If you are staying at home on Sunday morning because your church is temporarily closed down or you don’t attend a church at all, here is a great sermon for your listening pleasure. I say, “listening” because it is not a visual video, as many that I put on my blogs, but simply a recording.
This message is given by Thomas Whartenby, who was brought up as a Roman Catholic… has been the minister of Galax Presbyterian Church for forty plus years and is a Vietnam veteran. His wife, Mary Elizabeth, is the church organist and choir director. Their ministry is in a small community situated in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, USA.
I was privileged to include him in my book, Men and Women of Valor in the Blue Ridge.
Why is it important to hear Dr. Whartenby’s message?
As a people and a nation, we are extremely self-centered. Yes, there are many caring people among us, but as a culture there is much to be improved. I can only speak for our country, but I would guess that it might be the “new normal” for most of the world. Of course, included in this, is the added pressure of isolating and how to take care of OURSELVES when there is such a need to reach out to others. We are warned nationally and locally about “distancing,” which only makes self-centeredness more prevalent. It is hard to know when to think of SELF as far as health is concerned and believe that we are doing it for others. The problem is that the “others” don’t know that our standoffish actions are for them.
As we look at history, much of “what’s in it for me” has come about with the industrial revolution, increase in technology, ability to hear and see through the media an emphasis on having more and more. Life has become a rush to acquire, get ahead, and forget about what is really important. Patience is a long-lost virtue.
We want things and service NOW...no waiting! Almost everything we do is “How does it effect ME?” In some cases, it is how can I get something for nothing? Our young people and children, unfortunately, are modeling these behaviors and attitudes.
The Holy Scripture has something to say about this problem. Dr. Whartenby, “Tom”, gives a fresh understanding of why we want self-gratification. He puts in modern terms thoughts that make sense to all of us.
It will be worth your time of 30 minutes to listen. I am including this link for those who believe that we all need a new look at what this title means….IT IS NOT ALL ABOUT US.
Christmas Eve was silent as a baby was born in the manger. He was wrapped carefully by his mother, Mary, in faraway Bethlehem. Here in the United States and around the world, many families go to church on Christmas Eve to sing “Silent Night” and to remember this special event.
Afterward, parents tucked their children safely in bed…hoping they would go to sleep… as they wait for a special visit from Santa Claus. The stockings are hung and the presents are hidden under the tree.
Santa must be very tired when all is said and done. Guiding his sleigh around the world on Christmas Eve was no easy job. What every Santa needs on Christmas is to find some peace and rest. Here on earth, the presents he brought have been unwrapped. The aromas from the stoves cooking Christmas dinner drift around the houses of the neighborhoods. We know the elves have closed up shop, but it leads us to wonder about something else.
“When Santa finished driving his sleigh to the homes of all the good little boys and girls around the world, what did he do with the reindeer?
On Christmas Day, Santa let his reindeer have some fun. He took them to the races!
What races? The reindeer races in Lapland and Finland, of course. Want to see?
MERRY CHRISTMAS TO ALL OUR READERS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The unbelievable story of a woman who simply loved and married a man outside of her faith has been made into a documentary. Saba Qaiser’s father attempted to murder her, but she survived his misnamed “Honor Killing”. This documentary about Saba Qaiser’s ordeal will be presented at the Academy Awards. The media exposure may hopefully be the beginning of a new revolution against abusing or murdering women because they make their own life decisions.
The New York Times author, Nicholas Kristof, has written an article about this attempted murder and the culture that expects the victim to forgive. After the forgiveness, life then will go on as usual and more women will be at risk from this practice.
redit HBO)photo c
In one of my previous blogs, Wake Up Men…Your Women are at Risk, featured the story of an American journalist, Lara Login, who was assaulted and raped by men within the same culture as Saba. Lara was covering what was supposed to be a new beginning for all people of Egypt known as the Arab Spring. This uprising did nothing for the women caught in the jaws of time and tradition.
Woman and governments around the world need to stand up for those who have suffered for centuries under such brutality. One may ask what can be done if traditions of a culture has been around for thousands of years? It will take determined leaders of country after country to change their laws in order to protect the women of their societies. The problem with this is that the male leaders in power are often part of the same culture.
Wrongs have to be challenged, but it will take courage. We, in America and other countries abolished slavery; gave women the right to vote; education, and the privilege of being protected from abusive families, husbands and others. Yet, there is still suffering. Modern law stands on the side of the abused when actions are challenged and reported. It is hard to imagine the trauma that a woman, like Saba, goes through when she is told that it is her responsibility to forgive and forget….allowing her attacker to go free.
