Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Restore A Child

Restore a Child is a charity that I support.  Their mission is restoring children to life and health, teaching them to learn and lead with love, restoring harmony and justice in their communities and the world. Restore a Child helps to provide children in desperate need with the basic essentials necessary for them to live healthy, fulfilled lives.

They are currently working in fifteen countries; Bolivia, Chad, Congo, Ethiopia, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Ukraine, USA, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The story of Restore a Child is really the story of it's founder, Norma Nashed. Norma was born in Ramallah, Palestine but was raised in Jordan.  Throughout her childhood she experienced extreme poverty as an orphan. She believes this has prepared her heart to be sensitive to the needs of economically-disadvantaged children and those orphaned due to HIV/AIDS and living on the streets in Africa and elsewhere.

The idea of caring for needy children began while she was fighting cancer. Norma stated in an interview with Alita Byrd, "In 1998 when I first got cancer my life was empty – I wanted my life to be one of meaning and significance.  So I left my job where I had worked for 12 years, and started a ministry to help suffering, starving and sick children, with a focus on orphans.

Leaving my job allowed me time to reflect on what is important in life.  I found that there are more than 150 million orphan children in the world, and five million children die every year due to hunger, or close to 14,000 every day.  In the 21st century this is unacceptable.  I realized I had a job to do to save children.

That was 14 years ago and I still work in a small den in my apartment without pay.  God is the Provider and He promised to take care of me. Sacrificing my life gave me purpose, meaning and significance – I wouldn't exchange that for anything this world might offer.

The first few years I used my own savings and then my family and a few friends helped.  Later it became necessary for me to start fundraising.  So I designed my own simple flyers and brochures and sent them to friends. I was interviewed on television and several newspaper and magazine articles appeared featuring the charity. Awareness of Restore a Child increased. Restore a Child depends on donations from individuals and small grants from a couple of foundations.

In 2012 we hired a part-time employee to help me.

I must admit being that raised poor and living in developing countries made me aware of the need to be wise and alert when choosing partners for projects abroad.  So we work with trusted missionaries and friends, and we partner with already established orphanages and schools to be cost-effective and use all resources to the maximum benefit of children".

Norma's vision was big, and now her organization is providing basic care for over 4,000 children. Her newest project is in Haiti, in partnership with Upward Bound Ministries. They are building a model village that includes a Restore a Child Academy, an academic and vocational training school and several homes for orphan girls.

In addition to securing land for building the school, they have secured another plot of agricultural land with fruit trees next to the model village where they are already growing produce for a sustainable food supply.

The building project is beginning in 2013. Restore a Child is looking for individual and corporate sponsors to help with the construction of this model village.

There are many ways to help support Restore a Child.  One unique way to donate is through their Gift Catalog.  Their are options as low as $10.00.  Donors can choose which projects they wish to support, including such things as providing cooked meals at school for six hundred children in Nairobi, Kenya and helping orphans from one of the seven Restore a Child orphanages in Indonesia benefit from a work-study program where they learn how to grow their own food.

If you would like to be a part of a great charity with as low an overhead as I have seen, learn more about Restore a Child at their website.  When founder and president Norma Nashed was asked about the many other charities helping children around the world, and how Restore a Child is unique, she answered, "there are a lot of charities out there competing for funds in the name of children.  But Restore a Child is unique in that as president I do not draw any salary or benefits.  I even donated all my retirement funds and savings, in addition to working long hours – sometimes 18 hours a day – to run the organization.  What organization have you heard of where the president or CEO works that hard for 14 years without pay?   I believe this is a big factor in our growth. When donors invest in Restore a Child, they can be assured their funds don’t go mostly to cover salaries and overhead".

According to UNICEF statistics 5 million children die each year because of starvation, let alone lack of water and medical care. What happened to human compassion? What are we going to do to change this picture?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

ABC - G Is For Glass

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a fun way to see some great blogs. This week the letter is G.  G is for glass. I install Auto Glass for a living, so I see a lot of glass. This is a shot of a badly broken windshield


As I take photographs I am intrigued with windows. Each window provides it's own view of the world. This photo was take from the inside of an old church at the Rural Life Museum in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The stained glass was homemade by painting the glass. One pane had been replaced with clear glass providing a glimpse of the outdoors.

