Family Theatrical Drama

 

A-KEEP6

The first week of March I received an email announcing auditions for an upcoming performance with A-KEEP Alabama Korean Education Economic Partnership.  Given that we were in the middle of “tech week” for ADT Alabama Dance Theater‘s production of Cinderella we really did not need to have my daughter perform in any more shows.  However, being the seize the teaching opportunistic home school mother that I am, I could not resist.

I have a heart for people around the world, their cultures, and history.  Given that we had recently read The Korean Pentacost, this audition was something I found time for.  To be able to interact with real people whose English might be no better than our Korean is a learning experience to enjoy as it is the closest experience to traveling to the Asian country itself.  Plus Bruce Hunt’s (the author of The Korean Pentacost) account of the Christians in Korea in 1907 gave me a reverence for people of such courageous faith.  *Little did I know that we too would have a unique opportunity to demonstrate ours.  During this time news about COVID-19 impacting the United States through  New York City was just starting to emerge.

Since one of my projects years ago when I worked in the pharmaceutical industry was to work with infectious disease medical thought leaders about a new drug to treat influenza called zanamivir I had been scouring through the CDC’s web site for information about this new strain of coronavirus.  I recalled what these thought leaders taught about how quickly a pandemic could spread throughout the world given our modern travel habits.  I knew it was a matter of time before it would be a local issue.

I sent an email expressing my concern and was relieved that the leadership at A-KEEP was on top of it.  We attended the first rehearsal, received and signed papers to ensure all steps were being taken to protect the health of all involved.  The following week rehearsals were moved to an online virtual platform.  Approximately two weeks later the show was postponed until the end of August.

Weekly virtual meetings became one of our few contacts with the outside world of our home.  I was busy following all the stay at home orders and shopping only once a month to feed our household.  But then it hit me.  Seeing Dr. Fauci with the president on video one day reminded me that I once shook his hand and presented him preliminary new product data with him and many of his colleagues.

I remembered that they are humans vulnerable to pride to fill their curriculum vitae’s with publications, speaking engagements, referrals, and political advancement within the medical and local communities of which they partake.  They are subject to the quality and quantity their subordinate researchers support them with.  The accuracy and speed of their testing equipment limits and sometimes fails them.  And most of all the statisticians can “cook the books” or power their studies to say just about whatever the writer of the hypothesis really wanted to prove.   A professor of medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center taught me to be careful of the latter.  He repeated frequently, “Figures lie and lairs figure.” Interestingly, his family origins are Korean.

Those 10 weeks of almost complete isolation (except for grocery store excursions) also helped me to reflect on what I believed. I wrote about uncertainty.

Uncertainty Has Always Been the Reality

I wrote about manners.

Manners May Be Key to Getting Through Crisis

I found inspiration in the wild flowers.

Turn to the Wildflowers to Lessen Your Anxiety

I even wrote about turtles.

Let’s Talk Turtle: Don’t stick you neck out

This time of reflection reminded me who created me with an amazing immune system within.  I had memorized Psalm 103 years ago.  It kept coming to mind.  So did Genesis 50Romans 8:28, and Psalm 139.  I know like Job that naked I came into the world and in same manner will go out.   I often sing the hymn My Times Are in Thy Hand.  Lastly, I agree with what missionary Jim Elliot said, “He is no fool to give up that which he cannot keep.”  It’s a great summary of what Jesus taught in the Matthew 6:19-21.  So the show must go on and we stayed in.

Meanwhile, others started to drop out.  The first woman who was casted as Nolbu’s wife left.  My daughter filled in by reading her lines during one of the virtual rehearsals.  She did a great job and looked old enough so cast hence the first cast change was made.

A little less than a handful of other community members selected as cast remaining showed up for the first in-person meeting at the end of July masked up to comply with state mandates.  The room was very spacious which allowed in excess of 6 feet distance between people.  But each week fear persuaded these locals outside of A-KEEP staff to drop out one by one except for my daughter.  We were healthy and had no reason to bow out in fear.  We made a commitment and were capable of keeping it.

