Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Friday, March 19, 2021
I began reading 1984 by George Orwell enthusiaticlly. Thinking that having read it in the past, it would be a quick review. Unfortunately, 1984 is a read that I have had to push through every page due to the depressing experiences of the main characters. I don't remember this difficulty when reading it the first time around many years ago, but at that time it truly read like fiction. This time, however, there are just to many similarities to our current reality.
For most of my life, reading novels has typically been a wonderfully looked forward to escape. These days I am trying to force myself to reading in areas where there are gaps in my own education and learning. The gaps filled by reading 1984 in 2021 could just as easily be addressed with observation of the world around us. Reading it substantiates my own observation, that much in our current culture is not simply a natural social evolution but is backed by an agenda that is being persistantly pushed onto us by design. Humans have a desire for power and control and Orwell takes us down the road to where it can lead if left unchecked. Reading this title is an excellent exercise in awareness - a much needed awareness in today's world.
Imprimus, a publication of Hillsdale College. Imprimus typically presents the text of a recent speech given at the Michigan based college. Each issue consistantly provides a concise and thought provoking article. The December copies' include a presenteation by Larry P. Arn, President of Hillsdale Collge. His topic seridepitoiusly included passages from 1984. I was thankful to have Mr. Arn's thoughts on Orwells's novel appear in the mailbox. I repect his thinking and his references carried through to passages later in my reading of the novel. Many of the conclusions I've drawn while reading 1984 and those of Mr. Arn's have increased my aversion to completing this read. Overwhelmingly depressing is the final review I'll assign to George Orwell's prophetic work..
Prodigal God by Timothy Keller Christian inspiration. A thought provoking Christian based read.
Along Came A Dog by Meindert DeJong One of the pre-teen teen books still in our collection from homeschooling but one I hadn't read myself or aloud to anyone. A sweet on the farm story that actually brought to mind my many childhood visits to the farms of extended family and family friends in southeast Nebraska. Empathy for the dog and his persistance in being accepted into a home was charming and provokes empathy for the four legged creatures.
Do you have any recent reads you'd like to add to my to be read reading list? Let me know if you do!
Monday, February 8, 2021
If we notice, lean in and take action, some of those consequences may even still move strong in the direction of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for ourselves, others in our circles and everyone in our country.
|Think and act locally.|
An historic train station in the
suburb where I live.
Wednesday, January 20, 2021
For the last couple of years, I have responded to a prompt often used by other bloggers, to choose and write about a word of the year. A one word focus to use as a guide to the thoughts, choices of activities and experiences in the new year.
My word of the year in 2020 was TRUST. It took on significant meaning as I, my family and the world navigated through the questions and concerns of a pandemic and political upheaval.It was truly a word that I repeated over and over to myself to stave off the intrusion of the much more often heard word of 2020 - FEAR.
|Courage to plant and |
courage to bloom!
Courage - After the year we've had, this year of 2021 will require it. Courage will be needed to continue to take steps forward, to plant without certainty of a harvest and to bloom despite messy surroundings and without guarantees of the hoped for results. There will still be beauty and joy and love. To open my eyes to see it may require courage but I'm up for it. How 'bout you?
"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:9
Friday, December 18, 2020
Thursday, December 17, 2020
This is important information with links to do your own reading:
American Medical Association Rescinds Previous Statement Against Prescription of Hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 PatientsCHICAGO, IL – The American Medical Association (AMA), in a surprising move, has officially rescinded a previous statement against the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, giving physicians the okay to return to utilizing the medication at their discretion.
Previously, the AMA had issued a statement in March that was highly critical of HCQ in regards to its use as a proposed treatment by some physicians in the early stages of COVID-19. In addition to discouraging doctors from ordering the medication in bulk for “off-label” use – HCQ is typically used to treat diseases such as malaria – they also claimed that there was no proof that it was effective in treating COVID, and that its use could be harmful in some instances.
However, on page 18 of a recent AMA memo, issued on October 30, (resolution 509, page 3) the organization officially reversed their stance on HCQ, stating that its potential for good currently may supersede the threat of any potential harmful side effects.
So, there we have it. HZQ could not be approved before the election, because President Trump had recommended it. Meanwhile, with an 8o +% reduced risk of having to be admitted to the hospital if administered with Azitromycine and Zinc as soon as testing positive or symptoms occurred, many (70000+) lives could have been saved.
