Monthly Archives: September 2013

How Will I Be Impacted By Probate?

Death is something we just don’t like to contemplate, but when we do we think about funeral planning and the associated funeral needs, funeral costs and the associated grief and depression cycle that we know our family is likely to face. But while not as visible but of even more importance, we must take great care to complete probate and estate planning to insure that our family’s inheritance is protected to the full allowance of the law.

For most of us laymen, whenever the subject of probate and estate planning comes up we think of great complexity and we often face many questions for which we have no answers. Will my estate be subject to probate? Is there a way to avoid it? It doesn’t have to be overly complex, nor should it be, and there are some relatively simple things to eliminate many of the potential problems.

Now before I get started I want to give one disclaimer. What I will be talking about here is primarily meant for those of us who have a relatively simple estate without any real complex issues. For those of us in that category, probate might not even be necessary and for the rest of us, the information provided should be at least of general value. This does not mean that we don’t need legal help to assess our probate and estate planning requirements, but often it need be only advisory in nature and not long drawn out document preparation. A good attorney can quickly assess your needs.

So what is probate and how does it affect us? The answer is really quite simple. It’s the process of making sure that the final affairs of someone are in order before final proceeds are dispersed. It is supervised by a court of law to insure legal sufficiency and it is not required of all of us. It is really designed for those who either have very complicated estates or have not properly specified the disposition of their effects and property. It can be a relatively short process or it can take months, sometimes years, depending on the particular situation. And it is also often quite expensive with significant legal fees and court costs, so anything you can do to avoid it is normally recommended.

So how can we avoid probate? Well, there are four ways and there is one important document which is critical to this, the last will and testament. It is the key to making probate and estate planning as simple as possible. Let’s talk about the will first before we look at the options to avoid probate.

The will is basically the decedent’s documentation of how property, assets and personal effects are to be distributed after death to heirs as designated after debts are first paid. In some cases, it can be handwritten but it is usually recorded as a typed document in a format which is deemed legally sufficient. To be considered valid, the will must be signed while the holder is deemed in control of mental capacity and legally of age and in front of witnesses of legal age who also sign. This is done in the presence of a notary and affixed with the notary stamp. It is important to review this with home state criteria since each state has its own law with minor variations.

Now let’s get back to the issue of avoiding probate. It really isn’t too difficult for most of us since the average American does not have an overly complex financial situation. The four things that will help you avoid probate include each of the following:

1. Joint property ownership. Our home is generally the largest investment that we have. If you are married and have it recorded as joint property (JTROS), meaning that you and your wife own it together, the property will pass automatically to the survivor. Most people do this and it makes a huge difference.

2. Declaring death beneficiaries. Here I am talking about Pay On Death (POD) accounts and retirement accounts where you name the beneficiary and a transfer takes place to the survivor upon official notification of death. These include stock, bond and brokerage accounts but remember, the decedent must declare this intention while still alive and in control of mental capacity. This is not something that gains anything from procrastination.

3. Revocable living trusts. This is a document that is made which while similar to a will also avoids probate while keeping financial affairs private after death. Like a will it can be changed at any time while alive and is usually handled directly by the maker of the trust. Since I am not an attorney, anyone interested in finding out all the pros and cons should consult counsel to see if it is right for them.

4. Lastly, gifts. Gifts left also are excluded by probate but they must be completed before death. Again, if we want to use this option, don’t procrastinate.

Just to be absolutely clear, it is imperative for each of us to review the ramifications of probate and how it works and then determine for ourselves the appropriate way to prepare our affairs so that our loved ones will be best protected. And as I have mentioned, some of us with complicated matters may have to look at more complex matters.

My purpose here is just to provide some basic information to get the thinking process cooking. By all means, refer your questions to qualified counsel to get all the answers you need and remember that each state has some variations in their state laws that apply to residents of that state. While you can find great sources of general information on line, remember that it is just that and it does not serve as the final word on legal sufficiency.

