Posts Tagged With: life

The Fine Line, conclusion, by guest essayist Amy Fernaays

Somewhere in the middle a casualty of war exists in the form of privately owned businesses. Reservists that own a company must find someone to run their company while they are deployed. For some reservists this means shutting down a business and losing everything to service their country.
The men and women that served to protect us are in need of protection now. We have been here before and the results were not good. After the Vietnam War the unemployment rate for military soldiers’ was very high. The Gulf War-era brought an unemployment rate that was 11.6 percent; that translates into 958,000 unemployed veterans. [Albany Times Union, 2009]
The future doesn’t look good when our businesses and our heroes are at war.
The Veteran’s Association has many programs available to soldiers but for a lot of reservists this is not an option. V.A. centers may not be easy to access. Just like a reservists’ family not having access to military base support; a veteran may not have access to veteran support. That is why many companies are implementing their own programs to assist returning veterans. Samuel Greencard state, “BNSF Railway Company employs about 6,000 veterans who represent about 15 percent of its workforce, and more than 1,000 BNSF employees have been called to active duty since 2001. The firm offers these employees “whole pay” and sustained benefits while they are away. BNSF must ‘make adjustments and plan ahead when service members are called to active duty,’ says John Wesley III, manager of military staffing.”
BNSF Railway Co. is a leading example of how to address the military workforce soldier issue, but not all companies can afford to take such a remarkable approach to caring for their military personnel. This should stand as a starting place for other companies and organizations to find new ways to implement a system using the example of BNSF Railway Co.
Veterans seeking help can visit the Veteran’s Association online and be linked to different groups within the VA that can assist with medical care, disability, PTSD, drug and alcohol counseling. The VA can also refer veterans to legal counsel if needed. There are also civilian organizations that assist military personnel with employment, housing, support groups and with readjusting to civilian life. You can find many organizations listed online or in your community. The VFW (Veteran’s Foreign Wars) and the American Legion are two organizations that can help point a veteran to organizations that are in their area.
It is time the government took responsibility for the soldiers. Organizations that are branches of the military system are not organized or properly managed, and fall short of fulfilling the needs of veterans. The VA does not have the capability to provide the needed support that all veterans are entitled to. It is time the VA was restructured so that the needs of all veterans: reservists, retired and disabled soldiers receive what is truly due to them. This organization needs to meet the needs of each individual that has served this country without hesitation.
The goal is for veterans to be provided with the support and care they need. The VA needs to be divided. It has become an organization too big to do any good. There needs to be two branches to the VA; a veterans branch and a veterans medical branch. One side deals with the physical and psychological health of veterans, and the other side deals with the needs of transitioning the veteran back to civilian life through training, education and assisting with employment/reemployment.
This is not a get out of jail free card for businesses. They need to remember that their soldier is being deployed to fight for the freedom of this country, and as a company there is a responsibility to this soldier. That is to provide them with the assistance they need to come back and return to their job.
For someone interested in helping veterans there are many organizations already in place that need volunteers, but there is a new need that can’t be overlooked. Small business owner/reservist that is called to duty must sacrifice their businesses to serve. There is a need for an organization that can connect skilled and educated people willing to assist small business owning reservists. An organization or groups that can help keep these businesses’ running while the owner serves as a soldier. This will be a daunting task, but one that needs to be addressed.
When everyone is contributing and assisting veterans, as they transition back to civilian life the problem becomes a lot smaller. America has enough military history to show what happens when veterans are not helped. The reality is right now there are 21.5 million veterans [U.S. Census Bureau] that served this country during wars, conflicts, humanitarian reliefs, and in peace. Now it is time to serve them.
This is a difficult time for civilians and reservists alike but if the government, companies, organizations, civilians and reservists work together many solutions will be developed and our heroes will be given the welcome home they deserve. Not the shallow empty parades that fade away but instead the support, and help they need to resume taking care of their families and the chance to live the America Dream.

Works cited
“Back From War, Still In a Fight.” Albany Times Union [Alban, NY] 19 Nov. 2009: C1. New York State
Newpapers. Web. 15 Nov. 2012.
“Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits |” Enlist, Reenlist, Benefits | N.p., n.d. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.

Garamone, Jim. “Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve.” News
Article: Deploying Unit Shows Differences Between Active, Reserve. U.S. Department of Defense,
14 Feb. 2004. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .

Greenwald, Judy. “Guidelines Welcomed on Reservists’ benefits; Regulations expected to help as
troops return.” Business Insurance 27 Dec. 2004: 1. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.

