We are at a critical time in our country. This is a pure understatement! Nevertheless, most of the Americans that I know believe that we are ALL extremely blessed to be citizens of this country. Ask any person who has lived under tyranny or in a communist state, how many rights and privileges they could call their own.
We are a DIVERSE people. Some of our ancestors came here because they wanted to come. They left everything to be part of a free country… a part of the “New World.”
Other of our American citizen’s ancestors were brought here in chains. This was tragic and it has been a long struggle for them over generations. Our Native Americans also suffered great loss. The generations of today have much to be grateful for as they pursue an even better life. The greatest country…with the greatest privileges must be protected, not destroyed.
We are a FAMILY of Americans and we never should forget this. Just like in many families, there will be those who disappoint us with their lack of caring, rebellion, selfish actions toward the family. Our American children are going to emulate what they learn from us…of all races and all creeds…hopefully for the better… unless they choose otherwise.
Here in America, there are more rights for all Americans than anywhere around the world. Why do we see the eagerness to cross our borders? Because we stand for LIBERTY and opportunity given here for a better life is the answer. It is for all of us to build on these rights and NEVER allow them to slip away.
Yes, we are as diverse as our country itself is diverse. As we spread from sea to sea, the beauty and bounty of this land must not be underappreciated by any of us.
Charlie Daniels shows it best in his video. “My Beautiful America.” May he rest in peace…as he passed away on July 7, 2020.
GOD BLESS AMERICA and heal her wounds.
Turn on your sound:
My Mother made a beautiful stitched picture that hangs on my wall. Every time I look at it, I think of her fingers carefully pulling the needle and thread. The message was important to her and it should be for all of us today.
History also is most important to us because it teaches us so much. We can look at what has happened in the past and in some ways project the future…unless we refuse to learn. Most present-day issues are sensitive and hard to discuss, but we must think about these things.
What kind of “fragile” times are we going through and what has history taught our last generations?
Let’s take a hard look at now and then.
- Everyone has become fearful of the possibility of becoming sick or dying from our recent virus.
- Governments have taken control world-wide more than we can remember in our modern history.
- Life and travel has completely changed.
- Tragedies have led people to respond with demonstrations as they let their concerns be known. This is the democratic way, according to our Constitution, and should be respected.
- More tragedies have occurred for business owners, of every race and creed, whose livelihood has been ruined by the breaking and looting, which should have never been connected with those wanting peaceful demonstrations. Some organizations have as their goal to bring down democracy and pit our citizens against one another.
(Let’s look at those in other parts of the world who are fighting to keep their democratic way of life.)
- People in Hong Kong are facing further governmental crack-downs from mainland China as Beijing proposes new legislation. ( “China stunned Hong Kong when it announced it would impose a national security law on the city. Many worry this could spell the end of Hong Kong’s unique freedoms…”) whole story on BBC News
Why even mention the present day problems? It is because these are only a few of the world’s problems that makes “Life Fragile” for all of us, in this country and around the world today.
What can we, the present generations, learn from history?
- The slave owners and slave ship captains were the ones responsible for the sins of the past…not people living today. By making slavery the sin of those living today only makes our society more fragile. Unfortunately, history cannot be relived, as much as we would like to correct the wrongs of the past. Looking at and condemning the actions of the past by individuals or governments is one thing…to place it on the shoulders of those not responsible is another.
We talk of the need for “being together and unified” and for everyone to work together to rid all injustices in society. Yes, the present and future are our responsibilities. To rectify present problems is an honorable goal that most would want to see accomplished, but talk is cheap if we continue to blame those who are not responsible for past injustices.
Mass blame only leads to disruption and a society sickness within groups of people, leadership, the media, and our communities in general.
( Let’s think also about German history.)
- The Nazi regime blamed an entire group of people. They were the builders of the death camps, designed to eliminate the Jews from their culture. I had the honor of taking young Americans to Auschwitz to remember this tragic time during World War II. It is an experience one never forgets. Even the Jews, themselves, could not believe that their businesses were being destroyed and that they would be rounded up to die, simply because they were a particular group of people. Society has a way, through the evils of leadership, to turn against one another. Interestingly enough, Hitler continued to use the expertise of his Jewish doctors and dentist. How could he not have known the value of the individual? Mass hysteria became the weapon of choice, as well as propaganda through the German media, leaflets, and posters against people as a whole.
The German youth today, or their parents, are not responsible. We will make life more fragile if we try to pin on innocent people what tragedies were espoused when they were either tiny children or not even born.
- Past generations of Native Americans had the horror of walking to their death on the Trail of Tears, which is a despicable part of our own history of governmental policies. The white, mostly of European descent, who rode their wagons through the tribal territory to settle the West were often murdered and scalped. No living Native American had anything to do with this tragedy.
- We must not forget the hundreds of Japanese Americans, who were placed by our government leaders during World War II in the U.S.Internment Camps because of being Japanese. The generations today of U.S. Government officials had no part in this.
- Because some policemen have acted in evil ways against defenseless people, ALL men and women wearing the badge can not be blamed or demonized for the acts of others… for many have dedicated their lives to helping safe-guard our communities. Without them, those who mean harm will be let loose on those who will see a greater need to protect themselves. In this case, those wishing for more gun control may find their proposals will fall on deaf ears.
Are we getting the picture?
Blaming ALL people for the actions of some only leads to an extremely fragile society. It leads to the persecution of the innocent and instability of our nation and the world today.
Our last question: Can destroying the representations of history remove it from memory?
Condoleezza Rice, former 66th Secretary of State, explained her view about destroying history to the Washington Examiner. She believes that the Confederate statues and associated names of schools and universities should be used as teaching tools. It is as a way to understand history even as we learn not to celebrate it.
This is why we, the Believers in Christ and of the dignity of all people who were created in the image of God, must not forget to pray. We must pray for each other, all mankind of every nationality and the government leaders around the world, who have the power to turn our world upside down.
We are a fragile world.
“For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Nelson Mandela, former Pres. of South Africa
Video: Turn up sound
If you are trying to make a family decision about the care of your elderly parents, THINK TWICE…MAYBE MORE than twice!!!
It is not easy when elderly people are at home with the rest of the family, who are also at home. Children are not in school; parents may be working from home and the stress goes on until life can go back to some normality.
What about the parent that you have loved so long and they have loved you? If they are dealing with the beginnings of physical or mental decline, it may be that you are thinking, “What do we do? I don’t know if I can give them proper care. I only want what is best.” for him/her/ or them. No one doubts the love between families, but this pandemic has changed family dynamics all together.
Not everyone has the built-in options of home health care professionals, but placing a family member in an assisted living care is also extremely expensive. For those who could afford such arrangements, is this truly the best answer. Think about it. Because these facilities have a “no visitors” policy, it may be the last you would be able to see your Mom or Dad face to face..or they see you, for some time to come. It may not only be a permanent separation, but a death sentence to those unable to cope with such loneliness. It is not unusual for the elderly to stop eating when depression sets in.
As we know, years ago and in many other countries, the elderly lived within the same house as the rest of the family. They had interaction, care and to die was not a lonely experience. This blog does not intend to give you an answer to this difficult decision that perhaps you or a friend may be going through concerning your elderly loved ones, but it does give some food for thought.
Think what you would want for yourself as you continue to climb the AGING ladder.
This is an informative article written by Sara Harrison in Wired.
“IT TOOK SIX weeks, several long, frustrating phone calls, and a consultation with Apple Care before Laurie Jacobs got her 89-year-old father up and running on FaceTime. Jacobs, who is a geriatrician by training and is now the chair of the Department of Medicine at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, was worried about how her parents were coping during the pandemic. They live in a long-term care community, but they felt isolated and lonely. Over the phone, Jacobs couldn’t tell how her mother, who has some cognitive decline, was feeling or if she was walking comfortably. “The communication at a distance is very difficult,” she says. “You don’t always get the whole picture with an older adult on the telephone.”
And, like so many other Americans in quarantine, her parents were running out of things to do. “They seemed bored and somewhat depressed by the lack of stimulation, so further ways for them to interact was very important,” says Jacobs.
