La Plus Ca Change…

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“The more things change…”

Today…in my mailbox…I found a document from my past. In 1964, I entered the local Voice of America Speech contest. [Voice of America was a national contest that accepted entries from all the states. A cousin of mine actually won the National Voice of America contest in 1962]

I’d like to share with you my thoughts at that time. I was 17 years old. The draft is handwritten, in pencil, on plain old ruled school paper—now quite yellowed and fuzzy at the folds. I will type the words here…just as they appear on the pages.

 

“Damn the torpedoes! …I have not begun to fight!”

“I regret that I have but one life to give to my country.”

“Give me liberty, or give me death.”

[quotes from, respectively, David Farragut, Nathan Hale, and Patrick Henry]

These were the voices of patriotism past.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, [but] ask what you can do for your country.”

[John Fitzgerald Kennedy]

This phrase has become the voice of patriotism present. But what will the voice of patriotism future be? Will there be a voice? And, if there is, will it be strong and eager…or will it be meek and uncertain?

Will there be a voice of patriotism future?

This is a question each and every one of us should ask ourselves…and, after we ask it, [we should] devote some serious thinking to it. The voice of patriotism future depends on us, the teens of today. The responsibilities of maintaining our freedom will fall on our shoulders one day soon. Will we be ready for them? Are we strong enough to carry them?

Adlai Stevenson says, “It is not easy to be a patriot these days.” If it is not easy these days, what will it be like in the future?

In the years since the end of World War II, relations among the countries of the world have become more and more strained. Instead of getting better with time, they continue to grow worse.

When our time comes and the efforts to settle these disputes become our efforts, can we go ahead with confidence?

Confidence is a state of mind. Do we have…or are we developing…a state of mind such that we can combat the problems that face us now, and those that will face us in the future, without uncertainty?

Will we be willing to go on fighting, even when we know the odds are against us? Will we be willing to give our lives for our country? Will we be sorry that we have only one life to offer? Will we prefer death to loss of freedom?

Patriotism is love of country. The patriots of the past loved our country very much. They had seen [our nation] being born and fought to give her the right to grow up unconfined and unrestricted.

The late president John Kennedy stated his love of our country in all his speeches and interviews, sometimes outright and sometimes subtly, under cover—but his listeners were always aware that it was there. His pride in our country has set a standard for all future patriots. John F. Kennedy loved freedom. He stood for freedom in the eyes of people all over the world.

Will the patriots of the future create such an image?

It’s up to us. The challenge is ours. If we accept this challenge, we will be the voice of patriotism future.

Will you accept the challenge?

Apparently, even at that young age, I had concerns that the future of our nation was uncertain and unclear. Today, some 50+ years later (I’m 70 this year), my youthful concerns have become our reality.

Today, I live in fear of what lies ahead with our new president-elect at the helm of what used to be the greatest and most-respected nation in the world.

Will our voices be heard? Will we speak our love of this nation loudly and proudly? Will we fight to keep our nation free and unencumbered? Will we act on our beliefs? Will we rise to take on the difficult responsibilities we inherited?

DO we accept the challenge of being the voices of patriotism today?

 

 

 

 

 

Am I Done?

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Recently on Quora ( https://www.quora.com/about ) I responded to a question from someone who described him/herself as being in the late thirties and, having experienced it “all”…and titled the query “Am I Done?”

I’d like to share with you my response:

Are you bored? No curiosity about anything? Nothing ever surprises you? Not even by the recent election outcome??

Really.

How can you feel you are DONE . . .

when you are still in your thirties? You have years ahead of you! You could experience new love, perhaps a new marriage, possibly another child. You could go through (and survive) another separation, lose and grieve for more loved ones. You could begin a new career or develop a revived interest in the one you now have. You may have more betrayals…but by now, you should know more about recognizing people who won’t be good for you and might be able to avoid that. You could experience and survive more heartbreak—but again, you probably know enough to either avoid, or get through it with more maturity and grace. And, who doesn’t need more money, assuming you enjoy the things that money can get you. If you think you don’t need money, try giving it away and living a less complex life.

 

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I am approaching 70 and I still learn something new every day. Perhaps it’s because I have never tired of learning. Yes, I have had unpleasant experiences…some brought me to my knees and nearly killed me. However, I have never lost my curiosity about what each day will bring. I know I will gain more from being open to LIFE, than I will ever lose.

My darkest hour was when my only son committed suicide in 2008. I was devastated. I spent weeks in a coma of grief until my practical mind regained some control over my extreme sadness and reminded me that the only way I could survive it would be to keep moving forward, minute by minute, second by second.

Since then, I have completed my dream of graduating from college and achieved not one, but two degrees—one in psychology, one in sociology. I have discovered that I have some latent artistic talent and have spent hours playing with my “art” and have gained confidence as I develop my skills and abilities. I have been blessed with two darling and precious great grandchildren that I love dearly—and am eagerly anticipating a third in a few months. Seeing the wonder and joy in their eyes as they discover the world around them is an exciting and priceless experience. I have seen my daughter and her husband sustain each other through a terrible accident that has changed their lives in ways we could never have anticipated…but even that has given us all a new perspective on somehow moving forward through and adjusting to our “new” normal. Everyone in our family has gained in compassion, walking the talk, stepping up—and learned that we all have resources we didn’t realize were available to draw from. I have learned that I have deep resources of my own that I draw from…daily.

