Category Archives: Uncategorized

A Very Grateful Thanksgiving

I awoke thankful for so much this Thanksgiving Day 2021. So many mysteries, hurts, and puzzles in my life have become crystal clear since 2020. Interestingly, my daughter predicted it when interviewed in December 2019 at the 200th Birthday Celebration for Alabama in Montgomery. Somehow she just knew 2020 was not going to be just another year. Being thankful is an important trait, but so is discontent, yes discontent.

When one feels content there is no need to make change much less improvements. Pain and difficulties motivate improvement and new innovations. Making the best of a bad situation is a good psychological way to deal with it, but to accept something that we have the power to change requires the courage and boldness to step out, take a stand, and do something. That last statement was something that sunk into my head one night in 2021

Our move to Alabama met a purpose, but that was short lived. The required lifestyle there was taking a toll on everyone except on the younger dog who got plenty of stimulation chasing squirrels on 2 acres. Country living just doesn’t work in the long run for city people especially for a small family who isn’t from the area. But moving from Central Alabama back to where our hearts kept leading, northern city and Hispanic congested South Florida was going to be very painful with the amount of work it was going to require.

Growing up with a strong value to minimize pain, hard work, and discomfort was the very hurdle I needed to overcome. It was the spark that kept the fire of a former diagnosis of GAD (General Anxiety Disorder) burning. So, I awakened to the reality that I had the choice and the power to do the monumental task that lay ahead. This was the very key to unlock my baseline of unhappiness that I ironically maintained by accepting by being grateful for other things.

How often is it that those of us spiritual types trip over the very secrets that are promised and readily available? Does not the God of the Hebrews of whom Jesus came promise to equip for every calling given? Admitting my folly, confessing it, and turning from it to step out in confident faith is what I am most thankful for.

Beware of the self-help writing especially Christian ones that keep you trapped in circumstances by giving thanks that you ought to change. This advise is the a lie from the pit of hell. Now, by all means being thankful is very important, but one must strive for the balance. Hence the serenity prayer.

Happy Thanksgiving.

#Thanksgiving #Discontent #Contentment #Christianselfhelp

20 Years After 9-11 How to Tell the Kids

Scrolling through the Face Book group messages this morning, I read a mom’s question soliciting child friendly resources to teach her youngster. I applaud this mother for her sensitivity to her child’s developmental needs. The public schools could sure use some more of this as they have been indoctrinating kindergarten children with inappropriate sex education for a generation now. Then the thought dawned on me, this is the war of the east against the west.

Until September 11, 2001, the United States managed to dodge the 20th century plus warfare on its continental soil. Both World War I and II were fought mostly in Europe. We shipped and flew our young men and women to the war fronts while families in Europe sent their children to less populated country side places for safe refuge while the war raged on. This was the environment that C.S. Lewis wrote the start of the Chronicles of Narnia in.

I have come to the conclusion in generalized thinking (please note that there are a million exceptions) that we in the west are looked upon by our human family members who stayed behind in the various countries of Europe and Asia as the idealized immature siblings who are always chasing fantasies. What I mean is we or which ever relative in the past who came to the United States believed they could make a better life for themselves here. Whether it was the Pilgrims seeking religious freedom, the Irish looking for work, or the families of politically ousted, all are believing that freedom and a better future lies in the United States. This general view of immigration is what built America. This was mostly true, although those pushing a certain idealized current agenda will argue it is not. To which I would reply corruption over the years has slowly eroded the reality that if one was willing to work hard enough, they could create a great life in the U.S.A.

Along with this immature idealization in the west is a belief that we can avoid pain and hardship if only we purchase a certain product, subscribe to a particular service, or vote for a candidate who promises that which they canNOT deliver. Parents, grandparents and especially some romantic mothers are seduced into believing that their precious bundle of joy will be the next great whatever without discipline, hard work, and tears.

Those in the East especially in war torn areas like Syria, Iraq, and Afghanistan see horrible sites on a regular basis. Terror reigns and rules their communities monthly, weekly, and sometimes daily.

