N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Things That Need to Change

FINDING HOPE and PURPOSE

Years ago I found a little book with words and pictures drawn by Trina Paulus. She published it in 1972. Why I have hung onto this book for so long is anyone’s guess.

However, in this day of cut throat elections of 2020 and the depressive feelings of being closed in…I think I know why this book has a message.

There are climbers for “being on top” in our world today. We often teach our children that they must push for success rather than finding their true purpose. People follow this philosophy, believing that they will find happiness and contentment in life…even if it is, at times, at the expense of others.

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Grab a rope and hang on…for we are going to make a very high climb as I share some portions of this enchanting book with you. Perhaps we, together, can find a lesson for our own lives.

As we pray for and look for hope for the world, the title of this book is HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS. The Author begins this way:

“Once upon a time a tiny striped caterpillar burst from the egg which had been home for so long. “Hello world,” he said. “It sure is bright out here in the sun.”

So the caterpillar begins to eat the leaves in which he was born. After much eating, he stopped and wondered if there was more to life than just eating. Climbing down the tree, he decided to look around and see more of the world. He found grass, dirt and bugs that he had never known about. Eventually, he saw a long line of other crawling caterpillars, all heading in the same direction. They were all heading to a large pile of more caterpillars pushing and shoving.

The caterpillar in this story is named Stripe. Stripe was”pushed, kicked and stepped on from every direction. It was climb or be climbed upon. No more “fellow caterpillars” on Stripe’s pile…they became only threats and obstacles which he turned into steps and opportunities.”

As they tried to climb to the top, Stripe finally asked a fellow-climber, “What’s at the top?”

Nobody seemed to know, but Stripe had a conscience because he said, “How can I step on someone I’ve just talked to?”

He also found, along the way, a beautiful caterpillar named Yellow. She talked with Stripe, but he lost track of her until one day when he stepped directly on her head. It was then that Stripe began to believe that climbing on top of other caterpillars hour after hour was an unhappy experience. To try to reach some mysterious place made him say, “…no matter what is up there, it isn’t worth it!” After telling Yellow he was sorry, he saw Yellow begin to cry.

She said, “I didn’t know how badly I felt about this life until then. Now when you look at me so kindly, I know for sure I don’t like this life. I just want to do something like crawl with you and nibble grass. This was how much she liked Stripe.

Stripe said, “I would like that too.” They had found not only another way to live, but to love and made a decision to give up this monumental climb to the top.

As with many decisions, doubts set in and Stripe decided to leave Yellow and try the climb once more. During the pushing and shoving, he saw a climber falling back down from the top. He barely made out the words being said, “…butterflies alone!” He didn’t know what this meant. Meanwhile, Yellow came each day to the high pile of climbers and watched to see if she would see Stripe…to no avail.

One day, Yellow saw a grey-haired caterpillar hanging on a branch upside down. Asking if she could help, the caterpillar replied, “Oh no, my dear, I have to do this to become a butterfly.”

Doing a little research, Yellow found out that a butterfly drinks the nectar from the flowers and carries the seeds of LOVE from one flower to another. She learned that “without butterflies, the world would soon have few flowers.”

To think that inside herself, as a fuzzy caterpillar, there was a change going to happen. She could be eventually a flying, beautiful butterfly! This was hard to understand.

She longed to tell Stripe that she had found that she could have a completely new life. However, she didn’t know where he might be on the pile of caterpillars. She was told that once she had her new life, she could fly and find him…giving him the good news. It would take time.

Finding new patience and purpose, she continued to give attention to all that she had to do in order to make this wonderful new life a reality.

Stripe, in the mean time, has become ruthless in his climb. He stepped on those around him and said, “Don’t blame me if you don’t succeed! It’s a tough life….”

Then one day as he neared the top of the pile, Stripe heard something more than ruthless from one of his climbing-mates,

“None of us can get any higher without getting rid of them.”

The bodies of caterpillars that were in the way began to fall as others pushed them off the pile.

One caterpillar yelled, “THERE IS NOTHING HERE AT ALL!”

Another yelled, “QUIET, FOOL! THEY’LL HEAR YOU DOWN THE PILE. WE’RE WHERE THEY WANT TO GET. THAT’S WHAT’S HERE!

Stripe could see that those who knew the truth wanted to keep others from knowing that all their climbing would led them to nothing.

Just at that moment, a beautiful yellow butterfly was circling the pile of caterpillars. There was something about her that look familiar. Stripe knew immediately what he had to do…as he began his long climb DOWN, looking into the eyes of each climbing caterpillar.

“There’s nothing there.” he warned them.

He had never noticed before that each one had something beautiful and different in their eyes. He let them know that to get to the top, one had to fly, which they could each one do if they only knew and waited for their potential. There was something inside that could give them freedom and peace. THEY COULD BE THE HOPE FOR THE FLOWERS.

Stripe and Yellow Together again!

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When we find our purposes as individuals…and as a country….we might also bring hope to the world.

(With respect for the Author, Trina Paulus, and her words/drawings, I will share the Amazon website below, in case you want to read the entire book.


WORK FORCE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo/Megan Farmer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


A History of Pandemics

All of us understand that we are in the midst of a world-wide pandemic, which has caused great grief around the world.  Yet, we might not be familiar with the other Pandemics that have been endured throughout history.

In every pandemic, the world, with great loss of life, has moved through them.  In all their horror, people come out on the other side to live again.  We will live again…perhaps not exactly as before…but life will go on.  They WILL find it.We also may want to educate ourselves on other times in history that sickness and disease have ravished the earth.  it (The following information is taken from MPH Online, which is an independent online resource for public health information.)

  • ANTONINE PLAGUE (165 AD)

Death Toll: 5 million
Cause: Unknown
Also known as the Plague of Galen, the Antonine Plague was an ancient pandemic that affected Asia Minor, Egypt, Greece, and Italy and is thought to have been either Smallpox or Measles, though the true cause is still unknown. This unknown disease was brought back to Rome by soldiers returning from Mesopotamia around 165AD; unknowingly, they had spread a disease which would end up killing over 5 million people and decimating the Roman army.

painting-of-antonine-plague

Painting of the Antonine Plague in Rome

  • Plague of Justinian (541-542)

Death Toll: 25 million
Cause: Bubonic Plague
Thought to have killed perhaps half the population of Europe, the Plague of Justinian was an outbreak of the bubonic plague that afflicted the Byzantine Empire and Mediterranean port cities, killing up to 25 million people in its year long reign of terror. Generally regarded as the first recorded incident of the Bubonic Plague, the Plague of Justinian left its mark on the world, killing up to a quarter of the population of the Eastern Mediterranean and devastating the city of Constantinople, where at its height it was killing an estimated 5,000 people per day and eventually resulting in the deaths of 40% of the city’s population.

Justinian Plague

Painting depicting the Justinian Plague

  • The Black Death (1346-1353)

Death Toll: 75 – 200 million
Cause: Bubonic Plague
From 1346 to 1353 an outbreak of the Plague ravaged Europe, Africa, and Asia, with an estimated death toll between 75 and 200 million people. Thought to have originated in Asia, the Plague most likely jumped continents via the fleas living on the rats that so frequently lived aboard merchant ships. Ports being major urban centers at the time, were the perfect breeding ground for the rats and fleas, and thus the insidious bacterium flourished, devastating three continents in its wake.flea

  • Third Cholera Pandemic (1852-1860)

Death Toll: 1 million
Cause: Cholera
Generally considered the most deadly of the seven cholera pandemics, the third major outbreak of Cholera in the 19th century lasted from 1852 to 1860. Like the first and second pandemics, the Third Cholera Pandemic originated in India, spreading from the Ganges River Delta before tearing through Asia, Europe, North America and Africa and ending the lives of over a million people. British physician John Snow, while working in a poor area of London, tracked cases of cholera and eventually succeeded in identifying contaminated water as the means of transmission for the disease. Unfortunately the same year as his discovery (1854) went down as the worst year of the pandemic, in which 23,000 people died in Great Britain.

  •  FLU PANDEMIC (1889-1890)

Death Toll: 1 million
Cause: Influenza
Originally the “Asiatic Flu” or “Russian Flu” as it was called, this strain was thought to be an outbreak of the Influenza A virus subtype H2N2, though recent discoveries have instead found the cause to be the Influenza A virus subtype H3N8. The first cases were observed in May 1889 in three separate and distant locations, Bukhara in Central Asia (Turkestan), Athabasca in northwestern Canada, and Greenland. Rapid population growth of the 19th century, specifically in urban areas, only helped the flu spread, and before long the outbreak had spread across the globe. Though it was the first true epidemic in the era of bacteriology and much was learned from it. In the end, the 1889-1890 Flu Pandemic claimed the lives of over a million individuals.

  • Sixth cholera pandemic (1910-1911)

Death Toll: 800,000+
Cause: Cholera
Like its five previous incarnations, the Sixth Cholera Pandemic originated in India where it killed over 800,000, before spreading to the Middle East, North Africa, Eastern Europe and Russia. The Sixth Cholera Pandemic was also the source of the last American outbreak of Cholera (1910–1911). American health authorities, having learned from the past, quickly sought to isolate the infected, and in the end only 11 deaths occurred in the U.S. By 1923 Cholera cases had been cut down dramatically, although it was still a constant in India.cholera

1911 cholera

1911 Cholera Pandemic

 

Map. Cholera spread during the seventh pandemic.