The world has become a small place. Each person…each country…is intertwined with the other. As we face a new year, we are concerned about where the world may be headed. No one wants to hear “gloom and doom”. Most would like for the good things of life to continue…yes, continue….on and on without much thought to what we, the human race, may be bringing upon ourselves. Is this a reality to what we have become…even with all our advantages and inventions?
The video that I am sharing on this blog faces serious questions that all must consider. Several men, with varied backgrounds of expertise, met to discuss the threats to societies around the world…and our own American life in particular.
A thoughtful debate and discussion was on these subjects:
*Water and oil depletion
*Hostile Technology such as AI (Artificial intelligence)
The world may be in our hands more than we know.
DON’T BE PUT OFF BY THE TITLE ON THIS VIDEO. I personally think it is miss-titled, because by the end of the video each man believes that we can make changes that will help save the future. It is also my belief that my readers, who take the time to watch and listen carefully, will find these men, who are experts in their respective fields, of great interest. If nothing more, they present us with great food for thought.
What exactly is Nihilism? The article written by by Luca Volontè explains what has been happening in Europe for some time. We ask the question, “Is this now spreading to America or is it already here?” and “How dangerous is it to the values in our society…especially if one values his or her faith and culture?”
Read and you decide. Article by Mr. Volonte
Well, it’s that time again. People begin to make New Year’s resolutions and the “lose weight” companies come out in droves! Maybe it is also a time to get real. Exactly how do I look to others? What am I doing to myself if:
- I’m a little overweight…progressively overweight…or very overweight?
- My blood pressure is on the border line…medium high…very high?
- My legs feel like they have too much to carry…my feet hurt…my hips and back hurt?
We won’t go on…but you get the picture! Oh, speaking of pictures. The internet is full of them that may tell the story better than I can. Of course, one knows that if you put it out there to be photographed, in today’s media age…there is no hiding!
Here are a few to give us a good start.
Men, Women, Children…and don’t forget the animals. We thought we would not show any children because they are not all together responsible for their overweight. It is the parents, of course, who give the food, sets the boundaries, and set the examples.
This poor little dog was probably fed from the table or begged for food constantly. His face shows his misery. Have we had enough?
I can hear the reader saying now, “But…I don’t look like that!” Neither did these people at one point in their lives.
We often hear of how things “creep” up on us. Nothing can be truer than the condition that many Americans find themselves these days.
As for me, I won’t ever look like this woman nor do I want to…but looks aren’t everything. Health is! So get out the tape and decide what you need to do to make 2015 a Happy and Healthy New Year.
AFTER POST FOOTNOTE: Upon posting this blog, Stephen Liddell, one of my readers, wrote me a comment which I would like to share. It may be helpful to those wanting a change. I am posting my reply to him that may be of some interest to you about losing 25 lbs while in Mongolia.
Comment from Stepehen:
“With all respects to those in the photos, I would be ashamed to go out looking like that. For the last 3 Christmas periods I have started by New Year diet 2 weeks early, in mid-late December.
It might sound like a crazy idea especially in the UK where Christmas and New Year is a week long event and myself with a birthday in the middle but really it is the perfect time. Nowhere does the message of Christmas encourage over indulgence. This time of year is already a blessing for its religious message, cultural and childhood traditions… time off work, good shows on the TV etc.
I don’t need the extra happiness of too much good food. Maybe in February when it is still dark and snowy that is the time for chocolate. Perhaps in July when the weather is hot and it seems a good idea to have some ice-creams. Not Christmas though.
Starting an eating plan in December is easier too, it means you’re already in the groove for new year resolutions and you’ve missed out on one of the heavier eating periods of the year. A double bonus!
Last January I started a ‘no sugar diet’ http://stephenliddell.co.uk/2014/01/25/sugar-is-the-new-tobacco-why-are-all-my-healthy-foods-so-full-of-sugar/
which i have stuck to do this day. http://stephenliddell.co.uk/2014/06/17/the-no-sugar-diet-5-months-on/
I did not do much else. As much as I don’t like pigging out, I am definitely not one for the gym or having muscles but rather the old fashion ideas of heating home-cooked wholesome food and doing lots of walking. I was happily surprised that I had lost one or two sizes more by November.
It’s never too late to start and during my 30’s probably lost around 3-4 stone and that has stayed off or reduced further in the last year or two and I haven’t spent a penny on fancy foods or sports equipment and clothing. My 40-42 inch clothes are long since replaced by the 32 or even 30 inch waist on a good day.
I hope someone will write back in 2016 to tell of their good news too!”
