N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Interesting places or People

Another Statue Being Removed?

Statue in Sarasota, FL…Celebrating WWII end

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

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

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

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

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

A letter written to the Sarasota mayor and commissioner:

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

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

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

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

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

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

VIDEO

Click to view video


WORK FORCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo/Megan Farmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Growing Older…Yes, WE ALL ARE!

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

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

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

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

or this:

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

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

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

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

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

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

THE AGING PROCESS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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!”

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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.


IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US

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.

Life has also become a blur of activity….just get me there FIRST…BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! We saw it previously in Christmas shopping and then rushing to load up on goods when Covid-19 hit the world. Some people actually fought in the stores! ME FIRST…NOT YOU!

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.

CLICK THIS LINK. With the arrow, YOU MAY MOVE FORWARD AT ANY TIME TO THE SERMON.

EXPLORE, DREAM,DISCOVER

When you HESITATE…think on this thought from a wise man:

“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do, than the things you did do. So THROW OFF THE BLOW LINES! SAIL AWAY from the safety harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. EXPLORE, DREAM, DISCOVER!”

Mark Twain

Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1835 to 1910), known by pen name Mark Twain.

Excellent writing is a talent. For some writers it is a pastime of enjoyment. Most likely I fall into this last category. Yet, it is always my hope that somehow, with practice, I may eventually find my way into a “talent.”

Mark Twain is a man who had talent although he didn’t know it at first. He had many words of wisdom, with a touch of humor and a home-made flare.

He started out poor, living in the South of the United States with all its history of racial inequality, but it didn’t keep him from making his own friends regardless of color.

Twain was a product of his times with a mind for writing that eventually brought him fame and fortune. Best known for his books about the adventures of young boys, which reflected his own upbringing. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were among the best known works in children’s literature.

What makes a truly, outstanding man? He usually never starts out to be anything but what he is at the time. God has given men and women minds that can be used to discover the world and learn from it. This is what Twain set out to do…even when he was challenged by a man with a duel, which could have taken his life. The wise thing to do was to walk away…and he did…to live another day…and another…and many years to come. Perhaps even this part of his life is a lesson for all to learn when the odds are not in our favor.

The 70th birthday of Mark Twain was a lavish affair held at Delmonico’s restaurant in New York City. In introducing Twain, friend William Dean Howells, in quoting Twain, said, “Now, ladies and gentlemen, and Colonel Harvey, I will try not to be greedy on your behalf in wishing the health of our honored and, in view of his great age, our revered guest. I will not say, ‘Oh King, live forever!’ but ‘Oh King, live as long as you like!’” (PBS Ken Burns)

His life story proves that he lived what he wrote in that he did EXPLORE, DREAM, DISCOVER

Perhaps as we look into the life of Mark Twain who lived in the late 19th and early 20th century, we can learn something for our 21st century.

BELOW ARE 2 VIDEOS: Twain’s Life and His Famous quotes

VIDEO 1 THE LIFE OF MARK TWAIN

VIDEO TURN UP YOUR SOUND

It really didn’t matter to Twain whether he was sitting with the poorest of the poor or in regal company. He was always totally down to earth. Here are a few of his most famous quotes:

VIDEO 2

A FEW FAMOUS QUOTES BY TWAIN…THE HUMORIST


The Power of Art…Rembrandt

Rembrandt as young man 1629-1631

Detail of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1629-1631, by Rembrandt van Rijn. (Courtesy Walker Art Gallery, National Museums Liverpool)

 

The life of Rembrandt could be a portrait of anyone…anywhere.  The difference being that he was a genius as a painter.  Rembrandt had to go against the political scene with his art.  He had to stay true to his own interpretations of how to paint, which made him different from many of the artists of his time.  Difficulties forged into his life as a young man, who at one point painted while having to take care of a one year old child.  His indiscretions and artistic interpretations of the powerful brought him much controversy.  Bankruptcy and financial problems also loomed large.  Would he not be astounded at the auction prices for any of his works?  As we know, his students also copied his works which eventually ended up on the auction block as Rembrandt originals, selling for millions.  Today’s technology has opened up the ability to determine which paintings were truly those of the artist.

 

Rembrandt Portrait Expected To Fetch £25 At Auction

Rembrandt’s “Portrait of a man, half-length, with his arms akimbo” is brought into the auction room by Christie’s employees before selling for 18 million pounds ($29.59 million) at Christie’s auction house in London December 8, 2009. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Nevertheless, take one look at his portraits and you see a person who understood, sometimes with humor, the inward thinking of a person…their real personalities. At times, he would paint a self portrait practically hidden in a painting.  His ability to cast light and shadow made his works spectacular to put it mildly.

One of the best videos that I have found on Rembrandt and his life in Amsterdam along with the critiques of his most noted paintings is by the BBC  British Collections.  On this day, while keeping your distance and staying put from the Pandemic, perhaps you would enjoy, as did I, this special presentation.   N.Boyer

Video:   The Power of Art   Turn Up Sound

 


For Your Encouragement…an Miraculous Story of the God’s Presence and Gift

Today we are going to talk about miracles. We all pray for miracles to provide a cure for the coronavirus.  There are some who have been in the army for relief and help to provide the miracles of healing and the immediate needs for the people of our country. We all know of the great pressure upon our medical personnel around the country.

Today, we salute our U.S. Army Corp of Engineers for their amazing quick response to provide thousands of hospital beds to relieve hospitals.

“Since its founding in 1802, the USACE has often played a central role in times of crisis; its mission is to provide engineering services that strengthen national security and reduce risks from disasters. Recently, that has meant stepping in to speed recovery after the attacks of 9/11 and the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. The novel coronavirus presents a different kind of challenge. It requires national mobilization, not the localized efforts that those specific traumas demanded. Rather than responding to a disaster, the USACE is racing to help avert one by providing enough hospital beds to keep the health care system afloat.”

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For each time, I write a blog, I’d like to share with you stories of courage and encouragement as well as some exerts from my book, Rain on the Roof.   We start today with a story that is meant to help us understand that God does do things that we do not understand…but brings us hope that miracles still do occur.

There are some people in this world who will experience something they do not understand….something miraculous.  This is the story of a young girl, Akiane Kramarik,  now a mature young adult, who experienced something that she knows God gave to her. It was a special gift and talent.  Her mother was an atheist, but became a believer in Christ as she saw God’s working in her daughter’s life.   For Akiane, it was not without a struggle to understand what God was doing in her life.