  • FLU PANDEMIC (1918)

Death Toll: 20 -50 million
Cause: Influenza
Between 1918 and 1920 a disturbingly deadly outbreak of influenza tore across the globe, infecting over a third of the world’s population and ending the lives of 20 – 50 million people. Of the 500 million people infected in the 1918 pandemic, the mortality rate was estimated at 10% to 20%, with up to 25 million deaths in the first 25 weeks alone. What separated the 1918 flu pandemic from other influenza outbreaks was the victims; where influenza had always previously only killed juveniles and the elderly or already weakened patients, it had begun striking down hardy and completely healthy young adults, while leaving children and those with weaker immune systems still alive.

1918 flu in Kansas

FLU PANDEMIC 1918 in Kansas

  • ASIAN FLU (1956-1958)

Death Toll: 2 million
Cause: Influenza
Asian Flu was a pandemic outbreak of Influenza A of the H2N2 subtype, that originated in China in 1956 and lasted until 1958. In its two-year spree, Asian Flu traveled from the Chinese province of Guizhou to Singapore, Hong Kong, and the United States. Estimates for the death toll of the Asian Flu vary depending on the source, but the World Health Organization places the final tally at approximately 2 million deaths, 69,800 of those in the US alone.

Red Guard in China 1967 flu

Red Guard in China wear masks during 1967 Influenza

  • FLU PANDEMIC (1968)

Death Toll: 1 million
Cause: Influenza
A category 2 Flu pandemic sometimes referred to as “the Hong Kong Flu,” the 1968 flu pandemic was caused by the H3N2 strain of the Influenza A virus, a genetic offshoot of the H2N2 subtype. From the first reported case on July 13, 1968 in Hong Kong, it took only 17 days before outbreaks of the virus were reported in Singapore and Vietnam, and within three months had spread to The Philippines, India, Australia, Europe, and the United States. While the 1968 pandemic had a comparatively low mortality rate (.5%) it still resulted in the deaths of more than a million people, including 500,000 residents of Hong Kong, approximately 15% of its population at the time.

  • SARS Coronavirus (2003)

    An acronym for severe acute respiratory syndrome, the SARS coronavirus is a viral respiratory disease that caused 774 deaths across 17 countries, the majority of which were in mainland China and Hong Kong.

    The outbreak occurred in Guangdong, China, in late 2002, but the Chinese government tried to cover it up by discouraging press coverage, delaying reporting of the outbreak to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and reporting false numbers—all of which resulted in international criticism. As a result, neighboring nations did not get sufficient warning to prepare for a possible health crisis.

    At the end of January, a fishmonger checked into the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hospital in Guangdong, where he infected 30 medical staff. From there, the virus spread to nearby hospitals. A doctor named Liu from the hospital in Guangdong then traveled to Hong Kong in February; he proved to be the super-spreader who would go on to infect much of the city. Apart from seeing various family members, he also stayed in the Metropol Hotel. 23 other guests of the hotel developed SARS, while Liu’s brother-in-law eventually died of the disease. Liu checked himself into the Kwong Wah Hospital and later died in the Intensive Care Unit.

    A large proportion of those infected were either medical staff or family members of those who were ill. Reportedly, at least 99 medical staff were infected while treating a single patient who had visited a guest at the Metropole Hotel. A global health alert was issued by WHO about the new infectious disease in March 2003.

    The following months were a dark period for Hongkongers. Schools were all cancelled indefinitely, the streets were largely empty, and people could only watch as infected numbers increased daily. Among the residential estates, Amoy Gardens was hit particularly heavily: in just Block E of the estate there was an outbreak of over 200 cases. Residents were transferred to quarantine camps, and it was later found that the virus spread through droplets from the drainage pipes because the apartments shared a sewage system.

    The symptoms of SARS are similar to flu and may include fever, muscle pain, lethargy, cough, and sore throat. The only common symptom that all patients had was running a fever above 38 degrees Celsius. Its average incubation period is four to six days, and patients are most infectious during the second week of illness, so if detection was early and the carrier was quarantined by day five of their illness they rarely infected others.

    It wasn’t until June that Hong Kong was removed from WHO’s list of affected areas. There is still no vaccine for SARS; clinical isolation and maintaining personal hygiene remains the most effective means to stop it spreading.   (from History.com)

 

pandemics-hong-kong-sars-2003

SARS pandemic 2003 Hong Kong

  • HIV/AIDS PANDEMIC (AT ITS PEAK, 2005-2012)

Death Toll: 36 million
Cause: HIV/AIDS
First identified in Democratic Republic of the Congo in 1976, HIV/AIDS has truly proven itself as a global pandemic, killing more than 36 million people since 1981. Currently there are between 31 and 35 million people living with HIV, the vast majority of those are in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 5% of the population is infected, roughly 21 million people. As awareness has grown, new treatments have been developed that make HIV far more manageable, and many of those infected go on to lead productive lives. Between 2005 and 2012 the annual global deaths from HIV/AIDS dropped from 2.2 million to 1.6 million.

HIV AIDS PANDEMIC timeline quilt

HIV AIDS PANDEMIC “TIMELINE QUILT”

 

HongKong wholesale market H7N9 bird flu virus 2013

Bird Flu N7N9 2013 Hong Kong Wholesale Market destroy bird carriers.

  • COVID-19 ( CORONAVIRUS)

Beginning in December 2019, in the region of Wuhan, China, a new (“novel”) coronavirus began appearing in human beings. It has been named Covid-19, a shortened form of “coronavirus disease of 2019.” This new virus spreads incredibly quickly between people, due to its newness – no one on earth has an immunity to Covid-19, because no one had Covid-19 until 2019. While it was initially seen to be an epidemic in China, the virus spread worldwide within months. The WHO declared Covid-19 a pandemic in March, and by the end of that month, the world saw more than a half-million people infected and nearly 30,000 deaths. The infection rate in the US and other nations was still spiking.

With the coronavirus pandemic, people all over the world have become more aware of the best practices during a pandemic, from careful hand-washing to social distancing. Countries across the world declared mandatory stay-at-home measures, closing schools, businesses, and public places. Dozens of companies and many more independent researchers began working on tests, treatments, and vaccines. The push for the human race to survive the pandemic became the primary concern in the world.

The outcome of the Covid-19 pandemic is impossible to predict, at the time of this writing. But we can learn from pandemics in history to determine our best courses. These are our teachers – the Spanish flu, the AIDS pandemic, and more.”

Hospital worker in US

Heroic hospital workers in the U.S. and world-wide

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Every pandemic originated somewhere. The lack of scientific knowledge and communication problems contributed to the wide-spread of the diseases around the world in our past history.  Perhaps we will never know the complete truth about how the Coronavirus of 2020 started. With all our technology, there should have been only moments before we, on the other side of the world, should have known and been told.  Fingers will be pointed and the truth or lack of it will most likely be denied.

However, It can not be stressed enough that in our century the responsibility  ALL COUNTRIES have when a serious health problem arises, to quickly warn the world! No knowledge must be withheld if we are to save lives and be victorious over the next pandemic…and there will be a “next one.” 

I have chosen to include this VIDEO  from the EPOCH TIMES,  “Documentary: Tracking Down the Origin of the Wuhan Coronavirus”   by the seasoned, investigative reporter, Joshua Philipp. Because of the controversy about the actual origin of the pandemic in China, it is worth listening to those who have information not available to the general public. You can choose for yourself if it has merit.

All countries have a need to protect their citizens.  Give yourself an hour to concentrate on the words spoken here by members of the scientific community, intelligence officers and ask God to show you the truth for your future and that of the world.  Pray for the Leaders in all countries who shoulder a great burden for all of us. 

Turn up your sound.


75 Years Since Liberation…Are we turning our backs?

The survivors of the concentration camp, Auschwitz, were liberated by the Soviet Army on January 27, 1945. What they found shocked the world and yet, even today, the Jews of the world are still being persecuted. Why?  The horror of these and many other photographs only tell part of the story.  Does the world want to endure such atrocities again?

It is difficult to look at this picture, but it is included in this particular blog because we must NEVER FORGET the tragedy forced upon the millions of Jews and non-Jews during this period.

A Liberator Remembers:

MOSCOW (AFP) — It was the silence, the smell of ashes and the boundless surrounding expanse that struck Soviet soldier Ivan Martynushkin when his unit arrived in January 1945 to liberate the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz.

As they entered the camp for the first time, the full horror of the Nazis’ crimes there were yet to emerge.

“Only the highest-ranking officers of the General Staff had perhaps heard of the camp,” recalled Martynushkin of his arrival to the site where at least 1.1 million people were killed between 1940 and 1945 — nearly 90 percent of them Jews. “We knew nothing.” But Martynushkin and his comrades soon learned.

