Friday, November 29, 2013

George Washington’s Thanksgiving Proclamation

By the President of the United States of America, a Proclamation
Whereas it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; and—Whereas both Houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”
Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favor, able interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted; for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us.
And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations, and beseech Him to pardon our national and other trangressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have shown kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally, to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best.
Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.
George Washington

Friday, October 25, 2013


“Our success on the track was only a very small part of our lives, but we hoped it had taught us a disciple that was transferable to other spheres.” – Roger Bannister

In 1952, Roger Bannister set the goal to be the first man to run a mile under four minutes and intensified his training. The record for the mile run remained at 4:01.4 seconds for nine years. “For years, the four-minute mile was considered not merely unreachable but, according to physiologists of the time, dangerous to the health of any athlete who attempted to reach it.” (Bruce Lowitt, “Bannister Stuns World with 4-Minute Mile” St. Petersburg Times, December 17, 1999) On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran the mile in 3:59.4, setting a new world record and breaking the proclaimed “impossible” barrier. In an interview, Bannister said, “There was a mystique, a belief that it couldn’t be done, but I think it was more of a psychological barrier than a physical barrier.” (David M. Ewalt and Lacey Rose, “The Greatest Individual Athletic Achievements,” Forbes, January 29, 2008)
Once Roger Bannister removed this psychological barrier, the door was opened for others to achieve this feat. On June 21, 1954, just forty six days after Bannister had set this record, John Landy broke Bannister’s record in Turku, Finland, and today there are hundreds of people who have run a mile in under four minutes.

Many people have been conditioned with thoughts of what can’t be done. Studies have shown that within the first eighteen years of our lives, the average person is told “no” more than 148,000 times. (Shad Helmstetter, What to Say When You Talk to Your Self (New York: Pocket Books, 1986), 20) We are constantly being told by parents, friends, teachers, television, and co-workers what we cannot do.

To achieve the impossible, we must strive to find solutions instead of excuses. Instead of saying, “I can’t do it,” we should ask, “How can I do it?” Instead of saying “I can’t afford it,” or “It’s impossible,” begin asking the questions, “How can I afford it?” and “How is it possible?” This small change in our approach to life will produce great outcomes. Elbert Hubbard wrote, “The world is moving so fast these days that the man who says it can’t be done is generally interrupted by someone doing it.”

Philo T. Farnsworth, the inventor of television, the baby incubator, the electron microscope, radar technology, gastroscope technology, astronomical telescope technology, and the fusion reaction tubes, had a simple motto for his laboratory, “The difficult we do right away; the impossible takes slightly longer.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13, NKJV

“All things are possible to him who believes.”
Mark 9:23, NKJV

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

George Washington and the Outhouse

Ethan Allen was a patriot and Revolutionary hero who often concluded his letters and writings with the phrase “most obedient and humble servant.” In the spring of 1775, Allen organized and executed a plan that resulted in the capture of Fort Ticonderoga, the British’s main base in the region. On September 24, 1775, during an attack on Montreal, Allen was captured by the British. As a prisoner of war, Allen was detained in several prison ships with extremely harsh living conditions. After two years and eight months of being inflicted with cruel and malicious punishments, he was released as the result of a prisoner exchange. After his release, Allen was granted “the rank of colonel by brevet in the army of the United States of America, in reward of his fortitude, firmness and zeal in the cause of his country, manifested during the course of his long and cruel captivity, as well as on former occasions.” (Journals of the American Congress from 1774-1788, Volume III (Washington, DC: Way and Gideon, 1823), 66.)

Following the end of the Revolutionary War and the signing of the Treaty of Paris, “Allen ‘had occasion to visit England,’ where he was subjected to considerable teasing banter. The British would make ‘fun of the Americans and General Washington in particular and one day they got a picture of General Washington’ and displayed it prominently in the outhouse so Mr. Allen could not miss it. When he made no mention of it, they finally asked him if he had seen the Washington picture. Mr. Allen said, ‘He thought that it was a very appropriate [place] for an Englishman to keep it [since] there is nothing that will make an Englishman [crap] so quick as the sight of General Washington.’” (Doris Kearns Goodwin, Team of Rivals (New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, 2005), 151.)

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