N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Posts tagged “Life Style

IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT US

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.

Life has also become a blur of activity….just get me there FIRST…BEFORE ANYONE ELSE! We saw it previously in Christmas shopping and then rushing to load up on goods when Covid-19 hit the world. Some people actually fought in the stores! ME FIRST…NOT YOU!

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.

CLICK THIS LINK. With the arrow, YOU MAY MOVE FORWARD AT ANY TIME TO THE SERMON.

STRONG BELIEFS

We, as Christians, are walking a fine line on what we should or should not believe to be a way of life that is pleasing to God, while maintaining our own beliefs for our children and future generations.   In the Holy Scriptures, we are told specifically how to live. It is spelled out in the Ten Commandments and other Biblical texts.

The Early Church told the believers to live a life pleasing to God.  There were many cultural taboos that we think nothing of today. Men and women are less restricted in worship, dress etc. We, however, divide ourselves between conservative and liberal even within our congregations…whether Protestant or Catholic.  Some faiths find it extremely important to protect and teach their children a way in life that will bring happiness and peaceful contentment.

We have dear friends in many walks of life.  Some of them have lifestyles of which we would consider not according to Holy Scripture. However, we believe that how they live and walk before God is their choice. We all have the same choice.

As a retired educator, who was the Principal of a Christian school at one time, I know that all schools have to uphold the law.  The recent law passed by the Supreme Court will make it difficult for many Catholic and Protestant Christian schools to maintain what they believe, as they are now required to have a diverse faculty who will teach their students. During the time of hiring, no questions can be asked that would indicate in any way a school was showing discrimination.  Most Christians that I know would not question a person about their private life, but a school administration has an obligation to the children’s education and to the parents of the children.  I’m certain that “What do we do?” is a big topic of discussion in every Christian school board room.

We have good friends in Virginia who have a wonderful school for their Mennonite congregation. We have visited them many times, even though we were not Mennonite and received a warm welcome.  They are very careful with their children…not even allowing TV watching as a principle of their belief.   Will they and other Christian schools and universities have to close in order to maintain the principles of their faith and beliefs?  What about the many Catholic, Protestant and Jewish/Hebrew Schools or all the private schools of varied faiths? It probably would be without saying that there will be expensive law suits, even if there would be little evidence to prove discrimination. Most small schools do not have excessive amount of funds. The fact is that the average school, with little endowment, do their best to give scholarships to those unable to pay, meet their expenses and have to promote all types of fund-drives.    If they believe they have to close because they can no longer proclaim their own specifics of faith, will home-schooling become the only way to maintain the teachings of their belief without breaking the law…. is the question?

 

Amish children

Catholic school girls

Mennonite boys team in VA school

Mennonite college students

______________________________

 

 

Article Credit: To shed further light on the ruling for Christian institutions and others, here is a recent article on the subject written by Elizabeth Dias for the New York Times:

WASHINGTON — For conservative Christian groups, Monday’s Supreme Court ruling protecting the rights of gay and transgender workers was not only the latest sign that they are losing the American culture wars over sexuality. It also caused widespread concern that it could affect how they operate their own institutions.

Many faith-based organizations, like schools or nonprofits, do not allow LGBT people to work there, citing religious beliefs that sex should only be between a man and a woman who are married.

“No question it is going to make it harder to defend our religious freedom, as far as an organization being able to hire people of like mind,” said Franklin Graham, who leads Samaritan’s Purse, a large evangelical relief group.

“I find this to be a very sad day,” he said. “I don’t know how this is going to protect us.”

The employment of LGBT workers in religious institutions has been an issue across the country. In recent high-profile cases, teachers at Catholic schools in Washington state and Indiana have said they were forced to leave because of their sexual identity.

In a 6-3 ruling Monday, the Supreme Court determined that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on race, religion, national origin and sex, also applies to many millions of gay and transgender workers.

The ruling would have “seismic implications” for religious freedom and would potentially set off years of lawsuits for religious organizations, said Russell Moore, president of the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“There’s a common assumption in secular America that as the culture changes that evangelicals and Roman Catholicism and other forms of religion will morph and change along with it,” he said. “I don’t think that is true.”

He added, “Most evangelicals and Catholics and others who hold to a traditional Christian ethic are countercultural.”

The Association of Christian Schools International, which provides services to about 2,700 schools in the United States, is reviewing the implications of the case and reiterated its position that sexual activity must only be between a man and a woman who are married. The group’s president, Larry Taylor, said that “the impact on the hiring policies of religious institutions that teach the biblical view of marriage” and that “uphold a standard of conduct consistent with our faith” is “not yet fully understood.”

For religious conservatives, the ruling was especially pointed because it came from a bench that leans conservative and because Justice Neil Gorsuch, whom they had championed as a hero for other causes like abortion, wrote for the majority. Unlike the 2015 Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide during the Obama administration, this ruling came from their allies.

In his opinion, Gorsuch recognized the existence of several religious freedom protections, including the First Amendment, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and a 2012 Supreme Court ruling that recognized a “ministerial exception” in employment discrimination laws.

But he signaled that Monday’s decision could lead to a fight over the validity over those protections. “How these doctrines protecting religious liberty interact with Title VII are questions for future cases too,” he wrote.

In his dissent, Justice Samuel Alito suggested that some existing religious protections could unravel. “The scope of these provisions is disputed, and as interpreted by some lower courts, they provide only narrow protection,” he wrote.

He also said the ruling left open questions about access to restrooms and locker rooms. “For women who have been victimized by sexual assault or abuse,” he wrote, “the experience of seeing an unclothed person with the anatomy of a male in a confined and sensitive location such as a bathroom or locker room can cause serious psychological harm.”

Some religious groups, including the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the public policy arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, had filed amicus briefs in two sets of cases that were before the court, arguing that Title VII did not address gender identity. The 1964 law “prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin.”

“I am deeply concerned that the U.S. Supreme Court has effectively redefined the legal meaning of ‘sex’ in our nation’s civil rights law,” the president of the Catholic bishops’ conference, Archbishop José H. Gomez, said in a statement. “This is an injustice that will have implications in many areas of life.

“Protecting our neighbors from unjust discrimination does not require redefining human nature,” he said.

But what conservative religious groups may see as a religious freedom issue, secular and progressive religious groups see as an excuse to discriminate.

The Interfaith Alliance’s policy director, Katy Joseph, called it “a watershed moment for equality,” and the executive director for the American Humanist Association, Roy Speckhardt, said it was a sign that “even with the religious right entrenched in Washington, D.C., progress can still happen.”

Forecasting a coming fight over religious liberty, Americans United for Separation of Church and State urged a unified strategy. “The progressive, inclusive faith and secular communities must come together to make clear that religious freedom is a shield that protects, not a sword that licenses discrimination,” the group’s president, Rachel Laser, said in a statement.