Friday, December 4, 2020
When planning to travel, my go to for accommodations has become airbnb. Most have heard about the online website that allows travelers and those who have spaces to rent, to find each other. Searching for places to stay in advance through the app has become my first choice as I prepare to travel. The experience of staying with locals at my destination creates an experience that conveys the reality of living in a new place and of potentially finding new friends in each new location.
Thursday, November 12, 2020
|My rating: A must read!|
|History through |
Thursday, October 22, 2020
Wednesday, October 7, 2020
In the late 1970's, shortly after I graduated from high school, I headed to Kiel, Germany for a year of living, studying and a bit of volunteer work abroad.
|Homesteading in Nebraska.|
While in Kiel, I lived with a host family. My host family consisted of my host mother, father and their teen daughter, an only child. The family had regular contact with and consistent in person visits with aunts, uncles and the grandparents of my host sister on both sides of the family. These visits gave me the opportunity to get to know three generations of Germans in an extended family. However, until I had the ability to understand and converse in German, I didn't have many conversations of substance with the grandparents.
Despite several years of taking German language classes in high school, my German was very limited. My host family actually didn't mind. Learning English themselves, was a factor, in their motivation to host me. Hosting an American student was an opportunity to have an in house tutor and to improve their own and their daughter's command of the English language. Over time we all improved our communication skills in both languages, plus quite a bit in pantomiming.
|At the time I took these photos, the Berlin |
Wall was still very much a reality. People
attempting to escape East Berlin
were still shot.
As my fluency in German improved, my interaction with the extended family members of my host family increased. One of the grandfathers made attempts to speak English with me. He made it known that he was interested in having a conversation once my understanding of German improved. Living in a setting where learning a second language is a necessity, provides an optimal opportunity for becoming conversational in that language. Eventually, having conversations of substance in German became a possible and proud reality.
As a young adult, I was surprised when the grandfather in my host family broached the subject of Germany during WWII with me. I listened, respectfully, to my elder, who had clearly been anticipating the chance to address me, the young American about Germany's history. He was anxious to describe and explain the participation of the German people in the Nazi movement. He clearly wanted to explain his own membership as a teen in Hitler's youth.
|Another American exchange student and I|
had the opportunity to visit Berlin with a
family whose siblings were separated from one
another by the Berlin Wall. They had
been unable to see close family
members since the end of WWII.
He was led to believe, at the time, that participation in the organized youth movement of the dictatorial government was the only opportunity to work to improve ones life and the prosperity of their country. It was a chance for the people to be a part of something bigger and important. There were no other options. That is what he was told and what he believed.Basically, what he was saying to me, was that he and his fellow young countrymen bought the propaganda of the time and place. It promised safety, security and prosperity. The lies promised prosperity without risk. Little did they know (Did they have any idea? I still wonder.) the huge cost to themselves, their Jewish neighbors, to their country and ultimately to the world. They were headed into a life without choices, a life of complete tyranny. They did not anticipate the horrors that were the result of handing over personal belief, integrity and responsibility to those obsessed with power. Life without freedom. Life controlled by the state. A state without, accountability. Or morality.
|Visiting the Berlin Wall with a family whose |
lives were so profoundly affected by it's
presence was beyond eye opening.
That was another experience to write
about on another post.
I see similarities in our current political environment to what I learned about the time described to me by my host Grandfather.There are parallels in our current culture, with mandates to follow new guidelines without question. There are restrictions in our movement, interactions, businesses and worship. There are requirements to wear specific clothing items, and to conform. There is a silencing of dissenting ideas. Views different from the mainstream are shunned. Many are afraid to voice an opinion that differs in anyway. In real life interactions or on social media platforms one risks being verbally attacked for sharing independent thought. Symbolically, we wear covers over our mouths, quieting our voices and hindering even our breath. The forced conformity is being easily implemented by the extreme fear that has been fostered upon us though the natural human desire for safety. The conformity is enforced by critics, neighbors and even friends who have now risen to new levels of condescension, those around us have become the snitches, dubbed the "Karens", they are the enforcers in our lives, in our own times.
An attempt at life with every risk eliminated, of complete security and with all of our desires met without any effort of our own, is not likely to result in growth or deep understanding. If all of our basic human needs are to be supplied by someone seemingly more intelligent, with more resources and more personal power than ourselves, where is our own growth and self actualization? If only another can provide, what happens to our own power of choice? We will ultimately view those providers with envy. Will we only participate begrudgingly in a system from which we will always want more? Will we always look to others to provide easy solutions for ourselves without assessing our own responsibility?
