During the Coronavirus, and before the virus, people have found that making ends meet is not always easy. Sometimes it means just finding a place to sleep.
Even people who have jobs, that they don’t want to lose, will continue to work and live at night in their cars. Others do what they can by sleeping and living in a low priced hotel. Some are alone. Others have families and have to find a place to sleep with little children and to find something for them to eat. Veterans who have bravely fought in wars often find themselves homeless. Nether are highly educated people exempt from this calamity of life.
Among the homeless are also the emotionally disturbed and drug addicts. Do some make a life decision to camp on the streets and not look for work? Has the habit become sitting on the side of a road with a sign or waiting for someone kind to come to the rescue? The answer to this is “yes”, but not all. Some people would give anything to go back to a normal way of living. Poverty is a reality whatever face it has.
As we look at the American history after the Great Depression, Lyndon Johnson made his “war on poverty.” This allowed people to have food stamps to help get by. Help is given to women with children. Are there those who abuse the system? Yes, is the answer again. There are many other programs that have reached out to the less fortunate, whether they are church-related or governmental. Restaurants often donate their foods to food banks. Soup kitchens are prevalent. Even though these places are usually well-known by those who are homeless, the place to sleep at night, during all kinds of weather, and bathrooms available for use, are serious concerns to the person and to public health.
Because we have some of the same concerns here in the U.S., the Episcopal Church Women in Leesburg, FL started a food drive that brought in hundreds of pounds of food as well as thousands of dollars to buy needed food and items for the poor. This included school supplies for the children.
Our Episcopal church also has once a year sponsored medical and dental personnel to go to poverty-stricken foreign countries. What if a homeless person in the U.S. is sick or has a toothache? There are volunteers all over the country who give of their time to address medical and dental needs of those who can’t afford the care. Americans, for the most part, are a generous and giving people.
The homeless and poverty-stricken are not all lazy people who live on the street. There are people who have health needs that they can’t afford. This is especially true in Appalachia. It has been… and IS an on-going problem that must be addressed by our country’s leaders, whoever is in Congress or the White House. Poverty, for whatever reason, is with us. Like any grave concern of a nation, it has to be addressed.
The homeless all have different faces. Some are on the streets. Others are in their cars, still holding down the only job that they have. Who is to point the finger? Unless a person has had to live this experience, there is little understanding of it.
Perhaps the video below can give us a better understanding of real people, in parts of America, who were willing to share their situation in being without a place to sleep and other concerns.
When you turn over tonight in your warm, clean bed, think to pray and be thankful.
“If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. “— 1 John 3:17
Turn on your sound.
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.
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.
|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.
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…”
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.
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:
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
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:
“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.
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)
For your long weekend pleasure…Classical guitar…with love and blessings from Boyer Writes.
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!
( 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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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:
- Job offer Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through a Job Offer Form filing fee:
- 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.
- Refugee: Becoming a Lawful Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) Through Refugee Status
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Anarchy Aristocracy Bureaucracy Capitalism Colonialism Communism Democracy Federalism Feudalism Kleptocracy Meritocracy
- Military Dictatorship Monarchy Oligarchy Plutocracy Republicanism
- Socialism Theocracy Totalitarianism Tribalism
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.
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.
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.)
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:
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!
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.
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
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.’
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 anymore… Science 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.
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?
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
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.”
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.
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.
In previous posts, I have shared with you the music of John Rutter. He had a special commission to write a song for an occasion in which the world would be looking for every moment to be perfect. What a responsibility!
I can only imagine the nights that he must have struggled over the exact song…a perfect song for this ceremony. The Queen would be there and everyone who could have managed to receive an invitation. This was the day! As with all his other music, he puts God’s words and love as the main focus of his composing. In this special event, he wanted God to be honored and for the world to receive a message of God’s tender care. Using Psalm 118, he expanded on a familiar gospel chorus…adding special words.
Finally, he finished his composition for the organ and voices of the choir boys and older singers. This special day would be at Westminster Abby, one of the most beautiful Cathedrals in the world.
I’m certain that at some point before the ceremony, Rutter had to present this song to His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince William of Wales and Miss Catherine Middleton for approval. What if they decided it was NOT what they desired for their big day.., after all his work and prayers? Thankfully, this beautiful song was right on target and with a thumbs up…the rehearsals began!
You will notice that this song is not one of flowery love between a couple. It is about God’s love and the responsibility of the couple before God. The words are words of encouragement that God will be with them. He will be their defender and protector. Yet, they must also “praise Him.” They must be strong and put their trust in Him. We pray that this is what they are doing in life, for it was a ceremony before God… not to be taken lightly amidst the grandeur.
