Being a country girl from North Carolina, I sometimes go back to my roots…shed the classical music that I love…and listen to the songs or Southern words of a “Good Old Boy…or Man.”
Here is one for you with the salute to the many States of the United States and the freedom that we enjoy. It is no wonder that so many from so far want to be a part of the “Land of the Free.”
Are we perfect?…by no means, but what we don’t like we can say so without the threat of being locked up to suffer alone with no way out.
Are we always “united” in all ways?…no, but we still are the United States of America…with all the diversity that can be in one land.
Our thanks to our forefathers who came from countries around the world to search for a new way of life…away from dictators to their lives and from persecution for their faith. Our thanks to our brave men and women who stand ready to defend this country against all foes. For those Americans who have given everything in foreign lands to maintain freedom for all, we give them our heart’s gratitude and our prayers.
Today I give you, the reader, a tribute and a pledge to MY BEAUTIFUL AMERICA by Charlie Daniels.
My last blog was in honor of a dear friend who passed away five years after brain surgery. It led me to think about those who were more fortunate to live a very long, productive life…even to 100 years or more.
One of those centenarians was 107 years old Raffaella Monne from a village in Sardinia. She had a great statement, which is part of a very interesting book called The Blue Zones by Dan Buettner. This is what she said that she would like to tell people today:
“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it!”
National Geographic was part of the research on why some people live longer in different parts of the world. All these so-called “Blue Zones” had several things that were important to them:
- Diet: Mainly of home-grown vegetables, nuts, fish and sometimes meat. They were not strict vegetarians.
- Strong family and friend support system…taking time to chat and relax.
- Worked hard and walked a great deal, but slowed down to take a daily nap…less stress was important
- Strong faith in God and belief system
- Let the past be the past and live happily…with something interesting to wake up to each day.
Throughout the book, the American or Western lifestyle is challenged because of not only our unhealthy lifestyle, but the stress that brings on pre-mature disease and death. It is not hard to look around us at even the young who are carrying loads of fat on their bodies.
In the parts of the world that had a history of longevity, as soon as the Western-style businesses with fast foods became part of their lives, the death rate began to go up. I highly recommend that for a more thorough understanding of the things listed above, that you give this book a read. I am grateful that a friend recommended it to me. The Blue Zones
Dr. Amit Sood, MD of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. had this to say about missing life. “A Mind in Hurry hurries past the present. I am in a hurry when I am getting late. I am in a hurry when I am on time. I find myself hurrying even when I am before time. Hurry for me has become a habit.”
Determine to slow down…for it could be the best thing you ever did. Take a moment to look at the beautiful clouds, a rainbow, a bird on a branch, a small colored leaf or a child’s sweet smile. Say a prayer to God and thank Him for all these things. Breathe a fresh breath of life.
Raffaella, of Sardinia, had wisdom beyond her 107 years…for not missing life. We could call her short statement a God-sent, for we all would like not to miss the good things that life has to offer… simply by rushing around too fast to even notice.
“Life is short. Don’t run so fast you miss it!”
Music for a stress-free living from Boyer Writes
If you are working, sleeping, reading a book, or doing something special, I highly suggest you turn off your phones, TVs with all the bad news, and relax with the video below. Less stress may even lengthen your life.
This morning, I went out and looked at my sunflowers with tiny bees (or insects..hard to say) enjoying their breakfast. God’s world of nature is totally relaxing. I thought you might like to see a picture…enlarged for viewing details.
Many of the pictures shown in the video below, with the beautiful music, are of Fall leaves. For all of us here in Florida and elsewhere in the country…and the world that have sweltered through the summer, a breath of Fall air would be a wonderful relief.
God’s blessings to all of you. from Boyer Writes
Video of relaxing music:
My recent blog was on depression and the search for help in a society gone totally beyond the limits of real sanity was formidable. I was amazed at the clicks on this particular blog worldwide. This must say something about those who find this topic a need in their lives. Today, I want to post the opposite of stress…and that is stress release. How does music play a part in healthy bodies, mind and even our souls?
Recently, I saw a video on those suffering with early dementia and Alzheimers. The therapy was in music. Singing brought the memory of words flowing out of the mind. Even the faces of the people dealing with this very difficult condition were filled with a happiness and joy as they sang.
A good article is by Cassandra Shepherd on the neuroscience of singing.
“The neuroscience of singing shows that when we sing our neurotransmitters connect in new and different ways. It fires up the right temporal lobe of our brain, releasing endorphins that make us smarter, healthier, happier and more creative. When we sing with other people this effect is amplified.”
I am convinced that music is either grating or a soothing medication. How often do we try to enjoy a meal at a restaurant and the music is too loud with little melody and sometimes ridiculous words. So much for the peaceful, relaxing meal. Forget a healthy, mentally stimulating conversation. Don’t be afraid to ask kindly a server to lower the music. After all, you are the customer who will either return or not.
Words, sounds and life, in general, can bring on stress, which we must fight each day. Determine to make your life different as well as those who are around you. Tell a waitress or friend that they are doing a good job or that they have a great smile. They won’t forget it and you may have just given them the thoughts to live a happier day. This has nothing to do with music, but the power of kind words also is a stress releaser.
