Friday, March 31, 2023

Passion Week 2023 - Friday of Sorrows

Today in the Lenten season marks the Friday of Sorrows, a solemn remembrance of the suffering of Mary, Mother of Jesus in the Easter story. A remembrance that above all, she was a mother who was made to watch her son suffer through cruel torture and die an excruciating death. 

I can’t begin to imagine her sorrow. The death of a child is one of the most unbearable sorrows that humans can bear, and she was forced to watch him die in the cruelest form possible. It wasn’t just watching him die, it was watching him be tortured, humiliated, cursed, and abandoned. 

It’s again a reminder to us that these are all human stories. They are filled with the same emotions, the same highs and lows that we experience. The joys and the tragedies, the suffering and the elation. Whatever our situation, we can find those we relate to in the tale. 

And there are those that can relate to Mary here.  The mother standing by watching their child endure pain they wish they could take away.  Watching their child die and fade away.  Watching their child suffer.

To them, I think our responsibility is to be Johns.  Jesus instructs his closest friend to watch over his mother.  “Woman, behold your son.”  “Behold your mother.”  In his dying, he wished for his mother to be taken care of. 

We can be that help. We can be that support to those that are grieving.  To just be there - no platitudes, no need to speak, just to be there.  

A help, a balm to all mothers of sorrow out there. 

What a high calling indeed. 

O God, in whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, the sword of sorrow didst pierce the most sweet soul of the glorious Mary, Virgin and Mother; mercifully grant that we who call to mind with veneration her anguish and suffering, by the glorious merits and prayers of all the Saints who faithfully stood beneath the Cross interceding for us, may obtain the blessed fruit of Thy Passion, Thou Who livest and reigneth with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, March 30, 2023

Out Like A Lion

And so March comes to an end, with storms rolling in tonight into tomorrow.  Out like a lion indeed.  

It's also ending much more at a hectic pace than it began.  Travels to Buna, a fast paced, though relaxing vacation, and then travels to Commerce.  Events and being together with people.  Work adding up. 

The lion roars.

Hopefully, April will bring a little calm, but it doesn't look like it.  Still more travels ahead, still more events.  Miles to go before we sleep, miles to go before we sleep.

It's all good, and I'm looking forward to it all, but it makes me wistful for the slow moments.  For the times of rest.  And to be appreciative of them when they come.  Moments to breathe.  To collect yourself and be restored.

The vacation had a bit of that.  Though we logged a lot of time in the car to travel, the hot springs and the massage were very relaxing.  It's important to take those as they come and to plan for them.

I'll look forward to the next time.

Until then, time to roar along with the lion. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2023

One More........

Three students and three adults were shot and killed in a mass shooting at a private elementary Christian School in Nashville, Tennessee on Monday, March 27, 2023.  The students shot at the Covenant School were all nine years old.  The shooter, a former student of the school, entered the school by shooting through a side door.  The shooter was armed with two assault style weapons and a handgun, and went through the second floor, firing shots, before being shot and killed by the police.

The school shooting occurred in a wealthy subdivision of Nashville, at a private Christian school.  

It's happening everywhere. 

And we've reached an staggering new landmark.  Firearms are now the number one cause of death of American children and teens, surpassing motor vehicle accidents and cancer.



I hate that I'm numb to these.  That every time I hear about one, I just think, oh, look another one.  And that I'm getting hopeless that we will ever actually address it.  Once Sandy Hook and Uvalde happened and we did nothing, once we saw it at an elementary school and did nothing, we've just accepted it as a cost of life in the United States.  The republican representative in Tennessee has admitted as much.  "We're not gonna fix it."  Rep. Tim Burchett admitted.  His solution was to homeschool, like he has done.  Such a callous disregard. 

They don't care about us.  They never have.

I tell you, nothing has broke me like trying to reassure my kindergartener regarding an active shooter drill and my third grader writing about the shooting of a fifth grader and coming up with her solution. 

Because the really sad thing is, we know what would actually work and refuse to do anything about it, I'm repeating an and updating article that I've had to post over and over and over again now in the five years the blog has been running.  

I'll continue to do so, until maybe we start to listen.

-------------------- 

Because there have been 89 school shootings so far this year in 2023...
Because school shootings have risen 150% since 2018....
Because there have been 75 shot and either killed or wounded at a school this year alone...
Because active shooter drills are now common place in elementary schools...
Because we're teaching kids to run at shooters and then praise them as heroes, but are forgetting to mourn that necessity...
Because we have a generation of kids who view school shootings as just the way things have always been...
Because we still haven't done anything of substance to stop them...
Because chances are, we will still do nothing about this one...

Because I'm tired...

Because we can see exactly when this exploded on the scene again - when the assault weapons ban was lifted.


It bears repeating - From a post at the beginning of this blog:

--------------------

I'm tired.  I'm tired of this topic continuing to come up.  I'm tired of us continuing to have the same response - thoughts and prayers, then talking at each other, then a whole lot of nothing, and it's forgotten until we move on to the next one.

When I started this blog, my second post was a repost of a Facebook message on the Second Amendment in response to the Parkland, Florida school shooting.  There have only been 54 days in between these posts.  And here we are again, with a school shooting in Santa Fe, Texas.  And I haven't even touched on all of the school shootings that have occurred.  There have been 5 other school shootings in the interim, just not to the same scope.

We have an addiction to guns in this country that causes us to look at anything else except gun control as a possible solution.  It's far past time we put everything on the table.  We should be looking at mental health care.  We should be looking at bullying.  We should be looking at the family structure.  We should be looking at socio-economic status and mobility.  AND we should be looking at sensible gun control.  We're a big country and pretty good at multi-tasking.  We're more than capable of looking at it all.

But I'm too tired to write anymore on this.  Who knows what good it does at this point.  In lieu of further debate, I'm just going to post facts and let them speak for themselves.

  • On an average day, 96 Americans are killed with guns.
  • On average, there are nearly 13,000 gun homicides a year in the United States.
  • For every one person killed with guns, two more are injured.
  • 62% of firearm deaths in the United States are suicides.
  • Seven children and teens are killed with guns in the United States on an average day.
  • In an average month, 50 women are shot to death by an intimate partner in the United States.
  • America's gun homicide rate is more than 25 times the average of other high-income countries.
  • The United States accounts for 46% of the population, but 82% of the gun deaths.
  • Background checks have blocked over 3 million gun sales to prohibited people.
  • Black men are 13 times more likely than white men to be shot and killed with guns.
  • The presence of a gun in a domestic violence situation increases the risk of the woman being killed by five times.

https://everytownresearch.org/gun-violence-by-the-numbers/

--------------------

Until it's heard...
Until we stop pretending like it will go away...
Until we do something, anything...
Until we care more about people than things...
Until we listen more to constituents than to special interest groups...

