Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Back to Normalcy

To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
(Ecc 3:1)

The month of June 2007 is almost behind us now. I will forever remember this month as the climax of the Jamestown 400 hunt that my family has been involved in since October/November 2006. We have learned a lot of history. Now that it is over, we are telling the story of the things that we’ve learned. I’m scheduled to speak today in my Toastmasters meeting. My topic will be a recap of the spectacular week of June 11-17.

Yet, even as this month ends, I rejoice in many ways that I can now turn my attention to some very important things that have been somewhat neglected over the course of the last seven months.

I believe that the age of 13 holds special significance in the lives of children. I see it as a time where children really begin the transformation from boys and girls to men and women. Because of this, I have purposed to make this birthday special. My oldest child is a girl. My next oldest is a boy. Brittney turned 13 in September 2006 (thankfully before the Jamestown contest ever started!). Michael III will turn 13 in December 2008. For Brittney, I authored a manuscript entitled, “Guidelines for a Southerland Lady.” In this book, I detail expectations that I have for my daughters and the blessings of being a woman of God. My wife and I took Brittney out for a very special breakfast where we presented her with this book and a silver, heart shaped ring, reminding her of the purity that God expects of us, and a tangible reminder that her virginity is saved for her husband. The book details that this goes much further than simply physical involvement, but also includes issues of the heart. Brittney is the oldest of seven children so far. So far she has two little sisters who will eventually be presented with the same, or a very similar, manuscript on their 13th birthdays.

Michael’s 2008 birthday looms just beyond the horizon. While this will be a time for great rejoicing, this deadline stays in front of me reminding me of what all I need to accomplish on his behalf. Whereas my manuscript for daughters is called, “Guidelines for a Southerland Lady,” my manuscript for sons will be called, “Charges for a Southerland Son.” I put a lot of good advice into my girl’s book. But, for my sons, my efforts are intensified. This has nothing to do with the degree of love I have for my sons vs. my daughters. Rather, God has ordained men to lead their families. As a father, I have a duty to instruct the sons God has entrusted unto me as to how to lead their families. I have put together a rough outline of the book, and have begun to put it together. Though my brother and I have had this idea for about three years, and did a little brainstorming together back then, I seriously began to work on this in November 2006. This date also corresponds to…guess what…the start of the Jamestown 400 contest! So, though I have made some progress, it is now time to buckle down and get this done. My vision is to have the finished work leather bound and embossed with the Southerland coat-of-arms. As Christ is our prophet, priest, and king, I believe that God also requires these three roles for husbands and fathers. I came to this conclusion largely after reading Phil Lancaster’s book, Family Man, Family Leader. Therefore, each section of this book concentrates on “charges” that relate to that particular role. Several duties overlap these roles. However, primarily the section on “prophet” will concentrate on how a man needs to speak vision into his family, as well as carry out discipline. The section on “priest” will show how a man needs to intercede on behalf of his family. This section will also detail how a man should teach his family the scriptures and sound theology. In the “priest” section, I am including the entire 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith, with my own commentary after each section. I derived that inspiration from Sam Waldron’s book, A Modern Exposition of the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. Yet, in “my” version, I will explain why I believe what the confession states, and how it is proper for scripture to be interpreted in this way. If there are areas in which I disagree with the confession, I will list my scriptural reasons for disagreement. The section on “king” will describe the duties of a husband and father in protecting and serving his family. This protection extends to the three parts of a human being: spirit, soul, and body. No facet can be left unprotected or the enemy will exploit that weakness.

The book for the sons will be accompanied by one or more other significant gifts. I am still evaluating my plans in this area, but I love the significance of presenting him with a signet ring, a cloak, and a sword. These details are still in the making, though.

In the midst of these very important plans for my children’s future, I am also inspired to work on becoming self-employed. I have over 13 years of experience developing IVR systems and 19 years of computer programming experience. However, during that time I have always worked for someone else. I have recently discovered a way that I will be able to create and market IVR applications for myself. My first project is a real estate application. When we sold our home in Nashville, our realtor used an IVR system to allow prospective buyers to call a number printed on the sign. The system would give a good description of the property. It would also give very good reports to the realtor to notify them of who was calling the number and how often. My system will do all this and more. This system will notify the realtor (or private owner in a “for sale by owner” situation) via email or telephone call that they have an interested party. My system will allow appointments to be made to see the home. I will be able to offer this service to realtors or private individuals at a very cost effective rate. I will be compensated for my efforts by selling the use of this application to many clients, therefore removing the burden of any one client needing to pay me for my development time. This system will work anywhere in the continental US. (I will be researching whether it is available in Alaska and Hawaii.) I hope to serve a very underserved market of “for sale by owner” clients, as well as offering excellent service to professional realtors. If this sounds like something that you could use, please contact me at I will be maintaining my full time employment until such time as the Lord blesses me with enough business to branch out on my own.

