|We may hear someone say, “Well, you have one life to live!” It’s an off-the-cuff remark of which people pay little attention. However, maybe we should. |
Life is short. It is something that no one should take for granted because the next breath could be the end. Living in the moment is rare, for often we live in the past or in the future with our thoughts.
How we live, whatever time we have, is what makes the difference.
I want to share with you a short summary of the life of one man that none of you will know. His first name was Grafton. We buried Grafton yesterday in an all black cemetery in Florida. He was 95 years old. Having emigrated to the U.S. from Barbados, he wanted to serve God even though he only had a 4th grade education. During this time, he worked in the groves as a fruit picker. He had no problem with hard work, but wanted to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Being poor was often a problem with where to live or having enough to eat, but he managed to make ends meet. Sometimes it was with the help of those who cared about him.
After getting some education and a license to preach by the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Grafton reached out to the black community to preach and be of service in their church. As is their practice, the AME Bishop appointed Graftron to be pastor of a specific congregation in Central Florida. Often, after his first Sunday in the new congregation, he arrived home and received a phone call from the Bishop, who said ” Don’t go back. They don’t want you.”
Why? Because he was different from the African Americans here in Florida. He was from another country and he had a slight accent. Was this any reason to reject his open heart to serve God? Of course not, but unfortunately, people of all races have their prejudices. What was he to do? He found a white minister who was willing to give him a position as “Visitation minister” to the shut ins and those in the nursing homes. What happened? Some families complained and didn’t want him to visit “Grandmother” because he was black.
A friend said to the minister who hired him, “You mean you gave a black man a job to go visit white women?!” “Yes.” “Well, there IS a God in heaven!!” was the reply.
For a period of time, he drove about 200 miles to a congregation that would accept him. This was a hardship, but he was willing to go where he was accepted and appreciated.
Grafton was one life given to God to serve Him. Yet, he was unwanted…much as our Savior was unwanted. Grafton was not crucified, but it is certain that his heart, at times, was torn in half by the people around him…who “just didn’t want him”…both black and white.
Those friends who did accept him and brought him into their homes for meals knew that they had found a real “Gentle Giant” with a heart of gold. He was over 6ft 5in or more and had a smile that warmed the heart. He was one life…humble and caring. He was God’s child.
The minister, who hired Grafton, was my husband, Bill. Some years ago, Grafton told Bill that when the time came for him to die, “Please give me a good send-off!” Yesterday, Bill did just that, with prayers and thanksgiving for a special life and a special man. Grafton was laid to rest beside his wife, who also was a minister of Jesus Christ.
At the grave-site…an all black cemetery…there were only twelve people…all white friends who loved him. In this day of racial division and concerns, it seems appropriate to say that love is still available to all who want to give and receive it…regardless of who we are. We are all God’s children with one life to live. A young, white woman came to the funeral, with a photo in hand of Grafton and her when she was younger. She said through her tears, “He was my friend.” What a lesson for all of us that friendship can be a real blessing in life when we put away our biases.
In Honor of Grafton… One Solitary Life…who served the resurrected Savior.
This is a poem about the life of Jesus Christ. Although the author is frequently cited as “unknown” the poem is actually attributed to James Allen Francis.
He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant. He grew up in another village, where he worked in a carpenter shop until he was 30. Then, for three years, he was an itinerant preacher.
He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family or owned a home. He didn’t go to college. He never lived in a big city. He never traveled 200 miles from the place where he was born. He did none of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but himself.
He was only 33 when the tide of public opinion turned against him. His friends ran away. One of them denied him. He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. He was nailed to a cross between two thieves. While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his garments, the only property he had on earth. When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave, through the pity of a friend.
Twenty centuries have come and gone, and today he is the central figure of the human race. I am well within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned–put together–have not affected the life of man on this earth as much as that one, solitary life.
VIDEO: One Solitary Life Turn on sound
POST NOTE: After this blog was posted, I received a note from one of my readers. She also addressed that people with a disability are also not given respect. She tells of a student named John who was an Albino. (Definition of albino: a person or animal having a congenital absence of pigment in the skin and hair which are unusually white and the eyes which are usually pink.)
” John, who was studious, nice, thin, not athletic at all. He was an albino. His hair was white, his eyes were almost pink. I liked him, and most kids did. A lot of the boys, who were considered “tough guys,” gave him a hard time. If any of us saw that we’d go after those kids and try to save John. We lived close to that family. His father died, and his Mom did her best. She had edema and had problems moving around, but John took care of her. It was such a sad situation and he did his best. John was intelligent and received outstanding grades in school. Just prior to graduation, his mother died. John hung himself. He couldn’t go on any longer. It boggles my mind when I hear about people who torture others because of their color or any disability, etc…”
On 9-11, 2011, I wrote this blog. I felt that today, I would like to revisit what was written this many years ago and view a video of the ordinary people of New York who reached out to save thousands from the disaster of an attack by terrorists.
While watching on C-Span, the honors given to those who were passengers on Flight 93 in Pennsylvania, I was impressed that there is a church just down the road from the site where the plane went down. The members of this church go there on a daily basis to stand and pray for those buried where their bodies are now entombed where the plane crashed. They have promised that this tribute will continue.
There were brave men and women on this flight over Pennsylvania. . Considering where the other planes crashed and the knowledge that they had from phone calls about the Twin Towers and the Pentagon, they believed that Flight 93 was headed to crash into the nation’s Capitol building to destroy a symbol of a free America and everyone in it. They voted to fight back and not let the terrorist take the plane. It has been said many times about the fact that they took a VOTE was “the American thing to do.”
At the Pentagon and the Twin Towers, other planes had already done their evil deeds. Ordinary citizens dropped everything they were doing to rescue those trying to flee this terrible disaster. Here is the story of two BOAT LIFTS…9-11 and Dunkirk during WW II.
“Few people know that the all-volunteer boat lifts, that happened on 9-11 in Manhattan, NY, were greater lifts than the boats of Dunkirk during World War II. 339,000 soldiers were rescued over 9 days at Dunkirk. An amazing operation. The boat lifts of civilians on 9-11 in the NY harbor were over 500,000 in just 9 hours. It is a reminder of another boat lift in history:
“May 1940, during the battle of France, the British Expeditionary Force in France aiding the French, were cut off from the rest of the French Army by the German advance. Encircled by the Germans they retreated to the area around the port of Dunkirk. The German land forces could have easily destroyed the British expeditionary force, especially when many of the British troops, in their haste to withdraw, had left their heavy equipment. For some unexplained and still unknown reason, Adolf Hitler ordered the German army to stop the attack, favoring bombardment by the Luftwaffe…This lull in the action gave the British a few days to evacuate by sea. Winston Churchill ordered any ship or boat available, large or small, to pick up the stranded soldiers, and 338,226 men (including 120,000 French soldiers) were evacuated – the miracle of Dunkirk, as Churchill called it. It took over 900 vessels to evacuate the Allied forces…The British evacuation of Dunkirk through the English Channel was code-named Operation Dynamo. Churchill’s skill in turning a defeat into a political victory is now remembered in the phrase ‘Dunkirk’ spirit, to describe making the best of a bad situation.
The US Coast Guard, The U.S. Merchant Marine and the private boats available on 9-11 were definitely “Making the best of a bad situation”! They were resolute and fast. In fact, one boat was even named “Resolute”
As did Winston Churchill at Dunkirk, the US Coast Guard made the call for all boats to Manhattan Island. Hundreds of boats answered that call. They did not know if their boat would be blown out of the water with more attacks to come. They just went. They answered with bravery and action.
This is what Americans are made of. It is deep at the core of who we are. One boatman said, ” They looked like zombies“, pouring out of the buildings covered in ash. There were children; people in wheelchairs, executives and more. “Just help me” was all they wanted. “Take me anywhere off this island.”
We have just remembered the 19th anniversary of 9-11. To those who ran to the docks, it will be forever etched in their memories. For the boat captain, who dropped everything and came, a simple “Thank You” moved him to tears. The history and determination of the great boat rescues of Dunkirk and Manhattan Island are forever linked.“
This was a day of great American unity. People helping people. One blind man was trying to find his way down the stairs of the Twin Towers. He was disoriented. A fireman yelled to businessmen, “Take care of that guy!” They did. They never let go of him, or panicked for their own sake, until they got him to the street below.
This is what Americans can be in all circumstances, whether it is a Pandemic, Fires out of control or some other disaster. DIVISION, whether political or personal, will never accomplish what people did TOGETHER on 9-11. This is what the enemies of freedom would like for Americans to do…go against each other! They would also like to see a divided world for their own sick purposes. Let the courage of 9-11 be a lesson to us all.
Hopefully, you will always remember to fly your flag every 9-11 in honor of all those who died and the first responders who gave so much…even their lives in sickness from what they worked around in the towers. The flag is also a reminder that America will not tolerate terrorists? As the years roll by, it is a date we WILL NOT forget.
Blessings, from Boyer Writes.
SPECIAL VIDEO Turn on your sound (shared with me by Gayle Olson in 2011)
When will people look around them and say that the world is worth saving because there are innocent, little children living on every country of the earth? They don’t deserve wars, riots in their neighborhoods, drive-by shootings or any other form of brutality.
Take a long, hard look at this little boy. He is in Yemen and he is starving.
I was so touched by this child who is very sick, but when he saw the BBC camera, he was just barely able to give a little smile. (Photo from TV)
Pray for this little boy…that somehow he will get the help and food that he needs.
This BBC video showed the catastrophe happening in Yemen today. The people in the communities are still being bombed. The people have little or no food. People are walking around with the virus, saying that they won’t go to the hospital because “they will kill you there!” This is because the rumor has spread that the medical staff and doctors do “mercy killings” if you arrive there with the virus. The government, however, is denying that there are many virus cases at all…saying that they have less than 10 people who have died of Coronavirus. The people know that is a lie.
When asked by the BBC reporting staff, who were wearing masks while interviewing the people, why the people in the crowded streets were not wearing masks? They said that they didn’t have to wear masks because “Allah will protect them.” Ignorance, governmental control and war has left these people and their children in a desperate situation.
