N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Author Archive

Relaxation and Peace

For your weekend, the beautiful music of relaxation and peace with outstanding photography. Fall is in the air!

Blessings, Boyer Writes

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Click this link and turn up your sound.


FINDING HOPE and PURPOSE

Years ago I found a little book with words and pictures drawn by Trina Paulus. She published it in 1972. Why I have hung onto this book for so long is anyone’s guess.

However, in this day of cut throat elections of 2020 and the depressive feelings of being closed in…I think I know why this book has a message.

There are climbers for “being on top” in our world today. We often teach our children that they must push for success rather than finding their true purpose. People follow this philosophy, believing that they will find happiness and contentment in life…even if it is, at times, at the expense of others.

___________________

Grab a rope and hang on…for we are going to make a very high climb as I share some portions of this enchanting book with you. Perhaps we, together, can find a lesson for our own lives.

As we pray for and look for hope for the world, the title of this book is HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS. The Author begins this way:

“Once upon a time a tiny striped caterpillar burst from the egg which had been home for so long. “Hello world,” he said. “It sure is bright out here in the sun.”

So the caterpillar begins to eat the leaves in which he was born. After much eating, he stopped and wondered if there was more to life than just eating. Climbing down the tree, he decided to look around and see more of the world. He found grass, dirt and bugs that he had never known about. Eventually, he saw a long line of other crawling caterpillars, all heading in the same direction. They were all heading to a large pile of more caterpillars pushing and shoving.

The caterpillar in this story is named Stripe. Stripe was”pushed, kicked and stepped on from every direction. It was climb or be climbed upon. No more “fellow caterpillars” on Stripe’s pile…they became only threats and obstacles which he turned into steps and opportunities.”

As they tried to climb to the top, Stripe finally asked a fellow-climber, “What’s at the top?”

Nobody seemed to know, but Stripe had a conscience because he said, “How can I step on someone I’ve just talked to?”

He also found, along the way, a beautiful caterpillar named Yellow. She talked with Stripe, but he lost track of her until one day when he stepped directly on her head. It was then that Stripe began to believe that climbing on top of other caterpillars hour after hour was an unhappy experience. To try to reach some mysterious place made him say, “…no matter what is up there, it isn’t worth it!” After telling Yellow he was sorry, he saw Yellow begin to cry.

She said, “I didn’t know how badly I felt about this life until then. Now when you look at me so kindly, I know for sure I don’t like this life. I just want to do something like crawl with you and nibble grass. This was how much she liked Stripe.

Stripe said, “I would like that too.” They had found not only another way to live, but to love and made a decision to give up this monumental climb to the top.

As with many decisions, doubts set in and Stripe decided to leave Yellow and try the climb once more. During the pushing and shoving, he saw a climber falling back down from the top. He barely made out the words being said, “…butterflies alone!” He didn’t know what this meant. Meanwhile, Yellow came each day to the high pile of climbers and watched to see if she would see Stripe…to no avail.

One day, Yellow saw a grey-haired caterpillar hanging on a branch upside down. Asking if she could help, the caterpillar replied, “Oh no, my dear, I have to do this to become a butterfly.”

Doing a little research, Yellow found out that a butterfly drinks the nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of LOVE from one flower to another. She learned that “without butterflies, the world would soon have few flowers.”

To think that inside herself, as a fuzzy caterpillar, there was a change going to happen. She could be eventually a flying, beautiful butterfly! This was hard to understand.

She longed to tell Stripe that she had found that she could have a completely new life. However, she didn’t know where he might be on the pile of caterpillars. She was told that once she had her new life, she could fly and find him…giving him the good news. It would take time.

Finding new patience and purpose, she continued to give attention to all that she had to do in order to make this wonderful new life a reality.

Stripe, in the mean time, has become ruthless in his climb. He stepped on those around him and said, “Don’t blame me if you don’t succeed! It’s a tough life….”

Then one day as he neared the top of the pile, Stripe heard something more than ruthless from one of his climbing-mates,

“None of us can get any higher without getting rid of them.”

The bodies of caterpillars that were in the way began to fall as others pushed them off the pile.

One caterpillar yelled, “THERE IS NOTHING HERE AT ALL!”

Another yelled, “QUIET, FOOL! THEY’LL HEAR YOU DOWN THE PILE. WE’RE WHERE THEY WANT TO GET. THAT’S WHAT’S HERE!

Stripe could see that those who knew the truth wanted to keep others from knowing that all their climbing would led them to nothing.

Just at that moment, a beautiful yellow butterfly was circling the pile of caterpillars. There was something about her that look familiar. Stripe knew immediately what he had to do…as he began his long climb DOWN, looking into the eyes of each climbing caterpillar.

“There’s nothing there.” he warned them.

He had never noticed before that each one had something beautiful and different in their eyes. He let them know that to get to the top, one had to fly, which they could each one do if they only knew and waited for their potential. There was something inside that could give them freedom and peace. THEY COULD BE THE HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS.

Stripe and Yellow Together again!

________________________

When we find our purposes as individuals…and as a country….we might also bring hope to the world.

(With respect for the Author, Trina Paulus, and her words/drawings, I will share the Amazon website below, in case you want to read the entire book.


THE MEANING OF ONE LIFE

We may hear someone say, “Well, you have one life to live!” It’s an off-the-cuff remark of which people pay little attention. However, maybe we should.
Life is short. It is something that no one should take for granted because the next breath could be the end. Living in the moment is rare, for often we live in the past or in the future with our thoughts.
How we live, whatever time we have, is what makes the difference.

I want to share with you a short summary of the life of one man that none of you will know. His first name was Grafton. We buried Grafton yesterday in an all black cemetery in Florida. He was 95 years old. Having emigrated to the U.S. from Barbados, he wanted to serve God even though he only had a 4th grade education. During this time, he worked in the groves as a fruit picker. He had no problem with hard work, but wanted to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being poor was often a problem with where to live or having enough to eat, but he managed to make ends meet. Sometimes it was with the help of those who cared about him.

After getting some education and a license to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Grafton reached out to the black community to preach and be of service in their church. As is their practice, the AME Bishop appointed Graftron to be pastor of a specific congregation in Central Florida. Often, after his first Sunday in the new congregation, he arrived home and received a phone call from the Bishop, who said ” Don’t go back. They don’t want you.”

Why? Because he was different from the African Americans here in Florida. He was from another country and he had a slight accent. Was this any reason to reject his open heart to serve God? Of course not, but unfortunately, people of all races have their prejudices. What was he to do? He found a white minister who was willing to give him a position as “Visitation minister” to the shut ins and those in the nursing homes. What happened? Some families complained and didn’t want him to visit “Grandmother” because he was black.

A friend said to the minister who hired him, “You mean you gave a black man a job to go visit white women?!” “Yes.” “Well, there IS a God in heaven!!” was the reply.

For a period of time, he drove about 200 miles to a congregation that would accept him. This was a hardship, but he was willing to go where he was accepted and appreciated.

Grafton was one life given to God to serve Him. Yet, he was unwanted…much as our Savior was unwanted. Grafton was not crucified, but it is certain that his heart, at times, was torn in half by the people around him…who “just didn’t want him”…both black and white.

Those friends who did accept him and brought him into their homes for meals knew that they had found a real “Gentle Giant” with a heart of gold. He was over 6ft 5in or more and had a smile that warmed the heart. He was one life…humble and caring. He was God’s child.

Grafton

The minister, who hired Grafton, was my husband, Bill. Some years ago, Grafton told Bill that when the time came for him to die, “Please give me a good send-off!” Yesterday, Bill did just that, with prayers and thanksgiving for a special life and a special man. Grafton was laid to rest beside his wife, who also was a minister of Jesus Christ.

At the grave-site…an all black cemetery…there were only twelve people…all white friends who loved him. In this day of racial division and concerns, it seems appropriate to say that love is still available to all who want to give and receive it…regardless of who we are. We are all God’s children with one life to live. A young, white woman came to the funeral, with a photo in hand of Grafton and her when she was younger. She said through her tears, “He was my friend.” What a lesson for all of us that friendship can be a real blessing in life when we put away our biases.

In Honor of Grafton… One Solitary Life…who served the resurrected Savior.
This is a poem about the life of Jesus Christ. Although the author is frequently cited as “unknown” the poem is actually attributed to James Allen Francis.


He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.

He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.

He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.

Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned–put together–have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.

VIDEO: One Solitary Life Turn on sound

POST NOTE: After this blog was posted, I received a note from one of my readers. She also addressed that people with a disability are also not given respect. She tells of a student named John who was an Albino. (Definition of albino: a person or animal having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair which are unusually white and the eyes which are usually pink.)

” John, who was studious, nice, thin, not athletic at all. He was an albino.  His hair was white, his eyes were almost pink.  I liked him, and most kids did.  A lot of the boys, who were considered “tough guys,” gave him a hard time.   If any of us saw that we’d go after those kids and try to save John.  We lived close to that family. His father died, and his Mom did her best.  She had edema and had problems moving around, but John took care of her.  It was such a sad situation and he did his best.  John was intelligent and received outstanding grades in school.    Just prior to graduation, his mother died.   John hung himself.  He couldn’t go on any longer.  It boggles my mind when I hear about people who torture others because of their color or any disability, etc…”


OUR WINDOW for REPENTANCE

The Holy Scriptures gives a message to us for the healing of a nation:

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land. 2nd Chronicles 7:14

Yes, there have been many marches on Washington for various reasons, but this one is to PRAY for our nation. The picture below shows the crowds coming together for a common cause.

Robert W. Kelley/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images
Overhead view of the crowd assembled on the Mall during the civil rights March on Washington DC, August 28, 1963.

AN IMPORTANT DATE FOR YOUR 2020 CALENDAR can begin the healing described in Holy Scripture.

SEPTEMBER 26, 2020 PRAYER MARCH in Washington, D.C.

America is in trouble. Our communities are hurting, our people are divided, and there’s fear and uncertainty all around us. Let’s join together and do the most important thing: pray!” Franklin Graham

THE ROUTE MAP:

If you can’t go to Washington, you can PRAY! All people of the world are asked to pray with us. Our world is connected!

Also on SEPTEMBER 26, 2020

A message on repentance and the window to Save America

VIDEO Narrated by Jonathan Cahn who is a Messianic Jew. (A Messianic Jew is one who believes Jesus Christ is the Messiah.)

The Return, National Day of Prayer and Repentance – Building up to it Cahn shares a powerful message on the power of prayer, repentance, and revival, to change history – from King Solomon to Abraham

Turn up sound


9-11 Boat Lift… Greater than Dunkirk…a REMEMBRANCE!

On 9-11, 2011, I wrote this blog.  I felt that today, I would like to revisit what was written this many years ago and view a video of the ordinary people of New York who reached out to save thousands from the disaster of an attack by terrorists. 

While watching on C-Span, the honors given to those who were passengers on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, I was impressed that there is a church just down the road from the site where the plane went down. The members of this church go there on a daily basis to stand and pray for those buried where their bodies are now entombed where the plane crashed. They have promised that this tribute will continue.

There were brave men and women on this flight over Pennsylvania.  .  Considering where the other planes crashed and the knowledge that they had from phone calls about the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, they believed that Flight 93 was headed to crash into the nation’s Capitol building to destroy a symbol of a free America and everyone in it.  They voted to fight back and not let the terrorist take the plane. It has been said many times about the fact that they took a VOTE was “the American thing to do.”    

At the Pentagon and the Twin Towers, other planes had already done their evil deeds. Ordinary citizens dropped everything they were doing to rescue those trying to flee this terrible disaster.  Here is the story of two BOAT LIFTS…9-11 and Dunkirk during WW II. 

Few people know that the all-volunteer boat lifts, that happened on 9-11 in Manhattan, NY, were greater lifts than the boats of Dunkirk during World War II.    339,000 soldiers were rescued over 9 days at Dunkirk.  An amazing operation.   The boat lifts of civilians on 9-11 in the NY harbor were over 500,000 in just 9 hours.  It is a reminder of another boat lift in history: 

Dunkirk boat lift evacuation

“May 1940, during the battle of France, the British Expeditionary Force in France aiding the French, were cut off from the rest of the French Army by the German advance. Encircled by the Germans they retreated to the area around the port of Dunkirk. The German land forces could have easily destroyed the British expeditionary force, especially when many of the British troops, in their haste to withdraw, had left their heavy equipment. For some unexplained and still unknown reason, Adolf Hitler ordered the German army to stop the attack, favoring bombardment by the Luftwaffe…This lull in the action gave the British a few days to evacuate by sea. Winston Churchill ordered any ship or boat available, large or small, to pick up the stranded soldiers, and 338,226 men (including 120,000 French soldiers) were evacuated – the miracle of Dunkirk, as  Churchill called it. It took over 900 vessels to evacuate the Allied forces…The British evacuation of Dunkirk through the English Channel was code-named Operation Dynamo. Churchill’s skill in turning a defeat into a political victory is now remembered in the phrase ‘Dunkirk’ spirit, to describe making the best of a bad situation.

The  US Coast Guard, The U.S. Merchant Marine and the private boats available on 9-11 were definitely “Making the best of a bad situation”!    They were resolute and fast.  In fact,  one boat was even  named  “Resolute”

As did Winston Churchill at Dunkirk,  the US Coast Guard made the call for all boats to Manhattan Island.   Hundreds of boats answered that call.  They did not know if their boat would be blown out of the water with more attacks to come.  They just went.   They answered with bravery and action.

Civilians and Coast Guard Boats rescue people from NYC

This is what Americans are made of.   It is deep at the core of who we are.   One boatman said, ” They looked like zombies“, pouring out of the buildings covered in ash.   There were children; people in wheelchairs, executives and more.    “Just help me”  was all they wanted.  “Take me anywhere off this island.”

We have just remembered the 19th anniversary of 9-11.   To those who ran to the docks, it will be forever etched in their memories.   For the boat captain,  who dropped everything and came, a simple  “Thank You” moved him to tears.   The history and determination of the great boat rescues of Dunkirk and Manhattan Island are forever linked.