The Covid-19 pandemic presents a doubly complicated situation for older people: Not only are they at higher risk of contracting the disease, and more likely to develop severe infections and die from it, but they are also the most likely to struggle with—and suffer from— the consequences of prevention strategies like social distancing. For people with dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or severely reduced mobility, social-distancing guidelines can be impractical and nearly impossible to follow, making prevention and treatment even more complicated.
Seniors, especially those above age 80, have been hard hit by the virus. That’s in part because they often have comorbidities like diabetes and hypertension, which make them more likely to be hospitalized. Doctors aren’t sure why those conditions make the effects of the virus worse, but both conditions are associated with greater expression of the ACE2 receptor, a protein on human cells that the coronavirus latches onto to start replicating.
Many older adults also have chronic, low-grade inflammation, a state called “inflammaging,” in which the body is unable to control the release of cytokines, small proteins that are supposed to help modulate the body’s immune response. This dysregulation could put seniors at great risk of “cytokine storms,” a condition reported in severe Covid-19 cases during which a patient’s immune system spins out of control and starts damaging healthy organs.
Seniors are also more vulnerable because of immunosenescence, a slow deterioration of the immune system that is a normal part of aging. When people are young, the immune system has a big reservoir of T-cells and B-cells ready to fight infections. These are called “naive cells,” meaning they haven’t encountered any bacteria, viruses, or other pathogens yet. When those naive cells encounter an infection, some of them learn to recognize that pathogen and become ready to fight it off if the body gets exposed to it again. “As we age, we lose that reservoir of T-cells and B-cells,” says Wayne McCormick, head of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine at the University of Washington. “It’s hard for us to make new ones, although some people seem to retain that capacity better than others.” That means the person’s body may mount a less robust immune system response than it would have done when they were younger.
Immunosenescence also means that diseases present differently in seniors, which may make it difficult for their doctors or caretakers to recognize a Covid-19 infection. While many Covid-19 cases include fever, for example, in seniors the symptoms might also be due in part to dense living conditions, under staffing, and a lack of personal protective equipment. And recently, health authorities have realized that the virus is spreading rapidly in work communities where employees are housed in crowded conditions, share long commutes on shuttles, or cannot easily socially distance, like meat packing or farm work.
Whether they live in a long-term care facility, nursing home, or in a family home, many seniors have unique needs that make it impossible for them to socially distance. Some need help eating, washing, going to the bathroom, or moving around. “You can’t do that using Facetime,” says Eric Widera, a professor at the University of California San Francisco who specializes in geriatric and palliative medicine.
Yet for older adults living in their homes, social distancing can cause isolation and loneliness. Most of the places people would go to socialize—senior centers, libraries, churches, temples, or synagogues—are closed. Families are discouraged from visiting. “We’re worried it’s going to cause a wave of true loneliness,” says Widera, which can lead to serious health problems including worse cognitive function, higher blood pressure and heart disease.
While older adults are the most likely to catch Covid-19, they also may be less likely to benefit from a vaccine. Because seniors don’t raise the same immune response that younger adults and children do, they generally don’t respond as well to vaccines. They also aren’t always included in clinical trials. “If you look at the last many decades of research, the vast majority of randomized control trials do not include older adults. And if they do, they don’t include frail older adults, who are at risk for this,” says Widera. “That’s one of our worries: That we’ll be looking at potential treatments, vaccines, but not actually testing it on the people who are at the most risk of developing this disease.”
For people with dementia or other kinds of cognitive decline, things get even more complicated. Widera points out that people with dementia may not remember they need to wash their hands more often or refrain from touching their face. And dementia patients often wander. In communal living or care facilities, they might walk in and out of other patients’ rooms, down the hall, or into common living areas, all of which increase the likelihood of catching and transmitting the disease. Diagnosing Covid-19 in those patients could be even harder, too. “People with cognitive impairment may not be able to report their symptoms very well,” says McCormick. “Even if they had a cough an hour ago, they may not remember that they did.”
Patients with dementia also have unique challenges if they end up in the hospital. Covid-19 symptoms can worsen their confusion and delirium, as can being in an unfamiliar setting like a hospital room. These patients may be terrified when they’re separated from their family or their usual caregivers and are being tended to by staff covered head-to-toe in protective gowns and masks. With nurses trying to limit patient interactions to reduce the need for this protective gear, patients are often isolated for much of the day.
Martine Sanon, a professor of geriatric and palliative medicine at the Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, says that usually they encourage family members to be part of the care team and to help orient and comfort their loved ones, but with limited protective equipment, and with fears about spreading the virus, those options aren’t available. “The families have been tremendously wonderful,” she says, often using FaceTime to play favorite music in the background or to call patients by a familiar nickname. “That does help.”
At Hackensack University Medical Center, Jacobs says usually they try to use non-pharmacological methods to help soothe distressed and confused patients. “The way we manage that usually in the hospital is basically staff sitting with a patient, reorienting them, using music, using touch,” she says. But with Covid-19, it’s too dangerous to have someone sit with a contagious patient all day. Instead, the hospital now relies on medication to calm patients down.
While mortality rates are higher for older adults with Covid-19, many do survive. What recovery looks like for them is more complicated. “That’s the other shoe to drop,” says William Greenough of Johns Hopkins. Older adults are likely to be weaker and to recover more slowly after a hospitalization, he says. With so many hospital gyms, rehab, and physical therapy facilities closed, that’s going to make their progress even more difficult.
None of these issues—loneliness, immunosenescence, difficulty recovering from hospital stays—are new problems, and none are unique to the virus. But the novel coronavirus exacerbates the many challenges older patients already face. “Covid-19 intensifies and complicates everything,” says Greenough.
Our National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. and in various churches, this Sunday, May 17, 2020, will be honoring our brave military who have served faithfully for our freedom and democracy. We must remember that there was great cost.
What exactly is FREEDOM and its COST to us today?
This might be the time to ask ourselves some hard questions, as we have been told recently that we must forfeit many of our freedoms for the “good of all.” We have to ask ourselves what will be the great cost to our democracy and freedom, as we see many private decisions slowly drifting…or rapidly falling into someone else’s hands to make choices for us….such as when we can work, run our businesses, shop, go to school etc. etc. ?
We, as citizens, appreciate warnings to potential danger and given a heads-up to prepare individually and within our community…just as we do when a devastating hurricane is approaching Florida or any part of our country.
I can never remember our local news saying “You are mandated to board up your house and stay inside because you could die from this approaching storm!!”
They just inform us and expect that as responsible people we will prepare and do what is right for us and the neighbors around us. Is EVERYONE always responsible? NEVER...not in the past and not in the future. Some houses blow away and people are sometimes killed, but we then try to help as much as possible to rebuild lives. One thing is certain, people are generous, helpful and outright heroic in many situations. Most do not expect government handouts unless they are in dire need. Faith based organizations hand out food with these disasters and as they are doing now.
This is DEMOCRACY…and personal responsibility. This is what our military men and women have bravely fought to maintain.
No governments… local, national, or international are able to have perfect answers when they begin dictating to the masses. State and community rules/regulations that help our society are expected, when they don’t interfere with with our Constitutional rights that will be discussed later. The individual is the patriot, the guy next door…like all of our military.
Our honored military have sacrificed so much for their country’s freedom. Do you think they were afraid? Of course they were, but they knew without freedom we would have nothing to live for. They went…They served…and they are loved for it! Are people afraid today? Yes, for certain, if they are about to lose everything they have worked hard for over the years or if they have elderly parents who are facing things alone. Wars were fought to keep our independence, starting with the Revolutionary War.
- WHY did the U.S. and other freedom loving countries get involved in the wars listed below? There is a simple answer….
TO PROTECT OUR FREEDOM TO MAKE OUR OWN WAY OF LIFE AND DECISIONS WITHOUT INTERVENTION FROM A DICTATORSHIP...whatever the name may be.
- Why should we be concerned today? I’m certain you are pondering your answer.
- There is also another question that we should be asking ourselves:
How do countries slowly, or not so slowly, lose their independence and freedom of choice?