To try to understand why there is a war in Yemen in the first place, this excellent graphic given below is your best resource for understanding what is happening in the Middle East, specifically Yemen.
“The economic devastation that pushed millions to the brink of famine and created the worst cholera epidemic in living memory is no accident of war: It is the product of deliberate policies by the warring parties.
The Saudi-led coalition, with its warplanes, blockades and vast economic power, bears a large share of the blame. But the Houthis are also at fault. They have manipulated relief aid, recruited child soldiers and planted vast numbers of land mines, according to aid workers and human rights groups.
Peace talks in Sweden in December offered a faint glimmer of hope for an end to the war. A shaky cease-fire in the key port of Hudaydah is holding.
But if politics fails, many fear that Yemen could lapse into even worse fighting. Famine could become a reality. And millions of civilians would pay the heaviest price, yet again. (Watkins and Walsh)
The Holy Scriptures are very clear when it comes to harming children:
It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. Luke 17:2
Not only are the children of Yemen being harmed, the children of America are also being harmed by what is happening in our society today. This is not to neglect writing about the sadness in all the other countries of the world. It is not to forget the fact that there is terrible trafficking of children. The more we allow anarchism to continue in our country…motivated distrust between races and an extended close-down of schools and businesses…our families and their children are going to suffer… as it tears into the fabric of our democracy. We must save our society for the children!
These are the things that need to be taught to our children and reminded to our young people:
- They are not in the starving as the children of Yemen. We have well-stocked food banks if there is a need.
- They are not forced to work long hours in factories as our early emigrants.
- They haven’t lived today through a food famine in the U.S., like the children in Ireland during the Potato Famine.
- They are not in the middle of a Great Depression like their great-grandmothers and fathers endured.
- The children of this generation also haven’t had to live in the Martin Luther King, Jr. era when injustice was confronted head-on.
- They need to be reminded in school and at home that because of King and others, the Civil Rights laws and changes gave opportunities to excel to all minority children.
- All children need to know that Americans can learn to live in peace together…most people are not racists.
Why do some American young people behave badly? Perhaps they should give this some thought for if their country collapses, they may be like the children of Yemen. Yet, some continue doing these things:
- Roaming the streets night after night
- Destroying property
- Setting fires
- Attacking police
- Shouting at people trying to peacefully eat in a restaurant.
- Acting like they are for a “cause” when they can’t explain what the cause is all about when asked to explain their actions.
- Shooting at children in the playgrounds and front yards
- Being a terrible example to their younger brothers and sisters.
- Not taking jobs that are available, even after so many lost jobs due to the virus…for work signs are still out there.
- Sitting around waiting for hand-outs for things they should work for…like cellphones and Nike tennis shoes etc.
- Not listening to parents, church leaders or their church clergy on how to behave…that is…unless those leaders are NOT saying anything.
LET’S TAKE A MOMENT and LOOK at what AMERICA COULD EVENTUALLY EXPERIENCE IF WE LOSE ALL LAW AND ORDER…OR IF WE ARE ATTACKED, LIKE 9-11, AND IT THROWS US INTO WAR! IT WOULD NOT BE MUCH DIFFERENT THAN THAT OF THE PEOPLE OF YEMEN.
Saving our people and our planet must be a high priority in every country. There is no choice. We must SAVE OUR WORLD FOR OUR CHILDREN! Can we do that, even with our best intentions…or the best of leaders…without TURNING TO GOD? WE HAVE BEEN TOLD THE ANSWER and it is the ONLY ANSWER FOR OUR CHILDREN TO BE SAFE.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” 2 Chronicles 7:14
Report by Derek Watkins and Declan Walsh of the N.Y Times…Just 2 years ago.
CLICK ON THIS LINK BELOW
(Credit Information for link given above:)
1. Civilian strike locations from Human Rights Watch and our own reporting.
2. Data on coalition air raids from the Yemen Data Project.
3.Control map data from the American Enterprise Institute’s Critical Threats Project.
4.Data on Yemen’s G.D.P. from World Bank. Locations of strikes on fishing and agricultural targets from Yemen’s Ministry of Agriculture and Irrigation and
5.Ministry of Fish Wealth, via a report by Martha Mundy at the London School of Economics. Additional work by Larry Buchanan.
When I think I’ve heard it all, I found out this morning that I haven’t!! So, with a HAPPY smile on my face, I am writing this post to make your day!
This is another “hair salon” story….“Oh, No …please spare us!” you are thinking.
It appears that this salon operator wanted to hire someone for her salon. She went to get the advertisement printed and was eagerly looking for the right person to respond.
Here is what Alison Birch said happened when she tried to list the job ad. She was looking for a part-time qualified hairdresser at her AJ’s Unisex Hair Salon in Stroud, England. (And I thought only crazy things happened in American salons that were news worthy!)
“The position called for someone with five years’ experience of working in a salon, who is “confident in barbering as well as all aspects of hairdressing.”And the advertisement stated, “This is a busy, friendly, small salon, so only happy, friendly stylists need apply.”
She claims the man at the job center said to her: “I’m sorry, but the word happy is a discriminatory word and we aren’t allowed to use it, as somebody who is not happy will be discriminated against.”
According to Birch, he then asked: “Should we change the word in case somebody thinks that they can’t apply for the job because they are not a happy person?”
“Was I being a bit sensitive, and is the word happy discriminating? Or has this whole world all gone mad?” Birch said.And plenty of Birch’s customers agreed with her outrage over the job center’s “ridiculous” stance on her advertisement.
Karen Evans commented: “The world has gone absolutely mad.
“Does this mean that every descriptive word is discriminating… happy, tall, smart, elegant? Good luck with your search.”
Julie Thickins added: “I thought this was a joke, realizing it clearly isn’t has left me absolutely speechless… what has the human race come to?” (Taken from South West News Service in England)
I’m sure my readers will remember the ads in years past when someone is looking for the perfect person to meet. Well, if those ads still exist…no one could say that they are looking for a “TALL and HANDSOME MAN.” Certainly that would be discriminating against the men out there that are “SHORT and UGLY.” (Which reminds me that my female, English students in Mongolia said they just wanted to marry a man that was “CLEAN and SOBER.” Poor, dears, they didn’t realize that they were putting the Mongolian men who were DIRTY and DRUNK in a discriminated-against category.)
It also occurred to me that when I patted my Golden Retriever this morning and said, “Bella, you are such a BEAUTIFUL girl….and a GOOD girl too.” I surely was discriminating against all the BAD, UGLY dogs in the world.
A special note from Boyer Writes:
Good luck, Ladies in England, on hiring a HAPPY person for your salon. You deserve happiness for happiness should not be prohibited! Yes, You are right… “The world has gone crazy!”
I am writing this blog in honor of my Mother, Alta, who owned her small beauty salon. She began working as a stylist after she left home at the age of 16. When she had her salon in North Carolina, she had some wealthy patrons among the tobacco heirs. Mostly, her clients were the average person. Those were the “good old days.”
She would be horrified to know what small business owners are going through today. We lost my Mother at the age of 93, long after she retired. Her last few months were in an assisted living and nursing home.
On a previous blog, I wrote that I thank God that she didn’t have to be without family to cheer and visit her as many have these last few months. Just today, I have learned that our Governor in Florida is once again making visits for families possible with proper precautions. We mourn for those who died all alone during this time.
What does all this have to do with the COST of beauty? I will quote what a small business owner in California, like my Mother, had to say about a very wealthy member of our Congress and the Speaker of the House.
It appears that the business owner has released to the public a scene from her security camera, showing the Speaker with a wet head and no mask over her nose or mouth, moving through the inside of the salon, after having her associate called in that she was coming in for a “wash and blow.” Like most salon owners, the owner rents out the chairs to stylists, and can’t control who their customers may be.
Oh, yes, the owner, Erica Kious, is being rebuked that she didn’t get permission to release the security clip, but she felt obligated to do so because of the fight that small business owners, like herself, have had to go through during this pandemic. She also is being shown in the press as a person who “set up” the Speaker…even though the Speaker is the one who asked to come in for the style. Kious’ response to the battle, “I’ve had a camera system in there for five years….I didn’t go in there and turn cameras on as soon as she walked in and set her up. So that is absolutely false.”
Her response also for why she released the video of the Speaker was this:
“This is for everybody,” she said. “I am sharing this because of what everyone in my industry, and my city, what every small business is going through right now.”
These battles will continue and the Press loves it, but there is much suffering going on in the small-business arena. This blog is not to write in depth here about the many small business owners who have had their businesses burned to the ground by so-called “protesters.” That could be another post.
The fact remains that those who are doing this without regard to the hard work put into developing a business is despicable. Their real names are not “protesters”, but “anarchists” and “criminals.” There is certainly NO BEAUTY in what they are doing. I wonder why the young people/or older, who go out night after night to destroy, have not learned anything about RIGHT and WRONG. No cause…or position in thought…can justify this in any way. People have died. Having hair done, or some have laughingly called “hairgate,” is small potatoes. The real point is destruction and the shut-downs.
As my readers know, history is a big teacher. The Nazi regime brought about a similar situation before WWII when they went out to destroy the hard-earned businesses of the Jews. We know how this ended…with millions incarcerated…and murdered. Whenever a mob picks a leader and gets into power, someone will be the scapegoat. There will always be a reason to blame someone for the crisis. Beware…beware…America!
( I continue with the article, in part, by Brook Singman, with an interview of Erica Kious, the small business owner of the salon in California. )
“There were rules and regulations to go by to safely reopen, which I did, but I was still not allowed to open my business,” she said, noting that she installed plexiglass partitions between sinks and seating areas, and ensured that all salon chairs were six feet apart, along with proper air circulation from open windows. “They never let us open,” she said, while adding that she is unable to reopen outside because her salon specializes in hair color, and using chemicals outside is prohibited. ( “…Salons in San Francisco had been closed since March and were only notified they could reopen on Sept. 1 for outdoor hair styling services only. )
“We have been shut down for so long, not just me, but most of the small businesses and I just can’t – it’s a feeling – a feeling of being deflated, helpless and honestly beaten down,” Kious, said.