Until the next time...hopefully with a much longer gap in between

--------------------

There have been 130 mass shootings in America in the 88 days so far in 2023.

Humbling perspective.

Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Five Years of Writing


Five years.

1,112 posts.

It's almost hard to believe.

So much has changed over these years of posting.  New home, new state, new job.  Highs and lows, and everything in between.  It's been an amazing journey.

I want to thank everyone who has continued to read these entries.  It has been many things especially over these last three years.  A sanity check.  A sounding board.  Therapy.  All well beyond the original writing exercise.

Your readership has been encouragement.  It has been humbling.  For all that have expressed their readership and for those that have remained anonymous, thank you.  It means more than you can imagine.

To the next few years.

Monday, March 27, 2023

Pura Vida!



A short post today, as Jamie and I are traveling back from four days in Costa Rica.  A chance for Jamie to get to go back and for me to experience the country.  To get to know it as we are continuing to process our adoption through this country.  And to get to unwind a bit, with time at the beach, the hot springs, and the spa.  Much needed rest and break.

I've tried to include a few photographs that share a bit of our journey.  A bit of our experience of Pure Life/Pura Vida!  Hope you enjoy and back soon.











Sunday, March 26, 2023

Lent 2023 - Passion Sunday 2023


Today marks the fifth Sunday of Lent, the beginning of Passiontide and Passion Week.  Passion Sunday.  Passiontide commemorates the suffering of Christ, with Passion Week lasting from Passion Sunday to Lazarus Saturday, and Holy Week, the second week, lasting from Palm Sunday to Easter.  This Sunday is also know as Judica Sunday for the first line of the Introit.  Psalm 42:1.  "Judge me, O God."

Judica me, Deus.

The theme of this Sunday is on the continuity of God's promise.  We see the promise made in the Old Testament reading in Genesis 12:1-3 to Abraham, fulfilled in Christ in John 8:48-59.  

In Genesis, God makes the Abrahamic covenant, promising to make Abraham a great nation, to bless him, and to bless all peoples on the earth through him.  In John, we see in Jesus's confrontation with the Pharisees how he firmly explains who he is.  Don't let anyone deceive you and say that Jesus never claimed to be God.  For this passage shows us at its most explicit.  The Pharisees have asked Jesus if he is greater than Abraham.  Jesus replies that Abraham rejoiced at the seeing of his day.  The Pharisees ask for clarification. "You are not yet fifty years old, and you have seen Abraham!"  

Jesus replies with a clear statement of who he truly is.  "Very truly I tell you, before Abraham was born, I AM!"  The I Am is important.  It's not bad grammar in the translation, as it has nothing to do with Jesus status, but his name.  It's Jesus using a very specific name and attribute to describe himself.    It's Jesus taking the name God revealed to Moses through the burning bush to describe himself.   THE I AM.  

This is why the Pharisees pick up stones to stone him.  This they would consider blasphemy.

But we see the continuity of God's message. Of how the blessed the nation through Abraham, to move to Jesus to bless all.  Jesus is the fulfillment of how all peoples on the earth will be blessed.

That's our hope in the Easter season.  That is why we celebrate.  For what God started in Abraham, he has brought to fulfillment.  

Amen.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Ramadan 2023

 

Last night marked the beginning of Ramadan, a month long period of reflection, fasting, prayer, and introspection for the Muslim faith.  The month commemorates the revelation of the Qur'an to the prophet Mohammed.  The month is marked by fasting from sunrise to sunset and a devotion to prayer, the reading of scripture, and to charity.  In many ways, it is comparable to the Christian period of Lent. 

To any readers who may be observing Ramadan this year, Ramadan Mubarak. May this Ramadan clear your understanding and Judgement between right and wrong.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

In Support of NPR

As has been shared by several personalities, this looks to be a tough week for NPR.  Budget cuts and restrictions are going into effect, leading to many staff at the public radio station losing their jobs.  The budget crisis at NPR is largely involving a shortfall in corporate sponsorships and federal grants.  Last November, the station had announced a total $20 million decline in sponsorship revenue, leading to planned hiring freezes, budget cuts on items like non-essential travel and discretionary spending, and now layoffs.  The layoffs account for 10% of the workforce.

While it is not as much a part of my daily life now, NPR was my lifeline for a very long time.  Growing up, I couldn't have imagined it, but I've become a fan of talk-radio.  Of talk shows.  I like feeling like I'm joining into a conversation, whether it be on radio and on podcasts.  

Because of that, my hour long commutes were filled with NPR or podcasts.  And I loved a lot about NPR.  Marketplace Morning Report, BBC News Hour.  I love the irreverent part in Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me... and Ask Me Another.  Classic favorites like Car Talk and A Prairie Home Companion.  While I have issues with her interview style at times, I enjoy Fresh Air.

NPR provides that essential lifeline of information.  Freely available.  Open to all.  About as center of the political spectrum in news that you can ask for.

This is why it should be a priority in society.  Sadly, like many media outlets, this seems to be the new reality.  "We're not seeing signs of a recovery in the advertising market," NPR CEO John Lansing said in an interview.  "Nothing is nailed down yet except the principles and what we know we have to reach."

Here's hoping a solution can be achieved, for the continuing health and life of NPR.  For our overall national discourse.

Though individual support does not directly affect the current crisis, it is still a part of the overall health of the network.  Why not support your local station today?

"The arts are essen­tial to any com­plete national life. The State owes it to itself to sus­tain and encour­age them….Ill fares the race which fails to salute the arts with the rev­er­ence and delight which are their due."
Winston Churchill, 1938


Tuesday, March 21, 2023

World Poetry Day

Today is World Poetry Day, and in recognition, I thought it appropriate to share a poem of the season.

March
by William Cullen Bryant,

The stormy March is come at last,
With wind, and cloud, and changing skies,
I hear the rushing of the blast,
That through the snowy valley flies.

Ah, passing few are they who speak,
Wild stormy month! in praise of thee;
Yet, though thy winds are loud and bleak,
Thou art a welcome month to me.

For thou, to northern lands, again
The glad and glorious sun dost bring,
And thou hast joined the gentle train
And wear'st the gentle name of Spring.