May you be blessed this day with her story.  May your life be filled with hope, faith and belief that God knows us each one…our talents, our failures, our fears and He is always with us through the good and the hard times. In this difficult time of the coronavirus, let’s believe that there are miracles that we do not know of…some things that only God knows about.

The Holy Scriptures have given us this promise:

” Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid: for the LORD thy God, He goes with thee; He will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.”   Deuteronomy 31:6

I present to you the story, in her own words, by the artist,  Akiane Kramarik

Turn up your sound.


Rain on the Roof… New Devotional Book by N.W. Boyer

 

We are happy to announce the publication of a fourth in a series of Christian devotional books.

RAIN ON THE ROOF is a perfect devotional for anyone who would like to increase in their faith or looking to find faith.

The thirty one days of readings include historical and real life stories, original photographs by N. Boyer, Holy Scriptures and selections from The Book of Common Prayer.

You may find this book available at the following locations:   (CLICK to view)

BOOKS BY BOYER ONLINE SITE   www.booksbyboyer.

AMAZON


Raphael and the Tapestries

You will have to hurry if you want to see the magnificent tapestries designed by Raphael.  In honor of his birthday, they will only be on display at the Sistine Chapel in Rome until February 23, 2020. It was my privilege to visit Rome and see the Sistine Chapel, which is a once in a life time experience. As a student of history, I marvel that during WWII the great works of art were not completely destroyed or confiscated by the enemy invaders.  Thanks to the bravery of the men of the Church and regular citizens, of whom lost their lives, we have these beauties to enjoy today.  The Monuments Men movie gives a great understanding to the importance of protecting our history and the works to whom great men dedicated their lives.  It is my hope that you will enjoy this writing and those who are shown as contributors.  NWB

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A dozen tapestries designed by Renaissance artist Raphael are currently on view in their original home—the Sistine Chapel—for the first time in more than 400 years. But there’s a catch: The fragile works, commissioned by Pope Leo X in 1515 to complement Michelangelo’s famed frescoes, will adorn the chapel’s walls for just one week.  The exhibition offers a rare chance to see the tapestries, which depict scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, in their intended space rather than behind conservation glass. The last time the Vatican held a similar exhibit was in 1983, the fifth centennial of Raphael’s birth. According to Henry Kamm of the New York Times, only eight of the ten main tapestries made it into this display. At the time, one of the remaining works was on loan to a museum in New York; the other was undergoing restoration.

Now, in honor of the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death, the full set of ten masterworks and two border tapestries has returned to the Sistine Chapel for a limited engagement. As exhibition curator Alessandra Rodolfo tells Reuters’ Philip Pullella, the last recorded instance of all 12 tapestries being hung in the chapel together dates to the late 1500s.   (Smithsonian Magazine)

Raphael’s tapestries hang at the floor level surrounded by the magnificent ceiling paintings by Michelangelo.

ABOUT THE TAPESTRIES:

(CNN and Staff Writers)

For the first time in centuries, 10 magnificent tapestries designed by Renaissance master Raphael will hang together on the walls of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City.
The tapestries are usually only displayed on rotation in the “Raphael Room” at the Vatican Museum, according to the Vatican. 
But from this week until Sunday Feb. 23rd,, they are being brought together to mark the anniversary of Raphael’s death.
“We wanted for the celebration of 500 years of Raphael’s death to give the opportunity to share the beauty that is represented by the tapestry together in this beautiful, universal place that is the Sistine Chapel,” said Barbara Jatta, director of the Vatican Museums.
Pope Leo X commissioned Raphael to design the tapestries in 1515.Michelangelo had just finished his elaborate work on the ceiling and the pontiff wanted to ensure the lower walls weren’t bare.
Raphael painted 10 intricate images that depicted the lives of Saints Peter and Paul, now known as the Raphael Cartoons.(cartoons means a full-scale preparatory drawing)  The cartoons were then sent to the workshop of master weaver Pieter van Aelst in Brussels to be woven into tapestries.
At Aelst’s workshop, they were cut into vertical 90 centimeter-wide strips so the weavers could place them under their looms to recreate the image in thread.
The first tapestries were delivered to the chapel in late December 1519, however, Raphael died months later and did not see all the tapestries completed and together.
After Pope Leo X’s death in 1521, some of the tapestries were even pawned to pay off Leo X’s debts.

Self-Portrait Raphael (1483-1520) Oil on Panel, courtesy Uffizi Gallery, Florence

THE HISTORY OF THE TAPESTRIES:  

RAPHAEL-WEAVING TAPESTRY MAGIC FOR THE SISTINE CHAPEL.     (in part)

…The tapestries had a historic state visit to London in September 2010.  They were sent by the present Pope to be exhibited at the V & A Museum.

The four were commissioned in 1515 from the artist Raphael (Fafaello Sanzio da Urbino 1483-1520) especially for the Sistine Chapel. This was the first time in 500 years that the tapestries had hung alongside the original cartoons that Raphael had painted for the weavers so they could  complete this fabulous series of sensational textiles. There are ten in existence, but some scholars speculate that originally sixteen may have been planned.From the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries in Europe most rulers or heads of important families were continually on the move. Tapestries were a way of having instant decor. They added prestige to any setting and practically helped with droughts in stone castles or chateaux, which were evolving with extended periods of peace from places of refuge into being country houses. Their narrative subjects were very attractive and they usually featured scenes from mythology, from the Bible, or of hunting and court life.At the time these were manufactured, weaving was considered the most important art form and expression of cultural development. They demonstrated the wealth and status of the ruling families of Italy, Europe and England and, had the advantage of being easily transportable.

The tapestries made for the Sistine Chapel to Raphael’s designs were woven between 1516 and 1521, They are of wool, which has been intertwined with silk and gilt metal wrapped thread. They were made in the workshop of Pieter van Aelst at Brussels the main centre for tapestry production in Europe at that time.

It would have been no mean feat. The weavers would have been constantly challenged working to Raphael’s painted cartoons, without the benefit of being able to enter into any sort of dialogue with the artist himself who had no part in their production. The technical difficulties were mind boggling and the finished tapestries are a tribute to the level of expertise,  experience and considerable skill the weavers had attained. One of the reasons Raphael gained the commission is that he had successfully designed the grotesque style painted decoration for architect Donato Bramante’s Gallery in the Vatican Palace .The painting of the walls and vaults of the loggia were completed by pupils under his supervision and are a high point of Renaissance art.He proved, through his attention to detail an ability to produce a design that could be transmitted to another medium. The tapestries exist because of one man, Pope Leo X (1475 – 1521) who commissioned them. He knew the richness of these amazing textiles would compliment, and not be overwhelmed by the painted glory perfected by Michelangelo when completing his ‘art above.’

