Posts Tagged ‘guest post’


Title: For Country

Genre: Military Memoir

Author: Donald G. Bartling

Publisher: Xlibris

Pages: 111

Language: English

A study of history shows us that a Nation is only as strong as the will of its citizens to fight for it. America has been tested many times over in its relatively short history. From the Revolutionary War on down to the present conflicts in the Middle East, the majority of the American citizens were willing to place their lives and futures in danger to preserve and build the future of this Nation. Even when the requirements of the military required the use of conscription in order to meet the needs of the day, most citizens were willing to shoulder their responsibilities and deliver the results that were of benefit to all Americans. Many times they have assured a future for this Nation by rising to the occasion. This is especially true today as the burden is falling on an entirely “volunteer force”.


Our Nation’s citizens have over the past century decided to remember and recognize citizens that have served this Nation in war and peace over the years of our history. MEMORIAL DAY which is celebrated the last of May is primarily in respect for those of this group that are deceased, and VETERANS DAY that is celebrated on the 11th of November recognizes those veterans that are living. Veterans Day was originally called Armistice Day in regard to the cessation of hostilities in WWI.
Immanuel Lutheran has had many that have served in both categories over the time that this congregation has been in existence.  To my knowledge we did not have any members serving in the military in 1898, in the Spanish-American War.  However in WWI there were a number of men that served in various capacities.  I knew some of them in my earlier years, and they are now at rest in our Immanuel Cemetery  To my knowledge only one of those died while in the Service.  That was my Uncle Dietrich Bartling.  He was a Medical Doctor that was drafted in the early months of 1918. He was sent to Ft Sill  OK. The flu epidemic that plagued the entire world that year was also a problem in Ft Sill.  In treating the servicemen that were ill with the disease he contracted the disease and it took his life.  We learned in our History lessons that that War was a very brutal and bloody one.  In 1941 the United States became involved in WWII. This turned out to be one that lasted until August of 1945. This one took many of our younger members to many places throughout the world. North Africa, Italy, France, Great Britain, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, in Europe.  Australia, New Zealand, many Islands of the South Pacific, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Japanese Islands of Okinawa, and the Aleutian Islands. Five years after the close of WWII, war erupted in Korea.  This turned out to be a different type of struggle in several ways.  1. It was a war of ideology  (Communism vs, Capitalism)  2. It was conducted under the auspices of the UNITED NATIONS with the United States being the largest contributor in both men and materiel.  There also was the problem of the opposing sides being represented in the UN.  3. It was the first war that concluded in an ARMISTICE; there still is no peace treaty after over 60years.  Alaska became a “frontier”that needed to be defended as the “COLD WAR” with the Soviet Union was in full force.  This also called for a sizable Force in Europe, fortunately that
force was never needed.  In the 1960’s, and continuing until  1975, we became involved in
the VIETNAM WAR.  Congress closed down that conflict by not appropriating the funds to continue the fighting. {A very good account of this was written by Leroy Eckhardt.  He was the person in charge of the BASE EXCHANGE  in Saigon when Saigon fell.  He should have published that account. This was the second war in which we had no VICTORY.  Since that time we have had a number of incidents in which AMERICAN CITIZENS have been attacked and killed.—Beirut Lebanon, The Gulf War, Kuwait, and then IRAQ AND AFGHANISTAN.   Immanuel Members have been active in almost all of these events.  We are still involved in many areas in the world.  The American people can and should recognize the sacrifices and dedication that these people have made to give our citizens the standard ofliving that we enjoy here in the UNITED STATES. This especially includes the FREEDOMS that we enjoy as enumerated in the Constitution of the UNITED STATES.
Nobody hates war more that those individuals that have been in war or observed the death and devastation that is caused by war.  Many of my comrades and myself included were grateful that the wars that we were involved in were not being fought in their home country or hometown.
Inthe course of time that these people serve their Country, they also develop a comradeship that often lasts a lifetime.  Many that are living today will say that their lives were often saved  by a comrade, sometimes by someone that they do not even know.  I will  relate and incident that occurred to me several years ago.
I had gone to Arbor Manor to visit my cousin and noticed as I parked, a vehicle on the other side of the lot with a bumper sticker that said” IRAQ VETERAN”. A young man came walking across the lot with a leg amputated above the knee.  I went over to him and said ” I as an American Citizen want to thank you for your service and sacrifice”  He said “Thank You, but I should be thanking you for the time that you did the same thing for our U S.”  I asked  “How did you know that I am a veteran?”  His answer ” Veterans are the ones that talk to me, the others do not seem to care”,  There was a lesson there.  It is estimated that at the present time only 1% of the families in this nation have a member or someone that they know in the military,  The effect ofthis is that their interests are focused in other areas i,e. travel, sports, gambling, or other forms of entertainment.
A personal experience that illustrates concern and dedication to your fellow soldiers was this occasion.  We were on a tank-mine removal detail at night near Porkchop Hill.  I was leading the patrol and my very dependable Squad leader ( S/Sgt Dale Moffitt) was second in command.  We located a Russian MK12 Mine.  Inorder not to disclose that we were very close to the enemy’s line defenses we would defuse the mines in the dark.  I never asked anyone to do what I would not do myself, so I told SGT Moffitt to take the patrol back a safe distance and that if I made a mistake and the mine exploded that he should get the patrol out of the area immediately as there would be heavy fire from the enemy.  I successfully defused the mine and nothing more was said about it.  Dale and some of his family visited here in 1997.  We were recalling some of our experiences and he said.  ” If that mine had exploded we would have tried to come back and help you” To me that is “loyalty.”