This was a day of great American unity. People helping people. One blind man was trying to find his way down the stairs of the Twin Towers. He was disoriented. A fireman yelled to businessmen, “Take care of that guy!” They did. They never let go of him, or panicked for their own sake, until they got him to the street below.

This is what Americans can be in all circumstances, whether it is a Pandemic, Fires out of control or some other disaster. DIVISION, whether political or personal, will never accomplish what people did TOGETHER on 9-11. This is what the enemies of freedom would like for Americans to do…go against each other! They would also like to see a divided world for their own sick purposes. Let the courage of 9-11 be a lesson to us all.

Hopefully, you will always remember to fly your flag every 9-11 in honor of all those who died and the first responders who gave so much…even their lives in sickness from what they worked around in the towers.  The flag is also a reminder that America will not tolerate terrorists? As the years roll by, it is a date we WILL NOT forget. 

Blessings, from Boyer Writes.

SPECIAL VIDEO  Turn on your sound  (shared with me by Gayle Olson in 2011)


Another Statue Being Removed?

Statue in Sarasota, FL…Celebrating WWII end

We were fortunate to live in a wonderful, little town named Venice, Florida for a number of years where my husband was a Christian minister. The next city, north of Venice is Sarasota…also a beautiful town on the Gulf of Mexico. Standing near the beach is a patriotic statue of the famous picture of a sailor kissing a nurse in celebration of the end to fighting in WWII.

In fact, when this photo was made, the whole population of New York was celebrating in the middle of the streets. Every time I rode by the statue in Sarasota, I thought how great that we are still reminded of the wonderful military and medical personnel that served and died in WW II.

Unfortunately, the statue was sprayed with red paint and the city is considering removing it all together. Why?

Is it pressure from various groups? Have we stopped celebrating our World War II victory? Is this like so many statues that depict history that are being damaged, removed or defaced? Removing this statue is a slap in the face to our bravest men and women.

Vandals, You couldn’t find a better place for your thoughts?

A letter written to the Sarasota mayor and commissioner:

“It commemorates the celebration of VJ Day and the end of World War II,” Rep. Vern Buchanan wrote in a letter to the mayor and city commission. “This representation of that moment more than 75 years ago reminds us of an important time in our country’s history and honors the ‘Greatest Generation’ who served and sacrificed.”

The 25-foot “Unconditional Surrender” sculpture depicts an iconic photograph taken in Times Square in Aug. 14, 1945, showing a Navy sailor named George Mendonsa kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman, a dental assistant, in the street. (Taken from the article written by Michael Riuz)

Pictures of the Sailor and the Nurse….George Mendonsa and Greta Zimmer Friedman in the younger and older years. George died at 95 and Greta died at 92. Thank you for your lives and years of service!

We hope for the sake of all those Gold Star families and brave veterans who fought for freedom, Sarasota will reconsider its removal. San Diego has the same statue…refurbished it…and made it permanent. At least we hope it is still there! Keep celebrating the brave and the free.

________

UPDATE AFTER THIS BLOG WAS POSTED: UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER STATUE WILL STAY ON SARASOTA WATER FRONT:

The announcement came in an tweet from the Florida Congressman and well before Sarasota’s elected officials were poised to discuss the issue. (Most likely because the citizens of Sarasota were in an uproar!)

VIDEO

Click to view video


SAVING THE WORLD for the CHILDREN

When will people look around them and say that the world is worth saving because there are innocent, little children living on every country of the earth? They don’t deserve wars, riots in their neighborhoods, drive-by shootings or any other form of brutality.

Take a long, hard look at this little boy. He is in Yemen and he is starving.

A child in Yemen
(BBC credit)

I was so touched by this child who is very sick, but when he saw the BBC camera, he was just barely able to give a little smile. (Photo from TV)

Pray for this little boy…that somehow he will get the help and food that he needs.

This BBC video showed the catastrophe happening in Yemen today. The people in the communities are still being bombed. The people have little or no food. People are walking around with the virus, saying that they won’t go to the hospital because “they will kill you there!” This is because the rumor has spread that the medical staff and doctors do “mercy killings” if you arrive there with the virus. The government, however, is denying that there are many virus cases at all…saying that they have less than 10 people who have died of Coronavirus. The people know that is a lie.

When asked by the BBC reporting staff, who were wearing masks while interviewing the people, why the people in the crowded streets were not wearing masks? They said that they didn’t have to wear masks because “Allah will protect them.” Ignorance, governmental control and war has left these people and their children in a desperate situation.

To try to understand why there is a war in Yemen in the first place, this excellent graphic given below is your best resource for understanding what is happening in the Middle East, specifically Yemen.

“The economic devastation that pushed millions to the brink of famine and created the worst cholera epidemic in living memory is no accident of war: It is the product of deliberate policies by the warring parties.

The Saudi-led coalition, with its warplanes, blockades and vast economic power, bears a large share of the blame. But the Houthis are also at fault. They have manipulated relief aid, recruited child soldiers and planted vast numbers of land mines, according to aid workers and human rights groups.

Peace talks in Sweden in December offered a faint glimmer of hope for an end to the war. A shaky cease-fire in the key port of Hudaydah is holding.

But if politics fails, many fear that Yemen could lapse into even worse fighting. Famine could become a reality. And millions of civilians would pay the heaviest price, yet again. (Watkins and Walsh)

____________________

The Holy Scriptures are very clear when it comes to harming children:

It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:2

Not only are the children of Yemen being harmed, the children of America are also being harmed by what is happening in our society today. This is not to neglect writing about the sadness in all the other countries of the world. It is not to forget the fact that there is terrible trafficking of children. The more we allow anarchism to continue in our country…motivated distrust between races and an extended close-down of schools and businesses…our families and their children are going to suffer… as it tears into the fabric of our democracy. We must save our society for the children!

These are the things that need to be taught to our children and reminded to our young people:

  • They are not in the starving as the children of Yemen. We have well-stocked food banks if there is a need.
  • They are not forced to work long hours in factories as our early emigrants.
  • They haven’t lived today through a food famine in the U.S., like the children in Ireland during the Potato Famine.
  • They are not in the middle of a Great Depression like their great-grandmothers and fathers endured.
  • The children of this generation also haven’t had to live in the Martin Luther King, Jr. era when injustice was confronted head-on.
  • They need to be reminded in school and at home that because of King and others, the Civil Rights laws and changes gave opportunities to excel to all minority children.
  • All children need to know that Americans can learn to live in peace together…most people are not racists.

Why do some American young people behave badly? Perhaps they should give this some thought for if their country collapses, they may be like the children of Yemen. Yet, some continue doing these things:

  • Roaming the streets night after night
  • Destroying property
  • Setting fires
  • Attacking police
  • Shouting at people trying to peacefully eat in a restaurant.
  • Acting like they are for a “cause” when they can’t explain what the cause is all about when asked to explain their actions.
  • Shooting at children in the playgrounds and front yards
  • Being a terrible example to their younger brothers and sisters.
  • Not taking jobs that are available, even after so many lost jobs due to the virus…for work signs are still out there.
  • Sitting around waiting for hand-outs for things they should work for…like cellphones and Nike tennis shoes etc.
  • Not listening to parents, church leaders or their church clergy on how to behave…that is…unless those leaders are NOT saying anything.
These children are our Future Generations. Our prayers go out for them because the future will be theirs.

______________________

LET’S TAKE A MOMENT and LOOK at what AMERICA COULD EVENTUALLY EXPERIENCE IF WE LOSE ALL LAW AND ORDEROR IF WE ARE ATTACKED, LIKE 9-11, AND IT THROWS US INTO WAR! IT WOULD NOT BE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THAT OF THE PEOPLE OF YEMEN.

______________________________

Saving our people and our planet must be a high priority in every country. There is no choice. We must SAVE OUR WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN! Can we do that, even with our best intentions…or the best of leaders…without TURNING TO GOD? WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THE ANSWER and it is the ONLY ANSWER FOR OUR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”  2 Chronicles 7:14

Report by Derek Watkins and Declan Walsh of the N.Y Times…Just 2 years ago.

CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW

(Credit Information for link given above:)

1. Civilian strike locations from Human Rights Watch and our own reporting.

2. Data on coalition air raids from the Yemen Data Project.

3.Control map data from the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project.

4.Data on Yemen’s G.D.P. from World Bank. Locations of strikes on fishing and agricultural targets from Yemen’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and

5.Ministry of Fish Wealth, via a report by Martha Mundy at the London School of Economics. Additional work by Larry Buchanan.

___________________


Classical Guitar

For your long weekend pleasure…Classical guitar…with love and blessings from Boyer Writes.


HAPPINESS PROHIBITED

When I think I’ve heard it all, I found out this morning that I haven’t!! So, with a HAPPY smile on my face, I am writing this post to make your day!

This is another “hair salon” story….“Oh, No …please spare us!” you are thinking.

It appears that this salon operator wanted to hire someone for her salon. She went to get the advertisement printed and was eagerly looking for the right person to respond.

Here is what Alison Birch said happened when she tried to list the job ad. She was looking for a part-time qualified hairdresser at her AJ’s Unisex Hair Salon in Stroud, England. (And I thought only crazy things happened in American salons that were news worthy!)

“The position called for someone with five years’ experience of working in a salon, who is “confident in barbering as well as all aspects of hairdressing.”And the advertisement stated, “This is a busy, friendly, small salon, so only happy, friendly stylists need apply.”

She claims the man at the job center said to her: “I’m sorry, but the word happy is a discriminatory word and we aren’t allowed to use it, as somebody who is not happy will be discriminated against.”

According to Birch, he then asked: “Should we change the word in case somebody thinks that they can’t apply for the job because they are not a happy person?”

“Was I being a bit sensitive, and is the word happy discriminating? Or has this whole world all gone mad?” Birch said.And plenty of Birch’s customers agreed with her outrage over the job center’s “ridiculous” stance on her advertisement.

Karen Evans commented: “The world has gone absolutely mad.

“Does this mean that every descriptive word is discriminating… happy, tall, smart, elegant? Good luck with your search.”

Julie Thickins added: “I thought this was a joke, realizing it clearly isn’t has left me absolutely speechless… what has the human race come to?” (Taken from South West News Service in England)

Hair salon in England

_________________________

I’m sure my readers will remember the ads in years past when someone is looking for the perfect person to meet. Well, if those ads still exist…no one could say that they are looking for a “TALL and HANDSOME MAN.” Certainly that would be discriminating against the men out there that are “SHORT and UGLY.” (Which reminds me that my female, English students in Mongolia said they just wanted to marry a man that was “CLEAN and SOBER.” Poor, dears, they didn’t realize that they were putting the Mongolian men who were DIRTY and DRUNK in a discriminated-against category.)

It also occurred to me that when I patted my Golden Retriever this morning and said, “Bella, you are such a BEAUTIFUL girl….and a GOOD girl too.” I surely was discriminating against all the BAD, UGLY dogs in the world.

BEAUTIFUL Bella

A special note from Boyer Writes:

Good luck, Ladies in England, on hiring a HAPPY person for your salon. You deserve happiness for happiness should not be prohibited! Yes, You are right… “The world has gone crazy!”


The Cost of Beauty

I am writing this blog in honor of my Mother, Alta, who owned her small beauty salon. She began working as a stylist after she left home at the age of 16. When she had her salon in North Carolina, she had some wealthy patrons among the tobacco heirs. Mostly, her clients were the average person. Those were the “good old days.”

She would be horrified to know what small business owners are going through today. We lost my Mother at the age of 93, long after she retired. Her last few months were in an assisted living and nursing home.

On a previous blog, I wrote that I thank God that she didn’t have to be without family to cheer and visit her as many have these last few months. Just today, I have learned that our Governor in Florida is once again making visits for families possible with proper precautions. We mourn for those who died all alone during this time.

What does all this have to do with the COST of beauty? I will quote what a small business owner in California, like my Mother, had to say about a very wealthy member of our Congress and the Speaker of the House.

It appears that the business owner has released to the public a scene from her security camera, showing the Speaker with a wet head and no mask over her nose or mouth, moving through the inside of the salon, after having her associate called in that she was coming in for a “wash and blow.” Like most salon owners, the owner rents out the chairs to stylists, and can’t control who their customers may be.

Oh, yes, the owner, Erica Kious, is being rebuked that she didn’t get permission to release the security clip, but she felt obligated to do so because of the fight that small business owners, like herself, have had to go through during this pandemic. She also is being shown in the press as a person who “set up” the Speaker…even though the Speaker is the one who asked to come in for the style. Kious’ response to the battle, “I’ve had a camera system in there for five years….I didn’t go in there and turn cameras on as soon as she walked in and set her up. So that is absolutely false.”

Her response also for why she released the video of the Speaker was this:

“This is for everybody,” she said. “I am sharing this because of what everyone in my industry, and my city, what every small business is going through right now.”

These battles will continue and the Press loves it, but there is much suffering going on in the small-business arena. This blog is not to write in depth here about the many small business owners who have had their businesses burned to the ground by so-called “protesters.” That could be another post.

The fact remains that those who are doing this without regard to the hard work put into developing a business is despicable. Their real names are not “protesters”, but “anarchists” and “criminals.” There is certainly NO BEAUTY in what they are doing. I wonder why the young people/or older, who go out night after night to destroy, have not learned anything about RIGHT and WRONG. No cause…or position in thought…can justify this in any way. People have died. Having hair done, or some have laughingly called “hairgate,” is small potatoes. The real point is destruction and the shut-downs.

As my readers know, history is a big teacher. The Nazi regime brought about a similar situation before WWII when they went out to destroy the hard-earned businesses of the Jews. We know how this ended…with millions incarcerated…and murdered. Whenever a mob picks a leader and gets into power, someone will be the scapegoat. There will always be a reason to blame someone for the crisis. Beware…beware…America!

