Many centuries ago, a woman almost underestimated the power of one. She thought things were too far gone.  She did not think there was anything she could do before all the Jews would be killed. 

The woman’s name was Esther, the Jewish wife of the Persian king. He was the one about to be tricked into making a disastrous decision and exterminate all the Jews. Esther had been adopted and her father realized she alone held the key to the heart of the King. Her adopted father appealed to her conscience and said to her” if you remain silent at this time, you and the house of your father will perish. (Esther 4:14).

Esther listened to his request. He got her attention with his final line “And who knows whether you have not attained royalty for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14) That statement convinced her.  Esther broke long standing protocol, marched into the throne room of the king and spoke her mind. Esther and Esther alone rescued the Jews from being killed. One woman, one voice, saved an entire nation.  She was willing to stand in the gap, to get personally involved, to the point of great sacrifice.  Esther stated in 4:16 “If I perish, I perish”.

Esther never thought SOMEONE ELSE SHOULD BE DOING THIS, NOT ME.  SHE DID NOT IGNORE THE NEED BECAUSE OF THE RISK.  Sacrifice is the stuff people who make a difference are made of.    

How much difference can ONE make?

            I am only one, but still, I am one.

            I cannot do everything, but still, I can do something.

          And because I cannot do everything,

           I WILL NOT REFUSE TO DO THE SOMETHING THAT I CAN DO.  (Edward Everett Hale)

Please put aside all excuses and ask yourself.  What should I be doing?

March 6, 1836 – The Alamo

I am not from Texas but I got here as quickly as I could. It was March 6, 1995 the first time I stepped off an airplane onto the tarmac at the San Antonio, Texas airport headed to Lackland Air Force Base.  It brought memories of discussions from U. S. History classes of the red-letter day sunrise, March 6, 1836 at the Alamo.  Mexico gained its independence from Spain in 1821. The northern state of Texas needed to be populated to cement its hold on a large territory never settled by the Spanish.  In 1830, Americans outnumbered Mexicans 5 to 1 in Mexico. The Mexican Congress prohibited further immigration from the United States in April 1830. The people kept coming and in 1834 Mexico ordered the removal of all illegal settlers and the disarming of Texans. The order was issued by President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna. In December 1835, a group of Texan volunteers battled the Mexican garrison at the Alamo and captured the fort taking control of San Antonio.  February 23, Santa Ana began to bombard the Alamo. The Commander of the Texan forces, William Travis, on February 24 called on the people of Texas and all Americans to send reinforcements.  In addition, Travis had appealed to Fannin at Goliad to send troops.  On March 3, the bad news came.  There would be no troops coming to help at the Alamo.  59 insurgents on March 3, 1836, convened in Washington on the Brazos and issued the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico.  The final battle on March 6, 1836 began around 5:30 am when some 1100 of Santa Ana’s men attacked and defeated the Alamo.  There were many casualties. Forty-six days after the fall of the Alamo Santa Anna met his match at San Jacinto east of Houston. The day of the attack was a day of infamy. The battle cry became, “Remember the Alamo”.  We have had others, “Remember Pearl Harbor”, “Remember the Maine”, “Remember 9/11”.

Several years ago, I attended a memorial service for a good friend where we were asked by the family to bring reminders of the young man.  There were pictures, letter jacket, baseballs, gloves and an assortment of miscellaneous items.  Each person told the story behind the item and how much it meant to them. Our hearts were moved and there was not a dry eye in the place.  Laughter, tears, smiles, were all mixed together.  

The Alamo should be remembered this way.  WE MUST REMEMBER AND NEVER FORGET.


Nominations to 4 of the 5 federal service academies are difficult to obtain and are required for the application for admission. The U. S. Coast Guard does not require a nomination. Members of Congress are authorized by law to nominate candidates to the U. S. Naval Academy, the U. S. Military Academy, the U. S. Air Force Academy, and the U. S. Merchant Marine Academy. The acceptance rates are as follows:

Navy (9%); Air Force (12%); Army (13%); Merchant Marine (15%); and Coast Guard (16%). 