Greenwald, Judy. “Soldiers Return to Civilian Jobs; Veteran’s Rights Put Compliance on us Former
Employees.” Business Insurance 18 June 2012: 0001. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Geisel, Jerry. “Law Outlines Employers’ Duty; Call-up of U.S. Reservists Triggers Benefit Obligations.”
Business Insurance 24 Sept. 2001: 26. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov. 2012.
Lenckus, Dave. “Easing Return to Civilian Life a Must; Employers urged at PRIMA to Consider
Veterans’ Special Needs.” Business Insurance 25 June 2007: 4. General OneFile. Web. 19 Nov.
Greencard, Samuel. “When Johnny or Janey Comes Marching Home.” Workforce Management 90.6
(2011): 4-4. Academic Search Complete. Web 19 Nov. 2012.
Moniz, Dave. ” Guardsmen, Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups.” – Guardsmen,
Reservists Hit Hard at Home by Call-ups. n.p., 07 Feb. 2005. Web. 10 Dec. 2012.
Tillson, John C.F. “Landpower and the reserve components.” Joint Force Quarterly Dec.2004:41+. General
OneFile. Web 5 Dec. 2012
Zoroya, Gregg. “Army to Expand Citizen Soldiers’ Traning Periods.” USATODAY.COM. N.p., 30 July 2012. Web.
10 Dec. 2012.

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The Fine Line, part 4, by guest essayist Amy Fernaays

Besides his family, the reservists’ has the added worry concerning his job. In our economic climate today, it is very possible that his job could be phased out or the company could close. Many National Guardsmen work for fire departments, police, and in hospital; which can cause a hardship for a small community when a unit is called up. (Jim Garmone 2004)
“’Large corporations have the depth to absorb a year-long loss of personnel,’ Said a state Guard official. ‘Smaller companies do not.’ Some companies have continued the Guardsmen’s medical coverage. Still others have made up the difference between the Guardsmen’s civilian pay and their military salaries.” states Garmone.
Some reservists’ take a pay cut when they are activated because their civilian salary is not connected to their military pay. The soldier must be prepared for the loss of certain income, benefits, retirement contributions and other investments.
Even though reservists are worried about their jobs, and benefits the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA) does try to protect reservists. Judy Greenwald reports, “’Typically, the employer must reinstate within two weeks of the application for re-employment,’ Ms. Farmer said. ‘If there’s been several years of active duty the regulations recognize that it may take a little bit more time because you have to open up a position, which can mean laying off another employee or transferring someone else.’”
Judy Greenwald discloses, “Thousands of veterans could return to the workforce given President Barack Obama’s commitment to withdraw 23,000 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the summer and his plan to turn security entirely over to the Afghan government by 2014.”
This could spell trouble for businesses because some issues have already surfaced. One of those problems is that the USERRA is ambiguous in its wording. As troops begin returning home; reservists wishing to return to their civilian jobs are faced with employers unprepared to re-instate them. (Greenwald 2012)
Judy Greenwald asserts, “’Employers have to pay close attention to deadlines regarding how soon they have to bring the veterans back, which depends on factors including the length of time the service member was deployed and whether he or she was injured,’ said Shannon D. Farmer, a partner with law firm Ballard Spahr L.L. P. in Philadelphia.
It may seem that this act favors veteran’s and be a hardship for businesses, but this act doesn’t help veteran’s if there job has been completely phased out due to the recession or if the company has shut down. For a reservists income is only obtained through employment. Once they are out-processed from their active duty tour their income, and benefits come from a civilian job. This puts a large amount of stress on a returning soldier to become re-employed as quickly as possible. Knowing that you will have to fight for your job after spending a year fighting for your country is a hard pill to swallow for most reservists.

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Soul Survivor

Soul Survivor:My Interview with Poet and Author Sherry Lee Knight.

 Introduction: What makes a great writer?Image

A long time ago, a pair of twin sisters lived in a small, poverty-stricken village. Their names were Nature and Tragedy. These sisters grew up, and married a pair of brothers. The sisters became pregnant, and both delivered sons, on the same day, at the same hour. Nature named her son Good, and Tragedy named her son Great. Can you guess what these sons grew up to be? Writers. The moral is that Nature can make a good writer, but tragedy can make a great writer.

No one knows that better than Sherry Knight, a woman who has not allowed sorrow and tragedy to destroy her, but instead pours her experiences out in her writing; to both glorify the Savior that brought her through all of it, and to encourage others.

What do you feel is most important for your readers to know about you?

“I guess through all of my trials and tribulations, that God has never forsaken me, or left me. I’ve been through so much, you know, and there’s….and if I didn’t have Christ, I probably would have been another statistic on the suicide chart.”