Protect your family while you gain the peace of mind knowing that you have done what is right for them. You won’t be sorry and it will pay tremendous dividends. Another important planning detail will be taken care of and we will be secure knowing that a legal nightmare will not be something they have to dread in their future.

Praise God and may He ever be with us. And God bless America.

James Dick, author of “Honey, We Shoulda’ Bought the Ark” now available on Amazon.com
Hawthorne, Florida
www.northfloridawriter.com

James Dick Book on Amazon

 

Grandma’s House – A Life Story

My grandmother will turn 95 next month. We don’t know how much longer we have to enjoy her company. Her health, especially mentally, is deteriorating at a sobering pace. When you visit her at the nursing home, you don’t know exactly what you’re going to get. That’s depressing because that’s not how I remember grandma. Like most strong and determined women from her generation, the nursing home has never been home. She has always wanted to go to her house, that was home.

Grandpa and grandma moved into their house in 1976 when they retired from the farm. It is a small house and structurally nothing special. And it’s not new and it wasn’t new in 1976. It was, however, grandma’s house and we loved it! The living room was the ‘original house’ before the additions were built. But the ‘original house’ wasn’t built for a family, it was built as a school house. A one-room schoolhouse, in the country, on the plains of eastern Colorado. A school house grandma attended as a child.

Grandma lived in a school house, her school house. I find that interesting. My kids can’t imagine moving into their school when they retire, let alone imagine ‘retiring’.

There’s more to the story of this particular school house then the love and warmth that our family knew. It was home to a tragedy, The Towner Bus Tragedy. In late March of 1931 a surprise blizzard stranded some 23 kids and a bus driver on their way home from school. Five of the kids froze to death as did the bus driver, Carl Miller, when he tried to walk for help in the blizzard. Grandma wasn’t at school or on the bus that day and I don’t know why. I’d like to know. Grandma has talked about that day, but I’ve failed to capture the details. It’s part of her life story.

Now is the time to ask your parents, your grandparents, and if you’re lucky, your greatgrandparents their life stories. Write the stories down or capture them on video. Most of us carry a video camera with us everyday, our smart phones. I pray for the chance to document my grandma’s life story before it’s too late. Here are just a few of the many questions I’d like to ask her.
• Tell me about the day of the Towner bus tragedy?
• When and where did you meet grandpa?
• What was my dad like as a child?
• What was your experience during the Great depression, the dust bowl, World War II?
• What are you favorites memories as a child?
• How do you want to be remembered?
• What is one funny story from your youth that still makes you smile?
• Who were the most influential people in your life?
• I want to know more about your dad, my great-grandfather, who immigrated to the United States from Germany through the port in Corpus Christi, TX.
• Can I have your homemade noodle recipe? (She made the best chicken and
noodles and she served it over mashed potatoes. A family favorite! Can you say starch?)

-Brian Beaman

 

Do You Really Want to Get Your Affairs in Order?

Over the past few months we’ve been talking about getting things in order before we die so that our families will be able to handle the difficulty of a sad, but unavoidable life change. We’ve talked about such things as funeral planning, estate planning, handling grief and depression and even the benefits of hiring a eulogy writer. But there is another something that is more important than any of these issues. That something is love. Without love, our families will always be left wishing things could have been different. And the good feelings and security of knowing they were loved will be missing in their lives.

How many of us have spent much time and effort to earn a good living, save money religiously, and we have even taken care of those mundane and boring things such as probate and estate planning while at the same time missing out on that special baseball game or recital? Or how about all those times when we were late coming home from work just to find that the family already had dinner and had gone their separate ways for the evening? What about that special anniversary that we forgot and arrived home empty handed, leaving our better half crying?

It happens to all of us and it is important that we realize the sometimes devastating impact of these shortcomings since they can be indicative of not paying attention to the importance of showing our love. After all, we want a happy family because a happy and loving family makes each member more secure and better able to handle all of the curve balls that life sends our way.

