Friday, September 17, 2021

Fall Student Attendance Concerns - My Letter Shared - Local Classrooms Part 2

This photo is from my local elementary school district's website. (The one my kids didn't go to because we homeschooled.) I was looking up school board member contact info to share my concerns regarding school mask mandates on children, (my email and the board president's email response below, the subject line mispell was from the board pres, not me). The irony of the photo struck me. Given that I would happily wager that the most often asked question of homeschooling parents is "What about socialization?" Over the years I developed a collection of my own potential responses to the socialization question but I won't go into those right now. I'll just let the school website pic below speak to that and wonder if parents and educators will now finally turn that same question back to their school boards. 

"What about socialization?"

D95 Bord response


Mark Kuzniewski

Thu, Aug 19, 8:58 AM (9 days ago)
to meBarbJackieJessicaKatieMeaghanMelissaElizabeth

Please accept this response to your email to board members on August 12.  I am responding 
on behalf of the Board.

Thank you for expressing your views on masking.  At this time, we are under an executive 
order from the Governor wherein masks are mandatory for all students, staff, and visitors 
to a school.  Once this mandate is lifted, the District will evaluate the local metrics to determine
if masking will be optional for vaccinated people.

Again, thank you for sharing your opinion.

Dr. Mark Kuzniewski
Brookfield-District 95

Angie Runyan

Thu, Aug 12, 6:09 PM
to mmcateer
Dear District 95 Schoolboard Member,

I am contacting you as a Brookpark District 95 resident and homeowner.
As an engaged community member, I spent many years as a La Leche League volunteer 
and morecurrently as a lactation consultant supporting new mothers in Brookfield and the
surrounding suburbs.In that capacity, I share evidence based information with mothers of 
newborns as they work to achieve their breastfeeding goals.

My investment in my community may not be as obviously visible as some of the more outwardly 
parent results made by contributions of other Brookfierld and Lagrange Park residents, but to the 
parents who learned about newborn and early childhood care my input has frequently been 
significant at a crucial time in the life of a family. I know that my support during the life altering 
time of welcoming a new baby into a family hasinfluenced many parent/child relationships long 
after I met new parents.

It is with that investment and influence in my community as my catalyst, that I am writing to 
share my deep concerns about any requirements for school age children to cover their faces 
with masks throughout the day in a classroom or other educational setting. Masks, social
distancing and the fear induced by these practices are all hindrances in an educational 
setting, specifically to academic learning and in general to human development in all areas 
of growth and achievement. There are many concerns regarding delayed language skills, 
emotional and social development and more imposed by enforced social obstacles and 
installing excessive fear in children. Socio emotional learning and functioning is jeopardized 
by the restrictions placed on children's ability to read and erceive the expressions of both 
peers, teachers and caregivers.

Add to those concerns that there is ample evidence based on research that there is 
"no reductionin viral transmission with the use of face masks".(1) and I think there is a 
strong case for allowingthe option for families to come to their own conclusions regarding 
the costs and benefits of masking their own children.

Given the concerns of harm imposed on developing young ones and based on a lack of data 
tosupport the efficacy of mask wearing to reduce the spread of the Covid virus, I request that 
the School Board of Brookpark District 95 institute the option for families to choose for their 
own children whether or not they will wear masks during school attendance.

Angie Runyan

1. Nonpharmaceutical Measures for Pandemic Influenza in Nonhealthcare 
Settings—Personal Protective and Environmental Measures, Jingyi Xiao1, Eunice Y. C. Shiu1,  
Huizhi Gao, Jessica Y. Wong, Min W. Fong, Sukhyun Ryu, and Benjamin J. Cowling 
(Volume 26, Number 5, May of 2020). 


Angie Runyan M.A. IBCLC  PCD(DONA)

A Baby Moon Company                                                                                                        

Every new mother deserves the best company during her baby moon. 

Monday, September 13, 2021

Is this learning? Local Classrooms - Part 1

Not my photo.

This is the website cover photo from my local elementary school district. This is meant to be a promotional image for back to school, showing a best case scenerio in the local elementary school in our current fear based culture. How can this be better than days at home or in the backyard?