After scouring the camp in search of a potential Nazi ambush, Martynushkin and his fellow soldiers “noticed people behind barbed wire. ‘It was hard to watch them. I remember their faces, especially their eyes which betrayed their ordeal,’ he said. The unit found roughly 7,000 prisoners left behind in Auschwitz by fleeing Nazis — those too weak or sick to walk. They also discovered about 600 corpses. Ten days earlier, the Nazis had evacuated 58,000 Auschwitz inmates in sub-zero conditions over hundreds of kilometers towards Loslau (now Wodzislaw Slaski in Poland). Survivors later remembered the “death march” as even worse than what they had endured in the camp. 

Prior to that retreat, Nazi units had blown up parts of the camp, but failed to destroy evidence of their genocidal work. Among items discovered by Martynushkin and other Soviet troops were 370,000 men’s suits, 837,000 women’s garments, and 7.7 tons of human hair, according to Sybille Steinbacher, a history professor at the University of Vienna.

January 27, 1945 — now commemorated as International Holocaust Remembrance Day — had begun as a normal day for the 21-year-old Martynushkin and his company, until the order was given to move towards the Polish town of Oswiecim, where Nazis had set up a network of concentration camps.

That led to the machine gun commander and his peers taking Auschwitz, liberating its survivors and discovering the nightmarish crimes that had been committed in the camp.  (Moscow AFP)

OSWIECIM, Poland (AP) — On Jan. 27, 1945, the Soviet Red Army liberated the Auschwitz death camp in German-occupied Poland. The Germans had already fled westward, leaving behind the bodies of prisoners who had been shot and thousands of sick and starving survivors. The Soviet troops also found gas chambers and crematoria that the Germans had blown up before fleeing in an attempt to hide evidence of their mass killings. But the genocide was too massive to hide. Today, the site of Auschwitz-Birkenau endures as the leading symbol of the terror of the Holocaust. Its iconic status is such that every year it registers a record number of visitors — 2.3 million last year alone.

Auschwitz today is many things at once: an emblem of evil, a site of historical remembrance and a vast cemetery. It is a place where Jews make pilgrimages to pay tribute to ancestors whose ashes and bones remain part of the earth.

AP Pictures of Auschwitz 75 years later: 

Pictures show places where prisoners were crowded into tight spaces, wired prison and crematorium where they were gassed and burned.

Has the world not learned the lessons of history? Is it repeating history by “turning it’s back” on the Jews or any other group of people enduring hate and torment?” If so, this is a warning that should not be ignored. Charges have been made that modern-day Iran is the “most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.”

“Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Holocaust survivors and world leaders that the world turned its back on Jews during the Holocaust, teaching the Jewish people that under threat they can only rely on themselves.

Speaking at the World Holocaust Forum’s memorial to commemorate the 75th liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp at Yad Vashem, Netanyahu said the world was similarly failing to unify against Iran, which he charged was the most anti-Semitic regime on the planet.

‘Israel is eternally grateful for the sacrifice made by the Allies. Without that sacrifice, there would be no survivors today. But we also remember that some 80 years ago, when the Jewish people faced annihilation, the world turned its back on us,’ Netanyahu said.”   (article by Raoul Wootliff and Toi Staff Jan.2020)

Over and over, we hear “NEVER AGAIN”…Yet in one form or another, genocide is part of many cultures and places around the world. We must not forget…and we must not turn our backs on any place where the people are helpless victims to the evils of their leaders.

“It was my privilege to take American high school students to Auschwitz and because we went to see this place of evil, their lives will never be the same…and neither is mine.”  N. Boyer of Boyer Writes

VIDEO OF THE 75th YEAR SINCE LIBERATION OF AUSCHWITZ from the location at AUSCHWITZ in Poland

(This video is full length. It is worth watching even if it can only be watched in short intervals.)  Turn up sound:


THE MISSING…just CALL

This is the age of electronics and social media that covers the world.  We can look for someone through this medium that was never available in the past.  Because of this and the hundreds of people who read my blog from around the world, I am dedicating this post to the parents and friends who have a missing loved one.

son leaving

Maybe a person has vanished because of foul play or maybe he or she left of their own accord, which those of us who have experienced this know well the sadness that separation brings.  Yet, people make their decisions and we all live with the results.

We pray for these brave parents of the Missing People’s Choir of England that they will be reunited with their missing loved ones.  They have been left with memories only and the constant words in their hearts and minds, “I Miss You!”  They are still hoping and praying that the doorbell will ring and you…the missing, will be standing there.  If you are one of these people on the screen above the performers, JUST CALL.  That is all they wish for…to know that you are safe and alive.

girl leaving

Go to a phone.  Call your Mom or Dad.   They only want you to know that you have always been loved and are greatly missed.  The past is the past and there is a future.

woman-phone-booth-italy

Whether it has been a day or so…or years…just CALL.

scared

The video below is of a group of people in Great Britain who bonded together to sing and share their sorrow and sadness because each one has a missing loved one.   It appears as a musical event of talent, but their purpose is clear…maybe, just maybe someone will see the program or this blog and will make a decision to go home to those who care.

Look carefully at the pictures and names put on the screen behind the singers.  Do you know this person?  Is this person…you?   Are any of these people your parents?   Pass on this blog to friends who can also pass it on.  It may bring someone home.

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(If you don’t have access to a home number, there are numbers to call for help:  In the U.S.:  Any age or if a missing person is a child, call 911, or call the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children: 800-THE-LOST (800-843-5678). There is NO online filing—all reports must be made on the phone or in person.          In the UK:  free, confidential and available 24/7.  Call or text 116 000   Email 116000@missingpeople.org.uk.

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Video   Turn up the sound


Is the NEWS harming your mind?

The following article was written by Rolf Dubelli several years ago.  At that time he had stopped watching or listening to the news about four years.  He had a number of good things for us to think about and that is why I am passing it on today.  I think the one reason I began thinking about it was when one of my neighbors said that the news was so bad that if she could “leave this country” she would do so.   I thought to myself at the time….”just where would she go?”   The news is bad all around the world.  She did have a good idea though…that maybe she would turn off the TV channels and just listen to “easy listening music.”

Anyway, this is what Mr. Dubelli had to say.  You may decide he is right…or disconnected somehow.  In any case, it seems to have made him happier.  Perhaps it is worth a try.  If the world should blow up while you are “out of touch”, I’m sure someone will let you know.

Rolfdobelli

Rolf Dobelli (born July 15, 1966 in Luzern,  Switzerland) is a Swiss author and businessman. He is best known internationally for his bestselling non-fiction The Art of Thinking Clearly He obtained an MBA in 1991 from the University of St. Gallen and a PhD in economic philosophy in 1995. (Wikipedia)

Article by Rolf Dubelli

“In the past few decades, the fortunate among us have recognized the hazards of living with an overabundance of food (obesity, diabetes) and have started to change our diets. But most of us do not yet understand that news is to the mind what sugar is to the body. News is easy to digest. The media feeds us small bites of trivial matter, tidbits that don’t really concern our lives and don’t require thinking. That’s why we experience almost no saturation. Unlike reading books and long magazine articles (which require thinking), we can swallow limitless quantities of news flashes, which are bright-colored candies for the mind. Today, we have reached the same point in relation to information that we faced 20 years ago in regard to food. We are beginning to recognize how toxic news can be.

  • News misleads. Take the following event (borrowed from Nassim Taleb). A car drives over a bridge, and the bridge collapses. What does the news media focus on? The car. The person in the car. Where he came from. Where he planned to go. How he experienced the crash (if he survived). But that is all irrelevant. What’s relevant? The structural stability of the bridge. That’s the underlying risk that has been lurking and could lurk in other bridges. But the car is flashy, it’s dramatic, it’s a person (non-abstract), and it’s news that’s cheap to produce. News leads us to walk around with the completely wrong risk map in our heads. So terrorism is over-rated. Chronic stress is under-rated. The collapse of Lehman Brothers is overrated. Fiscal irresponsibility is under-rated. Astronauts are over-rated. Nurses are under-rated. We are not rational enough to be exposed to the press. Watching an airplane crash on television is going to change your attitude toward that risk, regardless of its real probability. If you think you can compensate with the strength of your own inner contemplation, you are wrong. Bankers and economists – who have powerful incentives to compensate for news-borne hazards – have shown that they cannot. The only solution: cut yourself off from news consumption entirely.

 

  • News is toxic to your body. It constantly triggers the limbic system. Panicky stories spur the release of cascades of glucocorticoid (cortisol). This deregulates your immune system and inhibits the release of growth hormones. In other words, your body finds itself in a state of chronic stress. High glucocorticoid levels cause impaired digestion, lack of growth (cell, hair, bone), nervousness and susceptibility to infections. The other potential side-effects include fear, aggression, tunnel-vision and desensitization.

