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Daily Posts – Trust, Action, and Preparation.

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Good Saturday morning, folks!  Hope it is dawning both merry and bright.  We … have a house full, which is always kinda fun.  A quote from a few weeks back has come to mind this morning, “A good conscious is a continual Christmas.”  This quote is attributed to Mr. Benjamin Franklin, though I have not confirmed that outside of the ever-truthful internet.  Regardless of who said it, the point is a good one, especially in light of the political and cultural environment we live in today.  If you have not done anything wrong, you have nothing to worry about and you can go about your day to day life with a pretty good smile on your face.  Now I know no one is perfect, but their is a long distance between occasional sin, and continued unrepentant actions.  We surely get into heaven by only one means, but as Jesus pointed out it will be far more bearable on that day for some than for others, and this eternal statement certainly proves true in this mortal life.  You will make mistakes, you will do the wrong thing, the key is to not make a habit of it, folks.  😉

There are so many instances throughout history where one side has succeeded simply by continuing for one more night, by holding onto hope for just a few more hours.  Eventually the sun does rise again.  We can have no idea what God has in store for us.  As long as we trust Him, however, and believe in His Son, (and maybe talk to Him every once in a while) we can be assured of one thing, that we will spend eternity with Him and that everything is moving us toward that point.  

Have you ever had someone promise you something, and then not do it? Promise to pick you up after school or work, but not show up?  Promise to watch you play a football game or perform in a concert, but not be there or not show up until the end of the fourth quarter or the last play?  Promise to remember your birthday, but not buy you a card or even mention it except in passing?  Promise to be a good partner in your business and work long hours side by side, only to go home early and show up late, or even abscond with all your funds?  Promise to be a good friend, a listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on, but always have something else they just could not get out of when you needed them?  Promise to love you for ever and ever until death do us part, only to decide you were not worth the effort and either leave emotionally or physically?  Any of these, and you know the heartrending truth of this quote deep in your soul.  There is one Person, though, who will never leave you nor forsake you.  One Person who will do exactly what He says he will; every time.  For the rest, show a little bit of grace, but if they keep it up, maybe try to use a little bit of better judgement in who you trust next time.  😉  And for sure make sure you give your trust to Him.

Prepare yourselves.  If we end up not needing to, great.  If we find we must be prepared for our brothers and sisters continued folly and destruction, then we will be.  “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

Just a thought if you are still looking for a great Christmas present for your kiddos or a good friend.  There are lots of places to find Countryside!  Hope you will check it out.  

Y’all have a good rest of your Saturday!  Enjoy your people.  Try to keep a clear conscious in your relationship with God, your relationship with others, and your relationship with yourself.  It makes life so much simpler and smoother.  And as always this time of year, try to find some Christmas lights to wonder at for a few moments.  God Bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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Daily Posts – Promises We Hear, Actions We See, and Faith.

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Afternoon, folks!  Hope all is well.  I want to return for a moment to the conversation from yesterday.  The other topic I spoke of, was phones.  In a recent conversation with a gentlemen, he mentioned the fact that he and his wife decided not to use Facebook anymore.  He said they came to this decision when they realized they were often sitting side by side on the couch, not paying attention to each other, but rather both on their own Facebook accounts.  Their evening was not spent talking and sharing with each other but texting and commenting on Facebook statuses and posts.  Now, I will not say that there is nothing good about Facebook, but I will mention that I think this couple made a stellar decision.  For no matter how nice the people you meet on social media are, and I know there are some kind ones out there, they are not real flesh and blood.  The emotional connections you are making, or quality time you are spending with your “friends” on Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, ect. are merely taking away from the real people in your own life: your spouse, your kids, your friends that live near you.  When life really gets difficult, is it the brother or sister nearby that will comfort you, or the ones on Facebook, IG, or Pinterest?  (I know some people are gonna gasp here, but getting lost in books for hours is not different … they aren’t real people, folks!)  It should be the ones who live and breath in the same air that you do.  How could it be otherwise?  The people you “friend” on your phone have their own families and worries that they will and must take care of, that must take a priority over you.  This is how it should be.  You cannot expect them to put you in more importance than the people they see and interact with on a daily basis.  That is like expecting the workers at Target to be more focused on serving you than a mom and pop store in the community you live in.  Of course you are going to be more important to the mom and pop store.  And this is where the conversation gets really uncomfortable (because it has not been up until now ;)).  If you do not focus your time and energy on those real people right in front of your now, what do you think y’all’s relationship is going to be like twenty years from now?  Do you really think they are going to all the sudden drop everything for you when you say you need them, when your “friends” have all found someone else to follow or text with, when you do not have the hottest pictures on Instagram anymore?  No.  They will not, and you will not have anyone to blame but the person in the mirror.  