How long have you been saved?

“Since I’ve been six. But I backslid, as ninety percent of us do. And a lot of us don’t realize that repentance means we’re supposed to turn, and stop. Sometimes that lesson is long and hard, and we get chastened. And we realize that the bible is there for us, for guidance and understanding put there because He loves us; He doesn’t want to see us go the wrong direction. There is joy and comfort in that. Because we don’t see it that way in the beginning; we want to rebel, and rebellion is a sin.  It’s really not a good life.

When did you start writing?


In my early twenties. I would keep a journal to try to get through my depression. I suffered for many years with major depression, anxiety disorders, amongst others. Through writing, it would help me reflect about what was going on. When I started the poetry it was just off my head. I entered a poetry contest and I was surprised that I could write a poem within a few minutes.

What inspires your poetry?

The Holy Spirit puts it on me; mostly in the middle of the night. When I go to pray, I will literally pray until I fall asleep. And I pray all day long; when I go to the bathroom, I pray; when I’m riding down the street in my chair, I’m talking to God. So I try to pray all the time. So when I start praying, I may wake up in the middle of the night with a hot flash or something; it will be on my heart, someone will come in my mind and I’ll start praying again, and then I’ll pray some more. As it was told to me one time from one Pastor that they are called intercessory prayers. You just keep praying, and praying, and praying. Which is awesome, you know? Then you start to see it all come to work. To see Him working and you know you don’t do anything without Him.

Describe your writing, in your own words.

My writing is about my life, and how He used me in my life. The lessons I’ve learned, and sometimes they are cries, for His help, to help me get through things. Sometimes it’s really hard to get through things. We’re promised joy, but nothing says we won’t have trials, just like everybody else has trials. Some people think they become saved and they’re going to be free from the burdens of this world, and that’s not true. Sometimes we have even more because the devil wants to attack us even harder because we are saved. Sometimes we have to reach out, and sometimes the only friend we have is Jesus. When I wrote my book, I was three-thousand miles from my family and from my son, sometimes. My marriage was with somebody I wasn’t equally yoked with. I shouldn’t have gotten married to somebody I was unequally yoked with, but I thought he was saved. Sometimes they deceive you, or you’re deceived. Or you think, ‘well, they said they were saved once, but they are just not walking the word, it’s going to be okay, you don’t realize that sometimes we don’t read things right, or don’t want to read things right, don’t want to understand it; we want to believe what we want to believe instead of what the word actually says. I’m guilty.  I know that no way am I going to get involved with another man unless I’m sure he is sent from God for me. He is going to have to love the church like he loves Christ, and like Christ loves us. I’m going to have to see that, not just hear it.

Do you see any of your trials, and what you have learned, as a blessing?

I see it all as a blessing; who knows if I would have had my son turn out the way he is. To me, my life is a reflection of how my son turned out. My son is an awesome man with a tremendous faith in the Lord, a beautiful wife, and she also has a great faith in the Lord. He is going to be a great instrument for the Lord; he is out there all the time witnessing and evangelizing. I don’t know if I hadn’t gone the way I went whether he would have gone the way he went. I knew because of my mistakes to show him differently and to tell him differently. He’s my fruit! I know we are not supposed to be proud, but I am proud of my son. You see all the kids, and what they can get into now-a-days, they’re on drugs, and suicides, and the fornicating, having children out of wedlock; that could have been my child. If my life had gone any other way…! It’s so important that my son be in Heaven with me.Image

How did you get published?

I’m just a vanity publisher.

What does that mean?

It means I started out on Lulu, and published it myself online. Then I had a couple people look at and edit it and then I put it on Amazon, myself. There are many people that do it.

On Amazon?


Do they assign an ISBN number?


How excited were you when you first saw it in print?

I was very excited! And I wished my mother had been alive, because my mother wanted to be a writer. I had ADHD and dyslexia; I couldn’t even read when I graduated high school. When I went to college the first time, I couldn’t do the tests, because I couldn’t read them, so I had a teacher teach me how;  to read one word at a time, and then move the paper to two words, and then to three words. It took me a few years to learn to read, and then I went back to college afterwards. And so it’s really remarkable that I can read in the first place; because not a lot of people learn to read when they are an adult, when they can’t read. And then, I went back and got a 3.24, out of a 4.0. And now I actually write; if my mother could see me write, she would be amazed because we tried speed reading, we tried tutors, we tried everything growing up, and you could not get me to read.Image

And look at where you are now! How many degrees do you have?

I have two degrees: I was working on my third, but now I am going into getting my bachelors.Image

That’s awesome!