And, in thy reign of blast and storm,
Smiles many a long, bright, sunny day,
When the changed winds are soft and warm,
And heaven puts on the blue of May.

Then sing aloud the gushing rills
And the full springs, from frost set free,
That, brightly leaping down the hills,
Are just set out to meet the sea.

The year's departing beauty hides
Of wintry storms the sullen threat;
But in thy sternest frown abides
A look of kindly promise yet.

Thou bring'st the hope of those calm skies,
And that soft time of sunny showers,
When the wide bloom, on earth that lies,
Seems of a brighter world than ours.

Monday, March 20, 2023

First Day of Spring 2023

As of today, we are officially in Spring.  The time when snow melts, ice thaws, and the sun traditionally begins to shine more.  When the planet warms, bringing forth new life, springing out of the ground.  Plants bloom, hibernation ends, and our whole outlook tends to become brighter.

It's a season of celebration.  Of Carnival, of Easter, and May Day.  Of Saint Patrick's Day and Cinco De Mayo.  Of Spring Break.

And it is a time of new beginnings.

In that spirit, I wanted to to give a reminder that now is as good of a time as any for a fresh start.  If there is something you need to give up but missed lent, why not start now?  If you need to leave a relationship that is toxic or abusive, why not start that new life now, just as the rest of the planet is doing? If you need to change jobs, change majors, pursue new opportunities, why not now?

Pursue that new job, seek that new relationship, start that new project.

Live.

"Change will not come if we wait for some other person, or if we wait for some other time.  We are the ones we've been waiting for.  We are the change that we seek."

President Barack Obama


So stop waiting for some other time.  Stop waiting for things to be different.  Stop procrastinating.

There has never been a better day to make a change.  No day but today.  So if there is anything you are looking to improve, to change, or to start, the only way you can guarantee it will happen is to start today.

Because the truth is, there will never be a perfect day.  There will never be a perfect time or situation.

So go for it.  Dream.  Strive.  Change.

You've got this.

This spring as it comes bursts up in bonfires green,
Wild puffing of emerald trees, and flame-filled bushes,
Thorn-blossom lifting in wreaths of smoke between
Where the wood fumes up and the watery, flickering rushes.

I am amazed at this spring, this conflagration
Of green fires lit on the soil of the earth, this blaze
Of growing, and sparks that puff in wild gyration,
Faces of people streaming across my gaze.

And I, what fountain of fire am I among
This leaping combustion of spring? My spirit is tossed
About like a shadow buffeted in the throng
Of flames, a shadow that's gone astray, and is lost.

The Enkindled Spring, D.H. Lawrence

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Easter 2023 - Laetare


Today marks the fourth Sunday of Lent, Laetare Sunday, also known as Mothering Sunday, Refreshment Sunday, mid-Lent Sunday, and Rose Sunday.  It's primarily named for the first line of the Introit read today. Isaiah 66:10 "Rejoice ye with Jerusalem; and be ye glad for her, all ye that delight in her: exult and sing for joy with her, all ye that in sadness mourn for her; that ye may suck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations."  

Laetare Jerusalem et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam; gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis, ut exsultetis et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae.

The theme of this Sunday is rejoicing, as Laetare means rejoice.  It's a bit of a breather in the middle of lent, as we look forward to the hope of Easter.  In the readings, we see manifestations of the hope that we have.  The Old Testament reading from 1 Samuel 16:1b, 6-7, 10-13a, focuses on the anointing of David as king.  A physical culmination of the hope of Israel at the time, the annointing of the good earthly king, one they have been continuing to look for.  

The Gospel reading focuses on John 9, with the story of the man blind from birth, the restoration of his sight, and the investigation by the Pharisees.   The story begins with a question that has implications for our larger study on suffering.  The disciples ask Jesus what caused the man's blindness, his sin or his parents.  Jesus response tells us a lot.  "Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him."

This response runs contrary to our primary beliefs about suffering, that they are punishments. Jesus is clearly saying that is not always the case.  But the beauty is that the suffering can still be used by God for something wonderful.

After Jesus puts mud on his eyes and instructs him to wash in the pool of Siloam, a simple task, but still with great impact.  The man went and washed, and came home seeing.  Which stirs up the community greatly.  His neighbors become very inquisitive.  They bring him before the Pharisees, who put him through a rigorous cross examination, even calling in his parents to confirm his prior blindness.

Through the entirety of the cross examination, one response from the man rings out for me.  The Pharisees  are upset with Jesus because the healing took place on a Sabbath, so of course, Jesus could not be of God. The Pharisees were men of God and followed all the rules.  How could they tolerate a man who cut through all the rules to care for the people?  They become more and more irate with the man's story, so they ask him point blank, "Give glory to God by telling the truth.  We know this man (Jesus ) is a sinner."

The man's response is all the defense of the gospel that we ever need.  It is the summary of our hope in Jesus.  The very essence of our testimony.

"Whether he is a sinner or not, I don't know.  One thing I do know.  I was blind, but now I see!"

That's all we need; the beauty of telling what He has done for us.  That's our hope.  That's our joy.

May we now go out like the man and spread it.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Spring Break

Today marks the start of the kids' spring break.  It's one of the many things we've loved about the local schools.  Two week fall break, two week Christmas break, two week spring break.  The kids have been looking forward to it.  We have been looking forward to it.

Because the break being two weeks has greatly enabled us to really enjoy it.  We have been able to go back to Texas, to visit family, to celebrate, and for Jamie and I to take trips.  It means a lot of time on the road, but it's been worth it.

This year should be no exception. We'll get to go visit family.  Jamie and I are going to take our yearly trip over the break and go to Costa Rica.  Jamie has been a couple of times, but I have never been.  So, I'm looking forward to experiencing the country.

All in all, it should hopefully be another wonderful break.

Today, we just have the drive.  So prayers for traveling mercies and a good time for us all on the road.

Friday, March 17, 2023

St. Patrick's Day 2023


Today we have a reminder of the influence of the Irish on our American heritage. Thirty- three million people or 10.5% of our population tracing their heritage to Ireland. There are over five times more people with Irish heritage in America than there are Irish in Ireland.

Today, we recognize them as a pillar of the American melting pot. Celebrated communities in the Northeast. Pioneers in the westward expansion.

And yet, for the majority of their immigration pathway here, they were discriminated against. Viewed as less than. Inferior.

Hated and feared for their religious differences (Catholics v Protestants). For their ethnic differences (Celts v Anglo-Saxon). For a language barrier. For their work class. No Irish Need Apply.