Window to Autumn

This photo was taken from the inside of the cafeteria at Ozark Adventist Academy in Gentry, Arkansas.

Window With A View

I find that the reflections in glass can make a very interesting photo. This shot was taken of a store window display in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

Eureka Window

This store front in the old downtown of Hot Springs, Arkansas seems out of place. The juxtaposition of old and modern, traditional and liberal make it interesting for me.

No Clothes

Whenever I am in a church with stained glass windows I am impressed by the beauty. Here are two examples, one very traditional and one modern.

Stained Glass


In January 2011, My wife Gina and I took a trip to Lincoln City, Oregon for a reunion of her siblings. One of the things that we did while we were there was to visit The Jennifer Sears Glass Art Studio.

The glass blowing artists have some of their work on display in the studio.  We met Kelly Howard, and she explained some of the process of producing these beautiful fish that are some of her signature pieces.

One of the things that the studio offers is the chance to blow your own glass.  You can make a Float, Fluted Bowl, Paperweight, Starfish, Heart or Jumbo Float.  They supply everything you need and have expert artists help you.  You can get up close and personal with the process of creating Art Glass.  Friendly instructors guide you through a creative process that has been handed down from generation to generation through the centuries.  Gina wanted to experience blowing glass, and decided to make a sea float.

Glass Blowing 3

Her instructor was Andrew Kogle.  He was right with her for each step and made sure everything was done correctly while letting her do as much of the process as possible.

Glass Blowing 2

Glass In The Furnace

Glass Blowing

To view a slideshow of Andrew helping a customer make a float click here.

Gina really enjoyed the experience of working with the glass, and the float that she created was beautiful.  She was really proud of her float.

Gina's Float

Here is some video of the glass blowing process starring Gina and Andrew.

The beautiful float is now displayed prominently in our entryway for everyone to see when they enter our home.

Glass Float

Friday, February 22, 2013

All You Need Is Love

In the summer of 1967 the first live, international, satellite television production was broadcast. The program was titled Our World, and nineteen different nations were invited to perform or appear in separate segments featuring their respective countries. The two-and-half-hour event had the largest television audience ever up to that date: an estimated 400 million people around the globe watched the broadcast.  

The BBC had commissioned The Beatles to write a song for the United Kingdom's contribution.  The Beatles were asked to come up with a song containing a simple message to be understood by all nationalities.

The song they wrote for the program was titled “All You Need Is Love”.  The song was an immediate hit and became a catch phrase. The summer of 1967 became known as the Summer of Love, and the song All You Need Is Love was the anthem.

Is there any truth to the catch phrase “all you need is love”?  I believe that it is the truth.  All You Need Is Love – Love is all you need.

In 1 John 4:7-10 the Bible tells us,  "Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is born of God and knows God. But anyone who does not love does not know God—for God is love.  God showed how much he loved us by sending his only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love. It is not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins".

Love should be the basis for everything we do.  In Matthew 22, Jesus was asked, what is the greatest commandment in the law? Jesus answered,  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it:  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”

All of the Law and the Prophets – The entire Bible are summed up in these words.  "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself."  When you distill it down that much it seems so simple. It really is true – All You Need Is Love.

In the love letter God wrote to you called the Bible  it says, “I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor anything above, nor anything below, nor anything else in all creation can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord”. Romans 8:38,39

How would you feel if you if you wrote these beautiful words to the love of your life and they were ignored. God says to us, there is nothing that can separate you from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.  We will never know all the ways he shows his love to us. We so often completely miss the wonderful revelations of his love for us as we go about our daily lives.

God's Word is His love letter to us. The love of Jesus waits in each page! Don’t leave your love letters unopened and unread. God loves you and he wants to tell you just how much. Open his love letter to you and listen to what he has to say to you.

The greatest love poem found in the Bible is in John 3:16,17. “ For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved”. 

What beautiful words. We need to keep in mind that it is the world that God loves, not a single nation, not a single race. Not just the “good” people, not just the people who love God back. “God so loved the world.” This includes the lovable and the unlovable; those who are popular, and those who have no one else to love them; the ones who love God, and the ones who never think of God.