A typical, high-end salon…not that of Erica Kious

( I continue with the article, in part, by Brook Singman, with an interview of Erica Kious, the small business owner of the salon in California. )

There were rules and regulations to go by to safely reopen, which I did, but I was still not allowed to open my business,” she said, noting that she installed plexiglass partitions between sinks and seating areas, and ensured that all salon chairs were six feet apart, along with proper air circulation from open windows. “They never let us open,” she said, while adding that she is unable to reopen outside because her salon specializes in hair color, and using chemicals outside is prohibited. ( “…Salons in San Francisco had been closed since March and were only notified they could reopen on Sept. 1 for outdoor hair styling services only. )

“We have been shut down for so long, not just me, but most of the small businesses and I just can’t – it’s a feeling – a feeling of being deflated, helpless and honestly beaten down,” Kious, said.

“I have been fighting for six months for a business that took me 12 years to build to reopen,” she explained. “I am a single mom, I have two small children, and I have no income.”

Kious said that the area where her salon is located has turned into “a third world country,” saying that “every other storefront is completely vacant and shut down and boarded up.”

“And because of the shutdown, and the store closures, we’ve lost people, my clients, and my employees, and that is due to the politics in San Francisco,” she said, adding that the homeless population is “everywhere” and “defecating” all over the city...

“It has gotten so extreme,” she said. “It is so night and day from what it was a year ago, that everyone is fleeing.”

___________________

It is understandable that this shop owner is upset about her business shut-down and what it has done to her years of work. Stylists, like my mother, stand on their feet for long hours, use chemical dyes to make women look younger etc, but it is how they earn their living for their families. They try desperately to go by the rules placed upon them during this pandemic. No wonder she is furious that the standards of personal engagement are for some but not all. She has lost customers due to the shut-downs that she may never regain but also because people are fleeing from the cities due to the violence and destruction. In American, small or large businesses should not have to board-up except for extreme weather…not a climate of fear brought on by people. Our son just returned from California where the hotel he was staying in was boarding up their windows because of “protesters” outside. They also warned their customers, “… you might not want to go out there.”

Every woman wants to be beautiful. There is no problem with dying the hair if it helps take some years off…but women who can’t get this done by a professional because of regulations…regardless of what they can pay or who they may be…can take themselves down to the local beauty supply store, if it’s open, and buy a box that does the trick!

All small businesses have to be reopened as soon as possible. Large department stores are also closing, leaving thousands without jobs. These hardworking men and women need to have their livelihood restored. Congratulations to Erica who braved the possible backlash of revealing those who preach to us through the media and do something different in real life. Most people I know have turned a deaf ear to all they have to say.

Thanks, Mother, for all the years that you worked so hard in your salon to be a provider for your family and also for being a good citizen. I wish there were more like you…with respect for people and property.

We, as women and men, thank the salon workers and owners…as well as the small barbershops around the country, who are finally opening with proper caution. The COST to you and your small business has been great. We won’t forget you. Hang in there!


FEAR or COURAGE?

Are you killing your inner-self? I can hear it now…”What in the world are you talking about?” I’ll explain.

This morning I read an article sent to me by the Blue Zone, which addressed something similar to this question. It was written by Richard Leider, founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company. I would like to share, in part, some of this with you. (The full link can be read by clicking his name.)

But first, have you had these thoughts in the last few months?

  • I don’t see anything in the near future, but mostly staying at home.
  • If I leave my house to shop or eat out, I might come back with the virus.
  • Should I even give a hug/or kiss to a family memberor refuse a handshake to a person who offers it?
  • What if I need to go out of state, would it be worth it?
  • If I am invited to someone’s home, should I take the chance of going?
  • What would I do if a mob should surround my car or harass me in a public place like I’ve seen on TV?

These are only a few things that may have been in your brain that has basically caused you to put your life on hold. I know many of these same questions have crossed my thoughts. I found out that the virus could be a definite trigger that stops our growth as human beings. It is then up to us to mentally decide if we are going to allow this to happen to us.

According to Richard Leifer, you have stopped living and your life is on a plateau…not moving forward…in limbo because of a “trigger.”

Before the virus and a loss of much of your freedoms, things were moving along…and forward and then it happened (the trigger)…you hit the plateau. Everything seemed to stand still. Nothing was what it used to be.

Leifer says: “…things seem like they’re under control. You have good work, good health, enough money, a solid base at home, a network of friends and colleagues with whom to share your life. At times like these, you may actually feel like you do have this whole thing figured out! Or at least you’re satisfied with the way things are.But then, inevitably, a trigger knocks you off the plateau; you leave the flat area and take a turn into a new zone, limbo.”

What exactly is a “trigger?”

…a trigger is a wake-up call—a conscious choice or an external event that disrupts the comfortable status quo of our lives. It’s a moment when the game changes, and we have to adapt to the new game.

“Triggers can be positive but most often are negative. Of course, the pandemic, economic recession, and racial unrest are all triggers. In addition, there are the personal triggers:

  • Do you know someone you care about who has just heard from a doctor with an uncertain medical diagnosis? You are concerned.
  • Do you know people who have lost their jobs after decades of stability? They don’t know which way to turn or where to start, and you share that anxiety with them, wanting to help but not knowing how.
  • Do you know someone who has been caught by surprise by an unexpected death or divorce? All of a sudden, the stability of a long-term relationship has been replaced by the unfamiliar, unwelcome experience of learning how to live alone for the first time in a long time.

These are the moments when we feel like our lives are out of control.”

If we could say “YES, MANY OF THOSE ARE MY THOUGHTS” to any of the questions given above…you may be in a limbo state and that is not comfortable.

What is a LIMBO STATE?

Being in limbo is all about learning to cope with the “in-between times.” As a result of a trigger, we’ve ended one period of stability or even one phase of life, and looking forward we don’t yet see another one beginning. We’re forced to live in the question “What’s next?” The door behind us has closed, and we haven’t seen the new doors that lie ahead. Or sometimes, although we see the new doors, we’re not yet ready to make the choice to open them.”

We are often thinking how things used to be before the virus hit and everything changed. Our country, as a whole, has been put into a spirit of fear.

“Being in limbo can be scary in the way uncertainty often is. It feels like being between two trapeze bars – hanging on to one while seeing or reaching for the other with no safety net. And it can be even more debilitating. Limbo can become a form of resignation, a kind of prison sentence to accept the way things are as the way things have to be.”

Am I in limbo?

THIS IS WHERE WE ASK OURSELVES…do we plan to live our lives in this isolated prison? Many say, “Hell NO!”…and take no precautions, which may not be smart thinking.

I’ll give an example from our recent experience to moving forward. My husband and I felt like we just needed to get out. We decided to go for a lunch together at a restaurant that we know is careful about social distancing and sterilizing tables. We chose a time early before the lunch crowd arrived. Wore our masks until we ate…and had a very nice lunch. Another example is that a friend of ours ask us out to their house for a meal. They have not been sick and neither have we, so we accepted their gracious invitation. Both couples are extremely tired of isolation and we have made a decision to go forth with our lives…carefully and thoughtfully. There could be more illustrations, but everyone has their own decisions to make on what is proper for them and their family.

Making these small, forward moves brings us one step further OUT OF the limbo state and a beginning to climb out of the plateau flatness of life. Probably the most profound thing that Richard Leider wrote is the following:

“The worst-case scenario for those who succumb to limbo is “inner kill”—the condition of dying without knowing it. People with inner kill often feel that they either don’t have enough or aren’t good enough. They get stuck living in comparison with others or with some idealized, unattainable version of themselves.You have inner kill when you’ve stopped maturing, growing, or ripening, and, when you’ve given up on yourself, or when you find yourself always taking the easy, safe way. ”

As far as our virus concerns and isolated living, we may fit into what he said by comparing what we are doing to live through this time as to what others are doing. Did you ever say, “Look at those people…they aren’t wearing masks…or they are standing too close to someone!!” I am guilty because I am concerned…but does that help? The answer is “NO.”

We must remember that people will make their choices and we have to make ours. There is no way under heaven to control the masses…or an individual. The media, especially at this pre-election time, will be certain to point out what society should be doing or fails to do. Those who speak for medicine often change their thoughts from week to week. That is because everyone, including these experts, are still trying to figure things out. Nothing will be fairly stated online or on media because of varied viewpoints…so why listen?

Therefore, once again it is up to us to do the best we can with what knowledge we have. Of course, being bombarded day to day doesn’t help in the “out of control” feelings that most have…when they see society out of control. A limited amount of this permeating into our brains might be a good idea.

Leider leaves us with a good challenge: The question isn’t whether we’ll be hit by triggers or get kicked into limbo. We will—all of us, at every phase of life, in all kinds of ways. The question is how we’ll react when triggers come, and we find ourselves in limbo. Do we retreat? Or step into the uncertainty? Respond out of fear? Or move forward with courage?

The Holy Scriptures gives us this a blueprint for living a life without fear and full of courage.

 For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7


SPECIAL HONOR

Each year there is an International Dog Day which was started as National Dog Day in 2004 by Colleen Paige, an animal rescue advocate. She chose to observe the day on August 26 as it’s the date that her family adopted their first dog ‘Sheltie’ from an animal shelter home. I like that date because it is just before my birthday on the 27th.

Therefore, a little late, my husband and I would like to honor our most recent Golden Retriever, BELLA, who has been with us less than a year. She is the last in a long line of beautiful dogs that God has allowed us to love. Our Gracie passed away at 14 and for about two years we mourned her. It was like we had lost a child. We missed her so much. Fortunately, we found out that there was a dog in a “puppy mill” who had just had her last litter of pups.

Looking into the situation, the owner had decided not to breed her any further and wanted to let her go to a new place. Bella’s mother and father had been champions in dog shows. This made Bella’s puppies quite desirable for sale…and the owner put a very high price on them.

God must have been looking out for Bella because she certainly didn’t need to stay in that place any longer! She was going to find out what it was like not to be caged and used for seven years…but to be loved day and night.

Bella rides home with us!

Bill and I went to see her about five times until her pups were ready to leave her. When we brought her home, she trembled if someone strange came near her. With love and constant care, Bella found out that people were okay and she could relax in a safe place. She has so much love to give.

She is not only beautiful, but such a “good girl.” She follows us everywhere we go…a true “Velcro dog” and she wants to please us. She has also found that visiting people are okay. However, she will alert us when someone is at the door or give a little growl if she sees someone strange walking in the yard. That’s a good thing. Usually it is our lawn service or pest control men. She is now quick to wag her tail and is a happy girl. She has turned out to be a wonderful dog and we are so grateful for her.

Bella relaxes with my husband

All dog owners will relate to what I am writing in this blog. We are also thankful to the dogs that are trained as Service dogs. They deserve a special recognition day. They helped find victims of 9-11; train as dogs for the disabled; give encouragement to the elderly and provide love and protection.

Service dogs are definitely a blessing from heaven! We see them in action where it is difficult for most people to go. They look for the injured…often pulling them to safety. Their eyes and sense of smell are exceptionally keen.

Dogs, like this one, give special support to the disabled. They are smart and loyal.

Our neighbor trains dogs for this purpose and is extremely dedicated to her profession. She even tries to care for a dog she named “Ghost,” who lives in the woods since someone had most likely dropped him off when he was no longer wanted. He has been there for months.

Ghost could not be caught by the professionals who tried to get him to a safe place. He is probably a very smart dog and knew exactly the purpose of a cage awaiting him. Even food inside would not coach him in through the trap door. He, like many animals, is on his own. Our neighbor tries to feed him and forge some relationship with him, giving him supplements to keep him well.

Ghost roams around at night, for we see him on our security camera. He is a fairly large, yellow dog. Sometimes he seems to be looking for something to play with for he drags loose objects down the hill and carries them all around. He then retreats into his hiding place during the day. I think of him when the Florida storms come most afternoons and evenings…when the lightning cracks. Even our Bella tries to hide in a corner of the room when she hears those sounds. How sad for Ghost who is out in the open, since there are those who dedicate themselves to protecting God’s creatures and would be willing to adopt him from our local animal shelter. Ghost is obviously a survivor… with help from a neighbor who cares.

We are told in the Holy Scriptures that one day “the lion will lay down with the lamb.” I look forward to that day… for when God made dogs, He did it right! They are certainly man’s/and women’s BEST FRIEND!

BELLA…Beautiful!


Birthdays…Should be for Mothers

Alta and Nancy

August 27th is my birthday.   I began to think of the Mother who gave me birth. If she were alive today, she would be over 100 years old.  That gives you an idea of my age, but why people are hesitant, especially women, of sharing their age is a mystery to me.  Every day we live is a gift from God and we should be rejoicing in it.

Nevertheless, I thought about my Mother, Alta, who was 21 years old when she became a mother.  How difficult it must have been in an age of fewer pain relievers, saddle blocks (spinal blocks) or epidurals.  Many babies were born in the home also rather than in a hospital.  Should there be an emergency, the baby or the mother could die.

This led me to question WHY we say “Happy Birthday” to the person celebrating another year older when it might be even more correct that we celebrate the Mother who brought us into the world.

Here she is….my beautiful Mother and me as her baby.   The Holy Scriptures tell us to “HONOR” our Mothers.  Jesus honored his mother and even while he was dying on the cross, He thought to tell his disciple to take care of His Mother, Mary.   How many people think of this today as they may be dying before their own mother.

That is why I want to once again give the proper  HONOR to  my mother. It is truly HER DAY as much as my own.

My Mother loved to cook, garden and was a business woman.  She made other women beautiful as a hair designer, but in my eyes…not as beautiful as she was.   She modeled sometimes for a local N.C. photographer and even into her 90’s I watched her apply her lip stick before going to dinner in her assisted living.  She cared about being her best and doing her best.  I hope that her genes are also strongly implanted as a part of my genes.  She went through some difficult times as a single mother, but was strong in her beliefs and caring for her family.  This included her concerns and generous spirit toward all her Grandchildren. She loved her son-in-law, Bill Boyer, as well.

The slide show below shows some of the characteristics that she had, but I never understood the hat and heels in the garden.  Maybe she just wanted to show off both her happily growing plants that she had worked hard to produce, as well as her style.

She rarely let me in the kitchen to cook with her because she was so good at it, but the whole family enjoyed her creativity from casseroles to her coconut cake that took five days in the refrigerator.   We always laughed at the fact that she sent her Grandson, Steve, to the liquor store to buy rum for her famous rum cake because she might be seen by some of her Christian friends who were Baptist teetotalers. She would soak her rum cake for days in that good stuff and never take a sip…at least that I knew of.    Mom was a devout Christian and lived a life that everyone admired. 