 

  • News increases cognitive errors. News feeds the mother of all cognitive errors: confirmation bias. In the words of Warren Buffett: “What the human being is best at doing is interpreting all new information so that their prior conclusions remain intact.” News exacerbates this flaw. We become prone to overconfidence, take stupid risks and misjudge opportunities. It also exacerbates another cognitive error: the story bias. Our brains crave stories that “make sense” – even if they don’t correspond to reality. Any journalist who writes, “The market moved because of X” or “the company went bankrupt because of Y” is an idiot. I am fed up with this cheap way of “explaining” the world.
  • News inhibits thinking. Thinking requires concentration. Concentration requires uninterrupted time. News pieces are specifically engineered to interrupt you. They are like viruses that steal attention for their own purposes. News makes us shallow thinkers. But it’s worse than that. News severely affects memory. There are two types of memory. Long-range memory’s capacity is nearly infinite, but working memory is limited to a certain amount of slippery data. The path from short-term to long-term memory is a choke-point in the brain, but anything you want to understand must pass through it. If this passageway is disrupted, nothing gets through. Because news disrupts concentration, it weakens comprehension. Online news has an even worse impact. In a 2001 study two scholars in  Canada showed that comprehension declines as the number of hyperlinks in a document increases. Why? Because whenever a link appears, your brain has to at least make the choice not to click, which in itself is distracting. News is an intentional interruption system.
  • News works like a drug. As stories develop, we want to know how they continue. With hundreds of arbitrary storylines in our heads, this craving is increasingly compelling and hard to ignore. Scientists used to think that the dense connections formed among the 100 billion neurons inside our skulls were largely fixed by the time we reached adulthood. Today we know that this is not the case. Nerve cells routinely break old connections and form new ones. The more news we consume, the more we exercise the neural circuits devoted to skimming and multitasking while ignoring those used for reading deeply and thinking with profound focus.

 

reading and talking multitasking

 

  • Most news consumers – even if they used to be avid book readers – have lost the ability to absorb lengthy articles or books. After four, five pages they get tired, their concentration vanishes, they become restless. It’s not because they got older or their schedules became more onerous. It’s because the physical structure of their brains has changed.
  • News wastes time. If you read the newspaper for 15 minutes each morning, then check the news for 15 minutes during lunch and 15 minutes before you go to bed, then add five minutes here and there when you’re at work, then count distraction and refocusing time, you will lose at least half a day every week. Information is no longer a scarce commodity. But attention is. You are not that irresponsible with your money, reputation or health. Why give away your mind?
  • News makes us passive. News stories are overwhelmingly about things you cannot influence. The daily repetition of news about things we can’t act upon makes us passive. It grinds us down until we adopt a worldview that is pessimistic, desensitized, sarcastic and fatalistic. The scientific term is “learned helplessness”. It’s a bit of a stretch, but I would not be surprised if news consumption, at least partially contributes to the widespread disease of depression.
  • News kills creativity. Finally, things we already know limit our creativity. This is one reason that mathematicians, novelists, composers and entrepreneurs often produce their most creative works at a young age. Their brains enjoy a wide, uninhabited space that emboldens them to come up with and pursue novel ideas. I don’t know a single truly creative mind who is a news junkie – not a writer, not a composer, mathematician, physician, scientist, musician, designer, architect or painter. On the other hand, I know a bunch of viciously uncreative minds who consume news like drugs. If you want to come up with old solutions, read news. If you are looking for new solutions, don’t.
  • Society needs journalism – but in a different way. Investigative journalism is always relevant. We need reporting that polices our institutions and uncovers truth. But important findings don’t have to arrive in the form of news. Long journal articles and in-depth books are good, too.”

 

Mr. Dobelli says, “I have now gone without news for four years, so I can see, feel and report the effects of this freedom first-hand: less disruption, less anxiety, deeper thinking, more time, more insights. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”

( Credit: This is an edited extract from an essay first published by Dobelli, The Art of Thinking Clearly, Better Thinking, Better Decisions by Rolf Dobelli)


Suicide Prevention in the U.S 1-800-273-8255 A Light is at the End of the Tunnel

It’s a subject no one wants to approach.  Why?  It’s too final… too disturbing…too somehow “unreal”.   Yet, everyday someone is saying to his or herself, “I just can’t go on. It is just too overwhelming!”

worried man

It is real to them, but probably not to those around them.   How could they do such a thing?  How could they even think such a thing?

When a high-profile person with everything to live for, such as Anthony Bourdain, commits suicide, the news media gives out briefly a phone number (listed in this title)  and begs the watcher to call “if you feel that you are having dark thoughts.”   This is good advice, but reaching out for help is usually before a person gets to the place of extremely dark thoughts which leads to irrational thoughts.

worried man2

Mental health and how to deal with depression as well as other problems needs to be readily available and taught by parents, schools, churches and other institutions.  The afflicted person needs to see the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel.  Mostly, they have to be given HOPE and support.  

So often those who don’t think there is a light or can’t see there will be something better waiting for them just around the corner need intervention before it is too late.  Families who suspect dark thoughts have to reach out.  Parents may think that their teenagers are “just going through a growing up stage.”  All phases of mental anguish should be taken seriously.   When you see a problem, give the person the opportunity to talk and know there is help and most of all… that they are loved by you and by God.

woman consouling another

Conversations and questions cannot be too late.  According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, these are some of the statistics that we would rather not think about…but should!

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • Almost 45,000 Americans die of suicide each year
  • Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
  • On average, there are 123 suicides per day. 
  •  White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016….highest in middle-aged white men

Mental illness and depression can hit all people regardless of age or skin color. We all know this is true and that statistics will not fix the problem.

worried woman

 

  • Based on the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 8.6 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
  • Girls attempted twice as often as boys (11.6% vs. 5.5%) and teens of Hispanic origin reported the highest rate of attempt (11.3%), especially Hispanic females (15.1%) when compared with white students (6.8%) and White females (9.8%)
  • Approximately 2.8 percent reported making a suicide attempt that required treatment by a doctor or nurse.

What are the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal?

  • Talking about suicide, hurting themselves, death, or dying
  • Seeking access to firearms or pills
  • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
  • Having severe mood swings
  • Feeling hopeless or trapped
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Sleeping all the time or having issues with sleep
  • Uncontrolled rage or agitation
  • Self-destructive and risky behavior
  • Giving away personal belongings
  • Telling people goodbye for seemingly no reason

People who suffer from a mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, history of trauma or abuse, terminal illness, chronic pain, social isolation, or a traumatic life event such as loss of a loved one may be at an increased risk for suicide (credit: Jenae Sitzes)

There is help for you or someone you know.  Believing in the LIGHT at the end of the tunnel is God’s way of showing you that He has something good for you!

light at the end of the tunnel

 

God has a plan for your life.   Reach out for the help you need!

NEED HELP NOW? CALL1-800-273-8255 or  CLICK ON THIS LINK FOR CRISIS TEXT LINE and Information

 


Love Thyself!

If asked how we should love, one may quote “Love your neighbor as yourself”.  This is a good thing to do, but rarely do we love a neighbor as we truly love our own selves.  Having said that, there may actually be someone who will care for and show love to a neighbor more than they love themselves.  It seems a bit paradoxical, but if we are honest with ourselves, this could be a truth.

What does it truly mean to “Love Thyself?”   We know that love is a heavenly trait and that “God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)   This is divine love.   Can we actually love ourselves in a divine way?   If our bodies are the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and our bodies also include our minds and emotions, then we should so love ourselves as God would love us.   Maybe that sounds too lofty to some readers, but taking a hard look at our lives and what we do to and with ourselves mentally…or even physically may be the route to self-love.

How we choose to see ourselves is very important.

kitten and lion

The following are some good quotes and advice from  Dr.Melanie Greenberg in an article written for Psychology Today:

To Your Ownself be True:

“To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

peaceful woman

Value and Love Yourself:

“Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” Malcolm S. Forbes

“Self-love, my liege, is not so vile a sin, as self-neglecting”.  William Shakespeare, Henry V.

man and ocean

 

Let’s look at the practical side of Loving Oneself.   I’ll list these for your thoughts:

  • You have just spent hours and hours cooking for Christmas guests.  Now, take yourself out for a treat if possible and let someone else serve you.
  • Your house guests or family might show little appreciation for your efforts over the years.    Do what you do because you are a giving, caring person who is not looking for praise, but self-enjoyment and gratification. Let your grown children off the apron strings.
  • Perhaps you look around you and you think to yourself, “I must be a pack-rat. Look at this mess!”     Get 2 big boxes.  Label them  KEEP and GOODWILL (Charity)   It will be surprising how good you will feel about yourself after you have accomplished this simple task.   Accomplishment leads to self-appreciation.
  • When your feelings are hurt because of the “drama” caused by others, decide that the drama makers won’t take over your life.

 

choose to be happy

A good New Year’s Resolution to say (or pray)  is this:

“I am strong; I am weak. I am flawed; I am broken. I am vulnerable. I am human. And despite these flaws, I give myself permission to love myself unconditionally. I am a growing, evolving being, who uses past mistakes as a fuel for my journey of growth. I accept myself as I am, and I set an intention to become the person I want to be.”

A “Love Letter” written to us through the Holy Scriptures can give you the confidence and ability to love yourself through God’s love. He will be your greatest Encourager.


The Words of the Mouth vs Peace in the Heart

 We must pull back and rest our souls.

How is this done one may ask?    Because no one can do it for us, we have to find a way to limit what we see and hear, especially through the internet,  from those who would deliberately harm our peace of heart and spread their evil thoughts.

Example:  The  hateful messages sent over the internet concerning Senator John McCain’s diagnosed brain cancer…and those attributing it to God’s wrath for McCain’s political views.  How insane!