Every day I learn …something about myself, something about my immediate world, something about the larger world. I volunteered to work at the local polls last week because I wanted to do something positive to offset my extreme disappointment over the ugly campaign waged in what used to be a respected and honorable process. I met a lot of very nice folks on election day…and some who weren’t so nice. But it was a NEW experience.  Although I put in an 18-hour day—a real challenge to my energy and resilience—I am glad I did it.

This morning I’m sitting here looking forward to whatever the day will bring. Confident that I will be able to meet it—drawing from what I’ve learned in the past 70 years. Perhaps I can make someone’s day brighter. May YOUR day be brighter.

 

May your day be brighter, too!

 

Exercising my Rights

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I’ve recently engaged in a discussion of the rights of all Americans to express their opinions freely, whether or not I agree with them. I suppose I’m old-fashioned because I will ALWAYS stand for the National Anthem…for as long as I am able to stand. I will not use my cell phone or carry on conversations…or chew gum…or listen to my mp3 player…or in any other manner ignore the opportunity to show my own respect for the National Anthem (which, to me, deserves our FULL respect…whenever and wherever it is played.) I will stand in silent reverence until the last note echoes in the air.

This is my right as an American. It’s also my right as an American to express my own opinion here…because my rights are protected and defended by those who are willing to dedicate THEIR lives to make sure we all HAVE these very rights. The National Anthem is not a racial statement. It is not an opportunity for grand-standing. It is not “just a song.” It IS the symbol of respect for a nation that has struggled and will continue to struggle to provide EVERYONE the freedoms our Constitution states are the rights of all Americans….even the ones who, for whatever reason, choose to disrespect the symbols of those freedoms, and disregard the lives of the men and women….of all ethnic origins….that have been freely given throughout our history to assure that ALL Americans have them.

This is MY opinion…and my last words on this subject.

 

Hello Again…

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I’ve been absent from my blogs for over a year due to some changes in my life that I’ve been focused on during that time.  I confess that I really haven’t had the time or inclination to sit down and write about anything…opinionated or otherwise.

That’s why, this morning, I am surprised to find myself here at my keyboard.  I think it’s because I want to share with you something that’s been happening to me with an odd regularity lately. It’s been happening often enough that I’ve noticed it…and the more that I am aware of it, the more often it seems to happen.

The internet and social media are full of posts about the power of positivity and paying it forward…and RAOKs.  Random Acts of Kindness. I see them on my Facebook timeline. get them in my email, see them on television…they are even on billboards along the freeway. But how many of us actually see them or take the time to let ourselves feel their message? Do we listen to our hearts? Or, are we just peripherally aware of them and quickly pass them by?

For the past several weeks, I’ve become aware of the reality of random acts of kindness in my own day-to-day life. I’ll tell you more about it in a future post.

In the meantime, I ask you to take a few moments out of your day to look around and see what you see. If you really look, I think you may find that RAOKs are going on right before your eyes. Please share them with me in your comments.

IMHO….we need a lot more kindness in our world these days. Let them begin with me…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why?

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Okay…someone please tell me why the company that is building the new houses near my apartment began by laying all the sidewalks and paving the streets…and then, six months later came back with a giant jackhammer and broke up the concrete and dug up parts of the street…and then poured concrete (again) and re-paved (patched) the streets.  That’s a solid week of 8-hour days with the jackhammer (very noisy and annoying to anyone nearby) tearing up what was down and then replacing it (again). I’m sure there must be a good reason behind this activity, but IMHO it seems extremely wasteful and costly…not a good way to do business.

Britain Does…Indeed…Got Talent

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I recently wrote about indifference to bullying (March 1, 2014). This video is the very opposite of that. Please watch it all the way through…and, more importantly, listen to all the words…and, even more importantly, hear their message and pass it on.

These little guys are truly an inspiration and have restored a lot of my faith in how kids growing up in such difficult times are dealing with the conflict and frustration…and spreading hope.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3Rf5qDuq7M&noredirect=1#t=491

IMHO, these young men have a great future waiting for them.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment and let me know…

Indifference?

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We moved a lot…a lot…when I was a child. My father was one of the pioneers in oil research here in the United States. His profession took us wherever there might be an oil deposit deep beneath the ground. Consequently, I attended 17 grade schools, 3 junior high schools, and 2 high schools.

As the “new girl” who was often viewed as an intruder, I was frequently bullied by classmates who were quick to pick up on my vulnerability. I haven’t forgotten the names of those who made fun of me; I named one of my children after someone I remember as having been particularly kind.

In those days, bullying hadn’t yet been given a public name. It was perceived as “normal” behavior….perhaps unkind, but “children can be cruel.” If it scarred a child and changed him forever…that wasn’t really thought about (at least not out loud). In those days, news of youth suicide wasn’t something the media carried. The public didn’t often hear about school shootings. Such events weren’t publicly recognized as actions that might be reactions to victimization by bullying.

Today, bullying is receiving public recognition; however, many people do nothing…look away or walk away when they witness an act of bullying. Indifference…afraid of getting involved and possible repercussions against themselves? The following video from YouTube speaks volumes…

 

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<div class=”fb-post” data-href=”https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=396696013794251″ data-width=”466″><div class=”fb-xfbml-parse-ignore”><a href=”https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=396696013794251″>Post</a> by <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/cupcakegurl223″>Ashley Gervil</a>.</div></div>

IMHO we still have a long way to go…

Please leave a comment and tell me…What do you think?