“Although regimes vary widely, most dictators have at least a few things in common. They don’t come to power through free, constitutional elections. They often take control during coups d’etats, revolutions or…
states of emergency.
Once they have control, they have absolute, sole power.” (Encyclopedia Britannica)
- What about deaths brought on by men who cared nothing about freedom for their citizens…only about their own power?
(Deaths caused by three of the worst dictators: Joseph Stalin 43,000,000 Mao Zedong 38,000,000+ Adolf Hitler 21,000,000)
- What about the dictators of today’s communist countries to whom we are giving much of our allegiance…wealth and intellectual property?
At the present time, we know there are gulags around the world where thousands are languishing and dying because they have no voice and are arrested with no recourse for protesting or speaking out about their government’s activities. (The term, gulag, is a prison camp where conditions are extremely bad and the prisoners are forced to work very hard. The name gulag comes from the prison camps in the former Soviet Union.) Collins dictionary
Military conflict has taken place during every year of the 20th Century. There were only short periods of time that the world was free of war. The total number of deaths caused by war during the 20th Century has been estimated at 187 million and is probably higher. (from Imperial War Museums)
20th and 21st Century’s major wars:
- The First World War 1914–1918
- The Second World War 1939–1945
- The Korean War 1950–1953
Slide presentation: (Give each picture a moment to change)
- The Vietnam War, 1955-75
- The Gulf War, 1990–1991
- The War in Afghanistan 2001–2014
- The Iraq War and Insurgency, 2003–2011
- The Global War on Terrorism, 2001–present
Our freedom today in America and around the world is due to those who were willing to stand up and go into harms way to defend freedom. This is why we honor them today in our churches, who still have church services…via the internet and TV broadcasts. Because most churches place the physical health of their congregations as a priority, it was only the wise thing to do until they were able to assemble together again. How to do this was up to the church to decide what was best to continue giving people the opportunity to worship. Faith is alive and well, even if it is a family gathering around the TV at home. Underground churches have had to find creative ways to worship God in the past and present throughout the world.
A minister was arrested in Florida for not closing his church, which caused infection to spread from those not knowing they were carrying the Coronavirus. This act of defiance by the pastor, which was totally unwise at the time, lead the Governor of Florida to make this statement as the right to worship was being challenged by the local authority:
“I don’t know that [governments] would have the authority, quite frankly, to close a religious institution.” Governor DeSantis said in deciding not to shutter churches in Florida. “The Constitution doesn’t get suspended here.”
- What does our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights guarantee us?
Our Constitution, through Amendment 1, guarantees FREEDOM of RELIGION, SPEECH, PRESS, PEACEABLE ASSEMBLY and petition of grievances. Many young men and women have been willing to die for this freedom. Many have!
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
To all our military…from all wars…we THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND YOUR DEDICATION TO FREEDOM!
My husband ,who is a retired U.S. Navy Chaplain, will be presenting the sermon from St. James Episcopal Church in Florida. This will be taped ahead of time to be aired on Sunday, May 17. If interested in watching, it can be viewed on YouTube any time on or after May 17. (Go to YouTube and type St. James Episcopal Church, Leesburg, Florida to view and choose the service for May 17.)
As we continue to do our best to live under the guidelines of “staying well” and other good sense matters, we are also inundated with the concerns about hoarding, the Stock Market and possible government bailouts. This is a world-wide problem and no one has the perfect answer for any of it. Yet, some make their voices known, either to agree or disagree with certain positions being taken.
Nikki Haley, the former United Nations Ambassador has just resigned from the Board of Boeing because of the discussion of bailing out the planemaker. See her letter and reasoning here:
Everyone would like a stimulus check, but only a certain number will get government help. Even if it is for a good cause in the economy, a bailout to anyone, big business or private individuals, comes from somewhere…those who have worked hard and paid their taxes.
The thing to remember is that there is NO FREE LUNCH. It wasn’t in the past and it won’t be in the future. Nothing is ever free. Even the politicians who promise free education, free health care, free anything…there is nothing free. This does not take a genius to understand this truth…yet, many hope on…passed reality.
Does the Holy Scripture say anything to us about finances…need or faith in the midst of crisis? Let’s look at a few verses that can help us weather the storms as we look for peace. In doing so, we must not forget to pray for those making decisions that effect our lives.
To be content:
- Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me. Phillippians 4:11-13 (Words to the Phillippians by the Apostle Paul)
Help those who need help through generosity:
- As for the rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. They are to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share, thus storing up treasure for themselves as a good foundation for the future, so that they may take hold of that which is truly life. 1 Timothy 6:17-19
Anxiety only raises blood pressure
- “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these… Matthew 6:25-32
God’s blessings to all our readers!
Background music for your day:
This blog is a solemn tribute to the HARD WORKERS of our country, who produce the foods that are so readily available in our markets. When all seems lost from weather or any action that hurts the bottom line…they keep the faith and instead of giving up…they continue to know that the fields they look upon are God’s field…and HE CAN INTERVENE.
Everytime we go to buy groceries, think about those past and present who worked fields and NEVER GAVE UP…even in the hardest of times. Shelton portrays the heartache of those who felt there was no hope. Thank God for those who kept the faith and came through with God’s help.
Video Turn up sound:
Christmas is often called the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” This may be because when the Virgin Mary gave birth to the Savior, the world looked for many things to be made right through a strong leader. Most believed that the Messiah would bring peace and a new world order. He would come in glory to accomplish this task.
How disappointing for those who refused the humble birth. How could it possibly be? Yet, God’s ways are mostly not our ways. He chooses to accomplish His purposes even if they do not fit what we expect.
We often hear the question, “What would Jesus do?” As we look to Him for our daily answers to human problems, we are looking for a man’s point of view…even a Holy, Incarnate Man as He was. My question in this blog post is different. What would the Mother of the Son of God do?
This woman, who was young, was told by an angel a shocking message for her and her fiance, Joseph.
“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, ‘Greetings, you who are highly favored!”
The Gospel of Luke says that the angel Gabriel came to Mary to tell her that she would give birth to a son. The angel told Mary that she should call her son Jesus. The angel also said that Jesus would save people from their sins. Mary asked the angel how she could be pregnant since she was a virgin.
After the birth, the angel appeared again:
An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
Mary, like any Mother, watched her Son, Jesus grow and learn. She was there when he performed miracles and saw him be betrayed and given into the hands of those who would crucify him. Her sorrows were practically more than she could endure.
The Ressurection and the Ascending into heaven by her Son followed as part of her life. Throughout it all, this woman knew that God was in control.
So…back to the question...If Mary had to face some of the family sorrows that we face today, what would she do? We think of this perfect Mother, highly venerated, who would do no wrong. Yet, she was as human as any of us. Would she advise us to look at the Holy Scriptures when the father waited and waited for his son who had left home? Would she say to never give up hope? Would she point to this father (and perhaps a waiting mother) who finally saw his prodigal son coming from afar who had seen the error of his ways?
Would she have forgiven when children neglected their older parents and simply be grateful for those who are loving and caring, like her Son who asked a disciple to care for her as he died on the cross? Does this mean that a person not a member of the immediate family might be more caring and loving than the blood relation?
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)
All these are hard questions, but as a Mother, she would understand things from a woman’s (and Mother’s) point of view.
Even the first miracle that Christ performed had to do with a problem of a social nature. At the wedding in Cana, Mary was concerned about the fact that the hosts had run out of wine. Jesus felt that His time to reveal His power or that He was the Messiah had not come, but He listened to His Mother’s request for help. He turned the water into wine, which the guests realized to be the best wine. Mary knew Jesus’ power to step into the lives of others in small or great issues. He also wants the best for us regardless of the circumstances.
You may also have some questions for Mary if you could speak to the Mother of the Savior and if she could hear you from heaven. I certainly do. Here is what Mary would do and say… “Take it to Jesus for it is in Him that God with the Holy Spirit answers prayers. He is the beloved Son of God.”