She also loved the Blue Ridge Mountains where she grew up in North Carolina and visited there when she could.  I have also written my own memoirs about our years in Carolina that I titled MY STORY.  It is a private book for my family, but I would encourage everyone to take the time to write about their lives.  After life is over, there will be those who love you and want to remember the things that made life special for you.

“Thank you, Mother, for bringing me into the world. However in this year, 2020, when the World-Wide Coronavirus hit, I was glad that your last days were not spent in the Assisted Living that you were in for only a few months.  You would have been more than sad at not being able to have your family visit…like we were able to do. You let your Grandson, Steve, climb up on your bed to play games and talk. Sadly, that is not possible now. We were able to bring our Golden Retriever, Gracie, to see you.  Thank God that you were spared this isolation that so many are feeling today.  You are with God and that is the most wonderful place that anyone could be.  So…I say to you….Happy Birthday! I wish you were here to enjoy my birthday. 

Bill, Steve and I will be down to put a flower on your grave at Christmas…as we always do.  We miss you.    Your loving daughter, Nancy

Slide presentation of MY MOTHER, ALTA. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


BEAUTIFUL MUSIC

FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE. BLESSINGS FROM BOYER WRITES


THE SINS OF THE FATHERS and PROMISES

If you are asking the question WHY would anyone feel that they can destroy property, attack innocent citizens or make the United States of America into a country of rioting and vandalism? You are not alone. Probably many Americans and people around the world are scratching their heads and asking….WHY?…WHY?…WHY?

This blog does not intend to answer that question, but there is a THEORY to why people of all colors and backgrounds…young and older…are acting the way they are.

One young woman cried out to the rioting people to” break glass…take all you want…for it is REPARATIONS for the past!” Is there any truth in what she said? NO, of course not! There are other ways to solve problems… of the past, present and future than to destroy the hard-earned businesses of people of all colors. Blaming a generation for the sins of past generations solves nothing. She is falling into the hands of the anarchists who would destroy our country.

Does she really understand how far the search for fairness to all people living today has come? Does she know that through people like Martin Luther King, Jr. that people began to see the wrongs and our government passed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights for all people? This behavior is only an excuse to do the wrong thing, which results in hurting all people.

You ask, “What theory are you speaking of in all this madness?”

It might be summed up in one Scripture Verse from the Holy Bible:

The Holy Scripture talks about the “sins of the fathers” to the third and fourth generations and even Shakespeare uses this quote in his writing of The Merchant of Venice: “The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”

_____________________

In the small towns of America, there are people, whose early families were immigrants…not slaves, who believe that the “sins of the fathers” should be remembered and MADE RIGHT, as much as possible. I’m going to share with you a true story of a place in the mountains of which I am quite familiar.

Our former VA home was close to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway of the Appalachian Mountains. While living there, I read an article about a man who knew about the slaves that worked the area on the Langhorne farm in Virginia. This was before the Civil War and there was an unmarked burial place near the lovely little village of Meadows of Dan. When the article was written, there was only a small wooden split rail fence where the bodies of the slaves had been buried This also included some small children of the slaves. When the Park Service was building the Blue Ridge Parkway, the land became part of their domain. The headstones had been torn out and thrown in the woods. Nothing remained to show who was buried in this specific spot, but some of the old timers of the area knew.

One afternoon, I went looking for the rail fence, which turned out to be at the entrance to the Parkway at Meadows of Dan. Parking at the local church, I walked over to the area. Nothing was there to identify the graves of the slaves who had lived, worked, and died here. Only a small, rail fence circled the area.

“What a shame that there is nothing to identify it,” I thought to myself. The millions of people yearly, who ride the Parkway, will zoom right by this historical, sacred spot. Most people will travel on to visit places where the old timers settled, like the old Mabry Mill right down the road, but they will never know the history of this place where a plantation owner buried those who labored for him.

In this age of monuments being torn down of the famous men of the Civil War era and the present day stressful problems of racial disharmony, it was heartening to know that there were white people who had been trying to convince the Park Service to do the right thing for many years. Unfortunately, as is the history of all bureaucratic, government agencies, slow or forever slow is the story. It definitely was in the case of these slaves having a proper monument.

After six months away from the Blue Ridge, I rounded the curving entrance to Meadows of Dan and there it was…..the old slave cemetery that I had written about in my book, Old Timers of the Blue Ridge. Now, it actually had a marker! A large, beautiful granite headstone stood inside the split rail fence. 18

__________________

My husband and I stopped, walked up to the monument and the last words stood out to me…FOREVER FREE! Yes, they have gone on to be with God, Who made all people…black, white, and every shade of color. They are free at last, but are we living free from the past? Is it possible, no matter how hard people try… to be removed, in this modern world where hate runs deep, from the “sins of the fathers?” This is a question of gigantic proportions!

______________________

Hurrying home to check the internet, I had to know the story of how this monument was placed here in the year that I was away from Virginia. This is what I found out: Matt Burnett, an old time resident of the area, had been one of the workers who tore out the headstones for the Park Service and he asked Bob Heafner to make him a special promise. That was thirty-three years ago.

“Burnett asked Heafner if he would make sure that people would someday KNOW ABOUT THE FORGOTTEN SLAVES hidden in plain sight next to a road traveled by millions.

Heafner was young then, a businessman and a publisher who knew people in Meadows of Dan and up and down the parkway. Surely, Burnett thought, Heafner could find a way to place a monument or memorial to those people, so that their lives wouldn’t remain buried in the past….Heafner discovered a will that stated James Steptoe Langhorne had at least five slaves and perhaps owned more than 10 at one time. He also found the names of five other African-Americans who were probably buried in the cemetery. Three of them died enslaved, with history having no record of their last names:

Charles (a child who died in 1858),

John (who was 19 when he died in 1858)

and Ellen (a 1-year-old who died in 1862).

The two other people Heafner documented died after the Civil War:

Guss Langhorne (another 1-year-old who died in 1871)

and Susan Langhorne (born a slave, died free in 1871 at age 28). It is unclear why the latter two had the Langhorne name. 19

It took a number of people to finally get results of placing the granite stone where it should have been long ago, including finding the granite company owner who was willing to make the stone.

This grave site was part of a history of the South. The mountain people strongly defend their history. People come far and wide to see the reenactments of the Civil War between the North and the South near Ararat, VA. The important points of this story are that the Blue Ridge people also believe in keeping their promises and doing right by the slaves that are buried in this cemetery regardless of the actions of the people of the past. Throughout our country, especially in the South, there are many people who feel the same way. They definitely should not be condemned for the “sins of the fathers” when they were not born during this terrible time of history.

Who exactly was James Steptoe Langhorne of Meadows of Dan, the land owner where the slave cemetery is located?

“According to family history, Henry let his son James Steptoe Langhorne choose one of the plantations, and after touring them all, James Steptoe, age about 22, looked out over the 13, 000 acre “Langdale” plantation in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen! In fact, he is credited with giving that area its name, Meadows of Dan—located in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Dan River. He chose to settle there, but was blinded by retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited family disease– within just a couple of years—and never actually saw his beloved land again! James Steptoe Langhorne, called “Grandpa Steptoe” by his grandchildren, married Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro and together they had eight children, and adopted at least two more. Of course, on a 13,000-acre plantation in 1822 Virginia, Grandpa Steptoe owned slaves. It doesn’t matter how abhorrent and embarrassing this practice might be to me today, it is a part of our history. ” It was from Patrick County, VA that he built his massive plantation along with the slaves who worked it. He also gave land and built at least two churches. The Meadows of Dan Baptist church is where he and his wife are buried. His father and original family were emigrants from Wales, arriving in 1666. (credit Helen Houlshouser…relative to James Steptoe Langhorne)

If you are traveling the beautiful Blue Ridge, stop in at the little slave cemetery at the corner of the Meadows of Dan exit. Spend a few minutes considering the long-reaching meaning of who is buried there and give a “thank you” to one of the many merchants down the road in Meadows of Dan that helped promote the erection of the slave memorial stone. We especially thank the man who kept his promise, Bob Heafner.

“Slavery was common in Patrick County. According to county historian Tom Perry, as many as 2,000 slaves were part of Patrick County’s 9,000 residents in 1850. The majority of those enslaved people were owned by the prominent Reynolds and Hairston families. The Reynolds were the founders of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s father owned 28 slaves, according to Perry. Slavery was less prevalent up on the mountain in Meadows of Dan, where five families owned slaves, according to an Appalachian State University research project commissioned by the park service.” 20

Even though time has passed and we live in a new era, those who came out to see the placing of the new marker at the Meadows of Dan, know that it is important to the families of those who may have buried relatives in this grave site. There is a new Database of identities of 3,200 slaves through the historical society of VA that can help people find their descendants. Information can be found beginning with the American colonies in 1619 through unpublished private documents.

The most important thing is to remember the men, women and children who worked the land by force. We must also not forget that African Americans and slaves from other areas were not only those who suffered great injustices. Native Americans endured the Trail of Tears and other horrors. The white settlers who had emigrated from Europe suffered at the hands of the Native Americans and the lawlessness of other Americans. Present day merchants, white and black, suffer when a life-time of work and businesses are destroyed by rioting. We could go on and on.

One may ask, “So where do we go from here? Will people never get over this tragic piece of history?” Because slavery in America may have caused many problems of today, this is a good question. How many generations will be affected by those who did terrible deeds of bringing slaves to America, as well as the off-spring of those who bought and sold them? How many generations will have to find new and better ways to compensate for the sins of the past or is that possible?

The great repentance of a rude, profane Slave Trader, John Newton gave us the beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” In 1748 he wrote “On that day, the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” Only God’s amazing grace could “Save a Wretch like Me, ” he wrote. 21

The Fathers of our nation and the rich owners of slaves often had children with those they owned. Some of those children have embraced their lineage…become educated, successful and brought honor to generations after their enslaved fore-fathers. Reunions are held by those who can trace their legacy from a white slave owner to their slave mother. Healing is needed in our nation. Maybe owning the past is the answer as the Germans have had to own the Holocaust.

The Sins of the Fathers will only be healed when we find a way to remember that all people are sinners and need the grace of God to combat the past and bring forgiveness to the present. Listen to this promise God has given to all of us.

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and WILL HEAL THEIR LAND. 2nd Chronicles 7:14


FORMS and a GLASS OF WATER

It occurred to me that we are constantly being asked something about ourselves on paperwork or in person. In an age when no one is supposed to ask anything about your religion, race, family background or political persuasion, I find it interesting that we continue to be asked personal things, regardless. This is quite disturbing to some and others go along with it because they feel there is nothing that can be done about it…so why bother to complain. Why worry?…for it is just one more exasperating part of life. Bureaucracy has always been a pain.

How we deal with our everyday stresses greatly effects our own emotional welfare. From from buying a house, applying for a job, filing out the income tax forms, medical questions and much more, we all feel the pinch…and are glad when it is completed.

Lets look at this more deeply at putting our information on the tiny, little line provided on a form. Actually, what does it matter what race we are, for aren’t we all from the “HUMAN race?” Who really needs to know? If we decided to put “human” next to that line, they probably would reject it…as if they didn’t know what a “human” is.

As for politics, I just go vote for the person I think will be most likely to do the job…and do it when things get tough for all people. Yet, when I vote, I have to tell them that I’m one party or another. If I register in my state as an “Independent,” I have only the national election in which to vote because it is considered a “closed primary” for other local elections. That doesn’t seem fair.

Did I say the word, “FAIR?” The possibility of the unfairness of any election to be a problem is not a new problem. Somehow when the election rolls around, we wade through it because it is the American thing to do. Usually, however, I also have to show some identification that I am an indeed an American, not a dog or cat or illegal immigrant…unless that changes. I know who I plan to have my Golden Retriever vote for in that case. Don’t ask me though, for privacy is an important part of who I am. I would hate to have “protesters”…or worse, outside my house! Unfortunately, violence has become such a part of our nation that simply holding up a sign for any candidate can become deadly. God help us!

You look at the medical records, that are supposed to be private. Does it matter to the doctor that I am male or female…well, maybe… if he is concerned about my ovaries. What does a person do that is not certain if he is female or male in his own thinking? I also suppose that when the form asks “male” or “female”… that there should be a box saying “other” …or “trying to decide.” That might be confusing to the medics unless they have to check.

Yet, “other” might appear on some applications. This is true if you just can’t fit into the category provided. Oh, yes, I jest a bit about things that may not be a laughing matter to some. My apology is in order, for we must not offend or even joke about any serious matter! I do have real concerns about a child that is growing up being told that they can “choose” what sex they want to be. This is happening, as I know you are aware. At least, let them grow up as male or female and then they can decide on this issue…if that is important to them.

This leads me to wonder, who exactly makes out these forms? They must stay up nights trying to figure out what to put down just in case someone might not know how to answer! Correctness is important to those who need to know. It is the RESPONSIBILITY of those who hold the pen or click the key on the internet. Someone on the other side will decide for you IF you have to reapply…so get it right!!

Therefore, I looked up: FORMS Don’t ask me why. It is just one of those quirks I get when I’m laying awake at night thinking. Sometimes the things that pop into my head actually makes me laugh. Laughter is a good thing because it is at a premium these days…unless someone just gets hysterical from worry.

Back to FORMS. Is “form” a noun or a verb? If it is a form you fill out, it is a noun. If it is “form” in making something…like forming a round cookie ball, it is actually to form, which is a verb. That is just extra information in case you just couldn’t live without knowing. The teacher in me comes out.

One of the forms that I came across was from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. I never realized it could get so complicated and sometimes expensive. Tough luck for those who come with almost no money to apply.