“I have been fighting for six months for a business that took me 12 years to build to reopen,” she explained. “I am a single mom, I have two small children, and I have no income.”…
Kious said that the area where her salon is located has turned into “a third world country,” saying that “every other storefront is completely vacant and shut down and boarded up.”…
“And because of the shutdown, and the store closures, we’ve lost people, my clients, and my employees, and that is due to the politics in San Francisco,” she said, adding that the homeless population is “everywhere” and “defecating” all over the city...
“It has gotten so extreme,” she said. “It is so night and day from what it was a year ago, that everyone is fleeing.”…
It is understandable that this shop owner is upset about her business shut-down and what it has done to her years of work. Stylists, like my mother, stand on their feet for long hours, use chemical dyes to make women look younger etc, but it is how they earn their living for their families. They try desperately to go by the rules placed upon them during this pandemic. No wonder she is furious that the standards of personal engagement are for some but not all. She has lost customers due to the shut-downs that she may never regain but also because people are fleeing from the cities due to the violence and destruction. In American, small or large businesses should not have to board-up except for extreme weather…not a climate of fear brought on by people. Our son just returned from California where the hotel he was staying in was boarding up their windows because of “protesters” outside. They also warned their customers, “… you might not want to go out there.”
Every woman wants to be beautiful. There is no problem with dying the hair if it helps take some years off…but women who can’t get this done by a professional because of regulations…regardless of what they can pay or who they may be…can take themselves down to the local beauty supply store, if it’s open, and buy a box that does the trick!
All small businesses have to be reopened as soon as possible. Large department stores are also closing, leaving thousands without jobs. These hardworking men and women need to have their livelihood restored. Congratulations to Erica who braved the possible backlash of revealing those who preach to us through the media and do something different in real life. Most people I know have turned a deaf ear to all they have to say.
Thanks, Mother, for all the years that you worked so hard in your salon to be a provider for your family and also for being a good citizen. I wish there were more like you…with respect for people and property.
We, as women and men, thank the salon workers and owners…as well as the small barbershops around the country, who are finally opening with proper caution. The COST to you and your small business has been great. We won’t forget you. Hang in there!
FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE. BLESSINGS FROM BOYER WRITES
If you are asking the question WHY would anyone feel that they can destroy property, attack innocent citizens or make the United States of America into a country of rioting and vandalism? You are not alone. Probably many Americans and people around the world are scratching their heads and asking….WHY?…WHY?…WHY?
This blog does not intend to answer that question, but there is a THEORY to why people of all colors and backgrounds…young and older…are acting the way they are.
One young woman cried out to the rioting people to” break glass…take all you want…for it is REPARATIONS for the past!” Is there any truth in what she said? NO, of course not! There are other ways to solve problems… of the past, present and future than to destroy the hard-earned businesses of people of all colors. Blaming a generation for the sins of past generations solves nothing. She is falling into the hands of the anarchists who would destroy our country.
Does she really understand how far the search for fairness to all people living today has come? Does she know that through people like Martin Luther King, Jr. that people began to see the wrongs and our government passed the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights for all people? This behavior is only an excuse to do the wrong thing, which results in hurting all people.
You ask, “What theory are you speaking of in all this madness?”
It might be summed up in one Scripture Verse from the Holy Bible:
The Holy Scripture talks about the “sins of the fathers” to the third and fourth generations and even Shakespeare uses this quote in his writing of The Merchant of Venice: “The sins of the father are to be laid upon the children.”
In the small towns of America, there are people, whose early families were immigrants…not slaves, who believe that the “sins of the fathers” should be remembered and MADE RIGHT, as much as possible. I’m going to share with you a true story of a place in the mountains of which I am quite familiar.
Our former VA home was close to the famous Blue Ridge Parkway of the Appalachian Mountains. While living there, I read an article about a man who knew about the slaves that worked the area on the Langhorne farm in Virginia. This was before the Civil War and there was an unmarked burial place near the lovely little village of Meadows of Dan. When the article was written, there was only a small wooden split rail fence where the bodies of the slaves had been buried This also included some small children of the slaves. When the Park Service was building the Blue Ridge Parkway, the land became part of their domain. The headstones had been torn out and thrown in the woods. Nothing remained to show who was buried in this specific spot, but some of the old timers of the area knew.
One afternoon, I went looking for the rail fence, which turned out to be at the entrance to the Parkway at Meadows of Dan. Parking at the local church, I walked over to the area. Nothing was there to identify the graves of the slaves who had lived, worked, and died here. Only a small, rail fence circled the area.
“What a shame that there is nothing to identify it,” I thought to myself. The millions of people yearly, who ride the Parkway, will zoom right by this historical, sacred spot. Most people will travel on to visit places where the old timers settled, like the old Mabry Mill right down the road, but they will never know the history of this place where a plantation owner buried those who labored for him.
In this age of monuments being torn down of the famous men of the Civil War era and the present day stressful problems of racial disharmony, it was heartening to know that there were white people who had been trying to convince the Park Service to do the right thing for many years. Unfortunately, as is the history of all bureaucratic, government agencies, slow or forever slow is the story. It definitely was in the case of these slaves having a proper monument.
After six months away from the Blue Ridge, I rounded the curving entrance to Meadows of Dan and there it was…..the old slave cemetery that I had written about in my book, Old Timers of the Blue Ridge. Now, it actually had a marker! A large, beautiful granite headstone stood inside the split rail fence. 18
My husband and I stopped, walked up to the monument and the last words stood out to me…FOREVER FREE! Yes, they have gone on to be with God, Who made all people…black, white, and every shade of color. They are free at last, but are we living free from the past? Is it possible, no matter how hard people try… to be removed, in this modern world where hate runs deep, from the “sins of the fathers?” This is a question of gigantic proportions!
Hurrying home to check the internet, I had to know the story of how this monument was placed here in the year that I was away from Virginia. This is what I found out: Matt Burnett, an old time resident of the area, had been one of the workers who tore out the headstones for the Park Service and he asked Bob Heafner to make him a special promise. That was thirty-three years ago.
“Burnett asked Heafner if he would make sure that people would someday KNOW ABOUT THE FORGOTTEN SLAVES hidden in plain sight next to a road traveled by millions.
Heafner was young then, a businessman and a publisher who knew people in Meadows of Dan and up and down the parkway. Surely, Burnett thought, Heafner could find a way to place a monument or memorial to those people, so that their lives wouldn’t remain buried in the past….Heafner discovered a will that stated James Steptoe Langhorne had at least five slaves and perhaps owned more than 10 at one time. He also found the names of five other African-Americans who were probably buried in the cemetery. Three of them died enslaved, with history having no record of their last names:
Charles (a child who died in 1858),
John (who was 19 when he died in 1858)
and Ellen (a 1-year-old who died in 1862).
The two other people Heafner documented died after the Civil War:
Guss Langhorne (another 1-year-old who died in 1871)
and Susan Langhorne (born a slave, died free in 1871 at age 28). It is unclear why the latter two had the Langhorne name. 19
It took a number of people to finally get results of placing the granite stone where it should have been long ago, including finding the granite company owner who was willing to make the stone.
This grave site was part of a history of the South. The mountain people strongly defend their history. People come far and wide to see the reenactments of the Civil War between the North and the South near Ararat, VA. The important points of this story are that the Blue Ridge people also believe in keeping their promises and doing right by the slaves that are buried in this cemetery regardless of the actions of the people of the past. Throughout our country, especially in the South, there are many people who feel the same way. They definitely should not be condemned for the “sins of the fathers” when they were not born during this terrible time of history.
Who exactly was James Steptoe Langhorne of Meadows of Dan, the land owner where the slave cemetery is located?
“According to family history, Henry let his son James Steptoe Langhorne choose one of the plantations, and after touring them all, James Steptoe, age about 22, looked out over the 13, 000 acre “Langdale” plantation in Meadows of Dan, Virginia, and said it was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen! In fact, he is credited with giving that area its name, Meadows of Dan—located in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, on the Dan River. He chose to settle there, but was blinded by retinitis pigmentosa – an inherited family disease– within just a couple of years—and never actually saw his beloved land again! James Steptoe Langhorne, called “Grandpa Steptoe” by his grandchildren, married Elizabeth Rachel Omohundro and together they had eight children, and adopted at least two more. Of course, on a 13,000-acre plantation in 1822 Virginia, Grandpa Steptoe owned slaves. It doesn’t matter how abhorrent and embarrassing this practice might be to me today, it is a part of our history. ” It was from Patrick County, VA that he built his massive plantation along with the slaves who worked it. He also gave land and built at least two churches. The Meadows of Dan Baptist church is where he and his wife are buried. His father and original family were emigrants from Wales, arriving in 1666. (credit Helen Houlshouser…relative to James Steptoe Langhorne)
If you are traveling the beautiful Blue Ridge, stop in at the little slave cemetery at the corner of the Meadows of Dan exit. Spend a few minutes considering the long-reaching meaning of who is buried there and give a “thank you” to one of the many merchants down the road in Meadows of Dan that helped promote the erection of the slave memorial stone. We especially thank the man who kept his promise, Bob Heafner.
“Slavery was common in Patrick County. According to county historian Tom Perry, as many as 2,000 slaves were part of Patrick County’s 9,000 residents in 1850. The majority of those enslaved people were owned by the prominent Reynolds and Hairston families. The Reynolds were the founders of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Confederate Gen. J.E.B. Stuart’s father owned 28 slaves, according to Perry. Slavery was less prevalent up on the mountain in Meadows of Dan, where five families owned slaves, according to an Appalachian State University research project commissioned by the park service.” 20
Even though time has passed and we live in a new era, those who came out to see the placing of the new marker at the Meadows of Dan, know that it is important to the families of those who may have buried relatives in this grave site. There is a new Database of identities of 3,200 slaves through the historical society of VA that can help people find their descendants. Information can be found beginning with the American colonies in 1619 through unpublished private documents.