My reply to Stephen:
“Thanks, Stephen I’d like to share one of my experiences (and I need to lose about 30 lbs to be at my best). When I was in Mongolia teaching English, I lost 25 lbs because the food was unfamiliar and while there I did not have any sweets (for 2 months)…as you mentioned about sugar. When I returned to the States, my first bite of chocolate was like I had eaten the entire contents of a sugar bowl. It was awful, but of course, I readjusted myself to the love of chocolate….but this definitely tells one something about certain foods.” Nancy at Boyer Writes
When I spent time in Asia, I found that the culture truly does respect their elderly and senior citizens. They give them the best seat and guests often will be placed next to the oldest person in their home. I found it somewhat odd that in Japan so many of the older women dye their hair and still seem to honor those of us with hair that is snow white.
Nevertheless, it makes us wonder why in the United States, people seem so impatient with the elderly. “They drive too slowly…and maybe should not be driving at all.” some would say. Behind those weak knees, bent bodies, and the slow movement on walkers is a life-time of knowledge and experience. That very person that drove too slowly and seemed too long in turning, may have also been the one who carried a buddy to safety during World War II. The woman with the wrinkled face could have been the nurse who kept your Grandfather alive… to come home and someday hold you on his knee.
“Honor your Mother and Father” was written for a reason. We may not give credit to those who deserve it. We hope respect is not something of the past. Just be careful when you decide to honk your horn at that old guy or gal….it may come back to haunt you.
(My friend, Kelly, often sends me videos with a real truth. ) See what you think. Turn on your sound, enlarge the picture and watch closely.
CLICK HERE RESPECT YOUR ELDERS
David danced before the Lord. Have we forgotten how to rejoice in God? So often we think that our religious expression has to be somber and without emotion. Yet, we are told to rejoice in the Lord. He is our maker…defender…creator…and our JOY!
Hava nagila הבה נגילה Let’s rejoice
WATCH THIS VIDEO AND DANCE IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT!
March 8 was International Women’s Day. This day sheds light on women and their role in the world. They are our mothers, grandmothers ,sisters, aunts, and cousins. Today Boyer Writes honors all of them for what they mean to us. However, there is much to be said on their behalf:
Abuse usually may be physical abuse, but mental abuse can be just as devastating. Calls are made to the police around the world about domestic violence. Restrictions are put into place, but nothing can protect them in a split second’s time. Little girls are also abused. Even in societies where girls are sold into prostitution, the problem is not corrected. Remove the influence of women and the ability to give birth to life from the world and the human race would end. Yet who cares for the women…to protect and love them? Women have often been called “the weaker sex”. Are they really?
Women pick up themselves and their families after years of beatings and make a new life. They start a new home after floods, hurricanes, and tornados have left them with nothing. Women I met in Guatemala took over an entire farming area when their men were murdered. These remarkable women taught the children to do embrodery, selling their goods in the market places to survive. The midwives that I met there were on call 24-7 and often walked miles through the dense countryside to help a woman give birth. The strength that is encapsulated in a tiny frame of a woman is enormous.
What do Women Want in Life?
Over the years, I have had opportunity to hear the thoughts of many women around the world on family and marriage. The Mongolian women said they wanted men in their lives that were not drunks and who were clean. This included husbands, brothers and fathers. I found this an interesting thought. Modern American women, as do all women, want to be appreciated…not necessarily by a gift or a dinner out…but to be told they are loved and appreciated. A few words or a short note is worth more than diamonds to most women. (Of course, not all.) Men forget that women want to communicate. They want to have the warm feelings. They do not judge a man by how macho he is, but how caring and tender he is in their relationship.
World Conditions and alcoholism Conditions around the world are often primitive. The floors are made of dirt. A tent is the only housing. Food is in short supply. It is heart warming to see women care for the most basic needs when she could give up in such conditions. Alcoholism in all countries places a great hardship on families. In Mongolia, there are families living under the streets, near dangerous steam heat pipes because one or more people in the family has no job because of alcoholism. Some of the children there are totally without parents. If it is not alcohol, it may be drugs in other world areas. Regardless, it is what many women face day in and day out.
Selected Women of the Past
Sojourner Truth (Isabella Baumfree)
Sold as a slave many times, this tall woman became a giant for human rights during her life time. Not afraid to speak up and let truth be known, she said the following about the differences in treatment of white and black women of her day:
“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud puddles, or gives me any best place, and ain’t I a woman? … I have plowed, and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me — and ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man (when I could get it), and bear the lash as well — and ain’t I a woman? I have borne thirteen children and seen most all sold off to slavery and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me — and ain’t I woman”.