Life is complicated for so many of us. We pray that at this time when we see the beautiful pictures or works of art representing the Mother and Child that we will remember that her faith was strong and unwavering. Her pain was real and so was her joy as she trusted in God to work through the events that seemed beyond help.
Happy New Year from Boyer Writes.
VIDEO: Turn up sound
She is a redhead, filled with enthusiasm and a love of life. She was my neighbor in Virginia. Little did she ever dream that she would have that lovely red hair pulled back 5 inches from her forehead to her ears, to allow doctors to make an incision and remove a large brain tumor. This is her true story, written in her own words, to give encouragement to anyone facing a similar situation. It is not an easy story to tell, but one that should be passed on to those who may lack courage or have difficult decisions to make in this regard.
Looks Can Be Deceiving by Patricia Paige
“When we meet someone for the first time, we immediately become aware of their appearance. We notice their height, their hair or their eyes. One such example is found in First Samuel Chapter 16. When Saul had lost God’s favor to rule over Israel, He sent Samuel on a specific mission. He traveled to the home of Jesse, and from his sons, God told him he would find “the chosen one.”
As Samuel looked at Jesse’s older sons, he considered their height and strong features, but God rejected all of them. He told Samuel that God does not judge someone by their outward appearance. He looks upon the heart. Samuel sent for Jesse’s youngest son, David: “And, the Lord said, Arise, anoint him; for this is he.”
When you look at me, you might notice my red hair, my blue eyes or my smile. Sometimes, looks can be deceiving. What God knows, but you cannot see, is that in August 2014, I had surgery to remove a brain tumor.
I’ve had headaches most of my adult life, including migraines. I didn’t believe the headaches I’d been having for the past several months were any different. These headaches would always completely disappear. My journey began quite uneventfully on a beautiful day in June. When I’d awakened that morning, I’d felt really energetic. Except for this morning, my hearing was muffled. Have you ever been swimming underwater in a pool? You hear the voices and laughter, but the sounds seem diminished. I continued my busy day. After accomplishing a few errands, I’d purchased groceries, and prepared an early supper. However, throughout the entire day, my hearing remained muted.
After my husband and I had eaten, I’d filled a plate and popped on the travel lid. My purse and keys were on the counter. Suddenly, I felt nauseated and started having stomach cramps. Later, I would look back on this event and realize this was God’s divine intervention in my life. If these symptoms had not occurred exactly when they did, I’d have been driving down a four-lane highway.
Thankfully, I’d gone into the small half-bath near the kitchen. Nausea only worsened as did the stomach cramps. When my massive seizure began, I was close enough to the wall to lean my head against it. Honestly, I don’t believe I could have remained upright at this point. My next symptom was extremely bright, revolving lights. Have you ever been to a carnival where colored lights are pulsating and blinking in a circle?
I never lost consciousness, but believed my head was literally going to explode. Searing pain raged throughout my entire skill. On and on the cycle continued with nausea, severe cramping, blinking lights, and headache. Several times I thought I was going to die. It would have been a release from the excruciating pain. I am so thankful to my husband for placing cold, wet washcloths on my forehead and back of my neck.
Why, you ask, didn’t my husband call for an ambulance? My symptoms were waxing and waning, so we both assumed it would be over any minute. Besides, some of our friends had recently suffered a nasty stomach bug, which had included a severe headache. A similar illness perhaps? As suddenly as the symptoms had appeared, they disappeared. I felt completely normal again. I could walk and talk without any problems. My speech and balance were fine.
However, this experience troubled me. Were these symptoms of something more serious? I phoned the office of a neurologist I trusted and had known for several years. In the meantime, I went to my family physician. My vital signs were within the normal range. When I described this frightening incident, he expressed concern. I told him of my upcoming appointment with neurology. He was relieved I would be seeking additional medical treatment.
My headaches were becoming worse; occurring more frequently. The neurologist thought I was having “cluster headaches.” She also ordered an MRI (brain scan) to rule out anything else.
Returning home few days later, I had a phone message from the neurologist. She asked that I return to her office early Monday morning. This was Friday afternoon so I knew it wouldn’t be good news.
“You have a brain tumor” are words you never want to hear from your doctor. My suspicion had become all too real. I just sat there and didn’t respond. I was in shock. She asked if I’d heard what had been said. She asked again. I shook my head signifying I understood. I sat motionless; silent.
She showed us an x-ray of the tumor. It was a moderately large Meningioma. This type of tumor grows within the first three layers (the meninges) that are located between the skull and the brain. Although they are usually benign, I would require surgery to remove it. When she asked where I wanted to go to, I asked, “Where would you send someone in your own family?” That’s how I was referred to the Chief of Neurology at a hospital accredited as a Level I Trauma Center.
The next few days were a blur. My headaches were more intense, and I was increasingly sensitive to bright lights. I’d wear my sunglasses even indoors. My family continued to be supportive, encouraging and funny. Hey, look, our daughter would say, “Mom’s wearing sunglasses in the house. She must think she’s a Movie Star!”
The following information is taken from a Facebook post: “Last night, I read the pathology report on Mom’s tumor. It gave the exact measurements. I used a ruler, pen and paper and made a sketch. Then, using the materials at hand, I fashioned a replica of it using many, many rubber bands. If you’ve met my Mom, then you know that she’s a short, small-boned, cute, redheaded woman. What I’m trying to explain is that this tumor is HUGE! No wonder Mom is keeping a bad headache.”
Two MRI’s and two neurologists have now confirmed that this tumor is indeed a benign meningioma . Next week, I have an appointment with the doctor who will perform the surgery. With his guidance, we’ll formulate a plan.
The surgeon was very professional, yet more than willing to take the time to answer all our questions. In my prayer time, I’d made a request of God. I’d asked Him to put me in the hands of Christians during my surgery. No one, not even my family, knew about my request. On our way out of the office, one of the associates touched my shoulder. She said, “You’re going to be fine. I’ll be in the room during your surgery, and I’ll be praying for you.”
Relief! Precious, wonderful relief. We were in the hallway before I broke into tears. My husband hugged me and said, “It’s going to be okay.” I explained the petition I’d made earlier. This is God’s way of showing me, “He’s got this!”
We were told to check the surgery schedule as we exited the hospital. The doctor who’d be performing my procedure did not have an opening until the middle or latter part of September. This was the first week in August. Waiting several weeks seemed like a very long time. I remembered that Almighty God held me in the palm of His Hand, and I was at peace.
I was on a “prayer chain” at my home church as well as several others throughout our community. These Christians were asking for my healing, and for the grace to see my family through this journey.
My health continued to deteriorate. My painful headaches were even stronger, and my energy level was beginning to drain. By now, I was unable to accomplish even the simplest of household chores. I began noticing that my balance was affected. Most days, I walked like I’d been drinking. I’d hold on to walls and furniture to prevent myself from falling.
One day I received a phone call from the hospital. It had only been two weeks since my appointment. The woman on the phone worked with the neurosurgery scheduling department. She asked if I wanted to have my procedure performed on August 22. Talk about a no brain-er (excuse the pun!) Absolutely!
As my husband and I sat in the surgical waiting room, we were joined by our daughter, granddaughter and grandson. This was the quietest my family has ever been. Usually we’re talking, teasing and laughing.
A nurse came to take me back, and told my husband and daughter they could join me after I was prepped. The hugs with my grandchildren were bitter-sweet because of the seriousness and uncertainty of brain surgery. Of course, I didn’t want to leave my family, but I knew where I’d be spending eternity. And, this was incredibility comforting. My family sat beside my bed. None of us knew what to expect. We were in a holding pattern similar to an airplane waiting for take-off.
My surgeon joined us and inquired if we had questions. The anesthesiologist arrived and introduced himself. Did we have questions? He then asked if they could pray for us. I don’t remember the words he said, but I knew they were heartfelt. It was surreal. Never before have I been so grateful to be a Christian surrounded by other believers.
According to my daughter, my surgery went well. Because I’d bled more than expected, I’d received two units of whole blood. I’d be in recovery, then ICU for several hours, transfer to a room, and finally discharge. That was the plan. In life, things do not always go as we’d anticipated.