Others were either not capable or willing and waited very late in the timeline to announce they were dropping out as late as tech week!  So that Monday night after I already committed to adjusting costumes down stairs, I was asked to narrate.  But I had to sew.  Tuesday we found out that Heunbu’s wife would now play Nolbu (weird, but OK this practice goes back to Shakespeare performances) and a goblin/towns person would play Heunbu’s wife.  A grown woman would play the part of the Heunbu’s daughter. But there was no time to run through the entire script.  So Wednesday was our first time almost all together, but we found out that the Father would not be participating.  Ahem, I guess I can read like a man for a few lines.  Thursday’s rehearsal was filled with stops and starts.  The only time we made it through the entire show was for the live stream on Friday evening.

A-KEEP 5A-KEEP 2A-KEEP3A-KEEP4A-KEEP 1

The show did go on and managed to mostly work for the live stream.  The theme behind the tale is a timeless classic of a greedy older brother and wife’s abuse of position of power with a younger humble brother accepting and looking for the good in his low position.  A lovely bird is the means to bless, bring justice, and motivate personal change.

So in closing, may we too repent of wicked attitudes of entitlement, choose to find good, and keep the lyrics of the song alive in our daily spirit. “All little town awake and sing. Joy to our neighbors let us bring.  Hello neighbor, ahn-nyoung-has-yo  Everybody knows each other’s name.  We all are different and same.  Come!  Let us all begin our day with open hearts and open hands.  All are welcome.”

Lastly, I would like to thank Ms. Hahn for encouraging Keith Parks, Miss Shim, and the staff at A-KEEP to include us, to teach us, to preserve, and make this show possible.  You can watch a recording of it here A-KEEP A Tale of Two Brothers.

Further Reading:

Jim Elliot Biography

*Our opportunity paled in comparison to what happened in 1907 in Korea.  https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/evangelical-history/the-north-korean-revival-of-1907/

#Overcome #Nofear #Faithfulness #Hope #StageStories #Homeschoolmom

Overcoming Fear: Especially when health is involved

This morning I questioned if I felt well enough to go on my morning bike ride.  I did fine taking it easy pedaling yesterday morning but it would be within 48 hours of uncomfortable chest tightness and  severe headache that put me to bed early Friday night and I just felt fatigued.  But I also knew that this feeling needed to be faced head on in order to be silenced otherwise I may cave into unnecessary rest from self-pity.  There’s no fever, there never was.  It’s best to just try.

I took it easy.  Before I realized I felt just fine and made my usual loop.  In fact, I decided to press forward to a less shaded area.  I’m so glad I did.  Otherwise, I would have missed this treasure.

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In the field of uncut grass a natural butterfly habitat enjoyed full activity.  I stopped to observe,  listen, and snap a few photos.  What joy filled my being as the sun beat from above.  The heat did not phase me because a  greater happiness and peace surpassed it.  But, I did need to safely bike home so I remounted and pedaled back past this:

churchmoto

Nice cliche, but actually spot on.  Then why are so many church going people hiding in fear?  Why are there so many Bible Studies and accompanying books on anxiety flying off the shelves?  Could it be that fear is a great motivator and money maker?

I remember hearing men talk at church in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s about how good journalism was dying, publishing houses were being dissolved, and marketing with corporate management were taking over as the new world order in churches and non-denominational organizations.

Then in the mid 1990’s-early 2000 I landed a job in the pharmaceutical industry where I was taught to use fear of malpractice as a tool to convince doctors to write products that I represented.

But as I listened to the many medical meetings that I attended from the most humble to the grandest in San Francisco’s Convention Center I also heard that fear also mimics many a symptom or exacerbates a real condition to be worse than it is.  To add to this I also heard about the prevalence of misdiagnosis complicated this further.  Oh like that’s not a factor right now with this COVID-19 crisis???

Also there are  variables like  placebo effect.  It’s well documented in asthma, depression, irritable bowl syndrome, pain, and sleep disorders all are known to have placebo effect.  How is affecting COVID-19 patients?  Especially when they are quarantined or treated with healthcare providers in stealth protective clothing.  There are so many variables in why patients heal, stagnate, or worsen in their said conditions.  So much so that a field of psychoneuroimmunology has emerged to study how the effect of one’s state of mind affects one’s health.

