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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Overcoming Adversity: From Homeless to Adjutant General Maryland National Guard

Overcoming Adversity: From Homeless to Adjutant General Maryland National Guard

The information contained in this post came from an article on and the Maryland Army National Guard website.

The picture above is Brigadier General Linda Singh on the day her promotion was announced with outgoing Adjutant General, Major General James Adkins.

"The back story of many successful leaders is heart break, sleepless nights and overcoming adversity."  Brigadier General Linda Singh 

Those of you who know me or read my blog regularly know I just love a great story about overcoming adversity and today (December 23, 2014) when Maryland's new Governor Elect announced his appointment of Brigadier General Linda Singh as the new Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard I knew I had to write about it.  General Singh's story is a compelling one and one that I am sure will impress everyone who reads it. 

When you think of a successful Army General you normally do not think of someone who as a teenager was a high school drop out and homeless, but that is General Singh's story.

As a child she suffered abuse at the hands of relatives and after an argument with her mother when she was 15 was asked to leave home and she did.  She made ends meet working at a Burger King and a pretzel stand in Frederick, Maryland.  She rented a room for $65 a month but eventually she could not even afford that.  Having to give up her room she began to sleep on the porches of friends' homes or in the office of the pretzel stand.  Initially she was able to maintain good grades and play varsity basketball but eventually the stress if being homeless took it's toll.  Her grades drop and she did not have the money to take the SAT required for college admission so she dropped out of  high school.

Then one day she spotted a recruiting stand for the Maryland National Guard.  She decided to join but she was only 17 and had to get her parents permission.  She eventually persuaded them and joined the Maryland National Guard on June 3, 1981. This was a life changing decision for "young" Linda Singh.

She served as an enlisted member of the Guard prior to her being commissioned in 1991.  She began working her way up the commissioned ranks.  She served in Kosovo from July, 2006 to October, 2007 and more recently in Afghanistan from September, 2011 until July, 2012.  She was then promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and in the fall of this year was tapped by outgoing Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley to serve as Assistant Adjutant General for the Maryland Army National Guard.  Just a few short months later the incoming Governor, Larry Hogan recognized her talent and nominated her for the top job, she will now serve as the Adjutant General of the Maryland National Guard.

The National Guard is not General Singh's only career.   While serving in leadership in the Guard she was working her way up in a civilian career as well.  She is a Managing Director for Accenture, a large consulting firm.

General Singh is a great role model for young people facing adversity.  She proves that you do not have to accept adversity.  You can fight back and prove that you are better than that.  You can use the gifts and talents that God has given you and rise above any adversity you face.  Congratulations General and thank you for being a role model.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Police Officers' Killed

 Police Officers' Killed

Here we are a few days before Christmas and I am writing this with a heavy heart.  About 24 hours ago we heard the tragic news of two New York City Police Officers, Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu, who were  ambushed and killed while sitting in their police car.  About 12 hours later a Florida officer, Charles Kondek, was also killed.  This is sad and I have a feeling this might just be the tip of the iceberg.  I hope you all will join me in praying for the families of these police officers and for the safety of all of our public safety personnel.

The 13 year old son of Officer Ramos went to Facebook to remember his dad. Jaden Ramos posted this tribute to his dad

"Today I had to say bye to my father.  He was their(sic) for me everyday of my life, he was the best father I could ask for.  It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer.  Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help.  I will always love you and I will never forget you.  RIP Dad"

Having lost my dad at a young age I can imagine what this boy is feeling.  But I can "only" imagine.  At least my dad had been sick for weeks leading up to his death and we had time to prepare.  At least my dad was not sitting in a car doing his job when someone decided to take his life simply because of what he did for a living.

It appears that Officer Ramos and his partner, Wenjian Liu were the good guys.  I am sure the Officer Kondek was also a good guy.  Good guys that will not be with their families on Christmas.  Families that have lost someone they love.  The communities they served also lost the heroes that protected them.

Most police officers have a good heart, they want to help the community they serve and do a good job.  They work hard at being role models for young people.

Police Officers also have families who love and depend on them.  Innocent police officers should not be used for target practice.  The insanity must stop.  Just think where our communities would be without these dedicated men and women.  Chaos would ensue without their dedication. None of us would be safe.

Tonight remember to say prayers for these families and for the safety of those sworn to protect us.  Let's also remember that we can make a difference by following the example that Officer Ramos son remembers.  We need to be there for our children every day of their lives and be the best parent they can ask for.

God Speed Officers Ramos, Liu and Kondek.  We pray for your families and the safety of your colleagues.  We thank you for your sacrifice.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

Movie Review: Exodus: Gods and Kings

I don't even know where to begin.  This is by far the worse movie I have ever seen and my biggest regret is wasting two and half hours of my life watching it.  Not only was it riddled with inaccuracies but it also has zero entertainment value.  At least the movie Noah, which I panned earlier this year for being a work of fiction, had entertainment value.  The couple in front of me left half way through and I envied them.  I had to stay to watch the rest of this boring movie so I could write this review.

The most obvious inaccuracies was casting.  There were two major errors.  First, Caucasian actors were cast to play the leading roles instead of middle easterners.  Second, God was portrayed by an insolent eleven year old boy.

Another glaring error was that Moses did most of the talking and his brother Aaron had almost no speaking parts.  In scripture we learn that Moses had a speech impediment and his brother Aaron served as his spokesman.

The portrayal of the ten plagues was lacking.  In fact, as the scene began if you were not already familiar with  scripture you may have wondered what was happening.  There was no exchange between Moses and Pharaoh to prepare the audience for the scene.  Maybe I missed something as I was very bored  but I do not recall Moses ever demanding Pharaoh to  "let my people go".

The movie's portrayal of the plague of turning the water into blood was pure fiction.  Instead of Moses placing his staff into the water and turning it into blood, the movie depicts the water turning to blood while the local crocodiles were enjoying a hearty meal.

Moses receiving the Ten Commandments seemed to be an afterthought.  The scene was short in comparison to other scenes and had the eleven year old portraying God dictating the Ten Commandments to Moses as he chiseled them out on stone.

The best advice I can give anyone is save your time and money.  If you want to see a more accurate and entertaining movie about Exodus  wait until Easter and watch the annual re-release of Cecil B. DeMille's 1956 movie "The Ten Commandments".  Even though it is over an hour longer than Exodus it is by far more entertaining and makes a stronger effort to be true to the biblical story.  I actually enjoyed the DeMille movie.