This photo is so disturbing to me.  It is apparently the current promotional image of a healthy happy public school student. Closed off, free from any human interaction or distraction, "learning" sans human contact. Forced focus on a screen. Only a few short years ago, overuse of screen time was something that we were all concerned about. Parents were warned and encouraged to limit our children's screen time. Now it is being portrayed as the safe effective learning option. 

This child has several devices blocking her from other people and from the world. No air, no sound, no visual distractions. How will she develop the skill of focus without shutting out all stimuli? Is this really safer and what kind of future is it preparing her for? How is this student developing social emotional skills? How will she interact with others? How will she interact with the world? How will she learn to apply whatever information is being promoted on that screen? 

What have we given up?
The most striking irony to me of the photo of the student at the screen, is how the narrative has changed. It was only a few short years ago that homeschooling parents were constantly questioned about their children's socialization. Warned by family, friends and complete strangers that if their children weren't in a classroom filled with peers they'd never be able to function in society. Is this what those questions were getting at? It's a retorical question, of course, this isn't likely what they imagined a student was missing by staying home with family to learn but look how fast our concept has changed.  

As we fumble our way through by refusing to look at reality and take responsibilty for our own children, we are creating a fearful, disengaged society. If we continue down this road, I doubt the destination will be a very fulfilling place to live.

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Books and Cowboy Boots Tulsa Summer Reads 2021

For a month of this summer, I was fortunate to be able to spend time in a location I had never been to. I visted Tulsa, Oklahoma with my daughter who was there for a summer dance intensive at Tulsa Ballet. While she danced, I enjoyed relaxed down time and spent hours knitting, doing embriodery and reading. A lovely longed for opportunity to catch up on some of the tiles in the stacks I've collected over recent months.

My Tulsa summer reads are listed with some thoughts below:

Faultlines The Social Justise Movement and Evangelicalism's Looming Catastrophe by Voddie Bauchum is excellent well researched information about how Critical Race Theory is dividing the Evangelical Church. Based on extensive study including understanding from James Lindsey's work (see title below) Faultlines includes personal experiences from Mr. Baucham's life that make for engaging reading for a more informed inderstanding of the current hot topic of Critical Race Theory.

Cynical Theories How Activist Scholarship Made Everything About  Race, Gender, and Identity by Helen Pluckrose & James Lindsey. Cynical Theories gives a thorough academic explanation of the what, where, when and how to of Critical Theory. It is a tough read in that it is very academic and critical race theory itself is confusing in it's co-opting of language and the alteration of the common understanding of many words. This is a definitive guide though - highly recomended it you are interested in the background of Critical Theory.

by C.R. Stewart This title is the second in a series of adventure novels. I read the first in the series as part of the SchoolhouseTeachers homeschool review crew which, by the way, is an excellent place to read about a variety of homeschooling resources if you are looking for materials for your family's learning lifestyle. The series helps fill the gap of good reads for pre and early teen boys. The hardest part of encouraging an interest in the boys in reading in our family was finding titles that satisfied their interest in adventure and excitment with a touch of danger. The titles usually intended for this age range for either boys or girls are typically, in my opinion, usually too mature in certain subject matter, too light on healthy adventure and too simple in the reading level. C.R. Stewart covers all of these requirements with a healthy dose of western civ mixed in. Recomended for your preteens and would be an exciting family read aloud.

Why Place Matters Editied by Wilfred M. McClay & Ted V. McAllister. Why Place Matters is a collection of essays that explore the connections people have to the places where they live. The value of appreciating those places, the history and the engagement in community of where we live is presented by a range of writers. 

"Every place is a universe unto itself."
 Local History: A Way to Place and Home -
Joseph A. Amato
Included in Why Place Matters
The essays reinforced my desire to drive outside of Tulsa to the largest Prairie Preserve in the U.S. Having grown up in Nebraska, the view of a native prairie lanscape soothes my eyes and soul. A ninety minute drive out of town presented us with a wide open horizon and a stop in the town of Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

Pawhuska is the nearest thriving small town to the Prairie Preserve in Oklahoma. The town offers shopping and dining options made available by locals including the well known Pioneer Woman's Mercentile. Our hunger pangs were met with a wait for dinner at Ree Drummand's popular restaurant, so we wandered the small town while we waited for our table. Even on the small town streets we were met with a few unexpected obstacles. 