So, while I was very grateful for the opportunity to participate in the Jamestown 400, I’m actually glad that I can get back to “taking dominion” and take my head out of Virginia history books for a season.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Jamestown Report

If any of you were eagerly checking my blog each day for news regarding Jamestown, then I suppose you were disappointed. In reality, we had a great time! However, we were instructed that we could not use the internet at all in the treasure hunt. Whether I could have blogged or not, I'm not sure, but I used that as the excuse to put the blogging on hold for a week. I also had very little time to get on the PC anyway as the days were taken up in hunting for the treasure, and the evenings passed quickly trying to squeeze in here and there a Vision Forum event (or doing laundry! :-) )

I want to devote this space to publically thank Vision Forum and Doug Phillips for the enormous amount of time and effort they and he have put into this endeavor. We will never forget the experience we had searching for the gold, and discovering the providential Hand of God as our true National Treasure along the way. We were able to stay in the hunt until Friday morning, when we were eliminated, leaving only three finalists. My congratulations go out to the Thomas family for winning the treasure, and to all the other finalists who made it to Jamestown for the hunt.

We learned so much history last week. It was an excellent cap to our 7 months of study on Jamestown and Virginia history.

So, thank you Mr. Phillips. Thank you Vision Forum. You are truly a blessing to our family, and to this country.

Monday, June 11, 2007

In Jamestown!

We arrived safely yesterday in Jamestown (Williamsburg actually). We are scheduled to see Colonial Williamsburg this morning. The girls are wearing the Colonial dresses that Brittney made. I’m downstairs in the hotel lobby trying to print some last minute information for the hunt.

We are having a great time so far after visiting some friends in Tennessee along the way. Well, I must run. We’ve got a full schedule ahead of us for this week.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Teddy Roosevelt and Jamestown

We will be leaving for Jamestown tomorrow morning, June 8. Teddy Roosevelt was a speaker at the 1907 celebration. Here is a very interesting letter he wrote to his son Kermit about the event.


White House, April 29, 1907

Dearest Kermit:
We really had an enjoyable trip to Jamestown. The guests were Mother’s friend, Mrs. Johnson, a Virginia lady who reminds me so much of Aunt Annie, my mother’s sister, who throughout my childhood was almost as much associated in our home life as my mother herself; Justice Moody, who was as delightful as he always is, and with whom it was a real pleasure to again have a chance to talk; Mr. and Mrs. Bob Bacon, who proved the very nicest guests of all and were companionable and sympathetic at every point. Ethel was as good as gold and took much off of Mother’s shoulders in the way of taking care of Quentin. Archie and Quentin had, of course, a heavenly time; went everywhere, below and aloft, and ate indifferently at all hours, both with the officers and enlisted men. We left here Thursday afternoon, and on Friday morning passed in review through the foreign fleet and our own fleet of sixteen great battleships in addition to cruisers. It was an inspiring sight and one I would not have missed for a great deal. Then we went in a launch to the Exposition where I had the usual experience in such cases, made the usual speech, held the usual reception, went to the usual lunch, etc., etc.

In the evening Mother and I got on the Sylph and went to Norfolk to dine. When the Sylph landed we were met by General Grant to convoy us to the house. I was finishing dressing, and Mother went out into the cabin and sat down to receive him. In a minute or two I came out and began to hunt for my hat. Mother sat very erect and pretty, looking at my efforts with a tolerance that gradually changed to impatience. Finally she arose to get her own cloak, and then I found that she had been sitting gracefully but firmly on the hat herself – it was a crush hat and it had been flattened until it looked like a wrinkled pie. Mother did not see what she had done so I speechlessly thrust the hat toward her; but she still did not understand and took it as an inexplicable jest of mine merely saying, “Yes, dear,” and with patient dignity, turned and went out of the door with General Grant.