On this day when we celebrate the patron saint of Ireland. His capture into slavery and conversion. His ministry and dedication to Ireland. His driving out Druids, or “snakes,” out of Ireland. And the Irish history and heritage of our country.

Why don’t we celebrate by honoring that history. By owning up to complicated history that it is. And by looking at how we treat any immigrant to our country. By committing to not making the same mistakes.

We can keep up the old traditions. Wear green. Drink green beer. Raise a glass high.

But I think that the list above might be a far better way to celebrate today.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Thursday, March 16, 2023

He's All Risk

The title is a quote by Doris Hardoon, recruited by Crump in the late 1970s for the development of EPCOT. 

For Disney theme park and animation fans, there are certain artists whose style is easy to identify.  Mary Blair's mid-century, colorful style that would make it's a small world come to life.  Claude Coat's moody and atmospheric art that would fit the Haunted Mansion to a T.   Harper Goff's paintings, which would come to define Disney park concept art.

Roland "Rolly" Crump was one such artist.  

If artist could be summed up in a phrase, Rolly's would be, "wouldn't it be cool if we..."

Crump started as an assistant animator on such film classics as Peter Pan, Lady and the Tramp, Sleeping Beauty, and One Hundred and One Dalmatians.  In 1959, he would join WED Enterprises, the former name for Walt Disney Imagineering.  And it's here that Rolly proved to be a trailblazing pioneer.

Crump would be a key designer on attractions like The Haunted Mansion and the Enchanted Tiki Room.  With the Mansion, it was Crump that brought the funny, blending together with Claude Coat's spooky and atmospheric to create the attraction that is loved by millions today.  Crump would also be a key imagineer for the Disney attractions at the 1964 World's Fair, contributing to the it's a small world attraction by notably creating the Tower of The Four Winds structure that served as the marquee.  When the attraction was moved to Disneyland, Crump designed the animated clock face that served as a timepiece and exterior for the beloved attraction.

His art always went to the whimsical and weird, perfectly encapsulated in his famed lost attraction The Museum of the Weird.  He created many, many bits for this attraction that ranged from a clock with 13 hours, to a chair with a face, to a melting wax man.  It would have been a wonderful attraction and I still hope that it will be resurrected someday.

Rolly passed away Sunday, March 12, 2023 at his home at the age of 93.  His art and legacy will continue to entertain children of all ages for many, many years to come.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Ides of March 2023


"SOOTHSAYER
Caesar!

CAESAR
Ha! who calls?

CASCA
Bid every noise be still: peace yet again!

CAESAR
Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue, shriller than all the music,
Cry 'Caesar!' Speak; Caesar is turn'd to hear.

SOOTHSAYER
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
What man is that?

BRUTUS
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
Set him before me; let me see his face.

CASSIUS
Fellow, come from the throng; look upon Caesar.

CAESAR
What say'st thou to me now? speak once again.

SOOTHSAYER
Beware the ides of March.

CAESAR
He is a dreamer; let us leave him: pass."

Julius Caesar, Act I, Scene II

In Ancient Roman days, they did not number their days from start to finish of a month.  Instead, they had three fixed points in the month, the Kalends, the 1st of the month, the Nones, around the 5th to the 7th of the month, and the Ides, the 13th or the 15th.  In March, the Ides falls on our March 15.  

The Ides of March are most associated with the assassination of Julius Caesar, particularly as dramatized by William Shakespeare.  In 44 B.C., as many as 60 conspirators stabbed Caesar to death at a meeting of the Senate.  Caesar had been previously warned to "Beware the Ides of March!"  On his way into the senate that fateful day,  Caesar joked to the Soothsayer, 


"CAESAR
[To the Soothsayer] The ides of March are come.

SOOTHSAYER
Ay, Caesar; but not gone.
"

Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

So, should someone tell you to beware today, perhaps you should keep an eye out.  Or at least don't laugh at fate. 

"Why should Caesar just get to stomp around like a giant while the rest of us try not to get smushed under his big feet? Brutus is just as cute as Caesar, right? Brutus is just as smart as Caesar, people totally like Brutus just as much as they like Caesar, and when did it become okay for one person to be the boss of everybody because that's not what Rome is about! We should totally just STAB CAESAR!"

Mean Girls

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Pi 2023

Happy Pi Day all!  A celebration since 1988, Pi Day recognizes the mathematical constant pi (π), whose first significant digits are 3.14.  Pi day is celebrated with the homonyms of both savory and sweet types.  Pizza pies and dessert pies are often eaten.  Our church distributes slices of dessert pies to all the teachers in the Brownsburg School district this week. 

For this monumentous occasion, I can think of no better words to share than the following:

