Being encourageous is more than positive reinforcement. It’s the genuine acknowledgement of the value we place on other people by the way we treat them. We all need healthy relationships that provide us with the means to give as much as we get. The words we use in our interactions with others are the building blocks of our humanity but our actions are the cement that holds it all together. We can’t say, “Have a nice day” and not smile at the same time. I love people who smile and who look right at me. It makes me smile too and somewhere in my brain a little chemical reaction takes place that brings me real, tangible happiness. All of us have the innate ability to create happiness in the lives of those we meet by simply smiling and offering encouragement or a helping hand.

Being encourageous is a mindset that seeks out opportunities to help. As we encounter people each day we must look for signs of their condition. I saw two women on the side of the road one day and they were obviously distressed. The car was not running and they had no phone, so I stopped long enough to make a few calls to get help. It made me late for my next appointment but it was worth it and I still smiled and wished them well. For a brief moment, I could tell it helped. Compassion for others is the most fundamental trait we possess as humans. At that moment what they needed most, was my time and my willingness to help.

I believe that tomorrow can always be better than today. It’s up to us to make it better but there’s really nothing stopping us from making the world better for everybody. Having said that, I will admit that the recent past has been difficult and lots of people are very discouraged and afraid of the future. That’s why outrageous encouragement is going to be so important. To overcome this malaise we must try harder than ever to find compassion in our hearts and to act accordingly. The media sells fear and loathing on a daily basis because it is profitable not because it’s true. Fear is the polar opposite of being encourageous. I’m not afraid of anybody because I’m not afraid to die trying. God can call me home any time he wants me but while I’m still breathing I am going to be encourageous. I am going to thank those who help me. I am going to help those who are struggling. I am going to encourage those who have doubts. I am going to find the good in people, no matter how hard I have to try.

What have we got to lose by being encourageous? It’s a great word that needs to be repeated daily. It will become the word of the year if we just start each day by recognizing the universal need for compassion. Being encourageous will change our lives forever and the world will never be the same again. Wouldn’t we all like to be part of that movement? Everyone I meet has the God-given ability to change the world or at least their corner of it. I believe that ability is also an obligation. We are responsible for making life on this planet the best it can be for all of us, not just those we agree with. Let’s make 2017 the year when being encourageous became the turning point for humanity, when goodness overcame evil, when harmony replaced discord, when trust overcame fear and when all of humanity finally found the courage to do the right thing. I can’t wait. I’m going to start right now.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“So this is Christmas and what have you done?” (John Lennon)

When I got up this morning my thermometer read -8 degrees. Late last night after midnight, as I pondered over this blog post I could hear the snow plow slowly cleaning my street. With my gas furnace quietly keeping me alive and my street being plowed so I can get out when I need to, I was suddenly reminded of how great my life really is and I have lots of amazing people to thank for it.

In the history of the world life has never been this easy for most people. Only in the last 100 years has technology made it possible for us to not have to worry about our daily existence. My grandfather heated his house in Minnesota with firewood, just to survive the sub-zero temperatures. He cut trees and sawed logs all year long so he would have enough stored up to make it through the winter. I have never had to do anything like that and I would wager that 99% of the people who are reading this blog never have either. We take a lot for granted these days but let’s all say thanks to the people among us who make our lives possible.

I heat my house with natural gas that comes from drilling holes in the ground. I have no idea how hard that work is but I can imagine it’s not fun, especially considering some of the remote places they have to go to get to it. Drilling for oil in the North Sea or Alaska has to be brutally hard work. I’m typing this blog on a laptop made of plastics and precious metals. Someone, a lot tougher than I, had to drill for oil to produce the petro-chemicals in the plastics and someone else had to mine the copper and gold by hand to make the micro-circuits that make computers possible. Some other really smart people had to spend years developing computer hardware and software to make it simple enough for someone like me to have a computer on my kitchen table. The internet, smart phones and social media like WordPress would not exist without people who work extremely hard and in some cases even risk their lives to make life easier for the rest of us. I am forever thankful for these amazing people.