How can you have faith in what you have never heard of?  You cannot.  And though you can have faith in what is not real, it must certainly run its course and prove itself false in the end.  Trust the words of God.  Have faith in Him, even when it is desperately hard too.  He will not let you down.  And “share” God as often as you do the trendiest post online.  

Make all the promises you want.  Say all the right words.  Even sound sincere when you say them.  If you do not act on them it matters not and only proves you a liar.  Better it is to not say anything.  Do not make any promises.  Just do.  People will see by your actions that you are a man or woman of your word and they will not need anyone to tell them.  

We want to think the best of those we know.  We want to see them in the best light.  We want there to be some excuse or reason when they do the things we know they should not.  That is hope.  That is ok.  Hoping though without a plan is nothing more than wishful thinking.  We can wish all we want that our fellow brothers and sisters would come to their senses, would see how much damage is being done to our country, and would abhor the destruction to life and liberty.  But they may well not.  To pass along a quote from one of the Marine Corps generals, ‘Be polite, be professional, but have a plan to kill everybody you meet.’  This sounds very dramatic, but the point is to always have a plan folks for when the other guy is not as kind and moral and full of character as he ought to be.  

I’ve tried to craft a place where morals still live, where good people still exist, and where you feel safe letting your kids and grandkids run around … well maybe not safe, but at least you feel good about them reading about kids running around in Countryside. 😉

Y’all have a fantastic end to your week!  Put the phone down once in a while and sit and talk or just be next to the real people in your life.  The images of your spouse smiling, your kids laughing, or your neighbor waving are the ones that will still be there when you are old and gray, not the one of the best decorated room, the latest book review, or the latest quip.  Oh, and pray, spread the word, and find some Christmas lights to look at and let your heart smile.   God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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Your Lips, Your Heart, and What you are Really Saying

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Afternoon, folks!  Hope y’all are having a great day.  There’s a couple things I would like to talk with y’all about today, but I may only get to one, we shall see.  The first is an observation.  Something is put in front of me daily because of my profession, and I would like to hear your opinion on it.  Right now in schools across America, we are working kids to the bone.  No it is not sweatshops and no it is not slave labor, but we are working our children hard in all the wrong ways and not working them hard in the right ways.  They get to school, with slight variations across the county, sometime around 730am.  They get out around 330pm, and that is assuming that they do not have any extracurricular events or obligations.  If they do participate in sports or band, or something of that nature, then it is likely closer to 630pm when they get done on the average day.  So correct me if I am wrong on the math here, but that means our 13-18 year old boys and girls are working somewhere around 10-11 hour days, whilst our adult men and women are typically working around 8-9 in a normal clock-in, clock-out kinda job.  Yes I know there are salaried people who work longer days, and I know all about twelve hour tours and the midnight shift.  My point is our kids are working (academically and athletically) close to the same if not longer hours than our grown people.  Logically, either our grown men and women are not working long enough, or our kids are working too long.  We may have to elaborate on this in an article later on, but I would still be interested in your general thoughts…  