3 . 1 4 1 5 9 2 6 5 3 5 8 9 7 9 3 2 3 8 4 6 2 6 4 3 3 8 3 2 7 9 5 0 2 8 8 4 1 9 7 1 6 9 3 9 9 3 7 5 1 0 5 8 2 0 9 7 4 9 4 4 5 9 2 3 0 7 8 1 6 4 0 6 2 8 6 2 0 8 9 9 8 6 2 8 0 3 4 8 2 5 3 4 2 1 1 7 0 6 7 9 8 2 1 4 8 0 8 6 5 1 3 2 8 2 3 0 6 6 4 7 0 9 3 8 4 4 6 0 9 5 5 0 5 8 2 2 3 1 7 2 5 3 5 9 4 0 8 1 2 8 4 8 1 1 1 7 4 5 0 2 8 4 1 0 2 7 0 1 9 3 8 5 2 1 1 0 5 5 5 9 6 4 4 6 2 2 9 4 8 9 5 4 9 3 0 3 8 1 9 6 4 4 2 8 8 1 0 9 7 5 6 6 5 9 3 3 4 4 6 1 2 8 4 7 5 6 4 8 2 3 3 7 8 6 7 8 3 1 6 5 2 7 1 2 0 1 9 0 9 1 4 5 6 4 8 5 6 6 9 2 3 4 6 0 3 4 8 6 1 0 4 5 4 3 2 6 6 4 8 2 1 3 3 9 3 6 0 7 2 6 0 2 4 9 1 4 1 2 7 3 7 2 4 5 8 7 0 0 6 6 0 6 3 1 5 5 8 8 1 7 4 8 8 1 5 2 0 9 2 0 9 6 2 8 2 9 2 5 4 0 9 1 7 1 5 3 6 4 3 6 7 8 9 2 5 9 0 3 6 0 0 1 1 3 3 0 5 3 0 5 4 8 8 2 0 4 6 6 5 2 1 3 8 4 1 4 6 9 5 1 9 4 1 5 1 1 6 0 9 4 3 3 0 5 7 2 7 0 3 6 5 7 5 9 5 9 1 9 5 3 0 9 2 1 8 6 1 1 7 3 8 1 9 3 2 6 1 1 7 9 3 1 0 5 1 1 8 5 4 8 0 7 4 4 6 2 3 7 9 9 6 2 7 4 9 5 6 7 3 5 1 8 8 5 7 5 2 7 2 4 8 9 1 2 2 7 9 3 8 1 8 3 0 1 1 9 4 9 1 2 9 8 3 3 6 7 3 3 6 2 4 4 0 6 5 6 6 4 3 0 8 6 0 2 1 3 9 4 9 4 6 3 9 5 2 2 4 7 3 7 1 9 0 7 0 2 1 7 9 8 6 0 9 4 3 7 0 2 7 7 0 5 3 9 2 1 7 1 7 6 2 9 3 1 7 6 7 5 2 3 8 4 6 7 4 8 1 8 4 6 7 6 6 9 4 0 5 1 3 2 0 0 0 5 6 8 1 2 7 1 4 5 2 6 3 5 6 0 8 2 7 7 8 5 7 7 1 3 4 2 7 5 7 7 8 9 6 0 9 1 7 3 6 3 7 1 7 8 7 2 1 4 6 8 4 4 0 9 0 1 2 2 4 9 5 3 4 3 0 1 4 6 5 4 9 5 8 5 3 7 1 0 5 0 7 9 2 2 7 9 6 8 9 2 5 8 9 2 3 5 4 2 0 1 9 9 5 6 1 1 2 1 2 9 0 2 1 9 6 0 8 6 4 0 3 4 4 1 8 1 5 9 8 1 3 6 2 9 7 7 4 7 7 1 3 0 9 9 6 0 5 1 8 7 0 7 2 1 1 3 4 9 9 9 9 9 9 8 3 7 2 9 7 8 0 4 9 9 5 1 0 5 9 7 3 1 7 3 2 8 1 6 0 9 6 3 1 8 5 9 5 0 2 4 4 5 9 4 5 5 3 4 6 9 0 8 3 0 2 6 4 2 5 2 2 3 0 8 2 5 3 3 4 4 6 8 5 0 3 5 2 6 1 9 3 1 1 8 8 1 7 1 0 1 0 0 0 3 1 3 7 8 3 8 7 5 2 8 8 6 5 8 7 5 3 3 2 0 8 3 8 1 4 2 0 6 1 7 1 7 7 6 6 9 1 4 7 3 0 3 5 9 8 2 5 3 4 9 0 4 2 8 7 5 5 4 6 8 7 3 1 1 5 9 5 6 2 8 6 3 8 8 2 3 5 3 7 8 7 5 9 3 7 5 1 9 5 7 7 8 1 8 5 7 7 8 0 5 3 2 1 7 1 2 2 6 8 0 6 6 1 3 0 0 1 9 2 7 8 7 6 6 1 1 1 9 5 9 0 9 2 1 6 4 2 0 1 9 8 9


Happy Pi Day!

Monday, March 13, 2023

Oscars 2023


Yesterday, the Academy held the 95th annual Academy Awards presentation at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood, California.  While the events went off without a hitch, after the shock of last year's ceremony, this year's ceremony seemed downright boring.

And boring, in that respect, was welcome.

Even better though, it had several heart-warming moments.

The event was just what I would have scripted, with minor changes.   Back to a singular host.  Every category included back in.  Winners generally allowed to make their speech.  Not really caring about the length, just letting it be what it should be.

Sure, the memoriam section still needs to be turned over to TCM or someone else to produce.  There were odd choices made in the song performances.  And some of my choices didn't work out.

Generally, though, it was a successful show.

Everything Everywhere All At Once continued its successful march that led up to the ceremony and largely swept the categories with seven awards including Best Picture, Best Director(s), Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, and Best Original Screenplay.  This included great celebratory wins for Ke Huy Quan, the first award for Jamie Lee Curtis, and a historic win for Michelle Yeoh as the first Asian American to win a best lead actor/actress award.

A24 as a studio is really the one to watch out for, becoming the first studio to win in all the major categories in the same ceremony.  Its fare has become more varied and is drawing more attention, so it will be a major player to watch.

It made for a late night, as on the east coast, we didn't wrap until 11:30 pm, but it was fun to make it through.  Will have to see what next year brings.

Hopefully another boring, but heart-warming show.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Lent 2023 - Oculi


Today marks the third Sunday of Lent, Oculi Sunday, named for the first line of the Introit read today.  Psalm 25:15-16.  "My eyes are forever turned towards the Lord; for he shall release my feet from the snare; look upon me and have mercy on me, for I am abandoned and destitute."

Oculi mei semper ad Dominum, quia ipse evellet de laqueo pedes meos: respice in me, et miserere mei; quoniam unicus et pauper sum ego.

The theme of this Sunday is on having open eyes, being able to the spiritual around us.  To recognize the hidden world around us.  To recognize God working around us and to recognize the evil He is opposing.  

The Old Testament reading is focused on Exodus 8:16-24, set in the middle of the plagues of Egypt in which the fate of Egypt is set and Pharaoh's heart is hardened. Pharaoh saw the wonders of God, he heard God's call, but still refused.  His heart was turned over to its natural end and hardened by his lack of response.

The Gospel reading then turns and focuses on Luke 11:14-28, recounting Jesus's banishing a demon from a mute man, and the response his action garners from the onlookers.  Jesus banishes the demon, the man is able to speak, and the crowd is amazed.  There are some in the crowd though that begin to question Jesus's power.  To say he is driving out demons by the power of the prince of demons, Beelzebul.  Still others tested him by asking for a sign from heaven.

Those so close to see the physical power of God and miss the point.

We still find that today.

To be so close to the truth and to miss the point.  The church sees this and expects this in the world.  "The god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers so they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."  Paul warned in 2 Corinthians 4:4.  

But how often do we see the same thing within the church.  To be so close and miss the point.  To squabble over petty disagreements.  Church splits on music preference.  The type of carpet.  Minor theological differences that have no impact on salvation or Christian living.

How often do we get hardened on our side in church matters and keep drawing lines around us?  