Here are the words, in part, to this special song, This is the Day by John Rutter. He used the Holy Scripture in many parts. (source: Musixmatch)
This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.This is the day
The day which the Lord hath made
We will rejoice and be glad in it.
This is the day.
O praise the Lord of heav’n: praise him in the height.
Praise him, all ye angels of His: praise Him, all His host.
Praise Him, sun and moon: praise Him, all ye stars and light.
Let them praise the Name of the Lord.
For he shall give his angels charge
Over thee: to keep thee in all thy ways.
To keep thee in all thy ways…
The Lord himself is thy keeper
The Lord is thy defense upon thy right hand;
So that the sun shall not burn thee by day
Neither the moon by night.
The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil:
Yea, it is even he that shall keep thy soul.
The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in:
From this time forth
From this time forth for evermore.
He shall defend thee
He shall defend thee under his wings...
Be strong, and he shall comfort thine heart,
Shall comfort thine heart…
Put thou thy trust in the Lord
Thy trust in the Lord.
What about your day? Each day God gives you is a special day and you too should rejoice and be glad in it. Thank Him today for your special day. It may be simple and plain…nothing royal…but it is YOUR DAY!
This day belongs to the Lord! Let’s celebrate and be glad today. Psalm 118:24
For your enjoyment, here is the beautiful music by John Rutter, THIS IS THE DAY. Turn on your sound.
If you are staying at home on Sunday morning because your church is temporarily closed down or you don’t attend a church at all, here is a great sermon for your listening pleasure. I say, “listening” because it is not a visual video, as many that I put on my blogs, but simply a recording.
This message is given by Thomas Whartenby, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic… has been the minister of Galax Presbyterian Church for forty plus years and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, is the church organist and choir director. Their ministry is in a small community situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA.
I was privileged to include him in my book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Why is it important to hear Dr. Whartenby’s message?
As a people and a nation, we are extremely self-centered. Yes, there are many caring people among us, but as a culture there is much to be improved. I can only speak for our country, but I would guess that it might be the “new normal” for most of the world. Of course, included in this, is the added pressure of isolating and how to take care of OURSELVES when there is such a need to reach out to others. We are warned nationally and locally about “distancing,” which only makes self-centeredness more prevalent. It is hard to know when to think of SELF as far as health is concerned and believe that we are doing it for others. The problem is that the “others” don’t know that our standoffish actions are for them.
As we look at history, much of “what’s in it for me” has come about with the industrial revolution, increase in technology, ability to hear and see through the media an emphasis on having more and more. Life has become a rush to acquire, get ahead, and forget about what is really important. Patience is a long-lost virtue.
We want things and service NOW...no waiting! Almost everything we do is “How does it effect ME?” In some cases, it is how can I get something for nothing? Our young people and children, unfortunately, are modeling these behaviors and attitudes.
The Holy Scripture has something to say about this problem. Dr. Whartenby, “Tom”, gives a fresh understanding of why we want self-gratification. He puts in modern terms thoughts that make sense to all of us.
It will be worth your time of 30 minutes to listen. I am including this link for those who believe that we all need a new look at what this title means….IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT US.
What does music do to our souls? John Rutter, the composer whose music I shared in my previous blog, has a theory about music and especially the music sung by small or great choirs. Because we enjoy music that has beautiful harmony, Mr. Rutter thinks it is a lesson for all mankind…to be in harmony with one another.
What a desperate prayer this is for the world as we know it today. To even consider harmonious living in a time of destruction and cruelty is almost “asking for the moon.” Yet, this is what God wants from us and only through Him and the love He demonstrated for us through His Son will we have this glorious blessing of peace and harmony. We look for the day that our churches and community choirs will once again gather in fullness to sing His wonderful praises.
BRIEF HISTORY OF JOHN RUTTER: Born on 24 September 1945 in London, John Rutter is the son of an industrial chemist and his wife. He grew up living over the Globe pub on London’s Marylebone Road… As a chorister there, he took part in the first recording of Britten’s War Requiem… He then read music at Clare College, Cambridge, where he was a member of the choir. While still an undergraduate he had his first compositions published, including the “Shepherd’s Pipe Carol” which he had written aged 18.
In 1981, Rutter founded his own choir, the Cambridge Singers, which he conducts, and with which he has made many recordings of sacred choral repertoire (including his own works)… He frequently conducts many choirs and orchestras around the world.
