Ignorance Isn’t Bliss

Hi and Happy Tuesday.  There is a saying that ignorance is bliss.  I however, do not agree with this statement.  I like being informed and knowing what is happening.  I also like to know the facts and make up my own mind on issues.

It seems, however, that not everyone agrees with me.  Many people follow and believe what someone else tells them, whether that person is telling the truth or not.  What is the deal recently with alternate facts and shaping the view of people to fit what certain people want?  When did that become okay?

I don’t get it and I don’t like it.  And, more importantly, I don’t want my son growing up thinking that is okay.  Truth and lies are different and will continue to be.  Putting such a spin on things is an entirely different ball game.

Also the continued criticism of the media and the Constitution is troubling.  As I have said before, the media isn’t perfect and has many, many flaws.  But, they are needed in a democracy to ask questions, to present a variety of points of view, to inform us, and to investigate.  And, we as citizens should watch, read, and listen in order to become informed.

To me, they aren’t to be called lying and untrustworthy and they are certainly not an enemy of the people.  For me the enemy is the lying, the hate, the constant bickering and back-stabbing, the calling people names, the division, no democracy, no freedom, and the unwillingness to listen to someone else’s opinion.

Let me quickly say that I am biased in favor of journalists and reporters and those in the news.  I don’t agree with everything they write, say, or do.  But, I have a degree in journalism, had a career in it, and still write.  So, it is something I will continue to fight for and speak in favor of.  I do question and think about what I am reading and hearing and hope that you will do the same.

And, regarding the constitution.  Let’s remember these men who wrote this amazing document came from England and other countries where lifetime monarchies ruled.  They didn’t want that for the new world.  So, they created three equal but separate branches of government so no one could reign supreme.  The executive branch, the legislative branch, and the judicial branch all are important to our democracy and our freedom.

They also realized, as mentioned in Hamilton: The Musical, that the President should only have a certain amount of years to serve.  The song, “One Last Time” discusses the fact the President must step down and have another President elected.  Also, that the country has to have a transition of power and the ability to move on.

Another song in this amazing musical states that winning is easy, governing is much harder.  We can see that at work right now.  Trying to come to a consensus of something that will help and benefit all citizens is very hard and often seems to not be important.  I just wish that more would listen to each other to learn and see another side of issues.

My hope and prayer is that those in Congress can find a way to work together and to work with the President to do what is truly best for all citizens.  I am not sure how that is possible, but I am hopeful that it can and will happen.  And, there are elections coming up again where we can vote and have our voices heard.

As I have mentioned before in other blogs, I have never liked being told what to think, what to believe or how to live my life.  So, I will continue to ask questions, pray earnestly and continuously, and search for answers.  In other words, I will not be ignorant.  How about you?

Tuesday Tunes — Hamilton: The Musical

Hi and Happy Tuesday.  I cannot believe it has been a week since I wrote last time.  I have been so busy.  I did, however, want to write today about my favorite recent musical — Hamilton.

I have the CD of the original cast recording and love to listen to it.  My son and I have been singing along with our favorites and having a great time.  The writing is amazing, the music is great, and it is all so easy to sing along with.

There are so many varieties of amazing music — rap, hip-hop, rhythm and blues, jazz, and more.  Clearly not for everyone, but we love it.  The cast was and still is super talented and brings amazing life into each nuance of the characters and the songs.  And better still, it is all based on our nation’s history.

As a writer, I have been so impressed with the lyrics written by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  He is amazingly talented and crams so much into each verse or line of a song.  So much content and a great history lesson.

My sister and her family got to see the original cast production on Broadway.  They bought tickets before they became too expensive and are so glad they did.  All of them loved the show and were so happy to be there.  I so wish I could have gone with them.

Several of my sister’s friends have also seen the show as have mine.  Each of them have said the show is amazing, or phenomenal, or well worth the hype.  I think this musical is most deserving of the multiple Tony Awards, the Pulitzer Prize, and much more accolades the show and cast have received.

For my birthday, I received the original cast album (two CDs of 23 songs each), and a book about the making of the show, the writing of the show, and the people who were both on stage and backstage.  Not having seen the show, this was a great way to enjoy the entire experience.  I do still want to see the musical and hope that I can one day.

For now, I love singing with Ian on our favorite songs — My Shot, Alexander Hamilton, Yorktown, You’ll Be Back, What’d I Miss, One Last Time, The Room Where It Happens, Satisfied, and Who Lives Who Dies Who Tells Your Story.

Actually, we like every single song for different reasons.  Each stirs up happiness or sadness, a look into flawed people who fought for freedom, the importance of each life and contributions, the impact we make on others, and so much more.