Most of the publicity that surrounds these types of incidents portray the soldiers that are directly involved as being totally credited with the success. I have always felt that every serviceperson is of importance as those that are on the “frontlines” can not be successful without the support of the many in the supply lines.to deliver the necessary supplies when they are needed. Another area that is not really accurate is “commendations” . I take nothing away from those that have been awarded Medals for their personal actions, but I always think of the many that have done the same or more that did not get recognized for it.
Because of the foregoing discussion of veterans views on many issues concerning them and the Nation as a whole,the veterans themselves have organized organizations that represent those views.  I have been a member of the American Legion for almost 60 years. The Veterans of Foreign Wars is another strong veterans organization.  There are
many more; they usually concentrate on the welfare of the wounded and disabled veterans and their families.  With the advancement of fast evacuation of the wounded, many more wounded are surviving their wounds than was true in earlier wars.  These organizations are needed to represent their member’s needs in the Legislature and the Congress.  Many seem to feel that election of a person to a legislative position automatically makes them experts in almost everything.  This is not true, they need assistance in arriving at good solutions to all problems.
From personal experience I can say that “Danger is a test of courage and faith.”  It was in my first “firefight” that I realized that the solid religious training that I received here at Immanuel School and Church would stand me in good stead no matter the outcome of that battle or those that were to follow.  Once a determination that ‘”GOD ALMIGHTY IS IN CONTROL’,  is made; a person can apply his abilities and knowledge to the job at hand.  Itbecame apparent to me as time wore on that there were others that had the same view that I had. Religious soldiers are more productive and more dependable.  Immanuel was blessed in that we have not had a seriously wounded or killed serviceperson.
Another area that deserves mention is the Chaplaincy.  I met a number of them over my time there. They add much to the quality of service life in that they give comfort and guidance to individuals that are in periods of stress.  Also they conduct the services that bring back a portion of the life that the servicepersons had prior to becoming a serviceperson.  My current observation is —–that it is more difficult to be a Chaplain today that it was 60 to 70 years ago.  The current high level of “suicides” both in the service and with retirees is very disturbing.  Certainly that is also an area of concern for the chaplains.
Inthis day and age—it seems that truth, honesty, and integrity, are not as important as they should be.  It has even become that “swearing under oath ” does not get the honesty and truth that it once did.  When we as SERVICEPEOPLE took our oath on entering the
service it said ” that we would protect the Constitution at all costs, even it that would be death”. I have taken the “public service” oath several times over the years and it,too, has the same impact on me..  Finally, we should remember that we also took a more
important oath on our Confirmation Day.  We promised  to stay faithful to the Triune God and suffer death rather than fall away from Him. Even today there are many in this world that are being persecuted and killed for their Faith in the Triune God.
Veterans are interested in all areas of citizenship and they are active in those areas especially at this time in our history. They are interested in the application of the US Constitution, operation of the Court System, and the functioning of the Executive Department. .
My experience during that time made me appreciate the blessings that I have had in my lifetime, and I hope I can convey some of that attitude to those around me.  I recall that I was told by a father that had just lost his 16yr old son in a car accident that ” the two times that you appreciate and value a person or property the most is JUST AFTER YOU GET IT AND JUST AFTER YOU LOSE IT.”  This also true of nations.  Citizens value their FREEDOMS  in the same way.  Many people seem to feel that the UNITED
STATES is invulnerable; I contend that we are vulnerable to many dangers, both from the outside —and the inside.  We should be grateful to the ALMIGHTY GOD every day that we still have the AMERICAN VALUES, and that we continue to have them for generations to come
As I referred to earlier, veterans are citizens too. As citizens we are interested in voting and as a group we vote in larger numbers than some other segments of our population . We weigh things with the added knowledge of National Defense that we have acquired through Service in the Military. We again appear to be on the way to repeating an error that we as a nation have done several times before in our history. That is of failing to keep our military properly maintained. I see a very marked similarity to the decade of the 1930’s in the economic, social, and political spheres of influence in the Nation and the world. Inorder to solve the economic problem—-we reduce our military capabilities to the point of inadequacy; then, when an emergency anywhere in the world presents it self We are unprepared to cope with it. We repeated that error in the 1946-1950’s period and again in the 1990’s. With the speed and devastation that can be delivered over long distances in today’s high technology world, there is not a time window in which to build defenses after the beginning of hostilities. I recall the Spring of 1952 we were rationed ammunition because of a sympathetic strike by West Coast longshoremen in loading the supplies that we needed on the frontlines in Korea. They were backing a strike by the United Steel Workers. President Truman solved this problem by ordering the Army to load the ships. Our National Economic problem is very large today, and no real answer
seems to be in view at this time .This problem applies to all of us in some way, to some, it applies in more than one way.
Trust and commitment to GOD ALMIGHTY is the only answer that has any hope of success.  We should pray that our Nation realizes that soon enough.