Our sidewalk stroll was blocked despite the traffic free streets. A few questions, asked of others milling around and of the cashier at a stop in a chic clothing store displaying the most beautiful cowboys I have ever seen, revealed the purpose of the road blocks. The barracades were placed to provide unintruded space for the filming of a movie.  

Which led of course, to just a few more questions (and here finally is the cowboy boots to summer book list connection). The movie, being filmed by Matin Scorsese and staring Leonardo Dicaprio is based on (here's the additional summer read) true historical events of the Osage tribe on the Oklahoma plains, written about in the book Killers of the Flower Moon, The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann. We were directed to a local shop that had the book in stock. An easy sell to this prairie history loving fascinated reader.  Also, more within my travel budget than the gorgeous cowboy boots.

Killers of the Flower Moon is a full out high drama mystery that is based on horrific events of the 1920s during the oil boom in Northern Oklahoma. The research David Grann did to pull this story together had to have taken years. I had never heard of the writer but the extent of the research required to present this narrative shows a tenacity that is exhaustive and exhausting to contemplate. Hooray for David Grann for having made it available to read and for the much deserved honor of having the work turned into film. This was an adventure to read and added to the adventure and meaning of our Oklahoma visit. Both the read and a visit to the Oklahoma prairie are highly recomended as I assume will be the movie once released. Until I see the movie though, I'll continue to enjoy any pairie view with an endless sky in attempts to erase any visual imagrey of the Osage tragedies.

The wide horizon of the Oklahoma prairie.

Thursday, June 3, 2021

The White Rose

Die Gedanken sind frei.
The past year of  lock downs, emergency orders and other unexpected government actions has forced me to take a long pause and consider the results of circumstances I have never before experienced. It brought back memories of travel and interactions that had faded in my mind. Due to the extended time at home, plus the stirring of experiences past, I began to follow some paths of study for myself. The restrictions imposed on us have had me thinking about many issues that as Americans we have all been able to happily live life without being concerned about.
  • Safety and fear. 
  • Personal responsibilty and government overreach. 
  • Freedom and tyranny. 
Despite my life of living in freedom, I have had a few hand fulls of personal encounters with people who have not had the benefit of liberty for the entirity of their lives. I have met and had conversations with people who have lived without the blessing of being able to take the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness for granted. 

I've written about one of those connections in another post regarding the grandfather of the host family I lived with in Germany. The year following my highschool graduation, I spent a year in Germany. That was long enough ago to actually have oppportunities to speak with Germans who had lived through WWII. Knowing even one person who has survived a tryanical regime in their homeland during their lifetime is enlightening. Listening to their experience can have a lifelong impact on understanding more than just that person's life experience. Due to the fact that this past year of 2020, governments world wide have taken many personal decisions out of the hands of citizens to declare that bureaucrats are assuming the responsibility for health and safety of every individual, conversations I've had with people who have lived through tyranny often came to mind. 

 "Do not forget that every people
deserves the regime it is willing to endure."
from the first White Rose leaflet
 produced in 1942.
An important story I meant, over the years, to learn more about was the story of the White Rose. The White Rose was the name chosen by a resistance movement in Germany during the Third Reich. It is a facisnating story of the resolve and courage of young german citizens to speak out against the tyranny that was happening in their country. The background of and the circumstances that created a group of young people willing to make attempts to wake up the consciences of their fellow german citizens should become a story of awareness and warning to us all. 

In reference to the censorship taking place under the regime, Richard Hanser writes, "The word verbot (prohibition) was taking on increasing significance for more and more Germans in every phase of intellectual life. It was not necessary to be an artist or sculptor or writer to feel the weight of it. No one of inquiring mind or active intelligence could escape its impact."  A Noble Treason The Story of Sophie Scholl & The White Rose Revolt Against Hitler pg.53

"So it was in their years of adolescence and early maturity the members of the White Rose had witnessed the choking off of all voices of moral protest. They had seen their own churches grow silent and ridgid as the spirit animating them departed under the aegis of brutal force." Sophie Scholl & The White Rose. pg 64.

Reading complicated and detailed history often takes more effort than even the most enthusiastic interest can carry a beginning student through. Starting with more simplified outlines of an era can contribute to a basic understanding which can then lead to more detailed reading as interest builds.