In 1980, he was made an honorary Fellow of Westminster Choir College, Princeton, and in 1988 a Fellow of the Guild of Church Musicians. In 1996, the Archbishop of Canterbury conferred a Lambeth Doctorate of Music upon him in recognition of his contribution to church music.
Rutter’s compositions are chiefly choral, and include Christmas carols, anthems and extended works such as the Gloria, the Requiem and the Magnificat. In 2002, his setting of Psalm 150, commissioned for the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, was performed at the Jubilee thanksgiving service in St Paul’s Cathedral, London. Similarly, he was commissioned to write a new anthem, This is the day, for the Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in 2011, performed at Westminster Abbey during the service. (Taken, in part, from a conversation with Bruce Duffie)
At the end of this blog, you will see the words, OLDER POSTS. In case you missed it, click on this to hear another of his beautiful musical pieces with words. It will be worth you while.
Listen to what he has to say about choral music and then below his message is one of his most excellent works of art. Tune your heart to be blessed.
Turn up your sound.
Turn up sound. THE LORD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU
Conducted by John Rutter Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, The Mark Thallander Foundation Choir Festival
This is a short blog to give you a rest from all the difficulties of life. Listening to and thinking about too much in the news with total negativity can make your mind, not only depressed, but filled with dread and doubt about our lives on planet earth. God has something better for you to think about…HIS LOVE ND HIS CREATION! The music is LOOK AT THE WORLD by the great Christian composer, John Rutter.
FOR YOUR TOTAL ENJOYMENT AND REASSURANCE FROM BOYER WRITES
GOD BLESS YOU!
How hard is it to wear a mask until this Corvid-19 pandemic is under control?
Apparently, very hard for some of the uncaring of the world! Maybe that is a little harsh. Let’s say that not all unmasked people are uncaring, but simply feel healthy, confused over statistics given out by authorities, or haven’t given it too much thought because they feel invincible. They also think the masks are a “pain to wear, especially during the summer in hot weather and difficult to talk through! I agree, but this is not the point. Health, life or death is the point.
People all over the world have designed their own masks. Whether they are effective or not is debatable, but they are definitely creative! At least they are wearing them.
Even the little children of Kenya know there is something that might hurt them and try to construct a mask to ward off this disease. Kindness is needed by so many people. Perhaps someone from the U.S.A or another part of the world could send them a large supply of real masks. (Photo and contact for Lorenz Omondi in Kenya)
Further reasons may vary for not wearing the mask. Some think that they DO NO GOOD. This has not been proven…so the encouragement to wear them has been mainly left up to individual responsibility.
Now, because many people have not been responsible, it is becoming more mandatory to do so. Why be so cocky about doing something so simple? We are fighting an enemy that we can’t see… an invisible virus? Who made any of us ALL-KNOWING and arrogant that we can put ourselves and others in more danger than is necessary? There will be much more that we will know after the virus is gone. Nevertheless, there may be more to come….and then will we debate the mask issue all over again? Give me…and us a break!!!
What then is the reason for not wearing a simple mask during this pandemic?
IT IS SELFISH, DISREGARD FOR LIFE!
It is hard also to imagine that Covid-19 parties among the young is not a prescription for disasters waiting to happen. Also, We might as well stop looking at the figures…for their validity comes and goes depending who is counting. Some places get their reporting figures correct…others don’t. The results of testing are also taking far too long. A person could be negative one day, exposed the next, and positive before the first results even get to them…whatever the findings.
We also might as well stop thinking that we are the ALL-KNOWING when it comes to deciding what is right for the most vulnerable, people around us, our families and ourselves…except to protect them the best we can. For now, wearing the face mask is what we are being ask to do. We are not asked to do some monumental task…just put it on the face and around the ears!
It is not too much to ask all people, old and young, to be more cautious and decide that it is not worth playing Russian Roulette with the lives around us. When this is over, you can ditch the mask and hope to never see it again!!
Ever hear a verse from the song, Russian Roulette?
“As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I, ever see another sunrise?
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life”
( Charles Harmon / Shaffer Smith/ Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group)
The “Value of Life” is extremely important to Christians and many other religions. However, even with some Christians, I think they have not thought through their actions when it comes to being considerate of others. Each person will make the decide if they MASK OR DON’T MASK.
Sometimes governments seem to actually loose their heads over the issue of masks. It was hard to believe that in Oregon there was a mandate that only white people had to wear masks. This was quickly reversed after the outcry. No wonder people put little faith in a great number of elected officials.