The most important thing is to remember the men, women and children who worked the land by force. We must also not forget that African Americans and slaves from other areas were not only those who suffered great injustices. Native Americans endured the Trail of Tears and other horrors. The white settlers who had emigrated from Europe suffered at the hands of the Native Americans and the lawlessness of other Americans. Present day merchants, white and black, suffer when a life-time of work and businesses are destroyed by rioting. We could go on and on.
One may ask, “So where do we go from here? Will people never get over this tragic piece of history?” Because slavery in America may have caused many problems of today, this is a good question. How many generations will be affected by those who did terrible deeds of bringing slaves to America, as well as the off-spring of those who bought and sold them? How many generations will have to find new and better ways to compensate for the sins of the past or is that possible?
The great repentance of a rude, profane Slave Trader, John Newton gave us the beloved song, “Amazing Grace.” In 1748 he wrote “On that day, the Lord sent from on high and delivered me out of deep waters.” Only God’s amazing grace could “Save a Wretch like Me, ” he wrote. 21
The Fathers of our nation and the rich owners of slaves often had children with those they owned. Some of those children have embraced their lineage…become educated, successful and brought honor to generations after their enslaved fore-fathers. Reunions are held by those who can trace their legacy from a white slave owner to their slave mother. Healing is needed in our nation. Maybe owning the past is the answer as the Germans have had to own the Holocaust.
The Sins of the Fathers will only be healed when we find a way to remember that all people are sinners and need the grace of God to combat the past and bring forgiveness to the present. Listen to this promise God has given to all of us.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and WILL HEAL THEIR LAND. 2nd Chronicles 7:14
This morning I ate my breakfast. As usual, I poured my non-fat milk over the beautiful, round blueberries that floated atop my cereal. This has been a habit for some time since I’m told that blueberries are really good for us.
Why talk about breakfast and blueberries? The reason is that we give little thought about these great fruits that are readily available to us in the grocery stores or the people who picked them. Aside from the hefty price on some of these “little darlings,” they are usually readily available most of the year. This may not be so true in the future…as some vegetables and fruits have been rotting in the fields. Why? The workforce is declining…as with other things in industry. (My doctor told me the other day that he is having a hard time getting inserts for his foot patients. No, shoe inserts have nothing to do with blueberries…but the labor force does.)
After I listened to an aspiring medical student, Gianna Ninno, who has picked blueberries since she was a young child with her family, I thought it was time to write something about these “heroes” of the marketplace. They are usually minority…both American and from other places.
Her statement, “The people who pick the berries can’t actually afford to buy them in the stores.” This puts a new slant on the farm workers that make it possible for me to enjoy my blueberries each morning. All I can say is “THANK YOU!”
I thank them for their labor, but also the fact that they are willing to put their lives on the line to do the job. During the virus epidemic, it was revealed that many of the farm and factory workers were showing growing numbers of contacting the COVID-19. This was especially true in the meat packing houses.
When we lived part of the year in Virginia, USA, I noticed that most of the workers there were not Americans, but immigrants that get short term visas to be part of our labor force. They lived in the small accommodations provided by the farm owner and rode to work in crowded vans. This, of course, was an invitation for sickness. Now, that travel bans have occurred, it is questionable if they will be able to help Americans with their harvest. We worried about paper goods during the first days of the Pandemic, but the foods we eat may be the next shortage. It might be wise to start a garden in your backyard, if you have the room.
Whatever money the farm workers make usually is wired home to their families in various countries. When the picking season is over, the farm owners fly them back home until the next season. It was explained to us that all of the paperwork was done correctly with the government. They are issued short-term work visas. These workers are appreciated because they are very hard workers.
The immigrants don’t receive welfare benefits from our government. Some of our own citizens are obviously unwilling to do the back-breaking work that these people are eager to do in order to take care of themselves and their families. Unfortunately, to their health and welfare, there has been a cost. We hope that they will be able to return as long as they are here legally and the farmers can afford them.
The laborers of the fields need the honor and wages due them. What does the Holy Scripture tells us about this?
“You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your brothers or one of the sojourners who are in your land within your towns. You shall give him his wages on the same day, before the sun sets (for he is poor and counts on it), lest he cry against you to the Lord, and you be guilty of sin. Deuteronomy 24:14-15
The video that you are about to see was made by a young woman who wanted everyone to know that many of our American, minority farm workers have a similar plight to those who come from out of the country. She is trying hard to earn extra money in order to finish her medical school education by doing the work that many others avoid. I will let her give you her story in this short video.
As for me, I will continue to enjoy my blueberries each morning as long as they are available. I now appreciate even more their beautiful, round, blue shape and their wonderful taste because I understand better that there are special human beings willing to work extremely hard to get them to me.
I bet you won’t think of a blueberry the same.
Click the link. (from ABC News If you are trying to watch on a phone, unfortunately, her video may not come up after the ad…which by the way, I’m not endorsing. Sorry if this happens…watch on your computer if possible.)
In this year of 2020, during our time of virus difficulty, riotous outbreaks against law and order, the U.S. Attorney General, William P. Barr, agreed to come before a governmental committee for questioning on various topics. From the airing of the TV portion of this process, some on the committee tried very hard to verbally “throw him under the bus.” From his opening statement, it was obvious that Barr was aware of their motives.
In case you have any interest in what Mr. Barr had to say, I am including his address to the committee in this post.
In his opening statement and before questions were addressed to him, he tries to address the importance of laws and order for all citizens of our country. Unfortunately, some of the members of the committee used their time to make speeches before asking a question, leaving little time for any meaningful dialog.
At various times, the answers to the questions just asked, were rudely interrupted by the person asking. Maybe this is why England’s Parliament just simply YELL at each other. It was not much different here with all the bias ranting that made it difficult to get to the point. Even though they had asked him to come and answer questions, he was hardly allowed to talk. As things continued to get worse, Barr asked the chairman of the committee if he could “take a 5 minute break.” Jerry Nadler, representative of the N.Y congressional district said, “No.” After a little debate about common courtesy, it was finally granted.
Most people that said they had watched all of it were greatly disgusted and felt that there was nothing productive at all. Why did the committee ask him to speak in the first place? You probably know the answer to that question…to discredit him. If their interruptions were in order to NOT ALLOW him to give answers…nor to allow him to convince the American people, before the coming election, that Barr was doing his job without being controlled by anyone, the committee was successful….successful only in acting like bullies and showing their inability to conduct such an investigation with dignity.
Why am I including this written document by Attorney General Barr?
It is simple. I would like you to know what he actually said about all of our concerns here in the country most of us love.
If you, the reader, did not hear Barr’s full opening statement or any of his answers to the questions, but only looked at excerpts from national news media… you will only hear a one-sided view with exaggerations and distortions. All Americans and anyone in other countries, who read his statement given below, will know exactly what Mr. Barr had to say. To help you, I have highlighted some of the topics that he is discussing.
Written Statement of William P. Barr, Attorney General
Chairman Nadler, Ranking Member Jordan, Members of the Committee, I am pleased to be here this morning. I accepted an invitation to testify before this Committee in late March, but it was postponed as a result of the pandemic that continues to pose challenges to us all. I know some other hearings this week have been postponed to honor your late colleague, Congressman
John Lewis of Georgia. On behalf of the Department of Justice, I want to pay my respects to Congressman Lewis, an indomitable champion of civil rights and the rule of law. I think it is especially important to remember today that he pursued his cause passionately and successfully with an unwavering commitment to nonviolence.
We are in a time when the political discourse in Washington often reflects the politically divided nation in which we live, and too often drives that divide even deeper.
Political rhetoric is inherent in our democratic system, and politics is to be expected by politicians, especially in an election year. While that may be appropriate here on Capitol Hill or on cable news, it is not acceptable at the Department of Justice. At the Department, decisions must be made with no regard to political pressure—pressure from either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, or from the media or mobs.
Ever since I made it clear that I was going to do everything I could to get to the bottom of the grave abuses involved in the bogus “Russiagate” scandal, many of the Democrats on this Committee have attempted to discredit me by conjuring up a narrative that I am simply the President’s factotum who disposes of criminal cases according to his instructions. Judging from
the letter inviting me to this hearing, that appears to be your agenda today. So let me turn to that first.
As I said in my confirmation hearing, the Attorney General has a unique obligation. He holds in trust the fair and impartial administration of justice. He must ensure that there is one standard of justice that applies to everyone equally and that criminal cases are handled even-handedly, based on the law and the facts, and without regard to political or personal considerations.
I can tell you that I have handled criminal matters that have come to me for decision in this way. The President has not attempted to interfere in these decisions. On the contrary, he has told me from the start that he expects me to exercise my independent judgment to make whatever call I think is right. That is precisely what I have done.
From my experience, the President has played a role properly and traditionally played by Presidents. Like his predecessors, President Trump and his National Security Council have appropriately weighed in on law-enforcement decisions that directly implicate national security or foreign policy, because those decisions necessarily involve considerations that transcend typical prosecutorial factors. Moreover, when some noteworthy event occurs that potentially has legal ramifications – such as leaks of classified information, potential civil rights abuses by police, or illegal price fixing or gouging – the President has occasionally, and appropriately, confirmed that the Department is aware of the matter. But the handling of the matter and my decisions on criminal matters have been left to my independent judgment, based on the law and fact, without any direction or interference from the White House or anyone outside the Department.
Indeed, it is precisely because I feel complete freedom to do what I think is right that induced me serve once again as Attorney General. As you know, I served as Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush. After that, I spent many years in the corporate world. I was almost 70 years old, slipping happily into retirement as I enjoyed my grandchildren. I had nothing
to prove and had no desire to return to government. I had no prior relationship with President Trump.
But as an outsider I became deeply troubled by what I perceived as the increasing use of the criminal justice process as a political weapon and the emergence of two separate standards of justice. The Department had been drawn into the political maelstrom and was being buffeted on all sides. When asked to consider returning, I did so because I revere the Department and believed my independence would allow me to help steer her back to her core mission of applying one standard of justice for everyone and enforcing the law even-handedly, without partisan considerations. Since returning to the Department, I have done precisely that. My decisions on criminal matters before the Department have been my own, and they have been made because I believed they were right under the law and principles of justice. Let me turn briefly to several pressing issues of the day.