A suggestion for your peaceful day is to intentionally fill your space with lovely music. If you can only listen, then do so. If you can see beautiful pictures to go with the music, absorb that also. Here is one of my favorites.
Here is a wonderful piece of relaxing music for you to enjoy. Enough said.
Blessings to all my readers!
The following article was written by Rolf Dubelli several years ago. At that time he had stopped watching or listening to the news about four years. He had a number of good things for us to think about and that is why I am passing it on today. I think the one reason I began thinking about it was when one of my neighbors said that the news was so bad that if she could “leave this country” she would do so. I thought to myself at the time….”just where would she go?” The news is bad all around the world. She did have a good idea though…that maybe she would turn off the TV channels and just listen to “easy listening music.”
Anyway, this is what Mr. Dubelli had to say. You may decide he is right…or disconnected somehow. In any case, it seems to have made him happier. Perhaps it is worth a try. If the world should blow up while you are “out of touch”, I’m sure someone will let you know.
Article by Rolf Dubelli
“In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognized the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-colored candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognize how toxic news can be.
- News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated. We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.
- News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitization.
- News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.
- News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.
- News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus.
- Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
- News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
- News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.
- News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.
- Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.”
Mr. Dobelli says, “I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”
( Credit: This is an edited extract from an essay first published by Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly, Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli)
Addicted people must WANT to change their lives more than anything in the world. A friend of mine recently knew that for years of her life she had been addicted to tobacco. She had attempted to quit smoking many times and failed. Finally, she made the decision to give herself a hope for long life. She wanted to see her grandchildren grow up and be there for their special days. With determination and encouragement, she stopped smoking and has been smoke-free for over six months. We know that it takes courage and the “want to” to make it happen.
The man, shown above is Donald Gould. He was once a Marine, but became addicted to various drugs after his wife died and his baby boy was taken away by authorities, because he was unfit to raise a child. That baby was adopted into a loving, Christian home. Donald became homeless and lived on the streets.
He had one talent…the gift of music and could play the piano was ease and beauty. While living in Sarasota, Florida, he was given a chance to roll out a piano on the street and play where people passing by in this beautiful city could hear him. His story is one of determination, but it is also the story of the caring people around him and those internationally that wanted to see him lick the terrible addiction. It is a one of the most serious health problems in our country and the world today. It is a fact that without help to recover, these addictive drugs will suck the life completely out of its victims. Our military vets are known to greatly suffer from addiction and find themselves without employment and no place to call home.
Through rehabilitation, therapy and opportunities made available to him, Donald found a new life and an outlet for his talent. One of his greatest heartaches was losing his baby boy.
The adoptive parents of his son, who had just graduated from high school, made it possible for Donald to reconnect with his once lost son. They said that they all prayed about it and believed it was the right thing to do.
A contract to make an album of his music soon followed and he was asked to play the National Anthem at a football game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Minnesota Vikings. Donald had been given a great and special gift…a chance to start a new life.
If you are fighting addiction, know that you can ask for help. You will also be given the chance to fight the bondage that is making your life one of misery…giving you a chance at a new beginning. You, however, must truly want it! Everyone has some God given talent. Yours may not be music or the ability to play the piano like Donald, but you will find the talent He has given you. Go for it!
Boyer Writes introduces you to Donald Gould and his story. (Turn up sound) At the end of the video are a couple more updates on Donald that you may want to watch: When he played for the NFL game and his first contact with his son.
There is probably nothing sweeter than honey. One may find it interesting that honey is compared to sweet or pleasant words. The benefits are extraordinary for the soul and for the healing of the body, according to Proverbs 16:24.
“Pleasant words are like a honey comb…sweetness to the soul and healing to the body.”
What we say and how we say it may actually effect our health. We know that angry words fill the body with stress. Resentments, even if not verbalized, can do the same. When you feel like striking out or blistering someone with your words, try saying something totally different…a complement or something caring. See if your whole body seems to relax.
The purest honey is from the honeycomb. Its ingredients include water, pollen, fructose, glucose, organic acids, proteins and enzymes. As to the benefits of honey or the honey comb on the body, I found this interesting:
“Called the “nectar of the gods” by the ancient Greeks, honey is enjoyed by many today, not only for its health claims, but also for its sweet taste. The healthiest honey is honey straight from the honeycomb, and it is harvested for many uses.
- Chewing Honeycomb helps allergy symptoms.
- Raw honey straight from the comb can help with scarring of the skin, skin infections and as a moisturizer.
- Honey is filled with the main amino acids , B,C,D, and E vitamins as well as essential enzymes.
- It is a fat fighter because it boosts metabolism and is an instant energy boost.
- Honey cleans the blood vessels and aids digestion.
- As a home remedy, it has been used for years for athlete’s foot, arthritis pain, yeast infections, hangovers, sore throats, insomnia, and cuts and burns. “
The importance of the bee is in our sayings: “Busy as a bee” To get from the flower to the hive that they have made with such care…produce the honey and give mankind and animals a wonderful, sweet food is remarkable in deed. See the video below on our honey industry…and remember to keep your words pleasant and sweet …for your health’s sake and those around you.