This afternoon I’m going to cook a nice dinner, courtesy of some very hard-working farmers who supply everything I need to survive. My wife and I have been growing vegetables in our backyard for years but never enough to make it last all year. Without the incredible skills and dedication of farmers, I would die from starvation. Even the clothes I wear are derived from cotton, wool or synthetics made from petro-chemicals. Again, I don’t have to plant cotton or keep a herd of sheep just so I can make my own clothes. I just go to the store and buy what I need. (Thank God I don’t have to sew.)

I will also be washing some clothes today in a machine built by engineers, supplied with clean water from the city and using detergents made from petro-chemicals. I’m sitting on furniture made from wood in a house made from wood and reading a book made from wood pulp. I have cut down enough trees to know I wouldn’t want to do that dangerous job for a living. I’m really glad someone somewhere wants to do these hard jobs because I don’t. I guess I would if I had to but thankfully I don’t.

Is anyone else noticing a trend here? No matter what the media tells us, the reality is this – humanity is not made up of the haves and the have-nots but rather by the people who will and who will not. Those of us who will not cut trees, dig for oil or drive a tractor at 4 AM are totally dependent on those who will and we better be grateful for everything we have. The media isn’t making my life better, celebrities make no difference whatsoever and politicians make everything more difficult. It’s just us that we have to depend on for our existence. The willingness to serve humanity is all that separates us from extinction. We all have to do our part to make life better and we have to stop being afraid to lend a helping hand to those who look different than we do or speak a different language.

I am always encouraged by the outpouring of faith that occurs during the Christmas season. The message that the birth of Jesus represents is one of humanity for all and the willingness to work for the common good. Jesus gave his life to redeem us, all of us. We can demonstrate our faith in his gift to humanity by carrying on his work. The more willing we are to share in the work that must be done, the better our lives will become. Goodness, compassion and faithfulness will be the fruits of our labors and the Christmas spirit will be fulfilled. This is how Jesus put it, “I came so that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Fearlessness is the first requisite of spirituality. Cowards can never be moral.”(Mahatma Gandhi)

I fear that spirituality is in decline these days, especially in America. I’m not saying this to start a discussion of various religions. Spirituality is to me, extremely personal or it should be. I think each of us needs to examine our beliefs and find our own moral center that best explains the world we live in and the way we live our lives. I prefer the example Jesus gave because it makes the most sense to me. His life raised the standard for fearlessness to new heights and few people have ever come close. In the recent past, only Gandhi and Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave their lives willingly, as an example to others.

I was lucky to be raised in a family with two fearless men as my mentors. My dad and my Grandfather McClintick were my heroes and every day of my life I was given a perfect example of faith in action. They lived their lives with purpose, clarity and honor. They made their corners of the world better by helping anyone who needed it and they never asked for anything in return. My grandfather lived to be 84 and my dad made it to 90. I think God knew he had a good thing going with those two and He gave them extra time to demonstrate their faith. I also believe that both of them had a fearless desire to do more and dying was not an option. They both worked hard right up to the last year of their lives, when their bodies finally got the rest they so richly deserved.

Being fearless and giving over your life to the Great Spirit means you can concentrate on being faithful every day. Once we give up the reins, we get to experience life as it should be, a once in a lifetime chance to make a difference. My grandfather rarely had time to go to church because he worked seven days a week but no one will ever say he wasn’t faithful. His dedication to others was his way of reaffirming his faith. He knew his life had been blessed with a good family and hundreds of friends and he made sure we all knew how much he appreciated it. He was just being the caretaker for everything that had been given to him and his only purpose in life was to leave behind something even better for his grandchildren. There was never any doubt in his mind about his existence or reason for living. His fearless nature gave him the means to concentrate his efforts on others and he never let us down.

