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Archive for the ‘courage’ Category

Wow!  Can I just tell you what a joy it was to read, Man Shoes-The Journey To Becoming A Better Man, Husband & Father?  It is my privilege to review this book; I believe that the author, Tom Watson, has some real valuable wisdom to offer his readers.   Tom  was born to parents ill prepared to raise a child in a healthy & life affirming way.  He was placed into 13 different foster homes…some of which were little more than a systemic form of a physical & psychological torture chamber. 

Tom was placed into foster care because his Aunt Donna & Uncle Roy found the courage to report the erratic parental care that infant Tom was experiencing.  His parents would drop him off here and there and neglect to pick him up at the times that they agreed to.  At one year of age, he became a foster child because his aunt and uncle found the strength of character to endure family censure by reporting the situation to the proper authorities.  Tom expresses his gratefulness to them for doing so…even though he suffered greatly in multiple foster homes until he came to the place where his body and soul were nurtured.  His life story actually proceeds with joy and gratefulness.  To read the rest of this review go to:  Book In Review

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      This subject is never a pleasant one.  No one likes to acknowledge domestic abuse is a way of life…especially if it is happening within their own life.  Unfortunately, domestic abuse happens every day in a multitude of ways.  It doesn’t just happen in the lives of the poor, the rich, or the celebrity world; even though, that is often the stories that we hear about…those who are famous.  We must awaken to the facts of domestic abuse; it is often learned behaviors that are used to control another person…either with intimidation, physical violence, emotional abuse or sexual abuse.

       Domestic abuse is like cancer…it is constantly trying to destroy the people involved.  It is a pattern of behavior that affect both the abuser and the person being abused.  Many who are being abused do not recognize that what is happening in their lives is actually domestic abuse.  The reasons for their lack of understanding, or denial are many.  (more…)

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       Last night was amazing, my daughter gave birth to her third child; without medication.  She was powerful and strong.  She did not make a peep during the natural labor until the last five minutes when she was in push labor.  It is not that she didn’t feel the pain…she did…she just refused to let it dominate her birthing experience.  It is natural to be fearful, in pain, stressed, and overwhelmed…but, I did not see that with her.  I saw focus and I saw joy and excitement …she was about to meet her child for the first time.

       The pregnancy was a bit difficult.  Many pregnancies and deliveries are.  Sometimes they are traumatic; mothers go through much to bring children into the world.  Often, I think that not enough recognition is given to a woman during this time.   It is still a miracle and because it has become safer for both mother and child…people forget that things can and do go wrong.  It can be a stressful time for both mothers and fathers.   Men also sacrifice alot for their children but pregancy and delivery is the beginning of the parenting experience.  Fathers need to be encouraged during this time to bond with both the mother and the child during the pregnancy because that is very important to both of the parents…and eventually to the child.   It is a strengthening time for the whole family…or it should be anyway!

       I watched my daughter, I prayed for her…and i was in awe.  I dont believe that i could have done it.  This was her largest child.  It is also her last pregnancy.   I told someone, who was there, that if it wasn’t for the baby trying to come early for the last 2 months; she would make being pregnant and delivering look easy.  I know it was a difficult time for her and her family as she is not used to being inactive.   It took a team of people to help bring this little one into the world.  Her mother -in -law was amazing and she sacrificed much of her time helping; as I live over an hour away.  It was greatly appreciated to know that she was giving her care, that i could not provide on a daily basis.

       Women have internal strength and personal power that they are often unaware that they possess, until they are tested and pushed beyond what they think they can endure.  Men are pretty amazing as well.   I watched my son in law as he went pale and struggled while my daughter was plunged into pain…it was a testament to his love for her to see him as he physically went through stress and misery right along with her.    Men see and experience things differently than women do.  It does not mean they aren’t feeling and being moved…they just show it and express it in different ways.    Both men and women have conflicting and complementing skills, strengths, knowledge and for that I also greatful.  We are made by God to be each other’s support and strength, and sometimes sounding board. 

         I love my daughter and I love my daughter in law.  I am thankful for their sacrifice to bring my grandchildren into the world.  Mothers are amazing…they deserve respect for many things…not the least of which, is the effort it takes to bring a child into the world.  I love my mother and I appreciate her and her sacrifice for me and my siblings.  I dont think that we can say it enough to our parents that we understand and appreciate them.