Later in her life she had a great religious experience and carried her Christian faith with her to speak anywhere she could. Having spunk is probably not the correct word for her because she had a great deal of whatever it was! She was accused one day of being a man, because she was tall. She quickly opened her blouse to let all know that she truly was a woman.
Susan B. Anthony :
“In 1872, Anthony demanded that women be given the same civil and political rights that had been extended to black men under the 14th and 15th amendments. Thus, she led a group of women to the polls in Rochester, N.Y., to test the right of women to vote. She was arrested two weeks later, found guilty of violating the voting laws and was sentenced to pay a $100 fine. She refused to pay the resulting fine, and no attempt was made to force her to do so.”
During World War II, thousands of men left the United States to fight against world domination of Nazi Germany. The women went to work in factories and served alongside the men as nurses and pilots. My mother was one of these women working in a munitions factory to help the war effort. Just as she did, women left their homes and careers to see that our men won the battles. Without them, how would the war have been won?
Women of the Future
Even as I am writing this in Honor of Women, I see a blue jay outside my window holding in her mouth a long string. She is going to use it to build a nest. “Feathering the nest” is the job of most women. Prepare the food; cook the food; clean the house; care for the children, and in some cases milk the cow. International women do this all the time.
It really does not matter if women are living in a rural area or is a modern women in a large city. All have certain responsibilities that lay at their feet. Children are taken care of throughout life and then abandon the mother or father who have given so much of their lives for their children. Nursing homes are often a proof of this.
For women who choose not to be mothers or wives, we honor their decision to make a career that is not only fulfilling, but inspirational to others in the world. The talents they have are important to the world. It is not necessary that a woman be timid. She has strengths that her quiet demeanor may not show.
The internet has brought the whole world together. There is not much that modern society can keep as a secret to living any longer. Whenever women take to the streets as they did for the vote, the world is going to know their cause. Women’s issues and societal changes are discussed in all world publications. The self-motivated woman has much to advise her in her living, but ultimately she must find within herself what makes her the woman she wants to be.
The Woman of Faith
Unfortunately when it comes to faith, it is often the woman who is left to guide the children or the family in seeking God. Writers through the centuries have praised the virtuous woman.
“…a woman who fears the Lord, she shall be praised : Proverbs 31 The Holy Bible
If you do not know all the women on the video, look for a list to appear later of their accomplishments under “COURAGEOUS WOMEN at the top of screen.
(For best results, enlarge to full screen and turn on sound for video.)
There’s no doubt that the world is made up of really different living things. People are different from animals. Land animals are different from sea animals. We could go on and on from the very large to the microscopic. Somehow, there is a connection. God must have made it that way.
I have noticed that even with all the differences, some ….and I repeat “some” tend to overlook those differences and go on with living and forming the most remarkable relationships . We hear that “opposites attract” in courtship. An extremely outgoing couple may find it hard to get a word in edge-wise. Somehow there has to be a compliment to make things work.
Our dog, Gracie, is featured on one of my writings with her friend, the cat from down the street. I have never understood if the cat thinks Gracie is her mother…or Gracie thinks the cat is her child, or perhaps they are just friends. It does not seem to matter that Gracie is a large, Golden Retriever and the cat is extremely small. One or the other gets licked or rubbed up against. They lay down together…or sometimes just ignore each other.
Regardless, it all led me to think how we often recoil from someone who is so different from ourselves. It may be the culture, personality, or even skin color that keeps us miles apart. Little is said that would open the door to understanding or to closeness. Do we not see that we were all brought into this world the same way….and we will go out of this life just the same…when we take our last breath. Will there be surprises in heaven…or hell, if there are such places…as we believe? I wonder if all the differences will remain and God will just say’, “Get over it!”.
I know you will not leave this writing until you have gone to my video link relating to these thoughts. You simply cannot miss it….and you may wonder if it is real. However, your eyes will see it and know that our differences do not matter….and we actually have no excuses.
N. Boyer of Boyer Writes See right side panel of this writing. Click on “Heart Warming Story…”
- The path was narrow and the streets quiet except for the distant sound of the shoes of the Geisha of Kyoto, Japan. These are women who have made a profession of entertaining with their conversation, songs and musical instruments. Many start from a very early age and make a career business that sometimes, after years, results in becoming the owner of the okiya, or geisha house. It appears that the term “geisha“, which means artist is different from the more specific term “geiko“, meaning woman of art. They leave their families to train in a strict environment. I learned these facts while traveling home from Japan recently and reading the book, Geisha of Gion written by one of the most famous geishas, Mineko Iwasaki, who has left the profession and is now married with a family. In Gion, one will find the true geiko, as we will call it throughout this writing. A Meiko is an apprentice geiko or geisha. The years of dedication expected and the modern tourist industry has made a place for the not so trained or disciplined geikos in other areas of Japan. Most modern girls find the distractions of cellphones, the internet, and the fashion world a pull when considering this difficult and dedicated career.