For your weekend pleasure….dwell on these guys….and RELAX
HAVE A GREAT DAY!
December 6 is the day that my Mother, Alta Ellis Bishop, would have been 96. It is a day to remember exactly how much my mother meant to me and her family. She was 93 when she passed from this life, but her life was one of courage, determination and making the most of all her talents. She left home at age 16 to work her way through life; built a career in hair design and took time to be a patriot, working at a munitions factory, when W.W.II was being fought. Her dedication reminded me of the brave men and women who have given so much and why my mother’s generation was called “The Greatest Generation”. Thank you, Mother, for your generosity and love.
Once again we take a look at the era in which my mother was a young woman and mother.
We start with Winston Churchill. His famous speech echos through the years. (I paraphrase) “WE SHALL FIGHT....in the fields, on the sea, in the streets, on the land….and where we cannot…the new world will take up the fight….”
It is not easy to be a leader when the world is falling in around you. Neither is it easy to inspire an entire nation…but inspire he did. When bombs were daily pounding, one can imagine what the economy was like. Just living from day-to-day was an effort for all of Europe. It was not only a battle to secure land, but a battle for the very existence of mankind as millions were being murdered in concentration camps.
The movie, The Longest Day, shows the thousands of men, ships, and planes that came to the aid of France, giving great detail of what it was like for the people living in France on the coast of Normandy and those who braved the assault to free them.
There are two videos below: The first of Alta Bishop…The second one reminds us that the United States and the free people of Europe were not going to be in bondage. It is worth a journey back in time because our own nation must have this same fighting spirit if we are to survive today.
Churchill would not have guessed that the “new world”, as he called it would face a 9-11 or that his own beloved land would see suicide bombers. He would not have known about “cyber threats”, but had he been in a different time and place, one CAN BE ASSURED that he would step up to the challenge. He would warn against apathy and talk about pulling together.
It may seem strange to link a family member to a great man of history. Yet, the determination and sacrifice they shared for the lands they loved links them and all of us together. Freedom is all we have and as my mother and so many were willing to give of their efforts and their lives….so should we. I love you, Mother, and always will. Happy Birthday, even though you are unable to blow out the candles with us. We will go to your grave site and put a red poinsettia there to remember the many years that we celebrated your birthday and Christmas together. Christmas was one of your favorite times and we will miss you. We are certain that the stars and planets are so bright where you are as the hosts of heaven sing praises to the “New Born King”.
The Men of the war Years….Always brave!
Sometimes we hear someone exclaim, “He had a Come to Jesus moment” when they are talking about how someone came to their senses or experienced something very special. It is a little on the slang side, but the meaning is there for coming to Jesus is something that happens to people everyday. Whoever they are…wherever they are…rich, poor, sick, well, successful or on the street…it is a moment in their lives they never forget.
Through the power of the Holy Spirit, a mystical thing takes place in the heart and mind. It is a confidence that has never been experienced…and peace beyond understanding. He does not ask us to do anything, but to believe …and in believing…he takes us to Himself…forgiving our sins….and making us clean. The Holy Scriptures says that He remembers our sins no more.
Below are the words and music to the song “JUST AS I AM” written by Charlotte Elliott in 1835. She was a member of the Church of England. She was also an invalid and suffered greatly during the last 50 years of her life. Charlotte was confined to her home and unable to attend church services. After 13 years of being an invalid, at age 32, Charlotte wrote the five verses to “Just As I Am”.
When we come to Jesus, we must come as we are…for it is level ground at the foot of the cross. No one earns their way ….but simply comes to Him.
I often say I like to pray in the shower…so I challenge you to find a quiet place…and pour out your heart…for He is listening. Perhaps whether you know it or not…you have been looking for a “Come to Jesus” moment in your life.
It happened in a thrift shop…where I stopped to look for frames for my art. Her bright smile greeted me with a genuine compliment on my skirt and the turquoises-colored jewelry I was wearing. It wasn’t a second later after I said “thank you” that I had this strong impulse to go back to her and to give her my earrings (which had been a gift to me from a friend). These impulses to go to a total stranger are rare, but when they come…I know that I have to follow through.
I said, “Excuse me, but I am supposed to give you these earrings…don’t ask me why…but you are to have them.” Tears began streaming down her face as I asked if she was “OK”. She actually threw herself on my shoulder and sobbed. A DRAMA was going on here in the middle of a thrift shop..in Florida…USA.
“My husband has been in an accident and is now in a nursing home as a paraplegic. I am going there but I’m living out of my car and came here for some shoes.” As she spoke these words, I knew she needed help getting to where she had to go. This was a drama playing out in the lives of a person whom God wanted to know that He had not abandoned her and that she had hope. Placing the earrings in her hand, I shared with her that each time she looked at the earrings, she would remember that God was with her.
Those impulses that seem so odd to us…that we want to ignore…may be most important to someone like this woman. Acting on them is the hard part…the rest simply falls into place. I read somewhere that we are the only hands and feet that God has to use on this earth.
So where does the “chicken and insurance” come into this story. Only as it relates to a video that we watched about Rick Steves ( a traveler and television personality) who found in his travels that “all are precious” everywhere in the world.