Even as more Americans have embraced the cause of gay rights, sexuality remains one of the most divisive issues in Christian communities. This year a group of leaders in the United Methodist Church, which has roughly 7 million members in the United States, announced a plan to formally split the church because of “fundamental differences” over same-sex marriage.

Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey, president of the Council of Bishops for the United Methodist Church, said Monday that she appreciated the Supreme Court’s decision.

“We have faithful followers of Jesus who both stand on very opposite interpretations of LGBTQ issues,” she said. “My hope is that at some point we will look at ways that do honor and respect people for all that God has called them to be and do.”

 ___________________________

While you think about these strong beliefs or go about your work, here is some beautiful music for your background pleasure. Turn on your sound.


FORTITUDE and LIVING LIFE

Recently I read a blog written by Stephen RM.  It spoke to me and I felt that I’d like to add some of my own notes to the specific suggestions made by him. I have entitled my part of this blog as FORTITUDE AND LIVING LIFE.   It is my hope that you enjoy this and give it some serious thought:

The Oxford Dictionary defines FORTITUDE as follows:

Fortitude refers to strength in the face of adversity or difficulty. … People who have fortitude are described in an admiring way for their courage and this word comes from the Latin word fortitudo, meaning “strength.”

There are some things in life that give us the ability to press on and enjoy life. Yes, it does have to do with the heart because how we think about life is our heart-felt desire to enjoy it.

Here are a few things that are suggested as things to do before getting to the elderly age of ____. You notice that no particular age was put in this space! Age is only a number since your birth. Pay little attention to it or what other say about being of a certain age because people have always put restraints on age….such as: “You are too young!” or “You do that at your age?” etc etc. Therefore, the advise of this writing is to think about these things before you get too much older to experience some of them.

Suggestions for a happy and fulfilled life:

1. Travel the World Together

Traveling with someone you love can bring you closer together and makes for scrapbook-worthy memories. (The nice thing about scrapbooks is that you get to enjoy these experiences over and over without whipping out your phone and trying to find the pictures you took somewhere! nwb)

2. Travel the World Alone

But hey, if you don’t have anyone to travel with right now – that’s okay too! Traveling alone is a completely different and rewarding experience that you should definitely do at least once. ( I knew a lady who was definitely a senior who traveled alone and she would find where the young people were bunking on a ship and mix and mingle. Good for her! nwb)

3. Be Mentored by Someone

Any successful person will tell you that they wouldn’t have gotten to where they are now if not for the help of a mentor. Take the time to find the right one for you and you’ll reap lifetime benefits. (A mentor might even be a teacher of something you have not tried. I had never tried throwing clay for ceramics, but my mentor taught me how. Now, I am proud of the little dishes that I use for myself or guests. nwb)

4. Mentor Someone

Pay it forward!

5. Leave a Legacy

 Leave something behind that will outlive you – a non-profit organization, a movement, a sustainable business – your imagination is the limit!

6. Go Skinny Dipping

I’m not certain I would want to find a nude beach in America, but If you visit Japan, they have wonderful springs…No swimsuits and separate areas for male and female…who bring their children. An eye-opening experience for someone from a different culture. nwb

7. Give Back

Living for something beyond ourselves gives us a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Bless others with your blessings!

8. Start Journaling

Write down your thoughts now, reread them years later, and you’ll be amazed to see how far you’ve come. ( You have a story…tell it! It will be a joy to those you love to read after you are heaven-bound. nwb)

9. Fall in Love

Seriously, anyone should definitely fall in love at least once. Even if doesn’t end in happy ever after. (Our first love will probably not be the love of our life. I personally found my TRUE LOVE after I was a single parent with three children. After 38+ years of marriage, I am eternally grateful! nwb)

10. Attend a Religious Event (that’s not your own)

Whether you’re religious or not, try exploring other faith denominations and get different perspectives on spirituality. (Not everyone will be comfortable in a place of worship outside of their belief. It is important to look at what you believe in your worship of God and find joy in true faith. It will be your comfort on your death-bed. However, to be aware of what others believe is important to our understanding of life. As a Christian, I have had opportunity to travel and learn from the Buddhist students that I taught. It was a good experience, but in the long-run, it strengthened my love for Christ, my Savior. nwb)

11. Build Your Expertise

Be an expert at something. If someone mentions your name, there should be a skill that they can always count on you for. (I trained to be a teacher. After retirement, I became a writer and now this is more a part of my identity than that of an educator. Interestingly, as I write, I still believe that some things written are a form of teaching. nwb)

12. Live or Travel in a Developing Country

If you’re from the western part of the world, the best way to understand cultures different from your own is to immerse yourself in it. Live in a handful of developing nations and see their world through their eyes. ( How true this suggestion is! Nothing can top my experience of traveling in Mongolia, Ukraine, and Guatemala. All had different cultures and languages. At first it is somewhat intimidating, but in hind-sight, an excellent experience. nwb)

13. Be Happy Alone

Learn to love yourself and find happiness in your own company. It’s one of the most freeing things you could do for yourself. (How very true!! nwb)

14. Commit to Healthy Habits

Start building healthy habits as early as you can and you’ll find more things to do as you grow older.

15. Become a Multi-Hyphenated Individual

With our fast-evolving world today, it’s absolutely possible to have more than one career. Be the doctor-lawyer, or award-winning author-speaker you always wanted to be. (Taking on another interest does not always mean a change of career, especially if it requires great expense or time-consuming study. It is a broadening of interests that keep us alive and young in thought and mind. Try, as I did, to go to an art class with very young students. I could have been their parent, but I was accepted by them and learned that having a nose ring wasn’t the end of the world! nwb)    Thanks Stephen RM 

Be happy in your heart because it brings about great FORTITUDE as life moves on.

 

VIDEO OF BACKGROUND MUSIC FOR YOUR DAY:


Stop Whining..It could be worse.

You may decide that you have heard enough…horrors of war with decapitations; politics with vulgarities; fleeing people from disasters; secession of countries from the all-world scene and the fact that nothing seems right with the world.

It’s time to take a check of all that has gone before, for history is perhaps the best teacher of attitudes.  Many generations are now alive because someone in a concentration camp was determined to live.  The Civil War in the U.S.A. was one of the bloodiest with  brothers fighting against brothers.Our women today are not working in sweat shops to keep a war effort going, as did my Mother’s generation during World War II.

“Roughly 1,264,000 American soldiers have died in the nation’s wars–620,000 in the Civil War and 644,000 in all other conflicts. It was only as recently as the Vietnam War that the amount of American deaths in foreign wars eclipsed the number who died in the Civil War.”  (Civil War Trust)

civil war American Flag best

Many college students today cannot give simple facts about history…including the suffering or life style of those going through the Great Depression or during the Great Dust Bowl.  Here are a few pictures that can tell them a story or two.  Perhaps they may stop whining about college tuition or having the latest cars or cell phones if they take this part of history seriously. Even older people can review our history and what our forefathers and mothers endured.