So how do we make sure that we accomplish this? Let’s look at some of the things we can do to keep family front and center in our lives, for nothing else we can do in this world can help our loved ones weather an uncertain future like good memories of a loving and caring spouse, parent or head of household. Things disappear over time but memories last a lifetime.

I recommend making a list as a guide to keeping family happiness on track. Here are some of the items I think are important that might be useful. Of course, each of us has special considerations that we want to consider. Remember, each of us has different concerns, but I think each of these plays an important part. And the list is an ongoing work in progress.

1. Love God. This has to be first and foremost. God didn’t put us here just to get rich and have fun. He put us here to glorify Him. And guess what? When we do what he asks of us, the blessings just seem to miraculously flow our way. Oh, we may not get everything just the way we want, but we’ll find wonderful things happening in our lives that we likely never expected, things that give great joy and inner peace. God wants us to live a good life and have a loving family, but it is all in the context of his ultimate plan. Accordingly, make sure when looking ahead to make Him the central emphasis of life’s future plans.
2. Love of family requires both group and individual love. This will come naturally if we love God first because when we love God we also learn to love one’s self, our spouse and family and our fellow man. Love of God naturally leads to these things. With regard to our families, it must be shown both in group activities and individually with each member. Each member craves our love and wants a close relationship, but sometimes we just have to see through exterior barriers to find it and that’s when an individual relationship is so important. Live and breathe love; it is infectious and it is often surprising how positive the response will be to living this way.
3. Spend quality time with the children; they need much attention. It is not enough to just provide for them. How many times have we seen parents who shower their kids with “stuff” in lieu of quality personal time? It’s not an adequate replacement and they know; what they really want is personal attention. Each day take the time to talk with them, find out how their day has been and offer them personal advice and counsel. They seek it and want it desperately. And don’t forget the fun times. A day at the ball park, taking them to a good family movie, stopping with them for an ice cream cone, and even just playing catch in the back yard. Routine simple things mean much more to them than we often understand.
4. Show them through our behavior. Children learn by example. If we want them to live a clean and moral life, we must show them how. And remember, if we have God in our heart this will be much easier to do. Oh, we will make mistakes from time to time, but each time we strive not to repeat. Children understand that.
5. Never forget promises. How many times have we promised a loved one something special and reneged due to the unexpected? It is very important that we do everything in our power to avoid this. We all remember this happening on occasion and the memory of one’s own experience should help to avoid the same thing happening to those who love us. The best way to avoid such problems is to make definite plans, with the timing set in advance, so that we will not disappoint.
6. Involve them in doing good deeds together. As part of living, be an example and teach them what doing good works is all about. Maybe it’s a visit to a retirement community or to a children’s hospital. Perhaps it’s being involved in Christmas caroling presented to an infirm group. Many times groups such as this don’t get many visitors and they love the attention. Whatever it is, it will show children very directly how we live and that example will dramatically impact their direction in their own lives.
7. Stay involved in their school life. Children spend a lot of time in school and what they learn is critical to their future success in life. Stay involved, visit the school, ask questions and demand that classes include teaching of those skills that will be useful. If that is not possible, find another option, including home schooling, but never accept mediocrity in the area of education.
8. Keep a diary or daily ledger. I find keeping a daily diary with ledger notes as reminders important to keeping my family life on track. And it is has another benefit, when upon death it leaves behind a wealth of information which can be used by a eulogy writer to create a realistic portrait of life.
9. Plan for some special events. Big events leave big memories. Special attention to birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings; the list can go on and on. Make sure that proper attention is given to each and memories recorded. It doesn’t have to be big budget, just big in importance.
10. Make the big holidays special. Just like the above, make special holidays just that. Special dinners, visits with grandparents, the special Christmas shopping trips and the wonders of Christmas morning, New Year’s Eve and other occasions offer opportunities for fun and excitement in a wholesome family setting. Take advantage of these times to build great memories.
11. Never forget to tell them you love them. Last, but not least, never forget to tell the wife and children that they are loved. Do it every day. Personally, I make it a habit each day to always give my wife a kiss and a hug along with an “I love you”, of course, before she leaves for work. Sometimes I even put a special love note in her lunch. Little surprises and those special three words can’t be overused.