The original Hamilton had quite a life.  This musical gave a voice to all that he did for our country.  I am so glad that Lin-Manual Miranda read that book on vacation.  Imagine if he hadn’t.  What would we have missed?

I am also glad to have been introduced to and/or seen more of the amazing talented original cast — Lin-Manuel Miranda, Renee Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr., Christopher Jackson, Daveed Diggs, Jonathan Groff,  Anthony Ramos, Phillipa Soo, Jasmine Cephas Jones, Okieriete Onoadowan, the ensemble, and the understudies.

I give it two thumbs up!  Great show and great fun.  Have you seen the musical?  Have you listened to the music?  If so, I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have.  (The images are from Power Point clip art.)

Tuesday Tunes — The Bee Gees

Hi and Happy Tuesday. I wanted to write something for Tuesday Tunes, which I haven’t done in quite a while.  This one is on the Bee Gees, one of my all-time favorite groups.

This image is from Power Point clip art and is how I remember these three men. I am pleased to have their greatest hits album that I like to sing and dance to.

On Sunday night, we watched a great Grammy special in their honor on CBS.  Many artists performed and discussed the impact of the Brothers Gibb.  At the end, the remaining member of the group Barry Gibb performed with his band and with the other artists.  It was great and brought back so many wonderful memories.

I had forgotten how much amazing music they wrote and performed.  I liked every single song that was performed and there were a lot of them.  So many great old photos of Barry, Maurice, and Robin, as well as Andy.  The three Gibb brothers who have died were gone too soon.  Lovely tributes were made for them.  Also, John Travolta was there with Barry Gibb and his family.

The performers were: Katherine McPhee, Celine Dion, Panic at the Disco, Ed Sheeran, Keith Urban, Andra Day, DNCE, Stevie Wonder and John Legend, Little Big Town, Joe Jonas, Pentatonix, Tori Kelly, Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett, Demi Lovato, Jason Derulo and Tavares, and finally Barry Gibb.  These are not in order of performance.

Here are a just a few of the songs that I love by the Bee Gees. These were all performed during the special.  There were only two that I was not familiar with — Massachusetts and Love So Right.

  • Stayin Alive
  • You Should Be Dancing
  • Jive Talkin
  • Night Fever
  • Immortality
  • Tragedy
  • To Love Somebody
  • If I Can’t Have You
  • Too Much Heaven
  • I Just Want To Be Your Everything
  • How Can You Mend A Broken Heart
  • How Deep Is Your Love
  • Emotion
  • More Than A Woman
  • Islands In The Stream
  • Lonely Days

Amazingly, these are just some of their hits.  Hope you were able to watch these performances and tribute to this terrific band.  I for one enjoyed it very much!  Since I should be dancing, I better get to it!  Cheers!!

Five Minute Friday – Empty

Hi and Happy Good Friday.  Today’s Five Minute Friday word is empty, just right for Good Friday.  I haven’t written one of these in a long time.  But, here goes. This image is from Power Point’s clip art.

Empty – our lives can be empty if we have no purpose, no one to care about, don’t love ourselves, or have no support. My hope and prayer is that we all have people to laugh with us during the good times and to be there in the times of sadness, hurt, and struggle. And that we can learn to love ourselves and realize that we are worthy of love, acceptance and caring.

I also think about people who are hungry and have no regular source of food. And those with no clean and safe source of water.  May we help them so they don’t have empty bellies. May we help them so they do not thirst, but instead can safely be nourished and fed.

Empty is also what was found at the tomb on Easter morning — three days after the death of Jesus.  Imagine what that must have been like.  I can picture them thinking, what happened and where did he go?  Did someone steal him?  I imagine they were very puzzled yet amazed at the miracle.

Today is the day we remember the suffering and death that our Lord endured.  He became human and felt all the feelings that we do and learned how we feel in times of happiness, struggle, pain, and loss.  He suffered a brutal death for us.

On Sunday, we celebrate His resurrection and that empty tomb.  The stone was rolled away and He is Risen, He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!  This is what our faith is all about.

Okay times up.  That five minutes went by fast.  I have a few things to add.

No matter what you believe or celebrate, please remember that you are loved, you are valued, you are important, and you don’t have to be or feel empty.  There are those who will care for you and be there for you.

May you  have a blessed Easter weekend.  For those celebrating Passover, may you be blessed as well.  And, may we never feel empty.  God’s blessings to you!

Our Favorite Words

Yesterday, Ian and I were talking about our favorite words. I don’t know how we got on this particular subject, but we did. And, I have to say, he has some great favorite words.

His list includes these five that he spelled and wrote on paper for me:

  1. astronomical
  2. telescopic
  3. telescope
  4. astronomy
  5. cosmology

His interests currently have to do with space, planets, the solar system, and science. So, this is a great and perfect list from him. They are great words and I am thrilled that he likes all of them.  Perhaps a future scientist in our family.