POPE LEO X:  Born into the famous Medici family at Florence, whose patronage of the arts at Florence the cradle of the Renaissance world, Leo X was already celebrated as a prince of peace and acknowledged as connoisseur of music when he ascended the papal throne. His classical education had been thorough and included poetry, literature and music alongside theology, philosophy and the ancients.His love of culture and the arts did not conflict with his worship. And, his interest in the humanities meant that he sought to actively combine, in religious harmony, the past and present while helping to plan the future of the church at Rome.Part of his role as Pope and leader of the Christian church, as the sun rose on the fifteenth century, was to encourage his countries cultural development. As tapestry was considered societies most prestigious art form it is no surprise he chose to hang them in the Sistine chapel.The tapestries illustrate scenes from the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul long regarded as the founders of the Christian Church. They were at the source of the Pope’s authority and power.

HOW THE TAPESTRIES WERE MADE AND PRESERVED:

The Raphael Cartoons were design drawings made up of a mosaic of hundreds of sheets of paper glued together which was then fixed to the wall. Raphael and his assistants would have painted them in situ. Then they would then have been rolled for transport to Brussels to Pietr Van Aelst’s studio where they would have been cut up into strips for use by the tapestry weavers. The tapestries have had a turbulent history. They were pawned to pay for Pope Leo X’s funeral and recovered for the coronation of Hadrian VI (1522-3). They were stolen during the Sack of Rome in 1527, and after many adventures returned to the papal collection between 1544 and 1554. They were looted again during a French occupation of Rome in 1798 and purchased by a second hand dealer very cheaply. They were bought back again in 1808 and restored to the Vatican collection.

As part of the journey associated with every aspect of the design commission, the cartoons arrived in England after King Charles I paid £300 in 1623 to obtain them.He bought them as designs for tapestries and as painters by his time were being recognized for their individual talents, they would have proved a good investment for the crown. It was at the end of the seventeenth century when they were framed as paintings in their own right. It was Queen Victoria who sent them along to the Victoria and Albert Museum in 1865 and they have been in the public domain ever since. Originally they had woven borders showing scenes from Leo’s life, also believed to have been designed by Raphael. However the cartoons for these did not survive.

As Mark Evans who produced the splendidly detailed and scholarly catalog for the exhibition held at London in 2010 said ‘despite the toll of time those who have the good fortune to admire these beautiful tapestries five centuries after their creation can confirm the challenge to make them was triumphantly met”.

SHORT VIDEO: Turn on sound.  After watching, be certain to scroll down to the 360 tour video of the Sistine Chapel. 

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360 VIRTUAL TOUR OF THE SISTINE CHAPEL  (The tapestries are not shown here…only the great art.  It will move slowly around the room for a closer view of Michelangelo’s amazing works. View at your leisure. )


Americans Liberate Flossenburg Concentration Camp…the site of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Execution

If you missed the last blog about the 75th Liberation of Auschwitz, I would highly recommend that you go back and view it.    Link: https://boyerwrites.com/2020/01/28/75-years-since-liberation-are-we-turning-our-backs/

 

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In this blog, I am writing about the non-Jews that knew the risks they were taking when defying the Nazi Regime. We honor them and the”righteous gentiles” who risked everything to hide the Jewish families during World War II.  One of the men who stood up again Hitler was Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a  German Christian pastor.

 

 Few twentieth century theologians have had a bigger impact on theology than Bonhoeffer, a man who lived his faith and died at the hands of the Nazis. For Bonhoeffer, the theological was the personal, life and faith deeply intertwined—and to this day the world is inspired by that witness.  (Google Books by Diane Reynolds)

…Apart from his theological writings, Bonhoeffer was known for his staunch resistance to Nazi dictatorship,, including vocal opposition to Hitler’s euthanasia  program and genocidal persecution of the Jews….Bonhoeffer’s efforts for the underground seminaries included securing necessary funds… By August 1937, Himmler decreed the education and examination of Confessing Church ministry candidates illegal. In September 1937, the Gestapo closed the seminary at Finkenwalde, and by November arrested 27 pastors and former students.

It was around this time that Bonhoeffer published his best-known book, The Cost of Discipleship, a study on the Sermon on the Mount, in which he not only attacked “cheap grace” as a cover for ethical laxity, but also preached “costly grace.” He was arrested in April 1943 by the Gestapo and imprisoned at Tegel prison for one and a half years. Later, he was transferred to Flossenburg Concentration Camp.  (Flossenburg concentration camp, located outside Weiden, Germany, close to the Czech border, was established in 1938, mainly for political prisoners. Once the war began, however, other prisoners and Jews were housed there as well.Apr 11, 2008)

After being accused of being associated with the July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler,he was quickly tried, along with other accused plotters, including former members of the Abwehr (the German Military Intelligence Office), and then hanged on 9 April 1945 as the Nazi regime was collapsing.   21 days later Adolf Hitler committed suicide.  (Wikipedia)

Quotes by Bonhoeffer:

 

Jesus Christ lived in the midst of his enemies. At the end all his disciples deserted him.

On the cross he was utterly alone, surrounded by evildoers and mockers.

For this cause he had come, to bring peace to the enemies of God.

So the Christian, too, belongs not in the seclusion of a cloistered life but in the thick of foes.

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We must finally stop appealing to theology to justify our reserved silence about what the state is doing

for that is nothing but fear. ‘Open your mouth for the one who is voiceless

for who in the church today still remembers that that is the least of the Bible’s demands in times such as these.

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The U.S. LIBERATION OF FLOSSENBURG:

At approximately 10:30 hours on April 23, 1945, the first U.S. troops of the 90th Infantry Division arrived at Flossenburg KZ,. They were horrified at the sight of some 2,000 weak and extremely ill prisoners remaining in the camp and of the SS still forcibly evacuating those fit to endure the trek south. Elements of the 90th Division spotted those ragged columns of prisoners and their SS guards. The guards panicked and opened fire on many of the prisoners, killing about 200, in a desperate attempt to effect a road block of human bodies. American tanks opened fire on the Germans as they fled into the woods, reportedly killing over 100 SS troops.