The conversation I had with my host grandfather, so many years ago has come to mind frequently in the last months. As we have all acquiesced to following the ever increasing limiting rules for our own safety and security, I remember his need to explain. As we continue to obey every new level of restriction, we are relinquishing control over our own lives at each step. We are trading our own individual judgement and power for the false promise of complete safety and life without risk.
Despite my own struggles with the fear and anxiety due to the threat to the health of myself and my family, I have lived long enough to know that life without risk really just doesn't exist. It just doesn't work that way. We take precautions but none of us really live a single day without risk. If we do, it is not likely to be a very satisfying life. Living life while attempting to be completely safe and watching others around me attempt the same, the fear that has grown in me has been the fear of our entire citizenry living in complete compliance. The anxiety churning in me during this ongoing lengthy crisis is of being surrounded by others controlled by the power of false safety. I fear living in the midst of the willingness of others to march lock step without evaluating the situation. Seeing completely unquestioned compliance with power terrifies me beyond the fear I have of an illness.
It all has served as a reminder to think for myself, encourage my grown children to do the same and to value the freedom we have had the good fortune to be born into. I pray that I will have the courage to continue to trust my own thinking, speak it when helpful and to act on it when needed.
He who would trade liberty for some temporary security, deserves neither liberty nor security. - Benjamin Franklin
|As a result of current events,|
I've been digging more into
history. Currently reading
Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas.
|Find good books!|
Another thought provoking resource for deeper insights, I found:
Friday, September 25, 2020
As our time sheltering in place with everyone at home has come to a close, it is with anticipation that I am looking to the future again. Our three young adult offspring have all headed back to their own individual residences, to their now, somewhat altered lives and activities, that were only just beginning and abruptly interrupted last spring. I am thankful for any and all of the opportunities for them to begin again, to take even small steps back into the world, beyond our home in lockdown.
However, the transition back into the world warrants some reflection as well, especially given that the unexpected extra time together provided many joyful moments and a significant amount of productive activities together.
Below are a few photo highlights documenting some of the goodness we redeemed while being forced to stay home together for an extended time. We attempted to maintain a tone of gratitude during the unusual circumstance that was so frequently and accurately described as unprecedented. Reflecting on all we gained, I hope to hold the many precious memories as reminders to approach the future with courage and even awe after seeing what can come from such uncertainty. I suspect that ongoing courage will be needed as we continue 2020.
So as for the many memories, first and foremost; food, delicious food. Our kitchen got busy again with more people to prepare and have meals with. The unscheduled extended time offered the chance for lots of baking to happen and breaking bread together.
Friday, July 31, 2020
Early in 2020, one word, as a likely candidate for my word of the year, didn't come readily to mind. Since it didn't come easily, I didn't force it and I didn't write a 'word of the year' blog post. Sometime during the weeks, (or was it months?) after the beginning of the new year, a word surfaced that resonated for me. That word that kept surfacing was 'trust'.
Appropriately, given the adjustments to our new family configuration of teens and young adults moving out of the house (mostly), I was in a new season. I needed to trust the process, as I re-imagined and restructured my life with more options for myself with time to pursue my own individual goals. Somehow during that process in the early months of a new year, I skipped writing about and sharing my 2020 word choice.
Fast forward into the second half of 2020... now.
Here we are - all of us, myself, my husband, my young adult children and undoubtedly, you, too, in the wildest overtly most uncertain year of most any - in our lifetimes.
My unacknowledged word of the year has come in handy and not in the ways I initially imagined it would. I have turned it over and over in my mind. I have turned to it regularly and clung to it. It might have begun as a word to focus on, as a hopeful hedge against the concerns of my children's forays into their new beginnings, or as simple motivation to keep taking the next step myself, as I restructured my own time and goals, but for obvious reasons, it became a word, a thought, a concept that has meant much more. Trust in those expected areas of transition, in the first few months of 2020, was it seems now, relatively easy. Looking back, those changes were just par for the course, hardly an overwhelming challenge. Trust - no problem - I've got this!
And then..... mid-march, it all hit the proverbial fan. Pandemic, bring and welcome all three kids back home, additionally my husband began to work from home, online work from home for everyone, online classes to complete the year's educational goals for two, including dance classes via zoom in the living room for my daughter. No in person church, gatherings or even meetings with friends, shopping for groceries equals a whole new adventure. Each of those experiences individually haven't been too hard, but piling them up, one on top of another has caused some trembling.
