Tony VanDyke

I am not real sure how this is going to turn out. I am, as a bush pilot I knew used to say, “flying by the seat of my pants.”

He got shot down over Cambodia and hasn’t been seen since. Knowing him, he is probably running the country - or at least the treasury.

One of my favorite books in the Bible is Matthew, and one of my favorite chapters is 5, where the sermon on the mountain begins.

If you comprehend all of this, you are a better man than I, Gunga Din.

Two things come at me from this sermon. They are that we are not to worry about anything and that we are blessed under all circumstances.

That is a hard pill to swallow for anyone who has ever been in a situation where the lead is flying around thick as flies and it sounds like a thousand hornets around your ears.

Do you honestly believe that you could not worry or were blessed under these conditions?

I thought at first that age might have something to do with how we would approach a set of circumstances like the ones in this chapter.

But as I talked to people of all ages, I found there was very little difference — until I began to meet those who realized one major fact.

This fact is that, as I try to point out each week, God is with us all the time, no matter where we are or what we are doing.

This brings us to the point of the attitude that we should be making an attempt to have each and every day. This is the attitude of gratitude. Simple, right? Wrong!

How do we develop skills? How does a carpenter develop the skill of cutting a straight line? How does a mechanic develop the skill of programming a vehicles’ on-board computer system?

How does a rifleman develop the skill of hitting a target at a range of 1,000 yards? They all have one thing in common. They practice.

The same is true with developing our attitude. We aren’t born with it; we have to practice it. How often? Until it becomes second-nature.

We have to practice having gratitude each and every day, no matter what the circumstances.

Have I been able to do this? Anyone who knows me is able to give you a resounding “no!”, but I keep on trying — and that is the key.

You never give up, never quit! Remember these two things if you don’t remember anything else.

I want to leave you with this thought: The most beautiful way to start and end a day is with a grateful heart. Think about it.



American Legion Post 228, located at 70 Front Street in Big Sandy, will be hosting the fifth annual Santa for Veterans from 3-7 p.m. Dec. 7.

A benefit for the Unforgotten Motorcycle Club’s Adopt-a-Vet program, the event will include food, games, and drawings, along with some great music and an auction.

For more information, contact Pamala Reese at 333-4916 or Al Darr at 815-325-8781.

God loves you and so do I. Think about it.


TONY VANDYKE lives at 103 Cactus Cove, Paris. His email address is

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