God does not bring illness or evil to the people of the world that He sent His Only Son to die for.  We have natural causes for illness…whether it is the environment, disease, genetics, or things about which we know nothing.  We must put our entire lives in God’s hands and do our best to correct, through medicine and prayer, what we can of human sufferings.

Years ago so many died of the black plague and other diseases.   Thankfully God has given us the intelligence to research for cures still unknown. We at Boyer Writes wish Senator McCain the blessings and peace of God.

( Shown above is McCain when he was released after 5 years as a prisoner of war and Senator McCain today. )

Those physical afflictions, not caused by natural causes,  would be wars or individual decisions that bring pain, not only to the body, but to the spirit and soul. These are caused by human beings, which usually starts with the words that come from the mouth or hatred in the heart.

For all the good technology give us and the ability it gives every human being  to spread quickly words of evil or encouragement, we may once again be reminded of what one of the greatest geniuses of our time had to say.  Human kindness and interaction is one of our most important qualities.

Albert Einstein quote on technology.

 

The Holy Scriptures remind us of this in 1st Peter 3:9.  “ Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

 

crown of thorns and cross

Video:

Miserere Mei Deus (Allegri) – King’s College Choir, Cambridge


Liberal Education…a Lesson in Enlightenment

Voltaire

Born in 1694, in Paris, France, Voltaire established himself as one of the leading writers of the Enlightenment.  Often at odds with French authorities over his politically charged works, he was twice imprisoned and spent many years in exile. He died in Paris in 1778.

 

The best definition of liberal education is one that I read about recently, which was  given at a commencement address by Fareed Zakaria.  One may hope that the graduates who heard him were enlightened and came out to face the world with a new vision of tolerance.

fareed-zakaria speaker  Who is Fareed Zakaria?   He is an Indian-American journalist and author.   The Post-American World, The Future of Freedom (2003) was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into over 25 languages. His most recent book, In Defense of a Liberal Education, has been praised in the New York Times as “an accessible, necessary defense of an idea under siege.”

The essence of what he had to say is in the  video below. ( put out by CNN (Alexander King).     I think it is worth a listen before we all become so un- enlightened in this world that we cannot listen to any viewpoint but our own.   Agree or disagree, we will all live on the same planet…have many of the same worries for our global and individual safety and will share in whatever blesses or plagues us as a society.  We will have a “common destiny”.

CLICK FOR VIDEO LINK


No longer Hiding

 International Women’s Day:   It may be a surprise to some that women of the past often hid behind a man for any ambition that they may have had.  Did you know the following?

george-eliot-authorGeorge Elliot was not really a George, but a Mary Ann Evans.  Known for her writing such books as Silas Marner, she hid behind another name…a male name. George Elliot Silas Marner  In the nineteenth century, women writers often used male pen-names so that reviewers wouldn’t be prejudiced against them as women. Charlotte and Emily Bronte published under the names Currer and Ellis Bell, and the famous French novelist George Sand was also a woman, Amantine-Lucile-Aurore Dupin.

Prejudiced?  Yes, we have our prejudices…and women have had to fight that battle for a very long time.  It may seem strange to our young people today when they see women holding signs up about equal pay.    It hasn’t been long in this country that women fought to simply vote.  We might ask how many did not use that right and privilege in our past election?

We ride on the backs of those who have gone before us.  What a shame to let them down.   Minority women …and men…also fight the battle of prejudice.  Recently, I heard the term “white privilege” and if people felt guilty because they just happened to be born white.   The person being asked this question looked puzzled and did not know what to say to the interviewer.   If they had been thinking quickly, they might have answered something to the effect…”What country are we speaking of in relationship to white privilege?”    It certainly depends on the country that has the majority of people.  Most likely there would be “black privilege” in most African countries as far as jobs etc.  We know that there is prejudice when one is the minority in certain countries to the religion that they follow.  In nations with the majority are Muslims, the Christian or the Jew may be the target, of not only discrimination, but life-threatening attitudes on being infidels.  People with the same religion may be targets of another brand of their same religion.  So it goes on and on…the prejudice that is felt around the world for one thing or another.  Gender is no exception.

Here are a few women who have stood out in history, not hiding, but making their voices heard when many were fearful to do so.  (Slide show)

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Today, I would like to salute the women of the world for without you there would be no world.  You give birth and through you…the generations follow. women maternity 2000 You, in most cases, cook the food that goes on the table, often after a hard days work.   When there is a need to help the others in your household support the family, you pitch in and often save the day.  You are smart…ambitious to do your best…and you are to be commended.

Times have changed and in many ways we are better for it.  In other areas of life, we are still finding our way out of the sins placed upon us as women.  There is still the horrors of female sex trade, sweat shops and abused women.  Women may be called the “weaker sex” because physically most of us have less physical strength than the men of the world.  However, there is nothing weak about most women…in their courage and in their abilities.  In this century, we just look differently and in many cases, we act differently.  Modern woman can march for their rights, but often do not represent the average woman when combining rights with vulgar speech or hated rhetoric.  It may be good for all of us to look to more recent history to see what women have done to keep freedom ours so that we can enjoy what we do have.

professional business women

 

Question:  Whose shoulders are we standing on for the rights and privileges we have today?  One large group of women are those, like my own Mother, who dropped everything for the war effort for their brothers, husbands, and family men  who were fighting in far away places during WWII.  They were the Home-Front Women, better known as Rosie the Riveters.  There was nothing lazy or unpatriotic about them. They knew they had a job to do…and by gosh…they were going to do it!  If they didn’t know how, they knew they could learn.    (Slide show)

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The Holy Scriptures, that were written in a day when women  were often thought of as property or definitely had their place, lifted the woman up and praised her.   Even Jesus reached out to the women with the least in reputation, and did not rebuke, but simply said, “Go and sin no more.”

In Proverbs 31: 10-31, a wife, in particular, is praised for all the things she does. One will notice that she is described as a  business woman.  Maybe she didn’t have a real estate license, but she knew how to negotiate and buy wisely.  She is also described as a woman who loves God and reaches out to others.

” An excellent wife who can find? She is far more precious than jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her,and he will have no lack of gain. She does him good, and not harm, all the days of her life. She seeks wool and flax,  and works with willing hands. She is like the ships of the merchant; she brings her food from afar.   She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens.   She considers a field and buys it;  with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.   She dresses herself  with strength  and makes her arms strong.She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.  Her lamp does not go out at night. She puts her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle. She opens her hand to the poor  and reaches out her hands to the needy.She is not afraid of snow for her household, for all her household are clothed in scarlet.  She makes bed coverings for herself; her clothing is fine linen and purple. Her husband is known in the gates when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells themshe delivers sashes to the merchant. Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come.  She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children rise up and call her blessed;  her husband also, and he praises her:  “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all.” Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her works praise her in the gates.”

As a woman,  wife,  mother, teacher, friend,  and neighbor, I thank God for the women in my life that have shown me their love, support and example.  It is not all about being on equal footing in all areas of life, but in what we can appreciate  about ourselves to have had the privilege of being female.

There is no more hiding.  Unlike George Elliot, my books may never be famous like hers, but I have MY name on them of which I am proud and thankful.   We have freedoms and privileges that many women of the past could have only dreamed of.    GO GIRL…be proud but thankful!

 

 


Are we SICK yet?

Frustrated Businesswoman Tearing Out Hair

Enough! Enough! Enough!

 

Most Americans are saying they are sick of everything being said before we actually get to vote for the President of the United States.  Some wonder where did the decency go…the honor of the office?  The word “FIT” to be President is being batted around like we can judge who actually is fit.  Who knew that former presidents would be committing “un-presidently” acts…even in the Oval Office? (Democrat)   Has anyone ever listened to the Nixon tapes?(Republican)  Unless you are used to “locker room” talk, Nixon’s words may make many blush and say, “Yiks…did that come out of a President’s mouth?”  It is fair to say we are not electing  a Pope…or even a Billy Graham.  We might want someone with those high ideals, religious faith and leadership…but we most likely won’t get all of what we want in either case.  We hope we won’t have someone so weak that they will not stand up for us and against those who would like to destroy us…. or so “bullish” that we pick a fight with everyone around the globe.  We’d like to have someone with wisdom and a regard for the Constitution of the U.S., but even that is in question. Who actually can know?  It is a slim choice. Through our system for electing candidates, we usually go on what we don’t know. We are then stuck with whom we have and do not have the ones we left behind.  In our world of mass communication, the ability to look at what is being said to the American public as truth, lies, or slanted is a full-time job!  Some have stopped looking at the “news” completely.  Can we blame them for the slant is steeper than the highest roller coaster in the world. (My son should know about that since he rides and sells roller coasters internationally.)

The candidates for President  say anything and everything to get you to push the right button or color in the little circle on your ballot.  If they win, they will then do and say whatever they want to do for there is power in the almighty pen.   It is also true with most state and local politicians.  Sometimes they don’t even try to appeal to their own supporters…just talk…talk…talk… and let the chips fall where they will. (A well written article on this subject may be of interest.)

All of the this may sound too pessimistic to some readers, but many will agree…that we are about to float a ship whose Captain does not know the destination…let alone the crew elected by the people.  Hopefully they will depend on a crew that is well versed in the ways of the world and the homeland…and have some who will pray, as did our forefathers.   If they don’t, we may all be in a sinking ship with no one out there in the storm to come to our rescue. Do the best you can when making your choice.  Think about the bigger picture…than the Oval Office…”deciders” for us in choosing our Supreme Court Justices…our Military Leaders …and many more important positions.