Reading God’s love letter to you is the only way you can learn to love others.  In the Bible we have the example of Jesus.  As Christians we are to follow in his footsteps.  There is a popular Christian song titled, "The Proof of Your Love".  The lyrics to the chorus are:  "Let my life be the proof, The proof of Your love.   Let my love look like You and what You're made of.  How You lived, how You died, Love is sacrifice.  So let my life be the proof, The proof of Your love".

Is your life the proof of the love of Jesus?  No matter what we do in our life if we don’t have love it is meaningless.

If I could speak in any language in heaven or on earth but didn't love others, I would only be making meaningless noise like a loud gong or a clanging cymbal. If I had the gift of prophecy, and if I knew all the mysteries of the future and knew everything about everything, but didn't love others, what good would I be?

If I had the gift of faith so that I could speak to a mountain and make it move, without love I would be no good to anybody. If I gave everything I have to the poor and even sacrificed my body, I could boast about it; but if I didn't love others, I would be of no value whatsoever.

Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. Love does not demand its own way. Love is not irritable, and it keeps no record of when it has been wronged. It is never glad about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.

Love will last forever, but prophecy and speaking in unknown languages and special knowledge will all disappear. Now we know only a little, and even the gift of prophecy reveals little! But when the end comes, these special gifts will all disappear.

It’s like this: When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child does. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly as in a poor mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.  All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God knows me now.

There are three things that will endure—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.  All You Need Is Love!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

F is for Flautist

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a great way to see some great blogs. This week the letter is "F". F is for Flautist; Or is it F is for Flutist? The choice of "flautist" versus "flutist" is the source of vicious dispute among players of the instrument. "Flutist" is the earlier term in the English language, dating from at least 1603, while "flautist" is not recorded before 1860.

Philip Kim

The first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary  lists fluter as dating from circa 1400 and Fowler's Modern English Usage states that "there seems no good reason" why flautist should have prevailed over fluter or flutist. However, according to Webster's Dictionary of English Usage, flautist is the preferred term in British English, and while both terms are used in American English, flutist is "by far the more common choice."

James Galway summed up the way he feels about "flautist," saying, "I am a flute player not a flautist. I don't have a flaut and I've never flauted."

Philip Kim and Katherine Lin

I've never seen James Galway though I have a number of his CD's.  Even though I have never seen James Galway perform, I have had the privilege of hearing top quality flute music.  A few years ago we had a concert at our church by Philip Kim and Katherine Lin.  Philip and his family attended our church a number of years ago.  I hadn't seen him for some time.  When he was a little boy he idolized my daughter and would follow her around wherever she would go.  Philip spent a few month living in Mena after he graduated from college in 2009.  While he was here he put on a concert.  It was amazing to have such quality classical music in our little church.

I asked Philip and Katherine if they would let me film them playing, and they graciously agreed.  If you enjoy quality classical music be sure to check out these videos.

I'm sure that you will agree that Philip is an accomplished flutist. Or is he an accomplished flautist?

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Valentine

A Senior in High School

Happy Valentine's Day to My Valentine!

The best decision I have ever made was to marry the girl who stole my heart when she walked into Mr Brost's History class the beginning of my senior year of high school.  I was too shy to talk to girls, so it was almost a year before she had any idea that I was interested.  I think that the good Lord knew that I needed all of the help I could get so he made it so that our paths crossed in a number of ways that year.  Mr. Brost selected five students to work together each week producing learning packets for History class.  Gina and I were both in the group.  We both worked at the Harris Pine furniture factory.  I worked on the dresser jig, and she made drawers.  I would spend my breaks back with the drawer makers, but she still didn't catch on.

It came time for our High School graduation and I still had never gotten up the nerve to ask her out.  Finally I mustered up every ounce of courage I could find and asked her if she would march with me when we graduated.  She told me that she would like to but she had already told Russell she would march with him.  If I would talk to Russell she would march with me.  Once again summoning up every bit of courage I had I talked to Russell.  He was very gracious and bowed out.  I was on cloud nine.


The rest is history. After a year of a long distance relationship, five hundred miles, we were finally in the same place at the same time. I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this girl. On June 15, 1975 we were married in the Denver First Seventh-day Adventist Church. The last 37 years have been an interesting and very fulfilling time.