Additionally, elements of the 97th Infantry Division participated in the liberation. As the 97th prepared to enter Czechoslovakia, Flossenburg concentration camp was discovered in the division’s sector of the Bavarian Forest. Brigadier General Milton B. Halsey, the commanding general of the 97th Division, inspected the camp on April 30, as did his divisional artillery commander, Brigadier General Sherman V. Hasbrouck. Hasbrouck, who spoke fluent German, directed a local German official to have all able-bodied German men and boys from that area help bury the dead. The 97th Division performed many duties at the camp upon its liberation. They assisted the sick and dying, buried the dead, interviewed former prisoners and helped gather evidence against former camp officers and guards for the upcoming war crimes trials.

One eyewitness U.S. Soldier, Sgt. Harold C. Brandt, a veteran of the 11th Armored Division, who was on hand for the liberation of not just one but three of the camps, Flossenburg, Mauthausen, and Gusen, when queried many years after the war on his part in liberating them, stated that “it was just as bad or worse than depicted in the movies and stories about the Holocaust. . . . I can not describe it adequately. It was sickening. How can other men treat other men like this’”   (portion of an article By Colonel John R. Dabrowski, US Army Heritage and Education Center)

Piles of Shoes: As US forces approached the camp, in mid-April 1945, the SS began the forced evacuation of prisoners, except those unable to walk, from the Flossenbürg camp. Between April 15 and April 20, the SS moved most of the remaining 9,300 prisoners in the main camp (among them approximately 1,700 Jews), reinforced by about 7,000 prisoners who had arrived in Flossenbürg from Buchenwald, in the direction of Dachau both on foot and by train. Perhaps 7,000 of these prisoners died en route, either from exhaustion or starvation, or because SS guards shot them when they could no longer keep up the pace. Thousands of others escaped, were liberated by advancing US troops, or found themselves free when their SS guards deserted during the night. Fewer than 3,000 of those who left Flossenbürg main camp arrived in Dachau, where they joined some 3,800 prisoners from the Flossenbürg sub-camps. When members of the 358th and 359th US Infantry Regiments (90th US Infantry Division) liberated Flossenbürg on April 23, 1945, just over 1,500 prisoners remained in the camp. As many as 200 of them died after liberation. ( U.S Holocaust Memorial)

 

 

REMEMBER THE LIBERATION AND DIETRICH BONHOEFFER 

Ambassador Grenell lays a wreath at the Dietrich Bonhoeffer memorial in Flossenbürg Concentration Camp

 

Video of the Remembrance of the U.S. Army Liberation of Flossenburg concentration camp where Bonhoeffer was executed. (filmed in 2019)

Turn up sound:

 

 


Climate Change, Pollution and Native American Beliefs

We look around us at pollution of our waters and land. There is much political debate about how the gases in our air will change the world. When our animals are suffering from lack of polar ice or fires in the Amazon, that provides not only habitat, but the air we breathe. Some of the world’s cities are blanketed with smog.  It will take a worldwide effort to change much of what we have brought upon ourselves.

The question remains:  How long does the world have to make changes that should have been made long ago?

Strangely, I found a video of one indigenous person here in the U.S.A. who has his own view of the situation.  This Native American believes his ideas and those of the Hopi Indians in North America are the right ones. He even sees them as “prophetic.”  He believes that when the first Europeans came to America to settle the land, they didn’t give honor to the pure water and sacred places of the earth made by the Creator and now we are paying for it.

Little Colorado Basin and Falls

Katherine Locke is quoted in the Navajo Hopi Publication as saying the following about the court fight and water rights that the Hopi Nation must have to sustain their life around the Little Colorado River Basin:

 “The adjudication is designed to quantify each claimant’s water rights, both federal and state law rights and to determine claimants’ priority to the limited water in the Little Colorado River basin. This case does not involve claims to Colorado River water, which is outside the basin.

The Hopi Tribe’s water rights will be tried in several phases, the first to determine the Hopi Tribe’s past and present uses of the Little Colorado River basin. The second phase will begin in December 2019 and the court will hear testimony about the amount of water necessary for the Hopi Reservation to serve as a livable and permanent homeland for future generations. A third phase, which will be set for 2020 or later, will focus on the ranch lands south of the Hopi Reservation.

“Water sustains Hopi life,” a press release from the Hopi Tribe said. “There are many competing demands for water. The judicial proceeding will determine water rights for our children and grandchildren.”

The Hopi Tribe said during the trial, the long history and unique culture of the Hopi Tribe in Arizona will be presented by both witnesses and documents.

“Over a millennium, the Hopi Tribe has endured enormous hardships to sustain its way of life and developed a unique agriculture to sustain itself in a harsh and dry environment,” the Hopi Tribe said. “There is still a long road and many trials ahead before resolution of all claims. At each step of the way, the Hopi Tribe will continue to seek a just resolution of claims with its neighbors in the Little Colorado River basin.”

Native American cultural dance

My thoughts are that environmental problems should be looked at with great concern for all of us. History tells a real story of what we have done to our lakes, rivers, streams and even our oceans.  Our air didn’t become unpure overnight. All have been in the making for decades. What we have considered being an advancement to society, the industrial revolution may have become the world’s downfall. Factories belch black smoke and people around the world wear masks.  It can’t come soon enough to clean up after ourselves of man-made pollution. We must find and initiate the answers before it is too late.

The Hopi Native American in the video below also believes that we have lost our understanding of the spirit within us and the spirit of all living things made by the great Creator of us all.  He may well have a point.

Video on thoughts from a Native American (Turn up your sound)


Cafes of Paris and Elsewhere

As we scrambled today to batten-down everything that could fly away or become a missile during the hurricane that is about to hit Florida and the East Coast of the United States, I decided to write something about a place far away with their own problems…and delights…Paris, France.

Champs Elysées

No, I won’t talk about the terrible tragedies that happened along the Champs Elysées when a crazy mowed down the poor pedestrians just strolling along and enjoying this beautiful city. We have enough crazies right here in the U.S. doing equally insane things.

Instead, I want to write about nostalgia. Paris is a place of history, romance, and the Eiffel Tower. We have places of nostalgia, believe it or not, right here in a not so old country.  They are our favorite places to eat, sit and talk with those who also love to go there and talk, eat and sit. I know some ladies in the Blue Ridge Mountains who meet every day for a cup of coffee in our favorite “Mom and Pop” place.  How many cups they consume, I’m not certain, but they are always there…relaxing and enjoying life.

Why are we drawn to special eating places? The Cafe, The Bar, The Up-scale Restaurant like Ruth Chris or down-home Mom and Pop places.

The cafes of Europe, especially Paris, are a place to eat and sit…sit for a very long while to people watch and relax. Maybe this is why they have become so popular.

