James Madison Advises Virtue

James Madison, the Father of the Constitution, wrote a message to the States complete with a dire warning that still holds true today. It’s quite a long sentence and paragraph (I took the liberty of dividing the paragraph in two for easier reading). Nevertheless, I’m going to repeat it here for you:

“The citizens of the United States are responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society. If justice, good faith, honor, gratitude and all the other qualities which ennoble (mark the word, ennoble) the character of a nation and fulfill the ends of government be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a dignity and luster, which it has never yet enjoyed, and an example will be set, which cannot but have the most favorable influence on the rights of Mankind. read more


It’s been a wonderful Fathers Day today. I had a great and delicious dinner at my daughter and son-in-law’s home. (I didn’t have to cook or do dishes! And the food was scrumptious.

On top of that I received some treasured gifts from my wife and from my daughters. I won’t tell you which are from which one lest the others feel slighted. But I got a See’s candy gift card, and four different good books. “First Freedom, a Fight for Religious Liberty” by Randall Balmer, Lee Groberg, and Mark Mabry (full of beautiful pictures in addition to the words). “America in the Last Days, The Constitution and the Signs of the Times” by Morris Harmor. “John Quincy Adams” by Harlow Giles Unger. And “Dreamers and Deceivers, True Stories of the Heroes and Villains Who Mad America”, by Best Selling Author, Glenn Beck. read more

The Ages of the Founding Fathers

The Founding Fathers were industrious and positive thinking men. They lived not only fruitful lives, but lives full of activity, wisdom, leadership, and friendship.

Benjamin Franklin, who took part in most of the life changing events of his time, lived to be 84. He died in 1790.

George Washington, the indispensible man, our nation wouldn’t exist without his accomplishments, died at the age of 67. He died in December of 1799, just before the new century was rung in.

Patrick Henry also died in 1799. He was known as America’s noble patriot and the first national hero. He was only 63 when he left his family of 17 children. read more

Good Friday Comes

Jesus Christ developed a large following during his short three year ministry. Yes, he even had followers among members of the Sanhedrin. Just a few. Nicodemus, Joseph of Arimathea, and possibly a few others.

However, believing Christ’s teachings caused a serious conflict among the members of this Jewish Governing Body.

“ . . . among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him [Jesus], lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of man more than the praise of God.” (John 12: 42-43). read more

The Founding Fathers and Kindness

One of the virtues our Founding Fathers are known for, is Kindness. Thomas Jefferson was known to receive visitors to the President’s Mansion without prior announcement or request. He was always polite and gracious to his visitors.

George Washington likewise entertained drop-in guests at Mount Vernon and served them delicious meals and cheerful reunions.

Benjamin Franklin was always very diplomatic. He treated everyone like an equal.

Kindness can have its rewards. I’m reminded of a client I had in my 37 years of Estate Planning. This one divorced man was very quiet but polite in all situations. His name was Ray. On one visit he told me of a kind and respectful young cashier he had met at the local Safeway grocery store where he shopped weekly. He was divorced and wanted some specific bequests made in his small trust. He didn’t own much in the way of assets. read more

A Republic—If You Can Keep It!

Benjamin Franklin was asked one question as he left the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia after the meeting had adjourned on September 17, 1787. He was asked by a widow as Ben walked slowly down the steps: “Well, Doctor Franklin, what have we got, a Monarchy or a Republic?”

His response was quick, full of meaning, and authoritative: “You have a Republic—if you can keep it!”

A part of keeping such a Republic depends on the character of those who govern themselves. That’s because the people are the source of all lawful authority. Americans are free and inherently independent of all but THE MORAL LAW. America does not have a unified religion or a common theology, but we do have something we have to depend on for our freedom. That is a common morality shared by all citizens and that morality is rooted in faith and reason. read more

Martha Chooses Thomas Jefferson

After their marriage, Tom and Martha began their trek to the as yet only minimally completed Monticello. They had to travel more than 100 miles without plane, or boat, or automobile. In the cold and on not quite decent roads. (She must have really loved Tom!)

When they finally arrived, Martha got her first view of the partly completed mansion. Well, it wasn’t a mansion yet. They arrived in the midst of a blustery snowstorm. Martha got her first view of her new home. The still small new home clung to the top of a hill and was dark and empty. read more

Benjamin Franklin’s Words

Ben Franklin thumb pictureThere are some today who would like to subvert the Constitutional Requirement for voting with the Electoral College. Good winners and good losers are not much a part of our national character any more. I am amazed at the name-calling, the wishes against the duly elected President, and just the rancor.

I think we should listen to the words of Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention. Only apply it to ourselves in this situation. Here’s what he said:

“On the whole, Sir, I cannot help expressing a wish that every member of the convention (or American citizens, in this case) who may still have objections to it (the vote, in this case) would, with me, on this occasion doubt a little of his own infallibility and, to make manifest our unanimity, (or the outcome of the election, in this case) and put his name to the instrument (or accept the outcome).” As quoted in Founding Fathers—Uncommon Heroes, by Steven W. Allen, 2003, page 199. read more

Music at Christmastime

Here’s another quote from that book “In The Dark Streets Shineth” by David McCollough. These words were shared with the listeners of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir special for Christmas a few years back.

800px-Mtchoirandorchestra_ConferenceCenter_(cropped)“Music is a part of our history. It is an expression of who we are and the times we’ve known, our highs, our lows, and so much that we love. Take away American music from the American story and you take away a good part of the soul of the story.

“Impossible to imagine life in America without it—without “Shenandoah” or “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Or Gershwin or Copland or Scott Joplin. read more

George Washington’s Birthday

I just read a short story around the idea that if something needs to be done, perhaps you should do something. In part it said: “If you see a need, don’t ask ‘Why doesn’t somebody do something?’ Ask instead ‘Why don’t I do something?’

One day, entering into my office I said it was a shame that according to the newspaper this morning, there are many ‘white sales’, automobile sales, and furniture sales in honor of George Washington’s birthday, but there is no George Washington Birthday Celebration. read more