With my father, his approach was slightly different but just as effective. He wasn’t the builder that my grandfather was but he made his mark in hundreds of ways every day with kindness, generosity and honesty. He could smile people into submission. He was polite and friendly with everyone he encountered and he always went out of his way to make people happy with jokes and kind words of encouragement. He set a high standard for me to meet in the business world but his path was so easy to follow, “Just be nice”. I can’t claim to have done it that well but I absolutely agree with his strategy. Kindness begets more kindness. Just watching him turn people around from disaster to prosperity was an amazing experience for me and he did it without them even knowing what had happened. He just never gave up on people, no matter how much help they needed.

Faith breeds fearlessness in true believers. When we give up our ridiculous worldly ambitions and we turn towards God and the hereafter then we get to enjoy the world we always wanted anyway. A simple place where good deeds are common and our humanity is a wonderful expression of that faith. We can stop being afraid of each other and turn off the hatred that is just holding us back. Cowards have no moral center and care not for the plight of others. That’s not how life is supposed to work and Jesus gave us the precise demonstration of what does work. Sacrifice and commitment to the common good are the hallmarks of his brief ministry. He gave three years of his short life to change the world forever. Most of us struggle to give three minutes of our day to help others. What are we afraid of? Death is an absolute certainty that no one escapes. It may come today or a hundred years from now but we’re only going to get so many minutes so why not spend them doing good?

You wouldn’t believe how many people still ask me about my dad. His smile, his sense of humor, his honesty always come up in conversation. He left the world a much better place and then he got to meet Jesus in the end. I would say that’s about as good as it gets. We can all have a life of significance and joy if we just stop being afraid to try. The only thing stopping us from making the world better for everybody is…. just us. Fear is the enemy we must conquer and compassion is the tactic we must use. Let Jesus explain it better that I can in Matthew 9:12-14

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“Freedom is not a gift received from a State or a leader but a possession to be won every day by the effort of each and the union of all.” (Albert Camus)

Here’s the speech I wrote for the next State of the Union address. I believe this needs to be said right now or else we may not make it to January.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

My fellow Americans, these words are the foundation of our republic and as such serve as the guiding principles of our continuing success as a nation. Tonight we will take a much closer look at these words in comparison to the current State of our Union.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal… this beginning to the Declaration of Independence was the most revolutionary idea ever expressed in the history of the world. It was an unequivocal rejection of royalty and government by a king. It was essentially a call to war with the British Empire and a death sentence to those who signed it. We hold these truths to be self-evident… means we pronounce these words as inherently true. We’re not asking for popular opinion to accept this statement because we’re saying it is true no matter who agrees with us. That all men are created equal… means just that and therefore all men have the same expectations that their rights are equal as well. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness… are the unalienable or absolute rights needed to make each person’s life worth living. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed… which means that government is charged with the task of maintaining the rights of those who consented to their power as representatives of the people. Our government only exists because the people of this country consciously agreed to accept a representative democracy as the form of government best equipped to maintain our inherent rights as individuals. Anything that endangers the future of our democracy is to be dealt with effectively by our elected representatives or else we can discharge them from their duties and place that responsibility with someone else we choose. That’s the beauty of our republic. We all have a stake in our future and we all need to participate.

Now let’s look at the Constitution. We the People of the United States in order to form a more perfect Union… these words formed the Union by establishing an agreement among all Americans that our rights as individuals were best protected by collective consent. They didn’t expect perfection just something more perfect than what they had, which was just tyranny. Establish justice… is a clear acceptance of the rule of law and the end of despotism. Insure domestic tranquility… means we should expect our rights as individuals to be insured in such a way that we could pursue happiness in any way we wanted. Provide for the common defense…is obviously an acknowledgement that evil exists in the world and it is incumbent upon all of us to defend our rights against enemies who would seek to destroy our way of life. Promote the general welfare… is the core function of government and it includes all public works such as roads and utilities that provide the means for individuals to achieve their goals. Secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity… means we have an obligation to future generations to pass on these same rights and responsibilities no matter what the cost. Do ordain and establish this Constitution… means we proclaim this Constitution to be sacred to our way of life and we will devote ourselves to following these rules of governance as established by our forefathers.