The solution is the one that Jesus offered to those in his crowd at the time.  "Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it."  We keep our hearts from hardening by keeping our ears and eyes open to the Lord around us.  We remain humble and pliable to where He leads us.  

That's how we avoid the snare and remain free.

Eyes on Him.


Open my eyes that I may see
glimpses of truth thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
that shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!


Open my ears that I may hear
voices of truth thou sendest clear,
and while the wave notes fall on my ear,
ev’rything false will disappear.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my ears, illumine me,
Spirit divine!


Open my mouth and let me bear
gladly the warm truth ev’rywhere.
Open my heart and let me prepare
love with thy children thus to share.
Silently now I wait for thee,
ready, my God, thy will to see.
Open my mouth, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Spring Forward 2023

Tonight is the night that clocks will need to be set forward one hour, as daylight savings time begins at 2:00 am tomorrow.  A barbaric practice, robbing us of a precious hour of sleep, and leaving most confused in the days following, it is nonetheless the law of the land.


"You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time."
Dave Barry

We move into that time where the sun beats down mercilessly longer into the evening.  Why in certain areas of the country we would want to extend that, I'll never know.

"Daylight time, a monstrosity in timekeeping."
Harry S. Truman

So, adjust those clocks under protest.  Ease yourself into it and do it this afternoon.  Leave an hour early from work in solidarity.  Write and petition your local congressman so that maybe we can finally change it.

"The sun got confused about daylight savings time.  It rose twice.  Everything had two shadows."
Steven Wright

Until then, soldier on.  We'll get that hour back.  Eventually.

Friday, March 10, 2023

Chaim Topol

I've seen a handful of truly masterful performances in my life.  The Van Dyke brothers in The Sunshine Boys.  Sutton Foster and Joel Grey in Anything Goes.  Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees.  

One of the most exciting ones was in 2009 at the Music Hall at Fair Park, watching Fiddler on the Roof.  This production marked Chaim Topol's farewell tour in the role of Tevye.  He was 73 at the time we saw him in Dallas.  And you would never have known it.  He looked as if he had just stepped off the screen from the movie filmed 38 years prior and continued right on the stage.  He played the role with such vitality and power, it was an exceedingly great tour-de-force.  This show created a life goal to be that passionate, to be doing what I love with such energy when I am that age and beyond.

Topol first starred as Tevye the Dairyman in a 1966 Israeli performance of Fiddler on the Roof, starting a career in which he has played the role an estimated 3,500 times.  A role which has brought him international acclaim.  

Israeli President Isaac Herzog has issued a statement honoring "one of the most prominent Israeli stage artists, a gifted actor who conquered many stages in Israel and overseas, filled the cinema screens with his presence and, above all, deeply entered our hearts."  Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated "his wide smile, warm voice, and unique sense of humor made him a folk hero who won the hearts of the people" and former prime minister Yair Lapid remarked "He and his smile will continue to accompany Israeli culture, his rich legacy will forever remain a part of Israel."

Topol passed away March 9, 2023, at the age of 87.

He remains a legend.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Three Years on this New Journey

It's amazing how fast time flies.

Three years ago today, we started this journey in Indianapolis.  March 9, 2020, I got to go into the office for one week, to meet all my coworkers and to start getting adjusted to this new life.

Jamie and the kids had not come up yet.  They would wait another week so Jamie could spend a little more time, see Wills Point's OneAct, and stay through her mom's birthday.  Splitting it also allowed us to drive both cars up.  I drove up first, would fly back and leave my car at the airport.  Then would drive back with Jamie the next week.  

For this first week in Indiana, I stayed at a Stay Alfred apartment just a few blocks away from the office.  Got to walk downtown Indy for a bit, past Soldiers and Sailors Monument every day, and generally get to know the city.  Everything was still open at this point.

When we brought up Jamie and the kids, everything closed down.  Work from home and Zoom training.  We still didn't have a house at this point and spent a month in an AirBNB in Old Northside.  

We've since found our home to rent and have settled in very well.  We've found our hometown here in Brownsburg.  We've met and made friends with neighbors.  We've found our church and developed deep friendships with members of our church and our small group.

We've seen family and friends come up to visit, and we've shared a lot of good food we've found, and the aspects of this life we've come to love.  The trails and the walkability of the town.  The great bakeries.  Snow and sledding.  

We've laughed a lot, we've cried some.  We've started and re-started our adoption journey.  We've explored the states around and had a lot of fun trips and journeys along the way.

I've continued to grow at Cummins and started to become more comfortable in the role.  Jamie has started subbing at the kid's elementary school.  Avalyn and Jude have greatly enjoyed their schools.  The best in the state.

It's been an amazing journey and it really is hard to believe how quickly it has happened.  It seems like just yesterday we moved up here.  And it's hard to think that Jude has been up here in Indiana now longer than he lived in Texas.

We wouldn't change a thing.  It has been one of the greatest changes we have made and we're looking forward to see what the future brings.  

edited because I can't math, apparently

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

International Women's Day 2023

Women belong in all places decisions are being made.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Today is International Women's Day.  Originally created and celebrated on February 28, 1909 by the Socialist Party of America, March 8 became the day of celebration after women gained suffrage in Soviet Russia in 1917.  The day was finally adopted in 1975 by the United Nations.  In some places, it is a day of protest, in others, a day that celebrates womanhood.

The day is a national holiday in 26 countries.  In others, it is widely observed but not an official public holiday.  In the United States, it is recognized but not an official public holiday, though attempts have been instituted since 1994.

Each year since 1996 has had an official theme named by the United Nations.  This year's theme is
"#EmbraceEquity," reminding us of the importance we all play in embracing gender equity.  It focuses on the differences in equality and equity.  Equality puts the importance on equal resources or opportunities.  While this can be beneficial, it can also lead to absurd results.  If all people are given the same style bike for a race, regardless of their height and age differences, and regardless of their ableness, those able-bodied adults would have a greater advantage over those in wheel chairs or children.  In fact, in that example, for those in wheel chairs or for children, that size bike, that style bike is actually a hindrance to them being able to join in.  Equity would account for those differences, seeking to provide each with the appropriate resources to reach the desired outcome.

Gender equity is one of the things that always amazes me that we are still fighting an uphill battle for it. That we haven't solved it yet.  And that there are people who would view it as a negative for society.  Sure, they won't couch it in such terms, they'll focus on traditional women's roles or "family values."  Look no further this year than the pastor who encouraged women to be trophy wives to keep their husband's interest, and relayed that Melania Trump was the ultimate trophy wife.  Yeah, there's a lot to unpack there in a future blog.