Balance is the key I believe.  That’s why I wrote about it in my book

Rojo, The Baby Red Panda At The Zoo

ROjo1 Rojo2

Then there is a time and place for:

Fear, Emergency, Panic, and the Aftermath

So in closing, I encourage you to face your fears and underlying health issues.  What is it that you really may be making worse by giving into self-pity and fear when you might be able to overcome and get stronger?  Only you can ultimately figure this out based on what you have learned over the years about your body, family history, your faith, and what doctors and their myriad of tests have told you.  But don’t let the latter be the only mandate.  The best doctors listen to the patient in addition to performing a thorough physical exam (no telehealth folks).  They know that what the patient feels, their history, and intuition has a lot to do with a good diagnosis.  It’s not just what the cold inhuman computerized tests say.  After all there are false positives and false negatives.

#Overcoming fear #Health #COVID-19fears

 

 

 

 

Uncertainty Has Always Been the Reality

I opened my email this morning to find an article from Child Mind Institute that address how to manage you and your child’s anxieties while reopening.

Managing Anxiety During Reopening

“Uncertainty is really uncomfortable,” says Dr. Busman. “Uncertainty and this situation are not good friends, but they’re forced to cohabitate.” The impulse to try to force things to be more certain is strong but, she says, in the end it’s a waste of energy. “It’s very exhausting and ultimately, you’re not going win.”

Why is uncertainty uncomfortable?  There have never been any guarantees.   But marketing in the 20th and 21st Centuries have subliminally taught otherwise.  Likewise schools promise that if you do this and that you will secure a good job and become a success.  See your healthcare provider regularly to secure good health and fix your ailments.  Then many a motivational preacher positions Jesus as a comforting magician.  They dole Him out like a box of chocolates or flowers while empowering you to be the god of your own life able to control and manage all that comes your way.

The root of the majority of our anxieties is false teaching, control mongering role models, and misplaced faith.  All three can be teased out to show how modern humans expend the bulk of their energies trying to control the future which has never been able to be tamed.

I am forever grateful to a principle Harriet Lerner wrote about in her book, The Dance of Connection.   Instead of trying to control the outcome of any situation mentally prepare that it may or may not happen.  It’s quite empowering to view yourself as being able to survive and possibly thrive if something does or doesn’t happen.  This was a key principle in helping to unlock the prison of expectations for perfect that enslaved my emotions and bogged me down in years of depression.  It freed me to embrace scriptural principles of faith that I had been taught to utter with my lips, but to live completely apart from.

Another helpful read You are What You Think by David Stoop, Ph.D. is one of the most highlighted, stared, and underlined book of mine that reiterates how powerful our expectations are. This is why marketing experts play them in each advertisement and sales pitch.  In essence, it’s what churns the modern American Economy.   But, it also could be what has led all of our souls astray to wander about aimlessly in a wild unsafe world.

At one point in my life I felt the need to travel away from a culture that is so obsessed with safety.  I began to feel suffocated in the northeast coast of the United States.  There was something refreshing about romping around in Latin America where there were no guarantees and lawyers waiting to be hired to sue anyone who may have failed you.  But it was also incredibly dangerous.  Rumors circulated about a couple on their honeymoon who were kidnapped while hiking a popular volcano. It is a fine line of balance that must be achieved of safety and risk.  That’s why I included it in

Rojo, The Baby Red Panda At The Zoo

ROjo1Rojo2

Then trauma adds another level of complexity.  Circling back to the article I started discussing, Dr. Bushman also points out, “There’s a myth that because everybody is having a hard time your stress doesn’t count.”  I wrote about this earlier in April about how we each need to take turns in listening to the various grievances we bear in order to navigating through these turbulent COVID-19 waters.