Do you know as much about God’s word as you do your Facebook or Instagram stats?  Do you work as hard on studying the bible as you do on your next social post or your fantasy football draft?  Do we spend as much time teaching our children about God and Jesus as we do watching TV with them or letting them zone out on their phones?  Just some questions…

Kids know this.  I asked about 100 of them recently and without exception as far as I could tell they all knew this.  They knew that if someone promised to be there and pick them up at a certain time, or if a friend promised to hang out with them and did not, especially if that was a routine occurrence, that meant that person “was a liar, and could not be trusted”.  Their words, not mine.  Kids are not near as dumb as we act like they are.  Neither are our grown up friends, our spouses, or Jesus.  No matter how much you say you love someone, if you don’t carry thru on it with your actions, it is as if you did not even say anything … no it is worse actually.  As a man I respect deeply says, “just do what you say you are going too” … or don’t say it.

Advancement.  Honor.  Respect.  Value.  All of these and more are based not on what we look like from the outside, but what we look like from the inside.  If we do not crush this cancer that is spreading across our country telling us it matters what color your skin is, how you talk, how much money you have, or where you came from, we will have nothing left but the tatters of a once great nation.  

Countryside, I think, is a place you can come back home to over and over again.  A place where you smile when you walk in the front door of the bookstore or the village market.  And a place where you wave to the people passing you on the dirt road.  Come give it a try.  

Y’all have a fantastic day!  I know I never got around to my second point today.  We will have to work on that for tomorrow.  Talk to Jesus.  Smile.  Stand firm.  God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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Daily Posts – The Call, the Team, and the Bond.

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Afternoon, folks!  Hope all is well today.  Had another little moment that brought to mind something to share.  I see it every day, in multiple places.  It takes people away from those they care about.  It pretends to replace the emotional connection with friends, kids, spouse, and even God.  It gives people a false sense of being cared about and important.  And it is EVERYWHERE.  In our shops, our schools, our homes, and even our churches.  It’s not that big.  You might not even notice it if you saw it lying on a table.  Thirty years ago it was unheard of.  It’s a “smart” phone.  A little piece of plastic that causes people to look down toward their feet more than at what is in front of them.  You cannot replace people with plastic, folks.  No amount of texts, or messages, or followers will ever replace the flesh and blood you have staring you in the face.  Just ask yourself this one simple question.  When you are 80 years old and lying sick in bed, will the phone, or all the followers and messengers and likers be there to hold your hand?  

People cannot believe if they do not know what we are talking about.  And they cannot know what we are talking about if we do not show them.  The talking must come as well in certain forms, but it must always be the doing that convinces people to listen with their hearts.  Are we talking to anyone about Jesus?  More importantly are we showing Jesus to anyone by our actions?  

A team is called a team for a reason.  No matter how great one member is, they are still nothing without their team.  I have yet to see a one man basketball team, or a one man football team.  Such is the way in life too.  You can’t have a one person marriage, and your kids only get half the story if they do not have a mom and a dad.  We need to remind ourselves that the next time we get to thinking that we are so good we do not need anyone.    

A federal government should have an extremely tight rein on a very few issues.  Sanctity of Life.  Control of our nations borders.  Defense against external threats.  Equality of justice for all her citizens.  It is a pretty limited list, folks.  Nothing like it has grown to be.  We do need a strong federal government, we just need them to be strong in a few things, and leave the rest of it to the states.    

Carriages, tunnels, country estates, cattle, and a whole lot of Texas.  Come take a visit to Countryside!  You’ll find some old fashioned manners and kindness to mix with laughter and music and a little bit of mystery.  