What makes a good cafe? It is probably the people in Paris, as an American artist from New York, Rick Tulka, finds fascinating.  Let’s let him explain why he goes to the cafes. He’s been going there for years.

Turn up your sound.

 


Is It Well With Your Soul?

In Christian services around the world, people sing the great hymn, “It is Well with my Soul.”   Most have no idea who the writer of the words was or what was his background.

Horatio Spafford

Phillip Bliss

His name is Horatio Spafford with music composed by Philip Bliss in 1873.

The question you may ask, after hearing about his life’s story in the video below, is how could he have ever penned those words?

 

 

Anyone who has gone through times of trial or the most disastrous events in their lives know that they have to find something or Someone greater to cling to in order not to lose sanity or their faith in God.

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Some people may never quite get to a point in faith to say “It is well.” The author of this hymn also went out on a limb in his personal beliefs. Nevertheless, in the end, his great song has been a lifeline to many as they find out that Christ is the only answer to our sufferings because He knew suffering well.

Here are the words to It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford.

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to know
It is well, it is well, with my soul. 

Refrain
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul. (Refrain)

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul! (Refrain)

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul. (Refrain)

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.  (Refrain)

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
A song in the night, oh my soul!  (Refrain)  ( from Wikipedia)

Here is Horatio Spafford’s story and the tune to his song.  (turn up sound)

May you be blessed in your soul.


An Alternative to Stopping Crime

Walmart has had some really bad things happen recently, but they have one customer who is fearless, a kind of John Wayne, and good all-around guy.  I know he is my favorite cowboy.

I thought Steve Harman, who is also one of our favorites on any TV program, would like this if I passed it along…so here goes.  Have a great week.

From Boyer Writes

Click this link:  https://www.youtube.com/embed/dsq_jZiB1_U


Whatever happened to SS General Kammler after WWII?

In 2016, I wrote my first historical novel. This was available online as a blog and then published as a paperback.  More recently, I renewed this book called The Seeds and the updated version is now available on Amazon.

What is this book about?    A brief summary is below:

The Seeds asks the question: “Whatever happened to SS General Hans Kammler?”

After World War II, a number of high-ranking officers fled to places like Argentina. This question seemed to be of great interest to my blog readers. Some readers wrote emails that they knew where General Kammler had lived. One even said the General was an uncle who was elderly and had escaped prosecution.

General Kammler, as portrayed in this book, is entirely fiction. However, the accounts of him, are based on historical facts.   From 1944, General Kammler was head of advanced weapons development in Nazi Germany, including the Me-262 jets, the V-2 rockets and perhaps even the exotic Bell Project. The enormous interest in General Kammler led me to explore the thoughts of where he might be hiding and exciting portrayal of him in The Seeds novel evolved.

Locations as described in this novel, such as the World Seed Vault in Norway…sometimes referred to as the “Doomsday Seed Vault”… are actual places that are active today.  For many readers, other locations, people and culture of the Middle East are generally not understood by people around the world. The story involvement in the Middle East only increases the mystery behind the writing of this historical fiction.    Link to The Seeds 


New Devotional Book with Photography and St. Paul’s Words

 

Devotional Life of St Paul jpeg2

After a trip to Greece this year to follow the “Footsteps of St. Paul”, the inspiration came to share my photography and words of Holy Scripture that St. Paul spoke to the early churches.  He and the men and women during the years of spreading the Gospel through missionary journeys suffered greatly the persecution that eventually led to his beheading in Rome.  Because of them, we have the writings of the Holy Scriptures today of the good news of the Christian faith.

Follow with me now some of his words to the Jews in the Synagogues, the faithful in the churches and to us, the modern day church.  I have included archeological finds and ruins as well as the amazing monasteries of Meteora.

This devotional is now available on Amazon in paperback and e-Book form.

Click here to view new devotional book

All books written by N.W.Boyer for adults and children (click on each book for more info)

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Underneath the Facade

Who would have dreamed a matronly, middle-aged Scottish woman could have the nerve to leave all behind, forgetting her appearance and walk onto a stage to sing for a better life?   Susan Boyle did.  The sneers and raised eyebrows were quickly put to rest when she opened her mouth to sing.  God had given her a great talent and she was going to let all know that what was under the facade was not what one could see…but if they listened, they could hear it.

susan boyle in america's got talent

Isn’t this so true of the way we look at people?   We look on the outside, but God looks at the heart.  He also bestows on people many gifts that can be used for His glory.  Some people find that gift and use it wisely.  Others never venture into the unknown possibilities…and the gift goes unused.

susan-boyle

One day I drove to see a man that I had been told was a great stained glass maker.  Wanting him to make something for me, I ventured out onto a long road that seemed to lead to nowhere.   Soon I saw a little hut and a man who looked like “old father time” walked out.  My first instinct was to just drive away.  Had I done that, I would have missed some of the most beautiful glass work I had ever seen outside of a cathedral.  When having a conversation with him, I learned that he prayed for his customers and God always brought him enough people to pay his bills and live comfortably.  He loved his little place in the woods where he could produce for others beautiful glass art of which he had a great talent.

So it was with Susan.  She never felt at ease with people, but she did with music.  Her background had given her little self-confidence, but her music did.  That was how she was able to rise above it all and face the audience with her talent on that first night on stage with the world watching.  After the pressures of winning the talent show became too much, she had to back away for a while.   Crowds of people, media comments and the burden of it all drove her into seclusion to find a renewed health.  Once again she overcame and her albums of beautiful songs hit top sales.

susan-boyle-2jpg

Susan says, “ I’m a champion for those who don’t have the confidence to do things and don’t have a voice; the ones people tend to ignore…” 

Find your gift…for all of us have something that God has given us. Seek it, pray for it…and use it.

It is my pleasure to present Susan Boyle in a tribute to her remarkable life.    Enjoy!

Video  Turn up sound


America…America…the film

It wasn’t too long ago that my husband and I rode a boat out to see the Statue of Liberty in the New York harbor.   This grand site has been seen by thousands as they entered the waters of a new country in search of their dreams for new life and freedom.  The American flag waved then as it does now…and the thrill was the same.

My ancestors came from Switzerland and England.  My husband’s came from England and Germany. His father’s side farmed in Minnesota.   All had a dream…bringing that dream and hard work with them.  Processing through as immigrants and spreading out into the far corners of the United States,  these Americans have many stories to tell.