I have concluded that the 20th Century has produced  insanity as normal, converted humans to machines, switched good for evil and evil for good because the world was traumatized by World War I with the Spanish Flu of 1918, followed by the Great Depression and World War II.  When “everyone” is having a tough time, there’s a tendency to ignore, deny, and cover it up.   It’s overwhelming to go back to find resolution, closure, and heal the wounds.  Besides, that’s painful, difficult, and sometimes ugly.  The war is over it’s time to eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

Consider the underlying philosophy in this attitude.  It justifies hedonism because humans are just matter that cycles in an out.  There’s no loving Creator who’s worthy to consult for wisdom or to bow to in adoration.  It’s all an accident that just miraculously pulled together over billions of years.  Or is it?

I would like to propose that this COVID-19 situation is an opportunity to get your values and beliefs straightened out.  But first you may have to find the courage to face your own pain that probably is generations deep,  work through each personal grievance, and make many lifestyle changes.  That’s all very overwhelming.  There is one who wants to make that possible.  But you must search for Him with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and value the truth like a hidden treasure of which few know where to find.

If I may suggest going back to the very beginning.  I have found Torahclass.comlight for dark times,  and  unholycharade.com to be useful in my personal search.  May they be of help to you too.

#Uncertaintimes #COVID-19 #Stress #Anxiety

Let’s Talk Turtle: Don’t stick you neck out

*Well technically it is a tortoise who inspired this blog, but since all tortoise’s classify as turtles and they are the critters where the expressions about “sticking out your neck” come from let’s talk turtle during this panicdemic of COVID-19.

I first encountered “Ms. Boxy,” who is probably an eastern box turtle on my morning bike ride on April 25, 2020.   She slowly sauntered her way over the painted line. Ms. boxy1

Since she was heading towards the woods, I bid her farewell and continued to ride.  I looked for her on my way back, but she was no where to be found.  I assumed she was safely in camouflaged habitat.

Well yesterday as I pedaled down the road, I saw that mass on the road that usually indicates road kill to dodge, but as I approached closer I saw it was still moving.  Arriving exactly to the spot I noticed it was Ms. Boxy!  She was in the street AGAIN?  What a foolish turtle.

I immediately stopped as there was not way she would make it to the other side of the road safely without getting hit again.  I hustled over to pick her up while making sure I didn’t add myself to the list of road kill.  I found open an open area far enough from the road to place her back down.

Ms.boxy2

I noticed that she kept her head inside.  She even started to walk without pushing her head out to see where she was going!  It was like watching a drunk person try to walk the straight line.  Since it was obvious she was going to just walk in circles and possibly back into the street, I picked her up again and found a shaded area at the front of woods.  I made note of where I left her and committed to check her well being upon my ride back.

When I returned she had moved approximately 6 inches and was accompanied by a variety of insects who swarmed her blood soaked head.  It appeared that her demise was imminent, but we could only try to nurse her back to health.

I came back with my daughter and a box.  Having cared for a male eastern box turtle in my classroom 12+ years ago under the guidance of the local county nature center, I figured we could provide some assistance.  What transpired was several hours of watching life fight.

It was amazing to see the blood clot, her appearances improve, and to observe her feisty insistence to be let free.    We gave her what she wanted, but just a lot further from the road her freedom not too far from where I found her.

Ms. Boxy reminds me of a lot of people’s mind sets during this “panicdemic” of COVID-19.  Just pull your head in to your comfortable secure shell and don’t look for any inconsistencies, inaccuracies, or ask any thoughtful questions.  Just do as your told, collect your paycheck, eat, drink, and be merry.

This certainly is each person’s prerogative to choose.  But keep in mind that in such attitude you might resemble a drunk person trying to walk the straight line.  You may also fail to secure the truth needed to proceed in the best interest for you and your loved ones.  Inherent in life is risk.  There have never been guarantees except the horrible ramifications of tyranny, taxes, and death.

Jesus said it best in Matthew 16:24-27.  Whoever clings to his/her life in self preservation will ultimately lose it.  Whoever is willing to risk his/her life in order to seek, follow, and defend truth will actually gain it.  Which will you choose?

#Truth #Fear #Risk #COVID19 #Panicdemic

 

Manners May Be Key to Getting Through Crisis

Something moved in me last evening to pick up Pass the Peas, Please; A Book of Manners by Dina Anastasio.  The cute illustrations by Katy Keck Arnsteen brought the fun rhyming poetical style of Anastasio’s version of manners to ease the tension that I had been fighting in my mind all day.  Well written children’s illustrated books have a way of doing that for adults.  While I no longer have a young child to read to, I have learned that the hurting child inside of me may need to be read to.