The horrible killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis understandably jarred the whole country and forced us to reflect on longstanding issues in our nation. Those issues obviously relate to the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community. Given our history it is understandable that, among black Americans, there is at least some
ambivalence, and often distrust, toward the police.
Until just the last 50 years or so, our laws and institutions were explicitly discriminatory. It was not until the 60’s that the Civil Rights movement finally succeeded in tearing down the Jim Crow edifice. Our laws finally came to formally embody the guarantee of equal protection. Since then, the work of securing civil rights has rightly focused on reforming our institutions to ensure they better conform to our laws and aspirations. That work, it is important to acknowledge, has been increasingly successful.
Police forces today are far more diverse than ever before; there are both more black police chiefs and more black officers in the ranks. Although the death of George Floyd – an unarmed black man – at the hands of the police was a shocking event, the fact is that such events are fortunately quite rare. According to statistics compiled by the Washington Post, the number of unarmed black men killed by police so far this year is 8. The number of unarmed white men killed by police over the same time period is 11. Some unarmed suspects, moreover, were physically attacking officers or threatening others at the time they were shot. And the overall number of police shootings has been decreasing. Nevertheless, every instance of excessive force is unacceptable and must be addressed, as is happening now in Minneapolis.
Apart from their numbers, I think these events strike a deep chord in the black community because they are perceived as manifestation of the deeper, lingering concern that, in encounters with police, blacks will not be treated even-handedly; they will not be given the benefit of the doubt; they will be treated with greater suspicion than a white person would be in the same circumstances.
Senator Tim Scott has recounted the numerous times he has been unjustifiably pulled over on Capitol Hill. As one prominent black professional in Washington said to me, African Americans often feel “treated as suspects first and citizens second.” I think these concerns are legitimate.
At the same time, I think it would be an oversimplification to treat the problem as rooted in some deep-seated racism generally infecting our police departments. It seems far more likely that the problem stems from a complex mix of factors, which can be addressed with focused attention over time. We in law enforcement must be conscious of the concerns and ensure that we do not have two different systems of justice. In a pluralistic society like ours, composed of many races and ethnicities, we all must strive not to reduce each other to stereotypes or to allow those stereotypes to govern our treatment of our fellow citizens. Rather, we have a basic and overriding obligation to treat each other as individuals, created equal and entitled to the benefit of the doubt rather than assumptions based on skin color.
A recommitment to that principle, particularly by those entrusted with the weighty responsibilities of law enforcement, would be a worthy response to George Floyd’s death. It would ensure that good comes out of bad. The Justice Department will honor that commitment. Among other steps, we are implementing the President’s Executive Order, which outlines a number of
measures to propel continued professionalization of the police, including setting clear standards for appropriate use of force.
Unfortunately, some have chosen to respond to George Floyd’s death in a far less productive way – by demonizing the police, promoting slogans like ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards), and making grossly irresponsible proposals to defund the police. The demonization of police is not only unfair and inconsistent with the principle that all people should be treated as individuals, but gravely injurious to our inner city communities.
There is no harder job in America today than being a police officer. When officers respond to an emergency, whether a catastrophe like 9/11 or an everyday crime, they do not set out to protect white people or black people. They risk and sometimes give their lives to protect and serve all people, and all people owe them thanks.
When a community turns on and pillories its own police, officers naturally become more risk averse and crime rates soar. Unfortunately, we are seeing that now in many of our major cities. This is a critical problem that exists apart from disagreements on other issues. The threat to black lives posed by crime on the streets is massively greater than any threat posed by police misconduct. The leading cause of death for young black males is homicide. Every year approximately 7,500 black Americans are victims of homicide, and the vast majority of them –around 90 percent – are killed by other blacks, mainly by gunfire. Each of those lives matter.
And it is not just that crime snuffs out lives. Crime snuffs out opportunity. Children cannot thrive in playgrounds and schools dominated by gangs and drug pushers. Businesses do not locate in unsafe neighborhoods. When the police are attacked, when they are defunded, when they are driven out of urban communities, it is black lives that will suffer most from their absence.
It is for that reason that, in select cities where there has been an upsurge in violent crime, we are stepping up and bolstering the activities of our joint anti-crime task forces, which have been successful in the past. In those cities, we are adding experienced investigators, firearms and ballistics analysts, and experts at apprehending violent fugitives. We are also offering funding to support more police who can be assigned to these anti-crime task forces. To be clear, this initiative has nothing to do with the problem of violent mob rioting that I will discuss in a moment; it is instead designed to help state and local law enforcement to meet their basic responsibility to solve crimes and keep their communities safe.
Finally, I want to address a different breakdown in the rule of law that we have witnessed over the past two months. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, violent rioters and anarchists have hijacked legitimate protests to wreak senseless havoc and destruction on innocent victims. The current situation in Portland is a telling example. Every night for the past two months, a mob of hundreds of rioters has laid siege to the federal courthouse and other nearby federal property. The rioters arrive equipped for a fight, armed with powerful slingshots, tasers, sledgehammers, saws, knives, rifles, and explosive devices. Inside the courthouse are a relatively small number of federal law enforcement personnel charged with a defensive mission: to protect the courthouse, home to Article III federal judges, from being overrun and destroyed.
What unfolds nightly around the courthouse cannot reasonably be called a protest; it is, by any objective measure, an assault on the Government of the United States. In recent nights, rioters have barricaded the front door of the courthouse, pried plywood off the windows with crowbars, and thrown commercial-grade fireworks into the building in an apparent attempt to burn it down with federal personnel inside. The rioters have started fires outside the building, and then systematically attacked federal law enforcement officers who attempt to put them out—for example, by pelting the officers with rocks, frozen water bottles, cans of food, and balloons filled with fecal matter.
A recent video showed a mob enthusiastically beating a Deputy U.S. Marshal who was trying to protect the courthouse – a property of the United States government funded by this Congress – from further destruction. A number of federal officers have been injured, including one severely burned by a mortar-style firework and three who have suffered serious eye injuries and may be permanently blind.
Largely absent from these scenes of destruction are even superficial attempts by the rioters to connect their actions to George Floyd’s death or any legitimate call for reform. Nor could such brazen acts of lawlessness plausibly be justified by a concern that police officers in Minnesota or elsewhere defied the law. Remarkably, the response from many in the media and local elected offices to this organized assault has been to blame the federal government.
To state what should be obvious, peaceful protesters do not throw explosives into federal courthouses, tear down plywood with crowbars, or launch fecal matter at federal officers. Such acts are in fact federal crimes under statutes enacted by this Congress. As elected officials of the federal government, every Member of this Committee –regardless of your political views or your feelings about the Trump Administration – should condemn violence against federal officers and destruction of federal property. So should state and local leaders who have a responsibility to keep their communities safe.
To tacitly condone destruction and anarchy is to abandon the basic rule-of-law principles that should unite us even in a politically divisive time. At the very least, we should all be able to agree that there is no place in this country for armed mobs that seek to establish autonomous zones beyond government control, or tear down statues and monuments that law-abiding communities chose to erect, or to destroy the property and livelihoods of innocent business owners.
The most basic responsibility of government is to ensure the rule of law, so that people can live their lives safely and without fear. The Justice Department will continue working to meet that solemn responsibility. (All words are by the Author, Attorney General William P Barr)
LAW, ORDER and JUSTICE….are words that may not be easily comprehended UNLESS we are all part of the equation. Turn up your sound for a prayer for all of us.
This is a short blog to give you a rest from all the difficulties of life. Listening to and thinking about too much in the news with total negativity can make your mind, not only depressed, but filled with dread and doubt about our lives on planet earth. God has something better for you to think about…HIS LOVE ND HIS CREATION! The music is LOOK AT THE WORLD by the great Christian composer, John Rutter.
FOR YOUR TOTAL ENJOYMENT AND REASSURANCE FROM BOYER WRITES
GOD BLESS YOU!
How hard is it to wear a mask until this Corvid-19 pandemic is under control?
Apparently, very hard for some of the uncaring of the world! Maybe that is a little harsh. Let’s say that not all unmasked people are uncaring, but simply feel healthy, confused over statistics given out by authorities, or haven’t given it too much thought because they feel invincible. They also think the masks are a “pain to wear, especially during the summer in hot weather and difficult to talk through! I agree, but this is not the point. Health, life or death is the point.
People all over the world have designed their own masks. Whether they are effective or not is debatable, but they are definitely creative! At least they are wearing them.
Even the little children of Kenya know there is something that might hurt them and try to construct a mask to ward off this disease. Kindness is needed by so many people. Perhaps someone from the U.S.A or another part of the world could send them a large supply of real masks. (Photo and contact for Lorenz Omondi in Kenya)
Further reasons may vary for not wearing the mask. Some think that they DO NO GOOD. This has not been proven…so the encouragement to wear them has been mainly left up to individual responsibility.
Now, because many people have not been responsible, it is becoming more mandatory to do so. Why be so cocky about doing something so simple? We are fighting an enemy that we can’t see… an invisible virus? Who made any of us ALL-KNOWING and arrogant that we can put ourselves and others in more danger than is necessary? There will be much more that we will know after the virus is gone. Nevertheless, there may be more to come….and then will we debate the mask issue all over again? Give me…and us a break!!!
What then is the reason for not wearing a simple mask during this pandemic?
IT IS SELFISH, DISREGARD FOR LIFE!
It is hard also to imagine that Covid-19 parties among the young is not a prescription for disasters waiting to happen. Also, We might as well stop looking at the figures…for their validity comes and goes depending who is counting. Some places get their reporting figures correct…others don’t. The results of testing are also taking far too long. A person could be negative one day, exposed the next, and positive before the first results even get to them…whatever the findings.
We also might as well stop thinking that we are the ALL-KNOWING when it comes to deciding what is right for the most vulnerable, people around us, our families and ourselves…except to protect them the best we can. For now, wearing the face mask is what we are being ask to do. We are not asked to do some monumental task…just put it on the face and around the ears!