When I first became aware of my surroundings in ICU, I was unable to speak. For a woman who has been extremely verbal all of her life, this proved to be difficult. As the hours passed. I became increasingly angry. My anger was not directed at God. My distress was due to my circumstances. I remember clenching my fist into a ball and pounding it on the bed. This could not have been beneficial especially since this was the arm where the IV was attached. I began shaking inside and sobbing. Tears were running uncontrollably down my cheeks. None of the nurses could tell us why this was happening.
Later that night, our daughter phoned a friend who teaches speech therapy at the college level. She explained that my condition was called expressive aphasia. This occurs when there is a disconnect between the brain and the mouth. The words I was trying to express were simply stuck in my brain. Apparently, when the brain is touched, interesting things happen.This would improve with time.
My tumor had grown from the left side of my skull toward the right. In fact, it had wrapped around the large cranial nerve in the middle of my skull. Think of it like an octopus whose tentacle is holding on tight. While my surgeon was unable to completely remove this part of the tumor, he’d gotten into close proximity. My brain needed to rest and reboot.
Because I couldn’t speak, the nurses brought pad and pen and asked that I write down what I wanted to say. I held these items in my hands, but I couldn’t write words. All I could do was to make attached ovals in a solid row. Row after row after row. Finally, I stopped trying.
I spent two days in ICU before transferring to what they referred to as a “step down” room. I’d stay there for the remainder of the week. At this point, I’d transfer to an inpatient rehabilitation center near the hospital. This was an intensive 7 day a week program focused on physical, occupational, and speech therapy. In the beginning, each of these were challenging. I had deficits in all three areas.
Occupational therapy proved to be extremely difficult. When offered a child’s large-piece puzzle with wooden handles to grasp, I managed to put together only three pieces. Twice daily the therapist would encourage me to work with my hands to improve eye/hand coordination. Problem-solving skills slowly started to improve and were more consistent.
Physical therapy concentrated on regaining my equilibrium, muscle strength and stamina. At this point, I was using a walker with attached wheels. Therapy incorporated the use of large balance balls, safe places to walk for short distances, exercises and stairs with railings to prevent falls. We had all learned and mastered these skills in early childhood.
Obviously, speech would be problematic. It would take time not only to learn how to communicate, but how to lessen the disconnect in my brain. Because I’d always gestured with my hands when I talked, occupational therapy was the missing link in regaining my speech. These therapies would continue when I returned home.
During this entire time, my vision had been extremely blurred. It was like trying to visualize objects or people through a thick fog. I was also experiencing drowsiness and fatigue. I’d accepted these as side-effects of my surgery. Thankfully, they were not!
The high dosage of seizure medicine they were giving me to keep my brain calm was reacting negatively with a muscle relaxer. I’d used it to relieve muscle spasms due to Fibromyalgia. I had not taken this particular medication in over a year, and then only once or twice daily. However, my medical chart showed I was taking it three times daily. I explain this in detail as a precautionary tale for others. Review your medical records carefully with your primary care physician to correct any discrepancies before you are hospitalized. In any case, it is of utmost importance that your medical records are correct.
Arriving home, there were other obstacles. Patience has never been one of my strongest virtues especially when I’m in a hurry or stressed. It was difficult to remain calm, breathe slowly and deeply, then retrieve the actual word I wanted to express. Sometimes, I’d become angry and raise my voice. My poor husband was the target of all my see/saw emotions. Thankfully, he is a Godly man who really loves me. I’d say an entirely different word than the one I’d intended. Sometimes I’d just point to an object and call it a thing-e. Occasionally, this still happens.
When I first began my journey back to health, I did not realize it would take this long to recover or be so life-changing. These were the times that I found solace in the writings of Corrie Ten Boone: “When the train goes through a tunnel, and it gets dark, you don’t throw away your ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
I’ve always had empathy for people with cerebral palsy or those who have had traumatic brain injuries or strokes. Until my experience with expressive aphasia, I did not fully understand how challenging it is for them to try to speak. Now I do. Those words and thoughts remain locked deep inside their brains. Every day, they ride on a roller coaster of emotions. These brave people endure disappointment, frustration, anxiety and depression.
As a believer, I did not expect my life to be any easier because of my profession of faith. I did trust in God’s promise to never leave me. He is faithful as we continue to walk together down this crooked path called life.
I accept that everything that comes into my life is allowed by a good God. Why does He choose to heal some people and not others? I can’t answer that question. He alone can see into the future. God already knew I’d have a brain tumor, surgery and difficult recovery. I believe He has a plan and a purpose for each of us. I’m using the miracle God granted me as a testimony. It is my desire to provide inspiration and encouragement for those facing a similar or other serious surgery.”
Note from Boyer Writes in 2017: God made a way for Patricia Paige to survive her brain surgery through prayer, family support and the medical team that skillfully brought her through to live a productive life. She is most grateful that the doctors understood her feminine concerns and left her red bangs to be brought forward so that people would not even notice that she had gone through such major surgery.
Whatever your challenges may be, give yourself to our Lord and ask Him to make a way for you to come through your difficult circumstances.
Boyer Writes footnote in 2019: Patricia Paige was a pen name for a lovely person whose real name is Wanda Robinson. She wrote about this part of her life a number of years ago. God made a way, through doctors and support of family and friends, for Wanda to have five more years of life. In 2019, she went to be with her Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ and her wonderfully supportive husband, Wade. It is in her honor that I re-post her writing.
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.
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.”
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)
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is the age of electronics and social media that covers the world. We can look for someone through this medium that was never available in the past. Because of this and the hundreds of people who read my blog from around the world, I am dedicating this post to the parents and friends who have a missing loved one.
Maybe a person has vanished because of foul play or maybe he or she left of their own accord, which those of us who have experienced this know well the sadness that separation brings. Yet, people make their decisions and we all live with the results.
We pray for these brave parents of the Missing People’s Choir of England that they will be reunited with their missing loved ones. They have been left with memories only and the constant words in their hearts and minds, “I Miss You!” They are still hoping and praying that the doorbell will ring and you…the missing, will be standing there. If you are one of these people on the screen above the performers, JUST CALL. That is all they wish for…to know that you are safe and alive.
Go to a phone. Call your Mom or Dad. They only want you to know that you have always been loved and are greatly missed. The past is the past and there is a future.
Whether it has been a day or so…or years…just CALL.
The video below is of a group of people in Great Britain who bonded together to sing and share their sorrow and sadness because each one has a missing loved one. It appears as a musical event of talent, but their purpose is clear…maybe, just maybe someone will see the program or this blog and will make a decision to go home to those who care.
Look carefully at the pictures and names put on the screen behind the singers. Do you know this person? Is this person…you? Are any of these people your parents? Pass on this blog to friends who can also pass it on. It may bring someone home.
(If you don’t have access to a home number, there are numbers to call for help: In the U.S.: Any age or if a missing person is a child, call 911, or call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678). There is NO online filing—all reports must be made on the phone or in person. In the UK: free, confidential and available 24/7. Call or text 116 000 Email email@example.com.
Video Turn up the sound
Everywhere we look, there is difficulty in the world. People hardly agree on anything. If we say what we truly think about someone or any particular subject, we are in jeopardy of being called some name we know we are not.
Many people I know have decided to stop watching the news or talk shows. One person told me, “I just listen to music or read a book instead.” If they feel that way for themselves, they certainly feel that their children don’t need a daily dose of what our world is becoming. How can one explain to a child why people are fist fighting at Disney…or why people are rioting in the streets around the world?
Where is love in all this? Maybe one person that so many generations grew up with had the answer to a truly difficult world. His name is Mr. Rogers.
He was a Christian and a Presbyterian minister who knew God’s love was the way and the only way to reach beyond prejudice, politics or wars among ourselves.
He certainly understood Jesus’ parable of the Good Samaritan. It was his way in trying to help children understand that we need to be kind to one another no matter whether we like a person or don’t like their actions. Kindness was at the top of all his program messages. The only way to get that back in our world is to find it within our own hearts and to teach it to our children by our examples.