I then started to think about my favorite words and it was a very different list. My words weren’t so much about a subject or two that I am interested in, but instead words that mean something special to me.

Here are my top 20:

  1. family
  2. friends
  3. love
  4. peace
  5. respect
  6. hope
  7. faith
  8. kindness
  9. compassion
  10. joy
  11. honor
  12. forgiveness
  13. wonder
  14. beach
  15. rainbows
  16. music
  17. books
  18. writing
  19. ocean
  20. Brigadoon

These were the first that came to mind for me. I have a feeling on a different day, the list could change. In light of today’s world, many of these words have more resonance with me than they used to. I have really stopped to think about them and how to put them into action. Others are subjects of interest to me and some fond memories.

What are your favorite words?  Please share.

Holy Week Events

This week is known on the Christian calendar as Holy Week. This was a Blog that I posted a few years ago and wanted to again.

This is the week when Jesus rode triumphantly into Jerusalem, celebrated Holy Communion with his disciples, was crucified, died, was buried, and then rose again.

It is a week of celebration and sadness, a week of the best and the worst, and is the most important time of year to me as a Christian.

  • Palm Sunday“The people who walked ahead of Jesus, and those who followed him, began to shout, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” – Matthew 21: 8-9

On Sunday we celebrated Palm Sunday.  We waved palm frons as we sang the hymns.  It was a lovely service.

During the Children’s Chat, Pastor told the children that Christ has the red carpet in our hearts.  During the sermon, Ian drew a picture of his heart with a red carpet on the floor.  It really touched the pastor and me as well.

  • Maundy Thursday“Then he took the bread, said the blessing, broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which will be given for you; do this in memory of me.” And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which will be shed for you.”– Luke 7: 19-20

Then we have Maundy Thursday which celebrates the Lord’s Last Supper.  He shared bread and wine with his disciples, including the man who betrayed him. Prior to that meal, he washed their feet.

He shared with them some of what was to come in the next few days.  Can you even imagine being there for that meal?  Or can you imagine having your feet be washed by a man who you have so much respect for?

  • Good Friday“And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.” – Matthew 27:50

Good Friday follows.  I have always wondered why that was the name chosen.  After all, this is the day that our Lord was crucified, beaten, nailed to a cross, and died.

During the service, we listen to the last 7 Words of Christ and watch the lights turn off as a book is dropped, signifying the closing of the tomb.  We then leave in silence.  This service is a challenge with a 5-year-old who loves to talk but is truly meaningful.   We are reminded of what the Lord did for us.

  • Easter“Simon Peter said, ‘The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” – Luke 24:34

It is an amazing contrast to Easter morning.  Easter is when we say, “He is Risen.  He is Risen Indeed.”  I love that my church has a sunrise service at the local marina.  It is hard to get up early enough for it but is the truly most meaningful service for me.

Watching the sunrise over the lake as we sing, “Jesus Christ is Risen Today, Alleluia” nearly moves me to happy tears.  I hope that we can make it to this service.  But, we’ll have to wait and see.

Also on Easter will be a breakfast at church, an Easter Egg hunt and then another service — often with the glorious organ and full orchestra.  It is a day to celebrate.

After church we will gather at my parent’s house for lunch with the family – including extended family — and maybe have a family egg hunt.

I hope that you too will have a very blessed and meaningful Holy Week!

I wonder if I can truly appreciate all that Lord has done for me?  I know that it will be demonstrated this week.

Day 2 of Spring Break — Snow

Hi and Happy Thursday.  On Day 2 of our Spring Break in the mountains of North Carolina, we woke up to 3 to 4 inches of snow. The amazing thing was that snow didn’t stick to the roads, sidewalks, or driveways.

In the morning we made and threw snowballs, walked around, made snow cream, and had lots of fun.  Then by dinner time, all of the snow had melted.  What an odd way to start our spring break, but it sure was fun.  Hope you enjoy the photos.

Happy Birthday Dear Beckie!

Today is my sister-in-law Beckie’s birthday.  Happy Birthday to you dear Beckie!  Hope you have a great and wonderful day. Hope you can do something fun and enjoy the entire day!

Beckie is married to my brother and is my second sister.  We always have a great time when we get together. I am always wishing for more time with her, my brother, and their two teenagers.  For example, we missed her party over the weekend since I wasn’t feeling well.  Bummer.

This photo is from our lunch out years ago at the beach.  We had a great time that day and some delicious food.  Over the years, we have enjoyed many meals, many laughs, some sorrows, lots and lots of conversations, inside jokes, and have taken, posed for, and shared many photos.  I am blessed to have her in my life.