Reader,don’t get bored. Stick with me. This part is for those readers who may be thinking of doing it the right way. These are a few, but NOT ALL:

  1. Job offer Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through a Job Offer Form filing fee: 
  2. Granted an Asylee status: Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through Asylee Status An asylee is a person who meets the definition of refugee and is already present in the United States or is seeking admission at a port of entry.
  3. Refugee: Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through Refugee Status
  4. Naturalization: Becoming a U.S. Citizen Through Naturalization Form filing fee: $640 Naturalization is the process to become a U.S. citizen if you were born outside of the United States. If you meet certain requirements, you may become a U.S. citizen either at birth or after birth.
  5. Citizenship through Parents. Citizenship Through Parents Form filing fee: $1,170 Congress has enacted laws that determine how U.S. citizen parents convey citizenship to children born outside of the United States. Generally, you may obtain citizenship through your U.S. citizen parents when you are born, or after your birth but before you turn 18.
  6. Temporary Workers Visa E Visas (E-1, E-2, and E-3) for Temporary Workers Form filing fee: $460 The E visa category includes treaty traders and investors who come to the United States under a treaty of commerce and navigation between the United States and the country of which they are a citizen or national.
  7. SMART PERSON: You may be eligible for an employment-based, first-preference visa if you have an extraordinary ability, are an outstanding professor or researcher, or are a multinational executive or manager. EB-2: Employment-Based Immigration– Advanced Degree or Exceptional Ability Form filing fee: $460 You may be eligible for an employment-based, second preference (EB-2) permanent worker visa if you are a member of a profession and you have an advanced degree or its equivalent, or if you have an exceptional ability.

Well, that was fun. I bet it won’t be fun filling out those forms. If you are busy thinking which category you fall under, just know they will document everything about you. However, because you are willing to be honest, open and agreeable to doing things the “American Way,” you may be able to be an American citizen…but the time of waiting is unknown. A wall won’t be long enough for those who ignore the correct method, but those people will be looking over their shoulder their entire life.

As far as forms go, we, Americans have it all figured out. You can fill out your forms online, in Braille, or various other methods. Don’t forget to read the fine print. It usually tells you “under penalty of law” which means that they will take you away from your family or your firstborn…which ever they can get. I’m teasing, of course. I’m not certain who they will send to get you since the police force might be minimized by the time they read your incorrect form. Oh, bureaucracy, it is the dream…or nightmare… of all who live in this wonderful world!

Perhaps I have been too hard on the ups and downs of filling out forms in our democracy. There are many other forms of government control that would not even ask you to fill out a form…because they don’t care who you are, what you think or why you want something that calls for a form,…for it doesn’t matter to them. You will simply be a speck…without rights or privileges. There are a few governments that incorporate a form of democracy with some form of socialism, such as in Sweden or Norway. Each has inherit dangers to how much control is actually given to the government hierarchy.

Next time I have to fill out a form, I will remember to thank God that I have the opportunity to participate in my own needs that require a form. What if we lived under the tyranny of most of the governments listed below.

Have you ever thought of how many different FORMS of GOVERNMENTS there are? You might want to look up some of these when you have an extra hour or two. Here is the list that I came up with…in alphabetical order.. certainly not in order of the most important to the rights of the average citizen.

Since we have an election coming up, it might be good to see if any of our candidates are leaning toward any one of these forms of government. No person is freer than in a democracy. and it is why we sing…. “I am glad to be an American….where I know I’m free…” Now, if only the American anarchist could learn that song!

Life and all its complications may be difficult to manage IF we try to hold on to them. So much of life, especially now, is filled with personal and national stress. Furthermore, there is not much we can do about most of it. We can’t totally control the virus. We can vote in the election and who will win will be up to the nation as a whole. The police are trying to control the rioting and looting as much as they are given support by local governments. Young Americans need to be taught by family, clergy and teachers the basics of right and wrong. Where this failure happens, the young people will not learn. This should certainly keep us up at night.

Let’s look at the Holy Scripture because there is a lesson here and also in the video below about our stresses and concerns.

To the Samaritan Woman at the well, Jesus said,  “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,  but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  John 4

We, most of all, have to learn to put all things in God’s hands. He knows the beginning from the end. He is all powerful and we must look to Him…personally and nationally. Whether it is filling out a simple form, or a not so simple form…or something much more stressful…we would do well to learn a lesson about A GLASS OF WATER.


WORK FORCE

This morning I ate my breakfast. As usual, I poured my non-fat milk over the beautiful, round blueberries that floated atop my cereal. This has been a habit for some time since I’m told that blueberries are really good for us.

Why talk about breakfast and blueberries? The reason is that we give little thought about these great fruits that are readily available to us in the grocery stores or the people who picked them. Aside from the hefty price on some of these “little darlings,” they are usually readily available most of the year. This may not be so true in the future…as some vegetables and fruits have been rotting in the fields. Why? The workforce is declining…as with other things in industry. (My doctor told me the other day that he is having a hard time getting inserts for his foot patients. No, shoe inserts have nothing to do with blueberries…but the labor force does.)

After I listened to an aspiring medical student, Gianna Ninno, who has picked blueberries since she was a young child with her family, I thought it was time to write something about these “heroes” of the marketplace. They are usually minority…both American and from other places.

Her statement, “The people who pick the berries can’t actually afford to buy them in the stores.” This puts a new slant on the farm workers that make it possible for me to enjoy my blueberries each morning. All I can say is “THANK YOU!”

I thank them for their labor, but also the fact that they are willing to put their lives on the line to do the job. During the virus epidemic, it was revealed that many of the farm and factory workers were showing growing numbers of contacting the COVID-19. This was especially true in the meat packing houses.

When we lived part of the year in Virginia, USA, I noticed that most of the workers there were not Americans, but immigrants that get short term visas to be part of our labor force. They lived in the small accommodations provided by the farm owner and rode to work in crowded vans. This, of course, was an invitation for sickness. Now, that travel bans have occurred, it is questionable if they will be able to help Americans with their harvest. We worried about paper goods during the first days of the Pandemic, but the foods we eat may be the next shortage. It might be wise to start a garden in your backyard, if you have the room.

Whatever money the farm workers make usually is wired home to their families in various countries. When the picking season is over, the farm owners fly them back home until the next season. It was explained to us that all of the paperwork was done correctly with the government. They are issued short-term work visas. These workers are appreciated because they are very hard workers.

The immigrants don’t receive welfare benefits from our government. Some of our own citizens are obviously unwilling to do the back-breaking work that these people are eager to do in order to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, to their health and welfare, there has been a cost. We hope that they will be able to return as long as they are here legally and the farmers can afford them.

Photo/Megan Farmer

The laborers of the fields need the honor and wages due them. What does the Holy Scripture tells us about this?

“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin. Deuteronomy 24:14-15

The video that you are about to see was made by a young woman who wanted everyone to know that many of our American, minority farm workers have a similar plight to those who come from out of the country. She is trying hard to earn extra money in order to finish her medical school education by doing the work that many others avoid. I will let her give you her story in this short video.

As for me, I will continue to enjoy my blueberries each morning as long as they are available. I now appreciate even more their beautiful, round, blue shape and their wonderful taste because I understand better that there are special human beings willing to work extremely hard to get them to me.

I bet you won’t think of a blueberry the same.

Click the link. (from ABC News If you are trying to watch on a phone, unfortunately, her video may not come up after the ad…which by the way, I’m not endorsing. Sorry if this happens…watch on your computer if possible.)

https://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=72363462


Growing Older…Yes, WE ALL ARE!

Back in February I posted this blog.  This would be before the virus hit and we all wondered if we would indeed get any older. Now, I have come to believe that there is sunshine at the end of the storm.  Hospitals are announcing fewer cases and except for the political agendas, people seem to be on the move.  An agent whom we know said that they just can’t keep up with the number of houses being bought…so someone is expecting to live in them or sell them again in some future time.  ALL THIS LOOKS LIKE A GOOD “GROWING OLDER” possibility.

So let’s talk about this new optimistic view by looking back at what I wrote in February.  The only real difference that I can see is the really close contact and the tragedy of the elderly dying alone in a nursing facility. That breaks my heart!

“Everything in advertisement these days is how to stay young and beautiful.  Who wouldn’t want to do that?!  Well, not so fast, perhaps those that have lived a good, long life have a few things to say about aging. We will explore the subject that no one wants to write about, talk about, or experience…aging.  We all grow a little older each day…each hour…each minute.  Some tell it better with the graying of the hair, a larger mid-waist, or a few wrinkles…or alot as the case may be.

I live in Florida and all the billboards for senior living look like this:

or this:

All are always having so much fun!!   Frankly, I’d rather find a good bench and enjoy the view with my special person!

NEVER would a billboard show the other side of aging…a woman alone with few if any relatives near by.

 Yet,  many older people are finding a life filled with wonderful memories and FEW, if any regrets about their lives.

  It is not all downhill as some would like to think.

The funny thing, however, is that we rarely think of ourselves as getting older.

You notice that I never say OLD, but OLDER because it is the natural part of life for everyone…from crib to the knee replacement!

THE AGING PROCESS

Devotional Books 4 and 5 have been published since February.   Hopefully, you will want to read one of them:   Rain on the Roof.  and  Faith

I’d like to share a portion of one chapter which relates to this topic of growing older:

“What exactly is the meaning of “grace” or doing something with “grace”?” We would all like to think that we can be that kind of person when it comes to seeing our lives slide away and we can begin a possible countdown on two hands. There are those who might make it to the 100 mark, but the quality of life in these people is usually limited. There are exceptions, however. Some Centenarians have some real words of wisdom for all of us.

One man said, “I enjoy robbing the government by continuing to get my pension!” Another Centenarian said about getting older and reaching 100, “It is only a number. You live for the day and a little shot of whiskey occasionally helps,” he said with a smile.

Fond memories seem to play a great part of enjoying the end of life. We all have the heartaches, but it is the happy times that we can and should reflect upon. Building another good memory at any age is the key. It is a great thing to be able to say, “I really did so many things, knew so many people and I believe I mostly did everything that I wanted to do.”

If you are growing older, it is not only the physical body that begins to become more frail, but the mind and emotions can also take a toll. Some of this is genetic or poor health or a disease that is not avoidable. Nevertheless, for those of us who are fortunate enough not to have some of these disabilities, it is up to us to feed the brain with optimism and good thoughts. It is too easy to complain or become “an old fogy” that no one wants to be around or that is old-fashioned or intellectually dull.

Doing the things that make us happy is most important as we age…whether that is writing, as I do, or watering a beautiful flower that has been grown and nurtured by your own hands.

An English lady maintains her wonderful memories of her family as if they are all still around her. With a laugh, she says that sometimes people will hear her talking to herself…but it isn’t really to herself…but to the children that she remembers and cared for through their lives. “They think I am crackers when I talk to myself, but I’m not…just remember the ones I love.”

If you have been in a nursing home for the aged, it is quite depressing, at times, to see so many elderly sitting and doing nothing. Often they are sleeping from medication given to them that can take away quality of life. This is when an advocate is so important to keep watch over a parent or grandparent who may not be able to fend for themselves when it comes to care. Years ago, the elderly stayed in the home of the children until their death. Because of this, they had someone with them who truly cared about them and their welfare. How important it is to speak to those sitting in the Assisted Living facilities and let them know that they are recognized as a special person who has lived a very long life. Each of them have stories to tell if we will take time to listen.

Taking time to listen is exactly why my husband and I interviewed veterans of past wars to write their stories in the book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.   Most had never had an interview and were most appreciative to know that the service they gave to their country would live on in a book. This was especially true of an elderly man who fought in Korea with frozen feet. His miracle was that just before surgery to remove his legs, the blood flow came back. Our veterans are quickly passing away, as are the Holocaust survivors of World War II. With grace, many have shared their lives and stories of courage with us. In our present day, those who now sit in wheelchairs, will soon be gone from us. Some have made the trip back to the places where so much happened in their lives to preserve freedom for future generations. Never forget to thank them “for their service.”

Asked if the Centenarians “have any regrets,” most had only a few. Some wished that they had told someone they loved them more or worked harder at a vocation. Time moves swiftly as we grow older. We look back at a full-time career, a number of children in the home, pets to care for and after retirement it is hard to imagine how we fit all that into one 24 hour day! We should want to live those hours as gracefully as possible at any age.

The word ‘grace’ literally means ‘favour.’ In Hebrew, it is CHEN from a root word CHANAN – to bend or stoop in kindness to another.
In Greek it is CHARIS and has the idea of graciousness in manner or action. It comes from a root word CHAIRO to be cheerful, happy. 31

Perhaps this is the key to those who have lived life longer than most…to accept each day with gratefulness and cheerfulness. It is a lesson for all of us to learn to live in GRACE.

On a spiritual level, it is to LIVE and MOVE and have our being (or EXISTENCE). Acts 17:28 It is the GRACE of God that saves us.”   N.W. BOYER

It spite of illness, in spite even of the arch-enemy sorrow,one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change,insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in a small way.   Quote by Edith Wharton (An American novelist and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature in 1921.)

_____________________

Recently I received an email from a reader of this particular blog on Growing Older.  What she wrote to me was so impressive that I asked permission to reprint it here for my readers.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

“Hi, Nancy!  This was great.  It reminded me of my job in Portland, Oregon where I was an Activities Director for an assisted living facility.   I had to get my certification from Portland State and I learned a lot about geriatrics!  The state required that I provide activities for spiritual needs, physical, creative, educational, and social activities.  It was quite a challenge  I had 97 residents and I was the only activities person.  The nurses were nice enough to help those who were not ambulatory to take them to the activity.  I had a “Fit & Fun” class where we exercised to the 1940’s music (they especially liked the Andrews Sisters); I had a Chorus, and a band, we gave concerts to the families.  I did educational things like picking a country and showing a 30 minute video about it and before that, I would make some food for them from that country and talk about it for a while—plus I had “happy hour” and music playing on Fridays,  and I had a tea party for the ladies (Steve came and played the recorder for them)  with lace tablecloths and china tea cups—I had slide shows…and ministers/priests/ and Jewish people come in and offer services.   I loved that job so much!  It was great fun.  Steve called me a “paid party-girl”.    😊 

Working with elders was wonderful.  Funny…too.  “Good morning, Claire, how are you this morning?”  Claire replied, “Well, let’s see…I woke up…I was able to eat breakfast…and I could go to the bathroom…It’s goin’ to be a great day!”   You never know… I have so many stories. 