Mr. Rogers wrote all his songs. One of his special songs that he sang was It’s You I Like. The words were special because he thought they were important for a child to understand about his or herself.
Written by Fred Rogers | © 1971, Fred M. Rogers
It’s you I like,
It’s not the things you wear,
It’s not the way you do your hair
But it’s you I like
The way you are right now,
The way down deep inside you
Not the things that hide you,
Not your toys
They’re just beside you.
But it’s you I like
Every part of you.
Your skin, your eyes, your feelings
Whether old or new.
I hope that you’ll remember
Even when you’re feeling blue
That it’s you I like,
It’s you yourself
It’s you I like.
A movie has been made where Tom Hanks plays the part of Mr. Rogers. It will be a re-introduction to children and the world to a man and his message. Mr. Rogers probably never gave too much thought that his words could last long after his life. What a sermon to the world!
Whether you agree with everything said in this video below or not, it is definitely worth a watch. Enjoy….especially the children. They are beautiful in every way….and the future of our world.
In 2015, I posted this tribute to those who serve. I think it is good for another year and maybe many more to come….for we must not forget.
On this MEMORIAL DAY, Boyer Writes honors all those who responded to the call of duty to country and all freedom stands for….especially those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
After viewing the slide presentation, you may want to look at the different wars throughout history where and when the United States has sent troops to fight. We are just one country. Multiply this country and all wars of all countries in the world ….to make us one big, warring globe.
There are reasons, of course. Some fight for their independence. Others fight to maintain their freedom. Many fight to rule over the weak, sick, and impoverished.
There are those who fight and murder in the name of God…religious wars. Read your history and you will not be surprised for it happened when Muslims fought Christians; Christians fought in the Crusades; nations have tried to rid the world of Jews.
The Holy Scriptures tell us that we will call for “Peace…Peace….but there is no peace…” Those who make predictions believe that before the coming of Christ to the earth a second time, there will be the greatest of all wars….in the Middle East. This is not something for optimism. Nevertheless, we are also told to “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”….and the world. We cannot control governments, groups, or individuals who hate and destroy…but pray we can do.
” I pray that an Omnipotent Providence will summon all persons of goodwill to the realization of the utter futility of war. We have known the bitterness of defeat, the exultation of triumph, and from both we have learned that there is no turning back. We must preserve in peace, what we won in war. The destructiveness of the war potential, through progressive advances in scientific discovery has in fact now reached a point that revises the traditional concept of war. War, the most malignant scourge, and greatest sin of mankind, can no longer be controlled, only ABOLISHED! We are in a new era. If we do not devise some greater and more equitable means of settling disputes between nations, Armageddon will be at our door…”
A MEMORIAL DAY TRIBUTE
( Click on arrow; turn on sound and enlarge picture for best viewing. Music by St. Olaf Choir) Warning: disturbing scenes of war wounded)
Choose and click on a war listed to read information.
- 2.1 Colonial wars (1620–1774)
- 2.2 War of Independence (1775–1783)
- 2.3 Early national period (1783–1812)
- 2.4 War of 1812
- 2.5 War with Mexico (1846–48)
- 2.6 American Civil War (1861–1865)
- 2.7 Post-Civil War era (1865–1917)
- 2.8 Modernization
- 2.9 Banana Wars (1898–1935)
- 2.10 Moro Rebellion (1899–1913)
- 2.11 Mexico (1910–1919)
- 2.12 World War I (1917–1918)
- 2.13 Russian Revolution
- 2.14 1920s: Naval disarmament
- 2.15 1930s: Neutrality Acts
- 2.16 World War II (1941–1945)
- 2.17 Cold War era (1945–1991)
- 2.18 Post–Cold War era (1991–2001)
- 2.19 War on Terrorism (2001–present)
- 2.20 Iraq
- 2.21 Libyan intervention
- The on-going war on terrorism The War on Terror (also known as the Global War on Terrorism) is a term commonly applied to an international military campaign which started as a result of the Sept 11,2001 terrorist attack on the United States. This resulted in an international military campaign to eliminate al-Qaeda; other militant organizations and jihadi groups. The United Kingdom and many other NATO and non-NATO nations participate in the conflict.
One of the best writings that I have seen describing “Depression” is by Sarah Loucks. She doesn’t write about what to do about depression, but there will be some suggestions after you read this down to earth, graphic description. Keep an open mind.
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.
Video (Turn up sound)
President George HW Bush called for a “kinder nation” and from time to time we will see evidence that there are many kind people in the world. The shame is that most stories we see on TV or on the internet are of the violent and outrageous.
I began looking for some actual videos of kindness…or pictures to prove that it does not matter to what nationality or race one belongs…KINDNESS is kindness…and it crosses all boundaries.
I read about a woman on an airline who had a crying 2-year-old and a 5-year-old. A woman offered to help and hold a child throughout the flight. The mother was so grateful.
I understand this well in that I had three children on an airline from California to Florida. My daughter, who was a baby, cried off and on the entire trip. My sons tried to ignore it and curled up on the floor to sleep. That, in itself, was a no-no. I’m certain the other passengers were beside themselves with hostile thoughts, but no one wanted to reach out to help and make things better. We all lived through it…but barely. One does not realize that it is sometimes impossible to silence a tired, upset child who is used to his/her routine, safely back at home in the bed.
Another act of kindness was a young 13-year-old who went outside in the rain with an umbrella to help an elderly gentleman get home. There is definitely hope for the next generation. This young man made his mother proud…and he should be also.
I happen to be an animal lover. It is easy to love all animals. It is not so easy to love the down and out who may or may not have made their own bed and are now lying in it. Nevertheless, these are exactly the kind of people to whom Jesus Christ reached out …the beggar, the harlot, the unclean and pathetic. He calls us to do the same…not just during Christmas when we have a warm, cheerful heart… but always. We may be the only face of “Christ” that they will see…or the only hands and heart that shows God’s love.
Below is a video that calls for people of all walks of life to reach out to a fellow human being…or an animal that is in distress. Saving a life or making one just a little better is what we need today…this Christmas…and always. Bring your kindness to someone today.
Mathew 25:40 “…Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as you have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, you have done it unto Me.”
Not too many years ago, I was privileged to take a group of senior high students to Eastern Europe. While in Poland, we went to Auschwitz Concentration camp. It was an experience never to be forgotten. I had one Jewish student with our group. He found a flower vendor and I watched as he gently laid the flowers before the wall within the camp where so many were executed. He wore his Bermuda shorts, but carefully dressed in a sports jacket and tie. I could see that his effort was to show honor and respect for those who lost their lives there. I also took him to the spot where the Munich massacre took place at the 1972 Summer Olympics. This was when a Palestinian terrorist group took eleven Israeli Olympic team members hostage and killed them along with a West German police officer. Most people want to forget such atrocities. Yet history replays itself over and over again as we lose our compassion for one another.
The Israeli Olympic team members’ families tried unsuccessfully to convince the International Olympic Committee to mark the 40th anniversary of the killings by holding a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics. The Committee refused. Often people are reluctant to lay the blame where it belongs. Each isolated case of human suffering has its opposing views, but the insanity of it is that the world never seems to learn.
Human suffering comes in many forms. In our present day, we see it all over the world. It is often brought upon people by the corruption of governments and political struggles. More recently, as we watch the long lines of people who are walking hundreds of miles toward the USA border, we know that each has their own story. Some for the search for a better life and some for evil and disruption. A mob gives no indication of what the intentions may be. Many are walking in flip-flops or carrying children. There are motives that most of us here will never know. Regardless of what the reasons may be, our borders must be secured and laws must be reformed to encourage a proper way to emigrate to a better life. The road to legal emigration is often a long one and those taking the proper path should be recognized. Desperation colliding with law and order is, unfortunately, a reality of our times.
If the situation in their countries is so terrifying that they are trying to find a safer place, it is understandable. However, they probably do not want to go to Chicago or to some other parts of our country for we have problems of our own.