When I look back at those eleven points I can’t help but recognize the inter-relatedness of each to the Holy Trinity, including the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, and it all has to do with the importance of love. And it reminds me of the simple way in which an early church leader of Protestantism described our responsibility to God. John Wesley, an Anglican priest who is the acknowledged founder of the Methodist Church, put it this way:
“Do no harm, do good, and never fall out of love with God.”

It is a very succinct statement, easy to remember but not so easy to carry out in our daily lives. It does, however, give us a simple guideline to live our lives by, and this is the critically important plan to provide the love we are talking about.

As I previously stated, the listing given is by no means all inclusive, it is just for starters. The idea is to make each of us think about the importance of our families and the commitment that we must make if we truly love them. After all, when we die our memories are the most important thing we leave behind. And the memories that we leave etched in the mind of those we leave creates a lasting mark much greater than anything produced by a eulogy writer. Oh, money and security of lifestyle is certainly important, but if we have instilled love and caring in their hearts, and they recognize it as being good, their adjustment will be less difficult and they will be secure in the pride they have when they remember us. They will be able to handle life’s travails knowing that they were raised into love.

Let’s keep God’s love in our hearts in each and every one of life’s undertakings. And may we carry this love forward in all that we do. Love Him and follow Him. It’s what He expects from us. God bless you all.

James Dick, author of “Honey, We Shoulda’ Bought the Ark” now available on Amazon.com
Hawthorne, Florida
www.northfloridawriter.com

James Dick Book on Amazon

 

You Need Someone You Can Trust

Over the last few months we have been talking about grief as well as what we need to do to make our final celebration of life as easy as possible for our remaining loved ones. I know everyone agrees, whether we’ve done it or not, that having a plan in place is important to make this possible. No one wants to leave as a memory a chaotic, stressful situation which makes added grief and depression a potentially serious problem.

In making our preparations, it is certainly important that we consider funeral planning services, funeral costs and estate planning as part of our deliberations. In doing so we also need to be sure that advice provided to our loved ones after our death is objective but also with a personal touch. Tenderness and compassion is needed in addition to professional competence. Carrying out plans, or dealing with the many different issues that come with death, requires clear thinking and a cool head. Unfortunately, when we are likely suffering from grief and depression from our loss, emotions often take over and objectivity goes out the window. So what can we do to preclude this from happening to those who love us?

One answer is the selection of an informal adviser to provide counsel and advice to those who must carry out our wishes. I’m not talking about someone necessarily with final decision-making authority, although some wish to do this via power of attorney. No, I’m referring here to someone you know well and completely trust, someone who can separate personal ties from the business end of your affairs, who can stand by to serve as a sounding board for your spouse or other responsible family representative when the time of need arises. This is someone in addition to the professionals such as lawyers, funeral directors, grief and depression counselors; it is someone more personal and relatable yet also competent to help. It is someone who is closer and more knowledgeable of you and your family than a business acquaintance.

My first realization of the importance of having a personal friend to confide in under these circumstances came as a child when my father died suddenly. My mom wasn’t thinking clearly and needed some help in dealing with all of the things that must be done. The neighbor next door, husband of Mom’s best friend, stepped in and really saved the day. A savvy and professional businessman, he steered her in the right direction and things went as smoothly as humanly possible. Our family couldn’t have done it without him.