Recently, I found a story of another family that came the hard way from Greece and Turkey to join the long line of those arriving.  It has been made into a film by one of the descendants who was about four years old when their family arrived on our shores.  It’s not a new film for it was made in 1963.  However, it is worth the two hours plus of watching the struggles and the triumphs of one determined young man to get to America.

Academy Award and Golden Globe-winning writer and director Elia Kazan (“On the Waterfront,” “A Streetcar Named Desire”) tells the true story of the early life of his uncle, Greek-immigrant Stavros Topouzoglow.  After viewing the introduction by this filmmaker, you may want to order the film called America America.   It is worth the time spent to understand the reasons so many from places all over the world made the decision to forge all obstacles in order to come to our country of opportunity and hope.

america america by elia kazan

Video  (Turn up sound)


Virginia and Carolina in Fall…or Anytime

My growing up home place was in the Brushy Mountains outside Wilkesboro and N. Wilkesboro, N.C.  Keep this city name in mind for there is a treat at the end of this blog.

After high school,  I left with my parents to live in Florida.  I never expected that I would one day go back to the mountains.  Since Fall is my favorite season and unfortunately, in Florida, we only get a few brown leaves in mid-winter, we have to be in the mountains to enjoy that season.  Don’t misunderstand for  I’m not complaining about the beautiful green, citrus fruit, or warm weather in Florida. It’s still a great place even with the frequent hurricanes.

Riding just a little further up the mountain to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia, my husband and I felt it was a wonderful place to enjoy at least for a few months of the year.  Winter is a little too cold for us “flat-landers”, as we are sometimes called.  The time we stayed on after the Fall to see the first snow, we bundled up like we were in Alaska to take our dog, Gracie, out for her final evening bathroom break.  She would stand and stare into the woods, sensing the deer were close by.  Their eyes would sometimes shine in the dark…and the wind biting at our noses sent us racing back inside the house.

Nevertheless, I think that the “country girl” was still in me.  Coming back to Virginia and North Carolina,  it was evident that I had a  great affinity for the way of life and the people of these mountains.

Why do I say this?  I only know that the people have a warm disposition and a sense of humor that I have not found to such a degree anywhere else around the world. I have been fortunate enough to visit or teach in places like Mongolia, Guatemala, Ukraine, Switzerland, France, and Japan.   Still, these hills and the valleys, where a person can look deep into a ravine, keep calling me back. Fourteen cousins and my Uncle John still call the VA-N.C. mountains and foothills their home…so it’s probably a genetic “family thing” as well.

The Blue Ridge has it all…steep mountain cliffs and valleys, rolling hills filled with vegetable crops and orchards of delicious fruit.

Falll VA 2017sm

The bear, deer, rabbits, and other “critters” also make it their place of residence.  The humming- birds fly to the sweet-smelling sugar water put out in the gardens and the rabbits help themselves to whatever… wherever. Speaking of bear, one came up to our front porch to push over and have her fill at our feeder.  No longer do we provide such a delicacy.

 

 

 

 

From my window, I can hear the cows, donkeys and lambs in the fields. At night the stars are clear and brilliant.  When the moon is full, the coyotes roam about making their distinctive sound while looking for something to bring back to their little ones in the den.

The Spring along the Blue Ridge Parkway is filled with wild-flowers and the white and pink rhododendron bushes line the road.  Small barns, churches, and family graves stand as a testament to those who have lived here in generations past.   Some mountain people with roots back to the Civil War, still proudly fly their Confederate flags and dare anyone to tell them that they can’t.   They also just as strongly hold to their “guns and their religion.”    They are a proud people, that I have found, will come to one’s help at anytime or any hour.

Blue Ridge and Old things 012

 

Someone may ask why I am writing about the Fall when it’s Spring and Summer is just around the corner?   Perhaps I’m giving an invitation to make your plans now to see this glorious place. Not so long from now, the leaves will flutter about and turn to a deep orange and red.  The pumpkins will lay over acres and acres of the hillsides turning the farms into a special hue of gold.  The tractors will slowly make their way from the fields to the barns.  Sometimes those same tractors take family or friends on flatbeds to enjoy the countryside.  Visitors from far and wide stop and take in the breath-taking views of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Blue Ridge and Old things 008

It’s also the Fall that brings the people to these mountains.

Fall leavesfall leaves2pumpkins

 

nancy on Buffalo Mt 2 hrs up 1 hur down climb best

Virginia’s Buffalo Mt and this blog’s author

Maybe my next book will be for all these visitors who come this way … to give them heads up and a little advice to what it’s like to visit or live in the mountains.  I’m thinking it will be titled, “What Everyone Needs to Know Before Visiting or Planning to Live in the Blue Ridge Mountains.” 

 This might be a part of this new book.

“Don’t come thinking that you’ll be treated like in New York City…or Paris…or somewhere.  You’ll have to slow down, enjoy English laced with a warm, Southern drawl, and be greeted just like you are family.   When you go to a small, family-run restaurant, walk right in, greet the people sitting there with  “Hey there. How’s everybody?  Got anything good to eat in here?”  (Not “Hi There”…for it’s N.Y City sounding to their ears..and remember this is “Rebel” territory.)

They’ll know you aren’t from the Blue Ridge, but they’ll be friendly- like and greet you with some jolly response. Don’t worry if someone comes over to your table and asks your name or finds out what brought you to these parts.  When you finish eating, look around, wave and tell everyone, “Goodbye…see you next time!”    They’ll appreciate it.

When you drive back to where you are staying and a truck rounds the corner giving you a “one finger wave,” (NOT the middle)… just wave back.  They aren’t flagging you down…but saying “Hello.” 

Want to know more?   Be looking for my book title sometime in the near future on the internet.  As I close this blog, I think I will let the Kruger Brothers sing what it’s like to be in “Carolina in the Fall”….and I would also add… Virginia.  Hope to see “Y’all” up this way someday.

VIDEO (Turn up sound)

 Link to Books by N.W.Boyer with a Blue Ridge Mountain setting

 

 


Enjoying a “Slow down” with a Historical Gift of Cherry Trees

It has been a few years since I strolled through the Fall leaves and sites of Japan.  The Japanese maples were at their most brilliant colors.  It has been my hope to return someday and see the glorious Spring in Japan when the cherry blossoms are in full bloom.  I may have to wait and see them in Washington, D.C. These cherry trees were given in 1910 as a gift from Japan to the United States, in happier times before World War II.

History of the Cherry Trees in Washington you may not know:

  • In 1885, Eliza Scidmore returned from her first trip to Japan and approached the U.S. Army Superintendent of the Office of Public Buildings and Grounds with the idea of planting cherry trees along the reclaimed waterfront of the Potomac River.
  •  Mrs Scidmore, who was the first female board member of the National Geographic Society, was rebuffed, though she would continue proposing the idea to every Superintendent for the next 24 years!.