If it is work that the people seek, there are ways to find this particular path. During our time in Virginia, we got to know some of the farmers and growers. Each year large groups of workers are brought to our country legally. It was explained to us that the Virginia growers take care of all the legal paperwork, provide transportation to the farm from whatever country they come from, provide a place to live (usually a small trailer), a truck or car to use with a temporary license on the weekends and much more. Multiply this by all the growers in California and Florida. We, in the US, employ large numbers of people…all legally. Are there undocumented workers here? Of course, but their employers should be held accountable to the laws of the land.
When the harvest season is over, the workers return to their country with pay for the family left behind. It is a proper and legal way of doing things. It was our observation that these workers are excellent at their jobs and work long hours. We watched the trucks they loaded with pumpkins, apples, broccoli, cabbages and other products. In fact, I took the picture of the men shown below. Even though we did not speak their language, they often smiled as we came by. After dark, the trucks rolled to the processing plants. It is not an easy life by any stretch of the imagination. The farm and orchard owners told us that without the migrant help their farming business would fold. Yes, we need the emigrants and the temporary, migrant workers…but we need all involved to follow the laws…including the farm and business owners.
Countries of Europe have opened their borders to the suffering around the world. In the beginning, it was a noble thing to do, but the problems have been severe as many refused to assimilate into the culture of the country they had chosen. Often the local police would not go into the areas because they had their own laws of living. On a vacation to England, we were told that people who had lived in an area all their lives were basically forced out by the influx. No one wanted to buy their homes, so the emigrants moved in. The worry in the USA is that mass influx will bring on similar situations.
There are many legitimate questions: Where will they live? Who will feed them? What will the drain on our overall economy be with welfare and medical issues? If the border is not secured, when will the next wave come….and the next and the next? There is no easy answer.
Does securing our borders mean that Americans do not have compassion? Of course not. We are probably the most generous people in the world to help out…and to give out needed supplies and support when emergencies arise. We give millions, if not billions, of foreign aid. Just as it is not up to one family to support all families, this country can not support all countries. Neither can our military fight all battles even as they try hard to fight terrorism and the forces of evil in far away places. Now, we are thinking that it may be necessary to use military strength at our own borders?! How bizarre can things get? Probably more than we know.
The emigrants of the past, particularly from all parts of Europe, helped build this country. We have not forgotten our history. Neither should we forget the sins of the past when people were brought here as slaves to work the soil. It is likely that the “sins of the fathers” will always stay with the sons…as the racial unrest continues to this day. Generations to come will feel what we did then and what we do now. Yes, suffering is a very sad thing no matter when it has occurred and to whom.
Our parents who lived through World War II finally saw the sufferings that human beings went through when death camps were opened and surviving prisoners were set free. The millions who did not make it died there and as we think of the problems of today and in the future, we must never forget the history that led up to these terrible atrocities. Suffering has no boundaries.
God must weep in heaven when men harden their hearts to the suffering of others. Yet, He does not treat us like robots. He gives us free will to decide right and wrong. In making tough decisions, our leaders and citizens must never forget what history has taught us about suffering…or we shall live it again. That is an international promise.
Shindler’s List is probably one of the most moving films ever made. The video that you will see took place in 2017 in Budapest at one of the largest synagogues in Europe. It is a concert where Csongor Korossy plays the violin of the music from that film. I believe that John Williams, who composed this piece of music was truly inspired. Notice the faces of the people in the audience… especially the elderly who are most likely remembering someone that they lost. The youth have heard the stories from their families. Those tragic histories must not be lost in our memories. Neither can the fact of how quickly people, of all faiths and heritages, can be tortured or abused for who they are, where they come from or what they believe. Even in our news this week is the tragedy of those killed in their own synagogue of worship while dedicating the names of their little children.
Until God comes with the angels in heaven and with His Son to rid the world of evil and wipe away all tears, there will be suffering. However, we are not left without hope. We have a promise of good things to come.
…And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man, and He will live with them. They will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes and there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the former things have passed away. And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.”… (Berea Study Bible…Revelation 21:4)
Video A Concert…not the movie (Turn up your sound)
Dedicated to the victims at Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, PA.
Tomorrow is the beginning of “Early Voting” in my state, USA. Many people think it is important who is in government control (local or national) and others could care less. We better care if we have learned anything from history.
I write about this not to promote one candidate or another, but reflect on what history may teach us on government and control… if we pay attention. The problem is that we rarely connect past history with the potential present or future history and what it may look like. Therefore, we will take a look at past history and hope that our skin does not crawl…but it will.
Did you know that one of the most famous names in our USA Supreme Court was responsible for the cutting off many individual rights during the early 20th century? Here’s his picture…Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.
Why was this esteemed man important? He had a great deal to do with the philosophy of Eugenics. Here is what he said on the matter of a court case from Virginia entitled Buck v Bell in which he voted Yes to enforce the following:
Buck v. Bell
(from Wikipedia) “In 1927, Holmes wrote the 8–1 majority opinion in Buck v. Bell case that upheld the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924 and the forced sterilization of Carrie Buck who was claimed to be mentally defective. Although later scholarship has shown the suit was collusive and Carrie Buck was probably of normal intelligence. The record before the Supreme Court showed only that she had received a proper hearing in which she was represented by a competent guardian, and was able to press her suit in the federal courts. She apparently had received the procedures required by due process of law in ample measure. The argument made on her behalf was principally that the statute requiring sterilization of institutionalized persons was unconstitutional, itself a violation of what today is called “substantive due process”. Holmes repeated familiar arguments that statutes would not be struck down if they appeared on their face to have a reasonable basis. In support of his argument that the interest of “public welfare” outweighs the interest of individuals in their bodily integrity, he argued:
(Quote by Judge Holmes) “We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being swamped with incompetence. It is better for all the world, if instead of waiting to execute degenerate offspring for crime, or to let them starve for their imbecility, society can prevent those who are manifestly unfit from continuing their kind. The principle that sustains compulsory vaccination is broad enough to cover cutting the Fallopian tubes … Three generations of imbeciles are enough.”
Although the opinion and eugenics remain controversial, the decision in the case still stands. Sterilization rates under eugenics laws in the United States climbed from 1927 until Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535 (1942). While Skinner v. Oklahoma did not specifically overturn Buck v. Bell, it created enough of a legal quandary to discourage many sterilizations…”
“A historical marker was erected on May 2, 2002 in Charlottesville, Virginia where Carrie Buck was born. Virginia Governor Mark R. Warner offered the “Commonwealth’s sincere apology for Virginia’s participation in eugenics,” noting that “the eugenics movement was a shameful effort in which state government never should have been involved.” (Paul A Lombardo U of V School of Medicine)
We are hearing words that will make the hair stand on the back of the neck: FORCED STERILIZATION… THE INCOMPETENT or the first use of the word “Moron” (feeble-minded or perhaps mentally ill)
This was what Eugenics was all about…getting rid of the undesirables. It came in the form of our first emigration policies and restrictions, the mental institutions where many ended up whether they were actually insane or not. It also had to do with racism. Even the histories of citizens were stored in locked vaults by the government. These could explain inherited traits and pinpoint those who would be considered “unacceptable”.
Perhaps we should think twice before we give over to any organization our DNA to do with as they like. Any authority may decide to act upon this greatest of our identity. Take for instance the controversy of 23andMe, a DNA test group.
” …23andMe’s Personal Genome Service is much more than a medical device; it is a one-way portal into a world where corporations have access to the innermost contents of your cells and where insurers and pharmaceutical firms and marketers might know more about your body than you know yourself. And as 23andMe warns on its website, “Genetic Information that you share with others could be used against your interests. You should be careful about sharing your Genetic Information with others.” (Charles Siefe in Scientific America)
One may ask, what about the good parts of having DNA used by the police investigators to find killers or rapists who may have been Cold Cases for years? Of course, this technology today can be celebrated for bringing the guilty to justice as we heard about recently on 60 Minutes. However, we must not forget that there are few standards set in the use of DNA and someone who is calling themselves DNA professionals could also make mistakes or prove to be using the knowledge for less than good to an individual…criminal or not. Could these same people be brought in to court as a witness with authority? Caution may be the best word. How important is your lineage to you?