The author is farmer that took this time to serve in the US Army in 1951-52. He returned to his chosen occupation in October 1952.

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Having already worked in publishing for a number of years, I was not naive when I entered the submission fray. I knew I would have only one chance to submit my fiction to my agent, and that she would have only one chance to submit it to publishers.

So I held on to it, revising and polishing obsessively over twenty-three drafts before I shared it with my agent. I knew there was nothing harder than writing fiction, and I needed to convince her (and myself) that I could write a story that breathed and sweated and sang with life. I also knew enough to hire a number of editors and professional advisors to tell me when it didn’t.

Finally, when it was ready to go out to publishers, I was the one who was sweating. It is hard to convey the night-waking, body-trembling experience of putting a creation of one’s soul out into the world for acceptance and rejection. But the day finally came when I was able to pry it out of my Muse’s clawed and nervous hands.

As my agent prepared to send out the manuscript, she heard from a Brazilian scout who had gotten ahold of the manuscript early and already had an offer from a Brazilian publisher. Wow. I was amazed. I had lived in Brazil, loved Brazil and its people, knew no one in the publishing world there, but now loved Brazil even more for their early embrace of my Muse. I guess it is fitting, since The Lost Diary of Don Juan is about love, romance, and passion, and my caged North American heart had been broken open in Brazil (that’s another story!).

We went into the American auction with a sense of excitement and Brazilian ginga (sway). I was fortunate that the best offer came from a brilliant editor named Emily Bestler at Atria Books, a very skillful and commercially savvy arm of Simon & Schuster. To my amazement, Emily wanted a two-book deal, The Lost Diary of Don Juan and an untitled next book. Outer-body-experiences are hard to describe, since all we really know are our five senses. Suffice it to say that there was a tingling sensation and a sense of the laws of gravity loosening their grip on my body, much like being an astronaut floating above the surface of my house.

And then remarkably, the book started to sell in other countries around the world, from Brazil to Bulgaria and Taiwan to Turkey. As the Dutch publisher later confided in me during a tour of Seville with journalists from around the world (another unimaginable dream come true), “I had to have it and your agent knew it.”

What would Don Juan do? We had to celebrate. So we got period costumes (the novel takes place in Golden Age Spain, about the time of Shakespeare–men were not meant to wear tights), hired a sword-fighting instructor and a Spanish dance teacher (I had taken lessons in both while I was writing the novel), made a big vat of sangria, and reenacted scenes from the novel. Unimaginable fun.

Perhaps the most truly unimaginable experience, however, was going to the Frankfurt Book Fair to meet what ultimately became thirty publishers around the world. I was asked to address the publishers. I held my glass of rioja and could hardly speak. I had been a dyslexic boy, who took a long time to read, and to this day I still break out in a sweat every time I enter a bookstore. My English teacher had told me I would never be a writer (why did teachers use to say stuff like that?), but I persevered and pursued the dream of being a novelist.

And then there I was, looking out at a room full of publishers from around the world, all expressing their gratitude for the book that I had given them and their readers. I could not believe that I was awake. But it was not a dream.

–Douglas Carlton Abrams

About the author:

Douglas Carlton Abrams is a former editor at the University of California Press and HarperSanFrancisco. He is the co-author of a number of books on love, sexuality, and spirituality, including books written with Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Yogacharya B.K.S. Iyengar, and Taoist Master Mantak Chia. He lives in Santa Cruz, California, with his wife and three children. In his life and work, he is interested in cultivating all aspects of our humanity —body, emotions, mind, and spirit. His goal in writing fiction is to create stories that not only entertain, but also attempt to question, enchant, and transform.