These are the most courageous words ever written by humans and they changed the entire world forever after. No longer was mankind going to be enslaved by tyrants and real, tangible freedom was going to be given a chance to flourish. The result was a dramatic wave of democracy that swept across the world, over the next two centuries. Freedom was the spark that mankind needed to burn down the prison of tyranny that had been so pervasive for all of human history. Every opportunity we have today is the result of the sacrifices made by our founders. We owe them a debt of gratitude and we honor them by making equal sacrifices today. Our democracy is always going to be a work in progress that requires discipline, sacrifice and courage to maintain our freedom.

Which brings me to the State of our Union today. We are struggling right now. We are questioning our beliefs and our faith in each other and our shared commitment to the common good. We have become less of a nation with common values and more like tribes with narrow definitions of what democracy means to us. This is not the right path. This path leads to the end of freedom for all and the beginning of anarchy which will inevitably lead to more tyranny. Our unifying principles have to come before our individual desires or else we will lose both. Tyrants don’t care about rights. The collective will of the people is all that stands in the way of defeat. We can choose to help each other and accept our differences or we can devolve into fractions of humanity who only care about those who share their narrowest beliefs. Our freedom to choose will only exist as long as we first choose to sacrifice our smallest wants in favor of our greatest needs. Government of the people, by the people and for the people is essential to every basic human right but none of those rights is secure unless we share the burden of democracy by working together and finding the middle ground of the common good where we can all find acceptance as individuals. We are greater than the sum of our parts when we work together.

I believe in the American dream. The possibilities to achieve more for all of us are endless if we resolve to put our country first. We are all free because we chose the burden of freedom over the complacency of tyranny. The burden is heavy but the work is light when all of us carry the weight equally. When we go out into the world each day and we seek out ways to help each other, we will experience all the joys of freedom and tyranny will find no place to grow in America. We can do this my friends and we will because America means that much to us and freedom is worth any price. Tonight I leave you with these words from President Kennedy, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or evil, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of freedom.”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“The modern patriotism, the true patriotism, the only rational patriotism is loyalty to the nation all the time, but loyalty to the government only when it deserves it.” (Mark Twain)

I am at a loss for words to describe the election we are about to have. We have a choice between despicable and deplorable and both are equally bad. My main fear is that whoever wins this race, they will end up acting like royalty. It took 240 years but we finally managed to forget what tyranny feels like. Well, we’re all going to get a refresher course in the value of liberty and the reason we have three equal parts to our government. The next president will be a tyrant because that’s what we want, apparently.

We, the people of the United States, are giving up every right we have ever earned by giving in to the temptation these two candidates represent. This is a race to see who can be the least most horrible candidate not the brilliant leader we need. In reality, no one with any amount of real character and values would ever put themselves through the election process anymore.We get candidates who are the dregs of a system corrupted by power brokers and the media. If you won’t sell your soul, you can’t get elected to any office higher than the local school board. When that happens, the democratic system breaks down and all of us suffer.

I doubt that anything I say will change the course of history but I’m going to try once more to express what most of us are feeling right now. The American Dream ain’t what it used to be so maybe we need to redefine what that means so that the next president will have some idea what we really want from our government. For most of us, the American Dream is pretty basic. We want to work at jobs we care about for companies who actually care about us as employees not numbers. We want a paycheck we can live on. One that makes the house payment and sends our kids to decent schools where the 3 R’s are still taught. We would prefer that our kids didn’t have to die in some primitive country, defending people who wouldn’t recognize freedom if they had it, just so those vets can pay for college when they come home from the next war. We’re all willing to die for our own freedom but stop asking us to die for others who never help themselves.

We want elected officials who recognize the eternal value of the Constitution and will make decisions based on the values of the majority of Americans. That is the way the system was designed because minority rule is just a euphemism for tyranny. We want a government that gives us opportunities not oppression. We all know what it takes to succeed so please get out of our way while we try. We also want a level playing field where the rules are the same for all and no one can purchase favoritism. Let the best ideas win no matter who comes up with them. Let those who try the hardest, work the smartest and earn their rewards get what they deserve and let’s honor their tenacity, not punish their success. And let’s have a tax code that makes sense to everybody, not just accountants.