Even some of the sayings that we take for granted have a historical meaning.  A friend of ours sent us a few worth noting.  I’m certain that we or the “millennials”of today would not want to live this way.

“Dirt Poor” …when dust and dirt covered everything during the Dust Bowl. Old house in dirt

 

“Piss Poor” because there were no bathrooms and used a pot instead if they could afford a pot.  Some will remember these days of using a pot. Living in a hut

 

No deodorant. Baths once a week, if then,  in a common tub. The babies were last and may be the start of the saying ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!’

Why do you think a bride carried a flower bouquet in the favorite month of June when flowers were blooming?   The smell of the flowers might hide the body odor.Depression Family

 

 

“Upper Crust”  Bread was so hard to get that families had to divide whatever they had. Workers got the burnt bottom part; the rest of the family got the middle and only the guests got the top “upper crust” which was the best.  Try making any child or young person today wait without whining for what is left over…especially because guests are to be treated with total respect.

women in old shelter

Living where one can…the Great Depression

Taking care of our world and each other, while appreciating what we have been so richly blessed with, is a top priority for this generation and the next.  The next time you look at a beautiful green tree, think of the Dust Bowl.  The next time you want to lash out from some injustice, think of this command.  “… Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.”  Philippians 4:8

It may be a difficult thing to do, for we are used to getting what we want when we want it. Try disciplining yourself to not allowing a whine to come out of your mouth for just a week.  This challenge is for me also. After the week, see if it has made a difference in your life.   Let me know if you can do it.   (Boyer Writes  at boyerwrites@yahoo.com)

Click for  VIDEO explaining the Dust Bowl of 1930’s.

Credits: Video History in the Headlines

 

 

 


TRUST…What is it really?

  • If one looks up the word, TRUST, used as a noun, it has to do with confidence, belief, faith, certainty, assurance, conviction, credence, or reliance.  I’d like to start with the word, “assurance”.   Can we really be assured that we can trust someone or something to be all those words?    Confidence is a very strong word.  It gives the feeling that we do not need to doubt because there is total confidence. 
    If the truth be known, there is probably a little doubt in any of these  words that we equate with trust.
  • Think about this for a moment.  We get in our car and drive somewhere in the world. Here, in front of us in a bridge…perhaps like this one below if we happen to be driving in China, which is not recommended. sidu-river-bridge in China  Hubei ProvinceWhile we are on the subject of bridges…made by human beings; constructed by human beings; maintained by human beings…we might also be driving across the Millau-Viaduct Bridge in France.  This is not for the faint of heart or those who have a fear of heights, because this is considered the world’s highest bridge. millau-viaduct-bridge Tallest in world in France in Massif Central Mts

We get to the airport and once again we are asked to trust:   Trust that the security has been checked correctly and thoroughly; trust the pilot has not had a rough night;  trust that the mechanics have  performed their duties for our safe flight.

I remember getting on a Russian airlines, flying out of Ukraine at a small airport.  The attendant at the gate checked my ticket and passport and we boarded.  The flight crew decided that the runway would be safe enough to take off with holes in the runway and weeds growing out of big ruts.  Having a second thought, he moved the plane over on the grassy area, gunned it and took off… while from inside I watched a very large screw dangle over my head. Immediately I wondered who serviced this plane?   Looking at the man next to me, from Amsterdam, I asked, “Do you think we’ll make it?”   He answered, “I trust we will.”    Oh my, his trust was better than mine. This is only an example of how trusting we are with our lives.  If we were not, we would surely miss the adventure that goes with seeing the world and exploring new places.  Even staying at home in our bed has its risks.  A man in Florida went to bed; a sink hole opened up and swallowed the whole house. (This is true.)   As far as I know they never found him because the sink hole was so deep and this is his grave to this day.

Another one of the words about trust, is “reliance”.  Almost everything in our lives has a reliance on others to do the right thing.  We eat at a restaurant and we rely on the fact that the kitchen is clean and not filled with cockroaches or that the food has been properly refrigerated so that we don’t have an evening of agony from food poisoning.  I usually check out a new restaurant’s bathroom…for a dirty bathroom usually means a dirty kitchen.  This is not for certain, but possible a good connection. It has not worked a few times and tainted food does mean “I think I’m going to die!”  We also rely on those who grow our food to not have a sewer ditch right next to where our vegetables are growing soaking up the water nearest them.   Hopefully as you read this, you are not going soon to your next meal. Trust me…wait a while.

Saying the words, “Trust me” is something we often hear someone say.  I think they mean that we can have confidence in what they are saying or doing.  It is a glib statement that carries little weight…yet we do often “trust”…regardless.

All in all, to trust is a very scary thing.  Even in relationships, we marry the person who promises to love us always.  Many know that those trusts can be broken.  For those who have found the person who also makes their way of life a trust-worthy one, we are most fortunate indeed.

Some of the people we trust the most are those in the medical field.  We want to be certain that the nurse or the lab technician is careful to give the exact test asked for by the doctor as well as the correct results.  When it comes to diagnosis, this is critical.  Our physicians must have up-to-date training and knowledge as  the average person must trust their opinions and proper treatment.

The family of the elderly must be certain that their loved ones are going to be cared for properly when they can not care for themselves. More than once I observed, when my Mother was in an assisted living facility, that she had to trust herself to be given the proper medicines. I had to step in, as her advocate, to assure that mistakes were not being made with her.  Either the nursing attendants were overwhelmed with work or were simply careless when passing out the little cup with several medications.  Once my Mother said, “No, no I don’t get that one.”   It is sad to think of those who are in wheelchairs and mentally unable to challenge those whom they should be able to trust.

Even in faith, we are asked to trust.  One of my favorite verses from the Holy Scriptures is Proverbs 3:5, 6.  “TRUST in the Lord with all your heart.  Lean not to your own understanding, but in all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”

Back to the people we trust everyday: the restaurant owner, the engineer, the pilot, those responsible for our safety around the world and in our homes…those who care about us enough to protect us, I have one thing to say.  Do your jobs diligently and even in the smallest details!    Your job may not be important in your own eyes, but you may be a life saver to others.  There are people out there trusting you.  Never forget it.

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” —Albert Einstein

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 


Quotation Challenge Nominations

I have a blogging friend in the UK.  We enjoy reading each other’s blogs and find friendly ways to agree and disagree.  Stephen has nominated me as for a quotation challenge and I, in turn, have nominated bloggers who are worthy of note.     (Thanks, Stephen)

Here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • Hans Urs von Balthasar of Switzerland What you are is God’s gift to you. What you become is your gift to God.  Hans Urs Balthasar   (Priest from Switzerland 1905-1988)

 

  • sir winston churchillCourage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.  Sir Winston Churchill   (Prime Minister of the UK. born 1874- died 1965)

 

 

 

president john f kennedy

  • As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is  not to utter words, but to live by them.  John F. Kennedy (1917-1963  35th President of the United States who was assassinated at the age of 46.)

