Thursday, December 27, 2007

Can you believe this?

This picture is not of a McDonalds in Mexico or China or even Iran. No, I took this picture in Bethesda, MD, just miles from Washington, D.C..

I was on my way to the Air & Space museum with my wife and our three kids this morning. The kids and I had ran out to get something to eat and run an errand before getting on our way. When we pulled into this McDonalds, I could hardly believe what I was seeing. The restaurant had a lot of US flags on the roof and I'd say about a quarter of them were erected upside down! When we entered this McDonalds, I mentioned this to the girl behind the counter. She didn't seem to be too shocked or disappointed and really didn't seem to care much. So, I asked to speek to the manager. I told her about it and asked her what was going on. She mumbled something in half broken English about getting it repaired but was not too sure when.

What really gets me, besides our flag being hung upside down, was the lack of a sense of urgency to get it corrected. The two folks at McDonalds that I spoke to knew that it was wrong but didn't seem too concerned about it.

Hey, McDonalds Corporation, when you and your franchisees hire someone to put up an American flag, make sure it is done right the first time! I mean come on. It doesn't take someone with much more than a 2nd grade education to hang our flag right-side up. The kids at my son's elementary school hang Old Glory each morning before school starts. They get it right every time.

I think part of the problem here in the U.S. is that there is too little patriotism and pride and respect for our country. We've let the feminists, the socialists, the drive-by media and other anti-American, anti Judeao-Christian groups tarnish our view of American and how great the country and it's people really are.

Just a few facts about Americans
  • Each day an American soldier is injured or killed while trying to help someone else who he doesn't even know.
  • Each day an American serves selflessly for a volunteer organization to help people he doesn't even know.
  • When a natural disaster strikes, thousands of Americans leap into action and help people they doesn't even know, donating time, money, sweat, tears, and blood.
  • When disease ravages a foreign nation, American scientists and volunteer doctors head over there, risking their own lives to help cure the disease, to lend a shoulder for the terminally ill to lean on, leave their own families behind to go across the world to help people they don't even know
  • Yep, no matter what the situation, if it involves compassion and helping other people, we Americans are out in the front of it all spending our hard earned money, devoting our precious time, spilling our patriotic blood, all for people that we don't even know.
Despite our flaws, America is still the greatest country in the world. I consider myself fortunate to live here.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Family & Faith in God: Good Times and Bad Times

What a great blessing it is to have a wonderful family to come home to, to share thoughts and experiences and feelings and love with. The Dillard family is fortunate. We are healthy and happy. The kids are just so great. They are smart and kind and funny and loving.

Life before marriage and children seems so distant now, almost like another life entirely. Prior to my family life it was party city, pretty much every chance I got. These days, it's the finer things in life that are important.

We attend our Baptist church every Sunday morning where we receive the word of God and our three children attend Sunday School. Afterwards we go home for a brunch that my wife makes and spend the rest of the day together. Sunday nights are when we take the whole family to church once more.

God is good to us. We are not rich by any stretch of the imagination, in a material or monetary sense, but we are blessed with the riches of God's grace and mercy and love. Like all people, we have had some rough times. I've lost my job three times in the last 5 years but we have been able to make it through all of that. My wife and I share a love that is deep and precious and a faith in God that has carried us over the mountains of depression and despair during hard times. Heck, we've been on welfare! But, we've made it again.

Life is full of ups and downs, especially for the Christian. Our lives are a constant testing ground, a battleground of good vs. evil, of our own desires vs. the way we should live. Life is a constant barrage of temptations and hard choices that must be faced. One way or another, a decision must be made. This, I think, is the most difficult part. But, God sees us through trying times and is there like a rock upon which we take refuge from the shifting sands of life and the world around us. Praise and glory be to God forever and ever!

People of the world should take hold of the strength of God and rely more upon him as the redeemer and as a shield against evil. He will not keep us from temptation that we can overcome. He will let Satan put us to the test, hold us to the flames and give us that wonderful opportunity to stay strong and, through Him, win the battle of good vs. evil.

I think a lot of people think that if they offer their hearts and souls and bodies to Christ and God, somehow all of the bad parts of life will skip them. The truth is quite the opposite. Being a true Christian today is as hard as it ever was. It is no harder than in the times of Jesus' days on earth though. Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us. He was mocked, lied to and lied about, ridiculed, slandered, and ultimately beaten and murdered by his own countrymen. He went through all of this so that each of us through faith, love, hope and obedience to his law, could have an eternal life full of happiness and without pain or sadness or disappointment.

We should all realize this and try not to feel sorry for ourselves and our situations when times are tough. It is so easy to praise and thank God when things are great. We should try to look at the hard times as an opportunity to advance ourselves in Christ.

Clayton Taylor Dillard

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Tagless Shirts

Why is it that when you buy a "tagless" shirt, the tag wasn't actually removed, it's just relocated to somewhere other than the back of your neck?

I mean, if an apparel company is advertising a tagless t-shirt, it should be void of all hanging tags. It turns out that if the tag is relocated from the back of the neck to the side of the shirt, it ends up being more itchy and more annoying.