His take on how the world views need was interesting. The rich part of the world looks at need as what is difficult to get. They focus on the extras that are needed, like insurance. The impoverished part of the world rejoices and throws a party if they have a chicken once a week. Strange…that we should see our needs so differently. The thrift shop lady, at that moment, needed gas money to get where she needed to be. THE DRAMA GOES ON. God, help me never to stop being a part of it!
The word “Brain drain” usually means the loss of skilled intellectual and technical labor through the movement of such labor to more favorable geographic location… Another way of saying it is the emigration of highly trained or intelligent people from a country or other place.
This is NOT the type of brain drain I am referring to but instead the WEARINESS that comes from the over stimulation and saturation of the brain that makes one tired, “couch potatoes” and unproductive. Let’s take a part of that definition…the “highly intelligent” people part….and ask a question:
Why do highly intelligent people allow onslaught of mass media…talk shows …discussions…so-called comments on issues to permeate their thinking day in and day out with no relief? I am guilty and think it is time to put a stop to it!
The mind is a wonderful, creative part of us and it is being invaded. What do I mean? We are being saturated which means “Act or process of soaking, filling, or loading to the utmost.” Yes, we are being overloaded and our hearts and brains have had it!
Take a look at the word “drain” only. A gradual depletion of energy or resource. I think this hits what is happening to all of us square on the head…for it is a gradual depletion. That is the insidious part because we may not really be aware that it is happening. Our brain drain proceeds harmfully without being noticed!
All of this has been said because a change must happen if we are to stop this process. Here are some suggestions that may take a few days to adapt:
- Decide that you will turn off the TV with all the comments, discussions, latest opinions
- Turn on some beautiful music, whether it is classical, contemporary or jazz
- Do something creative like painting or woodworking
- Go outside and look at the newest flower in your garden or the freshness of green grass ; listen to the birds; look for something new that you have not seen before in God’s creation.
- Call a friend for lunch…and determine to not talk about the latest issues that are causing brain drain.
- Read a good book. My husband loves mysteries.
- Get out that musical instrument you used to play or brush up on your piano talents.
- Just have fun!
All of this seems simple, but it takes determination. Frankly, I am extremely tired of hearing people giving opinions or even shouting their opinions at one another. My brain is truly drained. How about you?
JUST TO GET US STARTED on eliminating the drain. Enjoy the video below….something with a little flair.
Easter week is over and Christ has once again been the focus of the faithful…from the thousands waiting to hear the first Easter address from Pope Francis to the little country church in the mountains that could care little about what the Pope is doing. A few thoughts came to my mind during Easter.
Jesus always took the low road…not the high and mighty. That may be why through the years, it has been hard to see the head of the Catholic church parade in such splendor….elequant trappings of every sort. Where was the simple Christ that each pope throughout the centuries was to represent? Maybe there finally is one.
All of Christ’s teachings have been to humble ourselves; to turn the other cheek; to not be puffed up or think more highly of ourselves than we should think. This is not to judge the hearts of previous popes, but only to say that how a person…or an organization…or a church of millions presents itself speaks volumes about belief.
NICOLE WINFIELD wrote recently the following about this new pope: “Virtually everything he ( Pope Francis) has done since being elected pope, every gesture, every decision, has rankled traditionalists in one way or another.
The night he was chosen pope, March 13, Francis emerged from the loggia of St. Peter’s Basilica without the ermine-rimmed red velvet cape, or mozzetta, used by popes past for official duties, wearing instead the simple white cassock of the papacy. The cape has since come to symbolize his rejection of the trappings of the papacy and to some degree the pontificate of Benedict XVI, since the German pontiff relished in resurrecting many of the liturgical vestments of his predecessors.
Francis also received the cardinals’ pledges of obedience after his election not from a chair on a pedestal as popes normally do but rather standing, on their same level. For traditionalists who fondly recall the days when popes were carried on a sedan chair, that may have stung. In the days since, he has called for “intensified” dialogue with Islam — a gesture that rubs traditionalists the wrong way because they view such a heavy focus on interfaith dialogue as a sign of religious relativism.
Francis may have rubbed salt into the wounds with his comments at the Good Friday procession at Rome’s Colosseum, which re-enacts Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, praising “the friendship of our Muslim brothers and sisters” during a prayer ceremony that recalled the suffering of Christians in the Middle East.
Francis also raised traditional eyebrows when he refused the golden pectoral cross offered to him right after his election by Monsignor Guido Marini, the Vatican’s liturgy guru who under Benedict became the symbol of Benedict’s effort to restore the Gregorian chant and heavy silk brocaded vestments of the pre-Vatican II liturgy to papal Masses.
Marini has gamely stayed by Francis’ side as the new pope puts his own stamp on Vatican Masses with no-nonsense vestments and easy off-the-cuff homilies. But there is widespread expectation that Francis will soon name a new master of liturgical ceremonies more in line with his priorities of bringing the church and its message of love and service to ordinary people without the “high church” trappings of his predecessor.