You know - you've been adjusting to the same things.
|“Scared is what you're feeling. Brave is what you're doing.”|
― Emma Donoghue,
I use my intentionally chosen word against the word that comes more naturally, viscerally invading so much of my experience these days. I use it against that word, that feeling, that comes oppressively heavy handed in 2020. Trust, repeated again and again. Breath in, breath out - trust - to fight the thief, and replace the the word that is, fear.
Wednesday, May 13, 2020
If you happen to be a Dave Ramsey follower, you will know that he frequently recommends "rice and beans, beans and rice" as a low cost meal suggestion to reduce food costs and assist in attaining financial goals. I don't know how many people take his suggestion literally but we've been using those two ingredients in our family's diet long before we ever knew who Dave Ramsey was.
We have always included beans and rice as regular meal items in our family menus. Dried beans are inexpensive and healthy. Thy are an excellent source of protein that store well for long periods of time. The only downside of dried beans, in my opinion, is in the planning and preparing side. Dried beans need to be soaked in advance to allow for a shortened cooking time, so failing to plan ahead can lead to a change in plans for a meal. One fail to plan back up is to keep canned beans on hand as well as dried.
A few of the basic meal ideas that we start from are below. Most include the extraordinary high value per $ power of dried bean nutrition. All are easily adapted to personal taste or what is on hand in the pantry.
Kidney and/or black beans. Canned stewed tomatoes.
Diced peppers and onion sauteed lightly.
Frozen corn kernels.
Ground turkey or ground beef.
Season with chili powder, garlic.
Navy Bean Soup
Navy or white beans.
Sliced carrots. Cubed potatoes.
Saute onions and garlic.
Soft Tacos served with rice.
Pinto beans in tortillas (flour or corn).
Serve with rice and other yummy additions, like sliced avocado, sliced sauteed peppers, cheese for individual garnishing.
Yellow or green split peas. Add chicken broth if you have any.
Garbanzo beans, sometimes referred to as chick peas blended with the following;
Optional additions: Pumpkin. I try to keep canned pumpkin on hand.
Serve with bread.
Other low cost, easy to store ingredients to create from:
Pasta. Any kind of noodles.
So many possible variations:
All the options can include serving with veggies on the side or over the top.
Saute veggies to add. Frozen veggies are easy to store.
Make a pasta salad or a casserole that includes tuna.
Serve noodles with a peanut sauce; so simple, heat peanut butter with added water. Add soy sauce to taste.
Serve noodles with spaghetti sauce, canned tomatoes.
Add peanut butter & sliced banana. Both affordable and easy to store.
I'm sure by now, most visitors here have adapted to the current normal. Even within the stay safe restrictions, most of us can eat healthy and remain within a budget that helps our finances stay healthy, too. If you situation makes that extremely difficult, please reach out for assistance in your community. We are all in this together!
Friday, March 27, 2020
I always have a backlog of creative projects waiting for me. I enjoy creating designs for embroidery and stitching them. There is usually a hat, scarf or baby blanket on my knitting needles. I frequently have an idea for a drawing or painting floating around in my mind.
Our new lifestyle of an empty nest has opened up the prospect of bigger blocks of time for me to follow through on more of those ideas. Over the last several months, I have been developing the routines I need to really dig into my own creative pursuits again.
Now with the social distancing and shelter in place directives our home has suddenly returned to full and overflowing. Even with a full house, I have been able to utilize the forced time at home productively and creatively.
While it is currently a scary time in the world with social distancing and shelter in place orders in effect in Illinois, I can't say that I mind the slowing down aspect of it all. Even with the return again to a full house, I am have been able to utilize the forced at home time productively and creatively.
So far I have completed one, left from last year (lol) Christmas project, made progress on a pieced baby blanket and worked on more than one painting. I have also enjoyed getting out the watercolor paints for shared time creative experimentation time with my 18 year old daughter. Sharing the creative process with her is such a delight. We have been working on sewing some clothing items for her, as well.
I am missing my forays out into the world with my camera but I have plenty stored and ready for some editing. Many have been taken as a way for me to record an image idea for future inspiration and use as a catalyst for new ways to explore an image. Below are a few visuals from one of those adventures.
One thing leads to another...