Marrying someone from another country taught me a lot during ten years of marriage. The first was a different and better understanding of one of the petitions in the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Somehow Christians in the west have failed to understand what daily means. They have been led to trust more in doctors, government or corporate jobs, insurance, and retirement packages for security. None of these except doctors existed at the time of the great Jewish Rabbi’s teaching of this prayer. In fact, those doctors were also usually the high priests. It would not be for many more years when the separation of leadership into healthcare, education, politics, and religion would take place.

The “Christian West” no longer is. The trust in human made institutions through educational indoctrination and failure to walk the talk has finally displaced the original plan of the founding fathers. (If you disagree with my last claim in the previous sentence I encourage you to read the wall builders resources below.) But allow me to return to the mom looking out for her child’s emotional needs and ability to handle the history about what happen twenty years ago on September 11th.

How we handle our own emotional reaction to horrific news teaches our children more than any book, resource, or counselor. Examples are the best teacher. And what I am about to say may not be what you were expecting. Your initial reaction is not necessarily good or bad, it just is. This is the first step in handling tragedy. We need to stop judging our natural human response and those of others. We need to learn that each may react a little differently. Now when one gives way to panic, that may endanger themselves and others, but it is not necessarily wrong. You can read more about this listed below in my blog regarding a boating accident that my daughter, several others, and myself survived that sent us all into the freezing cold White River of Arkansas.

Instead of adding to the myriad of false emotional expectations by reading another how to book or blog, what I believe is needed is a greater respect and understanding of G_d, self, and others. Since the self-help genre is loaded with the latter, hence the name I will start with it.

Each responds to tragedy differently especially initially. Consider that one person runs out of a fire while another runs into help. This is why I wrote about taking turns processing the pain and inconveniences posed to all early on in 2020. What we need to do is learn how to listen to our own emotions and to the emotions of others. Listen don’t react. Then as you learn about how your response may have negatively impacted others especially your children, talk about it when you are calm. Admit that you may have been reacting in fear of what humans can do to you more so than what G_d can. Jesus taught that we should instead fear G_d instead of humans in Matthew 10:28 referenced below.

The book of Psalms if full of writers who works through their reality that fears and anger regarding injustice overwhelm at first. This is the normal reaction! It is through reflective time in prayer through faith in who G_d is, the great I AM that they process their fear and or grief that enables them to conclude with praise and hope. Psalm 77 is one of the most well known for this. So take time to listen to, reflect upon, and process your own emotions then do so for your friends, family, and especially your children.

https://www.narnia.com/books

https://wallbuilders.com/

http://hopetheparentteacher.com/?p=701

Manners May Be Key to Getting Through Crisis

https://biblehub.com/matthew/10-28.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm%2077&version=NIV

#NeverForget #911anniversary #traumaresponse

Public, Private, or Homeschool the Answer

by Hope Mucklow July 10, 2021

Provocative title eh? It rings with a promise of solution to what baffles most parents in 2021. The question is whether this answer is the best choice for you and your family. Only you can figure that out. But in this blog I will share with you insights I have gained.

I had returned to middle school public teaching at the time of my pregnancy. My colleagues all had bets that I wouldn’t make it to the end of the school year before that baby came, but I did. In fact, she came just in time for me to have to return to the classroom without missing a day for pregnancy leave. Thankfully, my mother came to stay with her that first week back to school because she was too young for daycare.

For the next 4 years, I dropped my precious bundle off at “teacher day care” then headed to school. But, I was disturbed that numerous tweens and teenagers were getting the best of my energy only for me to lose it on my daughter at the end of the day. While it led to some creative song writing inspired by Mary Poppins (you can read the blog posted below) it really was troubling. It’s a bit more complicated with health issues, but the bottom line was I had a choice, save the world at the expense of my family and health or save my health and family and go out on disability retirement. It was a tough decision, but out I went.

Off I entered into the world of homeschool pre-school. I thought I would lose my mind even with my motivational songs that I seemed to sing 24/7. The isolation was so lonely. I barely made it through the week to church services on Sundays of where they expected me to teach the Pre-School Kindergarten class (as if I didn’t have enough of this all week long.) There was a local MOPS program that I happened to join just as it was ending. The best I had were foreign nannies at the park who talked amongst themselves and my daughter had to play with babies since all pre-school age children in the greater DC area went to formal Pre-schools. The depression was so great along with a strong community of parents who heralded the local elementary school. So when the time came, we enrolled in kindergarten.