 

I always like quotations that are uplifting, challenging and inspirational.  If they are politicians, I may not be on the same thought wave…but appreciate any words that have meaning to me personally or to this troubled world in general.

Here are the rules for the Quotation Challenge and my nominees, who have blog sites worth notation.  If you have not seen these sites, please take a look.  You’ll be glad you did.

The Rules:

1.) Either once a day for three days, post a quotation, or post all three quotations at one time. It is your choice.

2.) Nominate and notify three other bloggers of the challenge.

3.) Thank the blogger who nominated you.

The nominees are under no obligation to complete this challenge, but it would be fun if they do. Plus, this will introduce them to a whole list of new readers.

My NOMINEES for the Quotation Challenge are:

Mimo Khair Photography 

Dimitrii Travel Photography

Ramona Crisstea

 


The Phone…an Instrument of Death

death at the wheel

It was a beautiful day in Florida and three friends were out for a ride in a BMW.  What did the medics and police find in the mangled metal?    A cell phone in the car with a Snapchat  video of the three that was taken just moments before the crash.  In this case, they hit a tree and not an innocent family  with little children, who would like to live long enough to have a phone.

texting

Florida, in the USA, is my home state. At present we have no laws against using one’s phone while driving, just warnings of the dangers.

comforting a child

Medics comfort child after auto crash

More people are calling for stronger measures for distractions by using a phone, whether talking, texting or photographing.  Nevertheless, even if we had them, it is most likely that such a law would be ignored by many.  One has to ask why people are so afraid of guns or drunk drivers, but those same  people who would never harm anyone with a gun or get behind the wheel when drinking, will text and use their phones as instruments of death.  It is absurd that one  will take such chances with their lives and the lives of others.   Many naive young people think they are in control, even while flirting with death. It never occurs to them, even after official warnings, that it could actually happen to them.

car crash2car crashes

Another Floridian made the news after killing four people while driving drunk.  He was given a slap on the wrist because he was “too wealthy to know right from wrong”.  (This type of punishment may encourage most teens that there are not many consequences to laws.) With the help of his mother, he fled the country only to get another slap on the wrist when charged as an adult.  Death that he caused by his behavior  had little meaning to this young man.

The phone is convenient and all of us use and love them. However, the  seriousness of death has not gotten through to many young people…and adults, unfortunately.

It is permanent!

 


Photography on the Blue Ridge

The mountains of Virginia have been buried in snow and shortly the mountain will awaken to the warmth of the sun.  I’d like to introduce you to Photography by Boyer.  Throughout the summer, I will be sharing my photographic adventures. At times, it may even be a travelogue through pictures.  If you are interested in photography and would like to be notified when pictures are uploaded on my photography blog, just send me an email (boyerwrites@yahoo.com or howey126@hotmail.com ) or follow on Photography by Boyer.

See the photography of the  beautiful Blue Ridge during our stay in 2015 on this link:

Photography by Boyer

August VA 026 copy

READY FOR SPRING, SUMMER AND FALL!


Drug Pushers to be Released Early

Drug Usage

As we listen to the pleas of people in various Town Hall Meetings throughout the country, it is difficult to hear the lives that have been lost by addiction.  Families have been devastated.  An example is the heroine epidemic in the state of New Hampshire and it is not the only state. The areas of the Appalachians and California are also greatly effected.     Most likely those families will be horrified to know that hundreds are now being released early back into society with letter in hand from our President, which reads :

“I am granting your application because you have demonstrated the potential to turn your life around,” the president wrote. “Now it is up to you to make the most of this opportunity. It will not be easy, and you will confront many who doubt people with criminal records can change. Perhaps even you are unsure of how you will adjust to your new circumstances. But remember that you have the capacity to make good choices. I believe in your ability to prove the doubters wrong, and change your life for the better.”

According to Lederman of the Associated Press, “The latest tranche of commutations brings to 248 the total number of inmates whose sentences Obama has commuted — more than the past six presidents combined, the  White House said. The pace of commutations and the rarer use of pardons are expected to increase as the end of Obama’s presidency nears.”

Everyone hopes that those who are given a second chance will make good on the a new life.  Over crowding of jails or a need for prison reform may not be  good reasons to put our communities in harms way.  A court and judge gave the sentences which were expected to be carried out.   This map may tell us how active the pushers’ business is and how many deaths have occurred  up until 2014. Take a look at your state and county. Can we afford any more?

nyt-overdose deaths map

“Drugs deaths have skyrocketed in New Hampshire. In 2014, 326 people died from an overdose of an opioid, a class of drugs that includes heroin and fentanyl, a painkiller 100 times as powerful as morphine.

Nationally, opioids were involved in more than 61 percent of deaths from overdoses in 2014. Deaths from heroin overdoses have more than tripled since 2010 and are double the rate of deaths from cocaine.

In New Hampshire, which holds this year’s first presidential primary, residents have repeatedly raised the issue of heroin addiction with visiting candidates.” (Article written by Haeyoun Park and Mattew Bloch, Jan.2016) 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Most drug pushes have already become addicted themselves to the life style of easy money with no regard to the lives they are harming. How likely is it that any one of those given a second chance will not continue their former ways into all areas of society.  Don’t forget the unborn who also often come into this world with an addiction that they will have to combat all of their lives.   Who will tell them that giving a second chance to the pusher, that sold the drug to their mother,  was in their best interest?

 Our brightest young people are at great risk. They usually started out with a bright future ahead and after experimentation, they descended into a life of hell.   Watch this video below and ask yourself two questions:  Why are parents with money and affluence supporting the habit? (See video 2)   The last is  when we have young people with total, everyday  dependency, is it worth an early release, a commutation of convicted drug pushers?   ….I think not.

Video 1 Beautiful Marin and her parents Video:  

Video 2 Click on the video and  you will be able to watch on You Tube.

  Click to get a good look at drug overdose and deaths.   (Progression nationwide by years)

See full report on drug addiction in U.S.A    (New York Times)   Video credit  ABC News

 


No One Owes You Anything

beautiful letterCleaning out old files can be most enlightening.  Perhaps ages ago, I copied a letter from a father to his child.  He felt it was the best advice he could ever give because it had taken him practically a life time to learn.

I thought that since gift giving was over for the season that maybe there would be a reader who would like a “belated gift”.   Below is a portion of the letter written by Harry, whose wisdom may be a new slant on our thinking. It could even save the lives of one in despair.  I would suggest that every parent read this with a child who is old enough to understand…or send it off to those who are trying to find their place in this confusing world.  (Thanks, Harry)

fingers and pen

“…If I could give you just one thing. I’d want it to be a simple truth that took me many years to learn. If you learn it now, it may enrich your life in hundreds of ways.  And it may prevent you from facing many problems that have hurt people who have never learned it.   The truth is simply this:

No one owes you anything.