The following titles all tell the story of the brave young people of the White Rose, who stepped up to the self assigned challenge of awakening Germans in the midst of tyranny and brutality. I've listed them in order of reading level and more detailed accounts. The atrocities that took place during WWII are heavy and hard to fathom. Please, review all of these for yourself before including them in learning materials for younger readers. Also, consider the temperment and maturity of your students before diving in.

The White Rose book list below and link to AbeBooks:

The White Rose Movement by Bridey Heing (a title in the Peaceful Protesters series by Cavendish Square Publishing)

We Will Not Be Silent by Russell Freedman

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose by Annette Dumbach and Jud Newborn

A Noble Treason The Story of Sophie Scholl and The White Rose Revolt Against Hitler by Richard Hanser

Monday, May 31, 2021

Decoration Day

I remember, as a child, the last weekend in May being observed as Decoration Day. It included as the central activity, a family outing to the cemetery. Carrying a full bouquet of fresh cut bobbing peonies in full bloom along for the ride, we would head to the cemetery. There we would do a bit of clean up of a the relatives's grave. We would pull the upside down heavy metal vase from it's hiden below ground cubbyhole next to the gave's marker, fill it with water from a faucet that jutted directly out of the cemeteries lawn, place the top heavy backyard blosoms bouquet of peonies. Somewhere during the process children's questions regarding who was that, when did they die, how are we related, etc. would be answered to varying degrees of childish satifaction and we would head back home. 

No one in our family was a veteran nor did we have any relatives who had fallen in war but, that focus of the day was mentioned none the less. Decorating the graves were to honor those who went before, in particular those who had gone before and had fought in wars to protect our freedoms. For our family, that was pretty much the extent of the explainations and the observation of what we now more commonly call Memorial Day.

These days I hang a U.S. flag, we have a family gathering with bar-b-q and picnic food. That pretty much sums up the day. A day honoring those who gave their lives in wars and conflicts engaged in by our country deserve more though. A greater understanding of the freedoms we have inherited because of the courage of so many, deserves a pause to acknowledge with gratitude what we have been given. 

What I learned from a bit of internet searching includes some history from the website of Nursey enterprises:

The first national celebration of Decoration Day took place May 30, 1868, at Arlington National Cemetery, where both Confederate and Union soldiers were buried. Shortly thereafter, some Americans, including high officials in the U.S. Government, began to refer to it as Memorial Day. Its focus, though, still lingered on the Civil War. The U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs states, “By the end of the 19th century, Memorial Day ceremonies were being held on May 30 throughout the nation.”

After WWI, the federal government went further and declared the last Monday in May to be called Memorial Day as a day to honor all Americans who have died in military service for the United States and to decorate their graves. The most recent official acts came in 1968 and in 1971 when Congress declared Memorial Day a National Holiday to be observed on the last Monday in May.

After WWI Red Poppies were added as a symbol to the annual observence. From a Good Housekeeping article: 

Poppies, often made of fabric or crepe paper, symbolize more than a fundraising effort to support our country’s veterans: They honor and memorialize fallen soldiers. The red poppy officially became the national emblem of remembrance in 1920 – but the resilient little flower's roots run deep, all the way back to the battlefields of World War I, where it grew in the unlikeliest of places.

“In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

So Many Books. So Little Time.

In my house the shelves are full of books. There are also table tops filled with stacks of  books; just read, half read and to be read. I also keep lists of titles for reference. List a) includes books I've read with a few notes, comments and thoughts I want to remember based on something recently read. List b) includes suggested titles I've heard mentioned or read about that I hope to have time to read in the near future. 

Books as gifts linger long after the package
is opened. Aunt Jane of Kentucky was sent
to me by an instagram friend.

Homeschooling our children as they grew from little ones into young adults added to an already crowded book collection. Many of the titles we acquired for homeschooling still continue to crowd the shelves. Some I have recently spent time rereading or browsing, particularly some of the history titles that weren't completed together as a family or were read by our "students" but not by myself at the time.

Books shared are an excellent way to create memories. The shared experience of a story and the questions, consideration or discussions that follow become bonding experiences that will always be anchors for intellectual and emotional connections. We shared many read alouds as a homeschooling family. Despite the volume of reading together we did, looking back, I wish we had found a way to squeeze in even more.

Biographies are a great way to dive into history with a more accesible hook to draw the reader in. They are also a great way to find mentors to emulate. I've been filling in some of the gaps in my own understanding of history with stories of people from the past. Good examples come from author, Eric Metaxas. He has written about many historical figures. He wrote the go to biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that is a must read if you have any interest in WWII.