    Eliza_Ruhamah_Scidmore proposed planting cherry trees in DC

    Eliza Scidmore

  • Through persistence and some help from Mrs. Taft, the First Lady at the time, in 1909 the Embassy of Japan informed the U.S. Dept of State, the city of Tokyo intended to donate 2000 cherry trees to the United States to be planted along the Potomac.
  •   The first batch of 2,000 trees arrived diseased in 1910.
  • Japanese chemist, Takamine, who discovered adrenaline, was in Washington with Mr. Midzuno, the Japanese consul to New York.  Takamine asked if Mrs. Taft would accept an additional, healthy 2000 trees and she did. The first trees were planted.

    Original Cherry tree planted in Washington near stone Japanese lantern

    This is an original Japanese Cherry tree planted in Washington and is still standing today next to the Japanese lantern.

The Japanese Lantern is a stone statue in West Potomac Park.  It is lighted during the annual National Cherry Blossom Festival. A pair of lanterns were created in 1651, to mark the death of Tokugawa Iemitsu, who was the third shōgun of the Tokugawa dynasty.220px-Iemitu The lantern was formerly located at the Tosho-gu temple, in Ureno Park, where its twin remains today.  The lantern was given, by the governor of Tokyo, to the people of the United States, and was dedicated on March 30, 1954.   (Click here to see a panoramic view of the Tosho-gu temple in Ureno Park, Japan)

History of  Washington cherry trees continued:

  • The first “Cherry Blossom Festival” was held in late 1934 under joint sponsorship by numerous civic groups, becoming an annual event. The cherry trees had by this point become an established part of the nation’s capital.
  • In 1938, plans to cut down the cherry trees to clear ground for the Jefferson Memorial prompted a group of women to chain themselves together at the site in protest.  “This is the worst desecration of beauty in the capital since the burning of the White House by the British,” a woman chained to a tree proclaimed.  Roosevelt, who was President at the time, remained unmoved by the protests.  If the activists didn’t remove themselves, he said, “…the cherry trees, the women and their chains would be gently but firmly transplanted in some other part of Potomac Park.” The women finally left and the particular trees were taken out in the middle of the night to be transplanted in another place.

 

  • A compromise was reached where more trees would be planted along the south side of the Basin to frame the Memorial. These women would be happy to know that there are today 2,750 cherry trees in Washington, D.C.
  • However, World War II brought some problems. On December 11, 1941, four trees were cut down. It is suspected that this was retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan four days earlier.
  • In hopes of dissuading people from further attacks upon the trees during the war, they were referred to as “Oriental” flowering cherry trees for the war’s duration.
  •  Suspended during World War II, the festival resumed in 1947 with the support of the Washington, D.C., Board of Trade and the D.C. Commissioners and has been an annual event since then.   (credit: National Cherry Blossom Festival, Wikipedia and Stacy Conradt)

Japanese Cherry Trees in Japan:

Japanese Cherry blossoms3Japanese Cherry blossoms4jpgJapanese Cherry blossoms and Mt Fujipg

 

For my reader’s pleasure, the music you are about to hear has been composed by Peter Helland of Norway.  His purpose was to help the listener to slow down, relax, and enjoy the peacefulness of his music.  Thank you, Peter, for we all need a rest in our often trying world. We also thank you for including the beautiful cherry trees in your video.  (It would be my suggestion to use this music, in its entirety, as background music for rest or something you can do while relaxing.  Enjoy!)

Music and pictures for “slowing down” and relaxation

Video  (Turn up sound)

 


Missed Opportunity to share the Real Love

St George Chapel

Everyone who watched the royal wedding today in the beautiful St. George Chapel will have their own opinion of its significance, other than it was a very expensive wedding that may have brought excitement to people around the world…especially in England. I write this blog not to throw cold water on any of the festivities, but to point out that there may have been a missed opportunity.

Being an Episcopalian (Anglican to you Brits), I first have to say that the Episcopalians love their reverence, quiet solitude for reflection and prayer in their church services.  We love beautiful choir music…soft and dignified…not boisterous. The church is a sacred place which is often called “God’s house.” It is not a theatre or a stadium. I am certain that the Anglicans throughout the world feel the same way.

Having said that, I have also been a part of “get down and happy” southern church services that put no stock at all in formality.  Both places of worship have the pluses and minuses for different people. Some feel that music should be “praise music” and if the preacher  preaches loud and long, then he is a “real preacher.” The ability to speak out and say “Amen” is part of the overall service.   In most cases, in the Anglican (Episcopal) churches saying anything aloud is rare unless one is part of the service readings.

Episcopalians or Anglicans have  Holy Communion each service. They might enjoy a shorter and to the point sermon.  I have been to southern, African American churches where I was welcomed and actually escorted from the back seat to the front to share my love for Jesus with the congregation.  I could not have been more warmly welcomed as a person not of color.

Episcopal Bishop Michael CurryI want to comment on the American Episcopal Bishop, Michael Curry, who was asked to give the message at the royal wedding.  He may have missed a golden opportunity.   I don’t mean that he could have shortened his message or that his subject on God’s love was not a good one.   He was certainly enthusiastic about what he was saying.

It was a message on love which was appropriate for a wedding.  However,  he only briefly mentioned Jesus with some words on “redemption” without explaining it clearly., Jesus gave his life and rose from the dead to bring redemption to mankind.  He is the essence of God’s love.

Bishop Curry had an audience of a life-time with millions if not billions of people watching.   Many of those people know nothing about the love of God or His redemptive power.   Jesus is the “GREATEST LOVE of all, but we have to receive His Love just as one would receive a beautiful gift.   This Perfect Love seemed to be minimized and somewhat lost as the sermon went on with other unrelated thoughts on “industrialization” and changin the world.   This was unfortunate and disappointing.

God’s love and mercy also includes reconciliation, not division.   When Bishop Curry began to talk about slavery…much of which could be contributed to the fore-fathers of the elite British audience in attendance…the message brought up a painful subject to many. As much as they might like to do so, the wedding congregation cannot go back and change their history.  Neither can the Americans who came from England and bought the slaves to work their plantations.   History is to be learned from, not lived over and over.