Beckie, I hope that you have a great day and another wonderful trip around the sun!  I also hope to see you again soon.  Take care!  Love ya.

A few birthday quotes:

  • “The first fact about the celebration of birthdays is that it is a good way of affirming defiantly, and even flamboyantly, that it is a good thing to be alive.” ~ G.K. Chesterton
  • “A birthday is just the first day of another 365-day journey around the sun. Enjoy the trip.” ~ Author unknown
  • “Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional.” ~ Chili Davis
  • The secret of staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~ Lucille Ball

Food For Kids and Education

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe school where my son attends includes many kids on free and reduced lunches.  Over the years, the number has increased of families who are provided with these meals.  And, many of these kids also get care packages of food to take home each weekend.

It has been startling to see this change in my city from a thriving place of numerous jobs to fewer and fewer each year.  This is, however, the reality, and one that we are trying to deal with.  I am glad that our schools, our churches, and our community are working together to feed these children.

Children must have their bodies nourished before they can learn and have their brains nourished.  If their stomachs are growling all day, it is very hard for them to focus on math problems, or write sentences.  It is also hard to absorb what they are being taught if they are both hungry and thirsty.

My dad taught for several years in a poor community where this struggle was alive and well.  He saw first hand the problem of hungry kids struggling to keep up with school work and learning.  So, that district also provided food for them at a discounted price or full gift.

Many of the families in both communities were and still are the working poor.  They work for minimum wage and do try to provide for their families. They aren’t just lazy and uncaring about their kids as some may think. They do want to provide but often struggle to make ends meet.

Now it seems that there is talk of taking these programs away.  Perhaps some things could be changed, I don’t know.  But you know who will be harmed the most with drastic removals of money and food?  The kids.  Are we not supposed to be providing for our families and our children?  They are our responsibility from birth until they become adults.  And, shouldn’t we be helping others?

I am not saying that no changes should be made or that money may not need to be trimmed back.  The thing that bothers me is to say the poor don’t care about their children, shouldn’t be helped in feeling them, and then turn that into action of eliminated programs.   I see families each day doing their best for their children.

My hope, prayer, and voice will be that before these programs are just gutted, something will take their place that will continue to help our nation’s children.  The idea of hungry children in America is heartbreaking to me.  Is it to you as well?  Let’s help to ensure that doesn’t happen.

In Remembrance of Me

broken.breadOn Sunday, we had communion at church.  My church serves wafers and wine and the congregation always sings songs while communion is served.  That day, we sang my favorite communion song, “In Remembrance of Me.”

It is a song that reminds us of what Jesus did for us and want He wanted us to do.  He wanted us to love one another as He loved us, to care of each other, and to support each other.

Here are the powerful words:

  • “In remembrance of Me, eat this bread. In remembrance of Me, eat this wine.
  • In remembrance of Me, pray for the time when God’s own will is done.
  • In remembrance of Me, heal the sick.
  • In remembrance of Me, feed the poor.
  • In remembrance of Me, open the door.  And let your brother in, let him in.
  • Take, eat, and be comforted.  Drink and remember too.
  • That this is My body and precious blood shed for you, shed for you.
  • In remembrance of Me, search for truth.
  • In remembrance of Me, always love.
  • In remembrance of Me, do look above, and in your heart, look in your heart for God.
  • Do this in remembrance of Me.”

Isn’t this an amazing song?  It made me tear up yesterday since much of this is not happening anymore.  So much of our society is not living like this or loving like this.  I hope that we can learn to love this way again and remember to care for our fellow men, women, and children.

I am not saying that we do things that could harm ourselves, our families, or our neighbors.  I don’t want that, but there is plenty that can be done, if we just think about the many needs and see what we can do to help.

A few examples: My church provides meals once a month to the homeless.  We rotate with other churches at a homeless shelter.  Last winter, my church had a coat drive and gave coats to those in need.  A few weeks ago, the youth group went to a local store and gave away gift cards on a random acts of kindness day.

As in many cities, there is a need of hungry children.  So the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts go once a month and work with another church in town to help prepare bags that are then delivered to the schools and those who need them.  Ian and I have done that a few times.  We talked about the fact that kids often need food to be sure they have enough on the weekends.

For many years, my family has raised money for a needy family in lieu of gifts for each of the adults.  It is rewarding and has really helped a few other families.  And, after a wildfire in the Smoky Mountains, Dolly Parton held a telethon raising money for thousands of families who lost everything.

Small things can make a huge difference, if only we will work together.  My prayer is that we will.  Just imagine what we could accomplish if we would come together?  I hope and pray that we will consider what we can do to help someone in need.