        Anytime something new is about to be accomplished or born there are great challenges, difficulties, or resistence.  It is in the struggle that value is born…the very thing which we are striving to give birth to, or that which we are trying to accomplish, is pitted against the challenges.   Is your struggle worth the effort it will take bringing it to life and nurturing it until it is fully formed?  I believe it is…whether it is giving physical birth to a child, a dream, a career, or any other goal!   What is important enough to you, to overcome the obstacles in your way?

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        Today is a day to remember, it is the 64th anniversary of the liberation of the Jewish people from the concentration camp Auschwitz.  It was a day of relief and a day of sadness.  Sadness for those who’s lives were lost before they could be rescued…and a day of relief for those who were still alive and had a chance for survival.  People want to forget the horrors of the concentration camps…or worse, they deny that it ever existed.  The prisoners at the concentration camps were there because of hatred; they were feared and they were hated just because of their heritage.  There is no excuse for genocide.

       If we are allowed to forget the horror of such evil…it could happen again.  If we deny that it ever existed then we are guilty of adding to the evil that took place and destroyed so many people.  It is a time of world history that must be observed.

      There are some who were there that still have memories of that time.  There are some who have loved ones who went through the extreme torture that was the concentration camps.  No group of human beings should ever be treated the way that the Jews were treated.  We lost so many people that could have added culture, music, craftmanship, business accumen…and so much more to the world.  It was and is a tragedy the likes of which we should hope to never see again.

       Think about the suffering and the misery that they went through.  The fear that consumed the soul.  Yet, there were those who resisted, those who aided others by sharing what they had to keep others alive, there were those who tried to hide individuals and help them escape the power of the SS.  The word hero is thrown around so often that people misunderstand the courage that it takes to stand strong in the face of evil, and destructive controlling power. 

       The human spirit is an amazing thing; the will to survive is amazing and can overcome many obstacles.  There are many individual stories from the holocaust and it is important to document them when you have the opportunity.  I posted an earlier story in this blog about Dina Gottliebova Babbitt, a talented artist who was incarcerated at Auschwitz.  She was forced to use her talent to paint individuals and gypsies from the concentration camp for Dr. Josef Mengeles the angel of death who performed terrible “experiments” on those behind the gates. 

       You can read about her and her efforts to get her artwork returned to her before she passes from this world into the next here:  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/?s=dina+babbit .  Do you know any  stories of the survivors of the concentration camps?

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       Airplane pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger said today at a hometown celebration that he was just doing his job when he landed a jet with 155 passengers on the Hudson river in New York..he said actually,  all of the flight crew were just doing the job that they were trained to do.  He appears to be very humble and self-effacing.  I think that all of this attention is hard for him to deal with.  I also believe that he knows that even though they each did the job that they were trained to do…it still was a miracle that no one was killed or even injured in a debilatating life long way.

       The statements that the pilot made sure make you think though.  I got to wondering, how many people “just do their job”?  How many people do their best or go the extra mile in what they do for a living?  Emergencies happen all of the time…so, I find it comforting to hear that the  courage, wisdom and training that was exhibited during this emergency landing…was all part and parcel of the flight crew’s training.  Still, i think it says something about the quality of the persons on that crew.

         I personally believe that the hand of God also guided and directed the whole adventure.  Things went very well for an emergency plane landing on water.  It was as if everyone had practiced what to do including the passengers.  Things really turned out almost perfectly for an out of the ordinary landing.

        While the plane crew did their jobs, the ferries also did what they have trained to do…the whole rescue event could not have turned out better.  Let’s not forget that the pilots also avoided crashing into a major populated business or residential area, they avoided the bridge on the water…and no ferries or boats were in the pathway of that jet as it came down for it’s dramatic touchdown.

        Ahhh…i suspect that each of the person’s on that plane have a story to tell.  It would make some book.  Wish that i had access to each and everyone of the passengers…because i believe that it would make quite an awesome interview to get the perspective of each of the 155 persons on board.  How those moments took place in their heads and how it has affected them so far; as well as, how they think it will affect their future.  Why do they think they were spared a far worse fate?  Did they have any life changing attitudes before the event and after the event…is their mindset any different after the plane’s emergency landing? 

        I don’t know about you; but, i am thankful that flight crews are trained for such emergencies.  I don’t personally fly…but, i have loved ones who do fly…and they fly often…so; to all of the professionals out there in the mass transit areas of our lives…thank you for what you do each and every day…in emergencies and in the moments of routine procedures!