I walked her to the bus each day. I volunteered in her class of 24 children where one solo teacher attempted to teach. It was interesting to watch these brilliant children, one in particular, rule the classroom. Oh this little five year old guy was so smart and talented. He knew all the buttons to push to ensure that he was the center of attention at all times. The teacher was ok, but how could she ensure that 24 children learned how to hold their pencils properly and that the letter D works best if the line is initiated from the top? How in the world does a school like this get great reviews? I believe it’s because the parents all cared. They read to their children each night, took them to museums, played with them, and made the difference.

However, doing just this one day, my husband broke terrible news to me. On a weekend, he had taken my daughter to spend time with a caring retired occupational therapist of whom he did home upgrades for who alarmed him that she didn’t hold the pencil or crayons properly.

I spent the remainder of the year constantly correcting my daughter’s pencil hold. I sent special grips to school and email requests to the teacher emphasizing her need for guidance. The result was an ensuing three years of declined interest to pick up any crayon, coloring pencil, pen, and even paintbrush. We had ushered in a battle of hating writing.

Since my health wasn’t doing well with the climate up north we relocated to Miami. There I was excited that she would be eligible for bi-lingual public education and signed her up for 1st Grade. Fortunately, she had the best teacher, who was so talented she got promoted towards the end of the school year. Thankfully, her long-term substitute teacher was wonderful as well as the principal. However, my daughter hated the school cafeteria mayhem, the disruptive students, and poorly funded library. She begged to be home schooled. Ironically, her teacher encouraged it.

So the next year we entered the world of home school co-ops. Thankfully, one of the moms there was a more modernly trained occupational therapist who pointed out that it really doesn’t matter how my daughter holds the pencil. So we began to work towards healing the distain for writing and coloring since I finally back off with the constant corrections. Support from the co-op was mixed. We made some friends, but it was tough. Families were spread out too far across Miami Dade County and supporting one another through out the week wasn’t feasible.

Here lies the problem. We keep thinking we can play god. This rugged individualism, pull yourself up by the bootstraps, and DIY (Do It Yourself) American values are only setting people for unrealistic expectations of self and others.

I recall concluding as a public school teacher that it was never the students fault for anything, nor the parents, nor the administration. The buck always stopped at the teacher. The teacher was to be the perfect administrator, technology expert, parent, counselor, nurse, pastor/priest, and of course content specialist. But at least I was given a planning period. There’s no break during the day as a home school mom. The children even follow you into the bathroom. Now of course one can teach the child not to do that, but enforcing it without another adult at home isn’t as easy as you think. This is why Todd Wilson, The Familyman, has a huge home school support ministry and comic book to help bring some relief.

We are not gods. But too many women happily volunteer and try to be it. Think about it. Every year a day is set aside to gather around and call your mother blessed. Books, gifts, cards, and other paraphernalia adorn slogans on how great mothers are and how they forever hold our hearts. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like Proverbs 31. But, if there is anything I’ve taught my daughter it is that I am not her perfect mother nor should I be. She has a perfect Heavenly Father, her Creator to parent her flawlessly instead.

But there is a major problem, many have been mislead, blame, and do not know who this perfect Heavenly Father is. They are angry and have exchanged His role for a people led organization called world wide government. The other problem is there are numerous individuals who claim that they know God who only know Him on an immature literal level. I believe these individuals are perpetuating the first group I described. My daughter’s experience this week at a prominent Christian college’s summer camp proves this point.

Thankfully the camp content, nursing, was top rate, she liked her roommate, and made a great group of friends. But the rules, the dress code for girls in particularly, the lack of sufficient sleep (11 PM- 6 AM isn’t enough), and artificial Christian atmosphere came across as religious abuse not encouragement. My daughter described the featured speaker/preacher as a self-aggrandizing fake who failed to minister to one of her friends who was willing to give Christianity a second chance. But, her friend’s issues were too messy, uncontrollable, and inconvenient for the speaker/pastor to listen to. Thankfully, my daughter and her new group of friends provided the support this young lady needed.