I know that high school romances are not supposed to be forever and that when kids get married when they are in their teens the marriages aren't supposed to last, but we have proven those things wrong.  It is still awesome to go through each day with my best friend, My Valentine!

Here We Are

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

E is for Empathy

The ABC Wednesday Meme is a great way to see some great blogs. This week the letter is E.  E is for Empathy.

Today is the 13th day in a row that I have run a fever.  It seems like I can't even remember when I wasn't sick.  A week ago I went to the doctor.  He did a flu test and decided that I didn't have the flu, but that I had one of several other viruses that are making their way around town.  He told me there wasn't much he could do for me and I would just have to wait it out.  He said that it normally ran it course in about two weeks.  I certainly hope so, because I am very tired of feeling sick.

One thing that this experience has given me is empathy.  In my work with the Relay For Life and the American Cancer Society I meet lots of people who are going through cancer treatment.  Although I am not equating in any way my experience the past couple of weeks with going through cancer treatment, I do think that it has given me more empathy.  As a self-employed person I have not had the luxury of being able to take off of work.  I have just had to push through.  I know of so many people who go through cancer treatment and just have to push through with life.

According to Psychology Today's website,  empathy is the experience of understanding another person's condition from their perspective. You place yourself in their shoes and feel what they are feeling.  The power of true empathy is its ability to give us a fresh understanding of the other person's emotions and thoughts to illuminate an aspect of their experience that would not have been apparent to us had we not stepped into their shoes.

Empathy gives us the ability to recognize another's emotional state, feel in tune with that emotional state, and if it is a negative/distressful emotion, feel and show appropriate concern.  I know that whenever I meet someone going through difficult times, I never know what to say to them.  I do know that It is never appropriate to say."I know what you are going through".  One person can never know what someone else is going through.

Elizabeth Thomas states that, "Empathy is the only human superpower-it can shrink distance, cut through social and power hierarchies and transcend differences".  Just think we can all be super heroes if we would just use our super power of empathy for others.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Are You Experienced?

On March 5 there will be a new Jimi Hendrix album released titled ‘People, Hell & Angels.’ It is likely to be one of the most important archival releases of 2013. The album is being advertised as featuring 12 new and unreleased Hendrix tracks. Why is there so much interest in Jimi Hendrix over 40 years after his death?

James Marshal Hendrix was born in Seattle, Washington, on November 27, 1942; an American of African, European, Cherokee Indian and Mexican descent. An unsettled home environment made Jimi spend much of his early years living with his grandmother, a full-blooded Cherokee Indian, in Canada.

His mother died when Jimi was 15, about the same time that Jimi began to take a serious interest in music and playing the guitar. When he was 12 he got his first electric guitar - the instrument which shaped the rest of his life.

Jimi Hendrix is considered by many to be the most influential and talented electric guitarist in history. He achieved worldwide fame in 1967 playing at the Monterey Pop Festival, then headlined at Woodstock in 1969. Hendrix is widely known for and associated with the use of hallucinogenic drugs, most notably LSD. Various forms of sleeping pills and speed fueled his "stop and go" lifestyle throughout his career.

The most controversial topic however, concerns his alleged abuse of heroin. The Hendrix family, along with a portion of his friends and biographers, emphatically maintains that Jimi was never a heroin user. An equally strong number of associates and writers, including former band mate Noel Redding, insist that he did use heroin.

Jimi's life was cut short at the age of 27. In the days that lead up to his death witnesses said that he was obviously high on drugs and he had a lot of cannabis on him. He was in a terrible state, highly nervous. He spent Wednesday, September 17, 1970 looking for drugs, while visiting houses around London.

In the early morning hours of Thursday, September 18, 1970, Jimi Hendrix was found dead in the basement flat of the Samarkand Hotel in London. Hendrix died amid circumstances which have never been fully explained, and the exact details of his death will probably never be confirmed. He had spent the night with his German girlfriend, Monika Dannemann, and likely died in bed after drinking wine and taking nine Vesperax sleeping pills, then drowning in his own vomit.