Hope y’all have a great rest of your day!  Focus on your people more than you do your phone.  We can always buy a new phone … people are a bit harder to come by.  Enjoy the end of fall too, and look at a few Christmas lights and let yourself be a kid when you can.  God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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Daily Posts – Hearing, the King, and Unity

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Afternoon, folks!  Hope all is well.  Something happened today that got me pretty fired up.  I will spare you the sordid details, but it did bring to mind another topic.  Taxes.  How in the name of all that is good and just and merciful do we find a way to countenance taking thirty cents per dollar from one man and no cents from another and yet call them both citizens and give them both one vote.  In this case, folks, one plus one very much is not equaling two.  We do not even have one plus one at the moment!  At any rate, I’ll take a deep breath and move on.

There is no shame in believing in Jesus Christ.  The only shame comes from not believing or in believing and being embarrassed to admit it.  That does not mean that we have to start every conversation we have with “Do you know Jesus?”  But it does mean when given the opportunity to talk about Jesus we should take it.  How will people know that we “call on the name of the Lord” if we never ever talk about Him?

The weekly article talks more in-depth about how this is affecting America and Western culture as a whole these days.  Suffice to say we are quickly getting to the point where Christ is not only just King one or two days a year, He is not even King on those days.  He either rose from the dead or He did not.  He either is Lord of all, or lord of nothing.  

While we do not have the same issue with states now that President Washington had with the colonies as the beginning of the Revolution, we do have a very insidious creation of class distinctions in present day America.  What do we mean when we say someone is African-American, Asian-American, Irish-American, German-American, Mexican-American, Japanese-American, ect?  What we mean without saying it is that these people are not just Americans, they are a special class of Americans.  You cannot have that, folks.  To paraphrase a quote from a lady who supported the Marine Corps Battery I was blessed enough to be around a few years back, we’ll never get rid of all the prejudice, and racism, and class warfare in this Country until we get rid of all the hyphens.  

For all the things that have made America the greatest nation on earth, for all the things that seem so lacking in our politicians and a large percentage of our fellow citizens, take a quick trip over to Countryside.  You might be presently surprised.  

Hope y’all have a wonderful rest of your day, folks!  Take time to enjoy your people, to say a prayer or two, and to stop and stare at the Christmas lights.  As my father says, America is still the best thing going.  We just need to do a little course correcting, albeit in a hurry.  God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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Daily Posts – Belief, Work, and the Citizen-Solider

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Afternoon, folks!  Hope y’all are having a good start to the week.  In a world where people keep going, walk by, and avert their eyes, be the person who stops to pick up a piece of trash, who stops and says hello to the person who is walking alone and looking down at their feet, or who just sits and listens to the person who lives alone.  Much like working on your relationship with God, or your marriage to your spouse, being kind to people is rarely as hard as we make it out to be.  You don’t have to be perfect.  You don’t have to get it all right every time.  Just smile every once in a while and take a moment to stop and listen.  Do what you can, while you can.  Ah, and before I forget, if you have a chance this weeks article is up now; check it out if you have the time.  

I have often wondered over the years, what believing means.  I will not tell you I have the right and absolute answer, but I do think it really just boils down to making a decision in your mind and heart to believe.  God gave us a choice, He left it for us to decide, all we have to do is choose.  After we choose though, that is what we so desperately need today in America.  Somehow, in whatever little way you can, spread the word about Jesus.  It does not have to be the biggest and best and most “liked” or “shared”, just do what you can while you can.  As our wise pastor said months ago, everybody has something they can do, somehow they can reach out and share a little bit of Jesus with the world.  

If you do not work, you do not eat.  If you do not share the burden, you do not share the spoils.  If you do not pay taxes, you do not get to vote.  This is not cruel or uncaring or un-Christlike.  It is based on both history and Christianity.  You cannot give or steal what does not belong to you, what you have not worked for.  By the same token, you cannot withhold or water down what is due a man who has worked.  