Currently, my to be read stack is pretty hefty. The trick for me in keeping the still want to read stack managable seems to be holding off on acquiring new titles until the already read is taller or at least even with the to be read. So many books, so little time. Wish me luck and much uninterupted reading time to get through what is still to be consumed of the titles in the piles of books below. More detailed reviews of selected titles coming soon.

Favorite things:
Flowers, painting and stacks of books;
library books, books recently read and
books still to be read.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

My Sew Journey

In many respects, this past year has been one of reviving many interests and activities. As the months of staying home continued on longer than expected, I endulged more and more into long neglected crafting & sewing skills. I honestly don't know how I would have handled the restictions imposed on us without an interest in and love of creating things with my hands. Looking back over the months, I probably could have created even more if I had commtted to doing so sooner, given the amount of unscheduled time presented itself.

One of the minor making challenges I took on during the stay home months was the creating of fabric wallets. The most recent is pictured. I initially created them with the idea of having a wallet to hold the spiral bound cash envelopes we began using that are suggested in the Dave Ramsey budgeting system. The Dave Ramsey program provides info and resources for individuals and families to eliminate debt to take and maintain control of their finances. He promotes a budgeting system utilizing cash in a monthly predetermined amount. We've moved in and out of using this system ourselves but personally I appreciate the hands on and visual aspect of the cash system he promotes. 
With each catagory of spending planned in advance using a monthly budget, 
when the envelopes are empty, they are empty, when the cash is gone - it's gone! 

This year has presented some challenges to using a household cash system. We have done more shopping online utilizes cards instead of cash. There were a few places we shopped in person that weren't comfortable accepting cash and required digital payment for a period of time. So despite having made these lovely wrist walles suitable for carrying cash and a phone, I am just beginning to fill and use mine. And in the meantime continuing to make more. Sew on!

Friday, March 19, 2021

What I've Been Reading in 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.

Just before I began writing this post, I grabbed the mail. The delivery included my paper copy of 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..

Do you read Hillsdale's Imprimis? If not you should consider it. They also offer high quality free online courses. If you'd like to explore what Hillsdale offers, here's the link:

Other reads completed on this year's list so far are:

America Imagine a World Without Her by Dinesh D'Souza 
Great references with the overview of many aspects of the United States of America. As an immigrant Dinesh retains much more optimism about the future of our country. He digs into current aspects and history in a fascinating and very educational way. This was a wonderful one to bring me back to the hope of the USA.

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

February Thoughts

Due to watching recent election and national politics, the last weeks have been somewhat of an emotional roller coaster for many, myself included. Even though really, so far, nothing in my own life has changed significantly as a result of the election or the decisions being made on a federal level. At least, not yet. 

So as the mostly stay home, work from home mode continues in Chicagoland, I am enjoying another snowy morning from inside my warm and cozy house. There is honestly, nothing quite like a snowy winter morning with no obligations, no need to leave the house, sipping a full cup of hot coffee with the rumble of a bulky old furnace as the sound backdrop, to encouage me to see the glass half full.

The quiet softness of falling snow is blanketing the neighborhood. Following some morning devotional and prayer time, I am savoring this cozy comfort of my home. Despite the social upheaval in our country, a few uplifting thoughts have come to mind this morning. I am noticing for myself, my friends and the family members near to me that there could be some, or maybe even many, positive opportunities coming our way. Perhaps they are not ones that were part of anyone's plan, but there do already seem to be some unintended yet positive consequences of the extended shut down and other quizzical aspects of the mess that has been imposed on us. 

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. 

Here are some of the positive possibilites that I see:

1) A big one! A spitirual awakening that includes many applying sharper thinking and discernment with more commitment to the study of God's nature and His word. Time and interest in study, prayer and discussion.

2) Strengthed and continued strengthening of family relationships. Time together does that. Adversity shows us the importance of it. May we hang on to any and all realizations we have had about the value of our families during this time. May we also continue to invest more in those relationships going forward.

3) Strengthened communities, too. We need connections with others. We can look for and find like minded connections as well as those with differing views. In our associations we can engage in activities together with others who share our values and others who differ finding mutual concerns to work together for improvements. We need to include and encourage more involvement in local civic organizations and government.