It means that no one else is living for you, my child.  Because no one is you.  Each person is living for himself; his own happiness is all he can ever personally feel.   When you realize that no one owes you happiness or anything else, you’ll be freed from expecting what isn’t likely to be. 

It means that no has to love you.  If someone loves you, it’s because there’s something special about you that gives him (or her) happiness.  Find out what that something special is and try to make it stronger in you so that you’ll be loved even more. 

When people do things for you, it’s because they want to__because you, in some way give them something meaningful that makes them want to please you, not because anyone owes you anything. 

No one has to like you.  If your friends want to be with you, it’s not out of duty.  Find out what makes other happy so they want to be near you.

No one has to respect you.  Some people may even be unkind to you.  But once you realize that people don’t have to be good to you, and may not be good to you, you’ll learn to avoid those who would harm you.  For you don’t owe them anything either.  

A single red rose lays on top of a hand written document.

You owe it to yourself to be the best person possible.  Because if you are, others will want to be with you, want to provide you with the things you want in exchange for what you’re giving to them. 

Some people will choose not to be with you for reasons that have nothing to do with you.  When that happens, look elsewhere for the relationships you want.  Don’t make someone else’s problems your problems. 

Once you learn that you must earn the love and respect of others, you’ll never expect the impossible and you won’t be disappointed.  Others don’t have to share their property with you, nor their feelings or thoughts. 

If they do, it’s because you’ve earned these things.  And you have every reason to be proud of the love you receive, your friend’s respect, the property you’ve earned.  But don’t ever take them for granted. If you do, you could lose them.  They’re not yours by right; you must always earn them.  

A great burden was lifted from my shoulders the day I realized that no one owes me anything.  For so long as I’d thought there were things I was entitled to, I’d been wearing myself out…physically and emotionally trying to collect them. Writing pen

No one owes me moral conduct, respect, friendship, love, courtesy or intelligence.  And once I recognized that, all my relationships became far more satisfying.  I’ve focused on being with people who want to do the things I want them to do.   That understanding has served me well with friends, business associates, lovers, sales prospects and strangers.  It constantly reminds me that I can get what I want only if I can enter the other person’s world.  I must try to understand how he thinks, what he believes to be important, what he wants.  Only then can I appeal to someone in ways that will bring what I want.  And only then can I tell whether I really want to be involved with someone.  I can save the important relationships for those with whom I have the most in common. 

It is not easy to sum up in a few words what has taken me years to learn. Maybe if you re-read this gift each Christmas, the meaning will become a little clearer every year.   I hope so for I want more than anything else for you to understand the simple truth that can set you free:   No one owes you anything.”

envelope

 

 

 


Water, Food, Finances, Technology, Aggression…in common?

world 2The 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:

*Financial instability

*Water and oil depletion

*Hostile Technology such as AI (Artificial intelligence)

*Terrorist Aggression

The world may be in our hands more than we know.

world

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.


Obsession with the female body….be who you are…accept your cellulite!

From January 1st, the hype is on to change who you are. Diet programs fill the airways.   Every ad shows a woman who is trim…or even in the modeling world… sometimes anorexic.     It is an understatement to say that women’s bodies are totally different from that of men’s.  They are curvy…and every curve has a reason.  Yes, a reason!plus size women

Since the beginning of time and the family, the breast is for nursing a baby.  The breast has become a visual sex object in more than just intimacy between loving couples or a mother and a child.   Go no further than the  Hollywood  red carpet.   Almost every dress  exposes  the cleavage down to the naval.  Which brings us to the hips and back-side which they are also showing quite regularly.   The width of  the hips is actually  to be able to give birth more easily.  Try getting a 10 pound baby out of a narrow hip….oh the pain!   God knew what He was doing when He molded the female hip, believe me!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAAre you a woman whose weight or curves bother you?   We are not talking about being obese for we know that this is totally unhealthy.    However, you can have some lumps and bulges and still be  active and at your best self.

Remember the time when an expectant mother wore big floppy dresses to cover the little bundle growing inside herself?   Now expectant mothers carry their little “watermelon” proudly in front of themselves. Society has changed about this issue.   Now it is time to make some changes in  attitudes about real women and their bodies as well as living a long life.women maternity 2000 woman in materity 50s

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What are young girls learning from their role models…whether it is their own parent…a rock star….model or others that they see on TV?    Some of the children’s books that I have written have to do with self-confidence and self-esteem.   We know that young girls go through bullying and ostracism from their peers because they are not rail thin like the models they see everywhere they look…TV, books, magazines, ads, video games, or movies.    This is hurtful and our society needs to discuss and embrace real people and who they are.  No one, adult, teen or child….male or female  needs to feel less important or unattractive…because they are measured by such an unfair standard.  All societies have their own standards of beauty and acceptance. Look no further than certain  women in Africa whose lips are their status…and not their hips. Surma woman with Lip Plate 4

It is time for women …of all ages to claim themselves.  Heredity makes a difference in who we are…and our genes will not change.  If your mother or grandmother was a curvaceous woman…then it is likely that you will be also.  If they were thin…most likely you will be too.  Of course diet plays a part as we all know.  Whoever we are, we must learn to accept ourselves…or we will never be happy.   Eat right; exercise…even if just a walk each day…and be your best.

(A side-note  here:  If you know a  good looking young man who is considering male modeling, they need to look up the term and video on “manorexia” in men that is  life-threatening. Other less known, but very prevalent is ENDOS which is also an eating disorder with grave consequences primarily found among young women. )

This video below  is worth watching…and you don’t have to blind-fold your husbands or the men in your life.  It is how a young girl could have lost her life as she entered the modeling profession.  Today she is her normal self and is considered a plus size model at her best.  Of course, a size 12 may not seem “plus” to most of us, but it is in the fashion industry.   She may have little cellulose but is now a real woman who can eat and be happy.

Highly recommended for a parent to watch with a teen girl.

(Click onto You Tube as directed for full interview. )

 


Communication…the baby steps!

If people are not trying to kill you, it may be a good idea to lean back into babyhood when communicating. The word “communication” sounds so sophisticated and grown up. We may have to learn from babies and children what it really means.

By this, I mean, start with a little face to face. Go straight to a little sound or two.  Grab his/her hands…keep looking into the eyes and then give those words and sounds all you can muster.

Take a look at these two in our video below.   They get the idea…and maybe we can also. It seems so simple and yet we have so much trouble with communicating. . Maybe it takes interest…Yes, that is it. How interested are we really in the other person? Do their little sounds or sighs mean anything to us?