       

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         Dr. Susan Love has started a massive undertaking to understand the complexities of breast cancer by organizing an army of women.  She has partnered up with the Avon foundation to get an army of women to sign up to do research on a large  cross section of women to get accurate information on genetic links as well as environmental links to help the medical community understand breast cancer better…so that we can more effectively treat and PREVENT breast cancer.  Check them out: http://www.avoncompany.com/women/avonfoundation/overview.html

        She made an announcement on Good Morning America with Robin Roberts (cancer survivor) interviewing her in October of 2008.  You can see the interview here: http://abcnews.go.com/Video/playerIndex?id=6118891.  

           I sort of envision an army of women all decked out in pink camouflage uniforms as they take up the challenge.  Breast cancer has stolen too many wonderful people from our world.  We have lost sisters, mothers, friends, lovers,aunts, daughters, grandmothers; as well as sons, daughters, fathers, uncles, grandfathers and friends!   If we can understand how it starts…then we will be able to figure out ways to prevent it.  If we can prevent it…maybe we won’t have to subject our loved ones to such difficult times during treatments.  It is a win-win situation.   You can learn more about Dr. Susan Love and about breast cancer by going here:  http://www.dslrf.org/breastcancer/content.asp?L2=1&SID=119

        Many people want to help…but, if they dont have money to give; they may say how can I possibly help?  This is an excellent way.  You can sign up to be a part of the army.  If nothing else….you can get information to help arm yourself in the war on breast cancer.  You can go here to sign up:  http://www.armyofwomen.org/  Surely you would like to see an end to breast cancer as we know it!

See possibly related stories here:  https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/08/27/stand-up-to-cancer/ or, https://writeasrain.wordpress.com/2008/03/19/triple-negative-breast-cancer/

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        Dina Gottliebova Babbitt is a woman who has a rich history; she was in the concentration camp, Auschwitz with her mother in 1944.  Dina was a 20 something, young woman who had an artistic talent.  She had been an art student before she was sent to Auschwitz.  While in the camp, she decided to do something daring and she painted Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on the walls of the children’s barracks, in an attempt to cheer them up.  This was bravery, as the consequences would be severe if she was caught.

         When it was discovered what she had done…she was called before Dr. Mengele who was also known as the Angel of Death in the camp.  She could have been sent to the gas chamber like so many others were.  Instead, she was ordered by Dr. Josef Mengele to paint portraits for him of the gypsies in the camp; as well as, to draw pictures of the many horrible “medical experiments” that he performed on those who were imprisoned in the camp.  Dina thought for many years that the portraits of the gypsies were destroyed.  It was in performing the artwork in the camp that her life and that of her mother were spared.

       In fact the portraits were not destroyed…they were sold to the Auschwitz-Burkenau State Museum after the war ended.  There are seven watercolor portraits of the gypsies; and, Dina Babbitt would like them returned.  Dina says that she feels that neither she, nor the gypsies can have spiritual freedom unless the portraits are returned to her.  I would imagine that Dina poured her soul into those portraits.  After all, how can you look upon such individuals, knowing their probable fate, and trace their very visage upon the canvas; and, not be one with them in spirit?   She has much support internationally; however, at this point, the museum allegedly refuses to return them.  You can write to the museum here in support of Dina:  muzeum@auschwitzorg.pl .

          You can also visit Dina’s website to learn more about her and see some of her work here: http://www.dinababbitt.com/  .

           After WWII, Dinah was hired as an assistant to Art Babbitt who was working for Warner Brother’s in Paris at the time; and, who was a former Disney animator who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  They fell in love and later married, Dina was Art’s second wife.  Together they raised two daughters, Michele and Karin.  At least some good came out of such an evil time in history.  Their love and marriage I am sure  brought about a healing balm.  After all, Dina used the images of the talented animator to soothe the young children, who daily faced death daily in the concentration camps.  It is as if God himself sent a bit of the comforter to them thru Dina and the artistry of two talented artists.

