During this time of self-isolation, I continue to write, but I also stop to paint when I truly want to relax. My art is nothing like a professional, but I love the freedom it gives to paint whatever is in my mind. Usually it has something to do with God’s nature…a flower, tree, or anything beautiful. As we sail along on this time of testing, we know that life will continue.
Nothing ever stands still…not time, events, or even our own living breath. Each moment we live is different from the last. We will move forward and it will be ours to find the peace God wants us to have. It may be in reading our favorite books, working in the garden, painting or sewing some special thing. We should also make this time to sit down to read God’s Holy Scriptures, an inspiring book or to be consistent in praying. We have the choice of how we will face these times.
One of the things that my husband and I have enjoyed has been the ability to travel. We may not be doing much of this in the time to come, but we remember with fondness some of our favorite trips. Going to Japan ranks very high on the list.
First time I went to Japan was as an educator, invited by the Japanese government. The second time was with my husband who had at one time been to Japan as a U.S. Navy Chaplain. It was great to return together. Being a part of another culture has always intrigued and delighted me. There is so much to learn. Perhaps the thing I come away with from getting to know different parts of the world is how much we are really alike. We work, play, and often make our faith a honored part of living.
I’m sharing with you a video by the artist, Akiane Kramarik, who has an amazing God-given talent. Akiane has taken her art around the world and in doing so, as a young woman has gained insight into the beauty of all people. It is even more true as we know that the whole world is trying to rise above the difficulties of the time. As we have heard many times, we are in this TOGETHER.
On this trip, she talks about visiting Japan and what it meant to her. She stresses that we have a need to SAIL FORWARD…even before she had any knowledge about a world-wide pandemic about to happen. You will notice that the people of Japan are going about their daily business in large groups. Such were the “good old days.” Go with me now on a tour of Japan with Akiane. At the end, she will demonstrate her incredible artistic talent.
This blog post is also presented as a gift to all Mothers around the world and especially those who have found it difficult to see family, whom they love, during the coronavirus…and especially on this MOTHER’S DAY!
In Honor of my Mother, Alta, who died at age 93.
Here I am with Mother when we were both young!
Video: Turn up the sound
If you have never traveled to Japan, you will enjoy this overview of the city and country life. At the end of the video are some steps in Tokyo that my husband and I climbed and listened to a piano concert by a very young girl, who could hardly reach the floor with her feet. The students of Japan have a great emphasis on learning some form of music. The high school that I visited has a whole wing of baby grand pianos and the students were practicing. I learned another impressive thing about the Japanese education. Two young men were sweeping the halls and scrubbing the floor outside their classroom. I asked if they were being punished for something. The reply was, “Oh no, they are taking turns in having pride for their school.”
The calmness of Japan and its beauty is something we will not forget. Take a ride on the bullet train, walk the streets, and enjoy nature at its best.
Besides all the topics in this political season, immigration is still a big bear. It rises up on its hind legs and screams at us “How dare you think of being in my territory!”
Yet, we are soft-hearted, wanting all to have opportunity. We know and love our history in the U.S.A. which tells us about people of every race and religion who carried their meager belongings onto Ellis Island and settled throughout our country. Some of these fled great persecution. All hoped for was peace and a place to live and raise their families quietly. It is no different today. Why then is there so much furor over this very topic of immigration?
The answer may be one of these:
- We like our culture where all nationalities can flourish here.
- We like our choice of religious faith. We don’t want people to come here with the goal to change us.
- We wish we were not a “nanny state” that rewards people for little work since our emigrants of the past had to work hard to even exist. (We have watched the Mexican laborers working in the fields of VA and no one works any harder than they do.)
- We’d like to have control of our borders.
- We want immigrants to be vetted and come legally.
- We’d don’t want to feel threatened by those who claim to hate what we stand for.
I’m sure there are more reasons that we could list…but space is short…for you will stop reading and you’d never get to the informative, factual video presented below for all our thinking.
Within these reasons, we stated that we “like our choice of religious faith”. This is where the rub comes when considering immigration. One of our treasured freedoms in America is the freedom of religion and immigrants bring theirs with them.
First and foremost, we must state here that we are entirely for any immigrant bringing his or her own faith with them and worshiping as they see fit. It is another thing for any emigrant or group of immigrants to have as their goal to change the Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons, Jehovah Witnesses…and any other faith into the Muslim faith. It is also another thing to have them want to change our laws of the land to include their beliefs, which may include the belief of Sharia law.
(In another blog I told of our wonderful neighbors in Florida who were born Muslim and practiced their faith, while appreciating that we are Christians, without trying to change us.) Having said this, we are certain that there are many Muslims just like these neighbors. Unfortunately there are those also who want religious change in America. If you want to know more about the many facets of Sharia Law, this site is recommended: Sharia Law in America
One may say, “Why write about the Muslims’ belief in Sharia and not another faith?” Good question, but other faiths are not calling people “infidels” because they practice faiths other than the Muslim religion. No radical branch of Buddhists, Jews or Christians are beheading anyone. It is fairly simple to see why people of many faiths are concerned about mass immigration of Muslims to the United States or to Europe, who adhere to Sharia Law. In some cases, assimilation into the culture of the chosen country is often not a part of the immigrant’s plan or encouraged by the leaders within the community, leaving Sharia Law as their focus.