America is based upon the idea that all were citizens first.  Before we were politicians.  Before we were soldiers.  Before we were doctors, or lawyers, or teachers.  We were all Americans first.  We have forgotten this and we are reaping the rewards for having done so and for allowing this to happen.  So while we must not pass up any opportunity to restore tranquility, harmony and justice in a peaceful manner, we must also gird ourselves for the prospect that our brother and sister citizens will reject the olive branch.  We must prepare for them instead to insist either on attempting to sever the union piecemeal or continuing to dismantle and devalue America by setting up a class system that acknowledges not the equality of every citizen before just laws.

If you are looking for a place to go where excitement, and comfort and suspense get all mixed together, and where most of all good is still good; check out Countryside.   

Hope y’all have a fantastic rest of your day.  Read a little bit of your bible if you have one.  Pray a little extra.  Smile at those who cannot seem too.  And find a few Christmas lights to look at or some Christmas music to listen too.  God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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What Christmas in America says about our Country

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Christmastime in America tells you a great deal about us as a country. This is the time of year that we put our best foot forward. A time of year when we show kindness toward others and worry about giving more than receiving. This is a time of year when we celebrate peace and joy. Christmas is a time when we care for those less fortunate and those in need. A time when Santa comes to town, music fills the air, and snow (or dreams of snow here in Texas) fill the mind. A time when Christmas trees, lights, both colored and white, ornaments, and now even big blow up dolls come out. Or is it really? Is something not missing? To paraphrase an old poet, is something wicked not this way coming?

Our schools are filled with laughter and happiness. Christmas trees pop up there and even some errant strands of lights. Kids feel the draw of the time off and a break from school. And yet somewhere in the distance there is a discordant note, a sign that not all is merry and bright. A student in the back of the classroom is not smiling. The thought of Christmas flits through their mind and a shadow passes over their face. A teacher pastes on a smile for her class, but at the end of the day sits alone with the door shut trying to keep the tears at bay. But the parking lot empties and the day is done, and we quickly drive away.

We speak kindly to each other, even about politics, or at least we choose to speak of other things and thereby avoid any pain or discomfort. We speak of reaching out to the “other side” of the aisle. Words are softer and the “rhetoric” tones down a bit. We speak of how we all want the same things but just have different ideas on how to get there. Yet, here again, something it not wholly right, there is the ring of something disturbing that we cannot quite place our finger on. Meetings are held where no cameras are allowed. Money changes hands. Conversations are had between people while darting looks over their shoulders.

Sales in stores go up. The economy revives. Stores thrive and people gladly load up their carts. We smile at the red pot and the ringing bell outside in the cold and drop a few dollars in before continuing on our way. We buy a pre-bagged Christmas dinner in the local supermarket to donate to the food bank across the street. But all is not well. Fights break out in stores over a television. Gunshots are heard in our malls. Children are left bleeding and crying on the floor. There is a darkness, and with a cackle it slinks back into the alleys around the corner, and we … well we hurry on our way a little faster and lock our doors a little tighter.

According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics the suicide rate in America has increased some thirty percent in the last two decades. The violent crime rate (although down from its highs in the 1980’s and 90’s) is nearly double what it was fifty years ago across the country according to FBI data. And the poverty rate through 2016 is two percentage points higher, or about twenty million people more, than it was in the 1970’s according to US Census Bureau. This may seem a strange connection, between the joys and hope we speak of so frequently during Christmas and such dire and depressing statistics as these, but there is a point. For although many arguments can be made about economic and national policy and decisions over the past forty to fifty years, and a number of them are quite valid in their own right, we have had multiple different administrations, hundreds of different politicians of varying backgrounds and beliefs and with different policy goals. So what then could be the cause of an overall increase in crime, poverty, and suicide?

The answer is the same darkness that has recently resulted in a Nebraska school banning candy canes because the “J” shape stands for Jesus. It is the same darkness which causes our national politicians to speak of acceptance and “coexsisting” whilst raving about the phobias of those who follow a Carpenter. It is also the same iniquity that has school plays, Christmas school plays, with only a second or two of passing mention of God and none of Jesus. You cannot have Christmas without Christ, and you cannot have an America without God, at least not one that is not quickly fading into the faded glory and dusty pages of history.