There are different forms of communicating.  We first have to realize that there are those sitting right next to us that are as surprised at what is happening around them (and in the world) as we are!babies surpried

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes we just have to cry together!babies crying

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

babies understandingSometimes we just have to listen when someone is trying to tell us something.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

babies readingOther times we communicate by just being together….quietly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

babies eatingEating together is always a fun thing to do. Just remember to turn off the phone…and give that person full attention.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Out of the mouth of babes” we are often taught.   Communicating seems to be a natural thing…built in…and waiting to happen.  Somewhere along the way, we have made it a hard thing… perhaps becoming fearful…which was not the way it was meant to be.

For 2015, take a few “baby steps” to communicating…listening…and appreciating one another.

CLICK FOR VIDEO  but be certain to notice the light in the eyes…the expressions of “I’m just glad you are here!”


There is no hiding the facts…so get real in 2015!

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 playing chess fat person fat people2

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.

fat dogThis 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.

woman with weightsAs 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.  fat man with tape

 

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


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.

 


Blue Grass Music …even kids think it’s COOL!

Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. and VA

Blue Ridge Mountains of N.C. and VA

The great areas of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and North Carolina have the sound of “down-home” music that  they have been playing for many years.  The music, through festivals and sing-along jamborees is being passed down from generation to generation.   Yes, kids and teens have found it to be “cool”!  No, the ones you will see on the video are not southern boys…but New Jersey kids who know how to really play blue grass.

My family has roots in the Carolina mountains.  My Great Grandfather not only served in the Confederate Army, but was a self-proclaimed country doctor, who was credited for saving lives when people did not know how to bring down fevers.  He wrapped them in wet sheets and many of them lived to farm, sing, and strum another day.    For me, personally, there’s nothing like looking out over the blue mountain range…and feeling the breeze in the  face.   The fog rolls in and the thunder careens back and forth between the bluish, purple hills.Blue Ridge Mountains3

 

Much of the music stems from faith…tradition…and songs and dances that were brought by those coming to the New World.   Below are some videos I think you will enjoy:

First of the fiddling boys and then a history of the Blue Ridge area.

History of Blue Grass Music in Virginia and North Carolina:


The Love of Food….is the greatest love?!

Food“There is no love so great as the love of food”  reads a slogan on a restaurant take out bag.  This is one truism that seems to be a part of every living thing.  Of course we are not including the love for God…or His love for us in this statement.

People just  don’t know when to stop eating…or refuse to eat what is good for them.   Thus, the cries of the health critics.  Every January, the “lose weight” commercials ring in the New Year!    People get out the tape measure and decide if this is the year to “make it happen”.   My hat is off to those who actually follow through and change their health for the better. Sometimes it is truly a matter of life and death. overweight people

School children are told to eat a “healthy lunch” as they pass by the apples and pick up the french fries. I don’t know about yours, but my dog will eat most anything.  Actually,  she spits out his apples sometimes too.

As the world trembles in war-torn areas and food is in shortage, we remember what Mom used to say about the “starving people in Africa”. She would have to add many more nations in her reprimand today. We also  know that a nation of much…is also a nation of waste. Recently, I was served an over-cooked piece of salmon in a restaurant. The waitress insisted that she take it back. That was a hard decision…to pay for something not cooked properly…or know that the returned entree would go in the garbage…unless they had a stray cat out the back door!

I’m a southerner…originally from North Carolina.  There is nothing like a real “country spread”.  Everybody brings their favorite dish.  Recently we had a family reunion.  There was enough fried chicken to sink a battle ship….not to mention the homemade desserts.   Afterwards, we divided it all up…and the coolers were loaded down with another meal for another time. Heavenly!

We also have our favorite foods. I picked up a book the other day entitled “Just Pass the Chocolate and Nobody will Get Hurt.”   I think the book was really about  over-coming stress…not the demands for food.  It was a clever way of getting attention because almost everyone loves chocolate.

 

Scarlett OHara Scarlett OHara,  a character in Gone With the Wind, lived during the Civil War, when everyone was hungry.    She swore “I’ll never be hungry again!”  Another one of her lines was “I’ll think about it another day.”  That’s usually what we say about pushing back from the table.

Food…we love it! How thankful we are that we don’t have to go to bed without it!

There is something about a filled tummy that makes us feel lazy.   Think I’ll go to bed now.

Post note:  After this post, I got a comment from my fellow-blogger in England.  He has given me permission to write his comment which may be helpful to some.

“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 didn’t 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!”

 

Take a look at these guys…who, by the way, seem to think food is pretty great also.


A Fascination with Birds….from USA to Mongolia

 

Florida Bald Eagle by N.Boyer

Florida Bald Eagle by N.Boyer

The walls of my home have enlarged photographs of the birds native to my area in Florida.  There is the Osprey, the Cranes, the Hawks, and most recently a Florida Bald Eagle shown here sitting quietly in my neighbor’s  pine tree.

When I was fortunate enough to be teaching English in Mongolia, I heard of the Golden Eagles that were used for hunting.  I did not see any in action on either of my trips, but a friend of mine sent an article about an amazing 13-year-old girl who is now joining the young boys and men who hunt with eagles in Mongolia.   I found this fascinating as this young girl, who now has a laptop and knows how to email,  also knows how to scale the mountains through the snow and hunt with her eagle.

William Kremer of BBC Magazine wrote this about her:

“Most children, Asher Svidensky says, are a little intimidated by golden eagles. Kazakh boys in western Mongolia start learning how to use the huge birds to hunt for foxes and hares at the age of 13, when the eagles sit heavily on their undeveloped arms. Svidensky, a photographer and travel writer, shot five boys learning the skill as well as the girl, Ashol-Pan. “To see her with the eagle was amazing,” he recalls. “She was a lot more comfortable with it, a lot more powerful with it and a lot more at ease with it.”

The Kazakhs of the Altai mountain range in western Mongolia are the only people who hunt with golden eagles, and today there are around 400 practicing falconers. Ashol-Pan, the daughter of a particularly celebrated hunter, may well be the country’s only apprentice huntress…”

Mongolia has a yearly Eagle Festival when the hunters bring their eagles and show what they can do. I am certain that this young lady will be a part of the all male group very soon.  Here are a few of the other pictures photographed by Asher Sydensky.

Mongolian Bahak BirgenIrka Bolen

Enjoy the video below on the history of the Eagle Hunters of Mongolia


Some people are just INSPIRATIONAL…even at 99

IMG_1803How amazing that we have 24 hours a day…12 months a year to do things in life…and people still complain. Some don’t know what to do with themselves….are bored and sit in front of the TV…becoming depressed…when the world is out there just waiting!

I found a man who has just turned 99. He is up in the early morning…planting plants, watering and fertilizing and in general making everything around the community more beautiful.  People often mistake his yard for a city park.