The next morning we went on the Sylph up the James River, and on the return trip visited three of the dearest places you can imagine, Shirley, Westover, and Brandon. I do not know whether I loved most the places themselves or the quaint out-of-the-world Virginia gentlewomen in them. The houses, the grounds, the owners, all were too dear for anything and we loved them. That night we went back to the Mayflower and returned here yesterday, Sunday, afternoon.

To-day spring weather seems really to have begun, and after lunch Mother and I sat under the apple-tree by the fountain. A purple finch was singing in the apple-tree overhead, and the white petals of the blossoms were silently falling. This afternoon Mother and I are going out riding with Senator Lodge.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Second attempt

I'm hoping the first attempt failed because I was setting everything
up. If this post works I should be set up for mobile blogging in

My first mobile post

In preparation for Jamestown, I'm attempting to post a message to my
blog with my BlackBerry. If you are reading this I was successful!

Update - Had to publish this one from the blogger site (though the text was preserved)...will attempt another one to see if I can get it to process start to finish on the BlackBerry.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cardinals and Insanity

THUMP! What was that? THUMP! There it is again!

About 2 months ago, this strange sound started coming from our front door and our back window. When rushing to the door to investigate, a flash of red could be seen as a cardinal fluttered away at the sight of six children coming toward him. At first, this was entertaining. We thought that the bird wanted inside our house. There was talk of opening the door and letting him come in. Then maybe we could capture him and put him in a cage. But we soon realized that this cardinal did not want to come in our house. He was merely “fighting” a perceived enemy that he saw in his reflection. The tell tale evidence soon became apparent on the doors and mirrors of our van, as he left his “calling card” splattered all over our newly washed vehicle. It seems this red bird has enemies all over our yard, including any reflective surface he can find.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Some have attributed this quote to Albert Einstein. Others go further back and credit it to Ben Franklin. Regardless, the truth in this statement is apparent. Are we dealing with an insane bird here? I’m thinking not…but rather that it is his instinct that keeps him pounding his head against glass all day long for over two months now. After watching this and considering it over this length of time, I knew there had to be a spiritual lesson here somewhere. This bird is walking (flying? :-) ) after the flesh. He is relying on his instincts to guide his steps. I was reading in Galatians 5 this morning. Think of this bird fighting his “enemy” and the pain that he surely must be causing himself in this futile effort.

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.
(Gal 5:14-26)

How often do we strive against one another, acting out fleshly pursuits in a desire to better ourselves at the expense of our neighbour? How many times do we do this to our own demise whereby our attempts at striving end up hurting ourselves? And finally, how often do we continue these behaviours hoping against hope that somehow, someway, our futile efforts will ultimately allow us to “defeat” our perceived enemies?

So, I admonish you, just as Paul admonished the Galatians, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.”

Friday, June 01, 2007

The Hand of God: Our National Treasure

O’er spans of time and plans of God,
Do American progeny expound,
The wondrous works that He has wrought
At the humble site of Jamestown.

In celebration of two hundred years,
Eighteen – ought seven,
Marked the beginning of our cheers,
For God’s blessings thus given.

Then after fifty years had passed,
Virginia stopped to remember,
The hand of God in her past,
And great hope for her future.

Shortly after the turn of century twenty,
America still acknowledged the God of Heaven,
Thanked Him for His blessings of plenty,
And prayed aloud in nineteen ‘o seven.

Though society changed, with technology was driven,
Christian rulers still, with grateful hearts,
In nineteen fifty seven,
In official celebration, praised God for all He imparts.

And here we arrive in two-thousand seven.
Four hundred years have since passed,
Since this country’s first Christians,
Graced the shores of this land so blessed.

Strike up the band! Blow the horns!
Come celebrate this year!
Yet governmental response forlorn,
For God they no longer fear.

For instead of praises to our God,
And honor to our Christian parents,
Political correctness now is shod,
Upon the souls of tyrants.

Yet God has purposed for Himself a remnant,
Silence: We’ll have no such thing!
Christ’s Bride the Church Triumphant!
Declare the Mercies of our King!

We teach our children of God’s plan,
And how it came to be,
That on the shores of Jamestown’s land,
Came forth Christianity.

The names upon our lips we articulate,
Include those mighty saints of old,
Captain Smith, Pocahontas, Richard Hakluyt.
Men and women, Christian stories told.

So Celebrate, across this land
Proclaim His mighty deeds!
History shows His Providential Hand,
National treasure thus received.