We have told God to get out of our schools. Yelled at Him actually. We have told Him to get out of our politics. We are increasingly telling Him to get out of our institutions, or picking and choosing how we want Him involved, i.e. the Boy Scouts of America. Perhaps even more devious than these is that in the places where, from the people we are supposed to see God and Jesus Christ most, we have become quieter and quieter with little to no actual push back. How then can we expect different results besides more depravity and evil to spread throughout our land? How can we be surprised at the results that our country has reaped over the past half century? We cannot, for God has acquiesced to our demands.

These comments and observations on the state of our country are simply the national extension of many citizens individual act of taking Jesus Christ out of Christmas. No matter how jolly Santa Clause is, no matter how merry his elves are or how swift his reindeer, how red Rudolph’s nose is, or how many presents he brings, you cannot celebrate a holiday based upon the birth of a Savior without celebrating that Savior or His birth. Nor can you have a country that was founded on the principles of Jesus Christ function without the basis for those principles. Both are the height of foolishness. Christmas without Christ is just “mas”, folks, and right now that’s all we’re getting in America, more and more of the malevolent.

— JT Cope IV

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Daily Posts – Love, Justice, and Affection

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Morning, folks!  The morning broke dreary and cloudy here.  We had quite a bit of rain last night, as I have heard a number of y’all across the country did as well.  We did discover three leaks in our new roof, which is disappointing, but the rooms were still warm and cozy so that is good.  The Christmas trees are twinkling away, our little fake fire heater is plugging away, and the first cup of coffee is on the way.  Oh and the rooster is crowing outside.  So altogether not a bad morning so far.    

Nothing but you, can separate you from God’s love.  Nothing.  Trust Him and draw near to Him each day.  And just a thought, folks, if God is our priority, do we make him first on our “to do” list, or do we save Him for last?  Our marriages illustrate this relationship too, and I am not speaking of the actual timing of the day but rather the “timing” of our hearts.  Some people find the best time for their relationship with God and their spouse is at night, some the middle of the day, and some the morning.  The point is not when you spend time together but rather how.  Do you put your best energy and attitude into God and your spouse?

To treat those who are not citizens of a country better than you treat your own is no better than treating those people you work with or see on the street better than you treat your spouse and children.  Come to think of it, we seem to have plenty of both politicians and citizens who care for people not of our own American family or their own family more than they do for those who belong to our family both nationally and personally.  This is a sure recipe for disaster, folks, and we must fix it somehow.  

The best leaders are the ones who give us an example to follow not just in public but also in private.  Their are multiple examples of our founders who loved God and their spouses just as fiercely and more so than they loved our country.  One is not mutually exclusive to the other.  In fact, the later without the former two is just a ticking time-bomb, for you can’t continue to love an idea like a country if you have no love for the God who made you or the blood and flesh who lives side by side with you.  

Merry parties, good men and women, long dirt roads, and slinking shadows in the darkness.  Curl up this winter in the small town of Countryside!

Y’all have a wonderful day.  Reach out to those around you if even in a small way.  Pay attention to what is going on in the world around us, from our family to our country.  There is a great deal of noise out there, but most of it is trying to cover up the really important stuff going on; try to filter it all out.  God bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV

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Sides, Equality, and Timing

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Afternoon, folks!  Hope y’all are doing well.  Take a moment today if you have not already to remember Pearl Harbor Day.  Remember the sacrifice that so many men and women made on that day.  Remember how hard our country had to fight afterwards and for how long.  Remember the animosity that was focused on us by others.  Remember the qualities that allowed us to survive and thrive through this day and the war that followed.  And then, translate all those thoughts to today, folks.  Look around, see what is going on internal to our country.  Just like we say with 9/11, never forget, be grateful for all they have given us, and make sure we make their sacrifice not in vain.  