PassthePeasplease

A recent event trigger painful personal hurts with my family of origin and experiences with the church.   Steady and deep emotional trauma shot through my mind wearied from 36 days of social isolation due to COVID-19 and impending severe weather that had been repeatedly interrupting my day with forecast predictions.  My reaction to a zoom meeting was steeped in irrational emotion that refused to be reasoned with.

Strong feelings so often extend beyond the realm of logic.  While the feelings in and of themselves are neutral, how we respond to them often tips the scales in a direction to make matters worse.  Because of this many have advocated that emotions must be ignored, denied, and run over by cold calloused facts/truth.  However, this teaching has led to many an unexplained illness, migraine, inability to receive consolation, anxious depression, and irreparable relationships.  It has also led to the age of self-help and perpetual personal counseling.

This age has helped to verbalize and validate pain for many.  I believe this very instrumental to overcome the pain in order to convert it into a platform for positive growth.  But unfortunately, how the wounded articulate their pain and ask for help often creates a vortex of greater relationship damage and self-fulfilled prophesy of victimization that is entitled to everyone else’s sympathies.

To make matters worse, some know that the emotionally wounded individuals are easy to recruit to enlist in activist this or that.  It creates a passion that propels a cause.  Some would also argue that this is what has corrupted many an organization.  It certainly has ruined many a budget as people vouch to give beyond what the coffers hold.  Wounded people are easier to manipulate through false hope and empty promises.  Marketing experts love to capitalize on this.

Currently the world faces the fears, uncertainties, and problems associated with COVID-19.   Ana Maria Rodriguez, Florida State Representative District 10 posted on her Face Book page an thoughtful elaboration that we are NOT all in the same boat.  We are in the same storm, but each in very different boats.  Good clear articulation helps a lot.  It circles back to the helpfulness of naming a problem that I expressed earlier through verbalization.

Assembly line skills and duties are helpful in producing the same product in mass quantity.  This is useful for industrialization but disastrous to apply to human needs, their emotions and relationships.  Consider how one size fits all clothing generally turns out.  It is usually not very attractive.  General clothing sizes offer a better solution.  Of course there are limits here too, but when dealing with mass scale worldwide trauma we have got to classify to be able to bring some order and solution.

I am not claiming to have the ultimate solution to the myriad of problems stemming from COVID-19 or any other crisis.  But I am advocating that returning to respect and manners would be the best way to find it.  In fact, I believe this is the key to healing the division in our land.

What if each of us refrained from jumping to conclusions and judging whether someone’s situation merits listening to?  What if we each acknowledged, validated, and took turns listening?  Obviously some losses will be greater than others, but each loss counts to the individual it affected. Validate whatever the loss or grief is even if it seems trivial to you.  Saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way” is one of the most counterproductive responses.  Please never say that.  It stabs an emotional knife into the person.   Also staying silent hurts too.  That communicates indifference.   Rather validate and encourage instead.  To hear affirmation of one’s pain with an encouraging word can make the burden lighter with a sense of hope.  Ask yourself, is my reply going to inspire hope or guilt and despair?

Based on what I learned from a boating accident my daughter and I were involved in each are really going to process the consequences of isolation, social distancing, cancelling of events etc. differently.  Click this story for more.

Fear, Emergency, Panic, and the Aftermath

In closing,  kindly respect and  take turns with self and others regarding the various griefs, losses, hassles, and aggravations that inevitably will surface during this time.  And perhaps a good children’s books on manners may help like it did me.  Here are a few other favorites by Munro Leaf.

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And then of course there is

Rojo, The Baby Red Panda At The Zoo

by Hope Mucklow. #COVID-19 #Recovery #Trauma #Selfhelp

 

 

 

Turn to the Wildflowers to Lessen Your Anxiety

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Wildflowers have captured my interest, respect, and awe for sometime.  But after a recent visit to The National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site Alabama this admiration flourished further.