Our politicians, in the past, may have accomplished much in building this nation, but their ways of resolving disagreements was less than agreeable.  (We certainly don’t think this “gentlemanly standoff,” as with Alexander Hamilton, is the way for our politicians  to resolve their differences…or yours with your neighbor who votes differently.  Hamilton was, however, the first person in our country to balance the budget.     Now, that is a novel idea for the next President who is elected!)

HAPPY VOTING…or you may look like this guy in your voting booth!


Is American history being destroyed?

Recently, I have been interviewing the “old timers” of the Virginia mountains about their backgrounds and family history. Each person believes that his family history and heritage is important.  I have also been compelled to photograph the old barns in the mountains because once these beautiful structures have rotted and fallen to the ground, they will be no more.

Could this be what is happening to the overall history of America because one would not like to deal with the difficulties and sometimes ugly truth?

Let me explain why I am asking if American history is being destroyed:

  • After the terrible tragedy of murders of African Americans in their South Carolina church by a young white man draped in a flag of the Civil War, there has been a serious backlash of all things related to that period of history. The Old Timers say that the flag represents their southern roots. Others say it is “racist”.

Southern states, such as Texas,  have  gone so far as to remove elegant statues of the  leaders of our country  that have stood for years on places like college campuses. It appears that political correctness is blinding the eyes of our young and those teaching our young about history.  Schools in Texas have been renamed because they have previously had the school named after Civil War generals such as Stonewall Jackson and others.    To read the full account of this dismantling of American historical figures, including a President, I give you this link.   Removing History in Texas

After reading this, I still have some questions on whether we are doing ourselves or our future generations any favors by trying to rewrite or remove history. One may even call it “sanitizing” history, which may be totally impossible to do.

  • Let’s take a look at getting rid of things that are displeasing.  Should we rename the capital of the United States from Washington to something else?  

  •  After all, George Washington, our first President, was a slave holder all his life…in fact, over 300 slaves. He wrote in his 1799 will that they would be freed or returned to other slave holders after Martha Washington’s death.    Read more about Washington’s Mt. Vernon.

 

  • The state of Virginia, I have learned, had laws that we would think by today’s standards totally unjust to people’s freedom of choice.  Such a law was that a white person could not marry an African American. Other states also had this law.   See for yourself the legal battle of Mildred Jester and Richard Loving vs the State of VA 

 

  • History is sometimes hard to swallow, especially when it comes to those we hold in high esteem.  One of these people is Thomas Jefferson, a writer of the Declaration of Independence and owner of hundreds of slaves.  How many people would know about the fact that whole generations are now part of the United States population because Jefferson, a Virginian, fathered a number of children by a favored slave named Sally Hemings, who he also took with his family to London and Paris.

    Sally Hemings  and Thomas Jefferson

    Painting of Sally Hemings

Elizabeth Hemings was her mother, whose parents were an English Sea Captain and an enslaved African woman.   My, these men certainly did get around regardless of any laws…especially if slaves were considered property.

Now, the question….if we are dismantling history, should we tear down beautiful Monticello as we are doing with statues?   (See video at end of the descendants of Thomas Jefferson)

I think any reasonable person can see that history cannot be destroyed or removed just because it  sometimes goes against everything we believe to be right.  Let’s leave something for our children to understand how we rose above the problems regardless of their beginning.

Should we destroy  Mt. Rushmore because two of the men there were slave owners?  

Mountrushmore faces

On left, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson

 I read recently that ISIL (ISIS) has destroyed by 2015 over 24  monuments that were thousands of years old because they did not agree with them.  Places You’ll Never See because they are no more.

Even world history is important.   The Germans probably will never remove Auschwitz as sickening as it is to remember. It must not be forgotten.

Surely freedom loving Americans do not want to destroy their heritage..for good or for bad. The people of American saw the wrongs in their history…and abolished slavery by the 13th Amendment to the Constitution.  Many of our laws have preserved the rights of individuals. More will most likely continue to be passed.

 Leave history  alone. It should not be replaced or removed.  Make it better, but leave it as a testament for what needs to be improved and what people fought for or against.   History is history.  People have  good and bad qualities. Many leaders are also gifted and talented. Pulling down their statues or calling names of those who want to preserve them in history will not change that reality.

Watch the following video that is most informative:

CBS Video of the Descendants of Thomas Jefferson 

After posting this blog, I had my reader, Stephen from England, send me a comment, which I would like share:

“We have the same issues here. Personally though we should move with the times, I don’t think we should re-write or erase history. Perhaps none have influenced the world as us British and no doubt in that there was lots of good and bad.

It’s hard to take the blame for the sins of the father. Such is human nature, there is little in the way of thanks for science, law, discovery, what might be labelled generically as Western Civisikstion. Though lots of blame for things such as conquest, war and the like.

Can anyone really judge either way for events before their own lifetime. Should I be grateful for the Romans for laws and demanding reparation for bring enslaved by them? Should I add the Danes, Vikings, French and even Irish to the list. It goes without saying that I have totally forgiven Germany for the events of the world wars. And those wars were far more bloody, more selfish and in no way as defensible as wrongs both our nations have committed much further back.  Whilst not reveling and glorying in the worse aspects of our past, we shouldn’t hide from them. They are part of our story just as they are parts of the story of those who suffered in those situations.

Recently over here an African student studying at Oxford has led a high profile campaign to have the statue of Sir Cecil Rhodes removed from a college in Oxford. This is on account of him colonizing much if Southern Africa. Of course today few would ever think of such a thing but I dint think we can judge him by modern standards. Interestingly this African student is said to be studying thanks to a bursary set up long ago by this same Cecil Rhodes.

Perhaps a good example of how no one being all bad and also someone being hypocritical in hating someone and yet being happy to profit from the more positive aspects of this man…. Almost like others might have done 100 years ago!”


The 19th Amendment …coming a long way!

VA Slims  You've come a long way baby“You’ve Come a Long Way, Baby” may have been an advertising hit, but we know now about the end results.  Those Virginia Slims looked cool, modern and gave women the ideas that they no longer had to have a life of drudgery, but a life of freedom.  No one talked about the cancer and suffering that would  come along with this new life.  No matter how misleading these words may be, there were other women who did come a long way, but it was a difficult road.

Women have fought for the rights to do whatever men can do for a very long time.  Most people if asked what the 19th Amendment is probably could not tell you.

The 19th Amendment (1920) to the Constitution of the United States provides men and women with equal voting rights. The amendment states that the right of citizens to vote “shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.”

police and women

Practicing civil disobedience to get attention to a cause or problem is nothing new.  The women who wanted equality to men in the political area by casting a vote began in the mid 19th century.  They marched, lobbied and stood where they were forbidden to change the Constitution of the United States of America. Theirs would be a radical change and some women even became militant, going as far as hunger strikes.The records of the National Archives and Records Administration reveal much of this struggle:

In July 1848 Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott organized the first women’s rights convention in Seneca Falls, NY, and launched the woman suffrage movement. Many of the attendees to the convention were also abolitionists whose goals included universal suffrage. In 1870 this goal was partially realized when the 15th amendment to the Constitution, granting black men the right to vote, was ratified.women vots

Little by little our Constitution and laws of our land have been changed to make freedom for all a realization.   Years ago no one would have thought there would ever be changes to our laws such as gays or transgenders being part of our military.  States are fast changing  rules that have been long-standing to include all people in restrooms and public facilities of their choosing.  Age, appropriateness or family choice may seem to be going out the window for many. These are highly controversial as every generation has had to experience. Not everything that is brought to the public’s attention by demonstration or law suits means that change will happen. It will mean that leadership will have to decide on what is the right thing. Remember, we choose our leaders. The people’s votes are the best thing.

We have seen by the votes of Americans that most are compassionate, believing that all people should have the chance to be anything they can be, whether it is the President of the U.S.A.or some other goal.   Gender or race should not stand in the way.  The credit for this modern day thought can be traced back to those, like the women suffragettes or those in the civil rights movement, who were unwilling to stand back and let things remain the same.  A prominent African American also took up the cause:

417px-Frederick_Douglass_portrait spoke out for women

Frederick Douglass

Frederick Douglass, a former slave and leader of the abolition movement, was also an advocate for the right of women to vote.  He attended the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, and in an editorial published that year in The North Star, wrote, “. . . in respect to political rights, . . . there can be no reason in the world for denying to woman the elective franchise, . . .”

The rights and liberty of all people is a given in most thinking, but when one challenges whether we as Americans are giving serious thought to ethics and character of those wanting to serve as leaders to the masses, it becomes an unpopular stance.  Trustworthiness should be a major factor in decision making. Unfortunately it is difficult to detect.  One knows that their choice may be a correct one or it may turn out to not be, for political talk is cheap.

