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Don’t Tread On Me

Gretchen has been after me for some time to write another “guest blog.” I’m not so sure she wants me to write because she thinks the process will be good for me. Rather, I think she feels having my perspective on the year thus far will bring us even closer together. This helps her, of course, and because I want her to be happy I’m bound to oblige.

It’s been difficult for me trying to put everything together this year. If you ever ask Mopsy about me she’d tell you I like to tinker with broken things. When something stops working (or even when it’s working, but not the way I like) you’ll find me tearing into the guts of the thing to figure it out—to see if I can fix it.

This behavior drives Mopsy nuts.
Read her post, Wake-up, Doc! to see just what I mean.

The thing is, while I’m busy tearing into stuff I usually get so focused on the project nothing else can turn my head. This isn’t generally a good thing when you have a house filled with children. It means either she has to look after them during her “time off”, or I was up late the night before and she has to get up early in the morning to look after them on the weekend when I should be the one getting up to make coffee because she doesn’t like her own coffee.

What’s not always so apparent about me is all the time I spend deconstructing things in my head. I don’t think this is a bad thing. But it makes it hard for me to write about stuff—until I can get the “thing” figured out, put back together and summed up in I nice tidy package.

That’s what’s been so tough about putting the pieces of the year so far together. I haven’t had a really catchy way to sum up all of the frustration, the despair, the hurt. Until this morning.

In case Mopsy hasn’t already posted about the latest mess of illness, bruises and the like I’ll tell you quickly. (Not to whine about it all, but to fill in the appropriate background). Joel visited the doctor yesterday. This time for a burning fever. The diagnosis was two raging ear infections and a case of croup. The latest misery sandwich was topped last night by a wonderful face plant (garnished by a fat lip and a wonderfully presented loose tooth).

So, this morning Mom-of-Mopsy called to check-up on everybody. As I was telling her the latest news a picture formed in my mind. It finally brought together all the pieces this shattered year has scattered in my mind. With the jigsaw now complete, I decided to mark 2005 by creating a family mascot.

Therefore, I’m officially introducing you today to Joel as the 2005 Mopsy family mascot. I know the mascot doesn’t usually also play for the team, but in this case I can think of no one better. First, we don’t have that many players. So, all of us are called to take on a lot of different positions—both on and off the field. Second, Joel’s current state of multiple conditions just so perfectly encapsulates the collective beating our team has taken yet this year no other fluffy, stuffed costume could compete.

Of course, a team—err, family cannot exist in a constant state of despair. A team needs a flag to inspire determination, and to bring recognition. This is why I’m also pleased to announce the new family colors.

Gadsden Flag (courtesy of
Gadsden Flag courtesy of

This flag bears our new statement of determination not to lie down in the face of hardship. Our new mascot will proudly bear our color, waving it defiantly from his broken, green casted, arm.

Seriously, anyone who knows a bit of our country’s history has at least seen the Gadsden flag. The meaning of its simple statement, “Don’t Tread on Me,” is unmistakable. I’ll spare you the entire history lesson except as it applies to my point. (If you don’t know anything about the Gadsden flag. Shame on you. Google the phrase, “Don’t Tread on Me.” Go learn the basics; and then visit a library to find a good history book).

In any event, one of the images to inspire the Gadsden flag was a political cartoon drawn by Benjamin Franklin in 1754. (It is the first political cartoon known to appear in an American newspaper). The cartoon is of a snake cut into eight pieces, beneath which reads, “Join or Die.”

Join or Die Woodcarving

Franklin published the cartoon as a plea for colonial unity during the French and Indian War. The “cut” snake image was taken from a well known superstition at the time which held that a snake cut into pieces could be brought back to life if was put back together before sunset.

Enough of the history lesson. I think you see where I’m going with this. Our lives often come apart in ways we do not expect. When we’re torn apart we don’t often think everything can be put back together. We get lost in the messy details. We try to fight the battles on our own, and we often fail.

The thing is, our lives can be put back together with the help of others—especially our family. God made people to be together, to fellowship, to live as families, to live as friends; and to seek Him. He knows our weakest moments can make us stronger if we come together under Him. When we do so He will put us back together. He will give us new life before the sun sets.

3 comments to Don’t Tread On Me

  • mopsy

    Thanks, dear. Beautifully done. And thank you for the history lesson…uh…I have a confession. Never heard of the Gadsden flag! But lets fly the flag from our pole! If we had one.

  • Momofmopsy

    Great history lesson and great idea for visualizing victory even when things get tough. With God we can overcome and perservere.

  • Uncle Jim

    Amen – to MOM OF MOPSY!

    Hey man that was great to hear from you this time Hubby I’m mean Lee, and by the way I liked the lesson…

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