GeorgeWCarverMuseum

1942 was a time of uncertainty too.  War shortages threatened the norm of living.  George Washington Carver responded by publishing articles and bulletins.  He starts Nature’s Gardens for Victory and Peace with the inspiring poem by Martha Martin called

Gardenforvictory

The Weeds’ Philosophy and Genesis 1:29.   His point was that many wildflowers otherwise known as weeds are good to eat.

According to the Bible, the flowers of the field can also teach us much about our own lives.  For the purpose of this blog, I will focus on resisting anxiety.

So many are ridden with worries of how COVID-19 is going to impact them.  Will they survive it if they get it? Will their loved ones? Will they still have work?  What is going to happen to the economy?  These are valid concerns of which I believe merit processing.  For my own family’s sake,  I was inspired to turn to the wildflowers.

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Reflecting further, I decide to ditch the usual homeschool curriculum in order to design a special field trip for my daughter.  As with most instruction, the teacher learns the most.  In this Flowers of the Field lesson (photographed at the end of this blog) I challenge the learner to use two forms of art, photography and drawing to refine their observations skills.  Both fall short of seeing the real flower.

Technology has so many wonderful opportunities, but with all advancements it has its limits too.  For the largest, it seduces us into trading virtual for the real experience.  But I’m going to focus on some of the more subtle short comings. It keeps us indoors.

On a related note, Richard Hobday included some interesting observations in his blog Coronavirus and the Sun: A Lesson from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic.  Patients who were placed outdoors in the sun fared better.  What he says has been echoed from Dr. Ryan McWhorter at Alabama Functional Medicine who recommends getting outdoors for a least an hour each day.  I  think of how healthcare workers have no exposure to fresh air much less natural sunlight in their hazmat suits, high rise hospitals, and long stressful hours of work.  How much of this contributes to their risk of infection?

Back to the wildflowers. This lesson I wrote for my daughter helps you to experience the real deal and it also gets you outside.   But what I’ve found is that more than school age students have much to gain from it.  Anyone who is struggling with anxiety and concerns about the future will benefit.   So whether you are homeschooling during this time or not, check it out.  Go for a walk, observe, ponder, and most importantly, rest in the LORD Jesus.

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Click Flowers of the Field to download a Windows version of this to print and use with permission in any setting by the author, Hope Mucklow.  And click The Weeds’ Philosophy to reflect on the wonderful and wise poem. #Anxiety #CopingwithCOVID-19 #OvercomeGAD

 

 

 

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

St.PatrickRojo

Click St. Patrick’s Day 2015 to download a blank copy of the following to color.

RojoColoring

You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy celebrating what St. Patrick accomplished.  He wasn’t Irish either.   Find a great role model and inspiration in who St. Patrick was Romano British, not Irish.

He was kidnapped by Irish Pirates from his noble home in Brittan when he was a teenager and forced into Irish slavery.  He didn’t go by the name Patrick until he trained to be a Catholic Bishop many years later in France.  He returned to Ireland to share God’s love and knowledge with the Irish…the people who at one time kidnapped him. He most likely used the clover to explain God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Three distinct roles in the same one God.

Have fun, but don’t get caught up in the distortions and myths about four leaf clovers and finding gold at the end of the rainbow.  Gifts from the Giver, The God of whom St. Patrick spoke, often are turned into useless idols and symbols that mislead.  Pray for the Holy Spirit of which St. Patrick taught to discern what is true, noble, right, worthy to believe and to follow.

The Folly of “Don’t Be a Prude”

Recently I was asked what picture comes to mind when I think of patriotism.  The image that came to me was Lady Justice.  We saw a beautiful Greek marble sculpture of her at Jasmine Hill Gardens in Wetumpka, Alabama of which I later regretted not buying since it was sold when we went back.

This prompted me to look up images on the Internet which led to some fascinating learning.  Lady Justice is often accompanied by Prudencia .  Who’s Prudencia?  That’s what I asked.  I was delighted as to what I learned.  But first, allow me to explore why we are so ignorant of Prudencia.  It comes from the word prudence.  A virtue that has been mocked as of recent era.  Think about it.  How often do you hear, “Oh, don’t be a prude!”