The marchers for Women’s rights were straight forward.  The put their high top shoes and petticoats out where all could see.  Carrying their signs, they knew that they would not be unnoticed. 1869 would turn out to be a big year for the leaders of the movement for women to vote. Susan B. Anthony and others organized the National Woman Suffrage Association and the following year the ratification of the 15th amendment petition was sent to the Senate and House  and they were granted the privilege of being heard on the floor of Congress.

susan b anthony

Susan B. Anthony

Many of the women who had been active in the suffrage movement in the 1860s and 1870s continued their involvement over 50 years later. Mary O. Stevens, secretary and press correspondent of the Association of Army Nurses of the Civil War was one such woman. In 1917 she asked the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee to help the cause of woman suffrage

Today we hear strong statements made about the fact that nothing is getting done in Congress.  It is interesting to point out that when opposing viewpoints were dividing the Women’s Movement, they were actually able to rise up from their differences and to become one.

1912 women for voting

Collecting signatures for Women to Vote

This is how it happened according to our National Archives:    The ideological and strategic differences that grew among suffrage leaders during and immediately after the Civil War formally split the women’s movement into two rival associations. Stanton and Anthony, after accusing abolitionist and Republican supporters of emphasizing black civil rights at the expense of women’s rights, formed the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA) in May of 1869. The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA), founded 6 months later by Lucy Stone, Julia Ward Howe, and Thomas Wentworth Higginson, protested the confrontational tactics of the NWSA and tied itself closely to the Republican Party while concentrating solely on securing the vote for women state by state. In 1890 the two suffrage organizations merged into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Stanton became its president, Anthony became its vice president, and Stone became chairman of the executive committee.In 1919, one year before women gained the right to vote with the adoption of the 19th amendment, the NAWSA reorganized into the League of Women Voters.   ( I would add here that I have a close friend who has been active in the League of Women Voters.  Thanks, Beth.)

Because states had to approve their own ratification, there were delays.  For instance: Early in 1919, the House of Representatives passed the 19th amendment by a vote of 304 to 90, and the Senate approved it 56 to 25. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan were the first states to ratify it. Tennessee delayed in 1920, but finally reaffirmed its vote, delivering the 36th ratification for final adoption.  After the amendment became part of the law of the land, Maryland did not ratify until 1941, and  did not transmit the ratification document to the State Department until 1958.

Yes, it takes time for many to decide what is right.  It is even harder for Americans to get on the same page in their beliefs and commitment of conscience because we are such a diverse society.    Our modern day America is no different than the days it took our country to do what was right for women and minorities.     No matter how hard it is, look for the candidate that you feel will best represent you and you can trust with your future and the future of your family. Most of all, as we trust God who has calls us to “humble” ourselves and pray, He will “heal” our land…and our world.

Prayer:  “Oh God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.”  The Book of Common Prayer 1979 p.815

Women in the 1800’s stood up and spoke their mind for themselves and those of us in their future.  They let nothing stand in their way. Voting is now one of our special rights because of the courage of others.  Let’s hope that this will be remembered in November. Every woman (and man) should take advantage of this privilege.

 

men opposed

In the free, modern world, there would be few to oppose the women’s right to vote.  To those men of the 1800’s,  “We’ve come a long way, baby!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


God’s Transforming Love

Benji rescued on right

Benji shown at top and the new Benji (arrow)

The Season of Lent and Easter is now passed, but I saw a video today that made me think about the transforming power of faith in Jesus Christ.  Before we have this renewal of life through the power of the Holy Spirit, we are often pulling, tugging and trying to get away from surrendering to His love and guidance.

The video below is a perfect example of God’s care.  We are fearful. He wants to rid us of all the dirt and infestation that makes us miserable. If we have been abused by people or abandoned by those who should have cared, He understands. We don’t understand the loving touch of God.  We don’t know His intentions to transform us or what the outcome will be.  This is why we either resist or delay or even hide from what He wants to do in our lives.  He has a bigger plan for us.  Not only does He want to bring peace and love into our lives, but an adoption into His family…the Christian family.

Take a look now and see if you see the remarkable parallel to us, as humans,  and this pitiful little creature who found a new life.


One last glance down…and then

My last blog was a warning to those who may take a drink too many…with a charming video to prove the point.   Today I add a much more sobering video.   This probably will be an eye-opener to what “one last glance down” can do to you or your passengers.

Movie Goers  in Hong Kong were ask to leave their cell phones on after they entered the theater.

 


ABANDONMENT …. Where are the fathers?

My last post showed the beauty of birth as we know it can be in the human and animal world.  Sometimes, however, it is not the act of giving birth, but the place that the birth takes place for humans that leads one to ask….why?

slums India

Poverty and the sexual drive do not mix when it is in conditions that cannot support life.   Recently, I was appalled to see a video that could have been made in many parts of the world…even in some less impoverished parts of the United States…but with the same problems….no money…no decent place to live…no fathers who take responsibility.   The question is not only “why?”, but why would a person who fathers a child ABANDON that child…or another question:    Why would a woman who is receiving no help keep allowing that same man to come back for more of the same?    It is certainly baffling.

slums4slum3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pictures that you see here are from areas around the world. There has always been some poverty in the United States.  Because of the economic down-turn and the loss of jobs, there is more.   Women who have baby after baby with no father to help provide is common in certain areas.

For the most part, we sit in our existence of plenty compared to these parts of the world.  The average person here really does not know what the rest of the world is like.  Even those who get government assistance to help feed the family, may still try to find a cell phone or a special electronic game because the children want it.  Hunger or malnutrition may exist, but it is rare that anyone will starve here.  There are community food banks run by churches and organizations and shelters for those without homes.  Some take advantage of these and others do not.   Yet the problems here are similar in some ways to the devastation seen in other places.   Again, we ask…..“Where are the fathers….who fathered these children?” 

Mother Teresa went to the most poor of the poor in India.   People I know go to Haiti on mission trips to try to help. Natural disasters do happen and wars make people flee for safety.  The very wealthy are trying, through their foundations, to eradicate disease and bring pure drinking water to those who need it around the world, but this does not change behavior.    Behavior is defined as:

  1. The way in which one acts or conducts oneself, esp. toward others.
  2. The way in which an animal or person acts in response to a particular situation.slums2

Again, we wonder if behavior is not changed, how can anything else be changed?   Men who have little self-worth to impregnate a woman and walk away…wherever he lives…in whatever country has degraded  human worth.  The woman who becomes an enabler to the one who abandons will, unfortunately, die in her own filthy bed.     Until behavior is changed, this situation around the world will only become worse…and the few who care can not prevent it from happening.

Turn on sound


CHILDREN OF THE TRAIN…the ONLY CHANCE

kindertransport7There are many people who are alive today because the people of the United Kingdom took thousands of children into safe care. Most would never see their parents again. The agony of placing one’s little child or teenager on a train headed for an unknown family; trying to look brave; smiling; waving….but knowing that this was their only chance is hard to imagine. kindertransport4

“10,000 thousand, mainly European Jewish children fled to the UK when they were threatened by the Nazis in the run up the Second World War.The youngsters were evacuated between December 1938 and September 1939 as war clouds gathered over Europe and the Nazis began their systematic extermination of the Jews which culminated in the Holocaust.” kindertransport6

kindertransport5

kindertransport4kindertransport3kindertransportpassportkindertransport2

There are two videos that I am sharing today.  Video 1 is the story of the survivors who express the deep emotions that they felt and  at times the inability to admit to  true feelings about their past. Some, who have children and grandchildren of their own today, know why they survived and  are grateful for the kindness of non-Jewish and Jewish families in Great Britain who  took them in. They finally know that they have a  purpose to their lives.

Some  survivors also worry that people of today will forget how hatred and intolerance can lead to another holocaust….a part of history we do not want to repeat. After viewing, with sound, the first video, be certain to see the second one on the children’s memorial in Israel, Yad Vashem.

Video 1:HISTORY  AND THE CHILDREN OF THE TRAIN

kinder NOT SURVIVE

Thousands of other children did not survive.  They did not make it to the transportation or the short window of time that was open to their departure to Great Britain.  These died with their parents in the concentration camps.

A visit to Yad Vashem Children’s Holocaust Memorial in Israel is one of the most moving displays of remembrance.  The thousands of stars on the ceiling represent the names of each child being read aloud.

Video 2: Yad Vashem Children’s Holocaust Memorial 

Along the coast of Harwich, UK, is a  memorial plaque which says in part,  “At 5:30 am on 2 Dec. 1938, the SS Prague docked at Parkeston Quay. On board were 196 children, the first arrival of what would become known as the kindertransport….”    Not only did families meet this particular boat, but the Salvation Army put them in hostels.  A number of the older children were carrying babies.  Keep in mind that they had just traveled across the North Sea and then for some on to London by rail.   This meant for some mothers and fathers that a baby was placed in the arms of a teenage child, who journeyed  on by  train and then boat….to have to turn away forever knowing it was their children’s only chance.  The future for most of these heart-broken souls meant pending arrest…forced labor camps…gas chambers and death.