Here's what we still have to fight:

  • Women on average still make only 80% of what men make for the same job
  • That gets worse in minority populations ranging from 53% to 77% (the discrepancy is slightly less in Asian populations at 85%)
  • The gender pay gap shrank between 1980 and 2000, but has largely stalled since then, closing by less than a nickel up to 2017.
  • One in eight women live in poverty and women are 35% more likely to live in poverty than men
  • 90% of adult sexual assault victims are women
  • Every 98 seconds an individual is sexually assaulted in the United States
  • One in three teenaged girls in the United States is reported as being a survivor of sexual violence, with young women of color and LGBTQ being particularly vulnerable
  • Girls are sexually abused at a rate 4.4 times higher than boys, and their behaviorable reaction to trauma is often criminalized
  • Fifteen percent of sexual assault and rape victims are under 12
  • Nearly half of all female rape survivors were assaulted before the age of 18
  • Girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are four times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault
  • One in five women are sexually assaulted while in college
  • Only 66% of voting age women have access to proof of citizenship with their current name
  • About two-thirds of individuals in the United States believe it is easier for a man to be elected than a woman
  • We still cannot pass the Equal Rights Amendment, making gender discrimination unconstitutional
  • Maternal mortality rate has risen in the United States by 27% from 2000 to 2014

And that's the tip of the iceberg.

We have a long way to go, but we can get there.

Together, as equals.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Galatians 3:2

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Lone Star, But Still A State

I know I've joked about this, but joking is one thing.  This is something else.

Texas State Representative Bryan Slayton has filed HB3596, the "Texas Independence Referendum Act" or TEXIT, which, if passed, would enable Texans to vote in the next general election whether Texas should seek to become an independent republic and secede once again from the Union.  "The Texas Constitution is clear that all political power resides in the people," Slaton said. "After decades of continuous abuse of our rights and liberties by the federal government, it is time to let the people of Texas make their voices heard."

It's a popular idea, and a bill that has been suggested before.  It's just amazing that we have to keep shooting this down.

First, despite what you may have heard, there is no special provision that gives Texas this ability.  Some clause or provision that allows Texas because it once was an independent republic to return to that state.  It doesn't exist, and likely never did.  Further, there's no right to secede.  If we do, it's defection against the United States, just as it was before.

A vote would not even work.  The 1869 case Texas v. White determined that individual states could not secede from the United States, even if voted on by the people.  "The union between Texas and the other States was as complete, as perpetual, and as indissoluble as the union between the original States."  Again, if we vote, if we force a separation, it's defection.

Plus, recent events should show us that an independent Texas won't survive.  The ERCOT energy crisis in the state in 2021 should show us that.  That mess largely happened because the Texas grid remains isolated and not connected to the larger United States energy grid.  Add to that the small fact of Texas needing to replace the $41.4 Billion that the national government spends in Texas.  And many other entanglements that would have to be unwound.

This ridiculous self-determinism has fatal consequences.

So while it can be a funny joke, it's just that - a joke.

No TEXIT, no secession.

We Texans may think of ourselves as Texans first, and Americans second, but we're still Americans.

Always.  

Monday, March 6, 2023

Remember the Alamo!, maybe


The Battle for the Alamo ended 187 years ago today.  Following a thirteen day siege, the Mexican army under President General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna reclaimed the Alamo mission.  Most of the occupants and fighters within the mission were killed.

"Remember the Alamo!" 

The battle cry of the Texians in the Battle of San Jacinto would become an unofficial motto of the state, propelling the site into the public consciousness and to perhaps a loftier position that it deserves.  Within weeks of the battle, it was even compared to the Battle of Thermopylae in the Greco-Persian Wars.  Like many things, the myth is more understood than the reality.  And that myth has a tangled history.

The myth often ignores and downplays the contributions of the native Tejano population in the defense of the Alamo and their contributions to the broader Texas Independence movement.  It downplays the problematic underpinnings of Texas Independence, started in part as opposition to Mexican policies regarding the abolition of slavery and the curtailing of immigration from the United States to Texas.  It overplays the certain death the defenders of the Alamo felt, as there was initial hope for support coming to aid them.  It creates dramatic lines in the sand that never existed.

As such, your perception of the Alamo depends on your background.  Especially because the myth is popular.

"There can be little doubt that most Americans have probably formed many of their opinions on what occurred at the Alamo not from books, but from the various movies made about the battle."  

Films certainly have done much to continue to perpetuate the myth of the Alamo.  Films of the Alamo date as far back as 1911 with The Immoral Alamo by George Melies.  And this spirit continued in the Davy Crockett television show (all myth) and the 1960 John Wayne The Alamo, which have continued to present the battle as the ultimate heroic sacrifice.  "There is not a single scene in The Alamo [1960] which corresponds to a historically verifiable event."  Meanwhile, the more character driven and historically accurate 2004 film, The Alamo, while praised by critics for its accuracy, bombed at the box office.

So, here's my plea for you today. Please, do remember the Alamo.  We don't need to go as far as the call of "Forget the Alamo" that was written in opinion columns a few years ago.

Instead, let's just remember it completely.  Let's understand all of the complexities of the battle.  All of the actors, all of the contributors.  

Let's enrich our understanding of history, not just continue to perpetuate myth and legend.

Because the truth is so much more interesting.



Sunday, March 5, 2023

Lent 2023 - Reminiscere

Today marks the second Sunday of Lent, also known as Reminiscere, so named for the first line of the Introit read today. Psalm 25:6a. “Remember your mercy, O Lord, and your steadfast love.”

Reminiscere miserationum tuarum, Domine, et misericordiae tuae


The theme of today is on wrestling with God. If last Sunday focused on our struggles with temptation, this focuses on our struggles with God. The Old Testament and Gospel readings are then Genesis 32:22-32 and Matthew 15:21-28.  Jacob literally wrestling with God and Jesus’s encounter with the Canaanite woman. 

In Jacob’s encounter, the wrestling is quite explicit.  When Jacob is in the wilderness, a man shows up and begins wrestling him. This wrestling will occur all through the night, which is very odd to think about. Jacob is able to hold his own wrestling against God all night long. Even when daybreak comes, and God strikes Jacob’s hip to dislocate it, seeking to end the fight, Jacob refuses to stop. He keeps holding on, keeps fighting with God, determined to persevere.  It’s this spirit that changes Jacob’s name. From supplanted, usurper, cheater to “he who struggles with God.”  Israel. 