To me, the answer lies in getting the roles straight. But the first step in this process is finding out who the God of the Holy Bible really is. He is not some cosmic kill joy, power hungry ogre, or distant clock maker. Nor is He an easy pushover who loves and accepts every ridiculous and childish attitude, belief, and behavior. Why do you think Jesus had such harsh words for the religious leaders of the day? It was because they misrepresented YHWY time and time again. And they lorded their power over the little people.

Parenting and teaching our children is one of the greatest opportunities to be like God. Personally, I think that YHWY uses fatherly language in order to redeem those hurt by their earthly fathers. Wisdom in the book of Proverbs is described by feminine pronouns. Wisdom is God too. In fact, that’s Jesus who was very much a man. Stop letting your bad experience with a certain parent or gender give you the excuse to continue in ignorance as to who the real true living God really is.

Then, after you have your own personal identity as a redeemed child of the King of Kings who repents because you are so overwhelmed with this new found inheritance grow up. Leave the childish understanding and simplified ways to think, believe, and act behind. Then listen to your children regardless of their age. Guide and raise them appropriately according to their individual needs, not according to assembly line robots. It’s YOU the parent who can make the difference not the school choice. Listen to your son or daughter. Guide and direct them. Most importantly point them to their perfect Heavenly Father when you inevitable fail them.

#homeschool #privateschool #religiousabuse #christianevangelism #churchcamp #parenting

Lessons from Mary Poppins

Motivational Children’s Songs

Don’t, No DO Talk to Strangers

Part of my drive to write is to help others uncover the lies that bind and choke them from living to the fullest.  One of these lies is Don’t Talk to Strangers.

One of my sweet violin students aptly said one day during lessons that _________ (a very powerful company in the entertainment industry) tells girls not to talk to strangers unless they are handsome princes.   She was summarizing a powerful meme she saw.

We proceeded to discuss how girls are primed in modern culture to be attracted to narcissistic men through their good looks and deceitful charm portrayed in many a movie and TV show.   Since I was raised on these foolish romantic fantasies, it has taken me some time to understand why many a good guy called these movies “Chick flicks” and vehemently scoffs at them.

Likewise children are taught to not talk to strangers.  The year 2020 certain reinforced this with their mask mandates and social distancing.  Rather, I am going to discuss why people should talk to some (not all) strangers based on my encounters in the last 10 days.  I have many more,  but for this particular blog I am going to highlight two encounters that have similar inspiration.

First, we stopped at a rest stop on I-95 after 11 hours  of driving.  My immediate response to seeing  an old man standing at the entrance of the women’s room was one of concern.  However,  he immediately spoke and explained  that he was standing there so that he could help his wife in wheelchair when she needed it.  So,  I offered to help as well.   At first I thought I would assist her, but then I realized I needed to help him safely help her instead by standing watch outside of the women’s room to any new comer.

When all were finished they thanked us and we enjoyed becoming acquainted.   Hudson is 90 years old.  Esther is 91.  She recently succumbed to using a wheel chair, but they were still out on a trip on May 16, 2021!  We were so inspired that they were out and about.  And delighted to find out they maybe our new prospective neighbors in South Florida.   They literally live and have lived for 30+ years three blocks away from the house we were hoping to win a contract on.  Esther and Hudson confirmed that the location was great and would fulfill all the conveniences I was hoping for.  Unfortunately, we lost the contract, but we gained some amazing friends of whom we are in contact with.

The second encounter happened this past week at Walmart.  A woman apologized for being in my way as I browsed the cereal selection.  I assured her no apology was needed, but used this a gateway to further conversation.   Wow here is another woman defying the odds of age.   Kathi is 71 years old, looking great, happily smiled for this photo and approved that I use it and is still working a real job! Kathi

She did retire, but decided to go back to work and secured this professional IT job at 67 years of age!  Wahoo!  Go Kathi!!! She had no worries of age discrimination nor sex discrimination.   And what kind of job is she doing?  Would it be the kind we are told is dominated by young white males???  Ahem, her current boss also doesn’t want her to retire! She, her supervisor, values that she knows her stuff and provides value that won’t be easy to replace.