The title of this blog is Demographics and the Future. We start with the meaning of demographics? It is “statistical data relating to the population and particular groups within it”. Population growth or lack of growth plays a big part in people continuing to enjoy the history,culture, and religious beliefs of which they have always been a part.
We now have to take a long, hard look at demographics, in this world of change, as it relates to population and immigration of Muslims from Muslim countries to countries where religious preferences and laws are not Muslim. What then will it mean to the culture and future of any country?
The aromas are almost magical…spices simmering in large pots of onions, mushrooms, and sausages. Today we visit the International Food Market in York, England. Located close to the famous Shambles District of the city, people mill around with their families deciding which delicacy should be theirs….breads, chocolate-covered donuts, olives and much more from every ethnic part of the world.
The Shambles, for hundreds of years, had been the place of meat butchers. Even then, people would have come to this area to find their fresh meat. The narrow, cobble-stone streets are now shops with a historic sign or place of some main event that had happened here….such as the martyred young wife and mother, Margaret Clitherow (shown below), who refused to give up her faith that was not sanctioned at the time.
In 1586, she was arrested and called before the York assizes for the crime of harboring Roman Catholic priests. She refused to plead to the case to prevent a trial that would entail her children being made to testify, and therefore being subjected to torture. As a result she was executed by being crushed to death, being the standard punishment for refusal to plead, on Good Friday 1586. ( I will write more about her another time.)
Now, enjoy the special International Market of York, England.
It seems that a day does not go by that the world is informed of another disaster. It may be a natural phenomenon of nature, a crash of a helicopter or the starving people of Africa. We are horrified by the sufferings of people and the lives that are lost. Often the news fades away into the files of what has happened to what is now happening. This was true of Haiti; Katrina and of Japan. How do these people cope with the worst of the worst in their lives?
My two trips to Japan introduced me to people who care deeply about the smallest details. One will not see junk cars sitting around or trash laying in the yards. What people do when a disaster hits to put life back into order says a great deal about the character and values of the people. Things may have gone wrong; the government who was supposed to protect may have been at fault; or nature brought a not expected problem. Whatever it may have been, the Japanese people want to let the world know that all is not lost. They are expecting to build back a future just as they did, with much help, after WWII.
The following pictures show a before and after to Japan’s great loss. These are shown toward the end of the picture list, so study them carefully. You will stand in awe at all that has been accomplished in such a short time. We can only say, “Well done, Japanese people. Your desire to work so quickly is amazing!” It may be years in knowing the full extent of what happened in this small , but great country. Nevertheless, we can be certain that the clean up shown in these pictures speaks volumes.
Click below to view.
Japanese Clean Up
Women are finding a power to be themselves. Many are throwing out the expensive salons and bottles that have kept the grey from shining through! It takes courage. I know first-hand, but I also know it has saved me literally hundreds of dollars! In a harsh economy, that is something to think about.
Recently, I read that young men are more concerned about their grey than about balding. It is a kind of epidemic in England. Where in years past, the greying man was considered distinguished. I recently had dinner with a young man I know quite well. He was always a little blonde with a touch of grey beginning to show through. I wondered what the darker…somewhat redish look meant?
While doing business at my bank the other day, I noticed the man behind the desk (in his 50’s-60’s) had definitely dyed his hair blonde. It was so distracting that I found it hard to keep my mind on what he was saying. This is not good for a business-man.
When my husband and I visited Japan recently, I noticed that women much older than I had jet black hair. Having seen articles on the chemicals in hair dye that may cause cancer, I began to wonder about the medical implications of Japanese women. Even though it is not polite to stare in this culture, I noticed a glance or two my way.
My stay in Mongolia showed me many things about their culture. I was treated with dignity because this society honors the person who has grey hair. He/she is respected. Almost always they are spoken to with politeness and given a special place of honor. I was ushered into the Ger (Mongolian traditional home) and seated beside the gentleman that they considered wise and the father-figure in their society.
What brought all of this to mind was that I walked into the court-house yesterday to vote in the Florida primaries. A kind woman surprised me with a nice comment, ” I love your hair. I noticed you when you walked in.” (For those who don’t know me, my hair is snow-white.) I explained to her that I had thrown the bottle away many years ago. (My thanks to you, dear volunteer, from the Women League of Voters.)
Take a look at some of these women. They may be well-known or an ordinary person. It is true, each has a great haircut. Perhaps this is the key and not the color. Would you say they are:
- Attractive or even beautiful?
- Sheik and modern?
- Perhaps even desirable?
An article I read recently had this to say:
“In a society that worships youth and makes us afraid of aging… going gray is not as much about style as it is about attitude. Going gray lets us celebrate our wisdom, maturity and throw out the script that says older women can’t be sexy, strong and happy.”
Men have this choice also. They can be happy with themselves. It’s about energy and contentment. No society should dictate the value of a person at any age. Take a look at these famous grey-haired men..from various age groups. There is nothing “shabby” here.
Marketing has placed a lasso around our necks. It’s time to be who we are and resist being dictated to by the media or the norm. We do have the right to choose….to be ourselves…whether grey or not.
This may be the beginning of an American trend. Watch for the women and men who smile, full-of life, and are definitely grey!