Doug’s desire in writing the book was not only to resurrect this greatest of historical lovers and to give voice to his true motives; he was also moved to write a book that would explore the tension between lust and love and that would confront the human question of how any man or woman can find lifelong satisfaction in one committed relationship. To find out more about the origins of The Lost Diary and the myth of Don Juan, and to learn about forthcoming novels, please visit www.LostDiaryofDonJuan.com or www.DouglasCarltonAbrams.com

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As I sit here before this blank sheet of paper, all I can think about is how I have a terrible case of writer’s block. I am also finding I need to find healthier snacks. I have a liter of Mountain Dew, a bag of Halloween Peanut Butter M&M’s and am puffing away on Djarum Blacks.

It reminds me of when I go on a writing binge. I will go through a bag of M&M’s, the liter bottle, and a handful of Djarum over the course of a night. They are my escape from the world. Writing brings me to a place where I can hide away from whatever is ailing me, and in return I can control a situation.

Not all my writing comes from personal experience. Which I am sure is a breath of relief for most people. But there are situations, and conversations I have had with people in the past, I use to embellish a point in a book.

Perhaps that makes me a little over the top and dramatic. I will purposely at times take a stance on something even if I don’t believe it, just to form a debate or conversation to help me pick out a new point of view. It also helps to form a voice for a character in a story. My greatest fear is all my characters will sound just like me.

To a point though, a book is a part of you, and your voice runs through it no matter how well you cover it up. Every character represents a piece of your soul. Some are stronger voices, the main one being the one you identify with on a daily basis.

That is of course how we can hold a conversation in our minds, when we get ready to bring up a form of negotiation. You go through your responses and how the other person will respond. You build their responses from their prominent piece of soul. The one you interact with when you are face to face with them.

A few days ago I was spending time with a friend. We were sitting in a restaurant and I was focusing on several exterior conversations at the same time he was talking to me. This of course was driving him crazy, as eavesdropping is very rude. I admit it, but the context was very unimportant to me, it was the words being chosen by individuals that was driving me wild. I am a fan of dialogue and there is nothing like the interaction of two people.

My friend of course cleared his throat and demanded to know what was grabbing my attention. He didn’t believe I heard anything he had recently said. I responded to his comments, and reviewed pieces of what he had mentioned in his story. I reminded him my over active mind tends to do many things at once. Which I find is very common with a lot of other writer friends I know.

I have a female writer friend whom I have lunch with from time to time. Our main focus is the conversations around us. We pick up on the stories of people, and we build a character profile based on these people. Not to say we would ever use them in a story, but it is great practice for a person to do.

The final point I am setting to get across in my jumble of ramblings, is every conversation has a basis of point, and interest. A topic that may seem rather unimportant to a person can hold a greater thrill if you dig into it, find something that inspires you in it, and write it out.

Write with your heart, and just keep writing. Imagine a world where we ceased to continue the written word. Encourage our young to read, and find something that strikes passion in their hearts. If your son or daughter loves to read about lions, go buy them books about lions and avoid switching on say The Lion King. There is a value behind all forms of entertainment, but a book can capture and tour a part of the mind that no visual form of entertainment can.

To learn more about Joel M. Andre and his books, visit his Website.

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After six years of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse from her stepfather, 15-year-old Ashley finally finds the courage to reveal the painful details of her experiences with her mother, who refuses to acknowledge the problem and turns her back on her daughter. After confiding in her teacher—the only adult whom Ashley can trust—she is removed from her home and sent to live with her father and his second wife, Beverly, an English teacher. Nurtured by Beverly, an extraordinarily positive influence in her life, Ashley and a summer school class of troubled teens learn to face their fears and discover who they really are.

Hi! My name is Beth Fehlbaum, and I am the author of Courage in Patience, which released on September 1, 2008, from Kunati Books. Leading up to the release date, I was excited as well as nervous– this experience has been described to me as what it’s like when a teenager is leaving for college: “You don’t really know what to expect, but you know it’s going to be exciting.”

That’s an apt description of the days leading up to my book’s release. But for me as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, becoming published– and more of a public figure than I have ever been before– it’s also been like being pulled out of a dark hiding place, into the light of the day. There have been times on my journey to recovery that I have felt that I was kicking and screaming my way out of the darkness. It is very, very difficult for most survivors of sexual abuse to identify themselves publicly.

One thing that has been reassuring for me is the way people have contacted me, expressing enthusiasm, support, and gratitude for a book like Courage in Patience. I’ve heard from victims of abuse as well as people who consider themselves survivors now and those who love people who have been abused.

Besides being encouraging in terms of Courage in Patience doing well, the letters and messages I have received have reminded me that I’m not alone– and that’s exactly the message I hope to convey through the story of Ashley. She learns that everyone has challenges they have to confront– times they must face their greatest fears and find out what they are made of, no matter what those fears are.

As one of the wisest people I know once told me, “Hope is the opposite of fear.” I hope that people like Ashley (and me)– people who have lived through very fear-inducing stuff — will come away from reading Courage in Patience knowing that, even when life looks the darkest, there is always, always hope.

To find out more about Beth and her book, visit Beth’s Blog.

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