Asked if he has written his memoirs, he hasn’t.   He is probably too busy.  I asked about where he grew up and it was in Carolina and Ohio…with some Native American (Cherokee) in his ancestry.    I think it is probably my future to spend some time hearing his story.  It might make a great book someday…and lives like his don’t happen too often.  He is still married to the same woman.  His wife says they have been married “forever” and she is also a sweetheart.  Yes, she was and is his sweetheart.  They were young once and still beautiful in their own way.

LEA YOUNG WOODY YOUNG

A kind and gentle smile, he walked behind a huge bush that he grew…making a little space  for him to get through to tend to the plant.

Big bush with space to enter.

Big bush with space to enter.

I teased him that it was really a “place to hide  out”.   He teased back, “No, they will put my ashes here someday.”

Men like this are an inspiration to all of us.   Easter is fast approaching and with Easter, we think of new life…new beginnings…the Resurrection.   Perhaps it is time that we look at new beginnings.   Winter has been harsh this year for many…but Spring is on its way.  Make a new project…take a new walking path…notice what is out there…call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a very long time.  We all need to inspire and be inspired.  We may not make it to 99, but what we have in days and hours should be put to good use.   (A thought for this time of Lent)


EXTREME…and why?

It seems that the writings that are on this blog often ask the question WHY.    That may because it often boggles the mind that some people do things that they do.  When one goes to extremes, what are they looking for?  Is it fame, self-assurance, reaching for something they have never attained…  the maximum…the supreme… to be the highly exceptional?  The super ego may be the opposite of feeling worthless.

” Someone with histrionic personality disorder wants to be the center of attention in any group of people, and feel uncomfortable when they are not. While often lively, interesting and sometimes dramatic, they have difficulty when people are not focused exclusively on them”  

Of course we are not saying that the people in these pictures all have personality disorders, but we hope they live long enough to prove this statement wrong    The pictures inserted here may give us a clue to what a psychiatrist might say about someone who would put themselves in such danger.  We know that the pictures of what they are doing always helps with  the bragging rights.

In the Alps

In the Alps

Sitting on Trolltunga Rock in Norway

Sitting on Trolltunga Rock in Norway

Extreme Picnicing

Extreme Picnicing

Extreme skiing

Extreme skiing

Extreme glacier Boarding

Extreme glacier Boarding

Climbing Mt. Wellington

Climbing Mt. Wellington

Extreme biking on cliffs of Moher

Extreme biking on cliffs of Moher

Jumping a crevice

Jumping a crevice

Climbing Redwood trees

Climbing Redwood trees

Extreme Kayaking to the edge of Victoria Falls

Extreme Kayaking to the edge of Victoria Falls

Crossing the bridge on Mt. Nimbus in Canada

Crossing the bridge on Mt. Nimbus in Canada

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We hear the word EXTREME used often in sports.  One pushes to the edge…to be the very best.  For a few, it is the moment, after all the months and years of hard work, to stand on the platform and receive the gold metal.  It is a proud time to represent their country…to say, “I am the best.”    It is also a way not only to fame, but to fortune.

Pushing ones self is not only in sports, but in music,  drama or other activities.   Doing nothing, but practicing hour after hour at the piano or another instrument with goals to reach the concert hall could be the motivation.   If this is the love of one’s life and what they truly want to experience in life, then we may say, “Go for it!”   There may be a price to pay.   In anything extreme or in extreme dedication, the end may be one of regret.  Why do we say this?

Jackson Pollock

Jackson Pollock

Look at the life of abstract artist, Jackson Pollock shown here, taking his art form to the extreme. His life consisted of laboring over huge canvases hour after hour for years. In the end, his life was one out of control…as often is with those who also choose substance abuse. He died when he drove his car under the influence of alcohol, killing himself and another passenger.    The  value of his art is worth more after his death than during his life time, which is usually the case.

This leads us to ask another question.   In evaluating what we are doing and why, to whose glory are we doing what we do?  Is it personal glory or recognition? Is it to satisfy that emptiness that is part of our soul?   Is it for the glory of God?   Is it a dedication to a meaningful life?    All these questions can have ramifications with no definitive answer, but it is worth think it through.

Do you think because you are young that you have a full life ahead of you…and nothing terrible can touch you?  If so, do you think it is worth taking the chance of not living the life that is before you?

We have read recently of famous stars that either overdosed because of extreme behavior or ran their sports car into a tree….shattering their potential for another day on this earth to share their God-given abilities.  How tragic.  Talent does not protect those who are willing to be  extreme.   How nice it would be if it did, but nothing does.

There will always be extremists.  The world would probably be a lukewarm, ordinary, safer place if there were not.  It probably took the extremists to bring civilization to where it is today…for good or for bad.


GREAT NEWS for a change! This will lower your blood pressure.

  • CHOCOLATE LOVERS REJOICE!chocolate

You may be able to significantly lower your blood pressure with nothing more than a daily dose of dark chocolate. In a 2008 Italian study, people who had both prediabetes and high blood pressure managed to do just that by eating 3 1/2 ounces of dark chocolate each day for 15 days. They lowered their systolic BP (the upper number) by 4.5 points and their diastolic (the lower number) by 4.2 points, thanks to the flavonoids — antioxidant compounds — found in dark chocolate. A sustained improvement of that extent could lower your risk of cardiovascular problems by 20 percent over 5 years.

But you need to eat the right type of chocolate. Darker chocolate contains more antioxidants and less of the sugar that may counteract chocolate’s beneficial effects, according to research from Yale. Choose dark chocolate with a minimum of 65 percent cacao.

  • MUSIC LOVERS…it’s your day!

Music is a perfect tool for loosening your arteries. Listening to 30 minutes a day of “rhythmically homogeneous” music (that is, anything with a steady beat), combined with breathing exercises, can lower your systolic blood pressure by more than 4 points after 3 months, according to a 2008 Italian study. Breathing in and out with an inhale/exhale ratio of 1 to 2 while listening to slow, steady music relaxes your vessels, says Randall Zusman, M.D., director of the hypertension division at the Massachusetts General Hospital heart center. (You notice he did not say…hard rock or heavy metal.)

  • LIGHT ALCOHOL DRINKERS lift your glass.Alcohol-drinking

Danish researchers who analyzed data from 75,000 men found that those who had two drinks a day were 31 percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease. That’s because alcohol, in modest amounts, makes your arteries larger and more pliable, which in turn lowers your blood pressure.

But don’t have more than two drinks — doing so will raise your blood pressure. Scientists still don’t understand why, but Dr. Zusman thinks it could be related to alcohol’s adverse effect on other blood-pressure-regulating pathways.  (Of course those who may think they are…or know they are alcoholics should not have even one glass of anything with alcohol. Try an Arnold Palmer…half ice tea and half lemonade.  Very refreshing!)

  • IMPROVE WITH A SENSE OF HUMOR…AND GREAT BIG LAUGHlaughing hard_thumb[1]

 Laughing at a funny movie causes blood vessels to dilate by 22 percent, according to a 2006 study from the University of Maryland. The physical act of laughing causes the tissue forming the inner lining of your blood vessels to expand, allowing for an increase in blood flow and reducing blood pressure, says Dr. Miller. “The magnitude of change is similar to the benefit you might see with aerobic activity, but without the aches and pains,” he says.

