Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?

Over at the blog See, there’s this thing called biology, my friend insanitybytes22 always manages to generate stimulating conversation with her twice-daily posts. Today’s post is no exception and forced me to ask the question:  Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?

IB22 doesn’t pose a question. Instead, she urges:  Honor Your Bronze Age Parents. I won’t spoil her insightful observations by repeating them here, but please click over to her blog and prepare yourself for an excellent read.IB22

In IB22’s post and the comments that follow, she addresses the point that here in our 21st century world, there’s a common arrogance we have about our vast knowledge, and with that arrogance, a reminder about how often we tend to look down our noses at previous generations who were so embarrassingly ignorant. Continue reading “Are We Smarter Than Our Biblical Forebears?”

Advertisements

Eye For An Eye, Log For A Log

From the time of childhood, we’re admonished not to point fingers at others. Whether it’s because “it’s rude to point” (as my mother often told me) or because a child is trying to shift blame for a misbehavior, pointing one’s finger remains a transgression that’s generally frowned upon … even though it’s a tactic used almost everyday by nearly everyone. Not one of us is immune to hypocrisy.clinton pointed his finger at us_thumb[1]The old saw about finger-pointing … three fingers pointing back at the one who points … occasionally discourages us from engaging our index fingers, but as illustrated above, some ignore that rule of thumb (if I may employ that expression here). The seventeenth anniversary for that infamous denial/finger-pointing event passed just last week. Who has forgotten the strenuous denial, later proven to be laughably false?

Continue reading “Eye For An Eye, Log For A Log”

How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?

Since as early as the 1840s, Groundhog Day has been observed in parts of Pennsylvania. In places like Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, the observation has become a highly-celebrated tradition, thanks in large part to the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club, which hosts a series of events throughout the weekend.

One of the best things to ever happen to Groundhog Day (in my opinion) was the movie of the same name. It is a great comedy, as well as a unique view of human behavior and change. It wears well and even after multiple viewings, the predicament of the main character still resonates … we identify with Bill Murray’s Everyman.GroundhogDay

A number of my mother’s ancestors hail from Berks County PA where the earliest observations of Groundhog Day took place (in Morgantown PA), so I enjoy knowing something about PA festivals. These are my peeps! However, celebrants in Punxsutawney PA claim their tradition goes back more than a century. Those are not my peeps, though having watched the movie several times, I find their enthusiasm for this event contagious!

Continue reading “How Much Wood Can A Groundhog Chuck?”

Certifiably Married

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.antique-marriagecertificate-graphicsfairysm

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 “Certifiably Married”

Renegade Nun, The Morning Star of Wittenberg

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.)

http://tiny.cc/e774sx
http://tiny.cc/e774sx

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 “Renegade Nun, The Morning Star of Wittenberg”

On The Trail

Winter isn’t my favorite season. Bracing against the cold gets more tedious every year. Climbing into our car the other day, I was all bundled up, arms full with purse, packages, etc. My Beloved urged me:  “Close the door, close the door!” He was in a hurry to go. Dismayed, I glared at him and proceeded to pivot my legs and feet into the car before closing the door.

RandyThe image of Randy (from A Christmas Story) came to mind. Having obeyed the first rule of Winter (layers), I was encumbered by so many layers, my arms and legs moved only sluggishly! The garb prevented the gusty winds from penetrating, but if there’d been a fire, I’m not sure I’d have made it out! Continue reading “On The Trail”

Reach Out and Touch

My mother-in-law phoned this morning. For many people, this might be an ordinary event. More often than not for me, phone calls from her send a tremor of worry through me.

DSC_0266
With one of her granddaughters, 2010

Because of her various life challenges, using the phone has become a complex operation; her dementia makes communication problematic, plus her hearing has diminished so she can’t always hear information clearly through the receiver. When I receive a call from her, my first thought is she needs emergency care or she’s fretting about an imagined crisis. (Prior experience has borne this out.) Continue reading “Reach Out and Touch”

Due Honor

Most afternoons of the week, my Beloved leaves his office and drives the couple miles to the assisted living facility where his 92 year old mother resides. (I’ve posted previously about her here.) Some days, she’s able to converse a bit; most days, she tries to make sense but can’t. She sets her focus on things that appear wrong (a lost teacup someone must have stolen), but are often her perception (the teacup is in its place on an upper shelf in the cabinet).Photo Dec 17, 2 44 56 PM

The photo above shows my Beloved and his mom (Charlotte) during a Christmas dinner a couple years ago. When the picture was taken, she was still able to converse and interact with others. She has always been enthusiastic about holiday celebrations and decorations, but as her dementia has progressed, she seems uncertain about things that were once important to her.

In last week’s Veteran’s Day post, I wrote about my granddad’s service during World War I and noted the tragically short arc of Charles Frederick West’s life after being gassed on the battlefield. My brother-in-law reminded me of another Charles Frederick … Robson who also served in that war and who also suffered mustard gas poisoning during his service. Charles Frederick Robson was father to Charlotte (above) and grandfather to my Beloved (and his brothers). I would be terribly remiss in not recognizing the service of this veteran as well. Continue reading “Due Honor”

Thank You, Veterans

If my life continues on its present course until its end, I will have lived my life without directly experiencing war. This statement may be true of many Americans, but I think there are countless nations around the world for whom war is a semi-regular event. Now I’m not saying I haven’t lived during wartime, just that I (thankfully) have no personal experience with it.

The same can’t be said for my family. My daddy served during World War II. My (maternal) granddaddy served and was injured during World War I. His granddaddy was killed in the Civil War. Other family members in previous generations served as well. Suffice to say, I appreciate the service of our veterans and as I grow older, I’m more attuned to what I imagine their experiences may have been. (I am not so naive as to believe I can fully understand their experiences.)West_Charles Army 1

The photo above shows my grandfather (far right) with three of his fellow soldiers. I don’t know exactly when the photo was taken but these men are clearly sitting on the steps of a barracks … the signs say it’s Company L, 315th INF (infantry) and the R-26 on the left side would appear to be their building number. Whether this is a stateside barracks or overseas, I cannot say. Official records show he enlisted as a single man in 1917 for a term of three years and reported for duty to Camp Meade MD on September 22, 1917. He had previously served in the Pennsylvania National Guard for two years.  Continue reading “Thank You, Veterans”

Bio-Diversity

The title of this post is courtesy of my younger daughter who told me today about a comment she fielded from someone who was observing my grandchildren (my younger daughter’s offspring). The commenter noted how my daughter’s middle child looked markedly different than his two blonde siblings. (Though their hair color is slightly obscured, pictures of these delightful children are here.)

happy-children-holding-hand

One never quite knows how to respond to such comments. Is the person innocently observing how unique all of God’s creatures are or is the person intimating something questionable and problematic related to parentage? (I suppose a third alternative is also possible:  the commenter is dumb as a rock and has failed to think before delivering unsolicited opinions.) Continue reading “Bio-Diversity”