A week after issuing an order that required only white people to wear masks, leaders in Lincoln County, Oregon, have reversed the policy because of “ horrifically racist commentary” according to the county’s website. (The News Tribune)
What are some of the thoughts on TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR?
The CIDRAP, which is the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, wrote an article adding to the doubt of how effective the masks might be. Since no one really knows at this point, there were requests to remove the article from the website. The reasons were as follows:
(1) We don’t truly know that cloth masks (face coverings) are not effective, since the data are so limited.
(2) Wearing a cloth mask or face covering is better than doing nothing.
(3) The article is being used by individuals and groups to support non-mask wearing where mandated.
(4) There are now many modeling studies suggesting that cloth masks or face coverings could be effective at flattening the curve and preventing many cases of infection. (Article from U. of Minnesota/ Dr. Brosseau and Dr. Sietsema experts on respiratory protection)
The other day, because of boredom from staying at home, we decided to go a favorite restaurant. Our policy has been about once a week to find a good place that we expect are following good health practices and support these people who are working hard to keep their businesses from going under.
Expecting to see the usual spaced seating, which is required, we were amazed to see that none of the servers or the owners were wearing masks at the place chosen for this week. As we gave our order and were served, the “required distancing” was hard to maintain…but would have been a little more tolerable if they had on their masks. What was the story here?
Later, the restaurant was called and asked their policy on mask wearing. They said they do not wear masks, but do “social distancing.” This, of course, is actually impossible to maintain when leaning over the table to serve the food.” The restaurant employee was told, “The masks are for your protection from the public as well as the public from your employees.”
It would be unfortunate for this restaurant to lose customers because of their policy. Until the virus is under control or they change their policy of “no masks for employees,” we will not be back. It is a guess that others will make the same decision. It is simply the respect for each other…and good business sense in this difficult time.
Maybe that is the word I am looking for….RESPECT.
Recently I read an article about Dr. Michael Saag in Alabama. He is a survivor of the virus that he contacted on a trip out of town. This is what he had to say, in part, about people choosing to disrespectfully NOT WEAR MASKS. Remember, he is speaking from personal experience about the sadness of this disease because he has experienced it.
“For Saag, the fight is personal. In early March, both he and his adult son came down with the virus after a trip to Manhattan when the epidemic was raging there. First came a cough, followed by fever, a headache, body aches and what Saag called “fuzzy thinking,” or an inability to concentrate.
“The mornings I’d feel fine, thought I was done with it. And then every night it would come right back as if it was just starting all over again,” he said. “The hardest part of the night was that feeling of shortness of breath and not knowing if it’s going to get worse.”
During eight suffocating nights, Saag wasn’t sure whether he’d survive without a ventilator. It never came to that. He is now fully recovered and feels closer than ever to the people he treats.
“When I talk to a patient and I say, ‘Hey, I’ve had it too,’ it’s like we’re connected in a way that I really, honestly haven’t felt with patients ever before — and I’ve been doing this 40 years,” Saag said.
Outside the examination room, Saag has participated in news conferences and done media interviews to encourage basic public health practices, but he knows many people just aren’t listening.
He said it is disheartening to see a widespread disregard for safety measures and worries about Alabama’s future at a time when the virus is posing more of a threat than ever.
“I’m just thinking, `Oh, my goodness. We’re going to be in trouble very soon,’” Saag said...
Dr. Michael Saag spends much of his time treating patients fighting for their lives and working with colleagues who are overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he enters a different world when he walks out the door of his Alabama clinic: one where many don’t wear masks, keep their distance from others or even seem aware of the intense struggle being waged against a virus that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives nationwide and made so many — including the doctor — seriously ill. The disconnect is devastating. “It’s a mixture of emotions, from anger to being demoralized to bewilderment to frustration,” Saag said (Article by Jay Reeves with Associated Press)
What Dr. Saag is experiencing in Alabama is true in most states…certainly in mine, which is Florida. The lack of concern by young families and the lack of being an example to their young families, especially the teenagers, is truly amazing…until they experience what Dr. Saag has experienced…or they lose Grandma or Grandpa. The story then becomes personal.
How important are your children and grandchildren to you? After you are older and there is another pandemic, how will they protect you…and their families?
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK to simply have a mask in the car for everyone to use for a short while when in public?
WEAR THE MASK! IT WON’T KILL YOU…BUT THE VIRUS MIGHT!
While you are home and enjoying the pleasure of a “mask free” existence, here is a special relaxing video for you to hear and count your blessings. God bless you and be well.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
For your pleasure: