A LIFE LESSON FROM A VOLUNTEER FIREFIGHTER: Mark Bezos

Posted April 7th, 2014 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

Volunteer firefighter Mark Bezos tells a story of an act of heroism that didn’t go quite as expected — but that taught him a big lesson: Don’t wait to be a hero.

Click on this link to view Bezos telling his story:

Mark Bezos – volunteer firefighter

Bezos is the Senior Vice President for Development, Communications & Events at Robin Hood, the poverty-fighting charity in New York City. He joined Robin Hood following the sale of his advertising agency, excited to have found a way to use his powers of persuasion for good.

Bezos serves as an Assistant Captain of a volunteer fire company in Westchester County, New York, where he lives with his wife and four children. He says he is continuously amazed and motivated by the everyday acts of heroism — big and small — that surround him.

 

Burned Biscuits – A lesson we all should learn

Posted December 13th, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

burned biscuts


from the pen on Anonymous

When I was a kid, my Mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work. On that evening so long ago, my Mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned biscuits in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed!

All my dad did was reach for his biscuit, smile at my Mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don’t remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that ugly burned biscuit. He ate every bite of that thing…never made a face nor uttered a word about it!

When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my Mom apologize to my dad for burning the biscuits. And I’ll never forget what he said, “Honey, I love burned biscuits every now and then.”

Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his biscuits burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, “Your Mom put in a hard day at work today and she’s real tired. And besides–a little burned biscuit never hurt anyone!”

As I’ve grown older, I’ve thought about that many times. Life is full of imperfect things and imperfect people.

I’m not the best at hardly anything, and I forget birthdays and anniversaries just like everyone else. But what I’ve learned over the years is that learning to accept each other’s faults and choosing to celebrate each other’s differences is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.

And that’s my prayer for you today…that you will learn to take the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of your life and lay them at the feet of God. Because in the end, He’s the only One who will be able to give you a relationship where a burnt biscuit isn’t a deal-breaker!

We could extend this to any relationship. In fact, understanding is the base of any relationship, be it a husband-wife or parent-child or friendship!

“Don’t put the key to your happiness in someone else’s pocket–keep it in your own.”

So, please pass me a biscuit, and yes, the burned one will do just fine.

And PLEASE pass this along to someone who has enriched your life–I just did!

Be kinder than necessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

“Life without God is like an un-sharpened pencil–it has no point”

-Anonymous

Merry Christmas 2013

Posted December 8th, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

My Christmas greeting is for you all … and especially for our many soldier/sons. When I found these videos, I thought of them.

Enjoy!

Next, please enjoy this gem, also from YouTube:

God whispers to us…

Posted September 17th, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

Please take a a few moments of quiet time to enjoy this brief video and its music. Thanks to my longtime friend, Jim Hovda, for sharing this with me. Now you can pass it on.

Daddy’s home

Posted September 5th, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

A reflection on American servicemen serving away from their families. Enjoy their pictures and appreciate them for their commitment to their duty as American soldiers.

Deployed in Afghaqnistan 2012

Posted July 22nd, 2013 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

A reflection on our soldier/sons serving in Afghanistan in 2012. Enjoy their pictures and appreciate them for their commitment to their duty as American soldiers.

God puts us where we are to be

Posted August 24th, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

One of my Boeing firefighters, Chris Dinwiddie, posted this story on Facebook a while ago. It’s worth repeating here.

Consumed by my loss, I didn’t notice the hardness of the pew where I sat. I was at the funeral of my dearest friend – my mother. She finally had lost her long battle with cancer. The hurt was so intense; I found it hard to breathe at times. Always supportive, Mother clapped loudest at my school plays, held box of tissues while listening to my first heartbreak, comforted me at my father’s death, encouraged me in college, and prayed for me my entire life. When mother’s illness was diagnosed, my sister had a new baby and my brother had recently married his childhood sweetheart, so it fell on me, the 27-year-old middle child without entanglements, to take care of her. I counted it an honor.

‘What now, Lord?’ I asked sitting in church. My life stretched out before me as an empty abyss. My brother sat stoically with his face toward the cross while clutching his wife’s hand. My sister sat slumped against her husband’s shoulder, his arms around her as she cradled their child. All so deeply grieving, no one noticed I sat alone. My place had been with our mother, preparing her meals, helping her walk, taking her to the doctor, seeing to her medication, reading the Bible together. Now she was with the Lord. My work was finished, and I was alone. I heard a door open and slam shut at the back of the church. Quick footsteps hurried along the carpeted floor….

An exasperated young man looked around briefly and then sat next to me. He folded his hands and placed them on his lap. His eyes were brimming with tears. He began to sniffle. ‘I’m late,’ he explained, though no explanation was necessary. After several eulogies, he leaned over and commented, ‘Why do they keep calling Mary by the name of ‘ Margaret?”

‘Because, that was her name, Margaret’, never Mary; no one called her ‘Mary,” I whispered. I wondered why this person couldn’t have sat on the other side of the church. He interrupted my grieving with his tears and fidgeting. Who was this stranger anyway?

‘No, that isn’t correct,’ he insisted, as several people glanced over at us whispering, ‘Her name is Mary, Mary Peters.’

‘That isn’t who this is.’

‘Isn’t this the Lutheran church?’

‘No, the Lutheran church is across the street.’

‘Oh.’

‘I believe you’re at the wrong funeral, Sir.’

The solemnness of the occasion mixed with the realization of the man’s mistake bubbled up inside me and came out as laughter. I cupped my hands over my face, hoping it would be interpreted as sobs. The creaking pew gave me away. Sharp looks from other mourners only made the situation seem more hilarious. I peeked at the bewildered, misguided man seated beside me. He was laughing; too, as he glanced around, deciding it was too late for an uneventful exit. I imagined Mother laughing.

At the final ‘Amen,’ we darted out a door and into the parking lot. ‘I do believe we’ll be the talk of the town,’ he smiled. He said his name was Rick and since he had already missed his aunt’s funeral, he asked me out for a cup of coffee.

That afternoon began a lifelong journey for me with this man who attended the wrong funeral, but was in the right place. A year after our meeting, we were married at a country church where he was the assistant pastor. This time we both arrived at the same church, right on time…

In my time of sorrow, God gave me laughter. In place of loneliness, God gave me love. This past June, we celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary. Whenever anyone asks us how we met, Rick tells them, ‘Her mother and my Aunt Mary introduced us, and it’s truly a match made in heaven.’

My cousin. Alan Montgomery, and I have shared a similar moment with our mothers. Ada Marie Montgomery (his) and Marie Maude Montgomery (mine).

“Thanks for sharing this, Jerry,” he said after reading Chris’ post on my Facebook page. “That story reminded me of my mother’s funeral, when a friend of your mother came up to me and said,’that isn’t Marie.'”

The local radio station had mis-read the obit and said the funeral would celebrate the life of Marie Montgomery instead of Ada Marie Montgomery. Indeed, that would be quite a shock to someone.

Yes, I remembered. Mother had enjoyed that little moment a lot. She understood the embarrassment and the humor of the moment … and she knew his mom would have laughed too.

Special visitors high in our oak trees

Posted July 9th, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

Our Mother Raccoon and her two pups visited us one afternoon last summer to enjoy the summer day lounging amid the moss high on one of our oak trees.

IMG_5426a

We rarely see them in the daytime so this moment was a PURE JOY!

Tooth-Pulling in life

Posted February 1st, 2012 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery

One of my soldier/sons, Spc. Jason Maxwell wrote this during a reflective moment while on duty in the mountains of southern Afghanistan:

Spc. Jason Maxwell on duty in Afghanistan

 

 

“I freakin’ hate how much this place makes me think and dream about the past … mistakes I’ve made … decisions I should have made and decisions i shouldn’t have … people I took advantage of and people I should have been better to. I guess all I can do is take the thoughts and do my best to mold myself into a better person as well as better the people around me. Its only been a month and a half and this place is brutal in ways I didn’t think of.”

It’s comforting to see a young man in the midst of the adventure of his life checking inside his soul to make sure life is OK. Few men in his place these days do so.

My response was that of an old man (me) whose feet have already traveled a long road:

“You are in a great place in your life, Jason. Your reflections on things done and the path already traveled are the first step into full maturity for a man or woman. It’s sort of like having a tooth pulled … you enjoyed all the sweets that caused the tooth decay, the actual pulling out of the tooth is a lot harder than you expected and when its out and healing has occurred life is good, really good. Then you are ready for the next step on your journey. I’ll walk with you whenever you want ‘cuz I’ve already been down the road.”

 

A soldier’s vision

Posted December 13th, 2011 by Dr. Jerry Montgomery
Damon Seals and his baby Preston Lee Seals born Nov. 6, 2011

Damon Seals and his baby Preston Lee Seals born Nov. 6, 2011

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas,
and he lived in a crowd.
In a 40-man tent, with warriors so loud,
I had come into the tent with presents to give,
and to see who in this rack did live.

I looked all about, and a strange sight I did see.

No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stockings were hung, just boots close at hand,
and on the locker hung a picture of a far distant land.
He had medals and badges and awards of all kinds.

A sobering thought came into my mind,
for this place was different,
it was so dark and dreary;
I had found the home of a Soldier, and this I could see clearly.

The Soldier lay sleeping, silent and alone,
curled up in his rack, dreaming of home.
The face was so gentle, the barracks in such good order,
but not how I pictured a United States Soldier.

Was this the hero whom I saw on TV?
Defending his country so we all could be free?
I realized the families that I’ve seen this night,
owed their lives to these Soldiers who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world, the children would play,
and grownups would celebrate a new Christmas Day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year
because of the Soldiers, like the one lying here.

I couldn’t help but wonder how many lay alone,
on a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home.

The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
I dropped to my knees and started to cry.

The Soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
“Santa, don’t cry, for this life is my choice.”
“Defend my country this day, the peace do I keep.”
The Soldier then rolled over and drifted to sleep,
I couldn’t control it – I continued to weep.

I kept watch for hours so silent, so still,
and we both shivered from the night’s cold chill.
I didn’t want to leave on that cold, dark night,
to leave this guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the Soldier rolled over and with a voice soft and pure,
whispered, “Carry on Santa, it’s Christmas … All is secure.

traditional, adapted