  • ENJOY ROMANTIC LOVE….Any kind of rest and relaxation is good for the blood pressure. However, if you so desire and are able…here is also a recommendation.    In a 2006 study at the University of Paisley, Scotland, they found that  keeping  your blood flowing by enjoying romantic love (no explanation needed) will in the long-run help your blood pressure. 

(Some quotes taken from a writing by Danielle Braff)

  • VISUAL PLEASURE:   It has long been known that watching fish in a fish tank lowers one’s blood pressure.  It is also my belief that observing nature and beautiful art does the same thing.  Watch a butterfly as it glides along.  Look at the beautiful colors in works of art are some examples.

Russian artist Makovsky

Russian artist Makovsky

For your enjoyment…and better health… the sounds of soothing music and beautiful art of two great artists:

  • Russian artist Konstantin Makovsky who was one  of the most highly appreciated  Russian artists of the time, painting many portraits and beautiful scenes. (One shown at top of page.) Makovsky became a victim of a road accident when his horse-driven carriage was hit by an electric tram. He  died in 1915 in Saint Petersburg.   (Turn on your sound)

 

ARSEN KURBANOV was born in 1969 in the city of Makhachkala, Dagestan ( the former USSR).


Brain Drain

The word “Brain drain” usually means the loss of skilled intellectual and technical labor through the movement of such labor to more favorable geographic location… Another way of saying it is  the emigration of highly trained or intelligent people from a country or other place.

This is NOT the type of brain drain I am referring to but instead the WEARINESS  that comes from the over stimulation and saturation  of the brain that makes one tired, “couch potatoes” and unproductive.  Let’s take a part of that definition…the “highly intelligent” people part….and ask a question:

Why do highly intelligent people allow onslaught  of mass media…talk shows …discussions…so-called comments on issues to permeate their thinking day in and day out with no relief?     I am guilty and think it is time to put a stop to it!

The mind is a wonderful, creative part of us and it is being invaded.   What do I mean?    We are being saturated  which means “Act or process of soaking, filling, or loading to the utmost.”      Yes, we are being overloaded and our hearts and brains have had it!

Take a look at the word “drain” only.    A gradual depletion of  energy or resource.      I think this hits what is happening to all of us square on the head…for it is a gradual depletion.    That is the insidious part because we may not really be aware that it is happening.  Our brain drain proceeds  harmfully without being noticed!

All of this has been said because a change must happen if we are to stop this process.   Here are some suggestions that may take a few days to adapt:

  • Decide that you will turn off the TV with all the comments, discussions, latest opinions
  • Turn on some beautiful music, whether it is classical, contemporary or jazz
  • Do something creative like painting or woodworking
  • Go outside and look at the newest flower in your garden or the freshness of green grass ; listen to the birds; look  for something new that you have not seen before in God’s creation.
  • Call a friend for lunch…and determine to not talk about the latest issues that are causing brain drain.
  • Read a good book.  My husband loves mysteries.
  • Get out that musical instrument you used to play or brush up on your piano talents.
  • Just have fun!

All of this seems  simple, but it takes determination.  Frankly, I am extremely tired of hearing people giving opinions or even  shouting  their opinions at one another.  My brain is truly drained.   How about you?

JUST TO GET US STARTED on eliminating the drain.  Enjoy the video below….something with a little flair.


The SPIRIT of ENGLAND and SCOTLAND

Having just returned from a trip to England and Scotland, we have a renewed sense of what seems to be important  in these countries:     tradition, history, music and worship…     aside from the hustle and bustle of modern-day life.   There is still room in the daily life  to find a favorite pub and  sit down on a soft couch;  stand and talk next to  gleaming, dark wood paneling or relax  with a piano playing at Betty’s for afternoon or evening  tea.  It doesn’t matter if it is noisy with over-rides of conversation..or the  clanging of glasses…for the one to whom you are talking is all that matters.  This is a way of life that is cherished.

IMG_0568 IMG_0564

England and Scotland  are filled with stone  streets….towering cathedrals and  grand  palaces…which are not counted in hundreds of years, but in some cases.. thousands.   They love their folk- lore tales and the ghosts that haunt.  We were told to be sure to watch out for Room 5 in the 200-year-old manor house where we stayed in Inverness.  Of course, we had to “snoopy around” and find it.  Just as the Loch Ness monster did not appear for us; neither did their ghost.

We will take you, in up-coming writings,  on a snowy train ride through Scotland to some special places such as Edinburgh Castle,IMG_0179sm the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and Holyrood Abbey.     I plan  to share with you  the International market in York, England and even to explore the art graffiti  culture along the railways.   There is definitely too much to cover in this sitting.  However, we hope you will stay with us, “straight away” for this series.

We would like to mention that while at Oxford, we found out that the under-classmen/and women eat their meals in the “loveliest” of surroundings.  Small lamps grace the tables and large portraits peer down upon them of those who have gone before.  These great portraits  would certainly inspire or intimidate…whichever way one may feel about them.  img0634sm3

All choristers from various churches/cathedrals in England and Scotland  have  great competition for these positions. Every chorister must have the  desire to dedicate ones self to hours of practice and nightly services.

We were amazed, at a service we attended at York Minster Cathedral,  that the 78th  psalm was completely sung by these choir boys.  This psalm is at least three pages long in the Holy Scriptures.   Truly, these voices that will change rapidly as they grow older are as close to hearing the voices of angels that one may find.    You may agree with me after viewing the video below.


Getting Away from it ALL…on a bike!

This is BIKE WEEK in the small town near my home in Florida.  Tens of thousands will be riding into town with hair blowing in the wind and sometimes “their woman” on the back.  It is great for a faltering  economy because the restaurants come alive and the local vendors make  in a few days what they can’t in months.

I have also found out that bikers come in all definitions:

  • Some are wealthy and sport a BMW bike…some not.
  •  Some are obnoxious….ready to have too many beers…and others not.
  •   Some have lots of faith and want to share it with others (see bikers at prayer above)…others do not.
  • Many are patriotic vets, sporting their branch of service…others have not served.
  • Bikers ride for charities and are generous…etc.   (You get the point.)

No one is going to put this group in a box.   They ride and they like to feel free.

Did you ever think it might be great to just get away from it all…something like a biker may do?  Just take a long trip to who knows where…seeing what you can see and meeting whomever you can meet?  If you are a guy, let your hair and beard just grow.  No one is going to care…for you are a biker.

Christoph Rehage did just that. The fact is that he walked everywhere he went, but  in the video below, he gives us a time-lapse view of the places he went…as on a bike.   For bikers, it would have been some ride!

http://www.thelongestway.com