My favorite was Vera.  She had Alzheimer’s, couldn’t walk on her own, and had trouble communicating.  I found out that she used to play the piano.  So one day, I wheeled Vera in front of this grand piano and then I sat down at a nearby table.  She looked at me…and looked around…and looked at me again…and looked at the piano…then played a beautiful rendition of  “Moonlight Sonata”.  I nearly fell over.  I ran to get the nurse to show her!  Wow.   After she finished—I took her back to her room and she fell asleep.  She didn’t say a word.

Another favorite was Violet.  Again Alzheimer’s –about 3rd stage.  She was walking on her own.  Wore everything in her closet (we were careful not to have much in there)…needed assistance to be seated because she didn’t know where to sit.  She had trouble talking but she babbled anyway.  I heard that she used to be a secretary for 45 years.  One evening, while she was eating dinner in the dining room, I took a chance and wrote on a piece of paper in Gregg shorthand “How are you today, Violet? ”.   Then I left the paper there with the pencil and watched her from the other part of the room.  It took a while…she looked at it, then ate some more and looked at it again, picked up the pencil and scratched something.  After she left, I went and got the paper… it said, in Gregg shorthand… “I am fine today, thank you.”  

When I think of being older…I think of miracles. Those that have happened, and those that have not happened just yet.  I’m training my mind to be positive, and grateful.  It’s working. 😊 Your wonderful story just added to that!”

______________________

ENJOY YOUR LIFE…IT IS THE ONLY ONE YOU HAVE…and the sun is still shining!

VIDEO  Turn up sound  Interesting thoughts from some who made it to 100 years old…and still enjoying life.


THE JOY OF SUMMER

SUN.…Have you walked outside the air-conditioning and just felt the warmth of the summer sun on your face? There is something relaxing about drinking in the gift of God…bright, calming sun.

FLOWERS…Today we are going to think about all the beauty that summer brings…FLOWERS. My rose garden is a delight. When I reach for a new, glorious bud or an open bright, red bloom, I can truly say that all other thoughts leave my mind. They are perfection as they raise their long stems toward the heavens.

Oaks….The trees that shade us from the hot, summer sun and give the birds their perch…we honor you for you will probably still stand long after we are gone to God above.

BIRDS…The song of BIRDS are clearly heard each morning. Occasionally, I am at the right place and time to photograph a bird…not just any little bird…but the unusual, big birds.

BUTTERFLIES... Plant some seeds in your garden. You will be amazed at how fast they will grow into colorful blooms that the butterflies love. After they bloom, collect the old blossoms for the seeds. Shovel some dirt over the old flowers and watch them come up again. Giant sunflowers will do the same.

Rain that showers down the blessings of a fresh day. Filling our lakes and rivers that run into the oceans blue.

WAVES…If you love the sound of the waves lapping on the shore, the stretch of Beaches and the soft, smooth sand, you have found the perfect summer. Here, in Florida, we also have sand dunes. Once I encountered a 6 ft. alligator coming up the beach and slowly making his way into one of the sand dunes. He seemed to pay no attention that humans were sharing this lovely spot with him. THE JOY of SUMMER CAN BE ALL YOURS!

LOOK AROUND YOU AT GOD’S CREATION.

Enjoy the summer video below.

VIDEO FOR YOUR PLEASURE Turn up your sound


CURRICULUM BIAS and YOUR CHILD

After much confinement and trying to teach children at home during the Pandemic, most of my readers who are parents or have grandchildren, whom they rarely see, are excited about the possibility of getting back on track with school and education.

Some families are choosing to take things slowly with a “wait and see” attitude…continuing home schooling or online teaching…while others will be relieved to see the big, yellow bus come their way. We ask prayers for any bus driver who will have to enforce “distancing” and “mask wearing!” Everyone, however, is eager to get back to “normal”…or whatever “normal” may be!

As parents gives last minute instructions, they may be saying things like “Be sure to wear your mask and don’t get too close to anyone!” Good luck on that happening. No, it hasn’t been easy all these months and the problems that will arise will be new and varied. I can only imagine the stress parents have been under because my children are all grown and out on their own…trying to make a living, like everyone else. Parenting is a new challenge. God bless them everyone!!

Having been surrogate teachers, Moms and Dads might make this comment: “At least, the teacher, who is educated in higher math, science and history will be able to do a far better job than those of us who never intended to teach these subjects. After all, I work in the restaurant business, drive a truck, stock shelves… or work as a bank teller for a living. My child just didn’t know how to interact me or with a teacher on a screen…especially my little kindergarten child.”

Well, Dear Reader, if you are looking for relief, this blog post may not give you very much because we are going to consider the new concepts of learning that your child will encounter when you wave “goodbye and have a nice day!” You will find that there is a bias that runs deep within most school systems.

If you want your child to have the best learning experience possible and you can’t afford a private or Christian school that has a fantastic reputation for learning, what are you to do? What exactly are most schools around the country deciding for you what is the correct approach to teaching your beautiful child? Here are some big questions that might have never crossed your mind.

How will they learn?

What will their minds be filled with that you may not agree with?

How will you counter those things as a parent?

Let’s talk curriculum and learning!

The curriculum established in a school is the heart of what is to be learned in the classroom, along with social interaction. I speak as an educator, who knows quite a lot on this subject because of my many years of teaching students and supervising other teachers. CREATIVITY in teaching was my strength. It is what I believe to be the joy of teaching for most excellent teachers. This freedom is fading away…and in some cases…COMPLETELY GONE.

It appears that the changes in “how and what to teach” that is being forced upon teachers in education today are laced with ulterior motives. Through teacher in-service training, the fast- changing rules and regulations are taking place… and they WILL effect your child.

Each year there are teachers who leave the profession because they are not being allowed to creatively teach…as one more rule and regulation is added to how they are to teach the student’s curriculum. They know if they are to keep their jobs, their hands are tied and they worry about what the student is actually learning or being indoctrinated academically. The ability for a student to find solutions to problems, looking at both sides of an issue and in general…learning about critical thinking is not being stressed. How much debate is allowed in the High Schools or Middle Schools is “debatable.” Students are also concerned about being called names if they don’t take the popular positions espoused by news media and more. Every teen wants to fit in…and it takes real courage to oppose the norm. Ask Jonathan Isaac, the young man who was highlighted in one of my previous blogs. He is an adult now, but somewhere in his youth, he had to learn to decide what was right for himself. He choose to stand during the National Anthem…even if he had to do it alone.

If you want your child to actually learn the major parts of our U.S. history, science and literature… and be well-rounded in the basic areas of learning, you may want to read Paula Enck’s interview with a teacher. She is writing this article to give parents and others in the world a heads up to what is happening in our American world of education.

Here, in part, are some of her eye-opening statements from the 4th grade teacher about her experience and what is being expected of other teachers:

A world without textbooks or homework and where getting the wrong answer is celebrated may sound like an elementary student’s dream, but if such a fantasy becomes a reality, it would damage a generation of young minds. That is, however, exactly what is happening in many public elementary schools.

Recently, I spoke with a fourth-grade teacher from the midwest, who shared her experience witnessing the shifting of curriculum from history and science towards overt political indoctrination, all to the detriment of students’ learning. To protect this person’s privacy, she will remain nameless.

In supervising fourth grade, she teaches a little bit of everything: math, reading, language arts, social studies, and science. Recently, her school district, like many others, switched to an “integrated curriculum.” On paper, an integrated curriculum sounds like a fair idea. Students learn subjects by exploring their intersections to deepen understanding. In practice, however, the curriculum all but eradicates history while working to push politics on impressionable children.

As the teacher reports, “It says ‘integrated curriculum,’ and some of its science, and some of its social studies but it really isn’t. It’s more of a push for the progressive movement.” Indeed, it’s a movement that has fundamentally altered her curriculum. As the school district’s new curricula are online, outsiders have the ability to dictate curriculum to teachers. The result? This teacher’s science and history classes were gutted...

History Deemed Expendable

(the interview continues) “I used to do a whole unit an Abraham Lincoln, and for some reason, it’s just all of that is gone, based on an integrated curriculum. When you look at our curriculum, they’ve removed everything that was in the textbook. They say, ‘Don’t use the textbook, and you don’t need to teach that anymore.’

Student textbooks may disappear completely.
Computers have replaced textbooks at many schools.

Throwing Out Textbooks

This teacher’s district, like many others, has not just done away with history and science, but also textbooks in general. The frustrating part of being a teacher in elementary grades is that they have no foundational skills. The textbooks that were used went through the different states and regions, the government, Abraham Lincoln… As far as studying history, we kind of lost all of that because I was told, ‘Please discard all of your textbooks.’ … I asked why over and over and over again and was told that we now have an integrated curriculum, so do not use textbooks.

Ditching all books for computers teaches students to disregard the information that can be found in books, the teacher noted. Instead, they are being taught that everything can and should be learned online. Despite this push towards the internet, the students are not taught how to evaluate online sources for accuracy. In youth and inexperience, it can be easy to mistake a valid source of historical or scientific facts with a poor alternative. This is a recipe for ill-prepared children armed with a legion of bad facts.

Values in teaching history

The kids are missing out on learning why there was a civil war in the first place. They don’t learn the true meaning of slavery and how it got resolved because it’s just disappeared from the curriculum.

The only thing I can teach in social studies was a little bit of government. There wasn’t anything anymore about the Civil War; that was completely gone...I spoke to a friend, who’s a fifth-grade teacher, and her Revolutionary War unit was gone. She used to do a great job on the colonists of America.

Science Replaced With Propaganda

Before the integrated curriculum began, this teacher engaged her students in an array of scientific studies. In the new curriculum, however: My last unit of teaching was just a long unit on petroleum and how bad it was. It would talk about oil spills. We’d have an experiment that kids have to mix tempera paint and oil to simulate an oil spill, so when that happened, the kids would see how awful it was on plants and animals. In reality, these are few and far between, where we have oil spills and causing great damage. But they take something that was awful happened back in history, we’ll take that and say, ‘This is why no one should ever use oil or gas.’ They’re trying to tell the kids that you are bad if you think that you should drive a car or a school bus without it being with renewable energy.

I’m teaching renewable energy in the 4th grade and feeling that is there should be a debate on it, and it should be taught both ways. Instead, it’s video after video after video how we killed animals, how it’s bad for the environment. It’s one-sided education instead of the time for debate.

That is what it’s really changed in the elementary school year. It’s a one-sided script. Science class under this curriculum mandate is not science, but political propaganda. Students have lost out on foundational skills that would benefit them greatly in middle and high school...

They’re not looking at the different levels of electricity. They’re not looking at anything about the water cycle. It’s all in the electronics area or it’s always on the Internet. Nothing is about reading a book and learning about following directions anymoreScience is taught in a very progressive manner. No longer the kids ever going to see a textbook in schools. It’s called ’21st-century learning’ so therefore without a textbook now...

Beloved Projects on the Chopping Block

It was so much fun doing state reports. Now, sadly to say, I’m told not to, because there’s no time for it. That it would be a waste of time. It was probably the best thing about 4th grade. They say, ‘What are you doing, teaching states? Why are you letting the kids do a state report?’ I said, ‘It’s reading, it’s writing, it’s research.’ There is so much to learn, and now I’m not allowed to do that because of the integrated curriculum.

These state projects were not just social studies. They taught kids valuable research and communication skills. The cross-section of skills that coalesced into a beloved annual tradition is how an integrated curriculum should function. Now it’s gone, and so is the teacher’s ability to be creative in working with her students.

(Boyer Writes note: As an educator, before my retirement, I taught a number of grades in both elementary and middle school. 5th grade was my favorite where I was able to do exciting things to enhance the curriculum required. We learned in Social Studies about the Constitution, History of American wars fought, the Emancipation Proclamation that freed the slaves, and had one on one interviews with World War II veterans and Holocaust Survivors. The students took notes, wrote a report about their conversations and presented them, as a public speaking exercise, to the class. A teacher friend told me…”No more planting a Victory Garden or doing those things for we must be on the same page and chapter in every classroom. There is no time.”)

Parents None the Wiser

With the removal of important foundational skills and basic subjects, one would think the school district parents would be up-in-arms about the schools’ curriculum shift. Conservative parents especially should be fighting the school’s attempted indoctrination of their children. However, they are unable to have opinions on their children’s education, because they have no idea what’s happening.

The parents don’t know what’s going on because it’s all at school. We hardly give homework anymore…. I just disagree with a lot of things, but they keep it in school so that the parents don’t have to worry. The parents question very little and they just assume the teacher knows what they’re doing.

With limited homework, parents lack a window into what is being taught to their children. Likewise, the students are losing an important aspect of early education — drilling foundational subjects, like basic math, in order to better understand in the future.

Getting the Wrong Answer…and Growth Mindset

The in-school application of a so-called “growth mindset” actually keeps students from learning and growing. The way of teaching is to get them to get the answer first, and then some of the kids won’t know how they got there because they’re always in a group setting. We have to work together. We’re always talking about cooperative learning. I feel that too much cooperative learning now. We don’t have the skill base anymore.

We test them, but by the time we’ve tested them, they really have never learned anything in the first place. We know they’re at the bottom and they stay at the bottom because nobody sitting there saying, ‘Well let’s just skill and drill.’ They’ve left out all the basic skills. They left out drills. No longer can a teacher do things like math flashcards, because that’s not acceptable. Some principals think that that would belittle the children if they see that they’re not getting their math facts fast.

We can’t identify the kids that are low achievers. So they try to pretend that that’s why we need cooperative learning. Just give the answer. Don’t let them say the wrong answer and feel bad about it.

Helping each other figure out the answer..right or wrong

They come up with this new math, and just say, ‘Getting the wrong answer is good because that helps your brain grow.’ So we’ve got this growth mindset, which is fine but we’re really allowing kids to get wrong answers and not be curious about how do we get to this right. The fear of belittling or saddening students is directly keeping them from learning and thriving academically.”

____________________________

School should be a happy experience for all students. The greatest complement to a teacher is when a parent says, “My child just can’t wait to get to school.” It is then that a teacher knows she or he is doing something right. Learning is taking place because the child loves coming to school to be able to learn.

