An article on the HuffPost blog earlier this week caught my eye. Entitled 11 Things Empty Nesters Want Parents of Little Kids To Know, the author provides a list of observations … all but the first tip coming from the author’s friends who are already empty nesters. Apparently feeling the inevitable empty nest just around the corner, the author offers her own tip to start the list.In her opening paragraphs, the author notes with obvious frustration that she’s capable of remembering things, but some memories related to her children are harder to recall. Details of her children’s “firsts” are regrettably fuzzy memories, but the theme song from Gilligan’s Island is annoyingly memorable. (Perhaps she has forgotten the theme song probably played numerous times … searing the music into her brain, while her child’s first step only happened once.)
Quick question … for those of you who are married, do you know where your marriage certificate is? This document, most often provided to the married couple shortly after “I Do” and “I Will” have been spoken, is often a fancy piece of parchment that notes the names of the married partners and the place where their vows were exchanged. Signatures of the witnesses and person who officiated are often included on the document.
I love the marriage certificate pictured above – apparently from the 1800s – because of its elegant simplicity and its implicit invitation to attach photos of the bride and the groom! Unlike many of the digital documents produced today for births, marriages, etc., this above document is artful and would be a beautiful keepsake to display. Continue Reading →
Facebook … so many people depend on this expansive social network … it can even become an addiction where its unavailability feels like withdrawal for some.
Then there are thousands of others who eschew the network … they consider it trivial, they prefer their personal information and social connections not be publicly available. Launched in February of 2004, the Facebook network boasts over 1.3 billion active users and over 2 billion registered users.
Though I try to limit my time on Facebook, I’m an “active” user. Once or twice a day, I open the browser window to catch up with whatever stories have accumulated in my timeline. I don’t often post, as such, but my blog posts are always cross-posted from WordPress to Facebook. That’s about the measure of my use. Continue Reading →
Today is a day for sober reflection. No matter how often I interact with people from all walks of life who are suffering through various challenges in life, the question invariably crops up: Why? and just as often, Why, God?
It’s an understandable question, almost as natural to our humanity as breathing. In some respects (no matter our age), we are like three-year-olds investigating a complex world we’d like to understand. Asking Why? is our common standard that (hopefully) leads us to understanding.
Why is the sky blue? Why do dogs let their tongues hang? Why do I need cash when you have a credit card? These are the kinds of questions children tend to ask, but in our own way, we adults express an identical inquisitiveness, though we often do so with guarded sophistication … for fear of being perceived as ignorant.
Important figures of history sometimes get pushed to the periphery as current figures take center stage. One such figure is Katharina von Bora, a renegade nun whose birth took place more than five hundred years ago this week. If the name is familiar at all, it may be because she was the wife of Martin Luther, who in 1517 posted on the door of his church 95 Theses (disputations), an act of defiance that set in motion the Protestant Reformation.
It’s possible others find both Katharina von Bora and Martin Luther to be unfamiliar names. Unfortunately, the Protestant Reformation no longer receives a great deal of attention in most history classes. (And Luther’s name often evokes a well-known 20th century figure, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., causing a measure of confusion.)
I love the picture (above) of von Bora. This portrait was painted by a close friend of their family, a German Renaissance painter who also painted a portrait of Martin Luther. In this picture, I see a resemblance to The Good Wife‘s Julianna Margulies. To me, the portrait depicts a beautiful woman, a no-nonsense presence who possesses quiet, bridled strength of character and soul. Continue Reading →
Reminiscing with my mother today (via phone), I was reminded of the long-ago world she and my dad shared. As their world had convulsed from war to a tenuous peace, they began their life together 69 years ago this week.
I had asked her a couple questions about my dad who, when I was a young child, attended Bible school. This would have been after World War II, after he’d married my mom and after their first two or three children had arrived.
To put Dad’s hunger for education into perspective, it’s important (I think) to mention he didn’t graduate from high school. (He attended one year before quitting.) Instead of further schooling, he chose to take a job driving a truck and delivering furniture.