           Dina was born on January 21, 1923 in Czechoslovakia, but, is now a U.S. citizen.  Just as recently as this past  summer of 2008, Dina was diagnosed with an aggressive tumor in her abdomin and was scheduled to have surgery performed to remove it.  It is her most fervent desire to have her portraits returned to her so that she can hold them in her hands one more time before she passes away.  She would like to see the portraits visit the Holocaust museums in the United States!  Please feel free to contact her family to help support their cause of the return the portraits to a woman who risked much to bring a smile to the children of Auschwitz; here is an email address:  michele@dinababbitt.com  or mushkane@yahoo.com

         This time in history can never be forgotten or denied.  If by looking into the faces of the victims of the concentration camps helps to make it real…then Dina Gottliebova Babbitt has used her talents in a very serviceable way.   Those portraits bring the horrible cost of forgetting that those who are different from us are still human and deserve to live life to it’s fullest.  It should not be up to another individual or organization to get to decide who should live and who should die.  We must uphold the lessons learned from setting back and waiting for the world to right itself in the area of human rights.  May the powers that be bring Dina’s portraits home to her, to soothe her heart and her soul.

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     As a Christian I am struggling with the line between fear and faith.  My parents are both cancer survivors.  However, right before Christmas they both had tests done that have come back with suspicious results.

       I listen to my mother say that she is not going to get worked up until she talks with the doctor about the results.  In general, I agree with that.   My mother is pretty much a positive thinker, which is a great thing.

         My father is cut out of a different cloth.  He automatically thinks negatively; he can’t seem to help it.  His mind goes to the worst case scenerio.  It is experience related…he has had the worst case scenerio happen to him before…so he just expects that to be his luck.   Both mom and dad will be meeting up with their respective cancer doctors before the first week of January is over.

          I am a product of both of my parents.  I am at times a positive thinker….and at times, automatically hit the negativity zone.  I don’t like it that that is true; but, it is honest.  I work hard attempting to focus on the positives.

           The problem is…fear.  I fear hearing the situations that they are facing will possibly return them to the medical world of tests, surgeries, treatments, complications, and hospitalizations.  This is a world that is both isolating and overwhelming, with people.  🙂  I realize that that sounds contrary….but, it isn’t.  

     You are surrounded with people in the medical field….this specialist, that oncologist, the anestesiologist (sp?), the radiologist, the pharmacist, the dietician, the family doctor, the nurses, the insurance company…the list goes on and on.  The isolation comes when you must seperate yourself from the general population because of the possibility of infection.  The isolation that the patient feels when heading in for the surgery or the treatment…no-one else can do those things for them.  It is in isolation that fear takes root and does it’s dirty work.  Discouragement can set in…thwarting all of the good and positive things that are at work in the healing process.

     The thing is, once you have been a survivor…your history can limit treatments.  It can also be eye opening to the types of situations you may be facing this time around.  My mother has  developed conditions that can be life threatening, since the last time around.  Both my mother and father had difficult side effects and complications from their various treatments, in the past.

     I am a firm believer that God is in control of everything.  I don’t claim to understand the mind of God.  But, i know that he allows things to happen that are very difficult to go through.  If left to our own devices…most human beings would opt out of the difficult things and shoot straight for the easy path…myself included.  My head knows that much can be learned during these hard moments in life…that God has things for us to gain in those moments.  I know he has things to be accomplished during those moments…he puts people in our path for us to connect with and to share with.  We will do our best to bring glory to his name throughout.  For he is worthy of praise in all things.

        So, I will work at praying that God will have mercy…that he will guide and direct us as we face these additional challenges.  I will ask for wisdom, clarity, patience, faith, courage, strength, healing, financial blessings, and any area of lacking; that we may need to overcome in the face of these trials.  

       What i am thankful for, is that we don’t have to pray for love or sharing; or, willing family members to help out.  We are blessed in those areas.  We are a family that knows how to support one another; and, whoever is in need around us, at the time.   Roomates have often been the recipients of the overflow of our big family.  There have been roomates that had no one to look out for them…they were alone in their journey.  My family is nurturing in nature.   I am thankful for that compassionate part of our family. 

     I am thankful for those in the medical community who also have compassion, skill, knowledge and who are sensitive in the way that they go about promoting healing to their patients and their family members.  They are our allies in the war that has been declared on our loved ones..they are on the front lines of battle trying to help our loved ones to have a full and healthy life; so we pray for all of them who will have contact with us.  We respect their skill and dedication.