How many of us are told that we are getting old and can’t, can’t, can’t, should, should, should or shouldn’t shouldn’t shouldn’t?  Then we’re also told to run to the health care professionals for every little ailment and cry like a baby?  This is entitlement thinking that I am so glad to finally recognize in myself so that I can repent of it and choose so much better like Harry,  Elaine, and Kathi.  How about you?

*While I am advocating talking to strangers, I am not encouraging FOOLISH discourse with them. Some strangers are worthy to engage with and others are not.   I hope to write in another blog or book what this discernment looks like and how to teach it to our children.  I too have been approached while traveling by creeps that  clearly had wicked motives behind their attempts to converse.  I immediately sought support by others in the nearest business of the parking lot where one man in particular approached me.  Please use good judgement.

Which Character Are You in the Truman Show?

2Trumanshow

Classics, whether it be a movie, book, TV show, or music album merit the honor because they communicate a story that speaks to ALL of us as humans IF we are willing to Listen and Learn. Specifically in books, theater, and the movies, this is accomplished through character staging and development.

Those who follow my blog already know, I often write on various Disney productions such as:

Beauty and the Beast

FrozenMary PoppinsPrincess and the FrogRapunzel, and Warner Brothers’  Wonder Woman, but today I will be focusing on Paramount’s Truman Show which I borrowed from a local public library and is available for rent on Hulu.

Truth, Family, and Super Heroes

One of the popular social media trends is personality quizzes.  ProProfs created one for The Truman Show.  Since character development, commonly referred to as growing-up,  is the reason I write about movies and books, I took the quiz.  But, something strange occurred.   The results did not line up with what I know to be true personally.  Rather the quiz results labeled me up with who I would rather be, not who I identified with as I watched it last night. It is the old fantasy verses reality tension.  People just do not want to face their own faults, be bothered with emotional messiness with complicated human relationships, get dirty, or feel pain.  Most desire health, wealth, personal convenience and selfish pleasure.

Think about it, what does social media tempt with?  It temps one to think and choose like our common ancestors,  Adam and Eve, that one can be her/his own influential gods who vie for self-serving power at the expense of lording it over others while manipulating their praise. through our social media accounts.  It is all about how one feels just like Narcissus when he became infatuated with his self image reflecting back from the water.

In Rojo, The Baby Red Panda at the Zoo, Mama teaches Rojo that this immature way of thinking while normal is not helpful in the adult world.  It will lead to broken friendships, divorce, and job loss if not grown out of.   Circling back to social media.  Many do use it to promote self, but not all do.

Some use it to stay in touch with friends and family by posting about what they and their family are up to.  Others post mostly to influence politically or religiously.  Some people want to encourage and educate.  These various motives come in colorful mixtures with a myriad of rationales. The personal character test is how honest are we with ourselves regarding our motives?  This is really what a great teacher, named Jesus was pointing out in his Sermon on the Mount.  Isn’t this also what Martin Luther King Jr.  meant when he said, ” I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character?”   Or was that smoke and mirrors to promote something else?

It is motives that make us humble or proud people.  When used as adjectives in this sense, judging other people’s motives is dangerous water to cross.   Motives reveal a person’s heart not their actions.  In fact, actions are what Jesus taught were to be judged! Seriously, read on in the rest of this speech.  In many modern Bibles these verse are subtitled: A Tree and Its Fruit.

So, I close with this challenge to you while we all world wide are dealing with a virus who’s identity or name started as corona virus, which ironically means king’s crown virus, and has shape shifted into the politically correct  COVID-19, which character are you playing right now for real similar to the Truman Show?  Are you  Truman, the one being played while others are entertained, confident in secure job, the mother, the wife, the best friend, director of the show, or the hero, Meryl who is willing to accept the consequences to stop the drama by trying to get Truman to wake up and figure out the game?

I said earlier last week on Face Book that lack of education is an understandable excuse but it weakens each day we live because life is teaching.  The question is are you willing to listen and learn?  Or are you going to kick, scream, and quit?

poems

#characterdevelopment #narcisim #recoveryfromnarcisicrelationship #naiveblindness

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.

butterfly2

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.

Leaf4

And then of course there is

Rojo, The Baby Red Panda At The Zoo

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