There were certainly none of those trappings on display Thursday at the Casal del Marmo juvenile detention facility in Rome, where the 76-year-old Francis got down on his knees to wash and kiss the feet of 12 inmates, two of them women. The rite re-enacts Jesus’ washing of the feet of his 12 apostles during the Last Supper before his crucifixion, a sign of his love and service to them.”
Well said,Nicole, and maybe there is truly something happening here. During the Easter celebration, the Christians visiting Vatican City made the pilgrimage to Rome’s Colosseum to participate in the Way of the Cross. For those who may not be familiar with the Way of the Cross or the Stations of the Cross, this is when Christians commemorate the death and resurrection of Christ. With torches lighting the way, the faithful carried the cross to different stations where meditations and prayers were read out recalling the final hours of Christ’s life.
With so much tension around the world over radical muslims and the possibility that the Christians of Syria may be in great danger. This year, Pope Francis read out meditations that were composed by young Lebanese faithful. These called for an end to “violent fundamentalism, terrorism and the wars and violence which in our days devastate various countries in the Middle East.” To those who believe that the Muslim faith looks at anyone outside of the Muslim faith as infidels and should be destroyed, one would ask if Pope Francis’ olive branch to other faiths is an act of futility. Perhaps he is trying to live out in his own life and an example to others what the Holy Scriptures, in Romans 12, has to say:
14Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. 15Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. 16Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!
The Gospel of Christ is one of forgiveness and loving your enemy. That is what Christ did as He came into the world…not to condemn the world, but that by His sacrifice of Himself for all sins, we might have life…now and in eternity. It is a simple message and one that resonates down the centuries to all who will dare to put their trust in Him. It doesn’t have to be dressed up…only believed.
As time goes on, we will see if Pope Francis can stay true to his calling of simplicity or if the pressures of this powerful political and spiritual church in Rome will defeat his intentions. There are also many social issues that he will have to give his approval or disapproval or at least bring into discussion…such as women becoming priests and whether priests can marry, as they are allowed to do in other parts of Christendom. The protection of children is a huge issue for the Roman church. The needs of the poor and displaced by wars is another worldwide problem. May Pope Francis have God’s wisdom in all matters.
As a Christian, who worships in the Episcopal Church and whose husband is a priest in the Episcopal Church… and not in the Roman Catholic Church, I say these prayers and blessings with all sincerity. One would hope that this will be a new day for all faithful Catholics…and for the Christian church around the world as we notice with admiration Pope Francis’ example.
Pope Francis A new kind of Leadership (If trouble opening, try Google Chrome)
I almost never watch “Dancing with the Stars”, but last night I just happened to walk into our family room as Wynonna Judd started her dance. My first reaction was “Wow…she wasn’t afraid to be who she is!”
One writer called her performance “Large and in Charge”! I think that certainly says a great deal, but the thing that I thought of was how many really large, heavy-set women want to hide in a corner somewhere and to go out in public is a real chore. I can guess that Wynonna’s performance certainly put a smile on their faces. We also would hope that it put “some courage in their hearts”.
One may argue that the performers on Dancing with the Stars are too scantily clad; too sexy, and not a good role model for our young. Sometimes we just have to look past the bad language in a movie, a play, and the innuendoes that might make some blush…and say, “What is the bigger lesson here?” (no pounds…I mean “puns” intended). You see, even I have trouble not making a joke. Who am I to talk since my doctor would love for me to lose 30 pounds. Maybe next year!
It is quite amazing how almost everything that we like in life is under the banner “Bigger is Better”...except certain things. A Big Mac is better than a “little burger”; big cars are better than a tiny car (unless you live on a very narrow street); big houses are more desirable than a trailer-house. Big breasts are great, but not everyone has a waist-line like Dolly Parton (which is extremely tiny). We talk about our big country…and Texas where everything is bigger. We could go on and on, but I think we see the point.
Some big women (and men) are big because they simply eat too much or too much of the wrong thing. Some definitely have medical problems. Whatever the reason, our society has tried to make a mockery of those who do not fit the slim, sheik, and beautiful profile. Even some of the most influential have had their battles: Oprah, Chris Christy, and more. Finally, they have said, “Enough….I’m just going to be who I am.”
It is also possible that life has thrown a curve that only adds to the weight gain. Wynonna said, “I’m the kind of person who, at the end of every year, asks myself what I’m going into the next year with. Back in August, after my husband’s motorcycle accident, I went into ‘nurse’ mode and became the caregiver that was absolutely necessary. He had his left leg amputated and couldn’t use the whole left side of his body. I also had to put a new tour together and take care of my teenagers, and I forgot to take time for myself.”
This is why I lift my hat to Wynonna Judd, who not only said this through her actions, but showed that she was willing to do something she thought impossible…regardless of what some may say or think. It also must be hard for a large person when family members are petite and slim, like her famous mother.
Does this mean we give up on the “battle of the bulge”? Of course not. Our health is important. Children who tend to be overweight need to have good education on the subject and good role-models. The hurtful laughter that growing up fat does to warp a budding personality is totally out-of -place…as well as the sneers and finger-pointing. Yet, people continue to do it, don’t they?
When it comes to women…or men who are obese, we need to look for something truly beautiful about them. It may be personality, bright eyes, or an infectious smile.