See pictures of  Dedication of Kindertransport Memorial Plaque in Harwich, UK


ACCEPTANCE…How important is it to you?

girl with cigarette

We all want to be accepted. It really doesn’t matter who we are or what we have in common with someone else…just accept us for who we are and don’t worry about the rest! Is this true?   It seems to be the socially and politically correct thing in the world today.   Just accept everyone…or most everything.   We can get  philosophical and remind ourselves of some of the things that we think of as acceptance:

ACCEPTANCE OF RELIGIOUS BELIEFS: catholic

  • Catholic Christians.. Understanding beliefs and practices of the Catholic Church, acceptance is key to being a committed and devoted catholic.   That may include family planning; going to confession; repenting of sins and church attendance. This also is true of the emphasis other Christian groups place on their particular brand of Christian faith and commitment. worshipers
  • Jews… some similar beliefs in that they accept the Ten Commandments as a way to live and have a good and fulfilling life (Mcdowell and Stewart, 1983).Torah_scrollsislam_prayer_ms
  • Muslims.…acceptance of Allah as their higher being and the teachings of the Koran.

Whatever a person’s religious beliefs, they believe that acceptance of these parts of their faith is important to show structure and commitment in everyday life.   Let’s look at some other types of acceptance?

teens

PERSONAL ACCEPTANCE   How people accept one another has a direct effect on the individual’s self-esteem and well-being. Does this have to be true?  We are told that this need for approval  will have a direct impact on a person’s life.  Some may even cause psychological disorders.  Examples are:  approval by parents; acceptance by work associates; peer pressure in schools ; living up the religious up-bringing or teachings and many more relationships.

We have to ask ourselves a  very important question.

Is total acceptance what we really want and is it good for us?    On the surface, it seems to be a good thing…but maybe not.

  • Is it best to be totally accepted by a peer group, whether work; at school, or socially?   What are their values?
  • Are there dangers to relationships  that keeps us in bondage to a person… such as a battered wife who feels there is no recourse?   We could elaborate on this where a male is concerned.
  • Is staying true to religious tenants that do not bring us to a peaceful, loving God, what we really need or want?

All of this seems complicated…and often we make it so.  The thing that is most important is the ACCEPTANCE OF ONE’S SELF. After all, we live with ourselves moment by moment.  We are told that we should not be so self-centered.  Why not?  Of course, we do not mean self-centered to the neglect of others or so wrapped-up in ourselves that no one else matters.

“Self acceptance (or self-centered, as we mean it)  is being happy with who you are now. It’s an agreement with yourself to appreciate, validate, accept and support who you are at this moment.”   If you find that things in your life need change, then work toward that…evaluating WHAT IS BEST FOR YOU.

ACCEPTANCE…NOT RESIGNATION  People may asked how they can accept something or someone that has brought great pain in their life…death of a loved one; a divorce; sickness.   All these things may not be able to be changed.  They are what life has given. There is a difference between acceptance and resignation.   Realization that one can not change the past or the sadness of the present has a lot to do with acceptance.   This is living in reality…not in fantasy or wishful thinking.

“Accepting whatever the loss is, does not mean you are forgetting the loss or that you won’t ever feel sad again, but it’s a turning point that means better things are to come.” 

man thinkingAll of this is just food for thought as you may be asking yourself how important is  acceptance to you.   You may also be thinking about relationships, beliefs, and what works for you in your life.   Some things may worry you.

There is only One who fully accepts us just as we are and gives us the courage to face life daily.   We are told in the Holy Scriptures ( Philippians 4:6)  “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.”

  In this video, we see that there are some unusual bonds of acceptance…and just as in humans…those bonds that seem like a good thing may turn out to give an outcome not anticipated.    I watched this video several times and heard words that I think also have to do with human behavior when it comes to acceptance…and a need for a relationship.  You will hear these words in the dialog:  obsession, bonds, controlling, complex emotions and intimacy.   All of these pull us into a need for acceptance…to our good or to our detriment.  In your own life, you will have to be the judge. 


Is the Art of Conversation going out …or are we becoming idiots?

It has occurred to me that more and more people are not conversing, as we once have done.    It may be a minimal decline to the Art of Conversation, but I am wondering if the future generations will be able to talk.   If one believes in evolution (and I am a creationist), then there will be no need for the voice.    Kidding, of course!    Yet, something to think of when we see parents in a restaurant on their phones and children playing their games with very few words or smiles exchanged.  I have even heard of teens texting each other when sitting across the table.  I’m not certain how often this actually happens.

Then, of course, for those without an electronic device, there   may be as many as three TV’s on all corners of the restaurant…just in case we should not want to miss our favorite team or soap opera.  Going out….ordering a lovely meal…paying a big price….and feeling that the person or people  we are with are  highly distracted is not an idea of a wonderful evening.

The other day I was trying to enjoy a delicious Italian meal and the TV was playing some type of reality show.  I kept noticing that the parents were screaming at a teenage boy to “get out of bed ”  with no results. I finally asked the waitress if we could change it to a “travel” channel…or something with beautiful scenery. (She did.)  I guess I could have asked her to turn it off, but was trying to be courteous to the owner who had spent good money to install the TV…. thinking that all customers require it!      Really?    Is this what we have come to?      Albert Einstein said something ….perhaps ahead of  his time….

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.    I wish this was not true.

GIRLS ENJOYING THE PICTURES IN A MUSEUM…or maybe they are looking up the artist.

BEING WITH FRIENDS AT A DINNER TABLE….or conversing with each other electronically

NOTHING LIKE A DAY AT THE BEACH…catching up with what is going on.

IT’S GREAT THAT WE COULD MEET….check to see if anyone is coming so we can talk.

No offense to those fine people shown in these pictures.   We are certain that they are highly intelligent, interested in their future and love their families.    The problem is what will the future be?

The real art of conversation is looking into the eyes of those who we care about enough to enjoy a few minutes  of  common interests.   They say the eyes are  the “mirror to the soul”.   Maybe those eyes are saying something the lips have not said….like I think you would make a great business partner….or I really like you or maybe even love you…etc.  One thing is certain, one can not know through  a text message  those unspoken things that the warmth of a  real conversation reveals.

ENJOYING THE ART OF CONVERSATION


Did anyone listen in 2008? A MEMORY REFRESHER

We have short memories….most of us.   It is not likely that anyone remembers what was said in 2008 during the Presidential Campaign.   Maybe before November….or even if we plan to vote early…we should refresh our memories.   A candidate may think “If  it worked before…maybe, just maybe it will work again.”  Was there a plan that worked that somehow we missed?  Is there a plan now that is different from the first speech?

Listen and decide if it is something to believe this year.   Words without results make those of us who truly listen wonder.   The video below is a memory refresher…just in case you need one.


JUDGMENT DAY and WHAT MADE US LAUGH

We are told that all our actions will be judged sometime when we are called before the GREAT JUDGE.   Does that also mean not only what we did or said, but what we laughed at when it was not funny?  Does it also mean when we are wasteful and care nothing about throwing anything and everything in the landfill?   Big questions to ponder.

The thought that brought all this to mind was when my husband read me an article about all the pianos….yes, baby grands….being sent to the landfills.  “What?” I replied, ” When I was in Japan and toured a Japanese high school, baby grands and practice rooms lined one whole side of the school.   Everyone learned how to play!

Recently Daniel J. Wakin wrote in the New York Times the following:

“The site, a trash-transfer station in this town 20 miles north of Philadelphia, is just one place where pianos go to die. This kind of scene has become increasingly common.       

The value of used pianos, especially uprights, has plummeted in recent years. So instead of selling them to a neighbor, donating them to a church or just passing them along to a relative, owners are far more likely to discard them, technicians, movers and dealers say. Piano movers are making regular runs to the dump, becoming adept at dismantling instruments, selling parts to artists, even burning them for firewood….the abyss between the emotional value of used pianos and their worth in the marketplace.”  (Does everything have to be about money?   I remember when I was a girl of 10, I would have given anything for a piano.  My mother could not afford one.  If someone had offered it to her…a fine pianist may have been born.)

“It is the most emotionally charged piece of furniture that there is,” said Martha Taylor, a rare restorer of uprights, whose Immortal Piano Company is based in Portland, Ore. “When I have to say: ‘You’ve buried your grandmother. You have to bury her piano,’ it’s a really hard thing.”

What is even harder to understand is how one can stand by and laugh when a beautifully designed instrument, as a piano, is being crushed?   What about the lovely piece of wood in which  this instrument is encased?   Does nothing have value to a country and a people with so much?

After you watch the video below, return to the second video to watch a beautiful performance by a young German boy, Mark Ehrenfried, as he plays “Rhapsody in Rock” Take those pianos, paint them up and give them a modern touch as you will see in the video.  Even the uprights could look cool with the right refinish or paint job!

Judgment day is coming sooner or later.  Perhaps we better check our values and our laughter.  (Listen for it in the first video)

VIDEO 1     SAD BUT  TRUE   (You may say they were just doing their job, but why the laughter…or did they care about this lovely piano? Even more so than the workers, what about the person who put it on the street for a pick up?  Notice the beautiful mahogany wood and the ivory keys. Good grief,  poachers are killing endangered elephants for ivory tusks. Perhaps they should just wonder up and down streets looking for pianos. )

VIDEO2     YOUNG PIANIST, MARK EHRENFRIED

VIDEO3    MARK EHRENFRIED….A FEW YEARS OLDER with even more talent.  Chopin, Beethoven, and those who only played chop sticks are rejoicing in heaven that this baby grand did not go to the landfill.