- What type of dedication are we talking about? Long hours of practice in music, song, dance,and speech are a must. Think of it as a kind of boot camp. The new geiko may have the job of cleaning the toilets or serving the other members of the household. There is a certain amount of isolation from the family, friends or those thought to be inferior.
- I was interested in the part of Mineko Iwasaki’s book that told of her wanting to visit a young girl in her school. This girl was blonde and was the child of an American soldier and a Japanese mother, who came from the burakumin people of Japan. These people were considered a type of “untouchable” because they handled the dead people as well as meats and leathers. They were the butchers, the undertakers, and shoemakers. As time has passed, these people do not face as much discrimination, but mostly live in ghetto type surroundings. Of course Mineko was never allowed to visit this family again.
- What is expected of a geiko other than entertainment? Previous years of their lives are completely spent in training. As some westerners have thought, some geikos were prostitutes; but this is not the case for the serious-minded geiko today. A virgin is looked upon highly. Her main duty is to give men a heightened sense of male ego. The geiko is taught to hang on every word of the client and to entice him into believing that he has gone to another place….outside the pressures of the real world. It is to bring good conversation, drink, food and laughter to his life. Mostly, by invitation only, the geiko meets with men for a small dinner or a banquet. The geiko may sit with high level authorities, CEO’s of great companies, and with the famous. They have learned a special type of allure and the ability to make the gentleman feel happy… all in the name of art.
After the war with Japan ended in 1945, the American Occupation Forces brought the geiko and their performances back into being. It is said the General MacArthur was so taken by the beautiful kimono and obi (the sash) that he ask the geiko to give him one. However, she refused. She told him the kimono was her life and fortune. He never asked again.
Another ancient form of entertainment in Japan is the Kabuki Theater. It came into being around the sixteenth century for the common people. Performed exclusively by men, some actors can trace their history in Kabuki Theater back ten generations. It is a lively performance with help of drums and singing that is different and sharp to the western ear. Also the modern Kabuki Theater, which my husband and I attended, has mercy on the “seat” of the tourist. They allow one to attend for only one hour instead of the three or four hours that Japanese find a pleasure. Great showmanship with swords and the role of the drums as the Shogun enters carries the plot. Even gently falling snow on the stage gives the audience the picture of a quiet, soft beauty of the Japanese winter.
The traditions of Japan make it a unique place to visit. The authentic Geisha and The Kabuki in the traditional setting is found no where else in the world.
Slide Presentation below 4th in a series on Japan N. Boyer of BOYER WRITES
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MODERN JAPAN is the topic of this writing. Having just returned from a trip to Japan, I found that the country is one of the most interesting, extremely clean, and happiest of cultures. Perhaps it is their specific ways of doing things. Everything is in order and the pride of their possessions is evident everywhere. The tiny house and front is scrubbed clean. The streets are immaculate . No where could I find a cigarette butt. The toilets are high-tech with everything anyone could want from the “water shower”, as they called it, or better known as the bidet. The accessibility of the hand washer attached to and just behind the toilet was another innovation. One would think that we Americans may be in the dark ages when it comes to this technology.
Politeness is a must in this culture. There is the friendly greeting or a bow to both friend, stranger, or customer. My husband and I found that students would stop us on the street to ask if they could practice their English; flash the peace sign and give a big smile. Education is all important, as I found out in a previous visit to Japanese schools through a Fulbright Scholarship. Often students attend school, field trips, and then have a tutor until late into the evening.
One interesting picture that I will share with you is a sliding board coming out of a second floor school building. It was obvious that the students slide down the slide to their waiting school bus, probably into the waiting arms of a teacher. Innovation….innovation…everywhere! No wonder it was a great surprise when we entered the Kyoto Mall of about 13 floors and heard a full symphony which turned out to be a small child at the keyboard with electronic switches to give the effects of one hundred plus orchestra.
Japan is the very new with the very old. BOYER WRITES will begin a series on Japan. The first is on Modern Japan (See slide show below) and to follow will be the Historic Japan, Japanese Maples and Mt. Fuji, Kyoto and the Gion District, and the People of Japan. Hopefully you will find this interesting and will log on often. N. Boyer of Boyer Writes
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