This slogan is popular during times of entertainment and lighthearted desires that are more concerned with an immediate personal high usually at the cost of another’s misfortune of some sort.  This motto takes its victim’s down the slippery slope of poor judgement.  Take a look at the results summarized in this chart that it will ultimately yield.

Prudence Lacks

I created the visual above inspired from a summary Wikipedia’s overview on prudence.  The results are tragic.  So why do so many propagate this saying?  I believe it stems from the power of peer pressure.

When studied prudence and wisdom are synonyms.   They are more or less interchangeable in meaning.  But over time that they’ve been separated.  Otherwise who would listen to “Don’t be wise?”  Doesn’t in mean the same thing as “Don’t be a prude?”

Prudence is known as the auriga virtutum the power behind all of the virtues.  Why wouldn’t we want to be associated with that?  Is evil that popular?  According to the book of Proverbs, it is especially common with the youth otherwise known as pre-teen, teen, and young adult of today’s standards and the wicked.

So if you would take time and consider, what would be better for you, your family, your community,  your country, and ultimately the world?

Prudence With

Honestly assess what power is ultimately needed to pursue such virtue.  Then click on this link to hear a fantastic song by Michael Card that summarizes it well:The Way of Wisdom.

For further reading:

http://sjohio.org/assets/templates/mycustom/ethereal/files/lesson/holyspirit/Lesson27ATheCardinalVirtueof%20Prudence.pdf

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prudence

https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo/prudentia.html

Setting Boundaries: Lessons from Nature

Last Saturday, we drove over to Jasmine Hill Gardens for “Attracting Backyard Wildlife” by Mercedes Bartkovich, Nongame Wildlife Biologist.

Ms. Mercedes led the attendees through constructing wooden bird houses and suet after she delivered a well researched talk.

JS1Birdhouse

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She shared fantastic information to consider in her talk.  One was the statistic that 2.4 million birds are killed annually by cats.   Her solution?  “If you’re going to have cats outside place feeders up high where cats cannot get on top and near bushes so there is escape and cover nearby.”  Hmm that sounds like establishing more realistic boundaries than the popular advice to keep cats inside.

I love cats.  I grew up with one really special one.  I think the photos

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Osb2

explain why.  She was beautiful, cute, and fun.  Three character traits that can seduce and need to be guarded against.  Because she also was the neighbor hood terror to birds, mice, and chipmunks.

Let me clarify.  She didn’t seduce her prey, but she did seduce us into allowing her to do whatever she wanted which led to a never ending battle with fleas and tape worms.   It was the late 1970’s.  Back then the veterinarian advised she be given to a farm since we just couldn’t keep her inside and he didn’t want to keep injecting her with the poisons to eliminate the unwanted pests.  It was a heart break.  Did we really have to part with our beloved family pet?

Saying goodbye to certain toxic relationships is one of the hottest topic to talk, write, and blog about these days.  Is completely getting rid of certain relationships the answer? My cat brought much pleasure into our lives.  To give her away hurt us almost as much as her fleas and tape worms.  Aren’t many of our personal relationships similar to my family’s with our cat?  Limits, boundaries, and consequences I believe are the answer.  Unfortunately, like many of you, I’ve had to learn the hard way.

Post-modern western culture seduces so easily by beauty and cute. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting…”   Proverbs 31:30 warns.  Yet the visual, fast pace, click a button culture continues to be blinded by visual looks.  We’re also humored too much by charm and cute behaviors.

Matthew chapter 7 has become one of my “go to” passages to remind myself of what Jesus admonished.  It’s ironic that the whole point of the teaching is to evaluate other’s behavior in order to be shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves , but that the start of the chapter becomes the hallmark passage of tolerance and do not judge.   Indeed one needs to have good boundaries regarding how scriptures are taught as well.   (I recommend Untwisting Scriptures for more on this.)

Back to the dangers of “cute.”  Too many parents, relatives, and friends laugh at children’s attention seeking behaviors when the children really need to be disciplined.  I highly recommend addition reading further below on this topic.