The bride and groom planned their wedding to be inclusive with choirs singing spirituals, which may have not been heard in St. George Chapel.   This may have been a good, inclusive and memorable part of the wedding service.   Some are saying,  “Bishop Curry stole the show.”   Perhaps…but his style of preaching was a genuine style of preaching for him and his background.   The Anglicans have their style and he was in their territory for the day.  If they were made to feel “uneasy,” perhaps the bridal party should have thought of that earlier.

We may want to be one, big world-family with everyone singing the same song and loving one another throughout the entire world. It is a lofty message.  How likely is that to happen?   Never…until Christ comes back and every eye shall see Him and every knee bows before Him.   That will be real PEACE AND LOVE.

A brief history of St. George Chapel:   St. George’s castle chapel was established in the 14th century by King Edward III and began extensive enlargement in the late 15th century. It has been the location of many royal ceremonies, weddings and burials… Windsor Castle is a principal residence for Queen Elizabeth II and its chapel is the planned burial site for the Queen.    Other kings are buried here as well as some familiar names:  

  • Jane Seymore Queen of England, in 1537
  • Henry VIII King of England and Ireland, in 1547
  •  Charles I King of England, Scotland and Ireland, in 1649    (credit Wikipedia)

 

VIDEO:   St. George Chapel Choir rehearses for the wedding day.

Congratulations to the new couple.

harry and Megan2


History’s Strong Lessons about American “Duchesses”

British and American flags    Extremely rich Americans, in days past, have played a roll in saving British families and their palaces from ruin and bankruptcy.   American families, on the other hand,  wanting the titles that went with the union between themselves and the British noblemen, flocked to the parties in England to find their “prince” charming.  The parents sent their young women into a lion’s den of British customs that they were unused to in their lives in America.   In many cases, the history of the lives of those who took this road was filled with heartbreak and sadness.

We here in the United States and around the world will glue ourselves to the TV to witness another formal bonding of a member of the Royal family and an American.  Most will wonder why anyone would want to give up their freedoms to enter into a press world of paparazzi or a life when one’s every move is scrutinized….is beyond belief!  Life in a castle could not be that great…and outside would probably be worse.  It may be hard to just go out for a burger and an ice cream! Though the circumstances may be different from those American heiresses in the video below, one wonders what this life-style will bring to those willing to take the chance.   Years from now, the memoirs of those who take this gigantic step in becoming a “duchess” or some other title will perhaps reveal the true story.  Yes, history has strong lessons, that most will not learn.

 

 

 

In this blog and on this occasion of modern-day Royal wedding, we present a historical look at American women who have married men of the British elite.  In particular, we learn about the daughter of the American Vanderbilt family, Consuelo, (shown above) and the British Duke of Blenheim Castle.

 

 

 

We definitely hope for a better outcome for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, as they wed and perhaps take that title.

VIDEO  (Turn up sound and click on YouTube if instructed)   Credit Smithsonian Channel

 


Women and the Power of Preservation

History tells us of women who were saviors of many things and leaders when men were expected to carry the torch.  As my husband and I plan to travel to our country’s Capital, Washington, D.C.,  I felt it was important to also find out something about Mt. Vernon, which was the home of our first President, General George Washington.

Probably the home, which had fallen into disrepair would not be here today if it had not been for the efforts of a woman from South Carolina.  As she sailed down the Potomac River, she saw the mansion and could not believe that the people of our nation would allow this historic place to disintegrate in front of the world. This woman was Louisa Dalton Bird Cunningham who told her daughter, Ann,  of the disgraceful situation.   In fact, there had been plans to demolish Mt. Vernon.

 

 

Never heard of Louisa or Ann Cunningham?   Most likely you have not.  You probably have not heard of the Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association either, but they are women who should be honored for restoration efforts.   This is the story, according to Wikipedia:

Ann Pamela Cunningham (August 15, 1816, Rosemont Plantation, South Carolina – May 1, 1875) is credited with saving George Washington’s beloved home Mount Vernon from ruin and neglect. In a letter to Ann Pamela, Cunningham’s mother described the crumbling condition of the estate as she saw it in 1853 while on a steamship heading down the Potomac River. Cunningham was in her 30s and, having been crippled in a riding accident as a teenager, decided she would initiate a campaign to save the estate. She raised funds to purchase Mount Vernon by launching an unprecedented appeal for donations through newspaper articles directed toward “the Ladies of the South” and founded The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association of the Union, the group that still owns and manages Washington’s estate, and served as its first regent. The group purchased Mount Vernon for $200,000. The Mount Vernon Ladies’ Association is the oldest private preservation organization in the United States.   It is directed by a Board of Regents, comprised solely of women, who represent nearly 30 states.

Mt Vernon today

Restored Mt. Vernon today

We congratulate these women for their efforts to restore rather than destroy our history.

VIDEO  (Turn up sound)

 


A Message Heard Around the World

The Reverend Billy Graham at crusades

 

Some points of interest as Billy Graham is laid to rest:

  • His casket was in the Nation’s Capitol Rotunda for two days.  Only a few private citizens have had this honor. Dr. Graham’s son, Franklin, was given the flag that flew over the Capitol while he is body was there.
  • The casket, shown in the pictures below, was made of pine plywood by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary.   It is lined with a mattress and topped with a simple wooden cross. The names of the inmates are carved on the casket.

 

 

The Reverend Billy Graham died at age 99, but his message of faith and hope was heard around the world in that brief time in history.  One of his favorite sayings is also memorable:

” This world is not my home. I’m just passing through.”   We should all remember this.

His message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ spoke to every human being…the gang member, the elite, Presidents, the average person, and those who felt hopeless…everyone…because it was the message of love from God to all mankind.

The song that always was a part of the Graham ministry was “Just as I Am”.  The hymn was written, first as a poem,  in 1835 by a British woman, Charlotte Elliott (1789-1871), who had convinced herself that her physical disabilities left her nothing to offer God at midlife.  A minister asked Charlotte whether she had truly given her heart to Christ. The question upset her in some ways but later she told the minister, “I want to serve God but I don’t know how.” He replied, “Just come to him as you are.”

Perhaps we should hear Billy Graham’s final message to the world as he knew his time was drawing near.   If you watch this video to the end, there is a special invitation to you from Dr. Graham.

VIDEO  (Turn up sound)

 

Franklin Graham heads the international Christian relief ministry to help people in distress,  called Samaritan’s Purse.

“After sharing the story of the Good Samaritan, Jesus said “Go and do likewise.” That is the mission of Samaritan’s Purse—to follow the example of Christ by helping those in need and proclaiming the hope of the Gospel.”   

Go back to the video above for Dr. Graham’s message.