Under President Wilson, the belief in Eugenics for the nation flourished. Some of the terms used are everyday words to us today because of the government efforts in years past to make lawful things that we might question today. The public can be coerced and made from advertisements to think that the government knows best. That is precisely why we should look at the people we put into office very, very carefully. Is individual liberty a priority to a candidate…or does he or she thinks that government knows best and can be the solver of all problems? When would they think, you, the citizen is the problem…for whatever reason.
Shown here is President Wilson, a eugenics sign, and a family that was found to have good lineage…having won a contest as “the best”.
We could go on with many eugenics topics in history: immigration restrictions, unfit individuals, compulsory sterilization, euthanasia programs, fit baby contests and family fitness under eugenics, planned parenthood promotions and how we as a nation promoted racial superiority as did Germany during WWII.
What a nation can do in plain sight can be terrifying if we are looking away or turn a blind eye. (More information on Eugenics)
Yes, it matters who is in power in your local, state, or national setting. Do your homework. Your human rights are at stake…as in past years and in the future. See how they have voted in the past that effects your life and more importantly your freedoms.
“The Eugenics Crusade” The American Experience PBS
The need for rest is a fact of life in all God’s creation. After a long summer, the trees shed their leaves and rest throughout the winter until the Spring comes again. Animals build a place to rest. In particular, the bear goes into hibernation as do many other animals. These creations of nature seem to have been given a time-clock that makes them listen and do what God intended.
Why would a human not know that rest is all important for his/her well being? Here are some of the health benefits of general rest:
1. Improved Memory – Lack of sleep can make it difficult for you to concentrate and retain information. When you sleep, your brain goes through all the activities and impressions of the day which is important for memory formation.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight – Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain. Sleep releases hormones that control appetite. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat.
3. Heart Health – A 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
4. Reduce Stress – Sleep and stress have similar effects on your cardiovascular stress. Being well rested can reduce stress levels and improve your overall health. (from Florida Hospital site)
Another scripture also tells us, “Be still and know that I am God…” Psalm 46:10 We cannot be still unless we actually stop what we are doing. That takes a concerted effort:
- Putting down the phone
- Turning off the TV/ Computer
- Moving to a quieter spot
- Stop thinking about what you need to do next
One may ask, then what do I do?
- Just listen…to a bird singing outside, to a quiet music selection
- Talk quietly to God and then listen to what comes into your mind as His Spirit speaks to yours
- Take a walk alone…even if it is just around your yard
- Put your feet in the sand at the beach and listen to ocean slap upon the shore
- Look for a flower, a leaf, and small insect or butterfly
- Concentrate on quieting your spirit and your inner-self
- Watch a sunrise or sunset
” The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14
So how does one rest when things are falling apart or life is too difficult to bear? We remember, with the choir of Libera, how difficult are the memories of the Holocaust or 9-11 and so much more. Yet we are promised a restful soul through God’s grace. It is following the courage that is put in the heart by God through every circumstance.
The word “Confidence” means many things to different people. Somehow in just saying the word, it seems STRONG and ASSURED. Even writing those words in all caps makes me feel energized.
There are few things in life for which we would put our full confidence. There may be a few people that we are close to or in some cases, we actually put our entire life in their hands. (The pilot who flies your plane for example.)
For some, confidence has never been part of their being. It is a word out there for the famous or the rich…not the ordinary person. YOU ARE WRONG…if this is your thought for we are promised a great deal of confidence through a faith in Jesus Christ. (from the New Testament…Philippians 4:13 shown below.)
There are other scriptures that are just as powerful. (from the Old Testament, Deuteronomy 31:6) Now we don’t have to go so far as to tattoo it on our bodies as some may do…unless that is your thing….but we can keep these words in our hearts and minds daily. Remember that God knows what is in your heart and just thinking it becomes a prayer to Him.
The word confidence comes in every language in some form. Here are a few:
Hebrew: mibtach: confidence Original Word: מִבְטָח
Japanese: “Self-Confidence”.. use kanji word “自信(じしん-jishin)” Spanish: (trust) la confianza (f) I have every confidence in you Tengo entera confianza en ti.
Here are some of the words that are associated with confidence:
Looking those over, you may say, “Oh, that is all well and good…but I have very little motivation. I’m no genius. My courage level left a long time ago…and I certainly can’t say I am or have been a real success in all areas of my life. ”
All that you said there is human weakness. We all experience it one way or another. Young people may feel they haven’t had the opportunity for some of these things. Older people may look back and wish they had done things differently. Life definitely has its ups and downs. The past is finished and can’t be undone. The present is what we have and much of the future depends on what we do with the present.
Here again is where we depend on faith. The Apostle Paul wrote the following about himself and his belief in what God wanted of him.
“But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2nd Corinthians 2:9) The term “boast” here is not the meaning we think of today, but one of telling or acknowledging…not puffing out the chest in pride.
The Grace of God is His power to help when we have no power. We call this in English “to be gracious”…and God’s love is certainly gracious.
There are other things that are believed about confidence. It is often believed that someone who is outspoken, forthright and even belligerent at times has real confident. A person like this is often trying to cover up for the weaknesses that he/she actually have within. There is the fear of letting anyone know, so being loud and forceful is the cover-up. My friend, we have all known people like this. Do not give them the honor of believing they are truly confident. Inner-strength is not always seen from the outside.
“In quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15.
J.R.Miller wrote in The Strength of Quietness …” quietness never can come through the smoothing of circumstances, so that there shall be nothing to trouble or irritate the spirit. We cannot find or make a quiet place to live in—and thus get quiet in our own soul. We cannot make the people about us so loving and sweet—that we shall never have anything to irritate or annoy us. The quietness must be within us. Nothing but the peace of God in the heart—can give it. Yet we can have this peace—if we will simply and always do God’s will—and then trust Him. A quiet heart—will give a quiet life!”
Yes, CONFIDENCE is found deep in the heart. Sometimes unknown things around the corner may cause you concern. Even though you may not know where you are going or how you’ll get there, with Christ you will NEVER WALK THAT PATH ALONE. He will give you all the confidence you need and lead the way if you will pray and ask Him to do this for you.
Another way to find your own confidence is to do something for others to find theirs. Look at your abilities and use them for the purpose of good. It will definitely come back to you.
VIDEO (Turn up sound)
Family members are the ones who know us best. There are often things that break families apart…even if it is not understood why. There could have been arguments or no argument at all. A decision was made to walk away…to go a different direction. Sometimes it is through the influence of others…or a decision is made by the one member who decides to leave. Whatever the reason…coming home is a difficult thing to do. It means facing the people that we have loved the most in the past. It may even be hard for those who were left. To take the step to go home again may be like a bitter pill. Swallowing the pill of the unknown…the hope for acceptance…or the possibility of rejection is even harder. We are human and we don’t like to admit we made poor decisions. We are also told that “forgiveness is divine.”
Someone reading my blog today is saying to his/herself that this sounds like my situation. You either have a person who has left you…or you have left those who love and know you the best. Life will go on even if you decide to never face your family again, but is it really what you want? Will you never know the warm embrace that is there waiting for you? The longer time goes on and you walk away in your mind and heart, will you ever have another chance?
Is it worth it to pick up the phone, show up at the door, or write a letter to those you have left behind? You may not really know how much it would mean to even one person that was always a part of your life. You may have never left your family, but have someone that you have avoided or have not spoken to in years. Reconciliation is a word not often used, but a very important word. Only peace and happiness can come when there is reconciliation.
Only you can decide. God will give you the courage if it is a “Yes”…and He will weep tears along with yours on the lonely nights if your decision is “NO”…but weep you will. Eventually weeping is assured because no one will force you to do anything you do not want to do…not even God.
In the Holy Scriptures, the Prodigal Son’s father did not run after the child he loved, but allowed him to leave and waited patiently until he finally saw the familiar figure approaching him from afar. His joy could not be contained! Who is waiting for you?
The video below shares not only the beautiful music of the choir, but a message within its drama. No, it’s not Christmas as the video indicates, but your decision may be the best present ever.
VIDEO (turn up sound)