What made her take this challenge? “My word for this year is ‘risk.’ Wynonna said, “I’m at a point in my life and career for something that is completely off my radar, that takes me out of my comfort zone and makes me refocus.”
Whatever may have held you back, your weight; looks in general, or some misfortune, learn a lesson from those who dare…there is more to you than you think!
During Christmas 2012, I cooked and cooked. While I was cooking, I ate and ate. So I felt it would be appropriate to reproduce a writing that left me with inspiration, fun and ready for a New Year! Hope you enjoy it and the wonderful video at the end.
“It’s a new year and we wonder where things or time will take us. Life is not limited. We do not know the path or the road we may take. A new avenue may be opened to us. We could choose the busy life or perhaps take the “path less traveled”. The challenge may be to select something that we have never sought before.
I love the movie Julie and Julia and all the actors who played in it. Maybe because part of the story is about a blogger (writer)…and I am a blogger….but mostly because it portrays real life and the search to find one’s place in life. Talents that we don’t know we have can be found. Triumphs in one’s accomplishments can be felt and become a source of growth and joy. Often historical figures, old and new, give us the insight and inspiration for this new journey. Also we learn that mistakes happen and can often be fixed or made right. God has a plan and we must not be afraid to reach out to something new.”
Below is a clip from the movie and the real life young “Julie”. For all the cooks, who read Boyer Writes, I have also included at the end, Julia Child’s favorite and most famous recipe
- One 6-ounce piece of chunk bacon
- 3 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 pounds lean stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes
- 1 carrot, sliced
- 1 onion, sliced
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons flour
- 3 cups red wine, young and full-bodied (like Beaujolais, Cotes du Rhone or Burgundy)
- 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups brown beef stock
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 cloves mashed garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- A crumbled bay leaf
- 18 to 24 white onions, small
- 3 1/2 tablespoons butter
- Herb bouquet (4 parsley sprigs, one-half bay leaf, one-quarter teaspoon thyme, tied in cheesecloth)
- 1 pound mushrooms, fresh and quartered
Remove bacon rind and cut into lardons (sticks 1/4-inch thick and 1 1/2 inches long). Simmer rind and lardons for 10 minutes in 1 1/2 quarts water. Drain and dry.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Sauté lardons in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a flameproof casserole over moderate heat for 2 to 3 minutes to brown lightly. Remove to a side dish with a slotted spoon.
Dry beef in paper towels; it will not brown if it is damp. Heat fat in casserole until almost smoking. Add beef, a few pieces at a time, and sauté until nicely browned on all sides. Add it to the lardons.
In the same fat, brown the sliced vegetables. Pour out the excess fat.
Return the beef and bacon to the casserole and toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Then sprinkle on the flour and toss again to coat the beef lightly. Set casserole uncovered in middle position of preheated oven for 4 minutes.
Toss the meat again and return to oven for 4 minutes (this browns the flour and coves the meat with a light crust).
Remove casserole and turn oven down to 325 degrees.
Stir in wine and 2 to 3 cups stock, just enough so that the meat is barely covered.
Add the tomato paste, garlic, herbs and bacon rind. Bring to a simmer on top of the stove.
Cover casserole and set in lower third of oven. Regulate heat so that liquid simmers very slowly for 3 to 4 hours. The meat is done when a fork pierces it easily.
While the beef is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms.
Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons butter with one and one-half tablespoons of the oil until bubbling in a skillet.
Add onions and sauté over moderate heat for about 10 minutes, rolling them so they will brown as evenly as possible. Be careful not to break their skins. You cannot expect them to brown uniformly.
Add 1/2 cup of the stock, salt and pepper to taste and the herb bouquet.
Cover and simmer slowly for 40 to 50 minutes until the onions are perfectly tender but hold their shape, and the liquid has evaporated. Remove herb bouquet and set onions aside.
Wipe out skillet and heat remaining oil and butter over high heat. As soon as you see butter has begun to subside, indicating it is hot enough, add mushrooms.
Toss and shake pan for 4 to 5 minutes. As soon as they have begun to brown lightly, remove from heat.
When the meat is tender, pour the contents of the casserole into a sieve set over a saucepan.
Wash out the casserole and return the beef and lardons to it. Distribute the cooked onions and mushrooms on top.
Skim fat off sauce in saucepan. Simmer sauce for a minute or 2, skimming off additional fat as it rises. You should have about 2 1/2 cups of sauce thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
If too thin, boil it down rapidly. If too thick, mix in a few tablespoons stock. Taste carefully for seasoning.
Pour sauce over meat and vegetables. Cover and simmer 2 to 3 minutes, basting the meat and vegetables with the sauce several times.
Serve in casserole, or arrange stew on a platter surrounded with potatoes, noodles or rice, and decorated with parsley.
Click on OPEN YOUR EYES BELOW. You will be amazed at the blessings of life. Happy Thanksgiving from Boyer Writes
This writing does not propose to have the answers to that problem or hurt that you have …whether emotional, mental or physical…. that may be planting the thoughts of suicide in your mind. My life has been given to Christ, with its ups and downs…disappointments and joys…but I know that not all have found this rest.