     We have so much to be thankful for…and, we are.  Are we greedy to wish for health and financial blessings to meet the demands put on the family as we go thru these things?  I don’t think so.   I know that God has a purpose; I pray that we realize it and make the most of it as he would desire us to do.  I am just selfish enough to wish, as Jesus did on the cross, that this cup would pass from out of our hands; if God so desires. 

         Again…the line blurrs between faith and fear that these medical challenges may not pass from us!

           

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       Maybe I am naive, I don’t think that I am…but, truly I try to think well of others unless they give me a rather royal reason not to.  Tonight , I am more than a little annoyed at a few teenagers.  I stopped off at the local library and was perusing the books in the upper level when i overheard a conversation between some teens and a female newcomer.  One of the two males told one of the females to go over to another young male teen who was quite some distance away from them up near the counter.

      The male told the pretty young female to go ask the less attractive, and clearly not a member of their particular cliche, whether he stole “Jake’s” skateboard.  Understand that this is winter here…and, the boy clearly challenged the young woman to go harass the other young man.  Which she promptly did with a malicious smile on her formerly pretty face.  You could hear the young man stand his ground and say No, he didn’t take it.  You could also hear his hurt and embarassment.  When the young woman came back she held out her hand, into which the teen male poured change; as the young woman said, see I told you I would do it!

          I do not know any of these teens.  I turned to go check out my books when i heard the teen boys tell a younger boy (possible sibling) to go ask him again if he took “Jake’s” skateboard.  The young man being harassed cried out…I said NO I didn’t take his skateboard.  The young sibling came back to the two other teen boys and said…what did you tell me to do that for; after he saw the two teens laughing hysterically.

           At this point, i fully realized that it wasn’t some longstanding issue with a missing skateboard in which the teens suspected the other young man of stealing.  It was clearly some cruel twisted bullies who were getting their jollies out of publically humiliating someone who they believed deserved to be treated that way.   This made me very upset.

            Not only did these two young teens use other people to do their dirty work, they subjected every person within hearing distance into being some kind of accomplices just because we overheard it; and, if we did not intervene then we were just as guilty as them; in my eyes.  They were clearly enjoying the misery of another human being; misery that they caused with their cruelty.

            I am not normally a person who likes to draw attention to myself in public situations…but my spirit would not be quiet.  I felt someone had to address what they were doing.  I told them that they were being very rude and that it was time to grow up.  They lowered their eyes and quickly seperated.  Did I do enough; will it change their behavior?  Probably not.  However, in my heart…if i had walked away and kept quiet about what they were doing…then, I would not have had peace in my heart. 

        Why do some people feel such need to hurt, humiliate and tear down another person?  Who are they to decide who is acceptable and who is not?  How sad is it that these young people felt perfectly safe and secure doing what they were doing without fear of being challenged? 

             Personal integrity is important…never forget that.  Never forget that coming to the aid of another person is a compassionate thing to do and there is not enough compassion in the world.  Pretend that compassion is an unending well (it truly is)…and dip into it often.    Peace and love from one person to another; God bless!

        

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      This week we celebrated two very special things here in the United States: one was Monday, November 10th which was the Marine Corps Birthday…and yesterday, which was Veteran’s Day.  Both dates give honor to our military men and women.  We should celebrate our armed forces because they sacrifice so much for us.  We have men and women who are seperated from their families, often in dangerous situations; defending our country and those in other countries who need defended.

       We have some pretty awesome troops who need support.  I have heard about a wonderful program that does just that.  It is a program that would be a wonderful project for school children or teen youth groups across the nation.   Activity directors in nursing homes would also be a great source for this project.  Even former Veterans can continue to serve their country by reaching out to those who presently serve our great country in the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Air Force and the Marines. 

       The idea behind http://www.make2tell2.com is to make 2 cards of love and tell 2 others about the project.  They can be holiday cards or just cards that express respect and caring.  This is a great way to lift the spirits of those serving our country when they need an emotional pick me up.  These cards can express patriotism, faith, gratitude, caring, support, encouragement, and communicate comfort to those who need it!

         Please spread the word…get involved…support our troops today.  It doesn’t take much effort and it can mean so very much to the individual who receives it.  After you make the cards…please send them to:  Make 2 Tell 2, 991 Road
325, Harvard, NE 68944  This is also a great way to teach young people about service and about community.  We all need encouragement at times…this is a wonderful way to do that for our troops overseas; it can have a tremendous impact on our military personel.  Thank you!

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