It is not too much to ask all people, old and young, to be more cautious and decide that it is not worth playing Russian Roulette with the lives around us. When this is over, you can ditch the mask and hope to never see it again!!
Ever hear a verse from the song, Russian Roulette?
“As my life flashes before my eyes
I’m wondering will I, ever see another sunrise?
So many won’t get the chance to say goodbye
But it’s too late to think of the value of my life”
( Charles Harmon / Shaffer Smith/ Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group)
The “Value of Life” is extremely important to Christians and many other religions. However, even with some Christians, I think they have not thought through their actions when it comes to being considerate of others. Each person will make the decide if they MASK OR DON’T MASK.
Sometimes governments seem to actually loose their heads over the issue of masks. It was hard to believe that in Oregon there was a mandate that only white people had to wear masks. This was quickly reversed after the outcry. No wonder people put little faith in a great number of elected officials.
A week after issuing an order that required only white people to wear masks, leaders in Lincoln County, Oregon, have reversed the policy because of “ horrifically racist commentary” according to the county’s website. (The News Tribune)
What are some of the thoughts on TO WEAR OR NOT TO WEAR?
The CIDRAP, which is the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, wrote an article adding to the doubt of how effective the masks might be. Since no one really knows at this point, there were requests to remove the article from the website. The reasons were as follows:
(1) We don’t truly know that cloth masks (face coverings) are not effective, since the data are so limited.
(2) Wearing a cloth mask or face covering is better than doing nothing.
(3) The article is being used by individuals and groups to support non-mask wearing where mandated.
(4) There are now many modeling studies suggesting that cloth masks or face coverings could be effective at flattening the curve and preventing many cases of infection. (Article from U. of Minnesota/ Dr. Brosseau and Dr. Sietsema experts on respiratory protection)
The other day, because of boredom from staying at home, we decided to go a favorite restaurant. Our policy has been about once a week to find a good place that we expect are following good health practices and support these people who are working hard to keep their businesses from going under.
Expecting to see the usual spaced seating, which is required, we were amazed to see that none of the servers or the owners were wearing masks at the place chosen for this week. As we gave our order and were served, the “required distancing” was hard to maintain…but would have been a little more tolerable if they had on their masks. What was the story here?
Later, the restaurant was called and asked their policy on mask wearing. They said they do not wear masks, but do “social distancing.” This, of course, is actually impossible to maintain when leaning over the table to serve the food.” The restaurant employee was told, “The masks are for your protection from the public as well as the public from your employees.”
It would be unfortunate for this restaurant to lose customers because of their policy. Until the virus is under control or they change their policy of “no masks for employees,” we will not be back. It is a guess that others will make the same decision. It is simply the respect for each other…and good business sense in this difficult time.
Maybe that is the word I am looking for….RESPECT.
Recently I read an article about Dr. Michael Saag in Alabama. He is a survivor of the virus that he contacted on a trip out of town. This is what he had to say, in part, about people choosing to disrespectfully NOT WEAR MASKS. Remember, he is speaking from personal experience about the sadness of this disease because he has experienced it.
“For Saag, the fight is personal. In early March, both he and his adult son came down with the virus after a trip to Manhattan when the epidemic was raging there. First came a cough, followed by fever, a headache, body aches and what Saag called “fuzzy thinking,” or an inability to concentrate.
“The mornings I’d feel fine, thought I was done with it. And then every night it would come right back as if it was just starting all over again,” he said. “The hardest part of the night was that feeling of shortness of breath and not knowing if it’s going to get worse.”
During eight suffocating nights, Saag wasn’t sure whether he’d survive without a ventilator. It never came to that. He is now fully recovered and feels closer than ever to the people he treats.
“When I talk to a patient and I say, ‘Hey, I’ve had it too,’ it’s like we’re connected in a way that I really, honestly haven’t felt with patients ever before — and I’ve been doing this 40 years,” Saag said.
Outside the examination room, Saag has participated in news conferences and done media interviews to encourage basic public health practices, but he knows many people just aren’t listening.
He said it is disheartening to see a widespread disregard for safety measures and worries about Alabama’s future at a time when the virus is posing more of a threat than ever.
“I’m just thinking, `Oh, my goodness. We’re going to be in trouble very soon,’” Saag said...
Dr. Michael Saag spends much of his time treating patients fighting for their lives and working with colleagues who are overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentless battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
But he enters a different world when he walks out the door of his Alabama clinic: one where many don’t wear masks, keep their distance from others or even seem aware of the intense struggle being waged against a virus that has cost hundreds of thousands of lives nationwide and made so many — including the doctor — seriously ill. The disconnect is devastating. “It’s a mixture of emotions, from anger to being demoralized to bewilderment to frustration,” Saag said (Article by Jay Reeves with Associated Press)
What Dr. Saag is experiencing in Alabama is true in most states…certainly in mine, which is Florida. The lack of concern by young families and the lack of being an example to their young families, especially the teenagers, is truly amazing…until they experience what Dr. Saag has experienced…or they lose Grandma or Grandpa. The story then becomes personal.
How important are your children and grandchildren to you? After you are older and there is another pandemic, how will they protect you…and their families?
IS IT TOO MUCH TO ASK to simply have a mask in the car for everyone to use for a short while when in public?
WEAR THE MASK! IT WON’T KILL YOU…BUT THE VIRUS MIGHT!
While you are home and enjoying the pleasure of a “mask free” existence, here is a special relaxing video for you to hear and count your blessings. God bless you and be well.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
For your pleasure:
A close friend of mine sent me the writing below and ask that I pass it on. Just before we celebrate the 4th of July, our great Independence Day, I am happy to do so. They are definitely “tough words.”
As we look back at what it cost to free ourselves, as a nation, from England, in order to gain independence….our American flag stands for all the freedoms we enjoy and all that it has cost since then. This includes the freedom of speech…for those who speak out for or against a certain action.
The following are not my words, but I believe they speak the feelings of many Americans who love their sports and the players, but not some of their actions or attitudes. You be the judge.
“TO THE NFL (NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE) and ITS PLAYERS:
If I have brain cancer, I don’t ask my dentist what I should do. If my car has a problem, I don’t seek help from a plumber! Why do you think the public cares what a football player thinks about politics? If we want to know about football, then depending on the information we seek, we might consult with you, but even a quarterback doesn’t seek advice on playing his position from a defensive tackle!
You seem to have this over inflated view of yourselves, thinking because you enjoy working on such a large scale stage, that somehow your opinion about everything matters. The NFL realizes the importance of its “image” so it has rules that specify the clothes and insignia you can wear, the language you use, and your “antics” after a touchdown or other “great” play. But somehow you and your employer don’t seem to care that you disgrace the entire nation and its 320 million people in the eyes of the world by publicly disrespecting this country, its flag, and its anthem! The taxpaying citizens of this country subsidize your plush work environments, yet you choose to use those venues to openly offend those very citizens.
Do you even understand what the flag of this country means to so many of its citizens before you choose to “take a knee” in protest of this “country” during our national anthem?
You may think because you are paid so much that your job is tough, but you are clueless when it comes to tough. Let me show you those whose job is really tough.
You are spoiled babies who stand around and have staff squirt GatorAid in your mouths, sit in front of misting cooling fans when it’s warm, and sit on heated benches when it’s cold. That’s not “tough” that’s pampered.
You think that you deserve to be paid excessively high salaries, because you play a “dangerous” game where you can incur career ending injuries. Let me show you career ending injuries!
You think you that you deserve immediate medical attention and the best medical facilities and doctors when injured. Let me show you what it’s like for those who really need and deserve medical attention.
You think you have the right to disrespect the flag of the United States, the one our veterans fought for, risked limbs and mental stability to defend, in many cases died for. Let me show you what our flag means to them, their families, and their friends.
You believe you are our heroes, when in reality you are nothing but overpaid entertainers, who exist solely for our enjoyment! Well, your current antics are neither entertaining nor enjoyable, but rather a disgrace to this country, its citizens, all our veterans and their families, and the sacrifices they have made to ensure this country remains free. You choose to openly disgrace this country in the eyes of the rest of the world, yet with all your money, still choose to live here rather than in any other country. People with even the slightest amount of “Class” will stand and respect our flag. Where does that put you? You want to see heroes… here are this countries heroes!
You can protest policies, the current government, or anything else you choose, that is your right. But when you “protest” our flag and anthem, you are insulting the nation we all live in and love, and all those who have served, been injured, or died to keep it free. There is nothing you can do or say that can make your actions anything more than the arrogance of classless people, who care about themselves more than our country or the freedoms for which our veterans and their families have sacrificed so much, to ensure you have the “right” to speak freely. Our country is far from perfect, but if you can point to any other country where your freedom and opportunities are better than they are here, then you just might want to go there and show respect for their flag!”
VIDEO “GOD BLESS AMERICA” Turn up sound
What does the word ANARCHIST mean? According to the dictionary, it is “One who uses violent means to overthrow the established order.” (Merriam Webster)
No one I know wants to see the “established order” overthrown. It is horrifying to see businesses burned to the ground when we can only imagine how hard the people worked to finally hang a sign “OPEN” on their doors!
To even consider that people can run loose in our American neighborhoods shooting at little children, as happens in Chicago and some other places, is beyond what the average person can hardly believe is happening. Yet, over 100 people were killed in that city over one night. Call it gang violence or anything else…it is a form of “anarchy” when law and order is allowed by those in charge to disappear and call it a “new normal.” That indicates that we “just have to put up with it.”
Police are now being told by some local governments to “stay out of it.” Some places have designated zones where the police are off bounds. When a man was shot and another was critical, the police tried to go to their aid, but was attacked by the mob and they never reached the victims. In these cases, there is no control at all. No peace-loving person is safe…nor is any child.
Even if there are people who believe that protesting is their right, which it is as long as it is peaceful, those anarchists who use that protest to strike at the very heart of our country should be called out for what they really are.