What a sad story. What a terrible waste of a young mans life. He had rocketed to stardom in 1967 with the release of his first album "Are You Experienced". In the title song he sang “Are You Experienced”? “Ah! Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have”. Young hip listeners at that time new what he was asking when he sang “Are you experienced. Ah! Have you ever been experienced? Well, I have”. They knew that he was asking if the had used drugs.

I am asking you today, Are you experienced? You don't have to answer that. But really I want to ask you are you experienced? I'm not Jimi Hendrix. So I'm not asking about drugs. But I do want to ask you are you experienced? Have you experienced the grace and love of God? I can only hope that you have.

I know that I have received one gracious blessing after another. The greatest blessing is found in Romans 5:8, "God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us". What a blessing. I know that God loves me because while I was still a sinner Jesus died for me.

In Ephesians 1:7,8 Paul writes "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and understanding.”

God's grace is a wonderful gift to humankind. Grace is God's love freely offered to us. We do not do anything to "earn" it. I hope that you take time each day to reflect upon how you have experienced God's grace in your life.

Wilhelmina Sunset

I have experienced so much of God's love and grace in my life. I have so many things to be thankful for. I am thankful that Jesus died for me, and that he has promised in 1 John 1:9 that if I confess my sins he is faithful to forgive my sins. I am thankful that I have such easy access to God’s word, The Bible. I am thankful that I was born into a Christian family. I am thankful that I live in the USA; that I have a wonderful spouse who loves God, and that I have been blessed with loving children and grandchildren. I am thankful that I am able to live in a rural area. What a blessing it is to live in Mena, Arkansas. You can see that from God’s abundance I have received one gracious blessing after another.

What about you? Have you experienced God's love and Grace? Are you experienced?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

I Fought Fears So My Wife Could Fight Cancer

Today's post is written by Cameron Von St. James. He came across An Arkie's Musings, and saw that fighting back against cancer was a priority here. He contacted me and offered to tell his story to my readers. We corresponded and he sent me his story. It is both compelling and informative. Here is his story of his personal battle with cancer as a caregiver.

I Fought Fears So My Wife Could Fight Cancer
by Cameron Von St. James 

The most terrifying day of my life was November 21, 2005. It was that day that my wife Heather was diagnosed with malignant pleural mesothelioma, just three months after giving birth to our first and only daughter, Lily. My life was never the same after receiving that news, but in the years that we battled cancer, I learned lessons that will last me a lifetime.

Heather's reaction to the news was pure shock. She looked like she wasn't there anymore. When we were confronted with questions about her treatment and care options, I took over and answered for her. I had to. She was too scared, shocked into silences, and I didn't blame her.  I knew she needed help, and I chose the best treatment option for us at the time, which was to travel to Boston to see Dr. David Sugarbaker, a renowned specialist in the treatment of mesothelioma. Travel was tough on us because we had a newborn daughter at the time, but it was just another obstacle for us to beat together.

During the first two months of our battle, our lives were utter chaos. I worked, took care of Lily at home, took care of the bills, and cared for Heather as she endured the hell of cancer. It was an emotionally draining time and I cried many nights, fearing that I wasn't doing enough, even though there were times when I knew I was doing too much. There was no choice. If we were going to beat this thing and raise Lily together, we had to do anything we could. Heather's energies were focused on getting well, mine were pulled in every other direction.

Medical bills soon piled up and financial pressures were at an all-time high. We had to travel to Boston for treatments and soon the bills were skyrocketing. For the first time in my life, I accepted financial help from family and friends when they offered it. In this war, anything went. We simply had to take every possible avenue of help that we could if we were going to make it. My strongest advice for any caregiver or cancer patient is to accept every offer of help that comes your way. There is no room for pride in a fight with cancer, and even the smallest offer of help, be it a meal, a shoulder to cry on or a kind word of encouragement, can be a weight lifted off your shoulders and at the very least will remind you that you’re not alone.

I'm so proud of Heather for what she endured during this time and the beautiful person she remained during it. Today, over seven years after her mesothelioma diagnosis she is cancer-free and healthy.  Lily has her mother, something that I feared she wouldn't be able to experience.