Many in dating relationships wind up in hurtful relationships because good looking dates and funny cute behavior were never limited to start out with.   Sometime it happens in friendship and business.  The point is, we all need to develop good emotional boundaries in order to respect self and others.

Further reading: Surprising reasons why we need to discipline children.

#Boundaries #Healing #Relationships #Disciplinechildren

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Danger of “Cute” and “Beautiful”

I had been reading and writing to no avail for 4+ hours.  It was time to walk away,  get my daughter off her electronics, and get some fresh air outside with the dogs.  I didn’t get far when I noticed cedar Waxwing II Dead Cedar Waxwing I

Wow, it’s a gorgeous bird I knew nothing about.  After I respectfully buried it, I came inside and consulted my bird book to no easy match.  I then turned to a Face Book Group called Birding Alabama. In minutes the members of the group informed me that it was a Cedar Waxwing.  Not only that,  but one woman surmised that it died from eating from a Nandina Berry Bush otherwise known as Sacred Bamboo.  I immediately thought of a bush in my back yard.  I took this picture and asked if this was it.Nandina Berry Bush

Low and behold it is.  It took some time for me to realize along with more comments from the group  like this article from Audubon Society that if I care about these birds I need to get rid of these gorgeous berries and lovely little bush.  But they are so beautiful!

According to this article, “The U.S. Department of Agriculture and most states classify Nandina domestica as a noxious, non-native, invasive weed from China and Japan. It has naturalized and invaded our national parks, national wildlife refuges, national forests, city parks, and other habitats throughout the U.S. …In addition to bird deaths in Georgia, bird deaths have been reported in Houston and other parts of the country. Hydrogen cyanide is a painful and unnecessary way for birds to die. Nandina is also toxic to dogs, cats, and many other animals.”

“Non-native”  hmmm that’s an inflammatory adjective.  It is this term I know turn my writing.

As a former public school science teacher I’ve taken myself on numerous professional development opportunities as well as my classes on field trips to remove some of these non-native plants.  But the key to fully understanding which plants need to be removed are several other key adjectives included in the description of this Heavenly Bamboo.  “Noxious and invasive” are key descriptors.

“Noxious” in human relation terms is lack of respect for that which was there to begin with. “Invasive” means that it is “I”, “me”, “my kind”, “my way or the highway.”  This is so important in both the natural world and human.  Why? Well, first of all the truly native plants in each part of the world aren’t sufficient to feed us.  Yup, most of the fruits and vegetables that you eat everyday didn’t originate in the country you live in.  They came from another part of the world.  For example, consider this figure from ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

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In other words, non-natives and immigration are necessary for the survival of people.  The issue is what other characteristics describe these non-natives?  Are they respectful?  Do they politely integrate and get along?  Or are they there to rape, pillage, kill, and conquer? Do not judge on outward appearance of “cute” or “pretty.”  One must consider all of its characteristic properties.

Two points.  First, consider for nature and for self.  Not all non-native plants, animals, and insects are problematic for the natural environment they have come to.  There may be enough “checks and balances” or “predator/prey” for a healthy balance for the original community.  But is all that was naturally present good and worthy to keep?

This is one of the most confusing parts of the Pentateuch or first five books of the Bible.  Why did God command the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites, yet allowed the king and the people of Nineveh live in the book of Jonah?

Full Text (in English) of the Book of Jonah

Could it be that some are so vile, noxious, and invasive that they need to be denied, uprooted, and sent away?  Do they need to stay among themselves?

We truly miss out though if we close the doors to other cultures.  What are they getting better than we?  What resources, supplies, and knowledge do they have that might be shared without hurting any?  So it goes back to concept of balance which requires discernment and maturity.  Of which I wrote of in Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo.

balance 1balance 2

In closing,  let us strive to grow in wisdom and maturity.   Let us be accountable.  Appropriate checks and balances are needed for all. May we study and learn diligently, otherwise “non-native,” a completely neutral descriptive adjective is not understood and  not handled properly.  It needs more description.  Is it respectful? Beneficial to the common or just one or two greedy individuals?

by Hope Mucklow