Later as an Army officer, I was frequently called to serve as a Survivor Assistance Officer for families of service members who died while on active duty. My duties were to accompany the widow or other closest family member of the deceased through the process of insuring that all military requirements were handled professionally and properly. While my primary concern was providing support in receiving all Army benefits and entitlements, I couldn’t help but recognize that many additional issues these poor people faced were often without any competent advisor to help them. This is when I made a mental note to myself that when my time came to depart this earth, I was going to be sure this fate did not befall my loved ones.

So what kind of person should you consider to provide your family with an additional set of eyes to look at things objectively? Here are a few of the factors that I used in identifying the person to ask to do this service for me. Each of us may have different factors, but the point here is to identify those things that will make this person the best to fulfill your needs. Here’s my short list; you might add many more as well:
1. They should be someone you know and trust, a person with an impeccable reputation for honor and integrity.
2. They must be discreet and able to maintain explicit confidentiality.
3. They should be intelligent with some practical experience in business sufficient to have reasonable comprehension of the complexity of financial and legal matters.
4. They should be someone who is willing to be candid and forthright with the remaining loved ones, even in those issues where their views might not be initially popular. The thrust of their advice and support must be what is best for the family.
5. They should be a person of faith, not necessarily of the exact mold of yours, but at least recognizing the reality of a living God who is always available for us. Prayer by this person, as well as prayer by the family, plays a big role in getting life back to normal after a stressful and grieving experience.
6. They must be someone who is willing to devote sufficient time to provide the help needed and also be willing to follow up afterwards for a considerable period of time, usually about a year. Here it would be assumed that the person in question would likely have real concern for the family welfare and would likely stand by for a long time. This affords the family the security of knowing that they have someone who has real interest in their welfare not just for the short term.
7. They should be someone who does this out of the love in their heart and not for personal gain. Notice here that I am not talking about someone who does not perform their assistance for money; they are, rather, an extra pair of eyes to make sure that all the official providers of service are living up to expectations.

Friends, this is a tall order for anyone and be aware that when you are considering asking for someone’s commitment it will take a special person to agree. Anyone filling this advisory and part-time role has to be a person with true love in their heart as Jesus expects. Don’t be surprised if someone might be reluctant to agree to this commitment, but realize that whoever accepts will be rewarded in a much different way for a true act of kindness.
Each of us on occasion might also be called upon by a friend to act in this manner for them. The willingness to serve in such a way is a true sign of a kind and generous person who sacrifices himself for the benefit of others. At the same time, it is a true honor to be considered for this responsibility since it indicates that someone really values and trusts your judgment and goodness. Its rewards are in the feeling of accomplishment and the personal satisfaction of knowing that a commitment to something really special has been made.

I would also like to suggest that you look over the SharedSorrows.com website to see the many helpful components available to help you. The site offers outstanding online funeral planning information and the service is as close as an email or phone call to provide other services you might need.

I hope this information has been helpful and at least makes us think about its benefit. And may God bless each and every one of us.

James Dick
Hawthorne, Florida
www.northfloridawriter.com

 

Being There for a Grieving Friend

Often we are called upon to help a family member friend who is grieving the loss of a loved one. While most of us are not counselors by profession, we feel that we must be as supportive as humanly possible.This can place us in an awkward situation since we might not be sure what to say and we certainly don’t want to upset someone in their time of grief.

Let me get one pet peeve off my chest right here at the outset. Never say, “I know what you are going through.” No, you don’t because each situation is different just like each person is different. We can never fully understand the breadth and scope of fear and concern faced by a particular grievant. Accordingly, it would be better to just say, “I am so sorry for your loss.”

A young Christian student named Kevin Halloran (website: KevinHalloran.net) recently published on his blog a list of eight grief counseling tips that might be helpful. These tips were drawn from the works of Christopher Lukas and Henry M. Seiden and offer some techniques used by professional counselors. While we laypersons are not professionals, a review of their substance might be helpful in better preparing us to help the family member or friend deal with the particulars of the situation they face.