There could be some sad days at school. It is going to be part of human kind that some students will try to bully other children. Perhaps they also experience this in their own home. In these situations, the teacher must have a close connection with all students and be on top of any concerns that keeps a student from enjoying school, learning or being a target of any other student. Real learning can only be achieved in this atmosphere. There has to be proper discipline for learning to take place. It is the beginning of the child’s understanding about the real world.

Teaching values to children should also be a part of every grade-level curriculum. This does not mean religious training, unless in a religious school, but simple every-day living values of honesty, sportsmanship, caring, empathy and more. A parent should know that this is also part of the curriculum. After all, social interaction is part of going to school…everything from being polite to a classmate to the janitor who cleans the building.

As has been mentioned, Teachers should be able to be as creative as possible while achieving with their students the curriculum goals. This will mean juggling the curriculum to help those who don’t have as strong foundation as other children. The children who are accelerated in their learning should not be held back with those unable to keep up. This will lead to boredom and a slow-down in what they are able to achieve. To think that all children learn equally is a complete falsehood. No shoe fits all. To try to make the curriculum one way is not only foolish, but totally irresponsible. Only an excellent teacher, who is unbridled by the authorities in her teaching abilities, will be able to accomplish the best achievement for all students. If they are not able to do this, they should find a job elsewhere. Keeping poor teachers on year after year is a disgrace to the educational system. The Teacher’s Union should not stand in the way of a dismissal when it is in the best interest of the child.

Principals and Academic supervisors play a great part in choosing the correct curriculum within their schools. A good Principal is worth his or her weight in gold if they give the teachers the opportunity to express their individual teaching style. One wonders how people, with great authority in decision making for students, get into these positions. It has a simple answer… Often IT IS POLITICAL.

Sometimes it is the supervisors, unions, or national or state educational groups who want to plant their seeds in the schools to fit their agenda. We must not forget that training the young minds for the future can be the downfall of a country. One example of political power is the push to rid the system of charter schools, which are making a contribution to the specific education needs of our children. Much of this is assertion of power or personal ladder climbing at the expense of our children. Should I say more?

Cartoon credit Nate Beeler

During new regulations concerning the virus, parents may not have as much leeway to enter classrooms in order to observe the kind of atmosphere and learning that is taking place in the classroom. Regular conversations, however, between a parent and child about what is being taught in the classroom is essential. In doing so, a parent will get a sense if their child is experiencing a joy for learning. They will know if he or she is learning to think on their own and are gaining an understanding of the history that has made America strong and other countries collapse. It is essential that they learn the difference between Democracy and ideologies such as Communism. This will be a crucial life-skill needed in the their future.

Those agreeing with “Cancel-Culture” wants to change the date of the Founding of our nation from 1776 to 1619 to reflect the timeline that slaves were brought to America instead of the time the Declaration of Independence was signed. This is called the 1619 Project (Jake Silverstein of the New York Times) In reaction to this is what Cabot Phillips wrote in his article:

“…We must not stand idly by while our education system is hijacked, and our children misled and brainwashed to hate our nation instead of loving it.Last month, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., proposed a bill that would prevent federal funds from being used to teach the 1619 Project in public schools. Bold steps like this must be taken, and Americans must demand a say in what’s being taught in our schools. Without action, our education system will continue to indoctrinate students with anti-American propaganda, and future generations will think our culture and way of life is nothing worth preserving.”

As mentioned previously, the proposals for changing the curriculum of K-12 and College is changing faster that anyone can imagine. Be alert, parents, and do your best to protect your children. Remember, YOU are the greatest teacher that your child will ever have. Most will emulate your thoughts and beliefs. Let them know what you believe is right for them to know and understand. It will not be enough to leave their education and their future in someone else’s hands.

Blessings for this new school year. It may be different, but may it a great one! Boyer Writes


The White Rose

There are many examples, leading up to and during World War II, of resistance movements. Usually it was a group outside Germany within countries that had been taken over by Hitler’s armies. The French are well known, as well as others, who risk everything for FREEDOM and eventual peace.

It may not be as familiar with some of my readers that there were Germans who also resisted. In fact, there were several movement who paid a great price for their heroic deeds. One was known as the White Rose. Perhaps three of the most famous were a brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl, who were students in the University of Munich. Christoph Probst, a married father of three, was also part of the White Rose movement. They believed that the German people had suffered greatly under Adolph Hitler and the crimes he was committing against humanity was totally against their conscience and Christian beliefs.

White Rose Resistance at University of Munich

Exactly what was the White Rose?

The White Rose ( Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual, resistance group in the Third Reich led by a group of students. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign that called for active opposition to the Nazi regime. Their activities started on 27 June 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on 18 February 1943. The Scholls, as well as others, carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced show trials  by the Nazi People’s Court  (Volksgerichtshof), and many of them were sentenced to death or imprisonment.

Hans, Sophie Scholl and Christoph Probst were executed by guillotine four days after their arrest, on February 22nd, 1943. During the trial, Sophie interrupted the judge multiple times. No defendants were given any opportunity to speak.

The Final Days Presentation of Sophie Scholl on trial.

The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They denounced the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance.

In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews.  By the time of their arrest, the members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well known both within Germany and worldwide. (Wikipedia)

A surviving member of the White Rose gave this description of life in Germany at that time:

“The government—or rather, the party—controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”— George J. Wittenstein, M.D., “Memories of the White Rose” (Wikipedia)

Should this not be a history lesson for all of us today, who have the democratic privilege to vote for our officials…or see that our own society’s voice may be slipping away with more and more government control?

What motivated Hans and Sophie Scholl to stand strong under such oppression?

Sophie’s own words tell of her CHRISTIAN CONSCIENCE. This was the great motivator to do something important in the midst of evil. Here are some of her quotes:

Stand up for what you believe in, even if you are standing alone.”

“An end in terror is preferable to terror without end.”

“How can we expect fate to let a righteous cause prevail when there is hardly anyone who will give himself up undividedly to a righteous cause?”

“The real damage is done by those millions who want to ‘survive.’ The honest men who just want to be left in peace. Those who don’t want their little lives disturbed by anything bigger than themselves. “

I will cling to the rope God has thrown me in Jesus Christ, even when my numb hands can no longer feel it.”

(quotes from article by Bill Muehlenberg)

On the back of Sophie’s indictment, she wrote FREEDOM (from Institute fuer Zeitgeschichte.)

_______________________________

HONORS in recent history for Sophie and Hans Scholl by the German people

The Geschwister-Scholl-Institut (“Scholl Siblings Institute”) for Political Science at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (LMU) is named in honour of Sophie Scholl and her brother Hans. The institute is home to the university’s political science and communication departments, and is housed in the former Radio Free Europe building close to the city’s Englischer Garten. (Wikipedia)

_______________________________

OPPRESSION CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE

Will you or I be willing to speak up against it?

VIDEO Turn up your sound. Scenes from the movie The Final Days based on the true story of the White Rose Resistance. (The full movie is on You Tube)


Standing Alone

Recently I read about a young man named Jonathan Isaac, who was the only person who stood in respect of the flag and the National Anthem at one of the Orlando Magic games.

This made me wonder how much courage this took and if this young man would get any repercussions by teammates or others for having decided to do so. All the other team members and coaches, with the blessings of the owners, “took a knee” while some held a clinched fist in the air.

Jonathan Isaac stands alone for the National Anthem at Magic game Photo credit (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool)

_______________________

How important is the National Anthem to the people of a country?

To not acknowledge the real purpose of the National Anthem flag could be seen as a form of disrespect. In today’s world, there are many who fervently espouse their cause, whatever it may be, by using the National Anthem of the United States as their rallying point.

Therefore, I ask again…how important is this anthem we sing? Let’s start with a definition:

national anthem (also state anthemnational hymn, national song, etc.) is generally a patriotic musical composition that evokes and eulogizes the history, traditions, and struggles of its people, recognized either by a nation’s government as the official national song, or by convention through use by the people. (Wikipedia)

If then, it evokes history, traditions and struggles of its people,” should it not be given great respect?

This song, our National Anthem, and our flag are part of a great American history. Francis Scott Key was inspired to write the words as he observed the flag flying over Fort McHenry, after a battle with the British in the War of 1812.

The 200th anniversary of the “Star-Spangled Banner” occurred in 2014 with various special events occurring throughout the United States. The men and women who died for freedom, under this flag, are great in number. To sing and honor the flag and our Anthem is, without question, one of our greatest privileges. Certainly, those in the battle for independence and battles since for world freedom have seen great struggles. Many had to stand alone.

1812 Flag that flew over Fort McHenry at National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institute

________________________

Is it really important to stand during the singing of the National Anthem?

Some may not realize that there was a federal law concerning the appropriate way to honor the singing of the National Anthem and the associated flag ceremony. I bet you didn’t know how many revisions there have been to that law and what is considered appropriate by most citizens when the Anthem is played. Here are the highlights of the law:

….When the U.S. national anthem was first recognized by law in 1931, there was no prescription as to behavior during its playing.

….On June 22, 1942, the law was revised indicating that those in uniform should salute during its playing, while others should simply stand at attention, men removing their hats. The same code also required that women should place their hands over their hearts when the flag is displayed during the playing of the national anthem, but not if the flag was not present.

….On December 23, 1942, the law was again revised …to stand at attention and face in the direction of the music when it was played…

On July 7, 1976, the law was simplified. Men and women were instructed to stand with their hands over their hearts, men removing their hats, irrespective of whether or not the flag was displayed and those in uniform saluting. ..

….Because of the changes in law over the years and confusion between instructions for the Pledge of Allegiance versus the National Anthem, throughout most of the 20th century many people simply stood at attention and they would hold their hand (or hat) over their heart.

****After 9/11, the custom of placing the hand over the heart during the playing of the national anthem became nearly universal. (Wikipedia)

___________________________

Peer pressure and the concern about NOT looking like a person who doesn’t stand with some worthy goal, people sometimes became more hesitant. Even people in leadership positions felt that they, too, had to made some kind of statement of “unity” with those who opposed respectfully standing. As leaders, who love our country, one would think that they would believe that HONOR and RESPECT was important.

This is the reason that I am writing this post to also honor the young man, Jonathan Isaac, who was willing to be his own person and to show his appreciation for his country. Standing alone for, especially for a young person, is not an easy matter.

Mike Bianchi wrote in the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper the following about Isaac:

“Jonathan Isaac certainly shouldn’t be vilified. He has nothing to apologize for, and doesn’t have to “knee” to show he cares about human kind. He won the Magic’s Community Service Award last year.”

Bianchi sent on to explain what Isaac is doing with his wealth and commitment to his Savior, Jesus Christ. He lists a few of this activities as feeding underprivileged children; raising money to fight for literacy; relief in the Bahamas and taking students to the African Art Gallery to learn about African American history.

Jonathan Isaac also made a statement to the press: “We are all sinners and the answers to all the world’s problems, not just racism, is the true Gospel of Jesus Christ.”

May Jonathan be blessed with many years of serving humanity and his country in whatever way he will be lead in the future. With his faith and belief in America and his fellow countrymen and women, we will most likely hear more about him in the future.

Jonathan, you are NOT STANDING ALONE. There are many who happily stand with you.

Turn on your sound.

The National Anthem is for ALL AMERICANS. GOD BLESS THE U.S.A.


FREEDOM…FEAR…FAITH

Most people are familiar with World War II Holocaust where millions of Jews died terrible deaths, but may not be aware that there have been a number of other genocides in modern history. One man, whose family immigrated to America, learned it all too well in recent years. His name is Daniel Yessian. He is trying, through his music, to ‘SPEAK FOR A LOST GENERATION.”

Daniel Yessian

A shy young boy, born here in America, found a love for music through the encouragement of an older musician. As he grew, music would take him to places that he never dreamed of to find again his heritage…in Armenia.

Daniel had a natural ear for music, often imitating what he heard a teacher play. As time went on, he found a love for jazz and formed his own small band. Then something happened that would eventually change his life. He was asked to write music for commercials, which he found exciting and gave some pocket change that seemed like a God sent. He married, had children, and continued playing.

His family members were baptized into the Armenian Christian Church and it was through their priest that he was asked to compose some music that would be played for the Commemoration of the tragedy endured by the Armenian people in 1915.

A Short History:

The Armenian genocide was the systematic killing and deportation of Armenians by the Turks of the Ottoman Empire. In 1915, during World War I, leaders of the Turkish government set in motion a plan to expel and massacre Armenians. By the early 1920s, when the massacres and deportations finally ended, between 600,000 and 1.5 million Armenians were dead, with many more forcibly removed from the country. Today, most historians call this event a genocide: a premeditated and systematic campaign to exterminate an entire people. 

The Armenian people have made their home in the Caucasus region of Eurasia for some 3,000 years. For some of that time, the kingdom of Armenia was an independent entity: At the beginning of the 4th century A.D., for instance, it became the first nation in the world to make Christianity, its official religion.

But for the most part, control of the region shifted from one empire to another. During the 15th century, Armenia was absorbed into the mighty Ottoman Empire.  The Ottoman rulers, like most of their subjects, were Muslim. They permitted religious minorities like the Armenians to maintain some autonomy, but they also subjected Armenians, who they viewed as “infidels,” to unequal and unjust treatment. Christians had to pay higher taxes than Muslims, for example, and they had very few political and legal rights.

In spite of these obstacles, the Armenian community thrived under Ottoman rule. They tended to be better educated and wealthier than their Turkish neighbors, who in turn grew to resent their success.

This resentment was compounded by suspicions that the Christian Armenians would be more loyal to Christian governments (that of the Russians, for example, who shared an unstable border with Turkey) than they were to the Ottoman caliphate. (note: Russia also had as a primary religion…Christianity through the Russian Orthodox Church and not Muslim.)

These suspicions grew more acute as the Ottoman Empire crumbled. At the end of the 19th century, the despotic Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid II – obsessed with loyalty above all, and infuriated by the nascent Armenian campaign to win basic civil rights – declared that he would solve the “Armenian question” once and for all.