200 year old, historic, St. John’s Church, known as the “Church of the Presidents,” was damaged as D.C. Firefighters found a fire in the basement of the church. A large fire also burned outside the church. Unfortunately, the people who set these fires call themselves “Protesters,” but in truth once they become violent to property or persons, they have become anarchists. Every president since James Madison has attended a service at St. John’s. It is a historic site to be protected as is any other American piece of history.
Because Boyer Writes is a Christian blog, I most often would not post a video that some would feel is centered on a political position. However, regardless of who my readers think should be the next President of the United States, I believe it is time to speak out about whoever is elected to the highest office in our land, MUST restore law and order. We cannot have domestic terrorism in America any more than we can have the terrorists from other countries.
I think that every American has the privilege to vote for the person whom they believe to be best qualified to not tolerate the anarchists who would destroy our country. Will that person be perfect in all decisions? Of course not.
However, it will be his or her job, Democrat or Republican, to see that our country is safe from this kind of violence. Voting our beliefs is still one of our greatest freedoms. Let’s pray that it will be the right choice in November. Our future lives depend on it!
So why speak out about anarchists through this blog?
I could not sit with hands folded when I saw the anarchists had spray painted on the beautiful Christian cathedral in Washington, D.C. or were tearing down Christian statues.
In San Francisco, at the Golden Gate Park, the statue of the Christian missionary, St. Junipero Serra was torn down. During the 1800’s there were instances of mistreatment of Native Americans, which gave the anarchists their reasoning for tearing down the statue. We should be learning from the history that we abhor, not destroying it.
Archbishop Gomez of LA had this statement about the priest:
“He preached God’s compassion, fought for the dignity of women and the rights of America’s native peoples, and he was probably the first person in the Americas to make a moral case against capital punishment.”
At the risk of being accused of something I don’t intend, I believe it is my duty to share with you, the reader, one of the most precise, well-thought through videos on this subject. As I write or as you watch your TV to the unfolding of events, the anarchists are planning their next move.
You may not agree to all that is said in this video and that is your privilege and mine. Thank God for free speech in America…while we still have it.
VIDEO: Turn up your sound and click this link: (please note, if you are not commercial free …give it a minute to move passed the commercials..as it will soon load.)
Our minds are a controlling factor to our emotions, critical thinking and ultimately…our actions. It has come to my attention recently that we are rarely in control of our minds…even if there are millions of cells making up our every thought. By the very nature of our modern society, we are allowing this. Why is it that we should give over to others to program into us what our minds will retain? Am I saying that we should “stick our heads in the sand?” Not at all. We do, however, have choices.
We are influenced by what we hear and see. Most every household has a TV that is turned on hours upon hours of the day. People who are alone, especially the elderly, use the TV to give them company. Depression can set in rapidly in these cases.
The people who spend much of their time watching and listening much of what is programmed today are allowing themselves to be conditioned into a type of mind control. A steady dose of truths…or lies are being filtered into our brains that are becoming part of our very being.
What was it like before TV?
A city life in past history would be filled with noises, the smell of the deli down the street, a woman hanging out her clothes from a window, as she calls to a neighbor on the street. The loading and unloading of produce or goods for the stores would fill the air with noise. A person would move around these things, filtering out what they wanted to be around or what they wanted to hear. Life could get tough in a crowd, but this would be the learning of “street smarts.”
In the country, a person may get up early to milk the cow. A mother starts making her bread and encouraging a young one to do their chores. Life would surround a person with the clinging of the cow bells, the birds in the trees and the cat or dog that moved around the barn. Life was simple and calm.
When the industrial revolution hit our world, many things changed. People moved out of the country to find good jobs. Life became more complicated and people were on the move. Almost everything became a faster pace. The automobile was invented…and the wife/mother moved from baking bread to the TV dinner. Basically, life would never be the same.
Ships and airplanes moved us around the world. Our sense of security was shattered as enemies became not only domestic, but foreign. Our minds and hearts were broken with two world wars and continued fighting around the globe throughout the decades. Fear had become a mind set…as it continues today.
The mind has a hard time catching up when it is inundated with other people’s beliefs to what we should be and do. The real term is propaganda and we fall for it. We are made to feel less of a person if we disagree with the norm. Our young people “can’t live” without the best kind of shoes or cell phone. God never intended for us to store all these thoughts of inadequacy in this great gift He has given mankind. The mind is an incredible thing. We may feel like we have no control over everyday life that enters its billion cells, but we do have to a great extent.
This may be the primary reason that we will have to make decisions for ourselves. We can CHOOSE to turn off the TV more hours of the day. It may also be a time where we deliberately look for uplifting stories or documentaries that give us encouragement rather than despair. It is really our choice, but we are addicted. Why do I say “addicted?”
Just try to change the routine that you have become accustomed to for year after year. It is hard to make a change, but your mind and emotions may be saved grief, depression and more if you decide to make some changes. I speak from experience.
It is only natural to want to tune in to who has committed the most damage in one of our big cities…how many more cases of virus are killing our people…or what is happening in politics? It all is becoming TOO MUCH! Our minds are tired.
It is only natural also for families to use TV…with all its junk as a babysitter. Just think what those little minds and hearts are absorbing!
A doctor friend told me recently that he tuned in with his toddler to one of the kid’s programs on TV and saw that even tiny children are being indoctrinated about sexual life styles as being just fine. Isn’t a parent suppose to decide what is good for their child? He was shocked…as should be all parents who take the time to pay attention. The young mind is eager to absorb.
So what do we do? We first of all must be deliberate in our decision making for ourselves and our families.
I remember something I noticed while visiting a family one time years ago. There was a teenage son…or perhaps early teens…who was sitting and reading. I asked his mother what he was doing and she said that he was suppose to read a chapter in Holy Scripture each day before doing anything else. At the time, I thought that was a strict requirement. Yet, that parent was giving a young mind a discipline that perhaps he would follow the rest of his life. Whether he understood its importance at the time, may be questionable…but he was exposed to the commands of God for a good and happy life.
God has told us to raise up a child in the way that he/she will go and when they are old, they will not depart from it. (Proverbs 22:6) For those who have tried to do this, we are praying and believing His promise. It may be that we will not know or even see the fulfillment in our lifetime. Yet, we can trust.
What actually does the Holy Scripture tells us about things that we find ourselves thinking about…perhaps over and over? We need comfort today and for the future…and here are a few words from God to give our minds just that:
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6,7
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7
ABOUT GOD’S SPIRIT
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23
He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler. You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day … Psalm 91:1-16
Today….look at nature in God’s beautiful world. See Him in the smile of a friend. Do something you love to do. Give your heart a fresh start in a new day that is only yours moment by moment. Your MIND is your gift from God…PROTECT IT.
Video: Turn up sound. Push red line back to start from beginning.
Most clergy are hesitant to take on those who are in a higher position than themselves. This was not the case with the Great Reformers of the Protestant Reformation. Many of them were burned at the stake for opposing the hierarchy of the church. One of these reformers was Martin Luther.
Recently, a Catholic friend of mine sent to me an amazing video of the sermon given by Fr. James Altman of LaCrosse, WI
It is rare to have a Roman Catholic speak out against the words of an Archbishop.
Yet, this young man may be the one to lead the way among Christian groups, whether Catholic or not, to speak up for right and wrong according to the Holy Scriptures. He uses what we know best…the Ten Commandments to address to his congregation (and now the world) God’s message to this age in which we live.
Whether you are a Catholic, Episcopalian, as I am, a Baptist, Pentecostal or any other denomination of the Christian faith, hear this message from a courageous priest. Perhaps there will be other Christian leaders who will lend their voices to his. As people of this nation and the world, we could use another Great Reforming.
For God did not give us a spirit of cowardice, but rather a spirit of power and of love and of self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7
Turn up your sound and enlarge the screen. (Be certain to push the red line back to the beginning if it is already moved forward.)
We, as Christians, are walking a fine line on what we should or should not believe to be a way of life that is pleasing to God, while maintaining our own beliefs for our children and future generations. In the Holy Scriptures, we are told specifically how to live. It is spelled out in the Ten Commandments and other Biblical texts.
The Early Church told the believers to live a life pleasing to God. There were many cultural taboos that we think nothing of today. Men and women are less restricted in worship, dress etc. We, however, divide ourselves between conservative and liberal even within our congregations…whether Protestant or Catholic. Some faiths find it extremely important to protect and teach their children a way in life that will bring happiness and peaceful contentment.
We have dear friends in many walks of life. Some of them have lifestyles of which we would consider not according to Holy Scripture. However, we believe that how they live and walk before God is their choice. We all have the same choice.
As a retired educator, who was the Principal of a Christian school at one time, I know that all schools have to uphold the law. The recent law passed by the Supreme Court will make it difficult for many Catholic and Protestant Christian schools to maintain what they believe, as they are now required to have a diverse faculty who will teach their students. During the time of hiring, no questions can be asked that would indicate in any way a school was showing discrimination. Most Christians that I know would not question a person about their private life, but a school administration has an obligation to the children’s education and to the parents of the children. I’m certain that “What do we do?” is a big topic of discussion in every Christian school board room.
We have good friends in Virginia who have a wonderful school for their Mennonite congregation. We have visited them many times, even though we were not Mennonite and received a warm welcome. They are very careful with their children…not even allowing TV watching as a principle of their belief. Will they and other Christian schools and universities have to close in order to maintain the principles of their faith and beliefs? What about the many Catholic, Protestant and Jewish/Hebrew Schools or all the private schools of varied faiths? It probably would be without saying that there will be expensive law suits, even if there would be little evidence to prove discrimination. Most small schools do not have excessive amount of funds. The fact is that the average school, with little endowment, do their best to give scholarships to those unable to pay, meet their expenses and have to promote all types of fund-drives. If they believe they have to close because they can no longer proclaim their own specifics of faith, will home-schooling become the only way to maintain the teachings of their belief without breaking the law…. is the question?
Article Credit: To shed further light on the ruling for Christian institutions and others, here is a recent article on the subject written by Elizabeth Dias for the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — For conservative Christian groups, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling protecting the rights of gay and transgender workers was not only the latest sign that they are losing the American culture wars over sexuality. It also caused widespread concern that it could affect how they operate their own institutions.