I can’t overemphasize the point that counseling is best left to qualified counselors. Having said that, however, anything we can do to aid and comfort someone suffering a loss is beneficial if it is properly approached. Just remember that the points discussed are to be looked at as pointers and aids in helping in a more limited way. Let’s take a few moments to discuss them point by point.
#1 Establish a listening attitude. This sounds like an easy one but it is much more difficult than we imagine on the surface. We need to sit back and listen carefully to what the grievant is saying. It will give us clues about what they are thinking and how we can best help. Listening is not easy for most people; more often than not we are planning our response to what we hear while we should still be actively listening. When this happens we often miss much of the information being provided. Sometimes taking notes, either on paper or just mentally, helps, but always ask for permission when doing so.
#2 Saying back—telling people what you hear them saying—is where the whole process begins. When someone is telling you something important, it is critical for you to let them know that you actually hear what they say. One way to do this is to periodically interject what you have heard. An example would be an opening like this: “So what you are telling me is ….” This gives them the opportunity to clear up any misconceptions and it also lets them know that you are truly hearing them. Remember, just being there with them and lending an ear is probably the most important thing you can do.
#3 If you get stuck or don’t get it—say so. If you are told something that you don’t understand, ask for clarification. This accomplishes two things. First, it insures that you better understand the information which is important to getting things right. Second, it reinforces to the grievant that you are indeed listening intently to what you are being told.
#4 Another way of giving something is to say what you are feeling as you listen. A lot of what you hear from a grievant is his or her feelings, what the situation they are facing elicits from them emotionally. If you invoke a similar response, you let the grievant know that you are empathetic to their plight. A way of doing this is to open a response with a statement of what you feel when they tell you something. It could be something like, “When I hear you tell me that I feel that you are alone and searching for a special answer,” or something of this type. The goal is to keep the conversation going and to help the communicant open up. You might want to expand on why it makes you feel this way and it clearly puts you directly on their communication wavelength and shows them that you truly care.
#5 Sometimes it is possible to talk about what is going on between you and the survivor. Don’t be afraid to approach the concept of how the “give and take” impacts you as well. You might feel that you are not qualified to deal with the specifics and if so, that is ok. You might tell them that it makes you feel overwhelmed and you are not sure that you can provide what they need. This shows your humanity and honesty, and since the prime purpose of your being there is to provide a sounding board as a listener, that is also ok. Remember, ultimately the grievant must solve his or her own issues; you merely serve as someone to help facilitate that.
#6 Look for shifts in meaning. Look for signs that the grievant is actively working their way through their grief as the conversation continues. Are they beginning to grasp things and deal with them? Are they beginning to see that they still have a future and can handle things? Such changes in the conversation mean they are beginning to come to grips with their grief. It also means that your time spent with them is worthwhile.
#7 Be prepared for things to move slowly. Don’t hurry things. It takes time for feelings and fears to come out. People are generally protective and private in these matters and they don’t want to project themselves as being weak. Just keep the process open and active and give them plenty of time to open their heart. It all comes with due time.
#8 Be prepared to back off. This one is particularly important. Don’t push things too hard. Don’t expect too much. You may not be able to provide any help other than being there.

Sometimes a professional counselor is needed and that is not a bad reflection on you personally. All of us are different and respond differently to stress and grief. Always be aware of this.

I don’t want to overdo my caution but remember, you are not a qualified grief counselor. You are a concerned friend or family member and you want to be a help, not a hindrance. The eight pointers above, however, will give you a good idea of how to handle yourself when dealing with someone who is at a time in their life when they are very vulnerable and very sensitive. Use them wisely and use your own good judgment and understanding of the individual’s personality to help you as you move forward.

There’s one more thing you can do and although I’ve listed it at the end it is really the most important. You can take a moment before getting involved and pray to God for guidance. Let Him know how you feel about your mission and He will help you handle it in the best way. God is always the best resource. He knows each of us like an open book, our strengths as well as our weaknesses and he will give you wonderful counsel. You will then be able to go forward and truly be of help to the person who needs you in their time of grief and you will know that you have the guidance and inspiration necessary for the task.