I was scared; I wasn’t a very good reader, but now I am doing pretty good at the writing, without using too many editors. That’s because of Tim! Tim did an awesome job in helping me with my grammar. I find that I write poetry a lot better than I write the other stuff, but I’m working on an autobiography.

Do you have a name for it yet?

He Never Forsakes Nor Abandons Us. That’s another verse in the bible. Because I kept running, and I got involved in drinking, and I got involved with the men. He sent an angel to grab ahold of me, and pick me back up.

An Angel?


Talk about that.

I’d gotten involved in drinking, and I was trying to quit, the secular way. I would go to church, but I didn’t want them to know. I was too embarrassed for my church family to see that I had been drinking, so I tried the secular way, and it never seemed to work. I would go two years, and then I would go out again. It always ended up with a lot of drinking. The drinking always ended up with a lot of fornicating. Then I would try to straighten up and repent and try to walk again, and then I started getting involved with a woman who was saying she was a Wiccan, and I started with the tarot cards, palm reading, and I had my eighth miscarriage. I was drinking three glasses of wine; I had seizures, so I was on epilepsy medicine. I was on antidepressants, and I had hypoglycemia.

One day I had the three glasses of wine, I was hanging over the toilet throwing up, I looked at this girl [an aide], and my eyes started rolling back in my head. I said, “Call an ambulance,” I always told them that if my blood sugar ever got really low, I’d let you know. She called, and the guy came right in, and he said, “it’s hypoglycemia” and she said yes. He gave me an IV and I ripped it out. I was almost unconscious, and every time I got that way, I just wanted to go be with Jesus. He put the IV back in me. When I got to the hospital, the sugar water had taken effect and brought my sugar back up. Later I woke up, and the doctor told me it was alcohol; but I was lucid, and I wasn’t drunk at all. I told him it was hypoglycemia, and he said no, it was alcohol. I said no, it was me, it was my life, and it was low blood sugar. The paramedic was walking behind him shaking his head no, meaning that he knew it was low blood sugar too. I was almost dead from low blood sugar. They released me. He said it was alcohol. It wasn’t.

I got home, and this man showed up at the door. He had brown hair, and the prettiest blue eyes. He had a bible in his hand, and I opened up the door. I let him in. He knew my name, and he started answering my questions. I wanted to know why people believe in God, but they don’t believe in Jesus. How come they go to hell? They seem like godly people. So he explained about the Way, the Truth, and the Life; if they hear about Christ and they deny Him, then they deny the Holy Spirit. They turn their back on God. Then I talked to him about Adam and Eve, and how I got kicked out of a church one time, because I asked where Cain’s wife came from. I said, “Because it doesn’t say in the bible, where she comes from.” And he said that Adam and Eve had been on the earth for a long period of time, and there was a lot of other children they had, it was one of his descendants. And I said, “Wouldn’t that be incest?” And he said, “Not in the beginning, it wasn’t considered incest, because it was in the very beginning.” And so he had answered some of these questions. Then I had the oldest question in the world: “Why does bad things happen to good people?” Basically, that is life, and things happen to people, and we don’t have these answers until we get to see God. Their purpose is already done, whatever their purpose is. When he left, he said he would see me again someday. He said in order for me to have a baby, I had to do it right. I had to give up all of the things I was doing, and repent. And mean it! I tried to burn the tarot cards, and they were jumping back at me, while they were on fire. So I wrapped them up in some type of ribbon and I buried them. And then I started reading my bible. There was no church around that I knew of.

Then I met my first husband, which of course I fornicated with him, not for long because after a week he went to California to get his stuff and he was there for three months and we talked on the phone. Then when he came back we got married, shortly after. And then I had a baby and I went on bed rest and I prayed all the way through it; I kept going into preterm labor, it was really rough but I had my child, and I have not been able to have another child. He’s my blessing and I was told if I did it right…and I got back with God, and I surrendered everything, and I told God I needed His help—I needed to quit drinking, I needed to quit cussing. I didn’t quit cussing until last year, but I quit smoking in ’96, I quit drinking that year. It’s been a long journey. Three rapes before that; that’s what made me turn to drinking. The first rape I was a little girl at six, then the second rape I was eighteen but I was drinking, and if I hadn’t been in the situation with the people I was with, I wouldn’t have been raped. Sometimes when you are that age, sometimes it is hard to see it that way. It was my choice (the drinking that is, not the rape; no woman ever deserves that).