I write because I am led to write. Who knows why I awake at 3:00 am and know that for some reason I need to write about this subject. It is the last thing that I would want to tackle. Nevertheless, I write today, not as a counselor or a psychiatrist, but as a person who cares.
Someone will read this who needs to know that their particular pain has an answer. The answer is not in suicide. The answer may be as close to you as your breath. If one simply gives up…they will never know what would have or could have been. One does not know what is around the corner. You must live to find out.
There are two stories that I know of that may help: A man had decided he did not want to go on. He went up stairs and looked out the window. Across the top of the houses was a steeple of a church. It was that cross rising high into the sky that made him stop and truly think about what he was thinking of doing. A simple thing….but it was his turning moment.
Another man felt that he had lost everything. His wife was leaving him and taking his life flashed across his mind. The thing that made him stop was the thought of what would his death do to his son. He had not actually lost everything for he had his son.
When things seem the darkest….when you just want to go to sleep forever….forget the word “forever” and just go to sleep. Rest the mind….rest the heart….and after the rest, look for a new beginning. Focus on the little things that matter and reach for something bigger than you have known.
Simply ask for God to give you that one ounce of strength that you do not think you have. Psalm 139:8 “If I go up to heaven, you are there. If I make my bed in hell, you are there.” No matter what we do, we will face God. This may be a terrible thought…but one worth thinking.
I am not going to “preach” to you, but here are THOUGHTS TO CONSIDER:
(Nehemiah 8:10 )Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”
This verse did not say “your joy” for you may not feel any joy at all. It said, “…the joy of the Lord” which will be your strength in anything that is in your life too difficult to handle.
Colossians 1:11-14 May you be strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy, giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
My suggestion would be to go to a quiet place…maybe the shower….or another spot…and call to God to help you to know that you are loved by Him. Ask Him for peace. Ask Him for grace and forgiveness. Ask Him to give you the strength you need. He will hear you….and then rest. Harming yourself is not the answer. Giving up is not the answer. It never will be.
Biography of a great musician: Vladimir Horowitz was born in Kiev, Ukraine. He was the youngest of four children. His mother was a pianist and gave him lessons. He then entered a conservatory of music in Kiev, being taught by Vladimir Puchalsky. He finally began to tour in Russia where he was often paid with food rather than money because of economic hard times. His family lost all their possessions in the Russian Revolution.
His decision to go to the West came in 1925. His intension was to study with Arthur Schnabel. He had no desire to return to his homeland, so he put American dollars and British pound notes in his shoes to pay his way.
In 1925, Horowitz made his first appearance outside his country in Berlin. Later, he played in Paris, London, and New York, where he gave his first debut in Carnegie Hall.
Horowitz, who was Jewish, married Wanda who was Catholic. Wanda knew no Russian and Horowitz knew very little Italian…therefore, they spoke French. Tragedy touched their lives when their child, Sonia, died of a drug overdose.
He sought medical help for depression and seemed to have difficulty with alcohol. One Japanese critic commented that Horowitz was ” a precious antique vase that is cracked.” He stopped playing in public for about two years. In 1986, he recovered from his dependency and returned to his life in concert.
For the first time since 1925, Horowitz returned to the Soviet Union to play. The concerts were as much political as musical and no tickets were sold to the general public…only the Soviet elite. Moscow Conservatory students protested, causing quite a disruption which was caught on TV.
President Reagan presented him with the highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. After this, he continued to record his music until he died of a heart attack at the age of 86 in New York. Horowitz is buried in the Toscanini family tomb in Milan, Italy.
Enjoy your Sunday and the beginning of Fall.
A wonderful letter written by an admirer of Vladimir Horowitz..telling of the hours that he spent waiting in the cold of New York City to buy a ticket to hear the beautiful music of this genius. (Thank you, Robert, for your comment to Boyer Writes and this link:letter.html )
“Whatsoever is lovely and of a good report, think on these things.” from the Holy Scriptures.
My husband and I heard the wonderful voices of the Canadian Tenors at the Kennedy Center this year. Here they are for your Sunday pleasure.
Ever thought of going to Mongolia? I count it a great privilege that I was able to go there two times. The first was to teach Middle School Teachers how to teach English. The second time was a Christian mission trip to help the homeless street children. This was a number of years ago and through the internet and a visit from one of my students to the USA, I have found that their revolution has made great changes. When the Berlin Wall was falling in the 199o’s, little notice was taken of the Mongolians who took to the streets and declared their independence from an occupying Russia after seventy years. Mongolia was free to join the rest of the world in their search for democracy and a freedom to choose. Choosing is what they are doing! They now can speak and write their own language. They also can worship as they wish. The capital city of Ulaan Baatar is booming. Foreign businesses have moved in and built new buildings and in the countryside one can find co-ops that have given the people hope. Organizations like Mercy Corp and World Vision have shown the people a way to develop their own talents and survive doing so. You will find everything from Camel polo to new private businesses and modern-day music making. Nevertheless, if you want to meet some of the friendliest, most sincere people in the world….take a plane to Beijing and then a short airplane ride to Mongolia. You will be able to look down on the Gobi Desert as you travel. Your life will never be the same. Mine hasn’t been!