Many deserving high school seniors have received or will be receiving a letter that will begin this way:

“Dear Service Academy Applicant,

We regret to inform you that Senator XXXX will not be submitting your name as one of his nominees to the United States Service Academy listed as the first choice on your application. The Senator is grateful to you on your willingness to serve our country in such an honorable tradition.” 

The candidates must not allow this rejection letter to identify them.  The letter is an event in their life.  They are disappointed and feel terrible.  Today starts a new day with a new slate to write their journey in life.  There are many opportunities in life and one of them is to reapply next year.  It is all about preparation, planning and implementation.  This is the time for reflection and reality.  Do you have what it takes?  How competitive are you in academics, physical fitness and leadership?

Is the military your goal, desire, and purpose for your life? 




List of Things

I remember back to the days I was marketing and building my Certified Public Accounting practice in Houston, Texas.  There was a reference book titled “Book of Lists”.  There was a book of banks, a book of investment firms, and a list that shocked me, a list of CPA firms.  Why were there so many?  Lists everywhere of all kinds of things.  Top twenty-five football teams.  List of Fortune 500 companies. List of the richest people in the world.  The lists go on and on.   I started thinking what does this all mean; is there anyone interested in this kind of stuff?

My thoughts went to the lists in the Holy Scriptures:

  1. Ten Commandments.
  2. The Gifts of the Spirit
  3. Qualities of a Maturing Christian

These lists were inspired by God.  We would be wise to read each list, be interested in them and heed each one.

The early church believers were inspired to write two major lists on spirituality:

The seven sins – pride, envy, anger, slothfulness, avarice, gluttony, lust

The seven virtues – wisdom, justice, courage, temperance, faith, love, hope

Mahatma Gandhi created his own list. His life was not centered on Jesus Christ.

Seven deadly sins:

Wealth without work

Pleasure without conscience

Knowledge without character

Commerce without morality

Science without humanity

Worship without sacrifice

Politics without principle

Gandhi’s list deserves deep thought. Be the best you.  Live an inspiring life with purpose serving others.


Choices and Responsibility

For more than four decades, Zig Ziglar started his major presentations with the following similar statement: “by a show of hands, do you know of somethings that if you do them over the next several weeks, they will make your life much worse?  I am sure you can think of several things. Thank you.  Additionally, do you know of somethings that if you do them, they will make your life much better.  Show of hands, please?  

Everything you are, everything you do or everything you have is based on the choices you make or have made. You are responsible for your choices.  One of the two major problems in the world is people not taking responsibility for their actions. The other major problem in the world is most people do not have a compelling reason, a clear purpose or a big why as to their purpose in life.  No clear definition of success.  Lots of people are in a rut living life as a wandering generality.  “if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time” said Zig Ziglar.  

This leads to a life filled with regrets, unhappiness, despair and depression.  A well-balanced life with meaning and significance is a successful life.  The solution to these problems is to understand true success and the fastest way to get there. You must replace bad habits with good habits. You know you have choices and you are responsible for the results.  You know you must make a decision.  Willard Peterson, Princeton Professor, stated “Decision is the spark that ignites action.  Until a decision is made, nothing happens”. George Bernard Shaw, great playwright, stated “liberty means responsibility.  That is why most men dread it.” We live in a day when most people pass the buck with just a shrug of the shoulder.  I have seen many times where leaders of organizations blame someone else for their misgivings.

Admiral Rickover wrote to men and women in leadership roles the following: “responsibility is a unique concept.  It can only reside and inhere in a single individual.  You may share it with others, but your portion is not diminished.  You may delegate it, but it is still with you.  If responsibility is rightfully yours, no evasion or ignorance or passing the blame can shift the burden to someone else.  Unless you can point your finger at the one who is responsible when something goes wrong, then you never had anyone really responsible”.

These tough words from this great admiral are needed today more than ever.  Meaningful results get done by doers; by those who get off the fence of indecision and get into action. A life of failure where you learn from your mistakes is better than a life spent doing nothing.  Do not let your story die with you. Sing your life’s song.  Live life and create yourself. The secret of true liberty and freedom is stepping up and assuming responsibility. From Prime Minister Winston Churchill, “The price of greatness is responsibility”.