I hope you have found this information helpful and I wish you the blessings of God always. Always stand with Him and you can never go wrong.

Written by:

James Dick
www.northfloridawriter.com

 

Delbert Belton

A MEMORIAL TO DELBERT BELTON, DIED AUGUST 22, 2013
World War II Veteran, Pacific Theater

Another member of America’s Greatest Generation, those who fought gallantly for our freedom and way of life in World War II, died Thursday in Spokane, Washington. Unfortunately, he did not go peacefully in the night as so many of his brothers and sisters at arms of his age have done in recent years. He was the victim of random violence by teenage thugs, killed for no known reason except hate. He was 88.

Delbert Belton was waiting in his car for his caretaker to accompany him into the Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge in Spokane where he routinely played pool on Wednesday night. The horrific attack occurred while he waited. He passed away the next morning in a Spokane hospital.

Mr. Belton fought with the United States Army in the bloodiest battle of World War II, the final major battle leading to the surrender of Japan. The Battle of Okinawa resulted in death and injury to over 60,000 American service members during the period April thru June 1945. Mr. Belton was one of those casualties, suffering from a gunshot wound in the leg which resulted in his receiving the Purple Heart.

A surviving sister, Alberta Tosh, who was just a baby when he went off to war, remembers the impact that the war had on him. She said that when he returned from the Pacific he was different and it took him a long time to readjust and try and get over the awful memories of war. He never talked about his experience but its impact on his life was clear.

Later, Mr. Belton began a career back in his hometown with Kaiser Aluminum and was a faithful and good employee for 33 years, retiring in 1982. He loved to dance and work on cars, and he spent a lot of time doing the things he loved in his retirement. And, of course, he loved the weekly pool games at the Eagles lodge, which he never missed. He is remembered by his friends as a happy and friendly older man who would never harm anyone.

One of his friends, Ted Denison, who is half his age but knew him for over twenty years, said he was one of the kindest, most gentle persons he ever knew. He used to work on cars with Mr. Belton and they frequently had breakfast together.

Another fine man, an elderly American Patriot, dies at the hands of violence by a culture that seemingly has no sense of right or wrong and certainly no moral code to follow. What’s more, this same group has many apologists who are always making excuses for their actions and behavior. I truly hope that justice prevails in this case and for other like situations which seem to be running rampant in America today.

May Mr. Belton rest in peace, may we remember and honor his service to the country he loved, and may those who perpetrated this and other like heinous crimes be dealt with to the full extent of the law. I hope everyone will join in saluting this American Patriot and join me in prayer.

Dear Lord, Most of us didn’t personally know Delbert Belton, but we honor his life and bid him farewell as citizens of a grateful country. He was a simple and kind man, a man who did what so many did in sacrificing for and serving proudly the country that he loved in time of war. Be with his spirit on his journey home and comfort his loved ones, especially his surviving son and sister, who are certainly tormented by the senselessness and the evil of the act committed against him. And, Lord, open the hearts of the evil doers to the Holy Spirit and infect them with goodness, replacing evil. While they still must face the proper punishment for the evil they have done, help them change their ways and follow Thee to a better future.

And finally Lord, also help our entire American society become reacquainted with ‘Thee and relearn how to love Thee. Evil seems to be lurking everywhere and our country has lost its way. Help all Americans to see the error of their ways and to change, to take better care of our children, and to develop them as Citizens of Christ. For only in this way can we find peace and harmony again. We ask in Jesus’ name, Amen

Delbert, if you can hear this, I hope you know how glad we are that you were here for your country when she needed you. And we hope you rest comfortably in the company of your previously departed wife and our Lord. You’ve earned some peace and tranquility.

May the peace of the Lord be with all of you Honor Him, serve Him and love Him.

Written by:

James Dick
www.northfloridawriter.com