We may be outnumbered folks.  We may not have the most experience or the most talent.  As long as we draw near to God and focus on Him though, who can possibly be against us?  Trust Him to work out the plans He has for you and for others through your life.

Congress and some of our fellow citizens want people to be treated based upon superficial traits such as skin color, race, or even gender.  In order for this country to function, to flourish, and even to just survive, this cannot remain.  Each citizen must be treated exactly the same under the law.  If you are going to tax one man thirty cents out of every dollar he earns, then you must do the same for all.  If you are going to have a certain standard for a woman to get into college, then it must be the same standard for all.  In addition to the quantitative there must be an affirmative answer to the question of whether the individual is adding value to the institution or country.  If the answer is not yes without reservation then there must be some rethinking done of the standards and what the overall goal is for those standards.  Having the pretense that the standards are the same when they are not does nothing but insult the intelligence and dignity of those paying attention, and dilute the honor of those who meet the standard. 

Talk.  Share information.  Work between states.  There is much to do.  Hopefully it will avoid conflict.

If you’re looking for a book your kids or grandkids can enjoy without you worrying about it, give Countryside a try.  It’s a fun place to visit.  

Y’all have a great weekend, folks.  We’ll be back to talk again tomorrow.  Let us know what you think about the daily posts, or just drop us a line to chat.  Enjoy the weather if you can, spend time with your family, and stop and stare at the Christmas lights.  God Bless you and yours and America!

— JT Cope IV


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Daily Posts – Purpose, Importance, and Integrity

Posted on by jtcopeiv

Evening, folks!  Hope y’all’s day has gone well.  It’s been a rainy, drizzly day around here, but a good one.  Had a conversation with a gentlemen today, and I thought the gist of it was worth passing on.  One, if you look for the good or bad in people, you will likely find more than you are looking for.  Two, if you convince yourself that nothing can be done, you’ll never find a way to do it.  And three, if you make excuses for unacceptable actions they will continue.  While this conversation was about individuals, our country as a whole right now is in the center of this same whirlpool.  Just because someone votes for things that are bad doesn’t make them irredeemable, Jesus certainly proved that point over and over again.  And just because our leaders are not standing up in a noticeable way to the federal government or our brethren, does not mean there are no ways short of armed conflict to do it, history surely shows this.  And lastly, if you continually make excuses for fellow citizens (especially family and friends) who support immorality they will only increase their support; the relationship between a bully and the small kid on a million playgrounds has absolutely illustrated this.

Work hard.  Work for God more than man.  Trust His words.  Do we get it wrong sometimes; without a doubt, but God knows our hearts and He knows our minds.  He will get us back on the right track when we go off and will strengthen us if we are on the right track.  We just need to lean on Him.

Fight like heck for all the big things, do not give an inch on them.  But realize the big things make up about twenty percent of married life.  The other eighty percent is small potatoes, and that’s where we need to show a little, or a lot of grace.  Tell your spouse what is important to you, find out what is important to them.  Do those things without hesitation or reservation.  But the rest, well, you just cannot have fifty priority number one’s folks.

As I recently saw in spades in a high school football game, having the most talent is no guarantee that you will win.  Having the most discipline and integrity don’t necessarily either, but they go a heck of a long way.  You have to have truckloads of talent to make up for discipline, integrity, and heart.  Our country has been on the short end of money, talent, and experience on numerous occasions and come out on top because we had a just cause.  These days should be no different when history looks back upon them.

If you’re looking for characters with heart, discipline, and integrity, Countryside has quite a few.  Come take a visit and see what you think!


Y’all have a good evening, folks.  Take a minute or two to listen to the passing of a president.  Look for the good in people, but don’t make excuses for them.  Think of how we can turn this Country back around and then talk to some others about it.  And maybe most important, watch a Christmas movie or stare at some lights and try to let your heart and face shine the way it did as when you were a kid.  God Bless you and yours and America!


— JT Cope IV


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