In the Gospel story, we also have someone confronting and wrestling with God, though this time more through a debate.  The Canannite woman that Jesus meets on the way to Tyre and Sidon represents our persistence in the face of what we see as God's silence.  She finds Jesus and begs him to heal her daughter from demon possession.  And Jesus does something very unexpected.

He ignores her.

Nevertheless, she persists.

To the point where Jesus's followers have to come to him and beg him to tell her to go away.  She's continuing to follow after them and shout at Jesus, to beg his healing of her daughter.  He tells his disciples that he was sent to the lost sheep, to the people of Israel. 

The woman continues to persist.  She comes before him and bows and asks "Lord, help me!"  This time, Jesus tells her that he can't take from the children (the Israelites) and give to the dogs (the Gentiles).  This seems very harsh; but her response is what is amazing.  She tells him essentially that even the dogs get scraps.

Jesus replies that she had great faith.  And at that moment, her daughter was healed.

This story seems odd in view of the rest of the Gospel.  Jesus seems cold and uncaring, in direct contrast to many of His other interactions.  I think we see this only if we stick to a surface reading.  If we dig a little deeper, I think we can understand his motives.  

Like his delay with Lazarus, his responses to the woman surely have more to do with the people around him and what they will see and hear than they do with the direct interaction with her.  He's letting his followers see this play out so they get to the woman's persistence and her final response.

Like with God in the story of Jacob, Jesus seems to be letting the woman continue to wrestle with him.  Encouraging it even through his continued evasion.

I think this should be an encouragement to us.  Especially to those of us who have a questioning nature.  Us hard heads.  

It should show us that God isn't afraid of us wrestling with him.  He's big enough to not only handle it, but also seem to encourage it.  He kept wrestling with Jacob through the night, though He could have ended it in a moment.  And Jesus kept avoiding the woman, knowing she would continue to pursue.   In both,  God knew the persistence of each and let them continue.

I don't want this to be mis-construed - he's not encouraging us to question everything he does.  He's not encouraging critics.  But it does seem that he would rather us come to him with our struggles, our wrestling and to face him head on with them, instead of turning in other directions.  

It's what healthy deconstruction should look like. Bringing our concerns to him and tackling them head on.  In a manner that is determined to stay close to Him.  To seek Him in the resolution.  

That's worth remembering.

Reminiscere, indeed.

Friday, March 3, 2023

A Safe Place to Land

I've written before about songs that I've been introduced to in the Cummins Diversity Choir.  This week, we were introduced to a phenomenal piece.  A song called A Safe Place to Land, written by Sara Bareilles three years ago in reference to the refugee/immigration crisis.

The song cuts through the politics and other issues surrounding the crisis and focuses on the humanitarian aspects.  Making us identify with those facing difficult decisions.  When letting go is safe than keeping.  When holding your breath is a safer choice than the sound of your breathing.  Or being told when standing in a room on fire, to remain still.

The call is for us all to be a safe place to land.  A safe harbor.  A refuge.

The very least we as human beings can be to each other.

You can read the song as a broader call for us to be a help to anyone, to everyone in the depths of their need.  To be a support structure to those who are in the worst of their hurting.  To come along side during their struggles.

I pray we can all be that at times, and find it when needed.

Bring tissues.  I sure needed it.

Til the sun comes up…


Thursday, March 2, 2023

Texas Independence Day 2023

On March 1, 1836, a committee of five delegates of the Convention of 1836 were appointed to draft a document declaring independence from Mexico.  The draft was produced, quite literally, overnight, as the Alamo in San Antonio was under siege during its preparation.  After a brief review, the declaration was then adopted by the delegates of the convention at Washington (now on the Brazos) then next day, March 2, 1836.

From that period on, Texas has always maintained a sense of independence.  A defiant attitude that is all its own.  An individualism that runs to its core.

It's a place that is big enough for everyone.  That embraces its oddballs, and we have our fair share.  Whose vast and wonderful geography contains the best of all possible worlds.

A mix of cultures and races that continue to create and develop the best in art, food, and music.

And one of the only states with international recognition and perception.


"Texas is neither southern nor western.  Texas is Texas."  Senator William Blakely

Though we may no longer reside there, we will forever be Texan.

Here's to you Texas!  Happy 187 Birthday!  To many many more...

I have said that Texas is a state of mind, but I think it is more than that. It is a mystique closely approximating a religion. And this is true to the extent that people either passionately love Texas or passionately hate it and, as in other religions, few people dare to inspect it for fear of losing their bearings in mystery or paradox. But I think there will be little quarrel with my feeling that Texas is one thing. For all its enormous range of space, climate, and physical appearance, and for all the internal squabbles, contentions, and strivings, Texas has a tight cohesiveness perhaps stronger than any other section of America. Rich, poor, Panhandle, Gulf, city, country, Texas is the obsession, the proper study, and the passionate possession of all Texans.
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America

Wednesday, March 1, 2023

In Like A Lamb

"In like a lion, out like a lamb," or so it goes, right?

So far, for us it seems much the reverse. "In like a lamb..."  It's 67 degrees and on its way to 70.   The sun is shining and only a few clouds in the sky.  Now it will be only 52 degrees for the high tomorrow, but for now, it almost seems like it's spring.

So unnatural.  I'm not sure I like it, but here we are.

"In like a lamb, out like a lion."

That seems a bit more appropriate for the season of Lent.  More appropriate for a March where the beginning of Lent has preceded it at the end of February and where the first of April will bring the celebration of Easter.  Reflective of the transition from Jesus going to his death as a quiet lamb, and overcoming death as a roaring lion.

"He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; like a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent, so he opened not his mouth." Isaiah 53:7

"and one of the elders said to me, “Stop weeping; behold, the Lion that is from the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome so as to open the book and its seven seals." Revelation 5:5

The solemnity of Lent, the thoughtfulness of Lent puts in the mindset of the lamb.  Peaceful, silent, receptive.  But we know, that coming at the Resurrection, Jesus comes back, roaring like a lion, triumphant over death.  

It remains to be seen if March is going to go out with a roar.  If it will be rainy and stormy, if it will contain big weather events.  But I have to image that it will.  It seems to work out that way.  And knowing Indiana weather, I'm still fully expecting another freeze coming at some point.

We're at the beginning of the weather pattern.  I'll just be interested to see if it holds true.  Especially given my mental wonderings.