I was working at this place, and I was going out with a guy, and the guy got me drunk. I told him I wanted to keep my cherry and he messed me around and took it anyway. And all of a sudden, that is what happens, that’s what guys do. It became my theory—every time I drank. Men aren’t like that, but that is what my concept became. And then, [I thought] I’m so dirty God don’t want to look at me anymore. I knew better, I was saved, I knew better! But you get the Devil sitting there telling you that and if you don’t have anyone telling you; ‘Sherry, that’s not what’s going on’ because you are not talking to anybody about it. Not to the right people about it. You’re talking to the secular world, and going to secular counseling; I’m not getting the right answers.

I didn’t even know that was an angel until a couple of years later when I talked to a woman from church. I closed the door, and I went to ask him something I had forgotten. I opened the door and he was gone. The rest of the day I kept looking for him, like he went to someone else’s house, but he was just gone.

I wrote one of my poems about it. One of the poems in the book is about the angel. I have been sending [Take Everything To Christ In Prayer] to the missions, and homeless shelters, and homes for battered women. I was in another bad marriage. I swore I wasn’t going to get another divorce, I was going to make it through it, and I was going to be a good wife. He was bipolar and schizophrenic, a hobo, alcoholic; Most of the time he wasn’t drinking, he wasn’t physically abusive, but he was mentally and emotionally abusive. So was my first one. I was going to do my best to be the good Christian wife. My son was not with me; my first husband had taken away from me because he had all the money, and I was sick, and he felt he should raise him. He lied and manipulated and got our son to say he wanted to live with him. I did wonder why God would do something like that, but you are not supposed to question God.

“But now my son is living for Jesus. There’s his wedding pictures.”


Do they have any grandbabies on the way yet?

Not yet—praying for them! He was going to go for nursing, but Pastor Tony told him that he was selling himself short, and that he had a higher calling. He thought maybe he should be a doctor. Then we were thinking maybe when he gets it all done, that he could become a missionary for Potter’s Field, or Voice of the Martyr’s.

What are those about?

The Potter’s Field is this man who goes around with his wife and they make pottery, and they tell the story of the potter and the clay. They sponsor children. For my twenty dollars a month, this is the little girl I sponsor, she’s in Uganda. They have missionary places where they have food, and medicine, and Christian schools. You can Google, and it will tell you all about the organization. The Potter’s Field has one in South America, and it is on Jake’s heart to learn Spanish. Maybe he and his wife are supposed to go down there. His wife is thinking about going into nursing. She is very bright too, and she has a beautiful voice. She was studying for the arts, and she felt God wanted her to come back and marry Jake.


Sherry is still writing poetry, and she is currently working on her master’s degree at Empire State College in Canandaigua.

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The Lemon Life

The idea for this started with a comment I made on my Facebook page:

“When life hands you lemons…”

I didn’t finish it, because everyone knows the second part; “make lemonade.”

I made this comment on my Facebook after finding out I did not pass one of my classes, and I would have to go to college for one more semester in order to finish my degree. I decided to add a couple of classes toward a second degree, to make in more worth my while, since I had to be there anyway. That was how I planned to make lemonade out of the lemon I was handed.

A few weeks later, a good friend of mine, inspired by my post, gave me a graduation gift (I was able to walk across the stage in the ceremony on May 19, I just can’t get my diploma yet) which included a lemon. I loved it! I put it in my freezer, where it stayed for about two weeks.

I’m going through a season of uncertainty right now; I do not have a job yet, and I am getting concerned about that. My husband and I are surviving on unemployment, and a student loan, which is now dwindling fast.

So how did I make lemonade with these ingredients? I’ll tell you later.

First, a few weeks ago, after a tiring day, I decided to make some iced tea. I boil it, so it takes about twenty-four hours, but I figured it would be a nice treat for the next day; I love ice-cold tea. So I started making it, then I remembered that lemon, in my freezer. I thought, ‘that will go good in iced tea.’ I pulled it out. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to cut it up while it was still frozen, but surprisingly, it wasn’t hard to cut.

All of this time, I was thinking about lemons, and making lemonade, when all of a sudden, I had an idea.

‘Why not blog about how people have overcome difficult situations—in other words—made lemonade?’ And “Lemon Life” was born. Lemon Life is where I will write about true inspirational stories: my own and other people’s.

Right now, I have the time, because I am not working yet. So that’s how I’m making lemonade with the ingredients I have been given.  

And this has been my first inspiring story! Thank you for reading it. Oh, I almost forgot—the iced tea turned out great! About the picture—I don’t like my smile, so I borrowed Julia Roberts’s. I realize the picture doesn’t look professional, but since I can’t afford fancy photo editing software, I did the best I good with the Paint program on my computer.

Categories: Christianity, College Life, Current Events, History, Humor, News, Perspectives, The Lemon Life, The Self Employment Chronicles | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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