Many faith-based organizations, like schools or nonprofits, do not allow LGBT people to work there, citing religious beliefs that sex should only be between a man and a woman who are married.
“No question it is going to make it harder to defend our religious freedom, as far as an organization being able to hire people of like mind,” said Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan’s Purse, a large evangelical relief group.
“I find this to be a very sad day,” he said. “I don’t know how this is going to protect us.”
The employment of LGBT workers in religious institutions has been an issue across the country. In recent high-profile cases, teachers at Catholic schools in Washington state and Indiana have said they were forced to leave because of their sexual identity.
In a 6-3 ruling Monday, the Supreme Court determined that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex, also applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers.
The ruling would have “seismic implications” for religious freedom and would potentially set off years of lawsuits for religious organizations, said Russell Moore, president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.
“There’s a common assumption in secular America that as the culture changes that evangelicals and Roman Catholicism and other forms of religion will morph and change along with it,” he said. “I don’t think that is true.”
He added, “Most evangelicals and Catholics and others who hold to a traditional Christian ethic are countercultural.”
The Association of Christian Schools International, which provides services to about 2,700 schools in the United States, is reviewing the implications of the case and reiterated its position that sexual activity must only be between a man and a woman who are married. The group’s president, Larry Taylor, said that “the impact on the hiring policies of religious institutions that teach the biblical view of marriage” and that “uphold a standard of conduct consistent with our faith” is “not yet fully understood.”
For religious conservatives, the ruling was especially pointed because it came from a bench that leans conservative and because Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom they had championed as a hero for other causes like abortion, wrote for the majority. Unlike the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide during the Obama administration, this ruling came from their allies.
In his opinion, Gorsuch recognized the existence of several religious freedom protections, including the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a “ministerial exception” in employment discrimination laws.
But he signaled that Monday’s decision could lead to a fight over the validity over those protections. “How these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases too,” he wrote.
In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito suggested that some existing religious protections could unravel. “The scope of these provisions is disputed, and as interpreted by some lower courts, they provide only narrow protection,” he wrote.
He also said the ruling left open questions about access to restrooms and locker rooms. “For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse,” he wrote, “the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”
Some religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, had filed amicus briefs in two sets of cases that were before the court, arguing that Title VII did not address gender identity. The 1964 law “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”
“I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law,” the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop José H. Gomez, said in a statement. “This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.
“Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature,” he said.
But what conservative religious groups may see as a religious freedom issue, secular and progressive religious groups see as an excuse to discriminate.
The Interfaith Alliance’s policy director, Katy Joseph, called it “a watershed moment for equality,” and the executive director for the American Humanist Association, Roy Speckhardt, said it was a sign that “even with the religious right entrenched in Washington, D.C., progress can still happen.”
Forecasting a coming fight over religious liberty, Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged a unified strategy. “The progressive, inclusive faith and secular communities must come together to make clear that religious freedom is a shield that protects, not a sword that licenses discrimination,” the group’s president, Rachel Laser, said in a statement.
Even as more Americans have embraced the cause of gay rights, sexuality remains one of the most divisive issues in Christian communities. This year a group of leaders in the United Methodist Church, which has roughly 7 million members in the United States, announced a plan to formally split the church because of “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage.
Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council of Bishops for the United Methodist Church, said Monday that she appreciated the Supreme Court’s decision.
“We have faithful followers of Jesus who both stand on very opposite interpretations of LGBTQ issues,” she said. “My hope is that at some point we will look at ways that do honor and respect people for all that God has called them to be and do.”
While you think about these strong beliefs or go about your work, here is some beautiful music for your background pleasure. Turn on your sound.
It is amazing that people who have been greatly blessed with a special gift can continue to use that gift even after they physically find it almost impossible. The determination, courage, and faith that it takes to continue…to press on regardless of the circumstances is inspiring indeed.
One of my favorite pieces of music by Beethoven is the part of the The Piano Sonata No. 14 in C♯ minor “Quasi una fantas,” which we know as the Moonlight Sonata.
It was completed in 1801 and dedicated in 1802 to his pupil, the Countess Giulietta Guicciardi The piece is one of Beethoven’s most popular compositions for the piano, and it was a popular favorite even in his own day. Beethoven wrote the Moonlight Sonata in his early thirties, after he had finished with some commissioned work; there is no evidence that he was commissioned to write this sonata…The name “Moonlight Sonata” comes from remarks made by the German music critic and poet Ludwig Rellstab. In 1832, five years after Beethoven’s death, Rellstab likened the effect of the first movement to that of moonlight shining upon Lake Lucerne. Within ten years, the name “Moonlight Sonata” (“Mondscheinsonate” in German) was being used in German and English publications. Later in the nineteenth century, the sonata was universally known by that name. (Wikipedia)
By the love letter Beethoven wrote to Giulietta, it was obvious that he was in love with her. However, it appears that her father objected to a marriage for the two. Beethoven was not rich enough nor had a position he considered suitable for his daughter. This great piano virtuoso would not have his love, for she eventually married another man.
Beethoven’s love letter to the Countess:
My Angel, My All, My Very Self,
Just a few words to-day, and only in pencil . . . Can our love endure otherwise than through sacrifices, through restraint in longing. Canst thou help not being wholly mine, can I, not being wholly thine. Oh! gaze at nature in all its beauty, and calmly accept the inevitable – love demands everything, and rightly so. Thus is it for me with thee, for thee with me, only thou so easily forgettest, that I must live for myself and for thee – were we wholly united thou wouldst feel this painful fact as little as I should . . .
Now for a quick change from without to within: we shall probably soon see each other, besides, to-day I cannot tell thee what has been passing through my mind during the past few days concerning my life – were our hearts closely united, I should not do things of this kind. My heart is full of the many things I have to say to thee – ah! – there are moments in which I feel that speech is powerless – cheer up – remain my true, my only treasure, my all !!! as I to thee. The gods must send the rest, what for us must be and ought to be.
The young Beethoven and a painting of Beethoven after his illnesses and the loss of his hearing. What could be more devastating than for a composer to not hear what he was playing…Yet, he continued to use the gift God gave him.
“Beethoven died in his apartment in Vienna, on 26 March 1827 at the age of 56, following a prolonged illness. Beethoven’s funeral was held three days later, and the procession was witnessed by a large crowd. He was originally buried in the cemetery at Wahring, although his remains were moved in 1888 to the Vienna Central Cemetery.”
In this short, dramatic movie clip, given in part here, Beethoven could hear nothing of what his genius and gift from God had allowed him to compose. The strings of the orchestra moved, but for Beethoven, where was no sound. The audience heard it, however…and finally, he was given the applause that he could at least see. He finally saw with his eyes their appreciation for his beautiful music.
Turn up sound and click link and then click the back arrow to return for a piano performance of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
PIANO PERFORMANCE OF THE MOONLIGHT SONATA: Arranged by Georgii Cherkin Classic FM Orchestra Conductor: Grigor Palikarov Soloist: Georgii Cherkin – piano
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.)
I’m happy to share with you two of my new books that are now online at Amazon. It has been a time to consider my writing and what type of contribution I can give to those readers who are experiencing these weeks and months of virus sadness and weariness.
First, for all those who have lost loved ones to this dread disease, please know my heart and prayers are with you. To those whose lives have been turned upside down through financial distress or ruin, my prayers are for you each night. My hope is that my books, shown below, will be helpful and inspirational to face life anew.
- The book I decided to write during these troubled times is first for children and parents, who want their children to understand what the world is facing. Getting out my paints, I challenged myself to illustrate and as a retired educator, to remember what my students age 9-12 would understand and enjoy. I decided to use our Golden Retriever, Bella, as the main character.
The book for adults, young adults and even teens is: (links) FAITH DEVOTIONAL BOOK 5 or FAITH and the WORLD-WIDE PANDEMIC. Both books have the same content, but different covers. Take a look and see what you think:
(link) GERMS! OH NO!
During this time of self-isolation, I continue to write, but I also stop to paint when I truly want to relax. My art is nothing like a professional, but I love the freedom it gives to paint whatever is in my mind. Usually it has something to do with God’s nature…a flower, tree, or anything beautiful. As we sail along on this time of testing, we know that life will continue.
Nothing ever stands still…not time, events, or even our own living breath. Each moment we live is different from the last. We will move forward and it will be ours to find the peace God wants us to have. It may be in reading our favorite books, working in the garden, painting or sewing some special thing. We should also make this time to sit down to read God’s Holy Scriptures, an inspiring book or to be consistent in praying. We have the choice of how we will face these times.
One of the things that my husband and I have enjoyed has been the ability to travel. We may not be doing much of this in the time to come, but we remember with fondness some of our favorite trips. Going to Japan ranks very high on the list.
First time I went to Japan was as an educator, invited by the Japanese government. The second time was with my husband who had at one time been to Japan as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. It was great to return together. Being a part of another culture has always intrigued and delighted me. There is so much to learn. Perhaps the thing I come away with from getting to know different parts of the world is how much we are really alike. We work, play, and often make our faith a honored part of living.
I’m sharing with you a video by the artist, Akiane Kramarik, who has an amazing God-given talent. Akiane has taken her art around the world and in doing so, as a young woman has gained insight into the beauty of all people. It is even more true as we know that the whole world is trying to rise above the difficulties of the time. As we have heard many times, we are in this TOGETHER.
On this trip, she talks about visiting Japan and what it meant to her. She stresses that we have a need to SAIL FORWARD…even before she had any knowledge about a world-wide pandemic about to happen. You will notice that the people of Japan are going about their daily business in large groups. Such were the “good old days.” Go with me now on a tour of Japan with Akiane. At the end, she will demonstrate her incredible artistic talent.
This blog post is also presented as a gift to all Mothers around the world and especially those who have found it difficult to see family, whom they love, during the coronavirus…and especially on this MOTHER’S DAY!
In Honor of my Mother, Alta, who died at age 93.
Here I am with Mother when we were both young!
Video: Turn up the sound