We also want to live in a country where no one has to fear the possibility of bankruptcy caused by medical expenses.We shouldn’t have to pay $20 for an aspirin in the hospital just so the insurance company can pay their CEO $20 million. That’s just legalized extortion, not the free market at work. We want to know what the real costs are so we can make informed decisions for ourselves. Just tell us the truth, we can handle it.

We also want more control close to home. The federal government should return our tax dollars to the states so we can decide how to spend those dollars without compliance strings attached. We worked hard for that money and we know precisely what we need to do with it. Please stay out of it, you’re not helping us at all. We do not need bloated bureaucracies skimming off the top and leaving us with less than we gave you in the first place. Every state has unique circumstances that no one in Washington can comprehend so please stop trying to tell us how to live.

All of this is just common sense. People are happy, productive and free when they know they can achieve their biggest dreams. A government that is truly of the people, by the people and for the people should understand this concept. We the people want all the benefits of freedom and none of the costs of tyranny. We the people having been doing our part, working hard, paying taxes, even dying when called upon and voting for the people we thought would best represent us for 2oo+ years. Therefore, I think it’s only fair to ask those elected officials this simple question, “When are you going to start doing your part?”

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“Action is the proper Fruit of Knowledge.” (Thomas Fuller)

It has come to my attention that some of my younger readers, if there are any, may need to be warned about some of the things they read here at Grhgraph. Apparently, there is something called a trigger warning that gives young people the option to decide if they can handle new information that might possibly evoke strong feelings that could disturb their otherwise safe space. I’m old and foolish but I always thought the object of writing anything was to evoke a response from the reader. In point of fact, I got a big fat F on a paper I wrote in high school because I didn’t get any reaction from my teacher. But my teacher had studied at Oxford so he was kind of a stickler for small details like that. So, in the interest of appealing to a younger audience, let thee be warned. From this point on you will be uncomfortable and have strong feelings which may even cause you to get out of your safe space and do something to help solve the problem I am about to discuss. Last chance…Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

In my work with foster children I am frequently asked to make an emergency run. Usually this involves a kid who has just come into the system or one who has just caused a big enough problem to get kicked out of the house they were in. Either way, it’s almost always traumatic. I take my share of these drives because I like helping these kids get through it. Last week I got called out four times, which is a record for me. The first night it was just two kids being moved again for no good reason but they were being placed in a home that was 7.5 hours away from Kansas City and it was 5 PM when I heard about it. Lucky for me, the new foster parents volunteered to meet me in Hays which is only 260 miles away. When we got half way, we stopped for a bathroom break and I gave them a snack for being so good on such a long drive. The little boy took one bite of his cookie and threw up all over himself and the car seat. I cleaned him up and found his one extra shirt to put on him and then cleaned the car seat as best I could before heading out again for another 2 hours. We met up with the wonderful new foster parents at 9:30 PM and then I headed home. It was after 2 AM when I finally got back and closer to 3 before I got any sleep. Luckily, I was supposed to have the next day off but it didn’t work out that way. By 7 PM the next night I was on the road again with a teenage boy in a horrible storm with accidents all over the highway. His story would need its own trigger warning so I’m not going to elaborate because it just makes me mad every time I think about it. After four more days and 2000 miles, I was called out again on Saturday night for an 8 year old boy who had just come into the system. He wasn’t going very far but his world consisted of a backpack and not much else. I gave him a Teddy Bear so he would have something to hold onto while we drove away from one home to another one in the middle of the night. He didn’t say much, which was good for me because I didn’t know what to say except, “I heard about you and I wanted to meet you. I’m going to take good care of you and if you need me again just ask. I will be there for you no matter what.” I never mind making those kind of promises because these kids need to hear it from somebody.