Two years after Heather’s diagnosis, I returned to school to get my college degree, with the lessons I learned through my family’s fight against cancer.  I received my degree in Information Technology and graduated with high honors. I was able to share some of these experiences during my graduation speech, an honor that I readily accepted when it came my way. The lessons I learned during Heather's battle with cancer are the most valuable of my life, and I shared them with my fellow graduates that day, telling them that within each of us is the strength to accomplish impossible things.  Heather and Lily were in the audience to cheer me on, and that was the greatest reward of all.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

D is for Duck Dynasty

The TV show, Duck Dynasty, follows a Louisiana  family living the American dream as they operate a thriving duck call while staying true to their family values.  Over the years I have been very strict about not viewing "reality" TV.  The idea that there was any kind of reality in these shows seemed far-fetched.  Over the last year while I was "not watching" reality TV, I kept hearing about a show that people were crazy about; Duck Dynasty.  Last year my wife gave her Hero of Hope speech in Sheridan, Arkansas at a Relay For Life Celebrity Waiter Event.  The event ended with a live auction.  We were amazed when an autographed duck call was sold for 850.00.  We later found out that it was a Duck Commander duck call from the Duck Dynasty TV show.

The show is filmed in West Monroe, Louisiana just 70 miles from where my daughter and her family live.  My son-in-law likes to hunt ducks.  I decided that I really should see what all the fuss was about. Once I watched Duck Dynasty I was hooked.  The characters remind me of people I know here in Western Arkansas.  They are real rednecks, and I know real rednecks when I see them.  My young granddaughters refer to the show as The Rednecks, as in "we want to watch The Rednecks".

Willie Robertson is the CEO of Duck Commander. As the only one with the business degree, he took the company from a living room operation to a premiere destination for all things outdoors. He says he honed his skills as a salesman by selling his freshly caught fish at the market with his mom as a young boy. Even then he was always working to negotiate the best price. While he says “being a redneck millionaire has its perks,” including buying new trucks, gadgets and swanky suits, working with kin can be a headache.

Phil Robertson is the patriarch of the family.  He is a living legend in Louisiana and is better known by his alias; the Duck Commander. He played first-string quarterback ahead of football star Terry Bradshaw at Louisiana Tech University in the ’60s. They were both drafted into the NFL but Phil turned it down because it interfered with duck season. Instead he stayed in Louisiana, married his high school sweetheart, Miss Kay, built a house down by the river and together they raised four sons. His love for the outdoors lead him to create the Duck Commander® Duck Call in 1973, which has gone on to become the most trusted duck whistle ever conceived. Duck hunting is so important to Phil that he follows a strict routine of no showering, no shaving, and no clothes washing of any kind during the ten-week season to ensure a bountiful haul.

Jase Robertson is Willie’s brother and his polar opposite. While Willie enjoys making deals behind the desk, Jase would much rather call the swamp his office. But he knows he’s gotta earn his keep, so Jase’s job within the company is to fabricate the duck calls that have made Duck Commander famous. When pressed, Jase can churn out a thousand new calls in a flash, but he likes to take his time so that Willie doesn’t expect the same performance every day. Jase has more important things than work on his mind, namely, duck hunting. Jase’s motto is “Only three things matter: God, then family, then ducks.”

Si Robertson is my favorite on the show.  He is Phil’s brother, best friend, and partner in crime. He has a very specific job in the workshop, fashioning the reeds that are inserted in every patented duck call. It’s a pretty easy job, made needlessly difficult by the fact that Si can never seem to stay on task. The Vietnam vet will often share his war stories with the guys, which usually gets the crew behind schedule, much to Willie’s dismay. Si’s most famous story is that while serving overseas, his mother sent him a blue mug. Thirty years later it’s still hanging from his back pocket and he continues to only drink from this cup, every day.

Kay Robertson is the revered matriarch of the family. What she says goes. She was 16 when she married Phil and since then she’s been keeping him and the boys from spending too much time in the woods, bringing them back to civilization each night with a home cooked meal. Kay believes her cooking talents are a gift which she must share, so she often ends up feeding all of the family and most of the neighborhood. Her most famous dishes are banana pudding, fried deer steak, crawfish pie, and sticky frog legs.

If you haven't seen Duck Dynasty, give it a chance. I highly recommend it.