In my own re-evaluting of associations and of adding new friendships, a classroom children's game comes to mind as an illustration. Did you ever participate in, or do you remember the game of fruit salad bowl, where in a classroom setting, everyone runs around tables and chairs until the music stops, then each student takes the chair closest and a new seating assignment is created? The frantic mixup creates a new arrangement and hopefully new associations for the students at the desks or tables. It was a bit chaotic and fun. It provided new views and opportunities for new interactions. New alliances were formed among students in the classroom. In life's current situation, I've experienced a bit of friut salad mix up. This has happened in my own circles. Some of it has been online or long distance but I feel a similar reconfiguration of views and associations. 

4) Awareness of our God given resources. Inventory of our abundance and scarcity; Where is our treasure? What do we have? Where should those resources be directed? What needs to be created? I'm looking at and considering every level; at home, local, regional and national.

5) Exposure (so much exposure)! Exposure of our own self awareness or lack there of. Increased awareness of our own understanding plus self imposed limitations. Exposure of falsehoods in our media and information channels, including false prophets, and self serving leaders at many levels of society. Where have we placed our trust? And where have we set aside doing our own research and thinking? It's time to re-establish trust in our own abilibity to observe, learn and discern.

6) Improved and continually improving communication skills for all of us! This is an important one to me. While keeping the peace by avoiding difficult topics of discussion has it's place, I think as a culture we have dropped the ball on sharing our own views and understanding based on personal life experiences. We have allowed the big voices of media to determine and direct the conversation and the conclusions. We keep our thoughts to ourselves (which is sometimes good, but also, sometimes bad). We have lost our ability to have hard conversations. We don't know how to share differing opinions face to face. We have failed to teach our children how to do this. We have gotten lazy in regards to the cultural messages circulating in our world. We have failed to voice our concerns about cultural decline. Verbalizing questions to others can lead to interactions and knowledge we won't find by always being quiet and polite.

I am sure that the current state of things in our country and world will continue to feel overwhelming at times but we do have a new place to view and act from. And act we should. Somehow. Somewhere. If even only in our own homes. I am aware of how I have coasted on the freedom and prosperity life in this country has afforded me. I was fortunate to be born in the United States. How easily it is to take it for granted. Every community needs input from it's members. Oversight from educated and informed citizens will benefit every village, town and city. I think we have (I know I have) as citizens in the USA neglected our responsibilities of participating and keeping watch in our immediate communities.

Think and act locally.
An historic train station in the
suburb where I live.
I'm not sure exactly how or what steps I will take myself but I will try to understand and work to due my part more diligently. A renewal of commitment by individuals to contribute in our communities could be the most important opportunity of our life times.

Thinking of each of you!
Have a week!


Wednesday, January 20, 2021

New Year - And A Much Needed New Word of the Year - Courage

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!
Fear was not only one of the most prominent words of 2020 but the dominate emotion in many of the corners of life during the past year. It has been a hard one to shake these last months. Feelings of fear have been stoked by the media, by information, by mis-information, by political rhetoric and by my imagination. Sometimes, it has been fanned during conversations with friends and family or even in exchanges with strangers. It has altered our lives and damaged our health both physical and mental and dare I speculate that panic has possibly caused as much damage as the virus itself even as we have manuvered to avoid and/or recover from it. 

As I contemplated the idea of choosing yet another word for another new year, my biggest hope is to counteract the imposition of fear in my life, in an even bigger and stronger way. So the word I have chosen for myself for 2021 is - Courage. Despite feeling very little of it over the days of 2020, I am choosing it as an anchor to my thoughts for the days ahead. I can only hope that pinning that word to the top of my mind will bring the much needed virtue as I step into the uncharted territory of the future in 2021. 

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

Elvis Presley - Blue Christmas (Audio)

We are all missing something this holiday season. Maybe a beloved annual tradition or activity won't be happening this year. Or possibly, the saddest of all, a loved one you won't be able to see this year during what is meant to be, a season of celebration. Are you missing something or someone this Christmas?

Sing it loud with Elvis. It might bring a bit of joy.

Thursday, December 17, 2020

Important Update

 This is important information with links to do your own reading:

American Medical Association Rescinds Previous Statement Against Prescription of Hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 Patients

CHICAGO, 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.