After 11 straight days on the road I finally got a Sunday off. I slept late trying to recuperate from way too many hours behind the wheel and a heavy heart from sharing the pain these kids were experiencing. I hoped this week would be a little calmer but Monday night I got the call again. This time it was a teenage girl who was moving once more to a new group home in Topeka. When I told her where she was going, she broke down and cried because she hates group homes and she was really hoping for a foster home. I asked her if she wanted to talk about it while we drove but she said she really didn’t talk much. I said I shared her lack of enthusiasm for conversation and then we talked for the whole drive. At one point she sadly stated that after 5 months in the system she just doesn’t trust anybody anymore. I took that as a personal challenge and I tried my best to reassure her that things would get better. Then she asked me if I was religious and I said “Yes, I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I’m pretty sure he wants me to be here for you. Why don’t we stop for dinner somewhere so we can keep talking and I can convince you to trust me. I will not let you down.” We stopped at Freddy’s in Topeka because she had never had one of their delicious burgers. She ate and I talked about my faith and how important it is to me to work with kids who are in trouble. It was the best $8 I ever spent. We got to the group home later than expected and I had to make excuses for my late arrival but I didn’t mind stretching the truth in order to get the chance to share my faith and my mission. I told her she should tell her caseworker to request me as her driver the next time she needs to go somewhere so we can continue our conversation about faith and so I could keep proving myself to her. I cannot let her grow up thinking there is no one she can trust. That’s not going to happen on my watch!

So now, if you made it through the whole story and you’re not mad or crying or pained in some way then I didn’t do my job as a writer. The real world is a tough place for kids in foster care and they need all the help we can give them. I can’t sugar coat that enough to make it palatable and it shouldn’t be acceptable for any of the rest of us. They need us more than you can ever imagine. They need clothes, they need homes, they need food and books and friends and mentors and teachers and coaches and other people who genuinely care about them as valued members of humanity. They need YOU! That’s right, you read the whole story and now that you know the whole truth, what are YOU going to do about it? See, there’s the problem with knowledge. It’s a call to action. We can’t plead ignorance anymore when we are exposed to the truth. When you blow $4 on a cup of coffee you might have to wince a little at the reality that $4 could probably feed one of these kids for a few days. Now I can see why trigger warnings are so important to millennials. Life is complicated and harsh for a lot of people and social justice is going to require actual sacrifice and hardship, not just Tweets. Ignorance really was bliss wasn’t it? If we don’t know better we can go on being selfish and live happily ever after. That might be good for you but I can promise you it will be bad for these kids.

Now let’s wrap this up with some positive emotions. The bare minimum thing anybody can do is donate to any of the non-profits who work in this field. Money is absolutely critical to the success of their mission. If you just can’t afford to cut your budget, then maybe a gift of old clothes would be possible. I can’t count how many kids I meet who have nothing when they come into the system. Clothes make every kid feel better. And last but definitely not least, give yourself. These kids are desperate for normal human contact. You can volunteer at shelters to just read to little ones. When they start running to meet you at the door and give you the best hugs you’ll ever get, then you’ll be glad you ignored my trigger warning. I think the fruit of knowledge really is worth it.

Care to join me?

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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“The Tale of Jack and the Bean Counters.”

Editor’s Note – I wrote this post in 2012 during the last election cycle. It didn’t have any effect then but now that our government has gotten even more out of control maybe it’s time to repeat, “The Tale of Jack and the Bean Counters.”

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Long ago in the Kingdom of Beanlandia lived the good King Cyrus. Cyrus had ruled his kingdom for many years and was loved by all his people. Beanlandia was known far and wide for its fertile fields and the best beans grown anywhere. The farmers in Beanlandia could grow any kind of bean and the whole economy of the country was based on beans. As King, Cyrus owned everything but he always allowed his people to keep 10% of the beans to feed their families. The rest of the crops were kept in the beanery managed by the Ministry of Beans. The government employed literally hundreds of people to count the beans each day and keep an exact tally of who grew them, what kind, where they were stored and who they were exported to. These people were highly regarded and well paid and given the title of Benevolent Bean Counter.

This system…

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