UPDATE ON LIFE IN THE CAPITAL CITY OF MONGOLIA, ULAAN BAATAR
- THE PROBLEM WITH ALCOHOLISM
The traditional Mongolian house is called a Ger. They can be seen throughout the country-side. Easy to move from place to place where they may need grass for their animals. See the video below.
The questions that all religions and people of the world wrestle with is WHY? Why do people suffer when they have apparently done no wrong? Can we trace the root cause to any of the following?
- Original sin of man
- Choices that are made by men and women.
- Decisions that are made for or about people by their governments or rulers
It is definite that God has given free will to men. They are not puppets. He wants us to love Him and to do the right and just thing to each other.
The story of Job in the Hebrew and Christian Holy Scriptures is a story that can be found similarly throughout the world in various beliefs. Suffering has no boundaries. It is usually men bringing on other men a constant rivalry that leads to pain.
For Job, suffering was caused by a heavenly battle between Satan and God with Job caught in the middle. On the surface it seems so unfair. In Job’s case, God brings happiness to him in the end. This is not true for so many. Begging the question….Why does a loving God allow this…or does it once again make a large circle back to man and his decisions …or things like environmental pollution that makes one sick? Is it God’s fault or ours?
Below is a video by Biography “Mysteries of the Bible”. Those who analyze the story of Job and the question of suffering do not represent Christian thought…but do challenge us as mature Christians to ponder many questions during this time of Lent and soul-searching.
During Lent, we are writing about Job, who was totally upright before God. Satan had something to prove to God:
- A believer will curse God under the right conditions.
- The body controls the spirit of man for it is weak.
- God does not really have the love of man for man will crumble under pressure.
Job was greatly suffering, but he was not making Satan’s accusations the truth. Even when his friends tried to tell him that it was no use and that something he had done was causing his misery, Job refused to curse his Maker. This did not mean that he was unable to express his emotions and even his discouragement. For Job wanted to know:
- How can a mortal be just before God? ( Job Chapters 9-10)
- How can one really speak to God for He is the Remover of mountains and Maker of the Universe?
- How can he, a mere man, understand these great things that God does?
- Who dares to speak to God and says “What are you doing?”
Job believes that though he is innocent, anything he would say would only condemn him. He also feels helpless in his suffering because he knows his days may be numbered. In fact, there is no contest! He is mortal and God is All Powerful.
Job says,” I loathe my life…I will speak to the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, Do not condemn me. let me know why you contend against me. Does it seem good to oppress the work of my hands and favor the schemes of the wicked?…remember that You have fashioned me…”
Why, why, why? This is the universal question. Often all we have in our faith is to lay it all out before God and plead with Him for mercy, especially when we don’t understand the circumstances. Deep, deep in our souls we have to believe that a time of testing is not what God truly wants…for He is a God of Love and Compassion. Ask yourself these questions:
- Is my whole heart God’s and His will or am I reserving a part for myself..plans.. or ambitions?
- Am I willing to give all my sorrows and mistakes to Christ?
- Regardless of any outcome, will my last breath be one of honor to the Maker of the universe?
Sit back and quietly surround yourself with a quiet spirit before God as you listen to the music below and contemplate your answers to the above questions.
Most anyone will do anything to save their skin. We hear, ” It is no skin off my nose!” or “He gets under my skin.” We refer to it so much because it is important.
What is it about skin? It is the very thing that holds one together. The bones and all the organs have to be covered with skin. Skin has its own value. It is a waterproofer; gives us skin tone; regulates body temperature and permits the sensation of touch, heat and cold. In fact, the skin, totaling about 20 sq. ft., is the largest organ of the body.
Satan said to God about Job, “Skin for Skin! All that people have they will give to save their lives. But stretch out your hand now and touch his bone and his flesh and he will curse you to your face.” The Lord said, “He is in your power, only spare his life.” ( Job 2:4-13) So Satan inflected sores on Job from the sole of his feet to the crown of his head.
Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, a written history of the fate of those who were willing to lay down their lives for their Saviour , is the story of what was done to the skin of men. It was burned and tortured in many ways.
Satan was wrong. They did not curse God. They did not always understand why this was happening to them, but they were willing to stand firm and endure the pain.
Throughout Christian history, the tribulation and persecution of believers came in many forms. Sometimes it was a political motive. It was often done by the very church that the believers honored. Other times it was simply evil and Satan demanding his pound of flesh.
They believed that what they knew deep in their hearts was more than anything that could be done to them. Job knew this. The apostles knew this. Joan of Arc knew it also, as was depicted in the film Joan of Arc starring Ingrid Bergman. She said because God spoke to her through voices that only she could hear, “ I do what I can without knowing how.” In the end, she was burned at the stake for heresy because she would not deny what she heard from God.
The martyrs often had to listen to their own souls even though family or friends counseled them to surrender to popular thought or authority rule. They were humble. They were not proud. Often they were ordinary people, like you and me. They simply believed. Skin was not all important…God was
VIDEO Joan of Arc The struggle to listen to and obey God. (Turn on sound)