But following the war, he had renewed motivation to expand his understanding of the world. Having traveled to Europe (while in the Army), having seen and experienced horrible things, he was – on his return – an eager student whose further study was the natural result of witnessing the tumult faraway and having a curious mind that hoped to sort out some of what he’d seen. Continue Reading →
Returning to Job today, chapter 14 brings us one-third way through the book. (To view earlier posts, they begin here and continue on successive Sundays.) With this chapter, Job continues his response … but he’s no longer addressing his friends. He has, in fact, realized they already have their minds made up (about his perceived sin), so instead, Job directly addresses God as his friends listen in to the conversation.
Because Job has ceased defending himself to his friends and is speaking specifically to God (i.e. prayer), the intensely personal nature of this chapter is evident. Not a thing that Job recites is unknown to God, yet Job still schools the Almighty on the realities of humanity. Even as he speaks to God, he’s reminding himself that life is hard … and then you die.
Continue Reading →
It is perhaps an appropriate occasion (as a follow-up to yesterday’s post) to mention the fifty-year anniversary today of the death of Winston Churchill. Voted in 2002 (thirty-seven years after his death) the Greatest Briton, Churchill topped a list that included the names of William Wilberforce, J. R. R. Tolkien, Jane Austen, William Blake, William Shakespeare and a host of British monarchs.
(The list didn’t include C. S. Lewis, I’m sorry to say, though technically his birth in Ireland might have disqualified him? Not sure.)
Born in 1874, Churchill became a bigger-than-life presence and a pivotal figure during a critical time on the world stage. He may have endured (during his lifetime) more critics than admirers and history seems to reflect he suffered many defeats and discouragements. But his legacy cannot be ignored.
Given how Hitler’s invasion forces swept through Europe like lightning in mid-1940, a number of Brits believed a negotiated peace with Germany was the preferred path. (We can reason with Hitler … set ourselves in important positions and do business with his expanding war machine. We’ll make millions!)
As Prime Minister, Churchill chose the harder road, a path he knew would lead to outright war (Churchill’s predecessor had already declared war in September of 1939) – and less certain – his choice might eventually lead to a hoped-for victory.
Considering Churchill’s stubborn refusal to surrender to Hitler, the Luftwaffe engaged an eight-month bombing campaign of strategic sites and facilities (during which London alone suffered fifty-seven consecutive nighttime raids) which was surely enough for some Brits to think peace at any cost was preferable. Continue Reading →
Something strange has happened to me over the last couple months. It was totally unexpected and I was blindsided … I fell in love again! (Please don’t tell my Beloved, though I think he’s beginning to suspect!) I’m having trouble understanding myself of course, because this is a love affair that completely goes against all my preferences. The man is short and balding! Anyone who knows me will recognize immediately I’ve gone off the rails.
It began innocently enough when my brother-in-law recommended a British television series he thought I’d enjoy. That was more than a year ago. I added the series to my Netflix queue but that’s where it ended. Then recently, my brother also recommended the series … and instead of just letting the series continue to gather dust in my queue, I sat down one night and watched the first episode … and the second … and the third!
Immediately, I was in love! (I blame my brother-in-law and my brother.)
An event that took place in our nation’s capitol today, the annual March for Life, attracts a huge crowd of marchers … but often fails to garner more than cursory attention from the nightly news. (Digital accounts usually offer some attention.) In the March for Life, people from around the country gather to mark the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision legalizing abortion.
Abortion is an issue that tends to make people squirm … as it should. Some people consider abortion a “necessary evil” we must tolerate because of the number of unplanned pregnancies that occur; opponents of abortion maintain that unplanned pregnancies can be (and should be) addressed apart from destroying the precious, unique lives of unborn babies. Supporters of abortion uphold the procedure as an important choice – a woman’s sacred right to choose; opponents argue at least two individuals are involved in every abortion “choice” and the humanity of unborn babies is casually denied and ignored. Continue Reading →