“I will soon settle those Armenians,” he told a reporter in 1890. “I will give them a box on the ear which will make them…relinquish their revolutionary ambitions.” (History.com)

Footnote: Today, Turkey refuses to admit that anything happened to the Armenian people even though there are skeletons to prove it and some 100 year old survivors, who remember this terrible history as children. Turkey calls it “relocation.” The truth being that they moved the Armenians out before they murdered them because they didn’t want the bodies to be in their territory. Only a few escaped to tell the story.

Daniel Yessian believed he would honor his ancestors and those who died in the Armenian genocide if he could compose a musical trilogy with photography of the history of the Armenians. He had never traveled to Armenia, but found it a wonderful experience of getting to know the land and people who suffered so much…but survived to this day. This Trilogy was based on FREEDOM…FEAR…and FAITH.

_________________

If you would like to watch a remarkable film with the complete story of Mr. Yessian’s journey to bring his composition to the Armenian National Philharmonic Orchestra. It is available on Amazon Prime…An Armenian Trilogy. It is worth your time to look it up and watch.

AN IMPORTANT THOUGHT

In this film, Mr. Yessian wonders if there will be more genocides to come. This is a very important thought for all of us to contemplate. How much do we know or remember about the genocides in more recent history? How much are our young people learning today about past history that must not be repeated? Even today, in various places in the world, there is great persecution going on that may not make the national news.

REFRESHING OUR MEMORY OF HISTORY AND GENOCIDES

These pictures represent only a very few of the atrocities during the 19th and 20th centuries. It is, however, important to remember what people have endured and pray that there will be no more. Where one group of people stand against another, it is entirely possible that it will happen again. Mr. Yessian also says, “We are nothing without each other.”

_____________________________

Video: A trailer, ARMENIAN TRILOGY, concerning the music composed in commemoration of the Armenian people who perished.

by Daniel Yessian.


U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL SPEAKS

In the government of the United States, we have an office that is important to our democracy. It is the office of the Attorney General. The Attorney General represents the United States in legal matters, advises the President and the heads of the executive departments of the government, and occasionally appears in person before the Supreme Court. (White House)

In this year of 2020, during our time of virus difficulty, riotous outbreaks against law and order, the U.S. Attorney General, William P. Barr, agreed to come before a governmental committee for questioning on various topics. From the airing of the TV portion of this process, some on the committee tried very hard to verbally “throw him under the bus.” From his opening statement, it was obvious that Barr was aware of their motives.

In case you have any interest in what Mr. Barr had to say, I am including his address to the committee in this post.

In his opening statement and before questions were addressed to him, he tries to address the importance of laws and order for all citizens of our country. Unfortunately, some of the members of the committee used their time to make speeches before asking a question, leaving little time for any meaningful dialog.

At various times, the answers to the questions just asked, were rudely interrupted by the person asking. Maybe this is why England’s Parliament just simply YELL at each other. It was not much different here with all the bias ranting that made it difficult to get to the point. Even though they had asked him to come and answer questions, he was hardly allowed to talk. As things continued to get worse, Barr asked the chairman of the committee if he could “take a 5 minute break.” Jerry Nadler, representative of the N.Y congressional district said, “No.” After a little debate about common courtesy, it was finally granted.

Most people that said they had watched all of it were greatly disgusted and felt that there was nothing productive at all. Why did the committee ask him to speak in the first place? You probably know the answer to that question…to discredit him. If their interruptions were in order to NOT ALLOW him to give answers…nor to allow him to convince the American people, before the coming election, that Barr was doing his job without being controlled by anyone, the committee was successful….successful only in acting like bullies and showing their inability to conduct such an investigation with dignity.

_________________________

Why am I including this written document by Attorney General Barr?

It is simple. I would like you to know what he actually said about all of our concerns here in the country most of us love.

If you, the reader, did not hear Barr’s full opening statement or any of his answers to the questions, but only looked at excerpts from national news media… you will only hear a one-sided view with exaggerations and distortions. All Americans and anyone in other countries, who read his statement given below, will know exactly what Mr. Barr had to say. To help you, I have highlighted some of the topics that he is discussing.

___________________

Written Statement of William P. Barr, Attorney General

Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Jordan, Members of the Committee, I am pleased to be here this morning. I accepted an invitation to testify before this Committee in late March, but it was postponed as a result of the pandemic that continues to pose challenges to us all. I know some other hearings this week have been postponed to honor your late colleague, Congressman
John Lewis of Georgia. On behalf of the Department of Justice, I want to pay my respects to Congressman Lewis, an indomitable champion of civil rights and the rule of law. I think it is especially important to remember today that he pursued his cause passionately and successfully with an unwavering commitment to nonviolence.

We are in a time when the political discourse in Washington often reflects the politically divided nation in which we live, and too often drives that divide even deeper.

Political rhetoric is inherent in our democratic system, and politics is to be expected by politicians, especially in an election year. While that may be appropriate here on Capitol Hill or on cable news, it is not acceptable at the Department of Justice. At the Department, decisions must be made with no regard to political pressure—pressure from either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or from the media or mobs.


Ever since I made it clear that I was going to do everything I could to get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus “Russiagate” scandal, many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions. Judging from
the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today
.
So let me turn to that first.


As I said in my confirmation hearing, the Attorney General has a unique obligation. He holds in trust the fair and impartial administration of justice. He must ensure that there is one standard of justice that applies to everyone equally and that criminal cases are handled even-handedly, based on the law and the facts, and without regard to political or personal considerations.


I can tell you that I have handled criminal matters that have come to me for decision in this way.
The President has not attempted to interfere in these decisions. On the contrary, he has told me from the start that he expects me to exercise my independent judgment to make whatever call I think is right. That is precisely what I have done.


From my experience, the President has played a role properly and traditionally played by Presidents. Like his predecessors, President Trump and his National Security Council have appropriately weighed in on law-enforcement decisions that directly implicate national security or foreign policy, because those decisions necessarily involve considerations that transcend typical prosecutorial factors. Moreover, when some noteworthy event occurs that potentially has legal ramifications – such as leaks of classified information, potential civil rights abuses by police, or illegal price fixing or gouging – the President has occasionally, and appropriately, confirmed that the Department is aware of the matter. But the handling of the matter and my decisions on criminal matters have been left to my independent judgment, based on the law and fact, without any direction or interference from the White House or anyone outside the Department.


Indeed, it is precisely because I feel complete freedom to do what I think is right that induced me serve once again as Attorney General. As you know, I served as Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush. After that, I spent many years in the corporate world. I was almost 70 years old, slipping happily into retirement as I enjoyed my grandchildren. I had nothing
to prove and had no desire to return to government. I had no prior relationship with President Trump.


But as an outsider I became deeply troubled by what I perceived as the increasing use of the criminal justice process as a political weapon and the emergence of two separate standards of justice. The Department had been drawn into the political maelstrom and was being buffeted on
all sides. When asked to consider returning, I did so because I revere the Department and believed my independence would allow me to help steer her back to her core mission of applying one standard of justice for everyone and enforcing the law even-handedly, without partisan considerations. Since returning to the Department, I have done precisely that. My decisions on criminal matters before the Department have been my own, and they have been made because I believed they were right under the law and principles of justice. Let me turn briefly to several pressing issues of the day.

The horrible killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis understandably jarred the whole country and forced us to reflect on longstanding issues in our nation. Those issues obviously relate to the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community. Given our history it is understandable that, among black Americans, there is at least some
ambivalence, and often distrust, toward the police.

Until just the last 50 years or so, our laws and institutions were explicitly discriminatory. It was not until the 60’s that the Civil Rights movement finally succeeded in tearing down the Jim Crow edifice. Our laws finally came to formally embody the guarantee of equal protection. Since then, the work of securing civil rights has rightly focused on reforming our institutions to ensure they better conform to our laws and aspirations. That work, it is important to acknowledge, has been increasingly successful.

Police forces today are far more diverse than ever before; there are both more black police chiefs and more black officers in the ranks. Although the death of George Floyd – an unarmed black man – at the hands of the police was a shocking event, the fact is that such events are fortunately quite rare. According to statistics compiled by the Washington Post, the number of unarmed black men killed by police so far this year is 8. The number of unarmed white men killed by police over the same time period is 11. Some unarmed suspects, moreover, were physically attacking officers or threatening others at the time they were shot. And the overall number of police shootings has been decreasing. Nevertheless, every instance of excessive force is unacceptable and must be addressed, as is happening now in Minneapolis.


Apart from their numbers, I think these events strike a deep chord in the black community because they are perceived as manifestation of the deeper, lingering concern that, in encounters with police, blacks will not be treated even-handedly; they will not be given the benefit of the doubt; they will be treated with greater suspicion than a white person would be in the same circumstances.

Senator Tim Scott has recounted the numerous times he has been unjustifiably pulled over on Capitol Hill. As one prominent black professional in Washington said to me, African Americans often feel “treated as suspects first and citizens second.” I think these concerns are legitimate.

At the same time, I think it would be an oversimplification to treat the problem as rooted in some deep-seated racism generally infecting our police departments. It seems far more likely that the problem stems from a complex mix of factors, which can be addressed with focused attention over time. We in law enforcement must be conscious of the concerns and ensure that we do not have two different systems of justice. In a pluralistic society like ours, composed of many races and ethnicities, we all must strive not to reduce each other to stereotypes or to allow those stereotypes to govern our treatment of our fellow citizens. Rather, we have a basic and overriding obligation to treat each other as individuals, created equal and entitled to the benefit of the doubt rather than assumptions based on skin color.


A recommitment to that principle, particularly by those entrusted with the weighty responsibilities of law enforcement, would be a worthy response to George Floyd’s death. It would ensure that good comes out of bad. The Justice Department will honor that commitment. Among
other steps, we are implementing the President’s Executive Order, which outlines a number of
measures to propel continued professionalization of the police, including setting clear standards for appropriate use of force.

Unfortunately, some have chosen to respond to George Floyd’s death in a far less productive way – by demonizing the police, promoting slogans like ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), and making grossly irresponsible proposals to defund the police. The demonization of police is not only unfair and inconsistent with the principle that all people should be treated as individuals, but gravely injurious to our inner city communities.

There is no harder job in America today than being a police officer. When officers respond to an emergency, whether a catastrophe like 9/11 or an everyday crime, they do not set out to protect white people or black people. They risk and sometimes give their lives to protect and serve all people, and all people owe them thanks.


When a community turns on and pillories its own police, officers naturally become more risk averse and crime rates soar. Unfortunately, we are seeing that now in many of our major cities. This is a critical problem that exists apart from disagreements on other issues. The threat to black lives posed by crime on the streets is massively greater than any threat posed by police
misconduct. The leading cause of death for young black males is homicide. Every year approximately 7,500 black Americans are victims of homicide, and the vast majority of them –around 90 percent – are killed by other blacks, mainly by gunfire. Each of those lives matter.

And it is not just that crime snuffs out lives. Crime snuffs out opportunity. Children cannot thrive in playgrounds and schools dominated by gangs and drug pushers. Businesses do not locate in unsafe neighborhoods. When the police are attacked, when they are defunded, when they are driven out of urban communities, it is black lives that will suffer most from their absence.

It is for that reason that, in select cities where there has been an upsurge in violent crime, we are stepping up and bolstering the activities of our joint anti-crime task forces, which have been successful in the past. In those cities, we are adding experienced investigators, firearms and ballistics analysts, and experts at apprehending violent fugitives. We are also offering funding to support more police who can be assigned to these anti-crime task forces. To be clear, this initiative has nothing to do with the problem of violent mob rioting that I will discuss in a moment; it is instead designed to help state and local law enforcement to meet their basic responsibility to solve crimes and keep their communities safe.


Finally, I want to address a different breakdown in the rule of law that we have witnessed over the past two months. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims. The current situation in Portland is a telling example. Every night for the past two months, a mob of hundreds of rioters has laid siege to the federal courthouse and other nearby federal property. The rioters arrive equipped for a fight, armed with powerful slingshots, tasers, sledgehammers, saws, knives, rifles, and explosive devices. Inside the courthouse are a relatively small number of federal law enforcement personnel charged with a defensive mission: to protect the courthouse, home to Article III federal judges, from being overrun and destroyed.

What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is, by any objective measure, an assault on the Government of the United States. In recent nights, rioters have barricaded the front door of the courthouse, pried plywood off the windows with crowbars, and thrown commercial-grade fireworks into the building in an apparent attempt to burn it down with federal personnel inside. The rioters have started fires outside the building, and then systematically attacked federal law enforcement officers who attempt to put them out—for example, by pelting the officers with rocks, frozen water bottles, cans of food, and balloons filled with fecal matter.

A recent video showed a mob enthusiastically beating a Deputy U.S. Marshal who was trying to protect the courthouse – a property of the United States government funded by this Congress – from further destruction. A number of federal officers have been injured, including one severely burned by a mortar-style firework and three who have suffered serious eye injuries and may be permanently blind.

Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform. Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law. Remarkably, the response from many in the media and local elected offices to this organized assault has been to blame the federal government.

To state what should be obvious, peaceful protesters do not throw explosives into federal courthouses, tear down plywood with crowbars, or launch fecal matter at federal officers. Such acts are in fact federal crimes under statutes enacted by this Congress. As elected officials of the federal government, every Member of this Committee –regardless of your political views or your feelings about the Trump Administration – should condemn violence against federal officers and destruction of federal property. So should state and local leaders who have a responsibility to keep their communities safe.

To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles that should unite us even in a politically divisive time. At the very least, we should all be able to agree that there is no place in this country for armed mobs that seek to establish autonomous zones beyond government control, or tear down statues and monuments that law-abiding communities chose to erect, or to destroy the property and livelihoods of innocent business owners.

The most basic responsibility of government is to ensure the rule of law, so that people can live their lives safely and without fear. The Justice Department will continue working to meet that solemn responsibility. (All words are by the Author, Attorney General William P Barr)

________________________

LAW, ORDER and JUSTICE….are words that may not be easily comprehended UNLESS we are all part of the equation. Turn up your sound for a prayer for all of us.